From the journal of Xoticus the Kind Since I became lost in the blizzard and found myself in the Land of Osterra, I have been aimless in my pursuits, taking comfort in my belief that the path of the Lion will guide my wanderings. Those days came to an end after attending a great Feast held by Lord Osric, an apparent wealthy King from another land. Upon my arrival, I decided to interview the other lost travellers and to keep an account of events as they transpired. This is what happened to the best of my recollection. I met many people from various planes of existence, each with a unique story of how they came to be here. I learned much from Sir Caennric, an expert on the subject of portal travel. Osterra seems to be a sort of Hub Plane, a place where portal activity is unusually high. There are myriad types of portals, as well as various means for their activation and creation. His treatise on the subject has exhaustive information the nature of portals and their usage, and he has some interesting theories about my god Tharros. Tharros the Great Black Lion Each attendee described to me the portal they came through, and indeed each was unique. Sir Gareyth arrived in a storm, others while visiting old sacred places, such as with Reika the Fairy and Finnbjorn the Wandering Bear. Others witnessed flashes of light or portals in various shapes and colors. Zakua, a young mage and planeswalker described a rectangular portal on a beach, while the swordsman, Wolf encountered a dual portal deep in the forest. A common theme I have found is that of lost memories, which according to my old friend Chronos, is to be expected for those unfamiliar with planar travel. Chronos McKragg The Feast itself was held on a palatial estate and Manse owned by Lord Osric and his wife, Lady Helena . On the morn of the event, we broke our fast and proceeded to field training. Many of the warriors here are of great skill and quickly distinguished themselves on the field. If united, they would be a force with some measure of clout. After training we proceeded to tourneys in the great hall. I challenged Gareyth, a paladin of the Lords of Light, yet was humbled by his sword arm. A good man, yet I do not think that he trusts me as a worshiper of a “primordial beast god” I think is how he put it. I will not burden the reader with the details of my faith, but the good knight has little to fear from me. I was wearied after the tourneys and adjourned to my sleeping quarters, so the next section of this account was gathered from a man named Kailos. A fearsome halberd fighter with little memory of his home. Zakua, sensing something foul upon the air did some scouting of the estate and spotted some black robed figures in the forest. He gathered forces to meet them and they were discovered to be an Orcish cult of some kind. They struck them down, but not before their shaman threw some gore at poor Kailos, striking him in the chest. They were able to take away the bit of gore as well as 2 orbs. One large and silver, the other smaller and made of a substance similar to rose quartz. Kailos Strongshield The Orcs spoke a foul language unfamiliar to any present, and were engaged in some kind of ritual when interrupted. When struck down, they would rapidly begin to stir and if left too long, to reach for their cruel blades. The shaman among them even grasped Zakua by his arms when he tried to loot his satchel. This brings me to another oddity of this plane. We cannot seem to die. I have witnessed myself a mortally wounded man return to health in time even without medical treatment or divine healing. It would appear that the Orcs share this boon, as the adventurers were forced to flee with the orbs, unable to strike a final blow. It was also at this skirmish that Lady Meryn revealed to us her own healing powers. I am told that she was able to close the wounds of the warriors in time to win the day. Without her intervention, who knows what may have happened. When they returned to the manse, I was at prayer in the small shrine I was given permission to erect, a tradition of sorts among my order. Egar, a fierce barbaric warrior with a thick accent was telling tales of slaying hundreds of Orcs, though I suspect he was also napping at the time of the days encounter. Kailos told me of the encounter in the forest, and revealed to me the gore with which he was struck. It appeared to be a mangled human heart, perhaps a component in the Orcs’ ritual. He looked somewhat pale, and nervous about possible effects of coming into contact with it. I could sense the evil radiating from it and asked him to place it upon the altar of Tharros, a gift to the savage god, as well as a way to dispose of it before it could do more damage. Finally the Feast was underway, Lady Lisa outdid herself and the spread was impressive. Seated next to Sir Gareyth, we discussed how to proceed in Osterra. I feel that the only way forward is to find a way to harness the portals, both for our own use and to protect ourselves from whatever else may come through. He agreed with me on some points, but seems to think I have ulterior motives. We did agree that Kailos was acting strangely and was coughing quite a bit. Chronos brought us word from King Osric, announcing his intention to form a council on Osterra to formulate a plan of action. Our proving ground would take place at the Rites of Spring, to be held in a few months time. After dinner, I performed a few more interviews. Grimble, a warrior from my own realm troubled with dreams of strange realms and ghostlike figures. Kiera and Dane, a mysterious pair of demon hunters. Rahel, a follower of the Old Ways with an affinity towards Magic. Layla, who traveled through a portal of fire, and has a burning hatred of Orcs to match. And Meryn, the Healer and Gatewalker. Quite the merry band we have formed here, I can only hope we can set aside our differences long enough to deal with these new threats. As we settled into the evening I played my lute for a bit with Arion the bard, a master of the harp. Our revelry was cut short when Kailos began to have a fit on the sofa. Convulsing and sweating he began to mumble in a strange language. Gareyth and Meryn’s efforts seem to have healed him, although I feel that he should see an Apothecary. Too bad none are among us at this time. Just before we decided to retire, Rahel informed us that the smaller orb had begun to glow. None of us were able to divine the meaning of this event, and the glow stopped soon after. Meryn, Arion, Gareyth and I have hidden the orbs and placed protective wards upon them. Hopefully they will be effective, as magic in Osterra is still a mystery to us. Thus ends my account of the Winter Feast and Council. Who shall emerge a Champion and Councilor at the next great meeting? What foul ritual were the Orcs performing, and will they return? What of the orbs and portals and what shall we do about them? What new adventures await us at the Rites of Spring??