To my dear friends Welby, Zora, Bareres and Henk,
When we last spoke in Woodsong, we told you of the great tragedy that befell my brother Thorin Khan. It was our intention then to return Thorin to the living, and I can already report that in this regard we were successful.
I wish to thank you again for your hospitality for hosting us in Woodsong while we waited for the representative from the faction we call the Fanghunters. We spent three days in your abode and I do hope you did not mind us so. After we met with the representative Kelouth, we left in a hurry and I am unsure if I was able to share the entire tale. So with this, I hope to correct this oversight.
Kelouth, himself a dragonborn, explained to us that there was indeed a protective force called the Fanghunters in the Arcarost Valley but they were now for all intents and purposes gone. He himself claimed to be the servant of a distant grand Draconic empire. How this all relates back to the Fanghunters is unclear, but they seem to have picked up the mantle at least in part. For ease, I will keep on referring to them as the Fanghunters until I discover a more true name. The reason that they have established themselves in our valley is to guard the prison of Sevalaxos Brimbreath. A former tyrant of the Draconic Empire who had grown extremely powerful. He was defeated a long time ago by the wizards of Arcarost and imprisoned in the Arcarost Vault, which we accidentally opened. However Sevalaxos still has followers who would wish to see him released.
One such follower is Atraya, a formed lorekeeper of the Fanghunters who betrayed them. It was she whom manipulated Xerax all those months ago and whom now has made a claim to a sizeable force in the mountains near the Arcarost ruins.
The Fanghunters carry seals with the symbol of the Vault of Creation. Apparently the same ancient magic that was used the seal away this divine Vault was also used to trap Sevalaxos. Indeed this magic was also repurposed to create the pact that exists between Ourborros and the Fey Realm. Their seals would give a hint of magic as long as the seal on Sevalaxos remained untouched. This is clearly no longer the case, thus they are attempting to find a manner in which to restore the prison. To this end, they are searching for information regarding the ancient sealing magic, but they have had little luck so far. As our goals seemed aligned, we proposed a deal. We would help them with their quest to discover the secrets of this ancient magic. In return, they would supply us with transportation to head to the distant Three Priests and aid in the restoration of Thorin. Kelouth agreed. He did not have the magic necessary to bring back the dead but he would send one such individual to the Beinnhall Hills who could. As we parted, I referred Kelouth to you and your experience, Welby. As you are one of the few that have ever been in contact with the Vault of Creation. I hope he was not too overly intrusive.
As you know, we then returned to Khan Hall to collect the body of Thorin and await the Fanghunter magician who would aid us in his return. We learned of a delegation from the Untgart clan that was underway to pay their respects to my brother, but unfortunately we missed them as we had limited time. We also ran into a close friend of ours, Professor Jake from Aurion. He had been studying Dwarven history at Khan Hall and was packing up as we arrived. He is likely to come to your direction, to Woodsong, shortly after a side trip to the First Hall.
We then journeyed to the Moot Circle where we were to meet this magician. While we waited, we went through the books at the Dwarven First Hall once more but could find no information on the ancient sealing magic. Nissa did discover a tome of Dwarven poems that she seemed pleased with.
Miri and Varris stayed behind while we scavenged for books. As night fell, a cold mist encroached upon the Moot Circle. A hooded stranger arrived, who introduced himself as Turnoth. He was a dark dragonborn, his scales ancient and weathered. Indeed he seemed almost undead engulfed in dark shadows. This was no normal wizard.
When we returned from the First Hall, Turnoth had already laid out the ritual to bring Thorin back. Thorin was undressed and placed in the middle of an arcane circle. Turnoth chanted in an ancient arcane language and the circle lit up. He spoke words over a sword and then jammed it into the chest of Thorin’s body. The magic filled the air and the surroundings seemed to hum with anticipation. But then Turnoth stopped.
He said that only half of Thorin’s soul was free. The other half was trapped and he could not be returned without it. We had to go rescue to trapped half. Turnoth would help us however get us there. The resurrection ritual still paused with magic ready to leap, Turnoth started a second casting. A large tear appeared in the air. The edges sparked red almost like a hammer striking a hot iron. It was truly impressive to see a magician of this power at work. We went through the gate to retrieve Thorin’s soul and found ourselves on the First Layer of Hell.
Dark clouds swarmed over our heads. In the distance we could see tall mountains, as high as I have ever seen. Yellow lightning sparked through the sky with thunderous roars. It was warm as if we had been dropped into a forge. We stood before a grand city filled with Devils and a myriad of other races I did not recognize. We quickly realized that myself, Dhorin and Nissa were very out of place. And thus Fierna took charge, her fiendish appearance seemingly a good fit in the devil city.
After first trying to sell Nissa and Varis as slaves, she traded her dragon flute for information on Thorin’s whereabouts. Apparently a Rakshasa at the largest broker’s house had acquired Thorin’s soul and this is the individual we would have to retrieve him from. Fierna took the lead and negotiated with the foul fiend. In the end they agreed that the Rakshasa would give the urn with Thorin’s soul if we allowed him to use the portal that we used to enter this place. Fierna agreed and I choose to place my trust in her.
We returned to the material plane with a Rakshasa in tow. I fully expected Fierna to give us a signal to attack the fiend, but none came. Instead the Rakshasa teleported away the moment he stepped out of the gate. When I confronted Fierna about this fact, she stated that it was a price worth paying for the retrieval of Thorin. To this I could only agree, although having a fiend loose does not sit well with me. I have taken a note to keep track of any indications of what the Rakshasa might be doing and possibly hunt him down once the current crises are over.
We destroyed the urn and out came Thorin’s ghost. Identical to Thorin but transparent, it was quite an amusing sight. I was very pleased to have my brother back at my side, even in this form. Turnoth continued the ritual and before long Thorin was returned to his body and the land of the living. We sent a message back to the Khan clan about Thorin’s return as we were on a strict schedule. We also sent back Dhorin, for we were about to travel to a distant place and needed someone to safeguard the family.
We spent the night at the Moot Circle and in the morning Keloth arrived with a pack of griffons that we could use to travel to the Three Priests. We decided to head to Lucem first, as this city is supposed to contain a large cathedral to Ogma, the god of knowledge. We hoped that they would have knowledge on the ancient sealing magic and perhaps where the Morrigan had disappeared to. The journey would take a month, but we resolved ourselves to perhaps find a quicker route if possible. After all no one in recent history had made this journey as far as we knew, and anything could be in our path.
We set off with Miri guiding the griffons. Before long we were flying over the great mountain range near Arcarost and entered a valley with tall grass. We saw a grand lake with an adjacent village and decided to camp there. The village was called Westhaven but had been long abandoned, likely more than 100 years ago. But there were many tracks in and out of the village, though seemingly not human in nature. Nissa tracked them in the shape of a flying snake and discovered strange bipedal lizards hunting purple bison in the fields beyond.
We took up residence in an old house and stored our griffons in a nearby warehouse. But when night came so did the strange creatures. We had no choice but to fight these displacer raptors as Nissa called them. The raptors were many and agile. They climbed the roof and dropped in our midst before we knew what had happened. Fierna however used her magic to outright banish one of the creatures to a different plane. Nissa called forth a fey spirit who boosted our resolve and closed our wounds as the battle progressed. I slammed down into the raptors with my sword, summoning the power of Lugh to bind the raptors down. Thorin conjured his trusted spiritual hand axe to cleave into the beasts. Varis used his magic to become invisible and hide away. I can’t say I blame him, I felt like I shed three lives worth of blood before the creatures were dispatched.
The next morning we set off again to the North and the Three Priests. As we soared through the skies, we noticed a distant lone tower. As we approached it, it was far larger than any tower I had previously seen. It was clear that its use was for as a waystation for airships, but who or what occupied it was unclear. We steered away at first as large eagles circled the tower, which frightened our griffons. We landed a bit further and headed to the tower on foot. The front gate was massive. This was clearly not designed for Dwarven size. We knocked and the door was opened by a cloud giant named Aola. She was very welcoming and invited us in for a meal. Her tower was filled with interested designs and apparatuses. She claimed to only be the temporary guardian of the tower, awaiting cloud giant airships to travel this route. We encountered about the state of their nation as we had never seen a giant such as her before. She seemed more than willing to share information. Apparently the giants have a large city to the East of where we had travelled. The cloud giants have large airships that traverse this region. We asked about our destination, but she had no knowledge of the Three Priests. Nor was she particularly keen on the Fanghunters. She did know of the strange raptors that we had encountered. Apparently they had been released by ancient Arcarost wizards into the valley. As we finished our meal, we said our farewells and were on our way once more.
We continued on for a few days more, I shall spare you the monotonous travelling tales. Eventually we arrived south of the Three Priests in the Kingdom of the Bringers. Before this time, I had never heard of the Bringers or this kingdom before. But they seem to be a theocracy in worship of entities that they call the Bringers. They are also in war with the Three Priests, likely over theological difference. As we were on a quest to beseech the gods for aid, we travelled to the biggest cathedral we could find.
We spoke to the monk in service to the cathedral and he claimed that with the right gift we could speak to these Bringers. Apparently these Bringers are agents of the Gods that we know and worship that can intervene directly with our world. Each Bringer is assigned a task, an area that they watch over and they do so in service to the Gods. The Kingdom of The Bringers therefore seem to believe that it is more appropriate to directly worship these entities rather than the Gods themselves. I’m not convinced that they are in the right, but after my encounter with one of these entities, I have to admit it is the far easier route.
Myself and Varis, our half-elf travelling companion, choose to offer something of worth in an attempt to speak to the Bringer Avalok. It was important that we offer something up that has sentimental value to ourselves. Varis offered up his bagpipes, which he has been unable to master since childhood. I offered up the war hammer that was gifted to me by Aelyn when I first left Khan Hall. It has aided me greatly over the past few months and helped me knock down the gate in Aurion to free the clansmen. It seemed an appropriate gift if these entities are who they say they are. We were lead to a giant statue of Avalok surrounded by an army of stone soldiers. As we placed our gifts in the basket, a silver flame shot up and the objects were consumed. Avalok appeared.
A winged creature in silver armor. It was clear that indeed this creature was from the divine. After our best effort at a respectful greeting, we asked Avalok for information on the Morrigan and the ancient sealing magic. As we already knew, he told us that the Morrigan had indeed disappeared from the Celestial Realms and that the Gods themselves did not know her whereabouts. They did not know what had occurred, only that it was not her choice to leave. Her clerics apparently have been powerless these past few months since her disappearance. Interestingly, at the same time War the Avatar also went missing from his prison on the Celestial plane. He escaped or was released at the same time that the Morrigan went missing. The Gods and angels have been unable to locate him as well.
Avalok was unable to provide us with information on the ancient sealing magic but did reveal where we should search next. Apparently there are only three being on entire Ourborros who have this knowledge. One to the east in a city called ‘Deepnesse’. One in Math Sadom, the capital of the Jewels. One in the far west beyond the Wyld Peaks. If we wanted to learn about his magic, this is where we should go.
Varis also asked about someone called Myrna Vestori but I do not know who or what she is to him. As we thanked the Bringer for his aid, he bestowed upon us two gifts for our courtesy. To Varis, he returned the bagpipes along with the knowledge of a master player. Varis thanked him with tears in his eyes, promising to dedicated his first overture in Avalok's name. To me he gave an unknown potion for Aelyn. He said that she would know when to use it. We thanked Avalok one last time and returned to our friends.
We had set out North to learn about the ancient magic and the disappearance of the Morrigan. It was clear that continuing to the Three Priests would be futile. None of the beings bestowed with the knowledge of the sealing magics are present in these cities. Nor could the clerics of the Morrigan know any more than Avalok. And thus we decided to return to the Beinnhall Hills and awake War the avatar. This is a dangerous move as we may unleash another great evil, but we do not have any other choice. We do have several fragments of the Peacebringer. Should War become uncontrollable, we can hopefully recover the final piece with haste and stop him once more like my ancestors have so many years ago.
Give my regards to Faera and Orson. I do hope their wedding preparations are coming along well and look very much forward to the actual event.