Opening the Supernal Door
Tasked with finding an elusive golden aurora bird, the crew and Siero meet a strange old sorcerer by the name of Marquiares. After being toyed with by Marquiares and his explosive supernal magic, Siero surprisingly discovers the golden birds she's been looking for during one of Marquiares' supernal eruptions.
One day the crew receives a strange request from Sierokarte.
Sierokarte: Have you heard of Table Mountain, everyone?
Sierokarte: It's very unusual! The peak is flat, and it's chock full of rare plants and animals!
Sierokarte: Most famous of all are the majestic aurora birds. You don't see those very often!
Lyria: Oh my gosh! Aurora birds? What I wouldn't do to see one!
Sierokarte: These are no ordinary aurora birds we're talking about either! The request is asking you to find one of the legendary golden auroras... A bird no one's ever managed to catch before!
Vyrn: Heh heh! If you manage to get your hands on one, you'll be in the history books, (Captain)! Let's get goin'!
The crew follows Sierokarte to a village at the base of Table Mountain.
Chatty Chief: Welcome, travelers, welcome! We hope you have a pleasant stay here at the famous Table Village, located at the foot of the equally famous Table Mountain!
Chatty Chief: Care to have a slice of our spectacular Table Cakes? Our Table Cookies make for wonderful souvenirs!
Chatty Chief: Or perhaps an item from one of our Table Mountain rare stone and flower collections is what you're looking for?
Sierokarte: Sorry, but we're not here to sightsee. Let me explain...
Chatty Chief: E-excuse me? You want to climb Table Mountain? I wouldn't do that if I were you!
Sierokarte: Hmm? And why would that be?
Chatty Chief: There's an old man in that mountain. The Supernal Sorcerer, they call him.
Sierokarte: Hmm... And who might he be?
Chatty Chief: As a matter of fact, he's the only one who knows the way up the mountain. You'll need to have him guide you personally.
On the village chief's recommendation, the crew heads to a cave deep within the forest in search of the mysterious sage they've heard so much about.
When they draw near, a deep, loud, thunderous thudding can be heard from deep within the cave.
The crew rushes inside, only to find an old man staring at the wall with a look of pure contentment on his face.
Marquiares: Hoowee... Nothin' quite so nice as some after-dinner eruptions, I always say.
Lyria: Er... You wouldn't happen to be the one responsible for all that booming we heard a second ago, would you?
Marquiares: Indeed! Those were the majestic eruptions of I, Marquiares, originator of the supernal arts!
Vyrn: Super-what now?
Marquiares: Don't tell me you're unaware of the supernal plane, grand source of all wisdom!
Lyria: Um... Come again?
Marquiares: How tremendously sad! I suppose I have no choice but to instruct you in them myself!
Sierokarte: That's quite all right! We'd really appreciate it if you showed us the way to Table Mountain's peak first!
Marquiares: Hrm? You're not interested in the supernal arts?
Marquiares: But they're so tremendous! Stupendous! Brainy and beneficious!
Vyrn: Gramps! We don't care! We're looking for golden aurora birds, so show us the way to the peak already!
Marquiares: You're looking for golden auroras, you say? Golden auroras here? Today?
Vyrn: D-do you know something about 'em?
Marquiares: Before I answer that, how about a supernal lesson? It'd be just the thing for what ails you!
Vyrn: Enough already!
Marquiares: Once you learn to listen to the voices of the stars, infinite supernal magics will be yours to control!
Marquiares: And don't look down on me just because I'm old! I may be over two hundred, but I'm just as sprightly as I was at eighteen!
Lyria: Wow... You're two hundred years old? You really are lively for your age!
Vyrn: No kiddin'! Seems like you're still enjoying the little things in life at least!
Marquiares: Oh, not you too! Your eyes say it all! You think I'm a sad old geezer! Why won't anyone believe me?
Sierokarte: Time is running short, everyone! Sorry, sir, but we really must be going now—
Sierokarte: Huh? Where did he go?
Vyrn: Siero, check it out! He's over there!
Before (Captain) and the crew realize what's happening, Marquiares leaves the cave and walks away.
Except he's not so much walking per se, but rather levitating toward the peak of the mountain using mysterious powers.
Marquiares: Hoowee... You may not be able to see it, but the supernal is all around us.
Marquiares begins to ascend a treacherous cliff, almost as if to beckon the crew forward.
After no shortage of effort, the crew manages to reach the peak where Marquiares has camped out.
Marquiares sees that everyone is present, turns around, and proceeds to hit the crew with a shocking revelation.
Marquiares: It pains me to say this to you after seeing you come so far, but... golden aurora birds don't exist.
Vyrn: So we just hauled our way up here for nothing?
Lyria: Oh... That's a shame. I really wanted to see them, too...
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh... I'm afraid so. I can arrange a visitation with some regular auroras, however.
Marquiares splays his arms out wide as if in prayer to nature itself and imitates a bird call.
In the next instant, aurora birds of every color fly into view, land on Marquiares' shoulders and arms, and begin chirping up a storm.
Aurora Birds: Chirp, chirp, chirp...
Lyria: They're beautiful! I've never seen so many pretty birds in one place before!
Marquiares lovingly looks over his flock before quietly beginning his story.
Marquiares: I live on this mountain, and these feathered fellows are the only conversation partners I have to talk to.
Marquiares: Or try to talk to, anyway. I'm not so good with bird-speak, you see. Can't make heads or tails of what they're saying, really!
Marquiares: Oh! There is one thing I can make out. Some kind of terrible fear they have of me that the birds all share.
Lyria: Oh my gosh, really? But they seem like they're getting along with you great!
Marquiares: And I'm happy to have their company. If you would kindly opt not to steal them away from me, that would make me even happier.
Vyrn: Sniff... When you put it that way... There's no way we could take your friends away.
Sierokarte: Hmm... Indeed. We'll just have to give up on the aurora birds, everyone!
Marquiares: Oh ho. You're quite the reasonable bunch! I'm sure you have what it takes to comprehend the majesty of—
Marquiares: Hrrgh! Ngh!
Marquiares grips his chest in what seems to be great pain.
Vyrn: Are you okay? Hang in there, old man!
Lyria: Sir? Can you tell us where it hurts?
Marquiares: Rrrgh... I have erred...
Lyria: What do you mean?
Marquiares: My eruptions and levitations...
Lyria: Eruptions? Levitations?
Marquiares: I overused them...
Lyria: You can do that?
Marquiares: The supernal arts are harsh indeed...
Vyrn: What's harsh about them? We need details if we're going to help you!
Marquiares: Don't worry about me! Hurry up and get out of here! Now! To the bottom of the mountain! As far from here as you can!
Lyria: We're not going to just leave you here!
Marquiares: It's fine! Go! If you don't... I may just...
Aurora Birds: Screech!
Lyria: The birds! They're all flying away!
Marquiares: Rgh... I can't... hold it in... anymore... Ngh...
Marquiares: Time for an eeeruption! Ruption! Ruption! Ruption! That's what being a sorcerer is all about, baby!
Vyrn: Wha-huhhh? What's goin' on!
Lyria: Please calm down, sir!
A tempest of blasts erupt around the party in an instant, alerting everyone present of why the birds felt threatened just a moment before.
That's when Sierokarte realizes something.
Sierokarte: Oh my! Is that what I think it is in the center of those explosions?
(Captain) and the crew manage to safely drag Marquiares off the mountain and back to the Grandcypher.
Marquiares: Terribly, terribly sorry, everyone. Should've kept the supernal demonstration to the bare minimum.
Marquiares: For whatever odd reason, I get a little crazy if I take in too much supernal energy.
Marquiares: And then you end up with a supernal eruption. Fweh heh heh...
Lyria: This is no fweh-ing matter, sir!
Vyrn: Seriously! You put your bird buddies in danger!
Marquiares realizes the severity of his mistake.
Marquiares: I didn't want to admit it, but that's probably the reason those birds feared me.
Marquiares: I don't know if I can ever return to that mountain. Oh, how can I... How should I continue living my life?
Sierokarte: Hee hee, that's simple! Just travel with us!
Vyrn: Siero! You don't get to decide that on your own! What do you think, (Captain)?
Choose: Just take it easy with the explosions.
- Just take it easy with the explosions.
- So what's this supernal stuff anyway?
Marquiares: Ah, but of course! Promise! Cross this old man's heart and hope not to explode!
Vyrn: For real? What if you end up exploding again anyway?
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh... I won't do any erupting. Not on the deck of the ship at least.
Vyrn: Waaait a sec! Does that mean everywhere else is fair game?Choose: So what's this supernal stuff anyway?
Marquiares: Hrm... Finally worked up the courage to ask, I see! The supernal arts draw upon a bygone cosmic wisdom with depth deeper than the aether itself!
Marquiares: All things behave according to its laws. Magic uses that wisdom as a power source. Master it... and the recreation of infinity itself even becomes possible!
Vyrn: Based on that explanation, all I know for sure is that you can't really explain it!
Marquiares: Is that what you think? I'll skip the explanations and get straight to the explosions then.
Vyrn: Hey! Explosions are off-limits!Continue 1
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh...
Lyria: It's kind of a shame, though. We couldn't get those birds you were looking for, Siero.
Sierokarte: Hee hee... To tell you the truth... I actually managed to spot a golden aurora while I was up there.
Lyria: Huh? You did? When? Where?
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh... You're a sharp one, managing to find my golden auroras!
Marquiares may be a strange old wizard, but the crew can't help but laugh along with him. What lurks within that laughter? Only time will tell.
Marquiares tells the crew he's taking a trip to the Supreme Supernal Council, but to Vyrn it just looks like he's taking a nap. When a group calling itself the Holy Sky Empire intrudes, Marquiares steps forward, suffused in supernal energies.
It's a beautiful day, but it seems Marquiares has been having a bad case of the jitters all morning.
Lyria: Is something wrong, Marquiares? You're fidgeting.
Marquiares: Well, you see... The quadrennial gathering of the Supreme Supernal Council is happening right now.
Vyrn: There you go again with that super-null stuff!
Lyria: The Supreme Supernal Council... Sounds impressive!
Marquiares: That's right, dear. The greatest sorcerers the sky has to offer, all gathered under one roof.
Lyria: Wow... Where is it held? Is it far away? We'll have to hurry if we want to make it in time!
Marquiares: Not quite. The council doesn't meet. Not physically.
Lyria: Huh? Didn't you say they gathered under a roof?
Marquiares: A supernal roof, dear. By projecting our consciousnesses into our supernal forms, we are able to communicate on a higher plane of existence.
Marquiares: We may be invisible to each other, but it allows us to converse across vast distances... and even time itself on occasion.
Vyrn: Sounds fishy. Like all this other supernal junk you talk about.
Lyria: Hee hee... It's a pretty interesting story though!
Marquiares: With that in mind... I will now embark on my trip to the supernal plane.
Marquiares: My movements may become slightly labored, but do not be alarmed. I am whole in body and mind.
Vyrn: Hold on! My danger alarms are going off loud and clear!
Marquiares: If I may. Supernal projection is an advanced technique accessible only to sorcerers who have undergone rigorous mental training.
Marquiares: Were someone inexperienced to attempt this exercise, their subconscious would become lost in the supernal plane never to return. Not something to attempt lightly.
Vyrn: I don't think anyone's planning on copying you, gramps.
Vyrn: And more importantly we don't want you accidentally exploding aga—
Vyrn: Geez, all that fancy talk just to say he's gonna take a nap!
As Vyrn says this, unruly voices come booming through the restaurant.
???: We are the Holy Sky Empire Black Dragon Vanguard! All citizens who live under the emperor's divine protection, take heed!
Strange Soldier: We are the Holy Sky Empire Black Dragon Vanguard! All citizens are to prepare their protection fees immediately!
Lyria: Wow... What an impressive sounding name!
Vyrn: I could have really done without another group of weirdos...
Vyrn: Hey, gramps! Wake up!
Marquiares: Yawn... What is it now? Can't a man attend his Supernal Council in peace?
Marquiares gets on his feet, tottering in front of the suspicious group of soldiers.
Strange Soldier: We are the Holy Sky Empire Black Dragon Vanguard! Do you dare stand against our great and holy emperor?
Marquiares: You think you control the skies? My supernal wisdom exists on a level incomprehensible to you fools.
Strange Soldier: Laughable! The Holy Sky Empire Black Dragon Vanguard is far stronger!
Marquiares: The great supernal arts are stronger!
Strange Soldier: Black Dragon Vanguard!
Marquiares: Great supernal arts!
Vyrn: I'm not sure it really matters, guys!
Strange Soldier: Shut up, shut up, shut up! You'd better take that back, old man!
Marquiares: Rgh... Gurgh!
Vyrn: You okay, gramps? You're lookin' pretty dizzy! Are you about to lose yourself again?
Marquiares: Hoowee... No sir... Just took in a little too much supernal energy, that's all...
Vyrn: This is bad... Hurry up and get out of here, gramps!
Strange Soldier: We are the Holy Sky Empire Black Dragon Vanguard! How dare you ignore us and flee!
Vyrn: We don't have time for you guys right now! Get outta the way or this entire place is gonna blow!
Strange Soldier: How dare you threaten the Holy Sky Empire Black Dragon Vanguard! Your insolence ends here!
Marquiares: Hurg... Gwurg... Hurb!
Lyria: Oh no! Just a little bit farther, sir! Hang in there until you're outside!
Supernal Shuffle: Scene 2
After dealing with the Holy Sky Empire's lackeys, Marquiares volunteers the party to remedy the ruffian situation. As soon as the crew arrives at the Empire's hideout, however, more foes appear to stop them.
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh... Sorry about that, folks! Just took in a little too much energy.
Vyrn: A little? We're always telling you to be careful with that stuff, gramps!
Lyria: That's right! You almost destroyed that entire restaurant!
Marquiares: Terribly sorry about that, dear. I just got a little carried away after seeing all those old friends of mine at the Supernal Council.
After defeating the strange militia group, the crew lets out a sigh of relief before speaking to the owner of the restaurant.
Owner: Thanks so much for the help, travellers. We had no idea what to do about those rowdy fellows!
Vyrn: Who were those guys anyway?
Owner: Sounds like they're just a bunch of thugs who took up shop in some nearby mountain ruins.
Owner: They call their little hideout something like the Skyscourger's Temple, but don't be fooled.
Vyrn: So they're just a bunch of thugs, huh? Sure would be nice if the local towns worked together to force 'em out.
Owner: You have no idea how much I'd like to do that, but...
Lyria: Is there a reason you can't?
Owner: The Holy Sky Empire has some kind of strange power at their disposal which they seem to draw from reading the movement of the stars.
Marquiares: The movement of the stars?
Vyrn: Whoa. That sounds an awful lot like your wheelhouse, gramps.
Owner: There were a few who dared to stand up to those ruffians, but they got their heads handed to 'em. Talk about a scary group...
Owner: And it gets worse! That Skyscourger's Temple of theirs is located right on the main road between our towns!
Owner: We keep trying to get the other towns to work with us to stop them, but negotiations are always getting bogged down...
Owner: If only that annoying mountain wasn't there. But what's my complaining going to do?
Marquiares: If it's all right with you, dear sir, I don't suppose you'd let me handle this?
Owner: You can't be serious! Are you going to take out those goons for us? There's nothing I'd like to see more, of course, but...
Vyrn: Heh heh, don't worry! (Captain)'s the leader of a crew of skyfarers!
Lyria: Just leave it to us. We'll get rid of all those bad guys for you!
(Captain) and the crew take the nearby mountain path to the Skyscourger's Temple.
As soon as they arrive, however, Marquiares begins whimpering like a child.
Marquiares: Vyrn... Lyriaaa... Can I go to the Supernal Council again? Pleeaase?
Vyrn: But we just got here!
Lyria: That's right. We need to get rid of the bad guys in the temple first!
Vyrn: Nooooo! Gramps! Wake up!
Strange Soldier: We are the Holy Sky Empire White Hawk Elite! You dare to challenge us, foolish barbarians?
Vyrn: Ack! More weirdos! And more stupid names!
Strange Soldier: We are the Holy Sky Empire White Hawk Elite! We got word of your exploits from the Black Dragon Vanguard!
Strange Soldier: We are the Holy Sky Empire White Hawk Elite! We, the mightiest forces the Empire has to offer, will smash you to bits!
Vyrn: We get it! You don't have to keep repeating your name!
Vyrn: And wait a sec... Aren't you the same guy from before?
Strange Soldier: Grk!
Vyrn: Yup! No doubt about it! It's the same Black Dragon doofuses we beat up before!
Strange Soldier: Lies! We're the toughest squad around! The Holy Sky Empire White Hawk Elite! The Holy Sky Empire White Hawk Elite!
Vyrn: I think I'm gonna need a nap after this.
That's when Marquiares opens his eyes.
Marquiares: Yawn... Sorry about that, everyone.
Marquiares: Been a while since I had a chance to enjoy a good chess game. Estarriola still has some fight in him after all these years.
Vyrn: Am I supposed to know who that is?
Marquiares: Hoowee! You don't know of the great Estarriola? He's one of the supreme sages, a true—
Vyrn: Don't care! Hurry up and teach these guys a lesson already!
Marquiares: Hoowee... Are you asking me to use one of my... eruptions?
Vyrn: Sure! Just make 'em go kaboom like you usually do!
Marquiares: Well, if you insist. And a one, and a two...
Supernal Shuffle: Scene 3
A strange, ghostly old man appears before Marquiares and explains that he once tried to master the supernal arts but failed. He begs the party to stop the group calling itself the Holy Sky Empire from misusing his research to dastardly ends.
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh... Do your worst! There are more explosions and eruptions where that came from.
Vyrn: Heh heh, you're sounding pretty cocky there, gramps! Can't deny that you saved our butts this time though.
Senior Citizen: Yes. I am truly in your debt.
Vyrn: Waaait a sec! Another old timer showing up all of a sudden?
Senior Citizen: Terribly sorry for the intrusion. I have been guided here by the twinkling of the supernal spirits.
Senior Citizen: And there can be no mistake. The radiance I sense around you can belong to none other than a tremendously powerful sorcerer.
Marquiares: Indeed. I am Marquiares, sorcerer supreme, he who opens the doorway to the great supernal plane.
Vyrn: Um, gramps? Could you maybe keep that stuff on the down low?
Lyria: He might get the wrong idea...
Senior Citizen: I thought as much! To tell you the truth, I too was a sorcerer who sought the supernal!
Vyrn: What the? He's another pal of yours?
Marquiares: Oh? What a delightful coincidence. What name do you go by?
Senior Citizen: No, it's not. I am but a pitiful wizard who attempted to open the supernal door... and failed. I don't deserve to be remembered by you.
Marquiares: What is this pity for? Hold your head high! Precious few ever so much as realize the supernal's existence!
Marquiares: That you managed the feat and dared to give chase is something to be proud of. Speak your name knowing full well that you are our ally in mind and spirit.
Senior Citizen: I appreciate the kind words... But I, having long since given up sorcery, do not deserve such esteem.
Senior Citizen: History has long since forgotten my name. I am now nothing but a fool known as the Holy Sky Emperor.
Vyrn: Whaaa? You're the Holy Sky Emperor?
Lyria: I don't believe it... You're such a nice old man. How can you be the leader of those bad guys?
Senior Citizen: I beseech you. They use the fruits of my labor for evil. Make them see the error in their ways.
Senior Citizen: And Marquiares... I want you to use your supernal powers to erase me and my wandering soul... from existence...
Vyrn: Whoa! He vanished? What's goin' on here?
Lyria: Oh no... What if he's a ghost?
Only Marquiares seems to know what's going on. He mutters to himself.
Marquiares: Something went wrong... and you ended up a wanderer.
Marquiares doesn't have long to reflect on the situation.
A strange man strides into the room. He's carrying something. Is this the fruit of the old man's labor?
Strange Soldier: Gwahahaha... We are the Holy Sky Emperor's last line of defense! The Holy Sky Empire Imperial Defense Force!
Vyrn: You're the same guys from before! Give up already!
Strange Soldier: Wrong! We are the Holy Sky Empire Imperial Defense Force!
Strange Soldier: And we have uncovered here in these ruins the great relic of the Holy Sky Emperor! As long as we have it, you don't stand a chance!
Strange Soldier: On your knees! Your lives are in the hands of the Holy Sky Empire Imperial Defense Force!
As he barks these orders, the strange man raises an unusual crystal to the ceiling.
In the next moment, it begins emitting an eerie light.
Vyrn: Humph! Whatever relics you've got, they're no match against gramps! He's the real supernal deal!
Lyria: That's right! Your plans are as good as foiled!
Marquiares: Fweh heh heh... I'll handle this one. I've absorbed plenty of supernal energy from my time at the Council today. Behold the might of a supernal sorcerer!
Supernal Shuffle: Scene 4
Marquiares uses a supernal eruption to blow away the Holy Sky Empire's home base... and the entire mountain range with it. The spectre of the old man appears one last time to express his thanks before vanishing; the crew realizes Marquiares was telling the truth about his powers.
Strange Soldier: Waargh! My mountain! My dreams! The Skyscourger's Temple! You blew 'em up!
Vyrn: Gramps! You didn't just blow away the temple, but the whole mountain too!
Marquiares: Hoowee... I've really done it this time. The guy back at the village said he wanted it gone, right? Should be fine.
Lyria: No it isn't! You can't just change the entire face of an island!
Senior Citizen: That was most splendid, Lord Marquiares. And with any luck, no one will misuse my research ever again.
Marquiares: So it's as I suspected. That research of yours turned you into a supernal wanderer...
Senior Citizen: Though it pains me to admit it, yes. I attempted supernal projection, but my lack of experience cost me dearly. As you can see, only my spirit remains.
Senior Citizen: But by blasting my physical form away with your supernal eruption, I am now free to pass on to the next plane of existence.
Senior Citizen: Marquiares, supernal sorcerer supreme... I thank you... from the bottom of my heart.
Vyrn: Sorry for doubting you before, gramps.
Lyria: We're really sorry, sir.
Marquiares: Hoowee... Don't worry about it, dear. Never bothered me one bit!
Marquiares: More importantly... Mind if I check back in on the Supernal Council again?
Vyrn: You're not going back there! If you make things go boom again, the whole island's going down!
Lyria: We have no choice but to put you on supernal lockdown!
Marquiares: Come on, dear. Just a little bit? Pretty please with a cherry on top?
Lyria: No! Absolutely not! No ifs, ands, or buts!
Whether fact or flight of fancy, the elderly mage Marquiares claims to manipulate so-called supernal power.
Slowly but surely the crew begins to believe in the glorious, heavenly might spoken of by this diminutive old wizard.
But perhaps it will be some time before the rest of the skies follow suit.