The Adventure Never Ends...

At the World's End

Dusk falls over the village of Questport, and the call of a horn rings out, summoning the Fellowship back to the Temple. All eight heroes are armed and armored to the teeth, ready for the dangerous journey ahead. The Lord of the Supreme Council, with a sword hanging from her belt, greets them; Sabriel DuLac is accompanied by the druids, and, surprisingly, Djadan. The Mirror of Fog rests upon the table, once again covered with the thick black cloth.

The Lord of the Supreme Council opens the Book of Knowledge, and the Fellowship studies the verse upon the page. Surely they have accomplished the first part of the verse by reuniting the shards of the mirror, but what of the second part?  A word found in a dream? The world's end? None of them can make any sense of it. 

Then Mei speaks up. She took a nap after the battle with the pirates, she explains, and had a very odd dream that she had forgotten about until now. She saw a lone figure, clad in silver armor and tall enough to be a giant, standing on a hill in the midst of a sea of fog. The fog swarmed thickly around the giant, reaching out great tentacles as if to seize him. Just when it seemed as though the giant would be swallowed by the fog, it held aloft a shining circular shield andcried aloud a single word. That was when Mei had woken up.

The Lord of the Supreme Council asks Mei what the word that the giant had shouted was. Mei replies that it sounded like "Caritas," but she has no idea what it means--she probably was remembering it wrong. The Lord of the Supreme Council seems to know, however; she thanks Mei warmly and looks down at the mirror with a mysterious smile. After a moment, she looks up again, and tells the Fellowship that they now know the word that can bind the Prince of Shadows and Illusions: caritas. Mei had remembered the word correctly: "caritas" was a word in one of the most ancient languages of Questport, a word that meant love of the entire world..

Now all that is left is to find the "world's end gate" that is spoken of. Djadan steps forwards, smiling. He knows where to find the Gate at the World's End, he tells them, for he journeyed to it once during his travels. He would be happy to take the Fellowship there, in repayment of the debt that he owes them for freeing him. 

The members of the Fellowship make the appropriate preparations: it is a long journey to the World's End, and they will need plenty of supplies. After they have found everything that they need, they meet at the Temple again. As they are about to leave the village, the druids ask that they not leave quite yet: they have something to show to the Fellowship first. 

Jahiera and Acre  lead the heroes to one of the sacred groves on the outskirts of Questport. It is twilight now, and the sky is growing steadily darker. In such dimness, it is easy to see the thin shafts of white light that are filtering through the branches of the grove's trees. What could it be?

In the center of the grove, is a tiny clearing, barely large enough to hold the members of the Fellowship. A small space has been carefully cleared of sticks and fallen leaves, leaving only soft emerald grass. In that little bare space sprouts a small tree, barely coming up to the Lord of the Supreme Council's chin. The sapling seems to be somehow suffused with light; it glows like a lantern amid the shadows of the grove.

The druids proudly explain that this little tree is the Yostwell's Light. Using their magic, they have transformed the holy relic from a candelabra into a tree. The Yostwell's Light, now rooted firmly to the earth of Questport, will never be stolen or lost again. Its protection will ward Questport forever. 

 The Tree

 The druids place their hands on the tree, which immediately bursts into bloom. With a matter of moments the silvery, sweet-smelling flowers have fallen, revealing small fruits that glow with all the colors of the rainbow. The druids advise the Fellowship to pick the fruits and tie them to belts or sashes: they will give the Fellowship some of the Yostwell's Light's protection in the battle to come. The heroes obey the instructions, reverently plucking the small fruits and attaching them to their clothes. At the druids' direction, they also carefully cut eight slender branches from the tree and tuck them into their belts alongside their swords. 

The small fruits shine brightly in the dusk as the heroes follow Djadan out of Questport. Soon they are a few paces from a high wall of gray fog, seeming as solid as stone. The members of the Fellowship glance at one another uneasily, worried that they may become separated and lost forever if they enter the fog, but they grit their teeth and plunge valiantly forwards. To their surprise, they find themselves in a dome-shaped absence of fog, perhaps twenty paces across. As they walk, the dome moves with them, giving them a small area in which they can see clearly. Once again, the powers of the Yostwell's Light reveal themselves in ways that no one had expected.

As they pass by an abandoned village, the houses ransacked or burned to the ground, a voice can be heard in the distance, calling to someone. Unable to identify the speaker, the questers grip their weapons more tightly. At that moment, however, a figure appears out of the mist and darts towards the Fellowship, still calling out. A slim, pretty young woman with golden hair and white wings, armored for battle and with a sword at her side--none other than Queen Mavia, the Princepia Altoratrix of Questport. 

Queen Mavia throws herself into Djadan's arms, exclaiming that she had been searching for him for years (apparently she was unaware that he had returned to Questport two days ago), and that she was terribly worried about him. Djadan, after looking taken aback for a moment, asks her to marry him, and they kiss. 

With the addition of the Princepia Altoratrix to the party, the heroes continue on their journey. A few hours later, they come upon a wide river, its waters dark enough to appear almost black. Djadan explains that this is the River Acheron, that flows from the Halls of Evening to the World's End. All they have to do now is follow the river downstream.

What Djadan does not mention, however, is how long that will take. The Fellowship stops twice for meals as they follow the river. A few of the heroes begin to feel discouraged: the grey fog and black water are unchanging, and it seems as if they are not making any progress at all. 

 Abruptly a tall stone wall looms out of the fog. Higher even that the summit of the Temple in Questport; the stones are weathered and aged but still strong. A small wooden door with iron hinges is set into the base of the wall. Gawain tries to open the door, but it doesn't budge: it must be fastened from the other side. The River Acheron flows through a high arch in the wall, but the angle of the arch is such that none of the heroes can see through it. 

Djadan flies up to the top of the wall to have a look at the other side. The members of the Fellowship, meanwhile, spread out in a loose circle, still gripping their weapons tightly. The Lord of the Supreme Council and Queen Mavia lift up the Mirror of Fog, wondering if they should take the cloth off yet.

With a chilling roar, a dark shape hurtles out of the fog, scattering the heroes. Turning a face like a skull towards the Fellowship from within a rough black cowl, the Prince of Shadows and Illusions laughs triumphantly. At long last, he has these meddling annoyances within his grasp.

 The Prince of Shadows and Illusions

Raising a white-bladed sword, he causes tendrils of fog to reach out and bind the Fellowship. But the tentacles shatter into wisps of mist as soon as they touch the heroes: the fruits of the Tree of Light protect them. 

Screaming in outrage, the Prince of Shadows and Illusions lashes out with his sword. But the heroes evade his clumsy blows, and form themselves into a rough circle. Quickly drawing out the thin branches they had trimmed from the Tree of Light, each hero grasps the end of two branches, forming a complete circle. The Prince of Shadows and Illusions is trapped in the center...

...as is Mei! For a moment, no one is sure how this could have happened, but then they realize that Jahiera and Acre have taken places in the circle as well, leaving Mei without a branch to hold on to. Any thought of her sneaking out unobtrusively is lost when the Prince of Shadows and Illusions roars with rage and attacks her. Mei desperately parries his attack, fighting for her life.

At a cue from the Lord of the Supreme Council, the heroes began chanting, "Caritas! Caritas! Caritas!" The Prince of Shadows and Illusions looks around wildly, searching for a place to escape. He sees a single break in the circle, where Queen Mavia is holding aloft an object shrouded in a dark cloth. The villain dives towards it, only to pull up sharply, seized by a sudden suspicion. 

Lightning flares in the center of the circle, and a deafening thunderclap shakes even the wall at the World's End. Djadan stands atop the wall, his black cloak billowing, one hand raised as he calls down his storm magic.  Filled with terror of this dangerous magic, the Prince of Shadows and Illusions lunges towards what he perceives to be a weak link in the circle. On his skeletal features is an expression of triumph.

But the triumph quickly turns to horror as Queen Mavia throws the black cloth aside to reveal the Mirror of Fog. It is too late to halt his forward rush now, and the Prince of Shadows and Illusions gives one last haunting scream of despair as he is drawn back inside his ancient prison.

There is a brilliant flare of light, bright enough to make even the elves cover their faces in pain. When they dare open their eyes again, they are still standing on a barren bank beside a dark river, but a full moon glows in the starry sky. 

The Prince of Shadows and Illusions has been imprisoned once again, and the fog has lifted from the world. 

 The Mirror Restored