Welcome to the New Age

Gateway, part one

Walking with Dinosaurs

July 5-15, 25NA

Black Mantle is dead, and the threat she represented to the town of Grayson is no more.

But for the Heralds of the New Age, their challenges in the Upside Down were not over.  The proposed exit in the graveyard proved to be possible, as it represented a sort of thin point between the Upside Down and the world they knew.

Working together, Aideen and Gareth moved the others through the thin place, but in doing so, they attracted the attention of the undead that haunt the graveyard. From there, things got complicated as the passage back to Grayson became more difficult and the two would up sealing themselves on the other side with the horde of ravening undead and something else.  Something that knew who Gareth was, taunting him in elvish about a sword that he would not let Gareth claim.

Meanwhile, the rest of their group,fearing for the safety of Aideen and Gareth, alerted Grumbar about the situation, and he left in a burst of magic.

Just as the deadly undead knight was nearly upon them, Grumbar appeared and sent them home.  But he doesn't follow…

The party mourns what seems to be the loss of Grumbar Brighthammer and the next few days involve some time to reflect on what has happened to everyone.

But soon enough, it is time to send the party off on their next journey, to deal with the White Dragon, Wendigo.  King Courdry asks that they escort reinforcements for the Parth Mynydd, the elvish settlement that guards the pass up to Caer Nimir.

Part of their departure includes some rewards for the services the party has given the community and the burgeoning community:  land to build a keep on, and a seat at the council table when their other duties allow.

After several days of travel, the small army finds itself less than a day from their destination when strange giant bipedal reptiles appear, carrying deadly fey to the attack!


After the confusion of the day – returning home, the panic over Grumbar, another awkward dinner with Mother and Bruce – the quiet of my room was almost deafening. I sat, hard, on the small wooden chair at my dressing table, and stared dully at my reflection in the polished bit of metal that served for a mirror. Lamplight flickered at my side, the yellow light a change from the cheerful lights I used to be able to conjure.

I looked at myself, unarmored and unarmed, and saw the physical changes that had come along with Her gifts. No wonder Mother and Bruce had looked so shocked – even without the armor, my new attitude, the wild story which Ilikan had given them – it was instantly clear that I had changed. Black eyes instead of green looked back at me, and from what Declan had said, when I used any sort of magic the whites would go black as well.

My scales were gone – replaced by flawless, soft, pale skin. I wondered idly if losing the scales would sever the connection to the ones which had been scraped from my arm so many months ago.

My scars were gone, even the ones Black Mantle gave to me when she killed me. Looking at my hands, I noticed the callouses won from years of work had vanished as well. I grimaced at the thought of what it would feel like when I returned to my shop for any length of time, and then sighed as I realized that was likely to be a long way away. We’ve proven ourselves too useful of a tool to be idle for long.

Perhaps in exchange for the scars and scales which revealed the story of my old life, She had given me a mark to start me on my new path. An image of a raven, black and subtly feathered, had made itself at home on my skin. As I watched, it flew up my arm, around my shoulders, back to my hand. I smiled as it reminded me of what I had been promised in exchange for what I had given up, and I felt a little boost to my spirits.

I had meant it when I had told Mother that I felt more like Aideen than I ever had before, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t mourn some of what I had lost. I could see a little of that in Declan’s eyes, too. I sensed that he was glad for me, that I had found a new purpose, that I was happy – but at the same time, he had lost his sister as he knew her. We had set upon a path to discover our heritage together, and while I’m still curious about my father, the facts of who and what he was no longer matter to me in such a visceral way.

Tears in my eyes, I found myself praying for the first time in a long time. I prayed for those lost, Grumbar, Iluvere, Simbar, and so many others. I prayed for forgiveness from those we had failed. I prayed for strength for the tasks ahead, and took time to be grateful for making it through the trials of the past few days.

I had been able to have one of the tough conversations I needed to have; I had taken a moment after dinner to privately apologize to Bruce. He heard me out, and solemnly told me that it was something that people don’t understand until it affects them personally. I suppose that is a lesson I need to keep in mind, as well, that I can’t expect many to understand some of what I’m going through.

Grumbar would have understood, probably would have been able to tell me what I needed to do before I could ask. I thought of him, and of the questions I had had for him. I might not ever get answers to them now, at least not from him. I hoped that he was still somehow alive, that he hadn’t traded his life for mine. I hoped that if he wasn’t, that his soul had found its way through the Door.

And I thought of Declan, trying to figure out how to tell him about what I had gone through. I had given the council, and Mother and Bruce an abbreviated version of events, just the most important details… I had been approached with an offer that could help us greatly, and that after much thought I had taken it. After Mother’s careful line of questioning that made it clear she was afraid I’d made a bargain like Desmond’s, I realized that it was more important to emphasize that it was a bond like what Grumbar had with Lugh, and that any details I added would just scare her needlessly.

Declan, on the other hand, would want to know (and deserved to know) everything. If I was to convince him that I was happy and whole, I would have to try to make him understand what it had been like. I knew I was going to face some questioning looks, from people who would wonder if I was covering for a more malignant power source, and I needed to have my twin by my side if I was to survive.

Gateway, part one

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