As our heroes make their way to Tarlon Ferry they come across a small boy who has climbed to the top of the tree. Just under that tree and shaking it viciously is a large bear. Oddly enough a dead Wyldling and a saddle was found just up the road from this small catastrophe waiting to happen. In an attempt to save the boy William pulls out his bow and fires at the hungry creature. The now enraged bear releases his tree sending the boy flying. Imbert snarls and charges, Mary attempts to catch the boy with magic and a fight ensues where the bear ends up running away.
After a quick greeting the boy Styx offers to take the group to the Pinnacle where a priest by the name of Valton presides.
Upon arrival the Heroes are welcomed by Lady Sarn the priest’s acolyte and it doesn’t take long for Hayden to reveal his true nature; it almost seems as though he is playing some twisted game. The priest and him exchange words and Hayden leaves.
After a couple of minutes trying to take measure of this motley crew Valton decides that the group itself is not a threat. He tells them that years ago Hayden was banished from the order and was outcaste, he twisted the One Power and destroyed his arm in the process. All the while convinced that he now saw the true purpose of the flame. The true purpose had allowed himself to be born again. True Born is what he was named, and while not officially a heretic eventually his actions led to the death of a smith and he was banished from the order.
Valton then preaches some about the One Power and how it should be used to the benefit of all mankind. That it is one all binding power that connects and flows through all living things. Hayden’s abuse of that power corrupted him and he will be happy if he never sees him again. The group though decides to move forward though with Hayden now gone.
They begin to study the book where it becomes apparent that the priest recognizes some of the book is of the Old Ways the religion of the Ancients written in a script that he himself can barely read, however it becomes obvious that the book itself is sacrilegious to his order, mixing the old religion, that of the Elemists, with the new, the One Power. The Heroes then try to convince the Valton to return to Two Rivers. But the priest seems insistent on staying. Instead they compromise on a plan to seek out the Cobbler who has been keeping to the shadows following in their footsteps in an attempt to bring him in.
Sh A and William promise to find the Cobbler only to be attacked as soon as the doors of the Pinnacle open and discover that the village is crawling with Red Veiled Lorkylan (known as the Teeth of the Maw) Elite elven soldiers and Hayden once again twists the Power using it for destructive purposes. (such as setting Sh A on fire) A gout of flame blasts Sh A back into the Chapel while 5 other Lorkylans blasting the chapel from all sides preventing escape, shattering windows and forcing the others to take cover, except the halfling who isn’t tall enough to be seen through the windows. William slams the door shut and the group realizes that they are trapped. Hayden after putting on a pretty dramatic display offers to parlay. He says there is no need for the town to burn in the purifying flame of the One Power. He then monologues something like this.
“You ever bathed in the flames of purity. It hurts at first, the fire licking your skin, agonizing, falling over your flesh consuming you from within, purifying your soul and licking clean your wickedness. Some survive the Power, and learn the purist of truths but most burn… for most, there is nothing left but Ash as the rot consumes. Do you wish for this village to be made clean? Or do I have permission to enter your pathetic shrine? After all I only want to talk.”
Shaken the group allows him to enter. He has come for the book and the Mindreaver (which now that I’m thinking… was that a GI Joe name?) anyways they hand the book and the misty black worm over and Hayden slashes a line in the air with the One Power and steps though outside. He tells the group that he has no interest in curing the Wasting and turns the power on the building in an attempt to bring it down. William fires an arrow and it strikes true, forcing Hayden to slip away into the night. Leaving a wrecked Shrine and several dead inside the village. Some are crying for loved ones, others are calling for war, others protection. The priest does what he can for the people, while our heroes rest. it now becomes apparent the Priest cannot leave the village, he is needed here.
The Next morning it is decided that the Heroes still need to bring healing to the south, perhaps now more than ever. Sh A, Imbert, and William go to flush out the Golem like cobbler and bring him back to the priest in hopes of finding a cure. Marty spends his morning examining the cold iron rod that he took. When the priest touches it he feels as if he has been cut off from the power. Separating him from the very source of his own strength.
The three track down the cobbler who has buried himself in a whole. Imbert tries to go in and almost gets eaten by the cobbler when Sh A pulls him out. They spend the afternoon constructing an elaborate trap that involves, a tent, some here kitty kitty, and we have some good food for you to eat… oh, and a torch. The torch wins and the creature comes scurrying up out of the hole. Where the three of them wrap him up like a present and cart him back to the Pinnacle Shrine.
In the meantime, riders from south flying the King’s Banner, the Black Hammer and Golden Anvil arrive. Marty flags them down by throwing himself on the road and since he wasn’t crushed and had been helpful before he got himself an audience. The Princess, Faux and Marty spend some time talking about old times, (Remember that time we kidnapped you. Oh we were so crazy back in the day) continuing the conversation with conspiracy theories and ending it with an awkward Goodbye. Faux tries to convince the princess that the priest here is just some backwater guy who can’t be trusted along with the halfling. Marty informs them of Hayden and his sinister plans for her life and then Faux is asked to leave.”
She basically says that she is thankful for his concern but there are always enemies moving against her father. They will use anything they can to leverage their positions and unfortunately that is the nature of politics. Hayden Rue was officially ousted by his family and his church, so attacking the House of Rue is out of the question. However she also knows that no one in politics can be trusted. Please continue to serve your kingdom well, if you can find a cure for this disease that would be a good place to start. But she also charges him with another task, the villages of the South need to be warned?
What will the heroes choose, where will they go? Who knows, only they can say for sure.