Somba 10, 331
The Singing Mercenaries had been enjoying the patronage of Lord Warden Faren Markelhay, but work had been slim. On this day, however, the Mercenaries received a summons to the Lord Warden’s chamber. The Lord Warden greeted them warmly, and thanked them again for their help in rescuing Fallcrest, and himself. Markelhay went on to say that there were great things afoot in the the Kingdom of Nerath, that due to Janus Valorfast’s death, his father, Sirius Valorfast was holding the Singers responsible for the death of his son, in fact claiming they had murdered him, and that the Lord Warden may have even had a hand in it. The Lord Warden went on to speculate that he believed this information had been brought to the Lord Marshall by none other than Serim Saluzar, who made a quick exit from Fallcrest once the Singers emerged victorious over Orcus’s cult. Markelhay explained that, although the party was now an enemy of a powerful Lord Marshall, they had also caught the attention of his rival, Lord Kyras. Markelhay explained that the provinces, and lords, of Kyras and Lannister had been rivals since the decline of Alror the Great’s line. Lord Kyras had made it known he would be very interested in employing the Singing Mercenaries. While Jett and Shikou thought it would be a challenge to take on a naval power such as Valorfast, Winward cautioned them against it, saying that to work for Kyras would only cement their guilt as murderers. Lord Markelhay then went on to tell the mercenaries that this was not the only option before them: an envoy of dwarves and an envoy of elves would both be arriving in Fallcrest the following day. The two races had been in contact with Markelhay, and apparently had been having their own problems, which the dwarves and elves felt the Singers could help with. Markelhay requested that the Singers return the next day in order to meet with them. The party agreed, and took their leave of Moonstone Keep.
On their return, the party encountered a large group of armed men, led by a large and raucous knight, menacing a young maiden in a side alley. Jett sensed something was amiss, and pointed this out to the armed group. The group’s leader, who quickly took a dislike to Jett, identified himself as a Knight of Lannister, the province which the Valorfast’s rule. Jett’s lack of social skills only escalated the situation, which resulted in an all-out brawl in the streets. The knight insulted the Singers throughout the affair, eventually realizing who they were and identifying himself as Castor Valorfast, Janus’s cousin. Despite his boasts and insults, Castor was eventually killed in the street, while the maiden the Lannister men had been menacing fled the scene.
Upon returning to the Ebon Griffin (where the Singers had moved into decent rooms, at the patronage of Lord Markelhay), the Singers were approached by a young swordsman, who left them a note, claiming knowledge of the dwarf and elf envoys. The note carried the same symbol as the warriors that the Singers encountered in Political Maneuvers led by Talanar. The note requested the singers journey east into the Drow lands, claiming that the enemy of all lay in the desert wastes. The party, having had enough of cryptic messages and shadowy sources, decided they would not make contact with the young warrior.
That night, the Singers awoke to a strange vision. Unsure if they were in a dream or in merely an illusion, the Singers found themselves in some sort of ice temple on a cliff. Trapped within the floor was a large dragon, and the pillars supporting the roof had strange sconces surrounded by arcane runes. They were confronted by a hulking, shadowy knight who called himself Azrael. Azrael challenged them to battle, claiming that if heroes of destiny could not defeat him, they had no chance of defeating his master. The party was confused, but, sensing they were not having an ordinary dream, fought with the monstrous knight. Azrael was a terrible opponent. Despite his size, he could move through shadow to teleport amidst the Singer, then teleport away before they could react. He could also summon alternate realms of frost and shadow to freeze the Singers in place while he struck from beyond the reality he created. The Singers fought gamely, but were unable to overcome the dread knight until Shikou noticed a strange blue flame at the altar of the temple. Racing towards it, the flame united with him, empowering his strikes against Azrael. The power of the flame allowed the Singers to subdue Azrael. Their vision ended with Azrael’s parting words: “Good! I am glad to see the chosen heroes of destiny are not so weak. Perhaps, in time, you will be a suitable challenge. We will meet again, heroes!”
Sombra 11, 331
The party awoke the next day, unsure what their group dream was, or if it had been much more than a dream. Puzzled, but unable to make anything of it, they kept their appointment with the Lord Warden and the envoys from the North. Sapheera, an elven mage, and Galorvin Granitehands, a dwarven captain, both explained they had heard of the Singers’ exploits, and that their aid was needed in the north. Markelhay went on to explain that he had close ties to both the elves and dwarves, despite the official problems between Nerath and their respective nations. The elves explained that the forests were dying, the Eladrin were leaving the forests to return to the Feywild, and the elves were losing their connection to the Fey. They did not know the cause, only that scout patrols on the slopes of the mountains were being ambushed, and the entire forest of Narlasil was beginning to decay. Galorvin explained that the dwarves were under attack from an ancient evil from under the mountain, and that the once connected dwarven cities were now islands of defense in the chaos under the peaks. Galorvin questioned Shikou of his knowledge about the ancient evils, claiming the mountain monk should have been taught such things, but Shikou professed no knowledge of the evils. Galorvin scoffed, claiming the monk’s temple would most likely be destroyed, although Shikou seemed unconcerned. Sapheera went on to explain that the elves and dwarves had been at war with the orcs in the north for centuries, and that with these new threats they would be overrun without aid. Winward leapt at the chance to aid the elves, having his own suspicions of what might be responsible for the destruction, as his former village was located in northern forests just beyond the borderlands of the elves. Winward appealed to Valmir, stating his Fey patron would surely want Valmir to aid the elves and Eladrin. Valmir was unimpressed, his hatred for being controlled weighed against his connection to the Feywild, and professed no opinion. Although Galorvin warned against it, the party decided to travel with the Elves in order to aid them against the evil gnawing at the heart of Narlasil’s forests.