A Turn for the Worse
The party raced back to Castelon, encountering several Coalition assassination squads along the way. While returning to the kingdom, the heroes saw the terrible devastation wrought by over a year of brutal combat: towns reduced to smoldering ruins, fields still soaked in blood and littered with bodies of dragons and hundreds of soldiers. Emperor Prosek lamented the terrible cost of the war, and the utter pointlessness of all of it. The heroes became even more resolute in their quest to end the war.
The party knew that Scard would kill the Emperor and Egg on-sight, so they left Prosek with Hendrix and Jamir and continued to the King’s Spire in Castelon. Egg disguised himself and they journeyed into the now militant city. Within moments, they were recognized by the High Guard and were arrested. The party was then taken to King Creed. In the his throne room, Creed demanded that the Orb of Zorlon be given to him, and was overcome by rage when the party explained that the Orb had been given to Emperor Prosek. Creed summoned Scard to execute the party. The Warmaster arrived, with Gregory Draves in tow, and gloated about how much he would enjoy killing the heroes and the Prince of Harfax. Amellania explains that Prosek is a changed man and wishes to stop the war, but his son has likely seized control of the Coalition and will march on Castelon. Egg and Ferrilad note that, with the foreign aid depleted or dismissed, Castelon is all but defenseless. Scard assured the King that he could summon a new demon army to face their attackers. Through a magical mirror, Creed contacted Allister Dunscan to acquire more aid, but the Lord of the Federation of Magic mocks King Creed and abandoned him. Scard blamed the party’s actions with Grace Prosek for Dwermore’s refusal to help and summoned his guards. Scard’s men arrived and with the King’s blessing, attack the party. With the odds are too great to stand and fight, Egg cast powerful magic, aided by the magical pyramids of Castelon, to teleport everyone away from the Tower.
The party escaped from Castelon and returned to the Emperor and their friends. Seeing how the situation had grown dire and in need of new allies, the party journeyed south to Numas. There, they were greeted warmly by King Lazo. Lazo reported terrible news to the party: Karl Prosek had seized control of all of the Coalition and Quinslin, being fearful of a renewed war has joined sides with them. Karl Prosek had declared that the Emperor was murdered by the party and replaced by a doppelganger. In an impassioned speech, he vowed to destroy Castelon once and for all. The Northern Army has combined with the Offensive Army of Quinslin and marches on Castelon. It also appeared that Raoul Draves had joined the fight, taking with him the any armies of Harfax that were not awaiting Gregory’s command. When Amelliania said that he was in violation of the blood promise the brothers made, Gregory noted that Raoul was getting around the brother’s agreement of aiding Castelon simply by the fact that he doesn’t have to follow that edict until he is Storm Lord. Lazo continues to offer little good news: the remains of the Castelonian army were being bolstered by demons summoned en masse by Scard and a group of warlocks, often using the human sacrifice of Castelonian children. In light of the situation, Gregory decides to reveal himself and call the remainder of the Harfax army to Numas to join him in the fight at Castelon. The Emperor noted that “if only General Holtz had not fallen in the east we’d have him” due to General Holtz’s unwavering loyalty to the Emperor. This sparks a memory from Egg of another of Zorlon’s prophecies about “an army of ghosts will rise from the east” and believe that Holtz may yet be of use. Scrying and portents could not find the General. Ferrilad believed that this meant Holtz was killed, but Jamir recalled stories of the General’s tenacity and victory. Egg was convinced that Holtz lived and was awaiting a sign to attack. Egg notes that the “Eye of Zorlon” may allow the party to find General Holtz. He convinces the party to teleport back to Quan to meet with Daimyo Garlan, while Gregory and the Emperor await additional forces from Harfax.