You are running in a dark and tangled wood over frozen ground. Hellhounds pursue you down a gully that comes to a rock face where the little stream you followed goes underground. Breath comes out in puffs of short-lived clouds while your feet are starting to tingle with the beginnings of frostbite. You turn and level your weapon in the darkness when you see a plain oaken door to your left.
How a door got here in the Phantir Forest you do not know, nor do you care. You grasp the plain, wrought iron latch and thrown the door open. Inside you see a flame, dancing in the air and a bar, just twenty and half ten steps inside.
At the bar stands a tall, dark skinned man. He’s bald and smiling.
“What will you have; Asgardian Ale, Celestial Wine, maybe some Fey Whiskey if you have the stomach for it?”
You walk past the floating ball of fire and see chairs and tables arranged in a strange manner. Many sit on the ceiling and the walls as if, from their resting place it was the floor and you were walking on the wall or ceiling.
You sit and are handed a Fey Whiskey.
“I am Devin, the proprietor here. I am very impressed with how you led those hellhounds away from that town. You saved over two score children and threescore adults and one very sorry hedge magician.”
“He did not know the scroll was cursed.” You choke out between sips of the whiskey.
“Ah, it was not a curse but a spell to open a door. There are many more doors than people realize. Most only see the windows which they call stars.”
“Stars are windows?”
Devin looks around the room. “Do you have time for a story?”
You lift your shot glass and down this rest of this startlingly smooth and warming liquor. “A few moments ago I thought I had run out of time; now I have more time than I know what to do with!”
Devin smiles and sets another whisky before you. “Let me tell you about Amand the Lucky, Kona the Truth-Seeker, Raymond the Hell-Handed and Sir Gavin of the Talking Sword and Whispering Shield. They frequent here and I’m proud to call them friends.”
“Amand the Lucky, a halfing fond of wine and good company, chanced across the legendary Ship of Fate and somehow became its latest Captain! This paradox ship sails from inevitability to possibility and plumbs the nature of existence and the edges of expectation. On his first voyage he almost sunk beneath the Astral Ocean by taking one of my favorite customers, the Mad Magician Samsa, to a place that had such a low possibility of existence it should not of been found!”
“You see Samsa, after being given a spell to destroy his enemies by the Meddler, ended up destroying his whole world. The Meddler made these terrible bargains all the time. So Samsa came here and drank, while playing games of chess against infernal beings over his soul.”
“Then he found out Amand Captained the Boat of Fate. So Samsa charted a course to a possible place where his world might still exist! The journey drained him and he died, finally at peace in what may or may not have been his home.”
“Now Amand, Fame the Tiefling, Wythnyr the Ranger, GFoot the Archer, and the old campaigner Sir Gavin disrupted the Meddler’s existence, leaving him as a memory albeit one that could again become a nightmare. And they were off to save the Hegemon himself from traitors and that Bex turncoat Varsa.”
“In that battle they died, and then didn’t die by reawakening with their friend the dwarf paladin Kona the Truth Seeker! It seemed that one who works with the Conservators of Time granted them a chance to rewrite the inevitable by traveling to Visnor and slaying the High Pontifex of the Elven Empire, Agathour.”
“This servant of the Conservators of Time, Bettina, recruited a man who had been cursed by Agathour, Raymond the Hellhanded! The prideful Agathour created a sentient sword, so full of malice and power, that it desired its own creator dead. Mortal hands could not wield this terrible sword so Agathour found an adventurer and crafted a metal hand for him. Agathour thought the magic in the hand and the sword would make Raymond his servant; instead he made himself an implacable foe.”
“So they all sailed to Visnor and entered its shunned gates. They conversed in conundrums with the fabled Babbling Pillar, learning some but still leaving unsolved much. They then encountered the undead servants of Agathour and began a battle that had never been seen in Visnor, nor ever will again. “
“Amand turned some of the Undead by calling on Tymora the goddess of Luck. Kona destroyed some with her holy might added to the magical Ax of the Argad. Sir Gavin’s sword opted between talking to Agathour’s Sword and Sister Shield’s remonstrances.”
“After defeating them Raymond felt himself drawn to a central dais where Agathour arose from the earth. Kona sensed that Agathour’s phylactery lay below Unholy Lich-Priest, under a skull shaped slab of obsidian.”
“The battle toppled many of the surrounding ruins, until Raymond stabbed Agathour with his own, self-hating sword!”
“At this Kona crashed her Ax of the Argad through the Obsidian skull shaped crypt and found the phylactery. They destroyed it and all the half consumed souls that fed Agathour’s undead life escaped into the air.”
“The adventurers quickly left and sailed back to Bex only to find Alexandra was no longer a Warlock who had a Pact of the Book, she now had a Pact of the Blade. Midsea had changed and with it some of the reality.”
“For example there was now an army from Elvenport camped in Bex and the Hegemon’s Horde looked even larger. It seemed that in addition to the threat beyond the walls Meleen, one of the co-regents of Elvenport thought her army should rule Bex and topple the Inner Circle of Wizards!”
“What happened next!” you ask. “I have always longed to see Bex as my brother lives there now. If Bex falls to the Elves or the Hegemon its fate concerns me!”
Devin tilted his head and looked at the door.
“I cannot see what will happen next. It all depends if they are in an altered future of Midsea or in an alternate version of that same world.”
You frown. “You do not know? You who run this magical place!?!”
“I gave up being a servant of the Gods years ago. Destiny and Entropy, Luck and Chaos are all coming to a grand convergence. It is, as always, up to the heroes to solve.”