As the horde of Terrors continue their charge north towards the party, our heroes decide what to do. After debating for a few moments, they plan to descend the ridge and have Galandil use his Arc-miner spells to cut a hidden trench in the sand in front of their position in order to trap the oncoming Terrors.
Following Galandil’s lead the party climbs down the ridge and readies their weapons. Galandil creates a fissure in the sand and quickly climbs into it, using his amulet to dig a 100 foot long and 40 foot wide tunnel. As before the sand at the sides of the tunnel fuses to glass, holding it open. However he figures that the weight of the huge Terrors will crack the roof of the tunnel and send them plummeting down 40 feet.
The party stands ready as the Terrors come closer. As they near it is seen that in addition to the 22 huge spider-like Terrors, two Red Tower cultists are among them on horseback. Lionel and his Tymirr knights are in hot pursuit only a few hundred yards behind.
When they are within range of Meran’s longbow he fires and scores an impressive hit on one of the Terrors. Galandil fires an elemental bolt at one of the cultists and hits her in the chest. She topples off of her horse and is trampled by the rampaging Terrors behind her. One of the archers in Lionel’s party finishes the job a second later when he buries an arrow in her back. The second cultist is skewered by Meran’s arrows moments later.
The battle commences as the Terrors come within melee range, however the first ones break through the thin dome of earth over the trench and fall down into the dark. Only a few manage to make their way across to attack the party as the dome continues to shatter and swallow more of them. As the remaining Terrors slow down to avoid the others’ fates, Lionel’s band reach them from behind and dismount their horses to begin attacking in close combat. Also, Atentir summons two dogs to his side to assist in the attack.
The party and Lionel’s group make short work of the remaining Terrors, using their superior position to rain arrows and magical projectiles into the pit. A few Terrors manage to scale or jump the slick walls of the cavern, only to be cut down seconds later by the party’s blades.
After the battle is concluded, Lionel rushes to see his sister. He hugs Neith and says that he’s very glad she is okay. When he heard that the Terrors were coming to attack them he assembled the team of riders and took off in pursuit after them for more than two days. Many members of his party we killed during the trip but they also managed to thin the numbers of the Terrors slightly.
Lionel tells the party that he and his guard will protect them as they return to Tymirr so they may get some well-deserved rest. After a while everyone packs up their gear and they start off on their return journey.
As they leave, Elowisyl and Atentir notice that their brother is looking unwell. His skin is looking a bit greenish and his eyes appear sunken, not unlike the appearance of Alexander Drem from whom they acquired the silver circlet. It is decided that they will immediately take him to see Yeador and Orunn once they reach the city.
A few miles into their journey, Elowisyl receives a message on his magical scroll from Erillas. It reads: “The Ch’zak crossed the river into the town and were assaulting the castle. The great beasts were thrashing against the citadel walls and attempting to gain entry; the east wall partially buckled from the assault. We lost many men. During the conflict we saw a bright flash of light to the South. Almost immediately we noticed a change in the behavior of the Ch’zak. They became disorganized and many of them fled. I don’t profess to understand magics, but whatever you did, it worked. Our soldiers are fighting off the ones that managed to get into the city and the groups of stragglers outside. All of you have done us proud. Come home safely and we will celebrate.”
Heartened by this news, the party continues on their long journey. There are no further Terror sightings during their three-day trek, and the land seems to already be healing. As they approach the mountainous and grassy areas of Tymirr they see that winter is in full swing. There is already two inches of snow on the ground and the air is brisk but clean and refreshing.
A day into their journey the party members notice that Galandil looks even more sickly than the day before. He is starting to feel the effects and can sense his willpower waning to the might of the circlet’s dark magic.
Finally two days later they reach the city, and can see the destruction ahead of them. The earth for miles around the city has been almost completely scorched. It can be estimated that it will take a year or more for the foliage to return here. The castle itself has sustained heavy damage and the city is now completely leveled. The east wall of the castle has smashed and buckled, and a huge 200-foot millipede lies dead in the midst of the rubble. Around the castle are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Terror corpses. It appears that most of the human casualties are inside the castle or have been removed from the battlefield.
Near the city is a huge encampment of Tall Ones. Their warriors and scouts are patrolling the area along with members of the Tymirr guard. They pay little attention to the party as they come in as they seem very busy.
As they approach the city there is activity on the ramparts. The drawbridge is lowered and they are welcomed into the city. As they come in they see all of the wounded and dead soldiers being cared for and moved to triage areas. However a huge cheer comes over the crowd and hundreds of people of all races come in to swarm the newcomers. It is difficult to move as they pour adulation and praise upon the party for their actions.
They are asked to come to the steps of the castle, where a crowd has gathered. First they visit the tent of the Elves, where the Elf brothers are greeted warmly by their mother and sister. Elowisyl asks where Orunn is, and his mother says that he is with the others at the steps of the castle.
The proceed to the citadel where Erillas (wearing the purple clothing of a Tymirr elder), Combellon, Yeador, the King’s advisors Peratus & Verak; a young dark-haired man in a blue waistcoat, Duke Rontus of East Tymirr; a balding overweight man in blue robes is Biran, the Duke of North Tymirr are all present. It seems that the priestess Eleiana and King Arayen are absent.
The four Nomads and the members of the group that went to Calese (a Tall one, a Human and a Savage) are there as well, although the party remembers that they seemed to have more members the last time they saw them. Erag and the other Kaern seem to be missing as well. The party members are given purple tabards with a stylized “T” (similar to a cross) upon them to wear. Galandil refuses to put his on despite pleads from the servants.
From the doors comes the King’s son, Prince Cortus, wearing the crown of Tymirr. He says to them in turn, “You must repeat after me: I swear to defend Honor, uphold Truth, and fight for Justice.” Each of the party members comply except for Galandil, who takes a step back.
“I am not asking for your fealty,” Cortus says. “This is merely to honor your service to our great city.” Galandil shakes his head, and Cortus continues with the others.
After the party members speak the words, Cortus gives them each a shiny master-crafted longsword. Yeador also approaches and pours a thick, sweet smelling liquid over their heads, just enough to begin dripping down their faces. They feel the effects of this oil giving them vitality. “Now rise as Knights of Tymirr!” Cortus says. He congratulates the party and the crowd cheers. The other nobles also congratulate the party, but Peratus & Verak’s greetings sound forced.
After the excitement dies down, Erillas and Combellon come to the party and usher them into an adjascent room, asking the guard to close the door. They congratulate everyone and Erillas is positively beaming. Combellon seems regretful having seen none of the action, but is happy nonetheless. Erillas names the Men (and Woman) in the party as eternal Elf-friends, welcome into their homes and into their tribe forever. He says that this honor will carry on to their children and their children’s children.
Elowisyl says that they must see Orunn immediately to assist with Galandil’s condition, but Erillas says that he wishes to speak with them for a moment first. He explains that after the King fled, Combellon searched him for several days using the best scouts of the Elves and Men, along with two of Yeador’s apprentice magicians. They came up with no trace of the King except his crown which was lying on the bed in his chambers. For all intents and purposes he completely vanished from his chambers. No trail or secret door was found.
The people of Tymirr were confused as to why the King would flee at such a dire moment, and assumed that he left in a cowardly fashion as the legions of Terrors were soon to bear down on Tymirr with their full force. They ultimately lost faith in him so it was decided that his son, Prince Cortus, due to his strong leadership during the crisis, would be named as successor and King. The coronation occurred two days ago.
Because of the bond created between Erillas and Cortus during the battle and the absence of his father, Cortus has asked Erillas to stay with him as his chief advisor until he can finish rebuilding the city and come into his own. Erillas says that he has agreed and will stay as long as necessary. Combellon seems uncomfortable with this.
Erillas charges Combellon and the rest of the party with scouting and establishing a new home for the Western Elf Guild, so the survivors of their tribe could begin anew. He then excuses Combellon so he may speak with the party in private.
Combellon, Erillas says, has matured greatly in the past months during this crisis. He will one day succeed Erillas so choosing the new site for their home is a trial that he must do. He will be under the care of the party and his combat skills as well as his leadership will be tested. Erillas asks the party to watch over him during all of this. The Humans of the party are asked to accompany them as well if they so wish.
Erillas says to think about everything he’s said, and refers them to Orunn to help with Galandil’s curse. Orunn says that they must see Yeador, and take the party to his laboratory in the citadel. Yeador examines the circlet and asks Galandil about the effects that it is having on him. Yeador studies it through a glass orb about the size of an apple, and he and his apprentices search through large volumes of magical reference for clues as to its origin or source of its powers.
After several hours Yeador says that it obviously is powerful and has a link to the magical plane, but he does not have the means to remove or de-power it. He suggests that the party seek the help of a Thaumaturgist, a master of magical items, who lives near Calese. Yeador says that he has met this man and trusts him, but he does not know where to find him now. According to his measurements Galandil has less than a month until he falls completely under the control of the circlet. The party thanks him and returns to the Elf tent.
Elowisyl retuns to the man who had promised to carve him the symbol of his clerical order, and retrieves the piece. It is of exquisite quality and helps Elowisyl focus his magical powers.
Later that day they visit the smith that was making the armor for the party out of monster hide. He has all of their pieces completed, and has made several soft and rigid leather armor sets out of the hide. The sets include helms, aventails (the piece which goes over the shoulders), bracers, gauntlets, greaves, boots and cuirasses (chestplates). The man says that there is quite a lot left over and if he can use the rest of the hide for making armor for the soldiers and townsfolk, he will refund their money since the party saved the city from the Terrors. The party agrees and he refunds their money, fitting them for their armor and sending them on their way.
Galandil begins searching for Erag and is directed to the triage tent. The Priestess Eleiana and her clerics are there working overtime to assist all of the wounded soldiers and refugees. Elowisyl quickly begins to help with the wounded as well. The priestess stops only for a moment to congratulate the party and says that she must be on her way. She shows them to where Erag is and returns to her duties.
As they enter his room, Erag looks very somber. Apparently he has not allowed anyone to heal him since he returned from his journey and his arm is at his side, broken. He still carries many bruises and other hastily patched wounds, and is standing over the bed of Gorn Rockfist. He explains to the party that the Red Tower Cult had many of their powerful necromancers working to assemble the Gate in the north mountains, and their resistance was fiercer than the cult’s group in the mines near South Tymirr.
They were ultimately successful, but Bogder Shale, the Kaern warrior that the party initially met, was mind-controlled by one of the necromancers and Erag and Gorn were forced to kill him. Erag and Gorn traveled all the way back together, but as they arrived at Tymirr Gorn finally succumbed to his wounds and died. He is currently watching over Gorn’s body before he has to bury him. Elowisyl heals Erag and tells him that he must take care of himself and honor the memories of his friends by continuing on.
Erag thanks Elowisyl for his supporting words and for healing him. He congratulates the party on their success. Galandil tells him of the cursed circlet and that he will not be able to accompany him back to Tymirr to take the trials of the Arc-miner. Erag tells Galandil that he will be waiting for him at Kaern and he believes that he will definitely one day pass the trials. Erag says that before Galandil leaves the town he must visit the Kaern tent to speak with the elders. He then asks to be left alone to mourn his friends.
Later that day, after Elowisyl assists Eleiana in the triage tent for a while, the party visits the Kaern tent. There the elder who lent Galandil his amulet asks for him to return it. Galandil complies, and as the amulet changes hands the elemental emerges from the amulet’s crystal just as it had done in the first conferring ritual. The elemental nods at Galandil before returning to the amulet.
The other Kaern recognize Elowisyl and ask him if he needs more lichen beer. Elowisyl says that he does and one of the brewmasters bring him a quarter barrel of the foul-smelling drink.
The party stays in the city for another few days to rest and tie up any loose ends before they leave. Meran visits the tent of the Nomads, trading stories and sharing a meal. During their conversation they ask that Meran accompany them back to the Erstland Wastes. There is much work to be done, and a man of his skill would certainly be useful.
Neith is approached by Lionel, who says that he is returning to Merrill and asks her to come with him. She declines and says that she would rather stay with the party for the time being. He honors her wish and says that he will not tell their parents that she is alive; rather he will lie and say that his search was unsuccessful. However he says that they are very worried about her and have almost lost hope. Neith gives her a piece of her clothing and says to show it to her parents, giving them some hope that she may someday return home alive. He agrees and says his farewells to her.
A week or so later, Combellon comes to them and says that it is time that they must leave on their quest to search for a new home for the Western Elf Guild. The other party members (except Meran) agree to come along. Meran tells the party that he will be leaving with the Nomads, but perhaps he will rejoin them at a later date. Elowisyl says that they say that a detour must be made to Calese to see the Thaumaturgist about removing Galandil’s circlet, and Combellon agrees.
Just before they leave Yeador visits the party and gives Galandil a handful of 15 peanut-like Isre nuts, which will help keep his stamina up as he fights against the influence of the circlet.
The party says their good-byes to their family and Meran, and ride off with Combellon towards Calese.