“So,” Saeth queried, poking the creature’s corpse with her sword, “with that done, how do we find the others?” She raised her blade, and once more waved it through the shimmering portal, trying to divine a hint of the far side in the ripples it left.
Feldard stood back from the fallen gargoyle and did a quick check around to be sure nothing else was about to attack. Finally, his gaze rested upon the mirrored portal. The fact that the gargoyle returned, but Nicolai and Hasan hadn’t, concerned the dwarf. Perhaps they were badly injured… with a scowl the dwarf set aside his fine dwarven axe beside the portal “Maruc, be ready with your heals. I’ll try to bring them back. Miklos, it may be that they are stuck on the other side. It will be to you to figure a way to get us back.”
On hearing Feldard’s comment, the priest stopped the rite of healing. Although he was concerned about the immediate danger and the safety of his dwaven companion, the fact that the others were not the first to emerge troubled him greatly. He offered a prayer to Halav as he watched the dwarf go through the portal third time.
Miklos snapped his book shut and allowed himself a few moments to recover from the pain behind his eyes. Holding too much magic was certainly not a pleasant experience. He stalked over to the creature and studied it. The Elven Guardian was reputedly its twin, but the twisted broken statue (as it now looked more like to Miklos) betrayed none on its origins. Indeed, he wondered, what would cause such a transformation? A Darker bend on destroying any traces of elven beauty from it?
He chuckled to himself. You are, he thought, rather assuming that when Ular-Taman said ‘twin’ it meant ‘identical’.
Once again, Feldard re-appeared in the room, unsuccessful in his third attempt to breach the portal.
Miklos stepped over the remains returned his attention to the Mirror. He stood to one side of the mirror studying its workmanship. “Fascinating! look see how the interplanar surface is bound to the frame with he use of umbilicating strands that…….. (etc.)”, Miklos carried on until he finished with, “I should like to take this back to the Guild and study it most closely! I might be able to discover a way of recalling our friends from within.” He paused, “If they still live.”
Maruc turned to the Mage, “Believe what you wish Miklos my friend.” he grinned, “But Halav Incarnate watches over us, not blind and fickle fortune. Is there no way to open the portal?”
“Aye.” replied Miklos. “Give me a few moments to recover and I will try to ascertain the nature of the command word. Your quiet would be appreciated, thank you.” With that he opened his backpack produced a wineskin and took a long draught, he offered it around the others before recorking it and stowing it away. He reopened his spellbook and flicked through to the Analyze incantation and started to study…
* * * * *
On the other side of the portal, Hasan looked again at the hat. “How unusual,” he thought, “for a textile like this to not have decayed. It’s rather weathered, but I can’t imagine anything like this surviving for the millennium, since this temple fell underground. Could this too be magical? Could this be from Elyas as well?”
He took it off the hook and judged it about elven size. He was torn between the temptation to take on still more Elyan magic and the uncertainty of this unexpected find. Prudence, he strongly felt, suggested he should bring the hat to Miklos and Saeth for discussion.
Still, the thrill of using magic to deter the gargoyle was acute. And after all, wasn’t he the leader now of the Elyan?
Standing in the area of the main laboratory, Hasan put on the hat.
“Hasan, are you sure that’s wise? I wouldn’t try on anything from here except in daylight”, says Nicolai as Hasan placed the hat on his head.
Nothing unusual happened, so since they had finished their exploration of the room, and Hasan stowed the hat and joined Nicolai in re-entering the portal. Emerging on the other side, the group was reunited once again.