While you were away…
In the wake of the Third Siege of Sira Zelaad, the Kepalan Kingdom has been consumed by civil war. The Zelaadi revolt has turned the spark of resistance against Verower Villilar Kotu, the Tyrant of Kepala into the full flame of rebellion. With the independence of the great city, the nobility of Kepala have begun taking sides, and the people with them. Emperor Kotu’s retribution against those who have defied him has been merciless and swift. Whole villages have been burned and populations enslaved. Great houses who were once allies have turned against one another in a bitter contest to decide the future of the Kepalan Kingdom.
Turned from their homes by the assault of The Tyrant, bands of partisan soldiers make camp in the hills and woodlands of the countryside, striking at the loyal army and the hollow men in lightning raids that engulf their enemy. Yet still, tensions run high as the mountain orc tribes, now given free reign to move within the Kepalan borders by the Zelaadi council have an uneasy coexistence with the humans of Kepala. Only when they battle with straggling elements of the Halafalok army are the people of Kepala completely aligned with their new neighbors.
The city of Sira Zelaad has seen little of the fighting during the autumn season since the siege, and the heroes of that great battle have enjoyed a welcome respite from the violence and strife that has defined their life over the last year.
Tala Ravenwood finds herself in the unlikely role of professional diplomat, and has become the liaison between the orcish people and the citizens of Sira Zelaad. Having to evade the constant amorous advances of Branskall Stor’pikk, the orcish chieftain, she has managed to broker an easy peace between the two former enemies, but it is a peace that balances on the edge of a knife. Without constant vigilance, the alliance will fall apart.
Zerkanti Silvermane has also continued to pursue her destiny and discover her past, as the mysterious Nightblades have become the de facto enforcers of law and order in the great city. Feared and respected, the wanton thugs of the Zelaadi night are kept in check by their swift justice. Zerkanti’s cadre of Nightblades have begun to scour the archeological sites of Sira Zelaad, searching for any trace of the original Nightblade order, and Zerkanti’s mysteriously vanished companion, Cicero.
Princess Gia Corin, the last of her family, has gone into seclusion after the battle and the discovery of her true lineage as the descendant of Rha’Hema, Goddess of Mercy. Now she keeps a vigil over the comatose form of her mentor, Master Izar Harea. She stays by his side night and day, waiting for the awakening of her mentor. While she waits, he power seems to grow stronger and stronger.
Dirk Dunn, once known by the alias of Rodrigo Sahasi Rath, has found himself in the unlikely role of a war hero. He is saluted by the Zelaadi guard and citizens alike as a man who liberated their town and saved their city from the siege. To make matters worse for him, he has experienced ever more discomfort at the fact that his mother, Cordelia Dunn, has been voted in to fill Miriana Cebulana Longland’s position on the Zelaadi high council. Wishing to distract himself from the complicated life he has garnered, he has taken to lurking about at the tomb of Wallace Tilian, Hero of Zelaad. He is reputed to be more often than not barefoot and drunk, speaking openly to the hero’s tomb in a one-sided conversation.
Behind the walls of the great city, the heroes do not know total peace. The council repeatedly summons them to consult them on war strategy, knowing that without decisive leadership and action, their revolution is doomed. And in more personal news, Dirk has been shocked by the sudden disappearance of his young sister, Delilah. The band of heroes must once again unite to face the challenges of the future…