The heroes return to Artesia to deposit some shards they have collected. Westminster had pleaded with the party to delay their shard quest for a bit to assist a town in ‘tough times’ with rumors of dark magiks and kidnappings.
While in Artesia, the deva Maria revealed that several of the shards had unknown properties. One shard in particular caught the heroes attention and they found themselves reliving a memory from long, long ago when Realm was much younger.
The tale moved to follow a motley party consisting of a shifter avenger, goliath warden, half-orc barbarian, deva invoker, and gnome bard who were all traveling to complete a third and final heroic act to gain pardon for their sundry crimes. While traveling in the western country lands of Realm, they happened upon a small village named Navel in a forest of orange groves.
For over a decade the village had been haunted with kidnappings. Suspecting foul magiks were behind all this, the party set out to end the nightmare. They found a giant blood orange tree in the middle of the groves. Solving its puzzle, the party descended deep beneath the tree into a dungeon of blood arcanists. They battled heroically through room after room of foul necrotic monsters.
Thinking they had found the missing children, the doomed adventurers were horrified to find that there were in fact no children. Instead the whole conspiracy was created to lure them, heroes of potent and experienced blood, into the lair of one who identified himself as a god, who would later become the one the Shard Seekers to know as Krikorian.
Back in the Glo-Room in Artesia, the Shard Seekers awoke from their vision quest. Brookhurst, Euclid, Lincoln, Laguna, Chapman, and the others found it hard to shake off the gruesome end of the ‘Shard Martyrs’. The Shard Seekers were even more surprised, however, to find that the shard in front of them now granted them the ability to bring forth the essence of those martyred adventurers to aid them in their struggle to prevent the Dark Emperor Krikorian from rising to power once more.
Several questions remain: What of the town Nutwood had taken them around to avoid the stares of the families of the children they didn’t “have time” to save? And if it truly was Krikorian who created the Block before the ancient Tiefling Empire, what is to stop him from creating another one?