A gods’ will and a gods’ war

When we left our heroes, they had witnessed the opening of a portal to the realm of the dead, where the evil goddess Hecate was trapped in a massive tree. Over hundreds of years the goddess had subtly influenced the minds of mortals, teaching some of them to use artifacts called Bridge Stones. The artifacts secretly siphoned the life force of those bound to them and stored that energy in seven large Key Stones that now stood around the portal entrance.

With the barrier to the realm destroyed by Rollo, all Hecate needed was to draw in the power of the Key Stones to break free of her prison and unleash an army of fiends on the material plane. All remaining Bridge Stones stopped working as their magic was repurposed, ending Rollo’s possession of the draconians and his magma dragon. Though they could not intervene until Hecate was free, in preparation for another great war the other gods had already gathered their soldiers; a sea of ghosts awaited the command from Hades while phalanxes of celestial beings floated above the fortress in full armor. The realms held their breath, but Amari’s Armada still had a part to play.

Finally able to take his revenge, Roobius grabbed Rollo Seaspell, intent on ending his enemy’s life, but Amari convinced him to knock the pirate sorcerer unconscious instead. Meanwhile, Zinmyn leaped into the portal to recover the Sword of Apollo and Azara ran into the underworld toward the distant floating form of her long-lost brother.

The former Returners who had just arrived explained a desperate plan: if the Key Stones were already bound, Hecate could not take their power for herself. Regnault and Brack Desourier had created a ritual that could create such a binding, but it was not easy to enact. Seeing the party thus trying to steal her power, Hecate took action.

An earthquake tore the tower asunder, pinning the party under rubble, and the goddess summoned a horde of stone guardians from the wreckage to attack. At the same time, Keela leaped through to the underworld to try to bring back her best friend Azara who was quickly flying away. Zinmyn teleported them toward the paladin, but she was unmoved by their pleas to return. But then Kirian himself appeared and spoke to his sister, telling her that he was always with her and that destroying the gate would not separate them. Kirian explained that if Hecate was free, the whole world could be destroyed, and they would still not be together. He imbued her hammer with some of his own essence and asked her to heed her friends.

Meanwhile the party and their allies tried to free themselves from the remains of the tower, fought the guardians, and tried to bind the Key Stones to themselves. Many attempts failed, injuring those who tried as the massive charge inside each stone reacted to their touch. Keela, Thetis, Azara, Gustavar, Mulena, Brack, Tiffany, and even the restored wizard Mishra slowly tore apart the guardians but not before their energy beams knocked Amari unconscious and badly wounded others.

With help and some luck, Randdall eventually bound one of the stones to himself, followed by Regnault. Roobius made an additional bargain, promising the Key Stone’s power to his patron and together they were able to bind a third. At the same time, Hecate bound two stones to herself, gaining in power. Thetis nearly bound a third stone while being crushed under a boulder and a guardian, still managing to crack the body of one of the stone monsters with her spectral mace and heal everyone, giving Amari and Zinmyn the chance they needed to bind the remaining stones before the goddess did.

Outnumbered now among immense conduits of magical energy, but still a god, Hecate attempted to wrest control of the power she had created from the party members who had taken it. It was at this time that Amari’s Armada truly came together to resist the start of another gods’ war. Each person did their part to push back against Hecate’s attack, undoing her works one by one and beating her with her own power. At last, Azara summoned the might of the Hammer of Hephaestus and the spirit of her brother and smashed the final Keystone into pieces, releasing a wave of energy that blasted everyone off their feet and collapsed the portal.

As the dust cleared, Araquiel, once again a warrior of Hera, flew down to speak to those gathered in the ruins. Thetis’s mother told Amari’s Armada that the threat of war was ended for now, but that peril still remained in the world; the goddess’s influence was still present, and there were those who would still see her freed. Many of the gods, in fact, were eagerly anticipating this war and would still be a risk. The images of Apollo and Athena also appeared and congratulated the party on their actions, explaining that they must now fight on their own. Azara’s hammer, Zinmyn’s sword, and Amari’s shield must be returned to those who guard the tools of the gods, but Athena gifted her paladin with a holy staff as a replacement that can become any weapon she desires. As the celestials faded away, Azara considered that maybe the time had come for a change, conjuring a massive greatsword in her hammer’s place.

Can the party find a place for the overwhelming magic of the Key Stones before it destroys them? What will become of the former Returners? What does the aftermath of this adventure hold? Find out everything, tonight, on the finale of Dungeons and Dogs!

Published by Payton Swick

Vegan. Digital craftsman. Tea explorer. Avid learner of things. Writes code @automattic.

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