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Faerin's Twenty fourth letter

Dear Thora and Fin/Peacebringer,

I hope you are well since we last saw each other just a few days ago.

I am afraid I bear sorrowful news. The great leader of the Khan clan, Tukas Khan, has passed on to the embrace of the Gods. Though it was likely his age that had finally caught up with him, the circumstances of his passing were highly unusual.

After our encounter with War, we returned to Khan Hall. When we arrived, there was already a great celebration ongoing as the defeat of War had immediate effects. The shroud of dread that had engulfed the Beinnhall Hills had been lifted. The runes that tormented our people had vanished. However there was still no word from Tukas and the remainder of the Dwarven delegation to Woodsong.

So we used Nissa’s magic to teleport us to Woodsong to investigate. When we arrived, we could immediately smell a strong presence of blossoms that was never here before. The town itself was fully overgrown with plants and vines as if it had been so for hundreds of years. There was no one to be seen, neither the Dwarven delegation nor the inhabitants. The more magically-inclined among us did find a strong arcane aura tied to enchantment and conjuration that lingered among the buildings.

As we searched through the town, a stranger suddenly approached us. He was a human and introduced himself as Cedric. He had come from Raven the Jewels and was searching for Ferris, but had only found this abandoned town. Cedric did recognize us as the travelling companions of Ferris. Alas we had to give him the bad news that Ferris – Varis as we knew him – was slain by War several days ago. However we fully intended to bring Varis back to the living once our current quest was complete. Cedric offered to help us with our endeavor and tag along until such time that Varis could be returned. We gratefully accepted as we needed another set of eyes to seek out the truth behind this mystery.

Not finding anything of note in the ruined town, Nissa used her druidic ways to probe nature itself. She discovered that Woodsong had been overtaken by a strong Fey Realm influence and she sensed the presence of a powerful Fey in the nearby swamp. We travelled into the swamp and found a small house on stilts above the bog that had never been there before. We went in and were greeted by an elf with white hair. She introduced herself as Deidre the Moon Mistress, Elder Fey of the Fey Realm, and sister of Dullahan. However she had been stripped of most of her powers long ago. She told explained to us that Dullahan was indeed behind the disappearance of Woodsong. He had transposed a segment of the Fey Realm with that of Ourborros, which had also brought Deidre to our plane. Dullahan had indeed imprisoned not only our family and friends, but also the Wardens and the Elder Fey Titania. He now held them imprisoned with his army under the command of his right hand Grynos.

To aid us, Deidre used some of her last bits of magic to bring us into the Fey Realm. We thanked her and set out towards the real Woodsong in the Fey Realm. As we approached the town, we found many Fomorians and Shadowhounds patrolling the area. We tried to sneak past but failed, and had to take them down in a fight. We did manage to capture one of the Formorians alive. He told us that the prinsoners were being kept in Dullahan’s castle. We resolved to get some additional information. Fierna scryed on my sister Lyn and saw that she was imprisoned in a small dark room. Cedric volunteered to scout ahead and found the real Woodsong. The town was overgrown and had a strange glow. But it was heavily guarded by knights in shining armor on white majestic horses. After Cedric returned, Nissa flew over the town as a bird and found the location of Dullahan’s fortress to the North.

We circled around and looked for a way into the fortress. However it was surrounded by a deep chasm with only a single bridge. Furthermore Fierna noticed that the fortress was warded by an ethereal wall that would prevent us from getting in. As we stayed in watch, we did notice that the white knights were able to cross the bridge and the safe guards without issue. We returned to the forest and set an ambush for a patrol group by using a deer carcass. As we sprung our trap, the knight revealed their true forms. They were blue giants called Oni riding on Dark Mares. The Oni were tough but we took them out and captured one to question. He told us that a Fey mount was needed to traverse the barrier.

We slept to regain our strength and released the Oni the next day with strong magical compulsions that he could not reveal our presence. The we set our plan in motion. I summoned a fey-tuned warhorse that Nissa would ride. Nissa took a potion of growth and doubled in size to blend in with the army. We then snuck as close to the castle as we dared and jumped into Nissa’s portable hole. We then only had to hold our breath as Nissa crossed the bridge on the horse and entered the fortress. After dodging a few guards, she released us in an empty room.

The corridors of the fortress were shrouded in mist. As we went from room to room, we found items belonging to our friends and family scattered about, such as Orson’s rifle and Faera’s jewel box, each time laced with a dangerous trap. We went up winding stairs and had to take out an Oni guard. We also found a scared servant and locked him in a room. After wandering through the maze-like fortress for a while, we were forced to use magic to track the prisoners. This led us to a secret room, where Tukas, Lyn and Orson were being kept. We told them to flee Woodsong and Fierna banished them back to Ourborros.

As we were still missing most of the population of Woodsong, we found another guard and used magic to trick him into taking us to the prison. This guard led us back outside of the fortress and down a secret staircase in the chasm. Here we found an entire segment of Dullahan’s castle that had been hidden where the prisoners were being kept. We took down the guards at the gate, only to be confronted by a giant dragon behind it. Me and my brother waged a valiant battle against the dragons it spewed its fiery breath upon us. We thought we were done for, but then suddenly the dragon disappeared. Apparently it had been a magical creation that could be countered with other magic. But now we found ourselves in the main prison and could release the townsfolk of Woodsong. At the back of the prison we found a hidden torture chamber with additional cells. On the torture racks, we found the two wardens of the Fey Realm and the Umber Reach deceased. The other cells held Porthas and Marianne. We sent the large group of villagers back to Ourborros with a magical gate created by Nissa and told them to get away from the town as it would be returning soon. We tried to bring the Wardens back to life, but were unsuccessful. This meant that their souls were trapped or worse.

While we had saved most, we still needed to find Faera and Titania. So we tried to sneak back into the main fortress. We failed and got caught on the bridge. Growing tired of fighting and sneaking, I confronted the guards directly. I told them that Dullahan was expecting us, after all why had he otherwise bothered to collected our friends and family. I then asked them to escort us inside so we could settle this once and for all. So the guards brought us directly to the throne room. But instead of finding Dullahan there, we were confronted by his right hand, Grynos. Grynos was a large monster with a skull and horns for a face and equal parts fey, undead and fiend. We tried resolving this with peaceful conversation, but Grynos only taunted us with how he had consumed the souls of the wardens. Eventually the talks ended with Grynos charging me and skewering me with his horns. Luckily my brother’s healing magic mended the wound quickly and we engaged the monster. We did try to keep Cedric out of the conflict as he was not one of Dullahan’s targets, but Cedric was committed to our cause. It was eventually his quick arrows and a giant ray of sunlight from Nissa that brought down Grynos and his guards. We took the last Oni prisoner and forced him to bring us to Faera. Before we left, we did find a strange crystal in the throne that we considered might be housing an unknown soul, along with several history books on the previous war between Ourborros and the Fey Realm.

We were reaching our limits but pressed on to save Faera. The Oni led us to chamber guarded by a troll with a magical circle. After we took out the troll, we went through the magical circle into a secret inner sanctum of Dullahan’s High Priest. We were surprised to discover that this High Priest was Darthoridan, the advisor to Fierna’s father. Althought Fierna seemed less surprised then we were. Faera was unconscious on a strange altar in the center of the room. We ran in to rescue Faera and were forced to fight of Darthoridan and his troll guards. But Darthoridan summoned a magical shield around himself and Faera, blocking most of our attacks. The trolls also kept coming at us from all sides and were it not for my brother’s healing prowess, I would have died in that battle. Eventually Cedric and Fierna managed to reach Faera, pick her up and evacuate her through the magical circle. I poured the last of my strength gifted by Lugh into a single strike against Darthoridan and took him down. I was exhausted but at least Faera was safe. But then I heard a voice behind me. Who dares breach my sanctum, the small cave rumbled. And Dullahan himself appeared from a statue carved in his likeness. We were spent from our previous fights, so we saw no other choice than to run away. As I turned, a single slash from Dullahan caught me in my back and the wound burned and bit. Nissa summoned a wall of stone to protect our escape, but Dullahan just laughed.

We teleported back to the fortress and found Cedric and Fierna next to Faera, who was clearly in labor. They were rushing her out of the fortress, but Dullahan had appeared once more. I placed myself between Dullahan and Faera, hoping to buy the time that they needed to escape. I struck out at Dullahan, but my attacks did nothing. The power granted by Lugh was completely spent. My brother was down to his last spells. Nissa had used up most of her magic getting us into the fortress and getting the villagers out. Our only hope was to delay Dullahan long enough.

Then out of nowhere a golden arrow struck Dullahan’s neck. I turned and saw that our new friend Cedric had fired it from his bow. At first, he paid it no mind but then the skin around the wound started to blacken. Dark veins spread out across Dullahan’s body and he screamed. Then his skin flaked and turned to ash. Before long only a silver skeleton remained where Dullahan had stood. The fortress started to shake and crumble, so we ran out. The only thing we brought with us was Dullahan’s silver skull.

Woodsong started to glow and fade as it started its return to Orborros. The army guarding it quickly scattered in all directions with their general and leader dead. We returned with Woodsong and Thorin delivered Faera’s babies. They turned out to be two beautiful twins, a human boy and girl, although the girl had some elven features. The babies safe, I took my horse and rode out to retrieve the villagers. When I arrived at the long column of refuges, they looked at me with great sorrow. When I reached the front, I discovered why. A number of villagers were carrying Tukas covered in a white blanket on a wooden platform. Lyn rushed out when she saw me and said that Tukas’ age had caught up with him after the stress of being captured. I took my place carrying the platform and we returned to Woodsong. I then broke the news to Thorin.

The next day we travelled back to Khan Hall and brought Tukas to the temple. Work has already started on his final resting place in the crypts beneath the Hall.

And so this is how the oldest and wisest amongst all the Hill Dwarfs met his end. Tukas was around when the first Halls were constructed in the Beinnhall Hills. He lived a full life and he can be proud of his accomplishments.

I expect there to be a funeral soon when all of the preparations are done. I also think that we will be staying in the Beinnhall Hills for a while now after tying up some loose ends. The confrontation with War and Dullahan has taken so much from us and I could use a break to remember what we are fighting for.

I hope to see you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Faerin Khan

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