by Tom K. Loney and Christina Lea


Prologue, by Tom K. Loney

On the swords and sorcery world of Elder, strange moving stars have been seen by the astrologers and star-watching trolls in the Frostwall Mountains of the west. They do not follow the paths of the noted planets nor appear with any sort of regularity. A group of wizards, the Stargazer School of the Citadel of Tinkerology, are not only curious about the "random stars," they are determined to find out what they are. Under the leadership of the venerable astromologist Coppernik, the Stargazers have set up observation posts all over the northwest continent and even placed two scrying stations into the Void beyond their sky – the Crystal Ball and the Looking Glass. These "void-craft" were placed using revolutionary wisp-phase magicks - teleportation - devised by the great sorcereress Fye Thagarus.

Using cantrips devised by Coppernik called "scry-glasses" the Stargazers of Elder can view the cosmos around them in great detail with amazing magnification. The Crystal Ball is a magically crafted sphere of perfectly fused crystal, made not for humans and humanoids, but daemons and elementals. The daemons use the cantrips to watch the stars while the elementals make the sphere comfortable for them. The larger and more ambitious craft, the Looking Glass, is a 30 bow-shot long by two bow-shot wide cylinder made of brass corridors spinning to provide "planet-pull" and equipped with enough elementals to make the craft habitable to mortal beings. The outer-most layer of the vessel's structure has a permanent invisibility spell on it to allow cosmic observation by "Voiders," space explorers, using "scry-glasses." The Stargazers were very happy with the wealth of knowledge they were receiving on the universe surrounding them, including images of far-off places and even hints at what might be other-world crafts.

But the observation has stopped, and the voiders cannot be wisp-phased back up to the Looking Glass to see what has happened. So the school needs to send up hardy adventurers using very experimental means developed by the dwarf magician Arkimedes known as a void-ship, using propulsion and not teleportation. Not any dungeon delvers will do, but three in particular - the ones who defeated the daemon Maelitesh Verximirexrev in his worldly lair nearly a decade before. Why? Because he is the most powerful daemon aboard the Crystal Ball ... and the most likely suspect if there has been foul play aboard the Looking Glass.


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