With (one of) his dying breaths, Chillreaver gasps that an exarch of Tiamat will be avanged, his queen will have her revenge on the Wayfarers. Mako and Odachi responded with a glance and a shrug, “Yeah, yeah, we’re heard it before.” In Chillreaver’s horde, the Wayfarers found a pile of coin totaling 1000GP, a platinum ring inscribed with the holy symbol of Bahamut, a ruby-encriusted silved letter opener, and four well-carved ivory statues in a velvet bag, for a total of 11,000 GP (1833 GP each, plus party funds: current total is 7084.)
After shooting out the remaining mirrors, Mako was the first to pick up the Seed of Winter, and a raspy female voice echoed in his mind, “Are you a foe of flame? Do you seek the domination of others?” Mako would continue an ongoing argument with the artifact until gifted a dampening box by the deva upon their return to Nefelus. A harrowing escape, picking up Ularion and boarding the Apparatus of Kwalish, and navigating through confused schools of sahaugin as they swam from the rapidly melting iceberg. By the time the heroes returned to the island, the weather had cleared and the storms brought by the Seed had moved on.
The Wayfarers were greeted in the underground cove by Amyria, Bejem, and an honor guard of deva; they had rushed to the cove when the iceberg began to melt. Mako handed Bejem the Seed of Winter to examine. Debriefed by the deva, Odachi explained the loss of Arranis, and sought an expert on beasts to answer what may have happened to the body. A scarred and grizzled gnome discussed monster hunting, dungeoneering, and ultimately directs Odachi to the temple of Bahamut for further information. Mako had already traveled to the same temple of Bahamut to inquire into Arranis’ “afterlife,” where he set up a ritual casting to contact the eladrin’s spirit. Kah returned to the university, and studied late into the night, learning new rituals. Orsik took Riven to a tavern, and introduced the revenant to drink. As the night wore on, the Wayfarers all drifted to the inn; Odachi met up with Mako on his way back from the temple, and was filled in on the ritual, scheduled for the morning. The ability to consult directly with those who passed, especially the ancestors, intrigued the goliath. Kah was eventually politely asked to leave the library, and was allowed to “check out” a rare tome. By the time he arrived, Odachi was loudly telling the story of the archery competition down Telecanthus’ hall, only there was a blinding of a drake at the end (of the hall and the story.)
The next morning, a groggy, headache-ridden party of Wayfarers met at the temple of Bahamut, where an acolyte led them to a—mercifully dimly lit—room where Father Barius of Bahamut directed them to sit in the geometric shapes chalked around the ritual circle inscribed on the floor. Each Wayfarer held a candle and a stick of incense, and both burned while the cleric intoned as a smokey blue light coalesced at the center of the circle…and revealed nothing. Arranis’ spirit was nowhere to be found.
Dejected, the Wayfarers met up with Amyria, who was ready to return to Sayre and the Coalition. The trip back to the city took a few days; along the way, Odachi dreamed of his ancestors, and received their blessing and approval. As they drew closer to Sayre, columns of smoke could be seen rising in the distance; towns were aflame, and armies on the march. Sayre itself was now sealed, the gate closed and draped in black cloth. A long line of commoners stretched from the gates, a line the Wayfarers bypassed and strode directly to a guard. The guard recognized the Wayfarers, and quickly filled them in: Lord Torrence was slain by a GithZERI assassin, Lady Torrence has assumed the role of city ruler, and few Githzeri were seen on the street. Amyria looked at her companions and commanded, “Coalition. Now.” The Wayfarers rushed through the streets to Telecanthus’ old mansion, now headquarters for the Coalition. The once opulent great hall had been turned to a war room; maps and troop movements hung from the walls. As they entered, Odos, Lady Torrence, Qualana, and Bejem (he had teleported ahead of the Wayfarers) “looked up.” Lady Torrence was no longer the dilettante, but appeared hard as nails. Odos’ sightless eyes fell on Amyria, and stated flatly, “The war is on.” Githyanki had come from all directions in their airships. Lord Torrance was slain by Tokeet’s lover, she was the mole who let the Githyanki into the monastery, it appeared that she’d been dominated by the Githyanki, and she dropped dead immediately upon completing the assassination. While the situation in Sayre was managed, mainly by telling the truth, opinions one again were turning hostile toward the Githzeri. Odos also revealed that Kalad, Paladin of the Sundered Chain, Captain of the Overlook Watch, and Commander of the Coalition Forces, was slain defending Sherber.
Bejem returned the Seed of Winter to Mako, in a container that dampened the voice of the artifact. Quelenna, the eladrin merchant queen, shared that the Seed was last known to be in the possession of Kalshane, the Stone-Skinned King, a name the Wayfarers recognized from long ago; his men were in Mountainroot. Kalshane controls a network of portals to and from the Feywild, and is most likely providing the means for the Githyanki to appear so quickly. Kalshane is a powerful foe, but will negotiate. He is known for his fascination with the arcane, rumored to have dismantled a stone golem and grafted its parts to his own body. Quelenna mentioned that many merchant consortiums had been targeted, include that of one-time Wayfarer, Veles, as strategic supply chains had been cut and Coalition cities were isolated. Quelenna predicted a month until all-out war, and now simply siege actions. The eladrin knows of a portal to the Feywild that will take the Wayfarers close to Kalshane’s domain, but it opens into the realm of the Skyshaper, an Archfey of mercurial, capricious nature. The portal is in the ghost town of Rhest, destroyed generations ago in an orc invasion.
The Wayfarers quickly made preparations, and departed for Rhest. Quelenna described the building housing the portal, a ritual circle would be found in the basement and the ritual to activate it was etched into the wall. Along the way, Mako engaged the Seed in conversation, as it attempted to dominate him, and he attempted to annoy it into submission. Arriving, and entering the basement, the Wayfarers came upon a squad of cyclops slavers, whose stone golem guarded a group of humans in a cage. A five-foot stream ran through the basement, which appeared to be newly rebuilt, in order to drain the surrounding swamp water away; Orsik recognized dwarven engineering. After eliminating the slavers and the animated guard, Odachi threw open the portcullis of the pen holding the captives. Odachi provided them with the cyclops’ equipment and the little treasure they carried. The Seed was not impressed with the goliath’s compassion for the weak.