Lore: The Ring of Summer Flame

Deep below the dwarven stronghold Axeholm are many secrets. Many souls have tried to plumb its depths. One secret that keeps people coming back over the years is a powerful gateway / connection to the Nine Hells.

One of these people seemingly drawn to the stronghold was an elven bard named Vyldara. She acted as a trade ambassador between the dwarves and elves. When at Axeholm, Vyldara caused strife between the dwarves, trying to tear them apart. 

Vyldara’s motives are unknown. Maybe it was her own lust for power or desire to uncover Axeholm’s deep secrets. Perhaps Vyldara’s intentions to find the secrets were brought out only when she started spending time at Axeholm. 

As one could imagine, the dwarves did not take kindly to this strife. They held her in her room and asked the elves to take back their emissary. 

The common story around Vyldara’s death was that the dwarves killed her as she tried to escape. But here’s what really happened…

There was another wizard at Axeholm that was in love with Vyldara: Thoth Ayron. Thoth was the ambassador from Thulasia, attempting to set up trade with the dwarves. 

Unfortunately, Vyldara didn’t return Thoth’s love. She was in love with power. Mad with it. 

Spurned, Thoth Ayron tapped into the dark, evil power underneath Axeholm and created the Ring of Summer Flame. “He swore to burn all her kind to cinder for her cruel dismissal of him.” [source: The Infinite Winter poem] He used the Ring to destroy Vyldara in the halls of the dwarven stronghold. 

The dwarves needed to defeat Thoth Ayron. But they couldn’t defeat him on their own because he had the Ring. So they freed something from the depths of Axeholm that could. A Balor demon. The Balor had been trapped long ago by heroes of old, their names lost to history.

Thoth Ayron was killed by the Balor in the lower depths of Axeholm. He was burned to ash, leaving only the Ring. 

Interesting side note: The Phoenix property of the Ring of Summer Flame caused Ayron to be resurrected as a lich. It is said he materialized in Cold Harbor.

But the dwarves had simply replaced one problem, Thoth Aryon, with another. The Balor demon. The dwarves took the Ring from the fiery battle and used it as payment to an unnamed ancient white dragon.

The white dragon held the Balor at bay while the dwarves evacuated, leaving Axeholm to duergar and drow elves. 

The worm escaped Axeholm. And then, gravely wounded, died at Dragon Barrow with the Ring of Summer Flame. 

Recently, a group of adventurers came to Axeholm, having heard a key was there that could unlock Dragon Barrow. They were followed by a smaller, powerful group consisting of a wizard (Drucilla Herron), her lover-assassin (Faheed Dorra) and a paladin/white dragon named Gwyneth Whitemane. The adventurers were pursued throughout the upper halls of Axeholm. But eventually killed Drucilla, causing Fareed and the young white dragon to leave, taking the wizard’s body with them.

After seeing that party leave, the adventurers then killed a duergar king and several of his followers. They also destroyed the spirit of Vyldara, who had become a banshee. Somewhere in there the group found the key they were looking for, hidden away in a statue of Asmodeus in the long-gone dwarven king’s bedchambers.

The Balor is assumed to still be in the lower depths of Axeholm. Also beneath the stronghold: scores of undead, drow elves and duergar who worship the Balor. 

It’s also understood that Choronzon himself has a presence in the dark caves and tunnels. Sometimes the very walls seem imbued with Choronzon’s spirit.

Elrian Omaleth
The Lionshield Teamsters

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