Disclaimer: to understand the ins and out of this final play report, a prior reading of The Jewel of the Mind Part 1 and Campaign Background: The Seven Spires is advised.
It is particularly strange for this DM to go back in time so long after the fact and try and piece together the detail of what turned out to be the last game session of the Praemal Tales.
By that point in the campaign, I had come to realize that we were running out of time, and that some of the key players of our game would leave the island of Bella Bella forever very soon. It was the end of the school year, and some teachers either decided to move on with their lives, or didn't see their contracts renewed. It was in many ways the end of an era, an end that was coming way too fast for all of us involved in this game, and it was particularly hard to hasten it and make the last few sessions a satisfying end to two plus years of gaming together.
As discussed in the prologue to Part 1 of the Jewel of the Mind, my back was against the wall. I could either make it safe and somewhat predictable, run with our handful of 5th level characters, and tie up the loose ends with what was given to us at that time. OR, I could find ways to immediately and somewhat artificially bump up the power level of the party in order to quickly work towards an apocalyptic, over-the-top closure to it all.
I chose the latter, for two main reasons. One, there was no guarantee the ensemble of players we had at that point could ever meet again specifically to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons. The last nine years in hindsight have proven me right here. Finishing on a subtle, low-powered note was certainly possible, but also underwhelming. Two, pumping up the power level of the characters and party could be done in a way that would also tie loose ends and link all the games we had played together as a comprehensive whole, a single continuity or canon all the way from the start of the Seven Spires to this last game session in the Jewel of the Mind.
Av itself, the Jewel of the Mind, and beyond, its role in the Path to Godhood devised by Parnaith in the world of Praemal represented the solution to all this. I had to make the Jewels my own, and reinterpret their nature and role in the big picture, using their original description in the Ptolus book as a starting point rather than an end onto itself, to get there and make the finale explode appropriately both for me and the players involved.
I went on and though it started with Jewel of the Mind interacting with the players' characters and their equipment in strange ways (as described in part 1 of this session, where Beket, Hennie and Simone commune with the grand tapestry and feel themselves imbued by some wider power out there, whether it'd be the Old Man, the substance of Fire or Shadow for each of them respectively), I was still waiting for an occasion to go really wild with the idea and basically double the experience of levels of each party member outright.
Not only did that opportunity naturally present itself when the players on their own volition suddenly decided they would drink the sap of the trees within the Jewel, a demi-plane outside of space and time that was directly connected to the archetypal concept of the Mind, but this action of the player took a life of its own as I got to interpret it on the spot and led to the substance of the plane and its trees becoming charged with potential realities and reflections of the Mind throughout the multiverse, culminating with the confrontation with Savvan and the reunification of these players' characters with their alter-egos of the Seven Spires. From there, not only would the characters be ready for the challenges of Goth Gulgamel, they would also have doubled in numbers, and therefore ready to take on some pretty powerful threats once they got there.
The exploration of Goth Gulgamel and final confrontation with the alchemists of the Ogen Suhl would never come to pass. This report you are reading now was the end of the campaign, and I would be disappointed at the time we did not have the opportunity to finish it all. Little did I realize that this was in fact a worthy form of closure in and of itself, an open ended and bittersweet final chapter that would make me appreciate the existence of the whole that much better all these many years later.
When I told Nerissa, who played Beket in these games, that I was writing this last game play report today and should probably have done so many years earlier, she responded: “But then again, perhaps not. Perhaps you needed that time to digest it all and finally tell the end of the story with something more to say today than you otherwise would have written in the past.”
I will let readers judge for themselves.
Session 13 – The Jewel of the Mind (Cont'd)
Still the 27th of Rain
The girls stare at the hands they just used to cup the sap from the trees of the Jewel of the Mind and drink it. The light plays across the smooth surface of thick, treacly amber coating their fingers. Within the sap, ephemeral figures take shape, dance and die before them as that many visions born out of worlds and existences that never were. The substance of the Jewel fades, revealing many shades of the earth, multiple and yet all linked together by the common substance of Av.
For a moment, the figure of a young boy is more distinct than the others. He is wearing white robes, and stares at them with his bright blue eyes and unkempt, shaggy brown hair. A third eye, as clear and blue as those that already stared at them now, opens up on his forehead. The sound of trumpets rise as the outline of a golden hall becomes plainly visible in the distance.
The child whispers: “Remember...”
Clouds gather and the whole scene is smothered by the gathering dark. The light emanating from the child's eyes dies as the golden hall melts in the distance and morphs into a long hard tower of black volcanic glass. Screams of pain and distant wailing rise as a cold new dawn reveals the bleak surroundings of the tower. Crows fly overhead, thousands of bodies surrounding the base of the promontory where the tower rises defiantly towards the thick, swirling clouds above.
The scene changes abruptly. Great stone chimes stand atop a mountain looming over the plains where the tower once stood. The wind blows violently, and the chimes send crystalline notes into the air which ultimately reverberate against the walls of the Bitter Peaks beyond. Three tall giant figures clad in black stand motionless by the chimes, looking down upon the plains and the girls looking at them, as if suddenly standing alone in the wind-swept valley below.
For a split second, there is a burning sensation, as if the giants' stares burned their way through the girls' hearts. A bolt of red lightning flashes violently across the sky, and the chimes and giants are gone, replaced once again by the monolithic tower of obsidian. None of those who wailed a moment before are left alive. The crows are banqueting upon the thousands of bodies rotting everywhere, as far as the eye can see. A blood-soaked standard lays flat, dead, against the straight shaft of hornwood still upholding its weight.
The child's voice can be heard in the distance: “Remember...”
The thousands of corpses sprout moss, leaves and trees growing at a dramatic pace. From death springs new life, but this life is hungry, ravenous, unbound, and ends up devouring itself in an attempt to compensate for such carnage. It becomes the Emerald Death, a plague of life devouring life, of light devouring light, to the point it destroys all in its path.
A sprawling city reveals itself to Beket, Hennie and Simone. A vague sensation of recognition, of familiarity flirts with the edge of their consciousness, as if the city was known to them. It is not Ptolus, it is not the City by the Spire, for this city lies in the shadow of seven peaks, seven spires rising high to the heavens above. The name almost comes back to them, but the girls' attention is suddenly diverted as the city is ripped apart by a forest growing at an alarming rate out of the streets, market places and buildings around.
Soon the forest grows into a jungle, and the jungle consumes the entire city. A shout pierces the air as a gaunt, bald wizard with black beard is slain by the students of Spellhold standing against the Emerald Death. The giant and the sibbecai and the faen and the elf stand next to their slate-skinned companion, Nuwah Kawah the Uladhrim, as she stares down at the voidless eyes of the wizard, his last scream echoing in the distance.
The trees come alive as hundreds of chaos mandrils, blue gnolls and pig-like, diminutive orcs worshipping the Black Sow jump from branch to branch towards the great world tree now dominating the landscape. The humanoids reach the foliage, climb downward along the deep sinuous lines of the antediluvian trunk, and reach for the holes dug deep by the massive roots supporting it.
The minions of chaos squeeze and squirm through the tunnels of the Underworld. The forces of life seep away from the jungle and trail behind in bright arcs of viridian energy. Throngs gather before the Inverted Pyramid beneath the earth, the cyclopean crystal tomb standing impossibly high before the marbled eye that serves as its ultimate seal and doorway.
The labyrinthine network of caves around the Inverted Pyramid now vomits a great host of men. They march towards the forces of chaos, their long, multicoloured banners unfurled by the light of bright torches and lanterns. Their leader stares with bright, intense amber eyes through the slits of her dragon helmet, her long black hair flowing in the back of her richly decorated armour, her grip tightening around the handle of a long sword made out of a shard of starlight. Andares d'Astradeen knows this is her last hour. She will die today, but perhaps her sacrifice will avert the end of the world as they know it.
By the eye of the Pyramid now rises the Bonelord, the dreadful Herald of Doom, envoy of the God That Never Was and Should Not Have Been. His armour is made of the bones of all those heroes he killed during the many aeons of his cursed existence. His sword is but the long, curved fang of an ancient demon long defeated and forgotten on the burning fields of Hell. He looks down at the field of battle, blood flying everywhere as combatants swing their weapons at one another. The six burning skulls of the damned wizards who gave him birth swirl around him, deflecting missiles aimed at his position. He knows his hour has come. He knows this world is doomed.
A mighty sorcerous blast tears apart the ranks of hill giants defending the Bonelord's position. The blood-soaked, crimson scaled Mojh, Slydracna, emerges from the carnage and walks to the Herald of Doom and meets him in single combat. Spells of concealment, magic missiles and blade flurries follow one another, and the Bonelord holds his ground. The eye of the Pyramid comes alive. The end of the world is nigh.
Another plane, another time, giants dispatched by the horned devil Amalruth. The fierce dwarves of I'ix organize a counter-charge, wielding their ice-bladed axes as they run to meet the threat through the blizzard. The blinding flakes turn to ice shards cutting through their furred armour, turning them to shreds before they can reach their target. Jezabell, the fearsome winter witch, commands the storm forward, protecting her companions from certain destruction. The storm intensifies as many more foes fall prey to her spells.
“I remember,” The three girls finally answer with a single voice.
Sa Qebah, the master assassin, the shapechanger and sellsword, shifts between her cheetah and human forms as she holds the dagger of cold iron that just bit into her flesh. A self-inflicted wound, a ultimate sacrificial act, for the sacrifice of a innocent life was needed for Eldariel the Archon to control the energie of the Pyramid and turn its opening, an act of cosmic destruction, into an act of opportunity, and new creation. The Archon cries as she witnesses the holocaust, peers beyond the crystal tomb deep inside the Inverted Pyramid, and sees the form of the All-Mother of Chaos take shape in the centre of the nexus.
The great figure stands impossibly tall and slender, a great crown of horned protrusions topping a visage without age, neither human nor inhuman, with two great voids filling her empty orbits and a wide mouth lined with razor-sharp fangs of clear amethyst under them. A long blue tongue swirls around her like a whip. Two sets of bronze wings stretch high behind her back, each feather a key to a different world of possibilities and entropy. The All-Mother of Chaos extends her four sets of arms before her four sets of saggy breasts. Her hands stretch out, and now each one of her palms faces one of the cardinal directions of the compass. Eight eyes open up in the centre of her palms, and her teats let the pure energy of life and chaos flow away from her body, mixing with essence of the nexus and changing its destructive nature into the birth of many colours, the source of potential and multiplicity, the fountain of an infinite number of shades in the realm of eternity.
A great Throne of Beryl now becomes distinct behind the gigantic form of the All-Mother. She gathers her four sets of arms and embraces her pregnant belly as she sits on the throne. The fabric of the world of the Seven Spires falls apart, but it is birthing all the kingdoms of imagination in the process. The deed is done, and Eldariel the Archon smiles as she rises the heavens and disappears high in the innumerable field of stars above.
The great multiversal explosion takes momentum, like an enormous, brilliant nova stretching outward with the energies of life and chaos, swallowing the whole world, growing like a brilliant sphere of creation, birthing thousands, millions of new worlds in its path as it grows and grows beyond the metaphysical boundaries of the original. Soon, new individual powers and consciences spring out of the font of life, some of them good, and some of them evil. The darkest and most destructive of them all congregate to devour entire worlds before they have a chance to bear fruit. They go on a rampage and destroy senselessly all that is born, and therefor all that was as well as all that could possibly exist.
One of the higher powers born of the nexus decided to oppose them, and to that end, the being took hold of some energy to fashion it into a trap for the destructive, cancerous powers devouring all the worlds around them. Ultimately, they succumbed to the subterfuge, mistaking the trap for one of the million of newborn worlds they were targeting. The Galchutt, as they would soon become to be known, became entangled with the primal fabric of this world trap, and it became Praemal, the prison of the most destructive amongst the children of Chaos.
Just as the Seven Spires are swallowed in the birth of a new multiverse, Seven Chains come into being, holding firm the soul of the world, keeping the prison safe with no possible escape for the Galchutt. Luminous angels stand behind each one of the Chains, guarding the anchor in the metaphysical castle only accessible from the Vallis Moon, the Green Moon of Praemal. Thus does the world keep destruction at bay, away from the many shades beyond its boundaries.
That same moon the Alchemists of the Ogden Suhl now want to destroy...
Beket, Hennie and Simone all open their eyes at the very same time. They repeat of a single voice, unconsciously: “I remember.”
“What is it?” Shibata the Minotaur had been standing next to the girls throughout their vision, and was eager to know what they had seen.
Beket is the first to recuperate. She looks up at the unmoving skies of the Jewel of the Mind, and answers: “Our individual beings are connected to all potentialities. We are but one of the various incarnations our souls had in the past, have now, and will experience in the future.”
The nature of the Jewel of the Mind has changed. Once, it was static and responsive to the will of only one of its visitors... Savvan, an entity foreign to the Jewel itself, a tumour on the Land of the Mind itself. But this has now changed. The runebearers now realize they were and are the Spellwardens, and many other beings across the multiverse, all linked by the substance of the Mind.
All these struggles, these separate moments of glory and tragedies lost to different histories on so many different worlds and planes of the imagination, are all linked on a fundamental level. It is all linked, and they have their own part to play in the never-ending dance of the multiverse.
Beket, Hennie and Simone can either accept it, or refuse it. If they refuse it, the great schemes of the alchemists of the Ogden Suhl will go on unchecked. The substance of Praemal will be dissolved and the destructive essence of the Galchutt will be released from this prison world. If they accept it, nothing is certain. The world might come to an end all the same, for all they know. But the potential itself, the existence of a chance for it to all to keep on living and existing beyond their mortal selves, this has to count for something.
Beket breaks the silence: “I remember now. I remember and know how many live we lived, and are living now, and will live in the future as well. Our tales are but one track, one voice out of the entire chorus of the million spheres.”
“Meaning?” asks Odhanan, pointedly interested.
“A choice.” answers Beket. “A choice to live up to our better nature, to be our true selves, or to ignore it all and act out on singled-minded concerns for immediate temporary rewards.”
Amalruth cuts in, introspectively: “To be who we were truly meant to be.”
Hennie looks at the foliage of the trees dancing in the wind now blowing over the substance of the Jewel of the Mind: “I was Quip William Wordsmith and Slydracna. Beket was Nuwah Kawah and Sa Qebah. Simone was Jezabell and others besides. We lived these lives and went through these ordeals. Just as we have to go through this challenge here and now. And each time, each time... we face a choice. To care for nothing but our selves and the moment imparted to our egos, or to look at the ripples our actions have on the field of the multiverse, understand, and struggle forward with that knowledge in mind, to the bitter end, if need be.”
Simone whispers: “To live, or to surrender and know peace... Once and for all...”
Amalruth interjects, almost incredulously: “Is that really a choice at all?”
Odhanan looks up at his devilish friend: “When you feel trapped and your mistaken sense of self gets in the way, you have to wonder. It is an existential question we all must face at some point in our lives.”
Amalruth whispers almost instinctively: “To be, or not to be.”
Odhanan smiles, with a twinkle in his eye: “Precisely.”
Hamrick the Halfling cuts in: “Not to interrupt your fascinating philosophical conversation, friends, but I think we have company...”
A group of sibbecai warriors emerges from the trees. The same group that found Beket, Hennie and Simone upon their arrival on the Jewel of the Mind. One of them, a female that seems to lead the party, looks from Amalruth to the girls, to their other companions, and asks: “Why have you not brought back the beast for the sacrifice? Are you in league with the demon?”
Amalruth interjects between his large fangs: “Devil...”
Hennie cuts in immediately, her hand raised to the hulking horned devil: “Whatever.” Then to the sibbecai, she points out: “A better question would be whether YOU are in league with the demon.”
The sibbecai seems taken aback by the remark: “What is the meaning of this?”
Beket fills the blank: “Savvan. Savvan is not who he seems to be. You were duped. He is the demon you are searching for.”
“It can't be.” The leader of the Sibbecai is visibly confused, and Beket notices it: “I get the feeling this is not the first time you have had doubts about Savvan.”
Hennie asks rhetorically: “Savvan has asked for sacrifices in the name of Lothian before, hasn't he? I wonder what benefit the One True God could derive from these holocausts. Have you ever wondered yourself?”
The Sibbecai nods grudgingly. “Of course,” remarks Hennie, “it would explain much if Savvan was himself trying to highjack the power of the Jewel for his own ends. If he ever was to receive guests to your fort, guests who would obviously qualify as taints upon the Jewel and therefore intruders that would normally have to be sacrificed according to Savvan's wishes, it would provide all the proof needed to the true faithful of Lothian...”
Beket understands: “The Alchemists. You've seen the Alchemists of the Ogden Suhl since we left camp.”
The Sibbecai has a moment of doubt, probably deciding whether answering the question was the right thing to do, but she finally yields: “They arrived shortly after you departed. They seem to be conducting some sort of ritual at the Grove...”
“Ritual?” Hennie exchanges a look with her companions. “There is no time to lose. We must get to the Grove before Savvan and the Alchemists complete their ritual!”
The run through the forest is a blur. The party consisting of Beket Per Aau-Nu, Heinrietta Nagel, Simone Ahrenameer, Amalruth Ironhorn, Odhanan Baoisgne, Shibata of Niveral, Orien de Saeth, Oscar the Otyugh and Hamrick the Halfling rushes with the sibbecai warriors to the Grove where they know they will find Savvan and his allies.
The atmosphere, the colours and shapes of the trees change as they approach the Grove. The foliage blends with the darkening light of the sky above them; the branches become entangled, twisted and bent at nightmarish angles; the trunks become wide and bloated, their barks stretching to a point of supernatural translucence, with a variety of living forms squirming into their entrails of liquid amber now exposed for all to see. These trees feel like they are about to give birth, to eject spawns out of a mind taking over the substance of Av.
“We have to stop this...” As the group reaches the immediate vicinity of the Grove, Beket stops next to one of the bloated trees. “We have melded our consciousness with the Jewel of the Mind earlier. We can take advantage of it and hijack whatever Savvan is trying to do with it now!”
She plunges her sacrificial dagger into the bark of the tree, which immediately splits and releases a vast amount of golden liquid. It then expels an entire human body from its trunk with a wet crash. Instantly, the body, a girl with large eyes and short black hair, begins to convulse, and changes shape before Beket's eyes. It first turns into a large feline, a cheetah, and then into some hybrid between the human and feline form, before reversing to the pure human form.
Beket cannot believe her eyes: “Sa Qebah...”
The legendary assassin the girls just saw in their visions, the very same lycanthrope who sacrificed herself to give birth to the multiverse, has been reborn from the substance of the Jewel of the Mind. She slowly comes back to consciousness. Wisps of viridian energy envelop her, dress and arm her with implements that match the girls' recollections, from their visions.
Hennie watches the process. The trees are growing ever more twisted and sinister. “The Jewel... our memories and willpower can affect it.” She turns to Simone: “Quick, the trees!” Hennie gets to a tree and strikes it full on with her staff. Simone follows, and stabs at another one, exercising the full strength of her conscience on her actions.
Each tree releases another being, another aspect of the girls' previous lives. Hennie watches as the Mojh Mage Blade, Slydracna, comes back to life, and Simone helps Jezabell the Winter Witch do the same. Viridian energy washes over them and prepares them for the battle to come.
Odhanan steps away from the trees, as if the same action on his part would have deleterious consequences. Orien is the one to press on: “We have no further time for this. We must confront Savvan before it is too late!”
Few words if any are exchanged. The looks exchanged between the alter-egos, Beket to Sa Qebah, Hennie to Slydracna, and Simone to Jezabell, are charged with mutual comprehension. It is all now coming to a full circle, and the hardest confrontation has yet to happen.
As the party and the sibbecai warrior enter the perimeter of the Grove, they all notice the forest has morphed into a thick hedge around their field of vision, dark, thick and menacing. In the centre of the Grove, an extremely large specimen towers over all, like a negative, opposite image of the world tree the girls saw earlier in their vision, its root system alone rising up in warped curves about thirty feet above ground.
Between the gigantic roots plunging into the soil stands Savvan the Sibbecai, chanting words of arcane and divine power, and next to him, none other than Zalathar the Harrow Elf, who was once killed by Hennie and Simone, and Armenius Shiver, the renegade Shuul Alchemist who met his fate against Aarsaklaash, the Lord of the Everburning Citadel. They are surrounded by Obsidian Golems and the Knights of the Ogden Suhl wearing articulated armour, large scissored bastards swords, and mounted on clockwork steeds clanking around the Grove and breathing fire through thick iron nostrils.
The Black World Tree is loaded with demonic fruits not unlike the amber eggs inside the trunks of the trees that gave the occasion to the girls to summon Sa Qebah, Slydracna and Jezabell back to the world of the Mind. They are all pulsing with unnatural life, ready to hatch when Savvan and his allies complete their cursed ritual.
There is a brief moment of silence, as if the Jewel of the Mind itself suddenly held its breath, and then, all hell breaks loose. First, the sibbecai warriors who accompanied the party charge the Clockwork Knights. Flames meet with sword, and the smell of charred flesh fills the space. Odhanan, Amalruth and his companions charge through the opposing ranks and reach the line of Obsidian Golem who try to crush them and tear them apart with dark eldritch blasts and massive, sharp shards of black volcanic glass.
Savvan realizes what is going on, as well as Zalathar and Armenius. The evil sibbecai grows and changes shape to become an enormous, infernal three-horned black dragon. Zalathar attemps to kill the warriors on the party's side with a multitude of magic missiles, while Armenius prepares his dragon pistols and aims them square at Odhanan Baoisgne.
Hennie blocks some missiles with a Shield spell, while Simone covers some of the distance beween her and Zalathar and kills him a second time after unleashing a volley of shadow-pulsing arrows at her opponent.
Beket and Hamrick reach the Savvan's infernal form. The dragon unleashes a thick cloud of utter blackness which terrorizes and kills many of the sibbecai warriors. Armenius kills Shibata who was casting a protective spell, his twin dragon pistols unloading great magical power as well as their projectile onto the servant of Niveral. Amalruth is torn to pieces by the Obsidian Golems, while Odhanan is cleanly decapitated by one of the Knights with its scissored blade.
Simone then concentrates and through the substance of the Jewel of the Mind, tries to take control of Savvan himself. Though her efforts do not meet any expected results, it is enough to distract the great infernal dragon as Hamrick climbs along its tail and tries to stab it. The halfling's short sword bites into the evil flesh. Savvan realizes he has been hit, swirls around, breaking several branches of the Black Tree and projecting some of its fruits on the ground where they start to pulse and become gigantic demon larvae.
Orien de Saeth fights the last of the Obsidian Golems. Jezabell unleashes a powerful ice storm over the larvae, and the last of the sibbecai warriors fend off the Knights of the Ogden Suhl. Oscar the Otyugh starts feasting on the larvae. The dragon takes hold of Hamrick the Halfling and swallows him whole while Slydracna unleashes a maximized eldritch blast as at him. Beket and Sa Qebah, meanwhile, manoeuvred between the roots around the dragon. Beket now climbs part of the black tree while Sa Qebah gruesomely backstabs the creature. Savvan, now intent on killing Sa Qebah, received a vicious arrow from Simone to the gut. A cloud of darkness escape the jaws of the beast as it screams in pain and frustration.
Beket literally springs into action, leaping from the tree into the air, aiming at the dragon's head, her great staff charged with the power of the Old Man. Armenius Shiver, having spotted her along the trunk of the tree, is about to fire his dragon pistols, but he is stabbed to death by Simone before he has a chance to pull the triggers.
Jezabell fights the last of the Knights. Beket lands on the head of the dragon and smashes its skull with all she has. It is enough to split the dragon's head in two. Darkness flows from the open wound in a great explosion of blood and gore.
The air stands still. Everything is quiet.
When the darkness dissipates, the last of the Knights of the Ogden Suhl are nowhere to be found. Savvan is defeated, and both Zalathar and Armenius have been sent back to the afterlife they should never have left.
Hamrick, Amalruth, Odhanan, Shibata have met their demise along with most of the sibbecai warriors who sided with them. Beket, Hennie and Simone are still alive, victorious, along with their alter-egos, Sa Qebah, Slydracna and Jezabell. Oscar the Otyugh is eating the last of the demonic larvae nearby.
Among the remains of Savvan and Zalathar, besides their weapons and equipment, the girls find what looks like a tuning fork, and with it, a strange silvered box about one foot tall and wide, two feet long, with elaborate scrollwork and filigree.
Orien de Saeth immediately recognizes the box. “This is the Cask of Frozen Dreams. I can't tell you much about it, besides that it should not ever fall into the hands of the servants of the Galchutt.”
Hennie: “The Galchutt.” Remembering their vision earlier. “The destructive powers of Chaos trapped by the essence of the world, Praemal.”
Orien acquiesces: “Something like that.”
“What will you do with the Cask?”
“Bring it back to the Pale Tower, to be kept safe by the Malkuth.”
The girls exchange looks with one another. Hennie finally agrees and hands the Cask of Frozen Dream over to Orien.
“What do we do now?” Asks Beket.
Orien. “I'm not sure. I have a Teleportation Fork, but it will only work one way.”
“You mean a fork like this?” Beket shows the tuning fork they found among the remains of Savvan and Zalathar.
Orien nods. “Exactly. That makes two of them, but they need to be activated each by a teleportation spell. It works like a recall. These forks when struck with the spell with vibrate and send us back to the specific location attuned to them. We don't even need to have seen that location before. This makes it a great tool for servants or envoy who would need to retreat to specific places once their mission accomplished.”
“Like your mission and the Cask.”
Hennie and Slydracna, the two main spellcasters of the party, exchange a few words with one another. Hennie then speaks to the other, a hint of doubt in her voice: “I only have one teleportation spell memorized.”
The girls look around them, and can see that following Savvan's death the substance of the Jewel of the Mind is dramatically changing before their eyes. It becomes blurred and multicoloured, as if suddenly lacking substance. “Who knows how long we have and what type of landscape will shape itself from the power of the Mind, now.”
A child laughs not too far from the party's position. “Do not be afraid, for you have now freed this Jewel from its demonic influence.”
A small male child with bright blue eyes and shaggy brown hair, wearing nothing but a simple white robe, walks to them from the multicoloured mist now surrounding them. “I am Varyen Sulhe. The rightful ruler of Av. I was trapped by Savvan but you freed me when you defeated him and his minions.”
Hennie smiles. “Does that mean we can wait, cast one teleportation spell, then another?”
The child frowns lightly. “I am afraid not.”
“Because those masters of clockworks and artifices you vanquished were but a small group sent by a wider party. Their brethren already are trying to realize their master's will: to bring back the Vallis Moon, and destroy it to fuel their experiments throughout the multiverse.”
Beket stares at the ground. “This will destroy the world.”
“It will. The master of the Ogden Sulh does not hail from this world. He cares not for it.”
Simone gives a brief look to Orien de Saeth before concluding: “I guess this means we have to go together, or not at all.”
The child nods. “Yes, it does.”
“But where? Should we retreat to the Pale Tower first, and seek the Ogden Sulh with the Malkuth, or should we use the other key, and get where Armenius and his Knights would have gone if we hadn't stopped them?”
Beket responds: “The latter. It might be much more dangerous, but if we do not have the time to wait here and use two teleportation spells, I doubt we have the time to explain everything to the Malkuth and hope the Knights of the Ogden Sulh don't destroy the world before we reach them.”
The child nods again. “A wise and courageous choice.”
Hennie raises an eyebrow and asks: “Is there anything else you can tell us about what we are about to face before we depart, Varyen Sulhe?”
“Only that you are going to meet your fate. But do not be alarmed, for as you have seen through your dreams of the Mind, we are but echoes of wider identities and personalities scattered throughout the planes. Wherever your feet leads you now, it will be for the best, have no doubt.”
Hennie sighs. “Alright then.”
Beket, Simone, and all her companions nod in approval. Beket produces the Teleportation Key, and Hennie casts her last spell. The Key resonates, a single note ringing in the air, and soon the entire party is no more, sent away to the location linked to the magic item.
The substance of the Mind gradually vanishes. The fog of colours gives birth to dark oceans and wide, stormy skies. Soon, Varyen Sulhe, the child and ruler of the Mind, finds himself standing on the deck of an ancient galleon sailing the newborn seas. He watches as a golden orb rises to the horizon.
“They have departed for the time being, then.” The strong, friendly voice comes from behind the child, who answers forgetfully: “They have.”
“Very good.” The Architect, a broad fellow wearing an antique marine uniform, plays with the tip of his long bushy beard as he slowly steps forward and stands next to Varyen Sulhe. “They have done their part.”
The child nods, watching the waves rise and fall in the dawning light. “That they have. And more. We shall do ours.”
The Architect nods softly. “The Castle will be built.”
Varyen Sulhe. “It already has been. It just needs you to come into being.”
No answer. “To the twilight, then?”
The child seems to brace himself for what is to come. He confirms, more to himself than his companion: “To the twilight.”
“Very well.” The Architect leaves the child's side just as the galleon reaches an horizon of many worlds and possibilities.
The Runebearers and Spellwardens vanish from memory. What their fates have been since, nobody really knows. Some divination magics have revealed that the teleportation key they used was attuned to Goth Gulgamel, the fortress of Ghul the Half God half way up the Spire. What ancient magics and alchemical challenges they faced there, we may never know, but the world of Praemal survived, and this in itself is an encouraging thought.
We owe a great deal of thanks to Beket Per Aau-Nu, Heinrietta Nagel, Simone Ahrenameer and their companions. Who knows? They might come back to the world when it will need them. In the meantime, songs will be sung, tales be told, and their formidable legend live on.