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> A Year in the Dales, Full write up!
post Jan 7 2016, 06:23 PM
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A Year in the Dales – IM 1015


Heart of the Eternal Stand

The year starts as it means to carry on, with violence and war. The heroes of the Dales, led by Theodore, Jamwise and newly ordained Lord Knight Tai assist the Company of Iron, newly freed from their contract to the League of the Free in storming the ruined towers of the Sallow Princes Aellyn and Stynmort near the Heart of the Eternal Stand where they had once fought each other and Roserias for 700 years or so. With their final stands ended by the wand of Ledzuene they were once more free to act as they wished.

In Aellyn's they destroy his great Forge of Souls, free a number of the Knights of Cawdendale, in particular four of the nine who founded the order on the death of Mandrake Cawdendale, a noble and honourable individual who would later become known as the Unknown Knight/Soldier. The Knights followed the Sun and stood as a bastion against darkness, be that the undead or other foes. More would be learned of them later in the year.

The hierarchy of Aellyn was also uncovered and it was learned that in order to slay him, all within it must be defeated or freed. A number of people had been killed and had their souls forcibly forged into demons, while others were willing servants.

Within Stynmort's Tower the true extent of his power of the undead and the souls of battlefields was uncovered and a resolution was made by Liara to attempt to free all those nameless dead which he had claimed as his own. A rite was destroyed which drew the souls from the over the battlefields of the Dales and bound them into his tower and an obsidian golemic which housed part of his soul was destroyed by Sunny and Tai.

Finally, the Great White Crab Ape was freed from its state of undeath and allowed to roam the Dales once more. According to Sunny this was only a good thing and it wouldn't harm anyone. The local people of the Dales were less sure. The rumours of it were something of legend!



At the start of June the threat of the 3rd Prince held at the Eternal Stand slowly begins to rear its head. Prince Roserias and his herald Mabron make their moves to conquer Laurelinsvale, spreading the corrupt ideals of “Purity and Perfection” throughout the fey vales. They capture the draconic being Orallabas, who is seeking to gain aid from the Seers in opposing them and set about enslaving Arien, the spirit of the realm.

Seer Meredith Lecht foresees connections between threats in the Dales and Laurelinsvale and so mercenaries are gathered. The great and powerful assemble and so Orallabas is freed, Mabron defeated, though not permanently and the coup with the vales uncovered. The name Roserias rises to the fore, but is quickly forgotten as a segment of the mercenaries turn upon each other.

The Court Beyond the Vale and the Court of Peaceful Storms are freed and the rite of Shattered Clarity that was baring navigation between the vales is lifted. Laurelinsvale, while still largely occupied and conquered, takes the first steps to freedom.


A number of seemingly disconnected murders of nobles occurs throughout the Empire each accompanied by odd residual weakness in the fabric of Primus. One particular murder, that of Simeon Rutgeth in the Gilmedean Hills, leaves an entire manor clouded in grey fog and full of ghostly echoes of the dead. Investigations lead to a series of hidden chambers at an unknown location within the Empire and a quartet known only as the Hand of the Matriarch. Plans for further murders are uncovered and one of the Hand is slain.

Further locations of weakness are identified, one beneath Deci and one near Gothiel. These weaknesses appear to related to groups of individuals, collectively known as the Silent or the Forgotten. These people are constantly hunted and killed by the Hand of the Matriarch, but endlessly reborn, forgetting almost almost all of their previous lives. A number of these people, having been lied to and tricked the previous year, have been met before, while misguidedly working for Tiumbre of Dreadstone, the Silent Prince.

One, Aria, appears to be able to remember and has been hunting for and gathering all of the Forgotten who would follow her. This Aria is encountered and spoken to briefly before taking her vengeance on a number of the Church of Zenith who were found to be forcibly 'redeeming' those of the Forgotten, changing their thoughts and personalities to that of light. Her brother Dirge is rescued and appears to be the person she cares most about in the entire world.

On the Sunday, an ambush is laid for the Hand of the Matriarch at the location of one of their targets. The remaining two Hand are killed, though not permanently, and the fourth, Cornelius, reveals himself. The mercenaries learn that the Hand are the children of Duke Rutgeth, pressed into the service of the throne after the failed coup of 776. They are tasked with hunting down all those who remained after the forgotten year of 799 is unwritten by Margaret Daerk, and ritually bound to the throne by her. After the high final dawn the bonds of this decree begin to fade and three of the four turn rogue, seeking some kind of perceived vengeance. Cornelius turns to Talthar and to hope for a better future, seeking to right his past wrongs.

Cornelius leads Liara and the other assembled mercenaries to the hidden chambers beneath Halgar where their blood bound phylacteries are sealed away. A manifestation of Margaret Daerk is encountered and spoken with and much is learned.

Later, through a rift to the village of Beechenhill as it was in 799, visions of the rise of the Church of Silence, Tiumbre and the fall of the throne are encountered. All is witnessed by one common man, Robert, who is determined that those who died will not be forgotten and will be remembered. It is concluded that he has become some form of malign entity known only as Memorial.

The boundaries between the remnants of 799 and 1015 grown thinner and unless something is done a catastrophic convergence seems likely, come the end of the year, if not before.



Towards the end of July a number of ritual strikes are made by the fey following Roserias on temples of the Tryst, St. Michael and the Ebony High Tower. These, it transpires, are experimentations using people kidnapped at the last final dawn, brought about using temporal and transformational ritual. The powers behind these rites are defeated by the likes of Thor, Saladin and Darkbane and the plots and further courts within Laurelinsvale are purged of the Destroyer's touch.

The place spirit, Arien, an ancient demi-god of the Sun, is freed and the forces from her twin Tilion finally break into their sister's realm. This army of moon elves and fey smash through the gates of the Court of Purity of Perfection while mercenaries make a daring raid into Mabron's tower of bones. Mabron is permanently slain and links to Roserias' tower in the Dales are recovered.



A faction within the Church of Zenith seeks to fulfil a prophecy surrounding those of the Forgotten. They raid a temple to Redaip where records regarding temporal convergences, Amora's Doom and the Namer War are said to be held. The temple is cleansed, records corrected and the church followed to caverns near Amora's Doom. There, the faith is seeking to force a convergence between the forgotten year and the present, destroying those of dark heart and purifying the world. Thomas Grace himself appears to stand manifest, but is later exposed as a powerful being working for Memorial.

The Hand of the Matriarch act and seek to take their revenge forming a huge convergence between the end of 799 and the present at Beechenhill. Several other convergences tear through at locations where the Forgotten are present in large numbers. Aria succeeds in shielding one location and rushes through the rift at Beechenhill to make a desperate play to save their people.

Mercenaries meet with one of the Forgotten called Legato, who they'd met previously and succeed in protecting three other locations. The Forgotten are revealed to be the sons and daughters of the blood, born in 799. Their blood, sallow as it is, refused to be forgotten.

The timeline of early 799 is uncovered as is the birth of Aria and Dirge, who turn out to be the children of Margaret Daerk herself. A hidden orphanage, Song's Hope, is discovered within the Dales. A travelling minstrel, Arabella Song, is linked to that orphanage and shown to both have protected the children of the blood and to be the demi-god, Illenqui Thell, She who is Song. This also explains why those of the Forgotten all appear to have song-like names; the names they were given by Arabella.

Mercenaries, led by Tai, Theo and Liara, having saved those they could, head into the rift and to the end of 799. After some struggle they learn of Robert's past and future and lift the insanity from him as Memorial.

As Tiumbre of Dreadstone flies across the ruined sky of 799 Halgar and makes good his conquest of the land, so does Aria confront the remaining hand in the throne room. The Empress manifests with her and together they hold back the greatly empowered Hand of the Matriarch. Arriving just in time Theo and the other mercenaries cut down the Hand and together craft a new decree to safely converge 799 with the present day. Aria sits upon the throne of her mother, witnessed by Memorial, who is The Nameless Future, and Liara.

Primus is saved, at least from the threat of the forgotten year. Those of the Forgotten are gifted a new chance at life and grasp it with both hands, using their natural talents with temporal manipulation to build a tavern called the New World within the Dales. The year of construction and renovation is completed within a week.


The Shattered Hills

With the threat of 799 resolved, the heroes of the Dales return to dealing with the pressing concerns of Aellyn and Stynmort. They travel into the Shattered Hills, healing many wrongs to the land and conquering a spiralling castle called the Nameless Spire. Here it is discovered that far from being hated enemies, Aellyn and Stynmort are in fact brothers, Aellyn and Yedral, the sons of Ian Misserloe, the Bladebreaker General. After the death of their father at the hands of someone called the Ghost in the North, the two brothers sought to consolidate and expand their own power by betraying other Sallow Princes. Yedral stages his own death and ascends as the undead Stynmort, the Nameless Prince. Much pomp is made of the hatred of Aellyn for this upstart Stynmort from the north. Secretly they work together, leading supposed allies into the other's armies or simply killing them from within.

The remaining demonic powers, loyal to Aellyn and within the Nameless Spire, are slain and the reality of his sister and mother uncovered. His sister, Vesidora, lives still and is a respectable noble called Melindra Hadensford who owns the land around Meadowbrook in rural Halgar. Her mother is now a demonic figure called Tolteth, who, through her own pacts and accords had long broken free of Aellyn's enslavement via a number of hidden pacts.

Through their own schemes, they set the stage for Aellyn to fall and so in an alliance of sorts, the mercenaries and Melindra succeed in ending his life. His closest ally, the ritualist Mori, is rumoured to have been destroyed by a volcano exploding. How exactly this is possible is unknown.

It is also learned that Stynmort is bound to several battlefields throughout Primus where he claims power from the nameless dead that were slain there. These battlefields are known as Cawdendale, Amunandra's Grave and the battlefield at Illambator.



Liara and her allies travel to Cawdendale in search of the history of the Knights of Cawdendale and the Order of the Unknown Soldier. They wrest the battlefield from the control of Stynmort and free the soul of Mandrake Cawdendale, the ghostly figure after whom the Knights of Cawdendale were formed and to whom the monks sought guidance and prayer. Mandrake turns out to be intrinsically linked to the faith of Helak in the Dales, having sacrificed himself to save the eagle totem, Helak, from being consumed by Tiumbre, and aided in its ascension to the god Helak of today.

Mandrake further turns out to be the son of Arien, demi-god of the Sun and place spirit of Laurelinsvale. Further information is uncovered regarding the mythical Ghost in the North, who appeared to have visited Mandrake and Arien for guidance after some great tragedy. How exactly the ghost fits into the story is yet to be discovered, but he or she, is clearly strongly opposed to Aellyn, Stynmort and Ian Misserloe.


The Eternal Stand

A final strike is made on the tower of Roserias within the Dales by Thor and a small elite group of his allies. Having gained access via the crystal from the tower of bone in Laurelinsvale and escaped the transportation wards and traps in place they set about purging the tower of sin.

Within, strange things are found. A number of angels, including one of Talthar, have been corrupted by agents of the Destroyer, but long ago made a binding oath and pact to aid Roserias in some how purifying and giving hope. This seems initially confusing, but Thor resolves to follow through their agreement and do what he can to help. There is clearly more than meets the eye and with the angels redeemed and purified the group move toward the inner spire.

Those of darker heart find roots of the Blood Tree entwined around the spire and a number of seemingly tribal people enslaved to it by the actions of two abishai, Whispers of Perfection and Temptations of Purity. Further, a hidden chamber, protected by the powers of the Sun and Moon, holds old memories of Roserias, seemingly placed there before whatever corruption and darkness took hold. It is learned, that somehow, Roserias 'drank' from the Blood Tree and so became empowered, but by doing so invited its darkness and evil. Impossibly, Roserias seemingly survived the blood tree's claim that comes at the final dawn.

Eventually, Roserias is found, sealed away and being subjected to rites woven by the pair of Destroyer abishai. It transpires that Roserias is the Ghost in the North and that she, for it is a she, rather than a he, was a child buried under the mound of bodies when Ian Misserloe sacrificed the Pashaduine to the Reaver God. In being so buried, she became changed, wishing to be unnoticed by him, she became a ghost. Seeking to free the tribes, she attempted to first free those of the Wilden, bound by Johannes Goeheim within his Oak, the Blood Tree.

She was tainted by its darkness but protected in part by the Wilden. She later succeeds in assassinating Ian Misserloe having taken power of the Tree and in so doing frees many of the souls of the Pashaduine. Sadly, as a consequence, she is constantly hunted and hounded by the twinned abishai of the Destroyer, called by pacts bound to Misserloe's death. To escape the darkness which ever consumes her she creates a simulacrum and engineers the Eternal Stand, sitting within her tower for years, meditating and channelling the darkness into the simulacrum. When this stand is ended in the summer of 1014 this darkness tears through her and she falls.

Her fall leads to her conquest of Laurelinsvale, about which she had learned from Arien when conversing with Mandrake and her in Cawdendale many hundreds of years before. It is only as Thor and others begin to undo the works of the Destroyer within that place that she manages to see glimmers of hope once more.

This pair of abishai are confronted and slain by Thor, their compact destroyed. It is believed that at least one of them sees the light of Talthar and is redeemed.

Roserias recovers under the ministrations of Thor and reveals her name as Rivelina Pashaduine.



Stynmort succeeds in resurrecting his father Ian Misserloe and launches a catastrophic series of ritual strikes upon the Empire from his fortress at Illambator. Aria, having been saved by Liara, Theo and the Empress, along with the other Forgotten seek to intervene and repay their debts by giving a small group of mercenaries 12 hours to change the fate of the world.

The mercenaries successfully prevent the ritual strikes, causing them to discharge off the coast of Miere, Scarlene and Keys with only limited loss of life and destruction. They further reclaim the battlefields at Illambator and Amunandra's Grave, unmask the sinister nature of Lindon Blaze and subtly converge moments of the past into the present to weaken the moments used to call back the soul of Ian Misserloe.

In a final showdown Stynmort and Misserloe are slain and with the redemption of Roserias, the consequences of the Eternal Stand are wrapped up and concluded.


It is later learned that Ledzuene is the daughter of Rivelina. Why Ledzuene would seek to end the stand of Rivelina as the simulacrum Roserias and so potentially doom her mother is unknown, though neither seems willing to talk on the subject and both are clearly content to see one another. Indeed Rivelina appears to have transposed a number of chambers from her former tower to Prince's Fall to be with her daughter. Perhaps Ledzuene never know the true identity of Roserias, perhaps she knew all along, maybe we will never know.

Elsewhere in the Dales, long forgotten beings recover their names and stir from slumber.

In the far north ancient places drift closer and settle upon Primus once more.

Sparks, once thought dead and buried, arise in might.

In a place that doesn't exist, the moon shines bright from a tiny silver lamp.

Will Power - plot@labyrinthe.co.uk
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