The Summer Heroes arrive in Auxerre and negotiate passage with a caravan to Soren. Their trip is largely uneventful, as the Summer Heroes (in disguise as the Winter Champions) are more than a match for any bandits or hungry wildlife. After several weeks, they arrive at Tholceus, the entry point to Soren from the east. Wishing to avoid spending as much time as possible in one place, they quickly convince a river boat captain to take them north. They eventually arrive at Sweetwater, the small town by the eponymous lake and at the foot of the mountain on which the monastery resides.
Pirro ascends the steps carved into the mountain side, meeting Abbot Thich at the summit. The Summer Heroes follow shortly after with magical means. All are welcomed and given lodgings and promise of sanctuary while Pirro trains. The monk learns about the new order and its relationship with the wind and water.
Thalion finally has time to teach Mina the finer points of wielding a Dragon Watch Sword, especially how to control it. Their training is only briefly interrupted by a young elf, a member of the Dragon Watch himself. After an awkward interaction, he departs the Monastery. Meanwhile, Darion and Erlindar spend countless hours in the very expansive library, searching for answers, while Sanaar (bard, historian, and expert on The God Who Knew Too Much) avoids contributing to any meaningful discussions.
When Pirro is ready for his final test, the Heroes are surprised to find they have been at the Monastery for a year. Pirro must choose to focus on one of the two disciplines, which will affect his test. The test will take place in one of the temples the Summer Heroes have come to know so well. The Monastery has access to two temples, through wells of water and fog. Pirro chooses wind as his discipline, and Abbot Thich offers the Summer Heroes the opportunity to go with Pirro on his test, if they complete a task of their own: a pesky cloud dragon who has been causing problems for the Monastery. They accept, borrow some of the Monastery’s griffons, and attempt to convince the dragon to leave the Monastery alone. He refuses and proceeds to try and eat them, but is slain. They loot the dragon’s hoard, take home some gruesome trophies, and return to the Monastery.
After resting (and confirming that only a month has passed in the outside world), they venture through the fog and into the temple. Each is faced with memories from their past.
- Pirro denies Yeronia the aid she seeks and tells her goodbye. She fades away.
- Thalion is confronted by Sueldor, Alissarienne, and Broderick—all members of the Dragon Watch the Summer Heroes have faced. Thalion acquiesces to Broderick’s request for the return of his Dragon Watch Sword, then watches the Gnome fade away with the blade. The remaining two taunt him and blame him for their current situation, vowing to bring him back to face justice for his crimes, then vanish.
- Mina is confronted by her mother, who says she never wanted her and purposefully abandoned her. She denounces her daughter’s alliance with Darion and the Curators and asks when she is going to stop lying to everyone, then vanishes. Mina’s scrying later indicates that her mother has reached Varcrist.
- Darion is confronted by a headless, armored spirit. It reveals itself to be Elegabalor and taunts Darion about the current state of his brother. The spirit then attacks but is defeated by the combined might of the Summer Heroes. It then vanishes.
- Erlindar is confronted by his father, who taunts him about his mother. After trading insults with a few other members of the Summer Heroes, he vanishes.
Physically drained from their encounters, they exit out of the swirling mists into a chamber containing Sanaar. He explains that he is the Guardian of these two temples, and that Thich’s order share pieces of his power and become Guardians themselves. He then takes out a box containing impure grains of sands of creation and uses it to explain a great deal more about the facts behind The God Who Knew Too Much and their quest.
The story of The God Who Knew Too Much is that other evil gods grew jealous of his domain over the knowledge of the past, present, and future. They attacked him, died in the process, and all domains (save the future) were rearranged and claimed by the remaining gods. The myth is true, to a point.
The God of Knowledge was but one of many gods attacked. Extremely powerful mortals challenged the gods, and the ensuing conflict devastated the world. This Godswar resulted in the remaining mortals (and a few gods who had switched sides) ascending to immortality and becoming deities. They claimed the domains they wished, but no one claimed (or possibly was able to claim) the domain of the future. This domain would eventually give oracles like the Curators their access to divine magic without having to pray to any specific god.
However, the old God of Knowledge knew of this scheme and planned a contingency: the Staff of Prophecy. Once assembled, it would allow those who wielded it access to the remnants of the old gods’ power. Its exact ability and purpose is not entirely clear, but it is suspected that it could be used to bring back the old gods, or challenge the new gods, or even lay waste to the world. It also is rumored to be able to access the Great Library of All, which still exists, somewhere.
The Guardians, immortal servants loyal to the old gods, waited out the Godswar in their temples, some of which contained portions of the old gods’ power. After it was over, they were scattered across the world, separated from each other and bound to their locations. Some of the Guardians have turned against their old masters; some have desired to wipe out all life except those worshippers of the old gods, who could then bring them back; and some have sought a peace between the old and new gods and a sharing of power.
One Guardian in particular, Glaysa, plans to unleash a host of demons trapped at the world’s core. The Summer Heroes recognize these nameless abominations as the same type of creature they accidentally released onto the world. They had unintentionally almost been released thousands of years ago by the Dwarves of Varcrist while under siege. Seeking to prevent a global holocaust, Sanaar enabled them to detonate Varcrist, killing the city and its human invaders. To ensure the secret of how they could be released would stay dead, Sanaar engineered the mass suicide of the Dwarven race.
The second Godswar was avoided for only so long. It is coming far earlier than planned, as a Guardian has for some reason launched an initial strike. Mahra, goddess of insanity and ruler of the Mindscape, has been slain and overthrown. While a relatively minor god, it is only a matter of time before the rest of the new gods realize what is going on. Abajeet’s last wish will have drastic unintended consequences.
To complicate matters, divine healing magic has been failing, largely due to a mortal somehow gaining access to the powers of the old god of healing. This competition within that domain will not go unnoticed for long, if it, or its source, hasn’t already been discovered. The Summer Heroes realize that Lenore’s centuries of impalement upon the statue that healed her wounds is the likely source of this incident.
Sanaar believes the old and new gods can find peace. Pirro agrees with this approach and becomes a member of the Order of Sweetwater, focusing on the wind discipline. The rest of the Summer Heroes are all asked to consider what side, if any, they would back in the coming conflict, as all will have a role to play. There is some discussion, with Darion declaring that he would back the side of the mortals. Sanaar takes this to mean that the oracle agrees with him, but that may not be the case. The Summer Heroes have lots of questions.
Sanaar also notes that Mina wields one of the Swords of Kalora. Surprised that there is more than one, they find out that Kalora split her soul at her death, embodying it in the two blades she wielded. They were separated, and destined to return in the next godswar, either to oppose or compliment each other. Kalora and her descendents were always strong supporters of the new gods, and viewed the Curators as tools of the old gods. Suspicious of their motives and believing them to be too likely to bring the world to destruction, her descendents have vowed to oppose the Curators at every turn, and destroy them utterly. Sanaar does not seem concerned about Mina’s presence throughout his story, despite her family’s opposition to his masters.