Last week on the Tuesday game...
Disgusted at the lack of moral fibre in the party, Diggory leaves the island, and takes with him the only rowboat on the island. With no better way to leave the cottage, the remaining adventurers decide to rest... only, of course, it would not be so.
Within a half hour of Diggory leaving, a cambion descends upon the cottage and, ignoring the party, begins forming what appears to be a little doll made out of the witch's ashes and bones. RIghtly suspicious, the party exit the cottage and begin confronting it, but the fiendish creature staunchly ignores their harangue. Annoyed, the party begin attacking it, but the cambion simply takes to the air and continues forming the doll.
Meanwhile, floating on a nearby icy islet, Emilia - a peasant sorceress from the tiny village at the foot of Mt Amarath - watches as the "angels" begin yet another battle, this time one with an obviously demonic foe. Realising that they may need help, she paddles out to their aid and, after a quick and somewhat abrupt introduction, casts Fly on Delwyn, that he might take to the air himself and begin punching the cambion.
But it was too late. His little gore-homunculus fully formed, he seals off the ritual with a drop of his blood and drops it back onto the cottage island; and as it falls, as if by a trick of light, the doll keeps growing larger, until it eventually reforms into a naked, hairless version of the witch that Diggory had just slain.
Screeching with her half-formed vocal cords, the witch gestures in a commanding fashion at the cottage, and the house obediently rises on its legs, tipping the adventurers into its infernal gullet. Thankfully, with the aid of Emilia's storm sorcery, the party manage to escape certain death and, freed from the constraints of gravity, proceed to beat the unliving snot out of the witch.
With his contract fulfilled and the witch dead once more, the cambion - seeing no further profit to be had here - flies off as well, leaving the party to lick their wounds and recoup. With Emilia's powers proving to be more useful than expected, the party decide to head back to shore and, from there, back to Emilia's village, where they may find food and supplies.
In the village, they buy a couple of tubs of "healing ointment" from the local hedge-wizard and, after resupplying themselves (mostly at Emilia's mother's expense), the party head off towards Blackgate in the hopes that they will be able to gather some allies for the looming battle.
The head priest of the Grand Temple of Krubivax, recognising the party from before, warmly receives the party, and although his heart saddens to hear that his old friend Ymriss is now dead, he pledges his support for the party's cause: if the adventurers will arrange for their transportation and other necessary logistics, he will put a hundred of his paladins under their command.
Emboldened by the head priest's ready support, they approach the Lacian court for help, but they find themselves met only with reticence and wishy-washiness. "If we send our troops to aid you," the senescal says, "who will guard our marches? Now, let it not be said that we have no sympathy for your cause: we do. But the best we can do for you is to match any troops that our neighbouring kingdoms send."
Defeated, the party head back to the tavern and start asking around, in the hopes that they might be able to find a local guide. They eventually end up with a somewhat drunk, somewhat dour-looking, one-armed elf who claims that he's able to "step across the entire world in but a single night"... but he will only do it for gold. The adventurers agree, and they shake on it.
The elf takes the party through a nearby portal that, he claims, leads straight through the Astral Plane to the southern tundras. However, disaster strikes mere moments into their trip: the githyanki pirates that the party crossed, so many moons ago, quickly spot them and begins demanding reparations. With no more gold on them and not desiring a fight, Alistair offers the pirates the dragon's quartz eye and his Scepter of Water Elemental Command.
To everybody's surprise, the pirates not only accept the items, but even go so far as to give them a refund in the form of an enchanted hooked blade. "This belonged to some other oathbreaker who thought that it would be sufficient protection against me," the pirate leader says. "He died before he could tell me the weapon's name, but I'm sure you will be able to think of something. Let it serve as an object lesson in keeping one's word."
With no other obstacles in their way, true to the drunk elf's word, they find themselves in the southern tundras - a journey that would normally take a year on horseback, if not more - mere hours later. However, the elf refuses to follow them any deeper into the tundras: "I'll stay here for a week or so if you guys want to make a trip back, but you're insane if you think I'm going to trek across that gods-forsakened wasteland with you."
Thokk surveys the landscape and realises that, short of making a month-long detour, they will have to cut across Gorag lands if they were to make it back to his homelands. The Groag, he tells the party, are murderous savages known for their strange cannibalistic ways, but like all barbarian tribes they respect strength and courage above all else. They will not try to hide their passage across their lands, but will instead walk across it, bold as brass; if they were to encounter the Groag, then they should face them as equals, not as cowards.
The Gorag find them soon enough and immediately attack the party. Led by a large goat-headed creature brandishing a greataxe, the savages were all strangely mutated in a variety of ways: one could spit corrosive venom, another's withered arm allowed him to cast strange magics that drained the very soul from a man, and the last's twisted face gave him a bite that was as dangerous as that of a lion.
Despite their murderous rage and fearsome appearance, the moment Alistair cast his Tenerian Fireball, they immediately fall to their knees and prostrate themselves before the wizard. Begging for forgiveness, the barbarians say that they did not know that the great prophet had taken on a new form since he last walked the earth. Unsure as to what to do, Alistair simply commands them to leave and bother them no further. This they do immediately, though not before chopping off a subordinate's hand and giving it to the wizard as a peace offering.
The rest of the way proves smooth (with Alistair chasing other Gorag raiders off simply by yelling at them in Teneros), and the party soon find themselves in the lands of Thokk's tribe, where they are warmly welcomed by the paladin's mother. After a night of feasting and carousing, they manage to convince 70 barbarians to join them on the "greatest raid that the tribe has ever known".
Now laden with wealth from Thokk's family treasury, the party return to the elf who, true to his word, remained at the campsite. Dipping back into the Astral Plane, they drop by Delwynn's monastery, but fail to convince the abbot or the elves to join their cause. Worse, after Thokk's intimidation of the guards at the southern elven kingdom's city gates, they find themselves exiled from the elven forest at bow point and told "never to return on pain of death".
One big problem now remains ahead of them: the matter of actually securing transportation to the battlefield itself. Although he has little luck convincing King Wethorp to lend them military support (for the same reasons that the Lacian seneschal put forward), Alistair manages to convince the Reader of Conjuration in the Hidden Schools to lend him magical support by creating a portal.
However, the Reader warns him that a spell so powerful can only be cast within the Hidden Schools itself, and that the role of the conduit - the wizard channelling and focusing the combined magical energies of the conjurers - is vital but fraught with risk. He is willing to serve as the conduit himself, but he worries that he may not be powerful enough. Should the conduit lose focus for even an instant, the spell will implode.
This is a start, but it still does not solve the problem of conveying the barbarians and paladins from the tundra and Lacio respectively to Drandeur proper. The elven Horizon Walker is willing to help them, but only for a price: 10gp per traveller.