>Thoughts of the past and how you got here dwindle in the moments of sea spray, towering waves and the incessant howling of the wind. Sure, they said that reaching your obscure destiny would take courage, work and even faith, but this appears more like suicide. Why would you leave behind everything you knew just to save a multiverse that clearly places no value on your life…. >>The butterfly galley of the elves leaps from another wavecrest as it races forward, leaving your stomach in freefall. The last repast in Moonglum’s Gin Mill in Tanelorn has long since gone to the fishes and the banshee winds, though the acid taste remains. >>> With a scarcely heard cry, your helmswoman warns everyone to “stand by!” Unsure of what that could mean, you grip more securely to the spider silk netting that cocoons you, noting all the others doing the same with a quick glance through wind-ripped tears. >>>>Unmistakeably, the butterfly galley takes a longer leap than usual, with the wingsails tilting to carry and guide her. Feeling a fist gripping your heart for a moment, you wonder how much pain awaits. With a lurch that sends you against the bulkhead and audible spray off the port side, the butterfly galley skips and twists on a series of smaller waves, until she rights herself and takes on a more steady course. >>>>>Daring to get back to your feet and look over the side, you see shoreline racing past to port. A quick glance shows shoreline also to starboard, so you have entered a bay or river mouth. Within minutes you can clearly see that you are racing up a river, using all the tempest’s lessening fury to move inland. The focused look on the helmswoman’s face indicates that she is working with the galley and her wide spread wingsails to maintain balance, as well as a balance of speed and safety. With unanticipated relief, you doze off within your cocoon of netting. >>>>> > Hushed voices awaken you. Peeling your eyes open from the salt that still cakes your skin and face, you note false dawn. Leelah, your helmswoman, moves gracefully down the line, waking the passengers. Within minutes, everyone is gathered near the prow, lined up in the small space. >>>>> >>"On behalf of Lerond Nuween and Altariel Artanis, welcome to the unknown. As near as we can tell, our transition into this realm remains undetected, though caution remains the watchword. The mangrove barge remains at least seven dawns behind, though my master assures me that they are also safe. As you become accustomed to your connection to the “elv” you will know this just as well as I do. >>>>> >>>"The real work begins now. You have 20 minutes to offload your gear. From the high nest, I have spied a fortified settlement ahead on the right bank of the river, and when you are ready Mourning Cloak will nestle up close to the land, though she may not be able to keep your boots dry." You note, sardonically, that Leelah does not mind a little bit of humor at your expense, since nothing on the butterfly galley remained dry during the recent midnight race to land. >>>>> >>>>She continues, “Once you are ashore, explore, start making connections, and prepare for the arrival of the mangrove barge. Your orders remain in effect, so blessings of Altariel upon you.” >>>>> >>>>>Quietly, a few among you ask her questions about what she has seen. Additional details become clear. Your upriver journey took you about 15 miles inland. The shallow valley features a wide, slow-moving river, with some small, tree-crowned hills on either side, and puddles of marshy ground along the river’s course. To the right, or north, she sighted lights that indicate a port village or city along the shore, a likely place for the mangrove barge to moor and attempt to establish itself as a trading vessel. You recall your earlier briefings and wonder if you will precede them to the port, or find them waiting for you after you have overcome whatever challenges may await you.