There are incredible celebrations following the destruction of the alien ziggurat, which engulf many northern cities on Fey, and many southern settlements on Cryaria. Ormid Thefler and his crew, as well as the incredible collection of mages they gathered are officially recognised as great heroes in a lavish ceremony, held a week after the destruction of the ziggurat in Yorduil (though Shadevia has vanished by this point, slipping away in the whirl of celebrations). In this ceremony War Commander Ulthstaag (who no longer seems remotely awe inspiring to the group, their stature and personal power almost eclipsing his) dubs them “Saviours of the Northern Lands” and “City Killers”, awarding each a platinum medal stamped on one side with the standard of Yorduil (Three vertical spears against a crescent moon and a howling wolfs head), and on the other with a symbol the Unifying Order have come up with – A five pointed crown (representing the five founding schools of mages – despite the fact that the Helldazzlers have declined to join the order, and have returned to their normal, mercenary ways), surrounding the symbol of Merriel'Shaava (a pentacle – though the smaller pentacles that normally hang on each of its points have been moved to the points of the crown).
Following this, the group return to Lorehaven where they receive additional rewards. Ormid becomes a High Meister of the college, and is rewarded a tower within the grounds, as well as a high social status in the city. Llewellyn is granted permission by the Lorehaven Lore Masters to open a “School of Adventuring” in the college grounds – though his intentions are to train up rogues, and to found a guild based in the city – whilst the Veteran is given the deeds to an abandoned fortress that nestles to the south of the Glyr'Tokth vale, in the distant Streaked Mountains.
The Veteran also receives a gift from the Helldazzlers – Ferrous Mk II. It is not a subtle thing, being a construct of blades and heavy metal plates, but it seems to have the originals personality, and bears massively augmented weapons; flame and electricity wreathed fangs, a powerful deafening roar, and best of all, the ability to become many times larger in combat, gaining terrific strength and martial power. The Warforged is very grateful.
Late in the spring, enraged at his plans, the Northwards Procurer's Guild makes an assassination attempt on Llewellyn. This provokes a week of carnage, during which the rogue, the warforged, Ferrous and the recently returned Ardwaine and Brundorson (the former now pregnant, the latter clearly smitten with the priestess), wreak terrible, bloody vengeance upon the rogues.
They simply don't stand a chance.
Llewellyn takes over the guild as its Procurer Prime on the 13/3/50.
Ormid is completely engulfed in his dual roles – one as a Meister of the college, and the other, as arbiter and organiser of the rapidly growing Unifying Order of Mages (now usually called the Unified Order, or simply, The Order), and is seen very little by the group over the coming months. However, on the 21/3/50, late in the evening, he receives a visit from Sheol in his former home.
The godling is sitting in Ormid's favourite chairs by his fire, reading one of his “secret” publications, and smiles as he enters his home, the firelight glinting gold in his eyes, a single fang hanging over his lower lip.
“Hello Ormid. How's it going?”
The artificer stops a moment, somewhat wrong footed by the appearance of the power, and simply nods a lot. Sheol laughs warmly.
“Come in old man! I've been admiring the scantily clad women in this pamphlet. Most, errm, arousing.”
The artificer finally finds his voice, and warily asks, “What do you want Sheol? Have you come to request your favour already?”
Sheol's smile widens. “It is about that as it happens.” He leans forwards and pats the seat of a chair across from him. “Come in Ormid and sit down, you're giving me a cramp in my neck, and you wouldn't like me when I am grumpy.”
“It's already paid in full old man.”
A moment of hung silence as the godling's words sink into his mind.
“Paid in full? But, how?”
Sheol hands Ormid a glass of fine, clear brandy (which has appeared from some place), and then sits back, steepling his fingers.
“My ascension to godhood required a massive release of energy you know. The kind of release that you simply don't come across very often. It also required a ritual that took over 500 years to complete, and cost millions of gold in residuum and other rare components. Even now, I search for many of those components, aiding myself on my path to godhood.”
“But,” stutters Ormid, frowning, “you're a god now? Otherwise, how did you help us?”
Sheol sits forwards, his eyes shining.
“I would have thought you above most others could work that one out?”
Sheol nods, “Exactly, though that isn't how you helped me.”
Ormid just stares, his head suddenly aching.
“When you and your allies forced the aethran's chronoportal to deposit you in the past, it collapsed and unleashed a staggering amount of energy into the plane. Unfortunately, this triggered what will become known as “The Sundering”, an event that will forever change this and millions of other universes, cause countless billions of deaths and see the rise of many strange and alien nations on this world.
“However, what it also did was unleash the energies I needed to ascend to godhood, which, channelled through my 500 year long ritual, enabled me to shed my mortal frame and to become the power you see before you.”
Ormid knocks his drink back in one, gasping as the fiery fluid torches his throat and chest with soothing numb heat.
“So you then used your power to travel back in time to...”
“To the middle of the Age of Loss, when I could consolidate my power without the other Gods and Goddesses getting in my face”
“And waited for me to come along with my allies, to trigger the blast you needed to....I have to say, this all seems highly unlikely.”
“It does. But then again, I have always has a knack for getting my own way, and knowing what is around the corner. One thing I knew I definitely needed was for you and yours to found the Unified Order. Otherwise the aethran and his portal would never come to be, and my plan would be for naught. Hence, why I intervened when Nye'ddeth was murdering your troupe and helped you survive. Naughty really, but,” he shrugs, “Worth the risk.”
He finishes his own glass of brandy, and stands up.
“Anyway Meister Thefler, I wanted to come and congratulate you on your victory, to tell you that you have already paid your debt to me, and to warn you. You are betrayed, and Ebon Eye does not seek what you think he does.”
Sheol bows slightly at his waist. Ormid simply stares up at him from his seat.
“You're most welcome.” Smiles the godling. “I'll let myself out.”
The late summer and autumn of 50, sees Veteran, the two dundorin, Llewellyn, Ferrous and a recently returned Sadran (who remembered their pact, made in the frozen streets of Yorduil, about meeting back at the Summer Solstice), heading to the Streaked Mountains. There they battle the Vulgol'Gigorim that have claimed the keep left to the Veteran as their own. It is a tough campaign, but by the first dustings of snow, the keep is clear (though the self proclaimed “King of the Eastern Peaks”, one Skrung, has declared that he shall raise an army to take the keep back and to punish those that have murdered so many of his kin).
The winter sees each adventurer busying themselves with their personal projects, and sees the Unified Order go from strength to strength. Though still hugely involved in the running and organisation of the Order, Ormid has handed many of his roles over to the five most trusted mages in the order – his Pentacle Council – and has concentrated on researching the legends of the Eastern Guild, the Guild Wars, and the ancient forges that produced the first Warforged. He also spends a small fortune improving the enchantments on the weapons, armour and other items he and the group carry, even managing to awaken further power within the dracani bone bow Dracusvir.
Llewellyn begins to put his newly acquired guild to use, gaining dirt on many high ranking nobles in Lorehaven, Currusp and a number of other cities, whilst the Veteran finds more than a few folks seeking to man his keep, and to learn from him the skills of a warrior.
The Winter Solstice is celebrated together in Lorehaven, though everyone is disappointed when the shadeling does not meet with them.
The spring of 51 is a wet and cold affair, but the group begin to look forwards to their journey back to the Eastern Guild. Rammanum is asked to look into what Sheol could have meant, and confirms that Ebon Eye has been made aware of the location of the Eastern Guild by someone (Smite's absence is duly noted), and journeyed along the hidden paths late last summer.
New threats appear in the Northern Republic, as a number of large Gorgoth tribes invade the lands, sowing misery and death in their wake, but the group are focused entirely on their own journey.
On the 21/5/51, the group leave Lorehaven and teleport to Garras'Knar. Gaining access to the Thruk'Dun once more, they travel for a week along the tunnels leading from there to the Eastern Guild. What they find however, is absolute carnage, and at the end of their journey, having moved through territories once held by what appeared to be mutated Gorgryn (all of whom have been slashed apart or blasted by potent magic), they find, on the morning of the 28th, a Guild Portal – sabotaged “exquisitely and expertly” according to Illithayne, who is summoned to examine the ruined frame with Ormid.
“Bugger.” muses the artificer, “I though that was the case, but was hoping that for once, I would be wrong.”
The portal is expertly analysed by Order artificers, and by the end of the 29th there is good and bad news.
“We think the portal can be repaired,” smiles Illithayne, “the various components of the Order possessing many of the rare materials needed to do so. The only two problems we see are that none of us possess any blue dracani bone marrows or blood, and, there is one element that we...well, we have no idea what it is, other than it is a resonant crystal quite unlike anything we have seen before.”
“So,” growls the Veteran a little too eagerly, “We need to find and kill a blue dracani?”
“Yes.” Replies the aelwyn in a low voice, “And there are several mages in our Order who might know where you can find one.”
“Fine. Nice work Illithayne.” Nods Ormid, “Can you and the boys try to identify the mystery material whilst we find us this dracani and kill it?”
“That should be no problem...assuming we are successful of course.”