It started as a simple dungeon run. But choices have consequences. Decisions have repercussions. And the time-traveling Heroes of Bingle find themselves the Heroes of Bingle no longer. Just 5 neophyte adventurers, back in their original bodies. Back in that original dungeon. But this time… a dragon is waiting for them. What happens when a group of level 1 adventurers come face-to-face with a gigantic, ancient dragon?
It started as a simple dungeon run…
And after countless hours of laughter, tears, challenges, and triumphs… these 5 heroes are back, right where they started. Just as they started. About to run into that original dungeon. But this time, it’s not so simple.
The Heroes of Bingle began their quest here. In Kipeltern. They answered a note, tacked to a signpost, looking for adventurers. The five of them, meeting one another for the first time, hopped into the back of a wagon, and were taken to an abandoned dragon’s lair, where they discovered an item of staggering magical power. An amulet, that sparked an epic quest to save the ancient Wardens of Ain. Elemental sentries that guarded the Realms for generations. And as the heroes sought out and freed the Wardens from their captors, they battled overwhelming odds. A Kraken at the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by an army of sea creatures. Commanding these sea creatures, leading them to assault and defile Lily’s island home, and imprison a Warden, was a half Dragonborn warrior named Yan Mo. While the Heroes managed to defeat Yan Mo and force him to retreat, their paths were destined to cross again… in the past.
For incredible magic plucked the Heroes of Bingle out of their reality, just as they were about to set foot in one of the most important locations in all of Ain. It transported them back in time 22 years, and placed them into bodies that were not their own, in a situation they could never have predicted.
They woke up in a new time, as sellswords in the employ of another old enemy - the infamous pirate, Whitebeard. They helped that vicious captain hunt down a Triton named Cho’Ran who had run afoul of the Dragonborn Empire in the north, the Shaxen Gao. Cho’Ran had fallen in love with a princess of the Shaxen Gao dynasty - Baozhai - and together they had a son, Cho’Mel. A half-Triton half-Dragonborn son who would someday grow to become the warrior, Yan Mo. The leader of the deep, who conspired with the Ashen Mage to hold the Inferno Warden at the bottom of the sea. The enemy that terrorized and decimated Lily’s family and the peaceful island of Bingle, was now only 5 years old, on the run and afraid.
When the Heroes of Bingle rescued Cho’Mel and his mother, and looked into the eyes of the boy who would become Yan Mo, they agreed to help the family find refuge out of the Shaxen Gao’s reach. Cho’Ran offered to reveal the location of the dynasty’s greatest treasure - a cache that he said included powerful weapons and magical items - if only the team delivered his family safely... to Bingle itself.
And so, the team made preparations for the trip, persuading Whitebeard the pirate to forego the substantial bounty on the Triton’s head for the promise of even greater reward in the treasure cache. But the night before departing for Bingle, Whitebeard’s own son, Mervis, stole one of Whitebeard’s ships, taking half of the crew with him.
Whitebeard was furious. He recruited a new crop of buccaneers to replace his AWOL crew - dangerous criminals and brutes - and lost patience with the plan to help the Triton. He arranged a meeting at sea with the Shaxen Gao, just at the edge of the treacherous Deep Reef.
When Siv, looking through the eyes of his newly bonded raven familiar, spotted two Shaxen Gao battle frigates on the horizon, the team began to formulate a plan. But it was too late. Lily wasn’t sure why, but she knew that the ships that pursued them were only used by the deadly dragonborn assassins of the Shaxen Gao dynasty known as the Nameless Few. The team watched as their own ship slowed and the pirates raised the flag of parley.
Fahima, Siv, and Lily desperately lobbied Whitebeard to reconsider the deal, while Uggo and James raced below deck to protect Cho’Ran and his family. But the prisoners were already on the move. Just as the cutthroats arrived on the deck with Cho’Ran, Cho’Mel, and Baozhai in tow, Whitebeard’s Itch began docking with the attack frigate in open water. Ropes were tied off and wide planks connected the two vessels. An assassin of the Nameless Few called for the princess first, and flung an enormous sack of gold over the span between ships.
That’s when the pandemonium started in earnest. Cho’Ran yelling and begging his captors, Baozhai, a mania in her eyes, kicking and screaming as she was forced across the planks. The Nameless Few, stoic, unmoving. Whitebeard defiant.
In the midst of all of this chaos, Fahima began conjuring elementals. But just as her spell completed and her steam mephits manifested into being… everything went black. Each of the Heroes of Bingle found themselves inside a stillness - a moment of clarity. One at a time, each of them faced a question that demanded an answer. Do you save the boy, or do you let them take him?
When the final answer was given, it was Lily who heard three words echo in her mind. “So be it.”
And it was Lily who opened her eyes, once again in Kipeltern. Once again, young and inexperienced. Stripped of all the new skills and abilities she had gained during her adventure. Standing there, as she had done, lo those many weeks ago, staring at a signpost. But this time, the post was bare. No request for adventurers. No advertisement for a simple dungeon run.
She walked up the hill behind her to an Inn - the Inn at the Gentle Oak - and found her teammates waiting. Each of them had had the same experience. The question. The blackness. The empty signpost. The walk to the Inn. They each remembered everything that had led them to that moment, but found themselves once again inexperienced, unproven level 1 adventurers.
Then the bell on the door jingled and a familiar face entered. The man who had posted the ad on the signpost that brought them all together in the first place. A ridiculous man in a green doublet and a silly green hat: Philt LeConsevaza.
He explained to them that he had found the dragon’s lair, but it was not abandoned, and therefore he had no need for adventurers. Clearly something had changed. In this timeline, in this reality, a run into the dungeon would not be simple.
When Uggo insisted Philt take the team to the dragon’s lair anyway, the man with the tiny mustache found the team’s foolhardy desire to run headlong into danger too humorous to pass up. He agreed, and once again, as they had the moment they first met, Siv, Fahima, James, Uggo, and Lily hopped into the back of Philt LeConsevaza’s wagon.
As we ended last week, Siv reached out, took Lily’s hand, and kissed it gingerly while the wagon made its way toward the dungeon where it all began.