The heroes found themselves in an interesting predicament once again. Having spared most of Basque from Sindri’s out of control rampage, the heroes had to figure out how to get north and where exactly in the north they needed to be.
Neo, Velius, and T’lemya had set off to gather the rest of the group and bring them back to house Sparl by the time Al’ev and Desira landed back at the house. Al’ev had decided to hold on to Sindri for the time being as he knew he’d have a better chance of getting the halfling out of the city than most of the others should something go wrong.
Checking to make sure he cloak was covering most of his exposed skin, Al’ev and Desira as well as the unconscious Sindri knocked on the door and were allowed entrance. There they chatted a short time with the Sparls. Al’ev asked if they had heard of any land masses to the North and it was mentioned that there were rumors of an isle of ice surrounded by fog. It was supposedly the grave site of many ships and sailors and there was little doubt that this would be the place they needed to take Sindri.
The Sparls broke his thought process when they requested something of Al’ev and Desira as well as the rest of the absent heroes. The Sparls planned to bring their children back to life, mentioning a ritual. They were requested to attend as guests of honor at the ritual.
Unsure of what Desira was thinking, for she was being very silent ever since they returned, Al’ev hesitantly agreed. He didn’t like it, but to say no would further jeopardize the fragile relationship the heroes had with House Sparl.
The Sparls mentioned they were going to go into hiding until the heroes returned and told Al’ev they could be contacted by asking around the taverns and bars in Basque for them. Then they left, allowing a few minutes of silence to prevail in the empty house.
Eventually the rest of the heroes arrived at house Sparl and swapped stories on what had happened since they had last seen each other, which was at the warehouse. When learning about the bags and the incident with Azar, Al’ev found it intriguing that he did not try to make a grab for the Phoenix and instead had stolen the bag of sharing. This could have meant a great number of things, but for now it seemed Azar had not yet found out what the Phoenix was. He suggested they get their bags re-keyed, except for one which would allow them to possibly use it against Azar. They would have to do this the next time they reached Trinity. For now, they had more pressing matters.
The discussed which course of action to take next. It was clear they were going to need a boat and a crew. They had several options on how to go about this. The first and more peaceful option was to charter a ship and crew to take them to this supposed island of ice. The second was to walk into the trap that T’lemya had made them aware of and steal that ship. They elected to go with the first option and Velius led them down to a bar on the docks which he had heard was frequented by crews of various ships.
After a few failed attempts to communicate with those within, Blasphemy stepped into the bar and was able to talk with the Halflings in their own tongue, much to the surprise of the rest of the group. He convinced the bartender to gather up a crew and a ship. The big ball of a halfling, for he was very round, negotiated an 80% profit of whatever they found and Blasphemy agreed, knowing that there wasn’t likely going to be much of anything found if they got to where they needed to go.
The heroes were told to be at the docks the following morning. They spent one more uneventful night in Basque before setting out the following morning.
The captain of the large rectangular ship named Treasure Box asked for a heading and all the heroes could tell them was North. The halfling shrugged and the ship set sail for the North. The journey was long and Al’ev used this time to speak with a few of his fellow heroes, most notably with Neo, informing him that he had learned though T’lemya that there was an assassination order out on him. Neo was grateful for the warning but mentioned that there wasn’t anything he knew of which would have caused him to be on someone’s “to kill” list.
After six days at sea and after passing through several think fog banks, the heroes heard the first indications that they were on the right track. The flapping of dragon wings was becoming a very familiar sound to the group and was unmistakable as they approached from the North, sounded to be circling for a short time then retreated from the direction they came. The heroes discussed what to do and had their decision made for them a short time later when multiple sets of flapping wings approached the ship. This time the dragons made their presence directly known as a pair began to clear the fog that currently set around the ship and a third slightly smaller dragon landed directly on the barge.
The halfling crew panicked. Half of them took lines and underwater breathing potions and dove into the water. The other half simply ran below decks, leaving the heroes to deal with the silver form before them.
Well, the large form that was before them until it fell into the water, taking a small chunk of the ship’s upper deck with it. Eventually it rejoined them and asked if they had Sindri, though he did not ask for the halfling’s name.
When the dragon was pointed to the halfling, he was unable to confirm that this was who he was looking for until Velius picked the halfling up, faced him towards the dragon and shook him. The halfling vomited ice that covered part of the dragon’s snout.
“Ah I love the ritual greeting.” The dragon said, shaking off the ice.
And with that, they were told they would be going to the island where they would all be lead into a room that they were not to leave until Sindri awoke again. Seeing how they were surrounded by dragons and not on the best vessel to say they were going to do otherwise, they agreed. Blasphemy went below decks and informed the few remaining halfling crew members what was happening.
The dragons led them to the island which appeared to be a very tall iceberg with sheer cliff edges. Within those edges were large caves that were carved out, likely leading deeper into the island’s interior. It was an impressive sight, they all realized, as the ship was directed into the interior of the island via a sea level cave. Inside the island, the ship arrived at a dock and the heroes watched as several forms manifested themselves from the walls of ice. These forms, made of pure ice themselves, tied off the ship and beckoned for the heroes to disembark.
The dragon who had remained on the ship the entire journey, asked which of them represented the group. When it was clear to everyone that Al’ev did not want to be representing the group in a den of dragons for whatever reason, Crim decided to speak up. He was asked who would be joining Crim to speak with the council and Crim indicated all of the heroes. They were then led to a circular room that bowled a slight bit. higher above the ground floor sat five forms. An elderly elven woman, a dwarven woman, a gnomish woman, a human male and an orcish male. Several of the heroes recognized the human male as the same one who had said “Rawr, I’m a dragon!” and told a prophecy a while back during one of their journeys through Trinity. They did not know back then that the man was telling the truth.
The heroes were addressed by this man. They were told that they were going to be put through trials and then were asked one by one if they walked the same path as Sindri. The somewhat crazy sounding man, for it seemed this was really how he was, started with Al’ev asking the question in a true or false format. He answered true, unsure of what the dragon was really asking. He proceeded down the line and got a mix of true and false answers. The heroes were then led back out of the council room, told to leave Sindri behind. Before they left, Neo asked what was to become of Sindri and the council members answered simply by saying he had his own trials to pass.
After a few twists and turns through the frozen tunnels, the heroes were separated into eight rooms lined up next to one another. The room they each were led into was a perfect ten foot by ten foot cube. Each wall face, floor face, and ceiling face had a mirror like finishing which showed the heroes their individual reflections as they were left in the room to await their trials.
It soon became clear to most of the group that they were not alone in their rooms. One of the walls, the one opposite the door wall they had come in through, had a reflection that seemed to lag a short bit behind what they did. None of the heroes reacted to this right away. It wasn’t until the form in this wall stepped out that things became even more interesting. These trials appeared to be pitting themselves against themselves. Al’ev found that illusion magic and conjuration magic was in heavy use on the figure and the wall it had come from. Neo figured out the form he faced had a very evil feel to it. The others came to similar conclusions. Then the assault on their minds began.
The heroes were a very willful bunch, for the most part. But several were unprepared for subtle assault on their minds. Harry and Blasphemy found themselves suddenly angrier and a couple others found themselves feeling fuzzier, as though their thinking had become slightly less focused.
The heroes all began to test what their clones were capable of through various methods. Velius eventually made contact with his clone and found that his mind was instantly assaulted as a presence forced its way in. Shortly after this he found himself no longer in control of his body as he was forcibly walked through the wall…and found himself again in an empty room.
Crim eventually decided to dive through the wall that his clone had come in through, and found that he too was in a similar room to the one he just left only, aside from himself, it was empty.
Caramel decided that her clone needed a hug and she embraced it and saw the things toothy grin as its presence invaded her mind then shrieked out and rapidly retreated from her. It collapsed to the ground in a puddle of water, and Caramel found herself alone in her room.
Blasphemy decided he was done being mimicked by this imposter and decided to see how it liked being bombed. He tossed one of his concoctions at the clone and the clone did the same. The room was filled with fire…and then suddenly with water as some of the ice the room was made out of melted. Eventually Blasphemy felt an sudden surge of anger and blacked out, only to find himself alone in a room that didn’t have water or a clone within, just himself.
Harry had tried several different things as he and his badger faced their clones. But after a while, his will too was overwhelmed. He blacked out in anger and awakened a few moments later in a room that was empty, aside from himself and his badger.
Neo had no idea what was going on, aside from the fact that this clone of himself was evil and was likely made of that accursed magic. He eventually decided that enough was enough and brought his shield to bare. He forced his clone back into the wall it had come from after quite a struggle.
Al’ev decided to fight magic with will, intellect and his own magic. He dispelled the magic he felt radiating from his clone and watched as the image of himself flickered for a short time and he saw one of the ice servants of the dragons underneath. He wasn’t overly surprised but noted this as he again found himself facing his own image. His next thought was of the others. He knew that they would be facing similar trials and that together they would be far more capable of overcoming these trials than they were individually. He started to melt his way into another room but as he did, he turned his back on his clone and was pegged hard by searing rays fired at his back. When he recovered enough to look back at his ice clone imposter, it smirked smugly as it played with some flames in its hand. Al’ev stood up and walked towards his clone, it mimicked him and then he stuck out his hand, recited a spell he had heard years before and seen his mother cast only once, and attempted to shatter the ice creature where it stood. The spell didn’t work, but the creature panicked when it realized what he was doing would have no effect on himself but would eventually destroy the clone. Al’ev smirked at the clone and the creature decided that retreat was preferable to destruction. Al’ev then found himself alone in his room, much as the others were in theirs.
Meanwhile, Sindri had finally awakened…but awakened to a sight that he did not want to see, that of a naked human man standing over him. When he had established that he didn’t want to be staring at that, the elderly elven woman began speaking with him. After much confusion, Sindri learned that he was a silver dragon himself. But that wasn’t necessarily good news as it came at a price. He learned that the woman he thought was his mother wasn’t his real mother. He learned that he was doomed to go insane someday as many “seers” had. He learned a lot of things that greatly upset him and after all of this being thrust upon him, the teenage halfling declared he wanted to go home.
The rest of the heroes had finished their trials and were eventually taken from their rooms by undisguised ice servants and lead back to the boat. When they arrived, they were happy to see that Sindri was there waiting, though the halfling looked quite distraught. He was at least awake for the first time in a long while.
They all boarded the boat and put out to sea after the remaining halfling crew members rejoined them. When they had cleared the island’s sea cave, they were met by several large silver dragons who picked the boat up out of the water and began flying them in a south westerly direction. Twelve hours later, in the dead of night with only the stars and moon to see by, they were set down again in the water and the dragons left without another word. Off in the distance they could see the lights of a town. The halfling crew was more than happy to sail the rest of the way to shore and when the ship was tied off, disappeared towards the village’s tavern. Neo followed as the remainder of the group stuck with Sindri as the halfling searched for home.
He arrived to find a familiar face in his house. He was not sure why this man from his past was here now, but it didn’t much matter to him. The man took off when he saw Sindri and Sindri had little interest in him. He just wanted to see his mother. After being introduced to Sindri’s molebear pet, the halfling went inside. The rest of the group decided to wait outside at Al’ev’s suggestion as this was a personal reunion between son and mother, something he desperately wanted for himself someday.
His thoughts drifted as he heard the sounds of a reunion inside the small home…