Don’t have time for a long write-up – here’s the abridged version.
The party got to Merridell, a bustling trade city. While there, Portia began gathering some information about public opinion regarding the Orren family (mostly neutral, though some acknowledged the vital role they play in protecting them from Orcs). While visiting the soldiers, looking for recruits for the newly formed Order of the Black Pheonix, the air rippled, and a ship suddenly emerged from an apparent breach in the space-time continuum. The ship was accompanied by strange extraplanar beings (later found out to be Githyanki) riding red dragons. The ship lowered ropes and shock troops, consisting of both warriors and arcane casters. They began attacking the city – the dragons set buildings afire while the Githyanki caused as much destruction as possible.
An epic battle began. Portia rallied the scattered and confused militia and fought them off, before climbing on the ship to take the fight to them. The rest of the party dispatched some Githyanki that had appeared in town. Donovan cast a Hold Monster spell on a dragon, causing it to plummet. After dispatching the dragons and ground troops, Donovan channeled a powerful spell that blew a hole in the ship. The ship also plummeted to the ground, taking out a city block in the process.
After the fight, Ari, thinking that the Red Dragon Cult might be involved, sent a message to Lucilia Delgado describing the situation. Lucilia replied that she would meet her in Merridell within a week.
The party afterwards went to seek out the Orren family in their castle to the North of Merridell. On the way, they met a green-robed Wizard, who introduced himself as Edmund Orren. He was on the search for his younger brother, Wilhelm, who had recently become involved in the cult of Rika, and believed himself to be on a holy quest. The party agreed to help him, and after searching into the night, they found him; he had been ambushed and robbed by thieves. After killing one of the thieves and sending the other to turn himself in, Wilhelm described his vision, in which the goddess Rika had appeared to him and told him to reclaim the fabled Sword of Tiernach, the blade she wielded during her time on the Material plane, and sealed away before ascending to her celestial realm.
Seeing that his brother would not be persuaded to abandon his quest, Edmund instead begged the party to protect his brother, and began his journey back to the castle.
The party followed Wilhelm, who seemed to stumble blindly through the dense forest. Just as they were beginning to doubt his vision, they came across some moss-covered ruins.
The floor of the dark temple was covered in spider webs. Some were big enough to menace the party somewhat, though the party dispatched them in short order. However, a spider as large as a dragon awaited them in the antechamber. Though the melee fighters fell victim to the strength-draining venom, the party eventually overcame the monstrous creature.
They continued on and reached a door that required a combination puzzle. Augustus finally found the correct answer (hymn), and they reached a teleportation circle.
On the other side, a group of devils guarded the final door. Augustus smote their leader, an ice devil, and killed him in one shot. The battle was hard-fought. Erinyes archers sniped them as the stronger bearded devils advanced their melee attacks. They finally banished the devils, and left the final chained door open.
Portia claimed the sword, and unwrapped it from its chains. She then disappeared.
Portia found herself standing in a large black void. A huge humanoid figure dressed in black armor towered over her atop a large throne.
“This sword was meant for my daughter. If you are to become its wielder, you must become my daughter. Do you understand?”