The next day dawned, and although the Hand of Destiny was happy at the resurrection of Fafnir, they dreaded what they had to do next. Up until now they had pretty much ignored the Queen of Ash. They knew she was in the Feywild. They knew she was amassing power like no other. She was killing minor gods and using them to experiment. Something was in the works. If they didn’t stop her soon, she would manage to complete what she wanted and they would have no chance at success.
At breakfast that morning, they agreed to amass a group of fighters to go investigate the Feywild. Aleera warned them that she had seen the door to that realm and that it was nearly bursting with a red evil. Every time she consulted the cards in regards to the last queen, she saw a wasteland with a raging volcano at the center. The Feywild might not look like itself anymore. Nevertheless, they had to go and put a stop to her once and for all. They spent the morning sending out missives to every member of the Novian Alliance and to their contacts in Waterdeep.
They asked for assistance from everyone they could think of. They also made sure to let them know that it was a volunteer mission. The party didn’t want to force anyone into going but stressed the urgency of doing so. With their messages sent, they switched focus to their own preparations. Nim, their ship repair construct friend, added more armor plating to the hull of the ship and other contractors were hired to remove the mast from the ship so it could carry them through the fey gate that was in the arena. It had not been used since the Grand Guild Games but they would brave the unknown to stop this evil queen.
Everyone readied themselves for the battle to come. Aleera focused on getting as many diamonds as she could to ensure that she could heal, Kariss coordinated the missives coming back in from their contacts, and Kaladrax prepared by doing a massive amount of research into the Queen of Ash and the Feywild. Milo stocked up on his usual pitons, ball bearings and certain components he needed. Hepolita practiced with her bow and worked on raising her physical stamina and strength. Kaladrax’s research paid off when he found the story of how the Queen of Ash became who she was and her name.
Arcadia had once been a maid in a small village. They were all very close knit and she loved her village more than anything. When a terrible disease began sweeping through the small settlement she implored the gods for their help. She wished to be allowed to heal her people. She loved them so much and didn’t want them to die. The old gods had granted her wish in the worst possible way. She was able to cure the people afflicted by the disease but anyone she touched died and turned to ash in her hands. She went mad with grief and anguish, her focus became destroying the old gods and making them pay for their cruelty in dealing with mortals. It seemed like a noble plan at first but she also wanted to take their place, ruling over all things in her own manner.
A menace like that could not be allowed to come to power and so the Hand of Destiny felt the need to step in. It was their fault, Milo’s really, that these queens had been released into the world. They had started this and they needed to end it. They might not have been able to save everyone back then but they could try and succeed now. Kaladrax also visited Urstil to find out about the Queen of Ash’s plan. Urstil had been doing her own research and had found out why the Queen was amassing such power. She pulled out a back and projected an altar from it in the room. She explained that this altar was located in the Feywild and it was needed, along with an elixir of godly power, to make a god. It was one of a few, little known ways to become a god.
After a few days of waiting and planning they received a response for most of the messages they had sent out. They laid out the responses and counted the warriors they would be able to take with them. Cobalt Disc, Captain of the Guard of Waterdeep had volunteered along with ten of his best griffin riders. Zelphorn, the young bronze dragon they had met in Waterdeep’s many sea caves was also coming. Vajra Safahrr had recovered from her ordeal with the Yuan-ti and was ready to pay them back for rescuing her. From Drakenforge came ten Dwarves armed with rifles. Since Hepolita had introduced firearms to the city, they had been expanding on the concept and creating their own superior quality weapons.
From the mountainous lands of Terra came five Firbolg clerics. Ten mages from Whistler University volunteered to go, two of which were Urstil and Joldrass, Kaladrax’s old professor. Six Aarakocra warriors promised to join them. Kitu from the Oasis village was one of the volunteers as well. They also had their own ship with a crew of thirty and Gralmor to steer the ship. They didn’t know if any more would show up but they went ahead with plans to meet at the Fey Gate at dawn the next day.
They gathered at the Fey Gate as the sun was rising over the land and prepared to enter the Feywild. As they prepared, more began to show up. From the north came a large direwolf. On its back was a giant orc, Malachi. Their old friend was back after reuniting his tribe and was ready to help. He brought with him twelve Orc warriors. One of those warriors was his own wife, who’s belly was full with child. Still, she stood proud with a heavy sword in her grasp. Five Drow warriors emerged from the shadows and declared their intention to accompany them on their mission. The Drow had not been sent a missive but word had gotten around and they could use all the help they could. Tylo emerged from a shadow behind Milo and joined his brother with a wordless smile and nod. Last to arrive was one lone Eelfolk. He was an old warrior and wanted to die with honor in battle.
With all their troops assembled, all that was left was to enter the Feywild. They prepared the ship, loading everyone aboard little by little. The party was worried about the Eelfolk warrior and wanted to give him an extra boost. Aleera offered to turn him into a dragon permanently and promised to remove it should he wish for it later which he agreed to. She also offered to let him stay a dragon as thanks for his service. Soon everyone was loaded on and all that was left was to enter the gate. They looked forward as the ship made its way towards the gate and into the unknown.