Session 53 – The End

The heroes gather what information they can from Mindressa, and, as peacefully as they can manage, fulfill her request.

Advancing once again through the magical fog, they emerge on stone steps winding their way around the exterior of a black spire.

Black clouds and shadows spin madly around the periphery of this spire, under the dark sky. The party feels a life-draining hunger emanating from within the swirling darkness, which is dotted with thousands of glowing spheres – which can only be the souls of the dead, trapped here by the late Kalarel’s foul ritual. The spire’s center holds a dark swirl shot through with smeared starlight, which shudders between four sculptures of fossilized black bone. Suspended within the vortex hangs a cage of iron and twisted bone, and within, the limp form of the orphan boy Jonno.

Partly obscured behind this ebony vortex is a huge, night-black dragon. This is Urishtar, her nearly translucent scales seeming to shimmer in the dim light. The dragon roars, momentarily disrupting the swirling clouds above. It rumbles something in Draconic, then sneers as none in the party can reply. It takes flight, circling the spire , then suddenly attacking as the party approaches the vortex.

Urishtar is joined by several wraithlike smaller dragons, and the battle is long and bloody. However, with their hard-won power and experience, the heroes of the Hand of the North fare well, supporting and protecting one another. However, Pype is overcome, pinned to the ground beneath Urishtar’s claw, and mortally wounded.

Eventually the great dragon falls dead, and it’s minions scatter. The spire begins to collapse, and the vortex grows larger and becomes violently unstable, and seems to eat away at anything placed within. The dying Pype volunteers to enter the dark energy and free Jonno, and does so, hurling the boy to safety even as he himself is torn apart.

The remaining heroes flee the increasingly unstable spire in a mad dash, plunging back into the strange fog. As the sounds of destruction roar behind them, they find themselves approaching the exit of the Tomb, and burst through the doors and into the Gloomdeep caverns. The ground still shudders violently, so they dodge falling rock and stalactites and emerge from the caverns just in time to see the black comet explodes in the sky. Dust and fragments are blown high and wide across the horizon, and rain down across the land …

Returning to Exridge, the city rings with joy at the end of the troubles. Sadly, upon their return they find Lenina is unable to be raised – her soul has passed beyond. Andra, Balgo, and Missa held a private service for her, and asks the heroes to return her ashes to Winterhaven, to scatter them to the winds in the hills north of the So’West Vale. The heroes quietly slip out of town, and Phaean summons great eagles to return them to Winterhaven.

They return to Winterhaven as heroes, and find that Lord Padraig has begun work of restoring Shadowfell Keep. The tomb of Sir Keegan has been consecrated and locked after consulting with the spirit.

They hear news that there have been several attempts by remnants of the Bloodspears to attack the town, but a band of goblin raiders has driven them away time and again. No one knows who organized them or why they fought to defend the town … only their war chant – “Splug! Splug! Splug!”

Oddly, Mitchell Indistel’s body was found torn to pieces deep in the swamp. The prime suspect is Vella, who had been spotted a few times wandering the swamp, wild eyed and seemed to be searching for something. She hasn’t been seen for a while now, and is presumed to be dead.

Jonno is happily taken in by Ella Indistel, who returned from hiding after her father’s death. She’s relinquished all Indistel claims to land in the Vale, living on her own on a small plot of land far from her family’s former property.

(The following closing summaries for each character was created with the player’s input.)

Although Ramor felt the time with his companions was worthy, he long felt the pain at the of loss of his clansmen.

With his days of adventure with the Hand of the North at an end, he bids farewell to his friends, and ventures deep into the icy wastelands beyond Old Nerath.

Many years pass before rumors reach Winterhaven of the rise of a powerful barbarian clan far to the north. Some say the blood of Nerath himself returns, uniting the northmen under a common banner … but some in Winterhaven still remember the name … Ramor.

With his adventures with the Hand of the North at an end, Peren departs Winterhaven in search of Irel and the Blood Brotherhood.

Although Zirithian, Paldemar, and Kalarel have been defeated, House Oramis survives. Peren eventually finds Irel, and under their leadership, the Brotherhood roots out the influence of the Orami throughout the Vale, breaking their evil influence and restoring order and safety to the land.

With her adventures with the Hand of the North at an end, Ionoa remains in Winterhaven for a year, helping the village deal with the blighted crops and evil infestations within the swamps.

She then bids farewell to Winterhaven, and returns to the Winterbole forest with the ice bear Fyro. Ionoa returns to Brynnan’s cabin, and sets about carrying on with the care and defense of what she considers her lands.

Many years later, those with ill intent who enter the forest still tend to not return, and those that do tell fearful tales of a ghostly ice bear and its eladrin mistress who haunt the wood.

Phaean spends several weeks with his family in Winterhaven, bestowing on them financial security for the rest of their lives. He also purchases much of the abandoned Indistel lands, and on them lays the cornerstone of what will eventually become a temple of Ioun.

As the years pass, it grows to a shining tower on the land, and the small hamlet of Winterhaven grows to one of the most vibrant cities of the north, and at the center, in a park that now encompasses the majority of the original town, sits the gleaming tower of of learning that Phaeanites the world over flock to to learn the arcane secrets that Phaean has spent a lifetime uncovering.

After many years, and uncovering so many of the arcane secrets that have been hidden for so long, Ioun speaks to Phaean in his dreams….the time has finally come….after 200 years of preparation, Phaean is needed on the Astral Plane to join with Ioun and lend his vast intellect to that of Arcane’s supreme deity.

On the second new moon after the autumnal equinox Ioun appears to him and places him on the road to godhood. While the road is long, and the tasks arduous, Phaean eventually proves his value to the god of knowledge, and is called home to serve him on the Astral Plane.

On the 50th anniversary of being placed on the road to godhood, Ioun reaches down and places his hands on Phaean’s head. Heat rushes through his body, burning the away his remaining mortality. As he stands on the roof of the Tower of Phaean, he ascends in a beam of light to the Astral Plane. The sight is seen as far away in Moonstair, the second city of Phaeanites, where the second temple of Phaean is nearing completion.

From this moment on, through time immemorial, the night of the second new moon after the autumnal equinox is forever known as Phaean’s Night.

On this night, those who seek enlightenment in the ancient tomes of knowledge create pillars of light, and point them to the northern sky seeking the enlightenment of the greatest digit of the Hand of the North … the Immortal Phaean, seeker of arcane knowledge and lost truths!