Through The Portal

Day 25: We arrived at the Circle with Roy the scholarly dwarf. We quickly decided we needed to take him up on his offer to bring us back in time to investigate the tunnel he spoke of. With his assistance, we were able to operate the portal, and eventually made our way through it. We quickly discovered that the portal did not transport us directly to our destination, but instead required a lengthy hike through the Plane of Shadow. It is always interesting to get to visit a different plane, but it is also dangerous, We fought off the hostile creatures native to the Plane as they repeatedly attempted to ambush us, but we were still forced to run the last leg of the journey to escape a large horde of Shadowbeasts. The need for such a lengthy walk from entry to exit was a clear indication that the portal was not in good shape; evidently, the magic used to build it is getting to be too old to support trips through time. That meant that we would have to be quick about our business in Jorgenfist, in order to prevent our being trapped back there along with Roy's family.

Upon leaving the portal, we quickly came upon a dwarf being assaulted by a pair of giants. We were able to dispose of the giants without undue difficulty, and began to question the dwarf. He, unsurprisingly, did not speak our language, and therefore Kendrak had to handle the conversation. Apparently, the dwarven language has changed little in a very long time. The dwarf seemed as scared as one might expect, and especially scared of Father Cain. We discovered that he had betrayed the tunnel to the overseers, although we did not discover exactly why. He told us that the other dwarfs were trapped in the tunnel after it was sealed by a Runelord. After a little more discussion, we established that we had learned all that we were going to learn. We gave the unfortunate dwarf some rations and sent him on his way.

That left us with the question of whether or not to attempt a rescue of the dwarves trapped in the tunnel, which we could plainly see up on the mountainside in the middle distance. Father Cain and, understandably, Kendrak were ardently in favor of mounting a rescue. I opposed the effort. Such a major intervention in history would have untold consequences. If we were to succeed in the effort, which was certainly not guaranteed, the effects upon the course of history of such an action literally cannot be calculated. Perhaps the dwarves would have escaped, and founded a peaceful and prosperous nation of their own. Alternatively, their escape could have led to a brutal investigation by the Runelords to determine the identity of the force capable of such a direct challenge to their rule. In any case, the effects of such an action would be numerous and subtle; it is not a good idea to attempt to correct the past, especially if you do not have the story you are trying to change correct.

Father Cain flew off, along with Kendrak. The Runelord who had sealed the tunnel came out to meet them. He, too, assumed Cain to be a Runelord. Nonetheless, he brought his considerable magical power to bear on the Father, and made it very plain there would be only one winner of the fight if Cain pressed it any further. Wisely, he did not.

Much more interesting, however, was Cain's claim that the Runelord was human - not only that, but his eye tattoo included the Chancellor's azure star in addition to the Sahedrin seven-pointed one. That could mean that the Chancellor is actually an ancient Runelord, traveling in time in the same manner we did. If so, that would explain where he gets his impressive and poorly understood magical abilities. Killing him would be even more difficult than we currently thought (not that there is any possibility of that happening any time soon), but presumably still more important. On the other hand, if the Chancellor traveled through time once, I have to wobnder if he can do it again. If he still possesses that ability, he would be extremely difficult to combat. We must investigate this further.

The other aspect of this is that humans were around much earlier than currently believed, and were responsible for the widespread slavery perpetrated by the Runelords. If that is true, it would certainly require a lot of history to be rewritten. There is surely much more to the story that would have to be learned in order for it all to fit together properly (if the current stories are incorrect, where did humans (and halflings) come from?). If the Runelords were truly humans, then that subject should be studied extensively. Such a radical change in understanding of the world would certainly have a profound effect on politics and culture around the world; until we learn whether the Father is actually right about this, we should definitely decline the temptation to tell the world about our discovery.

Day 27: we returned to the Keep, in order to check on the repairs and replenish our supply of potions. We confirmed that the rebuilding was proceeding according to plan, and that the Chapel the Faher had made sure to include in the new design was on pace to fulfill its goal of serving as a beacon of Light to the area, even if there are not that many people there. The lawn installed outside the Chapel (a perfect square) is progressing nicely as well.

Day 31: We set off for Jorgenfist and the tunnel. The journey was uneventful, and we had little difficulty in locating the tunnel, even under a winter's worth of snow. Through the transparent seal, we couls see the bodies of the dwarves, as well as the runes used to lock the wall. We were eventually able to undo them, and therefore to unlock the tunnel.

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