The agents of Team Alpha were no strangers to dire situations, however their current prospects seemed bleak indeed. They were far from home and the merciless depths of the ocean stretched towards the horizon, seemingly endless but for a brief glimmer of red fire from the distant Lustrum Falls. Yet the Hunter-Seeker kept flying onward, drawing them ever further from Dark Atlantis, and ever closer to the island of Tinderforge.
Across the table, Sheila of the Fair regarded the agents with eyes like cold stone. Her Terrene underlings had just sighted the island, and would even now be placing a call out to Piper. Once that was done, the agents would be unable to stop the Fair from claiming Firestone. And if they survived long enough, they would even get to answer to Piper himself.
Suddenly the flying house was rocked with bone shaking force, and the Terrene scrambled to regain control of the Hunter-Seeker’s turbulent flight. The sharp cracking of timber rose over Sheila’s shouted commands, until that too was drowned out by the howling wind now tearing through sundered house. Sheila turned towards the agents, her eyes lit with fury and accusation, but whatever words she might have said were lost as she was swept out into the spinning night sky. The agents quickly hunkered down and braced for impact…
The next thing Splash knew he was floating amidst the wreckage just off the coast of the mysterious island. As he swam towards the shore, he found his mind drifting to a long forgotten memory of his childhood in the elemental planes. And how what might have been was stolen from him and his brother by the photon elemental named Strange.
Shaking himself from his unexpected reverie, Splash pulled himself and a stowaway Terrene onto the beach. The Terrene introduced himself as Smithereen Smith and quickly proved his usefulness by dislodging D.B. from the tree he had landed in. The group began making their way inland towards what they hoped was the other half of the shattered Hunter-Seeker.
The agents halted their progress as something huge began thrashing about in the jungle before them. D.B. turned and ran from the unknown danger, only to be checked in the face by the smarmy Ridley Warrendor. As D.B. crashed to the ground, a strange vision overtook him…
Inside the castle a man approached D.B., ordering him to assist in carrying out new orders from the King. It soon became apparent that these orders were to serve an eviction notice to several elder dragons.
The dragons protested that they had paid their taxes in full, even though it left them barely enough to cover their considerable medical expenses. The tense situation ignited as D.B.’s companion drew his dark blade and began forcibly evicting the dragons from their mortal coils. D.B. quickly drew his bow and began throwing it for all he was worth as the cavern exploded with torrents of dragon fire.
The last dragon drew one final rasping breath from his oxygen tank, and then all was silent. Unable to move, D.B. found himself staring up into the mad gleam of his companion’s eyes. The dark sword rose and fell once more, and the vision was washed away by a great darkness.
D.B. awoke to an even stranger sight than his sudden glimpse of the past. With Smithereen Smith and an adolescent dragon providing musical accompaniment, Splash was wildly dancing like a crab driven mad from thirst. His efforts at an impromptu rain dance appeared to pay off as a light shower of rain began to fall. The curious dragon, not a fan of such weather, lumbered off into the jungle seeking someplace to stay dry.
The agents continued onward in their typical fashion, setting fire to madmen, outwitting giant woodchucks, and leading men to their untimely deaths. At long last they were reunited with Salty Peat, Frederick Gerard, and the remains of the downed Hunter-Seeker.
Celebrations however were cut short by the return of Sheila, and the furious faerie was in no mood for further games. “I have your true name, and I will use it to crush your still beating heart for what you’ve done, Splash Winterfell.”
Perhaps frustrated at being of accused of something that for once wasn’t actually his fault, Splash Winterfall snapped back “That’s not my name.”
Sheila, much obliged, corrected herself and began to slowly extinguish his life-force, while D.B. was beset by former allies now turned into puppets of the fae. As Splash’s vision began to fade into that final darkness, he desperately shouted to the Hunter-Seeker for help.
Deep within the scarred remains of the semi-sentient house, something began to stir. A letter, written in a combination of elegant cursive script and a simpler block letters, slowly unfurled like a mailbox flower.
The house was wracked by pain and fear, but it had one last mission. It would not let down the neighborhood in its hour of need.
Sheila’s triumph was only interrupted for brief moment as she felt the strange nagging sensation of having forgotten something important… And then the house came crashing down around her.