The Sacred Grove

Leaving the village of Feli's Reach having earned the gratitude of the visitors by staying an extra day to ensure their safety, heal the sick and generally do good, the party take to the High Plains on ponies gifted by the villagers. Following a hard days riding they arrive at a homestead large enough to be home to maybe half a dozen families. Instead they find that a husband and wife are the only ones that tend a very prosperous farm. They are invited to rest in the stables and given food and reassurances of safety.

In the morning it becomes apparent that the farmer and his wife have worked through the night. Speaking with the farmers wife, she reveals that they are thresholders, and that this was a condition that they willingly bought into three years before. Now they regret that decision every day as life has lost its beauty and they have lost their appetite for it.

Continuing onwards, the party rescue the pitiful body of a mercenary from a river that they cross. He is blind, and has lost both legs and an arm, however despite the bloody wounds he is able to speak with them - he also made an unwise decision several years ago and is a thresholder. Shadrach, as he introduces himself is indebted to them for their kindness and accepts their offer to join them as far as the city of Paternoster to the north.

Shadrach speaks of how a religious sect named The Immortals came to power in Hanoria twelve years ago, offering the gift of eternal life to its followers. They rapidly grew accepting only the most powerful and influential in society until their numbers swelled with most of the ruling class. Slowly the country began to move to a theocracy worshiping only their one true god, it's rules administrated by the Disciples, theomancer magicians. These theomancers were able to heal the thresholders, for although they were immune to death, their bodies could still be damaged and would not heal without magical ministrations. More rapidly, the sect grew into the middle classes as the cost of entry became lower and lower, but at the same rumours began to spread that those in power were beginning to regret their decision.

Now, few will accept the blessing of the theomancers and theresholders tend to be shunned by the mortal. The ruling classes of the country are drawn from an elite set of The Immortals, and it is to their dark designs that the political might is wielded.

In the city of Paternoster the party establish themselves in a tavern and quickly attract a great deal of attention. As Shadrach described it, the city is filled with Thresholders trying to live a life as normal as they are able. The innkeeper is keen to get their view on his mead, he is unable to savour it himself, his wife presents her meat pies eagerly anticipating praise.

As the evening passes Claudia notices that she is being observed by a knight and introduces herself. Sir Carlos is a paladin of Bahamut, untouched by the theomancer magic, and he has served and defended these people out of pity for several years. He tells them of the Cathedral of All Souls just beyond the city bounds - within it is the tomb of Saint Caspian and in the reliquary, his sword Moonblade. The Thresholders have clung to the hope of a prophesy that Moonblade is sharp enough to sever the intangible bonds that hold their souls in this earthly realm.

The ruins of the cathedral are unfortunately in the heart of a sacred grove defended by the druid Brunus - Sir Carlos has pleaded with Brunus but he will not permit anyone to enter the grove and though many have tried, none have returned.

The Silk Glove vows to return with the blade. They do just that.

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