For the most part, our heroes, as well as Soveliss and Joyn'ill, survived the dirigible crash, but now they have no easy way to travel to Paerylliss…except perhaps through a torch-lit cave with a prominent hourglass symbol on the entryway floor. As Tynx wondered why the symbol looked so familiar, the party felt there was nothing left to do but continue forward.
It soon became apparent that Phoebe wasn't with them. Had she actually perished in the crash? Or, perhaps, she felt it best to try another way out of the chasm besides this suspicious-looking cave. Either way, she wasn't around to help the party continue into the cave. But someone else was.
Alice Linwood looks quite human, except for her sharp, vampiric teeth. Indeed, she is a half-vampire. More accurately, a dhamphir. Because of her unique heritage, Alice has the strength, speed, and darkvision of a vampire, but nothing of the vampire's weaknesses or diet. She could drink blood, but doesn't have to. Besides, Alice is nice enough to those she trusts. She was born in the nobility of the Oriental country across the Surface sea and trained in the arts of the wardancer by her vampire mother. Her father went missing soon after Alice was born, and now she is on a quest to find him in the Subterrace.
Alice had come across the dirigible wreckage and the cave soon after our heroes did, and the party didn't trust her when they saw evidence of vampiric lineage. However, Soveliss, ever the diplomat, determined that Alice was no real threat, and allowed her to come along with them.
As the party continued into the cave, they soon encountered a group of grey ooze blobs, which instantly attacked! The ooze was corrosive, so any metal item that touched it, including Conseil's metal fists, was eaten away by acid. Our heroes did manage to take out the ooze with arrows, however, so they continued forward to the next door…which led to a large river of lava.
There seemed to be no way across, until a cheerful aarakocra flew down and offered to help. He called himself Ekril. He seemed to recognize the party, even though they never saw him before. He lifted each person over the lava to the bare room on the other side.
Well, mostly bare. There was a small pedestal in the middle of the room that displayed a twisty wooden contraption, looking something like this. Tynx and Gregory were especially fascinated by it, but found that it did nothing. Gregory decided to toy with it by turning it one way, then another, and then spinning it into the air. The contraption glided until it crashed on the ground.
Our heroes moved on.
The next room was more intriguing. There were three large pistons behind a thick mesh screen. In the middle of the room was a button, surrounded by blue runes. Ekril encouraged the players to press it, and—though suspicious—they did so. In a flash of light, the party found themselves back in the first room with the hourglass symbol. The players were confused, but Soveliss was overjoyed. Now he and Joyn'ill had a way back up the chasm, thanks to Ekril. Ekril was happy to help lift everyone out of the chasm (albeit one by one) and finally get out of the cave himself, but then the cave entrance started to close in on them. Soveliss, Joyn'ill, and Ekril were the first to escape, but none of the players could get out in time. The drow and the aarakocra were out, but the players were stuck. Tynx heard a voice inside her head: "Oh, it's you! I wondered if I would see you again! Won't this be fun?" Then, another doorway opened, deeper into the cave.
The party climbed a high spiral staircase and ended up in a small room with a cage. The prisoner in the cage was Ekril! He looked surprised and asked the players who they were and why they were there. It began to dawn on the group that they had somehow gone back in time. They released Ekril and asked him to carry them across a river of lava the next time he sees them. He agreed and left, while the players went ever deeper. They came across another spiral staircase, this time going back down. When they were about halfway down, the staircase began to turn slowly to one side, then stop, then turn the other way, then stop. And finally, the staircase spun rapidly, and the party had the feeling that the staircase was lifting itself up, and then gliding back down. The players had a second realization: everything Gregory did to that helicopter contraption was happening to this staircase. The staircase crashed and everyone took substantial damage from falling rocks.
in the next room, they faced three large pistons. They had just begun to move right before a flash of light occurred behind a mesh wall. The player's past selves had just pushed the strange button. They had a feeling that whoever built this place would be in the next room. Up another flight of stairs they went (a blissfully uneventful trip), until they came to a hallway leading to a single door.
Out of that door walked their future selves! The party was doubly shocked (heh heh). Their future selves looked a little battered, but quite alright. It turned out that these future selves were not from the very distant future, and they thought it best not to reveal the future to our "present" heroes. The future heroes walked on by, while our present heroes continued into the room.
Inside, they found a tremendous amount of machinery, powered by some sort of blue-glowing magic. At the center was a gnomish woman. Her long black hair nearly covered most of the blue runes on her face. She looked up from her contraption and said, "Tynx! How are you!? It's been so long!" Tynx recognized this woman, Tryxee Tauk, a childhood friend from many years ago. When they both were young, they bonded over tinkering with gears and machines. While Tynx dreamed of flying, Tryxee dreamed of time travel. Now, many years later, Tryxee had accomplished her goal, but Tynx had not.
"Well, isn't it the darndest thing," Tryxee remarked. "I've been able to realize my dream of time travel, and yet you still haven't learned to fly! Ha! How funny! Isn't life so strange? The craziest thing is, I've even learned how to fly in my spare time!" By this time, Tynx was a terrible mixture of embarrassment and rage. "Well," Tryxee continued, "I haven't learned to fly. Rather, I've built something that would let me fly! It must be crawling around somewhere out in the chasm."
At first, the players thought Tryxee wasn't so bad (though Tynx would disagree). They changed their minds, however, when they realized that Tryxee wanted to alter major events in history for her benefit. Also, she said she had to kill them right then and there to prevent her secrets from getting out. Conseil grappled her and threw her onto the ground. Gregory searched the room for valuables and found a nice-looking pocket watch. Conseil and Tynx knocked Tryxee out easily before she could cast any spells in reatliation. However, soon after she became unconscious, the runes on her face started to glow, and the machinery started to react, even exploding! The blasts and shrapnel caused a few cuts and bruises, but the party made it out alive, just in time to see their recant past selves coming up the stairs.
Our heroes were soon able to find the cave entrance again and get it open. They got out of the cave and saw that Soveliss, Joyn'ill, and Ekril had already gone. As they began to deliberate on how to get out of the chasm, they heard a glittering, shimmering sound accompanied by the flapping of large, heavy wings. Towering above them was a crystalline dragon. The party knew they hadn't the strength to take on a dragon, but the needn't have worried. The dragon bent his head down and said, "Pardon me, fellows and ladies, but could you possibly assist me with an annoying pest?" A bit taken aback, the players agreed. It turned out that the dragon's territory had been breached by a smaller dragon, one made of brass and copper gears and plates.
Feeling weak and injured from their adventure in Tryxee's cave, the party asked if they could rest first. The dragon agreed to watch over them, and our heroic adventurers took a few hour's rest on the chasm floor to prepare for another adventure.