The Summer Heroes
Session 24 Preview
The Summer Heroes finally understand the true purpose of the mythical Miqra’Chen, and the nature of the conflict that threatens to engulf the world. Possessing one of four pieces, they must race to find the remaining ones before Glaysa, Mellitus, or Winifred finds them. They must also come to terms with the lies behind their world’s very history and foundation, and must decide where they stand if the coming Godswar cannot be stopped.
Glaysa also seems to be behind much of the destabilization in Penwith and elsewhere: supporting orcish war bands preparing for invasion, manipulating events in the North to keep the largest standing army occupied, backing murderous pirates and misguided leaders in Brightwater, making deals with dragons to attack the Elvish lands to the South, distracting the Dragon Watch from their sacred duties, stirring forces deep within the earth that are disturbing elementals everywhere, and distributing magical statues used not only for eliminating Curators but also causing ever growing corruption in the surrounding areas. Her aim is the complete destruction of life on earth, removing the worshipers of what she calls the false gods, to bring back those to whom she is devoted…or so it seems, anyway.
The Summer Heroes are on the run. Brightwater, their home and safe haven, is solidly in the hands of the false Chief Curator Mellitus and his uncle Oswiu, the self-proclaimed King of a United Penwith that is anything but. Supporters of Talerion’s failed coup and the rightful Chief Curator Iro have spread throughout Penwith, consolidating mostly in Starll, home to another set of allies. The Summer Heroes’ time at Sweetwater Monastery, their most recent sanctuary, ended in blood, betrayal, bittersweet reunions, recriminations, and loss. A weakened order stands behind them, swearing to be there when called upon. Skroz, once home to more than one of the Summer Heroes, is no longer a power base for WInifred. But they are not welcome there, either, banished by the very former friends they freed from Winifred’s clutches. Their brief respite at the Rotunda has yielded new allies and new information, and many directions for them to go. But where? To solve the problems they’ve left in their wake, or continue on their quest whose importance grows with each new detail. Events are spinning out of control in the world, and may force them in directions they did not intend, or tried to avoid.
With the fate of the world on their shoulders, the Summer Heroes each have their own problems to manage as well.
Erlindar seeks a means to remove the amulet fused into his chest, uncomfortable with the nature of its powers. He is even more troubled by the growing similarities between himself and the visions of his possible future. His engagement to Corinthia is not helping matters, nor her growing impact on Penwith. But he fears he may not be able to remove the amulet, or worse, that he may find himself unwilling to do so. His actions of late certainly give cause for those fears.
Thalion is marked as a pariah by his own order, for violating his oaths and sharing his order’s most precious secrets. Now his former allies have sworn to hunt him down, and the rest of the Summer Heroes, for the secrets they both know and carry with them. Already party to intrigue, betrayal, and coups in Brightwater, the Dragon Watch has pulled its advisors and heroes back to hunt down the traitor where ever he is and bring him to answer for his perceived crimes. Without their careful eye on the great powers, what disasters will befall the world?
Mina finally understands her heritage and what the Dragon Watch sword is: the fabled Sword of Kalora (or one of them, anyway). She has unlocked its potential, and her own, and is only just beginning to understand what that will mean. Her long lost mother has resurfaced, bearing the second of her ancestor’s mythical blades, and is intent on destroying the Curators and preserving the new gods. And a twin sister she never knew has suddenly become an enormous threat, jeopardizing the very world and directly endangering her friends and allies. Mina was not party to Winifred’s murderous deeds, but cannot help feel some responsibility for them. But how will that responsibility fair in a confrontation between the two sisters?
Pirro struggles with his past failures and his need to protect those around him, but has found new purpose and meaning in Sweet Water. Possessing the power of one of the Guardians, he must decide to serve their cause, or find some means of peace between the old and new gods. In all of this, he has been forced to abandon his determination to keep Darion safe at all costs. He has brought back a friend and mentor from the grave more than once, and hopes to preserve as much as he can in the coming conflict.
Venju, the newest ally to the Summer Heroes, endangered his sacred mission entrusted to him by the elders of his people to save Mina and join the Summer Heroes. Will his initiative cost him and ultimately endanger his race? Or will it prove their salvation? And will the Summer Heroes ever trust him, given their recent experiences? His actions thus far have been supportive, and multiple Guardians have spoken on his behalf. And yet…
Talerion is the sole Summer Hero to stay behind in Brightwater to manage the crisis. His family endangered, his friends and supporters dead or scattered, his city under the iron rule that should be his, himself gravely injured, he must face decisions about how far he is willing to go to follow his family’s ambitions. And who he is willing to crush to get there. And whether his scheming sister will take their ambitions too far, and what consequences that might bring.
Darion finally knows the purpose and truth of his impossible prophecies, but rejects the notion that he must serve the old or new gods. Choosing to side with mortals in the conflict, he must find a means to do so without staying outside of the conflict completely. The Miqra’Chen may be the key to ending the conflict before it erupts in outright war, but the growing chaos enveloping the world cannot be ignored either. And Brightwater, always Brightwater, remains a focal point. Can the city be prepared for its role in time to be saved? Or will it burn, like his visions portend? Hopefully the answers lie in his studies in Tintern, where he might focus his visions and divine the truth before it is too late.
And Abajeet, separated from Mina and her friends except in brief moments where she can offer them refuge, is struggling to understand her new powers, growing personal army, obligations, secrets, and how her actions may have started the war that could destroy creation.
“We will meet our end of the bargain. Hassuna will be distracted with internal turmoil and their search overseas; the Dragon Watch will have similar problems. They will be ripe for destruction, and you will rule everything between the Alia Kara’Vesh and Darrova. Whatever you wish, so long as you keep them occupied for the duration of our plans. And you will have what you want”
He eyed Glaysa with distrust. “And you can do as you claim?”
“You know I can. Burn Hassuna, and we will free your kin from their torment.”
“You realize what this means, Thalion? Your brothers and sisters that you have forsaken will hunt you down and bring you to justice. Both of you.” Sueldor sneered as he leaned in closer. “And I’m going to be the one to bring you in.”
The young elf stopped and gaped in amazement at Mina and Thalion, and their Dragon Watch Swords that so closely resembled his own. Shaking away his surprise, he quickly darted down a side hallway back to the main area of the monastery, his path obviously changed by this encounter.
The monks who blamed the Summer Heroes for Sanaar’s death were not present at Sanaar’s funeral. They had long since departed.
“Slay a Guardian, and you gain their power." Winifred smiled wickedly as she stood over Sanaar’s unmoving body.
“Methia encoded in one single book a powerful magic, one that would allow the reader to gain all knowledge about a discipline, any discipline.”
Mina’s magical talents were small, and may not manifest in an explosive ball of fire or a prophetic vision, but they were still hers.
“Thanks to you all, I’m now the most powerful prophet in the world. I’d rule your Curators and show them a thing or two, if it weren’t so boring. But now? I’ve found a new calling. I’m going after your precious artifacts. Mellitus has the ring and we, and some friends, know how to use it.” Winifred smiles, her eyes shining with power. “I’m off to acquaint myself with the divine, dear sister.”
“Brightwater has not had the same problems with healing as the rest of Penwith has, and you can be sure the Holy Mother, Lenore, is watching over us. But the same cannot be said for other types of magic. Traveling magic around here is a bit wonky.”
“I’ve found a certain correlation between pain and protection, destruction and healing, and life and death. Should you ever wish to receive more aid, or if any of you want to become one of my disciples, bring me the sword from that statue, the one with which I am so intimately familiar.”
“Well that is settled. I will track down the Regulator who poses a threat and make him…see reason.” Corinthia smiled in a manner that is not at all comforting, though she no doubt intended it to be. “And I will give him to you as a wedding present.”
“And get this, everyone’s saying that one of those crazy necromancers from that weird village that you all saved – not that they’re saying that part, but you know what I mean – that one of them showed up and attacked a bunch of Regulators and burned half the city now." Juru laughs heartily, "Ridiculous nonsense, if you ask me. Just an excuse for the blockade so Xiri can try and restart trade.”
“Do you MIND?” the orc asks with irritation, casting a Prismatic Orb around himself so as to prevent Venju and the Summer Heroes from interrupting his studies any further.
“What have I been up to? Oh, just up here with The Arbiter on Uncle’s orders. You know how Uncle, the Arbiter, and the Sandlord will sometimes cooperate and exchange advisers for a bit.” Sondo nodded matter-of-factly, as if he expected Mina to think that Organized Crime Exchange Programs were the most sensible thing in the world.
“You may have uncovered my presence here and forced me to improvise, but this isn’t over,” Krina spits venomously, glaring at Erlindar. "This isn’t over." She shoves the Arbiter towards the Summer Heroes, shatters two glass bottles, and disappears in a flash of purple. Two enormous hydras instantly emerge from the broken glasses and attack everyone in the Throne Room.
The Horror Tree shakes its branches, dead leaves falling lightly to the floor. “There are two other groups here, one led by one who has been here many times, and the second by no one who’s ever been here,” it relays to its new master after the Summer Heroes hear noises in the distance.