But the end was not the end… It was merely an excuse for an interlude at Uncle Paco’s!
One of the other heroes that had been defending Tir Elende, a gnome going by the name of Belwar, finds himself mesmerized by an eating contest between whom he believed to be a fist-fighting half elf and the renouned Rekas Selchar. As Blade orders three more plates of crepes from Uncle Paco, Rekas Selchar falls from his stool and begins groaning.
Belwar looks to the recently vacated stool and recognizes Miria in the stool next to it. He greets the fellow Hospitaler. “Hello, M’Lady. Can you pick me up and place me on the stool? I can’t reach the bar.”
Miria looks down upon her fellow Hospitaler, obviously uncomfortable. “I could order you something?”
At this point Belwar sees Orryn and a bit of crass small talk insues. Belwar discovers that the group is planning on returning one of the artifacts to the town of Twin Sword Springs. Being on his way back to a Hospitaler stronghold nearby, he requests to travel with the group. They agree to meet on the morrow to allow Rekas Selchar‘s stomach a chance to recover.
Before parting for the night the group had discussed whether to travel by land or sea. They decide to sail despite their last series of encounters at sea. Belwar finds a smith open late and requests his shield be equiped with floaties, just in case he is thrown overboard during an altercation.
During the evening Dryug sneaks into the castle. He can’t help but chuckle to himself, proud of his upcoming prank. A few servants notice him, but his presence at the castle is normal. They ignore him. He enters the throne room and begins to hang artwork of famous wizards around the finger-painted canvas of Wil that was painted by the orphans.
Miria secures passage aboard a boat named, “A New Hope.” Dryug finds himself seasick once again. For a few days, the journey is uneventful.
As dusk approached one evening, an uninvited guest appeared upon the ship. It was the drow priestess from the shadowfell. One eye red, the other burning purple, her visage had changed little since the group had met her last. “Thank you for freeing me from the master. I shall reward you all for you troubles with a quick death,” she declared. Dark mists swirled around the ship and the world turned pitch black.
Only Dryug, the priestess, and the smurf-gnome appreciate the change of lighting. Orryn quickly casts a spell to dissipate the darkness and and battle ensues. The adventures pour every ounce of energy and skill into the battle, but they appear outmatched. More the once, some in the group mourns Ashar having left them. Psychic blasts bombard the party and the priestess seems capable of evading nearly all their attacks.
As they grit their teeth and struggle against an impossible foe, a tear in the fabric of reality appears at the other side of the boat. A floating man comes out of the rift, “Come with me if you want to live.” Before being given an alternative, there is a blinding light and the group finds themselves in an unfamiliar room full of magic paraphernalia.
“Dryug, its so good to see you!” says an attractive young girl in her early twenties. They greet each other with a hug. Over her shoulder Dryug mouths to the others “Who is this?”
Catching the hint, Miria declares, “Meldy we’re all very glad to see you. Where are we? What just happened?”
As Meldy begins to explain that the group has been teleported to the future, a familiar figure steps barges into the room. “Hey kid, we’ve got Draconians.” Revy the Hunter pauses, seeing the others, “Oh it worked. Come with me. I need you.”
“If we were needed, why didn’t you get the current us? Why go into the past?”
“You all died on that boat,” Meldy says quietly.
“Draconians! Let’s go!” Revy leads the adventurers through a trap door, passed some hammocks and other clutter. They continue onward to a stable full of hippogriffs.
“Master Dryug?” asks the young stablehand.
Dryug tries to guess who would know him and greet him fondly. “Seth?”
“No, I’m Reese!”
“Wow, you’ve grown,” Dryug says awkwardly.
As Reese begins introducing the hippogriffs by name, Revy the Hunter shouts, “No time. Draconians!” She hops onto a hippogriff pulls a large rope and a hole in the stable wall opens, showing open sky. “This way!” she yells and is gone. The others follow suit. Leaving the stable they discover they had been on a large magical flying ship. There is no time to marvel at their bizarre situation as flying lizards are approaching the ship.
“To battle!” Somehow the group manages to kill the draconians and not to fall to their deaths. Having seen its companions slain, a final draconian flees toward the horizon. Revy the Hunter congratulates everyone on remembering which end of a sword to wield. Back at the stable Reese fusses over the hippogriffs. One of them has a few singed feathers. Miria directs a playful scowl toward Dryug, who shrugs innocently. Revy the Hunter unceremoniously leaves the stables.
Reese, still in his early teens and more interested in exotic animals than politics, shrugs, “Milithraw or something like that happened. She’s in charge of most things now.”
“Nhilithra?” Dryug stays with Reese to help him with the hippogriffs. The others seek a more knowledgeable source of information. They make their way back the way they had come and are able to find the room full of magical whats-its.
Meldy greets them, “Glad to hear the battle was successful. I suppose you have some questions.” She continues on to tell of how the drow, Nhilithra, somehow absorbed the power of Adriana Prevot and the purple dragon. She became unstoppable. Tir Elende was one of the first to fall. The adventurers were attacked for the fire titan’s heart. She took Rekas Selchar‘s sword as well. “We save who we can. There aren’t many on the Adriana that can fight. There is no one powerful enough to face her directly.”
“Why save us?”
“There were few others we knew we could trust. Okabe and I have a plan to send you back to various times in the past. We need to keep her from ever obtaining those artifacts.”
And so it seemed the end was really a new beginning…