Just on the outskirts of the Taeraway region, near the base of the Skyrange Mountains, a tall Satyr with four horns stops to ruminate over the events of the past few days while he rests his weary hooves…
“Another feast moon ended, another hunt complete. Curiouser and curiouser, the types of people this region attracts ever since Glyphs came into common use. Every year, we hold this special feast to both honor one another, commemorate a year of hardships and triumphs, test one another individually as well as together… and to bring in as much food as possible for the winter ahead. Those adventurers certainly seemed an unlikely group when I first set upon their quaint encampment. Still, they did impress me with their improvement over only a short time…”
His thoughts trailed off- to when he first arrived, and the tavern was filled with people, but not necessarily with friends. There were groups of people, each to a table, each to their business. How when he had asked them questions, there was barely a murmur of response, let alone any with conviction or confidence. Acheron remembered how long it took for even one person to get up and go outside when the hunt was set… but when he returned for the feast itself, those small groups had dissipated. The people sticking to their own before were inter-mingled. The air was lighter, the laughter louder, the hunt had been successful.
Then came the night, and with it, the time for the adventurers to know what it means to be the very prey they brought low. Wave upon wave of creatures- natural and unnatural- sent to push the adventurers to their very limit… and then push more. Finally, and perhaps in a less than wise choice after the night's proceedings, Acheron returned to the tavern and found the adventurers worn ragged- but more unified than even twelve hours prior. The truest spirit of the Feast of the Hunt had been realized, even if Acheron had to be viewed as a villain in the eyes of those before him.
Acheron had seen this region rife with people over the last four years, and even before then since the excavation became popular. This moon seemed to have brought less adventurers than times prior- and yet, despite being outnumbered and on rationed resources… These adventurers survived against all odds or perhaps in spite of them. Even in the face of devastating loss- they rallied and earned the titles of Masters of the Hunt for at least a years time.
The final challenge: The Tournament of Champions, went better than Acheron had even anticipated. He knew their bonds would bring them strength, but the way they fought each creature in turn- even when not exploiting the exact weaknesses of each, was a sight to behold. Hegi Ekbold against the Chimera was a true display of prowess and what the military might of Gildamere could produce. The young mage named Fyrian- a Myrenvel with power well beyond his years against the Planar Ooze was tense and not without injury… but in the end, the boy walked away with victory held tightly in their one functioning hand.
Next was Mirrabella, a priestess of Aramil who acted as the primary magical healer for the adventurers. She faced off against the risen body of a young green dragon; a Dracolich, in single combat. The air was heavy- the crowd near silent as the priestess did her best to compose herself as she evaded the undead dragon’s onslaught. In an act of desperation and potentially a gamble, she invoked her healing abilities on both herself and the undead beast before her… as the spell landed and the flesh sizzled and burned away exposing the glowing red-hot necrotic bone beneath. There was a moment of pure, pregnant silence… and then an uproarious cheer so loud and invigorating Acheron himself had to refrain from joining in. Though the priestess barely fell against her foe, she had proved herself in a way few can, and earned the respect of the ancient Satyr.
With two victories and one defeat, there were only two rounds left. Next stepped into the ring a particularly strange creature: Fafnir Flasktank- a Drinn-Thol who was also part volcanic monkey and earthen bear… he was truly strange looking- and looking is exactly what his opponent did. He faced a mighty Beholder, a large floating head with a primary eye and atop it, multiple stalks covered in smaller eyes that fired rays of magic. When the match began, the only thing the Beholder witnessed was its own demise as the Thol rushed the creature down with the ferocity of all the animals it was composed of- ending with his clawed fist sticking through the Beholder’s eye, out the back of its head.
With three victories- the adventurers had won the challenge- however, one man named Aymeric still sought to face Acheron in single combat. The ancient satyr was amused, but was forced to decline. The feast had concluded and he was needed elsewhere- still he told the eager lad he may yet have his opportunity one day if he continues to join in the Feast of the Hunt. As Acheron sat on his rock reminiscing and looking forward to future hunts he saw a large white dragon fly overhead towards the very place he had only just left.
“Odd- to see a full dragon here. And a White one at that. He seemed rather large… Alendrios? No… S-Serendrios?!” Acheron was puzzled but didn’t focus too deeply on the occurrence. That is, until he saw, clearly, a blinding flash shoot up from the direction of the tavern and where the dragon had gone. Following it was an incredibly fast dome of glowing, radiant energy mixed with what seemed darker than void behind it- pure… nothingness? As if all of reality fell apart behind the dome of light. It approached Acheron and set upon him before he knew what he was looking at. And then…