"The cavern glowed with dancing light, illuminating every crack with illustrious mystery. Young Isaac walked closely behind his cousin, Aelin, as she, Nadine, and Kusanagi descended into the unnatural glow. The cavern walls echoed with the bubbling of the Pool of Yvrae, and the statues of the Three surrounded the sacred waters. Approaching carefully, the four adventurers awaited their visions in stony silence…"
Our story began with young Isaac Rahl, a thirteen-year-old prodigy of the Mage's College in Nyxtros, the province of Yvraine's capital city. Plutarch Evanwood, Isaac's advisor, had told him it was time for him to determine his path of magical study. Each mage is required to undergo a short journey to the Everlight Caverns, a small cave on the outskirts of the city housing a sacred pool supposedly touched by Yvrae, the goddess of the Forge. In the caverns, mages would find suggestions for their magical path, though they are not required to take the advice. However, due to tensions rising in the South, Plutarch suggested Isaac take his cousin, Aelin (a young Paladin initiate in the Acolytes of the Forge) as a guardian. Isaac, though a very capable wizard, was quite timid and afraid of making the journey alone, so he sought out Aelin for aid. He found her in the main cathedral of Yvrae, talking about joining the esteemed Missionaries of Mordae. The priest thought it a good test for Aelin to accompany Isaac, and she agreed to help him find the cave. The two set out immediately, not wanting to lose any daylight. Isaac made certain to bring his familiar, Nimpbotton the lizard, along for the ride.
Once they exited the city, Aelin and Isaac noticed Machinist soldiers patrolling the main road–many more than usual. The path, one used by many travelers and Traffickers (the faction in charge of transferring Vordaine to and from the Eaunyx and the city), lead directly to their destination–thanks to old Elvish marking in the treetops. Nearly to the Everlight Caverns, Aelin ran into an old family friend, Conor D'Orion. Conor, a Knight in the Machinist Army, congratulated her on her recent acceptance into the Paladin Initiate, for he (an anointed Paladin) always thought she would make a fantastic soldier, even though they had not been well acquainted in the past five years. After a few awkward pleasantries, Conor asked Aelin to come to his family home whenever she had the chance; his family had a congratulatory gift for her. Isaac tugged on Aelin's cloak, timidly reminding her they were on a quest for his benefit. Conor bid the two farewell, asking them to be mindful of the woods and their strange inhabitants…
As if the universe heard Conor's very warning, the two heard faint yelling beyond the road, directly towards the entrance to the caverns. Quietly moving through the trees, the two set upon three goblins attempting to pin a Druid to the ground. Young Nadine Vleon, a mysterious woman of the forest, beckoned her whip of thorns to knock the Goblins prone, but unfortunately found it hard to properly aim. Aelin rushed into the clearing to aid the young woman, slaughtering Goblins as if they were made of fabric. Isaac shot fire bolts from his fingertips, proving his capability in Evocation—but he proved unskilled in real battle. After slaying the evil creatures of the woods, Nadine thanked Isaac and Aelin for their help, and expressed she was unsure why the Goblins attacked her in the first place. The three discovered a black flag on the goblin, depicting the Gunner sigil. Isaac gestured to the caverns (alight with mysterious glowing orbs), but before they could move much further, a voice came from beyond the clearing, shouting "REVENGE!"
Bursting through the woods, covered in mud and naked as they come, a middle-aged man with graying hair and wild eyes ran to the adventurers, muttering they were not ones he needed to end. Nadine, greatly offended by the man's demeanor, suggested he clothe himself immediately. Aelin and Isaac, quiet and observant, listened to the man's desire to enter the pool of Yvrae and how his name was only one word: Kusanagi, a folk-hero legend of the East. Reluctantly, Isaac admitted he and Aelin needed to peer into the pool as well. Piquing Nadine's interest, the four set into the caverns–together and full of questions. Kusanagi donned his Oni mask, and some of his clothes to the relief of Nadine.
As if paved by human intervention, the cavern floor descended smoothly and steady into the opening of the cave, housing a bright aquamarine pool and the statues of the Three Sisters: Yvrae, Mordae, and Vraskae. Each member of the party approached the pool with caution, awaiting their promised visions. For Isaac, a woman in white emerged from the pool, telling him stories of her sister abandoning her family and attempting to raise her brother from the dead, and how her necromancy caused her to flee to the Gunner province of Dominae. She told Isaac she sensed a natural foresight about him, as if he were blessed with a third eye. Aelin's vision was much darker, depicting a thirty-something man with an odd familiarity screaming for his life, tied up in thick metal chains. A half-orc brute covered in Gunner colors bashed his head against the stony wall, silencing his screams. The vision blurred as Aelin saw his chest rise up and down. Nadine's vision took the form of an ethereal pegasus, expressing that her destiny intertwined with that of a young half-elf ranger in the city, seen chasing a glowing orb into the night. Kusanagi, the only one visited by a manifestation of Yvrae herself, was promised his memories restored, but at the cost of sudden flashbacks and lack of specific names for his revenge. However, he was told this would be his "last life," and his soul would no longer be reincarnated into the eternal light of Yvrae. After sharing their visions, the party heard voices of Goblins and the howls of wolves at the top of the cavern, and the four readied for battle, mostly thanks to Kusanagi's contingency plans and swift directions.
The goblins descended with their wolves on chains, yelling that they had found the girl the sought, and the party attacked. Aelin charged at the giant wolf, its yellowed teeth flashing as she barely missed her fatal blow. Isaac ducked behind the statue of Vraskae, shooting firebolts once more. He critically hit one of the wolves, causing its body to turn to ash. Nadine called for the aid of her thorn whip, and tried to drag a goblin into range for Kusanagi to kill. Isaac's familiar, Nimpbotton, clung to Aelin's shoulder, ready to administer a shocking blow of lightning damage. After reorganizing, and Kusanagi demanding to keep one goblin alive, the party defeated the tracking party, a gravely injured wolf escaping into the clearing. Aelin, using her holy magic, revived the goblin enough for questioning. Isaac, Nadine, and Aelin went to search the perimeter, while Kusanagi questioned the goblin's motives, pretending to be Lazarus, a Gunner spy and informant. The goblin only revealed he was under contract from a mysterious "She" to eliminate Nadine, and he needed to be careful to do it exactly like he had before with another male victim. "She" also was last found in a Church a day's ride south, though the goblin seemed to know very little about it's exact location. Unsatisfied, Kusanagi recognized how little the goblin knew, and let him go.
Outside, Nadine convinced Aelin to spare the dying wolf, and Aelin once again summoned her holy magic to spare the dying creature. He peered into Nadine's eyes, and darted into the trees. From the direction of the main road, the party heard the distinct sound of a heavy caravan. Heading that way, our heroes stumbled upon Vex Callaire, the self-proclaimed leader of this faction of Traffickers, guarded by two Machinist soldiers. In the heavy metal caravan was Vordaine, and a lot of it. Unfortunately, the caravan had stalled and left them vulnerable to attack. A band of Gunners emerged from the trees and attempted to steal the caravan and obliterate the witnesses. Thanks to the party's intervention, they did not succeed. Vex, extremely grateful for the party's intervention, promised them a reward in the future—though he did not have one to give at that moment and needed to return to a classified location. He said he knew of Aelin's family and suggested the party talk to Conor's older brothers, Victor or Andre D'Orion, about the Gunner ambush. He also told Aelin to congratulate Conor on his recent engagement, saying it was refreshing to see the youth of Nyxtros ignoring the older generations' prejudice against the Elves.
After an uneventful journey back to the city, the four adventurers sought out Jorah Durgess, Captain of the City Guard to warn about the Gunner attack so close to the city's wall. In Durgess' office was Andre D'Orion, Paladin in the Machinist Army. Kusanagi, assuming the identity of Adrian Thorne the Sellsword, told the captain of their encounter, with Nadine interjecting how they ought to be more careful about how they guard their precious Vordaine. Affronted, Jorah searched through his meticulous logs and found no record of a scheduled Vordaine shipment, nor evidence of the name Vex Callaire. Jorah curtly retorted to Nadine, commenting on how he doesn't take orders from Druids. Their hostility resulted in Machinist body guards ejecting Kusanagi and Nadine from the meeting, however Andre intervened. Andre was worried for Conor's safety, asserting to Jorah he was on patrol during the time of the attack. Jorah's records once again failed him, not indicating Conor on the list of guardsmen. Aelin confirmed she saw Conor, as did timid Isaac–eager to return to the college. Andre, very worried, went to gather a search party. Kusanagi asked if he could join the search, and Andre agreed.
After a few hours, the search party arrived at the gates. Andre, accompanied by a few soldiers, his wife Persephone, and a half-elven ranger, readied the party and left with Kusanagi. The ranger, named Artemis (the same woman in Nadine's vision), turned out to be Conor's betrothed. A torch clearly belonging to Conor appeared on the side of the road, pointing to a road that seemingly belonged to nowhere. After heading south, the party stumbled upon an old church, similar to the goblin's description from before. Sensing an evil presence, Andre and Persephone returned to the city to gather Aelin, Nadine, and Isaac, while Kusanagi and Artemis kept watch on the church, worried about losing their promising lead. The party returned at dawn, ready to fight the evil within. Inside the church, unrecognizable to anyone save Kusanagi (who recognized the statue of the scribe Ara of the East), the party found hoards of undead. With the help of their newfound allies, they easily bested the skeletons, shadows, and ghouls. A voice in the distance called to them, turning out to be the lost Conor. Equally as confused by the church's sudden appearance, Conor assured the party he was on patrol a day's ride south from the city. Piecing together the puzzle, the party figured out Conor had been transported with the church, a complicated illusion emanating from an obsidian black gemstone. Kusanagi mentioned the Gunner attack to Conor and Artemis, and Conor's eyes instantly went dark. Personally afflicted by their escape, he swore to avenge their actions.
Leaving with many questions, Conor and Andre asked the party if they would aid in uncovering the mix up in their ledgers, and why the mysterious Vex Callaire did not arrive with a shipment of Vordaine as he promised. Nadine, intrigued by Artemis, told her of Mordae and her visions of Pegasus. Artemis, clearly fascinated by Nadine's encounter, asked Nadine had she ever heard of something called "Coeurglass." And with that, the adventure faded to black.
Who, or what, is Coeurglass? Is Vex Callaire friend or foe? What gift do the D'Orion's have for Aelin? What will come of Isaac's foresight? Who is the mysterious man in Aelin's vision? Who is the "She?" Probably too many questions for a first adventure, but that's better than too few…