It had been some months since he had acquired the crystal. The crystal was held tightly by its messenger. Or what remained of its messenger anyway. He had intercepted the emissary of the Oasis of Life as he had made his way to Havenbrow. It hung suspended in a vat of vile liquid, the messenger’s right hand, severed above the elbow still tightly gripping it. It was not pleasant to have this living flesh so near, but such was the sacrifice one had to make if he wished for the magic to continue.
Then the crystal flared to life.
He had watched over it eagerly, hungrily. While he was certain that they no longer carried the star metal with them. He was equally certain that they knew where it was. And there were ways to make the living talk.
The crystal flaring to life was noticed in other places as well. In the Grim Watcher, the dwarven honor guard chosen for the job quickly sent word that the heroes had returned from their dangerous mission and once again were in the cursed deserts to the south.
A small community in Longhaven who had heard of these heroes watched in secret, and in secret rejoiced. Among the nomad tribes of the desert, the cursed ones broke into loud celebration. The ones who might deliver them from centuries of guilt and shame had succeeded in returning from the unholy and cursed place.
And above it all, in the Temple of the Sun in the Oasis of Life, the high priest rejoiced. It had been his idea to send the crystals; to keep alive the spark of hope that these men and women had brought to these broken lands. It had been some time since they’d left. His faith was absolute, and he was not a man prone to doubt. He had known they would return, successful. They had been blessed by the holy Sun after all. He only needed to send word to those who had lost the way of Light and tell them to watch for the return.
He moved now, quickly to the viewing chamber to watch the manner in which they had returned.
It was his champion first, the anointed of the Sun god and the embodiment of the Light’s champion who first emerged. He was haggard and ragged, but obviously determined to finish something. A few arcane words and he attacked a figure that the First Light could not see. It was not long before the figure off screen returned the attack and before long, his champion was lying on the sands bleeding and nearly lifeless. The First Light watched in horror as an undead skeletal figure took his bony hand and placed it on his champion’s chest. There was a flare of a sickly green light, then the skeletal figure quickly gathered Ron’s staves and fled.
A pit opened in the First Light’s stomach. Perhaps the first moment of doubt this man had had since his childhood, before his glorious calling. His champion lay dying.
Quickly however, Tieflings flooded after Ron, burdened as they were with ancient tapestries and treasures. Then Ron’s minions came through the portal. Beros, the elf, immediately again the hunter, scanning the horizon for any adversaries. Guss, his blocky form clearly beaten, but victorious. Klositer, normally brash, but even through the viewing stone it was clear he was infected with some horror from the cursed city. Sunny, fel energies spilling from her hands. Durkon, the stout dwarf who had done well in his challenge. Finally Poe, his sword unsheathed and bathed in mystic energy. The weapon almost seemed to be pulsing and wisps of blue mist drifted slowly off the sword, up Poe’s arm, and into the night sky in a continuous stream.
With a flash, the portal closed. The heroes, though scarred were safe. They set about giving some aid and comfort to the Light’s Anointed One, the Glorious Ron Burgundy. How silly it seemed to have doubted, the First Light thought. He must repent for this transgression before dawn.