Cold, battered, but successful the gang plods their way through the snow to wait where they were deposited in the icy wastes for a portal to appear to extract them.
Soon the air nearby alights with arcane sparks as a circular rift is pulled into the fabric of the material plane. A rush of warm air hits our adventurers and they find themselves looking into Marast and Varon’s backroom at The Curios again. They quickly leap through the opening, with the exception of Torrik who calmly removes his snowshoes before stepping into the warmth of The Curios.
They see that the elf with the skeletal arm is still sitting in the armchair, looking more composed now than before. His arm has reformed to his elbow and the gang watches as green tendril-like vines slowly creep down encasing the bones. These vines knit themselves into the shape of his arm ever so slowly and as they do they are transformed into flesh. He extends his still skeletal hand towards the party and asks for the devices. Once they’ve been handed over he looks at the party and says, “It seems fair that you should keep one of these… for your efforts,” a wry grin turning the corners of his mouth upwards. Varon moves towards him and they have a heated argument in Sylvan, Varon opposed to giving the device to the gang, the Elf in the chair insisting that they be entrusted with one of them. In the end the Elf in the chair wins out and the party is gifted one of the devices.
“What exactly is going on here?” Torrik asks Marast and Varon. “Well, i guess we do owe you some explanations,” Marast answers and she and Varon begin to pull chairs and benches up to the sitting area around the fire. A lengthy conversation occurs, Marast and Varon handing the thread off to one another and answering questions as they arise. Soon the gang have a better understanding of what has been taking place in the world around them. Around five years ago the fabric of the planes was stretched, pulled thin. The barriers that separate the planes began to tear, causing rifts to open. Marast and Varon relocated here to NorthWood to investigate as the tears seemed to be more common here in the Northern Reach. They have captured and questioned a few Orcs along the way and while the intel they recovered has often been unreliable and questionable they believe they have some ideas as to what has happened. There seems to be a new dimension created, a pocket dimension of sorts, but one of such scale that it’s affecting the planar structure of the universe around it. They have learned that the Orcs access this mysterious dimension via the use of special Control Devices, two of which they now have via the efforts of the mysterious Elf recovering in the chair and the party. It is at this time that they learn that this Elvish figure is no mere Elf but rather one of the most powerful Arch-Fey in existence, the Green King*. There is something mysterious about this new dimension that keeps deities and other powerful beings (like the Green King) isolated from it. The Green King still managed to reach inside this dimension and pull the Orc party out that the gang pursued and defeated, but it nearly destroyed him. Varon in short order works out an understanding of how to use the Control Devices and instructs the gang on their operation. It requires at least a moderate amount of magical knowledge and power to operate them, but Sidron and Gax have enough to accomplish the task.
After hours of intense conversation tiredness creeps in and most of the party head to the warehouse for some rest. The notable exceptions being Gax, who is so freaked out by the Green King that he uses Fly to vacate the premises and spends a night on the streets for old times sake as he tries to calm his nerves. The main exception though is Magnus…
Magnus stays behind for a reunion with the father he’s never met before. Learning that Marast is his half sister and this mysterious man the tie between them his mind reels with questions. Magnus has trouble getting his thoughts and words to congeal and as he attempts to get all his thoughts and questions out at once his ramblings devolve into a violent coughing fit. His father, Ian, puts his hands on his shoulders and has him take a seat, then lovingly he begins to hum a peaceful song as he taps on Magnus’ chest- casting Greater Restoration in the process and removing the painful burns that have plagued Magnus’ lungs since the accident. As Ian, Marast, and Magnus chat the Green King produces a lute from seeming nowhere and begins to softly play, at times Varon joins in with a lute of his own, or Marast with a violin, or even Ian with various instruments of foreign make. This reunited family chat on and on, hours fly by. Time seems to lose all meaning as Magnus finds out about his father’s life, how he didn’t intend to never meet him that he has sent letters to Magnus’ mother. How Marast had recruited Magnus so he would be close and she could keep an eye on him. On and on the conversation goes on. When eventually Magnus steps out to head to his bed he finds that very little time has passed, his companions are just now settling into their own beds, he then realizes that it feels like the conversation had should have lasted 12-14 hours… The Green King has bent the laws of time to give this reunited family a small gift.
Next Day: Gax eventually returns home, the gang has a few hours before they need to report to The Cetus for their next contact job. Marast and Varon join them in the main room of the warehouse as Sidron uses his arcane powers to activate the Control Device. He opens a slit of door, large enough to slip through sideways, so they can peer into this new dimension. The small crowd of curious eyes pack together and peer through. They see gray skies, and a dark gray dusty earth below, the wind kicking up the gray dust here and there: a desolate barren place. Zattera pulls the Cat’s Eye Marble out of his pocket and activates it, it rolls forward until it reaches the threshold of the doorway Sidron has created, as it crosses the threshold Zattera’s connection to the magic marble is broken and it rolls a few inches further inert. A small discussion begins, should someone enter? Is it safe? As the party works to make a collective decision Torrik steps boldly through the portal and into the gray world before him. As he does so the essence of shadow that surrounds him at all times fades away: the darkness in and around his eyes is gone. Torrik is just a young dwarven adolescent. He feels a total separation from his bonds to the Raven Queen. He feels a freedom and a purity he hasn’t felt since the dark event that tied his soul to the Raven Queen. Tears of relief and joy begin to roll down his face…
Over the next several minutes the gang run a series of experiments, they find that no magic of any kind will work inside the dimension. Zattera looking around sees that a body of water is nearby and recognizes the shapes and contours of the bay at the north end of NorthWood. He quickly deduces that this gray world is a 1/6 model of at least the Northern Reach… Sidron steps inside, closes the portal and opens a new one. Control Device tested and understood, some grasp of this odd dimension sorted out everyone reconvenes inside the warehouse. Varon begins to put some pieces together: It was about 5 years ago that the rifts began to appear, it was also about 5 years ago that the Orc ships from the north stopped landing on the shores of the Northern Reach, the Orcs are using this dimension to move Southward and press the war deeper into the Eastern Kingdom…
Marast and Varon advise the gang to continue on with their next job while they continue to do some digging here, when they return they will all reevaluate where things stand at that point.
The gang packs up their gear and heads to the port. They locate and board The Cetus which is in the final stages of loading. Mostly they stay out of the way of the busy crew who view them basically as passengers: they’re hired muscle for Ms Yvette and therefore not part of the ship proper. As the final supplies are being loaded Wolrf stands at the rail looking out at NorthWood and the icy sea beyond. A crewman approaches him at the rail, his skin an odd hue almost like that of a drowned man. “You’re different,” this odd crewman says to Wolrf.
“What do you mean, different?” Wolrf replies.
“There’s something different about you. Where’d you grow up?”
Wolrf looks at this crewman, “I… I don’t know.”
“Me either, i can’t remember anything before about 5 years ago… You?”
“The crew fished me out of the sea, I was just swimming along. They call me Fiskr,” With that he extends a friendly hand to Wolrf. Wolrf takes his hand and returns the handshake, Fiskr’s hand is damp, but not sweaty or clammy- almost like he just stepped out of the water just now.
With that they stand in amicable silence looking out at the city, and the sea.
And that’s where we ended ours session for the week! See you next week!
- The Green King is another little throwback to our previous campaign. We have our own hierarchy of Arch-Fey in our homebrew world and the Green King is in contention for most powerful Arch-Fey. One of our old characters from the last campaign was actually a Warlock who had the Green King as her patron.