“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.
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…