Season 1 Recap

I sighed. This was hardly the time or place to be telling a story like this one. I asked, “Are you sure? I mean, it’s pretty long.”

“Come on!” she pleaded. “I want to hear about the heroes!”

“Oh, very well,” I relented. What else could I do? Those eyes, as usual, could have me doing whatever she wanted. I was a pushover and she knew it. “Where should I begin? I’m honestly not even sure. It’s a long tale. I’ll do my best to keep it short-”

She raised her hand and smiled. “Not necessary,” she replied. “Just tell it like it is.”

I nodded. “The Heroes of Prophecy is what they were called. At least, that’s what most folk used to say. Others called them the Oracle’s Chosen, or sometimes a mix between the two names. The name doesn’t really matter, though, does it? And they each had the Mark of the Pierced Dragon on their skin, each in a different place. And, finally, they each got the summons from the Oracle to test them and start them on the path to go to war against the titans.

“First, there was Actaeon Diomedes, the centurion who always wore a helmet over his face.”

“Why?” she asked me. “Was he ugly or something?”

I chuckled. “Oh, no, my sweet. He was quite fair. But I’ll get to that soon enough.” She made a pouting face, but I continued. “Next were the feyfolk, Briar the Foxtail centaur and Clio the dryad. Shadow the tabaxi soldier was there, too. And also the changeling Leef, though he was going by another name at the time.”

“That would be Flee,” she interrupted, knowingly. “But why do you say ‘he’?”

I thought about that for a moment. It was odd, after all, to call a changeling by any gender. They didn’t have one, technically. “Just a matter of saying,” I replied. “I could say ‘she’, but that’s not correct either, is it?”

“I suppose not.”

“There was one more hero, Torag the minotaur, but he’s not quite here in the story yet.”

“A minotaur!” she exclaimed smiling. “I had quite forgotten about him!”

“You did not forget, my sweet. I know he’s your favorite,” I laughed. “But we’ll get to him. Anyway, Dia the poet was with the heroes at the Sour Vintage when they were summoned. She had a test for them before they could treat with the Oracle: the Waking Sun’s Avatar, the fearsome ceratops beast, was terrorizing the Heartlands. Their task was to slay it. They were successful, obviously, but they received a cryptic warning from it as it perished. The titans, it said, would soon be free of the Oath of Peace and they would make their war against the people of the Emerald Isles very soon!”

“What awful gods!” she cried. “Horrible things!”

“Don’t be hasty,” I retorted. “They had clerics and worshippers the same as any other lesser or greater god. But stop interrupting or we’ll never get through this!” She stuck out her tongue at me, but I kept going. “Seeing how the heroes were successful in their test of bravery, Dia and Actaeon led them to the Oracle’s Temple, but they were surprised to see that the League of Storms had moved in while Actaeon was away and the sea hag… oh… what’s her name?”

“Helaka!”

“Yes!” I agreed. “That’s it! Helaka was her name. She was holding the Oracle hostage. But as you might be expecting, the heroes prevailed against her and drove the League of Storms away. The Oracle gave our heroes the full prophecy now: they were chosen to defend the Emerald Isles and save us all from the wrath of Amalj’aa and Khar’shan. To do this, they must prepare themselves by performing their three great labors: drink from the Horn of Selesnya, light the Mithral Forge, and collect the armaments of the Order of the Dragonlords from the Necropolis.

“And thus the heroes joined together under an Oath of Friendship to set out towards Altea and their destinies. They got along fairly well for the most part, I should think. The feyfolk and the mortals were sometimes at odds with each other, but they learned to lean on each other for help and understanding. After a time together, they came upon Torag-”

“Yes! Torag!”

“Yes, indeed,” I smiled. The minotaur was her favorite for some reason. “Brave, foolish Torag. Like I said, he was a hero, too. Actually, Torag needed the help of the others before they could go to Altea. He had been in Woodhike – you know, that gnome and halfling village in the woods? – and needed their help protecting it from some roving bandits. The heroes defeated the bandits, effectively making a name for themselves as the heroes of the Heartlands.”

“I heard the story!” she said. “They  – the bandits, I mean – were ordered by the League of Storms to make trouble.”

“To slow down the heroes, yes,” I replied. “At least, that was the prevailing theory. Who’s to say what the League is thinking at any given time? At any rate, the heroes met the League in Altea. They, on behalf of their master Amalj’aa, had proclaimed that the God King Vaevictus’s daughter, Princess Anora, should perish by sacrifice to appease the titan, or he would withhold the rains from Altea until the city perished of drought.”

She looked confused and said, “I was never clear on this part. How did the heroes perform the sacrifice? I thought Anora survived.”

“She did,” I said. “That was Flee’s doing. He – or she, I suppose – became Anora and convinced the League of Storms to allow her the protection of the Heroes of Prophecy in exchange for them potentially offering themselves as sacrifices, too. The League accepted. The plan worked out pretty well, honestly. The heroes defeated some monsters and the sacrifice failed. But Amalj’aa was bound to the sacrifice’s new terms that Flee had made, and the rains returned to Altea. Princess Anora was safe and the heroes became famous.”

“Now, don’t you forget,” she said to me, her finger pointing. “Vaevictus was Torag’s father. That’s important to the story.”

“Of course I remember that detail!” I replied.

“And he and Torag didn’t get along-”

“I know, I know,” I said, gritting my teeth. “Do you want to tell the story now?”

She only smiled again.

“No, Torag and the God King were not close. Not after what happened to Torag after his mother died, but the story of their strange family is a story for another time. The God King declared a week of festivities in honor of the heroes and explained to them that their battles against the titans would require them to find the Gjallarhorn, Estor Arkelander’s ghost ship.” I noticed she shuddered at this. “Does the ghost ship scare you?”

“Shouldn’t it?” she frowned.

It was my turn to smile. “I guess it should. But that’s not for a while yet. They have to do their labors first. Do you remember which one was the first labor?”

She nodded animatedly. “The Horn of Selesnya!”

“The Horn of Selesnya,” I confirmed. “But it was stolen! Taken away from its resting place in the Dragonshrine!”

“I’m a little fuzzy on the details,” she said, somewhat abashed. “What happened to the Horn?”

“Oh, it had been stolen by the servants of Demetria, the nymph lady of the Mossy Temple. She had taken control of that old ruin years and years ago and was using the temple as a breeding ground for Manaeds. Demetria had commanded the abduction of many of the young men and women of Altea, performing the dark rituals to-” I stopped myself. This part of the story was a little dark. The method of making Manaeds was… wrong.

She caught onto my trepidation. “Just go on,” she implored. “They recovered the horn, right? The heroes, I mean.”

“They certainly did,” I said, happy to move on. “Most of the abducted youths survived, Demetria and her servants were slain, and the heroes were able to recover the Horn of Selesnya.”

“What about Clio? I heard something awful happened to her there.”

I hated this part of the story. “Yes, that is true. But let’s just move on, if it’s all the same to you. Suffice it to say all six of the heroes returned to Altea after the battle. They even picked up a gnome along the way. Herkus the Helpful. He was Briar’s mentor. But anyway, the heroes drank from the Horn and had the visions of their quest open up to them.”

“What visions?”

“Beats me,” I admitted. “As far as I know, they kept that part to themselves. Dia would have known. I can only tell you what I know.”

“So,” she said. “The second task?”

“Right, yes, the second task. That was to light the Mithral Forge up in the mountains. The heroes gathered themselves together and went into the mountains, having a few chance encounters along the way. Some Vega centaurs foolishly tried to attack them, only to end up dead themselves. Some lizardmen fought the heroes for a fallen piece of starmetal. And the Noya centaurs found the heroes. They’re the more peaceful centaurs though, at least in my opinion. They respect Amalj’aa as their creator, but they’ve more open-minded and accepting of other people.”

“Wait,” she interrupted. “Is that right? Is Amalj’aa the creator of the centaurs?”

“I’m honestly not sure” I replied. “Nevertheless, the Noya told the heroes to take care in the Mithral Mines. Some monsters had taken two of their kin and, because of that, they assumed the Mines and the Mithral Forge would be very dangerous. They were certainly right about that, too. Troglodytes from deep underground had taken over the tunnels there. The heroes swept them from the area and saved the Noya’s kin from certain death. The Noya celebrated with them before departing on the next day.

“Speaking of the next day, let’s talk about the Mithral Forge itself. The League of Storms had moved in here, too, but they had foolishly tried to silence the heroes upon seeing them.”

“I’m curious,” she said. “Could the League of Storms be reasoned with? They were mostly men, right? Those aren’t feyfolk. Why would non-feyfolk worship a titan?”

“To be fair, I am not sure they were all mostly men,” I said. “I don’t know much about the League of Storms. But yes, I suppose they could be reasoned with. I mean, look what the heroes did to save Anora’s life in Altea.”

“True,” she nodded. “But did these League folk try to bargain?”

I shook my head. “From what I know, they never even tried. They attacked the heroes and their stories ended right then and there.”

“How dreadful!”

“Certainly,” I agreed. “But this story is full of dread. Are you sure you want me to go on?”

“Oh, yes, definitely,” she said, though notably not as enthusiastic as before. “What happened in the Forge?”

“The heroes,” I continued, “met with the Forgekeeper in the depths of the Mines. She was an elemental girl and asked the heroes to release her from her contract within the Forge. This caused a pretty good rift in the party, straining their Oath of Friendship.”

“How so?” she asked.

“An Oath of Friendship,” I explained, “is a binding oath that connects people together under a common banner and a common cause. They are to be close to one another, bonded as strong as family, pledging to help one another. It creates trust and, with enough effort, love between friends.”

She snorted. “I know what an Oath of Friendship is, my love.”

I smiled. “Yes, I know. But what I mean is that the Forgekeeper’s request caused this oath to be strained, put to the test.  Some – Flee, specifically – wanted to help the Forgekeeper and free her from her service without question. Others – and by that, I mean Shadow and Clio – wished to get something in return. Information, specifically. They refused to help the Forgekeeper without knowing why she was there in the first place. As it turns out, the Forgekeeper’s situation was that of servitude. No, perhaps that is the wrong word.”

Her face darkened. “Do you mean slavery?”

I nodded. “I certainly do. The God of the Forge, Azorius, enslaved the Forgekeeper, though not without reason in his own mind. Flee found the slavery thing to be a little too close to his – or her – own history and tried to free the Forgekeeper immediately. But, to be fair, Shadow and Clio were not being callous with their distrust of the Forgekeeper. They wanted to be safe and both had great difficulty trusting people. In the end, the Forgekeeper was released from her contract and everything turned out well. The heroes learned a valuable lesson that day, though: no one, not even each other, could really be trusted. That lesson was a painful one. Who can you trust if not your friends?”

“Did they ever make amends?”

“Yes, my sweet, they did,” I confirmed. “That happened after the Forgekeeper was released, though.”

“And how was the Forgekeeper released?” she asked. “I mean to say, what did that entail?”

“Oh, that.” I had failed to explain that part, and that was important to the tale. “The contract was etched in stone, and that stone was guarded by the behir of the Mithral Forge. The behir, that great dragon-slayer beast, had been guarding the Forge for who knows how long? The heroes slew it, but not before it slew Torag as it died.”

“Oh, Torag!” she cried out. “Poor, poor Torag!”

“Yes, but Vaevictus revived him,” I reminded her before she could break into tears for her favorite hero. “The God King and Azorius had both come from Altea to see to the heroes’ aid in the Forge. At the cost of some of his own divinity, Vaevictus revived his son. And with that, the heroes lit the Mithral Forge, fulfilling their second task.”

“I’m glad Torag survived!” she said happily. “But I suppose Vaevictus won’t always be there to protect Torag again, will he?”

“Alas, no,” I replied. “The God King was spent, exhausted from bringing his son back from the depths. He returned quietly to Altea.”

“How terrible! But what about the heroes now? What happened next?”

“A few things, actually. They meant to go to the Necropolis next for the armaments of the Dragonlords, but they had some tasks and preparations to make first. Azorius offered to assist the heroes by forging weapons for them so long as they found certain materials. The Forgekeeper was forced into an Oath of Service to the heroes in exchange for freeing her, so she stayed to keep the forge lit for them. And, as they were leaving, Actaeon revealed himself to the party as the original Actaeon Diomedes of the Order of the Dragonlords.”

“You mean the Actaeon Diomedes?” she exclaimed. “All those years ago? But he must have been so old! Men do not live that long. How was this possible?”

I shook my head at this. “I know not. Perhaps his relationship with the Oracle was at play. Or perhaps something else prolonged his life. But as you can imagine, being an original Dragonlord was going to be very hard on him as they went to the Necropolis.”

She nodded. “I daresay! All his comrades would be buried there.”

“Comrades,” I repeated. “Brothers, perhaps, is a more choice word here. Family. More than friends. The Dragonlords were more than just soldiers mounted on terrible beasts. But we’ll get there. For now, Actaeon revealed his true self to them all. He revealed his face and his Mark, printed on the side of his neck, identifying him to all those who knew the history of the Dragonlords. Unfortunately, he chose to do reveal all of this in a way that put the group at odds with each other even further.”

“Wait, what?” she asked perplexed. “What did Actaeon do?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “He drugged them, my sweet. With noxious fumes from a special plant. These fumes make you see visions of the stories told to you. He made his allies see the Dragonlords in the smoke, giving life and form to his words before their drug-addled minds.”

She paused. “Is that… so bad?”

That caught me off guard, but I quickly decided to move on. “Anyway, the group felt rifts beginning to grow between them all. Flee’s birthday was foretocome, so the heroes decided to celebrate in order to grow closer together.”

She stopped me again. “What rifts? You said they made up after what Flee did in the Forge. And, on that subject, what exactly did Flee do?”

“Oh that,” I stammered. “Forgive me, I forgot to mention. First of all, Flee tried to free the Forgekeeper without the consensus of his group. Such acts should be agreed upon by everyone. His actions made the group not trust him.”

“Okay,” she said. “What about the others? Did they do anything?”

“Actaeon certainly did when he drugged his companions,” I chuckled. “He also allowed their dinosaur mount to eat Shadow’s pet egg snatcher.”

“Shadow had an egg snatcher?” she laughed. “When did this happen?”

“In the span of about twenty minutes,” I replied. “He caught one in a snare and tried to tame it. Actaeon’s mount promptly ate it, and Shadow was furious.”

She giggled. “Who would keep an egg snatcher as a pet?”

I wanted to say ‘someone who was very lonely‘ but I knew that would serve only to make her sad. “As for the others, Clio had always had trouble trusting anyone, her companions notwithstanding. Briar was angry at Actaeon for drugging the group because he had tricked her into finding the drugs in the first place. Torag was…”

I had trailed off here, thinking. She said, “What did Torag do?”

“Oh, it’s not that Torag did anything, really,” I replied. “Torag was just very impulsive, and often threw himself into needless danger. At least, that’s the story.”

“Brave, brave Torag.”

“Sure. Brave is a fine word. But anyway, the heroes decided to have a small party together, and-” I stopped again.

She asked, “What is the matter?”

“I think I forgot something,” I replied. “Forgive me, my sweet, but I don’t think the party happened just yet.”

“Okay then,” she said. “Then what happened after the Forge?”

“Oh yes!” I exclaimed, remembering. “They returned to Altea for supplies. The party came afterwards. In Altea, the heroes revealed their successes in the Mithral Forge to the city and gathered to leave for the Necropolis. But first, they met a man blessed with the gift of prophecy in the marketplace. The man, begging the heroes’ advice, elected to dedicate his powers to the service of the goddess Kiora instead of the titan Khar’shan. Khar’shan, to soothe her wounded pride for not being chosen, sent her undead servants, those accursed Returned, against the Alteans. The heroes saved the day again, though, and celebrated with the Alteans before leaving for the Necropolis. And at this point, Actaeon gained a squire!”

“That’s wonderful,” she said. “It sounds like they’re really getting into doing heroic deeds. What else could we expect from the Oracle’s Chosen?”

“You’re quite right,” I said. “They were fully invested in helping the people now. But here’s where the party happened.”

“The party!” she smiled. “Flee’s birthday, right?”

“Yes, Flee’s birthday. You know, I’m not certain this part is relevant to the story, though.”

She frowned. “But it must be a good memory, right? Did anything awful happen to them or something? Or did nothing interesting at all happen?”

I thought about it. “That depends on what you find interesting. The party made amends one with another. Some interesting developments happened there, I should say.”

“Like what?”

“Well,” I began. “Maybe that’s best left for some other time. Suffice it to say, the heroes were growing much closer to each other. Perhaps closer than some of them expected when this all began.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Never you mind,” I said resolutely. “Let’s save it for later, shall we? Think on it, but we’ll continue for now.

“The party entered the mountains towards the Necropolis. They passed the Hands of U’atu, fought off harpies, and eventually came to the Gatekeeper, the terrifying Lich of the Necropolis. The Lich accepted their passage into the Necropolis, and the poet Dia gave them the tragic history of the Dragonlords.”

“Tragic?” she asked. “Were not the Dragonlords great heroes of old? What is so tragic about them?”

“That, of itself, is a very long tale, my sweet,” I said. “Not all the deeds of the Dragonlords were wholesome, and not all the Dragonlords could be considered heroes. The crypts of the Dragonlords were mostly protected by magic so as to keep them from being disturbed. One crypt in particular was where the heroes needed to go: the Tomb of Xander Huorath, First of the Order of the Dragonlords.”

“I remember the tales of Xander,” she said, awed at the name. “Heroic tales. But some tales, I guess, weren’t so heroic, were they?”

“Perhaps not,” I replied. “Do you remember the tale of Xander and the minotaurs?”

She nodded, but did not reply. 

“One such minotaur was still bound to Xander. That was Graxis the Butcher,” I said solemnly. “Graxis was bound to eternal servitude to Xander now, forced to live long beyond his years in Xander’s Tomb, protecting it from prying eyes and thieving fingers. Graxis was he who chased the heroes throughout the tomb before having a final showdown with them before Xander’s feet.”

“Xander was there?” she gasped. “Alive? Or…”

“Undead, I believe,” I said. “But with Graxis defeated, Xander gave his armaments to the heroes, along with a charge for them to bring to pass the Second Order of the Dragonlords, building on the successes and accounting for the failures of the First. With that, the great labors of the Heroes of Prophecy were completed.”

“What happened next?”

“Oh, my sweet,” I smiled. “The hour grows late. Can we not continue this another time? There is so much more to the story.”

She sighed heavily, clearly disappointed. “I suppose that’s alright,” she relented. “But we didn’t even get to the part about the paladin yet!”

“We’ll get there soon enough.”