The Adventurers went back to Lordonor and reported all they learned to Damian. Though the prince was quite knowledgable regarding Blackblade Armaments (he also revealed he studied a lot of their mechana-developing techniques), he knew nothing of Project Riskbreaker. As the team was looking for another lead, he suggested they seek out out Archmage Aelthas Laelithar of the Brightstones; Maia’s cousin. The reasoning behind this was that Aelthas was the foremost expert on all things regarding the great Shadokhan—an ancestor of both Maia and Aelthas. Shadokhan—or Senthas Laelithar as he was originally called—was a high ranking member of Blackblade Armaments during the War of the Varn and Murad Draracle’s protege.
Aelthas had devoted a large part of his life in researching the life and deeds of the Archmage Supreme, including his voluminous work. It was conceivable that perhaps Aelthas had recovered some sort of information on whatever Project Riskbreaker was.
Maia, still reeling from the revelation that she had living relatives, was not thrilled with the idea of asking a cousin she had never met for help, but agreed to follow. It was then that she revealed to her teammates of her relation to Aelthas (she kept it to herself when Damian first told her).
And with that, the team portaled to the Hash-Lath where Brightstone Citadel was located. There they met with one of the Brightstones, the psychic Jon Malker. The adventurers explained why they sought an audience with Aelthas, and used Maia’s background as a further incentive to gain admittance.
Jon was intrigued, but told them that the Brightstones were currently off-world. When asked just what that meant, the psychic asked them to follow him towards an archway inside the castle’s dining room. After whistling a specific tune, a portal manifested under the archway which they all went through. And that portal took them to Sigil, the legendary City of Doors.
While walking through the streets of Sigil, Jon Malker explained to the amazed adventurers that the Brightstones had expanded their adventuring avenues to the Planes Beyond. Proper planeswalkers, they had set up a secondary base of operations in Sigil itself for their forays to the Multiverse. It was a Manor in the Lady’s District, a home away from home.
Cid fell in love with city immediately and hatched an ongoing plan to buy an estate in the Cosmic Metropolis. Dalek for his part, was hidden with a piece of white cloth. The Rogue Modron was afraid of being discovered by normal Modrons in the service of Primus, as the latter might try to destroy him to return his essence to the One And The Prime.
Upon entering the Manor, Jon and the adventurers discovered that the Brightstones were currently out, but there was one person inside, also waiting for the Brightstones; a man Jon Malker introduced only as Lord Kosh—something of a mentor and patron of the Brightstones in Sigil.
Jon left the adventurers with Kosh as he went in search of his comrades. Kosh appeared to be intrigued by the team—surprised even, as if he was supposed to know about them but didn’t. Maia also appeared to take a fancy of his playful arrogance.
In due time, the Brightstones returned home and proper introductions were held. Aelthas was amazed to discover of Maia’s existence as he believed her to be dead. He had only seen her once before, when she was an infant. Displaying genuine joyfulness on her arrival he immediately bonded with her, and to her surprise the druid found herself greatly enjoying meeting her cousin.
After all the pleasantries were concluded, the two teams talked business. At first, Aelthas said the term ‘Project Riskbreaker’ was familiar to him but at the time he had a hard time remembering from where exactly. Digging into his notes, he did eventually discover a document. He explained that during one of their early adventures, the Brightstones had discovered and looted a hidden vault created by Shadokhan himself. Among the various items and documents recovered from that vault, was a letter written to Shadokhan from one of his Ravenguard comrades, Shahid Draracle (the son of Murad Draracle, Headmaster of Blackblade Armaments). He took the letter out from his files and showed it to the rest. It read:
My friend, Senthas
I hope you and Dydd are doing well. Forgive these mundane means of communication, but where I am it is difficult to establish a mental link and I am short on time.
I have made a new discovery. You are familiar, I assume, with my father’s Project Riskbreaker. It’s one of the many things I’ve been trying to rediscover about Blackblade Armaments.
Apparently my father had some kind of vision of the future, a future that went beyond the War of the Varn. I’ve not been able to decipher it all, but I did find something, something he left for me.
It’s a key, Senthas. A key to Riskbreaker! He left it for me, but it is not meant for my use—I am simply to guard it for the ones it is meant for. There is more, my father left a warning for us.
Yes, us! He specifically spoke of the Ravenguard! And of Hredd! My father died years before Dydd and Khaylen had even conceived of forming our little band of adventurers. How could he know, I cannot say.
But somehow he knew. The message he left for me along with the key states that Hredd intents to send angelic assassins to avenge our destruction of her church. You and the others must be careful.
As for me… I’m afraid it gets complicated. I know I will not die when her Angels come for me. But this is farewell, old friend. We will probably never see each other again. My destiny lies in a distant world. My father said it was called Kjeldorn. He believes that Hredd’s angels will take me there—supposedly they will capture me. For what reason, even he did not know, though I have a suspicion.
Havoc and Malice. It must be about Havoc and Malice. To our knowledge, no mortal has ever forged godslayers before. Hredd must know of this. Don’t worry, I don’t intent to let her discover my secrets. But I am to take the Key with me. I must take it to Kjeldorn. Hopefully it will be safe there.
I have struggled with this dilemma. I am in the unique position of having foreknowledge of my future. Conceivably, I could take steps to change it. But do I have the right to do so? My father claimed he knew of the time of his death, but he stoically embraced it for the good of the future of Erdos. Who am I to do otherwise?
Give my best regards to Khay and Dydd. It has been a privilege and an honor to have fought beside all of you and to call you my friends.
Shahid Murad Draracle, Imperator Maximus
Danaheiraj, 2nd Mansday of Khar, 58 AV
Though interesting, it shed little light on what Riskbreaker actually was or how to find this ‘key.’ However something interesting happened when Maia and Aelthas happened to both touch the letter simultaneously. New words appeared, in a different hand style. These read:
You must repair the Simulacrum Device. It is imperative for your future. In time, you will understand. Of all my descendants, you are my greatest Legacy. Bear the name Laelithar with pride.
The key is now at the hands of Necromantias, in his tower in Kjeldorn. Locate a sigil sequence for Helmguard—or anyplace near it—and portal there to claim it. What you do from there is up to you. And beware, the Blood of Dydd that flows in your veins is both a blessing and a curse. Watch your back, my granddaughter.
My regards to Lorgar, Cid, and Shamus.
Shadokhan, Imperator Magus
Grosgant, 1st Skyday of Varia, 226 AV
This shocked everyone in the room. Shadokhan had written this 1500 years ago, and yet he seemed to know of the adventurers. More to the point, the whole thing suggested that this ‘Project Riskbreaker’—whatever it was—was created for them in the first place.
As for the Necromantias mentioned in Shadokhan’s message, Aelthas explained that he is a mythical mage of godlike skill and power. He indeed dwelt in the planet Kjeldorn, but rarely interacted with anyone. On occasion, some mages could gain the distinct privilege of being tutored by him. And once they ‘graduated’ they invariably gained a title that contained the word ‘khan.’ Senthas Laelithar did so over a thousand years ago, and thus gained the Shadokhan monicker.
Kosh was also surprised and intrigued by Shadokhan’s message. He revealed he had a sigil sequence for the planet Kjeldorn, which the adventurers could use to portal there. The team decided to head there the next day, but spent the rest of the evening at the Brightstone Manor. There, the two teams further bonded, particularly when Aelthas showed them the Simulacrum Device (which they used to spar with Kosh the next morning before departing).
…And apparently, Maia and Kosh had sex that night…
The next day, the team portaled back to Erdos and from there to Kjeldorn. They materialized right in the midst of a battle between human knights and elven warriors. The humans attacked the adventurers on sight, but Cid—upon seeing a stregoni bearing the symbol of the god Dragomir—realized that the humans were not true enemies and managed to convince them to refrain from their attack once the elves were dealt with.
The Kjeldornan stregoni identified himself as Vlad Von Dragomir, the grandchild of Vladimir Von Dragomir, the mortal who ascended to become the stregoni god Dragomir himself. Cid could not stop himself from prostrating himself before the noble. After it was explained that the adventurers were visitors from the world of Erdos, the two sides decided to make a peaceful conversation.
Vlad introduced them to the expeditionary force’s leader, a devilslayer and paladin of Tyr (spelled Tir in Kjeldorn) named Vass Jaquel Draracle—and his last name was not lost on the Erdosians. Alongside him was a mage who introduced himself as Orecious Loreweaver. Orecious was aware of the world of Erdos, though he had never visited the planet himself. Cid was particularly careful not to reveal he was a Fiend Warlock, as he understood that the paladin would attack him on the spot.
The adventurers explained exactly why they were on Kjeldorn and what was that they sought. This was of great interest to the three Kjeldornans as it also filled some gaps in mysteries that were of interest to them.
Vass Jaquel Draracle revealed that he was indeed related to the man who wrote the letter to Shadokhan. The Erdosians knew him as Shahid Murad Draracle, the son of Murad Draracle. Vass also knew him by two other names: ‘Jaquel Jherym Draracle,’ and as ‘the Blackblade.’ And he was his father.
It was there that Shahid’s fate became clear. Hredd had abducted him, and turned him into the creature known as the Blackblade. He was a Revenant; an undead slaved to her will. She did that because Shahid somehow had the ability to forge Major Artifacts, a power normally only reserved for gods and cosmic entities. More to the point, he knew how to forge Godslayer weaponry, a very rare, feared, and coveted skill.
Over the centuries, the Blackblade had discovered the means to temporarily break free from Hredd’s control. During those times, he was restored into living, mortal form. During one such period, merely decades ago, he fathered Vass. It was then that he had created the alias Jaquel Jherym Draracle.
There was more: The words ‘Blackblade Armaments’ meant a Grand Guild for the Erdosians. But in Kjeldorn, the so-called Blackblade Armaments were the various legendary sentient swords the Blackblade had created for Hredd over the centuries. All of them were dangerous and feared, save one: Corona, Vass’ own holy sword. That one was forged when Shahid was in one his Free Phases. And its purpose was to destroy the other weapons and absorb their power, becoming the ultimate Godslayer, the end goal being the slaying of Hredd herself.
What was of particular interest to Vass was that up until that moment, he did not know that Shahid hailed from Erdos, and that Vass was—in essence—half-Erdosian himself. It also explained why Hredd was tormenting the Blackblade as such. Sadly, currently Shahid was Blackblade, and by definition Vass’ mortal enemy.
On to subject of Necromantias, Orecious offered to set up a meeting with Archmage Lemur Khan, the head mage of his order (and by his name, also a disciple of Necromantias). Perhaps Lemur Khan could set up a meeting between the adventurers and Necromantias.
And as was said, so it was done. The team met with Lemur, explained their position, and the elderly archmage contacted his old master who (surprisingly enough to Lemur) agreed to see them.
The meeting with Necromantias was very brief and rather creepy. Simply approaching the ancient mage seemed to sap the life energy of the adventurers. The ancient achmage of arhcmages was not interested in interacting with them at all, scribbling on his spell book. He simply gave them a piece of cloth that contained an object, which they took, thanked him, and got the Hells out of there.
The cloth contained a phurba dagger (which they assumed was the key Shadokhan spoke of) and the cloth itself had a portal sigil sequence scribed on it. Not wanting to stay a second more in Kjeldorn, they used that sequence to portal away…
…And found themselves in a dark room with a large window with a view of Erdos…from orbit…