An arrival amidst rolling fog-cover had permitted the Party unhindered entrance to the contested village/town of Cunvden, where the nearly overrun men under the command of guard-captain Edton Birorn had utilized the mist to conceal their movements and draw fighting against the invading Broken Fang down to sporadic skirmishes to buy time for reinforcements. Meanwhile, the discovery of slain orcs at the hands of “beasts in the dark” raised questions as to the origin of strange “cracks” in the sky, and on the walls.
Investigation into the slaughtered enemies led the Agents to the site of the once Orc-occupied town hall, where additional fallen Fang and a black floating sphere offered a first glimpse into the shadowy alternate realm behind the “cracks” and an encounter with one of its “beasts”. The realm’s key feature, a towering obsidian citadel, drew damned like flies to a corpse and unleashed the one responsible for the recent killings, a queen among undead first seen through Stoat’s vision; the terrible and powerful Aspect of Undeath. Then everybody died…
Veshday, Twenty-eighth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Escorted by the divine servant Alanthiess, the departed Agents made their way past the yet to be claimed souls before the Throne of the Creator and out of the throne room itself, into the spacious corridors of the Eternal Palace. Their guide declared herself a servitor of Brovadol when asked, and assured the Group of its safety. Her explanation behind why the Party had not been split to be with their respective deities of choice was a call for patience, and little more.
Their destination proved to be a grand chamber that Alanthiess described as a meeting hall for the Celestial Council. Made up of all deities of good-alignment, the Council was numbered at fifteen of the fourty-three gods of Tellene, the remaining twenty-eight belonging to either the neutral-aligned Grey Assembly or the ranks of the evil Fiendish. Five immaculate figures waited inside, beings whose glory outshone even that of the otherworldly servitor who escorted the Party.
Instantly recognizing these supreme beings before them as the gods they were, the Agents took knee and gave appropriate praise, awaiting recognition before rising or speaking. In all, the five deities present were: Brovadol, Knight of the Gods, Bleslelna, the Eternal Lantern, Selandi, the Lord of Silver Linings, and from the Grey Assembly, Belnar, The Bear and Plondar, the Fate Scribe. The divine ones bid the Party rise and spoke of their motivations for the present meeting.
They declared that the Group had been unnaturally taken before their time, the victims of a divine servant of Manfred, the Dark One – who was working with other such beings to help bring about the prophesied Time of the Void, in which Manfred would swallow the sun and plunge Tellene into a horrid state of perpetual darkness. This being, identified as the Aspect of Undeath, had once been Gonjeyla Sarazi, cleric of The Laugher and a champion of good.
Lured into the Plane of Shadows by a powerful servant of Manfred, the hero team had been destroyed by the evil deity, their leader Hanadrel Rolendar the elven ranger taken to give birth to a Godspawn, a child of mortal and god. The others had been remade as Aspects bound to Manfred’s will: Gonjeyla as the Aspect of Undeath, the Fhokki fighter Kovayl as the Aspect of Rage, the dwarven rogue Lombord Talrek as the Aspect of Malice and the human sorcerer Argenon Remel as the Aspect of Torment.
Remade twenty years prior, the Aspects now stood poised to unveil Manfred’s Godspawn, undoubtedly groomed throughout life to serve as a herald of the Time of the Void. The impact of such a person on the religious community would assuredly be monumental, and already whispers within the Church of Endless Night spoke of the coming of a powerful agent of The Dark One. Attacks against the Order of Light were on the rise, and would only grow worse.
As the five deities who would be most directly impacted by the destruction of the sun, the assembled gods would not stand idly by and allow these developments to go unchecked. Divine agents on the side of good needed to be made to counter these dark Aspects. Such was the reason the Party had been brought forth. They had been chosen to be remade as Aspects, to defeat Manfred’s minions and save the sun, and perhaps Tellene itself as well.
With the Party’s consent gained, the deities stepped forth, each imbuing a Group member with divine power. Chosen by Brovadol, Alamir was remade as the Aspect of Valor, charged with defense of the weak, and given strength to outlast his foes. Rarnok, selected by Queen Destiny was remade as the Aspect of Time, empowered to glimpse the future and react with speed beyond mere mortals. Maldus, chosen by Selandi was remade as the Aspect of Life, a bastion of health immune to the touch of death. From Bleslelna, Stoat was chosen as the Aspect of Resolve, gifted with undying determination and the means to reshape his destiny. Finally Hilg, selected by Belnar was remade into the Aspect of Nature, given the unswerving power of Tellene itself to use against outsiders who would see the world defiled.
Their transformation complete, the Group was allowed a brief recess before being returned to the world in need. Stoat visited the realm of Raconteur, spending his time with the sister taken from him years before. Hilg paid respect to The Great Huntress, being gifted with a golden arrow to provide his friends and instruction that he should do something about his brother, the false Hilg. Summoned at last by Alanthiess, the Group returned to the scene of their death and back into the world of the living.
Diaday, First of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
Alive once more, the Aspects collected their belongings and located Dokari, who through the use of her new read magic spell had learned of her capability to use scrolls. After utilizing one of Hilg’s scrolls, the illusionary Elf had discovered a hidden reserve of power and was now capable of moving the orb herself. Meanwhile, Roth was discovered alive, having taken refuge within the Party’s cargo and remained undetected.
Learning from their companions that the Aspect of Undeath had used the slain fighters in Cunvden to create an unliving monstrosity before departing town to places unknown, the Party discussed their options and soon agreed to move to Blerden, to reclaim the lost temple of The Valiant and create a religious sign of their own, to counter the coming revelation of the Godspawn. They gathered quickly and headed north toward Itven.
Pelsday, Second of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
Arriving to Itven, the Aspects found the place to be largely deserted, with most of the people taken by the wicked orcs who had conquered it. Those few who had evaded capture, including Lanop and the tavern owner Yuvita Helbren informed the Group that Lord Mayor Thalrel and the townspeople had been taken east, presumably to work as slaves for the vile humanoids.
Understanding the Group’s need to move swiftly if they desired to catch the orcs in time to save the people on their way to Blerden, the teamster Roth agreed to await the Group’s return, staying in Itven while the Party moved faster on horseback. The aspects moved east with great haste, crossing the river before eventually camping along the road between Ldesden and Huwden.
Katarday, Third of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
Breaking camp early, the Party continued their rapid pace, following the trail until they came to the scene of a battle in a low valley. Evidence of the orcs defeat was paramount, as the humanoids lay slain and tracks of their former captives moved north alongside a great many paw prints belonging to dogs or perhaps wolves. Who or what had overcome the orc warriors was unknown, but they now had possession of Thalrel and his people.
Pursuit of the new trail, led the Aspect Agents north as the tracks rejoined the road and moved to the village of Huwden. Approaching the settlement, the Party quickly learned the origin of the paw prints from the scene of the battle, as a dwarven warrior on a riding dog hailed them and moved forward. One of the sons of the Gramdal clan, the dwarf allowed the Group inside where the rescued Itven townsfolk were found.
Having learned of the invasion, the dwarves had dispatched warriors to assist their neighbors, moving south west and taking control of the village of Hihden and then Huwden. The road between the two villages was made safe and patrols were set to maintain security as best as possible. Surprise claimed the Agents next, as the leader of the dwarven forces was discovered to be Gram Swiftaxe, friend to the Group and former Party member.
Listening intently, Gram learned of the recent events and vowed to help his friends in whatever way possible. His offer to rejoin the Group and bring a few of his warriors along was gladly welcomed, and the Party made ready to continue to Blerden the following day.
Fireday, Fourth of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
Exiting Huwden with Gram and a squad of dwarven warriors at their side, the Party resumed its trek east, making camp along the trail at day’s end. Tomorrow, they would arrive to Blerden and seek out the Servant of the Swift Sword Guardian Glandal Strond, who had been the contact person for Senvus Broel in his letters regarding the temple.
Homeday, Fifth of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
Entering the village of Blerden at last, the Group discovered the tiny settlement had either been ignored or overlooked by The Fang, as life here seemed fairly normal. Glandal Strond was present as hoped for, and offered the Group a roof in the form of his small temple to The Valiant. He displayed his maps of the area and pointed out the location of the lost temple, noting various points of entry he had used to avoid detection by the orcs currently residing there.
Light dimmed as the sun began to set, and the Aspect Agents made their plans to move to the lost temple the following day. If all went as they intended, the temple would again be in the hands of believers in Brovadol and the people of Cosdol would have an icon of faith to counter the word of the Church of Endless Night. The next battle of this new holy war would come at sun rise…