“I think you may meet my family.”
—Alyndra, Heroes of the Vale Ch 2 Ep 4
Watch Heroes of the Vale – Ch 2 Ep 4: Red Right Hand
Our heroes are 8th-level characters known as:
- Todd Kenreck as the Dungeon Master
- Keen, Eladrin Eldritch Knight Fighter played by TJ Storm
- Briv, Half-Orc Cavalier Fighter played by Adam Bradford
- Penelope, Halfling Circle of Land Druid played by Hope LaVelle
- Alyndra Alexandria Garanahil Sarrbarand, Lorekeeper of Rime Spiro, Kinscribe of Clan Monkeymouse, High Elf Cleric / Wizard played by Jen Kretchmer
- Orkira, Dragonborn Light Domain Cleric played by Lauren Urban
Countless mind flayers descend upon the city, and a chorus of screams echoes through its streets. Every moment, their tentacled vessels drop more illithids and scoop up humanoids that have been mind blasted into a stupor. The tentacled ships drop off more Illithids by the moment as they scoop up stunned people to consume. As they run towards safety, the Heroes of the Vale frantically try to formulate a plan. Penelope suggests they travel to the forest, while Briv mentions a place “few dare to tread” that might offer some safety. Alyndra relays with horror what information she knows about illithids; they are conquerors who colonize and enslave all living beings, and who transform all those they don't consume into either mindless thralls or into yet more mind flayers. Penelope casts fog cloud to try and hide their passage as they escape, and the group move towards the city gates.
In the fog they see the same figure that had raised the dead people in the alleyway, the tall figure with the dusty black coat, but despite calling out they loose him again. Instead, an illithid glides out of the fog and attacks them! The dangerous creature manages to stun both Briv and Orkira for a moment, but they shake it off as Penelope uses her Wild Shape to transform into a bear, and Alyndra polymorphs herself into a tyrannosaurus rex! They overwhelm the physically frail mind flayer with a vicious offense, and continue their escape.
The gates to the city are shut, but Alyndra uses her dinosaur form to bash them wide open. As Briv tries to convince the townsfolk to scatter and spread out, he notices a familiar hobgoblin standing nearby watching the city be destroyed. It’s the same wizard that called down a swarm of meteors upon the city, and Briv asks him to do the same thing. The hobgoblin responds, “I can do something better. Let them know I am sorry what I did to the city,” and casts wish. Everyone watches in horror as the hobgoblin wizard wishes that everyone was safe in exchange for his life. He scatters to dust as everyone else disappears in a flash.
Moments later, everyone appears in an unfamiliar city covered in soot and ash. Smokestacks tower from buildings of brick and mortar, rising high into the night sky. That's another thing—it was daytime just a moment ago. With rising panic Penelope reverts out of her bear form and sinks to the ground, “It’s happening again!”. Orkira grabs a local resident and asks where they are and what the date is, finding out they are a city known as Brimstone and it’s the same year. They have not jumped time, only moved to the other side of the world, and Orkira tries to reassure Penelope with this information. Penelope's mind races with panic and confusion, and visions of the pit fiend keep appearing before her mind's eye. She hugs her chwinga companion, Walton, and focuses on reassuring him to help calm down. Orkira turns to Alyndra to ask her to return to her normal form, and Alyndra drops her polymorph spell.
When Briv demands to know who is in charge of the city the resident gives directions to the home of “the Boss”. He takes to the air with Spiral to survey the city, noticing strange wonders like a train on tracks circling the city, smokestacks the size of buildings, and a huge factory on a hill. Despite these industrial wonders, however, the streets are grimy and covered in soot, and impoverished commoners dressed in rags shamble through the night.
Orkira notices Rarv nearby with a rueful look upon his face. The wretched creature mutters how upset he is to be back in this city, and refuses to answer questions as he wanders off to find a pub. Suddenly realizing where they are, Alyndra sends a message to someone, claiming to be here by mistake and asking how to leave. All she hears back in reply is laughter. As she joins Rarv in drinking she requests they don’t go see the Boss, instead leave as quickly as possible. From nearby King Theron walks over and requests to know where they are, and Alyndra relays that they are in the floating city of Brimstone and that this is a dangerous place.
Before more information can be relayed King Theron begins to cough up blood. As Orkira comes over to try and help, Theron cries out in pain as his teeth fall out. Without hesitation Alyndra draws her sword to cut off his head before the transformation can continue. The king's head is severed from his body with one clean stroke, and a blood-soaked illithid tadpole wriggles out of his ear. Briv strides confidently to the squirming monster and swiftly crushes it. As if on cue, several more screams echo the king's cry, and Orkira leaps into the sky to pinpoint all those undergoing the sudden transformation into illithids. Alyndra sends another message to the same person asking for help. Gigantic iron automata, each easily ten feet tall, appear in the crowd and cleave their massive blades through anyone who has begun to transform.
Briv's impatience gets the better of him, and he shoots through the air on griffonback towards the Boss's hideout. Alyndra grabs the bottle of alcohol from Rarv and takes a swig, and says she thinks they might meet her family. Penelope continues to stare at the king's severed head in shock, only shaken out of her stupor by Walton who continues to stab the dead Mind Flayer tadpole to defend her. Orkira works on gathering Penelope and Alyndra to follow Briv, focusing on aiding her two friends to keep herself moving forward.
Following the directions given to find the Boss, Briv arrives at the Raven Inn. Briv pounds on the locked front door and roars for someone to answer, but no one arrives. Undeterred, he moves to a window where inside he can see a familiar bald figure in a dusty black coat drinking, and yells inside for the man to let him in. The figure makes a rude gesture and walks into a backroom. Annoyed at being ignored Briv tries to use the pommel of his sword to break the window, but his blade is repelled by a magical force. Moments later one of the huge constructs arrives and demands Briv does not break the glass. Briv tries to intimidate the iron golem into taking him to the Boss, but at that moment the rest of his friends finally arrive. Alyndra recognizes the construct and calls him by name, asking to be let into the inn. Briv makes his annoyance at Alyndra plain, and asks that she stop withholding information from them, but the elf begs him to be patient. Answers will soon be forthcoming.
The doors to the inn open and everyone follows Alyndra inside. The walls of this strangely modern bar are adorned with dozens of surprisingly realistic paintings, including one of the ouroboros and another of a red haired elf with a twisted staff with green gems. Alyndra explains that this inn used to be one of her homes when she was very young, then strides through another set of doors. Two shadowy figures approach them as they travel deeper into the inn. Both carry rifles. Alyndra assures them that the people with her are friends, and they are not be harmed. The guards heed her orders, and the heroes enter a back room, only to find an ornate office with two figures standing within. The first is the man Briv saw through the window, the familiar bald figure in a dusty black coat with the red mechanical hand—Avren. The second is a phantasmal elven figure arguing with him. They catch that the half-elf's name is Omin. As the group approaches, Omin disappears from view, and Avren turns to regard the group. He looks much younger then when they last saw him.
A shadow passes over Avren's face, and he brusquely demands they explain why they are in his bar—and in his town. Alyndra calls out to Avren, “Hello, dad!”
Everyone is stunned. Orkira mutters a feeble question, inquiring about Avren's godhood. Everyone is trying to put the pieces together. Avren admits to being a demigod of sorts, but explains that he grew weary of consorting with gods, and decided to live in the world of mortals. This was quite some time ago. Angry to learn all of this family history now, Penelope blurts, “Secrets don’t make friends!” Alyndra defends herself, asking if anyone else in the group was keeping secrets, and Penelope grows suddenly quiet. In an attempt to calm everyone down Orkira rationalizes that they didn’t have long to talk in the morning before everything went wrong.
Briv warns Avren about the illithid attack and the thousands of refugees now trapped in Brimstone. Avren agrees to take care of the displaced people, and will make preparations to defend against mind flayers and their alien ilk. Alyndra also relays how they had to kill King Theron because he was infected with an illithid tadpole—and her worry that now, with him dead, there is no hope of averting war. Avren says he has a friend he can talk with. With the ring of a bell a nearby door opens and a creature that looks like a gnome-sized illithid with adorable large eyes and stumpy legs trundles into the room. It turns to Alyndra and telepathically says, “Hi sis!” and sits at the desk. "So, what needs to be done?"
How will everyone react to these shocking reveals of Alyndra's family? Find out on Wednesday, June 26th at 2pm PT for episode 5!
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.