For the Glory of the Empire!

Act III, Thus Far

Further Missteps and War

The remaining Broken Talons found a few others who were willing to travel with them, first to gain some money for the journey, and then on the pilgrimage for their fallen companions. The group first went to the lines of the White Robes in the north. Duke Kanhilas was anxious to see that the White Robes either joined with Anathelas, or remained neutral during the coming war. Once the Broken Talons arrived, the White Robes were in the thick of battle, and their leader appeared to be arguing with a Targrathian envoy about monetary support. The leader of the White Robes said that if they were to remain neutral, the Broken Talons had to complete a task and take some of the pressure off of them. With the aid of a magic item, the Talons took down a Vashran general. In exchange, the White Robes promised neutrality.

During a stopover in Oganis Ford, it was attacked by Vashrans. Although the majority of the guild was elsewhere, the Ford held. Lord Trask travelled to the Ford to investigate the attack. While there, he was assassinated. That night, many others in power in Anathelas were killed. It was said that House Nalambar was behind the attacks.

With the money earned, the Broken Talons began their pilgrimage. While waiting for a boat to take them on the rest of their journey, elite clerics of Olladawan intervened. The pilgrimage was completed, and the original party restored to Dubril, without any time having passed at all. The price for the restoration of the Broken Talon was this: the head of a dragon must be presented to the Temple of Extus within two months.

Upon their return to Karad, the Broken Talons debated how best to obtain a dragon’s head. Celedon’s head had long since been dissected by the Mage’s Guild, so they would have to kill another dragon. There were rumors of two: Celedon’s father, a green dragon in the forests of Vashra, and a white near the southern seas of Gledland. Given the time constraints, the guild decided to hunt the green. They recruited the Golden Halbreds and set off.

This, too, ended disastrously. Most of the Broken Talons, both new and old, died. Most of the Golden Halbreds were scattered. Only Damien, Araceli and Deklin made it back. Damien and Araceli would not give up on their friends, and decided to hunt the white dragon in the south. Others (foolishly?) joined them. Although not an unmitigated calamity, the guild was forced to retreat and left the south without the dragon’s head. The guild did find something before they left the south. In the same town that they had saved from the trogdolytes, there was an unmarked grave of a man who had been speaking to a bald-headed man, before the dead man was found, missing his brain. Further investigation showed that this man had been Oreseus Nalambar.

While the guild had been desperately attempting to bring back their companions, things had fallen apart in the north. Active hostilities had commenced between Anathelas and Targrath, and Arunada had fallen into civil war. The Broken Talons stopped in Dubril on their way back north, and it was there that the magic users sensed the destruction of capitol of Arunada. Because of the civil war, the mages guilds and their transport network had shut down, leaving the Broken Talons to take the long way home. On their travel back, they discovered that Walleda was under attack from Panmornian mercenaries and other daristrii, apparently led by a red dragon. (The dragon with his darestrii minions seemed too much for the guild to take on at that moment.) Labrylla had allied with Targrath, and its fleets were blockading the coasts. At some point not too far in the future, Sirride marched its armies under the water, invading Arunada. Roughly half of the houses surrendered; the other half are in exile.

Upon their return, the Broken Talon found that the Targrathian armies had made alarming headway, breaking the line at Moyarit almost without opposition. The Talons fielded some of their growing mercenaries forces and took the small town of Kanitha. They participated in various war efforts. During the course of this, it was discovered that Targrath, in order to fund its vast mercenary forces, had permitted the sacking of all Silver Star temples, including the temples of Olladawan. The guild returned some valuable treasure, and promised the Olladawan temple that they would bring harm to the leaders of Targrath who had permitted such a thing. Before the guild could do much else, Deklin confessed that he had been passing along information to Duke Belerim, because Belerim had his brother captured. The guild promised to do what they could to free his brother, and the group left to investigate Beland.

In the city of Beland, the guild found statues, not unlike the stone pyramid Damien and Araceli found on the troll-infested island, that seemed to sap the will from the town’s inhabitants. The rescue attempt was not successful. Deklin and Adrian decided to remain behind, to see what they could do to help the people of Beland and to rescue Deklin’s brother. Neither attempt was successful. Adrian died, and Deklin returned to Karad.

After their return to Rishothir, the guild was asked to break the northern Targrathian army by taking their commander, affectionately referred to as the Resplendent Douchecanoe by the guild. With much fire and violence, this was accomplished. The Targrathian forces decided to reciprocate, and the Broken Talons fended off their attack.

The northern army began its retreat, and the Anathelian forces pushed them back. The Broken Talons were called upon to investigate Moyarit before the Targrathian forces left, to see why the Beland Second Legion had fallen so quickly to the initial Targrathian attack. Outside of Moyarit, the guild encountered a man who said that every living thing in his village had disappeared. In town, the guild found statues, like the ones in Beland. The temples had been sacked. The elite guards of the town wore crystals not unlike the stones in the trolls’ foreheads on the traveller’s island. Moreover, these guards had formerly been Anathelian mercenaries, and they were now working for the Targrathians. A note found on a dead guard made clear that Belerim had facilitated the collapse of Moyarit and the legion’s treachery.

The Broken Talons took this evidence to Duke Kanhilas, who immediately took them to Athela. He demanded a trial of Duke Belerim. During the night, there were several assassination attempts on the Duke’s group. The evidence of Belerim’s treachery was presented before the Emperor and the Senate. As reward for their aid, Duke Kanhilas paid to bring back the majority of the original Broken Talon guild. It is unknown who paid the Temple of Extus the dragon’s head it required within the time limits it needed, as the guild itself had failed.

Before the results of the trial could be known, the Broken Talons were summoned by a Nauratani general, Damien’s uncle, to assist in their evacuation of Thentiya. Thentiya was being overrun by orcs and Viakans, and the small nation could not hold out against two determined attacks. The guild left immediately. They performed various heroic deeds, including a duel with a powerful Viakan mystic and driving over a hundred orcs away from a keep, allowing the evacuation of all inside.

It needs to be said at this point that long, long, long ago, around the time of the War of Light and Darkness between the gods, three swords were forged to aid the side of evil. They are very powerful, and eventually replace the soul of those who wield them. They bring plague, and are collectively called “The Swords of the Death-Song.” Not much else is known, although Araceli believes that she is the reincarnation of one sworn to defeat the swords. It was confirmed that one sword is with the Vashrans. No one knew the location of either of the others, until now.

During the journey to the keep, the Broken Talons heard tales of plague, saw victims who could only scream and scream in agony as they lay dying. Telios had a dream that night, of a figure carrying a sword that touched the ground. Wherever the sword touched, it was black. As the guild helped evacuate the keep, the sound of screaming drew nearer. A figure with a sword was seen. As it drew nearer, it called forth a creature with wings, and flew above the small crowd. The last few soldiers had passed through the teleportation gate when it landed. Even through the gate, its presence was terrifying. Fortunately, the gate was closed before it could come through.

After the fight, the news came that Belerim had been found guilty of treason by the Senate and stripped of his lands and titles. There was a ruby favor on his head, as well as on the head of any Traveller. The guild decided to return to Karad immediately and begin preparations to take on Belerim and the Travellers.

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