As it is written:
“At Winter Solstice within the Year of the Scarlet Witch wise men shall gather to stand between Darkness and Light.”
20 Nightal, 1491 DR, Winter Solstice
Last Episode: The Gathering
The High Forest is a remnant of the days of old, when all of Faerûn was covered in green. In that time, Fey ruled the world. What lies within this deep forest is somewhat of a mystery, and few travel there to explore its depths. Here lies the majestic Star Mounts —providing the headwaters of the Unicorn Run and the Heartblood River.
This is the place where several monks journey to answer a divine call. Something has called to them in whispers, summoning them in the ancient and sacred forest. Summoning them to a gathering. Calling them stand between Darkness and Light.
Following the call, they noticed a bright star that seemed to be guiding their way. Following it, they traveled through the wilds of the high Forest, finding a small cave. There, high above, a single star gleamed to fulfill the prophecy of Winter Solstice in the Year of the Scarlet Witch.
PART ONE: Winter’s Solstice
The night air chills to the bone but the monks sat warming themselves by Zhang’s campfire. They spoke as strangers do, discussing their travels and what they observed on the way. They talked of their excitement of the forces that had drawn each of them to this very spot on the night of the winter solstice, fulfilling the prophecy made so long ago. And as Zhang dished out his spiced beef and potato curry, conversation slowly became more friendly and warm.
The sky should have been filled with bright, twinkling stars but it was bleak and empty save one for the one bright star that was high above them. This was the star that guided them all to this sacred place within the Fey woods. The campfire blazed, warming the cool winter air. Sparks filled the air and the smell of smoke perfumed the monk’s clothing.
As the evening drew on, bowls emptied and bellies grew full. They chatted a bit about the changes that have come to the Sword Coast in the past few years. The Sword Coast has gained stability and relative peace but the rule of the Cult of the Dragon and their Shadow Coalition made up of various organizations who had supported Tiamat in her release from the Nine Hells.
Most of the forces that opposed her were dismantled or diminished in the aftermath of the Battle at the Well of Dragons. The Lord’s Alliance had been the spearhead of the planning of the mission to stop the Cult’s activities in the Sword Coast. Although Lord Neverember’s agents managed to win many victories, the final assault on the Well had apparently gone terribly wrong. As bards tell the tale, several small teams of Faerûn’s mightiest heroes were sent on special missions against Tiamat and her Cult. The most popular is the tale of the Neverwinter Nine who chose survival rather sacrificing themselves against overwhelming odds. The bards sing of how the Nine did what they could, and then chose discretion as the better part of valor, simply abandoning their quest. As the tale is told in most of the taverns and alehouses, the surviving Eight of the Nine were never seen again. The Ninth member, a now legendary monk named Fo, died in one-to-one combat with Tiamat.
In time the monk’s stopped discussing politics and focused what phenomenon led them to this place. Each of them shared their own beliefs and thoughts about the role that they might play, but none of them seemed to have a good idea of why they had been drawn by an unseen force to this place in the High Forest.
They decided to investigate the cave and found that it was essentially a subterranean garden filled with cool, clean spring water cascading down the far wall into a small pool in the cave’s center. All around the cave grew green mosses, ferns, mushrooms, and other nutritious edible vegetation.
And that was when they heard someone shouting for help outside. The voice rang through the night air, echoing throughout the cave.
“Help me,” shouted a man’s voice. “They’re going to kill me!”