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To appease the gods, the ability to uncover secrets and solve mysteries must be proven. “Birds are singing happily in the forests, and the breeze is blowing gently. The gods need to see our crafting skills. We should show the finest works of our blacksmiths, leatherworkers, and jewelers.” Preparations are in full swing when “the clouds broke, and the sun spread its rays over the snows of the North. This is a promising sign.”
“Our best cooks are making our finest and most famous dishes. We’ll place the tables in the main square and feast to show our love for this land.” All this preparation is actually an appeal to the gods, so it’s important to be heard. “Can you feel it? The gods are satisfied. The sun will protect us during the day, and the moon will at night. The Lord of Darkness has no power here.”
The Ruler of the Islands considers you a true friend, “Win or lose, the Lord of Darkness will change our world forever. I hope it’s for the better. I’m ready to sacrifice everything to keep my people safe. I hope to see you again someday.”
The Guardian Titan readies his special weapon, “There’s nothing like a solid crossbow that’s powerful enough to pierce stone! I tested the magical crossbow. It’s sure to deal with the Golem.” The Guardian Titan believes in your success and hands over the Dragon Fire Orb.
Nala, former apprentice to the High Mage of Frost, stands in the Old Tavern with her cat named Cauldron. “I’ll admit it’s a strange name. I named him when I was little, and we’ve been together ever since.” Nala enjoys your company and thinks you seem trustworthy, so she decides to share her story. “I became a mage’s apprentice to be strong and independent. See, I’ve always been a little clumsy, and I thought an apprenticeship would help me. While the other apprentices succeeded, I struggled to keep up until I started to feel out of place. That’s when I really messed up.”
Poor Nala made a huge miscalculation, “I wanted to prove to myself, my teacher, and the other apprentices that I was worth something, so I stole my teacher’s book for a certain spell. The spell was powerful – too powerful for someone at my level. I was overconfident. The spell was supposed to summon a monster from the Dark Side, but I messed up and got teleported here instead. The worst part is that my body and spirit are bound to this place. I can’t leave, no matter what I do.”
But Nala managed to find a silver lining amidst all the bad, “It’s easier to learn magic here. Magical energy is everywhere. It even reveals its secrets to me. In fact, I might know a secret that could help you.” Nala already knows about the Northern Breath; the parts collected so far have a unique and powerful aura, an aura she’s encountered before. “The Lord of Darkness spent a long time here looking for a way out. I did my best to keep out of his sight. I know that the Lord managed to leave this world. I’ve watched over things through the magic mirror, and I feel like I should help you.”
Nala learned one of the artifact parts is called the Horns of Half-Moon, which is hidden in some nearby haunted castle ruins. She has a funny story to tell about the castle, “The castle was empty ruins before I went there to practice a spell. My spell made the castle more...lively. It was too easy to cast spells near that castle. So easy that my spell filled it with ghosts!” It must have been the Horns of Half-Moon’s influence as a magical amplifier. Nala immediately understood the connection between the Northern Breath and the secret of that castle. “I’m ready to visit the castle to get the part you need. I wonder if the ghosts will know me as their creator. I hope they’re not mad!”
Nala managed to get the artifact, but she tried a spell to calm the ghosts and ended up with a castle full of rather arrogant cats. At least she won’t be lonely amidst the furry felines but hopes Cauldron doesn’t get too jealous. She hands over the Horns of Half-Moon.
Torrum the Weapon Maker appears at Town of Shadows, “The thunder rumbled that someone needs Torrum’s help, but I judge only by actions, not empty words. My life’s goal is to create a perfectly unique weapon. So, I study ancient magic and crafting techniques toward that end.” He insists on testing your skills before talking business and ol’ Torrum is adequately impressed. He’s aware of your troubles, but has problems of his own. “I came to this grim world for research, but I didn’t have a way back.” He asks for your help creating a mechanical portal to get back home. “The portal you used to come here only works for you.” Torrum says the Sealing Staff, used to seal the portal to the Lord of Darkness and his army, was originally a Dwarven design. Torrum’s portal will be made of iron, gears, and pipes.
In exchange for help with his portal, Torrum has learned a lot of secrets about this land, and one of them is a mysterious stone. The Polar Star will light the battlefield, exposing the dark forces while casting no shadows. Torrum continues working on the portal and trusts you to look for anything unusual and worthy of his attention. “Cogs and gears! My most important tool got broke! Just when my luck was turning!” Then even worse luck, “Each hour brings a new challenge. A shadow bat flew by my portal and knocked an important part off. It’s more fragile than I thought. Bad luck won’t break my spirit!” Just another minor setback, fixing the part was easy, but Torrum must double his efforts to make up for lost time. While work on the portal continues, a visit to Morisa, the Forest Witch might be in order.
Morisa had a sign that guests would be arriving, “A spoon fell from the table in the morning, followed by a fork.” Morisa knows a lot about the Northern Breath and hopes you’re ready to listen. “The Northern Breath is an ancient artifact...it was divided into five separate artifacts, and each was hidden in a different place. It took many talented artisans to create it. The Northern Breath contains five dangerous artifacts. The mage who designed it ultimately understood that nobody should possess such a weapon.”
“The Firestorm Eye was found inside an ice volcano of the North by dwarven miners. The Firestorm Eye can create a powerful magic aura. I believe it’s a truly unique artifact.”
“The Dragon Fire Orb is a special vessel created by Uls the Vitreous, an ancient artisan who could turn scraps of glass into masterpieces. The Dragon Fire Orb was reinforced by dragon fire to withstand any heat and keep it safely inside.”
“A long-forgotten jeweler created the Horns of Half-Moon. It was his last creation, imbued with his remaining life force as he slipped into the next life. The Horns of Half-Moon shine even in complete darkness, lighting the way for travelers.”
“The Polar Star is the most mysterious part of the Northern Breath. No one knows where it comes from. Those who try to study its history only go mad.” That’s all Morisa knows about the Polar Star but she believes its full potential has yet to be unlocked.
“The Ice Wings were kept in the royal treasury in the far North until the day the descendants of their creator asked for them back. The King decided not to fight over the artifact and returned it to the Shadow Elves. The Elves were pleased.”
Morisa further explains, “The Northern Breath will obey the one who can collect its parts and tame the power roaring inside it. You have that ability. You’ll understand what I mean when you take the assembled Northern Breath in your hands. In the hands of a kind person, the Northern Breath can fight the darkest evil, but in the wrong hands, it will only make the evil worse.” This is why it was hidden away. The Northern Breath will become a powerful weapon against the Lord of Darkness. Morisa believes the Northern Breath can cast the evil Lord so far away, he may never be able to return.
She hopes you learned something new and hopes to see you next time.
Torrum promises the Polar Star is in his secret stash and he’s the only one who has access to it.
With the final part to the portal solving Torrum’s problems, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. “Bless my bolts! The portal is almost ready. I’ll be able to leave this forsaken place soon and return to my own projects. I just need to place the final components, and I can make the journey home.”
Torrum hands over the Polar Star, with these parting words, “We work very well together! I hope we’ll meet again in our world! Good luck, my friend! (Torrum, the Weapon Maker disappears from Town of Shadows and reappears in Valley of Fallen Giants, Northern Islands)
Lilith the Huntress is happy to see you again and has news to share. She and Shadow mean so much to each other, but the Lord of Darkness stands in the way. Lilith says “Shadow has changed. He still serves the Lord of Darkness, but he’s secretly helping us from the inside!” Lilith wants to perform a small elvish ritual to protect Shadow from the Lord’s evil influence. “The ritual is as old as the Shadow Elves themselves. It is used to protect families and loved ones.” According to Lilith, Shadow is the most important thing in the world to her. “I need to brew a special elvish drink called Heart’s Warmth for the ritual. Once I drink it, I’ll sing a special song, and the warmth of my love will protect Shadow. I must remember the ingredients. I’ve never made it before, but this seems like the right time and for the right person.” Locating all the ingredients begins, “It’s not hard to find a thistle leaf, and elves all carry the blood of the tree of ancients, but the rest is going to be a challenge.”
It seems the forest heart flowers try to hide from your gaze. And the moon tea is made from special moon leaves that must be brewed for many hours under the beams of the in crescent moon. Next on the list is agate ginger root, a popular potion ingredient available from an herbalist. Lastly is the usually hard to find red lemon. “My life-defining tea is brewing. I’ll drink it and sing the song to put Shadow under the invisible protection of a girl who’s in love with him.” According to the ritual, Lilith must be alone when she sings her song of love. “I feel so alive! It must mean that we succeeded, and Shadow is under the protection of ancient elvish magic.”
Lilith wonders what Shadow is feeling. It’s still too dangerous for them to communicate so she asks you to visit him.
Shadow senses an aura of elvish magic around him and knows it must be Lilith’s doing. Shadow is all for taking preemptive steps rather than waiting for the sad consequences in dealing with the Lord of Darkness’s evil plans. Shadow says the Lord of Darkness is preparing a second wave, “The Lord of Darkness is going to strike again. He won’t stop until he’s made everyone in this world his faithful shadow servants. I feel powerful enough to save everyone but powerless to do it.”
Shadow knows the Lord of Darkness is preparing a ritual that will banish the sun from the sky. “Only moonlight will light your world.” Shadow intends to help him with the ritual, but will replace certain ingredients, sabotaging him long enough to buy some time. “The Lord of Darkness is going to notice my trick, but it will be worth it if it gives you enough time to assemble the artifact.” So far, so good. Shadow replaced a couple items unnoticed that will create complications for the Lord, but it won’t stop him. Shadow wants to replace one more thing. Shadow wants to send a gift to Lilith, a Bracelet of Good Intentions. He decides to make it himself and chooses the first stone carefully. “The pink star stone is a symbol of eternal love. They say it can only be found by those who seek true love.” Next is a pile of pearls from the depths of the Timeless Sea, but the black market will do just fine. Shadow finishes the bracelet for Lilith and wants to use the most beautiful and clever bird to send it – the Shadow Harpy.
Lilith couldn’t be happier that everything is going well and Shadow is trying to sabotage the Lord’s plans.
***Shh...Don’t bother me while I’m on the hunt. If I need help, I’ll ask. (End of Update)
***Update – February 23, 2021***
Lilith the Huntress recalls legends that mention the Northern Breath. The beginning of the tale is lost, but the ending mentions the Ice Wing. Important texts indicate the Shadow Elves kept the Ice Wing and used it to decorate the statue in the town’s main square. Lilith assures the Ice Wing is on its way and, sure enough, it arrives.
The Northern Breath is now complete and Professor Pinfeathers feels magic at work, “There is tension in the air, and soon the Lord of Darkness will sense it too. We must banish him before he learns of our plan!” The Northern Breath goes to the Lord of Darkness in the Ancient Garden and he promptly vanishes. (The Lord of Darkness appears in the Hall of Suffering in the Dark Side.)
Professor Pinfeathers knows that while the Lord of Darkness may be locked on the Dark Side, he’ll find a way back unless he’s defeated once and for all. As it is, the Lord “managed to capture some of the Midnight Castle residents and turned them into shadows. We must free them!” As a reward for a job well done, Pinfeathers hands over the Glove of Deliverance which can “free souls that are bound to our world.”
While Lilith wishes your visits were under more festive circumstances, she agrees to help. “I’ll send word to my people, the dark elves. They must know how to release the souls from the Dark Side.” Lilith knows one note won’t be near enough to tell the whole story; that might require a massive missive. And maybe a whole flock of carrier pigeons! Finally, the pigeons are sent on their way and there’s nothing left to do but wait for the messages to reach the elves. Lilith is concerned someone found a way to kill shadows, because they’ve started vanishing one-by-one. While it’s true she hunts down shadows in the world of the living, Lilith won’t tolerate killers on the Dark Side. “I must figure out how to detect the one responsible for destroying these innocent shadows. Perhaps a special mirror could help me see the shadow destroyer.”
With a little help, Lilith manages to find all the parts of the mirror, but making it is another story. Filled with righteous anger, Lilith says “More shadows are vanishing every day! One just disappeared right before my eyes! I just need to use it (the mirror) to find the coward behind these crimes.” The finished mirror does its job and leads Lilith to the shadow of an ancient tyrant who learned how to kill his fellow shadows. Lilith doesn’t care who they were in life, they’re her prey now.
Unfortunately, the hunt doesn’t go well. “I don’t know how, but the ancient tyrant hit my shadow itself. My vitality is draining from my shadow’s wound. This is more serious than I thought. Lilith’s beloved Shadow fears something is wrong and Lilith doesn’t want him to worry. But she knows this isn’t something she can handle herself and implores aide from Morisa the Forest Witch.
Morisa is sure she can help Lilith and explains, “Here in the shadow world, our shadows are as real as we are. They can be harmed, but they can also be healed. Lilith is an experienced huntress, so whoever hurt her shadow must be very powerful. Treating a shadow wound is no simple task. While her shadow is wounded, Lilith suffers as well.”
Morisa sets about working on the challenge to restore Lilith’s wounded shadow before she gets worse. She finds some usable herbs in the forest for the elixir, but will have to trade with some unfriendly creatures for the other ingredients. Morisa prepares a trade with a winged harpy, the terror of the eastern mountains, for one ingredient and finds another, a mandrake leaf, in her own garden. The mandrake leaf is needed to make a special candle before brewing the elixir.
The candle is ready, along with all the herbs and powders, and now begins the difficult part. “The elixir must be stirred from dusk to dawn without interruption!” While all this work took a lot out of Morisa, she hopes Lilith’s strength is seeing her through. The moment of truth has arrived...if done correctly, “the elixir should emit vapor as it cools.” Morisa knows her elixir will “cure Lilith’s shadow wound in moments once she takes it” but it’s taking a long time to change color. “The color is finally changing! I was getting a bit worried, but now I’ve never been prouder of my skills.”
Morisa hands you the elixir and says, “Don’t worry, Lilith will be fine. Please tell her that I’ll be waiting to hear from her as soon as she recovers.
As she begins to feel better, Lilith knows Morisa did the impossible. And for all your help, she rewards you with the Signet of Accumulation. (In her tasks 11 through 13, Lilith talks about a Stardust Glove, she knows an elf, the most skilled weaver in the world, who can weave it; then the glove must be soaked in timeless waters and it’s finally ready...but instead of being rewarded with the Stardust Glove, we’re rewarded with the Signet of Accumulation.)
Meanwhile, Nala once again casts the wrong spell. She heard something explode and a strange mist formed from which she could hear growling. She’s happy Professor Pinfeathers thinks she can help, “If he believes in me, I should too.” While the growls inside the mist seem to be getting louder, Nala fixes coffee and tries to figure out how to get rid of the mist. “I know where I went wrong! I won’t make that mistake again...though I may make others.”
Nala realizes the spell only affected her and decides to treat it as a curse. The visions intensify and Nala feels “This hallucination is getting stronger – the mist is closing in, and the beast’s growls rattle my very soul.” Nala is afraid, “My scientific mind wonders what will happen if the mist reaches me, but common sense tells me I don’t want to know. Maybe magic isn’t my thing, after all.” Shaking herself out of that negativity, she makes an ingredient list and begins searching for a two-horned root.
Preparing a new spell to lift the curse, Nala says “The mist is calling me to enter it! I don’t know how long I can resist its thrall. I’m impressed that I cast such a powerful spell, even accidentally.” Finally, Nala prepared all the ingredients but further complications arise when she loses the spell! She sends a bird to her mentor and pictures her mentor shaking his head at her misadventures.
Finally, the spell worked and the mist is receding. Shadow sends word he wishes to speak with you.
Shadow’s glad his message reached you and says “Nala is far smarter and more responsible than you’d think.” Aware the Lord of Darkness knows he’s not loyal to him anymore, Shadow wants to make sure he and Lilith are safe. “I need to divert suspicion away from myself. Lilith’s magic protected me, and it’s time I repaid that debt.”
Shadow won’t allow the Lord of Darkness’s wrath to fall on Lilith, but he’s afraid you won’t like his plan. “I must erase her from my memory. It’s the only way to make sure the Lord won’t find even a trace of her in my mind.” Desperate, Shadow knows “I’ll need powerful hypnosis to erase such vivid memories and I know of only one artifact capable of that. First, I need to order a staff base from a blacksmith. The blacksmith must make a rare alloy.”
Shadow finds the metals the blacksmith needs and now must obtain a pure rock crystal from the dwarves. They tend to be uncooperative, so Shadow must think of something to persuade them. He sends the shadow bird to the dwarves with his offer.
“Look! It’s (the rock crystal) as pure as a unicorn’s tear. Its sparkle will surely help me forget my graceful huntress.” Shadow sends the crystal to the blacksmith to place in the staff and now must find a way to keep his memories safe in case he can ever restore them. The blacksmith sent Shadow a crystal shard that can be used to save his memories of Lilith, but it needs a special metal setting to seal in the memories safely. Shadow found a famous jeweler who agreed to cut and set the crystal, but he has a strange feeling about him.
The staff arrived from the blacksmith, but Shadow found out the jeweler tried to sell the crystal. One of his shadow birds made sure he finished the job, as he promised. With the crystal and staff in hand, Shadow says “I may not be myself the next time we speak. Don’t forget to remind me who I am when the time is right.”
Sure enough, Shadow has no idea who you are but remembers you’ve helped him before. “I don’t feel well. No more talking for right now. We’ll cross paths again another time.