With a sense of deja-vu that struck concern into the hearts of those who had previously entertained the Mature Dragon emissaries, six figures descended upon the Basin of Life. These emissaries were, they explained, from the group of Mature Dragons who had previously visited New Celest. They wished to present an offer to mortalkind in return for their service.

Naturally, this was not met with the greatest trust – least of all in New Celest, who in addition to their understanding reticence as the victims of the group’s lost kin, held strongly to the Avenger’s warning that no more groups of Mature Dragons should be allowed to reach the Seal of Time.

Other organisations were more cautious, seeking to understand the Dragons’ offer in full. To each organisation they explained the deal: they would craft four singularity of essence, and each would be used to empower the Elemental Lords and the Dream Aspects of Hart and Crow. This would act much as the sands of the Dreaming do each year, but would empower them even further, supercharging the beings and their corresponding planes beyond their usual capacity.

In return, the Mature Dragons themselves would receive some degree of power for themselves, allowing them to seek to unify with the former True Dragon Isikathi in the Seal of Time – and achieve Yugomaru, so they hoped, with much more success than their foolhardy kin of the previous month.

But the cities and communes of the Basin of Life remained reticent. This was in no small part because the emissaries themselves were particularly difficult to deal with. In Gaudiguch, the emissary, whilst being kept entertained by the citizens there, mostly spent her time insulting those around her. Magnagora took a wiser approach, taking advantage of their emissary’s vain nature to lure her into giving up as much information as possible. In Serenwilde, the emissary constantly referring to the forestals as “peasants” did little to endear them to her offer.

Still, no one was certain. But unbeknownst to the adventurers, help was coming. Seeing the need for a circumspect intervention, Avechna the Avenger sent messages to the Nexus Keepers, urging them to send representaties of the cities and communes to the destroyed space outside the Cave of Time.

There, Avechna explained that there was an opportunity. They could take the singularities of essence that the Mature Dragons offered, and bring them not to the Aspects or Elemental Lords, but to Him. He would take that power and use it to erect a shield around the Cave of Time – using the Dragons’ temporal power against them, and negating as much of their inevitable assault as possible.

Many leapt to this at once. Some were even already gathering essence for the task, and brought back singularities quickly. They set themselves to the task, sending people to entertain their emissaries with the promise that they were most certainly helping, whilst others went to the outer planes.

In Glomdoring, however, things went quickly awry. A treacherous voice began whispering in their emissary’s ear, revealing to them what was being done under their nose. Enraged by this betrayal, the emissary vented their ire upon informant and forest alike for a day, before departing having crafted only one of the singularities for the Glomdoring, leaving the traitor to take what comfort they could from the fact that the dragon had not revealed their name.

The other organisations, however, continued apace. The vast majority of singularities were crafted and brought to the Avenger’s pillar of protection, though one or two went mysteriously unaccounted for. Whether this was deliberate opportunism, a genuine accident, or an attempt to ensure that the emissary believed the overall deception – well, that remains unknown, as far as the Basin at large is concerned.

Eventually all that could be gathered had been, and the people of the Basin gathered to watch the Mature Dragons’ attempt upon the Seal of Time. Just as the others had done before them, they claimed that this was their destiny, and became one being as they descended towards the Cave. Theirs was a far gentler descent; they dissolved into sand, much of which was prevented from pressing on into the Cave by the temporal barrier that mortalkind had created with Avechna’s help.

Thanks to that shield, the Nine Seals weakened, but did not crack – the worst of the onslaught avoided. The Avenger reiterated His call for an Ascension, and urged mortalkind to do all that they could to avoid any further Draconic incursion upon Isikathi’s Seal.