Return from the ice land
You shiver as the door closes behind you and you’re back in the familiar-but-confusing mess of halls that Coin lives in. You return to Coin and dump the astronomical gear in front of him, triumphantly. You look around.
Almost as in response, he bounds around a corner and nuzzles you.
Coin asks you to explain what you’ve achieved. You detail the encounter with the ice hag Caelanthra and the battle with The Blight.
Brus mentions the astrolabe, the orrery and the armillary sphere and the weapon to bring down the entire portal network comprising of Limen’s “house”. Coin seems to spark up at those details and then explains he had the next stage planned out, but there’s a hitch. He’s not an expert enough limenologist to be able to sort out the next piece. So you need to consult an expert, Wu-Shi.
“What should we ask him?”
Coin mumbled that it wasn’t as simple as that. He had many questions and wasn’t sure where to go with them. “Get his notes, or his experience. Anything that can help.”
Faugh said, “So kidnap him?”
Coin replied, “I’m not strictly saying that. Just anything that can help.”
Then there was some discussion about trading loot and equipping themselves properly for the next task. In exchange for some of the things found on The Blight, Faugh got a magical cestus, Picklick received some armour and John received an eyepatch with a star on it, a shoulder pad and a chessboard. You could never figure out John.
Time with Coin
The rest of the team set off while you decided to hang back for a little while and pore through the notes you took from the adventurer’s clubhouse. With your keen eye and knowledge of a great many trivial things, you point out things of note to Coin.
The discussion strikes you as slightly odd. He never refers to you by name, but is friendly and cooperative. You sense no trickery or malice. Just an odd form of forgetfulness mixed with an incredible recall of detail at times. He asks you about your companions and you admit you don’t know much except what has happened over - has it really only been? - the last few days. Chaotic and courageous, you sing their praises.
“And what about him?” Coin asks, pointing to Bottom.
“That is my faithful steed, Bottom, who has travelled with me all this way from Stratford-upon-Avon. A hardy donkey.”
“Do you not know?”
Coin swirls the astrolabe idly. “I’ll try to find a book for you.” He disappears from the frame and then returns hurriedly, as if he’s heard news. He flings a book to you - Journey to the West.
Coin seems nervous. “Actually, no time for that. Take it with you. The others are in trouble!”
“The Others?” you say, emphasising the name.
Coin shakes his head. “No. Your companions. Quickly! I’ll show you the way!”
He grabs something from off-frame. “Take this!” He hands you a gourd marked with arcane symbols and a key for your spare keyring.
Coin shouts, “Find the cherry blossoms. Go save Wu-Chi!” and directs you to a doorway.
Wandering Limen’s House
The first doorway leads you to a crumpled dungeon. The corridors are all buckled and sheared. Sulfurous smoke spews out of a wall and you avoid it.
You find the corpse of a half-elf against a wall. He had been furiously writing on a scrap of parchment, the writing becoming more and more erratic. The words don’t make much sense to you.
There’s rants about a dead world and a dead moon. At some point he and his companions have clearly jumped through a portal in a tower on the moon (yet seemingly beginning from the world). They’ve ended up somewhere distressing to him. Another world. Maybe his home world? His last words:
“Bhedlam’s destroying it all. Everything. EVERYTHING”
The half-elf had then seemingly plunged the quill into his throat and opened it up. You leave the ghastly scene and press on.
The next portal leads you into a vast library, busy with people researching. No-one pays you any mind. Out of tall windows you catch sight of a glittering white city on a circular lake. A gaggle of young wizards run past, excited about something. The keyring points you to a closet, which you enter and disappear.
You find yourself on the outskirts of a sandy ruin, hidden by a large overgrowth of vines. A light rain patters down and you think you hear waves crashing. Something very large moving towards you in the undergrowth spooks Bottom, so you continue.
Next you find yourself in a cold series of interlocking, circular-profile corridors. Stamped silver wraps around the corridor like a barber’s pole. There are marking on the walls, floor and ceiling that you vaguely recognize, but have no idea what they mean. The whole area feels unnaturally quiet. You approach an intersection and run into two late-teen humans, a boy and a girl, calmly walking about. They introduce themselves as Kas (the girl) and Fikt (the boy).
“We’re from Apogee…” Kas says.
“Nadir! Typical girl! Don’t know squat!”
“We’re from Apogee you git! Anyway, ignore my brother, we’re just out exploring. You haven’t seen a young boy, have you? Kit?”
You say no. They bicker with each other, but are nothing but friendly and helpful towards you. They have a calm sense of self. You notice wands and other magical accoutrements.
You mention that you are in a hurry to find your friends and need to find cherry blossoms.
“Oh, if that’s the case, then here…”
Fikt mutters some arcane words (corrected once or twice by his sister) and then draws a door on the wall and floor with his finger. He pushes on the silver frame and to your amazement, it opens like a door. Through the space, you can see cherry blossoms fluttering over a road at an odd angle. The brother and sister wave at you (you think you hear one whisper the words “darkness cross’d”) as you and Bottom stumble and fall out of the portal onto the road…
*Then you hear a familiar voice…*