The smell of Bexian coffee and fresh exotic fruit greeted Kona the Truthseeker as she walked off the Grand Boulevard and into the Moonshadow Bazaar. The dwarf knew the magical soil of the Spellstruck Farms and Enchanted Orchards produced the awareness enhancing coffee and perpetually abundant produce the Bazaar offered. This part of Bex she enjoyed. However, the continual plots and problems that also grew unchecked in Bex vexed the Paladin to no end.
The husk of the sleeping Blind God, whose fingers made up the five towers of Bex, suffused the city and its surrounding lands with magic. Spells could be cast here that were impossible elsewhere. The magical potions, scrolls, staves, swords and shields of Bex rivaled all of Midsea. Kona’s Helm of Hrothgar came from Bex and its truesight gave the Paladin a window into this world where things were sometimes not what they seemed and occasionally changed when they happened. It was also where her long time companion Sir Gavin was given the twin talking (and bickering) weapons Brother Sword and Sister Shield.
Kona was seeking out her friend Sir Gavin and the members of POSCo who, once again, had disappeared. The last time they died defending the Hegemon from a conspiracy within his own army. The vain and age halted traitor, Inner Circle mage Varsa, fomented a coup that Kona’s friends had discovered and attempted to stop. This led to their death. The many lived Bettina had utilized her divinities, the Conservators of Time; to bring them back to before this happened so they could take a different path.
Unbeknownst to Kona, this time they had gone deep below Bex, inside the husk of the dreaming Blind God. They defeated Agathour, the Undead Cleric who had brought the Blind God to Bex over five hundred years ago, destroying his and the Red Crowned King’s Elven Empire along with much of the world.
Kona’s friends did this to travel back to their Bex and escape the clash of two armies, the Hegemon’s and some Elven Knights that were fighting over the control of the alternative version of Bex, one where their patron Alexandra, an Inner Circle Mage, was a Warlock of the Blade and not of the Book. This Alexandra had found her mother alive and entrapped like fly in dark amber down the deadly Shadow Alley.
Then Kona saw a light reaching to the sky and ran toward it. There she came upon a door she’d seen before, in a place where no door had ever been. It was stout oaken door with a plain wrought iron latch inexplicably set in a stonewall where no door belonged. She knew it would lead to the multiverse crossroads known only as the Twilight Tavern.
Devin, the undercover archangel, saw Kona enter the Twilight Tavern. He created it to help heroes like her by oscillating through the omniverse, delivering them to destinations safely, with a warm meal and a good drink to sustain them. The blue tattoos on his dark skin glowed slightly in the flickering flames of the fireplace.
“Kona” he asked in a deep voice. “Are you from the world where Alexandra is a Warlock of the Book or the Blade?”
The various patrons of the Tavern looked to Kona with curiosity. Some were seated near the fire, away from the mysteriously cold corners of the Tavern while some sat at tables on the wall or ceiling. Up and down in the Twilight Tavern depended on which of the four walls, two floors (or was it two ceilings?) you stood.
Kona cocked her head. “Alexandra is a Warlock of the Book. Why do you ask?”
“Your friends are returning from alternate world or alternate time,” he said. “I know not which. They will need help if they choose to enter Shadow Alley. Look for the Lantern, it will help you.”
Kona turned and saw a flash of light from the top of Alexandra’s Tower. She smiled and bid her goodbyes to Devin. She alone could see his wings, which he kept hidden. He enjoyed that the Paladin never pressed him on why he left the higher planes. Too many cosmic crusades tired him of battle. Instead of seeing mortals die on these colossal quests he wanted to give these heroes a moment of quiet, comfort and perhaps some helpful advice, so they could survive.
Seneschal, the blue skinned behemoth of a butler, brought in the morning coffee to find the old campaigner Sir Gavin, Wythnyr the Elven Ranger and the two Tieflings Fame and Hanz recovering from their latest adventure.
Sister Shield spoke up first, “We just left one Bex being broken apart by two armies and are now back in our original Bex, which is about to be broken by one army and one traitor! Yet something is wrong…”
Alexandra barely learned about the possibility of her mother living in some kind of stasis in Shadow Alley when paid assassins beset the Offworlders. In the battle Sir Gavin swung Brother Sword in wide arcs while Fame vaulted over him and handily impaled an opponent with his rapier the Verdant Viper. Wythnyr let loose deadly rains of arrows as Kona let her Arghad Axe arc through the assassins. Finally, Hanz bluffed them, in true rogue fashion, to lay down their weapons.
They learned that the Bex traitor, Varsa, had sent them and let them leave, after abandoning their weapons.
Alexandra journeyed with the adventurers into Shadow Alley. Their story of her mother possibly being alive got her over the fear all those who grew up in Bex had of that cursed place. Few who entered Shadow Alley returned. Those that did were either Shadow Cursed or so shaken they would not talk about it.
She felt slightly secure traveling with this disparate group of heroes. Ever since becoming their patron these Offworlders had succeeded at every task she gave them. While they sometimes accomplished these things by ignoring her harsher advice they brought nobility and more goodwill from the citizens that dwelt in her Quintana.
GFoot, the archer with the arrow straight code, kept contracts with her despite their danger. This surprised someone raised in the backstabbing politics of Bex, but it won her admiration with the populace. Fame and his flamboyant actions along with hometown hero Hanz made the Tieflings flock to her. A group that rarely gave overt support to anyone. Wythnyr, Sir Gavin and Kona all carried their nobility with them and it strangely won many adherents from the common people. They looked on them like fabled heroes. This was something all other cities had, except Bex. Bex was not known for heroes, only wizards, wily coffee merchants and the occasional famous rogue…until the arrival of the Offworlders.
Her time in Shadow Alley was chaotic and culminated in them defeating the Death Dance of the Shimmering Shades! These Shades copied each of the heroes but were defeated by the light of a magic Lantern they found and the stones Hanz had retrieved from some infernal creatures.
They also found her mother.
Now Alexandra, who overcame a murderous father, uncovered an ancient tome of magic from a deadly dungeon, rose to power in the poisonous politics of Bex, became one of the Inner Circle of Mages, was now a daughter again.
She did not know what to do.
Somehow she knew the answers may lie with the Offworlders. But first they needed to defeat an army that had never lost, or the city itself would fall along with all of them.