The elves thanked X’arxilaax for the demonstration of his powers, and said they had much more work to do yet with the humans. The party still had not gotten any closer to solving the mystery of the massacre at Pal’El. They continued to move around the castle awhile, hoping to find a clue. Meanwhile, a young human priest named Jean, his halfling bodyguard Ozzie, and a very boisterous dwarf named Walt had entered the palace. They had seen the Bequethal ceremony and were most disturbed by the rumors flying about Alterone concerning the Knights of Kantor. Erathor immediately called Jean into his office, and asked Jean to assist in the investigation. As a priest of Neltak, Jean immediately agreed to help keep law and order.
Jean set up his own area in a room off to the side. Erathor gathered X’arxilaax and the others, and hoped that now that a large group was together, the mystery could be solved. Jean activated a zone of truth, standard procedure in dealing with mysteries, and tried to get up to speed. Walt, always with a mug in hand, had challenged Ozzie. Ozzie got in a good bite in on Walt, and the two tussled for awhile. X’arxilaax was extremely amused; there were no such comical, small creatures in Eruna. Erathor returned and saw that the room was in chaos, and sighed deeply.
Jean camed Erathor down and asked if they could start interviewing people. The first person on Jean’s list was the weapon smith of the palace. Jean showed the smithy the longsword that Lanalus had found. The smithy confirmed that it was a genuine longsword belonging to the Knight’s of Kantor. Not being a centralized group, the Knights would commission smithies from around the kingdom to make their weaponry, so it would be difficult to pin down exactly where the sword had come from. But there was no mistake, it was the genuine article.
Next on Jean’s list was the court alchemist, Mizzandrin. Mizzandrin was summoned and sat down at the table within the zone of truth. Mizzandrin was a very skinny, slender woman. She spoke softly, so softly, that at one point someone casted thaumaturgy just so they could hear her speak above a decibel. Jean conducted the interview, and asked Mizzandrin pointed question about King Ordren and his recent illness, and whether or not Mizzandrin was responsible for giving the king medicine. Mizzandrin said that all medicine was administered by the clerics, and she just gave advice when needed. Jean then asked Mizzandrin if she had any experience using alchemy to transform bodies. Mizzandrin of course said no, but Jean’s keen insight knew otherwise. Mizzandrin was insulted by the line of questioning and immediately left. Lanalus was soon to follow behind her.
Next on the list of people to interview was the crown prince, Aelfar. Helena contemplated breaking into Aelfar’s room much like she had done with Mordecai. Of course, Jean was completely against the idea. Helena had to “go to the bathroom” and made her way to the crown prince’s room. Helena perhaps was a bit overconfident, and managed to break in right when the crown prince was leaving out with this handmaiden. Helena tried to run, but the palace was filled with guards who immediately picked her up and hauled her off to the stockades. Lanalus, who was having better luck following his mark, followed Mizzandrin back to her room. Listening at the door, he heard the sound of something scraping against the ground. He couldn’t get in the room because of the magical lock, but soon returned to the investigation room to ask Erathor for a key.
Jean talked with the crown prince about recent goings on at the castle. The crown prince was laid into the chair by his handmaiden. The prince had been born with a defect in his blood which caused his muscles to be weak and problems with walking. The crown prince said that he didn’t want to believe that Mordecai wanted the throne, but he was disturbed upon hearing that Mordecai and Mizzandrin were having a tryst, although Mordecai had many female attachments. With the crown prince’s blessing, Erathor handed Lanalus the key to Mizzandrin’s room, and the party went in.
Mizzandrin was not in her room, but Lanalus was able to easily find that there was a hidden passage behind her bookcase. Heading down, the party found a strange laboratory of sorts with desiccated animal corpses and bones lining tables. Walt found a large, wrought iron mirror on the other side of the room. Milo and X’arxilaax were able to activate the mirror, which created a gate leading somewhere else. The party stepped through the mirror. The temperature dropped by at least 20 degrees. The party found themselves inside of a tent made of animal hide. Jean went back through the portal and got some thick fur coats. Peaking out the tent, the party saw what looked to be a war camp and huge, snow capped mountains. There were hundreds of orcs, moving back and forth, preparing war machines and practicing for combat. The party was confused. Weren’t the orcs killed off in the Great Purge, 200 years ago, when the Elves and Dwarves combined forces and rid the land of the Dark Folk?
Walt and Lanalus wasted no time and charged in down the slope to meet the orcs in battle. Mizzandrin (who’s real identity was a drow) and an orc war chief soon appeared, and a fierce battle ensued. The party was able to overcome the orcs, and knock out Mizzandrin for questioning later. Walt beat back dozens of orcs to allow the rest of the party to escape back to the mirror to head back into the castle. The party made it safely back, and broke the mirror, just in case. The party brought Mizzandrin to one of the castle’s anti-magic equipped interrogation chambers. Lanalus walked around the room, admiring Mizzandrin’s amulet of evernight. Walt stood next to the window with the tassel for the blinds firmly in his hand. The party interrogated Mizzandrin, asking her if her and Mordecai were in league with each other. Whenever Mizzandrin resisted, Walt would open the blinds and let in the bright daylight of the Alteronian sun. The party didn’t believe that Mordecai and Mizzandrin were really working with each other, but Mizzandrin said she was doing all of this in preparation for the “Great Invasion,” whatever that was. Mizzandrin had seduced Mordecai so that she could gain access to the reliquary and the “Druidic Orb,” an artifact infused with great transmutation magic, that Mizzandrin used to make orcs look convincingly human. Mizzandrin laughed maniacally as Walt let the sun turn her into dust.
The party summoned Erathor and presented their evidence, and Erathor said he would bring all the information to the crown prince immediately, and that the party should wait for him to return with what the crown prince says. The party waited for a few hours, and Erathor did not return. The party went to the crown prince’s sanctuary. They opened the door to the sanctuary. It was an immaculately clean room with a perfectly polished floor. The walls were lined with portraits of the previous kings and queens of the Eluhil dynasty, an unbroken line going back over 1,000 years. At the far end of the room, the party found Erathor, crucified against the wall against the symbol of Neltak. The crown prince appeared from behind a curtain, clearly able to walk quite well. Lanalus grumbled to himself. Aelfar explained that Mordecai was indeed innocent, and had nothing to do with the plot to dishonor the knights of Kantor, but would be blamed anyway. Walt felt a monologue was coming on, and decided to immediately engage Aelfar in combat. Aelfar conjured a greatsword pulsing with dark energy, and engaged the party in combat. Aelfar proved to be extremely capable, knocking out several party members in a single hit. Walt used his paladin powers to beat back Aelfar. Aelfar transformed from the young prince, to a red skinned demon with tails and a horn. Aelfar killed Walt in a single hit, and Jean was able to revive the dwarf with a quick prayer to Neltak. The battle was fierce fought, but Walt channeled the wrath of Khul Dul to smite his foe. When Aelfar was backed into a corner, he dug his claw into his chest and summoned a dark portal, which sucked the party into its black depths. Milo grasped his mother’s broach and prayed for her to save him, teleporting him away. Aelfar left X’arxilaax, holding up the dragonborn. “Go back to your people, and tell them that once I am done with the humans here, the Lord of Anger will come for them next.” X’arxilaax breathed cold in Wrath’s face as he went unconscious. Wrath laughed maniacally as flames consumed the building, burning the portraits of the Alteronian royalty of the past, the image of the Dark Folk armies marching in from the northern mountains of the Wintervale.
As Aeon finished the story, the final page was signed “Milo.” Milo eventually returned to the Summervale and went to Faerie, as many elves do when the call of immortality becomes strong. In the final pages of Milo’s work, he details how the Light Forge was built, and that Princess Aya’s gift could be a way to fight back against the Dark Folk. Aeon gives his research to the party, and says that the Light Forge can be rebuilt. The party stayed in Kerfalazud for a month, getting some much needed rest after the rescue of Aeon from the prison. After some down time, the party reconvened, and Emil said that the party had a choice. First, the party could try and rebuild the Light Forge, possibly by investigating the “Shrine of Tal Alustiel” marked on Aeon’s old map of Greed. Second, Emil’s spies had found some information on the mysterious and powerful red orc, whose secrets are somewhere in the northern mountains of Gluttony. Third, the party could travel into Sloth, and figure out why K’rash’s army is being held up and unable to march into Greed. The party carefully weighs its options….