When the Amatatsu Seal had been opened, Rehoofa had seen everything vanish, and had woken up in the burning building, pinned under rubble like the rest of the party, too crushed to even call for help. When the vision ended, he saw Elsa and Marcel talking to the evil Marcel, and ending with Marcel saying “bring it.”
The vision shifted then, and Rehoofa found himself sitting in the darkness next to Marcel and Elsa, though Leo was nowhere to be seen. The three of them caught each other up, and also healed from their injuries from the visions so far. Then the party found themselves looking at Kaellara, standing sullenly in front of a window looking out at a moonlit night.
Marcel poked Kaellara with Mage Hand, though she didn’t seem to notice. Kaellara looked at them, and the party saw she was wearing a wooden toggle around her neck like the other snowcaster elves had. Then she spoke: “It was me.”
The party could tell this was another memory, and that Kaellara was not talking to them, but Maia’s memory. In the memory, Kaellara confessed, saying that she had known the danger: she had broken into Maia’s mother’s house since she’d known the mother had been wealthy. Kaellara said that she hadn’t known she’d been followed, or that her pursuers had gotten into the house as well, where they’d killed Maia’s mother, and worse, found out where to find the young Maia and her father.
Kaellara said that everyone was surprised Maia had lived this long, though they said she might still die of her injuries, so she wanted to confess now, so Maia would know. The party felt anger bubbling up in them as Kaellara lowered her head in shame, and the vision ended.
Rehoofa woke up in his old monastery, with no sign of Elsa or Marcel. He felt like the events of the last months had all been a dream. He got up and went about his daily jobs, sweeping floors, eating gruel, and practicing. The monastery was full of elves who looked down their noses at Rehoofa, making it very clear he wasn’t wanted there, and they didn’t think he was good enough to be an archer.
Marcel and Elsa woke up in another forest. Marcel worried that the party was vanishing: Leo was gone, and now Rehoofa was, too. Marcel took Elsa’s hand, holding on tight and hoping she wouldn’t vanish too.
The two of them saw a stone building standing in the middle of the forest. Elsa by this point wondered if she could just collapse the building or set it on fire. The two of them crept up and peeked into the stone building through its narrow windows, seeing a few elves inside, one of which was looking right at them. The door opened, and an elf beckoned them to enter.
Inside the building, they saw a group of elves practicing their archery, drawing and firing arrows on command. At the back of the main room, Rehoofa was sullenly sweeping the floor. Elsa went over to talk to him, though the elves warned her not to distract him from his duties.
Rehoofa at first didn’t recognize the party. As Marcel and Elsa talked to him, the elves spoke, in unison, saying that they were not to distract him. When Rehoofa was handed his old bow and arrows, his memory returned, and he recognized the party, as his clothes changed back to his adventuring gear.
The elves shouted their anger, and their bodies flowed together, becoming an amorphous ball of elf bodies intertwined together. The party got out its weapons right as every elf drew their bow and fired, sending arrows spraying in all directions.
The party fought the “elf-ball” as it thrashed around the building, attacking them with hands and arrows. Rehoofa tried shooting it, but couldn’t seem to focus, missing with every shot until Elsa shouted “Rehoofa, get with it!” His next arrow was a solid critical hit, putting the creature down.
The vision ended, and another one began: the party found themselves in Tien Xia, in a village of pagodas and simple huts. The inhabitants of the town were ghosts yet again, but the party proceeded through, seeing a tall pagoda that proved more solid than the others.
Marcel used a wand to make Rehoofa’s arrows flaming, muttering he should have done this much earlier. Upon entering the pagoda, the party was attacked by a doglike monster that cloaked itself in shadows. It chased them out of the pagoda, but outside the party regrouped and was able to bring the beast down.
The ground floor of the pagoda secured, Rehoofa scouted up to the next floor. There was a crowd of ghost-people up there, talking with each other and not seeming to notice Rehoofa. He found Leo lying insensate on the floor. When he touched Leo, however, the ghosts and Leo all vanished, and Rehoofa found himself cursed, turning old in moments.
Marcel and Elsa caught up with Rehoofa. Marcel used a Restoration scroll (after several unsuccessful attempts), managing to fix Rehoofa’s rapid aging. The three of them then explored the rest of the floor, finding a small room in the back, within which was Suishen, sticking blade-first in the floorboards.
The party was hesitant to approach the sword, especially after the trap Rehoofa had walked into with Leo. Almost as disturbing, they could hear muffled shouting coming from somewhere. When Elsa finally steeled herself and picked up the blade, the voice cleared, and she could hear Suishen talking to her again.
Suishen told them that the oni’s power was weakening: at the beginning of the vision, the oni had repressed Suishen’s intelligence and ability to speak, but now it could at least talk to its wielder.
Re-armed and ready to end the oni once and for all, the party moved up to the top floor of the pagoda, where they saw the evil clone of Marcel waiting for them. The evil Marcel taunted them, saying they would never escape and that the Jade Regent would triumph, and then attacked.
The evil Marcel moved like Omoyani had, vanishing and reappearing, attacking from the shadows. However, the party had learned a thing or two about dealing with ninjas, and this time they were able to fend him off much more effectively. Ultimately, Marcel stabbed him, bringing the evil twin to its knees, and then Elsa beheaded it with Suishen.
The vision began to break apart then, the pagoda crumbling around them. Rehoofa leapt out a window and used his monk’s slow-fall training against the collapsing wall. Elsa jumped out the same window, using Suishen’s Air Walk ability to control her fall. Marcel, having no such training or magic, simply jumped out the window and hoped to survive.
Moments before Marcel would hit the ground, however, the party awoke, all of them opening their eyes to find themselves in a wagon. Next to them, Maia suddenly sat up, gasping and sweating. It seemed the vision had truly ended. Nearby, Kaellara had been watching. Seeing them awaken, she dashed off.
Maia explained that it had been an different experience for her than for them: she had been watching, but had not been physically there. She had felt the oni pulling memories from her, and had done her best to stop it. She had found she could control the vision, bit by bit: guiding the party to the solid buildings, even bringing back Suishen. The party gave their thanks, though Marcel’s was a very grudging thank-you.
Rehoofa was trying to process everything he had seen, saying he was worried he might never leave the dream world. That reminded the rest of them: what had happened to Leo?
Their answer came momentarily, as Kaellara returned with Arach, who welcomed them back and explained that they had all been unconscious for days. He led them to Meckrin’s wagon, where Leo was laid out, being tended to by the goblin. Apparently, Leo had nearly died a few days ago, and it had taken all of Meckrin’s training just to keep him stable since then.
Suishen, on Elsa’s back, said to the party that it had sensed Leo lose himself to panic and fear during the vision, and had sensed Leo’s mind slip away, seized by the oni. However, Suishen also confirmed that the oni inside of Marcel had been dealt with: the dark energy that had been twined around Marcel’s mind was finally wiped out.
Suishen also explained to Elsa that she was proving herself a capable warrior, and so it was willing to let her use a greater part of its power. In Elsa’s hands, Suishen was now a Flaming Burst sword.
As the party thought on what had happened and tried to rouse Leo, the caravan was pulling up to the next town, the Erutaki village of Iqualiat.