Having safely returned from the Fey realm with the prince, the party decided to set out for the capital, Strahn, as soon as they could. Jay chose this moment to part company from the group, seeking his own answers to life.
Having been gone for weeks, they sought out information from the locals. They found that the countryside had been ravaged by the invading army, and people had fled north rapidly. They did, however, find the remains of a troop of mercenaries, and three survivors of a great battle. The Jayhawks was an elite mercenary group that had been contracted by King Athrimas to defend Venn from the invasion. However, they had been defeated in battle, partly because of the duplicity of the troops Venn had contracted from Ord’Thane.
While the two groups were still figuring each other out, they were attacked by mounted Ord’Thanian troops. The battle was short and bloody, and the fiends were vanquished to their home plane.
The surviving Jayhawks — a wizard, a dwarven warrior, and a spelltouched battle rager — joined with the group and brought them up to date on what had been going on. The fiendish troops were somehow granted free reign to spoils of war in their contract, provided they were the only survivors. Thus the troops sought to destroy any other companies who had survived the battle. Troops that fell in battle and returned to Hell were allowed to immediately return to replenish their ranks in Strahn to be re-deployed. So the Jayhawks would be hunted soon.
Bella had figured out some secrets of transposition and teleportation in her experiences through the year, so she decided to offer to transport everyone to a safe house Kismet knew of in Strahn. It took 3 hops but they got the group there with their horses. They found the entire city abuzz with the news that Prince Ilrael had taken Therea.
On of the major propaganda campaigns Ilrael had been waging was finding fruit in this victory. Ilrael claimed to have found one half of a prophecy that stated he would rule Venn. The other half, he had said, was in the vault in Therea. Having reached Therea, he had the vault of the church of Anrahd opened, and the prophecy retrieved. The prophecy was read:
The prophet Nykeen in the year 2034 (old Calendar, -487IP) wrote that there would come a time that a tyrant would usurp the world unless a savior stopped him
Come the year the blessed children
driven out from Anrahd’s hearth
Upon the falling of the stars
Son of golden boughs
Brings peace to island graves
In Anrahd’s host is raised
Strike down oppressor’s blade
Father of the bastard horde
Fallen crown restored
Golden son triumphant
Restore Nyan’s hearth
As this news was circulating, Kismet sought out Karma in town. She wanted to find out where Karma had gotten those boots, similar to the ones that Chance had. Karma directed her to the Gnomish cobbler in Strahn, but said she’d only gotten an appointment because of the vast amount of money she’d gotten from the job she did in Therea. She said to Kismet, “I almost wish I’d never done that job. If I knew what kind of trouble it would cause, I never would have put that prophecy in the vault.” Kismet stared at her for several minutes before she was able to speak, then calmly decided to try to convince her teammates of its falsehood.
That was met with resistance. The party was pretty keen to accept the verifications of the temple stewards who assured the populace that it was genuine. Kismet didn’t explain how she knew, because Rashehn was still hanging around them, and she thought it might be a bad idea to be a known relative of a person who committed high treason for money.