The Helltreaders

Dues ex, sorta

The party was on the verge of capturing Teagan and rescuing the remaining captives when they are suddenly teleported to the Plane Above. Teagan makes his escape and the fire causes the building to collapse, dooming the remaining captives (though the party doesn’t express much concern for their fate when they meet the chosen of Erathis and Garagos, because they are stone-cold mofos). The party meets Malaric, Rowan and Merkersa. In a tense and adversarial conversation the party is tasked with finding and stopping Vesemir Sevelda. Vesemir has never actually been seen in public, but is known to the party as an important member of House Sevelda.

The party was tasked with this mission because Vesemir used a ritual (whose magic is not understood since such a spell would be beyond the capability of a mortal lifespan to cast) that allows him to hide, at-will, from anyone (god or mortal). The party was insulated from the effects of this spell because they were within the borders of Du’Cell’s prison when whatever ritual Vesemir used was completed. The magical properties of Du’Cell’s prison apparently protected the party and as such only they have any chance of finding and defeating Vesemir.

Vesemir intends to become a god. The other ritual he cast allows him enter into the godly realm (which should likewise be impossible for a mortal to cast such a powerful spell), and thus would allow him to threaten the gods directly.

It is likely that Erathis and Garagos are the deities whose domains are most directly threatened by Vesemir’s plans. Yet their chosen are particularly unhelpful in providing clues (you insighted that they really have no idea, but refuse to admit as much to the party). Finally the chosen of Correlon and Sehanine (Sateaka and Keara) appear, and treat the party with respect. Malaric, Rowan, and Merkersa leave the party with a threat to serve as the agents of divine retribution should the party divert from their mission, and then they leave. Keara affirms that Vesemir is indeed a threat and suggests that the party try and find out how Vesemir managed to cast two such powerful spells, and how exactly he intends to become a god. Keara gives Veronwe an Incendiary ring (level 14), and the party is teleported back to Valena.

Teagan attempted to spread a story of the party attacking him while he was fighting the murderer, but this is refuted by the rescued captive and the member of Teagan’s cohort who Brood convinced to abandoned the fight. King Itheus rewards the party 1,000gp and house Virrid gives the party another 1,000 gp in order to avoid losing face (and they publicly disown Teagan).

The party then attempts to obtain some leads on Vesemir (the party failed the challenge, but learned the following):

Helpful Goddess: The party learned that one of Vesemir’s ancestors (Irena Sevelda) became the subject of Sharess’s fascination, and took from her some object that has likely been passed down through the Sevelda clan over the last 600 years.

Sharess visits the material plane occasionally so that she never becomes indifferent to the mortal plight (like how the gods summoned you and were completely indifferent to the fate of the murders captives). During these visits she sometimes becomes infatuated with exceptional mortals whose lives are said to be forever charmed thereafter. Irena was one of these.

The party learns that Sharess herself (or at least an avatar) is currently visiting a festhall in Valena, and further realizes that Du’Cell (the devil you freed from his prison) gave you a brass bracelet with the Symbol of Sharess on it, allowing you access to this festhall.

The Children’s Fable: The party knows of a fable where the village of BlueHollow was destroyed by raiders. The raiders are said to have succeeded because the people of Bluehollow succumbed to their sins when they would have prevailed had they led righteous lives. The story is known all around the world, and there are dozens of different versions of it, but there is always one consistent element: a cleric is said to have discovered how to become a god himself, and devoted his efforts to attaining godhood rather than help defend the city. The party becomes aware of this fact when trying to get help from Freugion, who they discover is missing. In Freugion’s office they find his notes that cover a wide variety of topic, and they discover that he spent a great deal of time studying the Bluehollow fable.

It is also known to the party that there have been sightings near the Enduring Forest of a “Mad Mage” that is said to be in possession of a rune inscribed skull. The party suspects this is Vesemir and that the skull is that of Ezren the wizard, who the party killed and whose corpse was found, sans skull, in the city of Peran in the home of Mercentius Sevelda.
The party further learns of an account transcribed by an archivist that was discovered in the archives of the Erathis temple. It describes a soldier 700 years ago (before the previous Hellmarch) who deserted the army and sought refuge in the Enduring Forest. There he found an abandoned village in pristine condition. That very night the village was attacked by ghostly forms, the sight of which drove the solider mad.

The Enduring Forest is said to be impassible to all but those who are in perfect harmony with nature. The only known humanoid settlement is a sacred grove maintained by the druids of Silvanus (god of nature). The party realizes that for the solider in the account to have survived the Enduring Forest, he must have been helped by the druids. Therefore Bluehollow must be close to the grove.

Since the account of the soldier suggests that the Bluehollow fable has roots in fact, and since all versions of the fable tell of a cleric who discovered how to become a god, finding Bluehollow may provide clues as to how Vesemir intends to attain godhood himself.

Alevar’s Chalice: The fact that the party was summoned by Erathis and Garagos jogged a memory in Veronwe. Back when he worked on Alevar’s secret operations team he was part of a mission where a specific caravan was raided in order to obtain a crate belonging to the Sevelda house. This crate contained a chalice that had the symbols of Erathis and Garagos imprinted in it. This is too much of a coincidence to not be related to Vesemir’s plan (in that the chalice was in the possession of the Sevelda house, the chalice was specifically identified with Garagos and Erathis, and then those very deities summon the party to hunt down Vesemir).
Veronwe received the mission via the Rethem embassy office in Valena, and it was coordinated by the diplomat that still serves there (Breela, a gnome). The party breaks in to her apartment and finds her in a drug induced stupor. Veronwe uses his healing knowledge to make Breela able to talk, but also to think she is having some wonderful dream.
The party learns that Alevar had the chalice stolen by Veronwe’s team so that he we could demonstrate the extent of his reach, and the capabilities of his spy network. The chalice was delivered to Alevar himself, and Breela relates that it is his most prized possession. Therefore it is still with Alevar, and very likely related to the party’s quest (though it is not clear why at this point).

Unfinished Business: While breaking into the embassy apartment, the party discovers a pin was worn by Teagan during their fight in the murderer’s hideout. After sneaking past some guards, the party discovers a poorly concealed hidden safe, which Brood unlocks. Inside are documents that reveal that a sizable sum has been paid to Alevar by house Virrid (Teagan’s noble house). They also find a letter from Alevar that says that Teagan has assumed the identity of Jax, a famous gladiator in Rethem who died while protecting Alevar from an attempt on his life. Jax always fought with his face concealed, so Teagan was able to take his place undetected. Therefore Teagan is in Rethem posing as a gladiator.

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