The Nine Protectors of Prismia

Betarr Neophytos
Fifth Session

The Thirteenth of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

In the fine musings of Muginn of the Warborne…

“We adventured deep into the decaying and vile willow forest, slogging through mud into a cave system, twisting and winding through the trees’ roots. Pits of acid, bones, and decaying animals were everywhere, the smell burning the eyes and nose. Moving carefully and slowly, taking care for sure footing, we used our climbing gear to traverse the underground root system. Then, out of nowhere, Tethras heard his little girl talking to him. He charged toward the sound, looking for his little girl, sure she would be in the chamber just beyond us.

As Tethras moved into the chamber, two doors blocked our way. Old, wet, and decaying wood was splintered apart by myself on the east side of the room and Garrmon burst the door to the west. Once again, the voice came, but this time to Garrmon, speaking in his brother’s voice, shaking him to his core. In a fit to prove his worth he leapt a pit of acid, grabbed a tree root, and crawled to a safe standing spot. He charged across the root, his foot giving way, sending him down to be wedged between root and the mud wall, suspending him above the acid pool hissing below. Tethras and I, hearing the crash, leapt the gap to aid our brother, not knowing what had happened. The dwarf noble called out and said all was fine; by the time we got there, Garrmon was on his feet, but covered in mud. After a few words of inspiration from myself, Garrmon moved again to yet another door blocking the way. Then, we stood suspended over a pool of water. Once again, the voice called out to us, attacking me, calling me “papa” in the voice of children from my village. Enraged by this insult, I wanted to push toward the goal. Garrmon shattered the door leading to the most vile room yet. We then realized that we had left half of the group in the rush to found out more about who was taunting us.

Norsa, Ellie, and Tenten looked into the other room, a massive room with two giant roots forming an “x” in the middle. They studied the room. A grass and leaf floor seemed odd; with the knowledge of the acid pits already laid out all over the floor, they decided to backtrack to find the group. They found us just past a room with a log trap and acid pit. The log, old and withered, having had many travel over it and now slick with mud, Norsa and Ellie slipped and fell into a pool of stagnate water. The voice yelled again, taunting little Ellie this time, speaking like her parents. She was determined to find out what kind of cruel magic this was, so Norsa placed her back upon the log, in a safe place. In the water, she found a strange black stone that had an arcane magic fading away within it, a spell of unknown origin, now gone. Norsa gave the stone to Ellie and hopped up into the opening.

There, we stood in the door way to the largest room. A dead canopy of leaves and withering vines covered the room, just letting in small trickles of the sun’s rays. The entire room was covered in gore, hunks of flesh, blood covered bones, vile piles of human and animal waste, rotting flesh and animal hides. We saw a great shadow over the back of the room. Quickly, I rushed on tree roots to the back of the room where the shadow was with Garrmon, following. Then, as the wing beats of the beast became deafening, it came crashing through the top of the room. The fight was now. We were ready, blades sharp, spells at the ready, and the newfound power of the druid ready to unleash against the beast.

The great beast burst through the woven canopy, the skin melting and falling off of it. A crazy, starving hunger gripped the creature. Feeding was all it knew, all it cared about, and now it had fresh meat on its table. It landing, slinging bone and blood from its feeding pile up into the air. Gold coins could be seen in the mix, now shimmering in the air, pieces that were hidden in the gore of the lair. It twisted back on its rear legs, slime running out of its mouth. A roar came from deep inside its belly, throwing acid, poison, and filth all over Garrmon and I, but we stood firm against it. I dove from the tree branch, taking a mighty swing at the beast. As it lashed out at me in midair, we made contact in the air, trading blow for blow. Garrmon, seeing me make this leap, put all of his faith into his skill. Knowing this was the moment he would prove he was as much of a warrior as his brother, he set himself ready to launch at the beast, but the mud was thick on his boots. He slipped, falling back into the mud below. Then a deafening sound rang through the room as smoke bellowed from Tethras’ weapon. The shot went clear through the creature’s tongue as it recoiled in pain. A blast of pure arcane might struck the creature in the wing, tearing the folds of skin on its thick leathery wings. Ellie, knowing it would be a long fight, cast a spell of mage armor on herself to better steel herself against this blight. Norsa, her long silent companion, jumped down into the blood and much of the floor, little Ellie riding her shoulder. However, Norsa screamed and twisted, her scream becoming a roar and much louder than before. She took on the form of a great tiger of the woods. She took Ellie to a safe spot and sat her on a tree branch before pouncing on the demon’s hind leg, clawing and tearing at it, though its thick skin could not be pierced there."

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She Who Speaks with Squirrels
Fourth Session

The Tenth of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

Having completed their research, the heroes continued to explore Tildad Grove, eager to meet more personalities from Ellie’s upbringing. Unfortunately, upon exiting the library and going their separate ways, bothAmaterasu and Tenten disappeared, called by the Council to other matters. While Ellie made her way to see Clover Hollyglow in the Greenhouse, Tethras stayed behind to speak to Elder Caraway and Holsiln traveled to Tildad Square to meet with Oriole Sunstorm.

Speaking to Elder Caraway ultimately left Tethras with many more questions with answers. The wise, elderly druid spoke words of cryptic knowledge to the confused elf, telling him of his destined future and supposed noble heritage. Confronted by both this prophecy and the bizarre sigil he found, buried in the sand within the Brilliant Isles, Tethras walked away more conflicted than ever. After this encounter, during which he was advised to speak with Marigold about obtaining a hawk, he began to search for the Soldier’s Quarters.

Meanwhile, Ellie and crew made their way to the Greenhouse, where they found Clover Hollyglow and her peculiar plant companion, Chewie. Speaking to Clover did not reveal many more answers, as she had also been barred from studying the plague by Queen Dahlia. The only advice that Clover could give to the heroes was a warning, that they should refrain from drinking or eating within the Deadvale.

Within Tildad Square, Holsiln was unable to locate a tailor, from whom he could procure less conspicuous garments. He did, however, successfully locate Oriole Sunstorm, the cleric who came to occupy the position on the council that once belonged to Ellie’s parents. Though she came across as bizarrely familiar, Holsiln was able to glean some information about Ellie and the plague from her. He was met by Ellie, Muginn, and Norsa during this exchange, as well as Tethras shortly afterward. Before parting, Oriole requested that the group gather the strange, scaly moss that could be found in the Deadvale as a favor to her.

Together, the group again met with Marigold, who was as pleasant as ever before. Striking a deal with Tethras, Marigold promised him an egg to raise if he could bring her beloved Kaleidoscope back to Tildad Grove alive. Unshaken, Tethras agreed, despite Holsiln’s hostile exchange with the flame-haired druid.

Knowing that they would need several days’ portions of fresh water, the group began the arduous search for enough water, having indefinitely lost Tenten’s ability to craft it at will. From the Queen and the Tildad workers, the group procured a decent amount, but still lacked enough to safely travel to the epicenter of the Deadvale. In the Marketplace, Tethras and Norsa successfully bartered with a flock of birds for several pints of water. Holsiln and Garrmon had a bit of luck with a crazed druid merchant named Dirk, who had long ago lost his faith in doing business with “raccoons.” Again, using her knack for communing with nature, Norsa convinced the merchant that she was a herald; with the help of Holsiln, Dirk the Druid traded all of his water skins with the squirrel spirits, messengers of Ratataskr.

On their way out of Tildad Grove, the group also encountered Elm Sunstorm and Poppy Falconmeadow, two more of the Grove’s denizens. Poppy Falconmeadow gifted the group with two scrolls of water creation, penned by herself, in exchange for the collection of rot grubs for her companion, Elwood.

The Eleventh – Thirteenth of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

Travelling long into the night and soon after the dawn, the heroes began the dangerous trek to the Deadvale’s epicenter. Though the trip was largely uneventful, the group did locate a small sampling of the green, scaly “moss” that Oriole requested. However, upon close inspection, Tethras, Norsa, and Ellie found the “moss” to be more like shed, reptilian skin than plant matter.

The journey was not always so mild; along the way, the group was attacked by several swarms of rot grubs. Norsa, Tethras, and Holsiln were swarmed by the tiny maggot-like creatures, thrashing to defeat them before the creatures could burrow too far beneath their flesh. Fortunately, though the encounter featured many close calls, the group suffered no casualties and gathered several dead rot grubs for Poppy, their relationship with her strained in turn.

Finally, in the late afternoon of the thirteenth of Bhalrey, the heroes reached the epicenter of the Deadvale: a circle of weeping willows, their roots jutting above the ground in enormous arcs, creating an intricate tunnel system below the earth. It would be in this place that they would encounter their first terrifying foe…

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Loose Lips
Third Session

The Second – Ninth of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

Having boarded Angus Jack‘s ship, the Ocean’s Dawn, once more, the heroes disembarked, prepared for the seven day journey to Moonforest, the home of both Ellie and Norsa. The journey itself was paired with many revelations and tense moments, most of which ushered about by the consumption of the alcohol aboard the vessel, stockpiled en masse before the journey as a courtesy to the traveling emissaries.

After an afternoon of rest, much needed after the group’s romp across the Brilliant Isles, the group reawakened, most atop the ship’s deck, to the return of Holsiln, fully intact. What ensued was approximately seven days of conversation, the spilling of secrets, and the formation of alliances and what some would dare to call friendships. The group took time to learn as much as they could about Moonforest from both Ellie and Norsa, a conversation that reignited many feelings of doubt and fear within Ellie in particular.

Having imbibed the aforementioned alcohol, Tenten blurted aloud information regarding Garrmon‘s choice of occupation that was never intended to be shared. Fortunately, this revelation brought about both a long, drunken conversation between Garrmon and Holsiln and a heartfelt confession from Tenten, who admitted that she came to the Council an escapee. Having also realized her uncouth dress, Tenten was given two of Mags’ unwanted, fine gowns, an offer that was more of a plea than a kindness. The unlikely allies arrived at a strange camaraderie at the Ocean’s Dawn’s bow, where Mags asked Tenten to deliver a letter to her mother.

The group also took time to inspect their guardian artifacts, an endeavor primarily led by Garrmon and Ellie. Though the auras of the items were vague and difficult to discern, the group as a whole discovered that the items appeared to be more like living beings than items, filled with an old magic that far outdated any of them. Ellie continued to explore what she had learned from Euthymius— the guardian artifacts were imbued with the living energies of Blackthorn’s Guard. Tethras continued to grow closer to Trice, sensing an aura of companionship and respect from the bizarre metal instrument.

Throughout the journey, the group was subjected to Mags’ harsh treatment of her crew. Garrmon and Muginn learned of her ferocity when she interfered in a duel they concocted on the ship’s deck. Holsiln and Tenten also took a survey of the crew, meeting Alyas Fogg, the nephew of the man who first informed Tenten of the Triumvirate of the Nomadic Seeker. After some conversation, Alyas learned of his uncle’s survival in the Slums of Basintide and thanked the pair for giving him a newfound hope.

Nearing the rocky shore of Moonforest, Ellie began to ponder upon a ritual to summon a familiar creature. Eager to help, the entire group pitched in to supply her with the necessary components for the spell. Muginn offered her a tuft of fur from the wolf he conquered in the forest. Tethras offered her a tuft from his beloved cloak. Amaterasu and Holsiln both offered Ellie scales from their own hides. Tenten, desperate to help, ripped open her pillow and offered Ellie the down from inside. After anchoring on the shore of Moonforest, finally at their destination, Norsa called a Forestian bird and offered Ellie one of its feathers. Before the ritual began on the shore of her homeland, Muginn gave Ellie his symbol of nobility, a blue crystalline stone on a leather string. Drawing her symbol on a boulder with a smaller pebble, as suggested by Holsiln, Ellie began to prepare the ritual. Serenaded by Garrmon, she managed to produce an owl-like familiar creature, calling itself Menagerie, though accepting a nickname given by Ellie: Mena.

With Mena’s keen eye, Norsa’s careful navigation, and Tethras’ experienced skill in foraging, the group passed quickly through the untainted portion of Moonforest, delighted by the beautiful landscape and glittering starlight.

The Tenth of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

In the early afternoon, the group was confronted by a squadron of adorable mice, riding atop canaries, and carrying tiny needle-like lances. Though communication with the mice fell through, the squadron called upon their leader, a woman whom Ellie immediately recognized as Marigold Oakstep. Aloof and condescending, Marigold aggressively hinted at the fate of her beloved mount, Kaleidoscope, all while leading the group to Tildad Grove. Once at the base of the enormous twin oaks that make up the city, she led them through the tree’s trunk, up several staircases, and into a council chamber, occupied by Queen Dahlia, Lark Darkflight, and Elder Caraway. Though Ellie was once nervous about coming home, she was greeted by happy tears and a concerned, motherly Queen. After a bit of catching up and conversation, the Queen, disgruntled by the Council’s decision, allowed the group whatever resources they may happen to need in the future.

The group found themselves within Tildad Grove’s small library, filled primarily with tomes regarding medicine and beasts within Moonforest’s history. Many had their own subjects of research— Tethras searched for information regarding green dragons, Ellie researched Blackthorn’s Guard, Tenten looked for books on poison and stories for children regarding strange wanes in power, and Holsiln researched deities of shadow. After a few moments of research, the group was startled by the quiet presence of a woman with violet eyes, platinum hair, and a tome before her. They quickly learned that this woman was Rosemary, the contact they were told would be shadowing them as a favor to the Draconic Council. As she appeared strange and made her exit shortly after meeting with them, the group prepared to leave the library, having uncovered more questions than answers.

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Trials and Tribulations
Second Session

The First of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

The heroes immediately leapt into battle with a gargantuan clockwork dragon, its gears grinding and whirring before them. The trial’s foe, conjured by Ptolemy the Conjurer, started strong with a thick, black plume of smoke and fire that erupted from its maw, immediately burning and suffocating Tenebrous, Norsa, Ellanoir, and Garrmon. The remaining heroes continued on, determined to succeed at this test.

Over time, the group wore down the rusted wyrm. Muginn tore into the creature’s side and neck plates with his newly minted war axe, Affliction, while Amaterasu burned the beast with his black, smokeless flame. After taking a single shot with Trice, his mysterious and mechanical guardian artifact, Tethras clawed his way up the dragon maw archway to threaten Ptolemy the Conjurer, a move that Master Virtue clearly believed to be impressively clever.

Unfortunately, the dragon fought on, unleashing a second breath weapon that brought much of the party close to death, dealing the final blow to Ellanoir, whose life slipped away. Though the circumstances of her resurrection were mysterious, she awoke speaking of living essences within the guardian artifacts and a savior dragon, who brought her back to life.

It was the dragon’s own folly that brought its downfall. Reaching forward to snap at Holsiln, the dragon dealt a deadly blow to the dragonborn’s shoulder and neck. Unfortunately, a defensive spell that Holsiln had previously cast froze the dragon’s maw, finally cracking the mechanisms that allowed the creature to move. Merlin the Evoker raised the dragon once more, sending it back through the portal that Ptolemy conjured, as well as healing the injuries of the heroes in full.

With the battle finally concluded and all heroes in full health once more, Master Virtue continued to detail the specifics of their heroic mission. The heroes were told that they would need to gather small boxes from each location, containing large orbs that they must give to representatives that they trust and respect. Further, it would be up to them to solve each region’s problems in the way that they may determine to be best. Master Virtue gifted each hero with an arcane mark that would allow them to be summoned to council members if needed, immediately drawing Holsiln away for such a mission. With all questions, answered, Master Virtue sent the heroes away for their final trial— wilderness survival.

The heroes found themselves in a remote location on the Brilliant Isles, unsure of precisely where they were sent. Using their keen knowledge of survival and the patterns of nature, they largely followed waterways north, where they were told Angus Jack would be waiting for them. They quickly dodged a school of quippers when Ellanoir’s smart thinking identified them as carnivorous fish and Garrmon reacted, putting the entire school to sleep. Throughout their journey, they also encountered two groups of bizarre, mechanical creatures, performing odd rituals, deep in the jungle, though they chose to leave them be. Believing a shimmering light in the distance to perhaps be signs of civilization, they drifted toward an expanse of shimmering pools that invigorated and caused bathers to glow. Along the shore, Tethras made an important discovery, happening upon a piece of black cloth that bore the same symbol as his beloved cloak.

Second of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

After twelve hours of travel, nearly half of the time that they were given to complete the task, the heroes reached the docks where Angus Jack was waiting, relieved, frustrated, and tired. As they boarded, Garrmon, displaying great skill at the art of flattery, convinced Angus Jack to sail the group to the shoreline of Moonforest, the locale that the group had previously chosen to be the site of their first mission. Charmed, Angus agreed. Sharing a few more words with Angus, Mags, and each other, they group headed below deck (or remained above, basking in the breeze) for much needed rest. It would be seven days before they would reach the shore of Moonforest.

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Entering the Belly of St. Sevda
First Session

The Last Week of Eshma, 2119 AE

Individually, the heroes collected their respective letters, addressed by a regional leader to the Draconic Council. Some faced mortal peril, risking life and limb to both secure their right as emissaries and travel to Fayveil on their quest. Each met with a representative of the Draconic Council, beside an enchanted rune stone, teleporting (mostly successfully) to the holy city of Fayveil, at least twenty-four hours before their ships were prepared to set sail. Though some did not carry letters with them, all had a grand mission or goal in mind on their way.

At dawn, the heroes, along with thousands of other hopefuls, gathered at the wharf where Angus Jack had prepared his fleet of shipping vessels. The regional emissaries and their allies were given special treatment in the form of lavish amenities aboard the Ocean’s Dawn, Captain Jack’s personal vessel. The heroes themselves were also accompanied by Basintide’s regional emissary, a quiet and skittish woman named Yuno. Throughout the forty-eight hour nautical journey, the group mingled amongst themselves and the crew, participating in a number of memorable encounters. Holsiln, officer of the Interior Justice Regiment of the Holy Blade and regional emissary of Fayveil, took deliberate steps to meet each traveler on board, the mysterious Yera his only previous acquaintance.

Uncomfortable and out of place, Ellanoir Roswin and her hulking companion, Norsa, kept largely to themselves. To the surprise of the Dawn’s waitstaff, the pair were put off by the ship’s fine dining selection, instead indulging in bowls of citrus fruit, stored away in case of scurvy at sea. Shadowing the pair at every turn was Muginn of the Warborn, a bulky and scantily clad man, wielding an enormous axe, though making note of anyone who could tout a pedigree of some kind. Also in the shadows was Amaterasu, the regional emissary for Embermire, though he seemed to quickly ally himself with Officer Holsiln.

Far less mysterious and reserved than the other passengers, the regional emissary for Reykjavaria, Garrmon Hammermane XVIII, and his companion, Tethras Silverdale, made quick impressions upon their compatriots. Tethras in particular quickly made his hatred for dragonkind known, telling the tale of his parents’ death and his daring rescue of Garrmon’s stepmother, Margo.

The First of Bhalrey, 2120 AE

Upon arrival at the Brilliant Isles, an island chain just off the coast of Fayveil, the heroes were greeted by a rickety set of docks and several servants, clad in grey robes. The halfling pages quickly led the hushed crowd through the sticky, hot jungle, toward the Belly of St. Sevda, an enormous coliseum on the island. The island showed little life until the first few Prismians stepped through the structure’s enormous dragon maw archway. All at once, the coliseum burst to life, emitting thunderous applause. The heroes also entered the coliseum, their arrival met with loud celebration. Once seated, the heroes experienced the long and boring process of the arrival of the Draconic Council. Though some saw familiar faces, most were fatigued by the end of the promenade. Finally, the Presiding Officers, Master Sin and Master Virtue, entered the coliseum.

When all Prismians had made their pleas, the emissaries had their audience with the Council. Many did not have personal wishes, only vying for the protection and betterment of the homes that they had left behind. Still, some had personal goals. Amaterasu plead to the Council on behalf of his friend, Queen Duliana, and her homeland. Garrmon simply wished to honor his brother’s memory. After their pleas were heard, the Draconic Council shocked the crowd by exclaiming that every plea brought to them at this historic meeting would be granted in full! In speaking aloud a prophecy, the Council declared that a new age had begun— the Age of Protectors. They declared that they would form a fellowship of heroes, made up of the emissaries that had come forward, to right Prismia and restore it to its former glory.

Some heroes felt conflicted. Garrmon did not believe himself worthy of the position. Yera felt as if she had no place at all. However, with the encouragement of Tethras, Garrmon accepted the role, reluctantly. Yera, too, was invited to participate after the previous emissary, Yuno, declined the offer. The Council revealed that it was Yera, all along, who was prophesied to carry out this mission on behalf of Basintide, breaking her bonds and renaming her Tenebrous. All others accepted wholeheartedly and without issue, Ellie yet again accepting on behalf of her quiet companion, Norsa.

The celebration came to an end and the heroes were surprised with another blessing. The Council bestowed upon them ancient and powerful guardian artifacts. They each chose the artifact that felt right, though some had little choice at all. When each warrior had chosen their charge, the Council had a final surprise: Ptolemy the Conjurer opened a portal above the coliseum, unleashing a mechanical beast that the heroes immediately recognized, in heart and mind, as a dragon!

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