No More Heroes

Tango with Glaurune

Upon arriving in Dumbledore our heroes found it to be deserted. Save for the fact that corpses burned beyond recognition littered the streets there was no sign of anyone anywhere.

Thankfully, there was no immediate sign of the Dragon either.

Willow and Quinn quickly found a magic scroll shop and pilfered it for all it’s remaining valuables. Luckily enough for them they found one scroll of Raise Dead, along with some others, and the components needed to cast it. Eight hours later, Ubashu was back on his feet again.

Certain more than ever that they would find no survivors in Dumbledore, the heroes decided to look in the Yellow Hills just North of the village in case any survivors managed to escape there. On their way out of the city, Willow caught notice of a large pile of treasure that filled the town square next to a fountain. Unable to resit she approached the pile stealthily.

No sooner had she lifted a magic shuriken had the Dragon reared it’s head. The heroes immediately booked it through the streets of Dumbledore with the Dragon in hot pursuit. Knowing that outrunning it was not much of an option, the heroes ducked and turned and twisted between alleyways and corridors trying their best to lose the Dragon in the dark corners of the town. Their plan worked, but not before Quinn got his backside singed in the process.

Though they were little shaken up and burned they had managed to survive their encounter with the Dragon. The three soon found themselves on the path North to the Yellow Hills….

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Escape from Hero Academy
or, how to kill an Ubashu in 3 days

With the other heroes gone without a trace the council decided it was prudent to keep the five remaining heroes under lock and key. They were fearful that whatever happened to the rest of the heroes might also happen to these five, and so they were placed under temporary house arrest for their own protection.

Of course, our heroes didn’t like that very much and escaped at their first opportunity.

With the world in chaos they were needed outside now more than ever. Gifted with a map from Willow‘s parents, the crew decided it best to cover as much ground as they could. So Brom and Hinny went East towards Hinny’s hometown of Elandael, while Quinn, Ubashu, and Willow went West towards Dumbledore. The group had heard rumours that a dreaded Red Dragon had besieged the small hamlet, and they wanted to make themselves useful by looking for survivors.

It was on the path to Dumbledore that the heroes discovered a caravan that had been overturned and ransacked. Signs of a fight were everywhere, but no bodies were to be found. Tracks leading South suggested that whoever attacked the caravan left with a much heavier load then they arrived with. Hoping that the people on the caravan were taken alive, the heroes pursued the tracks. After a short while the tracks turned East towards Devon Canyon. Continuing on the trail they could see the canyon in sight when they were ambushed by a group of Grimlocks. The Grimlocks fought viciously, and though the heroes won in the end it didn’t come without a cost. Ubashu’s wounds proved fatal, and he died shortly after.

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A World Without Heroes

After successfully emerging from the Cave of Trials, Brom, Hinny, Quinn, Ubashu, and Willow were all disappointed to learn that there would be no after party as expected. Those who would have planned it not only were too preoccupied with the disaster that befell them, but also simply did not expect to see them return. During their absence all the heroes in the entire world vanished overnight, and not just the fully registered ones either. Whatever took them also took the heroes in training from the Academy as well. The 5 that emerged from the Cave of Trials are the only heroes to have somehow escaped this global phenomenon which the public soon started to refer to as The Vanishing. The world was plunged it into a state of chaos. Nobody knew why or how the heroes managed to disappear so completely, but the scum of the earth didn’t take long to take advantage of their absence. Monsters and villains of all kinds began to turn the world into a living nightmare.

The Dragon Glaurune, kept in check by the great Dwarven Hero Mexulhar, now lays siege to the nearby hamlet of Dumbledore.

The great sorcerer Ophiuchus overthrew the lord of Restwell Keep and now rules it with an iron fist.

The Goblin King Alrok is said to have amassed an army in Harken Forest, to do what with only he knows.

Situations like these were hard enough to keep in check when the heroes numbered in the thousands. Now these villains and monsters spread like wildfire. If left unchecked, they have the power to destroy everything. To make matters worse, the chaos is encouraging small time crooks, petty thieves, and other less dangerous folk to act more boldly in their own pursuits. The local militia and guards within each city and town are overwhelmed. They were not equipped to deal with this level of chaos, nor would they have ever expected to with the presence of heroes. Soon they too will fall.

As our heroes take in this terrifying new information they come to one conclusion: now they are all that stands between the world we know and an army of darkness.

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Brom's Journal, Page 3
From the pen of Brom Fiedlerson

Four days ago. We emerged from the portal on the other side in the main hall of the Academy. Though we expected some kind of reception or celebration, there was none. Nobody seemed to be anywhere in fact. We began looking around for signs of life when we encountered one of the teachers at the Academy. He was shocked to see us and quickly ushered us into the council room where the council members were in hot debate. They too were shocked to see us return.

Apparently, during our absence, all the heroes in the world vanished overnight.

Not just the registered heroes, but those still in training too. Nobody knows where they went or why they are gone. Somehow we seem to have escaped this horrible vanishing. The council members were baffled as to why this could be, and told us we needed to remain safely guarded within the Academy until they could learn more. They were afraid that whatever took the heroes would come back for us. So we were secured in a room and guarded. This didn’t sit well with the others. They wanted to get out and do something, not sit tight and wait for answers to come to us. So we all worked together to sneak out of the Academy grounds that night.

We ended up inside an old tree that had been turned into a house for a group of Gnomes. These Gnomes were the parents of Willow, the Rogue in our group. The were glad to see she was alright and offered to let us stay for the night. In the morning Willow’s parents gave us some maps of the area. We agreed that if we were to find answers to the disappearance of the other heroes we should be discreet and try and cover more ground by splitting up. For this reason, Willow, Quinn, and Ubashu went West, while Hinny and I went East, towards her hometown of Elandael.

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Brom's Journal, Page 2
From the pen of Brom Fiedlerson

In the years that follow, historians will no doubt want to dissect the events of the past few days with a fine comb. For this reason, I will try and recount my version of them to the best of my ability.

It began five days ago. It was the day I was finally going to be brought up to the Cave of Trials, where I would be tested as a true hero. I had been there before, but I failed the test and so was required to repeat my last year at the Academy. This time would be different.

I was led by Shagold Stoneheart, one of the instructors at the Academy. With me were three other students who were to graduate that day; Hinny the Changeling Bard, Willow Ashwood the Gnome Rogue, and Ubashu the Shardmind Psion. They seemed a competent lot, so I was not worried of the challenge ahead. It was a long trek up the path to the base of the mountain that took us about eight hours.

When we entered the cave at the base of Mount Kalem we were faced with a long hall that we had to cross. This was the hall trials, and the first test. There were a dozen barriers between us and the end of the hall, each requiring a different type of skill. Though passing through each obstacle was no easy task, together we made it to the end.

Moving on to the next area we came across someone else in the cave. A man named Quinn who had formerly been a member of the League but was kicked out due to behavior problems. It seems that he wanted to go through the trials for his own personal reasons and had made it this far on his own. His help would later prove instrumental. The second test placed us in combat with four coloured skeletons. They died quickly, but just as quickly reanimated. To stop them for good, we had to push each one into one of four pits that shared the colour of the skeleton. This might have been hard if not for the Shardmind, who had psionic abilities to posh them with his mind.

Our third test was one of faith and patience. We were in an enclosed room with many things to interact with along the walls. Almost immediately following our entrance the room closed off and the ceiling began to descend. The objects surrounding us were ultimately just distractions, and the true way out appeared to only wait. Our friend the rogue didn’t like waiting, and so she expertly picked the locks on the door to the next area and we got out that way. It seems our teachers mean for us to learn there is more then one way to accomplish the same goal.

Our fourth test was a test against our ability to see through lies. An Eladrin woman was locked away in a cage with a massive drake in the far end of it. The drake had already eaten the other person in the cave, as evident by the bones that laid about, and was sleeping for now. The woman begged us to let her out but something about what she was saying rang untrue to me. I was cautious. However one of the others opened the cage anyway, and when they did the drake disappeared and the Eladrin’s features changed to be a mangled Eladrin Vampire. She immediately jumped at us, clawing for our throats. It would have been much easier to just leave her in there, but thanks to the extra help from Quinn we vanquished her and moved to the next and final test.

Our fifth and final test placed us in a strange fighting ring, platforms elevated above the ground and spinning around in multiple directions. There we had to fight a mutated Bullywug and some Stirges that called this cave home. Staying up on the platforms during the fight was the most difficult part of the challenge but we managed to balance and fight at the same time, eventually subduing the Bullywug and the Stirges alike.

When we did an image appeared before us. The image was that of one of the world’s greatest heroes of the past, and one of the founding members of the League. He told us that we had past the final test and that we have earned the right to call ourselves heroes. A portal appeared below him, to which he said would bring us back to the Academy, where a celebration awaits us.

We all passed through, eager to see what would happen next.

Little did we know it was something none of us expected.

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Brom's Journal, Page 1
From the pen of Brom Fiedlerson

The world is teetering on the edge of a precipice.

Once the heroes of the world numbered in the thousands. United under the banner of the League of Heroes, they accomplished many great deeds. Damsels in distress were but a footnote to the pages of heroics they left in the book of history. They saved the world, literally, more times then I know to count. Now there are no more heroes. Perhaps once the world knew how to survive without these bastions of peace, long ago, but if they did they know no longer. The world has become dependent on the heroes. And why shouldn’t they? Our entire purpose for existing is to remove from the rest the fear of having to protect the ones you love from the things that lurk in the dark corners of the world. Of course, I now wonder if the purpose comes with a fatal flaw. If they no longer know how to defend themselves because of heroes, what will they do now?

Is it the League’s fault? No. It can’t be. We were trying to help the people! Never in a million years could anyone have predicted what happened. We can’t be blamed for the vanishing. And yet, part of me wonders if we are to blame. If the League had never been created, the people we were trying to protect would be better able to protect themselves. No, I must not think these things. Leave the theories to philosophers and historians. I am neither. I am a hero. Possibly one of the last ones left. I do not know what I can accomplish, but I will do what I was trained to do. People need heroes now more then ever.

I just hope that my actions carry enough weight to stop the world from teetering. It’s a long way down should we fall.

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