The party found itself in combat amongst themselves, bodies littering a battlefield. Osgoode, Genasi Knight and loyal soldier to Ptolus, traded blows with Lady Hanna Evermist, Eladrin Bladesinger and a Sariush noble. The two battled it out, both assisted by strange soldiers wearing a dark armor not seen in Ream before. Moments before Osgoode’s killing strike threatened to end his once-friend’s life, Moag, Goliath Shaman and dockhand from Larith, parried the attack, seeming to materialize from nothingness. Revenant Sorceror Varrian lay nearby, aware of the conflict but not understanding it, nor was he able to move until Moag’s timely appearance. Osgoode and Lady Evermist became horrified as they realized they had been only moments ago battling to end each other’s life. But apologies were interrupted as a mysterious figure clad in the blackest of black armors appeared near a prone body unlike the rest that the adventurers had only now noticed. The figure held a long katana, its blade a strange black and blue material, crackles of energy dancing along its length. With a near effortless motion, the figure plunged the blade into the skull of the body. Suddenly, bolts of black lighting erupted outward in all directions in the sky which had turned a dark, blood red color. The figure’s blade glowed with a black light as it was pulled from the skull of the body. With a fluid motion, the figure flicked a black substance from the blade and sheathed it, then looked to the bewildered companions. The figured turned and walked away, causally, showing no concern for them. For several tense seconds, the companions gathered themselves as the soldiers around them seemed to freeze in place. For a brief moment, they felt a disconnect with the arcane and primal magics. But then nearest soldier lept into action as the others also became animated again. Several of the soldiers ignored the party and began to gather around the body. As they did so, a portal began to form over it. The party quickly surmised that the soldiers were powering the portal with their very lives, and struck out to prevent it from opening further. The fought valiantly, this the most difficult battle of their lives, but were unsuccessful in preventing the portal from opening completely. A figure appeared wearing armor similar to the other, this one bearing a large battle ax upon its back made of the same material as the katana. The figure scooped up the body then disappeared into the portal, but not before the party was able to get a good look and identify it as the body of Princess Syn-Val-Reck, daughter to King Ralmond Vise Ptolus. Oddly, they noticed though her body was grieviously wounded, there was no blood, but a black substance. Also, there were black, crystals seen in her head wound. As the portal closed, the remaining soldiers collapsed into piles of broken armor and weapons. The companions had no memory of how they came to be at this place, save for Moag and Varrian. They began to recount the days they remembered, starting 2 weeks ago.
The adventures gathered at Talbot’s Inn in Ptolus, waiting for their group leader, Swift Fairhair, to arrive. Late as usual, they began to drink and dance as they were used to Swift’s tardiness. Two letters arrived by courier for them, one a lengthy letter of conversation, the other very short and to the point, which was quite unlike Swift. He promised a adventure they would not believe and that he would be arriving within a couple days after they got the letter. The Adventures sought out the Bulletin in the center of Ptolus to choose a quick adventure but found little that appealed to them. They were called to by a curious gnome promising them “buckets of gold” should they escort him and his crew on a pioneering trek to the borders of Ptolic rule. Not convinced of the validity of his “buckets of gold” claim, the went their separate ways to await word from Swift, Osgoode to his duties, Varrian to the castle to sign up for the Games, and the rest back to Talbot’s Inn.
Despite being once hailed a Saviour of Ptolus, Varrian found himself unable to enter Ptolus Castle alone, as he was a Revenant and the Demarcation Act forbid him solo passage. He finally was able to pay a passerby to escort him in. Upon giving his name, the games registrar quickly sent for Prince Dominic, who cheerfully greeted Varrian and led him away. However, once behind closed doors, the cheer left his voice as he ordered Varrian to stay and left the room. He returned a brief moment later, flanked by the Queen Illistra Feyid. Dominic was dismissed by the Queen who asked Varrian and the rest of the Saviors of Ptolus for a favor, giving him full permission to refuse without repercussions. She asked that a package be delivered to Czerbinith Observatory, a task she said could not be done by the city guards and soldiers as they were in preparations for the Games. Varrian accepted and was given a pass and told to speak to Glencove, the royal assistant, in one week’s time. The Queen’s handmaiden escorted Varrian from the castle and firmly warned him to not lose the pass given him.
Osgoode was dispatched from his home to quell a disturbance at Tolbot’s Inn, where the rest of the party had gathered. The pre-Games celebrations had spilled from the inn to the streets with reports of someone shooting off fireworks into the crowd. A minor confrontation between a drunken minotaur and Lady Evermist resulted in the party being called “frauds” just before the massive minotaur passed out. Osgoode and his soldiers broke up the celebration, sending the patrons on their separate ways. A particularly unhappy but beautiful red-haired girl told Lady Evermist to get out as she inquired about staying at the inn for the night.
The next day, the party met again at Tolbot’s and proceeded to wait for Swift. A courier delivering the morning mail was asked about Swift but told the party the Ptolus mail system had not received word from him for a couple days. Varrian then told the party of the Queen’s favor, which was not met with approval. They began to discuss their growing concern for Swift’s absence as well as returning to the Queen and telling her they could not take her task.