The Adventure Never Ends...

                   Reunion

Heeding the call of the Lord of the Supreme Council, the members of The Fellowship once again gather in the Temple to learn what they must do to combat the new evil that threatens Questport.

They learn that they must recover the eight shards of the mirror that was broken by the Lord of Angels and Demons, bind them together once again, and transport the restored mirror to the World's End. Then by must place the mirror in the exact location upon which the Yostwell stood when he uttered the magic word that originally imprisoned the Prince of Shadows and Illusions. However, in order for the spell to work, they must trick the Prince of Shadows and Illusions into appearing on the same spot. Only then will they be able to force him back into the mirror using the power of the magic word.

The Three Tasks

 A Goddess's Tears

The Fellowship gathers at the Temple, where they are met by the Lord of the Supreme Council and the Princepia Altoratrix, as well as two Druids, who wish to assist the Fellowship on their quest. After some discussion, and reminiscing about the helpfulness of the two Ninjas in the great quest for the Yostwell's Light, the two druids--Jahiera and Acre--are welcomed with open arms. 

 The Lord of the Supreme Council tells the heroes all that she knows of the Prince of Shadows and Illusions, but there is very little information to be had, for the villain is so ancient that nearly all knowledge of him has been lost. The Fellowship, perceiving the need for more information, decides to ask the Book of Knowledge how they might defeat their foe. The Book replies:

The Book's Response   

Deciphering the Book's instructions, the Fellowship sets out to the shrine on the green knoll, bearing flowers picked from the Questport Gardens as an offering to the goddess. When they arrive at the small shrine, they find an altar devoted to the Lady of Light, one of the most ancient deities worshiped in Questport. Over time, the Lady's following has dwindled and the goddess herself has been nearly forgotten. The shrine, however, is untouched by the ravages of time. In a small fountain at the foot of the altar, Tulip espies what looks like a handful of small crystals. Deciding that these must be the tears spoken of in the Book of Knowledge, the Fellowship carefully collects them.

Next they visit the Necromancer, who lives alone in a dingy hut at the foot of a great cliff on the outskirts of Questport. The Necromancer, a rather strange and unpleasant individual, is initially suspicious of the heavily-armed group of strangers demanding to speak with him, but after consulting with a dessicated skull and eying the gold that the strangers are proffering, he decides that he might as well help them. 

As the wide-eyed questers look on, the Necromancer causes great fires to appear around the small hut. Into the heart of each blaze, he casts one of the goddess's tears. Smoke billows up in a thick curtain, and for a moment the heroes are blinded. When the smoke dissipates, a tall figure clad in black armor stands over the cowering form of the Necromancer. Wearily brandishing a battered shield and a broken sword, the apparition declares that it is the Knight Protector. Who dares summon him from beyond the grave?

After a moment of nervousness at the Knight Protector's fearsome appearance, the members of the Fellowship muster their courage and ask the ghost if he could please give them directions to the Hidden Room, which he had once guarded so bravely. After a moment's thought--the long sleep of death is already beginning to wear away at his memories--the Knight Protector replies thus:

"As ye stand before the Witch Sign, the Owl shall point the way. Follow the runes to the Seven Doors, for within these doors ye shall find the Key.  But beware! Traps, too, may lurk behind doors that innocent seem. When the key has been found, then ye may enter beneath the Sign of Peace."

His wisdom passed on, the shade of the Knight Protector dwindles and then vanishes entirely. The Necromancer laughs wildly and counts his money. 

Flummoxed, the Fellowship returns to the Temple, accompanied by the faithful druids. As they climb the stairs towards the rooms of the Lord of the Supreme Council, Ato notices a small pattern scratched into the stone of the wall. The odd mark seems to resemble a pointy hat... such as the witches of Questport are known to wear. A few feet above the rough drawing is a carved sconce holding a sputtering torch. The sconce is carved in the shape of an owl with one wing outstretched, pointing farther up the spiraling staircase. 

Feeling that they may at last be getting somewhere, the Fellowship ascends the stairs. They emerge on the highest floor of the Temple, one that hasn't been used for centuries.  Metal fixtures have rusted, the wooden stairs are creaky and moldering, and a thick layer of dust covers everything... except where two sets of footprints can be seen leading down the hall. 

The long corridor is lined with doors of stout wood, each graven with a single rune. The Fellowship enters the nearest one, and find themselves in an abandoned storeroom. For a moment they believe that this must be some kind of trick or trap, until Mei notices a long piece of parchment lying coiled atop a wooden barrel. It reads "upon this Door.

After a moment of confusion, the heroes realize that the key must be a spell or rhyme of some sort. The next hour is spent searching through the rooms behind the rune-marked doors, looking for similar pieces of parchment. By the end of the hour they have found seven in total, as well as some amazing relics (the Diadem of Wisdom, the Talisman of Courage, a spell for walking on water), and some unwanted surprises (a gigantic spiderweb, a bucket filled with eyeballs).

The pieces of parchment fit together perfectly, forming an odd riddle:

 Only the Blood

of She who sits

at the Head of

the Council

may Unlock

the Enchantment

upon this Door. 

 The Fellowship decides that the door mentioned in the rhyme must be the only door in the hallway that they could not open--although there was no lock on the door, it had been closed so tightly that none of the heroes could budge it. The door is made of stout oak, engraved with the ancient rune for the Tree of Life, which can also symbolize peace. Now certain that this is the right door, they rush off to find the Lord of the Supreme Council.

After some argument with Sabriel DuLac, who is not very enthusiastic about the idea of spilling her own blood, the heroes return to the highest floor of the Temple. The Lord of the Supreme Council cuts her palm with a dagger, and smears her blood upon the wood. For a moment it seems as if there is no effect, but then an unseen lock clicks, and the door swings open. 

 The room inside is filled with light: the walls are whitewashed and set with small bits of glass that glitter and reflect the candles that cover every surface. The flames of the candles flicker through every color of the rainbow, faster than the eye can follow. The only discordant element amidst the room's beauty are the shattered fragments of a sword that lie scattered on the floor near the doorway: the only trace of the Knight Protector's last stand.

On a small table in the center of the room is a pile of silvery shards: the remnants of the Mirror of Fog. To the Fellowship's surprise, the shard are not reflective, but instead a dull grey in color. The Lord of the Supreme Council picks them up carefully and wraps them in her cloak, declaring that she will place them under lock and key in the Temple until tomorrow, when they will Reunite the mirror.

The members of the Fellowship head to the Questport Inn for food, congratulating themselves on a job well done. They have barely begun their meal, however, when an urgent message arrives from the Supreme Council, summoning them back to the Temple. When they arrive, the Lord of the Supreme Council reveals that they have been deceived: the shards found in the Hidden Room are not all of the fragments of the mirror. Two are missing!

 Ravens, Robbers, and Riches

Two days later, the Fellowship is once again summoned to the Temple. However, they are not met by the Lord of the Supreme Council, but rather by the High Priestess of the Temple. The High Priestess explains that she is the one who had called them together, for she is worried that the Lord of the Supreme Council may have met with some terrible fate. According to the Supreme Council members, Sabriel DuLac left Questport on the very evening of the day that the six shards of the mirror were found. She left behind a note for the High Priestess, and told the Council members that she should return the next day. But it is now two days after she left, and there is no sign of her. 

The heroes are very worried by this turn of events. The High Priestess leads them to the Altar of the Sun's Shadow,  where she performs a spell to determine the Lord of the Supreme Council's location. The spell is very faint, but the priestess is able to determine that the Lord of the Supreme Council is somewhere near a large body of water. More than that, she cannot say.

It is then that the heroes remember the letter that the Lord of the Supreme Council had supposedly left. The High Priestess produces it from one pocket, and reads it aloud.  

The Letter

The Lord of the Supreme Council wrote that she had determined the location of the remaining two shards of the Mirror of Fog. She was setting off for the Castle by the Lake to collect them, and would return soon. Under no circumstances should anyone follow her, for the road is greatly dangerous.

It is now clear to the Fellowship what has happened to the Lord of the Supreme Council: she must be trapped somewhere in the Castle by the Lake. Paying no heed to the warning at the end of the letter, they set off at once for the Castle by the Lake (which, due to a cartographer's misunderstanding, is actually on the shore of the Eastern Sea).The High Priestess accompanies them, as do both of the Druids.

The road to the Eastern Sea winds steeply down through the Old Forest, a place of great power and enchantment. Many times the heroes feel as if they are being watched, but there is not a soul to be seen besides them. The trees reach long branches over the road to form a dense canopy, and moss grows on the paving stones.

Suddenly two black-clad figures leap out from behind a tree, bearing rusty knives and thick cudgels. The two menacing forms move to block the road, wicked grins on their faces. One of them growls that "None shall pass!"

The thugs may have thought that the travelers were easy prey, but they are quickly disabused of this notion. Faced with the might of the eight heroes, they offer little resistance. Soon the ruffians have been subdued and tied to a tree to await the Princepia Altoratrix and the Questport Guards. The Fellowship continues on down the road.

Eventually the trees thin out, revealing a long stretch of sandy beach and the dark waters of the sea that stretches to the horizon. Close to the shore stands a small stone castle, with a rusted portcullis and a single tower. Old seaweed clings to the stones, and the tower looks as if it is about to crumble. Nevertheless, the questers realize that it must be the Castle by the Lake.

The portcullis is raised and the doors are unlocked; there are no guards to be seen. Cautiously, the heroes sneak into the castle. The halls are deserted, save for a few tangles of seaweed and the smell of fish. Deciding that they must have come to the wrong place, the heroes are about to leave when they hear a faint tapping noise coming from behind a thick wooden door.

Curious, the Fellowship investigates. The tapping noise persists, accompanied by some muffled sounds as if someone is trying to talk through the thick planks of the door. A brief search of the area reveals a rusty iron key, which fits perfectly into the lock. 

When they open the door, the person waiting on the other side is none other than the Lord of the Supreme Council, looking slightly disheveled and very surprised. To the heroes' astonishment, her first words are not heartfelt thanks for rescuing her, but rather a tirade about not listening to her when she told them not to follow her. After all, she insists, she had everything under control.  

The chamber in which she was imprisoned has the look of an abandoned guardroom. There are many racks for holding weapons--all empty, unfortunately--a table and a few battered-looking chairs, and a skeletal puffer-fish suspended from the ceiling. There is another heavy door set into the far wall, but it has a most unusual decoration: bound across the middle of the doorframe, where a bar would go, is a long black belt, inlaid with gems and twisting gold buttons.

Seeing the heroes' interest in the mysterious door, the Lord of the Supreme Council explains that there is a prisoner sealed in a cell there, but the spells on the door are enchantments of the highest level. She herself had tried to break the barrier, to no success. She suspects that it is a blood-spell, and blood magic is one of the most powerful sorceries in existence.

Mei, surprisingly, volunteers to try to break the spell. She had gotten cut during the battle with the thugs--no more than a scratch, but still enough to bleed a little. Might that dissolve the spell on the door?

The Lord of the Supreme Council is doubtful--blood spells usually need the kin of the person affected by the spell--but agrees to let Mei try. When the young hero touches the door, the fancy belt falls off, and the spell crumbles. Mei picks up the belt, looking at it oddly. The elaborate swirling designs on the buttons remind her of the charm on her necklace. 

At that moment, the door opens. A tall figure with dark wings strides out, exclaiming in delight at being free. When he notices the Fellowship, the druids, and the Lord of the Supreme Council, he stops abruptly, evidently taken aback. Slightly warily, he introduces himself as Djadan, the former king of the Ravens, who had been imprisoned in that cell for years by the mistress of the castle, the Queen of Rogues and Robbers. He is grateful to these mysterious strangers for freeing him, but slightly confused: don't blood spells require the blood of a relative of the affected person in order to break the spell? His entire family, including his wife and young daughter, perished tragically several years ago.

After introductions are made, it is resolved that the whole group will set out to confront the Queen of Rogues and Robbers, who had not only imprisoned Djadan and the Lord of the Supreme Council, but also stolen the remaining two shards of the mirror.

The Fellowship continues through the castle until they reach the Great Hall. From within the hall, they can hear sinister laughter and the sounds of coins clinking together. Warily, they proceed into the hall with weapons at the ready. There they find a pretty young woman with a surprising number of knives strapped to her belt, perched in a gaudily overdecorated throne and running her fingers through a huge pile of seaweed-covered gold. Her laughter abruptly stops when she sees the Fellowship, the Lord of the Supreme Council, and Djadan.

Before the Fellowship can move to strike this villainous figure--surely the Queen of Rogues and Robbers that had been mentioned--the Lord of the Supreme Council charges forwards and confronts the Queen, berating her in a surprisingly familiar fashion. The Queen of Rogues and Robbers, eyes flashing, stands up (one hand placed protectively atop the mound of treasure) and shouts back. Soon the Great Hall is echoing with the sound of their voices, so loud and tangled together that no-one can make out what they are saying. Eventually the two stop shouting, exhausted, but not before the Queen of Rogues and Robbers hisses spitefully, "Mother always liked you best!"

The Lord of the Supreme Council turns to the somewhat confused Fellowship, and explains that the Queen of Rogues and Robbers is none other than her wayward younger sister, Lirael DuLac, who had chosen a radically different career path from Sabriel in an attempt to be rebellious. The Queen of Rogues and Robbers had allied herself with the Lord of Angels and Demons when he broke into the Hidden Room: Lirael's blood (the blood of the kin of the Lord of the Supreme Council) was enough to unlock the enchantment upon the door. Furthermore, she had stolen two fragments of the shattered Mirror of Fog after the Prince of Shadows and Illusions escaped.

With a defiant sneer, the unrepentant Queen of Rogues and Robbers confirms her sister's story. She had thought to use the shards in some magic spell, she adds, but they were just useless pieces of metal without the other six pieces. The Fellowship can have them back, but they have to slay the sea monster and outwit the Sea Witch first. Lirael DuLac laughs mocklingly. 

Disgusted with her villainy, the Fellowship leaves the Castle on the Lake. Remembering the Queen's challenge to them, they search along the narrow strip of beach, looking for some sign of the sea monster or Sea Witch. Djadan notices a small island off shore, and a small figure moving about on it. Could that be the Sea Witch that the Queen of Rogues and Robbers mentioned?

Suddenly a great roar sounds across the beach, echoing off the walls of the Castle by the Lake. A huge red-scaled form bursts from the waves, and the Lord of the Supreme Council just barely avoids a hideous fate in a row of wickedly-sharp teeth. A gigantic red sea monster has beached itself, glaring at the Fellowship with unquestionable malevolence. The heroes draw their weapons and charge, heedless of dire warnings from the Lord of the Supreme Council. They fight heroically, and soon the blood of the monster stains the sand as it coughs out its last breath.

With the monster no longer a threat, the Fellowship returns to the subject of the island. Ato and Gawain, with their elvish eyesight, can clearly make out the form of a woman dressed all in green, standing over an iron-bound chest. After some discussion, the heroes agree that they should investigate. But how to get there?

It is then that the questers remember the Walk on Water Spell that they had found during their search of the Temple two days previously. Taking out the dusty parchment scroll, they read the incantation aloud. Slightly nervous at the lack of any noticeable changes, the heroes step into the water. However, their feet do not descend all the way to the sandy bottom, but rather sink into the water only about a quarter inch. The same phenomenon repeats itself for the next step, and the next, and the next. The Fellowship is walking on water!

Feeling confident enough to run, they quickly reach the island, which is little more than a rocky outcropping protruding from the waves. An eerie crooning song emanates from the far side. As the members of the Fellowship step closer, a dark form darts up from behind the rock and hisses at them, baring pointed teeth. Despite lusterless, scaly skin, the creature resembles a woman clad in a clingy green dress. Seaweed is tangled in her wild hair.

The strange woman glares at them, demanding to know what they are doing in the Sea Witch's bedchamber. The heroes reply, rather nervously, that they didn't think they were in anyone's bedchamber and that they're searching for two shards of the Mirror of Fog. The Sea Witch denies knowing anything about pieces of a mirror, and to prove it, she opens the iron-bound chest. To her horror, the chest contains not mounds of sea-gold but rather two fragments of dull metal.

The heroes grab the two shards and run away as fast as they can (fortunately, the spell still holds). Before they reach the shore, the Sea Witch rushes past them, screeching challenges to the Queen of Rogues and Robbers. A noisy, violent battle ensues, and the Fellowship beats a hurried retreat back to the road through the Old Forest.

 The Battle of the Temple

Bright and early the next day, the Fellowship assembles at the Temple. There they are greeted by the Lord of the Supreme Council, the High Priestess, and the two Druids. The pieces of the Mirror of Fog lie on a long table in the center of the Temple, covered in a black cloth.

The members of the Fellowship gather around the table, eying the cloth-shrouded mirror with some trepidation. The Lord of the Supreme Council removes the Reunite Wand from the voluminous sleeve of her robe and hands it to Tulip, intending the pixie to perform the ritual. Tulip places the tip of the wand on the shards of the mirror and summons the earth magic that runs strong in the veins of all pixies and fairies. A glow surrounds the wand, and the mirror shines even through the heavy cloth.

At that moment, a small sphere flies through an open window in the Temple, and explodes on the floor with a huge burst of freezing water. The Lord of the Supreme Council screams. 

Seven of the eight heroes rush outside (Tulip remains in the Temple to complete the spell), to find that Questport is under attack! A horde of grungy pirates has massed outside the village's walls, throwing spell-orbs (like the one that had soaked the Temple) and waving cutlasses. Queen Mavia leads the Questport Guards as they fight back with spells and cannons, while the Fellowship--rejoined by Tulip--charges through the gate and meets the pirates head-on. 

A furious battle ensues, with combatants on both sides soon drenched by the contents of the spell-orbs. Numbers are not on the pirates' side, and they eventually throw down their arms and surrender. Queen Mavia and the Questport Guards take them into custody, and the members of the Fellowship hurry back to the Temple.

There they find the High Priestess and the Lord of the Supreme Council waiting anxiously for news.  After hearing the tale of the mighty battle that had been fought, and commending the members of the Fellowship for their bravery, the Lord of the Supreme Council sweeps aside the black cloth to reveal the whole Mirror of Fog. The reuniting is not perfect--thin silvery lines can been seen where the shards joined--but the ancient Yostwell's shield is complete once more.

 At the World's End