"“I will be your friend, Penelope Half-Pint. We will be the best of friends. I will make your wish come true. I will talk to you very soon, Hero of the Vale.”
—Pit Fiend, played by Todd Kenreck, Heroes of the Vale Episode 12
Watch Heroes of the Vale – Episode 12: The Devil You Know
Our heroes are 6th-level characters known as:
- Keen, Eladrin Eldritch Knight Fighter played by TJ Storm
- Briv, Half-Orc Cavalier Fighter played by Adam Bradford
- Orkira, Dragonborn Light Domain Cleric played by Lauren Urban
- Penelope, Halfling Circle of Land Druid played by Hope LaVelle
- Alyndra Alexandria Garanahil Sarrbarand, Lorekeeper of Rime Spiro, Kinscribe of Clan Monkeymouse, High ElfCleric / Wizard played by Jen Kretchmer
- Dungeon Master Todd Kenreck
Inside Briv’s room, the bag has finished devouring the last of the heroes from the previous timeline. It tries to run, but Penelope is still in her fox form and manages to grab it with her faster reflexes. The group discuss what to do with it that won’t disrupt the timeline. Penelope turns back into herself and buries it in a corner, while Alyndra uses Drawmij’s instant summons to make sure she can retrieve it if necessary. Everyone is exhausted, and they decide to take a long rest as Stormherald soars towards the Library of the Norn. The die has been cast; for now, there is nothing they can do but wait.
Come dawn, Penelope tries to hide the mummified remains of Briv from their current timeline, but Flo and Beakgrinder notice her search, and are obviously distressed. Keen is still very sick from eating wight meat, and is thinking of returning to the Feywild to recover. Everyone on Stormherald is avoiding the ancient heroes, and no one wants to try and explain what has happened.
Alyndra, Penelope and Orkira discuss bringing Briv back. Alyndra wants to use gate to pull the previous timeline Briv out of the bag, but Orkira is worried that means he won’t be around for past events and it will mess up the timeline again. They have a philosophical, metaphysical discussion about souls, undead, when the soul leaves the body, and the morality of resurrecting someone. Alyndra casts sending to contact the previous timeline Briv and ask him if he wants to leave the bag to join them. Still half asleep and falling through the clouds, Briv responds in annoyance at the interruption, “Fool of an elf, leave me be. I need my beauty rest!”
Alyndra passes along that Briv from the bag did not want to come out. Orkira casts speak with dead to ask current timeline Briv if he would like to be brought back to life, and he responds “Of course I would, are you all just morons?” They ask what he wants to eat when he gets back (“wight meat”) and what Flo eats (“halfling brains”) before the spell ends.
Alyndra does not know how to bring Briv back from the dead and goes to her secret private sanctum she had created while working on the Time Machine to look through her library. However she arrives to find the demiplane empty, as the books were all placed in a different timeline. After much debating Alyndra casts wish, “I wish that Alyndra had foreseen the moment that Saranthis attacked Briv and she had missed, not poisoning him.” This changes the timeline, as Briv now survives the fight with Saranthis but Penelope was the one attacked and killed. Briv replaces Penelope in everyone's memories of the years in the Time Machine, and months with Orkira in the bag, and now is back on Stormherald.
Alyndra is devastated, but with one more wish left she starts to ponder how she can phrase that final wish to fix everything. Orkira suggests avoiding anything that messes with time and focusing on what is in her heart as the things they want; everyone safe, and alive, and whole. Briv is skeptical about how much he trusts Alyndra, but understands that she is the only one with the knowledge and power to make things right.
While Alyndra continues to wrestle with how to phrase her wish, Orkira notices a flock of griffons in the sky above them. She points them out to Briv, who uses his call to summon them to land on Stormherald. The two ancient friends leave Alyndra alone for a moment to continue to think when the griffons land. Briv happily examines this new flock, picking one out to train as his mount.
Alyndra announces her next wish, “I wish for the guidance and aid of one who does not wish to harm us, with greater knowledge than I.” She disappears from Stormherald and reappears in a room filled with fire, chains, and the smell of sulfur. Devils are everywhere torturing poor souls, and at the end of the room sits a hulking pit fiend with striking yellow horns. It refuses to give its name but offers to bring Alyndra’s dead friends back and fix time, if she agrees to find and embarrass a devil and ruin its plans.
Briv has a moment where he sadly thinks about Penelope and how she would have loved to have been here for his flock of griffons. He begins planning how to use their new griffons to their benefit, and asks Orkira to find Alyndra. Orkira returns to the burial mound where Penelope’s body is and reaches out to Pelor to being to pray.
Alyndra demands additional information from the Pit Fiend. It claims the devil it wants Alyndra to go after is a creature of evil, something she would find a fellow enemy, and she is not required to kill anything or anyone. The pit fiend swears that, as a devil, it cannot betray a contract. But it will not give the name or details on who that entity is, nor what the plans are that must be ruined. Alyndra cannot make a deal with an entity that will not answer her questions fully, finding it a violation of everything she believes, and hiding information is against the core of her being. She says no to the offer and disappears, reappearing next to Orkira on Stormherald.
Back at the burial mound Alyndra relays what just happened and the deal she refused. Briv believes she should have taken the deal, “It matters not the source of the assistance as long as it is doing good.” Orkira disagrees, believing that agreeing to a deal where you don’t know all the details is a bad idea. They argue over the correct decision and the comparative morality of their positions.
Penelope appears in the same room Alyndra just disappeared from, finding herself in front of the same pit fiend with yellow horns. It offers Penelope the same deal it did Alyndra, “Do you promise to help me when I ask you to fight evil?” Innocently she is happy to answer, “Yes, if you will be my friend, I will promise! Because I always keep promises to friends.” The pit fiend is well pleased, promises to be her friend and help her, and says he will call on her at a later time.
Suddenly, Penelope springs back to life and bursts out of the burial mound on Stormherald! She appears young and restored to her age before being eaten by the bag, and is a bit disoriented. Briv is excited to see her and wants to show off his new flock of griffons, but Orkira notices he has also returned to his pre-bag age. In fact all of them are now young again! They retain all of their memories, including the confusing perspective of two different timelines about who died to Saranthis. They all remember two different versions of the past; one with Briv and one with Penelope, where they survived the fight, living for years working on the Time Machine, and then joining Orkira in the bag.
Everyone is stunned and confused.
Penelope let’s the group know what happened with the Pit Fiend. Briv is pleased and praises her bravery, saying she is brilliant for striking the deal. Alyndra is upset, believing her young friend has made a horrible mistake that puts them all at risk, and demands her Home Stone back in anger. She and Briv argue over the morals of the situation, agreeing that they respect each others convictions but unable to see eye to eye on this matter. Orkira is confused, and simply happy that both Briv and Penelope are back and everyone is healthy again. She hopes that the evil the Pit Fiend wants them to fight might be Saranthis and that their goals actually align, but no one knows for sure.
After some time, Stormherald finally reaches the Library of the Norn. This library looks like it was once a magnificent building, but it has become derelict and abandoned over the eons. Briv takes his new griffon mount, that he has named Spiral, out to scout the area. He feels a special connection and freedom with finally having his mount back. Orkira joins his scouting, so he’s not alone. Penelope initially stays behind, watching and listening for contact from her “new friend," and feels his presence through the shifting of the leaves and the passing of a black cat. Alyndra takes a moment to write down everything she has witnessed, recording the whole series of events. Then both find griffons and eventually join their friends at the ruins.
Orkira discovers recent tracks in the dust and ash from just a few days ago, and confirms it's an organized battalion of humanoids and not shambling undead. The doors to the stone library are wide open, the magical locks broken, and there are signs of fire and destruction. Alyndra discovers a holy symbol dropped in the ash, the symbol for Saranthis’ followers. All the books are burnt and destroyed as they were obviously the target of this attack.
Briv starts searching for comic books that might be salvaged. Something draws Orkira to the center of the room and a specific large pile of ash that feels important and familiar. When she picks up a handful, the ash begins to burn but backwards, bringing pages back into being. Penelope tries to help but when she grabs ash nothing happens. Finding a large pile of ash away from her friends, Orkira lets loose with her flaming breath weapon. All the ash swirls around, reacting to the fire, to form into one large tome in the center of the room titled “The Domain of the Phoenix”, with instructions on how to summon the powerful primordial being.
As Orkira, Penelope and Alyndra stare in wonder at this reformed book, Briv discovers something else in the ash. A card that says “Ruin” on it, and underneath a deck of cards.
This is a place of knowledge for the world. And that world is called Dalenheim.
Is the phoenix the weapon they have searched for? What does the pit fiend want Penelope to do for it? And what is inside that deck of cards? Episode 13 starts at 2pm PT on Wednesday April 24th!
Lauren "OboeCrazy" Urban is the Community Manager for D&D Beyond, as well as a professional classical musician on oboe and English Horn. When she's not playing a Bard in real life she's a prolific Dungeon Master and player on a variety of livestreams and podcasts. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband Luke where they spend their free time playing video games and drinking tea. The best way to keep up with Lauren's busy schedule is to follow her on Twitter at @OboeCrazy.