A River Without Water: The Supreme Ordeal

Also see the cast of characters in the Supreme Ordeal. And the Events of The Supreme Ordeal

"Hold on to the world we all remember fighting for
There's still strength left in us yet
Hold on to the world we all remember dying for
There's still hope left in it yet"

A River Without Water: The Supreme Ordeal is the next saga to A River Without Water: Separation. Set in the spring of 1368 NS.

It is continued in A River Without Water: Unification.

You Orphan Heirs of Fixed Destiny


Ranita and the death of Zaghnol
Sangar and the chase through the city
Merrium and the one question
Leo and the boulder and last night with Biegolmai
Leo's dream
Wake up and fight
Meet Sasha
Meet Father Myra
Where is Sasha?
Find totem
Find goblins
Frog fight
Gunda comes
Return to temple

Assault on the Temple of Truth

Sasha and Sangar in belltower
Wake up
Strategy over breakfast and Shauna
Myra does the ritual
Appear in mountains, Rani finds cave
Walk to cave, Agonduke
Agonduke walks away
Gray Ooze
Cave Fishers
Door with illusion magic
Open door and see miner slaves and kobolds

Fight kobolds
Nullen the dwarf explains temple
Tells about Unklara
Go on ahead
More kobolds in hallway
Fight Enlightened
Nullen shows back up to explain
They disguise themselves as Enlightened
Ask other enlightened about blind slave - go to corpse pit
Go to Corpse pit
The Deathkeepers are confused
Throw them into pit
Sangar climbs down

Disguise as Deathkeepers
Find Michelle and free her tell her to go to Temple of Eight
Find Sangar the Maimed
He cuts himself free
They travel down and fight guards
Bors makes a fight, but falls in battle
Last wish was to see ranita's face
They go out the secret entrance and follow the river north to Ackerburg
Leonid scouts out Thrace and finds it a fort
They speak with Sangar the Maimed and he tells of a cave
Ranita, Sangar II, Shauna and Merrium search the cave
See goblins
Merrium pretends to be Kalabrath and they dispatch them
Find draconic writing
Take hour to deciepher, during which ranita finds secret door
Burning hands on door and it opens
See tomb of Thasudarius and Aldaen
Find notes and letter to Leonid
Vordenker walks inside and they speak
Walk back to the town and everybody meets at the Inn
They decide to travel NW.

Turn'd Wild In Nature

The Beast of Heuaft Village

Shauna and Vordenker move east
On the way to elby they find a band of bandits harrassing three travellers.
They talk with the bandit leader - The Nightingale
They fight him and his ogres.
Ranita falls to his giant blade.
Merrium felled the Nightingale and he demands the bandits release the peasents
The bandits run away with their leader.
they talk with the travellers and ranita recognises Katya.
Katya asks if they would join them in her village, Heuaft.
They arrive and see the sign Beware the Beast of Heuaft Village
Katya tells them a beast has been ruining crops
They go to the mayor
Arthur leaves in a huff
Mayor says its too late
During night, Leonid stays up and sees green eyes in hay field
next morning
Sangar gets rope and makes traps
Ranita speaks with Arthur - it is lamcart - gives flower
Ranita watch people mating rituals
Merrium sees Rani she double backs on him
they set up traps in the hay field
Leonid questions locals - they point out hilly area to the west
Ranita finds track leading to tree and then they dissapear
Leonid explains findings - they go west
They find hilly area and tracks, beast-sign
They find nest and hear animal calls all over
Sangar casts Expeditious Retreat and finds a small angry dragon - it attacks
Ranita comes to help and recognises Echo - she calls to him
He calms down and is happy to see them - he sniffs Leonid and leads them to Anton's Shield
However no sign of Clint
Leonid runs back to town and sees the town getting ready to move
He asks for a stay, but mayor says no
Leonid gets Clint's cloak from Katya and heads back
Grosh-mog and Echo sniff the cloak and Echo runs back to the village
They get there as it reaches early twilight and the town is moving out
Echo scratches on door of Town hall, Leonid kicks it it
Ranita finds hidden trap door and Clint in an underground pocket
Sangar and Merrium see the Mayor run for it
Merrium casts grease and the mayor's krin falls, the mayor still tries to run, but the bandits show up to stop him with Arthur and the Nightingale
The mayor is taken into the town hall and all is told. the Nightingale will carry out the sentance.
Party speak with the Nightingale about morality.
The bandits will stay in town and bring their own food stores to help village
Ranita sits on roof and sees Arthur who is sad. they speak and arthur says there is no mayor because one needs to be officiated by church of ornus. Ranita says she is a priest and officiates arthur. Arthur says he is happy his flower went to her.
the Nightingale shows up, drunk, and offers to sing songs for ranita at his bedside.
She kindly refuses.
Merrium gives a flowered ring to a townsgirl
Leonid drinks
Next morning there is a wedding between Katya and Clint. Ranita presides. Sangar sings. Blessing of nature through wind
the Nightingale tells them he is headed west because of a rumor of Praavda activity, Arthur is going north to Elby. Group decides to go with Arthur.

Escape from Elby

Ranita remembers her dream of Bors being dragged away by the black wings
Arthur, now dressed for the road, leaves with the four
Ranita notices animals paired
They connect to the road, where they see a patrol of Enlightened
Enlightened stops them and asks what town they are assigned to.
They say no town and the enlightened ask them to join them to Elby for assignment
They proceed.
Bodies of dead diseased women outside Elby walls.
Gates open and the group walks in
Sangar notices pregnant women
Ranita is suddenly dragged away; Arthur yells after her
Grosh-mog attacks, but is picked up
Leonid demands to know what is happening, guards tell them not to question and to join them for assignment
Sangar runs to help, but reaches the door too late
Leonid attacks the captain and Arthur joins in
Merrium casts mage armor and the entire squad is alerted of the "wizard"
Sangar tries to break down the door, but the guards stop him
The group is soon taken down and dragged away
Ranita is thrown into a cell where a woman across from her asks who she is
That woman tells her the women who fight against taking the "medicine" are put down here
The woman, Mary, explains she was once the lady of elby when the order showed in town five years ago. They took up guard positions and slowly absorbed the whole town rule
There is a plague they call the "red shakes" that is taking the women, a doctor was brought in to help and those who refuse to take the medicine are locked here.
She slinks back when an iron door down the hall opens and a doctor flanked by guards walk in
The doctor introduces himself as Johann Faust, through rani knows he smells wrong.
Faust explains the situation again and says the medicine is voluntary, but those who refuse are kept down here for their own safety.
Rani asks to see the medicine, faust complies. Rani casts detect poison and magic. Faust notices.
Faust offers her some time to think on it.
Mary comes back and says she refused the medicine out of principle.
Rani summons a wolf to take the keys, but the guards come in, slay the wolf and Faust asks rani for the keys. She merely sits.
They produce a man-catcher and pin her to the back of her cell they take the keys and tie her hands. Faust says "I really wish we could have been friends"
The rest wake up in a jail cell and sangar quickly heals people. Merrium begins etching arcane symbols of the jail cells
Shepherd Vorster Issac comes in and reads them their crimes and tells them they will be executed on the morning by hanging.

Early morning Merrium awakens and knocks the jail door open.
They gather their things and check the locked door.
Guards come in and are defeated
The group heads toward the front gate
Bells begin to ring
Rani is awakened and meets a dangerous red head in a peasants dress.
She tells rani her friends are coming for her and attempts to charm her.
Rani resists and some guards come in for her
Rani changes into a black eagle and attacks them
The red head says "She's further along than we thought"
Rani-eagle gets to the hallway and attacks the redhead's face
The red head is mad, but quickly heals
Rani-eagle runs/flaps for the door.
Red head shouts "Dead or alive!"
Rani finds the foyer room and fights the guards.
Groshmog is kept there and fights the pen he's in, breaks out and calls upon the spirit of Zaghnol, growing in size.
Groshmog breaks through the door.
The others dodge through allies and find the building they took rani in just as groshmog breaks out
They fight the guards and run towards one of the sentry towers
Redhead shows up on fire in rage and shoots fire at them
They climb the tower, hauling the large groshmog up with a rope
Leo throws off the sentry
Sangar asks the lady her name
She says its "Hella, and you haven't seen the last of me."
With that they leap from the sentry tower as Hella blows it up
They run north.
The group asks rani about her experience and she tells them, she says she is fine
Arthur is worried.

Ranita's Choice

A day later, rani is looking weak and she collapses.
She begins to hallucinate.
Arthur demands to take her to the Witch-woman, a healer who healed him as a child
As the move through the forest, they notice shadows moving and strange sounds. As if they are being watched.
They arrive in the Dóigh, where she lives in a hut and Merrium tells Arthur to knock on the door
He does but no answer.
Merrium goes in and finds the woman at the fireplace, unmoving.
He touches her and she awakens in an unsettling manor
They bring ranita in and the witch checks her, saying she has been poisoned
The witch makes a potion saying the potion needs to be given to another who will share her spirit or else the poison will take her. She has til the full moon to decide who.
Ranita reluctantly takes the potion, but is surprised not to be given a vial or cup for the other.
The witch tells her there will be enough on her lips for the other.
Ranita has a fever dream of her prison and the guard that poisoned her as well as Dr Faust talking to Hella about their vague plans for her.
She awakens and finds herself in the woods, a day later. The group had been moving west toward the lake.
Over the next days, she feels better.
They arrive at the lake shoreline and see that it has small totem stones around the very large body of water.
Merrium hears singing further on.
The singing comes from a man sitting on a beached row-boat, fishing and singing a delightful song.
They try to address him, but he doesn't answer until rani gets close and he suddenly begins to reign in his fish and asks rani for help.
Merrium quickly mage-hands the fish in, to the fisher's disappointment. He comments that there are n more fish in the lake and he wishes for a fair victory of this last one.
Sangar begins to question the man and asks him who he is
The fisherman says his name is Koroviev and that he is a choirmaster
Sangar asks about the spirit and Koroviev says that he is its imprisoner, the choirmaster holds a crystal lens that is the key to the spirit's imprisonment.
Sangar deduces that this is one of the six devils of Praavda.
Suddenly, Koroviev boggles Sangar's mind and attempts to turn his fears and regrets against him.
All members of the group also expiriences their own tortures, but they all reject him.
They snap out of it and Koroviev uses the lens to focus the group's fears into shadow-selves who attack.
When the group defeats their own doubts, the choirmaster is not to be found and the shadows combine into the lens.
Merrium mage hands it to him, but cannot deduce its meaning.
Ranita, looks at it and can see the flickering image of a spirit. She breaks the lens and out flies a mote which dives into the lake.
Then, exploding out of the lake is a giant white eagle. The eagle lands, and changes into a giant who introduces himself as Gammur, the spirit of air. He thanks them and tells of his siblings in waterfall, geyser and rock. He gives them a longbow as a boon and transforms back into an eagle and disapates over the lake.
Rani takes the bow and the group decides to stay near the lake for the night.
Arthur cooks fish for dinner, commenting on how many there are in the lake.
As they sleep, Ranita wakes Merrium and takes him to the lakeshore.
She tells him of her trust and hopes that she does not become disappointed.
They kiss and the soul bond is created.

There Is Measure In Every Thing and So, Dance

The Council of Elegast

As they strike camp at the lake, Arthur announces his departure. Sangar gives him one of the Zolmir blades forged by his grandfather in the temple. Arthur takes it gladly and gives Ranita one final gift and leaves.
Ranita opens the gift and sees it is a length of cloth. The others tell her it is a scarf. She ties it around groshmog.
They journey east through the forest and several days later, Merrium and Ranita sense danger as a wall of green flame roars before them and blue cloaked silver elves surrounds them.
An elf wearing a red cloak approaches and warns them to turn back.
Merrium introduces himself and demands to be taken to someone of authority.
The red cloaked elf confirms that they suspected their indentities, which is the only reason they were allowed to impede through the forest to begin with.
Faced with this fact, the redcloak has orders to take him back to his camp. He introduces himself as Mor Sleatroda and he knew Merrium's father.
They are taken to "camp" which looks more like a village.
Mor Sleatroda shows them to a roundhouse in the center and bids them to enter.
Inside they see and elf in a silver cloak writing in a book, who asks who they are.
Merrium indentifies himself.
The elf puts down his quill and says. "I've been waiting for you for some time… nephew."
He turns around and the group sees Elegast with half his face badly disfigured.

Elegast tell Merrium that Siobadh Tur has fallen and the kingdom is shattered.
He explains the city is home to the restless dead and he lost his connection to royal rule.
He asks Merrium to journey to the city and bring down the wards so the eladrin can reclaim it.
Elegast gives him a day to think.
Mor Sleatroda show them the village. They see dragon statue, a different heraldric hut and the baths. Merrium bathes and thinks with groshmog.
Sangar and Leonid go to the sparring circles. They see a beautiful eladrin woman win a rround. Mor Sleatroda applauses her and introduces Sangar and Leo to his daughter, Tiranda.
She offers to spar Sangar and he accepts. They fight and halfway through the battle, their wooden swords are lost, and they continue bare handed. They then begin grappling and Sangar winds up on top of her.
Tiranda says she has never been defeated by a male before.
Sangar collapses.
They journey to the food hall and Sangar tries elven wine - and passes out.
They soon go to bed.
Next day, Sangar and Leonid go scouting and find trollsign.
Ranita explores town and merrium thinks more and talks with eladrin.
Sangar and Leo return and ask about the trolls. Told of trollebotten.
Mor Sleatroda comes to collect them all to the meeting.
They see the four clan leaders, the Lorekeeper baelnorn and Elegast in a silver mask.
Debate happens and Merrium accepts the mission in exchange for an oath of aid against the order of praavda.
They are presented Tiranda who is to be their guide to the city.
Merrium is also presented with Gruoch of the Golden Kingdom, his betrothed.
Merrium excuses himself and takes another bath he asks someone to fetch Tiranda, and Sangar flees before she shows.
Tiranda bathes with Merrium and they speak tactics.

Legacy of Kings

As sangar looked for things to do around camp, tiranda finds him and asks why he fled, he lies and she promises him that she will drag the answer out of him.
Merrium speaks with the Lorekeeper.
Next day, they leave for Síobadh Túr before dawn, with tiranda mentioning she is unused to daylight.
They travel and tiranda explains the city and its sacred tree.
They arrive before twilight and the wards of the city let them through.
They go to the forge Cathtine, and tiranda is shocked that all of the munitions there are gone. The anvil Díliscloch, however, remains.
Merrium finds a secret door that has a shrine with four slabs of mithral.
They continue on to Moonsong Palace and up to the throne room to see the tree Leanbhceap has been sundered.
Ghostly female laughter rings out from the east city as darkness begins to fall.
They consider holding in the palace, but Merrium spies a map of the city with warding around the holy forge.
They run there, as the darkness closes in on them and ghosts are seen in the black.
Ranita spies the sillouettes of three women on top of one of the towers.
They get to the forge in time for the ghosts to flit away.
Sangar begins to forge a greatsword for Leo, tiranda helps
Leo checks food, rotted due to necromantic field
The next day, Leo, Merrium and Ranita go hunting for food, Ranita sees bathhouse with bas relief carved into it of the three women and she also sees a tower with a ring of falcons flying around it.
They go back and ask Tiranda. She tells them of the Iele, sacred naiads.
The three of them go back to the tower (library) and look around.
They hear heavy footsteps.
Down a hall on the second floor, Leo is grabbed by a vine and pulled down the hall.
Merrium casts grease and Leo is let go but he is now in front of a shambling mound.
Back at the forge, Sangar is trying not to stare at Tiranda, when he hears the clang of her tongs and he looks to see her brandishing her sword at the door.
When he turns to the door, he sees a troll.
The troll roars.

Sangar and Tiranda nimbly defeat the troll and while Sangar is injured, Tiranda is unhurt.
Sangar uses alchemist's fire in the mouth of the troll and set it on fire. They put the troll body outside and Tiranda goes to patrol for a minute.
Meanwhile, Leo dodges the mound's attacks as Merrium is grabbed and thrown. They defeat the mound and the vines on the walls.
Merrium and co finds a huge door that is meant to be warded, but is open and they find magic based books. Merrium takes three books (tree, wards and crossroads).
They go further and find important historical objects. Merrium takes a mithral orb.
They go to the top of the tower and see an inactive teleportation circle and in the middle lies a branch of the sacred tree.
They take the branch and the crows circling the tower fly north.
They head back to the forge to find tiranda brandishing her blade at them. She tells them to arm themselves.
Before they attack tiranda, they look behind them to see large trolls approaching them.
The largest troll identifies himself as Skomegyvri the King of the Trolls.
Leo stabbes bearcarver into the ground and speaks with him in giant. And tells him that they will kill the trolls if they attack.
The King says they cannot hope to win agaisnt trolls and the trolls are angry because of the trick played on them, trapping them in here for twenty years.
Leo asks how can a king as mighty as him be trapped?
The king is furious and smashes a bench. They were tricked by the three elf spirits.
Leo says he is there to defeat the spirits.
The king says he is the king, trapped inside while his son, Threefist is king outside. He wishes to escape and kill his son. The spirits go to a rock in the shiniest part of the city during the day.
The troll tells them he wishes no quarrel and will wait for them to win, but beware any troll they meet without the presence of the king. He respects Leo and hopes to kill him in the future.
They leave.
They go into the forge. Merrium reads crossroads book.
Merrium and Leo go to the palace and repair the tree.
Merrium gets deja vu and finds a familiar room. Merrium claims to not care about it, but then takes the blankets and pillow from the bed. A gem drops on the ground, but Merrium cannot identify it.
They return and merrium has Sangar look at the gem. It is a picture of Ionuin.
The next day, they travel north to the fortress and open the main gate.
They see the courtyard covered in birds sitting on dirt piles next to empty graves filled with water.

They make their way through the courtyard and Sangar casts heroism on himself when he notices the birds are undead.
They birds go ape shit and attack.
The group runs inside and shuts the doors on the murder.
They cast light spells and begin to explore. Tiranda doesn't like light
Tiranda salutes a tapestry of the royal family c 150 years ago.
Leo asks if Tiranda has ever known the erlking. she didn't only swearing fealty to him on her graduation day in the Arbiter's hall.
She says the fortress was the main training place. Her teacher, general Lusna Gloine did know the king well, though.
She shows them into Lusna Gloine's room. Tiranda is excited to enter as she has never done so before.
Sangar takes books.
Merrium reads journal and recieves a flashback.
The general Lusna Gloine talks with the king and expresses worry about the marriage between Ionuin and the human and says that the half elf is a danger to the royal line's integrity. the king thinks on this and has no hostility towards his human son in law, but arranges to meet with the Iele to the west to ask them for guidance in what to do.
The king left and stayed for several months until he showed up after the birth of merrium speaking that he has recieved knowledge and knows what to do. He attempts to kill ionuin and the baby merrium, but Lusna Gloine helps Sigurt and the child escape from the city. The erlking the uses ionuin in a sacrifice that awakens the undead in the city and so produces the fall.
merrium closes the book.
They go upstairs and find the next branch.
the branch is there and as they take it, the birds fly off southward around a strange building.
Tiranda says it is the observatory, where the elf crones make their prophecies.
they deciede to feather fall out the window then go back to the courtyard.
they travel to the palace and merrium attaches the branch.
Ranita can tell the tree is healing.
Merrium notes that he would like to see the king's room, but Tiranda won't allow it.
Sangar heads back to the forge. Ranita changes into a bird and explores.
Merrium suggests that he and Tiranda go and find Ranita before she commits a crime and they find her just outside the king's door.
They all head back to the forge.
The next day, Leo, Ranita and Merrium decide to go hunting, and make their way to moonsong palace to see the king's room.
Ranita flies in from the outside and unlocks the door. There is an odd iron bound chest in the middle of the floor and merrium casts knock to open it. Inside there is a glass decanter with black liqid inside. They speculate what it is. Ranita says it is foul fey bile.
Merrium reads the king's journal and it says the king wasn't going to the Iele to seek their wisdom, but rather to bed them and create an heir.
Merrium "resets" the room and they back out with a sample of the black bile in a crystal decanter that ranita keeps.
Meanwhile, as the others are at the palace, Tiranda surprises Sangar with her demand to know why he left the baths. Sangar asks why she is hung up on the question. Tiranda explains her fiancee broke the engagement while she was going through the gate and she swore never to let a male control her destiny. SHe had never been defeated by a male until Sangar and his refusal to ask a simple question is another form of him controlling her.
Sangar insists that him defeating her was luck. Tiranda counters that luck is a human concept.
Sangar decieds to prove it with a duel, which Tiranda accepts and both go all out around the forge battling each other, but Sangar remains the victor.
The others walk in to see Sangar holding a blade at Tiranda's neck as she is kneeling before him.
In humiliation, she teleports away.
Ranita is mad at sangar.
Sangar explains to the others what happened. Leo tries not to laugh.
Ranita goes to find her and does so at Tiranda's old house.
They return but are silent.
The next few days go by as Sangar completes the blades and other items.
They then go onward to the observatory.
Once inside, they find a large non-functional clock.
As they look at it, the world strangely "shifts" then settles.
Ranita notices it is not morning anymore, but evening.

Leo asks Tiranda if she knows whats going on, but she admits that even she is unaware of the mysteries of this tower.
They find a portcullis, immovable and three levers beside.
Leo and Merrium both manage to brute force the levers into position and the tower begins spurting and clicking to life. The gate goes up and the pendulum begins to swing.
They go up stairs. Ranita and Sangar hear voices ahead in elven wondering why the tower has sprung to life and whether they should tell the "queens".
They enter the room and see three elf crones, who begin to attempt to spell them.
Sangar rushes in and sees that they are in fact undead elves.
The party trounces them in short order and continue up to the orrery. There amidst the flying spheres and arms, is the last branch.
Leo picks it up and they make for Moonsong Palace fighting bavan-shee all the way.
They get to the throne room and Merrium places the last branch and words the needed spells to bring down the city wards.
All of the outputted energy creates a momentary break in the planar curtain between Aednas and the astral plane. The party could hear the three Queens ask themselves if the mortal know what they were truly accomplishing. They say it doesn't matter now, fate is now in their hands. The prophecy is about to be completed.
When the break heals itself, the party knows the elves are moving into the palace.
Merrium sits on the throne and waits for elegast.
Tiranda makes a split descision and stands with the rest of them.
Elegast and his court walk into the room, but stop, surprised.
Merrium demands to know his place in the society and questions his betrothal.
Elegast takes off his mithral mask and asks if Merrium is planning on warring with the whole kingdom.
The head of the Grianchloch Clan demands to know what Merrium thinks he is doing, but is interrupted by Merrium ordering him to be silent.
Elegast asks Merrium why his is in the throne.
Merrium states he is just a man in a chair.
Elegast tells him that because he cannot see the symbolism here, he is not worthy of that throne.
Elegast begins to place his mask back on his face, but merrium magically slaps it out of his hands.
Elegast breathes under his breath "Bás Do Ár Namhaid" and throws a gout of elf-fire at Merrium.
Swords are drawn. Leo steps in front of the throne with his father's longsword and shouts "Elegast is mine!"
Merrium says through his injury "I need him alive."
All hell breaks loose.

The battle goes on.
Merrium uses the Mythal through the tree to his advatage. He sends away the Lorekeeper.
The Lorekeeper says "If you find yourself victorious, seek me out in Ionad Tur." and he disappears.
Luna Gloine begs his great-niece Tiranda to reconsider.
Sangar and General Lusna Gloine duel.
Leonid falls to one of the White Lotus Guard, but Sangar revives him.
Merrium orders a stand-down.
The battle ceases.
Elegast notes that Merrium is still outnumbered 3 to 1.
Merrium and Elegast argue.
Elegast says "A lion with a broken leg cannot hunt"
Leonid agrees with this and therefore says the elves are useless.
Merrium agrees and vows that he will continue his claim as heir and he uses the tree to teleport out to the western gate of the city.
While outside, they begin to talk where to go with Leo wanting to head north west and speak with the Baelnorns. Sangar wishes to finish with the quest against Praavda.
A rustle in the bushes and a figure steps out.
It is Mor Sleatroda, Tiranda's father.
He approaches the group, telling them he figured they would escape to this place. "I don't know if this is wise, but I trust in my daughter" he gives Merrium the true Mithral Crown, a replica being used currently by Elegast. He asks Tiranda to reconsider her choice, but she says she has chosen her path.
He wishes them luck and he leaves to the city.
They walk south-east for some time. Leo continues to talk about how he is fine if all the elves die in their own political chaos. Tiranda stays behind, but Ranita notices she is lagging. She tries to cheer her up and they are joined by Merrium who thanks her for her allegence especially given the treachery of her kin.
He continues to appreciate her presence, while subtly insulting her people. Tiranda suddenly grabs Merrium and plants him to the ground in a fury, yelling "Help me fin my brother" over and over. Ranita pushes Tiranda off and Tiranda asks why Merrium didn't help her when he was on the ground, was it because he was immobile and unable to even help himself?
Leo asks if he should consider this one their enemy as well.
Tiranda huffs off, but Merrium, sore from her trouncing him, casts a Grease spell to make her slip.
This angers her and she heads back toward him, fists clenched.
Sangar breaks them up. Tiranda leave again. Ranita as well, wild shapes to a bird and flies off.
They make camp later, without Tiranda returning. Sangar takes third watch.
Tiranda approaches him at night and tells him she is leaving the group and she wants him to come with her. He attempts to get her to change her mind and says he is with them for good. He finally admits why he left the bath that day and that he is at the mercy of her beauty and grace.
Sangar kisses Tiranda and they spend the night together.
Tiranda gone in the morning, they continue east through the forest and through the Highlands until they spot several spires of black smoke coming over the hills.
When they crest the hill they see the enormous city of Zuffels and the siege camps around it, causing the smoke from their fires. The armies have the colors and symbols of the Church of Ornus. Their quest to free the wills of the people have worked!

Honor and the Wolf

As the group walked down to the army, they are spotted.
A team of soldier asks them to identify themselves. They do so and ask of the army.
The lead soldier, Viktor, tells them it is an army lead by Father Myra and awaiting the arrival of General Antonov.
The group asks to see Father Myra. Viktor says he will ask, but doubts they will get an audience.
Viktor takes them into the camp and they see starving men praying and a pile of dead growing larger. Flies and sickness.
Sangar asks of the situation with a soldier.
He says the have been here for about one and a half weeks. Food is running low. Zuffels is a fortress city and their walls are thick.
Ranita spots guards on the walls that are not human.
The soldiers say the city has hired the Spine in Fist orcs as mercenaries.
Viktor returns and bids the group to follow him to Myra's tent.
They arrive at the command tent, decked out in Ornus's symbols. Myra exits the tent to greet them. He lets them know he assembled this group on their example and is happy to see them alive.
Sasha walks up and offers water to the group.
Leonid asks why Sasha is here. As war is no place for children.
Sasha is sad and leaves. Rani follows.
Myra tells him that it is unfortunate that conflict is part of the world, but Ornus demands that his clergy know the ways of war. Sasha has begun to hear the whispers of the stones.
Myra tells them that a part of the army traveled to the geyser and found to praavda guards or anything. THe ground is silent and nothing is there. Rumor has in that Burchard the Wolf has trapped Dreki, the spirit, in a jar that he keeps in his castle.
He also tells them that Ornus has saw fit to send them a boon last night.
They go in the tent and they see Pasha and Vanya.
Pasha says "These are the bogatyrs? They look more like haggrmen."
It is said that the two duchesses snuck out of the city to help.
Vanya says it was because they could no longer take the bad thing their father was doing.
Pasha rolls her eyes.
Burchard has dissolved the Silver Hands and has prevented any ship for landing in Sachrunin harbors, cutting off the land from the outside.
The duchesses say they have a secret entrance into the city that leads into a safe house with loyal mercenaries hired by them, lead by a man named Alexei Skulsky. Also there is a secret way into the castle, but it requires the cover of darkness.
Sangar asks where the jar is kept with Dreki in it.
Pasha says the vault and she has a key which she hesitate in giving but, she decieds she doesn't want to come and hands it to Sangar.
Leonid and Merrium talk about taking out the gate guard and doing a frontal assault. Also talk of guerilla warfare in the city.
Eventually they say they will sneak into the city and Myra brings in Viktor, a former leuitenant of the city, who can lead them to where it is.
Viktor leads them and shows them the general location in the wall "Somewhere around here."
Leo finds it.
The go through the tunnel, Sangar casting light and Viktor surprising at his gift.
Sangar says it nothing compared to merrium. Merrium Harrumphs.
They come up into the safe house and the mercs help them up. The merc say they are there to do what needs to be done. All eight of them.
Sangar counts seven and asks of their leader.
A dark figure approaches from a dark hallway, light glinting off his Zolmir blade. An unpleasant fellow.
He says Sangar has the yellow hair of a Zolmir. Sangar agrees to this.
Alexei says he is surprised that any Zolmirs are left walking the world. They are usually held prisoner in the mountain, or hunted down and killed.
They begin to talk of strategery. Orcs and haggrmen and guard roam the town. Crime is up and gangs own the streets.
Alexei mentions a dance troupe coming to the castle in two days.
The group talks of way they can use this.
Sangar asks how he knows. Alexei says there are fliers, he can go get one. Does Sangar wish to join? Yes. And merrium too.
They leave and walk down the allys.
Sangar asks where he got his Zolmir blade. Alexei won it in a duel with a woman who murdered his brother, Kolburn.
Sangar gives his condolences and wonder how she then got the sword.
Alexei says it was hers to begin with. Her name was Alis Zolmir.
Sangar thinks there is a reason why she killed his brother.
Alexei says the only reason was because of their father, Sebastion Crull.
Alexei pulls his sword. Merrium threatens with fire and claws to put it away this is not the time.
Sangar agrees. Any quarrel he may have can be done after this engagement.
Alexei points to an island in the lake next to them. On that island they will duel. Sangar agrees.
They hear a orc cry and they hurry back.
As the mercs and leo play dice. Ranita hears something and attempts to shush the men. THey ignore her. Leo perks up.
Rani back into a corner and readies. Leo also subtly readies.
Rani sees shadows flit and says. "Orcs". The mercs look up and one asks "Where is Viktor?"
Orcs burst into the room and begin fighting. The group tries to fight off the large orcs.
Sangar, Merrium and Alexei arrive soon after and fight as well. Merrium uses burning hands and accidently sets the room on fire.
They defeat orcs and Alexei leads them to another place to stay. Only three mercs left plus Alexei.
They catch their breath. Alexei shows them the dancer flier as well as a cloth map, provided by Sir Lord Agonduke. They react to that name and ask where he is. Alexei says he should be at the siege camp.
He shows them the secret entrance. Alexei volunteers to serve as a diverstion by going in through the front.
Ranita asks if they can all swim?

Two days later, they swim across the lake to the island where Solvslott lie.
They reach the shore and see the soft orange glow of the fires set by the mercs.
Ranita finds the secret entrance and they go inside.
They find themselves in the dungeons and come across a grizzled man in a cell.
He asks if they have run out of orcs, but they reply that they are here to fight the duke.
Ranita flies in the cell through the bars. Sangar opens the cell with the key.
The man asks Ranita if she belongs to the witch, ranita says she belongs to no one.
The man says if they are here to kill the duke, here he is. Revealing himself as Burchard.
Burchard tells that the witch, Hella, lead him to release the orcs on the land and capture the fire spirit, Dreki, but when he grew weary of her schemes, she through him in here and set up her marionette as his replacement.
Burchard lead them down the lesser corridors, away from any guards, to the treasure room. Ranita sees a great golden cup and a clay jar behind it. She picks up the clay jar and shows it to Merri. He sees that the jar is powerful magic in Abjuration and has a symbol on its cap meaning "E", but with a modifier that he does not know.
They go to the Duke's old room, still used by his marionette and they clean him up.
They decide to go to Hella to open the jar.
The Main Hall is where Hella, her marionette, Viktor (dressed as a general) and a mysterious large black cat watch the company of dancers.
The true Burchard walks into the hall brazenly with grosh-mog and a boar-shaped Ranita at his sides and demands his rightful place.
Hella muses that he must have crept from his cage, but the cat speaks to tell her to beware the boars. Hella recognises Ranita.
Leonid jumps down from the balcony, Ranita summons hyenas, Merrium comes in blazing with fire and Sangar enters the opposite side, steel in hand.
The marionette creates three copies of itself. Hella forces the band to continue playing in a horrid tune. The cat wishes Hella luck and he will report to Father Woland.
Leonid defeats Viktor. The Marionettes are defeated.
Hella looks at everyone at once and temps them with their greatest desires. Everyone holds fast and forces Hella out. She leaves the words "All hearts are ruled by desire. It will one day burn more than you can stand."
The last marionette is finished by Burchard.
Ranita changes back to her human form and takes out the jar. It trembles slightly with the last notes the musicians play. Sangar notices that it reacts to a single note, E♭. He sings it and shatters the jar.
A fire serpent springs out and riccochets about the room, creates a fire tornado in front of them and the forms a fire giant, Dreki.
He tells them they have awoken the fire of leadership in the hearts of men. There are two more spirits, Water and Earth.
He gives them the Kyrkogrim Candle, the dwelling of his greatest servant, as a thank you for freeing him. He then fire serpent's away.
The castle guards rush in, but are cowed by Burchard.
Burchard orders the orcs be banished and the siege army brought in. The four adventurers are now heroes.
Merrium is offered a position as War General of Zuffels. He considers.
Sangar leaves to face Alexei on Blood Island.
Ranita explores the city.
Leonid drinks.
Merrium, as he campaigns, has an attack. His insides are on fire. He excuses himself and agnoizes in a private room.
As he is recovering, a voice tells him "Its getting worse isnt it?" Merrium looks and it is Agonduke.
Merrium says that he is well informed and can handle this situation.
Agonduke says. "Without my guidance, in less than one month you will be consumed by your fire."

O Royal Piece, There's Magic in Thy Majesty

The Chain of Torment pt. 1: Visions of Living Water

Sangar meets Alexei on Bloody Island.
Ranita secretly follows him as a hawk.
Alexei is waiting and a female figure stands in the background, Alexei's mother.
Alexei asks if Sangar has any grievences or requests.
Sangar's only grievance is the duel itself.
The duel is waged with Sangar the victor.
Alexei, dying, lifts his sword to give to Sangar.
However Sangar heals Alexei and leaves him his sword. "Rebuild your own honor"
Alexei - "Truly you are a crueler man than I."
Agonduke claps to Sangar's victory and tells Sangar that Merrium is ill and will die soon unless Sangar can convince him to meet at the slopes of Mount Uchast.
Agonduke leaves and Sangar and Ranita go back to the castle.
Ranita finds merrium and tries to convince him to cure himself.
The next day Ranita is on a tower and is found by Leo.
Sangar in the kitchen receives an invitation to a party in their honor two days henceforth.
They all meet up and decide to leave for the mountain upon merrium hearing that it lies in the south-east. Merrium speak with his lieutenant commander and tells them to wait a week and then head along the highway south to Dammburg.
Merrium takes four Krins and they head south along the highway for a day and then turn east across the highlands.
That night they are ambushed by dwarves in black.
Then the commander of the dwarves recognises Merrium and takes off his mask. It is Nullang Tempel from the Temple of Truth.
Nullang tells them he will release them, but warns them to stay away from the Clanholds. They fade away.

The next morning they find wyverns flying over a valley and Sangar hears screams from below.
He rides down on his krin and attempts to engage a wyvern, before one swoops down and plucks him from his mount.
The rest rush in and fight the wyverns, who were taking out a convoy of dwarves, women and children.
Rowt is seen fighting wyverns. And Bianca as well.
Sangar crashes his wyvern and defeats it. The wyverns are defeated.
Merrium has another attack.
Rowt is badly wounded. Sangar sees its bad and has rani delay his poison.
Bianca introduces herself and tells their story.
The group deciedes to join them to Deepwater Chasm as it is not far off.
She finishes her story. Rowt apologises to Leo for knocking him out last night.
That night Bianca talks to Merrium and notices he is suffering. She deduces his heredity and offers to rip it out of him. He declines.
They reach the Chasm and merrium is feeling worse.
Bianca returns from deep within and Rowt is still injured, but will live. Bianca needs the water returned to the holy fountain in the Deidelstein Clanhold.
They decide to split, Rani and Merrium to go to Mt Uchast, Sangar and Leo to go with Bianca.

As Merrium and Rani head further up the mountains, Merrium gets weaker and weaker. He also begins to catch fire. Rani spells herself and carries merri up the slopes.
Through the blizzard they can see a huge opening into the mountain in the shape of a dragon couchant. There they find Agonduke.
Also there is a large glowing magic circle of runes on the flat ground between the dragon's arms.
He yells to rani to place merri on the magic circle. SHe does so and steps away.
Agonduke begins to speak in merri's mind and tells him to release his fire.
Merri explodes in flame and screams in intensity.
Agonduke them tells him a word will appear in his mind. He must shout that word.
Merri's mind does soon form a word and he announces it and explodes again, but then the fire quickly goes out and leaves merri smoldering.
Agonduke grins, steps into the circle and says an incantation, creating a chain between him and merri.
However, rani also has a chain to agonduke's surprise.
Agonduke tells merri this is known as the chain of torment and he is in full control of the half-elf.
"It is the same chain that your master had for so many years around my necks. And now, I want my mountain back!"
Agonduke had freed the draconians from their slumber and wants merrium to march them on Mt. Silene. In order to test merri's loyalty and effectivness he first wants him to march on the town of Dammburg and kill every living thing inside its walls.
Merrium looks to agonduke and says "Where's my army?"

Sangar, Leo and Bianca come to an ancient dwarven bridge over a gully. Leo notices movement behind some rocks.
Sangar and Bianca begin to move across the bridge.
Sangar smells something Bianca says it reminds her of lamp shops.
Sangar says "Oil?"
Two kapak draconians come out and fire flaming arrows over Sangar and bianca and the bridge catches fire.
More come out behind the rocks leo was near.
Leo slays one and it melts into acid.
Bianca warns not to kill them on the bridge.
Sangar and Bianca start pushing the kapaks back onto land.
Leo kills the rest and rushes through the fire and kocks a kapak back onto the ground and kills it.
Later, the three come across the Dreidelstein Clanhold.
There they meet with Nullang. The water must find the fountain. Sangar decides to do a frontal assault and the Dragonblades will sneak in and take them by surprise. Nullag tells them to beware the silver draconians.
Leo, Sangar and Bianca sneak their way in due to a secret entrance and find Vankar commanding draconians They defeat the first line of Bazaks, but more kapaks show and Leo fights a silver Sivak. Bianca is grabbed by Vankar and can't make it to the fountain, so she throws the jug to Leo
Sangar frees Bianca from Vankar and tells him to "keep his hands off her, fiend!"
Vankar says "Fiend? Let me show you how fiendish I can be!"
He turns into a large fang dragon.
Leo passes the Sivak and pour the water in the fountain.
The water rises to become the Greiswassern and he defeats all the draconians in the clanhold. The dragon is also washed away.
Greiswassern returns and gives a necklace he found on the dragon to sangar. He notes that it may turn the wearer into the image of a dwarf.
Greiswassern tells them they must free his father, Bergrisi.
Also he feels a bad fate about his cousin, Ranita. He becons them to the fountain and flows into it.
There they see images of Rani and Merrium chained to Agonduke. The future of them burning Dammburg and then burning the rest of Rothirschtal.
Bianca says she had a feeling that Agonduke was really the three headed red, Tugarin Zmeja. And it seems merrium fell into his trap. She was hoping he would refuse him.
She tells them there is a blade that was made to specifically kill this dragon, but it lies in Dammburg.
Sangar says they should waste no time.

The Chain of Torment pt. 2: Battle of Three Dragons

As more dwarven clanholds come together to form an army, Sangar begins training them in anti-Praavda tactics.
Leo uses the necklace given by Greiswassern to change into a dwarf and head to the town of Dammburg.
He uses his disguise to claim that an army of draconians are on their way and he must see the Shepherd.
The gate guards take him to see Shepherd Bremer and his Lash.
Leo notices the devas.
Leo tells them about the army. The shepherd is doubtful, but willing to investigate. Leo notices the Lash seems strong and unafraid.
They leave Leo in the room where he finds an open letter with the same seal on his father's shield. The letter is signed by Lorenzo il'Comelli and says he thanks the order for their contributions and awaits Father Woland to visit with his gift.
Merrium and Ranita are shown their army and Merrium begins to strategize and keep Tugarin's focus off of Ranita.
He makes the Kapaks head straight for the town, but takes the rest of his army and heads south, then west to take the town from underneath.
Merrium also kills a Sivak to take his form and sent it to the town.
Merrium sends Ranita "off with the kapaks" but unknown to Tugarin, sends to to deliver a message to Sangar.
Sangar builds his dwarven army and heads toward the town, having the dwarves build booby traps along the way.
When the Kapaks fall into the first trap at the meeting of two rivers, Ranita flies off to Sangar.
She tells him the army comes from the south. Sangar reroutes hi dwarves to compensate.
Bianca asks Rani if there is a totem or other item Tugarin wears that would be the physical representation of the Chain of torment. Ranita says she will look for it.
At the town, the Shepherd and his lash come back into the room and they begin to draw up battle plans. Leo says dwarves are coming to back them up and the same with Zuffels.
Soon the dwarves come and they dig ditches.
Sangar speaks with Leo and they wonder about getting the help of the devas.
Sangar goes to speak with their high priest. He recognises him as a Zolmir and takes him to Golina.
She tells him its good to see him and she takes him to her house and unrolls a rug to show him Dragoncarver. She also shows him his cousin, her son Alric.
She has been hiding among the Devas, using her golden hair as a disguise.
He wishes to give Alric his black greatsword, though Golina refuses.
Alric however, chases him out of the house and accepts the sword.
Sangar recieves word that Merrium has been found, dead.
They find his body on a wagon. Sangar is confused, but Leo thinks it is a ruse.
Sangar finds a note inside the folds of clothes. It is from Merrium, alive, who warns them against arial attacks.

To the South, the draconians arrive.
Battle lines are drawn.
Battle ensues.
Lightning rains from Rani.
Rani and Merri (disguised) fly over the battle.
Merrium calls out Sangar to battle, and Tugarin lands too.
Merrium can tell that it is Tugarin's words that are commanding him and so he takes two daggers and punctures his eardrums with the blades, falling to the floor.
They fight Tugarin, but he seems to hold them off.
Leo however, is able to pounce him and snatch away the gold chain around his neck.
Bianca tells him to throw it to Merrium.
Leo does so and Merrium is transformed into a gold dragon.
Tugarin changes as well.
and so does Bianca!
Sangar uses dragoncarver to stab the three headed dragon. Tugarin bits him, throws him off, but sangar leaps from a building right back on.
Tugarin takes off and sangar with him Merrium and Bianca follow. Tugarin tries to burn rani and leo below, but sangar leaps and blocks the breath with dragoncarver and lands in some bushes.
Leo and Rani fight off draconians.
Merrium manages to grapple Tugarin in flight and they tumble down and smash into the ground.
Tugarin is dead. Merrium is naked and dazed. The Zuffels army is here and the draconians are routed.
The forces of the Order of Praavda are also double-crossed and taken down, only a couple dozen remain in the Shepherd's manorhouse.
As merrium is taken away by Rani, Leo mentions "Sigurt is here."

Shadows of the Past

Merrium attempts to turn himself in to Sangar as a prisoner of war, but Sangar hand waves it away and gets him some clothes.
Leo asks Father Myra about the army. He told Leo he'd hoped Leo would lead it.
Merrium asks Bianca to help them with Sigurt, but she says she can't interfear with father-son business. He huffs away.
Leo also asks Bianca questions about the Order of the Firebringer. Their fathers were former members, the order was founded by Bianca and Anton. Other members include Father Myra, Vordenker and Shauna. Another man joined a couple weeks ago.
The prophecy came from a draconian tomb, but was only the first part. She found it some hundreds of years ago. The second half was found in the Lake Cave and was translated and given to Anton to help.
She tells him she doesn't know what happened to the group when she was gone, but one of the last things Anton did was visit Father Myra.
Bianca also says she wished to join the group as an aid to Merrium.
She goes and tells Merrium of this, but he is less than enthusiastic.
They decide to pull out a few enlightened from the house and try to remove their stones. The first died, but as Sangar, Merri and Rani bounce ideas off eachother, they determine that a magic circle would do.
Merri waits for dark and lights the candle of the kyrkogrim.
They remove the stone and that man lives, but holds no memory of his time as an enlightened.
The next day, they go in to get the rest. Merrium takes down Sigurt and the Shepherd is taken as well.
Ranita tortures the Shepherd as she realizes she hates him for his evil, though Merri calms her down. He tells her about the infrastructure of the order and the devil, Azazello, who protects this town. He was one of the devils that killed Anton.
She lets him go, injured and with water and bread, though she hopes he does not get far.
They also remove Sigurt's stone and when he figures out what is going on he shows no happiness to see Rani and wishes to leave the town. Rani points out Merrium, but registers nothing more than a pause and a look back. He leaves the tent is his impassion.
Merrium tries to follow, but loses his trail.
Together, the party has a pow-wow to compare notes and decide what to do next. They will go to the waterfall and face Azazello.
Golina stops Sangar and asks him about Sigurt. When he tells her he is gone, she sighs in relief and asks if he asked about anyone. He says no and she runs off to Sangar's confusion.
Together they head for the Waterfall.

They arrive to find a dry pond and dry waterfall. There are two praadva corpses and krin corpses nearby.
They begin to search when they hear rocks being thrown and they see the red headed, fanged Azazello.
Sangar demands that he explain himself.
Azazello, unconcerned, seemed to be looking at rocks on the ground and stood up, flourished his cape and introduced himself with a bow. He says that he is a messenger and cannot be harmed.
Merrium exclaims his name.
Azazello looks at Rani and says she is a pretty girl, but she could be beautiful. He tells her he likes these stones, because of their potential for worth in the right eyes.
Merrium breaks them apart.
Azazello says if they are tired of games, might he suggest a game?
Sangar tries to attack the devil, but finds when he tries, the action is erased.
The devil says the game may only be played by the best among them. And they must step forward.
After deliberation, Merrium steps forward.
All the characters face a question of if Merrium truly is better than them. Sangar tries to force out the thoughts. Leo is impassive. Ranita acknowledges Merrium's superiority and Merrium is assured he is the best man for this game.
As Merrium steps forward. Azazello shakes his head and says "Better luck next time." He bows and flits away.
Merrium sits and meditates.
Sangar explores and Leo sees something sparkling off in the lake bed. A strange rock. Merrium looks at it but can descern nothing.
Ranita finds a tin of cream on a rock and applies the cream on her eyelids.
She comes to see the rock and everyone looks at her with looks. Sangar says he has to leave for a moment.
Ranita takes the rock and breaks away the outer shell and finds quartz inside. Merrium cannot see crystal, but dull rock instead.
Rani takes the crystal to the small pool and rests it in. The pool explodes with water as the waterfall and pool reform. Bergrisi the giant picks up Rani in his hand and thanks her as his great-granddaughter. Her mother is proud of her. He assures them there is one last spirit. He gives them a leather satchel as his thanks and falls back into the pool.
They find the satchel full of apples and when the seeds are thrown on the ground, an apple tree springs.
Sangar begins to question the Devils' motives and considers they might be letting them win.
They go back to Dammburg, where Ranita finds all the men are staring at her. She and Merrium run off.
Sangar goes to have a talk with Golina.
Leo gathers the grown ups and discusses the inner workings of the Order of Praavda.
Sangar gets Golina drunk and she tells him the story of her knowledge of the after math of their fathers' adventures. Including when Sigurt came back her fathered her child, Alric. Thats when she moved to this town.
Sangar goes off to find Merrium and Ranita and drunkenly tells him they are related… maybe.
Merrium and Ranita run off again and leave Sangar to sleep on the roof.
The next morning they get ready to move out by krin and head north to Grosseben Wood where Ranita is happy and at home.
During the night there, Sangar takes Leo to go "fishing" and Bianca joins them.
Ranita and Merrium talk and he expresses his love for her.
She takes a lock of each of their hair and entwines it with the other. Binding them.
The next day they arrive at Ackerburg and are greeted by Sangar the Maimed.

I Have Cause, and Will, and Strength, and Means

A Stone Unturned

They go to the cave and Bianca uses her fire to show them the prophecy. Sangar imagines the 'healing fire' could refer to the Eternal Phoenix.
Leo begins packing a Krin to go back to Dammburg to find out why Anton went to the Temple of Eight, but Sangar the Maimed tells him he went there because of his daughter, Sasha.
They decide to spend the night in Ackerburg and head out in the morning.
The next day they come across a small thorp, Ortsa, where several enlightened were capturing villagers and they saw a woman fighting them.
Also in the midst, was a cougar tied to a wagon.
They stormed down, Rani changing into an avatar of Father Zaghnol.
They defeated the enlightened with Sangar and the woman working back to back.
She introduced herself as Karella and she stole a gold chalice from the enlightened, ran from Ulme, though she lost them and went to this village for rest and water. They followed her here. She would be dead if it wasn't for this cat (she pets).
Leonid says that this cat is known to him and her name is Malina.
Karella tells them about the Elder Stone and where it is located from Ulme. SHe also tells them about Behemoth, the devil of Ulme. She has never seen him but they say he is a genius and challenges others to games of chess to the death.
Karella joins them on their journey back toward Ulme. Bianca doesnt seem to like her much.
When it comes in sight during the night, she bids them goodbye.
They head on and find an encampment of Enlightened.
Leo goes in to investigate.
Merrium and Sangar make themselves invisible and go into the center to find that the rock is not there. Sangar says he wants to check out the command tent and asks Merry for a distraction.
Leo plans how to investigate this encampment when several explosions ring out. Leo is annoyed. He leaves for Ulme with Malina.
Sangar kidnaps the commander and brings him back and they dig out his ica stone.
Sangar found several schematics while in the tent and shows them to Merrium. They are plans for moving the Elder Stone.
They decide to camp out and head into town in the morning.
Leo, however, sneaks into town and begins silently flitting about to investigate. He feels like hes being watched and hears someone drop down behind him. He asks "So, how do you get into the town without going through the river?" Karella replies "You know which planks in the wall are fake."
Karella takes him to a safe house beneith a tailor's shop. There she introduces Pockets and Fast Cat and the others. She tells him she heard from her sources that the Elder Stone has been moved south east to another kingdom. And also the leader of the devils is joining it on its trip, Father Woland.
Leo and Karella drink and talk the rest of the night.

Merrium, Ranita, Bianca and Sangar awake. Sangar sees the enlightened camp is sending out search parties and he suggests they move along.
They wonder where Leo is. Rani insists that he will catch up with them.
Leo wakes up and Karella helps him out of the city through a fake section of outer wall. She wishes him a safe journey. He moves south into the mountains, hoping to cut off the Praavda caravan.
He comes across a tribe of Kobolds and avoids them.
During his night in the mountains, his camp fire takes on the shape of Bianca and she asks where he is. He tells her that he will meet up on the road. Bianca dislikes the ambiguity, but accepts his word.
Meanwhile, Sangar, Rani, Merri and Bianca find several trashed merchants carts along the road and a sacked village with no signs of bodies.
Sangar decided to keep heading on and he found Bianca standing in front of a fire as she kicks dirt over it, putting it out. "I know where Leo is" she says.
Leo comes out of the mountains and journeys to Evandra.
As he comes over a small ridge, he saw the Praavda caravan with a company of 200 soldiers and slaves, entering the city. On a large wheeled platform, the Elder Stone was kept roped down.
Leo went into the city and saw that the procession was headed up the hill to the city's castle.
He began to explore the city.
As he did so he saw down an ally a number of black-clothed scoundrels giving chase to a young woman. He considered helping, but decided that he had more pressing matters.
Rani, Sangar, Merri and Bianca a day later came to the city and found Leo sitting under a tree with a flat cap and sipping coffee.
He lets them in on what he has learned. Sangar noticed that the city's banners shared the same seal as Anton's shield on Leo's back.
They went in and procured a room at the Blue Water Inn and ate a meal.
A local merchant overheard their conversation about Archduke il'Comelli and voice his disapproval of his practices. His raising of taxes and throwing any dissenters into the gaol. Sangar appreciated his insiders look, bought him an ale and told him about the evil Order of Praavda and told him to spread the word.
A city guard soon walked into the room and nailed a Reward notice on a bulletin board.
Rani and Sangar looked at it to see it was for the missing Countess Jelena il'Maji who went missing the day before.
Leo says that he saw this girl running from a group of scoundrels in some allies yesterday.
Sangar is eager to help and sees this as an in to the castle.
They head down to the docks and find an area of allies marked by symbols of a pair of crossed swords.
As they head in all the locals begin staring at them. Soon a greasy balding man asks them if their lost. Sangar uses his bardic gifts to fascinate the man and get him to answer his questions.
They man uses double speak, but lets known that they have the countess and will be willing to let her go for 200 gil.
Sangar asks to be brought to her and the man agrees to the shock of his allies. They take the group to a tavern with no door, but merely a crack in the wall.
A large scarred man stands up as they enter and demand from his second what he was thinking. Sangar attempts to sweet talk him, but the leader has none of it, so Sangar punches him in the face.
Rani summons vines from the ground which grab all of the tavern goers.
Their foes dispatched quickly, Merrium goes to the back room and finds the Countess there, unrestrained but frightened. He bows to her and offers her to be taken to somewhere safe.
They leave the area and back to the main streets, where Countess il'Maji tells them she needs to go see Captain Antilli. It was where she was headed when she was accosted by those ruffians.
She tells them of the frightening men in black in the castle and that she has been having strange visions of a monstrous black cat roaming the halls.
They take her to the guard tower and the captain, also her cousin, is happy to see her safe. He offers food and reward to the group. They tell him about their journeys, after making sure he hasn't been compromised by the Order.
He tells them he can help them out short of him rebelling against the Duchy. He shows them a map of Castle Orsebrun and Countess il'Maji shows them the location of a secret entrance and how to access it.
The Captain says that the only room he can think of to house a boulder of that size is the famous Ballroom of Castle Orsebrun.
They decide to stay at the tower for the night and set out tomorrow.

The Chessmaster

The group goes to the secret entrance of Castle Orsebrun.
They enter in a supply room and suppress the old servant cleaning.
Rani notices a portrait on the wall of a younger Anton and a beautiful woman.
Sangar reads the plaque; Antoni il'Berzanti and the Lady Martha.
Leo wishes to hurry along.
They go into the halls of the castle and fight enlightened.
The fight alerts the castle and the group rushes to the ballroom
There they find the ballroom is a giant chess board and the Elder Stone is held by eldritch chains high above.
They hear a voice booming in the room. "I knew you were coming, but was simply unsure as the method. Humans are so unpredictable."
The voice is coming from a large black cat from the balcony. He introduces himself as Behemoth.
He tells them they have come without proper knowledge of the situation and cannot hope to win. Their downfall was their ignorance.
However, he is willing to play them for the stone; a game of chess to the death.
They do so and win.
Behemoth, upset at the loss, states that since he cannot die, he will simply become dormant for 5 years.
He teleports away but not before dropping the longsword he was using to direst his chess pieces.
Sangar picks up the blade and throws it into the stone, shattering the rock.
Out of the rock, the bull Grithungar appears and changes into a large giant. He awards them with the sword, named Earth's Heart. It is sharp enough to cut through the hardest stone.
With that, the doors burst open with the Duke il'Comelli leading the enlightnened troops and attempts to arrest the group.
Merrium, flying overhead, breathes fire on the enlightened, scarring the nobles off to one side.
The group fights their way out of the castle and sneaks back to the guard tower.
There they rest for the night and Sangar tells Countess il'Maji what happened.
He asks her about the portrait of Duke il'Berzanti and she tells him that the Duke was exiled with his son, Leonardo.
The next day, the group headed back to Rothirschtal and heard from the townsfolk of Ulme that a large force is gathering near the ruins of Ackerburg.
They travel there to see the Alliance of Free Men and reunite with Sangar the Maimed, Father Myra and little Sasha.

Woland and the Sins of the Father

The group walks around the camp and meet with the soldiers.
They are in awe at Merrium.
Rani duels with Sasha and sees that her ability is growing.
Sangar is eager to plan for the assault on the Temple, though drinks throughout the night.
They fall asleep. Sasha curls up with grosh-mog.
Ranita is woken up by Grosh-Mog and finds that the camp has been put to a magical sleep. The only ones unaffected are Rani, Merri, Sangar, Leo and Bianca.
Sasha is missing and bianca says she saw her heading south.
Rani notices a faint glowing red light.
They wake up and head to the south and find what should be the ruins of an old temple, but now rebuilt and glowing with an ominous red glow.
Leo sees Sasha's tracks leading inside.
They go inside and soon find eladrin shieldbearers in the shrine-room. At the command is Elegast, but his face, where is normally disfigured is missing and glowing with a red energy.
Merrium tries to reason with him, but Elegast says how much he hates humans and wishes them all to die.
They fight the eladrin and Elegast fights with Merrium, but Merrium in the fight, forgives his uncle and tells him he loves him. Elegast falls in the battle and whisps away in red, as do the rest of the eladrin.
They next enter the main chapel and find it overrun with haggrmen and an ogre next to the alter. The ogre tells his haggrmen to capture the humans so they may be enslaved.
After they defeat the ogre, the enter the tower where they meet Lord Agonduke.
They hear Sasha's screams coming from above the tower. Rani turns into an air elemental and flies up. Merrium casts fly and carries Sangar.
However, Agonduke changes form into Tugarin Zmeja and flies after them in the tower. Leo grabs onto the dragon has he takes flight and climbs up him to find a loose scale and he plunges a dagger into its heart, making it wisp away in red.
Leo falls, but Bianca catches him in air and flies up. "How did you humans survive so long?"
They arrived at the top of the tower to find Sasha at the feet of a dapper looking man with a cane and spectacles.
"Father Woland, I presume?" asks Sangar.
Woland bows, but a deep ominous voice cuts through the air. "Finish it quickly, Woland. Do as I say."
Woland composes himself and tells them they have been sent on a wild goose chase by the Order.
The spirits are inconsequential and anything they might have learned is now too little, too late. "Behemoth is very disappointed."
You may have grown big enough to pose a threat, but it is now over.
Sangar tries to rush towards him, but Woland sends him flying back without so much as a turn of his head.
The voice once again tells Woland to hurry with his task.
Suddenly, behind the group, Sigurt appears, slightly injured, but determined.
Sigurt is tired of running from his destiny. Tired of not taking responsibility for his deeds. He will fight now to defend his family.
Sigurt rushes forward, but is caught in mid air by an invisible force, but soon the figure materializes into Abadonna, the Devil of Fear. Abadonna removes his cowl, and Sigurt turns to Sangar and tells him to find the last Zolmir blade and asks Merrium for his forgiveness.
Abadonna kills Sigurt and soon fades away.
Sangar in anger throws Dragoncarver at Woland, but it merely turns to vapor at Woland's touch.
Woland tells them they are defeated and sends out a wave of red energy that knocks them back and steals the life from them.
Ranita, barely clinging to life, sees her fairy pipes on the ground in front of her, they must have fallen out.
As the wind blows, the pipes make a faint sound and she smells lemons just before she fades out.

The story continues with A River Without Water: Unification.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License