Hello Bearded Adventurers! The last time we saw our heroes, Captain Crimson, The Distiller, the Barkeep, the Gunslinger, and a shrouded, mysterious figure sprung a trap for the vicious Witch Doctor. The raucous ride of the Distiller, the Barkeep, and the Gunslinger draws the Witch Doctor into a chase ended by the mysterious figure tripping the Witch Doctor with a crossbow bolt attached to a tripwire. As the heroes celebrate the victory, the Witch Doctor nearly rises again, until he is put down by a familiar mechanically gifted friend…
The band of heroes stands, staring at what could have been ghosts before them. Ghosts they may have been, by first glance. The Wizard looked the same as he always did, but a powerful aura surrounded him so that one would almost swear that he was glowing. The glow was not consistent, but a shimmering rainbow of gold, violet, crimson, and teal dance around the Wizard’s outline. The aura seemed to intensify around the Wizard’s staff.
The Inventor looked the same as he always did as well, however, there was no golden aura surrounding him. Instead, his bright mischievous smile was enough to cast light from his face. The Gunslinger is the first to break from his stupor, his serious countenance melting into a relieved smile. “Well, glad you could join us,” growls the Gunslinger jokingly as he exhales a cloud of cigar smoke. He walks over to the pair and gives them each a hearty handshake, everyone else still stands, shocked by the pair’s survival. The Wizard looks around at the band and nods.
“I can see your confusion. To be honest, I thought we were done as well. Luckily, saltwater has permeated the foundations of the island for generations, and the floor collapsed because saltwater had eaten out the foundations under the throne room floor. I fell for what felt like an eternity until I landed in the water at the bottom of the sinkhole. I cast an air bubble around me until I could find the Inventor and I cast one for him too. I then cast an illumination spell to help us find our way around. The falling rocks crashed all around and I feared that we would meet our end, not by the fall, but by the sharp end of a falling rock,” the Wizard shivered, no doubt imagining the cold watery grave that could have been.
“I was able to find a chamber that we dove into quickly. We found a cavern that we surfaced into and were shocked to find the walls of the cavern covered in these magical crystals, made of the same crystal that resided in the Time Changer. While these crystals were not marinated in spells to intensify their power, as the Time Changer crystal had, the saltwater had many many years to promote the growth of these magical crystals as the foundation of the island itself. I used my staff as a conduit, absorbing the power of the island, channeling the magical essence of thousands of magical crystals. The island began to collapse in on itself as I sapped the magic from the island. When the cavern began to collapse, I summoned the magic of the island and teleported us off the island,” explains the Wizard.
“There was quite a learning curve with that teleporting,” says the Inventor looking away, like the comment was made in passing, but forcing the Wizard to reveal a detail he may have passed over.
“Yes well,” replies the Wizard. “We had to travel through a few centuries and dimensions before we could get back here, but it looks like we got here just in the nick of time,” finishes the Wizard motioning towards the unconscious Witch Doctor.
“You are, Wizard, however, we must be going, or we’ll be behind schedule,” calls Captain Crimson, approaching for his rendezvous with the company, the Scribe in tow.
“Hello sir, yes you sir, you three-inch fool, can you please direct me to where your mother resides,” says the Hero loudly to a pair of undead sentries, sitting outside of a high-scale inn’s side entrance. The reanimated guards, rapidly approach the surly Hero who continues to hurl insults about their mothers, wives, and miscellaneous farm animals. As the guards draw nearer, the Hero ducks back into the alleyway. The first guard staggers into the alley, no Hero to be seen. The guards proceed down the alley until suddenly an undead gasp gurgles out of the second guard. The first guard turns to see the second guard impaled by a shining canes word. Standing behind the second guard, holding the handle end of the cane sword, looms Dr. Wolf.
A second later, the first guard would have heard a sound, not unlike a shovel driven into a patch of wet ground. However, the sound was the Hero decapitating the first guard so he truly never heard it coming. The Hero looks up into the air and whistles as Dr. Wolf looks at his cane sword blade covered in a nasty black sludge. He produces a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped the blade down. In response to the Hero’s whistle, a mysterious cloaked individual jumps down from the roof of the building above the alley, first sliding down the wall of the opposite building, using the back of his cape to slow his descent, then jumping to the other building, using his boots for the same purpose. He then leaps off the wall, landing in the middle of the alley in a crouch. The figure stands up, flipping back his hood to reveal the cowled face of the Marksman.
“Well did you take care of your other business?” asks Dr. Wolf.
“Yes, the big one went down hard,” whispers the Marksman with a triumphant grin.
“One down, one to go,” says the Hero with a playful raised eyebrow.
“Yeah, but these guards are much more aggressive. I had to tangle with one on the way back,” begins the Marksman.
“Ah, so that’s why your late,” interjects the Hero in jest.
“Yes well,” continues the Hero, slightly exasperated, “They’ve lost their telepathic connection to the Witch Doctor. I would say that much like a hive without the queen bee, these unfortunate corpses are quite agitated.”
“They should be at peace when we stop the Enchantress,” says Dr. Wolf.
The Marksman shoulders his crossbow, seax knife in his off-hand, “Right, well then, let’s get to it shall we?”
Narrated by Brandon Warner