After escaping from Sky Mountain, Captain Hanso K’tanga flew them directly to Throal to warn the dwarves that the Therans were coming. Looking back as they fled, they realized that Sky Mountain was invisible from the ground, that it could only be seen from the air, making it difficult to detect the super-fortresses approach. Exploring the holds, Nazeer, Phylinius and Buulgath found several chests of strange amulets, enchanted with some unknown magic. There were many hundreds of the amulets, enough to outfit an army.
Upon arriving in Throal, the group met with King Neden himself and his advisors, telling him what they had seen and presenting him with the scroll. After some time spent translating the scroll, it was determined that it was written in Maracan, a language of one of the Imperial provinces. It spoke of how Sky Mountain was controlled and powered by a Jinari spirit, who both maintained the magic of the super behemoth and controlled the Horror within it, which was to be used as a super weapon of sorts. Apparently the Horror was powerful enough to level mountains with it’s fiery gaze, and Abbadon intended to level Throal with it. It also explained the chest of amulets – while in proximity to Sky Mountain, the amulets would allow the wearer to fly, giving a strong tactical advantage to even normal soldiers. Although Throal was still relatively weak from the Second Theran War, Neden knew that if he did not act to stop the Theran super-behemoth, nothing would be able to stop Abbadon from conquering Barsaive with it. He asked the trio if they would fight alongside the Throalic troops, as they had the most intimate knowledge of the vessel, and they quickly agreed.
The Throalic force moved quickly to intercept Sky Mountain, and mobilized their limited air fleet to reach it before it got close enough to Throal to attack. When they were in sight of the vessel, their amulets activated automatically, and each soldier found they could fly as easily as they walked. They quickly found, however, that the Theran soldiers had the same items, and they met their enemies in combat in the air over Sky Mountain. Nazeer, Buulgath and Phylinius joined in the fray as well, and made their way to the massive doors that held the Horror within the mountain. With the knowledge gleaned from the scroll, Buulgath knew he could weaken the magic containing the Jinari spirit, and allow it to unleash the Horror – thier only real hope of destroying Sky Mountain. As they approached, however, the jet-black form of Lord Abbadon appeared before them, preventing them from accessing the crucial point. As Phylinius and Buulgath pulled back, Nazeer confronted Abbadon himself, and the two crossed swords in mid-air. Abbadon was the better warrior, naturally, but Nazeer was no slouch and managed to hold his own against the mighty Great Elf. Finally, Nazeer struck a lucky blow and actually severed one of Abbadon’s legs, sending the crystal armor plummeting to the ground below. Stunned by the attack, Abbadon was caught by surprise by a fire cannon blast from an airship commanded by Captain K’tanga, and was sent spiraling away from the field of battle. Their way now cleared, the trio freed the Jinari spirit, Buulgath sensing that he got some aid from the spirit of his deceased master, Obrulon. The Jinari broke free, and just as predicted forced the Horror to destroy the mountain with a mighty blast, sending ash raining down on the plains south of Throal for years to come.
The battle won, the trio returned to Throal as heroes, and were given a personal honor by King Neden for their bravery and resourcefulness. Phylinius was given a special treat for his third circle advancement – he was to perform before the King himself at a special banquet honoring the fallen heroes of the battle. Wracked with nervousness, Phylinius wandered the halls of Throal, trying to determine what would be an appropriate song for a king. He found himself looking at mural of past rulers of Throal, and realized that the crown must be a terrible burden. He decided then to write a song about how difficult it is to be king, and perform it for Neden and his court.
The next day, after a long night of writing and rewriting, Phylinius was finally ready to perform for the king. As he began, the entire court grew silent at the sound of his voice, and Phylinius himself seemed suddenly lost in the performance. As the group watched on, a female singer appeared next to Phylinius, singing along with him, apparently unnoticed by the troubadour. They sang together, the entire court staring open-mouthed at the apparition that was before them. Finally, as the song wound to the end, the apparition disappeared, and Phylinius stood alone again, finishing the song by himself. When he finished, the entire court was silent. No one stirred to applaud, nor moved, nor spoke. Phylinius was nervous for a moment, until he realized that tears were streaming from King Neden’s eyes, and he was overcome with emotion. Recovering, he declared that he had not been so moved by a performance in many long years, and only a truly great performer could have so inspired the Passion Astendar to appear and sing along with him. Neden declared then and there that Phylinius would one day be a great performer, and a mighty legend.
Phylinius’ performance was a song called The Burden of the Crown by Baldwin of Erebor, a performer in the SCA. My mother first heard Baldwin perform that song at a royal feast, and aside from the divine manifestation, the result was identical – the crowned heads at the feast sat in stunned silence after the song was over, crying openly at the beauty of the words and music, too stricken to applaud. The song is one of my very favorites, and Baldwin has a CD out called Welcome to the Current Middle Ages I recommend you buy.