Reunited with the FimmDrekar, our heroes readied themselves to traverse a great desert for the better part of a month to get to Fey’oth and meet Kalloruth. The Fimm Drekar seemed very interested in what Stangil Drakebane and Serafina Anduril thought of Voranyth. They discussed the different methods of rulership between Voranyth and Kalloruth and what the Fimm Drekar believed so strongly in.
Serafina asked Shykelith if she had received her message in Breakwater and was relieved to discover that Piala was safe in Fey’Oth.
Ten days into the trek the caravan reached a small town where they planned on stopping to resupply. As they entered, people bowed and reached out to the Fimm Drekar, who blessed them as they passed by touching the people’s palms and rolling their fingertips down the lengths of their fingers.
The band restocked supplies and Belaric went out in search for beer with the one hundred gold Serafina gave him. Julian and Stangil spent some quality time together. They were both concerned about their son, Rondal, who had been sent on a mission with Elrathia King’s daughter, Mellara. They knew that Elrathia had left in the middle of the night, she had been pulled through the mirror for a mysterious family emergency and left the mirror she used to communicate with Aristos for Stangil.
That evening, Stangil purchased three dogs from farmers and used them to activate the mirror in the room he shared with Julian at the inn. Aristos asked what they thought of Voranyth. Stangil asked about Rondal and was told that word returned sporadically, but there had been no contact in five weeks. Stangil reported about the Twisted Men. As time was running out, Aristos instructed Stangil to reach out in another month, after they had met with Kalloruth. Stangil awoke feeling worse than any hangover he had ever experienced. “More dogs, next time,” he said to Julian.
Meanwhile, Belaric happily returned with two kegs and placed one on the bar for Serafina to try. She took a sip of the delicious honey mead but as she set her cup down, she noticed two or three drops of red liquid falling to the counter in front of her. She slowly looked up and saw a dark reddish-brown puddle on the ceiling. She gestured for Belaric to look up.
The pair dashed upstairs and Belaric kicked in the door just as Julian had gotten up to retrieve a glass of water for Stangil. Stangil, “mostly dead” from the ritual, barely lifted his head. Julian had reached for his blade before he saw who had just entered. Belaric looked distraught at the three dead dogs on the floor. Serafina, recognizing what had happened, slowly backed out of the room and closed the door, that swung loosely on its hinges and didn’t quite latch.
Belaric asked Stangil, “what the fuck is going on?!” Stangil explained the mirror, communicating with Aristos, and the blood draining ritual. Angrily, Belaric suggested, “you might want to do it on the first floor next time.” He paused, “anyone missing these dogs?” Stangil replied that he purchased them. “Fucked up,” he said as he left the room, shaking his head.
In his own room with Serafina, Belaric expressed how upset he was that Stangil had used dogs. “They’re like people.” Serafina, with her chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, said he didn’t seem to have a problem when it was a Twisted Man that had attacked them on the road, forgetting that at the time, Belaric was building funeral pyres. Belaric then discovered that she had been present while Stangil tortured him and that they gave him to Elrathia to use the mirror. Belaric then ranted about torture, ritualistic sacrifice, right and wrong, and dark magic, before going to bed angry.
Over breakfast the next morning Serafina apologized to Belaric, who remained terse. Stangil awoke, still feeling the effects of the mirror’s magic and headed downstairs for food with Julian. As Stangil sat down to eat, Belaric clocked him. Stangil ordered breakfast and everyone ate in silence.
Serafina ate hastily but as she got up to leave, Stangil said, “wait. Sit.” He then recounted his conversation with Aristos. Stangil also revealed a plan to incapacitate the Fimm Drekar if they were going to attempt an attack on Kalloruth, recalling their susceptibility to poison that one time on that ship with those pirates.
Stangil also addressed Belaric’s concerns with the use of the mirror, explaining the need to sacrifice a predatory animal, promising to request a better sacrifice option the next time, but that he was worried about Rondal. Belaric shot back that the ends don’t justify the means. Stangil reasoned that the dogs were old and killed quickly and mercifully. The conversation ended and the travelers renewed their trek through the desert.
The intense desert heat bothered nearly everyone. Arianna, Garceroth, and Serafina were the least uncomfortable. Sand was everywhere, including up Stangil’s ass and his mood was a constant reminder. There were shards of dark dragon glass littered across stretches of their path, most likely formed by Kalloruth long ago.
Serafina approached Garceroth to ask for training. Garceroth agreed, but needed time to think about what she wanted in return.
Days later, as they neared their second resupply oasis, they noticed smoke off the horizon. Guards rushed them but stopped and kneeled when they recognized the Fimm Drekar’s tabards with the white five-pointed star sigil. A day earlier, marauders had swept through, burned half the town, and stolen people, tools and supplies.
Further investigation revealed that about two dozen Drekar had attacked and headed west eighteen hours ago. The Fimm Drekar were unconcerned with a rescue mission and the humans, tired and hot, did not push. Serafina deferred to their escorts’ preference and Stangil did not want to extend his time in the desert. He spent the day helping to restore the smithy to the best of his abilities and that was that.
That evening, Serafina went to get a drink and immediately spit out the vile liquid. Nearby, Stangil laughed heartily. A day earlier, he had poured out the remainder of the mead and refilled the keg with water. Serafina slowly poured the water out of her mug and walked away. She found Belaric to warn him about the water keg, talk about the town and lament the fact that they weren’t doing anything to help. Julian and Stangil had a similar conversation. Later, Julian passed by Serafina, put his hand on her shoulder and said, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Before leaving the next morning, Serafina went in search of replacement alcohol. She confused the merchant and convinced him that she was insane by first offering 10 gold for a keg, and then 150 gold. Excited that she used money for the first time, she proudly brought the keg to the wagon.
Spirits were heavy when they left the town that morning. The Drekar townsfolk were sullen and the tone was very different from the last town they had departed.
Several days more of sand and heat, something large was spotted heading towards the caravan. As it approached, its form became clearer to the party. About 100 feet long and 15 feet wide, a giant worm was weaving in and out of the sand. Stangil ran his sword into it, attempting to pin it to the ground. The worm continued to move forward, as Cybil sliced it in two. Others surrounded it and attacked at different angles. Serafina laid her hands on the worm and as she touched it, she dug elbow-deep into the thing, burning and scraping flesh off as it moved. Stangil swung again and cut 30 feet off the tail.
It took five of them to dig up the head. Stangil removed the two largest fangs to keep as trophies.
That evening while they rested, Serafina gave Abrahm some bad advice about girls when she noticed he had a thing for one of the new humans, Briar. A buzzard was pecking at Stangil until he knocked it out and gave it to Serafina to cook for dinner. Abrahm struck out.
As they neared the end of their journey and exited the desert, they came upon the foothills of a mountain with beautiful autumn weather. There were trees and grass and Stangil’s mood improved greatly. It began to rain. Stangil was so elated he stripped and bathed in nature’s shower. He handed a bar of soap to Serafina and she joined him.
The Fimm Drekar took them to a quaint tavern beside a river. There was limited space, so several of the humans were going to have to sleep in the barn. Briar expressed to Serafina that she felt like she and the other new humans were not valued and were always treated second-class. Tired, and wishing to avoid a confrontation, Serafina offered her and Belaric’s room to Briar. Briar accepted.
Belaric was not thrilled that Serafina had given up their room and volunteered them for the barn. She tried to win him over with wit.
Everyone got to bathe! Bodily stank and ill-moods were both lifted away. Serafina tried to put in a good word for Abrahm with Briar, to no avail. The two teamsters that were supposed to share the barn loft with Serafina and Belaric were scared away and slept on the hearth instead.
There was a large, family-style breakfast the next morning with eggs, meats, biscuits, gravy… everyone was there except the Fimm Drekar. Stangil stepped outside and saw them talking with someone mounted on a weird animal. He asked Shykelith if everything was okay and she said that they were merely sending word to Fey’oth so the city could prepare for their arrival. Serafina asked what the mount was and learned that it was called a horse. They were rare and special, only given to those who were close to Kalloruth.
Instead of walking to Fey’oth, they were provided with large carriages, led by more horses. The front of each carriage was donned with Kalloruth’s symbol of flames and the back with the white star of the Fimm Drekar.
Three days later they arrived in Fey’oth, a large shining city nestled at the base of a mountain and up against the sea. The city had prepared a grand reception, clearing a path for the carriages. There were bands, banners, and the procession was like a parade in their honor.
Past the inner gates of the city they were taken to the home of the Fimm Drekar. It became clear just how culturally significant they were to this society. Their home was larger than Aritsos’s keep. The humans gawked in awe as they exited the carriages and were welcomed by Shykelith and the other Fimm Drekar to their home in Fey’oth.