Where we left off
Our heroes stand in the woods near the south bank of the Ossir’narrh River in Cydon. The sound of armored horsemen can be heard behind them on the far side. Two Catfolk monks, who Virago appears to know have just dropped from the trees in front of the group…
The party continues their journey south, now escorted by the two catfolk monks (known as judo cats) Diamond and Sapphire. The catfolk explain that they were sent by Brahm, leader of the Cydonic Resistance, to intercept Virago as he returned from his mission and to bring him to the Resistance’s new base of operations.
The party learns that Lance Commander, Brahm Vispakal is one of Prince Steponas’s most trusted officers. He was tasked with watching over Steponas’s lands and estate when the king was murdered. They also learn that a special investigative branch of the Cydonic military, known as the Redemption, was formed shortly after the King’s death and tasked with rooting out the murderer and the cause of the Blight.
The Redemption began targeting those who refused to swear an oath of sole allegiance to Tornas, believing that their loyalty was suspect and that Steponas was responsible for the Blight cursing the land. They began raiding the lands of the holdouts. When they came to Steponas’s estate, Brahm resisted and was eventually forced to flee.
Brahm and the holdouts are now regrouping in a secluded valley known as Thunder Vale in the mountains on Cydon’s southern border. After two days journey, our heroes reach the camp and arrange to meet with Brahm and the other resistance leaders.
On the morning after their arrival in the Holdouts’ camp, the group is summoned to a ruined castle that sits at the southern end of the vale. This ruin is in the process of being refortified, but has already been set up as the headquarters for the Holdout leaders.
Upon entering the castle, the party witnesses an event of swift justice born of the deep divisions within the country. The body of a man is born past them out through the gates along with various bits of rubbish being cleared from the ruin. Brahm stands in full plate in the middle of the courtyard, flecked with blood and wiping down his recently used blade. He is flanked by a rotund priest of Heironeous and a willowy mage woman looking somber. When asked about the body, the Holdout leader states that the man was a spy for the Redemption who was tried and found guilty of his crimes.
The subject is then dropped abruptly when our heroes are invited into the castle’s great hall. There, they meet with Brahm, the priest and the mage who are respectively introduced as Father Yarov and Sofya. During the meeting, Virago reveals the purpose and results of his mission. He had been sent by Brahm to locate Ilyari, one of Steponas’s other trusted officers who was leading his personal guard in Dragonfall on the night he disappeared. Virago reveals that he caught up with the man deep in the Blighted lands of the Eastern plateau. Ilyari was wandering in rags, delerious with the Blight.
During moments of apparent lucidity, Virago managed to uncover that King Lytanias had learned of the rising Blight and had sent Steponas away in search of something, which could defeat the growing evil. The objective of the quest was most likely the lost Jewel of Ilysias, which is said to hold the spirit of the great hero of Cydon. Steponas did not want to leave, fearing that the King’s life was likely in danger with such evil in the realm. He fought with the King to be allowed to stay, but eventually relented and left Cydon under the King’s orders. Sofya and Father Yarov suspect the Prince traveled to Panthium to consult the vast libraries and numerous sages found in the city.
Virago reveals that Ilyari died of his symptoms shortly after and that he then began his return journey via a circuitous route to avoid the worst of the Blight. He retells the story of his incarceration and escape with the assistance of our heroes.Brahm then asks if the party will aid the Holdouts and presents a number of specific ways in which they can help:
- Bring news of Ilyari’s death to his wife, who is of barbarian descent, in hopes that she will be persuaded to contribute Ilyari’s personal forces to their cause out of a sense of loyalty to her husband and a thirst for revenge.
- Make contact with officers of the Royal Guard in Westgate, who were disbanded when the army took control of the border city after the King’s murder. The ultimate goal of this mission would be to retake the city for the holdouts in order to establish a functioning supply chain for their military buildup.
- Search for a crystalline key that was removed from a permanent teleportation circle in the basement of the castle. Sofya suspects the key was stolen by a tribe of kobolds who were inhabiting the castle when the Holdouts arrived in the Vale. Recovering the key would reactivate the circle and allow the party to more quickly go in search of Steponas.
Our heroes are naturally hesitant to take sides in a conflict they don’t see as directly relevant to their mission. Eleanor and Lanna particularly do not wish to be drawn into the human bloodshed that is likely to accompany the retaking of Westgate. After much discussion, they agree that their best course of action is to go in search of the missing crystal in hopes of eventually rendezvousing with Steponas and joining his quest to cure the Blight.
Their decision made, the party is invited to take the day to rest and restock. Brahm provides access to the military stores, allowing each member of the group to requisition 1000g worth of equipment for their coming mission.