After our fearless band of intrepid heroes soundly defeated Grubbak and the devils guarding the treacherous hallways between Burns Alive’s inner sanctum and his main entranceway, they confronted the goblin. To their surprise and horror, they encountered a dragonborn bodyguard, the very dragonborn Burns had once defeated to become worthy of the title of Firegiver… and a very cruel twist! Burns had chained the children of the Ta’reed tribe to himself! The chains clearly held some kind of dark magic, and it was apparent the mystical binds would cause any injury suffered by the goblin to be suffered by the children as well. Thus ‘protected’ from our heroes, Burns again inquired as to their business in his halls. After some unkind words and accusations were exchanged, Barazael Ra’Ghaz challenged Burns to a duel, with the victor earning the title of Firegiver. To the astonishment of all involved, Burns accepted the challenge!
As Bara’zael approached the goblin, he noticed the goblin’s once-sallow skin now rippling with hellfire; he realized at once he’d made a grave mistake. In a low voice, Burns explained to Bara’zael in detail how he would seize control of Bara’zael’s defeated form, use it first to lure his beloved Shea’gor back to the tribe, then punish her and take her children into his own custody. Meanwhile, the others attempted to gain sympathy with the Ta’reed tribe, but to no avail; they had accepted Burns’ dramatic exile of Shea’gor, they had been warned of the infidels’ lies, and they had witnessed firsthand just how Burns Alive could make good on his promise to protect them and rebuild the Altmerian empire.
The duel was brief and bloody. Hoping the pact blade was the source of Burns’ sudden change of personality, Bara’zael disarmed him, only to find that the warlock was just as committed to killing Bara’zael without the weapon. Upon witnessing Burns ruthlessly end Bara’s life, the heroes rushed forward in a desperate, doomed attempt to avenge him… but they could not prevail against an entire tribe of dragonborn led by the newfound power of Burns Alive.
One by one, our brave heroes crashed to the earth, the same earth upon which the blood of the Ta’reed chieftain spilled so long ago. The chieftain, if you will remember, was not sent on to the Raven Queen as is the dragonborn tradition, and his spirit, unwilling to depart, remained bound in the Shadowfell until our band of intrepid heroes liberated him and the few warriors loyal to him. The earth rumbled… a yawning chasm opened… and the dead heroes were swallowed up without a trace.
The spirits of the dragonborn repaid their debt of honor the only way they could: Sending the heroes straight to the Shadowfell. There, assisted by an honor guard of shadar-kai who had been informed of the party’s valiant triumphs against the Great Old Ones, they traveled to the city of Midnight. There, they convinced the lunatic Deathspeaker Trent to summon a Raven Knight to test their faith and enact the will of the Raven Queen- to return them to life, or to embrace them for eternity. Although the Raven Knight had harsh words for nearly every hero, the Raven Queen must have deemed their heroic struggle worthwhile, for they next found themselves deep in muck, gasping for air and staring into a steel-grey sky. Nearby, a one-eyed boy fishes for eels…