The Legend of Ayden
Arwyn's story actually begins about three hundred years before her birth. The overlord Mordath
had conquered nearly all of the Five Lands of Quin
with his massive troll armies. When all hope seemed lost, a resistance army rose up against him and drove the trolls back, finally besieging his fortress stronghold. Eventually, Mordath himself was forced to take to the field of battle. If he
could win the battle, all of Quin would be his, but if he failed he would lose everything, including his life. Out of the mist came the mysterious general who had successfully rallied the resistance army. An old man of regal bearing came forward astride his horse, and began decimating Mordath's troops. Going by the name of Ayden, he came face to face with Mordath and demanded he surrender or die. When Mordath refused, Ayden was forced to draw his great bow and fire, killing the warlord instantly.
The people called upon Ayden to take of the mantle of King over the Five Lands, to stay and be their protector from future despots. Ayden (who was actually Altwaal of The First) refused, but left behind the means of calling upon his aid. He took the arrow with which he had slain Mordath, split it into five fragments, and sent them out among the Five Lands. Mordath's trolls retreated back into their forested hills and Ayden faded into history.
About three centuries later, Arwyn is a young woman serving as a Royal Archers of Middelyn in the Palace of Ages in Iseaunon. She had come from Gerrindor, a city of artisans which she loved greatly. Arwyn's captain was a young man named Darian
. Darian had distinguished himself in the Grinbor border wars, and had risen through the ranks very quickly. Just a short time after Arwyn joins the Archer's ranks, King Norgard himself sends the pair off to investigate a problem in the town of Henredon.
Arriving there, they learn of the slaughter of many of the local's livestock. Cattle and hogs had been butchered in the fields, but as yet no culprit had been apprehended. What had drawn the notice of the King however, was not the death of any animal, but rather the murder of the local cooper. He had been so mauled, he was recognizable only by his wedding ring. Many believed the deaths were caused by an animal, but no one thought any animal could be so crafty as not to leave a trail of its passing.
Orvin, an old man most of the citizens thought crazy, believed the slaughter was the result of a legendary animal called the Dread Wolf. This creature was supposedly an animal in a wolf's shape with the intelligence of a man. Arwyn and Darian searched the woods surrounding the town but found nothing for their trouble. Eventually, as they walked along the banks of a local tributary, they discovered faints tracks which were larger than any natural beast of the area. Otherwise, there was no sign of the creature.
The pair of archers return to the town as night fell and rain bore down on Henredon. In the early hours of the night, the Dread Wolf was seen devouring its latest victim, another of the town's inhabitants. Arwyn and Darian pursued the vile creature to the river's edge, shooting it with arrow after arrow until it finally fell, Arwyn delivering the killing shaft.
Back in the local tavern, the Royal Archers were celebrated as heroes. The Dread Wolf's hide was hung on the wall of a trophy. The celebration did not last long, however, as yet another victim was claimed before Arwyn and Darian could leave town. Orvin, the man who had finally vindicated his claims after so many years, was found torn asunder in the eastern corn fields. There was at least another Dread Wolf an the prowl.
Henredon's populace began to panic, and the Archers went from saviors to scapegoat. The citizens demanded action, complaining to the city council for immediate results lest they too become wolf food. While the men of the town were arguing over the best plan of attack, Arwyn began her own investigation. Searching the pelt of the fallen beast, she discovered grease and wheat chaff embedded in the fur. This discovery led her to grab Darian and head for a new destination.
North of Henredon, and old abandoned grain mill stood next to a dried up stream. Arwyn and Darian now believed another Dread Wold, possibly the slain one's mate, was bedded down inside. The Archers waited until the dark of night to approach close to the mill.
Inside, they found not what they expected, but rather something worse. Instead of another single wolf, an entire pack had made a home out of the mill. Inside, the beasts were surrounded by scores of human and animal remains. Now, they faced not a single wolf taken by surprise at range, but a pack of feral and alert animals in a confined space, a recipe for suicide. Running short of arrow, the finally fell to their blades, getting in close for killing blows.
Finally, all the wolves lay dead, but Darian was mortally wounded. Arwyn bound the worst his wounds, wounds which seemed to flow freely with his life's blood. Having done all she could, she carried him back to Henredon, afraid she might lose him forever. The citizens burned the mill to the ground, and gave Darian and Arwyn a place to stay while he struggled to heal. Arwyn never left the side of this man she had not even know just a few days before. When he finally awoke, her face was the first thing he saw.
When Darian had healed enough, the two returned to Iseaunon as lovers. They were soon married, and stayed on for a few years as Royal Archers to the King. In time, the returned to the town of Arwyn's youth, Gerrindor. Soon, they learned Arwyn was with child.
Little did they know that Mordath would soon walk the Five Lands again, and bring death and destruction in greater measure than before.
Gerrindor is burning the next time we see Arwyn. Trolls are overrunning her hometown as she struggles to fight through them and reach her home. By the time she comes to her front door, she finds the house engulfed in flames, her husband and daughter trapped inside. Accompanied by her faithful dog Kreeg
, they burst into the home, only to find another contingent of trolls awaiting. Arwyn and Kreeg fight to the death, defeating their foes. Arwyn finds the body of her dead husband sheltering the body of their daughter. Arwyn reaches out in the hopes of the girl being alive, but must wail in despair once she see the lifeless body of Neera
.Later, after burying her loved ones, Arwyn grieves her loss on the hills overlooking the ruined Gerrindor. It is in that moment she discovers the new purpose of her life. She vows to kill Mordath, and sets out immediately.
Arwyn makes her way to Mordath's palace stronghold, sneaking her way in past all the troll guards. While Mordath is entertaining himself by killing Hanun of Ankhara, Arwyn is making her way to the palace grounds. She infiltrates the place by taking on the garb of a mounted patrol officer and fighting her way past a guardhouse, taking no care for herself and leaving bodies behind to be easily found. She works her way in, sneaking past patrols of soldiers and courtiers until she find herself at one of the throne room's doors.
Sneaking up behind Mordath, she silently draws her bow and lets an arrow fly. Mordath's powers make him instantly aware of the attack, and burns the shaft in mid air. Mordath orders her killed (a decision he changes later) and she is overwhelmed and knocked unconscious by the troll bodyguards. Meanwhile, an unknown ally retrieves a certain bow from its hidden location. Arwyn awoke to find herself and Kreeg chained Mordath's dungeon. Alongside her was a man who would become an erstwhile ally, Gareth
. She is still alive because Mordath intends to make a public spectacle of her execution as a lesson to the inhabitants of the Five Lands. After Mordath and his guards leave the dungeon, Gareth reveals that he's palmed the key to their chains off of one of the trolls. They release themselves and begin their escape from the castle. But Arwyn has other plans.
Arwyn's only goal in life now is to see Mordath dead, and she does not care if she dies in the process. She forces Gareth to accompany her in a search for the despot, but the alarm is soon raised, and he finally convinces her she will never make it into Mordath's presence again. Deciding to flee and return to fight another day, they make a run through the castle, not realizing they are being herded to the top of the tower, a place with no escape. When they find themselves trapped and death is a certainty, they are suddenly whisked away by a new and powerful ally, a blue-cloaked seeress by name of Neven.
The Quest Begins
Neven, who is actually a splinter aspect of the god-like, ascended Atlantean Danik
, rescues them and sets Arwyn on a path that will change her life, and the lives of the Five Lands inhabitants forever. In the ruins of Orelyn castle, Neven explains to Arwyn that she was saved because she is needed. She relates the story of Mordath's resurrection and the means to his sure destruction, the bow of Ayden. (Which, unknown to Arwyn, is actually one of the fabled Altwaal's Weapons
.) Arwyn is presented the bow, though she does not want it nor does she believe Neven's claims. As the trolls, led by Bohr
draw closer, Gareth offers to take the bow when Arwyn refuses. Neven tells them it has been decided that the bow is only for Arwyn. Furthermore, she is told she must take up the bow and find the five fragments of Ayden's arrow in order to truly bring about the downfall of Mordath.
If Arwyn can find the five fragments, she will be able to summon Ayden, who can then put an end to the reign of Mordath. Arwyn remains unconvinced until she and Gareth are set upon by Bohr and his men. Forced to take up the bow of Ayden to defend herself, Arwyn witnesses the destructive power of the weapon first hand. The bow can take any ordinary wooden shaft and turn it into an explosive missile capable of blowing holes in the strongest castle walls. Neven abandons them in the midst of the fight, forcing Arwyn to rise to the occasion. Overwhelmed by the trolls, they are forced back into the ruins of Orelyn and Arwyn collapses the only entrance, saving them from the trolls but trapping them inside the castle walls.
Kreeg finds a hidden tunnel, which leads to an opening in a cliff-face overlooking a great river. Finding no other means of escape, they make the jump, praying they survive.
Having successfully escaped, Arwyn decides to undertake the quest for the fragments, but first visits the ruins of her home. She buries her wedding ring as a symbol of leaving her past behind to fight against the evil emperor. She vows one day to return and take up her past and her grief again. Meanwhile, after being assured that Arwyn is taking up the quest, Neven confronts Mordath and informs him, "I was never in agreement with your resurrection." Mordath learns of Ayden's continued existence, and that Arwyn has the bow and is searching for the fragments to bring about his destruction.
Arwyn and Gareth make their way out of Gerrindor into the western reaches of Middelyn. Arwyn decides to investigate the legend of a dragon's hoard in the area, and their search leads to an inn called *The Serpents Tooth.* Inside, they begin asking questions about the legend, and are met with icy stares and cold shoulders. They are "invited" to leave the inn and ask no more questions, when they are given a break. A beautiful brunette named Shiara
says she is willing to speak with them, causing a most magnificent bar fight to break out. Eventually they get away from the inn only slightly scathed, and bed down for the night under a bridge. Arwyn relates to Shiara the story of the bow, an item in which the exotic beauty seems highly interested.
Kreeg does not trust the strange woman, and Gareth remains skeptical of the existence of dragons. Arwyn is more open to the idea, possibly after her experiences with another supposed legend, the Dread Wolves. Shiara assures them the dragon and its hoard is real, and that she can lead them to the entrance of its lair. Shiara leads them to Fayern Gorge, but refused to go any further than the rim, leaving Arwyn and Gareth to forge on alone. At first they find no sign of an entrance, but when Gareth finds a massive emerald he beings to believe the legends. They find a small entrance and wend their way into the cliff's side, eventually finding a massive hoard resting beside an underground lake.
That's when the dragon bursts out of the water. Arwyn is quickly knocked unconscious, leaving Gareth to fend for himself against the great lizard. Arwyn enters a dream state where she is visited by her dead daughter. The place she find her in is a place of beauty, and seems so real Arwyn believes she herself has died and joined her family in the afterlife. Neera, her daughter, tells her that she is happy and not to worry, and then cryptically tell her to "look inside the flowers."
Meanwhile, Gareth takes up Ayden's bow to use against the dragon. Gareth the bowman is a legend in the Five Lands for his marksmanship because he never misses, that is until now. Like it or not, Gareth is forced to admit that the bow is only for Arwyn's use just as Neven had said. Now he must scramble just to survive the dragon's attack, and he literally stumbles across the sword *Serpent's Bane.* He takes up the sword, not knowing its properties and cut the dragon more deeply than it has been wounded in centuries. After a short battle, Gareth is successful in taking down the dragon with the sword.
Arwyn awakes from her slumber and finds a box nearby, flowers inlaid on the lid. Remembering her daughter's words from the dream, she opens the box to find the tip of Ayden's arrow hidden inside. When she goes to share the news with Gareth, she finds him standing over the very naked body of Shiara, the dragon nowhere in sight. Shiara, it turns out, had been the dragon all along, leading the pair of adventurers to her lair in hopes of gaining Ayden's bow for herself and adding it to her hoard. It is at this point that Arwyn makes an offer she would later come to regret dearly.
Arwyn offers the bow of Ayden to Shiara if she will take down Mordath. She believes something as powerful as a dragon could do the job of Ayden and his bow, and thereby shorten her quest for vengeance by many months. Shiara, being greedy for booty as all dragon-kind are, agrees to fight Mordath in return for the promise of the bow. The great red dragon immediately heads east toward's Mordath's Keep.
At the Keep, Mordath is having a meeting with his governors, executing Neth of Ankhara for his inability to quell the rebellion there. Shiara attacks the Keep, blasting the stained glass of the throne room with her flame breath. Shiara deals out massive destruction to the fortress, and Arwyn readies herself to finish the deed if Mordath somehow fails to fall to the fire drake. The battle seems to be their's as they make it to the throne room, site of her first failure against the revenant. As she begins to search the rubble for his body, he burst through and grabs her by the neck. When hope seems lost, Shiara appears and challenges Mordath directly. Gareth takes initiative during the distraction and stabs Mordath through the heart with Serpent's Bane, but the weapon fails to have any effect.
Mordath turns his attention to Shiara, blasting her from the sky and mortally wounding the serpent. Gareth convinces Arwyn to flee the castle and ensure they can continue the quest should the dragon fail. In the rush to flee down the castle walls via rope, a troll cuts the line and Arwyn falls to the ground, breaking a bone in her left arm, rendering her instantly useless as an archer. As they hobble away from the destruction behind them, Shiara continues her assault against the despot, initially giving as good as she gets. Eventually though, Mordath's power and wrath proves to be too much for Shiara, and she is forced to flee.
Shiara flies away and swoops down to grab Arwyn, Gareth and Kreeg as they are nearly captured by the troll army. They make it back to Shiara's secret lair in the gorge. Bleeding and dying, the dragon slowly and painfully shifts back to human form and makes Gareth and Arwyn promise to avenge her death. Gareth buries the fallen drake while Arwyn gathers together bags of treasure to aid their journey south to Ankhara.
Rebellion in Ankhara
Gareth leads Arwyn through the Glade of Heroes on their way down toward cliffs of the winged people. The Glade is mysteriously carved by some unknown means, its trees shaped into great heroes of Quin. Arwyn is confronted by Neven, who comes to take Ayden's bow away. Neven accuses Arwyn of bypassing the quest for her own personal needs, but Arwyn fights back and refuses to give up the bow. Neven is pleased, as she was actually testing the archer to see if her heart was still in the quest. As Gareth and Arwyn leave the glade, its secret, impish inhabitants emerge and carve one of the trees into a likeness of Arwyn.
Arriving at the gates of Ankhara, Gareth leads Arwyn to a secret entrace to the city during the night. They stumble through the hieroglyphic engraved walls and tombs of kings until they emerge into daylight, right into the middle of the troll governors harem. When discovered by trolls, Gareth and Kreeg hide, but Arwyn takes her usual tack and immediately attack the trolls, stirring up a hornet's nest of trouble. Gareth rushes from hiding, and even the women of the harem contribute, casting trolls over the cliffs. As the battle ends, the Dawn Warrior appears, and he's not the least bit happy. Rahm
, the Dawn Warrior of the Ankharan people, has been working with the Ankharan underground to get at the troll governor through the harem. The harem is full of volunteer women who have pledged their bodies and themselves to first put the governor at ease, and then kill him in the midst of his ecstasy. Gareth and Arwyn's unexpected arrival have ruined that chance, so Rahm leads them and the harem women out of captivity through yet another secret tunnel. Down at the city gates, Bohr arrives with his contingent of trackers.
Leading them to the hideaway of the resistance, the hidden Temple of Amon-Set, Rahm tells them of Ankhara's fall directly by the hand of Mordath. He also imparts the story of the Dawn Warrior, a line of protectors of which he is the latest. The Dawn Warriors have been given Ankhara's greatest weapon, the Dawn Sword, but the sword has been lost. When Mordath himself came to the city, the sword was taken down into the most secure and hidden catacombs, but the tunnels collapsed when Mordath used his power to attack, leaving no access to the weapon. Rahm asks for Arwyn's help, and after a bit of soul searching she gives it willingly.
After resting for the night, Gareth and Arwyn join Rahm and the resistance as they break into groups and begin searching the passageways and tombs. While serching some of the long abandoned shrine, the floor gives way below Arwyn and she falls down into the very chamber holding the *Dawn Sword.* When she attempts to take up the weapon, she is attacked by the mummy guarding it and forced to take up arms against it. When her sword fails to affect the creature in any way, she takes up Ayden's bow, unsure she will be able to draw it. She does, and the mummy (and the wall behind it) is blow to bits. Gareth, Rahm and their party walk in from the other side, and the Dawn Warrior takes up the Dawn Sword and his destiny. Gareth formulates a plan where he and Arwyn openly joins the resistance, striking a blow against the troll invaders, then allowing themselves to be captured. Under the watchful eye of Bohr, governor Koht tortures Gareth until he reveals the hiding place of the resistance. In actuality, this is a trap, and Bohr and Koht's men have fallen directly into it. While the trap is being sprung, Koht takes Gareth and Arwyn up to the top of the cliffs and has Gareth thrown over. Gareth and Arwyn share a kiss just before his is sent to his death.
As Gareth falls to the canyon floor, the trap laid for the trolls is sprung, eventually spilling out into the streets of Ankhara City. Rahm lifts the Dawn Sword and inspires the people to rise up against their oppressors. Arwyn and Rahm fight side by side, both raising their fantastic weapons against the enemy. The battle ends when Rahm lifts the Dawn Sword against Koht, breaking the hilt away from his Sword. Rahm eventually lifts Koht into the air, dropping him so that he suffered the same fate as Gareth.
Inside the hilt of the Dawn Sword was the very object Arwyn came to Ankhara to find, the second fragment of Ayden's arrow. The Ankharans offer to accompany Arwyn on the next leg of her quest, but she refuses because she fears any further loss of life after Gareth's execution. She departs Ankhara and head further south for Oudubai with Bohr still hot on her trail.
The Wastes of Oudubai
Arwyn ventures on her own into the rocky environs of Oudubai. After a short escapade with a group of cowardly highwaymen, she is visited again by Neven. The avatar of Danik is concerned that Arwyn's heart has grown too hard for the task ahead, too overwhelmed with grief. Neven assures Arwyn that she is willing to make any sacrifice to see the quest succeed, even to the extent of sacrificing Arwyn herself. Neven leaves the archer with these ominous words, while Arwyn declares, "I won't be a puppet."
The next morning, Arwyn rides into Aldinal, gateway city and capitol of Oudubai. Checking into the finest inn of the city, Arwyn is confronted by a shocking but welcome sight, Gareth is alive and well. Arwyn reacts in joy and then anger as the events of Ankhara come flooding back, their capture, the kiss, Gareth's plunge, all of it. She storms out of the inn with Gareth chasing after her. In the middle of the street, Arwyn literally stumbles over and old lover of Gareth's, the cat burglar Cassidy.
It soon comes to light that Cassidy knows the location of the third fragment of Ayden's arrow, the city of the desert dwellers in the wastes of Oudubai. She promised to help retrieve the item just for the pure adventure of being with Gareth once again. Meanwhile, Bohr had tracked Arwyn to the highwaymen who attacked her the night before, killing all but one who pledges his life to their cause as long as it means he can enact revenge on Arwyn for making a fool out of him. Bohr also comes to realize that Arwyn is not running from him, but rather searching out the five fragments. He also knows the location of the next fragment, and decides to stop tracking her and skip directly to her next destination. Cassidy leads Gareth and Arwyn into the desert, stopping for the night at a known oasis. During the night, they are attacked by the desert dwellers themselves and taken captive into their city beneath the sands. Urnethi by name, these desert dwellers are not human, but rather a humanoid spider-like hybrid of some kind. They have lived in the desert for longer than anyone can remember, and their existence is unknown to most of the world. The Urnethi like it that way, and work very hard to keep their city hidden from all outsiders.
Down below, once the trio awakes, they effect an escape only to run directly into the arms of Bohr and his troll soldiers. Unknown to Cassidy and the others, the Urnethi have an agreement with Mordath. As long as they serve Mordath's interest in the wastes, they are promised to be left in peace for Mordath has no interest in the vast desert sands of the southern reaches. Captured once again, Gareth is left in chains as food for one of the Urnethi's giant spiders, while Arwyn is given into Bohr's custody. Cassidy, for her part, betrays the location of the first two fragments to Bohr in return for her freedom. As part of their agreement with Mordath, the Urnethi matriarch also gives the third fragment to Bohr, giving him possession of over half of the arrow that can kill his lord.
Bohr leaves the Urnethi with Arwyn in his custody. Kreeg is left behind, and so stands guard over Gareth as he await his fate as spider food. When the monster comes to claim him, Cassidy appears to rescue him. She had cooperated with Bohr and the Urnethi so that she would be free to act against them. Once free and victorious over the arachnid, they go after Arwyn. Their plan to grab her while disguised as Urnethi quickly fails, but they are able to escape when a desert storm blows through. Unfortunately, they loose Arwyn when the highwayman stabs Gareth in the back and returns her to Bohr's clutches. Cassidy though, successfully steals back the arrow fragments.
Now in the hands of the trolls, Arwyn is subjected to a series of beatings from Bohr when he discovers the fragments are gone. Arwyn has promised the troll that she'll never make it Mordath's castle alive, and seems determined to push the troll and his men to put an end to her. During the ensuing journey, Bohr paints Mordath as a savior to troll-kind, raising them up among the peoples of the Five Lands and helping them gain retribution from those who had mistreated them for so long. As they exit the wastes through an canyon full of abandoned ruins, they are attacked by an entire nest of razormouths, huge reptilian creatures with rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth, and an appetite to match. During the battle, Arwyn gets her hands free and regains her bow. In the end, only Bohr and Arwyn are left standing, and she has the upper hand. Bohr gives up his chase and Arwyn allows him to leave. They part ways, still enemies, but with a greater appreciation of what the other has been through in their life.
A new player appears on the scene, pulling strings in the background. When his assassination attempt of Mordath is thwarted, he turns his attention to Arwyn. Meanwhile, the archer herself tracks down Gareth and Cassidy and regains the fragments. Though her trust of Cassidy is somewhat broken (and her faith in Gareth as well), she allows her to stay in the group as she leads them to the coast, to the city of Dorne.
Lost at Sea
Finding a ship at Dorne, they set sail to towards the north, making for the port at Skarnfeld. Once underway, they quickly run afoul of a storm, but an unnatural one created by the as yet unknown watcher. This man turns out to be Pallias, the lost son of Mordath. He has enslaved Dodona, a blind seeress to help him manipulate Arwyn's movements across the Five Lands.
Aboard ship, the crew weathers the storm, waiting for it to blow over. The captain invites his guests to dinner, and unsuccessfully attempts to poison them so he can capture and sell them as slaves. Gareth suspects the plot when he smells the poison on their food, and they defend themselves. Wondering how they will either take over or escape the ship while in the middle of the ocean, Pallias moves his hand and summons a great Kraken which swamps the ship and takes it to the depths.
Arwyn, Gareth and Kassidy awake to find themselves over fifty leagues in the wrong direction, stranded on a seemingly deserted isle in the middle of the ocean. Kreeg is nowhere to be found, which sends Arwyn into full-fledged grief and further serves to harden her heart against the world and renew her vow of vengeance against Mordath.
Whatever island they shipwrecked onto is hidden from Dodona's eyesight. She informs Pallias that maybe they are being hidden by a powerful, old magic. She terms it as magic "from before the moon fell magic so ancient and vast it is as if we cannot see the wood for the trees." As Arwyn and company would soon discover, there was much more to the island than could be easily seen.
They are soon set upon by a group of zombified people, representing each of the peoples of Quin. These monsters are under the control of an old man who is a type of alchemist who calls himself a researcher. This man says he's studying the planets, an astrologer. He calls himself Caractus LeGrand, who once worked in the court of Duke Xeres of Xan (who looks like Sean Connery). This Duke was searching for an ancient relic from before Quin's moon failed (there's that reference again), and orders LeGrand to find it. Finding the island on which they currently stood, LeGrand ordered the Duke's men to dig for the relic. Realizing he would be in mortal trouble if these men discovered he had no idea what the relic was or looked like, he poisoned them all. By some unknown property of the island, the dead men were turned to reanimated corpses. Whenever the zombies finally die off, he eats the remains. Any adventurer who unluckily happens upon the isle is turned into yet another lemming corpse.
The trio escapes yet again, and Arwyn shoots the crazy old man's lab, blasting his chemicals to smithereens. The explosion reveals the ultimate secret of the island, awakening the island itself which is now revealed to be one of the "fabled juggernauts," the very relic LeGrand had been sent to find in the first place. The creature, started and wounded, makes a dive below the waves, surrendering heroes to the waters once again.
Arwyn awakens to find herself naked and in bed with Cassidy in a palatial castle's bedroom. Their clothes have been laundered and pressed, and they look out a window to find Gareth lounging at a pool below, surrounded by beautiful women. Gareth is being treated like a king, and Arwyn and Cassidy are referred to as "first mates," and not in the nautical sense. Behind the scenes, Pallias is pleased to discover Arwyn now on the harem isle exactly where he wanted her. Now he can use a scrying device to manipulate her directly. While Arwyn is searching the ruined castle around them, she comes across a mirror, one that has a living image of her dead husband and daughter. She is convinced to step through the mirror, and comes face to face with Pallias and Dodona rather than her family. Back on the island, Gareth and Cassidy discover that they have stumbled onto a dragon's harem, and that all the "women" around them are actually of dragon-kind. That's when the "Grand Sire" dragon arrives, and he's not happy.
Arwyn faces Pallias in anger, hardly deigning to listen to him at all. Pallias reveals his own history, that he is the son of Mordath and and a shamaness. Mordath was distrustful of magic, and so his new wife laid down her magic and Mordath his weapons. Pallias, their new son, soon exhibited his own ability at sorcery in greater measure than his mother. She began to secretly train him, but was discovered by Mordath. He walked out on them, leaving Pallias' mother at the mercy of his enemies, so that Pallias became an orphan. He was found and raised by his mother's former mentor, and taught the ways of magic (which explains why he himself is still alive and young in appearance after nearly three hundred years). When Mordath was resurrected, he began killing all magic users on Quin, so Pallias hid himself and Dodona in a pocket universe until the time was right to strike.
Dodona leads Arwyn to believe that Neven was responsible for Mordath's resurrection (which is untrue since she, as Danik, tried to convince Solusandra not to do the deed). Pallias tries to drive a wedge between Arwyn and Neven and put himself forward as the one to trust. He says he also wants Mordath dead, so they should work together. Giving her the means to contact him again, Pallias sends Arwyn back to the harem isle, where she aides Gareth and Cassidy in escaping from the enraged dragons. They leave the island aboard a small, ratty boat and make for Skarnhime.
Snowbound in Skarnhime
Arriving in Skarnhime, Arwyn and company search for the Iskani, the Ice Trolls. They hope to find news on the location of the fourth fragment somewhere in the frozen North. As seems normal for the trio, they directly into the middle of trouble. The local Iskani are suffering from attacks by some sort of creature, a creature which rips the locals apart with great violence. Meanwhile, back at Mordath's castle, he enlists the aid of the troll assassin Lady Khiva to track down and dispose of Arwyn once and for all.
When Arwyn's company come to Skarnfeld, they find the surrounding town deserted, and the local longhouse littered with dead bodies and blood covering its walls and floor. They are found by Gustavus, an Iskani troll who fought in the wars against Mordath, and knows the truth abouth the beast who has done the deed. The creature, a Berserker, is in actuality a "hate" troll, a troll that has been turned into a monster by Mordath's old ally the witch Marta. Gustavus is the last of a band of warriors commissioned by the Iskani High King to track down and kill the beast, and just as he is the last, so too is the Berserker.
When they come upon the creature unexpectedly, two of their new Iskani allies are killed. Arwyn brings the bow of Ayden to bear on the creature, but only serves to anger the beast even more. Drawing on it again, Arwyn misses for the first time ever since coming in possession of the great weapon. As it charges directly at her, seeing her as the greatest threat, she stands her ground and waits until the last possible moment and fires again. The hunting party believes the creature dead, but they are mistaken, and it rises again to cause more death. Cunningly, it grabs Gustavus and another Iskani troll as a shield against Arwyn's bow, causing her to hesitate. Gareth and Cassidy rush the creature to get it to drop its hostages. It does so, but throws one of the trolls at Arwyn and she drops the bow. The Berserker grabs it and breaks it in two, causing an explosion of atomic proportions.
Amazingly, Gareth recovers from the explosion and rescues Cassidy from beneath the forest rubble. Gareth finally declares his love for the cat burglar just as Gustavus bursts from beneath the great piles of wood. They all scramble to find Arwyn, digging frantically through the charred detritus. Coming to the place where Arwyn had been during the explosion, they find her broken bow, but absolutely no trace of the archer herself.
When CrossGen Comics suffered bankruptcy, they ceased publication of all titles, leaving their story lines unfinished even though many were near the end. Such was the case with Sojourn, the title in which Arwyn's struggle against Mordath is told. Interestingly, Robert Taylor was slated to be the new writer on the series, and finished two scripts before the company went belly up. He later posted those scripts on a comics web forum, and those events are described below. Keep in mind these are unofficial (even though Robert Taylor himself said that art for the scripts were being produced).
Gareth continues to search the rubble for Arwyn, refusing to believe she is dead. In his despair, he tells Cassidy he loves Arwyn and she tells him she already knows.
Pallias seems unsurprised by the events. He orders Dodona to "see" what has happened, but she says she cannot. Pallias snaps a crystal, and Dodona begins to wail as blood comes from her eyes beneath her blindfold. Pallias draws a knife and advances on Dodona and steal her gift of "sight," the final two fragments of Ayden's arrow are in her eyes.
Mordath has gone to visit Marta. She performs a spell which endows him with the power of the land of Grinnbor. Before she can perform a second spell returning his youth, he is warned by an unknown voice that "she has them Mordath, she is coming to kill you" Mordath begins to return home, and Marta warns him he must return within a week or the energy will consume him.
Mordath returns, and signals all trolls to come to his castle. They all begin making their way. Pallias continues to chase Dodona and cut the fragments out. Neven is alerted to their fight and goes to investigate. She appears to Gareth and Cassidy who tell her of the broken bow. Neven holds out her hand and the bow appears there, completely repaired. She tells them that Arwyn is alive and captive.
Pallias and Dodona continue to fight. Arwyn is there. Pallias cuts the fragments from Dodona's eyes and moves toward Arwyn and offers them too her. In horror and disgust, Arwyn can only stare. Neven appears, and kills Pallias with a thrust of her staff through his heart. Arwyn no longer trusts Neven, until the avatar says, "Remember," bringing the archer to her senses.
Arwyn retrieves all the fragments, and the arrow reforms. Meanwhile, Neven has sent Gareth and Cassidy to the dragon's harem isle. She has arranged for the dragons to act as weapons in an assault against Mordath's castle, an assault led by Gareth.
Arwyn returns to Gerrindor and retrieves her wedding ring from where she buried it. She calls out to Darian and Neera for strength. Neven whisks Arwyn to Mordath's castle. Mordath is standing atop the castle, Gareth and Cassidy are riding dragon back as the castle is being demolished by the fire drakes. Mordath and his troops fight back, mortally wounding Cassidy's dragon and forcing it to crash near the throne room.
Arwyn is in Mordath's throne room, searching for him with the arrow knocked on the bow. Mordath apprears directly behind her, grabs her arms and keeps her from firing. Bohr and Khiva appear as Mordath begins to use his power to burn her hands. The bow and arrow fall as Mordath stands triumphant. Cassidy fires a normal arrow into his shoulder to distract Mordath. Cassidy and Khiva draw swords against one another. Arwyn reaches for the bow and arrow. Khiva defeats Cassidy and stabs her through the belly. Arwyn raises her bow as Mordath's hand begins to glow.
Gareth's dragon bursts in through the stained glass. Gareth and Arwyn kiss then he is hit by a fireball from Mordath. Cassidy recovers enough to retrieve a sword and go after Khiva. Bohr rises up behind the assassin and beheads her, leaving Gareth and Cassidy to escape.
Arwyn and Mordath face off for the last time. Arwyn fires, and places the arrow deep in his chest. Enormous amounts of energy escapes from his arms, and his head disintegrates. Mordath explodes, taking Arwyn with him.
Arwyn is next seen all dressed in white in the company of Darian, Neera and Kreeg. Gareth, Cassidy and Bohr search the rubble until they find Arwyn's body. Arwyn is now in complete joy.
A Continuity Problem
Possibly because of the breakup of CrossGen, there is a major continuity problem which arises. In Negation, Samandahl Rey is seen gathering the Sigil-bearers for the war against Charon. Mordath is among those recruited, leaving this storyline at odds with the unofficial one related above.
Note on CrossGen Comics
With the dissolution of CrossGen Comics, Sojourn never finished its storyline. The role Neven was grooming Arwyn for in the coming Negation War is unknown. There is some thought among fans that Arwyn would have been given the Sigil at Mordath's death, and wielded Ayden's bow in the war against Charon and the Negation.