Summary: The actions of the heroes impacts the destinies of three different kingdoms
Takes place 2nd-4th of Nightal (The Drawing Down) in the year 1478DR (The Year of the Dark Circle)
After their destruction of the Demontower, the adventurers are officially recognized as heroes by the sovereignty of Impiltur. They are knighted by the crown in a highly public ceremony and many parades and parties follow. Legend of their many deeds in service to the realm circulate throughout the good people of the kingdom. They are the ones that found and rescued the Moon Elves in the Gray Forest. I know! The Moon Elves and their Star Sextant are our closest allies now. I love the story of how they recovered the king’s sword. Forget that! I love the story of how they found king Ryu. They are king-makers! I hear they kicked Szass Tam’s ass. As a group, the party cannot move about the city without drawing much fanfare. Even when travelling individually in public, the heroes attract throngs of well-wishers unless they take care to disguise themselves. In the weeks that follow each of the adventurers deals with their new found celebrity in their own way.
- Alkorahil with his blazing charisma should have been the most beloved hero in the history of Impiltur. However the citizens can sense and are uncomfortable with his current undead status. Most of the populace shies away from him. He hears whispers to the effect of, “Poor thing. I hear he took a curse while rescuing the king. I hope he finds a way to remove it.” A number of new followers of Oghma arrive to help support the information exchange with the Moon Elves and they too are nervous around Alkorahil. The day-to-day operations of the Oghmans are overseen by Brother Thomas and Alkorahil is often seen walking alone holding philosophical conversations with his sword.
- Bahardim’s status as a noble Count is reaffirmed by King Ryu and his holdings are expanded (many nobles were stripped of their titles for their support of the demon-cult during the civil war). Ryu lets him know that unlike the roguish dwarves of Kara-Tur (the Korobokuru) he prefers the more hard-working dwarves of the western realms – especially Bahardim. As the only Count in the realm to know him as the gruff minister of security before he became a king, Ryu relies on Bahardim to “tell it to him straight.” Bahardim is very busy putting his clan in order and doesn’t have time for much adventuring. He is also a little worried about Childa who has become obsessed with studying Bitriarch’s journal that was found in the Demontower as she believes that it could hold the key to finding the whereabouts of her missing father.
- Kriv is invited to a private audience with King Ryu. Ryu once again apologizes for allowing himself to be forced into a position where he had to dismiss the services of the Brotherhood of the Griffon. He thanks Kriv for his continued service to the kingdom even after his company was dismissed. Ryu also tells Kriv that he has seen how important it is to have forces in his army that can fly. Kriv is charged with assembling this “air force”, officially promoted to the rank of Admiral, and given a position and a voice on Impiltur’s war council.
- Madrakkar is surprised to find that in addition to his throngs of new admirers he has inherited a new apprentice. A young girl about 10 years old named Waverly begins tagging along with Mads and somehow everyone knows her as his apprentice. In conversations with Waverly, he finds that she knows very little magic (just a few cantrips), but her greatest skill is: History of his Adventures. Waverly constantly asks Madrakkar to regale her with stories of his exploits and even when she has the good sense to leave him alone he sometimes still finds her telling his stories to others. She delights in correcting others on the details of the stories (“No the pit opened by the wand of wonder was 30 feet wide not 20 feet”). Mads is not even sure where his #1 fan disappears to (if she has a home or family) when not hanging around him because she keeps turning the conversation around to talk about him.
- Smoke adopts a new secret identity that is the celebrated demon-slayer adored by the masses. When not maintaining the disguise, he still takes time to keep up with his network of spies and informants. Those in the shadow-community that are in the know tell him, “You are keeping with awfully famous company these days Smoke.” His former-patron Count Adamas has returned to the north to defend his lands from the invading Warlock Knights of Vaasa with instructions for Smoke to wait for his new assignment from the King.
- Tsol is well-respected by the people but still not exactly approachable. He is a scary-looking, big, Minotaur Barbarian after all. Still, soldiers salute when he walks by and villagers nod respectfully at his passing.
Nearly a month after the destruction of the Demontower the heroes hear of some trouble up north. The whole of the Impilturan military aside from the city garrisons is committed to stopping the advance of the invading forces of the Warlock Knights of Vaasa. The enemy advance has been stymied at the Icehilt River but recent developments have occurred that make the commanders believe they may be in danger of getting overrun. If the enemy gets past the defenders then they will have free run to terrorize the country-side until they decide to lay siege to the cities. In the wake of the civil war with the demon-cult, Impiltur desperately needs time to recover and make alliances. The heroes are dispatched to investigate and give what aid they can to helping defend the battle-lines at the river.
The adventurers find Count Adamas in command of the military forces as he the lord of the northern fiefdom of Impiltur. It is strange for the heroes to see him absent from his companion Count Morton who is away preparing the defenses for his own lands. However the group is surprised to see him in the company of two figures that they do know – Sevenia, the seer from Nall, and Barkus, a fellow adventurer that also had his memory erased by Malrite. Together they fill the party in on the situation. The original battle lines between the forces of Vaasa and Impiltur was naturally drawn here at the river. Vaasa tried to advance more forces to break the stalemate but their supply train was broken by a daring midnight assault using the Star Sextant to out position and surprise the enemy. Vaasa has since learned from this setback and now sets maximum fortification on their forces during the night. Vaasa again tried end the deadlock by moving forces through the Earthspur Mountains but they were turned away by Barkus and his group of hillmen guerilla fighters. Now the winter snows have set in and the mountain passes are blocked by ice until the spring thaw. Meanwhile the armies played a game of cat and mouse up and down the river as the Vaasans tried to find a way to outmaneuver their way past the blocking army. The enemy was turned away at every attempt. A few weeks ago they inexplicably settled in their current location which put the defenders adjacent to the Firefly Swamp. A day after the armies arrived at their current locations, a school of large, rainbow-colored fish came swimming down the river from the direction of the swamp. The soldiers rushed out to look at them but their commanders managed to get them back in formation just in the nick of time. The fish locked their bodies together to form a living, rainbow-bridge across the river. At the same time, almost as if they were coordinating with the fish, the Warlock Knights launched a vicious assault and tried to use the bridge to cross the river. The defenders barely managed to turn them back and do enough damage to the fish to break up their formation. A week later, a gigantic lion made of magma with a mane of fire came out of the swamp and attacked the soldiers of Impiltur. Again, at the exact same time the Warlock Knights mounted an attack. By this time Sevenia had joined the army and her mystical divination through her tarot cards had warned of the attack. Using some quick thinking, a mage in the army used an illusion of a giant mouse to lure the lava lion into the river amidst the attacking army. The assault formation was disrupted and turned aside and the lava lion got stuck in the ice-cold waters of the river and slowly turned into volcanic rock. With both dangers having come from the swamp, the 5th legion of Impiltur was dispatched to investigate. Composed of fifty of the finest rangers and outdoorsman in all of Impiltur, this legion was a natural choice for the job. It has been nearly a week a no word has been heard from the legion. Adamas and Sevenia are worried that another bizarre attack from the swamp is imminent and ask the heroes to pick up the legion’s trail and investigate. Barkus offers his assistance to the party as well.
Before embarking on their journey, Sevenia offers to divine the group’s fortune with her tarot cards. She turns over:
1) The Emperor: A figure representing power and authority. As the first card he represents the start or beginning of the chain of events
2) The Devil: Another powerful figure next to the emperor representing temptation and vice.
3) The 5 of Swords (upside down): Sevenia states the believes that this represents the fall of the 5th legion
4) Justice: As the fourth card Sevenia states that this card represents the present (all of the previous cards were in the past). The card has an image of king holding a sword in one hand and scales of balance in the other. Sevenia tells the group that king represents King Ryu and Impiltur and that the heroes are his sword sent here to balance the situation that sits on the precipice of disaster.
5) The 4 of Pentacles: Sevenia tells the band of heroes that the fifth card is where their future prophecy begins. The card has an image 4 golden discs with elaborate symbols in red painted on them. Sevenia tells the party that they represent 4 items of great worth or perhaps wealth in a multiple of 4 that will play an important role in their future.
6) The King of Swords: Sevenia tells the party that this represents a ruthless warlord or tyrant that rules by force of arms. She believes that as the heroes represent the sword of the king that they are destined to clash with the King of Swords.
7 & 8) The Sun and the Moon. Sevenia turns over the Sun card and then is astonished to see that the Moon card is stuck to it. She is stunned as she has never before miscast a fortune. With eight cards drawn she has no way of interpreting what meaning this has regarding the heroes’ future.
The band of heroes enter the swamp and prepare to track down the 5th legion, reasoning that if they find them then they may garner some clue as to what they are up against. Shortly after they enter the swamp they are forced to stop. All of their mounts are showing signs of disturbance, aggression, and madness. Kriv’s griffon Peter looks his partner in the eye and with the unspoken bond between rider and mount tells him, “I’m a danger to you if I stay here. I have to go. Sorry.” Next the adventurers uncork their ship-in-a-bottle and try flying over the swap. They make good time for a few hours and then spy a storm on the horizon. They try going around it but unnaturally shifts course to block their path. The storm looks as if is approaching hurricane-force winds and unwilling to risk flying in that type of weather the party lands the ship. Oddly when the storm does reach the party in is greatly reduced in strength and only hits them with a mild rain shower. Deducing that both of the obstacles so far were nature-based, Madrakkar summons his phantom steeds which are composed of pure magical energy. The steeds move unnaturally fast over the difficult swampy terrain without hindrance and the party makes good time tracking down the legion.
The heroes find the bodies of the legion strewn about an area of the swamp. They have obviously died in some type of battle as they have their weapons drawn and appear to have died in great agony. As the heroes move closer to investigate they are attacked. They encounter a gigantic, plant-like monster with a yellow head like a daffodil only with more teeth. The plant-monster uses a combination of animate vines, roots, and spores, to animate the dead rangers and uses them to attack the party. The monster and the corpses laden with its poisonous, caustic offshoots try to kill the heroes. The heroes deduce that most plant monsters dislike fire. Using fiery attacks and a combination of old-fashioned hack and slash they manage to kill the plant. During the fighting they notice a giant peacock on the periphery of the battlefield that seems to be watching them. They notice that when it eyes blink all of the feathery eyes in its plumage seem to blink as well. After the fighting is over and they go to investigate the peacock vanishes in a puff of blue smoke.
Next the adventurers travel to the lizardman village that Tsol and Alkorahil remember from their previous visit to Firefly Swamp. Alkorahil reasons that perhaps whatever is happening in the swamp is threatening the lizardmen also and perhaps they know more information. The party finds the village oddly deserted. The only sign that they find of the villagers is a bunch of humanoid-sized lizard-tails. This sparks childhood memories of several of the heroes as they remember chasing lizards and having their tails come off. There are no tracks leading into or away from the village which the heroes also find is odd. Alkorahil and Tsol note that on their last visit to the swamp the forces of nature seemed to help them find and aid Ian Silvermane but on this visit the forces of nature seem arrayed against them. They decide to head across Icemelt Lake to the ruins where they last encountered Ian. Tsol is also interested in revisiting the Hall of Heroes now that his memory is returned.
The party is still riding the phantom steeds which can run across water but they decide to tie a couple of longboats from the village behind them just in case they encounter any trouble while on the lake. About 400 yards from the shore of the ruins they spot a small stretch of land with a topical palm tree growing on it. Kriv sends his eagle to fly over the palm tree to scout it out and notices that the land it is resting on doesn’t look like dirt it looks like part of a gigantic shell. The party tries to circle around the obstacle but it starts moving towards them. It looks like they might outrun the danger but then suddenly a large boulder comes skipping across the lake and takes out Madrakkar’s mount dumping him into the ice-cold water. The heroes circle back to help him as a gargantuan dragonturtle rises out of the water to attack. During the fighting several more large boulders come skipping across the lake taking out more of the adventurer’s phantom steeds. Madrakkar manages to retrieve the ship-in-the-bottle and get it airborne. The rest of the party eventually manages to climb aboard and out of the dragonturtle’s reach. Alkorahil’s keen eyesight spots two child-sized figures standing on the shoreline and it appears one is skipping stones that grow larger and faster with each hop and are turning into the boulders which are striking the party. The other figure appears to be cheering the first on with much fist-pumping and victory-dancing.
By the time the characters arrive at the ruins the two figures are gone. The party immediately notices one of the large, stone ziggurats which is much different than the others in the ruins. It is in much better repair, painted gold, and appears to have blinking lights on it. Alkorahil and Tsol note that that building was not here the last time that they visited the ruins. As the party gets closer to the ziggurat they notice that there a bunch of cartoonish pictures adorning it including some that they recognize like the lava lion. The lights are actually hordes of fireflies that have been placed in large glass containers. Warily the party enters the building…
The heroes find the inside of the ziggurat to be even more strange than on the outside. The scene could best be described as a child’s wonderland overstuffed with all types of amusements for young boys. The floor was cluttered with model warships, animated toy soldiers, marbles, balls, life-sized robots, and stuffed animals. Around the room the party spotted a bowl full of fruit-shaped candy that was the size of real fruit, a telescope, a catapult, a giant gold coin, a coconut tree containing a small tree house, an ant-farm, a target riddled with frisbee-sized throwing stars, and a bunk bed. Stacked in one corner of the room were a pair of floating broomsticks. Amidst the chaos the adventurers also spotted the peacock from the earlier encounter laying still and inanimate. Seated in the center of the room sitting cross-legged on a bed of plush, red cushions was a small child. The child was perhaps 6-8 years old and much more dark-skinned than the typical children of Impiltur. He wore a simple golden-orange robe. Standing next to the cushions was a spindly creature perhaps 2 feet tall. The figure was dressed in flamboyant clothes including a wide-brimmed hat with a feather in it. He wore one black, velvet glove on his left hand and carried a tiny rapier in his right. “See”, he said to the child in a squeaky voice, “I told you they were going to come and try to punish you and take away your toys. I’ll get rid of them for you.” The tiny figure gestured around the room and many of the larger “toys” became animated and began attacking the heroes. Combat ensued and the party was attacked by: a steam-powered robot with a spear and an electric-charged shield, an ape with a cybernetic-brain that was shooting a nail-gun, a humanoid-elephant painted to look like a clown (including a red, rubber ball on the end of its trunk), and a catapult firing goblinoids that were wearing spiked, metal helmets and cloth “wings”. During the fight the impish creature also conjured a giant, black hand composed of inky darkness. Madrakkar assessed the magic of the giant hand hoping that he could dispel it. He found that the nature of the conjuration was unholy and not magical, then quickly deduced based on the symbology that the imp must be an agent of Bane. As the adventurers chased the imp around the room they learned that his name was Fistem. Fistem continually called the adventurers “bad people” and accused them of trying to “hurt his pal” and “break his toys”.
While the heroes battled heroically against Fistem and his army of dangerous toys, Alkorahil approached the boy sitting in the center of the room. The child watched the events unfolding with wide, curious and frightened eyes. Alkorahil pulled out a fairy puppet from his gear and offered it to the child as a gift. Using his telepathic powers, Alkorahil communicated with the child:
Alkorahil: “Bad guys don’t bring you toys do they? I want to give this nice toy to you as a gift. I like your toys. Maybe we can play with them together? I am much more fun to play with. I have other toys we could play with together. What is your name?”
Child: The child replied mentally, “I like gifts. My friend Ian gave me a gift once but it made some people mad. Why do you break my toys? Are they bad? My name is Hucan.”
Alkorahil: “Hello Hucan, nice to meet you. My name is Alkorahil. Can we be friends? Your toys are hurting my friends. That is bad. If your toys stopped hurting my friends maybe they could be friends with you too and they could play with you.”
Child: “Hi Alkorahil. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody. I know hurting people is bad. My friend Fistem said we were just having fun.”
Alkorahil: “Fistem likes to hurt people and not make friends. I am friends with you and he tried to hurt me. Fistem is also hurting my friends I brought with me to play with you. The funny looking cow-man knew Ian Silvermane too. Doesn’t the cow-man look funny? I bet you would like playing with him too.”
As Alkorahil befriended Hucan, the power that was animating the deadly toys began to fail. Springs and gears popped off some while stuffing began spilling out of others. The rest of the heroes were able to push past the dwindling animations and Tsol succeeded in landing a vicious blow against Fistem which cut him in two. As the miniscule body split apart, the heroes could see the shadow of a gigantic beast escape from within and then fade into the shadows. From somewhere unseen, the squeaky voice of Fistem morphed into a booming baritone that said, “Curse you meddling fools. I will make you pay for this.” Alkorahil asked Hucan, “Where did he go? Is he playing hide and seek? Can you tell me where he is? This might be a fun game would could play together.” But Hucan could not detect his former playmate any longer and told Alkorahil this before he too faded away.
Shortly thereafter Hucan reappeared to the heroes in the form of a translucent, mental image. Behind him in the image, seated in a semicircle of wicker chairs, were a number of adults that shared the same dark-skinned hue as the child. The figure seated in the central chair spoke to the party. “On behalf of Hucan” we would like to thank you. He went on to explain that he and those seated around him are the Wise-council of the Hucan Empire. Central to the empire is “Hucan the Saffron Son”, a child that is born once every 1,000 years who is one with the empire and has the power to control all within its borders. Earthwood, Icemelt Lake and Firefly Swamp are all encompassed within the domain of the realm but fell into ruin when the previous Saffron Son was assassinated long ago. Since then, the remnants of the empire have hidden within the depths of Earthwood, waiting for the return of the next child. Alkorahil recalled that Ian Silvermane ventured into the ruins to view an event that supposedly happened once every 1,000 years and wondered how it relates to Hucan. The elder tells him that Ian stumbled upon their sacred ceremony where the child is vested with the power to command the realm. Each wise-man on the council must present the child with a gift that is symbolic of the aspect of power that Hucan gains. When Ian stumbled upon their ceremony and was asked to give the child a gift, he gave him his famous wide-brimmed explorers hat. The hat, as a symbol of his spirit of discovery and adventure, passed those aspects onto the boy. This alarmed the wise-men because previously the Saffron Son had always intrinsically known his path, following the will of the council, but now he had been given the power to choose his own destiny. Alkorahil pointed out that Ian had been attacked because of this act which caused a sad look on the faces of Hucan and the elders. The lead councilor tells the party that Ian had been attacked by Texotl the wise-man over the domain of spirituality and the dead. He says that Texotl’s actions were regrettable but that the councilor of the dead reacted only as his nature dictated. The heroes note that there is an empty chair among the council and ask of Texotl’s current whereabouts. They are told that Texotl last reported that he had been feeling ill and even Hucan cannot detect his location. Because of Ian’s gift, the council says that Hucan’s upbringing has been especially difficult as the child now displays a large independent streak. This made him susceptible to the influence of the devil Fistem who was able to partially corrupt the child. While Hucan never intentionally hurt anyone, Fistem was able to abuse his innocence and use some of his creations to cause destruction to the forces of Impiltur. Now that the child has learned his lesson thanks to the intervention of the heroes, they are confident that the threat has been ended. Dark Phoenix tells Alkorahil that it is pleased to the see the “hatching” of a new force for good in the world. The party realizes that Hucan and Fistem represented The Emperor and The Devil from Sevenia’s prophecy. They inquire if the council has any knowledge of the 4 of Pentacles. They are informed that the building where they found Ian on their previous visit to the ruins is known as the “Hall of Heroes”. The temple contains four gemstones that hold the spirits of ancient heroes of the Hucan Empire and this may be what they are looking for.
The party enters the “Hall of Heroes” noting some flying frogs hovering in the nearby trees. Tsol is most anxious to revisit the ziggurat as he now recognizes it as museum consecrated to the memory of his ancestor Targore and his companions who were heroes of the ancient Hucan Empire. As the adventurers near the central altar it descends into the bowels of the building and then rises again shortly thereafter bearing four heart-shaped gemstones. Red light emanates from the gems and washes over the party. They are immersed in the spirits of Targore’s companions and begin seeing fond memories of the minotaur from their perspectives. Alkorahil finds himself in a vision of Peqod the mage where Targore and other undesirables of the ancient Hucan Empire are chained before the ancient council of wise-men. He (Peqod/Alkorahil) gives an impassioned speech which convinces the council that these criminals should be given a chance to work off their debt to the Empire so that they may yet find the chance to become heroes. Barkus and Smoke find themselves in the memories of the twin tricksters Silas and Salis when they first met Targore. One of the brothers challenged the minotaur to a drinking contest. Unbeknown to him, they would switch places whenever he was distracted. Madrakkar also finds himself in the role of Peqod, this time right after the ancient heroes have slain the demon Xonox. He uses his magic to fuse one of the demon’s horns with fire magic so that Targore has an enchanted horn like his best friend, Ijax the frost giant. Tsol and Kriv find themselves lost in the memory of the plainsman Dogun’s return to his homeland for his long-delayed wedding day. They arrive to find Dogun’s betrothed in the clutches of a clan rival. Dogun challenges his rival, to a chariot battle for his woman’s freedom. The night before the battle Dogun’s horses are poisoned. Then the rival arrives to the challenge having summoned Kilrosh the Nightmare Horselord to be his steed. It looks like Dogun is going to have to forfeit when Targore offers to pull his chariot. Tsol finds himself cast in the role of his ancestor Targore as he pulls the chariot and fights off the nightmare with his bare hands while Dogun/Kriv battle the rival furiously from the chariot.
Startlingly in the midst of the visions, the link to the spirits is broken by the sound of Peter screeching a warning and desperately trying to claw his way into the building. The heroes realize that they are about to be ambushed by Texotl and his gang of macabre undead. They also discover that their minds had been merged in the shared psychic connection with the gemstones and that the hasty disconnection has swapped their minds into different bodies. The party struggles to adjust to fighting with different bodies and powers as they fend off the attack from the undead. Texotl lets them know that there is something about the “Hall of Heroes” that blocks scrying attempts which is why he could not locate Ian when he was hiding out here. That same feature is also what allows him to hide from the Saffron Son who will have no knowledge of what transpires in here. Texotl is furious that the heroes prevented him from “feasting on Ian’s soul” last time they were here which somehow would have given him a level of influence over Hucan. Texotl tells the party that he will “eat their hearts.” Kriv finds a way to open the roof of the temple and let his faithful Griffin in. Even so, the heroes are in danger of getting overpowered until their minds switch back to their correct bodies and turns the tide of the battle. In desperation, Texotl unleashes a vicious assault which knocks Kriv unconscious. Texotl is preparing to turn his evil, death magic (Kali ma, Kali ma) on Kriv but Barkus heroically pulls Kriv out of range. The rest of the party wear down Texotl and Peter delivers the killing blow that ends the necromancer.
After the battle, Tsol now realizes that he knows the location of Targore’s village from the memories he shared with the ancient heroes. He is disappointed that Targore’s Heart of the Hero is not among the others but the spirits tell him that Targore’s heart was broken when his best friend Ijax was killed. One last message from ancient heroes advise Tsol not to return to the village alone. “Targore (and Tsol) was always strongest when he stood together with his friends.” The heroes return to Hucan’s ziggurat to rest and plan their next move. They discover the answer to the mystery of what happened to the lizardman village. Among Hucan’s toys they find all of the inhabitants shrunken down to tiny size (sans tails) and placed into a miniature “ant-farm” replica of the village. While everyone is sleeping (except for Alkorahil who is on watch – but is distracted counting the number of straws on one of the flying broomsticks) Kriv is visited by an image of Hucan. The boy leads the dragonborn admiral to a patch in the tall grass by the coconut tree. There Kriv discovers a large caterpillar that wraps itself comfortably around his hand. The Saffron Son then leads Kriv to one of the large, glass canisters containing fireflies and gestures for him to open it. As the fireflies escape their confines, the caterpillar whips out several times and uncannily catches and eats several before snuggling up to Kriv and falling asleep. Kriv decides to name his new pet Kris. Barkus decides to return to the army and report on the status of their mission. The rest of the adventurers decide to accompany Tsol to his people’s village. The stars are not in the correct alignment to be able to use the Star Sextant so instead they decide to use their flying ship in a bottle to travel there. They carefully avoid any Vaasan military outposts in the occupied country of Damara and arrive at the village without incident.
Targore’s village rests on a large tundra under the backdrop of the mountains of the great glacier. Even though it is early winter, in the village there is already snow on the ground and the wind is bitter cold. As the adventurers scout it out they find that the village looks boarded up and deserted. Tsol suddenly recalls childhood memories of caves inside of the mountain where the villagers would go to wait out the cold of winter. Then the heroes smell wood smoke and follow it to a pair of minotaurs making camp in the middle of the village. When they see Tsol the younger one of them falls to his knees in awe. The older minotaur regards Tsol with more scrutiny and points out to him that he has all of Targore’s Regalia except for the axe – which will be a problem. The minotaur, whose name is Kaz, with the aid of the younger minotaur (once he gets over his initial hero-worship) explain the situation to the party. Tsol’s uncle, Tseken Reven, is still chieftain of the clan. He possesses Targore’s axe, which gives him the right to rule the clan but nobody has seen him wield it in a long time. This has caused some dissent among the people but Tseken rules over the clan with a tyrannical hand. Any that speak out against or disobey him are butchered without mercy. Even those he suspects of disloyalty, like Kaz, often time mysteriously disappear or are given nearly fatal assignments like guarding the village during the heart of winter. Tseken has returned the clan to the old ways and forces the people to worship the demonic entity known as Baphomet. Tseken himself has absorbed so much demonic energy that he has swelled to monstrous size. He also tells the party that a Warlock Knight of Vaasa has recently taken up residence with the clan and that Tseken plans on joining their cause after the winter has passed. Kaz believes that IF the heroes can defeat Tseken then the clan will follow Tsol. The heroes recall the 6th card from Sevenia’s prophecy is the King of Swords that she said they were destined to clash with. They ask Kaz to lead them to the entrance to the village’s mountain retreat and are not expectant of a peaceful resolution with Tseken.
The heroes tear through the clan’s defenses using the expert leadership of Alkorahil. He tells the party that in this type of military campaign where loyalties are already divided you must quickly and boldly confront the enemy leader before he can marshal his less loyal subjects into putting up resistance. Alkorahil uses his skeleton key to pick the lock to the portcullis guarding the front of the retreat. Clansmen that might have blocked their progress are supplicated with promises that the true heir to Targore has returned or intimidated into standing aside. Eventually in the maze-like caverns, the heroes run into some resistance from the hardcore supporters of Tseken. These include a cleric of Baphomet, his summoned demonic Goristro, the Warlock Knight, and Tsol’s cousin – Motar Reven. After a tough fight, the adventurers defeat their opposition and make their way to the throne room.
The ground floor of the throne room is empty except for Tseken. However, the balcony that rings the room is filled to capacity as the minotaurs of the clan press forward to watch the confrontation. Tseken sits upon an enormous throne. Flanking the throne are spiked poles that display the skulls of his most recently defeated enemies. A large pile of treasure is ostentatiously on display in a corner of the room. The tale of his size is true as the minotaur is larger than some giants that the adventurers have seen. The massive minotaur rises from his throne and speaks to Tsol, “I thought about asking you to join me, but I see that you have that same silly look of a dreamer that my bother did.” Then in typical minotaur fashion, enough had been said and it was time to charge into battle. Tsol, eagerly ready for the challenge, charges straight up to the throne and strikes Tseken with a violent swing from his axe. Unphased, the gigantic minotaur shoulders his way past Tsol and charges the back rank of the adventurers. Swinging an enormous club studded with spikes he hits several members of the party and sends them flying across the room to land in a heap. This draws murmurs and groans of concern from the audience. But the heroes fight back. Kriv slows up the minotaur with his net. Alkorahil shields his allies while calling down his defensive prayers. Smoke and Madrakkar blister their foe with hyper-accurate crossbow bolts and powerful spells. Finally, yelling a primal roar that deafens his enemy, Tsol delivers the killing stroke with a powerful blow of his axe that fells the demonic despot like a chopped-down tree. He reaches down and retrieves Targore’s Bloodhunt Axe of Execution from his uncle’s corpse. He swells with pride as the culmination to the quest his father began over twenty years ago has finally been fulfilled. To the roaring approval of the crowd Tsol holds the axe high above his head and proclaims himself heir of Targore and new chieftain of the clan.