The Chronicles of NovaRegnus, Book One, Chapter two By the hand of Commander Chronos McKragg, First Ranger Sir Gareyth vs Xoticus in the King's Champion Tourney Rites of Spring The Rites of Spring tournament was a momentous event, a spectacle of honor and glory that the bards will sing of for the ages. When the competitions were over and the champions of NovaRegnus had been granted the favors they had nobly won, a ritual was held in the ancient Druid’s Grove , where the ley lines converge, to try and gain further understanding into the nature of the orbs that were found during the Winter Council. The Ritual The Celestial Healer, Meryn, who has some considerable understanding of crystal magics, led the ritual. Joined by Rieka of the Fae, Arion the Bard and the Magi, Laya. They have come to be known as the Sentinels. To each of the Sentinels was sworn a Ward to protect them as they would be vulnerable during their commune with the orbs. Sir Ceannric MacEoghn, 1st Knight of The Realm was the Ward of Rieka, the Fae. Xoticus, The Kind warded Arion, the Bard. Kailos Strongshield was the protector of Laya the Magi and Sir Gareyth, Knight of The Light was Ward to Meryn, the Celestial Healer. Many were in attendance, for all those transported here through the portals wish to know the secrets of the orbs. A thaumaturgic barrier was created to protect the observers from any magics that might be unleashed during the ritual. Indeed strange powers were unleashed in the course of the ritual. Both Rieka and Laya were struck down by a supernatural force. Lady Lotharian and young Marina were led through the barrier by Sir Gareyth to help the fallen Sentinels. The Attack Then a band of Orcs was spotted emerging from the forest as if they had been called by the orb. Charging across the field, they were led by a mighty Orc Warlord, Grok, who called out battle challenges as they neared. Those in attendance put up a hasty defense against the onslaught of the brutal Orcs. The grove where the ritual was being held was attacked. A great battle ensued before the thaumaturgic barrier. Nearly overrun by the beasts, many warriors fell in defense of The Grove, at last the Orcs were driven back. They had not reached the fallen Sentinels. A scouting party was formed to track the Orcs. The trail was easy to read and led them to an Orc encampment. In the encampment was found, amongst the vile Orcs belongings, a large chest, a tattered standard and the skeletal remains that seemed to bear evidence of Necromancy, or some other Corrupt Arcanum. Inside the skeletal remains was found what appeared to be a well-preserved heart, much like the one recovered from the encounter during the Winter Council that had caused some great harm to Kailos Strongshield. Under the watchful eye of Sir Ceannric and the glowing magical light he provided his newly appointed Squire, the young Wolf set about inspecting the chest for traps and opening it. Inside, amongst the Orcs odious relics, was found a mysterious puzzle box. The adventurers made their way back to the Grove with their findings: the skeleton, the heart, the chest with the orc relics and mysterious puzzle box. When they returned to The Grove it was found that the smaller of the two orbs had gone missing, lost or stolen in the chaos after the ritual. It was postulated that it may have even “gated out”, was drawn through a portal recalled by some other force, or even its own will? The Puzzle Box The adventurers made their way back to the tavern. Some investigated the skeletal remains and heart while others toiled over the mystery of the puzzle box. It was then that the young Arcanum Apprentices noted that the letters on the cylindrical box must be some sort of a key. It was deduced that the Risa Fae in their wisdom had given them clues during the day that would help them open the curious puzzle box. They had answered many unusual riddles that they found were indeed the key. The Riddles of The Risa Fae With thieves I consort, With the vilest, in short, I'm quite at ease in depravity; Yet all divines use me, And savants can't lose me, For I am the center of gravity. “V” = V What starts with "e" Ends with "e" And contains only one letter? Envelope = E What always runs, but never walks, Has a mouth, but never talks, Has a bed, yet never sleeps, Water flows, though never weeps? River = R What does man love more than life, hate more than death or mortal strife; That which contented men desire, the poor have, the rich require; The miser spends, the spendthrift saves, and all men carry to their graves? Nothing = N I fly through the air on small feathered wings, Seeking out life but useless without strings. What am I? An Arrow = A I am in truth a shining fork from table upon high, By inadvertent fingers dropped the awful cutlery, Of mansions never quite disclosed and never quite concealed, The apparatus of the dark to ignorance revealed. Lightning = L The many puzzles they solved during the day had been training for understanding and unlocking the mysterious box, by turning the lettered wheels that encircled the box and forming a word. The word was VERNAL; it was in fact Spring and near the time of the vernal equinox, hence the Rites of Spring. When the wheels were ratcheted into position it opened. Deciphering The Missive Within the cylindrical box they found a scroll. Upon it were magical runes, runes only known to those who had the arcane skill. The young ones set upon the task with diligence. The portent was dire indeed and it seemed to be from a demonic entity from another world addressed to the Orc Necromancer Shagrash. The translation is as follows… Shagrash, The Vile, Keeper of the Keys of Gorthuk, He who makes ready the path of corruption, If you wish to retain my favor and know the secrets of true power of the void you will recover that which you have lost. Not only did you fail in protecting the orbs that had been entrusted to you, but you have also failed to retrieve them in the weeks hence. I am very disappointed that you tried to hide this from me while you feebly attempted to steal them back from the pests that have come to infest this hub world. Remember my “loyal” servant, I see all things through the orbs, even into your mind, you can keep nothing from me. Osterra is to become my bridge back to the prime material plane, you are my emissary. Prepare the path as is your charge. The only reason I have not recalled and obliterated you and your entire worthless tribe from the face of that rock, was your minor success in spreading my influence to a member of the pests ranks. Soon they will be fully under my control, and all will follow in their footsteps or be destroyed. You had better hope that this new servant does not outshine you, Shagrash. Should they succeed where you have failed, it will not go well for you. We have little time to enact my plans to enslave this world. Even now the EverWar is shifting once again, and I would hate to be slowed by your pathetic excuses. Bring me the orb by the end of the next lunar cycle, or your suffering will make you beg for the oblivion of death. HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED 1000 Years and a day. . .that day hastens It’s meaning was debated, some thought the orb had been once again taken by the Orcs to ShagRash. Others believed it had been stolen in the chaos after the ritual. After all, had not some other “servant” been called out in the demonic missive? None were sure. Disheartened, the adventurers disbanded. After Rites Sir Ceannric vowed to find the orb and to form the Portal Guard, an order whose job it would be to seek out and protect the orbs wherever they may be. Kailos Strongshield headed north with Lord Osric’s engineers to Catalpa to begin Construction on the road that would open up trade with Earl Cornelius, but his wanderlust drew him further northward into the lands beyond. Drawn by some inexplicable force he wandered into the wastelands. Sir Gareyth was charged by Lord Osric and Lady Helena to travel east, where word of beings known as Guardians of Light had come through a portal and to seek them out. It was told that they were from a world that had known the ravages of the EverWar, had overcome the forces of evil and had set their domain as a bastion of light and law, little more was known of them, except that they were great heroes and had helped many in the east. Lieutenant Randy, formerly the Quarter Master, had been given a hasty field promotion and been given the title of, Warden of the East. He led an expedition that to blaze the trail for Sir Gareyth’s mission. . . .and then there were the other “Gs”. Garron and Wade (who is not a “G”, but often found in their company had joined up with the Rangers and headed east with Lt. Randy and Sir Gareyth. Grayson and Geth made a strange pair, the cleric and the necromancer, who knows what adventures they shall find. Grisson headed off to the west in search of lore to find the answers of his questions of his past and ease his troubled mind with the challenges of the quest seeking the ruins of an ancient and abandoned temple he had heard of.