Having experienced varying degrees of success uniting the lands neighboring Arachnia, the party set forth on their return to Greyhawk. Isrygrad and Jor-Mak are the first to make their way back to the city, departing Eru-Tovar aboard the party’s ever-unsettling vessel, the Bone Shredder. Isrygrad contemplated on his brief time in the Wolf Nomad’s territory, stirred by the crudeness of the barbarians and how close he could have been to being a savage like them had circumstances been different. They were soon joined by Ix and Silhouette, who had left behind the rangers of Vesve Forest in a particularly peculiar situation involving two of their number entangled a mystical mess — a mess that might have befell the pair had Fate not shined upon them.
In Chendyl, Lyks and Madryk were reunited with their companions, bringing along with them a new member: Burbis Baggleton. Saved from dismemberment as punishment for petty theft in Furyondy, Burbis saw the stone ring upon Lyks’ hand, found in the ranger/druid’s very first adventure, that marked him as “gnomefriend” and pleaded for help. Madryk and Lyks inform Baron Jemain, Grand Marshall of the Furyondian army that they would not allow this unfair punishment to take place and they are given care of the gnome and harshly dismissed. Burbis revealed to his new keepers that he was a part of a band of Gnomes who had traveled from their home in the Lortmil Mountains in the Duchy of Ulek as part of a crew of traders. Burbis’ ship was a casualty of foul weather, and while the rest of his companions were presumed dead, Burbis managed to find his way to shore, feeding off of wild vermin for survival until finding himself in Furyondy. There, he was apprehended after stealing bread (out of hunger) and coin (for sheer aesthetic pleasure — “they’re so shiny!”).
On their way to Critwall, Drayden revealed to Dablova a desire to stay in the Shield Lands, citing his need to protect the weak as a divine duty. Conflicting with this duty, however, was the desire for a more domestic life with his partner Vortis, a life that would include a child to call their own given the right circumstances.
The entire party reunited, they made their way back down the Nyr Dyv to Greyhawk (with their excitable new companion sedated thanks to Madryk’s potent Dwarven ale.) Once in Greyhawk, the party made their separate ways yet again, agreeing to meet for dinner at Pimpleton Manor later in the evening.
It was back to business for Silhouette, who wasted no time in checking up on her recently acquired businesses. First at The Dripping Blade: Silhouette found that business had been on the grow after a tweaked menu helped to not only satisfy the tavern’s old clientele, but introduce many other Greyhawkians to a new watering hole. Meanwhile at Friendly Strangers, Silhouette found her cabaret to be performing at peak condition. She had established not only a well-welcomed source of entertainment, she had also inadvertently begun to stir a cultural change in the city, creating a bohemian area for locals and tourists alike where crime and iniquity had once run rampant. Silhouette was now on her way to cultivating a new identity in Greyhawk as Madame Noir, a resident of Greyhawk and business woman to be reckoned with.
Ix had more arcane business to handle, however. The threat of the Drow still fresh on his mind, he made his way to a known Oracle. For a decent amount of gold, the Oracle provided divination via a powerful crystal ball wherein the spirits revealed to her “blood shed, in other places… many men will die in the barren lands…” as well as Ix’s birth name, Ce’ren (a name known only to his parents) Ix deduced that these barren lands were, in fact, The Shield Lands Drayden spoke of after his visit. Feeling secure in the Oracle’s divinations, Ix began preparing himself for a visit to The Shield Lands.
Lyks, Burbis, and Isrygrad began their morning in Greyhawk back at Pimpleton Manor, indulging in a well-earned breakfast at home courtesy of George Pimpleton. Lyks requested the domestic to prepare delivered breakfasts for their companions Drayden (and his partner Vortis) and Dablova, after which Gnome and Gnomefriend departed the manor to visit the bazaar. While perusing goods and acquainting Burbis with more about himself and Greyhawk, the pair were found by Drayden with the one-and-only Tick Toc Individual in tow, alive and ticking! Drayden reveals to them that while he was able to reconstruct Tick Toc, it was fortune and Cortox’s blessing that smiled upon them and revived the mechanical man.
After spending much of the morning tending to her animal friends and enjoying a well-prepared breakfast at the warehouse, Dablova journeyed into a wooded area just outside the city gates. There, she partook in her weekly ritual of calling out to the spirits outside the Prime Material. This time, however, she sought much more specific insight: the nature of her latest omen. She reached as deep as she could, contacting a spirit in the Outer Plane. While the spirit revealed to her that the the “star” that engulfed her in her vision was that of another being inside, the spirit was unable to confirm whether or not that being was a child. Though her ritual was abruptly interrupted by a pack of wild wolves, Dablova had little energy to suffer their threats and teleported back into the city to find whom she believed to be the other “star” in her vision: Drayden. (Drayden, a member of the so-deemed “champions of the stars”, had expressed to Dablova a desire for a child to call his own, to pass down his legacy to.) Dablova rushed to Drayden’s home in a daze, only to find Vortis instead. Visibly shaken by the conclusions she’d began to draw, Vortis only further fueled her suspicions by expressing his desire to nuture another life into the world with Drayden as well as his fears of losing Drayden to battle before being able to do so. Dablova knew what she had to do; she took a hearty sip of Serenity and made haste to the one man in the city she believed could help realize the prophecy…
Enter Enoch Greyspeth, the reclusive, singular white Necromancer of the Flanness presently staying in Greyhawk. Having refused all visitors, Dablova applied her charm (both natural and magical) to the lady of house until granted an audience with Greyspeth. While quite powerful in her own right, her attempts to beguile the perturbed Necromancer were swiftly struck down when he momentarily transferred her life-force into a corpse in his laboratory! “Woman, I am not an evil man, but you test the limits of my patience” he warned the Witch before returning her to her body. While stunned by the ordeal, Dablova was unwavering in her determination to receive his aid. Such determination did not go unnoticed, and after discussing the nature of her visit (an arcane method of bringing about a child between three people), Enoch’s interest was piqued. He agreed to dig deeper into his resources to find if such a ritual could take place and sent Dablova off with a couple warnings: never return uninvited and never involve the lady of the house.
Night fell and the group reconvened at Pimpleton Manor for another of George’s intricately crafted meals in honor of their return from the outer lands as well as the return of their companion Tick Toc (ironic that there should be a dinner in honor of a man requiring no food at all.) Soon into their dinner, however, they were interrupted by a visitor, Constable Derider. She alerted the party of a disturbance with Kr’zzt: he had fallen into a catatonic state! Lyks agreed to pay him a visit (promising to be on his best behavior) along with Jor-Mak. At the prison, they found the Drow in a truly vegetative state; a psychic scan by Jor-Mak revealed no signs of psychic intrusion or scarring.
While Lyks and Jor-Mak tended to the imprisoned Kr’zzt, the rest of the party received an invitation from Gemmen to attend the Feast Day of Modius at the Church of Cortox in honor of their former companion and his ascension. Drayden and Ix took the opportunity to reveal to the rest of the party their plans to return to the Shield Lands to prepare a defense against the impending threat of Arachnia. Lyks and Jor-Mak reached out to the party, alerting them of the mystery at play. The team agreed to pay a visit to the prison to see for themselves — Dablova took the opportunity to learn a new forensic spell, Patternweave. Using this spell, it was revealed that there were no intruders that caused Kr’zzt’s vegetative state. Whatever happened seemed to happen from within! With little else to go on, the party left Kr’zzt for the evening.
The following day, the party attended Feast Day as a whole. While Dablova kept a low profile and Burbis wandered around the festivities in utter awe, Modius’s former companions (Ix, Lyks, Drayden, and Jor-Mak) were attendees of a particular prestige, revered as witnesses of the Rejoining. The celebrations were abruptly disrupted however, as the church itself began to crumble. Stained glass visages of their once-and-former companions shatter and the very walls of the church crumble down upon the parishioners. Drayden swooped in to save a family; Burbis displayed his first act of heroism with the party by saving a small child; Dablova quickly dispatched the falling debris by transmuting the rock into mud, covering the revelers in liquid earth. In the wreckage, the party sees a figure floating as the dust clears: the disgraced and now maddened former head of the Church of Celestian, Aramis Stargazer.