You have been warned. The episode guide breaks down and summarizes each episode without sparing the key details. One may even consider this a campaign guide of sorts, chronicling the adventures of the Defenders of the Vale.
It should also be made clear that the audio quality at the beginning of our run is subpar. "Defenders of the Vale" is the first podcast that our editor/producer, Ron, has ever...well...edited/produced. Fortunately for us he's a fast learner, so quality begins to improve quickly.
But seriously, if you are not caught up with the current episode, read no further unless you hate surprises. Or maybe you don't want to listen to dozens of episodes just to get caught up; then by all means, please continue.
***SIDE NOTE*** You saw the banner up top, correct? 'Blah, blah, under construction, blah, blah...' Well, just to forewarn you, this section is going to take awhile to get finished, so we appreciate your patience as we continue to work to do so. Thank you for checking this area out; peek back frequently as we continue to fill it in.
We begin upon the discovery of several wanted posters depicting most of our heroes. All are wanted "dead or alive," except for Basha, who is wanted "alive and unharmed," by the elven court. Nino, Nina's grandson has gone missing. Ryn sets a trap for rider that is approaching him. The rider wears representation of wood elf royalty. Ryn proceeds to spy on the wood elf.
It is morning. Finnileas does divination stuff while Basha takes Hiri out to train...er, play. Rolen begins to investigate the kidnapping. Brek introduces Basil, Brisingr, and Rabijjan to Rolen, the only Defender in the common room of the Humble Beginnings. Brek then collects Finnileas for more introductions.
Back to Ryn, who is spying on the wood elf. Much time passes, uneventfully. Basha decides to spend the rest of the day in the woods with Hiri. Meanwhile, back at the inn, Rolen makes small talk and tries to devise a plan. At that moment Nina arrives, emotionally defeated. Rolen warns the newbies to never sit in Nina's spot.
Brek goes out and finds Basha. After hours, Ryn witnesses the wood elf eat a sandwich that looks like it was made by the elf's mother. Brek and "Basha" return; the goblin leads everyone to Nina who pleads the Defenders to retrieve Nino.
Basha asks Finnileas to divulge the information he's gathered. The wizard obliges by looking directly at Rolen as he responds. He reveals that the teleport leads to a temple situated between the two eleven capitals. Nina can't determine a reason why elves would target her grandson. It is guessed that Nino might be being held for leverage. Rescuing the halfling boy is obviously a trap. Is there a spy in the Humble Beginnings?
Brek reveals that he has ties to some of the elves, explaining why they refer to him as 'the puppet,' as a former slave to a royal elven family. Basha claims to be a simple noble of no consequence. It is noted that Ryn has been missing ever since the wanted posters started showing up. The guildies prepare for a long journey, complete with disguises. Finnileas packs all of his books. Brisingr goes for food, Rolen and Basil go for gear, Basha goes for horses.
Finally, some activity happens near Ryn as the teleportation circle lights up and more elves appear. Rolen is awkward, but Basil helps secure supplies. Farmers loan horses to Basha. Brisingr secures enough food to eat well their entire trip. Basha leaves a note for Ryn explaining where the group is headed: towards the elven kingdoms. The group leaves and as they near a different teleportation circle, it flashes green light and several elves appear.
There's six wood elves, altogether. Finnileas turns himself into a stump-horse-man with minor illusion. Basha casts pass without a trace on the party. Basha, Basil, and Brisingr approach the elves...
At this point, Ryn has now seen his companions arrive near the teleportation circle. Basha and Ryn play charades as they attempt to communicate stealthily in front of the elves. The new arrivals don't seem to like the elf that was waiting for them, and the elf 'whose mom packed a lunch for him' soon leaves. At this point, the remaining elves notice an elf-horse-stump (Finnileas) and they approach the party. Rolen approaches the elves, and they address him by his name, surprising the druid. Now unsure of how to approach the situation, Rolen turns into a brown bear and initiates combat with the elves.
The party overcomes their opponents swiftly, leaving only one alive (albeit unconscious). After Basil binds their prisoner, Rolen drops wild shape and the party stands menacingly over their captive. Questioning begins. Rolen wants answers, but the elf isn't giving them. The half-elf beckons Basha to step in as she is the Amazon. The elf answers her questions obediently. This is highly unordinary and the reason is soon revealed -- "Basha" is not Basha, she is Her Royal Highness, Princess Lunemi -- "low noble, my ass," to quote Brisingr.
It is revealed that the wood elves kidnapped Nino to gain leverage over Nina for Lunemi's return. It is also revealed that Finnileas knew of Lunemi's ruse all along. Feelings are being had, but there's no time for that -- time to go through the teleportation circle...
Basha releases the party's prisoner. Finnileas assesses the teleportation circle. Brisingr does not like portals and says that he gets sick when he uses them. Finnileas sets the portal to go to his mother's home. The wizard does not want to be the first to see Bellethiel Sylwynn. She is not happy about this visit's circumstances, but she cares for her son. However, she mistakenly mistakes the guild for her son's servants, so that was awkward. Speaking of awkward, when Finnileas' novice knowledge of runes is revealed, Bellethiel is having none of it and immediately gives her son a lesson.
The rest of the guild gets food and a break while Bellethiel lectures her son; Finnileas takes notes throughout all 105 minutes of it. Ryn inquires about Finn's awkwardness and gets shut down by Ms. Sylwynn. Finnileas has gained some knowledge...and books, one of which was written by his father. She then refreshes the food and directs the group to the capital.
Eager to leave his mother's abode, Finnileas rushes through the portal once it opens. Finn is immediately greeted by a group of (understandably) surprised elves who draw weapons and begin to cast spells. Fortunately, Lunemi comes through next. Ryn tries to flirt with Bellethiel before joining his guild. It is revealed that these new elves are Lu's brothers.
Lunemi's brothers question the Defenders, and Rolen's lineage is brought into question. Finnileas admits that he knew who Lunemi was all along. Accusations arise and Basil defends Finn. "Basha" returns, in full-on Royal Princess Lunemi garb. Lunemi defends her friends, exonerating them and suggesting a party be thrown. Her brother, Taseyo, agrees.
Brisingr attempts to help out in the kitchen, but the servants don't want him there. Other servants attend the group, preparing them to be presentable for the party; however, they blatantly ignore both Brisingr and Rabijjan until Lunemi steps in. Ryn protests special treatment. Rolen is just generally uncomfortable, though he secretly enjoys it. Finnileas is dressed in his family's colors. Bris, Lu, and Ryn all attempt to smuggle weapons into the party but are thoroughly discovered. Basil is flustered.
Lu is seated at the head table while her companions are seated at a side table, but the feast is marvelous. Before too long, Lunemi's father, King Faelon thanks the Defenders. At this moment, Lunemi's betrothed enters the room, the reason she became "Basha." Prince Heyil of the wood elves sits next to his bride-to-be and apologizes for the awkwardness. The prince wishes to meet the princess' friends and thank them. Heyil strikes up conversation with Rolen, revealing that the half-elf's sister had recently passed through the wood elf kingdom. The wood elf extends an invitation to Rolen to join him on a hunt.
Heyil continues to chat with the Defenders, and he's very likeable. He asks about the guild and Basha/Lunemi obliges. She tells him of Centrevale and Nina, and he reminds Lu of what Nina had done in the war. Heyil is horrified when he learns that Nina's grandson, Nino, was kidnapped for leverage, by his own family, no less. The Defenders opt to join the prince as he leads the group to his kingdom.
Prince Heyil leads the Defenders to the wood elf kingdom via carriage. It is revealed that the two elven capitals are situated in an hourglass formation; the high elven capital to the west, and the wood elf capital to the east, with a neutral temple situated at the center of the two. The temple serves as a crossroads for travelers wishing to visit either kingdom. As they pass through, Heyil suggests using the rear entrance to the palace.
The wood elf prince posits that Nino would be held in the royal cells, and is unsure why that information was kept from him. The door is locked, but is no match for Ryn's expert lockpicking skills. The party immediately encounters guards that are shocked to see their prince! Heyil insists that he's there to inspect the cells, but the guards immediately try to stall him. Heyil isn't having it and the party immediately locates Nino, who is passed out, drunk.
More guards start to arrive so Brisingr attempts to intimidate them in a moment that Finnileas foresaw in a vision (divination wizards, right?), and does so with ease. Heyil goes with some guards to speak to the captain. Rolen demands Nino's release but is scoffed at. Lunemi demands answers and is answered, but the guards still refuse to release Nino. The situation is getting testy.
The wood elves attempt to put Ryn to sleep but aren't quite able to get the spell to stick. For some reason, Rabijjan just realizes that Basha is engaged to Heyil, and must tell someone. That someone is Finnileas, and now both the cleric and wizard have distanced themselves from the rest of the party. The wood elves don't want to fight, and the Amazon gives them one last chance to release Nino before she strikes...and then she strikes! Combat is initiated...and quickly halted. The party is greatly outnumbered and the elves would rather not attack if they don't have to.
Basha sheaths her sword in an effort to end hostilities. Her attempt at diplomacy works, and the wood elves offer to lead the guild to Heyil. Rolen and Ryn try to stay back to keep an eye on Nino. Finnileas and Rabijjan, who were momentarily netted during the fray, are cut free. Finnileas casts message and asks Rolen (in brown bear form) if the druid thinks Finn should pop in the cell to check on Nino. Rolen nods. The wizard then casts misty step and places himself in the cell beside the halfling. Satisfied with his findings, Finnileas misty steps back into the hall, much to the ire of the guards.
Finnileas is warned that any more magic used to enter the cell would be considered an act of war. Lunemi calms them once again. The elves lead the party down the hall. After about 15 minutes an office is reached. There is a high elf giving the wood elves a hard time; turns out this high elf is Lunemi's uncle, Kain. Kain seems to know a bit about all of his niece's companions. Finnileas seems to know a bit about Kain, and that he's a deadly, effective assassin.
Kain formerly introduces himself to the guild and explains that he is here for the same reason they are. Lunemi's uncle poses her some questions, and Basha thinks a bit about what lies ahead for her. Kain then offers the guild a job -- find the betrayer to the crown, whom has been seen around Centrevale, and he'll take care of Nino's release. The group (along with Nino) heads back to the central temple between the elven kingdoms. Kain's presence is imposing and effective of speedy results; Finnileas learns new runes and the Defenders head back to Centrevale via teleport. Unfortunately, an angry triceratops is lurking around the circle. A melee begins, but the dinosaur is no match for the Defenders.
There is a little downtime after our heroes made their return to Centrevale with Nino. Rolen attempts to give a child a music lesson, teaching the child 'Chopsticks.' Basha/Lunemi spends more time training Hiri. Basil does monk things, which means building a training ground with practice dummies and whatnot. Brisingr trains with Basil. Rabijjan gets to know Centrevale. Ryn trains with the local blacksmith. Finnileas has been extremely quiet and locked in his room.
Three days after returning from the elven kingdoms, the crew wakes up to find that Finnileas had left in the night, only telling Rolen that he had things to do in a letter slipped under the druid's door. Once everyone gets to the guild hall, an unknown cloaked figure is seen by the job board. Gryvine is a tall, frail, VERY pale, teenage human male. He notices a job on a fancy paper which is addressed to Basha.
The Amazon demonstrates her nickname by snatching the fancy paper from Rabijjan's paws. It is the info on Kain's target: 5'4" high elf with a guard tattoo, fair-skinned with short blonde hair, blind in left eye with scar, not athletic, and working on O'Malley's potato farm.
At this point, we look back at Nino's return to Centrevale. Nina is beyond relieved and there is much hugging. Once Nina has composed herself, she poses a question to her guild: are the newbies in or out? The guild officially admits Brisingr Fell, Rabijjan, and Basil, the Lesser, to its ranks.
Gry joins the party and he's super creepy. They all head to the O'Malley farm. Brisingr immediately begins to pocket potatoes (Brisingr's player thusly rolls a natural 1 on his sleight of hand check) and is witnessed by O'Malley's daughter while performing the act. Eye contact is made. Bris continues to stuff his pockets.
Still at the O'Malley farm, the old dwarf recognizes the description to belong to Caleb, and he calls the elf over. The Defenders persuade Caleb to join the party for a drink, and bring him back to the Humble Beginnings in the guise of a day-drinking trip. Brisingr and Brek have a drinking contest (Bris wins but is then sick). Once Caleb is drunk, Rabijjan moves to take him home (so they can investigate his living quarters). The party leaves the Humble Beginnings.
On Basha's okay, Gry summons two skeletons (Tim and Tom) and kills Caleb with the intent of resurrecting him for interrogation. Caleb's corpse instead turns into a young red dragon wyrm. Combat ensues and the dragon is killed ( to Gry's dismay). The dragon corpse then turns into a symbol of ash and dust on the ground that some of the group recognizes as the mark of a cult.
In other news, when Finnileas left that morning, he had decided to teleport himself into the sleeping quarters of the king and queen of the elves, Basha's parents, and turns himself in for not bringing Basha home immediately when she ran away. He is then thrown into jail.
Gryvine is in a panic to restore his two skeletons, called Tim and Tom, which were felled during combat with Caleb/the red dragon. Rabijjan and Basil help Gry carry the remains back to the necromancer's shack out behind the Humble Beginnings, where Tim and Tom are then restored.
Ryn heads off to the blacksmith in hopes of building a few traps. He also attempts some disguises and tries to pass himself off as random people in town. Basha and Hiri are out learning tricks, as usual. Rolen is kind of shocked so he heads back to the Humble Beginnings to tie on a few with Nina. Brisingr also goes to the Humble, but there he fills up a flask with the strongest liquor in the vale. The dragonborn heads to the library to study the symbol left behind when the dragon was slain. It is a cult symbol, but that's about all Bris can figure out.
Rabijjan asks Gryvine about Tim and Tom's history. Specifically, where did he get the skeletons? After being pressed by Basil, Gryvine begins to spill the beans about his past, describing what disturbingly sounds like living in a cult. Gry escaped, but his friends did not...well, at least not alive. It is revealed that the cult Gryvine was referencing was the Cult of Orcus...whose symbol is identical to the one left by the red dragon/Caleb.
Some time passes before Basha remembers that they're on a mission, so once she's done training Hiri she heads back to the Humble Beginnings. Since Rolen is the only guildie there, he drunkenly follows Basha. Basil hears Basha call out in the inn, so he gathers Rabijjan and Gryvine to join her. Gry dresses Tim and Tom in robes so that they are not completely obviously skeletons.
Meanwhile, Ryn makes some really nice bear traps and as he's returning to the inn, he hears Basha and joins them. The group returns to O'Malley, who is flabbergasted to learn that "Caleb" is a dragon, doesn't believe it one bit. After convincing O'Malley that Caleb is just passed-out drunk, the Defenders are directed to the cave that "Caleb" was calling home. Rolen immediately gets a very bad vibe from the place. Brisingr immediately triggers a trap and is snared upside-down via tripwire.
There is cult symbolism everywhere within the cave, primarily in the form of glowing runes that illuminate its walls dimly. Basil asks Gry if these are the symbols from the cult he escaped from. Gryvine indeed confirms that they are, and then the monk asks him if he had ever had that symbol branded on him? Gry doesn't answer; he instead asks Basil, "like you?"
Gry reveals that he has seen Basil's tattoo before, something that the monk had not yet shared with his guildies. Basil has no recollection of receiving the tattoo, and reveals that he's lost some of his memories. At this point, Brisingr confirms what Gryvine has told Basil, as the dragonborn has faint memories of being there himself. Much has to be discussed, but now is not the time. Gry reminds the party of the fancy paper and the quest at hand.
Ryn leads the way into 'Caleb's' cave. It's a tight fit for the larger members of the party. A door is soon reached, and after the usual checks are made, Ryn and Basha get into position to assault whatever waits beyond the threshold. Ryn opens the door...and there's nothing there. The empty room is emblazoned in cult symbolism, complete with a large glowing rune in the middle of the floor. Of course, our mindful rogue walks straight across it, triggering a trap/combat.
A vrock appears but is no match for the Defenders. Upon its death, the runes on the floor fade. The party loots the room. It should be noted that Rabijjan wants nothing to do with this cave and has urged her companions to leave several times at this point.
As Finnileas has been imprisoned, comfortably, he is primarily questioned and tended to by Lunemi's brother, Taseyo, who is very kind to him and even brings the wizard fresh reading materials from time to time. Finnileas recalls his meeting with "Basha" and basically describes the foundation of the Defenders of the Vale. He continues recalling early adventures with the guild, before Basil, Bris, and Rabijjan joined its ranks. The 'interview' concludes.
Meanwhile, exploration continues in the strange cave. Rabijjan hates this cave. Several more doors are quickly discovered. Ryn grabs Basha and they repeat their previous door-opening maneuver. This room is littered in death, with a bunch of sarcophagi to the left and a bookshelf lined by a pair of chairs. Ryn checks for traps while he investigates the room, but draws the ire of a pair of flesh golems hiding among the refuse. Combat is initiated.
The camera switches back to Finnileas. Several hours have passed since his "chat" with Taseyo. Finn has spent the time researching his father's book that he had received from his mother. Suddenly, the elf realizes that he's not alone; Kain is also there. Lu's uncle doesn't want to waste any time and asks Finnileas if the accused is guilty of the crime. Finn accepts that he is guilty of not revealing Lunemi, but by doing so he was protecting Basha. At this moment, Finnileas understands that he is not speaking with Kain, he is being questioned by Springwater.
Springwater proves to be much less kind and finds Finnileas guilty of Treason (or rather, Finnileas indicts himself), punishable by forfeiture of life. With his rapier pointed at Finnileas' neck, Springwater asks if the convicted has any last words. Finnileas simply replies, "no." No one can get the jump on Springwater, but not even he was ready for Finn's response.
Springwater finds himself in a weird, grey moral ground; though Finnileas' acts were treasonous, they were carried out to protect Princess Lunemi. Guilty of Treason by his own admittance, Finnileas' life is forfeit -- but Springwater doesn't want to take it. The sentenced is given a choice: forfeit his life to his executer, or have the sentence executed. Finnileas has no problem effectively becoming an agent of the crown as Her Royal Highness, Princess Lunemi the Delicate Flower's protector, but before he can commit he has to run it past his mother.
Bellethiel is nonplussed to learn that her son has used what knowledge she's taught him to essentially commit suicide. She gets serious once Finnileas reveals that Kain and/or Springwater is just outside, and his visit has something to do with currently ambiguously identifiable elf. Finnileas explains the situation and his mother gives him a little encouragement in a way only she can. Together, they rejoin Kain. Belle gives him a hard time for doubting her family, but eventually leads both Kain and her son to a portal back to Centrevale.
Meanwhile, back in the cave, Basil is overwhelmed by how noxious everything is and throws up (he throws up a lot in dungeons, just saying). The room is finally investigated, now that the threat has passed. Rolen finds a rather large book with the cult's symbol emblazoned on the front. It's basically a cult handbook (a bible or book of shadows, perhaps). Gryvine suggests heading back to Centrevale before exploring too much more. Rolen, Brisingr, and Rabijjan head back to the Humble Beginnings while Basha, Basil, Gry, and Ryn stay back and camp at the cave.
As Brisingr, Rabijjan, and Rolen return to the inn, they're greeted by a curious sight. Nina is in her seat but she's enjoying drinks with Kain, a rather large orc warrior, a sickly-looking gnome named Stik, O'Malley the potato farmer, and a troll named Trotline. The Defenders enjoy some drinks with Nina's friends while Bris steals snacks. Before long, Finnileas descends the inn's stairs and joins everyone in the Humble Beginnings' common room.
It would seem that once Finn and Kain had returned to Centrevale, Nina put the former to work as festivities commenced. Finnileas has come to tell her that his work is complete. Nina grabs Trotline and beelines it upstairs, where Finnileas had been creating a teleportation circle. She immediately plays a practical joke on the high elves with Trotline's help.
As the evening progresses, Rabijjan proceeds to get wasted. While that is happening, Rolen gives Finn the book he had found back in Caleb's cave. Finnileas tells Rolen that he had gone back to the capitol to visit his mother and do some things, never mentioning that he had turned himself in for treason or that his life now belongs to Springwater. Brisingr then joins the wizard as he sits at an empty table and begins to study this "new" tome.
Stik also takes interest in the book, and before long is reading along over Finnileas' shoulder. Rolen grabs himself a drink before confronting the gnome. The encounter leaves the druid frustrated, and Stik escorts him to the bar to clear his mind. Before long, Stik calls out Nina and her new guild, inquiring if her 'flock' even knew of her exploits during the great war. The gnome goes on to talk about the war, and how guilds came about. He explains that all the people here with Nina are part of one such guild that Kain was the head of.
The story progresses to reveal that the war wasn't won by annihilating an opponent, but instead by treaty. The dragons and giants would go into exile, but all guilds were to be disbanded as well. This guild, that Nina formed in Centrevale, was nothing like the guilds of old (she actually expected it to fail), but with the revelation of Caleb being a red dragon...well, that changes everything.
It is the following morning in the common room of the Humble Beginnings. Ryn has changed clothes, from his typical attire to more tactical clothes. Brisingr has since attuned to the ring (of spell storying) that he found. Turns out Rabijjan passed out on the bar, apparently unable to keep up with Nina and the old Guild the night before. The tabaxi wakes up and immediately steals food off of Rolen's plate.
Meanwhile, back at the cave, Gryvine has been watching the entrance with Tim and Tom all night. Basha challenges Gry to a mage hand thumb wrestle, something the wizard had apparently wanted to do for some time. Gry is the undisputed mage hand thumb wrestling champion of the Vale.
About this time, the rest of the Guild rejoins at the cave. The Defenders discovers more doors, plus elaborately carved double doors. Bris is certain that a monster waits within that room, going so far as to bet Ryn a platinum piece if he's right. Ryn does not accept the bet, but Gryvine gets in on the action instead. Finnileas is chosen as a disinterested third party to hold everyone's stakes.
Finninleas casts detect magic and detects magic radiating from a small door and another source radiating from beyond the double doors. Finnileas suggests looking for traps. Rolen suggests casting find traps drawing ire and insult from the rogue in his native halfling tongue. The druid casts the spell, clearing the way for Ryn to unlock the door, but the door is not locked as it casually swings open. Ryn plays it off like he did the job anyway; no one questions it or even noticed.
The room is completely empty. However, Finnileas casts message and tells Rolen that there is something radiating magic in the middle of the room. Rolen relays this to the rest of the party. Brisingr and Finn notice slight magical runes etched into a circle at the center of the room. The same runes are on the ceiling and they line up perfectly with their counterparts on the floor. It appears to be an inactive portal, and Finnileas recognizes that it's a one-way, one-use portal. Faced with a dead-end, the Defenders decide to go check out the double doors.
Ryn prepares a magic pointy and slides open the doors, while several Guildies prepare spells. This room is also unoccupied, but it is also unlike any other room the party has encountered here thus far. Unlike the cave and other rooms that are rough and hand-carved, this room is smooth and polished, with hard angles creating the shape of a hexagon. A cultish symbol is carved into the floor. Four mirrors dot the 'corners' of the room, all facing in random directions. The walls are decorated in a mural of sorts. This room is seeping in magical radiation.
The rogue investigates the room with Bris, detecting pressure plates around the middle of the room. Bris determines that the mirrors can all rotate on an axis. Finn notices that the murals on the walls depict scenes involving the Giant/Dragon wars. The first appears to depict a ball of light or sun, but actually depicts a high power positioned between depictions of Bahamut and Tiamat, perhaps in reference to their creation myth.
The second panel of the mural follows suit as it depicts the creation myth of the various types of giants. Meanwhile, Ryn is attempting to disarm a trapping mechanism that he located, and does so with ease. Panel/mural three depicts Tiamat chatting with the son of the fire giants , but there's a strange, cloaked devil in every scene, apparently whispering in the ear of Tiamat. Rolen is bored and begins to create flowers and whatnot using druidcraft.
Finnileas scans the fourth panel of the mural, which clearly depicts Orcus as some sort of infernal puppet master; controlling Tiamat with one hand and the children of giantkind with the other. The cloaked devil sits on Orcus' shoulder, watching everything play out. War is portrayed below the Demon Prince of the Undead, pitting Tiamat's children against the kin of giants, blatantly showing Orcus' manipulation in fueling the war. Humanoid races are depicted as well; humans on both sides, halflings and elves favoring alliance with dragons, while dwarves and gnomes are more prevalently depicted with the giants. The wizard proceeds to the fifth and final segment...
As Finnileas passes between the mirror and the wall to approach the fifth segment of the mural, the wizard unwittingly triggers a trap! Without warning, kobolds begin to fill the room. The mirrors are portals, and they are apparently capable of producing an unlimited number of the tiny draconites. Combat ensues as the Defenders try (and fail for awhile) to deactivate the kobold portals. Our heroes eventually realize that they must face the mirrors towards other mirrors to render them useless, and after several (failed) strength checks, the Defenders finally manage to do so. With the mirrors destroyed, the endless kobold onslaught concludes swiftly...however, what sounds like a door exploding echoes through the chamber and a voice bellows out, "who's in my room?!"
The door to an overlooked chamber bursts open, and a cyclops drags itself from the room with a great club in tow. Finnileas casts sleet storm to impede the giant's progress as it growls and pursues the Defenders. The cyclops promptly slips and falls prone. Ryn resets the trap, causing the doors to slide and slam shut. Nearly every Defender readies an action and combat ensues.
The battle rages for half a minute or so before the Defenders best their foe. Gryvine displays anguish as his friend/minion Tim is beyond repair and now lost, there just is not enough of him left to bring back. Some of the Defenders attend to Gry while others tend to looting; Finnileas tends to the final mural. Brisingr essentially adopts Gryvine at this point.
The fifth mural displays a smaller, angrier Orcus, with humanoids standing atop piles of bones with battle standards displayed.
Gryvine decides that it is time to let both Tim and Tom rest. Ryn wants to take the cyclops' corpse as a trophy. Rolen is hesitant. The Defenders realize that a cyclops is technically a giant, and therefore exiled. But it had also turned out that Caleb was a dragon, also supposedly exiled. The Defenders are left with more questions instead of answers.