A little over a year has passed since Valok's evil scheme was laid to rest. As the dust settled, the heroes began to get on with their lives.
Vanoviel Niltaurwen had begun a large operation in constructing a keep for the Champions of O'ma one year ago. The wooden structure and initial outlying defense walls were complete, and the arrangements for the stonework were in place. She had completed much, and made good progress.
Politically, things were not as complacent. The war between the elves of T'Nanshi and the humans of M'Chek still raged, and Van threw her lot in with the elves. The reason for this was because of a deal that had been struck between the humans and the fairies of the goddess Titanea: that once the humans finished off the elves, they would help the fairies purify their race by destroying all O'ma fairies and hybrids. Thus, many of the newly trained Champion recruits were often sent to battle on the front lines.
Early on in their fighting, some of these recruits began to send back reports that a new order of holy warriors had risen up at the same time as theirs: The Equalizers of Mikon. The holy knights of this neutral god were seen in all parts of the continent, where in many cases their wishes coincided with Van's. However, in this case, the Equalizers sided with the humans. Their leader, a man by the name of Nimonay Dunster, was a warrior much the same as Van, who achieved status of founder of the order by alerting Mikon to Valok's plan to enter the Prime a year ago.
Though Van respected him as a man, she often didn't appreciate his meddling. But one day, a messenger sent by Nimonay came to the Keep and invited Van to attend a meeting in Mikona for negotiations on the matter. Van liked this opportunity and told him that she would be happy to attend with some of her men.
About that same time, another messenger from Mikona was bringing unfortunate news to Tupaia Dagroth, the druid who was in the process of establishing a new grove near Van's keep. The heirs of House Dagroth had been killed in a major elven offensive on the front. The house has plunged into chaos, and the illegitamate daughter of Dagroth himself is the only one left with any claim to the estate. The messenger was the seneschal of the household come to beg Tupaia if she would be willing to take control of the affairs of the estate. This suprised Tupaia greatly. She knew well who her father was, but she didn't know anything in the slightest about how to run a noble household... nor did she have the inclination. However, she agreed to take up the matter along with some of her acolytes, and after making contact with Van, the two of them set out.
They were joined by Aratelda Rinthon almost immediately. Upon hearing about their journey, she decided to accompany them to Mikona, for in that city there was a very large library where she heard of a reference that contained information on the whereabouts of the last stone for her family heirloom. This sword was a minor artifact in and of itself. It contained spaces for 4 jewels. Each one increased the sword's power and gave it special abilities. Three of them were found on her quest to stop Valok, but the last one eluded her.... until she found a reference in T'Nanshi that said the last known stone may have been mentioned in a book located in Mikona. This reference made her decide to take some time off from her soldierly duties and go seeking again.
Orianna caught wind of the companions' journey to Mikona. Immediately after her ordeal with Valok, she took a short trip back to Andarr and then to Mikona to start work on a new guild. However, her old guild didn't like this new halfling lady known as "Raven" coming in and messing things up. Very quickly it got ugly, and Orianna had a guildwar on her hands. She thought that maybe her friends may help her carve out some new territory in the city. For the last year, she had been returning the favor by giving intelligence on Equalizer troop movements to Van's Champions. She figured it was the least they could do....