Summary: The heroes fight to save the nation of Impiltur from the invasion of the Warlock Knights of Vaasa.
Takes place 30th of Marpenoth (Leaffall) in the year 1479DR (The Year of the Ageless One)
Once again, the heroes find themselves inside of the astral corridor. After a quick inventory they realize that all of their usual companions are accounted for. There is no sign of their new allies from the World of Erda. Unlike their previous trips, they are moving extremely slowly through the tunnel. The air feels very thick like they are swimming through molasses (or maybe blood?). The prismatic lights that form the walls of the passage are barely swirling. The heroes can actually make out bands of individual shades of color. As they gaze into the colors they realize that they can see their past adventures from the various-hued worlds playing out. They gradually begin accelerating forward. As they do so the tinted lights start spinning and blurring together. Images of the events that took place for the heroes on the World of Erda are displayed on the walls around them. They also see the exploits of the Erda heroes on their own world. As they see the replay of both teams stepping through the portals that began their crossover journey, their momentum forward suddenly stops. They feel resistance ahead as if they have run into a wall. Behind them they feel pressure building as if they are caught in the flow of a great river that is gaining in strength as each moment passes. Suddenly they explode forward in a rush of speed and color greater than any of their previous trips through the Astral Nexus. Their senses are overcome and each and every one of the heroes momentarily blacks out. When they awaken they are dimly aware that they are still inside of the astral corridor. In a dream-like sensation the heroes see images of key events from the previous year and their war with Vaasa…
The Tale of Barkus
In the winter of 1478DR, thanks to the actions of the heroes, the threats from Firefly Swamp were ended and the armies of Impiltur were able to maintain the stalemate at the Icehilt River. The Vaasan army was bottled up until the spring. When the snows did melt and the mountain passes opened again, Vaasa would finally be able to move up reinforcements and overwhelm the defenders. Impiltur was still weak from its own civil war and needed allies to help fight off the Vaasan war machine or she would surely fall. Word was sent out far and wide across the Sea of Fallen Stars pleading for assistance. Out of gratitude for the past rescue of their own city by the heroes of Impiltur, the people of New Breen were the first to answer the call by sending what men and materials they could spare. The Moon Elves brokered deals with their sympathetic cousins the sea elves of Myth Nantar. Barkus was personally dispatched with Alkorahil as his diplomatic envoy to the nation of Thesk to seek assistance from the people there. Thesk, nicknamed the Gateway to the East, is where the fabled Golden Way trade route between Faerun and Kara-Tur began. During his journey of self-discovery, Barkus had spent a lot of his time in Thesk as was friends with an important merchant there. The first thing that Barkus did after arriving in Thesk was to reach out to his old friend and mentor, Chobei to get the lay of the land. Chobei informed the heroes that while the capital city of Telflamm was in theory governed by a ruling Merchants’ Council, in actuality all decisions of importance were directed by a clandestine group of criminals knowns as the Shadowmasters. Chobei, himself an influential merchant was able to get the heroes an audience with the Council in a few days. Barkus decided to hit the streets and see what else he could find out about the Shadowmasters that could possibly aid their cause. After spreading some coin around to some shady characters he found out that the current leader of the organization was a man known as the Obsidian Owl. Apparently this man was also in poor health which was already causing some infighting amongst the group because there was no clear successor to take his place if he were to die. Barkus decides to undertake a personal mission to assassinate the Obsidian Owl knowing that if this evil man were to die that the confusion it would cause in the Shadowmasters’ leadership would free the Merchants’ Council to make up their own minds regarding giving aid to Impiltur. The Obsidian Owl lived in a sprawling, luxurious keep located inside of the city and no doubt paid for by his ill-gotten gains. It was easy enough for Barkus to find and slip aboard a cargo-wagon bound to deliver goods to the keep. Disguised as a cargo-worker he observed the guards’ patterns and when they were distracted he was able to sneak past them. Using his ninja skills he stealthily vaulted up the compound walls and then crept unnoticed into the Owl’s domicile. Calling upon his training, Barkus silently balanced himself in a precarious position high in the rafters high above the villain. He then lowered a string into position above the Obsidian Owl’s mouth and used it to drip a deadly poison into the man. Sure that the job was done he quietly made his escape. The next day Alkorahil pleaded Impiltur’s case to the Council. Knowing his history he gently reminded the merchants that their council was in in fact founded by a prince of the noble Balindre house of Impiltur. Just after his opening statements, a black-clad messenger arrived and whispered something into the council-leader’s ear. Alkorahil smiled inwardly knowing that word of the Shadowmaster leader’s death was just now reaching his merchants. With this opening and knowing that the merchants were no freed up to make their own decisions he pressed his argument home. Alkorahil concluded with a masterful speech full of both rousing passion but also laced with the logic that if Impiltur fell that the Warlock Knights would also have an avenue of attack to begin raiding all nations on the Sea of Fallen Stars including Thesk itself. The Merchant’s Council agreed and began shipping much needed supplies to their new allies in Impiltur.
The Tale of Bahardim
With Impiltur and Moonsea under assault by the new expansionist policies of Vaasa, the fledgling nation of Vesperin realized that it would be next in line to be attacked. The people of Vesperin formed an alliance with Impiltur and declared war on Vaasa. Separated from Impiltur by the impassible Earthspur and Earthfast Mountains, the problem became how to quickly transfer resources to Impiltur without having to sail them around the Sea of Fallen Stars. Bahardim discovered that long ago a large tunnel beneath the mountains had existed between Clan Stonerender and Vesperin. During the time of Clan Loroth the tunnel had been collapsed. Bahardim set his people to the task of clearing the tunnel but they found something dangerous buried in the deep dark of the caves. Bahardim and the visiting Madrakkar were taking some time off from trying to decipher Bitriarch’s Journal by inspecting the progress of the construction when a distressed group of dwarves came running back down the tunnel towards them. “Chief we found somethin” a broad-shouldered miner by the name of Hilgur said. “I was right in midswing with me hammer when ol’ Balin says it looks like this here part’o the tunnel was sealed on purpose. Well you knows me. I never miss me mark when I starts swinging me hammer chief, and it was too late to stop. So it bursts through the rock and sure enou’ that was just a wall there instaed’o a bunch of debris. Then we starts seeing runes’o warning lying aboot and thinks we better come let ye take a look." The heroes investigated and confirmed the miners’ story. A short ways beyond the seal they discovered a small underground lake containing a strange aquatic creature. The hulking creature resembled a giant catfish. Bahardim recognized it once from dark legends of his clans’ past as an Aboleth; evil creatures lurking in deep underground catacombs which use their powerful psychic abilities to enslave and devour all that cross their path. This specimen was laying partially-submerged on one of the far banks of the lake and appeared to be in some sort of inactive, hibernation state. Bahardim scratched his beard and thought on the problem. The dwarves were already pressed for time to get the tunnel completed and going around the beast would take too long. Plus his people might still be in danger if the creature woke up on its own. He would have to slay it. However he recalled his long voyage over the Sea of Fallen Stars and the fear of the sailors that that he had travelled with they might encounter the floating city of Xxiphu which was supposed to be full of these creatures. Could the psychic death cries of the aboleth be heard from its brethren over that distance? If so the people of Impiltur would have krakens and even more dreadful creatures of the deep coming around looking for trouble from now til Midwinter. No. He’d have to kill the aboleth but be careful going about it. He discussed the problem with Madrakkar and they came up with a plan. The surrounding caves were full of copper and garnets that Madrakkar could use as a focus to cast a massive ritual that would slowly boil away the water in the small lake. If he did this slowly enough then this would dehydrate and weaken the aboleth without waking it. Meanwhile while under the cover of the steam created from the evaporating water, Bahardim crept around the perimeter of the cavern carving mindshell runes into the rock that were intended to block any psychic messages from leaving the area. The stout dwarf runepriest mopped his face with his beard and struggled to concentrate on creating a seamless network of runes around the aboleth. Gods it was hot! He felt like a hunk of roast in a stewpot. Finally when his work was complete he strode up to the vile beast and brained it with his legendary hammer, Golden Perfection. The aboleth let out an impossibly loud psychic scream of pain then shuddered and lay dead. Blood ran from Bahardim’s ears and nose as he stood temporarily stunned by the blast. He could hear Childa calling on his magical sending stone asking if he was alright. She had heard the aboleth’s psychic death cry. Damn the mist! That meant there had been a flaw in his hastily scrawled runes. Later the dwarves completed the tunnel to Vesperin allowing Impiltur to receive badly needed supplies from her ally. However, several ships also bound with supplies for Impiltur went missing in the Sea of Fallen Stars in the months to come and Bahardim was afraid that he knew the reason why.
The Tale of Alkorahil
In the spring of 1479DR the incoming resources from Impiltur’s allies were abruptly cut off by the addition of the pirate Drallor Blacktide to the ranks of the Ironfell Council. Drallor was one of the more successful pirate captains that plied his bloody trade based out of Pirate Isle on the Sea of Fallen Stars. Recognizing the opportunity for profit he placed his fleet at the command of Vaasa in exchange for a seat on the Council and a share of the bounty. The surprise raids by his pirates intercepted badly needed supplies being shipped to Impiltur. Given seed money by the Vaasans, he bribed other pirates into his service and shortly thereafter his armada of pirate ships defeated the modest navy of Impiltur and her allies. His fleet continued to raid the Impilturan naval trading lanes and set up blockades around her coastal cities. Meanwhile, Vaasa had managed to break the stalemate at the Icehilt River. Lacking the armies to meet their enemy in the open field, the forces of Impiltur were forced to fight a series of skirmishes. These served to slow the enemy down, but inexorably the Vaasan army pushed forward until the last bastions of Impiltur’s defenses were forced to retreat to Lyrabar, New Sarshel, and Gray Haven. The gateways opened by the Star Sextant offered some relief to transfer supplies to the besieged cities but there were many nights where Alkorahil saw Patono hanging his head in frustration when the stars were not in the correct alignment to open the much-needed portals. A secret trade-route had been opened between Vesperin and Impiltur but the ships travelling to Vesperin were being raided also. Taking it upon himself to find a solution, Alkorahil looks over the intelligence reports on Drallor Blacktide to see if he can find a weakness to exploit. Looking over the data, Alkorahil comes to the fantastic revelation that Drallor has never met the Vindicator of Necromancy – Gazreld Nyt. Gazreld was on assignment in the field when Drallor joined the council and never returned to Telos City before Drallor departed to rejoin his fleet. Alkorahil hatches a brilliant but daring scheme to try and impersonate Gazreld Nyt in order to convince Drallor to move his fleet. He knows that getting Drallor to withdraw entirely won’t work but maybe he can convince the pirate captain to tighten his blockades on the cities which would therefore open up the trading lanes. Sharing his plan with Smoke he gets the spymaster to get a reliable report of what the necromancer looks like. The pair is even more encouraged when they find out that the fiend keeps 3/4 of his face concealed by an iron mask. They commission an armorer to duplicate the mask. For the first time since being cursed with undeath, Alkorahil is glad of the condition as it helps him more reliably impersonate the Vindicator. Smoke uses his talent for disguise to make sure Alkorahil’s look is perfect before sneaking aboard Drallor’s flagship. Knowing the importance of selling a false identity, the spymaster spends some time aboard the ship that evening setting up some props that will aid Alkorahil’s subterfuge. Then at the appointed time at midnight he triggers the winches to haul the ship’s anchor. Meanwhile, not needing to breathe, Alkorahil has walked along the ocean bottom and is waiting on the anchor. He rises up like a wraith out of the ocean and startles the pirate crew that is frantically trying to figure out what is going on. As he nimbly steps onboard, in an ominous voice he tells them that he is the necromancer Gazreld Nyt and demands to speak to their captain. The chill in Alkorahil’s voice combined with his frightening appearance is enough to give the crew pause before attacking him outright. A few minutes later, Drallor Blacktide arrives and tells his men to keelhaul their uninvited intruder. The pirates’ courage seems to return with the command of their captain and the bluff seems like it might fail. However Alkorahil’s performance is flawless as he proclaims, “I am Gazreld Nyt – Vindicator of the Ironfell Council, student of the Witch-king Zhengyi, and any that touch me will meet the same painful death such as these.” Even as he proclaims these words he secretly cuts a rope which causes one of the sails to unfurl. Hidden in the sail are the bodies of five pirates that Smoke poisoned earlier and attached to the rigging. At the gruesome sight of their companions hanging dead, the pirates falter and Drallor concedes, “Alright. Ye convinced me of yer identity. What ye be wanting?” Alkorahil verbally spars with Drallor for a minute before coming the realization that the man really is only motivated by his own greed. Alkorahil asks Drallor to move his ships closer to port and in exchange when the cities fall he will give him his (Gazreld’s) entire share of the spoils. Drallor is suspicious of the deal at first but Alkorahil tells him that, “his only interest is in the souls of the dead. Gold is a thing for the living. Also who cares if a few ships sneak by in the trading routes and make it in to Impiltur with supplies? That just means more spoils to raid when the cities do fall. Drallor only needs to keep ships from leaving port with his blockade.” The pirate captain agrees to the deal tries to shake on it but Alkorahil looks at his hand disdainfully and Drallor quickly snatches it away. Proclaiming, “The oath is struck. No not double-cross me or you will suffer an unending death.” Alkorahil triggers a smoke bomb left on the ground by Smoke and under the cover of its darkness dives back into the water – seemingly disappearing from the ship. Thanks to Alkorahil’s plan, Drallor makes good on his promise; tightening his blockades on the cities and thus opening up the trade lanes so that critical supplies can make it through to the back-channel in Vesperin and then onward into Impiltur.
The Tale of Madrakkar
Frustrated by defeat after defeat of the Impilturan army at the hands of the Warlock Knights as well as the inability to translate Bitriarch’s Journal for references to this “ultimate weapon”, Madrakkar decides to use his superior intellect to come up with an ultimate weapon of his own. His research leads him to learn about apocalypse spells. These living, adaptive spells are known to survive for millennia after they are first created and supposedly are capable of slaying gods and destroying entire empires. After more late nights of research, Madrakkar learns of one such apocalypse spell known as the Herald of Colorless Fire. Legends tell of a colossal war that ended with the annihilation of an empire. After a long struggle, one faction used a mighty ritual infused with divine power to rain colorless fire down on its enemies. It turned their entire civilization into a sea of ash and dust. The downpour eventually ended, but the power remained in the motes of ash and dust. After long and exhausting research, Madrakkar finally learns the name of this empire is Raurin. Once the center of the ancient Imaskar Empire, today Raurin is a wasteland of sand and dust. Madrakkar experiments to see if he can come up with the proper spells to summon a mote of colorless fire as well as devise a container capable of containing the entity. After months of painstaking preparation he uses the Start Sextant to teleport to Raurin. He asks Tsol to come along with him as the minotaur’s resistance to fire and strength will be most beneficial. Together the two brave the dangers of wastes for nearly a week before they find some gleaming salt flats which look like an ideal place to set up the summoning. With sweat pouring down his face, Madrakkar summons all of his anger towards the Warlock Knights, combined with what pieces of the apocalypse spell that he could find, and his considerable mastery of pyromancy. Amazingly the spell works and he manages to summon a herald of colorless fire. The mote looks like a swirling, fist-sized ball of clear fire. Madrakkar can sense a malign intelligence lurking within the fire and for a brief instant the flames form the shape of a skull. The flame seems like it considers attacking him but Madrakkar tells it, “You can kill me now, but come with me and I will give you the chance to burn an entire empire.” Whispering words of destruction he coaxes the herald into a sphere of angelsteel that he has constructed with spells to contain it. Tsol is holding the sphere and even through his heat resistance he feels the incredible heat emanating from the colorless fire. When the herald enters the sphere, Tsol whispers words of prayer to his god infusing the angelsteel with holy power. Then using his incredible strength the minotaur bends the sphere shut. Madrakkar then uses his incantations to seal the herald away in the sphere behind layers upon layers of powerfully constructed spells and wards. A special flaw in the network of spells allows him to cast “steel to glass” on the sphere which will render it breakable as glass. When cracked open the herald will be released. Madrakkar realizes that a single mote of colorless fire will not be powerful enough to destroy the entire Vassan Empire but it certainly will be very destructive and he waits for the most opportune time to use it against his enemies.
The Tale of Tsol
Tsol spends the winter adjusting to life as Chieftain over clan Reven. There is must injustice that was meted out during his uncle’s reign of terror and Tsol spends long hours with his trusted advisors trying to put things right. He is saddened to learn that out of the five original minotaur clans that formed his people, only Clan Reven and Clan Ronnoc remain. Tsol finds out that Clan Ronnoc also mockingly known as the “horn-heads” or “hard-heads” continue to make their make their home in the highlands of the mountains. Wild and unruly, Clan Ronnoc never fully submitted to peace with the other clans even during the time of Targore. During the spring Tsol makes sure that word gets out that he would like to meet with them now that he is now in charge of Clan Reven and has assembled all of Targore’s artifacts. Eventually word comes down that the horn-heads are on the move and heading towards Targore’s village. Targore instructs his people to welcome the proud warriors with the respect due to long-parted brothers. A great feast is laid out with much mead. Eventually tensions begin to ease as stories are swapped and several good-natured contests of strength are held. After initial introductions, Rollo, the leader of Clan Ronnoc remains aloof while seated in a place of honor opposite of Tsol atop a small plateau. Kriv, who happened to be visiting with Tsol so that he could try to track down some flying beasts in the mountains for his air force, is also at the festivities. Rollo speaks to one of his men and the massive minotaur named Nash throws a spear clear across the revelries which lands a few inches in front of Kriv’s feet. The chatter quickly hushes and Nash says to Kriv, “One of the revered legends of our people tells of a great chariot fight where our ancestor aided the plainsman…” Kriv finishes the sentence, “Dogun,” knowing full well the legend having experienced it firsthand while immersed in the vision at the Hall of Heroes. “It is good that you know our legend,” says Nash. “You also know that a Chieftain is only as good as the people willing to stand beside him” he says while looking pointedly at Tsol. Nash challenges Kriv to a chariot fight with blunt spears and the Dragonborn gladly accepts. A large, mountain horse and chariot are brought before Kriv and the Ranger can tell that the horse is mostly untamed and nervous. Using his natural affinity for animals, Kriv calms the animal and hitches him to the chariot. The contestants make several passes at each other and Kriv can tell that his opponent is most skilled. No stranger to spear combat himself, on the fourth pass, Kriv bats his challenger’s spear aside then jams it into the spokes of Nash’s chariot, flipping the device and sending his opponent tumbling dramatically through the air to the cheers of the crowd. Rollo then stands, grabs his axe, and menacingly starts stalking towards Tsol. Tsol does likewise. Rollo says, “I bear no evil and be unafraid. Give me the kiss of your axe of you dare!” Recognizing the ritual words, Tsol unleashes a clean and controlled strike right at Bollo’s neck knowing that his axe cannot take the blood of someone pure of heart. Bollo lowers his guard at the last second. Targore’s axe passes like a phantom blade through him and both minotaurs briefly smile at the passing of the test. At the same time they both toss their axes aside. “King of the Mountain,” says Rollo. “No weapons. No allies. Strongest wins.” The two minotaurs then hurl themselves at one another like a clap of thunder. Bollo is as strong and fierce as any opponent that Tsol has ever faced and slowly but surely he is pushed backwards to the brink of the plateau. Reaching down deep inside, Tsol summons the unrelenting resolve he has used to overcome all of the challenges his hard life has thrown at him. He flat out refuses to lose and pushes Rollo clear back to the other side of the mesa, one grinding step at a time. Tsol sees astonishment in the eyes of his worthy challenger as he throws him off the hill to the roar of the crowd. Bollo dusts himself off and climbs right back up the hill to look Tsol in the eye. Then he drops to one knee and says, “My Chieftain.” The rest of Clan Ronnoc follows suit.
The Tale of Kriv
Kris, the caterpillar given to Kriv by Hucan the Saffron Son, continued to grow at an amazing rate. Kriv soon discovered that the creature was all but blind during the light of day. However the caterpillar hunted amazingly well at night by light differentiation. Fireflies, beetle carapaces glistening in the moonlight – anything that shed light Kris was able to hunt in the night. Kriv even played games with the caterpillar by shining the light from a bulls-eye lantern around and having Kris try to catch it. Soon the ranger had formed a strong bond with his new companion. By the summer, Kris was as long and thick as the dragonborn’s arm. Then one day Kriv arrived to see that the caterpillar had surrounded himself with a luminous-colored cocoon. A few months later the cocoon hatched and Kris emerged as a Nightmoth. Dark grey, the size of a great eagle with a six foot wide wingspan, and boasting six spear-like legs, Kris’ new form was fearsome indeed. The Nightmoth continued to still
hunt by light differentiation and bear Kriv great affection though. He hunted birds and small game by the light of the glowing celestial trees in the Gray Forest. Kriv started becoming concerned however when he soon noticed his charge becoming more aggressive and restless with each passing night. The one night Kriv observed the Nightmoth fly high above the trees and begin flying away from the forest. He ran back to his trusty Griffon, Peter and began mounting up to follow Kris. Bahardim who was visiting Gray Haven from his clan saw Kriv preparing to leave in a rush and insisted on joining him if he was planning on leaving the safety of the forest. As they tried to catch up to the Nightmoth’s trail, Kriv pondered what could have prompted his pet to leave. “I’m a ranger and no novice in the ways of birds and bees” he thought. “Why can’t I figure this out?” Then it hit him. Birds and bees. His Nightmoth was in heat and was out looking for a mate. A short ways away from the forest the heroes caught site of Kris just as he was burrowing into an opening through a cairn built atop a tall hill. “Oh no, I recognize that hill”, said Bahardim. “That’s the Hill of Tombs, resting place of the ancient men of old. They took grave robbing very seriously.” The pair landed and Kriv leapt into the hole in the cairn after his animal companion. Peter screeched in frustration as the hole was too small for him to follow. Bahardim noted that there were runes carved onto the cairn and began to attempt to translate them. Meanwhile, down below in a large burial chamber beneath the cairn, Kriv found Kris and also another Nightmoth – a female that had somehow attracted him the dragonborn ranger surmised. However, disturbing the tomb had activated its defenses and undead skeletons had begun to arise to attack the living. Kriv valiantly fought them off while simultaneously also trying to herd the alarmed Nightmoths away from the danger. "Need a little help in here!” he bellowed up to Bahardim. Bahardim had managed to translate the ancient runes and realized that some of them were a list of titles (King, Brother, Lady, etc…) while others were a list of virtues (Bravery, Hope, Strength, etc…). “Now what god did these ancient men worship” the runepriest tried to remember. “Ah. Got it. Gilgeam, Father of Victory.” He touched the appropriate runes and down below the skeletons ceased their attacks to return to their eternal slumber. “About time”, Kriv grumbled. He then used his ranger skills to coax the Nightmoths back to a state of calm and left them to their “date”. Later that year, a clutch of hundreds of caterpillars was born. The forest was unable to sustain such a large number so Kriv used the Star Sextant to relocate them to a suitable cave system deep within the underdark with plenty of food for them to hunt. Kriv visited them from time to time to bring them a few treats and watch them grow into a large colony of thriving Nightmoths, all of which adored him.
The Tale of Smoke
During the early winter of 1479DR, Smoke gets word through his network of spies and informants that a group of some of the Luminaries assigned to keeping Telos in his comatose state are taking a sabbatical to the city of Mulmaster in the nation of Moonsea. The message says that the Luminaries are reportedly there to travel to the House of the Black Lord (Bane’s temple) to renew their vows. The informant thinks that he has identified a likely candidate to try and turn away from Bane’s allegiance. Smoke takes Barkus with him as backup and uses the Start Sextant to travel to Mulmaster. They arrive at the spy’s residence only to find the man recently murdered and realize that they have walked into a trap. From outside the domicile they spot several men creeping up on them with the skill of trained assassins. Smoke recognizes the leader of these men – none other than Ang-Rantiss himself, Vindicator of Spies for the Ironfell Council. Thinking quickly, Smoke kicks away one of the legs of the kitchen table to find it hollow with a note secreted inside – one of the standard hiding places that he has trained his spies to use. Scanning the note rapidly he sees that it has all of the information that he still needs to catch up with his mark. The heroes look at each other and at the same time reach the same decision. “We need to split up.” Barkus offers to draw off the pursuit while Smoke tries to catch up to the target. Both heroes spring into action away from the residence. Barkus makes it look like he has injured his leg leaping out of the window and the assassins converge on the easier prey allowing Smoke to slip away. Barkus has to push his acrobatic and stealth skills to the limit to stay ahead of Ang-Rantiss and his men. He leads them on a high-speed chase through the docks of Mulmaster before he finally slips away from his predators. Meanwhile Smoke scans the crowd looking for the Luminary described in the message – a young man by the name of Yorin. He finally spies the man walking into the House of the Black Lord with a troubled look upon his face. Using his mastery of disguise, Smoke infiltrates the temple. He sees Yorin making his way towards the high priest’s confessional box but the man is intercepted and greeted by some other members of the clergy. Summoning all of his stealth, Smoke sneaks up to the confessional booth unnoticed and uses his thieves’ tools to pick the lock and enter. When Yorin enters the booth, Smoke plays the part of the high priest but instead of reinforcing Yorin’s beliefs, he twists the man’s doubts even further. “Why do you continue to serve a god whose tenants are dominion and control over others when you yourself must remain a slave to that god?” Poking his head out, Smoke sees the real high priest approaching and knows he must slip away. Before he does so he gives Yorin a method of getting in contact with him should the man ever want to “break the cycle of conquest and tyranny.” In the months to come, Yorin becomes one of Smoke’s agents and confirms what the heroes already suspected from their previous visit to Vaasa – that the Luminaries (who are really priests of Bane) must perform a ritual each day at sundown to keep the Primordial Telos is a comatose state so that the Warlock Knights can continue to steal his power.