The stars above announce that it’s midnight as my new companions and I stand in the eerily quiet meadow a few well-trodden hours East of Coetus. The events of the night replay in my mind as we stare at one another, wondering what to do next. The vivid dream, the horn, meeting Hawk, Pincup and Haragoo. Unlocking the riddle and opening up the secret passage below the statue of the Great Flaming Sphere in Coetus’ Simul Park. The long walk through the underground passage to our current location. I don’t really know what to make of it all other than excitement and confusion.
We take turns on watch and stir a few hours past sunrise on the morning of Sopitam 2.
The meadow is still quiet, devoid of the typical natural sounds of birds and other vivacious animals. Hawk conjures a handful of Goodberries, telling us that they have will both nourish and heal us, if need be. A premonition, of sorts. We gather our gear and leave the clearing at which point I look back and sense that the whole area is protected by magic, making it easy to avoid unless you know exactly what to look for. This explains the lack of birds and animals in the meadow.
We climb a small hill to look around and notice that the city looks calm and normal to the west. Haragoo seems uneasy about running away from Coetus when there is potential for attack. Trying to appeal to our heroic side he passionately beckons us back to Coetus to fight the good fight. We soothe his ego and talk about our collective dream which clearly told each of us that the only way we could help was to leave. Haragoo grumps and groans but agrees to head North to the supposed location of the ruined temple of our dreams. We estimate a journey of several days to this temple which we think is most likely located in the rolling hills just South East of iconic Mount Gloria.
As we walk, I can’t help thinking that temples have never been a staple of the religion of Novopan, leading me to conclude that, if it really exists, it must precede the Great Flaming Sphere. A stirring thought, considering the Great Flaming Sphere created all of Novopan over 12,400 years ago, or so I have been taught.
It takes three long and uneventful days of walking north through forest and glen to arrive at the foothills beneath Mount Gloria. Our vivid collective dream still fresh in our minds, it proved simple to spot the temple entrance on the side of a particularly green and treeless hill.
We climbed to the temple entrance in the late afternoon and entered through the crumbled remains of the ornate stone doors. The remainder of the temple must be under the hill because the entrance was no larger than a modest public ale house. We hesitated naught as we crossed the threshold one by one. The lighting of torches reminded me that I was the only member of the group capable of seeing vividly in the dark, a trait inherited from my Elven mother. Everything was in ruins and we walked over cracks and boulders through the finely crafted structure which lead us deeper into the temple and the hill. We followed the ruined hall until we saw a warm lantern glow coming from a room further down. Approaching, we hear the shuffling of feet, as I looked inside, I realized that this is the room from my dream, the study and the desk and the bookshelves and the experiments that were covered by a thick layer of dust.
Several lanterns bathe this room with light and there is a man in the room standing by a bookshelf, leafing through a tome. He welcomes us in. He is unlike anyone I’ve ever seen before. He’s like an elf but with dark dark skin, long white hair and pale, colorless eyes. He looks to be 600 years old but I get a strong sense that he’s much older.
Thandlin is his name, he tells us but is not from our world… whatever that means. He does not elaborate because there is no time. He seems on edge. 250 years ago he was rescued by 5 mages. He says that the people of his world are coming to our world with plans to take over and destroy. He says that we summoned many others for help but we were the only four that showed up. He has been studying all of us for some time and deemed us worthy of trust.
Thandlin and I hear many others approaching from the same hall as we arrived. Thandlin quickly opens a secret passage behind a bookshelf and ushers us through, saying that we must not be discovered here. He will deal with the intruders he says and, after quickly handing me an ornate bracer, he says that we must go and that he will find us again. I see him casting a Wall of Water to block the entrance from the unwelcome visitors.
We move quietly down the passage and see a dim natural light up ahead. I hear rattling and shuffling noises from the direction of the light so we slow our pace and approach with caution.
Four skeleton warriors, armed with swords and bows, are standing in an open room, blocking our escape from the broken temple to the outside world.
A battle ensues. Arrows and Firebolts fly. Swords and staves swing. Hawk gets knocked prone and unconscious. The battle lasts scarcely a minute and we manage to destroy all of the skeletons and exit through the room they were guarding, into the forest outside. It feels great to be outside. Hawk eats more goodberries and lays down to rest, along with the other three. As they’re falling asleep, a viscous giant badger comes barreling out from a thicket of trees.
I send a Firebolt at the badger which seems to anger him more. Then Haragoo deftly and impressively dispatches a single arrow through the beast’s eye and head. I’ve never seen anyone handle a bow with such finesse before. I’m starting to like this gruff man from the plains.
Hawk seems quite upset with us when he fully wakes and sees us skinning and eating the beast. Fresh uncooked meat from a worthy enemy. Delicious. He calms down eventually and falls back asleep, hopefully dreaming on how to behave less foolishly during our next encounter. Hawk is only seventeen and hasn’t experienced much of this world. Haragoo, on the other hand, is a fully mature twenty-five-year-old adult, and seems to know the ways of the world. I bet I could learn a lot from him. Pincup is quiet but dangerous. I’ve never seen anyone so small fight with such ferocity before. She stood toe to toe with the skeletons and her staff and body were a whirlwind of danger to our foes. I spend some time studying the bracer given to me by Fandlin. It seems to be a powerful artifact that has the ability to create a magical shield for it’s wearer. A shield that acts as a barrier to projectiles of foes, both physical and magical. I think that Hawk should own this bracer, just to keep him alive, if nothing else. I lay it next to him as he sleeps.
The rest of the night passes without incident and we take turns on watch till the early morning. The magical blue-tooth earring Hawk got from the Coetus city guard gives him a message which he relays to us. It seems jumbled and confusing but the main gist is that a guard named Garrus was somehow compromised and revealed secret information about a secret passage under the fortified walls of Coetus. Garrus’s last location was near the town of Charlotte and Hawk tells us that his contact urged him to to find Garrus and assess the situation.
Pincup, who is full of surprises, tells us she knows where Charlotte town is located and leads the way. Half a day travel she tells us. We meander through forest and field and see various lonely farms, even stopping for a minute chat with a farmer. Haragoo yells something obscene about the farmer’s wife and we urge him not to exchange such pleasantries in future encounters. I walk up the farmer and apologize for my friend and confirm that we are indeed still heading in the direction of Charlotte. Pincup keeps leading the way and less than an hour later we round a small hill, and see four wolves walking towards us on the path. Hawk tries to charm the alpha but seems to anger him instead. Perhaps Hawk should hang back and try out his bracer shield next time we encounter beasts in the wild.
I use my Mage Hand to distract two of the wolves with some leftover badger meat. Hawk attempts to entrap the remaining two wolves with more magic. Vines erupt from the ground beneath them, attempting to entangle the beasts. The alpha easily escapes and seems to get even angrier, if that’s possible. The other is captured by the vines and remains prone. I launch a fiery bolt at the alpha and Haragoo again amazes me with his archery, felling the alpha in one shot. The other two wolves tuck tail and run as soon as they see their alpha dead.
We survey the scene of carnage and contemplated the various amazing things that have happened to us since we left the safety of the city walls of Coetus.