After their flight from the shoggoth and second run-in with their old friend Shax, the visionaries returned home. Arriving in their night they retired for the evening, intending to start the next day by attempting to locate the Orcish king, in an attempt to using the horde as a distraction for their assault on the Temple.
The next morning, after sending Sticks to town to do some shopping for them, they began hatching their plan. Fortunately, they didn’t have to look very hard for Orcs. A gruff yell from outside caught their attention, and upon emerging they were greeted by around a half dozen Orcs.
One stepped forward, and announced himself as Kezun Brokentongue. He announced that they were not there to fight (odd indeed for Orcs), but were there to make arrangements. Obould had had a change of heart, and was prepared to offer them mercy, if only they would repay him what they owed. See, he figured that they had stolen his gold, and killed more than a few of his soldiers, and it was only fair that they repay him. All he was asking was a small payment of 100 000 gold pieces. He was even willing to let them dictate the time and place of the exchange. Mondo spoke with Kezun, giving him the location of the temple and setting a meeting in three days. Kezun agreed, and gave the map and the directions to a rather small Orc, who proceed to take off.
Kezun, who had spotted Diir hiding in the trees, and having no love for Elves, challenged him to single combat, drawing his bow. A couple arrows flew when Mondo, trying to protect their plan of following the Orcs back to their base, and dominating Obould, began to interfere. Creating a cyclone, he made it difficult for Diir to hit Kezun, frustrating Diir to no end. Diir closed on his target, as Kezun kept ducking away from the vortex to hit Diir with arrows, and soon Gravel and Ivan rushed into the fray, tackling the handful of Orcs who had accompanied Kezun. Malkor ate some delicious popped corn, and enjoyed the view. Almost at Kezun, Diir disappeared as Mondo blanketed him with invisibility, announcing that Kezun had won, and he should totally leave. Kezun, not having any way to continue, stomped off away from the base.
The Visionaries performed a quick patch, and Diir set off to stalk his prey. Travelling swiftly and silently through the woods alongside the road. He tracked the prints and found a spot where the runner, and then Kezun, had met up with a third orc, and it appeared that Kezun had been healed. One set of prints strayed off into the woods, and two continued on the roads. Mondo, flying behind Diir, volunteered to track through the woods, while Diir took the pair.
Diir, catching up to the pair, took them both down with a single arrow each, exploding their brains with relative ease.
Mondo found Kezun, alone in a clearing, tending to a camp. Mondo discussed that he only wanted to insure that the word had gone off to Obould, which Kezun assured him it had. With that, all the visionaries returned to headquarters.
Sticks returned with the goods, and the group decided to head off for the temple. They were a few short hours away when they received a message from Charmelo and Sticks back at the base. Apparently they had an unconscious Murith on their hands, as Raza had teleported in and dumped her, saying only “She should be with friends.”
The ground hastily returned, to find a bandaged and healing Murith, still unconscious. Mondo and Charmelo set up a couple spells to insure their safety, and insure than they could believe anything she told them, and waited for her to wake up. Upon waking, Sammy had a bit of a heart to heart, trying to discern not only what had happened, but whether Murith could be trusted.
When Diir had said “See you soon.” On the way out of the temple, Murith had realized that they had no intention of leaving things be, and she realized that she had made a mistake. She immediately alerted Raza, who had a bit of a hissy-cow. He had her severely beaten by soulforged and gnolls, while he tortured her with magic. He stripped her of her tattoos (which signify rank among the red wizards) and left her unconscious and scarred, to starve for several days before apparently delivering her to the Visionaries. She was not an evil person, but had operated out of a misguided sense of loyalty and devotion. It was all she had ever known.
The visionaries offered her sanctuary, temporarily, while they figured out what to do about Raza. Their deadline with the Orcs was closing fast, and Malkor (for some reason) wanted to go to Silverymoon. Mondo, not having any teleport locations, needed a picture, something he could use as an anchor to get them there quickly. Thinking that surely Alton could help, the group headed off to Tower’s Shadow.
They didn’t make it. About halfway there, the ground rumbled and shook and bursting for several feet in front of them was a huge frost worm, disturbed by the thawing ground, and seeking out food. The massive beast writher and sprayed the group with frosty breath, preparing to move in. Gravel and Ivan rushed in, weapons drawn, only to be swiftly rebuffed. It didn’t take long for the group, always fastidious, to bring the creature to its knees, as it were, but it wasn’t all they were expecting. As the worm writhed and screeched, shuddering violently in the throes of death before exploding, covering the group with a massive rain of icy blood and shards of ice. Gravel dropped, unconscious, and Malkor was killed. The creature dead, the group gather up the wounded and returned as quickly as possible to the headquarters. Charmelo could bring him back, but they needed a diamond, and then diamond dust to bring him back to full strength once he returned. Mondo flew (literally) to the town of Lhuvenhead, where there was a jeweller of some renown, sure to have a diamond. He made it back swiftly and Charmelo called forth the power of Lathander and pulled his soul back from the planes. Gasping, Malkor bucked and began to breathe once more. The group breathed a collective sigh of relief, and silently considered their mortality.