“… Gathering of Druids” the minotaur was saying to Kyras who was lost in thought of his past and his connection to the Evening Isles.
Kyras eschewed his title untolled years ago after what he felt was him abandoning the Isles. Kyras’ feeling was that until he was worthy of the title MaCaugh then he would not taint the name and its meaning. Since coming into Jerit’s memories, the emotion that came with it caught up and nearly washed over the Druid once again as he stood considering Rynch’s words. They were sincere and that’s what touched Kyras the most.
“You are too kind Rynch, Druid and dwarf-friend,” formality kept most people at a comfortable arms reach for Kyras. There was a time however when one such as Rynch would have petitioned Jerit for just such a boon.
“I look forward to this Gathering of Druids,” Kyras said at length completely as a loss on how one conducted himself in the presence of a minotaur.
Rynch gave Kyras what he guessed was a smile and strode off to the protections of his sacred grove.
Kyras turned as Dramen walked up to him, “What was that about?” Dramen asked again wearing his white robe.
“Nothing, let us be off and remove this taint on the land.” Kyras said once the minotaur was out of sight.
Dramen and Rydin fled Castle Kierken on expeditious horses. With about a twenty minute head-start the two surviving heroes fled into the blasted Bouvaldian foothills evading the Count’s men while also noting the general exodus of the people of Hillshade. During the next few days screams of anguish broke the night indicating that the taint upon this land was spreading.
Eventually the pair would encounter Damerlock Stoningthrow, the dwarven weapon smith from Hillshade who relayed the horrors and indicated his intention to join the dwarves at the Elemental Font.
The Font was large multi-elemental fountain in the center of a natural pyramidal structure. Also within the structure was a monastery as well as an Ancestral College of sorts; there was also a druids grove that bordered the dwarven territory.
Meanwhile as the days passed for Dolgrin, Syrendross, and Kyras the fatigue from flood of memories from their host personalities subsided, Dolgrin is made aware of three important questions from Balder; Kyras notices the leavings of individuals- some recently; but finally on the fifth day Syrendross spotted the Overwrought Companion which had finally arrived to retrieve three of the fallen heroes of virtue.
Back in Bouvaldia Dramen and Kyras, with some help from Damerlock, negotiates for trade to facilitate the crafting of magical items; however the volcano dwarves of the Font had some questions for the pair. They are called to the Font and a zone of truth that was made permanent and encouraged to enter and answer the question that was on everyone’s mind.
Many dwarves were here as well as the druid Rynch, a minotaur; and Galeb their ‘earth leader’. Their question was curt and simple regarding our involvement in the plot against the Duke- the truthful answer was spoken and the collective sigh of relief was palpable as Damerlock was honored true to his word- speaking behind the scenes for the human and elf.
Meanwhile on the Overwrought Companion Syrendross busied himself with inscribing glowing tattoos as scrolls on his skin while Kyras scribed a few scrolls on the improved supplies the Companion took on in our absence. Dolgrin however was eager to bring the fight to the Count and his brother the vile Inquisitor. They made a brief stop in Gibralter to resupply allowing Syrendross a chance to buy a spellbook to back up our arcane spells in the event we somehow lose our spellbooks wholesale. Lapis returns at this time.
At the Elemental Font a complete timeline of events are laid out for the dwarves, from our rescue at the hands of the Widows (now of Surfton), the Peralias, all the way to the events at the Castle- the explosion and the Chapel fight where Dramen and Kyras were split up from their three counterparts. The next day trade begins; later Galeb invites Rydin and Dramen to the Ancestral College to much surprise.
Here was unfolded information on the fabled elven Ways and a possibility that the Elemental Font sits above such an entrance. Something blocks it however and more information is needed, an incomplete set of books from a dragon’s hoard- the same lair said to be inhabited by behir, contained information on the Ways. There is another Font in Bovet Keep; however both were sealed one hundred fifty years ago when a gargantuan nightmarish creature emerged causing wanton destruction. In the meantime, Galeb was able to send and receive short messages from Dolgrin; they were therefore prepared for the company’s arrival.
Dolgrin, Kyras, and Syrendross were dropped off via balloon-lander on the Bouvaldian shore, it was easy for the dwarf paladin to follow the divine source to the Font. Having prepared for Dolgrin’s arrival, that was heralded by Galeb who recognizing Dolgrin as a paladin. Over the next couple of days Dolgrin’s clan was identified, through the College, as the time traveler and champion opening up a channel for Dolgrin to appeal to his host-self who warns Dolgrin about the dragons- all dragons, their ageless involvements and detached moralities.
Speaking as a group once more everything points to the Inquisitor and the Count acting in concert against the Duke who was Virtue’s most likely ally in the struggle against the deadly sins. We eventually agree the behir pair is our next course of action to collect the missing volumes about the elven Ways.
More crafting commences with Kyras in mind. We are offered a collection of minor potions, but before we go Rynch vouches for Kyras and express his intent on including Kyras at the next Gathering of Druids to perchance garner Kyras a grove of his own in the Evening Isles.
We estimate the behir lair to be a day and a half ride; we decide to travel through the night. Again we are treated to haunting screams of anguish; encountering a corpse with his head twisted around with a rictus smile wrought on his face and later hoof-prints, as we skirt by Hillshade.
At noon, after taking a left, we come to what we learn is the Y-post guard tower. The two story structure was similar to the ruin outside Hillshade but this one had a large natural volcanic wall. The only sounds were a constant whistling and a rhythmic lapping of water. Again horse tracks were prevalent and in abundance.
Kyras transformed into an eagle to get the lay of the land and spotted a water wheel on the other side of the wall as well as a sleeping guard dressed in chainmail deep in his cups. The individual bore the mark of the Count and the stench of beer.
Syrendross silently levitates to guard the sleeping man, Kyras and Rydin hides the mounts, while Dolgrin and Dramen wait for them before entering the tower. Inside they find the papers indicating this post and its assignment; the paper had the tone of martial law and the Count’s decree.
On the roof top the guard was awakened and questioned. The guard named Bleem was from Castle Kierken and as was posted here to watch for criminals. We learn the Count was awarded additional territory by the Duke’s family and that the Count is poised to become the new Duke, but he recognized us. Syrendross murdered the cowardly man once it was agreed; he could not be allowed to tell anyone of our return. (chainmail, longsword, whistle and 20gp) Lapis buries Bleem before we retire in a magical space upon the tower giving us a high vantage.
We awake later that night rested, to the pounding sound of hooves whereby we decide it is time to move on. We eventually encounter a commune centered around four houses, tents were arrayed as well as the presence of several refugees from around the Duchy.
Again we decide to avoid being recognized and travel on. It wasn’t until 3 am when the terrain rose and four large shapes form out of the darkness. We brought down the trolls, divided what we recovered, and set out again to the old dragon’s lair and its two behir residents.