Taken during a daring raid behind enemy lines, your squad successfully transported the learned bard away from his sinister companions and into the arms of Amalthea. Over the next few weeks his journal, bound in asaathi skin, has been opened and sorted through. Of primary importance to the elder council and to the Vigils are the following two missives:
The first is a letter penned to his secretive dark master:
The braces you seek have been located. Rochukin sends Scythe quickly to your lair with the first brace and, thanks to your wisdom and generosity, Scythe also carries an accounting of Khorzad’s demise, gleamed through your generous offerings of the Legend Lore scrolls you gifted your undeserving lessers.
I wrote in full all that the powerful divination imparted unto me. As you have seen, an Ibar Littlethorn seems at the heart of the Sphere’s disappearance. Our work is done here, all save the information concerning this Ibar.
The humans of Amalthea are weak, they cower behind their stone walls whispering prayers to Denev; those we have encountered thus far have been slaughtered like vermin in the jaws of a mighty serpent. Though I sense that Rochukin wishes to stay and spill more of their blood, the gleam of your offered gold and enchantments makes it easier for me to convince him to depart once I gain full knowledge on Ibar - once again, with the necessary assistance of your scrolls.
When completed, I shall send Rending to you as swiftly as his mighty legs will carry him. I would not have you wait longer than necessary for what you seek – particularly the location of Littlethorn or the location of the Sphere.
I will return to you as swiftly as my own legs can carry me, though I fear that Rending will stand before you many weeks before I am allowed that honor,
Your most humble and obedient servant,
Aeldraed, Keeper of Lore
In this letter, he speaks of information about these bracers gleamed from a legend lore spell – thankfully, this meticulous note taker printed this knowledge in his personal journal while also sending the information to his "merciless overlord." The recorded information from that spell is as follows:
Legend lore cast on bracers:
Forged of blood-washed serpent steel, the Bracers of Khorzad were crafted and worn by the legendary battle sorcerer of the same name. Khorzad also served as the temporary master of the deadly relic known as the Necrotic Sphere, which is said to leach the life force of all who come near it. The bracers are said to have been crafted with necromantic energies charged through the slow, life-draining sacrifice of one dozen warriors of the divine cause. Common belief is that the wearer of these bracers is given greater powers to control and dominate the unpredictable Necrotic Sphere.
The sorcerer, Khorzad, wielded both the bracers and the sphere in the great war against Denev’s people in the Ganjus Forest and Amalthean Valley. Khorzad and his small, mostly undead legion, accounted for many dozens, if not hundreds of lives during the campaign against Amalthea and her druids. It is said that Ashmad, the elder of Amalthea, charged the sorcerer Ibar, known as Littlethorn, with assembling a small but specialized force of eight who would be dedicated to destroying Khorzad and his legions.
Khorzad met his end on the western slopes of Mount Amalthea; legends of that time suggested that dark Mormon rituals assured that Khorzad’s death would serve as a metamorphosis leading to his rise from the grave as an even more powerful undead servant of the Hag Queen.
Khorzad was instead petrified by Ibar and his remains were dismembered and hidden among the rubble of ruined Amalthea. It is said that after this battle, Ibar vanished never to be seen or heard from again by the elders of Amalthea who still regard him as a hero.
The Necrotic Sphere, which was not on Khorzad’s person at the time of his petrification, has not been accounted for.
As Aeldraed had promised to his master, he had begun a recasting of Legend Lore, this time focusing upon the obscure figure, Ibar Littlethorn. Because he had so little information, the casting was taking many days and your group interrupted before the spell could be completed and the information recorded.
However, a wizard friendly to the Vigil's and Amalthea's cause agreed to use one of Aeldraed's captured scrolls and untertake this exhausting casting on your behalf. The information gleamed on Ibar Littlethorn is as follows:
Legend Lore on Ibar “Littlethorn”:
Ibar’s kin, founding members of the feared Dai Morcant, fled the Pyran Hills after the destruction of the Divine War and he was reared and raised in the western hills of the land once known as Hwyrdd’s Promise (now known as the Heteronomy of Virduk).
A Halfling hero who serves Denev. Ibar’s ancestors are said to have had the blood of the earth mother flowing through their veins and it is believed that this heritage showed itself with great potency in Ibar. Due to some personal grudge with the elves of the Ganjus, the halfling half-heartedly answered their call of distress when they were attacked in what has come to be known as the Druid War. Reluctant to enter the Ganjus Forest, Ibar served for over a year, focusing his assistance toward Denev's people in the Amalthean Valley, where he earned the moniker of Littlethorn from allied soldiers in this region. His part in the Druid wars seems to come to an end late in the year 90AV on the Western slopes of Mount Amalthea; he vanished mysteriously after a victorious but costly skirmish with undead legions and their necromancer general, Khorzad the Rotting Lord.
After interrogating the bard for several weeks, the council of war will inform you that Aeldraed is certain that the necrotic sphere is what his master seeks; Aeldraed also believes that Ibar Littlethorn made off with the sphere after defeating Khorzad. He feels that he failed his Master and believes that possessing both braces and gaining a trail that might lead to the sphere would have pleased this merciless overlord immensely – for now, this overlord is only in the possession of one bracer, but he also has the name Ibar Littlethorn. Aeldraed is confident that his merciless overlord (he never refers to his master by any other name or title) will soon learn where Littlethorn or his people can be found, and he will scour that region until he learns what the halfling did with the necrotic sphere.
He has nothing but contempt for the druids of Amalthea or those who follow the divine cause and his remains are returned to the earth shortly after the questioning is finished. He feels that any attempt to hinder his overlord's search will rain sorrow upon any, even the vigils of Vesh, a group that he has come to loathe and whom he personally blames for this failure.
The druids of Amalthea will convey all of this information via animal messengers, to the elves of the Ganjus Forest and to the Metyrian Vigils of Bloodhollow. No doubt Bloodhollow will send it on to the Home Commander of Vesh and he will decide what steps are to be taken next. Amalthea will not pursue further vengeance for this matter, nor will they take part in the hunt for Ibar or the necrotic sphere. Should Ibar or any of his kin be found (and by all accounts he would be nearly a century old if he still lived) Amalthea would wish it conveyed that he (they) will always find sanctuary and friendship within the city's walls.
As for your party's next move, you will wait out the remainder of Winter in Amalthea. When Spring and a new year (150 AV) rolls around, you will return to Bloodhollow and await assignment to a squad of vigils. Obviously Mack Gregor and Kraldug will remain at Bloodhollow, home of the Metyrian Vigils. The Beltainian, Semanye and Acernoth vigils, Skorn, Alton and Chutnik will have to wait for orders to arrive directing them where to report next.
The second Beltainian squad will head east as soon as the snow melts, they will make the journey across the Canyon of Souls and return to Vesh and Bride Lake, the home base of their Vigil. If any wish to make this return trip with them, they will gladly have you.
If anyone is unhappy with their characters or wish to leave the group for any reason, this is a very good place to accommodate that. So that a discussion can be had concerning downtime and the future of your group I have created a forum post dedicated to just these topics – click this link to take you there: Beyond Bloodhollow.