The party teleported into Horizon from the ship to find the city aflame and in the midst of civil war. Horizon’s floating metropolises had come crashing down into the sub-city. The party picked their way through the urban warzone towards Lady Summerton’s mansion. On the way, they witnessed a company of soldiers escorting the functionaries of the Church of Light, and their armoured carriages filled with gold, out of the city.
They found Lady Summerton in a makeshift bunker complex hewn from the city’s rubble. She led them to a circular room, where the me the Archmage. Before the party would hand over the sap from the Tree of Knowledge, they demanded answers. The Archmage told them:
- At the beginning of the 13th Age, the Priestess had saved the Lich King from his own necromancy-induced madness, allowing the man who was once the Wizard King to emerge from the Lich King.
- That man became the Archmage of the 13th Age, the very man they are talking to now.
- The Priestess is dying of from some kind of natural illness.
- The Church of Light’s leadership kept her illness secret, and exploited her weakness to turn the Church to their own gain.
- An Emissary of the Gods told the Archmage that there was a way to prevent the Priestess’ death. He needed to find a special person who could order the Gods to heal the Priestess.
- According to the Emissary, the Archmage will find that special person when she brings him the sap from the Tree of Knowledge. So the Archmage began his Search, recruiting thousands of people to hunt down the Tree of Knowledge.
- The Priestess is a symbol of the goodness inherent in the citizens of the Dragon Empire. Currently, the Empire is falling apart because the Empire is allowing that symbol to wither. If they save the Priestess, it will symbolize the goodness of the Dragon Empire, and the Gods will reward them and restore the Empire.
- The Archmage identified Nimona as the special one, the one who can save the Priestess.
- The sap will be given to the wizards of Horizon as the “public” goal of the Search. This will distract the wizards while the Archmage goes about preventing the Priestess’ death.
The party explained that Nimona’s powers had their limits, and that keeping people alive was slowly killing her. After a lot f questioning from the Archmage, they deduced that healing Thybalt of the condition he inflicted upon himself by drinking the sap would reduce the burden on Nimona, perhaps allowing her to save the Priestess. The Archmage said he would need time to study the sap and find a way to help Thybalt. The Archmage was adamant, however, that the Priestess must be saved, even if Nimona or another member of the party died, because saving the Priestess would result in the greatest good for the greatest number.
The Archmage also told Lady Summerton to announce to Horizon that the Search has been successful, and that he will stand down as Archmage within the week.
The party retired from the Archmage to discuss at length the things the Archmage had just told them. What decisions await Nimona? Can the Archmage be trusted?
Rawdon also revealed that he has no recollection of the events that occurred between being knocked unconscious during the fight to rescue Lythvard in Horizon’s sub-city, and regaining consciousness during the fight against a Naga at the base of the Tree of Knowledge.
Lady Summerton returned and told them that Syrion, a paladin who once travelled with the party, wanted to see them. At the Archmage’s announcement of his resignation, a ceasefire descended over Horizon, so the party picked their way through the city’s rubble towards a location where they would meet Syrion.
However, a squad of the Crusader’s Ebon Gauntlet intercepted the party. They insisted that Thybalt join the Crusader at his side now. Thybalt refused, and battle ensued. Thybalt found that his warlock powers had been stripped. They battle was quite tough, with Nimona being knocked unconscious, but eventually the party prevailed.