History recorded the events of the Battle at Misthaven, also sometimes called “Zion’s Defeat,” as a great victory, albeit with a strong undertone of a cautionary tale. The Black Talons had, by repeatedly risking their lives, undone part of Zion’s mad plot to return to power and install himself as the “Forever King.” While it took considerable research by arcane scholars, over many years, to determine with near-certainty that he former king had been the cause of the Storm in the first place, and had been drawn into it as he lost control of his most ambitious experiment, the evidence found by the four Scouts clearly showed a complex plot, engineered by Zion from afar – even another dimension – to weaken the kingdom through attacks, insurgencies, and internal corruption. As the Mistmarches teetered on the brink of collapse, and the people lost faith in not only their king, but the line of Anton entirely, Zion would make his return and deliver his people from their wanderings and set them on their proper course.
Haxaryz, the White Death, was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, using his agents to entice the prideful, low-browed beast to return and capitalize on the barbarian and monster attacks to again harm the kingdom. Destroying such an ancient, mighty dragon would only serve to solidify Zion’s legacy and power among his people and those of surrounding lands.
But as is sometimes the case with complex plans, things did not unfold entirely as he’d assumed they would. Interrogations and documentary research uncovered much about the plot, and the gaps were filled in with no small amount of scholarly and legal conjecture, filling many books and pamphlets.
The dragon decided to arrive early, on its own time rather than when clever agents had tried to convince it to. The insurgents inside Burmovton had not coordinated with the outside forces cleanly enough, creating a situation where the inside tumult and outside force were obviously on the same side – a problem when the aim of the operation is to confuse the enemy and dividing his support.
Freeton and the corruption within the Scouts was more clear-cut, with several members of Zion’s line discovered to hold key positions in the aristocracy and bureaucracy, with the Scout Service, sadly, created seemingly for the secret purpose of being a front organization for the final years of Zion;s plot, and to support his final return.
There were arrests, some extended pursuits of the guilty, and a few sudden suicides of individuals who were soon thereafter determined to have been complicit in some part of the plot, either directly or not. It took almost two years to heal the physical scars of the battle on the capitol city, with some buildings restored and others replaced, monuments to the dead built and wreckage removed.
The immediate threat to the safety and stability of the realm, however, was over. King Jotwan II’s rule survived, and despite his near-assassination, he emerged stronger, more resolute than before, and with a clarifying mandate to push back the borders of foreign, alien lands, making strong allies where possible and eliminating threats wherever found.
The heroes of the day were, of course, the four Scouts, who’d risked so much as the plot had unfolded, and had been the only ones who knew enough to take correct, decisive action at the key moments to foil the usurper. Showered with accolades, public proclamations, monetary rewards from the treasury and publicity-seeking merchants, they were each vested with titles, forever bringing them and their progeny into the upper-crust of Mistmarches society and government, and were given choices as to how they would like to serve the realm, as the realm was in need of reliable, trustworthy leadership and guidance – both directly and by way of example.
How would each of the Black Talons choose to serve? Each is vested with a title and granted either lands or a guaranteed salary from the treasury, which is in part contingent on active service to the realm. Basically, aristocrats in good standing can opt to work for the realm in a variety of typically managerial positions, with a baseline of pay from their title, and more based on the type of work they do and perceived quality of it. Those who take land are installed in a more traditional leadership position in some place in the realm, or set up in a larger area in a supporting fashion to an already-established noble there. All nobles are answerable to the king himself, and not to some other higher-up noble, and no one has the authority to grant titles but the king.
The final session consisted of the Black Talons, in their damaged airship, confronting the ancient white dragon as it savaged the capitol of Misthaven, in conjunction with a large barbarian army attacking. The Black Talons gave as best as they could against the mighty beast before their ship was forced down due to damage. At this point another airship, pristine and fully-manned, appeared seemingly out of the sky and attacked the dragon. Before the Talon’s Reach set down, Genji blasted the “held” dragon as it plummeted toward the city (victim of a spell cast from the other airship), further damaging it before it died in a mighty crash into an upscale neighborhood (taking out several very nice houses). The other airship then attacked the Talon’s Reach, and the Black Talons escaped as their ship burned.
Soon thereafter was heard a booming voice across the city, announcing the return of King Zion, the Forever King, and the return of stability and rightful authority in the realm. The Black Talons made their way quickly across the city, which was engulfed in chaos at this point, bullying their way into Tuskwater Castle, which was in similar upheaval, and found the king, about to be feasted on by a Mind Flayer while Zion was having himself crowned by his alien warriors. A great melee ensued, ending with the illithid’s death, the death of Zion at the hands of the Black Talons, and the death of most of his warriors. His airship, definitely the Lincoln to the PCs’ Ford, was captured through subterfuge and arcane trickery. The king and queen, both badly injured, were saved and healed with potions, and the immediate danger to the monarchy and realm was averted.