In 10,012 XA?, Xanth proposed to Dananka? a truce? which would allow free travel between Acantha and Elysia?. They opened the portal and waited to see what would happen.

Things didn't go to plan

A tribe of Malaki followed Mystrider scouts through the portal and into Chandric Forest?, where they killed and maimed residents of several settlements, including the Athandíl? and Quessenar? communes.

When news of these attacks reached the League of Protectors?, they led a small army of mercenaries and representatives into the forest. They were preceded by a scouting vanguard?, who encountered the cannibalistic Malaki despite efforts to remain hidden. After a ferocious battle, the vanguard followed a single brave through the newly discovered portal to stop him telling others of Elysia's existence.

Life on the other side of the portal

After only a few hours of tracking the Malaki brave (named Garnak?) across the Badlands, the vanguard was lost and trapped on an alien world. They spent days attempting to relocate Garnak, but quickly ran out of water and food.

While one group stopped to rest (and were attacked by a leech vine? for their troubles), other members of the group ran into a water trap? and were infected by Red Mist? as they attempted to resupply.

The group eventually found its way out of the Badlands and into Peace Valley. Barely dodging boiling geysers, they were spotted by Mystrider scouts who directed them to Danae's Temple for a cure. Meanwhile, the uninfected were escorted to Vynett to help fend off a Malaki raid.

Diverging plotlines

At the temple, the infectees learned just how dangerous Red Mist is from a man who called himself a god?. He offered them a deal: acquire Ohani? eggs in exchange for the cure. His skyboat? whisked them and their rescue party to yet another new world called Neluna, where they met the Ohani. When diplomacy failed, the group resorted to stealing the eggs during a chaiku? attack.

Returning to Danae alive netted them not just the cure but permanent loan of The Vanguard?, which now remains tethered to the top of the colossus? when not in use.

Only participants of the Acanthan Arc may use The Vanguard. The harpy crew will react on a first-come first-serve basis, so you'll have to wait if it's already in use.

The homecoming

The vanguard return to Elysia? (minus several casualties) to find it in disarray. A massive, inter-realm quake has devastated towns across Elysia and Zanarya?, making whole neighbourhoods inaccessible. Several mines have collapsed, bumping up prices across the board. A tsunami swept the Ao Coast?, wrecking ships all along the Espur Straits? and cutting Dardanos? off from the mainland for two full weeks in the process.

On top of it all, several organisations fear Danae, the Malaki, and what their existence means for the Xanthian religions.

It seems like nothing will ever be the same again.