The Age of Heroes
*Epilogue: Isrygrad and Teela return to Granrud where Isrygrad becomes a General to the new liege, who has heard tales of his heroism even here in the frozen wastes. He excels at this role, creating and era of safety for the kingdom. In time, Isrygrad replaces his liege after his passing and he and Teela have a son who decides to train in the chivalrous ways of the cavalier, Vetnik.
Madryk returns from the wars to find that his nephew Maelik has died in a thieving attempt gone wrong. Having fathered no children of his own and knowing that he is now the last Dorn, Madryk retreats into the mountain to live out the rest of his days.
Jor-Mak continues his career as a baker until the inevitable death of the Widow Rohl. After her funeral, Jor-Mak contacts all his friends and informs them that his time here has come to an end. He has found his peaceful center and with the Widow gone, realizes it is time for him to move on. He is seen in their mind’s eye assuming his true and beautiful form as he implants a memory within them that encapsulates all their experiences together before plane shifting away to seek that which comes next.
Burbis becomes the traveling companion to Lyks who spends a number of years wandering the Flanness, seeking out his old friends one by one. On one such occasion he visits Dablova, for whom he has buried his bad feelings. Dablova entrusts to him the children of Drayden and Vortis and he bears them safely back to Greyhawk to the arms of their bewildered but overjoyed parents. After a time he finds a grove of his liking, offering solitude, and sets up a wooded fortress there. He sits nearly alone atop that fortress with only the starting to grey Snowflake, the nuzzling snout of Redscar against his neck and his other animal companions by his side when one afternoon a band of intrepid young adventurers stumble a little too close to Lyks’ property. Magic mouth spells are triggered in the surrounding trees. “Take care to leave my soil”, followed by a single arrow shot at their feet. Lyks chuckled to himself. At first he joked about ending up like this but as time passed and friends moved on or found their end by violence, it seemed more and more the thing to do. Suddenly hands grasp for the back of Lyks’ neck before falling upon it gently and beginning to massage. “Stop scaring children and come downstairs” says Madame Xanti. “Your son is to visit this day and I have foreseen the most wonderful thing for him.” Lyks smiles a warm smile as he heads downstairs thinking, "This is a good life….good enough for now…
Ix and Silhouette are out sailing the vast seas of the Flanness, seeking out evil wherever it may hide, as they have for the past few years, when Silhouette tells Ix that she is with child (it turns out to be twins) and they agree the battle must end for a time. They move back to Greyhawk to find the city in squalor, once great neighborhoods robbed of their livelihood. Their return is seen as a good omen by the city council and Lady Noir (Silhouette) is elected to the city council based on her ownership of the entire business corridor formerly known as Blood Alley, now known as Newhope while Ix is actively courted to run for mayor in a runoff against Nystra Greythrush, whose brief and some would say, stolen reign has not been beneficial to the people of Greyhawk. He wins heartily. Ix’s rule, though not sought out by him, leads the city through two decades of peace and prosperity. Now nearly adults, Ix and Silhouette’s twin boys, Cerulean and Corillion say to their parents that they cannot live these sheltered politician’s child s’ lives…that they need adventure. Ix and Silhouette smile at each other. The next day the mayor’s chief of staff knocks nervously on the office door. After no reply, the door is forced open and the office is revealed to be empty with the exception of the symbol of office of the mayor and the ceremonial robes worn by Silhouette along with a note that simply says, “Good tidings Greyhawk”. Far away a small army of bugbears is set upon by an unseen force. Only the flashing of their blades reveals their existence and by then it is too late for the brutes. Ix, Silhouette, Cerulean and Corillion all smile at one another. This is where they truly belong. One day, Ix decides it is time to seek out the demi god whose weapon Ix has been using these past few decades. The quest is perilous. Too perilous for the twins, Ix and Silhouette decide, and send them off to train with Zemilay Lyks back in Greyhawk.
Drayden and Vortis awaken one day to find Lyks, returned to Greyhawk, at their doorstep holding not one, but two children. The daughter a spitting image of the two fathers, while the son bore the coloration of the woman who bore them. Nonetheless, they were loved equally by their parents who finally settle down together, Drayden halting his adventuring while Vortis handpicks a successor and retires as captain of the guard. Both son and daughter show great promise as warriors as Moira follows her father’s path as a paladin of Cortox, while Barth chooses to follow in Vortis’ footsteps and joins an order of Cavalier. After a time, the children petition their fathers to allow them to adventure beyond the city gates and seek their own path as heroes. Vortis argues against it, saying they are too young and too untested. Drayden argues that if it were not for his spirit of adventure, he would never have left home and thereby never have met Vortis in the first place. After a tense discussion, Vortis relents and the twins head out to seek to further the cause of good in the world. Their first true test goes horribly awry however, and Barth is corrupted to the side of evil by an ancient and terrible curse. Moira returns home alone to explain what has happened and the grief is too much to take for the two men and a catastrophic argument ensues, with Drayden vowing to suit up again and scour the Flanness for their son and Vortis asking him if he “hasn’t done enough already, you stupid, stupid old man”, throwing his shield at Drayden in anger as the paladin walked out the door in full armor, tears in his eyes, his marriage in shambles. Years later, in a far off land, trailing rumors of Barth’s passing through, Drayden finds himself at odds with a great wyrm of a red dragon who wishes only to devour a small village of 17 people and in turn, will leave an entire nation unmarked by hostility. The dragon appeals to Drayden’s reason, saying thousands will be spared but for these few. Drayden cries out his rejection and spurs his horse forward. The battle is fierce but wielding his Cortoxian sword and Vortis’ shield, he manages to beat impossible odds and fells the mighty beast. However, in its throes of death the wyrm bites Drayden viciously, mortally wounding the aged paladin with its last breath. Drayden collapses to the ground. A young man named Norrin rushes forward to catch him as he falls. “What is your name boy?”, asks Drayden. “Norrin, sir”, replies the child. “Norrin eh? I knew a man named Norrin.” Drayden begins coughing blood. “A good man, saved my life more than once….Norrin, come close”, beckoned the paladin. “Time is short in this world, endeavor to..” Another coughing fit wracked the holy warrior’s body. “Just try to be good to those who love you. Will you do that for me?”, asked Drayden. “Yes sir…of course sir”, replied the lad. “Norrin, when you pass your rite of manhood, travel to Greyhawk…” the paladin began before a horrific coughing fit took over his form, blood spilling from his mouth. “Find Vortis and give these to him”, Drayden asked as he passed over both sword and shield. “Tell him that I’m sorry and that I loved him dearly”, the paladin requested, tears in his eyes. “I will sir, I promise”, replied young Norrin. “Cortox bless you my son”, whispers Drayden as the storied hero takes his last breath. The child and all those he saved begin to weep as things seem just a little darker and a quiet passes over the meadow……
Suddenly, a column of light crashes down from the sky and illuminates Drayden’s body. It slowly begins to rise as the light grows brighter. Without warning, his form shoots into the sky at a thousand miles an hour and all of the Flanness shakes for a moment from the backlash. It is felt in the deserts, the forests, the seas and the skies. The light explodes in the heavens above, creating a bright white flash seen all over the world. When the light subsides, a bright new star hangs in the northern skies. Back in Greyhawk, Vortis sees the star and knows in his heart what has transpired. “Goodbye sweet husband”, Vortis whspers to the sky and the stoic cavalier who has not cried in all the years since Drayden left, lets loose that ball of emotion and begins sobbing as he draws their daughter close.
Tic-toc becomes proprietor of Friendly Strangers in Silhouette’s absence. He is seen leading each show, night after night, with a display of ability, tales of heroism and a whole lot of charm. At the beginning and end of every night he leads a toast to those who gave so much while asking so little and therefore and calls for glasses to be lifted to Modius, Reizhodd, Ix, Lyks, Jor-Mak, Drayden, Vortis, Isrygrad, Dablova, and Madryk along with a wish to deliver the soul of Ba’th Moara to Cortox upon her passing.
The scene of Tic Toc’s toast becomes less clear as the image shimmers and fades within the crystal ball, Dablova wipes a tear from her eye and steels herself. Walking into the shared space of the sisterhood, the aged witch takes her seat at the head of the chamber. “What is the business of the day sisters?”, asks Dablova. “Great mother, one of the new acolytes has foreseen a vision of great danger, a danger that requires the sisterhood seek champions.”, replied the young spellcaster. “She sees herself among these champions. She seeks to leave our safety, Great Mother!”. A crooked smile slowly creeps across Dablova’s face unnoticed by her followers. “The cycle of prophecy makes itself known once again.”, she thinks to herself.*
Update: 5-30-2014 The Shield Lands stand after the Champions of the Stars and the united armies of Countess Katarina, Greyhawk and the Knights of Furyondy repel the invading drow. After a fierce battle with one of Lolth’s drider generals, Skizz’x and his army the party hears news via one of Katarina’s scryers that the territory of the Wolf Nomads, the rangers of the Vesve Forest and the Kingdom of Furyondy have shared their good fortune and the drow have sued for peace. The party returns home to find city of Greyhawk in full celebration for their efforts. Friends old and new have turned out to celebrate the heroes and sing their praises as local businesses donate their goods to the revelry. The party joins in earnest. A number of occurrences mar the night’s enjoyment; Mayor Gasgal has gone missing. No foul play is suspected, Dablova seeks out Kr’zzt’s catatonic form and destroys it before running into Lyks and his righteous anger. Dablova is banished from Pimpleton Manor and associated holdings. She takes refuge at Drayden and Vortis’ home to which Enoch Greypeth has dispatched his ritual. Dablova enacts the unique enchantment and gives light to a life containing parts of each of its’ three parents. A light that becomes two, though this is not revealed until long after she has stolen away in the night against the fathers’ wishes. In the morning, the Champions of the Stars (minus Dablova) reconvene at Pimpleton manor for what turns out to be their last time all together. Drayden and Vortis announce their impending fatherhood, unaware of Dablova’s absconding the night previous and Drayden’s intention to stop adventuring. Madryk announces he is departing the city. With his old friend (Mayor) Nerof Gasgal gone, his obligation here is likewise come to an end. Madryk announces his intention to join the effort under the mountains by the Dwarven and Gnomish nations to repel the svirfneblin that have proven more difficult to dislodge that their drow comrades. Isrygrad likewise announces his plans, to find his way home with Teela Surefoot at his side. He thanks Lyks and Drayden for teaching him the meaning of a true hero and for all that everyone has done for him. Despite the sadness of the intent of some to leave, the mood is joyous and sentimental. Drayden stands up to give an impassioned speech to all assembled. He talks about his humble beginnings and the summons of a mysterious wizard. He speaks of triumphs, losses and discoveries before a rousing toast to all, in attendance, elsewhere and to those who have passed on as their goblets crash together in celebration.
*Update: 3-31-2014 The ritual cast, the party sees Kr’zzt marching a small army on the grand druid’s grove. The party and 100 men of Greyhawk recruited by IX fight valiantly, nearly overcoming the odds when dozens of clutters of spiders descend from the treetops and make their way through the brush. One by one the champions fall to their paralyzing venom, the shrieks of Alathedra’s attendants filling their ears as they lose consciousness. Individually each member of the party awakens in chains, tossed into filthy cells that are familiar to all but Dablova. The party is imprisoned in Dorakka. A week in bondage passes and yet they are not tortured. In time they are brought one by one to an extended executioner’s block on a raised dais and are secured to it. Kr’zzt announces the triumph of their forces and calls out their crimes against the forces of evil and himself in particular. Many months ago, when the party visited Toril after the white event, they encountered a patrol of drow elves that they overpowered and repelled twice. On the 3rd occasion of their meeting, the now ascended Modius grew tired of the nuisance and obliterated them with a fireball. The leader of that patrol was Jar’zzt, Kr’zzt’s only brother. To oversee the execution and bask in evil’s triumph, Kr’zzt introduces the dread lord Iuz himself who gloats over the disappearance of Celestian (obviously unaware of Cortox’s rejoining) while the party’s Cortox blessed items and parts of the now disassembled Tic-Toc are laid into a ritual cairn. Kr’zzt intones the ritual and the power of the items rush to a specially prepared rune etched blade hidden away by Kr’zzt. He seizes the moment and plunges the blade through Iuz’s back, piercing his heart. As soon as the demi-god’s blood hits the ground Kr’zzt hurriedly scrawls symbols of gating on the ground and a deep black portal opens from the Abyss. A huge spider’s leg steps through. Another follows and then the head of the drow goddess Lolth passes through the portal. She chides Iuz on letting her agent get too close and claims his divine essence, sinking her fangs deep into her neck. His material form destroyed, his soul is forced to the Abyss for a thousand years. A shrouded lich floats up the back of the dais and takes its place at Lolth’s side. The dark goddess then turns to her servant, Kr’zzt. A brush of one of her legs against him and he is paralyzed. The lich whispers to the dark queen. Kr’zzt is then reprimanded for his naked ambition. The unknown lich has provided visions to the Queen of the Underworld. In every one, he attempts to unseat Lolth herself. Are these visions manipulated to show only the eventualities in which Kr’zzt rebels? Perhaps. The lich once again offers counsel. Lolth then addresses the party, calling them unwitting allies in her grand plan and as such, offers them clemency one single time. The party is released, their items returned and Kr’zzt is turned over to them. The lich whispers to the dread goddess one last time and then turns towards the party, revealing the sunken, undead face of Ba’th Moara. Their former companion gives them one final look, her debt to them is paid. She turns away and the last good thing in Ba’th dies. Lolth then blasts the party into the astral plane. As they are repelled backwards, they see drow warriors and driders pour forth from the black portal. The buildings in Dorakka crumble and fall into a rapidly growing sinkhole in the city. One by one the city’s torches go out as all things, living and unliving plunge into the sinkhole and the tunnels below. The drow swarm the tunnels as Dorakka is no more. The party finds themselves ejected from the astral plane in an area they ascertain to be the woods of Furyondy. Lyks seeks the help of the arch druid of the region who turns out to have been wounded at the battle a week ago and lost and eye for his trouble. He informs them of the death of Alathedra, poisoned by a blade soaked with the venom of Lolth herself and the loss of the men of Greyhawk. He offers to take them to the great tree of Furyondy, located not in a city like Greyhawk’s but in the thick of the forest. Lyks and Ix attune the rings given to them by Alathedra and pass through the trunk of the great tree to their destination, Greyhawk. Kr’zzt is locked into Greyhawk’s deepest, darkest dungeon and the the mayor is contacted immediately to warn of the threat of the drow. He informs them that Madryk has returned, the dwarven nations are united in cause. The gnomes will also stand against this threat but are finding opposition by a new race of their kind not seen before. For now though, the threat is clear. The tunnel systems that lay at the borders of Furyondy and the Shield Lands must be defended at all costs!
Update: 3-21-2014 The Age of Heroes is well underway. After finding success in Skorane and reconnecting a long lost relationship between a mother and son, the party has run afoul of a fiend both cowardly and deadly, the drow elf Kr’zzt from the dark tunnels of the realms, here to act as harbinger of a new underdark beneath the Flanness. Kr’zzt, who has slain both father and liege, stands poised as their greatest foe. A mission of rescue in the land of evil itself, Iuz, has provided the party with their best lead yet on locating their loathsome adversary, his blood. Ba’th departs the party in Furyondy, a greater call draws her away as the party meets and adds to its’ ranks, the human witch Dablova whose sisters had foreseen as an ally to the “champions of the stars”. Back at Greyhawk the party, through Meris Moonshadow, makes the acquaintance of Enoch Greyspeth, the only known white necromancer in the Flanness. Enoch offers his help in exchange for a lost item retrieved. The party completes its’ task and waits for word of the the blood ritual’s completion.
Update: 11-30-2013 The Age of Heroes has begun. The new party, consisting of Ix, Lyks, Drayden, Tic-Toc and new additions, priestess of Istus: Ba’th Moara, mysterious “Duster” from the north, Isrygrad and Dwarven warrior/priest Madryk Dorn have taken on several grand projects for Mayor Gasgal and having completed the first, the liberation of the Halfling village of Elmshire (at great cost), have now moved on to the second of Mayor Gasgal’s tasks, one shared with Lyks by an emissary of the Grand Druid, Alathedra Earthblessed; the reclaiming of the lost Druidic enclave of Skorane.*
Update: 8-18-2013 Cortox, the sundered god, has been restored. Quantis, Kor-Mak and Celestian, finally brought together, have been reincorporated. His daughter, Ilsensine, has been thwarted, her dark plan laid to waste. Now stability has been brought to the 3 worlds created by her sisters Paladine, Beory and Mystra as a result of the true world, Ethris’ dis joining and Cortox has departed from the Prime Material Plane forever, taking Reizhodd and Modius along as heralds. Celestian’s Path is over. It is now time for the Age of Heroes.
This is where we detail the story we all tell every week. Since one of the central themes has been the Church of Celestian and some of the strange events surrounding the church and your involvement with it (through Reizhodd and Modius), I’ve decided to call it Celestian’s Path.