The Adventure Never Ends...

The Fifth Element

 

Bright and early the next morning, the Fellowship gathers at the Great Hall. All eight are bright-eyed and cheerful, for today is the day that the Yostwell's Light will be restored! To their surprise, the Lord of the Supreme Council is looking decidedly grim. Thanks to the toils of the Head Scholar, she tells them, new information has come to light. It seems that they are dealing with a foe who is more powerful than they could have imagined. She pulls out two pieces of very old, stained parchment, and begins to read them aloud.

 

The First Book

The Second Book

 

The Fellowship reacts with surprise and horror. With the power of those two magical relics at his command, the mage is a fearsome foe indeed. And that's not all, the Lord of the Supreme Council tells them. Because of the evidence that the Head Scholar has found, it seems clear that the villain who destroyed Questport was none other than this mysterious mage. Who else had enough power to overcome the Tree of Light and cause the cataclysm? Time is of the essence, she declares: the Fellowship must revive the Tree of Light before the mage can strike again. With a flourish, she pulls out the Book of Knowledge. If there is anywhere that the heroes could find a spell to restore the Tree, it would be within that ancient tome.

 

The Book's Response

 

Truly, this is a powerful spell indeed. None among the Fellowship would dare to cast it; in all of the castle, there is not a magician with power enough to make the spell work. It seems for a moment that they must despair of ever reviving the Tree of Light... but then Gawain announces that he knows someone who could handle the spell. And he lives nearby, too!

 

The heroes make haste to the abode of Gawain's mysterious friend, and are slightly disappointed to discover that it is a ramshackle, rather dangerous looking place at the edge of the forest. As they knock on the front door, the sounds of loud explosions can be heard from within. A strange creature wearing a heavy robe and thick goggles answers the door, and exclaims in delight upon seeing Gawain. The elvish hero introduces the man as the Alchemist, and explains that they are old friends from Gawain's travels. His explanation is frequently interrupted by the Alchemist's rather disconcerting habit of pulling small explosive devices out of his pockets and throwing them into the yard to discourage the troublesome monsters that only he can see.

 

The Alchemist, pulling yet another exploding object from his pockets, says that he'd be happy to help with the spell. (A few of the heroes look slightly doubtful).  Pulling out a piece of chalk, he draws a large five-pointed star on the ground, and tells the Fellowship to place the Elemental Essences in the center of it.

 

"Not so fast!" cries a voice, as the heroes begin to follow the Alchemist's instructions. With a chilling laugh, a dark-cloaked figure leaps out from behind a tree at the forest's edge. Summoning a bolt of magical fire that only narrowly misses the cowering Alchemist, the new arrival declares that the Fellowship will never restore the Yostwell's Light. The Fellowship recognizes him as the mysterious sorcerer who had banished the demon during the quest for the Fire Element. More disturbingly, though, the wizard carries in one hand an ancient-looking horn, which the heroes now realize must be Gaudior's Horn, which the old text had called one of the most powerful relics in existence.

 

The sorcerer's eyes glitter unpleasantly as he surveys the half-completed spell that the Fellowship had been undertaking. So they think that the power of the four elemental essences can save their precious Yostwell's Light? he asks poisonously. Well, he should have no trouble blasting them from the face of the Orbis Terrarum before they can complete their spell--after all, he succeeded in doing what no other magic user, not even the Master of Darkness, could accomplish: the destruction of Questport. With the power of Gaudior's Horn and the essence of Aether at his command, how dangerous could these rag-tag "heroes" and a withered once-magical stick be?

 

Horror overtakes the Fellowship at the revelation of the mage's heinous deed. So he is the one responsible for the cataclysm that destroyed their home! Yes, the sorcerer repeats, with a laugh that borders on maniacal, he destroyed Questport and defeated the Yostwell's Light. Does that not make him the most powerful mage in the world?

 

Disgusted at his villainy, the heroes prepare for battle. A sinister smile lights the mage's pale face as he blows the horn, creating an unpleasant, eerie reverberation. "Fools!" he cries triumphantly. "Do you presume that you can defeat me? I have the power of Aether at my command!"

 

This reminds the Fellowship of the second of the old texts that they had read that morning. They cry out to the mage, telling him not to call upon the essence of Aether: it will cause him to disappear. The mage only laughs, scornful. Do they really think that he'll fall for such a simple trick?  The heroes protest that they are telling the truth--if he stops his spell now, he might still be saved--but the sorcerer pays no heed. On a thin chain around his neck, the crystal teardrop of the essence of Aether glows with a brilliant light as he begins to cast a spell for the destruction of the Fellowship. 

 

The glow of the essence of Aether grows brighter still, enveloping the sorcerer. To the Fellowship's shock, they see that the villain is becoming transparent. As they watch, the pale glow of the elemental essence surrounds him entirely and he fades away, vanishing like ice melting in the sun. Left behind on the Alchemist's lawn are two objects: Gaudior's Horn and the essence of Aether

 

Recovering from their shock at the mage's sudden appearance and equally sudden demise, the heroes find the Alchemist--cowering under a nearby bush--and urge him to continue the spell. 

Pale and shaking, the Alchemist crawls out from under the bush and directs the Fellowship to place the five Elemental Essences in the center of the pentacle. Once the heroes have obeyed his command, they follow the Alchemist in pacing around the edge of the five-pointed star, chanting words of great and powerful magic. A white flame leaps up in the center of the pentacle, and the Alchemist cries that they should place the fragment of the Tree of Light in the center at once. Quickly, Gawain pulls the withered branch out from under his cloak and casts it into the pentacle.

 

There is a flash of brilliant white light; the heroes look away, covering their eyes. When they dare to glance back at the star, they see, to their astonishment, that the Elemental Essences have vanished, having been transmuted out of their physical forms. All that remains in the star is a tiny sapling, with a few plump buds clinging to its spindly branches. As they watch, the buds open to reveal tiny white flowers that fill the air with a sweet scent. The Tree of Light, though much diminished, has been restored. Perhaps there is yet hope that Questport, too, will recover.