The last time we saw our boisterously bearded heroes, the Hero returns helping the Scribe, Distiller, Barkeep, and Inventor fend off a horde of maniacal machines. Due to the seriousness of the threat, the remnant heroes set off in pursuit of the others. Meanwhile, the Marksman leads the other heroes through the woods, following old abandoned trails and dispatching several of the automaton sentinels. The Marksman scouts ahead of the group until he stumbled upon the Gallant Gates….
“That’s got to be the biggest gate I’ve ever seen,” comments Captain Crimson, “and I’ve blasted through some pretty large gates in my day.”
“So how do we get in? I don’t see no handle on that there door,” growls the Gunslinger.
“Even if there were, there’s no way we could, there’s no way we would be able to move stone doors that heavy,” replies the Marksman.
“What do you think Wizard,” asks Dr. Wolf.
The party turns to observe the Wizard sitting cross-legged on the ground with his staff laid over his lap.
“How long do ya think he’s gonna be sitting there like that?” whispers Captain Crimson.
“Until something else moves him,” remarks Dr. Wolf, “Wizards and witches deal with strange powers, and whatever he’s doing right now I will not be interrupting that.”
So the party sits, awaiting the Wizard’s movement. For several minutes the group stood around, kicking at the dirt, then the following hour sitting around the Gate. The Gunslinger, so close to completing his mission, grows impatient. He begins pacing around, kicking at the dirt, prying the bark off of trees and carving whatever images entered into his mind on the trunk. The Gunslinger had come too far to be held up by some stupid stone door.
“ALRIGHT, THAT’S…” The Gunslinger’s outburst is interrupted by the strange sight before him. The Wizard sits in the clearing, a blue halo radiating from around him. Pieces of dirt and forest debris such as sticks, leaves, broken and rotted roots float in the air around him. The Gunslinger sees what appears to be the ground moving, but instead is a diverse assortment of bugs and creeping things crawling to join in a teeming six-foot circle around the Wizard. There was stirring in the surrounding woods. Birds are flocking to the canopy above, eerily quiet as if they are held in anticipation. The wild things of the forest scamper through the trees, staying just out of sight but drawn to the aura surrounding the Wizard.
Suddenly, the Wizard’s eyes snap open, burning a pale blue. He stands, raising his staff, a bright blue flame flickering from the rock fixed in at the top of the staff. The stone doors begin to glow. Runes, invisible before, begin to glow blue. The ancient doors begin to scrape against the stone floor, opening slowly.
When the doors come to a stop, the glowing subsides and the aura around the Wizard fades. The Wizard’s eyes’ return to their natural shade. The Wizard straightens his robe and proceeds to walk through the door.
“What was that?” asks the Gunslinger.
“This island emanates its own energy, its own magic if you will. The bedrock of this island is full of the magical material that makes the Time-Changer function,” explains the Wizard. “This island has its own kind of magic. I just had to find the right “frequency” and I can tap into the magic of the island. That’s what everything these dwarves built runs off of.”
The end of the Wizard’s staff flickers to life with a pale blue light as the fellowship proceeds down the hallway.
A tropical bird lands on a branch in a tree at the base of the island’s mountain and begins preening itself. Suddenly the bird jerks its head towards an unseen threat. The bird chirps an alarm and then flutters off. Heavy footsteps echo through the trees. The destruction of vegetation grows closer.
Slowly, the Witch Doctor emerges from the forest, slashing at the undergrowth with his large tribal knife and his shaman’s scepter. A few feet ahead, an assassin drops out of a tree.
“Do you want everyone here to know you’re coming?” remarks the Predator snidely.
“My powers assure me of my strength. I do not fear discovery, why do you assassin?” replies the Witch Doctor cooly.
“Your arrogance will be your downfall, shaman. Your petty parlor tricks will not serve you greater than a quality bow and arrow. Your lucky to be here at all” retorts the master assassin.
“Boys, boys, boys,” purs the Enchantress as she gracefully slips around a tree, her staff in hand looking up at the lofty tower, “there is no need to squabble. There is plenty of room at my feet after I claim the power of the Time Changer for my own. Do not forget how you got here.”
The Predator drops his eyes. It wasn’t too long ago that he was sitting at a seat in a tavern after failing to eliminate the last of the Order. The final rock in his boot. If the boy’s father had trained him for any time at all, the boy would be the only one who could match the Predator’s incredible skills and techniques.
The Witch Doctor diverts his gaze too. Thrown out of his village for the practice of dark magic, the Witch Doctor roams the wild, surviving off bugs and vegetation. Being abandoned by his village led him to dive further and further into dark magic. By the time the Enchantress found him, the Witch Doctor had enslaved a village of island natives. The Witch Doctor had a good thing going. When the Enchantress came to ask for his dark arts, the Witch Doctor had quickly dismissed her claims, content to rule his little piece paradise. However, whenever Captain Crimson and the Hero and the crew of the Mystic Wave destroyed the village and tarnished the Witch Doctor’s deity, the Witch Doctor was left with nothing. He had no choice but to follow the Enchantress on her mission. He was grateful, as she promised to restore his deity, but this time in his own homeland. Returning as a god was the aspiration of the Witch Doctor.
The Enchantress, realizing that she had her crew on a leash, chuckles as she heads forth, the giant stone doors laid open for her entry. The Enchantress and her associates stroll through the Gallant Gate in pursuit of the Time Changer.