Chapter 5, Part IV: Thank Brio for Fast Travel

Amidst the ashes of their hard-fought battle with Hellblade, the Platinum Talons had a moment to regroup. Tali updated the group on everything she knew, and everything she, Ricotti, and DOJO had learned. They learned that the Order of Righteous conflict was set to do a ritual during the upcoming lunar eclipse, and that they had taken a girl in a crystal coffin deep into the woods. Tali surmised that the ritual that the Order was conducting would be to contain the Darkness inside the girl so they could better control it. With Bart's knowledge of the prayers of Lumi, they took a moment to charge up their lanterns, their only defense against the darkness that awaited them in the forest.

The Talons had an unlikely recruit in DOJO, who decided to join them on their mission in Wiltspar. Before heading out, they made sure Momma and Poppa Watsons were safely tucked into their beds. Bart's brothers were also sent back to the comforts of Watson Manor.

But just when things seemed to be settling down and they were heading out of the manor, a scream pierced the estate from the second floor. Catrina was in the hallway, and the Talons quickly spotted an Order member, once trapped in the mirror, holding Pawline hostage with a knife to her throat.

As the tension mounted, Firebrook decided to reveal the news: Hellblade was dead. The retaining officer sounded almost jubilant at the news. He freed Pawline, but his trust was harder to win. He had been burned by the Sianfete and the Order, and that past had left him wary of outsiders. Firebrook was sympathetic as the officer spoke of the Order's torture and the Sianfete family's dark influence.

Vance, however, had his doubts about the agent, a man named Larry Steve. They called in Tali to bring Larry Steve somewhere for questioning, and so that she could determine if he was trustworthy or not, which she was happy to assist with.

Back in Boymin, the party observed that light had returned to Lumi's Temple, though repairs were still needed. In fact, the entirety of the town looked like it needed some TLC to get it back to its original state.

At the Thistle House, they inquired with Dr. T about a charity performance in Platinum City to aid Boymin; he pointed them in the direction of his cousin, Miss T who owned a tavern called "The Chicken Bone" in Platinum City, and might be willing to let them use her establishment for such an event.

Their next stop was Wiltspar, where they contributed to the construction of the Barracks, fittingly named BOJO's Dojo (after the new artisan took on the title of Barracks Officer Junior Officer). Aurifar helped identify some items: the Amulet of Vampiric Essence, the Hell Hound Cloak, and two magical scrolls, Bestow Curse and Revivify.

The adventurers sought the Ruins just outside Wiltspar, where a cryptic statue challenged their bravery. Upon agreement, they touched the statue and found themselves transported to the depths of the ruins. They battled through two floors, taking on some mephits, clay golems, and earth priests.

clearing out two floors of the ruins, they left and headed back to Platinum City, where Firebrook paid a visit to Vortegus's temple. His request to create a scroll of Resurrection using the Spell of Creation was granted tenfold, as he received a scroll of True Resurrection. Impressing the clergy with his connection to Vortegus, Firebrook then enlisted Helena and Hanx from the congregation to join their Wiltspar mission.

Next, the Talons sought out the AGI, gathering information about the Northreach Glades. As they learned about the colder climate, coniferous vegetation, and potential marshlands of the Glades, they encountered the Beefly Bruisers, a team of condescending adventurers who happened to top the Rookie Leaderboard at AGI.

Xerxes couldn't resist a challenge. With a playful glint in his eye, he proposed a bet, asserting that the Talons would secure the third place on the leaderboard by the end of 10 weeks. The Bruisers, arrogant and dismissive, accepted the wager, setting the stage for a competition that would test the limits of their skills and determination.

Completed: November 2023