The Hand of Destiny sailed back towards Novos with the artifacts safely aboard the ship. They made it back to Novos when Kariss asked the party to send Gralmore to collect the few Yuan-ti who had survived because they didn’t want to fight and give them safe haven on the island. The party agreed because a few had helped them find the temple where the ceremony to raise Ssseth was taking place.
With Gralmor on his way with the rest of the crew, the Hand of Destiny sat down to do some research and rest after their ordeal in Chult. First though, they returned the artifacts to the wood elves. Hepolita and Kariss expected a grand thanks from them but were surprised to receive just a mild thanks. The elves saw it as reparations for letting the Yuan-ti destroy their forests as they stole the different artifacts. They were merely receiving their stolen goods back from where they had been taken. Having asked for help for months without answer they felt it was the least that could be done.
Kaladrax threw himself into his books. He was searching for a way to injure Null, to defeat him. He found information that out of one being arose three. These three were Bahamut: God of Justice, Tiamat: Goddess of Chaos, and Null: God of Undead Dragons. When Bahamut and Tiamat fought each other using their dragon children to fight in a large war it broke Null. Null had the power to grant temporary life to dragons with regrets in their life. He gave them the ability to right the wrongs they felt had been done to them or save someone they cared about, whatever they needed to move on.
When the dragon wars began, the amount of dragons begging to be brought back were immense. So many asking and being granted temporary life, so many adding and draining his power at once was too much. The imbalance of power drove Null mad. He became so mad that he split as well. His heart broke off into a piece and his might into another. One became an item that seemed to have been stolen by a fellow dragon. He was described in another book as a blue dragon. His name was Marxidian. There was only one other blue dragon he knew but Marx was a dragonborn. Yet he was also a master of illusion. He wondered if his old friend and mentor could be the dragon in question. Finally, he found the name of the weapon, The Null Blade.
Hepolita, on her end, was making a name for herself. She was the only full blooded elf among their small group and would live far longer than they. She wanted to start her own guild that would be known for its ferocity as mercenaries. She went and fought in the pits to build her reputation and later help her establish her guild. The party spent ten days resting and doing other things they might need for the coming fight. They could all feel that something was building on the horizon, something big. Hepolita had found another elf in those days. Her name was Athena, not her elven name but instead chosen from one of the books that Hepolita had read.
The small girl made her way in the world by fletching special arrows and Hepolita had helped by buying a boatload. With enough money to move on to what she really wanted, Athena began to use her skills to sell herself as a mercenary for hire. Hepolita was walking towards the Wandering Spirit, a popular local tavern, for a drink when she heard a commotion. She made herself invisible and came in through an open window. Once inside she found Athena in an all out brawl with a few drunken men. Wanting to put an end to this madness, Hepolita started a fire and smoke began suffusing the room, decreasing visibility even more.
When that didn’t seem to stop the drunken fighters she cast a thunder wave and accidentally killed most of the men in the room. Athena stood stunned at the carnage for a moment before running for the door. Hepolita escaped through the window. Embarrassed by the trouble she had caused, she headed back to the guild’s tavern, The Prancing Dragon in the Upper District. She came back to the party smelling of smoke and would not explain why. Athena met her there and they began a round of heavy drinking.
Meanwhile Milo was busy trying to tell them something important. He told the group that someone had tried to contact him for a job. The unknown employer wanted a distraction caused at the edge of the city so they could stage an attack on another part of the city. The group looked on in terrified realization of yet another attack on their current home before bursting into activity.