A vision, or a dream.
Morg saw a battle taking place outside, explosions and flames everywhere. He was unable to move, but could see straight ahead. Morg was in a tower, seemingly on the top floor. He could hear the tower being bombarded. An old man in long, silvery robes stood before him. He had aged, grey long hair and similarly long beard. The man seemed to be tinkering with something in his hands, a small metallic object. The man waved his hands around the object briefly and it began to float before him. Purple waves emitted tiny sparks as the object seemed to be absorbing the energy. The man then reached to push the object towards Morg. It began to pass through his body, becoming one with him.
“There ye go. That’s the last enchantment. I’m afraid I’ve run out of time.” The man sighed. “I wish I could have seen ye awakened. Just once. Ye’re my last work, my greatest. Morg. I spent weeks trying to think of a good name. When ye wake, ye’ll know that yer name is Morg.” The man turned, then started to walk to leave. He then turned back around and put his hands on Morg’s shoulders.
“I wish ye all the best. Ye’re going to be an incredible person, to be sure. But yer life won’t be easy… Gods. I’m such an old fool. Ye can’t even hear me… Sentimental old fool.” He sighed. “There’s nothing for it. Goodbye.”
Then a blur of images and sounds that were indecipherable made way for another scene.
An ornate marble tower with incredible architecture. There are massive columns that stretch all the way to the ceiling and this circular room is punctuated by the sound of softly trickling water from the sides. There are seven aged people, each in long robes of varying colours: deep blue, dark grey, brown, green, pale yellow, violet and maroon. A last man, the same man from before, but younger, walks into the room, coming into the centre of the circle. The others look at him with disgust. Morg can recognise Rary, the Kenku as the one in the brown robes.
The one in blue yells at the man in the centre:
“You CANNOT disband this council. You don’t have the authority!”
The man in the centre coughs and says back, fairly calmly, “I am the founder and leader of this council, and it has betrayed it’s purpose. Thus, it shall be disbanded. We are to remain neutral!”
The man in maroon says: “As a neutral force, we can do nothing to stop the evils of this world! It is necessary that we intervene as often as we can to change the world for the better!”
The others all agree and call out “Yeah!”
Mordenkainen says: “We are all powerful mages. Perhaps the most powerful in all history. We have forged spells ourselves the likes of which this world has never seen! These past few centuries have been a revolutionary increase in our understanding and mastery of magic. It is important that we wield that power with responsibility!”
The man in green says: “We have had much time to discuss this, master Mordenkainen, and we, as a council, elect to remove you as leader! It has been far too long that we have lived under the heel of your feeble rule!”
Mordenkainen: “You what!? Do you not see? I do not care about leadership! I thought that I taught all of you to temper yourselves, to keep your emotions in check!”
Grey robed man: “Think about it. We are supposed to be protectors of this world! Yet gnolls, orcs, all manner of monstrous creatures attack helpless people, destroying their lives! Children die. Hopeless, because we stand idly by and let it happen!”
Mordenkainen: “I do not relish the deaths of innocent people, but it is not our place! We were formed to defend the world from bigger threats! We must keep our vigil and steel ourselves. Before we formed this council, Tiamat invaded this world! She had thousands, maybe even millions of dragons at her command! There was death everywhere, on a scale you cannot even imagine! Bahamut and I were barely able to expel her back into the Astral Sea and defeat her dragons to restore peace. Though she may not return now, there are other evils like her, that plan to exploit our world. But they are not overt in their methods! She had millennia to gather her forces and it took her days to bring the world to its knees! And if we hand ourselves over to distractions, give up our post for even a minute, something like that may happen again! I CANNOT. I WILL NOT. I know that you have not had to deal with a threat such as her before, you feel ennui, boredom, but we are the Sage Council. I formed this council so that in the future we would not have to rely on the gods for help if something happened.”
Pale yellow robed man: You speak too much, old fool. We are powerful enough that we can do both! We can keep the world safe from ALL threats, large and small. And we will start with you. You, in all your neutrality, all your false wisdom, would hold us back from the greatness we could achieve!”
The pale yellow mage launches a fireball from his hands at Mordenkainen and the smoke clears to reveal that the silver-cloaked wizard had put up a magical shield.
Mordenkainen: “I do not want to fight you all.”
Blue robed man: “Oh, but you see, we WANT to fight you. Show us why you deserve to be leader! Show us if you’re so powerful! But I think you’re a decrepit old man who’s past his prime!”
Mordenkainen launches himself into the air, breaking open the roof of the building with magical force and then escaping into the sky. A second later, all seven of the others are in pursuit, streaming spell after spell at him. Streaks of green acid and white frost launch past Mordenkainen’s head as Morg’s vision blurs again and he awakens.
He finds himself aboard a ship in the dim darkness. He can feel the gentle rocking as he lies on his back and hears the sound of oars rowing in the water.
There are small lights all around the ship, what appears to be glowing fungi that provide very slight luminescence. A drow stood over him as he heard Ormathulak order him to go down into the underdeck and row.
Down below, a red-haired gnome named Ilthia in tattered clothes and chains clutches an oar. The rest of the party waited for Morg. Ormathulak had forced each of them to give up their weapons and armour. Eventually, Ormathulak and the drow order Morg to come with them to the gold island so they might uncover the mystery. In the meantime, the warlock uses his powers to pass insubstantial through the wall of the ship to another room below the quarterdeck, luckily finding their gear. He could not take all of it with him, but chose some supplies and brought them back with him to Obsidian and Maramros.
Meanwhile, Morg reached the golden island and found that he seemed to feel an energy resonating between him and the island. He began to let his conscious mind go and started to go into a kind of trance, moving unbidden, finding the runes on the edge of the island and activating them. Suddenly, the island began to lift high into the air, until the gold colour from the slab disappear and jumped into Morg. The island fell back to the water with a loud slap, leaving everyone, including Morg, not sure what just happened.
Returning to the ship, Morg, the drow and Ormathulak went back below deck to speak with the others (who had cleverly concealed as much as they could of their weapons). They negotiated, Ormathulak agreeing to allow them to return to the surface in exchange for their ship. He could not go with them because all they had to climb back up the waterfall was a rope and the town they went through to get into the underdark would not be hospitable to beholders, even passing through, but he asked that Ilthia and the drow go with them to ensure they would hold up their end of the deal.