“Hey guys, you’ll never believe this! We sold the Greyhawk for a load of cash!” Waylond exclaims as he walks back aboard the ship and slaps his hat against his thigh in joy. “With that kind of money, we can build our own ship!”
“You sold it after you took out that magical arch though, right?”
“Of course,” the Giff scoffs as he walks off the bridge. “I’ll be in my room… I’ve got a ship to design!”
“Well if anybody’s interested, I found out something while you guys were gone,” I say with a roll of my eyes as I turn back to the computer to grab the list it gave me. "It seems that there is a list of 20 people related by “The Nexus,” which is an alliance of magic users working across the dimensions together towards heretofor unknown purposes…. and Waylond, Solon and you, Constance, are related to them."
“Maybe they’ve banded together to stop the Ilithids from some plot of conquest across the dimensions!” replies Constance.
“Only one way to find out!” exclaims Hodey as he reaches over and starts pushing buttons.
“Wait! We’re entering the sphere!” shouts Constance as she tries in vain to stop the ship from moving.
“Auto-Pilot initiated: destination Prime.”
It looks like we’re about to head into the sphere when suddenly the ship’s drive kicks in and there is a bright purple flash that causes us all to shield our eyes and me to grab my head in pain. Once it fades and the spots have cleared from my vision, I can tell that something has changed.
Well… three somethings… in the shape of ships coming towards us.
“Computer, please provide us means of communicating with the other ship.” I ask it quickly as I keep one eye on the screen.
“Hey… the stars have changed!” I hear Constance mutter as a panel lights up in front of us and what I assume must be a Magic Mouth spell activates.
“We are the 3rd Scout Draconis Fleet. Identify yourselves and transmit your ID codes.”
“Computer… please tell them that we will answer all questions as soon as we land… considering we can’t stop your programming.”
The three ships move into a flanking position as they escort us down to a planet that looks quite a lot like Torril… except not. It seems that purple light must accompany whatever portal it opens up to cross dimensions. As we get closer to land we can start to make out walled off compounds of a base of some kind.
“Make sure we don’t leave anything on the ship… just in case,” I shout out to the others. “Who knows what might happen once we get down there.”
Eventually the ship comes to a complete landing and we throw our various sacks over our shoulders and make our way out into the bright sun of this alternate-Torril.
“Company!” squawks Omen as he soars above us in the bright blue sky.
I squint and can just make out eight people heading our way. From what I can tell, it’s a mix of humans, elves, and someone with the brightest red hair I’ve seen in ages. “Is that an Elan? Well this truly is an adventure of firsts, isn’t it?” I mutter to myself.
“Welcome to Area 51!” announces the pale Elan with his curly red hair. “How did you find the ship? It’s been missing for quite a while.”
“Well there was this job, you see… and this list… so… are you my cousin?” asks Waylond with a scratch of his head.
“It’s a bit of an odd story involving some Illithids,” Constance replies with a wry chuckle. “I’m sure my companions and I would be more then willing to share our tale of the strange events that brought us together and to your ship.”
“Indeed… please help yourself to food and drink, and then we shall start conducting the interviews before answering any questions I am sure you must have. There will be a formal dress dinner that you are all welcome to attend.” He waves his hand at one of the humans who steps up and nods. “He will show you to your quarters where you can clean and dress.”
“Hot water?” I can’t help but blurt out. “Show me the way.”
I spend the next hour soaking in the bath… until the image of tentacles reaching for me from the depths of the water wake me with a jolt. I quickly leap out of the tub and grab a towel, drying myself hurriedly as I rush into the bedroom. Throwing open the closet door I grab the first dress I see as my braids snag the appropriate shoes.
“Right…dinner… drink… lots of drink,” I mutter as I throw the dress on and trust my hair to take care of itself.
“We are honored to meet the granddaughter of Ionius the Sapphire Mage,” declares the Elan as he walks up to Constance and bows over her hand.
I look around the room as I walk down the steps to see many other humans and elves dining and taking in the breathtaking view of mountains in the distance through the windows. Ionius… not sure I’ve heard of him, but from the sounds of it he’s pretty important. Well… he must be if he’s on that list, right? I wonder how she’ll take it…
“We are also pleased to have the descendants of Prince Drax and the Caruthers clan with us,” the Elan continues as he shakes the hands of Solon and Waylond.
Prince Drax? The one who had the Greyhawk? Now things are getting even more odd with how they’re connected.
“Great deeds are ahead of us all in the near future, my friends…” he tells us as he waves us over to his table to sit. “We unfortunately can’t spend too much time here, and will have to return you to your verse.”
“Our verse?” asks Constance.
“Yes… your dimension, as it will. The Illithids and the Arcane are the only races left from the previous multi-verse. While they are a universal constant capable of moving from dimension to dimension, when people such as you accomplish such a thing, it can cause a great dimensional static.”
“Static… is that what we keep feeling when the purple flashes happen?” asks Constance.
“Yes, that is most likely. The greater the disturbances, the more pain it can cause… and sometimes it takes you completely.” the Elan answers grimly. “As such you will need proper shielding from the Farspace so you can retain your sanity as well as your lives.”
“So what about these great deeds you spoke of?” asks Solon as he sips from his glass.
“Yes… great deeds will be needed in order to retrieve the items needed to defend against the advancing darkness.”
“What items would those be?” I ask curiously as I stab at a piece of meat with my fork. Always a catch, Katya… there’s always a catch.
“The Cudgel of St. Cuthbert the Greyhawk God, and the Silver Sword of Fedefensor.” From the look of surprise from Khal, that must be a Gith thing.
“What exactly was the purpose of that ship anyway?” I ask. Oh just a god’s hammer and a mystic sword… that’s all.
“I’m afraid that is classified.”
“Of course it is,” I reply as I take a large swig from my glass. Better enjoy this now…
“And the ship will have to remain here of course. We’ll transport you to where you need to go to start your search, however.”
“Of course it will,” I mutter as I take another drink.
“We will be sure to supply you with enough money in recompense, however.”
Now we’re talking.
A few hours later we’re escorted back to our quarters after some additional dire warnings about Department 7, a rather sinister group on another Greyhawk.
“So what do they mean magic doesn’t work here?” Constance asks in frustration. “How do they get anything done?”
The rest wander off to their rooms as the Elan takes me by the arm. “A moment… I feel I must warn you about that book you carry. You must be careful… it can make the dimensional static effect much worse.”
“Is it because of the Illithid magic?” I whisper.
“That book is not Illithid… it’s something much darker,” the Elan warns. “A mad cultist wrote it some 300 years ago. Some things… they should remain in the dark where they belong.”
The Elan’s warning passes my ears like a summer breeze as my mind is already swirling with the possibilities. Did this cultist see some great god of the Illithid? Or is it something even more powerful from another reality that puts the machinations of the Illithid to shame? Who used the book last… what happened when they did… and how did it end up in that crystal floating in space?
… I must know more.