They stood at the edge of the valley of death. Symbolic death? Does that hurt? Sven, after glancing at the multitude of deceased spirits, turned to Prestollion “We might not make it out of this.”
Prestollion’s gravelly voice growled “I weren’t afraid of them when they were alive, I’m not afraid of them now that they’re dead.”
At an unspoken signal the group began walking toward the valley.
“I can’t go in.” said a voice familiar to Sven, but new to the others in this band of mercenaries. Wilhad the bard who’d been haunting Sven this past year was agitated for some reason. Sven was used to ignoring Wilhad, but to the others this new voice was getting their attention. Wilhad had only become corporal after the landing on the moon and was only now able to interact with the whole party.
Seeing that he had everyone’s attention Wilhad continued. “If I go in, I’ll never leave again. I have unfinished business. There’s things I must do.”
Sven spoke up, “But this is your chance. You can transition to the afterlife. You don’t have to be an echo of your former self.”
“I’m not going in” is all Wilhad replied.
Sven then refelt a wave of guilt for causing Wilhad’s demise all those months back and promised him once again that he’d try to accomplish what Wilhad couldn’t.
“Just like you promised to sing my love song to Britney.”
Sven felt guilty about that unfulfilled promise; Sven was planning on do it. He just has not had the right opportunity so far.
Sven then realized that his goals and Wilhad’s aspirations were not so different after all. Sven’s wanted to establish a monastery and that could easily become a center of music education as well. After all, the singing of hymns and praises were always a part of worship.
So into the valley they stepped and as they watched the mists parted revealing Wilith, Coelric’s deceased wife. It was a touching moment as they talked and kissed, but the longer they spent in this valley the more it poisoned their bodies. Coelric’s friends had to intervene to hasten the parting so the group could continue down the path.
Prestollion might not have been afraid to enter, but there were still things dangerous to him. Many things, a multitude of beings, who Prestollion had killed while back on the planet below. They all started to gang up on him. It was as if they knew that if they could delay this giant of a dark elf then the local environment would do to him what they themselves couldn’t do while they were mortal.
With the help of his friends, and a heroic effort of will he repelled their avalanche.
The final ordeal was a test of friendship. Boris (the bear) had fallen behind the others. He had a keen appetite for desserts and feasting and it showed. “Just go on without me.” He called as he sat down for a rest. Only with Sven’s nagging assistance and Coelric helping Sven (Coelric didn’t think Boris was worth saving.) did Boris find the inner strength to get up and keep moving.
Right on the threshold between where the valley of the dead ends and the next area starts was a bridge with a towering Giant guardian
At the Bridge each person crossing had to declare their name. This was a test of humility. Golvendir was the one most challenge by this as he took such pride in his titles and honorifics. He chose wisely though in that he declared both his good and bad names. It was an equal pairing of those that brought him shame and pride.
As the party crossed the bridge, their goal was in sight, for in the horizon was the temple to the Moon goddess and that was where they were taking the Moon Sword.
As they walked across a field the old Hag Gretchen came before them to harass and block their path. St. Whitric intervened on their behave and fought the Hag. The only minions left that the party had to contend with were Lunatic Stags that had been specifically bred to guard this lunar field. They were tough beasts to kill as their wounds would magically heal if struck by mundane weapons.
Prestollion came to St. Whitric’s aid by challenging Gretchen, herself, to combat when she’d teleported across the field. He strode a couple steps forward and in a brilliant display of swordsmanship lopped off her head!
In the meeting hall of the Temple the party of heroes were greeted by the deities of the heavens. It was then that they learned that they symbolically represented the 7 vices that afflict mortal kind and also the seven kingdoms that allegorically as the closest match to those 7 vices.
Sven represented Pride and how a code of honor can go bad when the statutes are so strict that no-one can live up to them. The monastery and School of Music he established eventually became broken down ruins as no students wanted to enroll in it.