Faerin's Ninth letter
We are returning home.
I am sending this letter ahead to inform you of our upcoming return. We have dealt with our business in Woodsong and in light of everything that has happened I feel like we have to also explain our actions to the clan.
We returned swiftly to Woodsong following short griffon ride. The journey takes a full day even by mystical elk, so we did first set up camp. Around the fire and with some of the last supplies of Khan’s finest wetting our lips, we discussed all that had transpired. Though we know that we have no excuse and are fully at fault for the release of the Calamity, so many unresolved questions still remain. Why was an ancient evil captured within a treasure vault of all places? Who were the mysterious griffon riders and the dragons that they seem to serve? Why didn’t the griffon riders intervene much earlier? Now that the seal is broken, will the Calamity remain bound within the collapsed mountain? Who was the third party involved in setting this all up? What had they hoped to achieve?
We talked, ate and then slept. We awoke the next day weary and with our only wish to return home. It was however with a heavy heart, because we knew that we had to abandon Landerr trapped within the stasis field and his companion Maugrim whom may have perished in the mountain’s collapse. Furthermore, though we did find the fire gem, we found no trace of Anzo. But none of us had any desire to re-enter Arcarost, so we called Uhr and his ilk to transport us back to Woodsong.
During our travels, we noted the destruction caused by the mountain’s collapse. Far from a triumphant return, we arrived in Woodsong to find it ruined yet again. The earthquake caused by the dragons bringing down the High Peak had shook the small town and left it in a worse state than even during Xerax’s assault. The second floor of the Broken Tower Inn is now fully collapsed. The orphanage that Nissa has sworn to protect is now nothing but rubble. A great many other buildings have been damaged. The Guild Master Lancelin of the Tower Guard sustained injuries that have likely crippled him for life. Most of the village has been evacuated to the Obligator’s camp and thus we decided to meet up with our allies over there.
We called a meeting of the faction leaders and told them what had transpired. Many of them were already aware of some of these events as the griffon rider Jona had travelled to Woodsong a day before our arrival and explained our actions to them before departing again with his father. We filled in the gaps of information and answered all questions they had. We then awaited our sentence by the council present. My brother and I directed ourselves towards the three Dwarven representatives as these were our closest kinsmen in town and thus those that had we let down the most. It was decided that our good deeds outweighed our mistakes and that it was clear that we were not fully to blame for what has transpired. Fin and Thora strongly disagreed and shunned us, but Vosark Untgart followed the reasoning of the council. Though we have been absolved of any true punishment by the people of Woodsong, we are not free from guilt. Many of the townsfolk still avoid us and we are again outsiders in this little community.
After the meeting, Fierna hatched a plan to gain more information about the Calamity and this Atraya that may be involved in this plot. She will disguise herself as her sister, Faera, and allow Erevan to take her back to Aurion. Apparently Erevan has a method to quickly travel to Aurion that she wishes to exploit. Aurion as one of the Jewels has a great many libraries and knowledge repositories, so there will definitely be some information that we can use. In return for this deed, my brother and I have promised her that we will keep her sister safe. We agreed that we would take Faera with us to Khan hall. So you can expect additional company when we return.
During the following night, Miri got two unexpected visitors. The first was the undead that she had encountered previously whom had taken up the search for the fire gem, the key to the Vault of Arcarost. The second visitor was Nissa in the form of a curious cat tracking the undead. The undead was still searching for the gem and claimed that in contrast to what we witnessed, the gem or at least its magic, has not been fully destroyed. Thus this means that there may still be a chance to reseal the Calamity. But given our previous dealings with this key, prudence will be paramount.
The next morning, Fierna and Erevan left. And we got everything packed and ready to go. We said our farewells to all of the allies and friends that we had made in Woodsong before our departure. In particular, I took this opportunity to talk to Welby and Zora, the two surviving original adventurers. Welby is doing better these days and both were helping in the reconstruction of Woodsong. They both do feel extremely guilty and responsible for what happened. I tried to reassure them that there was plenty of blame to go around, but I fear that nothing I will say will suit their worries. I can relate to what they might be going through, but even then I was lucky not to have lost my family and friends. They did not share my luck. This did give us an excellent opportunity to compare notes, and what they told us confirmed many of our suspicions.
Welby told of their journey before Woodsong. He explained how he poured over tome after tome searching for hints about the legendary treasure vault of Arcarost. His main findings were based on three distinct books of arcane and historical nature. Through his research he had learned that there was a key to a great Vault buried within Arcarost that contained many artifacts and treasures of the former high mage. However that key was stored within the Vault of Creation. How it got there no one knows. The Vault of Creation, as you may know, contains dangers and evils that were trapped when the world was formed. And yet Arcarost only fell a few hundred years ago, so there is no reason for the key to have been there. Welby and his band set out to the central tower of Mat Sadom, the capital of the Jewels. He explained that within this tower is a gateway that allows access to any plane of existence, which includes the Vault of Creation. The gateway itself was guarded by large golems, whom they easily dispatched. Welby and Zora told us that it had been suspiciously easy to access the gateway but at the time they thought nothing of it. The last thing they remember is travelling to the Vault of Creation, but then their memories fade. Their earliest next memory is of waking up in Kramer’s Crossing days later with the key in hand. They had also each received their tattoo’s with the symbol of the Vault of Creation. Unsure what had transpired but as their plan had been success, they decided to continue onwards to Arcarost with their first stop in Woodsong.
This tale fills in many of the gaps that we didn’t know before. We knew that the fire gem was a key tied to the Vault of Creation, but thought it was a key to open the Vault of Creation. This is why we suspected it was so dangerous. However it turns out that the key was from the Vault of Creation. It was always meant to open the Arcarost vault. And the ancient evil that the undead cleric Naeris warned us about is in fact the Calamity that we accidentally released! We were so blinded by the treasure and trusting of the fiendish spirits within Arcarost that we missed this truth right in front of us.
I can’t help but notice that we all lost that which we had gained in the past few weeks as a punishment of our greed for more. Miri lost the respect that she had gained from her fellow Tower Guard and her guild master. Her actions directly injured one of the men that I assume she looks up to. Nissa lost the orphanage that she has been desperately trying to protect, the same orphanage where she grew up and that took her in when she was abandoned by her parents. Fierna has been separated from her adoptive home having left maybe the first people who accepted her for who she is. Thorin has lost Fin as she no longer wants anything to do with him after our actions. She even gave back his hand axe, so I no longer see any wedding bells in the near future. And I ended up hurting the people I wanted to protect. I only wanted to see them happy and make sure that their lives and homes were safe. But what do our intents or even our actions matter, if the end result is worse than if we had done nothing? I would almost prescribe it as a lesson from Lugh himself if I wasn’t sure that someone for more sinister was behind this plot. I do feel comfort in that I can still feel His presence. I know that with Him involved Good will eventually triumph, even if it is not by my hands.
And thus came an end to our adventures, maybe just for now, maybe just forever. A bitter final note like so many Dwarven tales with a glint of hope.
We intend to make great haste on our journey back as we will travel on horse and elk. Our cart was unfortunately destroyed in the earthquake so we no longer need to take it with us. You can thus expect our arrival shortly after you receive this letter, perhaps even before if we overtake the messenger.
See you all soon.
Love to mother.