The doors open by a similar magik to that operated within the Arboreum, their bronze metallic surfaces reflecting the sunlight. The room beyond is dimly lit. It has a high domed ceiling, and appears to be a complete demihemisphere, with the doors the only obvious entrance or egress. At the centre of the room, at an angle slightly away from the door stands an archway. Prodomicus leads the group in, and tells them to wait, before he makes his own way out, and the bronze dragonoid closes the bronze doors. Each of the adventurers approaches the archway, with Magnus inspecting it closely, spying rune and figures carved into it in the oldest Andoth – The forgotten language of the Anduwin themselves. Turning away form the stone work of the Anduwin Archway, the centre is far more enthralling. It seems to be a gateway of some sort. There is a strange petal patterned ripple across the ethereal arcane surface of translucient force hanging within the stone structure. As each adventurer looks into the petals, they feel a compulsion to walk through the arch. Looking into the petals for a time, and resisting the urge to walk through, a vision of what lays on the otherside starts to form. The vision clears, revealing a marble palace with impressive courtyards of tall trees growing as high as the palace itself. The canopy parts to allow light in, framing the warm glow from the perfectly beautiful purple sky. Journ’ee starts to step forwards. Though it is unclear is this si by choice of the compulsion. He makes it just three steps before 428 pulls him away from going through the gateway. The fiery dwarf allows himself to be pulled away, and as he supports his landing, he conjures a creature into being. A living flame appears beside him. The entity looks daemonic, and the evidence of it being made of living fire seems to suggest that it is indeed something other. But Journ’ee assures the collected group that this is his arcane familiar, Magda. She is apparently a type of larva or magmor creature that has bound itself in service to the dwarf. He commands his familiar to go through the archway, as he is unable to. The creature obeys and begins to walk towards the stone. A foot formed of flame makes a step into the translucient ripples, and the whole creature is instandly vanished. Not gone through to the other side, but just gone. This disappearance prompts more investigating from Magnus about the Andoth runes, whilst Granuaile looks about the rest of the throne room, finding it odd that there is a large archway in it centre. The half-orc does spot a throne exactly opposite from the bronze doors, but its location hidden from view initially by the placement of the archway. On the back of the throne, she finds a strange symbol and is unable to identify it. She looks up from the throne and asks simply, “Where’d Orryon go?”
Journ’ee and 428 both walk through the archway, being too far away themselves to stop the elf, but knowing he had walked through calmly. Neither is sure if he was compelled to walk, or chose to. 428 does not want to loose a friend, and Journ’ee it seems does not want to miss out on this unique opportunity. They go through. On the other side, neither can see Orryon, or the warm welcoming purple sky.
On the other side of the archway, Orryon meets an old peasant man. He appears taller than a human, with fine features that appear elven, but are too sharp and angular. His hair pulled back into a medium length grey ponytail, with two brown streaks runnings from his forehead in the same direction of the rest of his hair, but not as long. The palace and trees that the party had seen are no longer there, but the old man stands on the banks of a river, or a shoreline. Looking into water with his eyes closed. He welcomes Orryon to this place. The elf at first thinks that this man is in fact the Sultan, and so bows and introduces himself. The man tells the healer that there is no Sultan on this side. Orryon feels that the man is kind, and instinctly sits next to him, whilst they talk. The man cannot seem to remember his name, or how long he has been in this place. He tells Orryon that he is waiting for his son to arrive so that they may both move on. He was expected a long time ago, but still hasn’t arrived. Orryon asks for information about his son, and the man cannot recall much. He tells that his son was a prince of Maurdórne. Orryon tells the old grey haired man that the last princes of Maurdórne died during the J’al von terribé. However, the elf then remembers his vision of the boy and the fishing boat, and tells the older man that one son may be alive. At this the man changes, and becomes hostile. Commanding Orryon to kills his son, Venarínn. The grey haired man is starting to become manic, as Orryon backs away, cautiously he steps away from the man until a hand clasps the elf’s shoulder from behind. He turns his head to see another old man, with shorter auburn hair, and a series of fresh looking injuries across his body. The man tells Orryon to come with him, and that he shouldn’t pay too much attention to what is in this place, as it can sometimes tell half truths. The two walk out of the archway and back into the throne room.
At roughly the same time as Orryon’s experience beyond the veil, Journ’ee and the giantkin find themselves stood before the palace. The sky is less bright. The trees even seem to be bowing away from the archway. The palace doors open in the far distance and a figure starts to walk towards the pair. Smoke taking shape, becoming the figure. Growing in density with each step until Stahl stands before the giantkin. 428 is goaded by shadowy form of Stahl. The giantkin swings his axe but it passes through the greyborn who turns into smoke, reappearing out of reach. The greyborn shadows multiply and there are several Stahl’s now fighting 428 and Journ’ee. The dwarf fights back with magikal fire whilst the giantkin heaves his axes at full ferocity, but nothing is effective. Journ’ee summons something. A large dark hand breaks through the palace. Stones and rubble thrown high into the purple sky. The hand stretches forward and slams into the shadowy Stahl and in dowing so, it knocks 428 and Journ’ee through the archway.
As Orryon and the old injuried man walk through the archway on one side, the fiery dwarf and the giantkin are thrown from the opposite side. The old man is helped up towards the throne, where Magnus Marche currently sits. The wizard assumes that this man is the Sultan and aks if he will take his position, referring to the throne, as well as his duty as Protectorate. As the injuried man continues up the steps to his chair, the dwarf moves allowing the Protectorate to sit down. It is only then that the man introduces himself as Abu Sol’Ankarel Solodius Abanarbu Nuzheir, the Sultan of Derimyre. Sultan explains to the group that something has begun. He explains that he is the current leader of the Rozen Croits, but that the organisation has lost its way. They were initially designed to serve as guardians for something dark. The Sultan speaks of a mistake that the Anduwin made eons ago. A powerful darkness that they cointained within a prison. The Rozen Croits were to guard this prison, to stop the darkness escaping. But some where along the way, the darkness found gaps where it can get through. The Greydrakes of old were tasked with containing this darkness too, but since they fell, and their bloodline ended, and the Rozen Croits no longer believe the old ways, there is nothing left to stand in the way of the darkness. Abu Sol’Ankarel Solodius Abanarbu Nuzheir wants the gathered adventurers to assume the Rozen Croit’s sacred duty, commenting that his time is coming to an end; and the world no longer needs or has a place for him or his kind. Brant convinces him that he still needed, as he has heard rumours about the Sultan. At this, the injured man stands. A pair of large bronze bat-like wings unfurl from his back, as his body grows. He doubles over in pain, still growing. His skin starts to shimmer and take on a metallic sheen. The bronze bat-like wings fold over his body, and when they open the man is gone, but an ancient bronze dragon is in his place. The dragon is also injured, and looks remarkably similar to the flying creature that battled the Emperor the night before. No longer in the midnight fog, the party can see that his body now has a series of greying scales on his otherwise magnificent bronze body. Now in his true draconic form, the Sultan tells that the dragons left this realm a long time ago, and that the archway is his only means to get home. The rest of his kind fell to a disease that started to infect the dragons of all colours. Their usual scales lost their bright metallic or colourful shades turning grey owing to the chromatica.
Brant asks the Sultant what the Emperor is, if he is to be defeated. The dragon turns his snout and reveals that the Maurdórne Emperor is protected by an Aratartum Velentai. A type of immortality that is gifted by the Anduwin to a chosen few who are destined to serve a higher purpose. Marr is believed to have created the Emperor, and it seems also blessed him with this immortality. The Sultant thinks that if this is indeed an Aratartum Velentai, then only the combined effects of the six Anduwin Artefacts might be strong enough to remove the blessing, and return the Emperor to a mortal state. The party is asked by the Sultan to seek out these artefacts. He suggests that there may be an artefact within the Imperius Pyramid, and that this should be the party’sfirst place to search. Magnus then reveals to the group that he has a personal connection to a member of Imperius leadership. Regelle Coote, and that he may be able to support the group in accessing the Pyramid. Magnus also suggests that if the Emperor adhers to the Code of Marr, then there should be time to start the search before any further attacks.
Satisfied with this, the Sultan reverts to his humanoid form and sits back into his throne, offering the party what support he is able, though he does not know what the party needs. Each person present is offered request to help on this quest.
Granuaile comments that an army marches on its stomach, and that after their time in the desert she wants to make sure that the group is always able to have food or water. The Sultan draws a magikcal line down through the air, and gives the line form, creating a simple metal spoon. He tells the half-orc that when it is placed inside a container, the spoon will create food enough to fill the receptacle. He then turns his attention to the giantkin, who does not know what to ask for. 428 explains that he doesn’t know what to ask for because he cannot remember much of his past. The Sultan “heals” 428, placing his hands on the giantkin’s temples. Energy gently flows from one hand to the other through his mind. With each pass of the energy 428 recovers something.
A man, silloquetted.
Brant thinks on the groups decisions of late, as well as his owns, and that he sometimes does not feel that it is the correct choice. He asks for a conscience to help offer him guidance or wisdom when he is unsure of himself. The Sultan takes a hold of the halfling’s shoulder with two hands before he pulls his right arm back rapidly, ripping Brant in two, but not. Not injured, just a second version of Brant. The Sultan tells Brant that he can summon this illusionary copy whenever he wants, but that the magik has limits which means the copy may not always be in a good mood.
Orryon makes sure that 428 is ok, after having his lost memories partially restored. The giantkin appears to be coping with his memories, and so Orryon steps up. He tells the Sultan that if the party is to go into danger against an immortal enemy, then he would only ask for a way help the party escape, if needed. The Sultan confirms that Orryon sees himself as the party healer and responsible for their lives. The Sultan shares that it would be more important for Orryon to escape and survie, to be able to heal the others. His fingers extend into draconic claws, and he draws them through his own robe, cutting the fabric, and handing it to the elf. He tells Orryon to spend time with the cloak, and it will help him to become more nimble.
The dragon ruler’s attention turns to Journ’een, who he sees as being hot headed and fiery. Hearing this, the dwarf talks back to the Sultan, who blows a smoke ring over the dwarf. The Sultan tells the dwarf he will need to cool off, and imbues him with a new type of magik capable of calming emotions. The second dwarf does not ask for anything specific, instead requesting whatever the Sultant believes will be of most use. The Sultan places his plams together and closes his eyes. A moment passes as the leader opens both his eyes and hands simultaneously. Where once there was nothing, there now rests a golden idol or seal, in the shape of an owl with an emerald jewel in its chest. Magnus is told that this is a key that only opens a single specific door and can only be used once.
With the Sultan having finished providing the party with resources and aid for their task, he calls back his advisor and assistant, the bronze scaled dragonoid form of Prodomicus. Whilst waiting for Prodomicus’ return, Brants asks about the Anduwin artefacts. The Sultan repeats that there are six, one made by each of the Anduwin. Prodonicus enters the room, carrying a cloths wrapped around something dripping water onto the cold stone floor. The advisor unwraps the package with care, revealing it to be a sapphire jewel, which Brant and Magnus both recognise as the Ice Stone- rumoured to be the Heart of Y’Shaj. Magnus shares that he had previously found it at an excavation years ago when he and his allies of the time were searching for another artefacts, the Flute of the Whispering Winds – thought to represent A’Dal. Learning this, and not wanting to be beaten by Magnus, Brant shares that he also knows of two other artefacts. The Chalice of Eternity and the Lantern of Light, made by Paz and Kaine respectively. The whole group, with the exception of Journ’ee know of the Sword of Marr, leaving just one item unknown. Magnus shares that it is thought to be connected to Vollabuke in someway. He adds that knowing of Vollabukes impressive and legendary immortality, that this artefact may infact be a person.
With all of this information, and the enormity of the groups now apparent task, Orryon asks how the party will contact the Sultan if they do indeed find one or more of the artefacts. The Sultan provides one final gift to the party, pulling energy through the air as he did with the spoon he gave Granuaile, this time ending his hand motion in a flourish, creating and revealing a fountain pen, that he tells Orryon will reach him. If the elf writes on any parchement or vellum, then the Sultan will hear the message written and know what has been written. The Sultant turns and tells the party he needs to rest after his battle with the Emperor. He looks at the broken archway that was once his way home. With the archway broken, he tells Prodomicus to make arrangements for the arcane shield to be cast, as the magik will no longer interfer with the archway.