The Pond of Shadows
Manishtu advised the heroes that it might be possible to learn the location of the caves of Vvaraak by paradoxically looking into a future in which they were already there. Though quite dangerous, a mission was undertaken to seek out the Pond of Shadows, a place of prophetic power north of the Glum river.
Before leaving, Manishtu gave James a khyber shard imbued with the energy needed to open the soulgate. For a brief moment, a portal will exist to the soulwell when the shard is smashed against the gate.
Also, the heroes interrogated a captured field commander from Rhesh’s army. Though he didn’t know much, it did become clear that Rhesh and Utara are operating on their own without formal support from Droamm. In fact, the sisters tried to stop the army from entering the Marches.
After a battle with some of the many Will ’o Wisps that feed off the energies of the pond, the heroes hacked their way into the west flank of the Deepwood and found the pond. A small pool of rippling water devoid of light, James did not hesitate to submerse himself. Teranu followed soon after. Weary of shadowy places, Rampart elected to stay on the surface.
Within the pond, the heroes saw visions of the past and future. Though some say to trifle with the pond can risk ones very soul, James and Teranu’s mastery of the the arcane and primal overcame this threat and they perceived several crucial future events.
- Teranu saw his past, and the day his sister departed for her Shamanistic training.
- He then saw himself on a hillside overlooking a vast maze. Stretching for countless miles into the horizon, the maze entrance was guarded by minotaur statues. Tall slender mesas punctuated throughout the valley rose ominously from within the maze as well.
- James saw himself once again confronted by the wall of blinding radiant light that has twice now appeared in dream visions. This time though, the wall was real (at least it seemed like a real moment), and its vibrant energy more intense and imposing than ever before, threatening to burn away his entire body, not just his eyes.
- Next he saw himself looming over the body of demon. Around him, James could see the ruins of a city and a sky bathed in crimson red. His own body glimmered with silver light, and from the shadows, huddled masses gazed upon James with fear and awe.
- Finally, James saw the Caves of Vvaraak. Not natural at all, the caves appeared to be made of metal and piping, and shoots of steam periodically whooshed out from narrows vents throughout the complex. A beam of putrid purple energy pulsed from somewhere above the cave. tracing its path, James could see its target was the Bloodstar, though its ultimate purpose remained a mystery. Using his knowledge of the stars, James was able to conclude that the caves were 30 miles west of the pond.
They withdrew from the black waters and pushed on through the night, until Rampart and James could go no further.
The following night, the heroes came upon a massive thorn wall. Unpassable, they sought a path that they knew existed. Once found, the remnants of the thorn wall guardians tried to stop the heroes, but the might of James, Teranu, and Rampart proved too much. They dispatched the guardians with ease and moved to the caves.
At that moment, the beam of vile energy spat forth from the cave top. The sky glows and eerie red, and the feeling of certain doom lays heavy in the humid swamp air.