Null was a harsh place. The cold, blowing wind was slowly freezing the Party, prompting them to press on. Nearby in the twilight they found some strange roots that had broken through the frozen land. After a quick investigation they found that the roots burned, bright, hot and long. But it was a false respite; The sound, heat or perhaps the glow attracted a huge, monstrous, searing hot centipede from beneath the snow. Without the mages’ spells nor their magical equipment, fighting the beast was a futile effort, so the Party ran. The beast was content to just devour the flaming piece of root, which was a mixed blessing.
Now aware of the frozen wilderness’ dangers, the Party began the long, cold and dark walk to the nearest shaft of light. As they approached, its nature became apparent: It was a beam of pleasant warm light, shining down from the skies, wide as a small town. Where it shone was a small settlement of stony buildings and curious deep holes with vegetation growing. Approaching the settlement, the Party noticed that the settlement was larger than the beam itself, as if the light had begun to shrink.
As for the people, two friendly guards approached, wary of the Party but welcoming them into their midst after Carric’s friendly greeting. The place was Arhok, one of the scattered dots of civilization and life on Null, and it was slowly dying. The shrinking light had squeezed the population together and fears had began to rise. Althaea, wanting to make an impression, performed several songs to alleviate the feeling of the people who were strange and varied. Rare were the dragonborn and humans among the bird-like people, tieflings, curious, glowy-eyed elves and other otherworldly folk.
While the bard played, the others talked with the guards about the surroundings. The guard spoke of Mox, the nearest other settlement. It would be the place where the people of Arhok would want to go, but it remained steadfast in its refusal to not take in refugees. But a more relevant tidbit was that one of the oldest Arhok citizens, an elf called Rizal, supposedly could know how to leave this plane. Luckily, Rizal was already enamored by Althaea’s songs and was more than willing to divulge his knowledge. The elf told them that without powerful magic, the only way to leave was by a gateway into Nexus, a plane that connected the other Outer planes together. But those gateways were jealously guarded information, and they had a habit of winking in and out of existence at their own will.
Rizal themselves had been torn from the Center Plane and after a long journey had ended up in Null. After expressing melancholic desire to be back home, Althaea asked if the elf would wish to join them on their journey. Fire returned to Rizal’s eyes and the elf agreed, although first they would march to Mox and persuade its chief to help Arhok. And to the great delight of the Party, Rizal had one more surprise: He had seen Edessa. The girl had appeared in Arhok several revolutions ago, along with a tiefling friend. The pair left as quickly as they arrived, as a group of Daemons were hot on their tail.
So the Party left with haste to Mox, with a new friend. Mox’s gates were closed and the walls were tall. After being introduced as the envoy of Arhok’s diplomat, the Party was let in, although they had to relinquish their weapons at the gates. Inside, Mox proved to be an impressive town, with several smaller towers and columns heavy with fruit-bearing vines and holes that contained growing greenery in the perpetual light. In the middle of the town was a pyramid, and according to the locals, the middle of the pyramid was the only place where magic existed.
Again, Althaea decided to make a good impression on the rather upscale locals with her music. In a small, humble bazaar she discovered a duo of musicians with whom she joined, filling the air with sounds of Dusk Coast. Her performance gathered a group of spectators, along with two surprises: A group of Daemonic hunters, and a curious, familiar face: Edessa! Soon confusion reigned as each member of the Party spread out, with Dulkan stalking the Daemons, Carric giving chase to Edessa and Lady Antinua remained with Althaea.
Dulkan, unaware of Edessa’s presence in the crowds, stayed hidden and sharpened his old trinket, a silver star, with deadly intent. After the Daemons spread out to search for Edessa, Dulkan followed. After the group consolidated, one of the hunters was missing. The Daemons discovered evidence of fighting in an alley, in a direction where their comrade had gone. There, Dulkan lured one of them to his reach and fearlessly attacked, slaying the Daemon with a swift, decisive attack. Another one noticed him, but never had time to charge, as a tiefling fell on him from the shadows, stabbing the Daemon with a silver knife. He called out to Dulkan by name and commanded him to follow before the rest of the Daemons could give chase.
In a secluded alley they stopped, and the tiefling gave a knock on a nondescript door. Inside was a small room, and a surprise that sent Dulkan’s heart pounding: Edessa. The two wound in a tight embrace, grateful of seeing each other once again. After the Tribute, after the unification of Dusk Coast, after all their adventures, Dulkan could once again meet his closest friend.
After the tearful moment passed, Dulkan realized that Carric had already found his way to Edessa. She introduced the tiefling to them: He was Khava, a planeswalker who apparently had saved Edessa and kept her safe on the planes. They were both hunted by the Daemons, who still needed Edessa to build their nefarious portal. While she wished to tell her tale, they were in an inhospitable plane, in a suspicious town and still chased by Daemons. But now, they were together.
Meanwhile, Althaea and Antinua were intercepted by a being calling himself Sbub, who wished to offer the sweet-singing bard a job among the court of chief Gorn. Eager to get their magics back, the elf women went with the finely-dressed gentleman into the pyramid. Inside they found a throne room, lavish with exotic goods, the smell of cooked meat and an impressive orc sitting on the throne. Despite his crude looks, Gorn proved clever and observant. He granted the mages access to the center of the shaft of light that shone to the middle of the pyramid in exchange for a favour he would yet disclose. The throne itself was moved from the way to allow for the ladies to tap into their own magical powers. Now, maybe, they had a way out of the plane…