As the Titanis brought them over Lake Encarthan towards the Nirmathas capital of Tamran, the Initiative took stock of their defeat at the hands of Chevaghol, and also their victories. Orin settled his intention to attend the Arcanamirium in Absalom and transform his magus training into that of a wizard. Anthony William Percival Arkwright III, Esq., assured Orin of this possibility – as Anthony still held tenure, he had the right to sponsor a student for the school year, which would shortly begin.
Thorgur took the cleric aside himself, heart still full of questions about the nature of the gods and divinity. Anthony shared his views with the dwarf – that the gods are merely names mortals ascribe to either natural occurrences or supremely powerful beings that nevertheless remain nigh-powerless in the face of the oldest gods, those potentially responsible for creation itself. Yet Anthony could not deny the power of the divine either, suggesting that faith was its own power. Thorgur took these thoughts for consideration and began to ponder his next steps.
Hudson found himself once again engaged with repairs of the ancient airship, repairs that seemed beyond his ability. When Amber told him of her own intentions to study under Hibok Marbleaxe, the dwarven gunsmith now expatriated in Fort Ramgate, Hudson saw the wisdom in it for himself. He determined to follow her, at least for a time, in the hopes of learning enough about the strange technology that powered Titanis to make repairs to some of the devices aboard the ship.
As for Astrid, she could hardly pass up an opportunity to travel at last to the Forae Logos in Absalom. And thus the Initiative established their plans for sabbaticals – a time to retrain, research, and prepare for their next conflict with their enemies.
But first, they flew to Tamran.
Forest Marshal Weslen Gavirk was shocked to hear the news of the House of the Rising Tide, moreso for the knowledge of the threat now known to lurk within the waters of Lake Encarthan. Fearing what this could mean for the coastal nations of the enormous lake, Marshal Gavirk determined to contact the other nations of the lake – including Lastwall, Molthune, Druma, Kyonin, and even Ustalav – to notify them of the threat and begin to prepare for war with the tritons, if necessary.
Several days after speaking with Marshal Gavirk, Orin completed his final task in Tamran: dozens of gillmen emerged from the lake’s waters, seeking asylum. When Orin came to the shore to meet them, his failure weighing heavy on his shoulders, he was not greeted as a hero. But nor was he greeted as a traitor or failure. Instead he found himself caught up within the arms of his people – his free people. They grieved with bitter and salty tears, but they grieved together. A people as one. Free.
Within the week, Orin, Astrid and Anthony met with the Arcanamirium’s servant and were teleported to Absalom. And Thorgur and Hudson departed for Fort Ramgate aboard the Titanis.
It was not a glorious end, but it was not an end at all either.