The events of the King’s Cage rattled The Mighty Nein like few things have since half of the party was captured by smugglers on the road to Shadycreek Run. Grasping at straws for how to handle their situation and process their complicated emotions about Yasha, the Laughing Hand, Obann, and the Dwendalian Empire-Kryn Dynasty war, the Nein have settled on something tangible: going to Kravaraad, the volcano in the Flotket Alps that Caduceus envisioned in his connection to the Wildmother. The Nein are hoping to get answers to a variety of questions, and maybe even forge a sword while they’re there. We’ve seen some questions about this whole situation, so let’s dive into this volcano.
The Greying Wildlands lie to the north of both the Dwendalian Empire and Dynasty-controlled Xhorhas, bounded by the Dunrock Mountains in the west and the Penumbra Range to the east. The Nein have visited the very edge of these lands when they visited Shadycreek Run and the Savalierwood. Shadycreek Run was a haven for outlaws and smugglers, who managed to maintain control of the area through strategic use of the corrupted Savalierwood: whenever the Empire attempted to push past the Quannah Breach, the outlaws simply retreated into the forest and waited for it to kill enough soldiers for the Empire to give up. As a result, Shadycreek Run serves as a buffer between the Empire and the rest of the Greying Wildlands, allowing the rest of the region to stay free of Empire influence and control.
The Savalierwood itself seems to have been corrupted for a long time: the Blooming Grove had multiple barriers in place, all but one of which had been overtaken by the forest, and no one in Shadycreek seemed to remember a time when the forest had not been corrupted. The areas near Shadycreek were relatively tame, but the corruption gets worse the further into the Savalierwood you travel. Caduceus knows that the corruption is not natural, but he doesn’t know what it is or where it’s coming from, and it’s beginning to threaten the last bit of the Blooming Grove. We also know that the Savalierwood was home to a great battle where Star Razor was sundered, in the ruins of Molaesmyr, though we don’t know where that location is in relation to either the Blooming Grove or Shadycreek Run.
The Savalierwood isn’t the only location we know of in the Greying Wildlands. Wursh, the half-orc blacksmith that Fjord and the Mighty Nein met in Rosohna, is from Boraftkrah, one of many towns controlled by clans of orcs and half-orcs, and he mentioned the Rime Plains as a fairly dangerous location between Boraftkrah and the rest of the world.
Finally, we also know of a mountain range within the Greying Wildlands: The Flotket Alps. Most of these mountains are snow-capped, with the notable exception of the volcano Kravaraad. According to Caduceus, this is the location of the Burning Lodge, home to the Kiln of the Wildmother, a gift to the Allhammer.
Star Razor: The Little Sword That Could
Back when the Mighty Nein were running jobs for The Gentleman in Zadash, they found themselves fighting a group of merrow that had overtaken The Gentleman’s safe house around the Labenda Swamp outside of Berleben. The merrow stole a number of smuggled artifacts from the safe house, including Fjord’s first cloven crystal, the Summer’s Dance blade, a series of holy symbols for gods banned in the Empire, and a locked box containing a broken sword hilt. That hilt had a faint magical essence and resisted being Mended. Fjord held onto the broken sword as they left the merrow lair. Nine days later, Fjord, Jester, and Yasha were kidnapped by the Iron Shepherds, human traffickers of Shadycreek Run.
Much later, once the Nein were back in the Empire in the Invulnerable Vagrant, Pumat Sol presented a broken hilt available for purchase that he had gotten in exchange from someone who needed money quickly. We can’t be sure that the two broken hilts are the same, but it certainly seems likely that the one Fjord picked up in the merrow lair was taken off of him during his abduction by the Iron Shepherds, passed off somewhere between Hupperdook and the Sour Nest, and smuggled back through the Empire and sold to Pumat.
The other option is that Caduceus purchased a magical sword hilt for 300 gold with a remarkably similar appearance and broken in almost the exact same way as the one Fjord took. Caduceus didn’t find any real answers about the hilt he purchased until about three months later in Rosohna. Wursh the Tapper recognized the make of the hilt as Uthodurnian, and that the Nein would have to take it there to be repaired.
Elsewhere in Rosohna, Professor Tuss Waccoh had in her possession a broken sword blade, that she allowed the Nein to take as part of their reward for getting the stone giants to leave the Deepriver Mining Camp. The blade resisted being Identified by Caleb, and appeared to match the broken sword hilt they had in their possession. It took some expensive spellwork to finally get some answers about the blade, formerly known as Dwueth’var, the Star Razor.
From the Wildmother, we learned that the blade was not originally Uthodurnian, necessarily, but forged during the Age of Arcanum by acolytes of Sehanine (the Moonweaver) and Melora (the Wildmother). At some point, it was broken, and as we’ve seen, it takes a lot to break a magical weapon. It was then reforged in Uthodurn by Dulgrim Smeltborne. It was broken yet again in a battle in Molaesmyr.
Episode 2-70 (1:25:50) Wildmother: This blade was once known as Dwueth’var, the Star Razor. A weapon forged through a union of two acolytes of Melora and Sehanine during the Age of Arcanum. It carries the blessing of the fiercest full moon and starlit night. Recovered by the elves and dwarves of Uthodurn it was reforged and strengthened under the skilled work of the dwarven smith, Dulgrim Smeltborne, before it was sundered in a terrible battle deep within the ruins of Molaesmyr within the Savalierwood. The pieces have since been recovered as historical relics, trading hands through traveling merchants and smugglers, then lost through time.
We don’t know if the hilt and blade are the only two pieces of the sword, or if there are others hidden throughout the world or lost to time. Caduceus thinks that this sword, originally crafted in-part by a follower of the Wildmother, could be reforged at the forge in Kravaraad. Speaking of that forge...
Caduceus’ Family and History
But seriously, we received a major lore dump from Caduceus after the Nein returned to the Xhorhaus from Bazzoxan. According to the story Caduceus told, three champions of the Matron of Ravens, named Stone, Dust, and Clay, debated what to do with the body of a hero of a recent conflict, whose body could not be maintained within a city for unknown reasons. The Matron of Ravens told them to seek instruction from The Wildmother, saying she had taken what was hers already, and that she had no domain over what remained.
The Wildmother instructed Stone to take the limbs of the hero to the beasts at an oasis, attracting a vast menagerie of creatures as a gift to the Changebringer. Clay was to take the head of the hero to a spring deep in what we now know as the Savalierwood, and a beautiful grove would grow as a gift to the Archeart. Finally, Dust took what remained and burned it in a pool of magma in Kravaraad, where a kiln was to be built for the Allhammer. The families descended from these heroes protect and care for their sacred locations to this day, occasionally making pilgrimages to the other families when the need is dire. All three families assist the families of those who have died with funeral rites, each burying the bodies in their own way: Stone with an air altar, Clay with graves, and Dust with cremation.
According to Taliesin on Talks, this is the story as told to Caduceus, and he has no idea how much, if any of it, is true. Caduceus’ own family left the Blooming Grove one by one on pilgrimages to find help to deal with the corruption in the Savalierwood. None returned. Caduceus himself has never left the Savalierwood, and he has never met or seen any members of the Stone or Dust families. Caduceus hasn’t really thought much about what could have happened to his family, and he has no idea where they are or what has happened to them.
We also know a little bit about Caduceus’ family specifically. Taliesin has mentioned a mother, a father, an aunt, and several siblings. Some of his family are clerics, but not all. He’s also said that Caduceus is one of the youngest in his family, and of the siblings, at least two are sisters and one is a brother. One of the sisters made Caduceus his green beetle armor, and one of the sisters (possibly the same one, equally likely to be a different sister) was the last to leave the Savalierwood a few years ago. Caduceus’ siblings also helped him make his beetle staff, since they have some skills that Caduceus does not. Taliesin has described Caduceus' relationship with his family to be a positive one, albeit one with typical levels of pranks and sibling rivalries.