Tijl reappears in the crafting room, his hands shaking and his face white. “I.. I saw myself. I touched myself!”
“Hee, hee!” Gluckmock cawed. “I touch myself all the time!”
Gronk steps forward towards the Door and swings it open. “Gronk want fire elf! Where is fire elf?”
As soon as Gronk steps through the door, he finds himself in a snow-covered forest, littered with makeshift camps and caravans. Humans and elves in colorful but worn out robes are huddled around fires, selling wares or begging passersby for money. Armored elves patrol the grounds, sometimes offering coinage to the campers.
As Gronk makes his way through the encampment, he comes upon a large clearing that reveals an enormous, towering tree that reaches up to the sky. The tree is set upon an island of sorts, a rock on which a fortified city has been erected. The city is encircled by an abyss over which various bridges have been suspended. Water flow upwards from the chasm below, into small openings in the city walls.
Across a tightly knitted rope bridge, Gronk spots two familiar elves and a human negotiating with an elven guard. “Fire elf,” he grumbles as he makes his way across the bridge. He sees Bor, Thadil and Ballelds enter through the city gates and runs after them. The guard does not pay notice as Gronk growls and runs into the city and finds himself in the crafting room again.
There’s a dark stairway of cold stones down the Door of Destinies. Jillith descends and looks into a hallway that bathes in white-reddish torchlight. A nearby archway provides access to a laboratory, where an alembic is boiling on a central table and flasks of many colors and smells are kept, carefully labeled by alchemists who are not present.
Then, the doors at the far side of the laboratory burst open and five gnomes steering a large cart with a box in it come running in. Behind them a senior gnome barges in. “All hands in! We’ve got an egg in. Prepare for transfer today!”
Suddenly, gnomes in lab coats sprint into the laboratory from its many archways. The table is cleared, while cart is rolled next to it. “Ready the females,” the supervisor orders. “We will implant straight away!” The gnomes in lab coats start opening the box and reveal a giant, oozy green egg.
“The egg came in here at 8:23. Label says it was obtained two days ago in the town of Jillith. and was three weeks old at the time.” one of the lab-coated gnomes says to another who is frantically jotting down every word. “The quality is high… my estimate is we will have about 500 shots, so we will need as many vessels. You proceed to prepare the injections, I will sent out a request to all the pens to send us the most fertile females they have.”
As she sees one of the gnomes prepare tubes by marking them down with numbers, Jillith suddenly remembers how they called her 451 before she escaped.
Gordon stands in the burning sun of a desert. Before him, a dusty city rises tall against the bright sky. Shaped like an enormous colosseum, the city is lined with stalls that offer wares and shadow to those spending their time outside of the walls.
No man is property, reads a plate installed over the main city guide. In the walls to the side of the entrance, Gordon spots a mark at just over his height. You must be this tall to enter, reads graffiti next to the mark. Gordon proceeds into the city anyway.
Despite the heat, many people, mostly humans, are out and about. Gordon sees marching bands, dancing drunks and delicious foods being sold roadside. As he navigates his way through labyrinthine streets, he finds himself at a busy square that is surrounded by tall buildings. A great fire burns in the middle of the square and people have gathered around it, chanting hymns and radiating anticipation.
Then, from one of the balconies of one the tall buildings, horns sounds. A man steps forward and the crowd cheers. Then, the man starts singing and the whole city is silent to hear his song. Gordon is, too. For it is not just any song that captivated the crowd. It is an old Llorixian chant.
The whole city is in awe of Llorix. And Gordon is in awe of the city.