A half-age before the Exodus, twelve companions set forth on an expedition that would give rise to our world at the cost of their own. A detailed accounting of their journey was discovered in Gods and Heroes, a book attributed to Lucius Quinto, the expedition’s ill-fated bard.
All is chaos –
The first of us has fallen. Our mysterious dancer. She was young, beautiful, and skilled, but her grace proved no match for dragons. When we finally defeated the beasts, there was no time for triumph … or mourning. We had to leave her behind, half-buried, when the oddling went missing.
We followed Orchidna’s trail to the entrance of a shrouded hold, where we discovered her waiting for us, eyes alive with wonder. Somehow she’d found the gate.
Intricate carvings adorned its frame, and a singular, terrible glyph thrummed with magic where its doors were joined. The longer we stared, the more beautiful it became, the more it seemed to promise new lives in a new world.
No doubt smiling for the first time in months, Orchidna drew her hand to its surface.
And madness –
Thunder rent the air as the glyph burst to life, and the door hinged inward, bathing the chamber in vivid blues and whites. Only then did we notice a twisted throne, opposite the broken seal, and the fae creature sprawled across it.
As Orchidna approached, the fae rose blinking from the seat and fixed her with a curious gaze. In a guarded whisper, it asked if the end of the world had come.
Orchidna faltered. She looked to me, and for once, I had no words.
In the midst of our confused silence, the fae explained that she’d been bound as gatekeeper until the end of this world, or until another came to take her place. Before we managed to find our voices, the creature had gone – and left Orchidna howling in terror.
Acting in unnatural concert, the oddling’s limbs dragged her to the throne and sat her on its cold, impenetrable surface.
And the world turned in on itself.
We have suffered. We have lost a companion and doomed another. And yet we have hope.
The gate opened a passage to the birthplace of the world: a Garden that holds the source of all magic. The power must exist to free Orchidna from her new home and prison, and we’ve promised to find it among the wonders within.
After rest, we’ll set out one at a time. We tell Orchidna (and ourselves) that it shouldn’t take more than a day ….