Rikar is proudly from Feydark, Underdark’s echo in the Feywild and like most parts of the Feywild it is more majestic and fantastic than its natural counterpart. Inhabited by the fomorians, a Fey echo of the titans, the Feydark is a cavernous world of maze-like tunnels and portals linking to the natural world.
One of the most powerful of the fomorian realms is Mag Tureah, which stands within a country-sized cavern lit by precious gems and stones. One of this kingdoms rulers is the fomorian king Cachlain, a powerful fomorian known as the Stone-Skinned King. Rikar serves as an envoy to this king, who is allied with Rikar’s people. It is an important but dangerous post. Important because from his secluded lair, he provides transport for the forces of Feydark. The fomorian has established total control over the portals, using rituals that took decades to take effect; no one passes through one of the portals without Cachlain’s seal. Dangerous because the Stone-skinned king is moody, child-like in his tantrums and exceedingly powerful. Thankfully he is particularly fond of beautiful magical crafts, an art Rikar’s people excel at. Still at times Rikar is asked to undertake unusual missions at the king’s bequest and one such is the nature of his involvement with the heroes of Klarn now.
While Rikar was visiting the Stone-skinned King, Cachlain became distracted by some new prisoners, a group called the ‘Brigade.’ The King was showing off his prisoners to his visitors while frivolously rambling about his upcoming games. The King was excited and apparently he had been collecting the ‘heroes’ for a shadar-kai arms-dealer named Sarshan when he’d gotten the brilliant idea to hold gladiatorial games in honor of his guests. Cachlain had a number of prisoners: a dwarf, a halfling, a wizard, a shifter wearing a particularly strange crown, (he called that one the ‘crowned-beast’) , two haughty looking half-elves and a dragonborn, all paraded before the assembled visitors.
Then showing-off, Cachlain turned to a pool in the throne room and with a wave of his hand, the pool shimmered revealing another candidate of the arena, one of his favorites, a half-orc warrior named Shaden. The half-orc stood with others upon a very small island of rock adrift in a ocean of molten rock and flame.
The prisoners gasped, obviously they knew this party; the King watched but the King paid no heed. One of the guests, a wealthy dwarf named Bram, began laughing and boasting that the party was doomed certain they would die within the sea of fire. Suddenly, the King became frantic that his games would be ruined if the half-orc died.
Fearing the half-orc might be slain he shouted at his courtiers ordering them to do something to get him back. The King’s chamberlain, a man named Sovacles, tried to discourage the King but he only became more resolute and insistent, and he began making a scene in front of the assembled guests. The guests Marrot, the fool, dreadful visitor from Fortress of Fading Dreams, and six ambassadors: the dwarf Bram Ironfell representing the githyanki; Droeth of the Cyclopes; Andrinna Baelsblood, of infernal bloodline; the satyr named Troke; one of Rikar rivals the high elf Bilgamesh; and Rikar himself representing his drow household and people.
The drow had concerns due to rumblings within Feydark. Rumblings that Shan Lian Doresh, the Lord of the Fading Dream, would soon open his gates and march out his soldiers in military force with his ally, a rival of the King, the fomorian Sangwyr, who would oust the Stone-skinned King if he could–and Sangwyr, the foul, was no friend to the drow.
The female dragonborn prisoner called out, “Let me go to them! I will bring Sshaden back, I know him, he iss a friend. You have my word, I will return here with no fight.”
“Ha! You can not trick me. You think me dumb!” answered Cachlain.
“No, Giant King … You have my word, the word of a Platinum Talon of Bahamut!”
The King stared as within the pool the party began to battle the elemental forces of the primordial realm.
“I can sssave them!” yelled the dragonborn.
“I will send you but only," a large grin spreading over the King’s face, "only if you swear to fight in the arena!”
“Agreed! I will fight!” she agrees.
The other prisoners try to make their own deals but the Bram interrupts, “None of the Brigade can be freed! That is our deal!”
The dragonborn replies, “I am not in the Brigade.”
“Neither am I,” exclaimed the shifter.
“Release Dragon-girl, but only her! If she fails, Crowned-Beast will take her place in the games.”
With that order, the dragonborn paladin was released and she was sent through one of the King’s portals to join her friends in the Sea of Fire.
The dragonborn, Ssarina and the others survived the battle but before the King could bring her back she and the others vanished from the pool disappearing from the pool’s reflection before the King could bring her back as they disappeared within Sarshan’s black tower.
Aghast, Cachlain screamed out his frustration. For a time the moments became tedious as the King’s frustration grew.
Seeking to gain quick favor, Rikar determined to volunteer to travel through the portal to gather both the dragonborn and the half-orc warriors on behalf of the King.
"Good King, I can not wait for your games but how disappointing if we don’t have your best combatants. No, I can’t allow it. Please let me go to this dark tower on your behalf. I will bring back your gladiators for you!" offered Rikar.
Interjecting Bilgamesh adds, "And I too King. These are truly dangerous warriors; Rikar will need my help. The bright light of the burning sea may trouble Rikar’s night eyes."
Again one of the prisoners calls out, the crowned shifter, "They will not be trusted King; these warriors–Shaden and Ssarina–they don’t know these elves; they don’t even like elves. Shaden is orc-born and Ssarina’s people eat elves. Send me."
"Bah, maybe I send elves. Cat-man is like bad dog…too much noise … Hmmm … Elves you go."
Bram objected immediately but just then the pool suddenly revealed that not only the adventuring party had survived but also that they had reappeared on the black tower roof where they were surrounded by githyanki pirates. The survivors, Vani, Bingus, Ssarina, Fin and Shaden, were within a circular portal landing, the very thing that had alerted the King. The warrior githyanki were heavily armed and on the far side of a tower, a dark sphere of translucent force protected four other figures: Sarshan, his witch and two shadar-kai bodyguards.
The King shouted with excitement, “Go get Ugly-man and the Dragon-girl, I will teach her! She will fight him! Dragon-girl and ‘Ugly’ will fight so we will see who is smart.” Declaring that the King refused to hear the dwarf’s complaints and prepared to send the two elves, light and dark, through the portal.
Desperate, Bram speaks plainly, “The githyanki will not be amused!”
Realizing that they have guessed correctly, both Rikar and Bilgamesh smile at each other knowing that their ploy has worked and not only would they be currying favor for their sides, but they would be foiling the plans of the githyanki whom Bram was representing.
Laughing at Bram’s angst, the diminutive bemasked Marrot offers, “Surely you jest; I have performed for the council of the Silver Tree, the Queen of Dusk, and all Seven Brothers of Night. I have recited epics for lordly centaurs and lady satyrs, cried eulogies for hag Hethralga and sang dirges for cyclopes in the realms below. But nothing would give me greater honor, esteemed sir, than the opportunity to make sausage with their guts. Hah-HAH! Take this my brothers.” The small jester reached out with a pouch, sprinkling a small portion of the dust upon the throne room floor before handing it to Rikar. “This is fairie dust, magical dust of recall. All you need do is sprinkle a small portion of the dust upon the wanderers and they will appear in lickity-split.”
And so, tasked with keeping both the Dragon-girl and Ugly-man alive at least long enough to return them to Cachlain’s court for the games Rikar and Bilgamesh leave armed with fairie dust supplied by Shan Doresh’s twisted jester.
It was apparent, the Stone-skinned King also knew the mind of the shadar-kai arms-dealer, Sarshan. More than once he grumbled over the shadar-kai’s treachery, blaming him and the githyanki for the death of a hag named Hethralga. As the elves are departing he tells them, “If Sarshan gets in way break him, he broke the hag.” And adds, “Bring others back but not gnome. Gnome stinks and songs bad!”
He leans back in his throne and then sits up quickly, “Oh … pet wants to help you. Call out ‘Crowned-beast’ and I send but watch, bad-dog!”
With that the elves vanish into the portal.
Troke suddenly starts snickering.
The king looks over at him and sneers, "What so funny!?"
Troke tries to keep a straight face, "I think Marrot played a bit of a trick on those two elves."
The king looks over at Marrot who with a look of feigned innocence asks, "Why whatever do you mean?"
Troke continues, "The dust…you only gave them enough to send the dragonborn and the half-orc back. They’re stuck."
The king counts on his fingers then starts to frown at Marrot. Marrot smiles, "Why my cloven-footed friend I believe you are correct. I have miscounted. I did not adjust for there being two of them going. Oops." He turned to the king, "I am so, so, sorry that I have misplaced your ambassadors. I’m sure they will turn up eventually. I do appologize for overlooking that, my mistake. But isn’t it time for a game, look the dark elf has already returned the dragonborn?"
The king’s frown turned into a smile, "Yes, a game. Dragon-girl into the arena! Get her ready, Ugly will be there soon."