The Party left for Null again. This time they were prepared and the journey was easier, if not comfortable. Traversing through the snowy darkness, the Party visited the now-diminished Arhok, home to only a handful of die-harders clinging to the settlement. Their stay was short and only a couple of hours later they arrived to Mox.
The small city had changed. Open and welcoming, it was a hotbed of improvement, all sorts of activity and civil, if lengthy, debating about Mox’s future. The Party was warmly welcomed and allowed to rest and recuperate. Lady Antinua shared her spells to help in the construction efforts while Althaea offered her diplomatic skills to speed up the debating. Carric was anxiously waiting for their next move, mostly deep in his research.
But Dulkan had a dilemma. Edessa, now completely free of any burdens, began calmly integrate into the society, helping with sewing and watching after children. She was clearly happy to remain in this harsh place. But while Dulkan wanted to remain with Edessa, something pulled his mind elsewhere.
Dulkan found a small, very small organisation called the Adventurer’s Guild in the city, consisting of only one Dragonborn with several maps. He offered supplies for anyone who would brave the unknown and dark hills to search for new lights where people could settle. Dulkan decided to apply and he was joined by another native… And Khava. Before heading to the journey, Dulkan took Khava to the top of a tall building and told him how he had known Edessa for a long time when he was still in Kolmhaag. After his tale, Dulkan asked the tiefling about his plans… And his relationship with Edessa. Khava told him how he found purpose in his life when he met Edessa, that she was like him: A lonely survivor, flitting between the dangers of the planes. And that he felt himself becoming closer to her every time they had a moment to breathe together. After the tiefling’s story, Dulkan asked finally aloud: Who of the two suitors should Edessa choose?
Khava, after a moment’s pondering, took a silver star Dulkan gave him in Daemonis to defend himself with and extended it back to the man, stating that Dulkan knew Edessa better while he himself was just a wanderer, coming to a stranger’s aid. Dulkan closed Khava’s hand and simply stated that if Khava continued the way he helped Edessa, all would be well. Then he climbed back down from the building, saying that they had a side quest to complete.
The mapping took only about two days, although it was hard to keep track in the perpetual darkness or light of the plane. The journey was uneventful, but they did discover a row of old statues, now covered in snow, leading to one that extended its hands towards the sky, presenting a bowl of some sort. After mapping the area thoroughly, Dulkan climbed to examine the contents of the bowl: A sword hilt and a metallic chime of some sort, covered in writings in high dragonic; Guides to discovering new areas of lights, now obsolete and lost.
But this cryptic message got Dulkan thinking about the one they had received in the cylinder from Umura. It’s hidden meaning was uncovered in Null, their first location, while the cylinder itself was instrumental in taking down Beligandir. It was too many coincidences for Dulkan’s tastes… Was someone, or something, guiding them? Was it destiny that had led them through the planes?
When they returned, Dulkan met with Edessa, who was very content as the chaotic power was not coursing through her veins anymore. After a brief meeting where he witnessed the sorcerer’s happiness, Dulkan mulled over his situation and thoughts through the night. The next day he returned, now bearing witness to Khava bringing Edessa a gift he had most likely traded his rewards for: A warm fur cloak. After the tiefling disappeared back into the bustle of the city, Dulkan finally expressed his feelings for Edessa. Teary-eyed, Edessa answered back: It was heartbreaking to shatter Dulkan’s hopes, but Edessa was finally at peace in Null… And she always loved Dulkan as a brother and a protector.
So it was settled. Dulkan embraced Edessa, now as a brother would sister, and answered that while he would have to go, divines willing he would come back. Edessa smiled through her tears, reassuring that the divines wouldn’t have a say in that matter. And so, they departed.
Now the Party was again ready to travel, this time to Umbra, where they would have to solve their next problem: How to get to the tower that contained the way to the Celestial Sea?