A one proud city, the bastion of civilization, the oldest known city in the world, has been devastated. There are some roads and houses, but the majority of the land before you is literally torn. Craters cover the land, outcroppings of rock seem to have erupted from the bowels of the earth. Crevasses nearly large enough to be called a small canyon rip parts of the city asunder.
And there, in the centre of the city, atop the peak where the Bastion of the Platinum Dragon once stood, is a pyre. A pyre of fire, red but occasionally blue, flares up, easily visible from here.
This is Vasselheim.
As the group took all that in, their thoughts were interrupted by a bear. The same bear who’d crossed their path (literally) the day before, this bear warns them that he wouldn’t go in there, a bunch of assholes live in the city.
Stubby (who is well familiar with bears) and Tāmarai (who likes pretty much everyone) quickly befriended the bear, playing music for him and giving him the name Fisch (his actual name is hard to pronounce and doesn’t translate well from bear).
Fisch explained that he was a part of the Bear Clans, who were gifted the ability to speak following the destruction. Mellora herself came to help the bears adjust to their new gifts, making of them druids, clerics, fighters and more, and asking them to help her heal the damage done by the magic. The bears were all in. But some of them, like Fisch, like to adventure.
In particular, Fisch had ventured into towns, watched plays and listened to music, stole a child’s primer to learn to read, and acquired weapons and armour. When the group was so kind to him, he decided to help them survive the city. He would show them where it was safe to stay (by the nice tree – aka the Birthheart) and how to avoid the assholes, as well as explain what was and was not dangerous. The land was poisoned, and was slowly being healed, which meant a lot of flora and fauna were poisonous.
Not being totally familiar with common, when Fisch said ‘assholes’ he mostly meant monsters. Vasselheim was overrun with rats, most of whom could not be reasoned with. After fighting off a small group of cranium rats, they made it to the Birthheart, where the gardeners’ barracks was not just standing, but surprisingly unharmed. That was decided to be the base of operations, but as the group investigated to make sure it was safe, Stubby found a note that told her exactly where the ashes of of Senokir’s wife (Zaafin) were buried.
Knowing that Keyleth (and Pike) had always remained highly suspicious of that, Stubby tore off to dig up the ashes and find the answer for herself. With the help of Fisch, who tucked Stubby under his arm, Tāmarai and Rinn stopped Stubby and were able to use Detect Magic and determine it was really just ashes, you doofus.
After that disappointment, the group decided to check out the Slayer’s Take. Along the way, they were surrounded by swarms of rats. When they told them to beware and not trespass on Ioun’s land, Tāmarai managed to get them to understand she too was a follower! And Rinn showed them his badge from the Take. Declared brothers (the rats seemed a little unclear about gender), they agreed to lead them to their Rat King, the Sphinx, who was trapped under the city (see? gender’s not their thing).
Rinn was a little surprised that the sphinx was a real thing, but Stubby knew the story of Osyssa, and they decided to absolutely go check that out and maybe save her. It was going to be difficult, as the only entrance was by climbing down a crevice/canyon walls to a tunnel they could just make out. Via the clever use of Feather Fall, the group (Fisch included, but not the rats), Rinn floated everyone down and found that the tunnel had partly collapsed. Fisch barely made it through, but they did all find themselves face to face with Osyssa and the ziggurat.
Suspicious, Osyssa listened as Rinn explained he was with Take and Tāmarai was a follower of Ioun. Stubby introduced herself as Stubby, and Fisch just said “I am Fisch.” not really clear on the whole thing yet.
Osyssa looked deeply at them. “You have come. The child of the Take. The child of Ioun. The child of the children of the Take. The child of Mellora.”
Now… how do they rescue her?
- Rinn Shrike – Half-elf Sorcerer/Rogue (Storm Sorcery)
- Stubby – Half-elf Artificer/Artillerist
- Tāmarai Shikomi – Gnome Bard (College of Lore)
- Fisch – Bear Fighter (no, really, he’s a bear)