A Future Changed?
With a quiver the statue of marble and coral, bearing the likeness of a strange and outlandish merian, began to move. With a quiver the attention of the Aquamancers and soon all of New Celest was drawn to the Spires of Aquamancy, and with a quiver of her hands and feet and soon her face, the statue came to life. Confusion briefly reigned as she attempted to comprehend what was going on - and shock ruled her as the Aquamancers Glacia, Lorina and Tridemon attempted to explain their situation. It quickly became apparent this aquamancer was from the distant future, originating from an era where the Time Dames and the Goloth had dominated all four cities and both communes, driving them into dust and charred ash. She spoke briefly of the days when they hoped to alter their own fate by sending a chronomantic cube back through the Wheel of the Goloths, to no avail.
Tears welled in the ambulent statue's pearl eyes as she was escorted to the Pool of Stars, weeping at the beauty of a thing from childhood legend. She spoke of the terrible destruction of New Celest and those who perished, the tragic loss of a link to the Holy Plane of Celestia and the Celestines and Paladins who were variously annihilated or lost to the higher planes. She mourned her own fate - to be pulled away from her fellows, and the fate of a rebel alliance she was a part of, for every loss was terrible.
Returning to the time-locked chamber from which she originated, the statue spoke of her longing to return to her time. It was the Aquamancers and the scholarly Manchal who convinced her of the need for her to be anchored in this time period, and then Manchal who probed further on how they fought back against the Time Dames without a connection to the Plane of Water. She spoke of how they had discovered a way to create a conduit through the planes, connecting the Prime Material to the Elemental Plane of Water. Too little, she said, for them to establish the connection needed for proper Aquamancy, however it was enough for them to pass through. Suggesting that forging such a connection might anchor her into this time period, Manchal and the Aquamancers set about providing the necessary resources she would need, with a sizable gold donation from the ever curious and occasionally invasive Sir Inagin La'Saet of the Paladins, who had kindly invited himself amongst their gathering. It was much too costly, she said, to forge a new one completely - but perhaps she could connect to one in the future, and in the process tether herself.
And tether herself she did. After days of pouring essence into a fountain she had constructed, the Aquamancers found themselves in possession of a rare and previously thought impossible thing - a rift directly from the Prime Material Plane to the Elemental Plane of Water, without a Nexus of Power as a conduit. Transversing, the statue disappeared in a splash of planar energies, and soon Telperion, Lorina, Tridemon, Glacia and others followed. Discovering themselves aboard a ship drawn back through time, the Aquamancers pressed through the only hall they could find, discovering the Lady Captain Vonuleish Ladantine, gazing sadly out upon the Starry Sea.
They spoke for a time, and as they did so it became readily apparent her memories of the future were fast fading. As she spoke she mourned the nameless faces she could see, and then could not see, blurs that represented them soon fading into possibilities, people not yet born or too young to have witnessed the events that could not possibly have happened. All that remained, she mourned, was what was immutable fact - the knowledge of the art they had employed for decades, fighting against the Time Dame's forces wherever they make their presence known. It was crude, she said, and never so powerful as Aquamancy could be. It was all they had however, and they employed it in force. She spoke of the vessel she used - an amphora crafted of platinum - made early in the days following the fall of New Celest, in homage to one of the Elder Gods who had perished attempting to save the city. She spoke of how they forged the pathways - too weak to forge true Nexuses of Power - and how they used them to reach ships that sailed the Starry Sea, and from there collected the raw reagents they needed to carry on their offense.
It was Lorina, the Lady Hand of the Exalted Lord and whose Cult of the August Healer bore an amphora as its symbol, who first asked to learn the art from Vonuleish. Soon other Aquamancers began to learn, more and more arriving to practice the art they would come to know as Aquachemantics.
And so the Aquamancers had, Manchal theorized, altered their fate and perhaps the very future of New Celest, providing new knowledge and means to battle the Time Dames in their eventual attempts at conquest of the Bastion of the Light.
As the N.C.S. Empress's Hope sailed the waves of the Starry Sea, some aboard their newfound ship began to wonder if it would be enough, or if they would still be the first to fall before the Time Dames. Or if, perhaps, they would now be able to turn the tide of war in their favour.