October 8: Morning
The party entered the Uxphon arena where they were billed as ‘the Freemen’ against Grand Champion Llaritan.
If the gladiatrix was intimidated at her number of enemies, she didn’t show it. She summoned her magnetic powers and launched six blades.
The heroes struck hard and swift, Rask being the first to successfully disarm one of the swords. Tranavaros identified Llaritan’s belt as a numenera artefact that enhanced her powers and used hedge magic to loosen it around her waist. Jinx sprinted past flying steel and ripped the belt from Llaritan, limiting her control to three swords in her immediate range.
The heroes stormed the grand champion. With only half her blades to ward off the Freemen, Llaritan struggled to maintain the upper-hand. The party broke her defence and struck. Ay’lin shot the champion with her crossbow, the bolt tearing through skull and brain to end Llaritan’s reign in the arena.
The crowd cheered.
High in the stands, a figure called for silence. The man was identified by Rask as Xanpon, the master of Llaritan and rival of Vromarask. His face was stoic despite the loss of his greatest warrior, his mismatched eyes of platinum and gold looking down at the party with contemplation.
Xanpon spoke for all in the arena to hear. As per his request, the arena officials permitted the slave master to take ownership of Llaritan’s slayer, as compensation for losing her in an unfair match.
Vromarask made no objection, complacent with the arena customs. The arena exists were blocked by force shields, preventing the party from leaving until one agreed to take the title of grand champion.
Rask stepped forward, agreeing to take Ay’lin’s place as champion, at the cost of returning to his old life. Xanpon accepted the gladiator’s proposal and allowed the other heroes to leave. Rask made his farewells, and the party returned to the air balloon — now rich with the arena prize money.
October 9: Afternoon
En’ir returned to the blacksmith and collected his upgraded battle-scythe. Maxxos paid for the repair of his battle armour, and the rest of the party made preparations for the return to Fort Toinette.
In the town square, Jinx encountered a sharply-dressed wizard the jack recognised as the same old beggar he and the heroes encountered several times in Charmonde. The wizard spoke to him in riddles, warning him that they were wasting time in Uxphon and must, ‘Travel to where the sun sinks,’ if they’re to make it in time. Before Jinx could ask more, the old man vanished.
The party set off in the air balloon Maxxos named Highwind , leaving Uxphon and all its customs.
October 13: Morning
On their flight across the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, the party noted several Angulan scouts on their xi-drakes. Over Fort Toinette, a Gaian army led by the Urgevek approached. The Aeon Guardians rushed to their stations on the fort battlements, under the command of Polemarch Ianos.
The party had to stop the impeding carnage.
The Highwind landed in Fort Toinette. Polemarch Ianos and Sir Umain greeted the party, expressing thanks for closing the Sky Tear. The party persuaded the polemarch to cease his attack on the Gaians and call a truce. Ay’lin explained how the Urgevek saved their lives and how his son sacrificed himself to help destroy the Sky Tear for the good of the Beyond and the Steadfast.
Polemarch Ianos agreed to a temporary truce if the Urgevek withdrew. He would, however, order his army to defend itself if the Gaians continued their march on the fortress. Ianos couldn’t guarantee to a complete armistice, however, as he didn’t believe Mother Eleanor would grant a treaty. The party asked the polemarch permission to cross the field to speak with the Urgevek, which was approved.
The party met the Urgevek with somber looks, En’ir holding the covered corpse of Bishen. They explained the circumstances of his son’s death, and the great feats he accomplished. After telling of the party’s success in closing the Sky Tear, Ay’lin used her persuasive skills to convince the Gaian leader to withdraw his warriors and end further bloodshed.
The Urgevek took Bishen’s body and called a retreat, temporarily ending the crusade. As the Gaian leader withdrew, he reminded En’ir of his destiny to bring peace to the Skyfields.
Back at Fort Toinette, the heroes received orders from Polemarch Ianos to return to the Amber Monolith with the Rifter, their mission in the Beyond now over.