A Stitch in Time
As our heroes huddle together, trying to keep warm on the cold surface of the metal cube, Berrian settles into a trance. Through his reflexive meditations, he thinks back over recent events. He recalls the fierce fighting in the marble tower. He recalls the look of maniacal glee on the air priest’s face as he tears a hole in the fabric of reality, sucking himself and his enemies into a literal void. He recalls how a strange wind composed of lost memories and snatches of conversation buffets the group, pulling them through a swirling vortex of flaming red energy. Only this time, he keeps falling. The vortex is swallowing him up.
Just as he feels that all is lost, an image comes into focus amidst the swirling colors. He strains his eyes, trying to make it out. It’s a sewing needle! His hand reaches out to take it … and as his finger comes into contact, he realizes what must be done!
Berrian’s eyes pop open. He looks around at his miserable comrades. He looks at his sister, still unconscious, a frown creasing her brow. He pulls the needle out of his pack. The old woman who gave it to him said it could never be bent. He’d tried many times, and so far, it was still as straight as an arrow. But what if … Focusing on the visions in his trance, he takes the needle in hand and applies pressure with his thumb. At first it resists but then slowly, ever so slowly, it begins to bend!
Suddenly time starts to flow in reverse! He is moving backwards, rapidly, and is soon spiralling back up through the vortex into the void and back through the rift into the tower. The priest is nothing but mist again, but Berrian remembers … as the insane cultist begins to coalesce, magic bags in hand, Berrian gives a shout of warning and attacks, stabbing his sword through the man’s chest.
With a howl of rage and frustration, Azoth the priest collapses onto his knees. His back arches as his head snaps up towards the ceiling. A rush of air pours out of his mouth, rapidly dissolving him into nothing! As his empty robe flutters to the floor, a rumble of thunder shakes the tower, followed rapidly by a flash of lightning.
A massive bolt strikes the point at the top of the tower. Fearthergale Spire shivers and quakes. Cracks form in the walls. The tower is falling apart! Time to leave!
Berrian grabs his unconscious sister and slings her over his shoulder as the others hurry into the entry hall. As the tower begins to fall apart around them, they work as furiously as they can to lower the drawbridge. In a daze, they scramble across and onto the plateau. A fierce thunderstorm rages above them, and Berrian thinks for a moment that he can hear a voice on the wind, but he can’t make out the words. The remaining knights and their winged ally have fled. As the heroes watch from a safe distance, the spire crumbles and falls into the canyon below, leaving nothing behind but a broken stump of marble where the stables had been.
The heroes limp back to Larchwood. After a warm meal, they curl up in front of the roaring fire in the Swinging Sword’s common room. As Kaylessa sits down beside them, Berrian stares into the crackling flames and begins to tell the half-elven woman a story …
A Wrinkle in Time
Unbeknownst to everyone, Berrian’s use of the needle’s magic has had an unintended consequence: the PCs are now in a slightly altered reality, one in which divine magic no longer exists. Berrian is now an eldritch knight rather than a paladin, and as far as he (and anyone else) is concerned, he has always been one. Saul no longer exists, either, and in his place is an alternate version of Keth, who is (and seemingly always has been) a barbarian rather than a cleric.
Kaylessa also informs the group that they’ve done what they can to make the town of Larchwood safer, and it’s now time that they take their gifts out into the wider world in an effort to make it a better place too.