Succeeding in their mission to reclaim the lost temple of Brovadol at last, the Party of Aspects spoke at length to the rescued phoenix Talacir, learning of its capture and hearing of recent events within the temple. The Nightwalker’s plan to use the location as a stronghold and training facility for acolytes of vile shadow magic had been dashed, but the prolonged battle had also revealed the Party’s necessity for stronger magical equipment if they were to square off with the far more powerful Aspects of the Void.
To that end, the Group provided funds to Guardian Glandal Strond for the hiring of men to begin the restoration of the temple. Meanwhile the Party would traverse the long road and the Conniper Gap to enter the independent city-state of P’Bapar, where their diminished amount of coin would procure more gear in a marketplace not suffering inflation from the recent Broken Fang invasion. It was there that they met Bali Hetemel and heard of attacks against the Militocracy of Korak by the evil hobgoblins of Norga-Krangrel…
Homeday, Fifth of Arid, 1044 Y.K.
Having been anticipating something of an uneventful sidelining in P’Bapar while merchant Bali Hetemel’s enchanter contacts augmented the Party’s equipment, Maldus was surprised to hear the voice of Prince Sevlen in his ears, directed to him by way of a Sending spell. His highness had evidently been monitoring his Agents and now provided instructions for the Group to hire whatever mercenaries they could afford from the neighboring trading partner’s busy markets.
As they were located in an area frequented by both mercenary companies and individual sell-swords due to the dangers of the Legasa Peaks, the Group’s task was not a difficult one under normal circumstances, however, with their present funds largely spent on the enchantments they had traveled to acquire, the errand threatened to be something of a conundrum – even with the Prince’s assurance of repayment from Folikar Pateris and the Golden Alliance upon their return.
Undeterred by the potential money problems, the resourceful Randorian garnered the Prince’s blessing to also approach P’Bapar’s ruler – Archduke E’dos Kalanasi II to inquire as to the possibility of assistance. Maldus then informed his compatriots of their new charge and set off to request the earliest available audience with the Archduke. The remainder of the Aspects took to posting notices in the marketplace and inquiring as to the best methods for the commission of men at arms.
Godday, Sixth of Arid, 1044 Y.K.
Unable to see Archduke Kalanasi II until his schedule was free on the seventh, the Group waited patiently, refining their search for sell-swords and making aesthetic preparations for their impending representation of the Kingdom. The high point of the day turned out to be the acquisition of their first mercenary, the foreign wizard Sedeel and her servant Urohn. Hailing from the far away Reanaaria Bay region, the woman sought no payment, only the chance for travel and adventure.
Veshday, Seventh of Arid, 1044 Y.K.
Entering their audience with Archduke E’dos early in the morning, the Agents of Prince Sevlen informed the court of the most recent developments in Cosdol’s war against the humanoids and pressed for any aid their ally could provide. For his part, E’dos was sympathetic, but declared P’Bapar incapable of supplying troops directly. At best, he could give them inroads to the guild master of the city-state’s mercenary guild – a man who E’dos himself dealt with regularly.
The Archduke also offered the services of the Kalamaran wizard Balamir. A former swordsman, Balamir was previously a senior member of the Palace Guard for Emperor Kabori of Kalamar, but had more recently turned his attention to the study of magic. More of a token gesture than anything, the offer was nonetheless accepted, and Balamir was sent to stay with Sedeel and Urohn until such time as the Party dispatched them.
With the meeting thus concluded, the Party could only wait to see if the Archduke’s referral would bear fruit. Though not immediate, the wait was not long, as soon the Group was approached by a mercenary captain – one Folemir Gola. Leader of the Dark Blades company, Gola offered the services of his company and various allies rallied under his banner, a sum total of seven hundred men. His primary stipulation was the signing of a contract by both parties, drawn up and witnessed by the local Courts of Justice.
Diaday, Eighth of Arid, 1044 Y.K.
Sealing the deal with Folemir Gola and the Dark Blades with the signing of the Courts of Justice contracts, the Party sent their assembled force toward Cosolen, paying a portion of the contracted price up front and placing additional gold for any further companies in the care of the P’Bapar mercenary guild master. Beyond that, the Group’s only remaining business was to wait to get their equipment back from the hired enchanters which would be several days off still.
In the interim, Stoat used Sending spells via Maldus to communicate with former teammate Zeph Proctor in Cosolen to arrange for the transport of his now-trained Dire Weasel to Lnonven by the nineteenth of the month – to coincide with the Party’s arrival. Once finally re-equipped with the newly enhanced gear, a Teleport spell by Rarnok placed the Group in Lnonven on the nineteenth, where Zeph and the Dire Weasel were waiting on them.
Zeph updated the Group on the recent developments, which included news that Prince Sevlen was in talks with Eldor regarding support and that the orcish advance had slowed reasonably well and that the wicked creatures had been attacked from the rear in the mountains by a resurgent goblin enemy under the banner of Guldella Olmlor and The Dark One.
Up to speed on the war situation, the Party tapped into other resources, using Sending to learn that Talacir had indeed regained the lost young and moved into the Voldorwoods area in search of Inferno. The daily Scrying on tracker Holcrel informed the Party that after rallying the goblins against the Broken Fang, the “Dark Lady” had left her minions to battle the orcs while she herself had rendezvoused with the Aspect of Undeath.
Fully updated on all fronts, the Aspects began travel to the Voldorwoods, where they would aid the beleaguered druid Nilu finally and investigate the goings on in relation the Nightwalker and the various shadow elemental involvement in the conflict if any. This would serve to both quell the “battle of the elementals” as well as undermine whatever plot the servants of The Dark One were perpetuating by kidnapping Talacir and enraging Inferno.
The Group traveled along the roadways north, through the myriad villages and towns, with the only sights of not being a heavy presence of the Church of Endless Night in Evlden and a brief visit to the Randorian Retreat in Durven when the Party passed through Maldus’ old home town and learned that his family’s inn and boat service was now run by Ranva Tornel, a women whom the cleric of Selandi had known growing up years before.
Beyond Durven and it’s neighboring Sterden, the Party finallly entered the heavier portions of the Voldorwoods. Using waterwalk to cross inlets from the Bay and move into the woodlands.
Veshday, Twenty-eighth of Arid, 1044 Y.K.
Searching the surrounding area for signs of the passage of elementals or recent encounters, the Party was soon struck with the sight of smoke in the distance. Drawing closer, the sounds of battle could be heard, and upon moving closer still, the combat underway was finally discovered; A small host of fire elementals reinforced with salamanders opposed a single massive earth elemental and a force of dryads and treants.
Rushing forth, Maldus called out to the colossal being of rock, declaring himself an ally of Nilu and stating himself as a friend. To the fire elementals, he also called out, speaking of the rescue of Talacir and the phoenixs’ imminent return to Inferno and the elemental plane of fire. Hesitantly, the sides pulled back from combat, taking up defensive positions while the earth elemental and his counterpart on the side of fire addressed the new arrivals.
Though initially distrustful, the lead fire elemental, Smolder slowly came around, following a Sending to Talacir and the creature’s arrival a short time later. With the situation thusly calmed, Smolder and the forces of fire agreed to return to Inferno and speak of the Party and what had transpired. Meanwhile, the Aspects would go with the earth elemental, Boulder, and visit Nilu and the earth faction’s leader, the ancient elemental Granite.
Travel to the base of the earth faction proved frightful, as the rock quarry the Party stood in upon arrival soon rumbled furiously as it lifted upwards, revealing itself to be the partially buried palm of the massive hand of Granite. A veritable mountain of an elemental, Granite remained almost completely buried by necessity, allowing only a portion of one arm and his face to be seen. The Group’s news that Talacir had been found and that fire would cease believing earth to be kidnappers found welcome amongst all within the earth faction.
Being both a neutral party and the ones with first hand knowledge of Talacir’s prior captivity, Granite bid the Group travel to the fire caves to the north, and act as intermediary to Inferno and the forces of fire. The Aspects agreed and in short order stood near the entrance to the fire caves relaying messages to Inferno deep within via salamander messenger. Unable to near the ancient monstrosity of flame without suffering proximity damage, the Group remained outside, camping on the outskirts of the fire faction’s base.
Diaday, First of Reaping, 1044 Y.K.
Utilizing a Commune spell to confer with Belnar, The Bear God of Nature, Inferno soon discovered that not only were the Agents being truthful in their statements, but one amongst their number, the Half-Orc druid Hilg was Belnar’s divinely empowered Aspect of Nature. This dramatic revelation quickly earned the Group the ancient elemental’s trust, granting them access to eight elemental portal stones of flame, usable to call upon the forces of fire in any future time of need.
Their mission to parlay with Inferno and the forces of the elemental plane of fire seemingly complete, the Party returned to Granite and Nilu, earning a more earthly reward of gemstones from the primal being. As the Group collected its second reward of the day, another earth elemental, Gorge was sent forth to the fire caves, to display the earth faction’s good intent and pave the way toward lasting peace among the elementals. Nilu meanwhile, was tasked with communicating with the air and water factions as soon as possible, to ensure all of the elements were in balance and at peace. Had the “battle of the elementals” really been so easy to bring to an end?