This conversation takes place at Harmony Hall, following the cleansing of the massive Wild Hunt creature.
Each character was written by their corresponding player
As everyone is resting, Primrose sits upon the ground, her legs tucked under her body making her appear much smaller than she already is and she says, “I believe we faced one of the large breeding grounds of the wild hunt today and we successfully cleansed part of this world…but only part of it. I’ve already told some of you what I know about the Wild Hunt, but there is more to the story and after what we’ve been through and what we’ve accomplished together you have all earned the right to know what we’re facing.”
She takes a very old, yet well-cared for book bound in black leather from her pack. “This,” she says, her voice almost in a whisper, “is my family’s history. The knowledge we have accumulated since the first dragon drew its breath in these lands. Most of it is about the wild hunt. Most of my family does not even believe what is written within. They think them to be fairy tales,” she glances at the fey in the room, “but I think we all know better than to dismiss such things. I may be young, but I have studied the wild hunt most of my life and I believe it can be defeated and everything…from the war at Valhame to the two Kings is just a way to distract us from the real threat. And, sadly, it is working. Humans never seem to care much beyond the next day. We forget too easily.”
Her voice becomes more animated like that of a bard ready to tell an epic tale as she continues, “My family and I are the direct decedents of an ancient line of dragons. This is where my powers come from and how the knowledge of the wild hunt has come to me.”
“Did anyone wonder why Edoric Lockmare, the first King of men in Arkengard, built his family’s castle on the Dreaming Mountains? It’s a treacherous place to live and not the most welcoming one for your people to travel to.”
“Vanity and pride would be the simple answer…but the real one is much more complicated.”
She opens her family’s book, pauses mid-way and begins to read the following (which, out of character, is all Steve’s writing):
“Ages ago, before the hill tribes poured into the vale of Arkengard, dragons were plentiful there – the brood of a dragon known as the Prophet, a great dragon with one eye that sees the future and one that sees the past. The Prophet laired within the Dreaming Mountains – but rather than a hoard of treasure, she protected a terrible secret as told in an old legend:
Deep within the caverns of the Dreaming Mountains was a crack in the walls of a tenebrous prison built by the gods when they came to Melora and hammered aether into physical form. Long ago, its prisoner had shaken loose its bonds, cracking the earth in many places and pouring in force from the deepest places in the world. Having long been in the dark, it manifested as a black insatiable hunger that roiled the skies, blotted out the sun, and consumed creation. Out of the sight of Pelor, Melora grew cold and desolate, and the children of the gods shivered in the World-Night. The gods themselves were said to have intervened to contain the darkness, but having lost their physical forms long ago, they could only speak to their children in portents and memories. It was then that the dragons awoke from the rocks, the storms, and the seas around these cracks; the gods had fashioned the physical world with stardust of the Astral Sea, the stuff of Bahamut, and in those days, his children were born as if in answer to a prayer. The World-Night was thawed under dragon-fire and the darkness fled back into its deep prison through cracks in the world. Their work completed, the exhausted dragons sealed and guarded these cracks, and began to fall back into the torpor from which they rose. Many, however, were unrestful, and did not yet return to the stuff of the earth.
When Man first came to Arkengard, they hated and feared the powerful dragons – but for all their enmity, the dragons were stayed from utterly slaying the upstart humans by the Prophet, who foretold that the prison would crack after the dragons had fallen back into the forms of the earth and that it would be humanity’s charge to seal it once more. This did not stop the hill folk from hunting down the great beasts, and over time, those dragons still wakeful grew to doubt the Prophet’s word – that man was too unworthy and short-sighted to fulfill her prophecy. Then came a sage from the east called Edoric who had heard of the prophecy and negotiated a peace, uniting the hill tribes and proposing a pact with the Prophet that if he and his line would keep the crack in Arkengard sealed, the Prophet and her brood would fall back asleep, leaving mankind to thrive under his rule. The Prophet agreed, but bound Edoric’s line to this pact, promising doom upon his descendants should they abandon their duty.
In order to assure his line, Edoric used his considerable craft to design a great vault above the rift in the mountain, filled with machines far beyond the ken of the simple hill tribes. The Prophet made her lair in the vault’s antechamber, so that if Edoric’s line should ever fail, she might be there to prevent the horrors below from escaping.”
She closes the book and looks up at anyone who’s still listening, “This is the tale of the wild hunt and its clear to me that Edoric’s line has forgotten their duty and the hunt has escaped. I believe the cracks in the world can be resealed by one of Edoric’s line if we collect the gifts that were sent to us from the Gods…the lantern, the suit of armor, the hourglass…among others we have yet to encounter. These gifts can be used above The Prophets lair to seal away the hunt once more.”
“If anyone has any other information about the Wild Hunt, I suggest you share it now. The more we know about our enemy, the better prepared we will be the next time we face it.”
As Primrose begins telling her tale, Maddy is listening, but is also studying various maps of Arkengard on a nearby table. Her demeanor however changes when Rose begins telling the story of the prophet and castle Lockmare. Polite, yet distracted attention transforms into one of intense interest, giving Maddy the slightly uncomfortable air of an interrogator. As Primrose finishes, Maddy has a look of distant thought as she paces for a few moments.
“That is quite the story Primrose. Many would dismiss it as a fable, a tale made up to raise the import of a minor house…but I know that you are no liar, and considering what we saw at castle Lockmare, I believe that history has more truth in it than any of us realized.” In the castle, we came across a group of cultist. We stopped them form sacrificing a child and captured one of their leaders. They professed to be serving an entity called the Jailer. They said that the jailer barred some darkness from entering our world and the sacrifice was necessary to keep up that barrier. Khaba believed that the jailer was a member of the heavenly host and it was their job to watch over the darkness." Maddy flips through several pages of her journal and then starts to go through her pack. She then takes out a small, burnt doll turns to Adlyn.
“You remember the secret cave under the castle we played in as children? When we were looking for you, we were driven under the castle, the cave being the only safe place I knew down there. Going further into the cave looking for a way out, we used the hourglass to go back to the day of the princesses 5th birthday celebration. As we tried to climb down a vast circular tunnel we wer beset by a torrent of green flame coming from below and became separated from our friend Frixx. In the chamber below he came across a large, strange walled-off chamber. It held a white slumbering creature of immense size as well as a dias that looked like this.”
Maddy then shows the group sketches and notes of the chamber in her journal (a rough copy of Khaba’s ).“the illumination depicts the seven stars Arkengard and places for seven object. It may be that we stumbled across the prophet’s vault you spoke of.”
She then looks at the group, all the notes, journal and maps scattered on the table. “I’m not you Rose or Khaba so I’m going purely on my instincts. but what we’ve put together,The green flame, the seven items, the Jailer and the prophet…all these things are tied to the wild hunt and our goal is quite a bit more daunting than any of us realize.”
Maddy then turns to Rivendarius and Frixx,“The weird king remains a mystery, we know he had a deal with the king involving the princess and he is no friend of the wild hunt. Does any of your experience with the Wild Hunt correlate with all of this information? What is the weird king’s role in this?”
Rivendarius lounges across the large wooden chair at the end of the table, his legs casually tossed over one of its arms as he extends over the opposite side to rest his hand on the massive green wolf resting beside him. The elf pays little attention to his guests unless they specifically discuss the wild hunt at which point he does turn and regard them in a way that is reminiscent of a young child’s careless inspection of a soon-to-be-forgotten toy.
When questioned about the role of the weird king he pauses for a moment and then simply shrugs as if you asked him to contemplate the motivations of force of nature. He then returns his attention to his wolf companion who has rolled over to expose his stomach for a scratching.
As Rivendarius makes his disinterested expression, Maddy narrows her eyes and scowls at the elf across the table. She frustratedly exhales as she switches her attention to the discussion Frixx and Primrose are having.
“You really worry all too much about the fae. Regardless of his other motives, the King of Faerie is no friend of the wild hunt; it is as big a threat to my home as it is to yours.”
“Allow me to expand upon what Rivendarius hinted at. The King of Faerie will do as he does, within his boundaries, and it’s as simple as that. He cannot simply extend his boundaries or cross his boundaries, but he will explore the limits…like an ocean tide within a cove. But a man like your King could, perhaps, extend his boundaries. Just as you humans find ways to grow crops where they shouldn’t grow or bring water to arid fields; you meddle with things in a way that moves and changes the natural balance of power. Perhaps you fill the cove with stones or your expand the cove to fit larger ships within it. It’s not good nor bad; it’s just how it is. It might not make sense to you, but this mess is no fault of the King of Faerie.”
So…as for your questions…I believe it wiser to consider the actions and motives of the King of Arkengard, rather than the King of Faerie. If the story Primrose tells is true – which I believe it to be – then the King of Arkengard has broken not just one pact, but two. Is it possible that one of the two Kings has traveled through time, as we have? There are two versions of Nod now, from what you’ve told me, so this does not seem too impossible. Could it be that one knows the truth and wishes to set things right…but fears that no one would believe his tale? Wild theories aside, I think it would be wise to confront the two kings with the knowledge we possess. Their reactions would help us determine if they will be any use in the fight against the hunt.
“…Primrose? There is something that troubles me about your story.”
“What of the dead who have been taken by the hunt? Our families, our friends, the innocent, and the yet-to-be-redeemed? These souls exist in a state of pain, anger, and hatred…enslaved to the will of the hunt. To simply seal off the hunt would condemn countless innocent souls to an eternity of torment. I cannot give up on them so easily. Those who were taken deserve peace and redemption. This is what I search for among the dead – answers. I will continue my search. I cannot give up hope…and I trust you won’t either.
“I’m not aware of any way in which they could be saved as far as I know they are dead or twisted in such as way that they are no longer themselves. If there is a way to save them, I would try…but…” she just stops talking, averting her eyes from Frixx.
“I agree the Kings need to be reminded of the promises their ancestor made,” she sighs, “though, I’m afraid their minds are concerned with other things like the Weird King, the war they’re currently fighting with each other, vampires…so many other things to distract them, but if Adalyn can get us an audience, we should take it.”
Don’t lose hope, Primrose. Although you clearly know much, I am sure none of us know all there is to know…yet. I believe there is an answer…we just need to patience and motivation to find it.
After the conversation pauses for a beat, Maddy puts her hand on the gnome’s shoulder “we will try our best to find a way to free those souls, expired or otherwise, I promise. I do agree with you and Rose about the kings, this is the best opportunity to de-escelate this war before it begins. What do you think will happen here if the peace fails? Valhame will become a harvesting ground for those Things and Arkengard’s forces will be broken.”
Maddy then approaches the princess, steeling herself for Adlyn’s reaction. “From what I understand, both sides profess to be loyal children of Arkengard, opposing a false king. Adlyn, your honor, position and loyalty to your kingdom cannot be disputed. Many of us do not have the political cache to gain an audience with the leadership. You are unique position, they will listen to you and hopefully realize the severity of the threat. I am the last person that you should hear this from, but for the good of the kingdom..you may have to use your title to take charge of the situation. If we have any hope of succeeding we are going to have to find as many allies as possible.”
“But that is just me, I am just trying to keep my grasp the situation. Does anyone else have any other thoughts on the matter or suggestions?”
This is beyond anything I have imagined, even after a lifetime in the Fae King’s realm. I have, without stopping to think about it too much, dedicated myself to vengeance. Perhaps a greater, more urgent cause is in order. I shall do what I can to assist.
“If vengeance is what keeps you going, it is a fine thing,” Primrose nods to Bruno, “I just feel the vampires are a lesser threat. Still one that needs to be dealt with…they will thrive in a world of darkness, after all.”
“As for thoughts, Maddy, I have plenty,” she shrugs, “I’m not really one for politics, that’s my father…but talking to both Kings would be a good step forward. Though, I will admit that I would continue on this quest regardless of their thoughts on it. Otherwise, seeking out these cracks in the earth like the one we just adventured through and cleansing the land in other areas would be another wise step forward… Find the missing artifacts may be the most important step, though.”
“If we’re all in this together, then we need to decide on the first step. The easiest seems to be talking to the Kings and moving on from there…One of them may know of the locations or the last known locations of these artifacts we seek.”
“Perhaps before we declare ourselves to the entirety of Valhame, we make contact with someone within the Northern King’s circle first.” Maddy tilts her head towards Rose. “Your aunt, Lady Fiona Corfax is one of the his supporters is she not, perhaps we could reach out to her beforehand? Also, we desperately need information on the remaining objects. Valhame is old and there may be some useful material in the libraries, the barbarian refugees and halls of faith that could be of some help if we can access them.”
I would imagine I could reasonably request access to many faith-based archives or people – it’s not always obvious how little holy fabric this man of the cloth has left. By the by, perhapsa we should think of a better word than “barbarian” if we are to stay in Valhame for any length of time.
Maddy looks momentarily embarrassed and then smiles. “A good note brother Bruno, I guess some old habits are very stubborn.”
Primrose nods at Maddy, “Yes, as far as I know my Aunt Fiona supports the King here. How much pull she can get us…I’m not certain, but I believe she is here in Valhame, I can ask around.”
“As for libraries and such, I think we’ll have to see what sort of state they’re in here in Valhame…so many building were destroyed…”
“What about the hunt still here? We cleaned a wound but did we kill the beast that caused it?”
“That’s a very good point, Sir…” Primrose pauses as if not really sure how one addresses an elf, “Rivendarius. I don’t think we killed that, for lack of a better word, breeding ground of the hunt. I think we only drove it deeper into the earth. It’s worth making sure that its gone completely from the area or not.”
I respect you all, mostly, as valiant defenders of your beliefs and I know that your political alliances are very important to you. If we must traverse the sticky and complex political mess of your kingdoms and kings in order to restore the balance to this land, then I will assist and provide the best defense to you and to the lands that I can. But, please know: all of the kings in the land, false or true, will be useless if we do not restore balance to the natural world. This has always been a truth, both in this realm and in my own.
I am glad to find you safe here, and I also apologize for my flight from our captors-had I been able to help the group escape with me, I would have, but my powers are not that great yet. As it was, I thought to scout ahead and trust that you would disentangle yourselves with relative ease from what dangers awaited, as you have been all along. Once our long rest is completed, I may have some information to share about some unnatural activities ahead which I have seen through an eagle’s eye.
“The politics are only of a concern because the King’s line is at fault and I believe they must reform the pact that was broken with The Prophet to successfully vanquish the Wild Hunt and,” she nods at Dov," as you say, bring back the balance."
“I could be wrong, though, I am only guessing that they must be involved to reform the pact…it is entirely possible that anyone could do it,” she shrugs, “but…we should, as Rivendarius has stated, make sure this place is uncorrupted before moving on to politics and such. We don’t want another cult sprouting up and undoing everything we’ve done today.”