After your harrowing battle at the Temple the party helps Gwayne back to the Night Mare Inn, arriving late into the night. Xoxo sleepily greets you at the front desk, but springs awake as soon as she lays her eyes on Gwayne. With surprising strength Xoxo scoops up Gwayne and rushes him to a back room and places her hands on his head. As she stabilizes Gwayne a bright white light begins emanating from his chest.
Xoxo: "He'll make it through the night, but his wounds are far beyond my capabilities. I will fetch Vadania."
Xoxo leaves in a hurry and runs off to wake Vadania, the local Healer. You make yourselves useful by comforting Gwayne, bringing him food and water as you wait for the healer.
Vadania arrives and pushes everyone else out of the room.
Vadania: "Out! Out! Are you healers?" She cuts you all off before you can answer "No! Out!"
She slams the door and spends all night with Gwayne. Xoxo and the rest of the party fall asleep in the common room waiting to see what becomes of the priest…
Early in the morning, you awake to warm mugs of Cirenshire Tea and homemade biscuits. Xoxo is in a good spirits and Vadania sits exhausted on a bench outside of Gwayne's room.
Vadania: "He will live. It will be a long recovery, but he will live."
Xoxo: "Perhaps this will be the straw that breaks the horny camel's back?"
Both women smirk and laugh quietly. Vadania leaves and Xoxo returns to serving breakfast the party.
Xoxo: "I am glad you made it out of there alive. Apparently these heretics were a little more powerful than the previous bunch. It looks like your good deed has not gone unnoticed. A messenger from the royal court mage came early this morning to request your presence at your earliest convenience to 'discuss compensation'."
Xoxo also hands Seres a tightly wound scroll with a strange wax seal. "You received this while you were away. It's been ages since I've seen such an elegant and terrifying seal."
Xoxo: "You're all welcome to stay here as long as you'd like while you're in town. We don't often have such capable individuals to keep us company. I'm sure Gwayne would like thank you for saving his life as well."
You decide to stay at the inn for a time. Keeping Gwayne company and gathering your thoughts regarding recent events. Several days into his recovery, Gwayne joins the party in the inn's common room. You all share a nightcap, and Gwayne believes that he has recalled a legend that you might be interested in. Everyone pulls up a cozy chair and a large flagon of ale, gathering around Gwayne to listen to his tale…
Four travelers – their names seemingly lost to history, though there are many theories and whispers of who these heroes may be - appeared in Cirenshire one day, stepping out of a gleaming blue portal. They traveled from a distant land located in a different time. While the people of Cirenshire were surprised at their sudden appearance, the travelers were not phased. They seemed accustomed to traveling through the planes and across time itself. They could not have arrived at a more opportune time for Eslen.
The continent was embroiled in the Great War of the Underdark. Dark Elves had called forth a stream of endless demons and devils that spilled through dark portals from the Abyss. Many sources now believe that this was a mistake, a conjuring gone wrong if you will. However, convincing the historians of this has not been successful. I doubt the record will be changed until they all finally make their way to the Garden of Silence.
The hordes ravaged the Drow and Druegar settlements littering the Underdark. Eventually the demons made their way to the surface through a long forgotten mine. They slowly began ransacking the countryside of Eslen, until they were within 50 miles of the nascent capital of Cirenshire.
Luckily, the Royal Court Mage, a much younger Ursula Deaththorn, managed to summon the largest protective ward anyone had ever seen and held back the massive hordes long enough for the time travelers to help King Fenrick devise a dangerous and ingenious plan. The travelers were to be sent deep into the Underdark, to one of the deepest regions only known to a handful of the bravest Drow warriors. Calling in a favor from his cousin Zedalia, King Fenrick sent the warriors to T'lindhet Ust Natha where they were to be led to the mythical Hel's Fountain.
Now this next bit of the story is hotly contested by many researchers. Not to mention by the Royal Family themselves who maintain that though Prince Beauregard was harsh and had a bit of a temper, he would never have stooped to such levels to conceal information from the public. The fact that several pages of a manuscript slightly matching the description of a children's story were found in a ruined Royal tower does not prove that these scholars existed or that they discovered anything of import regarding the fountain or the Abyssal Plane… Anyway, Hel's Fountain was discovered to be real by a pair of researchers nearly one hundred years prior to the Great War. They were allegedly silenced by Fenrick's son (Beauregard – King Sonder's brother) who feared that the knowledge of the fountain and magical energy it contained could have dire consequences if it fell into the wrong hands. He confiscated all of their manuscripts and locked them away in his private quarters. Surely, knowledge of such power could corrupt even the most well-meaning of individuals.
King Fenrick was desperate, but sending he knew that the best way to close the demonic portals was to send these willing travelers to Hel's Fountain and destroy it. Informing them that they were most likely going on a suicide mission, the party still insisted on carrying out the mission with little regard for their own lives (very heroic). No one knew what the party would find when they reached the fountain or what destroying it would entail. Based on the myth, it is known that Daudremaine grounded Hel's soul to the well to allow her to travel beyond the Abyss.
The travelers successfully destroyed the fountain. However, doing so caused an immense surge of portal magic before it ceased functioning at all. Knowing that the fate of Eslen was in their hands, the travelers painstakingly removed the magic stones that made up the fountain dissipating the portal magic. Each individual stone still possessed some magical properties and it became apparent to the travelers that the stones had to be separated to protect the realm. They summoned an ethereal messenger to relay to King Fenrick that they had completed their quest and that they would not be returning to claim their reward…
It is said that the newly forged heroes traveled all across Eslen searching for hiding places for these magical stones. Each hero hid several stones making sure that they alone knew their locations. If no single person knew the location of all 12 stones, then no one could reassemble the fountain without great effort and coercing.
Once the magic stones had been hidden, the heroes faced a grim truth. By dismantling the fountain and saving Eslen, they had also cut off any return to the world they had called home. Many old wives tales and gypsy stories center around the lives of these heroes after their great victory. However, as they never returned to claim their reward, it is believed that they fell in the process of saving us from ourselves.
I know this story because it was handed down to me by the High Priest before me. He learned it from the High Priest before him. He learned this story from a strange traveler he met in this very inn (long before Xoxo became the proprietor) who gifted him a medium sized stone. The stranger's only request was that the stone be kept in a secret location within the Main Temple where it would never again see the light of day… This is the stone Prissea attempted to use in her ritual and the stone you currently have stored in your bag…