Ghost Ship
Inedible organic material tries to kill you.

The party traveled back from the ship to see If Kaylen had recovered. On the way back, Phaedra collapsed. Mourn picked her up and said that they could let her rest at his… establishment, though some dickering about fees for services or something happened, because the drow lost interest in taking care of her, and Igtherez ended up carrying her instead.

The monk noticed that Phaedra was still holding onto the Starshard, and tried to take it away from her. A mild jolt of electricity indicated that something was going on, though he wasn’t sure what, but Phaedra’s vitals seemed to be okay, so he let it be.

While this was going on a mysterious figure followed the group through town, trying to suss out what they were doing and why. Haut kept his distance from the party, but they were so very different from everyone else that it was impossible not to notice them and their activities.

Kaylen had recovered, and rejoined the party. Shortly after this, as the party was trying to figure out what to do, someone pointed out that the Starshard had returned. Joyous bedlam ensued as the hapless, gullible townsfolk attributed this momentous occasion to Nox the Box. Nox took umbrage to this idolatry, and annihilated the nearest peasant.

Terrified bedlam ensued. Orphan added to it, summoning members of her band and using enthrall to force the people to stop and listen to her message of Nox worship, because her plan was that they would make Nox a god and then go get her army, and something something something; she wasn’t exactly clear about it past that. Mourn was upset about the disturbance; these were his customers and workers that were getting killed and harassed, so he had some words with Orphan and even struck her, but she hardly noticed. Hitting Orphan’s was almost like hitting an armored fighter.

During (or perhaps at the end) all of this, Igtherez ran off with Phaedra, back to the ship. Haut followed him. Igtherez boarded the ship, overcoming his distaste of it to make mental contact. He then found a suitable place to set up his instant fortress and took her into the adamantine building. He attempted to make mental contact with the Starshard. It seemed to be running a diagnostic of some kind, but seemed all right. He got an odd message about “a large quantity of edible organic material” in the portal room, and a question about cleaning it up. He then remembered that the Moonspeaker’s corpse had been left under a pile of rocks. Having nothing that he could do about it, he left Phaedra in the fortress. While this was happening, Haut boarded the ship, and used a relic that he had stolen from Farlarghan to get a better idea of this wondrous vessel that he was in. One room in particular, a chamber at the rough center of the chip called “Elder Brain” drew his attention.

Igtherez ran into Haut, and the two of them made cautious contact. After speaking to each other about the current situation, hat revealed that he could probably do something about the dead Moonspeaker if he had access to Phaedra. Haut gently laid hands on Phaedra, drawing out the spell he needed, and shortly afterward, true resurrected At’Mal Uamii.

The three of them returned to town, which immediately erupted in more bedlam. Some of it was attributed to Nox, who fervently denied it. The Moonspeaker spoke, and explained what had happened to her, and that the peoples of the islands needed to end this senseless violence against the colonists, for it was not their fault. She also explained the true nature of the Moon That Fell, and advocated a movement of taking greater responsibility for their actions and to widen their perspective. Nox fumed a little bit about the fact that she was preaching essentially what he had been telling them for weeks, except for the “destroy technology and run around the woods naked” part.

The general consensus, including Mourn and Orphan (who got really, really high in the meantime) was that they should go do things, like the cats had told them. Nox did not believe them, but felt that the party needed to go away. Haut didn’t really know what was going on, aside from what he had known coming in (he had no idea what the party’s purpose was, only that there had been disturbances on this world), but someone gave him the short version.

He was so shocked by the gravity of the situation that he dropped to his knees and prayed.

His prayer was answered, by a cat-shaped hole in reality. Mourn stared into the abyss. The abyss stared back. It was a singularly unpleasant experience.

This cat-which-was-not-a-cat explained that it was freer to speak, for the other Cats were bound by the fact that they existed. By putting aside the thing that he was, Haut had allowed this cat-which-was-not-a-cat to come and speak to them. It answered their questions as best as it could, explaining that “The One Who Set All In Motion” forbade it from explaining some things.

Nox was still unconvinced. So the cat-which-was-not-a-cat showed them.

The cat also showed them what had happened up to now- The Mists had brought 4 champions to The End of Time to steal Time from Time itself, but one of them was betrayed by another, and caught. The other three, a grotesquely obese male man-sized figure, a matronly halfling-sized figure in a dress, and a long, lithe feminine creature, the height of human, but the build suggested an elf, escaped. The Aspects of Oxia Gensh made a deal with Then, Now, and Soon, The Rat had been first to sacrifice its divinity in exchange for another year, and Manriki, Dogar and Aria had fought Dulok KillAll and saved a Moment, but it was not enough.

Finally, the party was convinced, at least a little bit. The party wanted to know if anyone else was working on fixing this problem. The cat-which-was-not-a-cat replied that others were doing what they could.

Orphan knew who they should look for to get some straight answers- a wizard called Lulubeans. He talked a lot and wore some fancy clothes, but he probably knew what was going on. Mourn reasoned that it was probably the elf wizard Luvanar, and suggested that when they found him, they let Mourn do the talking, as he would be more receptive to talking with an elf. Orphan suggested that they start looking for Luvanar in Haven, because she knew people there who might know where he was if he wasn’t there.

Igtherez had a tete-a-tete with the ship (more correctly, the ship used her body to speak through her) and found that the ship was flight ready, though not all of the systems were ready. Igtherez showed the ship his memories (the ship would have accessed Phaedra’s memories, but Igtherez forbade it), and indicated where they were, as well as where they needed to go, and suddenly they were flying. It took a few days, during which some exploring and stuff happened.

During the first few days, not much happened, Mourn stole a dagger from Haut and Nox almost beat him to death for brandishing a weapon. Blood drinking happened, but Orphan didn’t like the way that it felt when Mourn drained her life force. Finally, Haut decided to go exploring and wandered into a nest of undead illithids and their just as undead human thralls.

I don’t remember all the details, but somehow through the judicious use of quickened teleports, the party was brought back together before anyone could get killed, though it was close from time to time as mind blasts rang out, stunning Orphan and Kaylen, but in the end, the party prevailed over the living dead as the ship continued to fly through the upper atmosphere toward Haven.

The Heart/Brain of The Matter
Belligerent emephant-men, suave dark elf vampires, mind flayer ghosts and sentient spaceships.

The party made their way to the Council of the Moon without major incident- 5 epic-level characters were more than able to handle a single wererat without class levels.

Upon arriving at the city where the Council was situated, they were approached by a dark elf and his retinue. The drow, who identified himself as “Mourn,” seemed to be familiar with the comings and goings of the island, and was especially interested in the presence of a large group of powerful-looking individuals. He attached himself to the group, explaining that he was looking to speak with the people in charge as well.

The group arrived at the Council’s gathering place, where they discovered that the Council was now deferring all their judgments and decision-making power to “Mighty Nox the Box,” who “fell from the sky and destroyed the enemy ships.” The gruff, naked elephant-man cared little for much of anything, except what he believed to be the inevitable collapse of civilization, technology and magic and a reversion to natural ways. When the party asked him if he knew anything about a ship (a special one, as he had destroyed several Valdaran ships on his own), he took them to the site of an old (but enormous) landslide. A path led to the side of it, and Phaedra’_s find the path_ (or maybe locate object, I don’t remember) spell indicated that the ship that they were looking for was down below.

She used master earth to teleport down, and Igtherez used abundant step to follow her. In the cramped cavern below, they found an illithid nautiloid craft of immense size, wrapped partially around the long-dead skeleton of a green dragon. Phaedra tried to access the cabin through an entrance on the side. A voice in her head asked for the password, but she didn’t know it. Even though Igtherez was within reach of the door, the ship did not address him.

While this was going on, Orphan and Mourn got friendly pretty quickly, talking about drinking blood and other visceral pursuits. Orphan offered Mourn some of the fruit that she had hoarded from a few months ago, explaining that it was the best fruit she’d ever had. Mourn was not impressed, but was polite about it. Nox tried to convert Orphan to his au naturel ways; and felt that he was making progress, as Orphan stripped down, but held onto her weapons.

At some point through all of this, Phaedra and Igtherez returned to the surface before Phaedra’s claustrophobia got the best of her, and they explained what lay below the ground.

Nox, eager to be rid of the group, as well as the newfound technological marvel, struck the ground with a mighty fist, creating a chasm a mile deep, and revealing the ship. The party descended by various means and approached the ship, but not before Kayden dimension doored himself (and only himself) to the helm, where he was accosted by an illithid ghost, which bellowed telepathically “*_fire the gravatic cannon!_*” before sending him into a stupor.

The rest of the group walked around the side, to the entrance that Nox knew about. The hole in the side of the ship led into a sixty-foot walkway, which opened into an auditorium. The stage held a raised platform that contained a vertical set of stocks. Igtherez noted with some disgust that this was a performance eating area, a terrible practice that illithids would use to collectively gain the most pleasure from eating a particularly tasty or experienced brain.

After this revelation was brought to light, the party went in the direction that Nox had tried to go in, before being stymied by a locked door that had struck back with a powerful electric discharge when he had tried to break it. An imprint of his fist was still in the door, and Igtherez tried to finish the job, but the door struck him back as well, nearly killing him and causing him to soil his robes.

Orphan looked at the door, as well as the construction of the floors and wall, then drew upon her connection to Dispater and commanded the door to open, as well as resetting the password to “Nox the Box’s fist.” Traveling through the ship became much easier at this point.

The party walked down many hallways, each an irritating 60 feet punctuated by a door, and came to a large set of double doors that did not respond to Orphan’s new password. They decided to leave these for later, and kept looking for Kayden.

They found the helm and Kayden’s unconscious form, then were attacked by the ghost as well, who knocked Orphan out with its telepathic imperative, then Phaedra. Nox and Mourn were able to fight ghosts as easily as living creatures, and Igtherez was immune to its telepathic attacks. He took their unconscious companions out of the helm room during the battle.

Meanwhile, inside the collective unconscious of Phaedra, Orphan, and Kayden, a battle raged in the skies above Orhall. A flight of colossal red dragons, bearing githyanki warriors as well as other humanoids manning ballistae, bore down on the fleeing ship as members of the illithid crew succumbed to psychic feedback from the repeated kinetic and fiery strikes to the ship. Telepathic conversation was a constant, almost overwhelming flood of mental noise, and the sight of these hideous octopus-men was almost too much for Orphan, who raised her hammer and would have struck down the nearest one, if not for Kayden, who used his mental powers to redirect her violent impulses toward the pursuing dragons.

The call to fire the gravatic cannon went out from an illithid dressed in the same regalia as the ghost that the group had encountered before, only this version held a long, slender crystal in one four-fingered hand, wielding it like a rod as he did so. A rippling in the air, not unlike a heat distortion wave struck one of the oncoming reds. The dragon suddenly could not hold itself up in the air and tumbled to the ocean, taking its contingent of warriors with it.

Orphan stalked towards the airlock and flew toward the new enemy, Phaedra close behind. As Phaedra left, the telepathic chatter became more urgent as the illithids on board began to mobilize to repel boarders, and defense of the elder brain became top priority. Kayden, who had been relishing the expansion of his telepathic powers that just being on the ship gave him, rushed to the defense of the brain, though he did not run that fast.

Meanwhile, Phaedra unloaded several high-power spells and Orphan went into a rage. A dragon snapped her up, breathed fire over her and in Phaedra’s direction (the cleric managed to avoid the breath), and spat Orphan out in the process. Orphan retaliated by literally ripping the great wyrm red dragon’s chest in half with a swipe of her massive hammer and killing it instantly while another dragon fell to a faster-than-lightning barrage of spells. The ship added its own barrage of attacks to the fray, and finally, the dragons, their ranks decimated, withdrew.

The ship shot through the sky for a few moments more, then suddenly increased its speed and flew up into the sky and out of sight, taking Kayden with it.

Orphan and Phaedra awoke to find the others trying to figure out what to do with them (Nox thought that they should be left behind, as they were too weak), but they insisted that they were okay, though some of the wounds that they had taken in the battle had left physical aches despite the fight being all in their heads.

A quick search of the helm revealed that there was no crystal rod, and a locate object plus teleport later, and the party was in a killoren village in the Blue Tree Wilderness, in front of a silver-haired elfwoman who was (understandably) shocked, confused and more than a little outraged that the party appeared out of thin air and stole a holy relic from her, especially since one of their group was a dark elf. The Moonspeaker spat at Mourn, who would have killed her then if not for Igtherez’ intervention. Nox didn’t care, and At’Mal’Uamii was too weak to resist Phaedra’s teleport spell back to the island, so the party went back with (apparently) the final piece of the puzzle.

(Somewhere amidst all of this, Kayden was left in a villager’s hut, because no one wanted to carry his unconscious body around, and if there were danger, no one wanted to be responsible for it.)

Upon seeing Nox’s handiwork, the Moonspeaker went into shock. The party led her into the ship, and she woodenly obliged, though as they continued through the place, she became a little more responsive as she saw more and more of the inside of what must have been a great mystery to her and her people. Phaedra tried to communicate with the ship using the Starshard, but the ship was… weary, insisting that it didn’t feel well; its heart was beating too fast.

Further questioning of the ship revealed the location of the heart, but no real instruction past that. The party (Moonspeaker included) went into the power core of the ship, where a series of portals opened to different planes at random and siphoned energy to power the ship. The portals were fluctuating randomly, discharging energy violently through the very large room, and the party used their various talents and powers to try and fix the problem. Nox and the Moonspeaker took shelter behind some equipment when the portal discharges proved to be more than a little dangerous, but then Mourn got the same idea, and chose to sit next to the Moonspeaker.

She fled, but only got halfway across the room before a portal to the Plane of Earth opened, discharging a torrent of stone and crushing her to death as she scampered to safety. Mourn did not emerge entirely unscathed; he was nearly killed as well, but made it out. Phaedra and Igtherez tried reading the controls of the room and seeing if they could find a mechanical way to fix it, Orphan started using a combination of her interpersonal skills and an understanding of how metal worked to try and repair it, which seemed to work, somewhat. Finally, the gravatic cannon was shut down, and the core set to minimum power so that the ship could rest and hopefully recover.

A New Beginning.
A half-fey warrior and the apparent manifestation of an ascended feline walk into a bar...

(After some talk about the apparent deus ex machina that happened in Time Out, we decided to start over with new characters. Some other players joined/are joining/want to join the party, as well)

Through various ways that were personal to each of them, but all involved bits of golden sand, Orphan, Igtherez Montaka and Phaedra found themselves on the outskirts of Pias, Phaedra and Igtherez accompanied by strange cats, a silver tabby for Phaedra and a chunky dark grey-to-brown cat for the githerazai, and Orphan on her own.

Orphan seemed to take to this apparently familiar experience rapidly, and even though she was approached by a strange, orange-furred cat, didn’t lose a step, looking for the seedy part of town to have a few drinks and score some drugs. However, the “respectable establishment” that she had found herself in didn’t deal in such things, nor did the “gentleman” the barkeep referred her to, but he “might know a guy” that “might have something like what she was talking about.”

Igtherez and Phaedra were a little more leery of what was going on, and when their respective cats led them to a crossroads where they encountered each other, they decided that they might as well travel together, since they were clearly being led. Upon closer examination, their astute awarenesses caused them to realize that they were walking through something not entirely real, as if they were walking in a memory or some other construct. The two of them found themselves in a nice part of the city, and the cats ran off behind the house.

As for the house, it happened to be occupied by a man named Kayden, his wife, their two children, and their dog, who was busy barking at a winged cat in a tree. His sons came in and told him about the two strangers outside, and he went to see them. Conversation ensued, much of it confused speculation about these cats, since they seemed not to belong to anyone.

While this was happening, Orphan got ambushed by some peasants who thought to rob her of her pimp outfit, she gave the cat a saucer of black tar rum, and found some drugs on one of the guys who tried to rob her. Thus satisfied, she agreed to follow the cat to wherever it wanted her to go, which was Kayden’s house. She arrived partway through the conversation, insisting that her cat was the best, they all needed to “swim in the lake by the building,” and “not kill any halflings.”

The cats went inside, and the party followed.

Kayden told his wife to take the children into the back as the orange and gold cat that had brought Orphan told the group that “this wasn’t happening,” proving the half-fey girl correct (in her mind, anyway) that her cat was in fact, the best.

However, this simple statement led to much confusion. Added to that was the fact that the cats were somewhat evasive and not very forthcoming, as cats tend to be, and the party had few questions, instead choosing to ignore the one rule that the cats kept insisting on- not to use any names, because “names are important.”

The cats told the party that Time had been stolen from the world that they currently inhabited. Time acts as a protective barrier, keeping certain… “interested parties” from wreaking havoc on the world, as well as preventing certain “highly improbable events” from taking place. Since Time was running out, The world was at risk of both of these happening, and worse.

Orphan asked if Marcos would be okay while she went off and did this thing, and the bulky dark brown/grey cat that had guided Igtherez to this meeting assured her that he would protect him. Kayden asked if there would be new experiences, while Igtherez and Phaedra just seemed to go with the flow.

They had two options: They could go find the people who had stolen the time and get it from them, or they could stay on the world and accomplish Great Deeds for good or for evil, wich would by their greatness, create more Time. Whatever they chose to do, they would probably need a ship to get there, something faster than a Valdaran airship. There was a ship waiting in the Timestream for people who would never reach it, and there was a ship on the Orhall Islands.

Some other conversation, a little about the details of the goings-on ensued, and someone mentioned The Mists. The Cats reminded everyone (again) that “names are important,” then shortly afterwards, Orphan said she knew a guy who knew lots about the Mists, and she didn’t care, but she was going to use his name anyway.

His name was Masks.

The cats left abruptly, and Kayden guided everyone to the edge of town, where Phaedra realized she needed to find a map, she bought one, then the party decided to go to the Orhall Islands, and recover the “special ship” there.

So they teleported to the island, watched a beautiful sunset and Entered the Jungle after Igtherez got an aerial view, espying some burnt-out settlements off to the north. They were beset by some lycanthropes, which they dispatched, or otherwise incapacitated, save one that Orphan charmed, then Kayden dominated in the interests of getting the party to the ship faster. The were-rat told them that they couldn’t go to the Council of the Moon, as they could not change their skins. Orphan told him not to worry, and Kayden may have A Plan.

The party then started following the were-rat into the Jungle for several days.

Time Out
Back to the Future.

“I was born at The End of Time, and my first act was to bend three gods to my will.”

Nalamos was concerned. He asked the party if they knew this goliath, if he was a friend of theirs. The party said no, and when they asked him why, the Caretaker explained that he had refused the gifts of the Psychopath, allowing himself to be influenced by the Mists instead.

Manriki (or Dogar, I don’t remember) asked if the goliath had brought the Mists with him, or if the Mists had come because he was there. Nalamos was not sure; it can be hard to tell with the Mists. Nevertheless, Dulok soon came, dressed in new magic items that had a sinister look to them, including a tendril of mist that flowed around him like a shield.

The party came to the decision that they had to "stop this emmissary of the Mists," which clearly meant that they had to kill him. Nalamos forbade bloodshed in the Hall of Eternals, and sent the party and Dulok to a series of spires and broken bridges high above a pool of lava.

Dulok gave Manriki the chance to take back his statement about being stronger than Dulok. Manriki did not, and the battle was joined. Dulok’s wide scything arcs with his terrible axe drained health, virtue and vitality from the party with each hit, but Manriki’s holy aura proved too powerful, blinding the berserker, but not before he knocked Dogar off the bridge with a sweep of his blade. Manriki eventually taunted Dulok off the edge of a bridge, and right after that Raza struggled forward, took control of Aria, and leapt off the bridge after him.

Dogar tried to catch her, dropping his sword in the process, but she hissed at him and swung her sword. Dogar managed to catch his sword and, eventually, beat her unconscious and catch her.

Dulok was not so lucky. He slammed into the bridge below, lurched to his feet, a mass of pulped, bruised flesh, and cried out for Manriki to face him before falling over dead a few moments later. The tendril of Mist that had been circling his body rose up, sank into the body briefly and then disappeared through the bottom of the bridge.

Some healing happened and Dogar wanted to loot the body. He tried, and had some… unsettling revelations as he picked up Dulok’s axe. Manriki warned Dogar not to accept any offers that the Mists made, and kicked the axe into the lava, then went about stripping the body and throwing all the magic items into the lava, as well.

The party rested, Manriki did his best to consecrate the body. He and Dogar got into an argument about the need for such things, but Manriki did it anyway. After that was done, everyone got into the silvery bubble, and started trying to go back to the Future, as it were.

It didn’t go so well. Without enough people to help control the spell, it seemed much harder to go backward than it was to go forward, and the Abstracts seemed to be lurking around as well, though they were not as openly hostile as they were when the party was larger; perhaps they drew less notice, but they were spending years of their lives floating in space.

Dogar caught the attention of the Abstract Mortality, whose withering gaze caused him to age nearly 30 years in the blink of an eye. Little did Dogar know that that would turn out to be a boon.

Frustrated with the group’s inability to move in the right direction, Manriki announced that anyone who didn’t work in tandem with him would get hit. This trip went a little more in unison, except for a few acts of independence, which were rewarded as promised. However, the trip resulted in a minor gain for the party’s progress, but it resulted in so much reverse time for the group themselves that Dogar was reduced to 8 years old, and Manriki ceased to exist.

Aria took control of the body and tried to deny reality, but the DM ruled that this was not covered by her power’s scope. She then tried to beg Then, Now and Soon for a boon. They chastised her, saying she had grown willful, and she had failed at her task, but ultimately told her to return.

Aria and the boy-man Dogar returned to the End of Time/Beginning of Creation and descended to the Abstracts’ lair. She dickered with the three of them and said a great line, which the DM has sadly forgotten part of:

“I come humbly, [something], and [something].”
“And we do this grudgingly, slowly and incredibly painfully.”
“So hopefully everything will be all right then!”

it was, and it wasn’t. Aria’s once-again nubile body was literally flayed before Dogar’s eyes, down to the very bone. At the core of Aria’s body lurked Raza’s darkling spirit, which they withdrew before surrounding Aria within a cloud of golden sand. Manriki’s diaper, er, mawashi rose into the air, followed by Dogar.

A moment or an eternity later, the three of them were their proper ages and states of existence. Someone, I don’t remember who, asked that they be sent back to their proper time. The three Abstracts asked for something in return. More dickering ensued. The Abstracts were displeased that Aria had succumbed to Raza’s influence and become willful and impetuous as Raza was. Manriki offered to discipline Raza for them, but they doubted his ability to do so, since Manriki had made no secret of his desire to strike down the Mists, he would be just as bad as Raza was. Aria claimed that she was capable of completing her task. This was met with scorn. Dogar said that he could do it, and they simply doubted him.

After a moment’s reflection, Then, Now and Soon decided that perhaps they had been going about the rehabilitation of Raza in the wrong way.

“This one has discipline, this one has kindness, and this one… is becoming.”

Before anyone could ask what that meant, Soon waved a hand, and the party was in a smaller version of their bubble, adrift in the Time Stream. An airship with harsher lines and smaller beam than Caden’s Rambler lay in the timestream, and a figure at the bow waved them down, calling out to Manriki, who confirmed his identity.

The captain of the Catafalque, a warforged named Dreadnought, explained that Luvanar had sent him, and he had been waiting for 15 years. He gave a brief rundown on events since he had left Irunnia and explained that he could fly the ship through the timestream, but would need Manriki’s help to do so. Manriki agreed.

Upon closer examination, it became obvious that Dreadnought had some very strong ties to Dispater, though he was not hostile towards Manriki. Also, his crew was composed entirely of undead. When questioned, he explained that when Caden Stormstrider returned to Valdar telling tales of how he had melded with his ship and the posibliites that such a thing held, many took to the skies, himself included, for there were other worlds to exploit, and the wealth he was getting from Luvanar would help him immensely should this “saving the world” venture fail…

It's About Time.
But we knew that already.

“Mastery is achieved when “telling time” becomes “telling time what to do.”
-“Telling Time

Without warning Raza disappeared and turned back into Aria. Manriki was pleased by this. Aria was a little shaken by the experience.

The party left the Hall of Eternals and proceeded into the “Time Fountain.” After a moment’s discomfort, they found a large hole in the ground on the other side of the flow of time, with a set of stairs spiraling down into it.

They followed this stair down into a cavern that seemed to go straight on into the darkness forever. Aria lit a torch and the party started walking. After several hours, Dogar realized that
they were very subtly spiraling inward- so subtly that they didn’t notice the shift. After walking for 8 hours, they were still in darkness and nothing had changed. Dogar did some tracking and found a piece of yellow linen, brittle with age, stuck in a crack of the wall.

After waking, they walked for another 9 hours, and right at the end of the 9th hour, they thought they saw something. Dogar skulked forward to investigate.

He found a hugely muscled goliath suspended from a tree which was growing (audibly, if not visibly) through his body. His nonmagical gear hung in weathered tatters from his body and an
enormous axe lay on the ground. His knees and shins had some (relatively) recent scarring, but it was hard to tell, as the majority of his body was covered in battle scars, with some
strange scarring on his face that looked like writing. A soft golden glow seeped from his (tightly clenched) right fist. Manriki and Aria walked up after Dogar told them what was going on. Manriki used detect evil and was taken aback by the overwhelming evil emanating from the tree, or the man, or both.

Dogar and Manriki tried to question him, but he was in too much pain to give much of a coherent response. Manriki cast sublime revelry, which muted the pain enough for Dulok KillAll to identify himself (which reminded Dogar of a dream he had had) and answer a few questions, though Manriki warned him that if he tried to escape, he would end the spell.

(At some point before or after this, Phill realized that the party had forgotten some Really Important Information that Desirra had given them sometime last year. Fortunately, Phill had printed it.)

He and three others, “Little Flame,” “The fat one,” and “The sharp one” had been sent on “one more mission” to steal something that he didn’t know what it was, but it was shiny and it was his. He had ended up in the tree because they were running away and he fell.

Manriki tried to explain the concept of regret and desire to make amends. Dulok did not understand this, nor seem to care about it, much less realize that Manriki was trying to give him an “out.” Dogar and Manriki began arguing about the viability of Manriki’s desire to reform the admitted mass murderer while Aria watched him tear one arm free of his arboreal bonds. Aria yelled “Left arm is free,” but no one paid attention. Then the right arm came free, and Manriki chided Dogar that “this was on him,” as he ended the spell. Dulok tore free anyway with a great cry, branches working their way out of his flesh as he stood and knelt before Manriki, saying “you have tested me well, Shaman,” and running off, stowing the shiny object (which Dogar had at some point mentioned was covered with “timesauce,” which probably sparked Dogar’s interest in it in the first place) in a belt pouch.

Dogar ran after him and tried to trip him, but it didn’t work. Eventually, he managed to get the pouch off of him, but took an axe across the shoulders for his troubles. Manriki ran up and started wrestling Dulok to the ground, for he was a superior wrestler, even though Dulok was arguably stronger.

Manriki told Dulok that he “needed to accept that I am stronger than you,” which was the wrong thing to say.

Dulok’s face contorted with an incandescent rage, and he bellowed YOU ARE NOT STONGER THAN DULOK!” as he surged to his feet, WWF-style. Dogar and Aria were actually frightened by this display of Terrifying Rage, and even Manriki was shaken a bit. The two of them wrestled back and forth and eventually the goliath freed himself.

Manriki went on the defensive, casting a well-placed moon bolt to sap Dulok’s strength, then creating a 40’ blade barrier between them, then hurried to rejoin the others as a stymied Dulok began hewing a chunk of rock out of the wall.

The party kept travelling for the next two days without resting after we realized that 1d6 nonlethal damage per hour is largely irrelevant at high levels, and came to a wide entryway filled with more golden light.

The room on the other side was filled with hourglasses of varying sizes and fullnesses, all save one had at least a few of the same shiny objects that Dogar had liberated from Dulok. One of them would fall from the topmost bulb into the bottom, at which point the color would leach out and a haze of golden sand would float up through the ceiling.

At the center of the room stood three figures, each of them made of differing shades of gold. One, the largest of the three, stood slightly to the back of the room, watching the one at the middle with a pained, resigned expression. The second appeared to be in constant agony as it dissolved and reformed as if it were constantly being disintegrated; the debris drifting over to
accumulate in the form of the first. The third figure stood apart from the first two, looking off into the middle distance.

All three of them looked up as the party approached. The one who had been staring snapped a single word, and Aria seized up and began speaking rapidly in a language that neither Dogar nor Manriki understood. Dogar presented the Moment and said that Time had been stolen, but they had brought it back.

The response to that was as unsettling as it was short.

“That is unfortunate.”

Manriki asked if it was “unfortunate” that the time had been stolen, or that it was returned. He was ignored. A game of Q&A ensued; with the three Abstracts simply ignoring questions that
they chose not to answer, and revealing just as much as they cared to about the situation. Relevant conclusions drawn and admissions made included:

  • Time was created to defend Creation from War and his allies. Once a world runs out of Time, it is no longer protected. It is not indicative of system-wide failure, but it is definitely something of a problem.
  • Time is self-sustaining to a point. Moments, like the one that Dulok had, can be created by Heroes or especially heroic actions, and a single Moment can essentially “buy” more time. However, it’s important to note that not every Moment is charged with such potential, as well as the fact that each Moment is of varying lengths, which might not be enough to actually make enough time to make a difference.
  • The Mists run out of time on an irregular basis, and they are outside the collective noun called “Creation.” Their stealing Time, even by proxy, is “part of the natural order,” and the three of them seemed to have no problem with this.
  • Then, Now, and Soon were not happy with their task of protecting Creation from the other Abstracts, resenting being torn from the fabric of Reality to watch themselves die, and looked forward to the End of Time with the fondness that a child has for an upcoming, but far-off birthday.
  • After the Moments had been stolen, Irunnia was completely out of Time. The Aspects of Oxia Gensh made a deal with Then, Now and Soon, trading their divinity in exchange for 12 more years. As each year passes, the next Aspect in line will lose their powers.

Manriki decided that the best course of action would be to wage a war of attrition against the Mists, standing guard against whomever they would send the next time their time was running
low, so that they would eventually fade from Reality. Dogar thought this was foolish, and Aria was a little incredulous that the chapter would end this way, with Manriki standing by a doorway.

At some point during this Steve tried to metagame so he could play Raza all the time, and Aria collapsed. A pair of figures, a small girl-child and an older man who seemed well-dressed and in
control, except for something that was slightly off about him, appeared, arguing about the logistics of separating.

Then: She is still flawed.
Now: We sent her out too quickly. The reconditioning is not complete.
Soon: There was no choice. And it would appear she had attracted another Eternal…

The three of them explained contemptuously (and the DM, not so contemptuously,) that Raza was a construct made to record the endings or near-endings of worlds. She had started to develop free will, which was a problem. Her instabilities were exacerbated on her last mission, recording the near-ending of another world, she bore a child, and might have lived out the rest of her days there, if not for the roused anger of the Dark Master, as well as Time interceding on her behalf- she was too valuable to lose to an angry god, even if she were broken.

Aria had been made to subsume the Raza personality, (which had attracted the attentions of the Tormented,) eventually replacing it with one that was more docile and far more controllable. But the actions of the Mists’ minions forced their hands, and Raza/Aria had to go out unfinished. Aria’s pristine psyche had apparently attracted the Eternal Innocent to her, which they also deemed problematic.

Dogar threatened to go back in time about 40 years or so and live out the rest of his life, if that were Manriki’s decision, and Aria knew that she would not be able to remain here, no matter what she did. Soon chided Manriki, mockingly saying that the others “would DIE without him there." Eventually, Dogar left the chamber and slept on the ceiling, Aria went to sleep and Manriki meditated on the choice for 8 hours, eventually deciding that his path was still with the party. They hurried, trying to catch up with Dulok, but saw no trace of him.

The party emerged from the hole and looked around. No sign of him. There were some other questions that the party had for Nalamos that I don’t remember, but people wrote down in real life, and I’ll add later, so they decided to talk to him.

They entered the Hall without incident. Nalamos was waiting, and he was a little more composed. He apologized for his distraction- he had not spoken to mortals in literally ages; the party was the first group he had spoken with since the war, aside from the Stalwart, an elvish wizard, who came in a few years ago, but he really just wanted to know about Time, and hardly cared about what went on here, so he left.

He explained about the Eternals, how they stood against the Abstracts in the war, and how they refused to "pass quietly into the night, so they remained here, though they were free to follow and on occasion empower, mortals. The Eternals travel to/from the lands of the Mists freely, and in fact The Martyr, the same Eternal that walked with Manriki had been there recently, championing a halfling named Arlo Gurglegut.

They are not reincarnating, they accompany the people that they aid, and Nalamos offered some help of his own, considering the situation that their world was in. He deepened and strengthened the bonds between the Party and their attendant Eternals, resulting in some rulsey things that go here.

There was one other mortal who had entered the Hall recently, perhaps a few hours ago. He attracted the attention of the Psychopath…

Only in Jersey.
oh, nothing much. We just killed the Incredible Hulk, is all...

“First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside!”
-Rumble, Decepticon (who unfortunately does not appear in this adventure.)

Bruce Banner continued having a seizure. Manriki realized that they needed to get him away from innocents (with a “T,” not a “CE”) for when the “green demon” emerged. A few spells and a purloined mattress later, and the four of them were rushing out of the Motel 6, towards a clearing that Aria had spied off the road.

After some insistence from the players, the DM grudgingly provided an NPC to react to the sight of a 7-foot fat man in a diaper stealing a mattress. Aria and he had a minor argument, which resulted in the little man muttering something about “calling da cops, mang,” pulling out what looked like a metallic clam and poking it, then speaking into it in his strange, heavily-accented dialect of Halfling.

Manriki and Dogar continued to examine Banner, and Manriki tried to use his Taint Exorcist powers to drive the green demon out of the helpless scientist- Banner’s blood seemed to be at war with itself, pulsing the wrong way.

The exorcism worked, and Banner spewed up an immense amount of greenish blood, which congealed and turned into a manlike shape, eventually resolving itself into the form of the Incredible Hulk which the party had fought the day before. The monster looked around and spying Aria, who was making her way from across the clearing some 300 feet away, roared:

“Blonde girl like Banner better than Hulk! Hulk HATE BANNER! HULK HATE YOU!

Dogar tried to trip the monster before he could attack Aria, but he was too strong. In three great leaps, the Hulk landed on the ground in front of her, the shockwave of his landing creating a small crater and throwing the girl off of her feet with serious injury. The Hulk bellowed at her in incoherent rage as Manriki and Dogar sprinted after him.

Manriki channeled his life force into Aria as Dogar began looking for weak spots on the massive green monster. He couldn’t bring it down, but did some damage. The Hulk grabbed Aria, and she tried to kiss him, seeking to soothe the savage beast, but he instead threw her at Manriki, how caught her and absorbed the blow. Within moments, the Hulk was on top of the two of them…

And Dogar was there too, a whirling blur of motion as he reconnected with his Eternal Loose Cannon. He managed to annoy the Hulk so that its attention was on him, then Manriki started to cast a spell.

“Fat man say WORDS! Make Hulk HEAD HURT! Hulk HURT FAT MAN’S HEAD!!!”

The Hulk slammed his hog-sized fist into Manriki’s face, breaking his concentration. Aria stood up and asked the Hulk to “please stop.”

The Hulk kicked her in the chest, sending her flying a hundred and fifty feet, where she bounced to a stop. He then picked up Dogar and threw him, but Dogar managed to land on his feet. As an encore, The Hulk grabbed about a foot of topsoil and whipped it like a carpet, sending a rippling wave through the ground, burying Aria and causing her body to turn to golden sand and evaporate. Dogar evaded the tsunami of earth, and rejoined the fray.

Manriki spoke a holy word, paralyzing the Hulk.


(DM facepalm)

From the spot where Aria fell, a woman-shaped negative space appeared, and resolved into a shapely half-elf carrying an infernal-looking sword. She strolled over to Dogar and whispered “flank with me” as he sized up the massive green monster, looking for the best place to strike. Manriki detected evil and found some. He continued to concentrate.

Dogar struck home, but not hard enough. The newcomer struck, her blade was actually made of coruscating flame and sank through the Hulk’s tough hide straight to his heart, killing him. The field of Jersey began to evaporate around them, and the party found themselves in another Hall of Heroes.

They traveled through the hallway, Manriki seemed concerned about Aria’s apparent disappearance and the new girl’s (whose name was Raza) “deception.” They came to the end of the hall, where they were met by a tall, careworn humanoid in soft yellow and white robes. This being identified himself as Nalamos, and addressed the party as “Eternals.” a very brief Q&A followed, its shortness compounded by the fact that Aria’s disappearance meant that the list of questions that they had amassed in the Library was gone with her, and Nalamos’ discomfiture around Raza. The main result of this was that the party decided they should talk to Time- Then, Now and Soon, for thier primary concern was with the temporal quandaries that have been plaguing them for a very long time now.

So, with that, they turned and started to leave the Hall of Eternals.

Hall Pass
Anachronistic silliness ensues. Oh, and Bag of Holding tricks.

Manriki and Aria entered the meeting hall, and Manriki found himself on a beach. The only features were a tower just off the coast and a crenellated wall A small squadron of faeries were circling the tower, and they seemed to be expecting Manriki.

The faeries explained that they were under siege by the enemy commander and his minions as they waited for their own commander to arrive. The enemy commander, a powerful dragon named Darigaaz kept attacking, and the faeries had been holding him off, but they were not powerful enough to kill him, nor he them. But his minions kept running past them and attacking the lands beyond, which was also problematic.

Manriki offered his aid, and after some logistical Q&A, the enemy surged into view. Manriki cast a flurry of spells, including wall of swor- er, blade barrier and a well-placed giant size, wrestled the great dragon to a standstill while the faeries fought various minions, and the dragon withdrew.

A few moments later, nothing happened, and no new defenders arrived, but Manriki felt himself refreshed, as though he had rested for some time and had time to pray. Then the dragon came back, with a new horde of minions. Having learned from the past, Manriki sprang into action again, this time grabbing ahold of the dragon and letting the faeries cheerfully stab him to death while he was unable to defend his kidneys from their well-placed spearthrusts.

Aria, Dogar, and Manriki found themselves in a strange place. A white-tiled filled with strange equipment and soft white lights that buzzed almost irritatingly. Everything in the room was written in Halfling, even though the room’s sole occupant was human. The man looked up at the groups’ approach and demanded that they identify themselves. Aria got a little wise with him, which caused him to fly into a rage, his skin turning green and his muscle mass doubling rapidly. Manriki tried to conjure a wall of force, but the angry man doubled his fists and smashed through it. Dogar retreated before the thing, and Aria kept talking while sidestepping his blows.

Manriki spoke a holy word, and froze this Incredible Hulk in his tracks. The group didn’t know what to do, so after some math and rules lawyering they put him in a bag of holding, thinking to knock him out.

They underestimated the green monster’s constitution, for when they opened the bag, he was enraged and ready to smash. Aria dodged past his flailing, hog-sized fists and looked soulfully into his eyes. The Hulk relented, and the party was able to talk to Bruce Banner, and performed some first-level miracles that go by the name of create food and water This won him over, and Banner explained that they were in a facility in New Jersey. Dogar asked if that was near The Park at The Center, and Bruce said it was, sort of.

So some more bag of holding shenanigans ensued, and Bruce Banner snuck the party past several layers of armed guards and onto a bus. Aria couldn’t hold her breath and nearly died, but Manriki was there.

Finally, the party and Bruce arrived at a Motel 6. Bruce paid for a room, and Dogar gave Bruce a gold piece when he saw Bruce paying with a stack of paper. Bruce immediately hurried off to a place called “EZ Pawn,” and seemed in much better spirits.

He explained the nature of his curse, that there was something in his blood that caused him to turn into the monster that they had fought whenever he became angry. Manriki said he would pray for a miracle to lift this curse from him. Banner gratefully agreed, and everyone went to sleep, except Manriki.

The next day came, and Manriki called upon his miracle. Banner collapsed immediately, and began having a seizure. The party came to the conclusion that the curse actually resided in his blood, therefore driving it out of him must be having a physical effect on him…

Exposition Expedition
None of us are wizards.

After puzzling about the strange tracks (which turned out to belong to a halfling, a heavy human, and an elf) and casting discern location on the yarn (which revealed the yarn’s owner to be in a smallish community on a world primarily populated by elves) and realizing that the tracks had residual evil on them, the party decided to follow the tracks back. It was difficult at first, because the tracks didn’t always touch the ground- they skipped places here and there for long stretches. But the evil led Manriki in a more or less straight line, which the group followed.

The party tried to travel as fast as they could, but Eilonwy was having difficulties with her new childlike state; it made it hard for her to think as an adult. Manriki tried to request a miracle, but his call went unheeded. Halfway throguh the first rest period, Eilonwy woke up wanting to play. A game of tag ensued, with Manriki finally outfoxing the young druid with the clever use of lion’s roar to rouse his sleepy (and grumpy) companions so that they might keep up with her.

So the party traveled for 3 days before coming to a perfect 13-foot circle of Profound Lingering Evil, and no more tracks. Dogar bemoaned the situation, asking Manriki if he knew the master earth spell. Eilonwy did, and she cast it, disappearing to an unknown location.

So, the party turned around and walked back for 3 more days, then another 30 days to an enormous 3-story wall. Dogar flew up for reconnaissance, and discovered that the wall was just part of an enormous octagonal wall surrounding 7 smaller octagonal walls, each made of a different substance. Each wall ahd been breached in a different spot, and the structures inside had been largely ruined. At the center was what could be only described as a mushrooming stream of the golden sand that the party has come to equate with time.

Dogar grabbed Aria and Manriki, and they all flew to the center of this place. On landing, there was the “time fountain,” which had a low wall around it and an inscription that only Aria could read, something about the commemoration of those who fought to save Creation. The only other structures that were still standing or of interest were a library and a meeting hall.

Everyone made a beeline for the library. Dogar made it first, walking up the 9 steps until a manlike construct made of razor-edged cold iron asked him “what do you seek in the Library?” Dogar responded “knowledge.” The construct then asked him “what do you intend to take?” Dogar said “nothing,” and was allowed to pass, going in the door. Manriki and Aria were interrogated by a pair of constructs seemingly composed of hellfire. Manriki said that he sought “the power to save all of creation,” and was promptly attacked. Aria said something else that was the Wrong Answer, though I forgot what it was, and she was attacked too.

The Hellfire Eidolons were pretty dangerous, but Manriki was there, so there was nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, Dogar heard the sounds of combat and went back out. As he laid into the one that was attacking Aria, the Cold Iron Eidolon that had quizzed him reappeared, and moved to engage him, opening a terrible wound that bled copiously. Manriki engaged it, and it told him that he had “won entry by right of conquest,” and desired to be left alone to “deal with the betrayer.” A few healing spells and favored enemy attacks later, and the mouthy machine was defeated.

Dogar tried to walk in, and was mildly electrocuted. The door remained shut. Manriki tried to hold it open for him, but failed his Strength check against the building. Dogar waited a little, but decided to leave when he felt that he was being watched by angry eyes. He went over to the meeting hall, and walked in.

He found himself in a wooded area with a strange black road, greeted by two others who seemed to be expecting him. They told him that he was “at the park at the Center,” and that they needed to find The Door. They were shortly afterward accosted by a group of riders who demanded that they turn around, or more correctly, one of their number who was not good at hiding was. Dogar watched the interplay unfold, and moved on after Haggis the half-orc turned himself undetectable.

The three of them wandered along, until Dogar realized that they were being watched. The masked watcher accosted them as well using a pair of oddly-shaped clubs from a large bag across his back, and tried to fight Dogar, who gave better than he got. Dogar was merciful, however- his assailant didn’t try to actually kill him, he did the same.

The masked man said that he “had friends” who would be looking out for him, and that he and said friends were keeping an eye on part of the park. Dogar denied knowledge of someone called “the Shredder,” and said that he just wanted to go through the door. He left the other man tied up and snuck his way towards the construction site (where the door was supposed to be). En route, he was ambushed by 4 anthropomorphic turtles, but he managed to talk his way out of any violence, and get to the door.

He found himself in a strange hall filled with the likenesses of various people, and wandered for awhile.

Meanwhile, Manriki and Aria explored the massive Library with the help of an invisible agent of some kind who answered many questions, but had limited knowledge. Manriki cast amanuensis to copy a whole lot of stuff and looked around. Manriki asked if there was anything in the library about the Mists, and it led him to a stair deep within the place. Behind two locked doors, he found a single book, one section of which that Manriki had been looking for was heavily edited, in blood. Manriki questioned the attendant about this. The attendant replied that none of the materials in the Library were ever edited, that it was unwilling to enter the room where the book was for fear of destruction, and probably a few other things that I don’t remember.

Manriki and Aria quizzed the attendant at great length, finding that, among a great many other things, many of the Abstracts were destroyed, though one called Hope was known (according to the records in the Library, anyway) to still exist. There were no records of Death’s demise, the attendant had no concept of time, and in fact referred to the “time fountain” a few hundred feet from the Library as “the Phenomenon.” additionally, its knowledge seemed to end with the creation of the Phenomenon; the last record it had was from an Archmage detailing the final preparations before the Phenomenon was created.

They also found out that the Phenomenon’s purpose was to forestall the destruction of Creation.

Manriki checked on Dogar with his greater status and then the two of them went to find him while the spell ran down.

Back to the Future
Something broke loose, not quite Hell.

Desirra began having a breakdown, feeling that she “should not be there,” and the party tried unsuccessfully to calm the extremely anxious catgirl. Luvanar offered to take her back to the Material Plane and catch up with the party as soon as he could.

And with that, they left. The magic that powered the bubble seemed less under control, and the trip went a lot faster, though it was a lot more dangerous. In addition to the roving Abstracts, the effects of Time itself were much more dangerous. Eilonwy channeled the power of the Dog to prevent the party from all losing 10 or so years of their lives, and youthened to the point that her fragile child’s body could not withstand the ravages of Pestilence, and died. Manriki brought her back to life, and there was some more back-and-forth with the party losing and gaining years until in one big push, the party shot 32 years or so through to the end of Time.

The party found themselves in another manufactured plane, though this one was a lot nicer than the halfling-themed place that they had been to some months back, with an almost subtle undertone to its artificiality. The party came across the tracks of a great mass of assorted creatures, Dogar and Eilonwy were able to make some sense of this massive procession- there were several sets of tracks that the group was able to determine belonged to Legion, Filth, and probably Shortage/Demand, along with some other bipedal tracks in the midst of the marching horde. Eilonwy noted that this place was probably a timeless plane, because of something that she noticed.

The party followed these for awhile and came upon a razed fortress, only light rubble and the lines of the foundations remained. While poking through the rubble, Dogar found two things: A footprint that was on top of the mob’s footprints and yet somehow older than the footprints that it was obliterating, and a piece of purple yarn which turned out to be psionic. Dogar was reminded of a nursery rhyme that his wet nurse had told him when he was a boy, and he told it to the others, who made no sense of it. However, the presence of this conumdrum reminded everyone of some riddles that they had found when all this started, so they stopped and considered them.

Sever RL-hours later, Manriki’s Riddle was deciphered, though it didn’t shed much light on the situation at hand.

Once More Into the Breach
Getting there isn't fun at all. In fact, it's incredibly dangerous.

“Let’s do the Time Warp again…”
-Rocky Horror Picture Show, “Time Warp”

Manriki evoked a great magic, offering the spirits of those who fell a second chance at life if they would devote their new lives to serving The Invincible. Some of them heeded the call, and asked Manriki for directions. He told them to seek out the temples in Cardinnia. The survivors of the battle gathered in the ship’s bar, where Desirra was sleeping off an epic hangover. Eilonwy cast neutralize poison on her as Manriki cast _ mass heal_ or something. A few spells later, Manriki went to take care of Luvanar.

Aria watched.

Manriki just followed his instincts, moving his hands through strange passes, drawing out this… darkness that seemed to stain the very air from Luvanar’s body and pulling it into himself, to his apparent discomfort. Manriki’s skin turned translucent, and he began acting strangely. Nevertheless, he completed the resurrection, and Luvanar sat up, thankful to be among the living once more. He teleported to Dogar and brought him back to the ship while Manriki went to inquire after Eilonwy.

She was feeling sick, but in a strange way that she couldn’t really describe- it felt like small hearts of corruption were embedded under her skin, and she could feel them pumping counterpoint to her own pulse. The two of them tried various healing spells on her, and cured her somewhat, but not completely. The two of them came to the end of their repertoire of healing magic, and decided to think on it a little more.

Then the party reconvened and Luvanar explained that he had realized that the party was running back and forth trying to put out fires without apprehending the arsonist, so to speak, and the only way to find the heart of the problem was to go to where the problem was coming from- the end or nearly the end of the fading timestream. He had the beginnings of a spell that could take the ship along with its crew safely into the timestream (as repeated uses of wish were likely to lose their efficacy), but it would take some help in the casting. Someone, possibly Dogar asked if they needed to bring the ship, and it was explained that Caden would be leaving them, anyway. Luvanar realized that not having to transport the ship would take a lot of the math out of casting, but he would need a few days to recalculate it.

So the resurrected crew flew along to Valdar, where Caden bid them goodbye. Aria asked a few insensitive questions about this parting, and Caden eventually ignored her and left. Luvanar shut himself in the inn room, Manriki went to a temple of Hieroneous and prayed for guidance, Eilonwy went looking for pie (giving in to her fey nature), and Dogar went out on the town with Desirra as the two of them indulged their mental disorders, pulling a 12+-hour drink and gamble-a-thon that Manriki and Eilonwy wandered into around hour 15 or so.

Finally, the last bit of math was completed and Luvanar transported the party into the timestream. The usual feelings of connection and supra-awareness washed over the group, except for Desirra, for whom this was an entirely new experience. Nevertheless, she fit right into the eave of Luvanar’s magic, and the party began to move their conveyance, a silvery bubble through the time stream-

Until the shimmering curtains of sand parted for the briefest of instants to the right of the bubble, and the group caught a glimpse of an emaciated woman carrying a scythe over her shoulder. The very sight of this entity, who Manriki and Luvanar realized was probably the Abstract of Death, drained the party’s health by degrees, and killed Bleddyn outright. Before anyone could react, Death was obscured by another wave of golden sand, and to the far back left of the bubble, another gap opened up, revealing the Abstract of War. War’s presence caused the group to believe themselves in the midst of a great conflict- with each other. Manriki began casting a spell ot bolster his allies. Aria recorded the goings-on. Dogar charged over to Eilonwy in his “dance of death,” and he cut her down before she could cry out. Desirra pounced on Luvanar, nearly finishing him, but the wizard erected a wall of stone between him and his assailant just in time for Manriki’s spell to go off, revealing the malign influence for what it was.

Manriki brought EIlonwy back to life, and through the judicious use of healing spells, the party managed to avoid Death’s embrace. Death’s presence lingered on for awhile yet, however, and continued to drain the vitality from the group, but Manriki and Eilonwy were able to stave off the ill effects through the judicious application of healing magic.

A shadowy presence hovered by Aria, who spent the first leg of the journey retching, but no one really noticed. Once the magic powering that leg of the journey ran out, a hooded female figure was shunted from the silvery bubble, grasping at the party as she fell away along an errant current of the timestream.

The party had traveled just under a year forward in time, though they had spent no time of their own doing so. A few more healing spells went around and they tried again. The subsequent trips were not as immediately dire, though Eilonwy was attacked by a swarm of vermin shortly after the chattering of a Monkey filled the bubble. She also became violently, terrifyingly ill a few moments later, vomiting bloody sputum and convulsing.

The bout of sickness passed almost as quickly as it came, but the kiloren girl was much the worse for wear. Finally, the party emerged from the timestream 29 months, 2 weeks and 4 days further than when they had began.

And the timestream continued to stretch out before them, shrinking as it went, but with no end in sight, as the mocking laughter of the Abstracts echoed through the dark void of the Plane of Time.


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