“It’s worse than war.
Worse than Death!
There ain’t too many left
That have meet’n
And ain’t been eat’n
By the Monster!”
-The legend of the Hodag
Scion 16 Loaded with as much portable treasure as they can carry, the Lords head south bound for Bixen’s Grotto to arrange for a caravan to gather the large supplies found among Hargulka’s treasure horde.
Scion 17 The Lords decide to explore an unfamiliar area on route and come across a deadfall concealing the cave lair of the legendary Greenbelt Hodag. Underestimating the cunning and power of the creature a plan to lure the Hodag out of its lair fails and the Professor is killed when it burrows up through the earth at his feet. Simon convinces the group to take the Professor’s body to the Temple of the Old Gods.
Scion 19 The Lords arrive at the Temple of the Old Gods and discover that it now has a handful of resident clerics from a few different faiths and has become an often visited site for religious pilgrims. Bearing the Professor’s body inside, Simon instructs that it should be laid upon the altar in the sanctuary and asks for all to join him in prayer through the night. As morning approaches, Sir Gregory and Akiros find themselves among the last to succumb to exhaustion, though they notice that Simon continues to pray with little sign of fatigue.
Scion 20 Those in the sanctuary awaken shortly after dawn to the sight of the Professor raised from the dead and standing beside the altar, with Simon slumped at his feet in a fugue state. As Gregory tends to Simon he hears the cleric muttering the same two things over and over – “Knight’s Keep… Brother Jhod…” Though none understand how the miracle happened many give praise and thanks to the Old Gods. Without Simon to explain the event some turn to Akiros for wisdom, but he is unwilling to voice an opinion on the miracle apparently bestowed by the grace of Archpaladin. He explains that he does not trust his judgment on interpreting the will of his god. Though the clerics and pilgrims ask them to stay and celebrate the miracle, the Lords know they must return to Knight’s Keep to handle the affairs of the nation, as well as find Jhod and see if he has the key to reviving Simon.
Scion 23 The Lords arrive in Knight’s Keep and discover it recovering from a terrible attack by a massive owlbear that rampaged through part of the city three days prior. They are informed that the damage would have been worse if not for the courageous act of Brother Jhod who sent warning ahead to the Keep and single-handedly held the owlbear at bay long enough for most citizens to escape and a defense militia to be mustered. The militia eventually drove the owlbear off, but lost a few dozen volunteers in the effort, including Tig’s father, Tanner.
Assessing the damage, Baron Bronin arranges a public speech on the steps of the Town Hall to improve morale, but is viciously heckled by a man in the crowd. After a moment, Bronin recognizes the man as Grigori, a mixed blood Marascari-Wildlander who stood with a losing faction from Glenfarg (along with Loy Resbin and Latricia Evanore) in the Tournament of Lords at Kragis’Aer over a year ago. Caught off-guard Bronin tries to defend himself, but Grigori humiliates him in public. Afterwards Bronin meets with his council and discusses how to proceed with both handling Grigori and filling two seats on the Council suddenly left vacant by Jhod’s death and Simon’s continuing cataleptic state.
The Professor manages to finally convince Bronin to allow a woman on the Council, and goes to speak to Rhynis the Cindercloud, a female gnome Air Lord and friend of his from Kragis’Aer who has been studying the alchemical properties of rare components found in the Feralwood. After explaining the Council’s needs he convinces Rhynis to accept a position as Magister, but Lord Bronin’s reputation with women limits her commitment to only one month of service until she can assess Bronin’s leadership for herself.
Bronin seeks out Fiddlebow and convinces the fae sprite to join the Council as a new Spymaster.
Scion 24 The Council meets and new leadership positions are announced. The Professor assumes the responsibilities of the Treasurer in Simon’s absence. Gaiar is assigned the Johd’s role of Arbiter. Rhynis becomes the new Magister. When Bronin reveals his choice to be the new Spymaster he realizes too late that Fiddlebow, a creature rarely ever seen and then only as a ball of light, reveals itself to be a tiny female.
Scion 25-30 Sir Gregory, assisted by Tremal and Fiddlebow, mount a political campaign against Gregori. For the next 5 days they shadow the rabble-rouser and challenge his speeches with words of their own. By the end of the month they have discredited Gregori and run him out of town.
Scion 30 Upon hearing of Gregori’s defeat Bronin tracks him down outside Knight’s Keep and makes him a lucrative offer to take his political skills to the Atalan Peninsula and use them against Baron Drelev. Gregori happily agrees and Bronin wonders if perhaps he could have offered him less gold.
As the city is recovering from the owlbear’s attack it is discovered that some merchants and smugglers have used the disaster to enrich themselves in the aftermath. Their actions are revealed by loyal citizens and the council acts swiftly to stop them, preventing unrest in the kingdom and a potential loss of valuable resources.