Having recovered from their encounter with the Beholder, the party sets out to escape through another tunnel. While travelling through the tunnel, Vallyn is grabbed by an earth elemental! After fighting it for a short while, the party realises the elemental is not actually trying to attack them, merely attempting a friendly hug, and manage to communicate with the elemental (and its friend) via Vesuvion’s telepathy. The elementals lead the party to an exit into the desert, and tell them that a temple in the mountains may hold the power to restore Vesuvion.
The party progresses into the foothills of the mountains, where they see a campfire up ahead. Vallyn and Nev sneak up to see what is happening, and see that the camp is about to be attacked by wolves! Vallyn runs forward to help the travellers fight the wolves, while Nev runs back to get the others. Unfortunately, despite Vallyn’s heroic efforts, four of the five travellers were killed by wolves before they could organise themselves. Vallyn was able to hold off the wolves from the last traveller until Nev and Terek arrived, and between them they turned the tide of battle against the wolves. (In a sad turn of events, Terek has still clearly not dealt with the traumatic issues surrounding his family’s death, and failed to successfully attack a single wolf.) However, the wolves turned out to have frost powers, and it was not until Hesiah and Vesuvion finally arrived that the last wolf was finished off. Helping the remaining traveller to bury his friends, the party learn that they have already travelled through a temple ahead which forms an easy route to the north and Br’X, and that this is part of some god’s mind game. Undeterred, after resting for the night, the party continues onwards to the temple (with Vesuvion now perched awkwardly on a spare horse from the travellers’ camp), where they must enter one at a time.
Inside the entrance to the temple, Hesiah finds four doors; Tunnel to Br’X, Tunnel to the North, Answers, and Power. He chose answers, and was met by a small girl in a very large room, who gave him some rather unsatisfactory answers to his question regarding Terek’s ultimate fate. Not falling for the trap of asking more questions, Hesiah left through a bright white exit door and found himself on the other side of the temple/tunnel.
Terek entered next, and saw the doors Tunnel to Br’X, Tunnel to Aelaris, Power, and Father. His fate is as yet unknown.
Vesuvion found the Tunnel to Br’X, the Arcane Library, Answers, and Restoration. He chose Restoration, and passed through to find a small tree with a single green fruit on it. As he approached the tree, a voice of a young girl declared that the tree was the Tree of Life and that the green fruit would completely heal and restore him. Finding no reason to disbelieve the voice Vesuvion ate the fruit, causing a golden light to envelop him, gradually morphing his stone limbs back to flesh and blood, and healing all of his wounds and scars bar the numbers carved into his upper arm. At this point a bright, white exit door, approximately 7 feet tall appears and the same female voice says that he can either leave now or taste some of the other fruits of the tree- the blue fruit of knowledge or the red fruit of power. As this is said the tree grows and the two aforementioned fruits appear. Vesuvion chooses the blue fruit and as he plucks it from the tree the exit disappears. He bites into it and feels his mind expand. At the same time the exit reappears, but is now a foot shorter and a foot narrower, and the side of the tree with the blue fruit grows, revealing more fruit higher up; larger and more succulent than those below. The voice points out the larger the fruit the more illuminating the knowledge contained. Vesuvion climbed higher and higher into the tree eating the fruit and ignoring the swiftly shrinking exits that appeared and disappeared as he climbed. The tree grew evermore difficult to climb and Vesuvion fell several times, suffering grievous injury the first time he fell but using Feather Fall upon the following mishaps to avoid the damage. Eventually reached the top of the tree and was faced with a two foot by one foot door and a fruit which the voice promised would allow him to really understand what was going on. Trusting the voice and confident that he could use his magic to escape through any sized portal Vesuvion ate the last fruit and saw a vision of four giant crystals, the one already seen in Scoraxia and three others, giving him an understanding of their basic nature. The initial seven foot by five foot exit reappeared and not wishing to push his luck any further and still overwhelmed by what he had learnt Vesuvion steps through the portal, finding himself standing alongside Hesiah.
The traveller entered, and passed straight through to Br’X (or says he did, anyway).
Vallyn entered, finding four doors: Tunnel to Br’X, Deck of Many Things, Answers, and Vengeance. He passed through the door to the Deck, and found exactly what he expected. He drew seven cards; Key, which gave him the Cli Lyre, Jester, The Fates, Star, Knight, and Donjon – which he returned to the deck using the power of The Fates. He then drew Gem, followed by Ruin, and Moon. He then declared to draw one more card, which was Comet. He dared to draw again, and received the Throne, which caused what appeared to be the crown of Aelaria to appear on his head. At this point, the small girl appeared, and offered to allow Vallyn to leave with one of the cards. Despite her threats, Vallyn chose to use a Wish to escape with all of the cards, and appeared in the throne room of the Emperor of Scorax, along with the various benefits he had gained, including Derek Bartell, his knight. The two were immediately thrown into prison, opposite… Lina Caston. The small girl reappeared in Lina Caston’s cell, declared that Vallyn had cheated, and threatened to kill Lina.
Nevan found the Tunnel to Br’X, Riches, The Road to Mastery, and Terek’s Safety. He picked the Road to Mastery, and found himself in a crowded city bar with three figures in cloaks walking away from him – a black cloak, a blue cloak and a red cloak. He chose to follow the blue-cloaked figure and soon found himself chasing it over rooftops, scaling high towers and jumping off them, and eventually making an improbable leap over a huge canyon (ignoring bright white exit doors which kept appearing beside him and growing worryingly smaller every time he ignored them). He eventually chose to leave when the door had shrunk to 3′×2′ in size, whereupon the cloaked figure turned back and asked if he didn’t truly want mastery? If he followed the figure, it offered perfection. When questioned as to what type of perfection, it said ‘trust.’ Nevan decided that this sounded far, far too good to be true, and crawled through the tiny door to find Hesiah and Vesuvion awaiting him on the other side.
At the point in time at which Vallyn’s wish was made, the party standing outside the temple feel a strange ripple going through reality, and looking down at Br’X are sure it wasn’t on fire before…