As the Chamberlain leads the Epics down the long walk towards the Throne, he causally inquires if they’ve brought an appropriate tribute for the Queen of Summer.
After some hushed discussion, lyneth decides to offer up Koliada’s Sword of Black Ice.
The Queen looks with some distaste at the evil blade, but accepts it nonetheless as a fitting display of the power of the group.
“You traipse in my door, wearing your power like a beacon, trusting that all you meet will be suitably cowed, if not by you, then by your mission. You are woefully unprepared to meet any of the Court of Stars, let alone the Queen of Summer. Do you expect the Prince of Hearts to be impressed? That the Arch Fey are little more than lowly sages, eager to dispense whatever knowledge you seek for the price of your smile? What do you bring me? Shadows, pain and death, it seems..”
As the group rallies their diplomatic efforts, Tiandra gets a far-away look upon her face, as if remembering something, and mutters
leading her to recite :
“When the Mountain comes to Senaliesse, and Time first walks beneath her boughs, Shadows, Pain and Death walk with them.
I used to wonder if that meant the end of our days here.
And then you came.
And I still don’t know"
At this, Lyneth attempts to engage the Queen in revealing more of this prophecy, but Tiandra changes topic quickly .
Poor Lyneth – do you think me fooled by this “Bard, Lyn” you wear ? I, whose sister hunts shapechangers by the light of the Moon. I, who taught the secrets of the revelation spheres to the arcanists of Mithrendain? No, Lyneth, though you be as formless and changeable as the wind, as veiled and confounding as the mists of Letherna, I know you.
Your power has grown, out grown you, perhaps.
For so long, your pact has been held, apportioned, and unnamed throughout the Wilds, And the Seelie, and the Unseelie, and all between have answered your calls for power. When you cried in the night, they heard you. A little girl, forced to swear an oath, and seeking another way. It was years before you could find your way here, to your true place, in the feywild. Where blood calls to blood, and your kin answers. The first fey to answer were of no import, and little power in the scheme of things – but together they made a pool of power so still and deep, you could seemingly draw from it forever.
But now, dear Lyn, I ask you – which watersprite, which hamadryad, what pixie can be tasked to grant you even the least of such power as you now command? You are very nearly able to wrest a place in the greater cosmos ; demand a seat at the Court of Stars. So who has taken up your pact, dear Lyneth? Only an Arch Fey could. And having left your patron unnamed so long, that pact has already been claimed by another. "
Lyneth reels at this,
“Who holds my Fey Pact now, your Majesty?”
“Oh, I could not say, for it is not I, nor any here in the Court of Summer. Perhaps it is the Prince of Hearts who lends you aid against the dark loneliness Or the Witch of Fate. "
The Queen of Summer seems about to continue, when a golden light suffuses the leaves of Senaliesse, and time slows down such that even the Queen appears frozen between moments. Only the Epics are unaffected.
They turn to each other, wondering what is happening, and the Chamberlain turns from his frozen place and addresses them
“I can’t hold this moment for long, so I’ll be brief.” he begins
“I’m really not supposed to be doing this, but I think it’s worth the risk. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, there is a great calamity that has hold of our attention, out here in the Astral Sea. Not only is Ardanthor in danger, but .. well I can’t go into details right now. Suffice it to say .. Hmm, oh, yes, of course, you don’t recognize me. You may know me as Corellon. Pleased to meet you. As I was saying, we have our hands full right now. I have faith that you are up to the task ahead. Now.. Lyneth, dear. My girlfriend here will probably make you an offer. The choice is yours to make, but there will be strings attached. I would advise you to consider those strings .. very carefully.
“Well – I have to run. Can’t say when we’ll speak again, I’m afraid.”
As time around them resumed it’s course, the Chamberlain appeared none the wiser for his moment as the mouthpiece of a God.
The Queen continued
“Whomever holds your pact now, I offer you a new choice.
Spurn all other masters before me now, and swear fealty to me here. Wield power in my name, and take a place here at my Court. Before you answer : consider this — you will shortly become too powerful a piece on the board to remain contended between the players. You may be forced to pick a side at a time not of your own choosing. And at that time you earn both the ire of the forsworn master, and a vulnerability to the one who remains.
Finally – a word of caution – I do not offer this pact lightly, for to do what I require will bring upon you the wrath of both your current masters, and I cannot offer you my protection. I need a courtier able to hold her own in either court or on the field. If you cannot, then you are not worthy of the name I would bestow.
Lyneth considers her offer, and replies
“Great Queen, I do not lightly refuse such an offer, but I fear I must refuse it nonetheless. Too long have I been beholden to masters I did not choose. I seek nothing less than freedom.”
“So be it, my child. The time of this offer is done. But you have questions.. you .. "
the Queen trails off, her head tilting to one side as if listening.
“The questions will have to wait.. for the Court of Stars is assembling.”
The doors to the hall fly open , and Lord Oran , the Green Lord enters the great hall, at the head of a large entourage of the Arch Fey of all the courts. The Green, the Coral Court, the Gloaming, and even Winter Court Fey begin to enter the hall.
“I call the Court of Stars into session to discuss the imminent demise of all we hold dear – the death of the Feywild itself!” Lord Oran bellows.
“The fey crossings no longer work as they once did, and the Worlds are cut off from the Wilds. I fear this will spell the end of the Fey, for we are but the wilder mirror of the world.”
Amata stands to address the Court, and tells them of the planar-tethers. Oran and the others are surprised at the depth of knowledge that the Shardmind brings.
Lyneth then accuses the Winter Court, and specifically the Prince of Frost of being the architect of this plan.
From the crowd upon the floor, the Prince of Frost emerges to face his accusers.
They trade accusations, and finally the Prince storms away, saying that he has answered everything he is willing to answer.
Lyneth then recites the ancient poem El-Lath-Argenum at his retreat, and in a cold fury, hands balling into white-knuckled fists, the Prince spins about and whispers “Stop”.
And Lyneth stops.
It is then that her worst fear is revealed as truth : The Prince of Frost has taken up her Fey Pact, and bears a measure of control over her power.
The Prince leaves, and the Epics continue their discussion with Oran and the Queen of Summer. She tells them that she cannot support a direct assault upon her son, but she realizes something must be done to stop the encroaching Endless Winter. She grants them all a boon (Level Up!) and bids them, that should it come to a fight, spare his life, for he is still her son.
They negotiate some more and, while it is clear that Tiandra cannot act against the Prince of Frost, there is nothing that says the Summer Court could not work against the Winter Fey in the world. Anika then pops up a two-way Quick Portal back to Reikenwold and they start mustering Summer Reinforcements for Haven and Duke Jasen.
As this might take some time, the others take the opportunity to cast a few rituals to get some guidance. Using Consult Oracle, they take what they’ve learned already from the Paragons and put together a list of questions :
1) Who is attacking Letherna
A Great Army Headed By a Firbolg
2) Who is playing Galenden for grimnar’s benefit
3) Who could we contact that would know how to reattach the planes
4) What does Galenden (the person who helped grimnar with the equations), believe will happen if we don’t sever the last connections
5) Who is Quarien working for
1) What is the name of the Firbolg leading the army against Latherna
2) Who does that Firbolg serve
Molos serves Galenden
3) What is the orb that we acquired from Dalastra
4) Why does Galenden seek to dethrone my mistress
He is but 1/2 immortal, and fear drives him
1) Who is the girl in the shard of the citadel
The Shard held the timeless mortal shell of Sharaea
2) Where is she now
3) What is galenden’s intended purpose for severing the tethers
An opportunity arrises to eliminate fear, and reclaim much of what was lost
4) Where is galenden
Galenden loiters near the site of the demise of death
5) What was it that Galenden lost that he now seeks to regain by severing the tethers to Aranthor
He has lost his independence and his beauty.
1) Who is Galenden’s master
His master is named, and has named him, but that name can not be spoken by us.
2) Who holds Lyneth’s dark pact
Lyneth’s pact of darkness resides between the stars and is yet unnamed
3) How can Lyneth operate in the veil of long night without being at the mercy of the prince of frost as her pact holder.
The question is yet unanswered, try again.
3) Where is Quarion?
Quarion travels as we speak through the veil of long night
4) How can I give myself a name before someone names me
To wrest ones name from the records of time, one must spurn all other masters.
Lyneth also seeks out the Prince of Hearts amongst the gloaming contingent.
The subject of the legend of the Prince of Frost and Sharaea comes up
“And what of Sharaea and Hayne Kasar?” Lyneth asked. “The legends say their love was true.”
“Does that make the Prince’s love less strong?”, the Prince of Hearts replied.
“It was not returned, and not true love.” said Lyneth
“Perhaps. Is unrequited love no less powerful for it being unreturned?” and the Prince of Hearts waved his hand, and Lyneth felt a burning passion towards Martin. A burning desire which, even after her conversation was done, became an uncomfortable memory.
“There is something to be said for making an enemy into a friend, is there not?” he added as he left her.
When finally they finish up with the questions and the Fey Army, Cur guides them on their way to meet with the Heroics at the edge of the Vale of Long Night, whey they learn that Corellon is not the only God who has been in contact with the mortal realm.