Still deep within the lowermost levels of the lost temple of Brovadol, the Party of Aspects had continued their push to cleanse the site and create a beacon of faith and hope to use against the coming darkness – and its Herald. Rarnok’s victory over the trapped statue chamber had left only one location yet to be cleared, the vaunted and much anticipated temple treasury. It was in this prized position that the real adversary of the day made itself known.
Cloaked in unnatural blackness, the treasury was found to be the lair of a powerful nightwalker, a creature claiming fealty to The Dark One and serving as warden to a captured phoenix held on the opposite side of the dimensional barrier separating the Plane of Shadow from the Material Plane. With the nightwalker’s minions defeated, the phoenix released, and the warden itself driven away, the time had come for answers…
Veshday, Seventh of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
Freed from the chaos of combat against the nightwalker, the Party made inroads with the newly liberated phoenix, learning it to be named Talacir and being told of its history as the companion of Inferno, an ancient fire elemental reputedly born of the earliest flames that created the Elemental Plane of Fire. For its part, Talacir had been captured while scouting overtop of the Voldorwoods, a revelation giving the Aspect Agents new information regarding Nilu and his need of assistance.
In terms of the temple itself, Talacir informed the Party that the nightwalker had been using the place as a stronghold and base of operations, training initiates in its shadow magics, and remaining hidden from the outside world. The defeat of its underlings and its forced withdraw at the hands of the Group likely set its plans back considerably, all save for one issue. The three offspring of the phoenix had been taken when it was captured, their present location unknown.
Taking the updated information into account, and examining the difficulty of the nightwalker battle given its status as only a servant of The Dark One and not one of his divinely empowered Aspects, the Group concluded that additional equipment would be needed to combat the evil Aspects themselves, particularly if there was also potential for conflict with Inferno.
A Sending spell to the wizard’s guild broker Forberon in Cosolen indicated that prices on equipment in light of the orcish invasion had not subsided – a fact that jeopardized their plan for gearing up to avert the Time of the Void. The resulting discussion of options left only one clear alternative… a journey to P’Bapar. As the primary trading partner for the Kingdom, their easterly neighbor was the closest and best choice given the situation at home.
Nodding its agreement with the Party’s assessment, Talacir exchanged names with each Group member and pledged to remain in contact via Sending spells while the Aspects traveled through the Conniper Gap and into the bordering city-state. In the interum, the phoenix would search out it’s young and – if successful – return to the Voldorwoods to seek out Inferno and endeavor to bring about an end to the conflict of elementals spoken of by the Party.
Diaday, Eighth of Siege-hold, 1044 Y.K.
With their plan to travel to P’Bapar for improved equipment finalized, the Party contacted Roth in Itven via Sending and instructed him to travel to Huwden, currently under the control and protection of dwarves from the Gramdal Clan of Grumstone. There he would reunite with the Group and all would journey south, following the roadways to the Conniper Gap and ultimately P’Bapar.
Alamir, unable to stay and begin work on restoring the lost temple of Brovadol himself, provided Guardian Strond with gold from his personal funds to hire men for the job. He also left coin and instructions for the procurement of livestock and men at arms to feed and protect the workmen in light of the continuing war with the Broken Fang. Finally, he informed Strond of the last known whereabouts of Senvus Broel and tasked him with finding and including the fellow Servant of the Swift Sword if possible.
With these things done, the Party left the area of Blerden and the lost temple and rendezvoused with Roth in Huwden before heading south along the roadway. Gram and the Gramdal Clan dwarves were left behind to continue their work on combating the orcish incursions and to give the Party contacts to use for purposes of Scrying and Sending.
The journey south and then east was largely free of distraction, as the Party only documented locations of enemy troops where encountered and planned to relay that information or attack on the return trip. Of the invading forces seen, the fort at Nurden was the largest occupied area along the road’s length. Beyond that, the Group’s trip was relatively easy until their arrival to the Conniper Gap.
With their pace slowed somewhat due to the elevation changes of the Conniper Gap, the Group was forced to commit to forced marches of four or more hours on a nightly basis to maintain their previous speed. This required much healing on the part of Maldus to counteract the effects of nonlethal damage and fatigue brought about by the extended daily travel times.
Finally, after nearly a month on the road, the Group arrived to P’Bapar, intent on purchasing the necessary equipment and learning if The Dark One’s plans for the Time of the Void had yet included the Hobgoblins of Norga-Krangrel. In the meantime, Roth was instructed to return to the site of the lost temple and await further instructions.
Fireday, Fourth of Arid, 1044 Y.K.
Arriving to P’Bapar at long last, the Aspect Agents procured accommodations and entered the marketplace, happy to discover that the war and unrest in Cosdol had not affected the economy of their primary trading partner. Their trip to the market area was a fruitful one, bringing them to the shop of Bali Hetemel – a local smith with many connections in the city. His contacts provided the Group with the beginnings of their list of desired items and word of Hobgoblin attacks against the nation of Korak to the southeast…