The Oracle of Fire, named Lyanna, is a young woman surprisingly. Not the wizened old crone one would assume, given her job description. Seeing into the waters of fate as she does, is a mighty powerful gift, but it is also a terrible curse that bears the weight of infinity. This is why ALL oracles within the Black Feather Tribe are young women. They are the only ones strong enough to not go mad & not have their hearts stop when their second sight locks on to the something unbearable. Something soul crushing like war.
Oracles do not live long & most will die before their 40th birthday, aging dozens of years before their time – drained from their own unique ability.
Lyanna shows the strength & temperance of a woman much older than her brief 23 years, but that is due in part, to the oracles that came before her to lay a foundation of process & training; refined throughout the ages so that the next young woman in line was mentally prepared to lead her people with confidence & intelligence.
Lyanna looks into the Void from her straw mat, the small fire inside her hallowed longhouse flickering in sync with her own concentrated breathing. When her eyes roll back into her head leaving only the white to shine in the firelight, the shadows around the group seem to become impenetrable.
An infinite darkness where the only truth is within the fire. It plays tricks on the mind. Small things can be seen within the embers – moving & morphing into places & people. Then disappearing just as fast as they came.
The oracle speaks true & shares her visions of what’s to come though she confesses that fate is a malleable thing. Manipulated by the smallest of butterfly wings that can alter the weather thousands of miles away. But she knows what must be. That the days of The Black Feather Tribe are nearly over. They must end what “is” so that “what will be”, can emerge from the ashes…. like a Phoenix. What will they become depends on how successful the Living Revenants are.
In her visions, she has learned much about Convergence as well. The group learns that “his cancer” is actually a failed blood-oath, because he refused to kill a certain leader of the Murder of Crows. Convergence did not realize at the time that he made the oath, but once he understood what it was, he refused to comply.
The group learns that the “elf” Sinverra, is actually a Seelie & has been manipulating Convergence. It is with her that he made the oath long ago while he was a gladiator in Millennia. He freed her & she repaid him with a lethal curse.
Now it is too late. Even if Sinverra dies, Convergence is doomed. His cancerous curse is too far along. Now he is committed to finishing what he started. Sinverra however, has other plans. She & Xavian are secretly allied. Sinverra hopes to make Xavian her next warlord but for that to happen, she needs Xavian to emerge victorious in a public battle with the remaining Undine spiritual guardians, Kaya & finally Convergence.
If successful, ALL of Staggra will unite under him. Then Sinverra can initiate her next plan – sending Xavian into the Nexus & become a Temporal Champion. She assumes he would keep his word & wish for elves to regain entry into Maag’Mel. She assumes far too much. Xavian only does what Xavian wants and that usually involves pools of blood, broken teeth & shattered bone.
That said, Lyanna could actually reach out to Sinverra – touch her mind & send a message:
“ Kaya is dead. Slain by Xavian’s own hands. Nearly all the Living Revenants are dead as well as the Phoenix & the Hive Queen. He said Convergence was next. Now he heads to….”
Lyanna smiles & says that Sinverra will be overjoyed & likely pull Convergence away to wherever we say Xavian was going. Then you could show up instead. Speak your peace. Maybe free Convergence of her influence. See if he’ll hand over the essences he’s been stockpiling. Who knows.
Lyanna returns to lucidity after digging into another vision of the Black Heart Queen. sharing all she can about the status of Valendale currently. She then leads the group to the best of Herandahl, the Hooded Phoenix. As night falls, an Undine that is nearly 50” tall, bursts forth with a column of magical fire, pure & radiant, fed directly from the elemental plane. The semi-coherent form that vaguely resembles a vulture, opens a psychic channel within everyone’s mind. Its voice calm & soothing, almost familiar in tone & temperament Not the least bit “godlike” or ominous, neither booming nor sinister; it was warm & thoughtful. Patient & without an ounce of arrogance. Herandahl was immediately known by all for what he was: an Undine who used these poor, primitive people to grow more powerful within their reverence, but ultimately came to love these peaceful mortals. Now the Phoenix has dedicated his existence to serve them instead, & together they have survived the ages in friendly symbiosis.
Herandahl speaks at length with everyone within the group & calmly shares his thoughts on Xavian, the horde as well as the fate of his people. It becomes clear that he intends to see then time safety, not sacrifice. That is not the dominion of the Black Feathers. That is the birthright of the Phoenix – his duty, not theirs.
His instructions are as follows:
There is a secret tunnel beneath the pond near his nest. Swim through the short tunnel to emerge into an underground cavern.
Quickly move east & ascend up through the network of tunnels, making sure to clear them out of ALL hostile creatures. Search high & low to slay anything that could possibly be harmful then exit the secret tunnels to the mountainside.
The Hive Queen’s lair is directly under that exit. Move in with haste & destroy her as well as anything else that serves her.
Once she is dead, her people (currently distracted by Xavian’s men who are also dying in droves, thanks to the poisonous jungle), will have their spirits broken by the loss of their goddess.
The Phoenix will wait half a day then split his people into two groups: the women & children will also head into the secret tunnels (now safely cleared out by the Living Revenants), and hide out inside the now empty lair of the Hive Queen. Her savages will suffer heavy losses to Xavian’s sacrificial lambs and now without their leader, will likely scatter like the wind. Those who remain can possibly be convinced to join with the (soon-to-be) ex-members of the Black Feather Tribe.
The abled bodied men & warriors will be sent to lure Xavian to the dwarven ruins. The Phoenix also have a nifty trick up his fiery sleeve – he can make a weaker duplicate of himself. Herandahl will send his duplicate along with the men.
It will draw Xavian in as the Nether will likely be anticipating Kaya & company to be nearby like usual. This gives him the opportunity to remove both targets all in one swoop. Once Xavian is near, the Phoenix-duplicate will challenge it (requiring followers to serve as its eyes since Herandahl cannot actually see Xavian).
Xavian will easily defeat the duplicate & subsequently realize he’s been tricked when the Phoenix does not leave an essence behind. By then it should be too late.
The real Phoenix will turn itself into a beam of light & shoot forward to the Hive Queen’s lair to retrieve the group. Its last act upon this plane of existence will be to bless the group will incredible power – destroying itself to feed its energy into each member.
In an incredible burst of eldritch flame, the group will be safely gated through the elemental plane of fire & in a split of a second, reappear through the residual conflagration left behind by his duplicate. There at the dwarven ruins, the group’s best shot at a fair (I use this term loosely) fight. Xavian won’t be entirely alone, so expect a tough crew to keep everyone busy.
The key to beating Xavian is fighting him in a wide open space. Nowhere to hide or get cover. Nowhere to stealth to. If too many people go after him, he will use his quickness to retreat. This means that Kaya will likely have time challenge him one on one.
She’ll also need to use her quickness boots to hopefully get to him before he gets to her. Xavian can shut off all her magical items & ruin her axe’s enchantments. Kaya expressed that concern to Herandahl and he reassured her that her axe will be just fine. He even suggests that it will be better than fine. Possibly a lot fiery than before. This actually goes first everyone. His last gift for those who selflessly helped to defend his children.
Beating Xavian takes speed & intelligence. A direct attack is suicide but faking a direct attack from a viking barbarian with an axe the size of a frickin barn, is not out if the realm of reason.
Kaya needs to gauge her own movement & fool Xavian into thinking she’s slow. Let him move into her range, the quickly hit him & move out. Bleed him, hobble him & slow him down. If someone with a reach weapon & uncanny speed can stay a step out if his strikes, then he’s a sitting duck.
Kaya can annihilate Xavian, regardless of her axe’s magic, with just a couple of love-taps to the face. Game over for bad guys.
However, a contingency plan to get healing to Kaya is very important. If Xavian gets to her first, she’s going to get hurt. Bad. Real bad. Xavian devastated a demigod in 6 seconds then ran over a hundred yards away a few seconds after that. A solid Plan-B in case something goes awry is essential.
Both Herandahl & the oracle suggest that the entire party will be tested but in different ways. They also suggest to stay somewhat close but not grouped up. His mage (or even mages plural), love to drop mass amounts of pain in the form of fireballs, lightning storms & acid spray. His assassins will employ toxic arrows, cover where available, & alchemical vials from range. The few fighters that he keeps, should be no match for Gyzan but they will likely go right for the magic users instead. He’ll have to play defense & keep them away from Aleron &
Serene. Ursa & Blue should spread out to offer healing to those in need & to use defensive spells as much as possible.
Maalik, Draiocht & Gyzan should do all the heavy hitting & pull Xavian’s men into 3 separate directions so they can’t mob any single group member. Then Aleron & Serene can safely hit them with spells as Kaya hopefully finishes off Xavian solo.
Make sure to check your weapons’ upgrade requirements. Kaya’s axe will “evolve” if she beats Xavian in a duel. Yours might too, depending on the situation.