It all began when our heroes revived their companion, Bango. The power inside the Orb of Restoration healed Bango, but did not disappear. Instead, the power revealed itself to be an ancient spirit and it recognized Piper as kin. The spirit was named Penelope and she informed Piper and our heroes about a great wrong that had been done to their family some time ago. If Piper wanted to be ride of this possession, then she would need to right the wrong. Her companions agreed to at least see what this problem entailed and they all decided to follow this new path.
Penelope lead our heroes to an ancient burial ground. After downing the undead protectors of the grave, they found a magic door. Without hesitation, they stepped through. The door was nowhere to be found after it closed behind them and the heroes found themselves in what appeared to be an abandoned study, filled with dusty books, scrolls, piles of loose paper and, of course, with no obvious way to escape. The most curious and obvious thing in the room was a large stone pedestal. On the outside edges, unknown runes were scratched into the stone and within their circle were dozens of seemingly random shaped indents.
After some searching, our heroes uncovered a small, glowing blue crystal among the mountains of papers and books. Valorin was the first to touch the crystal and he was surprised as a faint, holographic image of an old man appeared before him. The man introduced himself as Carter. He weaved a curious tale.
“Dear Heroes, you’ve beaten my test. You may be strong enough to accomplish what I was unable to finish. I am sorry to do this to you, but that scroll was not only a gateway to this place, but a curse that settled upon you when you walked into my home. You will notice that there are no doors, no windows and we are far below the surface. There is no way out. The only way to leave this place alive is to help me.”
The old man clears his throat. “You may come to hate me, but I am too old and have worked too hard to care. My name is Carter and I am the son of Saraphine and Maximilian, two of the most powerful mages to ever walk this earth. They would have… WE, would have lived a long and fruitful life, but somehow, they were tricked. The few journals left behind are cryptic at best and what exactly happened is unclear, but I do know this; My parents were good people, made to do something awful by someone they trusted. This something was so awful that the deed echoed through the cosmos and brought upon them a punishment like no other. Their bodies, their minds and their magical bindings were torn apart from one another, shattered and banished. Their magical essences were transformed into all new realms. These realms have served as their cages, a new reality meant to keep their mental and physical essences apart and trapped for all eternity.
“It has taken me my entire lifetime, but I have found a way to tap into these magical realms. But I will die soon. Here we arrive at the point. You will travel into these realms. You will seek out the physical and mental essences of my parents. You will bring the four essences back here, where I have planned further instructions on how to use the combined powers to reshape the magical realms. We will use these magical bindings to meld the essences together, ultimately reviving my family and returning them to this world.”
“When you are ready, place this jewel in the center of the stone dial across the room. It will activate the runes and the spell will pull you into the first realm… but beware! There is no telling what you’ll find. No one can predict what shape these realms will take. They could be void of life or filled with entire civilizations. They could manifest horrific monsters or summon valiant angels. These realms are the good and evil of those used to create them; their thoughts, fears, desires and imaginations will run rampant.”
“Now go. Find the essences. The spell is designed so that when the physical and mental essences have been reunited, it will sense the power and pull them back into this realm, with whomever is nearby. I pray you succeed. I will not live to see it, but my parents deserve another chance. Do this for me, not because I’ve cursed and tricked you here, but because it’s the right thing to do.”
After some debate, our heroes thought it best to follow along. Upon placing the crystal on the stone dias, they were transported to another plane of existence. They found themselves in the city of Sky’s Perch and in the basement of the local Baron. They were quickly overcome and jailed. While confined, there was much deliberation about the circumstances the heroes had found themselves in. Was this place real? Would they perish if they died here? What kind of rules was this realm governed by?
Several events would carry them through the next few days. They discovered the name Maximillian was known and surprisingly, feared and even banned from mention. It was the name given to an ancient temple, only rumoured to hold vast riches, but known to hold dozens of bodies of those that had tried to navigate its depths. The Baron and the Chancellor had the placed sealed and forbade their citizens from venturing there any longer. But, a man by the named of Mr. Z was keen to try anyways. He struck a deal with the heroes to get them there if they could retrieve the Chancellor’s ring, the only object able to dissolve the seals on the temple.
The Chancellor ended up being a corrupt dark priest. The battle against him reveal many of the questions they had about the new realm. Their wounds hurt and bleed like they did anywhere else. It was then that they decided they could not take any chances. They won against the Chancellor and before the next sunrise, had arrived at the Temple of Maximillian.