As the sun begins to set over the city of Wyrmwood, the Keepers settle into the large pool within the Ivy Springs Bathhouse. Each have been scrubbed of whatever bits of the southern continent remained on their skin, leaving their armor in piles nearby. Rinn slips into the water from the edge, sinking into the warm water to relax. She notices the red cloud of the paladin’s hair beside her and smiles, commenting that perhaps a haircut might be in order. Alatar and Drakthal sit across the water from the two women, both appearing shades darker from all of their time in the sun at sea. Her own hair has lightened, a bit less purple runs through the pale strands. I’ll need to do something about that soon. Their time in the south had been a success in comparison to the northern continent, but it had exhausted them no less. What little relaxation they might find here in the city, in a bath or tavern, would have to do well enough to recharge them all before the next leg of their journey.
The Shadar-kai breaks the silence within the dimly-lit chamber, “Hey Drakthal can you touch the bottom?” They all watch as his blonde head disappears below the water and pops back up quickly. He shakes his head and goes to run his hand through the beard no longer occupying his face. Alatar gives a sympathetic look, “I miss the beard too. Maybe there is a potion of beard growth?” Traelle’s eyes follow the conversation as it volleys from one friend to another. Rinn looks to them expectantly, “Are we all going out tonight?” Something besides mead from the ship. The paladin rises in the water slightly, just enough to answer, “I’ll need someone to pay for my drinks…” Alatar looks over to the stack of his things and replies, “I still have a bit of money to cover you if you like.” They had all become lighter in coin than they were comfortable with after forfeiting a large sum into the Astral Plane. The conversation turns to the loss of the Bag of Holding, and the contents lost within it. The rogue speaks, “I feel like we didn’t leave as prepared as we had for our northern journey.” Each nods in agreement, a resupply of sorts was necessary, but the matter of carrying all their gear remained problematic. Drakthal returns the conversation to their plans for the evening, “The Whistling Pig, does anyone remember their specialty drink?” The elf shakes his head, “I don’t think we’ve ever ordered it.” Some time later with the agreement to meet up at their usual bar, Traelle leaves the water to see about her haircut and Rinn dresses to make way for the Keep.
The men leave the comfortable warmth of the bathhouse soon afterwards, winding their way through the Foreign Quarter. Alatar checks to see if Neinor is home, but finds no answer at the door. The two decide to spend some time with a drink at a local dive bar. Alatar asks after the house specialty, but finds it too pricey. The little man, once a dwarf, now a Halfling climbs beside his elven friend atop a stool to reach the counter. The elf laughs, “We want to make sure that we don’t end up in the gutter again.” Sticking to a simple ale, the two settle at a table and speak candidly. Drakthal brings up difficulties of the past, and the matter of the silence between them aboard the Keepers Oath. Alatar listens before giving his apology, “I’m sure this shit with Rinn brought up bad memories. And I’m sorry.” Though the issue is still sensitive, Drakthal pushes past the distrust among the Keepers, “It’s not my right to forgive you on Rinn’s behalf…what’s done is done.” They sip their ales and speak of their deaths, and the sacrifice that this mission might demand. The halfling’s face carries a serious expression, showing the time that he has spent in thought on the matter. “There’s a price to pay for every orb, one life per orb it seems. I hope that is not the case for what’s to come.” He pauses a moment, “I feel this is my last life…you don’t seem to care about your own life so much, why is that? Have you not forgiven yourself of the past?” The past follows each of the Keepers like something lurking amongst the trees, just out of reach but ever-present. Alatar looks into his ale, then back to Drakthal, “Not fully, no. but I long ago accepted death. I think sitting for three days reconciled me to death.” Once only foam remains in their glasses, they head out towards the Whistling Pig to meet up with the others. As they walk, talk of forgiveness and family continues. Drakthal stares ahead, seemingly regretting the loss of the family he once held dear and the crew that later filled that void. Alatar reassures him, “Well you have us now, and we would all do anything for you. You need not fear that I will ever speak of anything about you to anyone outside our group again. I trust you now. You’ve shown yourself to be a good friend, and someone committed to this cause.” Drakthal’s next words confuse the elf, “You seem to want to give your life so easily however, maybe you should rethink that and not be so selfish.” An awkwardness hangs in the air as he considers an answer. “Selfish in giving my life? You say that it would be selfish for me to give my life for yours?” They leave the subject as they approach the Whistling Pig, spotting Rinn and Kline standing outside. Traelle arrives shortly after the elf and Halfling with her hair a few inches shorter.
Kline addresses the group, “I was hoping we would head to a different location tonight, the Seven Gems, one of my favorites.” He leads them east through the Petal District a ways before entering at a sign marked with seven different colored gems. Inside the tavern, twice the size of the Whistling Pig, booths line the walls and tables are arranged in rows. Rinn slides in across from Kline, and Traelle beside her. As Drakthal hops up onto the bench next to Kline, Alatar takes the seat at the head with his back to the room. Drakthal’s change in stature becomes a joke once again as he comments on his youth, “I don’t know how old I am!” Kline chuckles, “Maybe they can cut you in half and count the rings.”
A barwench carries over an ale for each of them, and Kline offers a challenge, “Let’s have a little wager for fun, the last person to finish their drink has to order the special.” They waste no time in competing in such a game. Traelle and Drakthal are the first to set down their empty glasses in the middle of the table. Rinn watches Kline and Alatar over the edge of her glass before setting it down empty in front of her. Alatar finishes last. Perhaps the ale from earlier in the evening was to blame. Kline looks between Drakthal and Traelle for a second, “Traelle, I have a small confession to make. While you were at sea, I handed Rinn something that she didn’t use on you but I insisted that she should.” The Shadar-kai holds back the smile that tries to creep out, Oh alright then, here we go. He sets down a small vial on the table, “You know what this is?” Traelle looks closely at the potion, heart shaped bubbles drift beneath the surface. “This makes you fall in love with the first person you lay eyes on…seating you across from Drakthal was a good choice, making sure you would down your drink was the second good choice….good thing it’s all mind games and I decided not to use it.” Before the paladin can examine the vial much longer, he returns it back to his pocket, “Just know, that I was this close.” Rinn looks from the Halfling to Traelle, attempting to read their reactions. And you never would have suspected it.
Kline clears his throat, “Alatar, you ready for your drink?” The elf nods and pushes his empty mug into the rest in the middle of the table, “Bring it.” The same wench brings another round of ale for everyone but the elf. He receives a violently orange drink with streaks of bright red floating through the alcohol. This drink goes by the name “jailhouse wine” though it looks nothing like wine. Alatar downs it in one gulp, tasting a strong sugary flavor bordering fermentation. The others watch, waiting for something to happen but the elf only begins to look worried. No belief in flight or urge to peck us in the face? Must be different than the parrot drink.
Suddenly, he starts glancing franticly over his shoulder. Rinn sees his eyes widen as if something is wrong. Alatar half-turns to Traelle and speaks, “I think someone is trying to kill me…” Drakthal eyes him, “Who then? Are you alright?” The elf begins to scoot him chair backwards from the table, nervously looking from face to face of his friends. Kline can’t hold his laughter anymore, and the Halfling questions him, “Kline, what the fuck did you feed him?” Alatar stands, “You’re conspiring you bastards!” His eyes darts to Traelle, “Can’t you see it? They’re going to kill me!”
Rinn’s face appears curious, “And why do you think they would?” His panicked energy makes him twitchy as he looks around the table from Drakthal to a very amused Kline, “Well, I mean he’s a Talos worshiper, and this guy…your…he’s not even from around here!” Her retort comes as quickly as it would have in years past, “Not from around here?! What are you trying to say? Are you talking shit on people who aren’t from around here?” Alatar stills, “Of course I am, Rinn…” Drakthal looks to Kline, mischief in his eyes, “You wanna have some fun?” “Aye,” he replies. The Halfling smiles, “Show me your sword.”
Kline unsheathes an ornate ivory-handled dagger and sticks it into the table. Alatar straightens and back up a bit more, “You think that could take me down?” His eyes travel from the dagger to the men he doesn’t trust, and back again. Kline grins, “It’s not the weapon, it’s the person wielding it.” The redhead speaks for the first time after watching this comedy play out at the table, “Why don’t you have your sword? Can’t you just call it to you?” Kline replies to her inquiry, “I’ll be honest with you, it hasn’t been responding as often as I would like.” She nods in understanding as he looks off. Rinn nudges him with her foot under the table and gives him a look of reassurance. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices Alatar walking towards the corner of the room. Before she turns, he disappears. How long does it take for this madness to wear off?
A few minutes later, he returns to the table as Kline mentions that he has some important things to share with them all. Traelle pensively sets her mug back down on the table, “I don’t know if you’ve been told, but uh, our bag of holding is gone.” He nods, “Yes, I saw it happen. I spent a few evenings in Glassmoor when my Master Scroll disintegrated on my desk for no apparent reason. Decided to find out what the hell happened. Headed to Glassmoor and watched you place a bag of holding into a bag of holding…” Traelle makes a face, cringing at the memory.
The elf, feeling more like himself, glowers at Kline, “You should try one.” Of course, he had tried one, many years ago, and knew exactly the effect the drink would have over the senses. “I came here with Gadrin, imagine my reaction.” Rinn cracks a smile at Alatar as a picture of Kline jumping over the table towards the King plays out in her mind. And the patrons run screaming… The mention of Bronzehammer brings up a reward for their recent success, a new Bag of Holding. Kline smiles as he pulls out a satchel, “I’m not sure if Traelle should be the one holding this one,” before sliding it over to the redhead. She nods in gratitude and asks for her thanks to be passes along to the king. Another reward, however, comes from an unexpected source. Kline looks across the group at the table, “I spent some time at Glassmoor as I mentioned, looks like you’ve got some fine walls and watchtowers built. Taranath found several villagers able to do some extra work, and he decided to have something built. A fighting pit. It’s not much but hopefully the villagers can come around and watch it for show, participate.” Drakthal takes the opportunity to challenge the paladin for another fight on their return to the manor, just before the barwench brings dinner plates of turkey leg and vegetables over to the table. They thank the wench and order another round of drinks.
As they all eat, Kline goes into detail about the information that he and Adeline were able to dig up in the Lyceum while the Keepers were at sea and in the south. “We were able to uncover some things but we are still shaky on others. As far as we know, the threat of Elemental Evil surfaces in a different worlds of the multiverse, I suppose I should explain that a bit. There’s a series of worlds layered upon other worlds where our existence is within these other worlds, but at different frames of time and space…it seems that Elemental evil has chosen our world, and our time, and our space. In its current incarnation it rose here in Kieria. The presence of Elemental Evil in our world goes back thousands of years.”
He speaks of a long history of hidden ruins where a sect of drow and later, the dwarves of Besilmer seeking to venerate a terrible primordial evil from the depths. In the year 894DR, a band of adventurers named the Knights of the Silver Horn found the dwarven ruins of Tyar-Besil and began exploring them. Kline pauses, “I believe that this is the group that Ushien had mentioned to you all?” Traelle nods to him as they all listen intently. Strongholds were built over the access points in order for these knights to keep watch over the kingdoms, but as time passed trouble came for the Order. These places became known as the Haunted Keeps, abandoned to time and often occupied by monstrous creatures.
He continues on to detail the various cults that follow the Elemental Evil:
Cult of the Howling Hatred believe themselves to be more creative and clever than the others, disliking open battle. They choose deception, illusion, and infiltration over direct confrontation. “The wind after all doesn’t blow down a castle, but flows around and through it.”
Cult of the Crushing Wave worship the power of water, from the surging tides of the sea to the crushing strength of glaciers. Every living being is simply water waiting to be freed and returned to the sea or sky. Wave cultists are patient to erode their enemy’s defenses just as water chips away at a cliff side. They try to spend as much time as possible near bodies of water, whether to use pools to travel or simply to immerse themselves.
Each cult has a following or manipulation of animals that live among their elemental force. Beasts of the earth and water, creatures of magic and fire. At the mention of the Cult of the Crushing Wave, Drakthal inquires, “When we were leaving Riverguard Keep, I saw a genasi. I do not know much of them but I know I saw one there.” Kline looks to the Halfling, “Interesting. Those who think of other Planes at all consider them remote and distant realms, but Planar influences can be felt throughout the world itself. It sometimes manifests itself in beings that, through some sort of accident of birth carry the power of the Planes in their blood.”
He glances down to his hands before continuing, “The genasi are one such people. They are offspring of genies and mortals. The Elemental Planes are often inhospitable to those of the Material Plane. Crushing earth, searing flames, boundless skies, endless seas…makes visiting such places difficult. Genies do not face such troubles when venturing into the mortal world, they adapt well to the mingled elements of the Material Plane and they visit. Whether of their own volition or compelled by magic.” He tells of their ability to appear mortal, and the possibility to travel incognito leading to relationships with those on the Material Plane. “These children are the genasi. Individuals with ties to two worlds but belong in neither,” his eyes move to Rinn for a moment before returning to his own hands. She meets his eyes. Some genasi are born of two genasi parents, or even have older genasi relatives that have passed on powers that had laid dormant. “Occasionally, a genasi results from exposure to a surge of elemental power, through phenomena such as an eruption from the inner planes or a planar convergence of sorts.” Elemental energy saturates an area causing changes in offspring.
Drakthal stops him, “Does that mean Traelle’s kids could be special? Or ours for that matter?” The paladin, mid-sip, coughs into her mug of ale. The Halfling keeps talking, “We ripped a hole through the Planes…” Kline stops him, “No, I don’t think so. Besides, the Astral Plane has no affiliation with the Elemental Planes.” Drakthal nods, “I’m not so familiar with these Planes,” before bringing his ale back to his mouth. Kline explains that the genasi inherit something from each Plane, they resemble humans that have unusual skin colors; red, green, blue, grey. “They almost never have contact with their Elemental parents, jinni seldom have interest in their mortal offspring, seeing them as accidents if anything. Many feel nothing of their genasi children…Most are driven into exile for their unsettling appearance and strange magic, or they assume leadership over humanoids and weird cults in untamed lands…perhaps a lieutenant or general of whatever prophet is there.” Alatar and Traelle nod as they finish their drinks. Rinn holds her glass in both hands and watches their thoughtful expressions. Drakthal speaks, “Aye.”
The sound of a chair being pulled up to the table halts their questions of strange beings as Adeline sits down at the end of the table beside Alatar and Drakthal. Kline looks to her, “Glad you could make it.” The bar wench brings over a plate of food and an ale for the blonde. Adeline looks to the Halfling beside her, “Drakthal? You still bear the rune I left on your forehead but you look very different.” She smiles, “Bit younger, you look good.” Kline watches the two of them interact before going back to the subject at hand.
Cult of the Black Earth is a patient and defense-minded group that admires stoicism, endurance, and unyielding resolve. They choose their actions carefully but have no patience for social niceties. Their connection to the earth is held above all, “They see common courtesy as a way for the weak to put limits on the behavior of the strong, and they scorn empathy or friendship as weakness.” In battle, Black Earth cultists prefer to be brutal and attack directly. They create weapons from stone and iron found underground, sometimes donning robes and masks.
Kline looks across the table at each of the Keepers, “Do you remember the armor on the bodies you unearthed?” Alatar and Rinn nod, remembering the strange stone armor on the road to Feathergale many months ago. Drakthal nods, and Kline continues.
Cult of the Eternal Flame members worship the destructive power of fire in all forms. Similar to the Crushing Wave cultists, they seek destruction in order to purify the world—but it is destruction for destruction’s sake. They are typically reckless and violent, even putting themselves at risk. Members often have burn scars from their work in fire and forge, or the large fires that they build. Eternal Flame cultists favor opening volcanic fissures to channel lava and rock. Setting forest fires and other forms of spontaneous arsons are also common tactics among their group. “Most fire cultists believe that something important and beautiful should be set on fire every day, or else they’re just not doing their part.”
Adeline eats from her plate and listens as Kline finishes sharing the information on the cults with the Keepers. They were also able to examine the runes present on the orbs, discovering that they are keys to the temple doors. Unfortunately, the earthen orb carved from the chest of an archon did not have runes across its surface as the others. With the help of Fyndrick’s research in the north, she has been able to discover which runes must be carved into the orb’s surface. She thanks Drakthal for making a connection with him so that this would be possible, “There’s no way we would have been able to move further.” The Halfling inclines his head curiously, “How do these cults work together?” Kline replies, “That’s the thing, they don’t work together. Each has their own Elemental god they seek to unleash upon the world.”
Rinn asks, “And we don’t know what’s behind these doors?” Kline shakes his head, “No idea.” After Drakthal asks more about the temples, making mention of the giant tunnel beneath Sacred Stone Monastery. Rinn looks to the Halfling, “I don’t know how long we walked those tunnels,” she pauses and looks to Kline, “So we’ll be going back then?” He nods in return. The Air Temple is the closest, therefore the first to be taken. The Shadar-kai tips her glass towards Traelle, “The valley full of manticores and cliffs? It’s been a long time.” A force of knights from the kingdoms and trusted faction members have been sent ahead to watch the gates of the temple in anticipation of the Keepers arrival. The knights will also protect the nearby cities; the Knights of Minnarhia in Bargewright, Knights of Kelvular in Wolfepine, those of Wyrmwood will take Red Larch, and Talondrossan knights will head directly to the door to sweep the area. Kline gives Alatar a look as he adds, “Even the knights from Kelvular understand that the preservation of the Material Plane will only secure their own kingdom, they shun the idea of fleeing to the Feywild.” He tells them that they will travel on gryffins by air, “I will be joining you, and if things go well, Shava will be joining you at Riverguard and Adeline will join you at Sacred Stone…we do not know who will join you in the south yet.” Traelle inquires about his recovery, and receives a story of Kline’s sparring with Bronzehammer. She nods, “I’ve seen the king fight, and if you are able to keep step with him I’m glad you’ll be joining us.” He admits that though all of his powers have yet to return, he is capable for now.
They all briefly discuss preparations for their journey just a few days away. There are goods to purchase for safety as well as simple camping. Negotiations with Kringle in Westerhold must be taken care of before their departure also. Kline clears his throat and looks to the Halfling, “Drakthal, we need to have a chat. I have some concerns…we will talk, but not tonight.” Rinn watches them. It’s crossed each of our minds along the way… Whatever awkwardness hung in the air between them was quickly dissolved by a man in an apron calling their attention to a stage across the tavern room. “Everybody put your hands together for, Earth Wind & Shire!”
Music begins to fill the bar as a female Halfling, an orc, two elves, and a human take the stage. Kline leans into the table slightly, asking, “You all heard this band before?” Traelle shrugs and Drakthal shakes his head. Rinn listens as they play their first song, “They do sound familiar.” Kline replies, “Surprising, they travel all over. I was certain that you all would have heard them at some point.” Adeline stands from her seat and asks Drakthal to dance. He takes her hand, “Not my type of music but I’ll never turn down a dance with a pretty lady.” The others watch them enter the excited crowd gathering on the dancefloor. Kline glances over at Rinn and smiles, she nods. “A dance?” he asks Traelle. Rinn chuckles to herself, maybe I’ll get her drunk and teach her to dance… The rogue watches as he escorts the paladin to the dancefloor near the spinning Drakthal and Adeline. What an odd couple, though they look to be having a great time.
The band plays on into the night, all drinking and dancing together at the Seven Gems. Traelle settles back into the booth after her turn on the dancefloor, as Rinn joins Kline. Neinor arrives late and downs one of the ales from the table before pulling Alatar up for a dance.
The Halfling and the diviner slip out amid the festivities, only Traelle spots them as they disappear hand in hand. The evening winds down and everyone returns to the table, now with an empty seat or two. Kline gives the room a quick once over and asks, “Where’d the other two go?” The paladin takes the last sip of her drink and slides it to the center of the table, “I saw them leave together…” Rinn raises a brow at her and laughs. Kline takes the potion from his pocket, “I still have this.” And so, they go their separate ways for the night. Back to the Ivy District, the Keep, and to faction houses.
The next morning is one of errands and meetings for most; faction duties to attend to, arrangements to be made, and a trip to Gilmore’s to restock what was lost. Fortunately, Gilmore has been holding the Keepers’ profits from the Westerhold-Glassmoor trade while they were away, allowing them all to make their necessary purchases for their next venture out. A diamond, potion of healing, and more arrows. If only they were able to take advantage of the discount that Gilmore had granted them, they might have saved enough to buy more; the shop owner greets them happy as ever, but quickly becomes gloomy with dissatisfaction in the Keepers’ advertising efforts. “Let’s go ahead and put your discount on a temporary ban.” Before leaving the expansive store, Rinn asks after the items she received on the southern continent. Gilmore identifies the magic of her raven figurine and that of the amulet received from Chieftain Javor’s tomb, but unlike his past assessments, it costs a bit of gold. After their purchases are made, Drakthal heads to Kline’s private room in the Lyceum to discuss the concerns have come up. The rest of the Keepers attend to their respective shrines in the city and agree to meet up at the Whistling Pig later.
Once at the Lyceum, Drakthal finds the false door to Kline’s office and settles in for the discussion. They begin with talk of last night’s festivities, and the Halfling’s disappearance at the end of the night. “Good for you Drakthal. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to make connections with people. How important it is for to really tie yourself down to the material world.” But it soon turns to the real concerns that Kline holds with Drakthal’s faith in Talos. “There was a reason I chose to accompany you all at the temple, it is not because of your inabilities, I believe you can all handle this on your own. It’s to make sure that you don’t fall to the other side.” Drakthal refutes these concerns with a tale of his past, and his drive for family, much similar to the discussion he had had with Alatar just a day before. “You know I worship this god because I wanted power. But do you know why I wanted this power? For my family. As time went on, there’s another reason. It was for my crew, my family then. And they are no longer part of me, they’re gone…but I have a new family. You know why I seek power now? To protect them from what’s happened in the past.” This seems to satisfy Kline’s worries for now, but the risks remain. Future missions will still require himself, Shava, Adelin, and another to keep watch and prevent any cultists from manipulating the captain’s intentions. Before leaving to meet up with the others, Drakthal asks Kline whether there is anything they should know about his own power as they journey to the Temple of the Howling Hatred. He shakes his head, noting the differing powers of each of his wings. Lacking one wing has greatly affected the magic that he might use. The Halfling gives a nod, “Well let’s hope it grows back, like my beard.”
Once all have joined their table at the Whistling Pig, Alatar and Rinn begin discussing the potential improvements that can be made to the lands around Glassmoor. The elf decides that it would be best to consult with Taranath before attending to the negotiations in Westerhold. The Keepers set out along the road through green pastures where more settlers appear to be making their homes. Some familiar faces, but many new dot the landscape. The recently finished towers and stonework surrounding the manor look to be of fine quality as well. Arriving at Glassmoor, they thank the elf for the construction of the fighting pit area and explain away Drakthal’s change in stature. Taranath learns that they will only stay for the next handful of days before setting out again, “I will be sure to make them the most pleasant days I can.”
When Alatar mentions visiting Kringle, Taranath recommends that they construct barracks next on account of having no defenses. Rinn nods, “we’ll see what is more attractive at the table.” The mention of Kringle brings the memory of their most recent round of negotiations to mind. Traelle being ejected from the office, and Rinn quickly backtracking for an adequate sum of gold. They discuss how much to request and who should be doing the asking this time. Amounts are thrown around, suggestions to push for more gold. In the end, Drakthal decides for the group, “Rinn should do it since she convinced him last time.”
With the sun still high, they all make their way along the road to Westerhold. Clouds drift overhead, more and more as they near the village. The temperature drops as they near the bustling streets outside of the governor’s office, and snow drifts through the air. Rinn looks up at the clouds and back to her companions, it wasn’t snowing anywhere else… Traelle shrugs. Inside, there is an air of warmth that was most certainly absent last time. Though Kringle appears very busy with the work covering his desk, the fireplace is lit and he seems to be in a fairly good mood. The Shadar-kai leads them into the office and opens the conversation hoping for smoother negotiations this time around. “With the improvements to the land, our fortifications, and the mining trade, hopefully that has been pleasing enough for us to get a bit more than previously arranged.” He asks how much they are asking, and she replies, “Ideally somewhere close to 3000 if you can accommodate…” She holds her breath as he continues, please please please. Somehow, perhaps the cheery mood that he was already in or the magic of the snow overhead, Governor Kringle’s offer surpasses the Keeper’s asking price. They shake hands in agreement, four thousand gold per month in exchange for building the barracks at Glassmoor.
They all leave the perfect snowy day in Westerhold and head back to Glassmoor as the sky darkens. Taranath welcomes them back and they share their success with him, confirming their plans to build the barracks. Kline sits by the hearth as they enter, as he had promised a tour to Rinn. They slip outside as the orange of the sunset falls over the lake nearby. Alatar and Drakthal retire to their rooms, and Traelle takes the hot bath she requested earlier in the day.
In the coming days before leaving, each of the Keepers take time to visit their shrines, and pick up the extra supplies needed for the battle in the temple. Arrows, pitons, tents, and more. On their fifth day, last in the city, a caravan of horses arrives to escort them to the Keep. There they depart Wyrmwood for the Desarin Valley on the backs of gryffins. Each night they make camp on outcroppings and the tops of cliffs to avoid any trouble on the ground below. They fly high over the trails they once trekked by foot and cart, passing over Wolfpine and beyond the Feathergale Spire. After five days of flight, the gryffins land a few hundred yards off from a group of soldiers wearing armor emblazoned with hawk emblems; the Knights of Talondrossa. There are others as well, sent as representatives of each faction to aid the Keepers in the fight ahead.