With rudimentary navigational skills, and Ioren’s unshakable faith in Gaia, the party sails generally northwards. They emerge from the Miasma at some point during the first night and are treated to an experience virtually unknown to denizens of the Continent: a starry sky.
Well into the second day of sailing, the wind begins to die, yet the ship still moves. Ocean currents, or something else? The presence of a wake seems to rule out the former. Fog rolls in that night as Crash takes his watch, and in the wee hours of the morning he spies another vessel adrift. Ioren and Edgar, with their enhanced senses, confirm that the ship is in poor shape and that there is nothing moving on deck, and the Hades Executioner is steered closer for boarding. A search reveals provisions and high quality wood for crafting, but no living creatures, nor remnants thereof, nor signs of a struggle aside from the overall battered condition of the derelict. The captain’s log indicates it to be an exploration vessel; the most recent entries, dated to three months ago, describe a situation much like the party is in now, with the last entry noting a rocky island off in the distance.
The fog eventually lifts to reveal said island, surrounded by treacherous, rocky shoals and dozens of floating derelicts. Though the party manages to divert the Executioner around the rocks, some of which are illusionary and some of which are concealed by illusions, the ship seems inevitably drawn to the island and picks up speed as it approaches. It beaches itself on the shore, leaving the party to disembark explore the barren locale. They find a lot of sand and many towering rocks, and a single catatonic, heavily-injured human. With no signs of anything else living on the island, the party returns to the Executioner with the survivor and prepares to (attempt to) leave. The fog returns with a vengeance; the survivor, who has been completely unresponsive to this point, places a hand on Crash as the medic tends to his wounds, and whispers, “It’s too late.” The party loses consciousness as they feel a strange presence in their minds.
They come to in a black, completely featureless landscape. After they stumble about for a bit, a figure clad in shining armor appears and begins to converse with them telepathically. Though amusedly vague and circumlocutious, he eventually gives his name as Echo and reveals himself to be tasked, bound, and cursed to prevent travellers from leaving the Miasmic Continent ever since the Crystal War. Naturally, he has to kill them, but he doesn’t have to kill them yet – several hundred years have made him eager for fresh conversation. Echo’s interest is further piqued after the party, when asked as to their purpose for setting sail, reveal themselves to be Shards, something he assures them is patently impossible because the Crystallis are dead. Ioren, the only non-Shard, he refers to as something even stranger and decidely not-human, which surprises precisely no one. Eventually, the conversation dwindles and Echo feels there is no more value to be had from putting off his compelled duty.
Hundreds of mirrors appear in every direction and orientation, with Echo blinking from mirror to mirror but otherwise completely motionless. He launches magical attacks and spawns full-powered reflections of himself as the party tries to keep up and not strike empty mirrors. Fortunately, they’re able to destroy his duplicates faster than he can create them, and the party eventually smashes the final remaining figure. The mirrors shatter, and the party “wakes up” back aboard the Executioner, only now there is a dragon laying defeated near the ship – Echo.
Echo finally puts a name to the previously nameless masters of his, calling them “Espers”. It was the Espers, he informs the party, that assaulted the Miasmic Continent with more of his kind and other monsters, that poisoned the air, and that bound him on this island-without-a-location to keep them imprisoned. Only in death is he free, and he actually thanks the party as he draws his last breath. The island, shoals, and other vessels all sink below the surface, leaving the Executioner and its crew to continue the journey to lands unknown.