Interlude 1

After the affair of the molemen, Donaar, Otto, Borodin, Saum, and Selenus find themselves on a gameboard suspended in what appears to be the Astral Sea. Borodin muses that their current location might be a side effect of whatever is happening at the Earth Temple, but this knowledge is largely unhelpful. Spying a shadowed bridge, the adventurers carefully press forward.

When they emerge from the shadows, they find another gameboard populated with gear-shaped columns and several guards: Charles Babbage, John James Audubon, and Ian Fleming. Fleming and Babbage attempt to discern where the newcomers have come from and why they are here at the Gate of Worlds. Displeased with the answers they receive, the guards attack. The party manages to slowly force them back, though not without danger. Eventually, Donaar brings down Babbage, and Otto shoves Fleming off the edge of the board. As the Babbage’s body fades, Saum recovers his weapon, a spiked chain made of cogs and gears.

Audubon surrenders and explains what it is that they guard: the gate to what he calls the “real world.” The others protest that theirs is the real world, but Audubon is adamant that they come from a dream or possibly a work of fiction. After a brief rest, the adventurers continue, with Audubon in the lead.

The next bridge brings them to another gameboard, this time populated by large piles of coal and the Gate of Worlds itself. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Edward Teller, and Richard Feynman stand guard here. Otto focuses hi attention elsewhere for a moment, and Audubon makes his escape. Teller, protected by hindering terrain, tries to bore with party into unconsciousness with government documents, but only Borodin and Selenus succumb. Otto hinders Feynman and Brunel, and Donaar charges, igniting some of the coal with his breath weapon. Audubon, released from his bonds by Feynman, makes Donaar his quarry and proceeds to fire on him from behind the lines. Borodin is shaken awake and moves to flank Feynman. Eventually, the party brings Brunel down, and Feynman follows shortly after. The party enters the space past the coal as their opponents retreat as far as possible. Borodin teleports behind Teller but fails to kill the man. Donaar looses a javelin at Audubon, sending the naturalist over the edge in his death throes. Otto joins Borodin and once more shoves an opponent over the edge. As Teller falls through what might be the Astral Sea and the bodies of their opponents fade into nothingness, the party examines the Gate of Worlds.

The Gate appears to be a small orrery. It features planetary bodies in their relative alignment. Around its edge are marking which may indicate various worlds or planes of existence. Borodin fiddles with the mechanism as the rest of the party attempts to rest. Just after he activates it, existence seems to stop.

Interlude 1

Under The Sun scipio