After the defeat of Kovu, and the elven cohort of Dahlianna left the party, leaving only Dahliana’s books with the remaining members. The remaining party members, suceed in finding all 5 canopic jars and destroying them, assuring an end of the Lich. Dreirael, Doldin and his cousin Morel Orel, and Thomas exit the cavern with plans to resurrect the Druid, Alonna. However, when attempting to open their tomes and transport to the Library, they find the tomes glow gold and do not open. They exit the cavern and find that surrounding the cavern are four beetles, Khepri and the three Brothers. Khepri himself, not an avatar, stands atop of the cavern, and the three stand on each side of it. They make no motions, but are emitting a humming sound. Khepri will speak to the party and tell them that the death of the land has been brought to a halt, and thanks them for ending Kovu and saving his brother.
After speaking to Khepri for a short time, the Beetle God emits an aura that cleanses the desert of it’s curse, and they watch the stand slowly fall away. They attempt to leave again, but Khepri gives them a cryptic message. "Now, we must wait. I will need your help to save my followers, and the Sun Father sends help. The group knows that the next archstone is is hidden in the wandering world of Wisteria, lost in the sky where only Khepri himself can guide them. The party must activate the Dark Archstone.
Without real explanation, Khepri makes them wait without explanation for 3 days. It is boring but Khepri keeps preventing them from leaving during that time. At the end of the wait two things will happen simultaneously. The figure of a woman dressed in cleric’s clothing, torn and darkened by the heat and sand will appear in the distance, walking toward the party and the desert will have fully rescinded 20 feet over the time, to plant life that has been dried and preserved, the swampland is now back to it’s full and former glory.
At this point, Khepri says that the waiting is done, help has arrived, and that he must guide them to the place where his people are trapped.
The party watches as the woman in priestly clothing walks as close tot hem as she can before falling unconscious, body torn by heat and sand. Dreirael revives her, and as she opens her eyes to see his partly demonic, partly draconic human form, she is, at first taken aback and ready to strike out, but she realizes her situation and what this creature must have just done. She tells the party of a message from her God, Pelor, telling her to find the adventurers in the Desert with the Beetles and follow them to save the world from it’s plight. Doldin and Morel Orel make a snide comment, as the dwarves often do, about a Sun God’s chosen being unable to withstand a little sun, however all are happy to have what they assume is a healer added to their ranks.
Khepri tells the party that they will leave soon. That they must be quick to prepare if they plan to do so; His followers have waited too long for a savior. The party is allowed to teleport now and do what they need to do, but they have been bidden by Khepri to return before nightfall that day. Doldin is the only one to leave, taking Alonna’s belongings to the Elven Citadel in Dysidun and using her belongings as a focus to resurrect the Druid fighter. After they do what they need to do, the party rejoins khepri wi bids them to take to his back, while the Three Brothers return to wander the now-restored swampland.
Khepri flies straight toward the sun, moving much faster than he had previously been shown to be able to. Soon the clouds break and the sky begins to turn dark with the coming of dusk, and ahead of them just as the sun hits the horizon, the city seems to appear out of nowhere, the illusion hiding it’s massive form falling away as if in waves of light. Khepri explains that only at the proper time and from the proper direction does the city reveal itself, and only those who know how to look for it can find it. The city is comprised of three massive mountains held aloft by rings of arcane magic. Connecting the mountains is a broad city square, and from the party’s vantage point they can see three gigantic golden beetles, much smaller than the Three Brothers, but much more beautiful, staring at what appears to be a small sun in the sky. A small coliseum is on one of the three islands, and a lush lake on the second. The third, smaller, holds what could have once been farmland. As the water from the lake falls over the edge of the city, it seems to vanish into mist in a decidedly unnatural way.
Awaiting them in the sky city of Wisteria is a dilapidated ruin. The remains of the once flourishing people litter the world, decayed and lost to time. The bodies seem to have died in their spot, sitting to eat, wandering the streets. Their bodies seem to have died peacefully with little to no resistance. No building here was made for anything larger than a gnome, the tallest building standing at a mere 15 ft tall, though intricately carved of stone. This was seemingly the town hall.
Wildlife thrives here. Insects and fish, birds and a few smaller types of mammals and reptiles. Much of the city is overgrown with vines and brush, and the area smells as fresh as the forests the party has traveled through so far.
All weapons and armor found are of a small size.
This city has deep magical roots, there is almost nothing mundane here. Items like Everlasting Rations, Everfull Mugs, Field Provisions Boxes. They even chance upon the fabled Cornucopia of the Needful, which Alonna spirits away into her belongings.
Thomas the gnome, while wandering, find a magic ring that grants Flight and then also stumbles on a map on a scroll which says “Nexus” at the top.
Doldin while wandering picks up a rod with the highly detailed heads of each of the different heads of the five chromatic dragons of old, and immediately stows it away, knowing of the legends of such a thing being held by the followers of Tiamat;
A sole statue and the three golden beetles are all that remain. The beetles, while showing all signs of life are unmoving, their massive gilded forms stare at the sky toward the center of the city, over which hovers the “Sun.” The archstone is located in the middle of the Square, where what is unmistakably the rune carved into the amulet of the gnome, Sue, who died many months prior, is beautifully carved into the ground. The statue in front of the archstone, standing on the rune, looks ominously out of place. A human form with deep carved grooves in his face, wielding a great scythe. A cloak, splayed out by what could be wind reveals intricate armor on which are carved skulls and bones from what seem to be various races and creatures. His eyes pierce all he stares at with an uncaring gaze, and the sense of evil ominously perforates the world around it, despite being no more than cold, unmoving stone. The party, sensing a great battle ahead, holds off on doing anything with the archstone, and instead focus on doing what they can to prepare themselves. Around the city are ancient bodies of long-dead gnomes, laying as if they had fallen asleep where they stood and never woken up. Spells are cast, and the new woman, Sue and Morel Orel, knowing a good deal about what they face ready the party with Deathwards and protections and the party considers what will happen next. In preparation, Doldin fells the statue hoping it will have some effect on the battle ahead, and then they bid Drei to activate the archstone.
When the archstone is activated the “Sun” turns black, transporting the party into what is unmistakably the Plane of Shadow, which they had seen overtake portions of the land earlier in their quest. they are surrounded by the spirits of long-dead gnomes, and the Necromancer stands in front of them, entirely at the ready and unsurprised at their presence, His face is an ashen grey, contrasted harshly by the bright red streams of blood running from what look like fresh cuts gouged into his skin, bone deep. His words, as icy as his stone form looked, break the silence of the shadow plane “A thousand years and finally, the Dancing Devil’s enemies come… Arm yourselves well, for you will be my slaves for the rest of time.”
This battle takes place on the plane of Shadow, many Spectre Gnomes fight, controlled by the Necromancer, and the necromancer tries to remain out of range while summoning undead creatures. he continues to cast evil rich Inflict spells, and in mere seconds the party is reduced by nearly half, Alonna, her sister, and the tiger Stitches all quickly fall to the Necromancer’s death spells. The battle truly begins when he vanishes and casts from the realm of invisibility. Thomas succeeds in pinpointing the Necromancer, signals to the party and allows for Morel Orel to castcastes an antimagic field with which he chases down the invisible foe, forcing him out of his hiding, and allowing the party to continue attacking. Soon they have him on the ropes, the Necromancer’s death effects aren’t working on Dreirael, Doldin or Sue, and Thomas has become a construct. With little left to do but run and try to keep out of the antimagic field to cast at the party, the necromancer is soon cornered and taken down in glorious fashion.
Before death, on his knees, the Necromancer laughs, “I have failed, master.” Then without prompting he divulges the Dancing Devil’s plan from 1000 years prior to the party. The Dancing Devil infiltrated the levels of Hell and caused chaos, eventually usurping the Third Level which was controlled by Tiamat and claiming her throne for his own. He wished to expand the area of the Dragon goddess into the Living world. The Necromancer was charged only with amassing an undead army, and when he had done so, was confined in Stone to await the day the Dancing Devil’s enemies came. Due to this the Necromancer knows not how The Dancing Devil will enact the plan, but laughingly assures the party that their presence means that the plan is well under-way, and by this point unstoppable. The necromancer dies, face-first on the ground leaving the group, battle weary at having again lost one of the most saintly among them, Alonna, and her kin. Sue sends a message to the afterlife to see what Alonna wishes, and her spirit is heavy with the battle at hand. She wishes to rest peacefully, and refuses to return to the living world at this time.
trapped in the plane of shadow, the party tries to find out how to return to the material plane, the books again are proving useless, as this particular realm seems to have a dimensional lock on it. Thomas activates his Shadow Diadem to see what hapens and is immediately in the Material plane again, on Westeria, but surrounded by the spirits of many, many gnomes. He immediately asks how to get his people out of the realm. One gnome spirit states “All is tied to the belt.” Thomas returns to the party and tells them it’s the belt, saying they all need to hold onto it. They find the belt worn by the necromancer and hold it aloft, only to see that nothing happens. However, they soon realize that like the past, this must be a dark focus. As dreirael is attempting to think about what to do with it, Doldin’s axe comes down in one fell motions, cleaving the belt’s gem in half. The gem lets out a shockwave of dark energy, they peels away the shadow plane and has all of the party left staring at the gnome spirits in Westeria.
After returning to the Material Plane, the spirits of all of the gnomes that had died will be waiting for the return of the party. The “Sun” will be returned to it’s natural golden color and the golden beetles are now looking in the direction of the party and the Archstone. One gnome, who looks an odd mix of regal and scholarly, will come forward and in eloquent speech thank the party for the salvation of his city’s souls. He says they will leave this world, now, and return to their creator. He then depresses a stone in the center of the square, on the opposite side of the enormous intricate rune where the necromancer’s statue once stood. A pedestal will arise with a book on top of it. “This book is what that emissary of Death came to find with his master, centuries ago; Take it, and I hope it will aid you in the battle against that vicious man.” This book is written in a Gnome-dialect arcane script, and Thomas can see that it is called the Winds of Wisteria, and holds essential clues to the fulfillment of Chronomancy, the as-yet-undiscovered school of magic which the party has been attempting to help the Chronomancers create. Thomas’ eye stays on the book as Dreirael slides it into his bag. The party collects what they can from the body of the necromancer before preparing Allona’s and her kin’s bodies for transport to the druids, knowing not what else to do with them.