Valiant followed in tears and was thrown to the ground, all the companions, including Lesly, came forward but Hera was the one who broke the silence:
- "What happened Valiant? Where is Ragna?"
Fardos, who was watching the crowding, said:
- "Ragna is lost, I can't feel her energy anymore... Variphor took her to his dimension..."
Everyone looked at Fardos in awe and their faces clearly showed their fear, silence took over, but Riberus, who was also in tears asked:
- "How did this occur? How did he get here? Is there a way we can save her? Please say yes!"
Fardos approached Riberus and said:
"We have no control over what will happen to her, the dimension she is in is controlled by Variphor, and this is a problem to our plans... He now has detailed information on each of you..."
He continued, "Ragna was taken by Variphor to an intermediate state between our world and his, in a rift between our realities, the location was accessible by one of the dream crystals in which the dream wardens possessed in their fortress."
Fardos summoned a mist that gathered in the center of everyone, in its midst images began to appear, he spoke:
- "I know you want to save Ragna, and we will seek this! To make it possible we need to proceed with the plan... The dream of Azerus in which Valiant and Ragna saw holds one of the key pieces so that we can find more information of Variphor's followers and their location."
- "This key piece exists even before this world, before the gods, so none of us created this artifact, a curious fact about it is that gods cannot touch it, but their creations can."
- "It has no real size, it can assume and adapt to any size, and in each dimension it has an appearance, well, its function? He allows you to connect dimensions controlled by different gods."
Everyone was startled and amazed by Fardos' explanation, and in the center of the mist the image of the strange artifact appeared so that everyone could see it. Fardos went on and spoke:
- "This wand is extremely powerful and unpredictable, different gods have tried to make their creations try to get it, and one of them succeeded for a while. Well, actually it didn't succeed, but you will soon understand why."
Valiant, who was already visibly better, spoke up:
- "I have heard about this wand, I believe they call it the wand of dimensions."
Fardos, confirmed in a smiling tone:
- "Exactly Valiant, this is the wand of dimensions, and you should get one of this. There is only one problem..."
- "Gods cannot track such an artifact, but the information I have is that there was at least 3 in our dimension. The first is under Zathroth's control, in his secret library, protected by one of his servants. The second was with Azerus, who took it to the Variphor dimension. And the third is in a time paradox at the moment, it is in your possession, but also not yet."
Everyone watched each other in awe and searched through their things to see if they possessed such an artifact, Fardos quickly caused the image in the center of the mist to change to a city on what appeared to be an ancient continent similar to Kilmaresh, his voice interrupted the adventurers who were still searching through their packs for the wand to no avail:
- "The wand is not here, yet... Do you all know the city of Nuur?"
Everyone nodded positively, but Petros decided to add something else:
- "I know parts of such a city, Sir. But there are only ruins, such a city appears to have been destroyed very violently."
- "Correct, Petros." Fardos said, and added: "It was destroyed by Fafnar, although the inhabitants of today's Issavi attribute it to Suon... And the reason? Well... it was you who caused his wrath upon that city."
Everyone shouted in a tone of surprise and fear:
- "WHAT?, we didn't even exist at such a time."
- "This is the paradox...you will use a time machine to go back in time. Remember the Shapers? They still have an intact time machine, it is protected in one of their cities that you already know. All you need is to get to this point..." Fardos spoke as he showed on Valiant's map the exact location of the machine and instructions on how to access it, as he finished informing them he continued speaking:
- "By using the machine you will be transported to another Shaper city even larger than that ruin you met. It is located in the underground of Krailos, there is an exit to the surface, I need you to get there alive, I will wait for you there to explain what you will do in Nuur, I will only intervene in case of extreme danger to you, and so that the Shapers don't realize it was me. I must prevent the old alliance from being broken before its time, and that this could cause the failure of our next steps in the plan..."
Fear gripped everyone, and Hera didn't hold back, interrupted and said:
- "How? Arrive alive? What's in that city, weren't they all destroyed?"
- "At that time, not yet. They were stronger than ever... You will not be well received, the city guards will attack fiercely. And because of their neural network that connects the minds of all of them there will be thousands of eyes on you, every angle, every move, they will know beforehand... it will not be an easy fight for you...", replied Fardos.
Fear was visible among the adventurers, but the plan had to be followed, only with the wand in hand would it be possible to advance. Everyone prepared their supplies and set off for the portal to the library that indicated the city of Thais, from there they headed to the place known as the Halls of Hope that contained the portal to the Shapers ruins. The path was relatively easy and they soon came upon a huge flat wall of rock.
Isis and Petros, the mages, began to invoke powerful magics which were interrupted by Valiant:
- "NO, this wall cannot be knocked down like this, it will cause the destruction of the machine if it is too close behind it... We need to search for some mechanism that makes it open, there must be something hidden."
After minutes of searching, Riberus called out to everyone:
- "I found a lever here! It's in the middle of these plants...", as he spoke he pulled the hard lever, which seemed to have rusted after so many centuries.
A bang echoed over the entire shaper ruin, the huge smooth wall began to lower. Slowly the adventurers could observe what would be a legitimate Shaper time machine, similar to one they had met in other times in their fight against the Time Guardian.
One by one they approached the machine and prepared for the crossing, pulled the levers present in it according to Fardos' indications, and prepared to pull the final lever that would transport them to the past. As they activated the machine they all felt the ground disappear beneath their feet, and soon they were in a similar environment, but much cleaner and tidier, it was a legitimate and intact shaper city, in the background were guards who had already spotted them and were running towards them.
- "Quick, Olga, come with me in front, Hera and Aerodus please attention, we will need a quick healing, the situation will heat up..." Spoke Valiant, as he drew his sword, beside him was Olga with her huge axe.
Isis and Petros already had their runes ready, while Riberus had his bow equipped with powerful diamond arrows capable of causing good area damage.
The combat was tough, every minute more guards arrived, both Olga and Valiant were almost at their limits and each time the guards seemed to hit more and more blows, as if the more time passed, the more they learned about their movements.
The amount of guards exceeded the knights' capacity, and soon the guards started to attack Hera and Aerodus, the Druids, fiercely. The situation seemed to be getting out of hand, as at any moment one of them would receive some lethal damage and die.
- "Valiant, hang in there, I'm here healing you, raise your shield!", spoke Hera as he, in total silence, gave signs that he was going to succumb.
Valiant fell to the ground, he was alive but severely injured, the guards were about to take Olga and Hera down when an exploding sound broke through the halls of the shaper city, it was a flying object at high speed.
Some sort of highly luminous sword ripped through the air and instantly killed hundreds of shaper guards, the power was so extreme that even some walls cracked and others shattered, the shapers who were still alive ran to escape from such an object, which just as it abruptly appeared, it also disappeared.
- "It was Fardos, he saved us!" Spoke Hera, almost out of breath, as she healed and lifted Valiant who was slowly returning to consciousness.
- "What was that? It looked like a sword, but its light was very strong..., the important thing is that it saved us..." Spoke Petros, as he prepared more runes in case more guards appeared.
- "There were many... and very strong. Let's get the exit to the surface right away, before these shapers change their minds and try to attack again." Spoke Olga, aiming to speed up the team, who were fascinated by the destruction that object caused.
Little by little they made advances through the corridors of the city, the shapers squeezed around corners to watch them, such creatures were afraid, but curiosity seemed to overcome this feeling.
Natural light seemed to enter one of the corridors, the adventurers finally found their way out to the surface. There was a vast, very hot steppe that quickly reminded them of the climate they knew from Krailos, on the horizon they could see a huge city, it was Nuur. As they walked, sharper was the city, and the fact that there was no separation of Krailos and Kilmaresh caught their attention, it was only one continent, and Nuur seemed to be uniting both.
- "I see you are well, the help came at a good time, no?", spoke Fardos behind the adventurers, quickly they all stopped and turned to him, who continued:
- "This is Nuur, today is a festive day for the city as a great ceremony will take place in the great temple of Fafnar, the master elder of the city possesses the wand, he will be carrying it... I need you to get it at any cost, remember, this time I will not be able to intervene as it would represent a direct affront to another God."
- "Wear these clothes so you won't be noticed," and so everyone's appearance changed radically to a typical costume of Nuur's festivities, Fardos continued:, "Be quick, get back to the Shaper city as fast as possible and use the time machine, leave the levers this way, so it will take you to the same Shaper ruins of your time, good luck!". Fardos vanished into thin air, everyone turned again and resumed their walk to Nuur.
Arriving in the city the mood was festive, the buildings were partly reminiscent of what they knew of Issavi and various symbols of Fafnar were scattered everywhere, it didn't take long for them to spot the temple that Fardos had mentioned as there was a huge crowd clustered near it. At the top of the temple was the master elder, he held the wand of dimensions. Valiant looked at his companions and said:
- "I am going to the top of the temple and I will steal the wand, but I need you to help me run from all of them, many citizens will try to block my path and if you can keep the path clear we can gain precious time."
- "Okay Valiant, use your speed boost spells, we will create barriers at the right times and the path will be clear so you can run through the crowd." spoke Hera, while handing out Magic Wall runes to all the team members.
Little by little the adventurers positioned themselves in the middle of the crowd, and Valiant began to sneak among the inhabitants to reach the top of the temple, there was another ramp that led to the top, it was too steep to climb but ideal to descend quickly... The plan was already set in Valiant's mind.
The people spoke in a language that Valiant did not understand, but he slowly managed to get closer and closer to the old master, inside he suspected that the highlight of the ceremony was about to happen.
The old master separated from everyone else and approached the edge of the temple to show something to the huge crowd, even though Valiant fearfully decided to stay as close as possible. After pronouncing a series of words in a language foreign to the adventurers, the master elder raised the wand to the sky, it was Valiant's chance. Without hesitation he shouted: "Utani Tempo Hur", his feet became extremely agile, in the blink of an eye he caught up with the master elder, snatched the wand from his hand, and ran towards the ramp he had spotted earlier.
Valiant slid down the ramp and made a smooth landing, but he still had to get past the crowd that was screaming in his direction. Before his corridor was consumed by people, Hera conjured a magic wall preventing Valiant from being attacked. The escape lasted several tense minutes using hundreds of magic wall runes. As the adventurers had greater speed, it was soon possible to maintain a more comfortable distance from the majority of the inhabitants who still followed a chase amidst shouting and throwing objects.
The distance between the adventurers and the crowd increased every moment because of their speed, and at this point, in order to lose them, they all conjured up their mounts and set off in the direction of the steppe at high speed. When the distance was already safe for them, a huge roar from the heavens startled them and even caused some to fall from their mounts, immediately they all turned to observe what was happening and were terrified.
A huge burning face was approaching the city of Nuur, it was one of Fafnar's manifestations that looked extremely angry. With one of her flaming hands, Fafnar struck the city and destroyed everything she could find, fire and destruction took over the horizon. The blow was so strong that the entire continent trembled, the earth cracked to pieces and the seawater began to occupy the enormous fissure produced by the impact, it was at this moment that the great continent split into Krailos and Kilmaresh.
The adventurers, in a panic, started running as fast as they could through the steppes of Krailos, and their distance to the Shaper city was quickly reduced. Soon they were there, in the Shapers corridors, and as they passed everyone hid and cleared the way, the journey to the time machine was quick and easy. With the information provided by Fardos they were able to return to the present, to the Shapers ruins.
In a short time they were there, in Fardos' library. He appeared and soon said:
- "Excellent, my children! This is the wand of dimensions", as Fardos spoke, Valiant raised the wand. Fardos continued:
- "It will have its uses very soon, I thank you all for your courage. I regret that for our plan to work an entire city would have to be destroyed..."
- "Leave the wand safely in this library, we will proceed to the next step of the plan... Get some rest, especially you Valiant, as the next step will require much of your mind."
Everyone was apprehensive and curious about this last sentence, but following his recommendation, they rested through the halls of the huge library.
To be continued...