They knew where they needed to be. That much had been made clear through discussion with so many others, and through the evidence they saw in front of their own eyes. Their King needed them, and if the Grimmsvoten were readying to bar their passage, that alone was reason enough to suppose that this was what needed to be done.
As they closed on the burning lights, they felt the heat begin to grow against them. Only, heat was not precisely the right term. It burned, yes, but not with fire exactly. It was more as though the pair of duelling fate lines were attempting to scour away their possibilities, as though the deeper they veered into the intense coronas of power and potential, the excess energies being discharged by that great conflagration were liable to burn away their fate itself and erase them from being.
As they get closer and closer, they can feel the differences between them. One fate the burning red sun, all-consuming, powerful and on the rise. The other, the Shining Star, bright and piercing in its brilliant whiteness and purity, but waning, struggling with all it could to remain in place.
Sewrag’s power gave some protection, but at first it seems as though this will not be enough. There is an immense sensation of pressure upon their flesh as they drive themselves through the maelstrom and towards that single point of stability within the roiling chaos of incinerated potentialities.
And then they feel another being, ancient and powerful in its own right, turn its attention to them.
When they had saved Haswi Gek from being bound in such an unnatural manner, they had glimpsed it only briefly. The spirit was not one with which Phillip was familiar; possibly it was fettered only in that other world – or perhaps it was known by another name in their home. In either case, they had caught only the briefest sign of it in its weakened state before it had returned to the spirit world.
But this place was outside time and fate, and they carried the gratitude of Haswi Gek with them.
And that is no small thing.
The energies which attempt to destroy them are not some directed force; they are a mere by-product, a side-effect of the impossible situation into which all existence has been thrust. And suddenly, those energies are dampened; deflected by the enfolding wings of Haswi Gek.
The great eagle stretches between the stars. Its feathers are the brilliant blue skies of home and happier days. Its eyes are the cooling rains and as it clutches its wards in talons of swirling winds, it opens its beak wide and lets out a cry that is thunder; that is defiance.
Even Haswi Gek is sorely tested by these windless skies, however. The corona burns as the great spirit, rending at its fine feathers and making ash of its wonderful plumage. Surely, such vast and powerful energies would have destroyed you utterly had you been tasked to plunge into them without protection. But Haswi Gek extends that protection at the time when it is most needed, and for as long as it is able.
And then it is struck by the harpoon.
The eagle’s cry speaks to a terrifying amount of pain, and immediately it drops its passengers. Perhaps it is because it is startled, but as you tumble through the void you catch a glimpse of the great and powerful spirit being reeled in towards the great black ship of the Grimmsvoten, and you can’t help but imagine that it dropped you so that you do not share its fate.
You are so close to the moment, so terribly close, but as you feel that terrible unreality flare around you once more, the remnants of Sewrag’s power rips you out of the moment and you are sucked from this strange in-between, back into time.
The Village Between
Reality hit them like a hammer. The sudden weight of reality returning to them brought back the strange dreamlike quality of their recent experiences in the space between and outside of fate. The air is cold, and it burns their lungs, and they realise that they haven’t even been breathing for what seems like a lifetime. The misting breath in front of their faces was a reinvigoration; a reminder of what it is to be alive, what they had been missing when they were threatened by the possibility of their own eradication from fate and time.
The ground beneath them is rocky and barren. This patch of ground seems to bear no particular mark of distinction to set it apart from any other. Why the power of Sewrag would eject them here seems uncertain, until they think to ask themselves that question – and then they feel the power within them stirring, still trying to find the path back to that one moment on which so much else rests.
This place exists between the Red Reality and the Shining Star; between the future that will be and the familiar present which they struggle to defend.
But it feels real. Solid. Material.
A few hour’s walk ahead they can see a village; it is too far away for any great detail to be made out, other than the fact that it appears relatively normal. A few houses, a few larger buildings, not some sprawling metropolis but the kind of hardy frontier settlement common within places such as this. It has been built on the banks of a river, with a forest and logging camp visible from here which looks as though it must be the village’s primary trade.
To their east rises a tall mountain, snow-capped peak flowing down to more barren rock. Behind them the barren land stretches further, and a strange haze mists the far distance, similar to a heat shimmer. Finally, to their west is the forest; deep, and dark, and uninterrupted until it coils around the side of the settlement like a snake.
|Action||Type||Fate Point Cost|
|Scout the Immediate Area||Challenge||5-10|
|Commune with the Power of Sewrag||Interact||5|
|Commune with any remnants of Haswi Gek||Interact||Unknown|
|Scout the Village||Interact||5|
|Scout the Forest||Interact||5|
|Scout the Heat Haze||Interact||5|
|Scout the Mountain||Interact||5|
|Travel to the Village Directly||Movement||4+2 per person|
|Travel to the Village through the Forest||Movement||2+1 per person|
|Explore the Forest||Movement||2+1 per person|
|Travel up the Mountain||Movement||6+2 per person|
|Travel to the Heat Haze||Movement||4+2 per person|