The Ruby Rod

Episode 108

14 Years Later

Days pass as Tavar resurrects his allies one by one, the group sitting in mostly silence contemplating there next move. During the ritual, the presence of Vyrellis can be felt for brief moments, possibly helping guide the party’s souls back to their bodies. The party finally revived, Vyrellis appears and thanks the party for releasing her, apologizing for the pain Karavakos caused them then leaves for the hereafter.

Attempts to contact Cebias are made, the spell goes through but no response it made. The party prepares themselves for whatever is waiting for them outside the vault and exit. They find the remains of countless zombies, having been hacked to pieces to keep them down. The massive portal that was inside the volcano has now vanished. Rubble and debris left from the fighting litter the city, and the party is able to leave without conflict. At the mouth of the cave Tavar finds bits of the rope where he had tied Surly.

At this point Buzart leaves the party, first to deliver the challis to Tannis’ hometown, and then return home. The party decides to investigate a nearby town before they teleport to the mountains nearby Cebias’ home. Arriving they find the town devoid of any people or any indication to where they have gone. Tavar visits the graveyard alone looking for clues on the gravestones and finds none.

Tavar then calls to the Raven Queen, goddess of death. He offers his soul, which normally would stay on earth to reincarnate into another Deva , to the Raven Queen in return for the power to protect his allies and slay the Rakshasa that hunts him as well as put an end to Karavakos. To seal the bargain he tattoos himself with the mark of the raven. No sign of recognition is given, but Tavar feels that his offer has been heard and returns to the party.

The party teleports to the mountains and continue their way back to Cebias’ Manor. They pass through another emptied town on their way, still with no clue to where anyone has gone. Weeks later they arrive at Cebias’ Manor, the roof of which has exploded from viney growth. Inside they see the lobby’s tree has expanded considerably. They find a small shifter girl who runs off and returns with what the party recognizes as Hawthorn, much older than they had left him.

Hawthorn explains that the party has been gone for 14 years. When Cebias failed to contact the party, he had assumed the worst and gone into a fit of depression. When years past without feeling the presence of the Ruby Rod, he felt confident that the party had found a way to destroy it at a great but necessary cost.

Four years after the party’s departure however, the nightmares returned to Cebias. The wizened mage waited until the presence of the rod stopped movement far to the north. He then formed a team, leading it himself this time to go forth and destroy the rod.

Cebias has not returned for a decade. Hawthorn explains that he knows Cebias still lives, as he has been sending him sendings weekly. He then describes how Cebias had left something behind, hidden in the feywild in case something should happen to him, but he left it hidden and guarded so anyone without the skill to take up the journey to rescue Cebias could not find it.

Hawthorn describes how towns have been emptying, and how the wilds have become more dangerous. His brother and niece being the last of their tribe after the rest mysteriously vanished, retreated to Cebias’ Manor where they have lived in seclusion, traversing the feywild for food as opposed to traveling the mortal realm.

The shifter offers to take the group into the feywild to a powerful sending stone so that they might converse to whatever family or colleagues they had before making their journey. In the time to prepare for the trip, Vorastrix attempts to commune with the gods, Ioun god of knowledge or Corellon god of Magic being his main interests. He instead is answered by a strained voice seeking out Cebias, calling the mage his friend. When explained where Cebias was, the voice sadly departs.

In this time, Tempest notices that Hawthorn has been avoiding her. When she confronts him, he tells her that Cebias had gathered a group of adventurers to aid him, Tempest’s mother being one of them.

Days later, Hawthorn guides the party to the sending stone within the feywild. A large unassuming boulder surrounded by circles of smaller rocks. Each of the party speaks with anyone that seems like they would want to know they were still alive. Vorastrix contacts his patron, a silver dragon named Ornisk and reports in. Tavar can’t remember his life prior to being in the Pyramid and such contacts no one. Daelock reports to his peers in the gnomish council. Tempest attempts to contact her parents, her father is behind some barrier preventing communication, and her mother cannot be felt at all. The young adventurer does not take this well.

Their time with the stone done, Hawthorn leads them on the path to Cebias’ had hidden his final message. Various creatures, faded fey, and the wilds themselves try to hinder their progress, but the party pushes on with little difficulty, arriving at a grove with an unusual tree.

The face appears in the and tree speaks to them, asking where Cebias was. Vorastrix recognizes the voice as the one he had heard earlier. When asked who the tree was, it gives no name, explaining how when certain Eladrin are born, a special tree is planted who’s spirit and life energy is connected with the Eladrin.

From the tree, the party learns that before Cebias left on his journey, the old wizard had hidden a small package within the spirit tree. When asked how they could retrieve the package, the old tree gestures to a patch of overgrowth at the edge of the meadow. In the brush are a hatchet, and an axe.

Much discussion comes of this. Some of the party refuses to kill the spirit tree. Attempts are made to send a familiar within the tree to retrieve the package but fail. The spirit tree assures the party that even if they do not do this, it will die anyway as it is living on borrowed time.

The party is split on the matter, a scuffle breaks out causing the Tempest, already distraught at her parents’ situation leaves the group the decide on their own. Eventually the deed is done, the tree hacked into its base, large enough for Daelock to enter and retrieve a small chest. Inside are some papers from Cebias’ journal as well as a small magical bauble shaped like two triangular pyramids intersecting each other.

The tree still lives, but will eventually die from this act. It does its best to try and reassure the party that this was the only way and that everything will be all right. The party vows to return Cebias to the grove before the tree dies.

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