In the home of elves and men, In devil's lair and angel's den, Lies six who hold the key, To break the evil such as He. Rivermar was quiet. This was no surprise to anyone living there, since the silence of the surrounding woods was what attracted the elves to it in the first place. It was serene, with the very faint aura of magic that came with such a settlement. Even the ruins of the original homes had a sort of stately feel to them, vined-over gods of a long time ago. Though not so long ago: the utter destruction that was forced upon this area was merely a human generation ago. Six individuals 'who hold the key'. The prophecy had been clear about them: Each one had a mark elevating them above their fellow mortals. It made them strong. Raised in delicate care or taken from the outside world to Rivermar, the Six proved worthy of their names. The clever magics of Kallus, both a pleasure and a burden on the elves. The dark wildness of Seth, akin to the training of the elves - though still a natural-born soul in the wild. The massive Vishal, nicknamed "Titan" by the elves - though never to the primal being's face. The glorious Eylssa and her magic - before her, divine magic had been thought lost. The sad tale of Ronan, his role as a 'vessel' and strange religion discomforting to the elves, leaving the man to his own devices. Finally, the foreign Chiyome, slippery as her element and just as beautiful. What little craftsmen the small settlement had worked to create items worthy of the Six. Though the devils that came to aid them, courtesy of Bel, refused to give up any of their hard-earned gold and items without souls in return, the divine individuals borrowed from the celestial hebdomand were willing to part with a few items, gold, and secrets - all they could afford. Equipped, trained to the extent they could be, the Six and a few of their friends gathered in the meeting room. The Council of Beasts, a group of six of the eldest elves, were to preside over the meeting. Only one had survived the attack from the balor King Kazai. Originally the youngest of the council, he now wore the owl-mask of his ultimate superior: as the eldest elf now in existence. The tall man walked around the illusory globe of the planet, and of the small globes that were the other planes of existence. His brown-grey robes rustled faintly. He was still young enough that they silver hair of the elder elves had not yet settled upon his head. He had taken to being called by his status: "Owl". When he spoke, it was clear as mountain air, "We... are the last surviving settlement of mortals. We know that, now." He moved by the five masks of his predecessors: running his hands over the masks of Fox, Wolf, Raven, Stag, and Rabbit. "You're the Prophecied Six..." He looked towards the others, "...and Friends." Bowing his head to each in turn he finally moved back to the map. "It won't be long until King Kazai turns his army back around and slaughters us. We would have little defense against that as we are now. However - " He pressed his finger against the map, eight dots appearing upon them. "There are eight settlements that King Kazai has been using as fortresses: bases, used to replenish his army. If we - you - were to take them out, he would not be able to call upon those resources during the battle. This would make him a great deal easier to beat. Once he falls, the rest of the bases he has placed throughout the world will be of no consequence. My elves, and the remaining angels and devils -will slaughter them once Kazai is done for." "These areas... you might know them. You will choose which ones you wish to go towards. Each will be guarded, of course... Kazai has placed one of his Lieutenants in each... folks possessed by a demon." He points them out in turn: "Whitewall. Ronan's birth city. Kazai fell upon it shortly after your victory. Kazai has been using the place as a power siphon: sending the souls of the dead to fuel the magical abilities of his forces. If you defeat this lieutenant, his spellcasters will be crippled." "Ghostmarsh. A swamp originally populated by undead, Kazai took offense to their 'cheating death' and fell upon the area. He left the area quickly, though what few demons remain there scour the swamp for the relics of the powerful, evil undead casters. Taking out the lieutenant here will prevent them from using these devices against you." "Mt. Perrier. Once holding the greatest temple of Ehlonna in the land, the mountain and all of it's life was reversed - even aided by the Blighters, which he fell upon and slaughtered soon afterward. If we slay the lieutenant there we might be able to recover some of the life energy to the land, speeding the recovery of mortals." "Garm. Ti-... er, Vishal's home city. Originally kept by a giant wolf spirit, the town and all it's occupants were slain. The possessing demons of Kazai's forces soaked into the land, corrupting the large wolf packs that the forces of Kazai now use as mounts. Slaying the lieutenant here will severely cripple Kazai's cavalry." "The Maw. A huge cavern complex, containing a portal into the Underdark, which Kazai has converted into a portal right to the Abyss. Slaying the lieutenant here will make it harder for him to receive reinforcements... though as demons, they can summon their allies from Abyss anyway. Maybe if we convert it to another sort of portal, we could get our own allies?" "Nolava. Believe it or not, a full-on attack is happening right now. A small band of arcane casters - the Children of Boccob - claimed to be a neutral party. When Kazai attacked them, they were unprepared... but they're still powerful arcane casters. Their golems and magic have kept the demons at bay in siege... if the lieutenant is slain here, it will rout the demons. Perhaps the Children of Boccob will take a side, now." "Skullholme. A mountain opposite Mt. Perrier. It was originally the home of a red dragon brood, who kept to their own devices. Kazai fell upon the mountain and has begun to use the dragons as aerial mounts and... if our spies are correct, breeding stock. Half-dragon demons and half-demon dragons are bad, demons mounted on dragons in the same battlefield as them are even worse. Get in there and do some damage." "Lakeshore. A small, quiet town nearby. Or at least, we thought it was. The place was actually quite full of worshippers of the demon lord Dagon. When Kazai fell upon the town, he was surprised to be welcomed... and the people of the town not mortal at all. There is a shrine at the bottom of the lake, housing a great deal of horrible monsters. There, they manufacture horrible diseases, magic spells, and other forms of warfare only the demon-tainted could imagine... kill the lieutenant there, and we won't be massively slaughtered before Kazai even arrives." He turns to them. "There they all are. I will leave the planning up to you, and I will offer my resources. Our troops shall have to stay here to defend Rivermar, so you'll be on your own, but we may still have items that would be useful to you...?"