The March of Ages

A Grateful Homecoming...
...and an Ungrateful Stay

Autumn had arrived. Serafina Anduril, Sani Nodin, Adlei Rhiggs, Rondal, and their new companion, Cadimus were traveling from the Grimvald to the Great Heart Tree. They discussed Somnambuliss and Serafina’s faith in him along with Ouroboros’s plan to wipe out the Lluaran. Rondal still retained parts of his memories of Ouroboros and Cadimus had the memories of the Dy’Voth he had taken. They shared information and Serafina asked insightful questions. Some Dy’Voth are awakened with fire, ether, or both.

Rondal could not withstand the draw of the honey and was struggling with lower and lower doses. Cadimus took watch for Serafina and she trusted him.

Three days out they came across Dy’Voth tracks and discovered that General Durand had a perimeter encircling the Great Heart tree about two days out.

The Great Heart Tree itself was surrounded by a wall of new heart trees. Ky’Lea greeted Sani and Adlei upon their return. Serafina stayed outside the wall with Cadimus.

Sani spoke with Ancient Thyiss and Elbria. Twenty-eight Seedlings were now there. Adlei referred to Cadimus as “it” and Thyiss instructed Sani to welcome them inside the wall.

While settling in for the night, Serafina and Cadimus had a heart to heart until picked up by Sani and Rondal. Serafina gave Sani and Cadimus the honey. Sani had the bulk and gave it to Ky’Lea for safe keeping. Serafina inspected the Great Heart Tree and noticed that most of her and Stangil’s blood had washed off. There was some power still pulsing but not out of Ouroboros’s brand.

Sani went up into the tree and spoke with Delona and Ky’Lea, who both cooed over his heroic stories. Meanwhile, Serafina prayed before falling asleep in a lean-to outside in the mud. Still wearing Rondal’s shirt from weeks before. With broken ribs and ether burns all over.

The next morning Rondal had a particularly aggressive attitude when he was told that the drugs were being cut off. Serafina asked for food, clothes and bandages and was met with glares of disgust. Eventually, the healer, Te’Mal came to her aid. He also told her that her soul was burnt as well as her skin. Sani and Adlei debated over telling Thyiss about Cadimus before finally checking on Serafina.

Despite intense discomfort and physical ailments, she had enough spirit to begin yelling at the Lluaran for being stubborn and ungrateful. She gave Adlei an earful as well before offering him the best suggestions she had to aid in this war. She could speak with Braxys about sending the new humans to fight, but they were no less than six months out. They could ask the Cragga in Kunik for help now that they were at an armistice. Adlei did not like either option.

Sani dealt with a detoxing Rondal ransacking his room before going to speak with Thyiss and disclose all of the truth. Thyiss told Sani that he had to live with knowing that the world has a little more darkness because of him.

Sani eventually was able to look over the map and scrolls with Cadimus before an alarm went off in camp. A Dy’Voth emissary had arrived. Her name was Milana.

Milana spoke with Serafina, Sani, and Cadimus. In fluent Lluaran she said that General Durand was willing to talk peace. Serafina noticed that Milana had the abilities of a reader and was careful not to lie.

The four embarked on a two day journey to the General’s camp, leaving Rondal and Adlei at the Great Heart Tree.

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Strangers in a Strange Place and Stranger Things

Sani Nodin and Adlei Rhiggs dragged Serafina Anduril and Rondal until first light and until they could move no more. Serafina had enough energy to treat Rondal. He was feverish; the blade had been poisoned. They rested for a couple of hours but dared no longer. They pushed until they made it to the Grimvald.

It was a sight to behold, if you were not weary, wounded, or running for your life. The Grimvald was encircled in Heart Trees as far as the eye could see. They acted as a magical barrier, trapping the dark things inside. Once they passed the threshold, they could instantly feel the heaviness of death. The sky was darker. It was almost pitch black. In the distance they could see the shadows and outlines of large animals. Twisted magic permeated everything.

Sani laid traps and misleading trails. They avoided nemesis vines. A tree that had been swaying… no, shuddering… began to flutter. The leaves flew away from branches and toward Adlei, who had been laying misleading tracks. He picked up and they began to flee, Serafina was able to throw a fireball at them, but the swarm continued to pursue them.

Out of the shadows a figure appeared and urged them to follow him. Out of desperation, they did. He led them to a concealed cave that had a small fire burning. As her eyes adjusted, Serafina noticed that their savior was a grim creature whose skin did not quite fit around his eyes and mouth.

Their host said his name was Cadimus. Serafina, too tired to beat around the bush, confronted Cadimus. She asked him directly what he was. He explained that he had been born with no form that he could remember. He would live with a village for a while then, when banished, live alone for years. He admitted to helping them in return for help of theirs, when they were well. He needed a new body. He asked what hunted them and offered to throw the Dray off their trail for as long as he could.

After some deliberation, Serafina had the final word. They would stay, promise to help Cadimus, and take the help he offered. They were too badly injured to try to attempt surviving in these woods themselves. Sani and Adlei were not happy but had no good arguments against her.

The small cave was covered in animal skins and smelled foul, but it was hidden and warm. There was a pig in the corner, which Cadimus used in a ritual to bind their essence. The pig’s name was Pipo. Pipo’s tracks would look like theirs and theirs would look like Pipo’s, for as long as Pipo was alive. Serafina thanked Cadimus for his sacrifice as it seemed that Pipo was not being kept as his dinner.

Then, focus turned to healing. Cadimus said that he could hasten the healing process if they could retrieve honey from a charnal tree. He described the tree, where to find it, and how to extract honey safely to Sani and Adlei. He also warned against coming into contact with the Lluaran there. They would go in the morning to retrieve it.

That night Serafina took first watch. Cadimus spoke with her for a while and inspected the nerve damage on her left arm and hand. He said it may never return to normal. “It could be worse,” she replied.

Rondal woke up the next morning, unable to move. Cadimus returned with a snake and a rat for breakfast. He carved them into pieces for everyone to eat. He ate his raw. Serafina cooked hers and Rondal’s.

Sani and Adlei headed to the charnal tree and saw the Lluaran extracting honey themselves. As they walked away, Sani used vines to steal the honey and they absconded with the stolen goods.

Serafina learned new treatment techniques from Cadimus, seeing the value in his knowledge. He was skilled and more knowledgeable than anyone she had met. He turned the honey into a powder and administered it to Serafina and Rondal.

The honey worked instantly. They both felt like they could move around. They felt no more pain. Cadimus said that it also healed them faster but warned against becoming addicted to it. He also said that while they felt better, they were not actually better, so they needed to take it easy and let their bodies do the work.

Serafina spoke with him more and got to know his sad story. She felt sorry for him and wished that she could take him with them and find a way to help his situation. Sani and Adlei argued with her once again. They did not want to help him get new skin and thought it was a bad idea to attempt to bring him out of the Grimvald. Serafina suggested that they do some recon at the village to see if the locals were in fact “savages” and if they would feel less guilty then.

An idea formed. What if they used a form from outside the Grimvald, such as a Dy’Voth? On the third morning Sani and Adlei left to find a Dy’Voth. They were instructed to bring one back unharmed and about the right size for Cadimus. If the body were damaged, it would all be for naught.

As soon as they crossed the barrier, they felt better. On the second day they ran into a patrol of five Dy’Voth. They killed four and took one prisoner. Meanwhile, Serafina and Rondal had time to recover and talk to Cadimus, whose company Serafina did not mind as much as Sani and Adlei.

The Dy’Voth was brought back to the cave, unharmed. Cadimus said he would do the ritual the next day and suggested that the others not be around to watch. That night, they spoke with the captive. Serafina almost regretting asking his name before he spit out that she was “a bleating cow. A she-goat.”

When Cadimus began the ritual the next morning the others went for a walk in the lovely Grimvald. They dared not go far because while feeling better, Serafina and Rondal were still in no condition to do much. They heard horrific screams and shouting from the cave for an hour or longer before silence. When they thought it was okay to return, they saw a new Cadimus. He now lived in the body of a strong and healthy Dy’Voth. The change was jarring. Even though they knew what to expect, the reality felt cold.

After a couple of days more had passed and Serafina and Rondal were approved to walk by Cadimus, they set off to leave the Grimvald. Rondal was angry at Serafina for giving Sani control of the honey for emergencies and beginning to cut doses down each day. Serafina scorched Cadimus’s armor and chest to get rid of the sign of Ouroboros.

As they approached the ring of Heart Trees, everyone grew tense. Would the spell with Pipo hold? Would Cadimus be able to leave? Would they make it to the Great Heart Tree?

They walked forward and Serafina held Cadimus’s hand.

Nothing stopped him.

They emerged into sunlight. Cadimus said, with tears in his eyes, “so… many… colors.”

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And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Sani awoke in the cave. Rondal was already awake. “I don’t know how we’re going to get off this mountain,” he grimly stated. Adlei Rhiggs woke up next, seriously wounded and septic from the fight the day before. Serafina Anduril stopped breathing in her sleep. Sani quickly recovered her breath and they all sat, huddled in a small cave, on top of a mountain, surrounded by enemies.

The plan was to avoid the Dy’Voth city below, use Rondal as a back up plan (but ultimately avoid direct contact), find shelter and an alternate route down, and to go a little at a time. Serafina and Adlei could barely walk.

Rondal and Sani went scouting. They were going to Rondal’s quarters to steal a map and important missives. During a fight against five guards they realized that the Dy’Voth no longer exploded on contact. Rondal made an off-hand comment that he was glad only 1/20th had awakened. And Sani remembered what the Dy’Voth looked like even when they were out of sight.

Meanwhile, Serafina and Adlei could do nothing but talk. Serafina was suffering from broken ribs and ether burns all over her body. Most of her hair had burnt off in the lava. They had a brief heart to heart about the loss of Stangil when a patrol discovered them. Adlei quickly caved in the entrance.

The four reunited and decided to leave as quickly as possible. It was too dangerous to be discovered. Using disguises, they made their way down the mountain. In an effort to arm themselves better, Rondal brought them to a cave that contained hundreds of thousands of sleeping Dy’Voth.

It looked as if, originally, half a million slept here. However, over the ages, most fell into dust and only 150,000 remained. Serafina had an idea. Adlei was concerned and inquired, “are you going to be able to live with this?” To which she said, “I have to.”

Half-carried, Serafina burned the still bodies and as she did, Adlei crumbled the walls and ceiling until there was nothing left. They started in the back and worked their way to the front, breaking the thick support beams that held the dome up. At the end, Serafina’s nose was bleeding and they were holding each other up.

Rondal and Sani made a gurney for Serafina and they carried her up and out. Delirious and out of energy, Serafina prayed to Somnambuliss, If you are able to do anything that would get us out alive, I would owe you a favor.

They cut south through an open gate. The mountain was falling. The gate was destroyed. There was no mist. Sani had a map. It was five weeks to the Great Heart Tree.

Adlei and Sani were happy to be in the forrest again. As they fell into a heavy slumber, Serafina saw the Seedlings for the first time and drifted off saying, “I want root thingies.” Sani told Rondal that he did a good job today because he noticed that Rondal was struggling. Rondal took the compliment but did not seem to feel good about it.

The next morning Naiora had brought a small antelope and laid it by Serafina. In the middle of breakfast they heard a horn. Rondal became upset and explained that the Dy’Voth had called the Dray, an expert assassin trio. They always caught their prey.

Adlei suggested they go to the Grimvald to lose the Dray. They came upon a Lluaran outpost where they met Delona. She agreed to send out scouts while the adventurers slept. Sani and Serafina agreed that they were not going to leave these people to die in the wake of the Dray so they laid a trap and waited.

Three Dy’Voth arrived that evening on horseback. One with a sword, one with a bow, and one with two short blades. All but three of the Lluaran were killed. Serafina’s disintegrate barely affected the Dray but she was able to kill the woman wielding the bow. Rondal was stabbed through the gut and a dizzy Serafina saw the rest of the fight in slow motion. She thought to herself, home is so far away.

The remaining two Dray retreated to tend to their wounds. Delona and two other Lluaran were ordered to go to the Great Heart Tree with the maps and missives. The outpost would be abandoned and the others would head into the Grimvald to, hopefully, survive long enough for the Dray to be killed.

Sani used vines to carry Serafina and Adlei, although wounded himself, carried Rondal on a stretcher.

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The Life and Death of Stangil Drakebane

Rondal stood before them, holding the orb. The symbol of Ouroboros emblazoned on his chest plate. He spoke in a strange language that no one understood. It became clear that Ouroboros controlled Rondal. He spoke to Stangil Drakebane, “I waited for years in that chest… in the armor… you built me this body.”

Stangil was both outraged and filled with regret. He pleaded to trade places with Rondal. Ouroboros instructed Stangil to meet in his home to trade.

They retreated.

On the way back to the Great Heart Tree Serafina Anduril asked Stangil what his plan was. Stangil turned to her and said with the most severity, “after we switch, you need to kill me.” The conversation turned to asking Cernunnos how to kill Goraurik.

Meanwhile, the Seedlings Sani Nodin and Adlei Rhiggs plotted how and when to kill Cernunnos. Serafina and Stangil caught wind of this conversation and weighed in, disagreeing. They insisted that they needed his help when it came time to face Ouroboros.

That night Stangil and Serafina both spoke with Somnambuliss in a shared dream. They were told that the orb was called the Burning Ember and was the source of Ouroboros’s power. If they destroyed it, then he would be weakened. Somnambuliss would be able to cloak one of them. They agreed that Serafina would destroy the orb while Stangil distracted Ouroboros. Scouts were sent out to determine where Goraurik was but the heroes of Voltierra were instructed to close their eyes, spin three times, and point. The fearsome five headed northwest at first light.

Goraurik was not difficult to spot a few miles away with his four-hundred foot long body. It appeared that one of his wings was injured and something metallic was stuck in his shoulder. Stangil began the fight by throwing a tree on Goraurik’s head. Adlei and Cernunnos found their way on the great beast’s back while the other three distracted and fought him. Serafina did her best to burn him from the inside and when she caught too much of his attention, Sani held him at bay and protected her. Stangil fought Goraurik on and in his face.

Many close calls and terrifying moments later, he was defeated. Serafina had a foot-and-a-half long tooth in her leg and Sani was helping her up when the ground began to break. Cracks formed all around them and he carried her away. In the aftermath of the death of a great power, an earthquake erupted and a mountain had formed.

It took hours but Stangil, Serafina, Sani, and Adlei were reunited. No one could find Cernunnos; he was assumed buried or dead. They had lost many of their belongings, including Cybol. Stangil pressed on toward his son. This was merely one errand completed.

Limping away, the four were discussing possible names for the new mountain and the plan to warn the Lluaran against allowing people to live on the mountain. Serafina had forgotten her oath to Ancient Thyiss and horrific stomach cramps began to plague her. She was in excruciating pain and realizing what she had done, called out to Somnambuliss, who appeared at once. He pushed his hand into her and pulled a small tree out of her body.

They pressed on, off of the newly formed mountain. They slept. Naiora became more protective of the injured Serafina. As they felt they were nearing Ouroboros’s cave, Stangil gave Serafina a letter and asked her to give it to Julian upon her return to Voltierra.

One afternoon Serafina noticed that the others were avoiding a fog and they had been walking in circles. Pushing through the mist they discovered a camp with tens of thousands of Dy’Voth. They chose to climb the mountain to get to the cave. It was a grueling and dangerous twelve hours. They fell. A lot. They were exhausted, cut, bruised, and bleeding by the time they ascended the ledge.

There, Stangil saw an old and familiar shack. He threw a make-shift spear through one Dy’Voth guard that exploded into flames, killing the second guard nearby.


Stangil Drakebane was first, and foremost, a loving husband and father. He may have been known as a great adventurer and hero among humans, but those stories were not his greatest accomplishments. Not according to his values. Stangil was also a great friend. He was someone who would give more than he had to others. He had faith in humanity and made it his life’s work to ensure that we would survive. His deeds were that which no one could fathom and he made sacrifices that we should never know. May his spirit live on in the lives of those whom he touched and his stories grow in the imaginations of our story-telling.


Down a spiral staircase. Down a cooridor. Down a larger staircase. Into the lair of Ouroboros.

It was a vast cave hundreds of feet wide and long. Etched on the walls was the history of Ouroboros. The floor was smooth, polished obsidian. In one corner slept Trelias. Across a small arc of lava, on a throne, was Rondal. The Burning Ember in his hand was now a small star.

Stangil approached. He felt himself floating… as if he were a passenger. He saw Rondal who said, “Dad? I love you.” All of a sudden, Stangil was wearing the armor of Ouroboros and Rondal was wearing his.

The Burning Ember smashed to the ground. An explosion erupted and sent Serafina flying into the lava. Rondal’s body was thrown over the river onto the opposite bank with the others, including six guards and Trelias.

Chaos ensued. Serafina struggled to swim to the bank while Sani and Adlei fought off guards. Rondal, unarmed, attempted to fight the oncoming Trelias. Adlei was stabbed in the back helping Serafina out of the lava. Sani crossed the river to attack Ouroboros. Serafina scrambled to make it back to save Sani and fulfill her promise to Stangil.

Ouroboros laughed at her attempt before she put up a wall of fire and briefly caught a glimpse of Somnambuliss. He shouted at her to, “get the boy out of here!”

Everyone rushed away while Adlei created a cave-in to trap Trelias.

In the commotion of escaping, running up the stairs and out of the shack, Sani and Rondal found themselves carrying a naked, burnt, and badly injured Serafina. A tense moment later, Adlei emerged. They quickly found a cave to hide in and crashed into slumber.


Serafina awoke to find herself in a familiar place. The bar in front of her had beautiful scorched engravings from a master craftsman. Seated next to her was her dearest friend. Stangil was given the gift of one last goodbye to Serafina. She stuttered and trembled as she cried, unable to face another loss. Stangil thanked her and told her to be the strong leader he knew she could be. When she awoke, in severe pain, she noticed three items by her side: the letter, her staff, and Cybol.

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Daddy Issues

As Serafina Anduril bounded back toward Kunik with something on her mind, Stangil Drakebane and Sani Nodin kept pace while carrying the unconscious Maloran Argent.

Once inside the city walls, Maloran, too wounded to walk on his own, was left at the arena. Serafina barely stopped for Stangil to let him down. They marched past the festivities and the new statue up to High Lord Diedik’s hall. Startled guards did not attempt to impede them.

Without breaking stride in the hall, Serafina located Grand Marshall Turk and bee-lined for him. She stopped two feet away from his face and held the Cragga heart in front of his beady eyes. She began to use her power to burn Turk from the inside. As he screamed, she spoke to the quieted guests in the grand hall. Sani translated:

For weeks we have observed every measure of your customs. One of us paid a great price for insulting your leader. We have apologized and made amends. No longer will humans be treated as inferior. Let all who witness this understand the consequences of betraying us or High Lord Diedik.

Before she was done speaking, the Grand Marshall was dead. Silence hung heavily. Stangil approached the High Lord and addressed him. He was apologetic, yet stern in explaining what had happened in the mountain pass and that it was Turk who had orchestrated the ambush. The High Lord motioned to speak with the humans privately.

High Lord Diedik was pleased to know that Turk’s treachery had been squashed, but warned that he had devoted followers. Abigor showed them a secret passage out of the hall and they took to the keep.

Stangil sealed the doors and the three climbed over the outer wall and onto the barracks. From the highest floor they assassinated the other marshals and worked their way down, leaving the women, low-ranking officers, and foot soldiers alive. Stangil made sure to warn a lieutenant about the necessity of loyalty.

Returning from their coup, they spoke with Diedik one last time. He seemed concerned about losing his invitation to the council, which Serafina assured him he would not. On their way out of Kunik for the second and hopefully, final, time they saw over a dozen Cragga on display near the statue. Other conspirators, a warning to others.


Weeks later, the three humans had finally made it to the Great Heart Tree. Along the way Serafina had seen poggles and learned as much Lluaran words and customs from Sani as she could. The homecoming, however, was not what Sani had expected. A wall of 20 foot trees had been grown around the area near the tree and scorch marks dotted the trees and ground. Hundreds of new trees were growing around them.

Once they could see the Great Heart Tree up close, they saw a sigil of Ouroboros burnt into the side. Serafina could sense it drawing power from the tree and all three humans could feel its invitation emanating.

Adlei Rhiggs met with them and greeted Sani as a brother. He explained that two days ago a devastating attack of ghosts came in force, created confusion, and at some point, the symbol appeared. Elders were targeted and all but one were now dead.

He showed them to Elder Ancient Thyiss, who shared a great secret about the tree. The symbol of Oroboros that was placed on it was ancient magic and Thyiss did not know how to remove it.

The attacks had been coming from the west, so the three humans agreed to set out in that direction the next morning. Sani and Adlei shared a drink and caught up. Later, Adlei ran into Serafina and they spoke. Meanwhile, Stangil’s curiosity got the better of him and he reached out to touch the symbol.

Stangil was transported to a world that seemed to be the world during the time before. The land was a desert with two moons and a red swirling sky. In front of Stangil stood a magnificent red and violet dragon, Oroboros. They spoke at length and (in typical dragon fashion) Stangil felt frustrated that he did not receive many answers to his questions. He did, however, receive a promise that he would see his son within a week’s time.

As quickly as he appeared, he disappeared and found himself again in front of the Great Heart Tree. Stangil found Serafina and told her what had transpired. Not one to let Stangil have all of the crazy fun, she went to touch the symbol herself.

Serafina’s conversation with Oroboros was different. She got under his armor with her indifference toward the dragons, their power, and their games. He offered to remove her mark and sever her servitude to Somnambuliss for a price. When asked the price, he said she would have to murder a stranger when he asked her to. She declined the offer. When pushed, he told her it was Atterick, the Unkillable, the Cragga King. She declined. Serafina questioned the dragon with impertinence and frustrated, he promised that she would speak to him again, within one week. Then, she was returned to her own time.

Both proud of herself and terrified, Serafina sought out Adlei to take him up on a drink he had offered her earlier. They got to know each other a little better and she admitted to him that she was surprised, he was not what she had expected, and she did not get along with his wife during their travels together.

That night in their sleep, Serafina and Stangil spoke with Somnambuliss. He explained that the symbol called to Goraurik. They could mask the call by painting his own mark over it with their blood. To disconnect the call, they would have to kill the source. He then told Stangil that tough times were ahead. Somnambuliss said something about a visitor and they awoke with a start.

Neither could see a thing but Serafina sensed Cernunnos. It took all of her not to kill him as earlier she made a bet with Adlei about which of them would. He had come for their help and to offer a trade. In return for tracking the ghosts for them to Oroboros’s lair, he requested that they assist him in removing Goraurik’s shell. It had gone insane over time and even Cernunnos (nutbag that he was) knew that his master’s husk needed to be disposed of.

Stangil was ready to leave with Cernunnos that moment but Serafina insisted on waking up Sani and Adlei. It took some convincing to ensure Adlei would not attack Cernunnos and that despite her own vendetta, they needed him for these tasks. Serafina promised Adlei that when it was all over, she would let him kill Cernunnos.

While tracking the ghosts, Cernunnos expressed his happiness that Serafina did not die from his attack when they last saw each other. She furiously showed him the mark that was the result of his wound, to which he held up his dagger and offered to get rid of it for her. Strangely, Adlei had made the same offer earlier.

A few hours into the hunt, they came across a fissure in the ground where they saw the ghosts and a cave. The ghosts were Divoth, like Reikasha. The devoted. A human figure stood among them. It was Rondal.

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Mind Your Manners

The celebration of the gladiatorial fight that Stangil Drakebane, Serafina Anduril, Sani Nodin, and Maloran Argent won was held in the hall of High Lord Diedik with around 200 Cragga in attendance. Aside from Abigor, they were the only humans and Serafina was the only woman.

Many of the Cragga gave gifts to the humans and offered to purchase them. The highest offer came from Grand Marshall Turk, who invited them to dinner the following evening. Some even offered to buy a child if one of the male humans were to breed with Serafina.

At the arrival of High Lord Diedik, Maloran refused several times to bend the knee. He finally acquiesced, at Stangil’s insistence. It was considered a huge show of disrespect to the Cragga and the High Lord. When the High Lord moved past the incident, the party resumed.

Serafina attempted to learn the dance, despite being unaware that it was not custom for women to dance and how terrible she was at it.

High Lord Diedik spoke with the humans. It came out that he was at odds with Atterick. The humans told him about the council and discussed representation.

The evening continued pleasantly until Maloran drunkenly tripped over a slave and Serafina tackled him to the ground before he could fall on a table. The scene disrupted the party and the hall fell silent. Stangil grabbed Maloran up and apologized publicly to High Lord Diedik. He then beat the heavily intoxicated Maloran unconscious. Diedik said the three of them could leave. They walked out, leaving Maloran.

The next morning Maloran awoke vomiting on himself, chained upside down. The others met with Diedik, determined not to leave the city without one of the humans. After some talk, as this was an egregious affront that would normally result in death, Diedik’s demands were threefold:

- Stangil would construct a statue for the city
- Maloran would apologize publicly
- Maloran would take ten lashes as penance

They took this to Maloran and Stangil made it clear that the other two options were slavery and death. Maloran agreed. The apology was set at noon that day.

A crowd gathered to watch Maloran apologize, which Sani translated. High Lord Diedik looked appeased (Stangil and Serafina noticed an odd expression on Grand Marshall Turk’s face) and the penance commenced.

The lashing was brutal and Serafina saw to healing Maloran as soon as he was released.

Over the next two weeks, Stangil constructed the statue. It turned out to be a 100 foot tall statue of Kunik, himself, High Lord Diedik’s grandfather. During that time Grand Marshall Turk came to visit. He told the humans that if they bent the knee and helped him overthrow the “unpopular” High Lord, he would let them leave the city safely. They refused and Stangil warned Abigor.

On the day of the unveiling of the statue, the humans stayed through the dedication but thought it best not to remain for the celebration. They said their goodbyes to Abigor, whom Stangil had attempted to convince to come with them. He had also procured a gift for Sani, four mugs and a pitcher like those in the hall of the High Lord.

About two hours outside of the city, they saw an ambush. 40 Cragga were poised to eliminate the humans on their way out. Stangil and Sani snuck up on either side of the cliff to take care of the archers with the help of Naiora while Serafina remained on the ground with Maloran, who was largely unable to defend himself.

After seeing Naiora hit with multiple arrows and the others injured, Serafina ramped up the carnage and waves of fire wiped out several dozen Cragga in minutes. Maloran, Sani, and Naiora were patched up. Then, Serafina ripped the heart out of the leader and stormed back toward Kunik with something on her mind.

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Other Peoples' Business

As the humans re-oriented themselves, Ky’Lea, the leader of the dozen Lluaran, explained that the Cragga were specifically destroying Heart Trees. The Lluaran were having difficulty fighting them off because Cragga can see through their natural camouflage.

They walked a day north so Stangil Drakebane, Serafina Anduril, Sani Nodin, and Maloran Argent could speak with the Cragga, in the hopes of solving this conflict diplomatically. They learned that the Cragga had an outpost headed up by Lord Varrikin.

The Cragga treated the humans strangely, with disdain even. Before the meeting with Lord Varrikin, Serafina was given clothing to cover herself, following the custom for women in the Cragga culture. At the meeting they learned that someone named Abigor who lived in the city of Kunik had a contract out for the Heart Trees. Unless that contract was pulled, Lord Varrikin would not call his men in. Kunik was another two days north.

It was decided among the four humans that they would spare the time to go to Kunik and meet with this Abigor. As it turned out, Kunik was a rather large Cragga city deep in the mountains. They were directed toward a giant gladiatorial colosseum that was being constructed out of primal materials. It was a grand and gaudy tribute to death.

Abigor, it turned out, was a human that Stangil and Serafina recognized from their younger days. Abigor used to be Tamarin. It had been twenty-five years since Stangil had last seen him and he was believed to be dead. Tamarin, Abigor, had been living and fighting here as an enslaved gladiator.

After some discussion about pulling the contract, Abigor agreed under one condition: the four humans fought in the arena. If they all agreed to fight (without using powers) and lived, he would stop the construction for one year, leaving the Lluaran time to figure out a new strategy. All four agreed.

In the arena they fought 13. Sani lured Cragga into traps. Naiora and Serafina fended off a mounted Cragga. Maloran speared a Lluaran. And Stangil rained destruction. When the last opponent was dead, Serafina lit the dead Feoral on fire and rushed a wall of fire around the edge of the ring to entice the crowd.

Abigor greeted them after they were seen by a healer and cleaned up. He said they were invited to a festival later that night and that he would keep his end of the deal.

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Here We Go

3 Days

Serafina returned to Voltierra early the next morning to find that Belladonna had arrived the night before. Feeling very out of place, she left and wandered around the city before winding up sitting in front of a drink, contemplating. Aleetha found Serafina and convinced her that she belonged. After an afternoon of shopping for chocolate and spices (to make a dinner that would hopefully usher Aleetha into labor), they returned home and Serafina had a talk with Belaric about living with them.

Stangil came home, wearily, to Julian and told him about
Xerus.

The Last Day

Stangil and Julian spent the day on the lake fishing and enjoying quality time together. Sani conducted business, as usual. However, a strange thing occurred that day. Serafina hosted a dinner party. Among the guests were Braeden Brightburn, Sosyth Toth-Iluith, Odoth Illuith, Bruinen, his wives, Sani, Stangil, and Julian.

The dinner was lavish and included every Dolgari dish and dessert that Serafina knew how to cook. Arianna and Laudengaul stopped by to see Stangil. Everyone enjoyed their evening, the food, the company, and a chance to say a proper goodbye.

Stangil, Serafina (with Naiora in tow), Sani, and Maloran all met in Aristos’s tower before midnight for the ritual. As promised, Ithaca was there to help. At the last moment, just before the teleportation, Idara appeared.

A Place -Un-Familiar

Stangil, Serafina, and Sani awoke to a raging battle. Lluaran were fighting wraiths. The Great Heart Tree was on fire with children in it. And Rondal was fighting Trelias. Serafina acted quickly to extinguish the fire on the Great Heart Tree while Sani climbed to save the children. Stangil joined his son against the drake.

The heroes fought back the wraiths and took down Trelias. The dreamscape dissipated. They awoke in the forest, quiet, bound, disarmed.

Lluaran appeared and Sani spoke with them. The others were freed. Maloran lay unconscious. Several weeks west were the ghosts and mysterious fires. One day north was an area under attack by Cragga. And the one the Lluaran call the Mad Shadow, Cernunnos, had returned. The Lluaran were fighting on three fronts and losing ground rapidly.

A decision was made immediately and the were to head north to speak with the Cragga.

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Countdown

6 Days

Serafina

After waking and taking care of Belaric and the girls, Serafina had breakfast with her old flame, Bruinen. He is happily married with two wives (Coryn and Lora) and three children (Seraf, Yurin, and Taimea).

From there she sought out Gauladek to have a talk. Serafina discovered that Gauladek was in Voltierra to serve and guard Kilian Tull, an emmisarry of Desrond Toth. Kilian was to wed Sosyth Toth-Iluith and have the prestige of the Toth family, but her elopement to Odoth Illuith foiled his ambitions. Gauladek also divulged to Serafina that he had noticed Seripathia had the ear of Luke Cythson.

Next, Serafina had lunch with Sosyth and advised her to educate herself on the politics of Voltierra. Then she found Arianna preparing for her trip. Serafina asked her friend several questions and wished Arianna a safe trip. A brief audience with Aristos Dar’Vol was granted and Serafina clarified as much as she could about the mission to the Lluaran forest to the west, the fires, and the “ghosts.” Finally, she reached out to Braeden Brightburn to warn him about Seripathia’s formative attachment to Luke.

Stangil

Stangil Drakebane spent the morning with his love, Julian before heading to his smithy to see how Emily had been keeping the shop. He showed her the new metals he discovered in Drekaran and the projects that he would be working on over the next six days. Stangil also told Emily that the smithy was hers if he did not return. Avar stopped by with the sword Stangil had forged for him, Var Bite, which Stangil healed and made stronger.

Stangil left work early that day at Julian’s request and they spent several hours sparring before having a relaxing evening together.

Sani

Sani Nodin spent the morning watching the parade in honor of the
Drekar and purchasing Drekaran goods, like chocolate. He brought some chocolate to Aluria before heading to his caravan to work. After a long day, he retired to drinks with Aluria.

Dreams

That night, both Stangil and Serafina had a visitor in their dreams. Stangil was told that one never knows who will bear their consequences and when. The things in the forest are old and not foreign to him. Serafina was told to stay close to Stangil and do the right thing.

5 Days

Missives arrived in the morning for all four adventurers to visit Aristos. He explained the ritual that he needed to perform to get them closer to their goal but said that he required the assistance of Ithaca, who had refused. He also needed a sacrifice and suggested a local pack of var. Also, it would require the use of part of each of their essences. Serafina was alarmed by this and demanded further explanation.

They went down to the Moon Village and spoke with Ithaca. She said that had she known the ritual was for Serafina, she would have agreed to do it for nothing. The adventurers asked what she needed anyway and worked out a trade agreement with Sani, bringing him more business.

Stangil spent the rest of the day in the smithy. Maloran Argent had remained to watch him work but was distracted by Emily aggressively hitting on him. Serafina went to Ol’ Coot, an apothecary, to procure heavy tranquilizers for the var. Sani spoke with his trapper, Xangari.

4 Days

Maloran awoke in an unfamiliar bed and when he ventured downstairs, Emily asked, surprised, “you’re still here?!” Sani visited Teth Toluin, the Lluaran trader that was offended by Ithaca and broke their agreement. In order to keep his deal, Sani needed some herbs from Teth.

Braxys visited the smithy and informed Stangil and Serafina of the issues her people were having with Voltierra. Maloran devised a clever solution, which Serafina agreed to bring up with Aristos and Braxys at a later point in time.

Var Hunting

Xangari and the adventurers set a trap for the pack of var when Sani noticed a human walking directly toward them. Serafina and Stangil remained in their positions while Sani and Maloran went to investigate. They met an odd young man named Xerus, who insisted he would not change his path. Xerus made it to the area with the trap and saw Stangil. He agreed to help them with the var if they would travel a few hours south with him to clean up a “mess” his brother, Risis had made years ago, at his mother, Idara’s order. They agreed and the var were immobilized and trapped.

A Favor for Xerus

Terrified to betray Xerus but also terrified of what they were going to find, the adventurers followed Xerus to a small, isolated house. They were invited in by Gabrielle, who grew up with Stangil in Magnus Plains.

It was quickly discovered that she, her husband, Jamus, and their daughter, Isabela, were undead (made from the blood of Samuel). Mid-conversation, Stangil struck Gabrielle. Stunned, she yelled, “you couldn’t just leave us alone?!” and retaliated. Xerus, Maloran and Sani joined the fight. Serafina left the house and began walking home.

As she did, she heard the fight and the screams of the child before the fire caught and old memories flooded back.

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When we last left our intrepid adventurers…

Stangil Drakebane and Serafina Anduril had returned to Voltierra from a year-long diplomatic mission. At some point in the night Belaric was injured badly and was bedridden until further notice.

The next morning…
Sani Nodin, a travelling merchant awoke in his home in Voltierra. He had arrived late the night before. Sani went to his mother’s home early to visit and heard about the excitement of the summit, which had brought him here for work. He then visited his good friend, Aluria, a fellow Seedling and a council member. They discussed the situation with the Feoral and Laudengaul’s successor. Finally, the “ghosts” sighted in the Lluaran forest to the west.

Maloran Argent, worshiper of the sun, greeted the morning with a workout and then greeted his mother and sister. As the day began for others, he visited his good friend, Corezzo, to discuss the summit. Maloran was very eager to learn about the politics, leaders, and be involved in the summit for the first time.

Stangil and Serafina found themselves wanting to speak with Aristos about going west to find Stangil’s son, Rondal.

Serafina discovered that Aleetha was carrying Rondal’s child.

The Lluaran agreed to allow the humans to send more people west, under the condition that they bring a Seedling. Sani was chosen. Stangil asked for volunteers. Maloran was eager.

Avar of the Burning Dogs faction of the Feoral interrupted the summit to call out Lauudengaul and claim that Azuldir deserves a seat on the council.

Throughout the day Serafina had sought out Braeden Brightburn and Sosyth Toth-Iluith for different reasons, ensuring that the Drekar were having an easy time settling into this new and strange society.

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