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Session 1 - The Sun Surrenders Old Lives

VOD:  https://youtu.be/oiIQEpXVfQo Tavern Therapy:   

March 15th, 765

  Within the harsh deserts of The Shadowed Canyons, around high noon, a sole man walks towards a lone building in the sands. An oasis to the people in the know. As he crosses its threshold he reveals himself to be Brand a doctor who has helped the people of The Shadowed Canyons with The Crying Death . He asks the bartender for a letter that should have been delivered here. The bartender gives him the letter, properly postmarked and sealed by an organization called "The Barbers". He then shares some drinks with the bartender while they talk about how they had both their wives to the disease and brand laments in how he has been ineffective in curing the disease. He feels as though his best move is to join the military and use their resources to aid his cause. He gets up and puts the letter very carefully in a case containing ten small vials, each labeled "Crying Death". He puts the case away and tells the bartender that he will now take his leave. The bartender protests saying that leaving in the middle of the day is a death sentence, but Brand protests saying he must make his train. The bartender then instead hands him a very odd jug with multiple spouts all corked and fills it with water, saying he can at least give him that. Brand agrees, noting how unusual the jug is, and leaves towards the train station.   In the early afternoon, the city of Rochbalt is bustling with life as people do their last tasks for the day. Within the 'bad part' of town lives Tatho Wildheart and his family. We find them in their one-room apartment about to partake in supper, which today consists of a loaf of bread the father, Zygis, has brought back home from work at the bakery, and a pie the family had managed to scrape together for. Tatho's younger siblings Demne and Krios are excited for the chance to actually eat something sweet. Tatho tells them they shouldn't have spent all the money on the pie, but his mother, Ziore says that it is a special occasion, and it will be well worth it. Everyone is proud of Tatho and his strength. His sister tells him to go beat up all those Yorkett guys. His brother is sad that he is leaving but Tatho reassures him of why he is doing it, to test his strength and make the family proud. The father is proud and says that he will finally be able to use that sword he got him for this birthday. After some conversation, it is revealed that the sword was the last thing his father had made as a blacksmith before debt collectors had busted his knee, making him lose his job and further thrust the family into trouble. The mother then says that they should stop all the gloomy talk, as the family is finally looking up for the first time. She also mentions that another local Leonin family has had their daughter join the military and Tatho should be on the lookout, as she could start wanting some grandchildren, and tatho gets embarrassed. The family then shares stories and eats their meal all together.   In the swamps of Bollothglade resides a small maximum security prison. Made entirely of stone, high walls topped with armed guards, the prison is virtually inescapable for the inmates who now walk aimlessly in the yard with their few precious moments of fresh air. Today the prison is enveloped in a deep fog that hasn't lifted as the day went on, as well as heavy drops of rain that fall on the inmates and guards. However in the exit wing of the prison we find Kriss Keeton talking to a guard. The guard mentions that for Kriss to be in here, she must have fallen out bad with someone with money. He then tells Kriss that she has been accepted into the military's amnesty program, and if she signs off then she will trade the remainder of her sentence for a year military campaign tour. She quips but ultimately signs. The guard gives her the items she originally entered the prison with, some clothes, a dagger, and a brilliant red ruby that lights up the room in its glow. She takes her things and is escorted out by a guard to the nearest train station.   Late afternoon in the forests of Willachi graduation is happening at the Ambergris School of the Arcane. Students and parents are both elated and look towards the future of the students as they prepare to head to college. One young woman, Scarlet Nichols however slips away to her room within the school, grabs her bags, and heads towards the train station. She is stopped by two of her friends, Samson Merrowbone and Calcifer Fiore. They ask her why she's all the way out here. She says she's leaving, which they respond that school won't begin for a while, it doesn't make any sense. That is when she reveals that she is joining the army. They are both shocked and confused at this and try to convince her to stay. She gives a speech about how this war is bigger than them and she feels compelled to be a part of it. They eventually give in knowing that they cannot stop her. At one point they mention how she is like the hero, Red Bear, in those comics she loves so much. She agrees and gives them each a justicar card signed by her as a promise that one day she will return and they will all fight alongside each other. She boards the train and as the town comes out of view she pulls out a letter. It is written by an unknown benefactor who reveals that after an accident Scarlet had when she was young, she send funding to the school to allow her to attend as a wizard and has seen that she has grown up to be a great one. In the letter, it continues to ask her to join the military as she could be a force for good. She tucks away the letter and rides into the sunset.   In the late evening within the pastures and fields of Great Hawk we find the Loubert Homestead and we see some of the siblings outside. The eldest son is Briar, who is built like an ox and works like one too. The second son is Rav, quite the trouble maker. Summer is the eldest daughter and sort of a second mother to everyone. Rain and Acor the youngest son and daughter are outside playing, and it seems as though Rain is missing an arm. The father, Ash, is also outside working on the family tractor. The mother, Meadow, from inside calls for everyone to come to the family table for dinner. Everyone arrives and Yaros Loubert walks down from upstairs and sees a bountiful feast on the table, and his folks tell him that it's always a big occasion when someone on the homestead leaves. The mother laments that his older sister Luna was not able to make it back from her hunting trip in time, or that Plume couldn't be here. But she does hand him a letter from Plume that wishes him her best and promises that she'll return to play all the music she's learned from the Rougeford Conservatory of the Arts. At one point Rain mentions good riddance at Yaros leaving when his mother scolds him, and Yaros tells him that he will make up that accident to him. Rav mentions that he'll be out next and head to the seas when he saves up enough money. The mother laments at how the world is dangerous out there and she wishes that everyone would just stay and work safely on the farm with the family. Briar, the eldest speaks up and reassures her that he intends on staying and taking over the farm when they get of age. Ash also tells her that their decisions from years ago should not hold back all of their kids' lives, and they should be able to live as they wish. Now they have tractors and other power equipment with the advent of Low Magic Crystals which means they won't need all the kids to look over things. She agrees, but still wishes that they would stay safe. During the meal, his father hands ash a necklace. He says it is an old Loubert family heirloom of the swiftstriders. It has a well-worn leather strap and a metal charm that looks like an eye with a bow and arrow in the foreground. His father tells him that if he holds it close when he is in danger, he will become who he needs to be. When the meal concludes Yaros begins to head upstairs to finish packing and his father catches him to tell him to meet him by the barn. Later in the evening, he heads there and he and his father climb the tractor to the top of the barn where they talk about the stars. His father mentioned that he used them to guide himself to wander, and Yaros says how his dad had taught him all about the stars growing up. They talk about since there is no moon out the stars are shining extra bright, and how there are blue shooting stars across the sky. They share a tender moment looking up at the stars.   In the darkness of night, in the treetops of the thick jungles of Aprimilla, Veiyanitara Lero has a heated argument with her parents. When she came to them letting them know she intends to join the army, her mother, Leavana, erupts in anger. She tells her daughter that her people did not want to be a part of this. When they met in Emberrun they decided that they were on the wrong side of the mountains, and did the minimum they had to in order to not be a part of this. Some even couldn't stand that and died fighting trying to avoid it. Her father, Veikalen, tells her that her people need her here more than ever and that she will understand when she is older, as she had only recently received her Quori. Veiyanitara insists that she received a vision and has to fight this war, which is bigger than just her tribe. Her mother storms off furious and her father tells her they will talk about it in the morning. After they leave, Veiyanitara grabs a few things climbs down her tree, and makes way to a neighboring tree where she climbs up and meets Numeiloth, Nummy for short. She looks to him for comfort about making the right decision. He says that what she is doing is insane, however, his quori tells him that she is doing the right thing. He had faith that she would one day get her quori, and now he has faith she will do the right thing in this war. They share a warm embrace and she heads downriver. She pulls out a small boat she had hidden in a small rock encampment and begins to sail downriver. As she sails, she begins to rest and she makes a connection to her Quori. During this haze of communication, the quori reassures her that she is not alone and that she is doing what she must. It tells her that it has been foretold in the stars, and reminds her of its prophecy, "When the land circles the sun a great blue light cast away from the stars will come to be. You and your circle must dim the light to darkness."    

March 16th, 765

  The day is long and uneventful. Each member of the party reaches recruitment centers where they formally join the army and are sent on trains all around the country heading towards boot camp.    

March 17th, 765

  Each member boards the train heading to the last leg of their journey. They mostly keep to themselves with only small exchanges of conversation being had. Eventually, they make it to Sachez Keep. A stone fortification on the Sachez River. They are told to get in line and wait for instructions. Seargent Drake then comes out and begins screaming profanities at the party and first tells them to start running until they drop. The party has mixed results with Scarlet and Kriss dropping first and Tatho being the last standing, however, as Tatho falls he looks up and sees people in full plate mail lapping him, not out of breath. The test concludes, soldiers take their notes, and the next trial continues. Seargent Drake then tells the party to grab the sword in front of them and kill the dummy. Scarlet, Kriss, and Brand all say this is dumb and they should be able to use their good abilities, which Seargent Drake takes as backsas and orders a wizard to cast silence on them. The party struggles with this task as well and sees another cleaving through the dummy in one strike. Seargent drake then yells that their allies had fallen and told them to bring them back. Most attempt feeble attempts at mouth-to-mouth or chest compressions. Vei is able to do some druidcraft to bring it together and Brand does excellent work with his knowledge of medicine. Others however use grand magic from the sky in beams of light given by Pelor to bring them back in one go. The next trail is to use a bow and arrow which Kriss does alright, and Yaros hits the target each time, with the others mostly missing. Next to Yaros though is an archer hitting bullseye after bullseye. Next is a knowledge check where they take a written test. Some don't answer hardly any questions others get about halfway through. Looking over they do see some who had completed quickly and are now bored. Finally is a magical test in which first a student attempts to polymorph each person to test their arcane abilities to withstand. Tatho, Yaros, and Brand all fail and turn into a lion, Doberman, and hawk respectively. Kriss, Scarlet, and Veiyanitara all make it past the student but fail the older and wiser professor who turns them into a raven, a red panda, and a black deer. They are told that after this trial the results will be sent to Headquarters and in the morning they will be told what department, location, and time of departure they will have.   The party then heads to the mess hall exhaustion and really seeing the difference between the grunts and the heroes. They lay exhausted and talk with each other for a while about how awful the day was and question if they each made the right choice.    

March 18th, 765

  The party wakes up by the sound of a morning bugle and head to their positions in the yard. They are given their results, they all are to be stationed at Fort Marshope within Bollothglade and their train is to depart at 21:00. Seargent Drake dismisses them to the mess hall for breakfast and tells them to return for all-day PT. After breakfast, they return and are yelled at to keep running until they drop. For those that do collapse, a healer comes and gives them enough healing so that they can get up and keep running. This happens for hours until they are dismissed for lunch. When they come back from lunch they are then told to repeatedly kill the target, bring it back, and kill it again until he tells them to stop. The party is allowed for the first time to work together where they each kill the target, then get Brand to keep bringing them back. Multiple times the party falls exhausted. They are finally dismissed for the last time where Seargent Drake warns them that they must keep up that level of training, otherwise, they and their allies could die on the battlefield. The party has one last meal at Sachez Keep where Veiyanitara gives everyone a good berry which raises spirits, and they grab their things to ride on the train to Rougeford . The conductor tells them its a red-eye and that they should get rest. They stay up for a bit all talking about how miserable their day was and eventually head up to go to sleep. Each one of them thinks about the people they left behind, the doubts, fears, and anxieties they have, and their hopes for the future as they rest for the night.

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