As the paladin and rogue make their way to Glassmoor, mounted on the winged axebeak, a shape forms ahead of them in the dark. A tall, misshapen figure rides toward them. As the figure continues on his path, Traelle rears the axebeak to a halt and squints into the darkness. Finally, the figure appears beneath the moonlight as he begins to pass the women. Alatar, panting along with the horse, carries the body of Drak'Thal across his shoulder. Even with the breeze, the smell of scorched flesh and hair wafts over the rogue and paladin. Alatar continues past the pair, riding hard to return to Wyrmwood. Traelle urges the the axebeak after her companions, and the mounted Keepers race for the city.
The Keepers ride and make their way back through North Gate. Driven by pure adrenaline, Alatar continues to carry the dwarf across his back and makes for the Keep. Traelle breaks into a run, looking for someone to render aid to Drak'Thal. She desperately tries to ask a guard she stumbles upon for help, and continues on. Heading to the lyceum, Traelle looks for any sign of aid. Finding nothing but a closed door, she turns back and runs with Rinn and Alatar for the throne room. The trio finds only more guards. Rinn asks if anyone can help a mortally wounded friend, and shrugs are the only response. The Keepers, dwelling on the possibility of losing their friend, sit in the throne room and try to come up with any shred of hope. As they sit, dread fills them…Suddenly, as if to answer the prayers of Rinn and Traelle, as well as the blood sacrifice of Alatar, the stone doors swing open. The guard captain and Adeline walk up to the Keepers.
Adeline swiftly walks to sit at Drak'Thal's head. Traelle talks a position at the dwarf's feet. With her shield propped beneath the dwarf's feet, she casts holy water upon him, lights some incense at her knees, and sits back to pray. Rinn sits on Drak'Thal's right, grasping his charred arm in one hand a feather in the other. Alatar sits to Drak'Thal's lefts and continues to draw blood with his prayer to Talos. Adelin removes a dagger from her side and begins to carve a rune into the dwarf's forehead. As she traces the sharp blade, she whispers under her breath. As the words continue, and an odd energy flows from the blade into the circular rune on Drak'Thal's head. Nothing happens, and the Keepers join hands. In another room, a steady heartbeat drums, thumping louder and louder. As the dwarf lies cold, still, and lifeless on the ground, a sudden gasp of air escapes a man's lips, and he rises from the bed…
As Adeline utters the last words of her incantation, the energy flows through and around the markings, causing the rune to glow. A shockwave courses through the dwarf's body, electricity racing through his being. The group backs off, with Adeline cupping Drak'Thal's head. The dwarf blinks, looking up at the blonde woman as she wipes a tear of blood from his eye. "An angel," he softly calls." Some may say," she replies, removing her hands from his head. Wearily, she walks to the guard captain and nearly collapses in his arms. As Drak'Thal struggles to his hands and knees, Traelle moves to his right and pours her energy into him, attempting to heal the damage done to his body.
"I'm back," Drak'Thal says as he grins.
"What happened?" Rinn asks at the half standing dwarf.
"Ran into some furious puppies, fire breathing ones, i'm not sure what happened…" Drak'Thal's voice trails off as he starts to rise to his feet.
Alatar pulls out his journal, and begins to furiously write. Alatar describes the attack by the fire breathing "puppies," detailing how the elf and dwarf left for Glassmoor after waiting for Rin and Traelle. Alatar's notes tell the others of how Drak'Thal succumbed to his wounds during the fight and that Alatar was able to kill one beast and drive the other two away. He continues, writing that he gathered Drak'Thal and galloped off for Wyrmwood.
As Rinn and Traelle read the elf's writing, Traelle looks at Drak'Thal and says, "You are lucky that he was able to bring you back to us, and lucky we were able to find someone to help us. Why did you not wait for us? The dwarf gives her a quizzical look and says, "Didn’t think it was necessary, travelled this road many times alone.” The Keepers agree to travel back to Glassmoor as a group, especially at night, from now on.
Without making eye contact with each other, Rinn hands the journal back to Alatar. “It’s getting late,” Traelle says, “perhaps we should stay within the city.” Rinn speaks up, “Stay within a faction house, perhaps?” “Don’t worry,” Drak’Thal says, “won’t go anywhere alone, I’m pretty tired.” Alatar scratches into his journal, “where do you want to go?” and shows it to Drak’Thal. “We can stay on the ship for the night.” Grinning, Drak’Thal looks up at Traelle and says, “You know, it’s been a traumatic ordeal, maybe, i don’t really want to sleep alone, maybe you can stand guard at my door.” He pauses for a moment and continues, “If you get cold outside, you can come in. Perhaps we can pray together.” Traelle scowls at him and replies, “Perhaps you just need some rest. We’ll get you back to the ship.”
Rinn asks the Keepers to wait before she makes for Kline’s room. She notices a bright flash of light beneath the door, and she hears a crash of the window breaking. Rinn storms through the door and finds Kline sitting up in the bed, a wing spread with radiant energy spreading to the tip. Her eyes move to the other shoulder, and she sees blood pouring from where his other wing should be. Dark energy drips from the wound as Kline pants heavily. Rinn gathers a blanket and tries to stop the bleeding, but the cloth only becomes saturated from the contact.
Kline folds his wing in, turns his head and says, “I’ll be fine.” Rinn replies, “It looks really bad,” and he nods. As Kline moves Rinn to face him, he rests his head against hers, sitting in silence. Rinn says, “You’ve been asleep for a long time. Do you remember anything?” He shakes his head and asks, “Did I bring back the orb?” Rinn answers, “Bronzehammer has it, he’s holding it.” Kline weakly mutters, “Good.” Rinn continues, “The others are here.” Kline repeats himself, almost a whisper, “Good.” As he face contorts with concern, Rinn says, “I should probably get someone to stop the bleeding…” Kline shakes his head, and Rinn remains seated.
As the others stand and wait for the rogue, Drak’Thal speaks up, “Does anyone have an ale around her, my head is killing me.” Alatar pulls out a bottle of brandy and writes in his journal “this is all I have.” The pair both take a hearty pull from the brandy, expecting the burn of the alcohol recovered from the monastery. Alatar winces from the fresh brand on his tongue, however, both Drak’Thal and Alatar can taste that the brandy has fermented into a delicious beverage. As Drak’Thal takes another pull from the bottle, Alatar can already feel the effects of the powerful drink. The dwarf grins and drinks from the bottle a third time. As he pulls the bottle from his lips, the dwarf says, “Iz some good shit.”
Kline reaches up to Rinn, kisses her gently on the temple, and whispers into her ear. Rinn slowly stands and says, “I will be right back, I’m going to let the others know.” Rinn walks through the corridors until she returns to the Keepers. As she approaches the group, she says, “You guys go ahead to the ship, there’s a…someone just woke up.” Traelle, turning from the cheery pair, says, “I may need some help, they’re a little drunk.” Rinn smiles uncomfortably and says, “Uh…i’m sure you’ll make it just fine.” Traelle sighs, gives a light push to the backs of Alatar and Drak’Thal and says, “Alright you two, let’s go.”
The trio begin to head for the harbor, with both Alatar and Drak’Thal wombling down the steps of the keep. As they move, Traelle steadies the two with a hand on her drunk friends. Drak’Thal asks, “Got any more of that shit?” Alatar passes the bottle, and Drak’Thal takes another swig. The dwarf gives a violent cough, and steadies himself with a hand on his knee. He passes the bottle back to Alatar. Seeing that Drak’Thal all but finished the bottle, he brings the bottle to his lips and tilts it back for the final sip.
Despite the alcohol taking full affect of him, the dwarf rights himself. “Traelle,” Drak’Thal slurring his words, “c’mere.” The paladin raises an eyebrow as she looks to the dwarf, “‘Meer’? What is ‘meer’?” The dwarf responds with a fixated eye on Traelle. Magic builds within the dwarf as he opens his mouth to speak, “Kiss.”
As Alatar stands in the alley, swaying from the brandy, his eyes go wide as Traelle steps forward. Tilting her head to the left, she presses her lips to the bearded cleric. They stare at each other for a brief moment. Drak’Thal closes his eye and wraps his arms around Traelle, pulling her closer. As they embrace, Traelle slowly traces her tongue across Drak’Thal’s lips, before pulling back with her eyes still fixed on the dwarf.
With the sight before him, or perhaps the brandy within him, Alatar suddenly bends at the waist and vomits. Traelle’s eyes flutter for a moment, the face of Drak’Thal still only inches from hers. As the spell begins to wear off, she realizes what has happened. Her cheeks fill with color, a deep red spreading rapidly across her face. Traelle moves her hands from Drak’Thal’s back, bringing them to the top of his shoulders. She slides her right foot back and shoves the dwarf. The dwarf stumbles backward, falling to his back. With great effort, the dwarf slowly returns to his feet. As he moves, Traelle turns to the bent over elf and says, “you can get him to the ship, if you want.” As the paladin storms off for her faction's headquarters, she hears Alatar exclaim, “Vhat vhe FVUK!”
The dwarf, now standing, grins at the elf. “Always wanted a kiss from her,” he says. “She did it, finally.” The drunken pair begin to walk together, stumbling as they move, colliding with the walls and each other. After making it only a short distance away from the still warm vomit, the brandy pulls both Drak’Thal and Alatar to drunken sleep. As they collapse to the cold alleyway, the pair huddle together for warmth. Drak’Thal leans against the elf, his back pressing into the Alatar’s chest. Alatar’s arm lazily reaches across the dwarf’s shoulder, resting his hand atop the long flowing beard of his friend.
As Rinn returns to Kline’s room, she sees that the bleeding has stopped from his shoulder blade. Rinn asks, “Are you okay?” Kline smiles at her return, “I will be.” Rinn closes the door behind her and walks to Kline, “I think the others are heading for the ship.” Kline asks, “How are they?” She sits at the bed and replies, “Some things have happened…but everyone is alive, now.” Kline arches brow, and Rinn continues, “Drak’Thal was dead about an hour ago.” Surprised, Kline asks, “Who brought him back?” Rinn says, “Adeline. She must be exhausted now. She held that portal open for a long time.” Kline and Rinn speak of the Glassmoor, and of the visions that the windows had showed the Keepers. Rinn recounts the events of the past forty days to Kline, including his return from the portal, Gilmore’s assistance, the Bargewright caravan, and Thoruun’s disappearance. With a squeeze of her hand, Kline pulls Rinn to bed.
The Keepers wake in the morning, with Alatar and Drak’Thal rising with throbbing headaches. The pair struggle to remember the previous night and decide to make their way for the keep.
Rinn wakes to find Kline already up, and she sets out to find her companions and a pair of crutches. As Rinn makes her way through the courtyard, she finds Traelle walking alone and brooding. Confused at the paladin’s mood and the fact that she is alone, Rinn and Traelle begin to walk for an infirmary. The pair talk as they walk, speaking of Kline and his recovery. As the start for the Coins, they find an infirmary, and Rinn purchases the crutches. They leave, and make their way back to the keep. As they reach the courtyard, Drak’Thal’s voice calls from behind them, “Traelle! Rinn!” Traelle stops, turns, and walks to Drak’Thal. As she approaches him, Traelle returns the gifted lightning bolt necklace to the dwarf by throwing it at his chest. Picking it up, Drak’Thal speaks, “Thanks, about last night…” But the paladin cuts him off, “We have deliver something to Kline,” and she strides away with Rinn. As the walk away, Traelle tells Rinn of the spell that Drak’Thal used.
At their own pace, the group makes it back to the keep and all head to Kline’s room. Kline is sitting at the bed, still trying to move his shoulders properly. With Rinn’s help and the crutches, Kline is able to stand and dress himself in a robe. He slowly moves back to the bed and sits as Alatar and Drak’Thal enter the room. The dwarf and Kline speak of plans for the southern continent before the Wolf asks about the missing monk. Drak’Thal hands Kline the letter that Thoruun left behind. Traelle speaks of the new relationship with Kris Kringle and the negotiations, as well as the upgrades to the Glassmoor property. As the group continues to speak, Kline learns of the Zhentarin convoy and the asks Rinn if she wants Alatar to continue as a Keeper. Rinn agrees that he is necessary and says that Alatar will have a long path to regain the trust of the group.
Kline asks of other news and Traelle speaks of the repeated bandit attacks on the road to Bargewright. Traelle speaks of the visions within the windows, damage done by the bandits, and of the battle with the bandits and their leader. Kline asks of the paladin’s intentions as the battle raged and takes notes as she speaks. Traelle continues and tells him about the return to Summit Hall and their trip to the catacombs. Drak’Thal interrupts Traelle, saying, “In the north, we met a man…” Traelle glares at the dwarf and she says, “I would like to tell him.” Drak’Thal relents, saying, “Traelle will tell you more.” With a bit of a chuckle, Kline says, “A lover’s quarrel.” At his words, Traelle spits to the floor. Kline produces a rag and tosses it to the paladin. After she bends to clean the floor, Traelle stands and tells Kline of Renwick on the northern continent, the trip to the catacombs, Jarill the Dragoon, and the disastrous fumble of the lich’s phylactery. Kline puts his hand to his face, unable to hid his shock and disbelief. Kline tells the group that they will depart once Krunak has finished preparations. Before dismissing them, he also tells the group to renegotiate with Kringle, before the Keepers sail for the southern continent.
The Keepers return to Glassmoor Keep together and busy themselves with their own tasks. As the days quickly pass, the group takes efforts to prepare to be gone for an extended period. Drak’Thal prospects the newly excavated mines and the gnomes and dwarves that mill about within them. Traelle watches the destruction of Summit Hall through the magical windows of Glassmoor. Drak’Thal, after attempting to apologize to Traelle, destroys his wooden chamberpot within his room. During a morning meeting, Kline heals Alatar’s tongue, the brand still clearly marked upon his flesh. Drak’Thal drops in at Gilmore’s and heads off to speak with Krunak regarding the status of the ship. Finally, the Keepers make for Kringle’s office for negotiations. After Traelle is ejected from the meeting, the group relays their planned expeditures with Taranath, and return to Wyrmwood to spend one last night within the city. With their preparations complete, the Keepers board the Keepers Oath and take one last look as the city of Wymwood fades from their view.