Pain. It surges through bone and blood. It tears at Belmarniss' heart, where the Relic of the Reaper once rested. A hole has been carved in her flesh, just above her heart, and raggedly stitched by an unskilled hand.
"She is being hunted by the bear king Okku and an army of bloodthirsty spirits," Gann says. "We hope that with your aid, we can defeat him and bring him to see reason."
"Oh, that doesn't sound evil at all," she says, relieved.
"Some folks seem to have a blanket ban on opposing spirits but the spirits are after me through no fault of my own."
"Yes, I have no trouble opposing spirits. This bear king presumably has his reasons for hunting you, but if he wants to air his grievances then he could do it like an adult."
Gann has an abrupt coughing fit.
"...anyway, thanks. Your brother and sister are already signed on to help in exchange for us coming and finding you."
Kaelyn sighs. "I should have expected them to - they are brave, and hungry for worthy causes, and they do not fear pain when it does not come with the threat of true death. I will not ask you to release their obligation, for I know you will need as much help as you can get."
"I am a bit wedged, yeah."
"Shall we leave this grim place, then, and return to Mulsantir on the Prime Material?"
"Yup. Welcome to the impromptu team."
They set out, back towards the portal. Kaelyn seems to be slightly uncomfortable with the heavy silence of the Shadow Plane, but not socially gifted enough to engage in small talk to lift it.
Gann says, thoughtfully, "You said you were 'formerly of the House of the Triad'. What is this House?"
"It's a name given to three of the mountains in the Heavens of Celestia," Safiya explains even though Kaelyn is right there. "The gods residing on each are Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater, respectively; the House is a reference to the legions of followers who live in their mountain temples."
"Safiya is correct," Kaelyn says. "Though I worship Ilmater, the House of the Triad is closed to me, as is all of Celestia... even Ilmater's realm, with its temple that embraces the sky. No creature there can feel pain, fatigue, or even exhaustion. One is renewed within its walls."
She smiles wistfully. "There are times I miss it, I confess."
"It sounds nice. I'm not very up on Toril theology, what's Ilmater's sphere?"
"Suffering," Kaelyn murmurs. "He bids me and my fellows ease the suffering of others, if necessary taking it upon ourselves."
"Huh. Doesn't have an exact Golarion analogue I know of."
"She's rather foreign."
"Golarion's another planet. I got here by accident some months back."
"Oh! That is rather foreign. I assumed it was just some Underdark nation."
"I am a drow and we live underground on Golarion too but yeah, nah, more foreign than just from another country."
They come to the shadow portal and make their way through. As soon as they're in Mulsantir proper, Gann claps a hand to his left eye and grimaces. "The bear-king is nearer than I would have expected... or liked. And he is angry, of course."
"He will be here tomorrow if that," he says grimly. "We have time enough to rest and prepare for battle, but little else. Even though when we entered the portal I would have said he was three days away or more... I suspect that shadowy place of dramatic timing."