Chapter 1, Part I: Touched by Fate

Our story begins in six separate places across the face of Fynali.

Selkath Village.


Solendia Beach.

Amazon Lily.



An object, hidden in plain sight, discovered by our heroes on a day that had started out just like any other.

One touch and then it was there, inexplicably, the hunger for more. The desire for something lost that needed to be found. A yearning, an ache, a piece carved away and missing and calling out time and time again. But what?

And then, years later, on a night full of stars, or snow, or wind, or rain, depending where on the planet our heroes rested their heads, a ship, unmoored from time and space and consequence, sailed through their collective dreams.

Our heroes, suddenly dreamers aboard a ship of blurred and distorted faces, laid their eyes on the only other beacons shining through the fog.

As you close your eyes and drift off into sleep, you begin to feel a gentle breeze across your face. Suddenly you've found yourself aboard a large vessel in the middle of an endless sea. The moon shines light upon the ship as it travels through what seems like a void into the unknown. What looks like two large shooting stars swirl around the night sky in a game of endless tag. As you look out into the jet black sea, that feeling happens again, that yearning for more. But for more of what? You lose yourself for a moment as you think back to the last time you felt this. Suddenly the noises and revelry from the ship and those onboard draw your attention. You're not sure if it is the lack of light, or if perhaps you've had too many drinks, or maybe there is simply something in the air, but it is hard to make out the faces of the passengers clearly. The more you focus, the harder it is to hold their features in your mind, and their faces slip through your fingers like sand. Until you spot someone else across the deck. And then another. And another. Their faces are crisp and clear and stays solidly in your memory.

A wood elf druid, an astral elf wizard, a tabaxi rogue, a half-elf sorcerer, a human fighter.

The smudged faces of the others aboard the ship seemed to watch these heroes with interest, calling to them with gleeful enthusiasm. The blurs explained that the heroes were inside the Dream Suite on the Moonlight Carnival on the eve of the Warden's Festival, which is why they were unable to see anyone clearly other than other dreamers.

As they explored the ship and listened in on conversations, the heroes learned of the famous colosseum and the tournament held during the week of the Warden's Festival, a celebration held in the honor of the Warden and the sacrifice made by his divine father, Brio, to banish evil from the mortal realm.

The heroes began to break the ice, speaking with each other, and trying to learn as best they could, how they arrived on the ship, and what it meant, when Nohki, the wood elf druid, began to hear the chiming of a soft bell.

And the conversation slowly cuts out like the volume is being turned down.

And then, you wake up. As you pull yourself into consciousness, you can see and feel that you did not wake up in the bed of your home. Your eyes focus and you can see the faces of the only other people from your dream whose features you could solidly observe, and you are all rousing from sleep inside of a small damp room. Before you have the ability to orient yourself, the sound of banging on a nearby door cuts through your mind like a sharp knife. The door opens wide and standing in the frame is a large imposing figure. Your eyes begin to adjust as you notice this figure has bull-like features and sturdy hooves. Two horns stick out of the creatures head, one broken and blunted, the other long and very sharp.

The minotaur walked into the room with a clipboard in his hands. He introduced himself as Crete, and explained that the heroes were in the Warden's Colosseum and had signed up to participate in the Tiny Baby Bracket of the tournament.

he showed them the paper with their signatures, they all recognized their own named, but realized that the signatures on the page were not of their own hand. Crete told them that the only thing left for the registration process was to come up with a team name, and the heroes chose "The Dream Team."

Crete went on to explain that they would be able to borrow any weapons for use in the tournament, and warned them to be on their best behavior, as the room, like most places in Platinum City, were filled with Sentinels.

You step out into the large room, with a ceiling multiple stories high. The sounds around you carry up and around you, echoing off the stone walls and floors and the metal weapons in racks along the perimeter of the room. There is a single long concourse where rows of people-- warriors-- walk up and down the length. Off to the edges, you see groups of people clustered around benches and tables, sharpening weapons and banging dents out of shields. Stationed at regular and consistent intervals along the concourse are large metal statues in a vaguely humanoid shape. They are much broader on top, with spiked armor along where their shoulders should be, and thick plates of heavy iron bolted solidly in place over the entirely of its form with the exception of a single eye the size of a melon in the upper portion of its chest. The eye is set behind a thick bowl of glass that, every so often, flashes with a different color across the surface. Although the construct has limbs like a human--two legs and two arms-- there is no head in sight. The rest of the people in the arena don't seem to pay them much mind, though there are a few who give these constructs a rather wide berth before heading off to polish their hammers and axes.

Vance, the human fighter, pulled two scimitars from the wall, giving them a solid double test-swipe to see how they glided through the air. Xerxes, the half-orc sorcerer, despite having the best weapon of all--magic!-- took a greatsword to run his enemies through. Nohki selected a longsword and simple wooden shield. Bartholomew, the tabaxi rogue, borrowed two rapiers and a dagger, wanting the versatility to slice and dice her enemies however felt right in the moment. And Firebrook, the astral elf wizard, decided to stick with his magic as his main weapon of choice.

After you've obtained your weapons for the first battle Crete leads you to the entrance of the arena. The large portcullis opens up into arena floor. Standing in the middle of the arena you can see two figures one very large, and one very small. The roars of the crowd fill the stadium as the excitement of battle approaches. Patrons from all around the world have come to watch the annual warden skirmish. The voice of the crowd becomes louder as they all begin to chant "TINY BABY" in unison. The crowd begins to shoot firebolts, baubles of light, and various other spells around the stadium in a fantastical display mimicking the most advanced fireworks. Motes of pure white energy are seen from all over the stadium slowly drifting skyward and dissipating against what looks like a giant invisible dome covering the entire city.

A man with dark hair and deep brown skin stands up from his box high above the arena and, very likely amplified by magic, his voice travels across the entire colosseum.

"Friends of Fynali, as most of you know, I am Chancellor Ulrich Alden Darling and today marks the nine-hundred and ninety ninth Warden's festival here in our great Platinum City, the safest city in the world. You have all travelled so far and endured so much to be here and I am so thankful for your presence. We have three exciting matches to warm you all up with today. Without further ado, let the first match of the tiny baby bracket begin!"

The Dream Team decimated the father-daughter bugbear-goblin team, immediately shining in their ability to work together as a cohesive unit.

When they claimed victory over the pair, and were brought back into the standing area of the teams, Crete handed them all a bag of gold as their prize for winning the first round, and the team visited the vendors in the arena, some members spending their money to buy weapons or armor or potions.

Firebrook, who decided to save up his winnings, explored the arena in the downtime. He noticed a surprising lack of people from the thieves' guild and a white dragon symbol from Selkath village on one of the fighters waiting for her match in one of the higher tournament brackets that day.

Firebrook recognized this fighter as a famous warrior from Selkath Village: Myrveena, a dragonborn. She wished Firebrook and his team luck, and told him that Lady Selkath was actually there at the festival. She also gave him a healing potion to assist with his upcoming battle.

For the next match, The Dream Team faced off against the Aarakocbros, a team of aarakocras who besieged the heroes with aerial stunts and attacks. The Dream Team, however, was able to hold their own, and with another round of solid teamwork, dispatched the Aarakocbros handily.

Following this second match, Crete met the team with another bag of gold and a hearty congratulations.

The party convinced Crete to get them a full hour between the next match, which he was able to do. This allowed the team to take a short rest and restore some of their energy for the next match.

You make your way to the arena one last time. A group of four very focused combatants stare you down and crowd erupts with cheers and boos for both sides.

"We've reached the final match of the Tiny Baby Bracket and there has been some very exciting battles thus far. TWO undefeated teams will go head to head and claim victory and the grand prize. The Dream Team vs The Platinum Posse. Let the battle commence!"

The final match was against Platinum City's darling team, The Platinum Posse, a well-rounded team of four people who looked like a solid match for the Dream Team.

The match started off strong, with both teams landing some good hits on the other. The battle may have been one for the ages if it wasn't for the sudden, violent interruption that stopped the combat.

You hear some screaming from a nearby gate. A young orc man is pinned up against the portcullis. Something is violently slamming into the gate over and over cracking it slowly. You see a large creature with sharp beak and talons with a large bearlike body finally break its way free into the middle of the arena. Enraged and with nowhere to go it sets its sights on you and your opponents.

Realizing that the owlbear was absolutely the more pressing issue, both teams decided to agree to a truce in order to square off against the monstrosity. Although the Dream Team did not necessarily make calls that would keep the Platinum Posse safe per se, they did not actively or directly attack them during the fight with the large creature.

One of the Platinum Posse members went down, and then, not long after, Vance took a hit hard enough that it knocked him unconscious. And then, one by one, the rest of The Dream Team started to faint.

Less than a mile away, in that very same moment, in that very same city, a wood elf ranger also collapsed and slipped out of consciousness, the Verastin Elk kebob that he was eating falling to the ground with him.

Suddenly your mind regains consciousness and it feels like you're drifting in a large black void. There is no sound, no light, nothing. Just the feeling of you moving towards something, some sort of spark of light. As you get closer to this light you recognize that feeling that yearning for something. The light gets brighter, bigger and moves toward you faster and faster. The heat coming from it is excruciating and just like that it is over. Your eyes open and your back on the coarse ground of the arena, you all see each other laying on the ground as the last remaining member of the Platinum Posse goes toe to toe with the owlbear.

Feeling stronger than they ever had before, each member of the Dream Team laid into the owlbear with a new found and surprising power. Vance, connecting against the owlbear with his scimitar, unleashed an added acid attack that burned the creature's flesh. Bartholomew, swinging her rapiers, delivered a blast of cold damage with her attack. Xerxes send a ball of flames at the enemy with a slice of his sword. Firebrook sent an attack wreathed in lightning into the beast's chest. And Nohki, with an expertly aimed attack, infused poison into the blow. The combined damage to the creature took it off its feet, sending it to meet its maker.

The single remaining Platinum Posse member, wide eyed, yielded to the Dream Team immediately, surrendering the victory to them after seeing what they were capable of.

The crowd erupted into cheers that shook the stadium, calling out the team's name and waving brightly colored flags frantically to show the swell of support and excitement for the improbable victory.

The Chancellor, audibly and visibly stunned, called out the win over the rest of the stadium, congratulating the team before immediately excusing himself from the box and heading out of the stadium.

Completed: March 2023