After Seth‘s pit stop at the Hollow Temple, the four heroes continued their journey to embattled Qualinost. The way was blocked by malicious eladrin in vibrant purple uniforms, who sought to kidnap Seth’s comrades into their native Feywild using strange devices that allowed them to move at will between the planes. While his team extricated itself from the eladrin’s clutches, Seth made a curious discovery: he himself could not move through the thin places that connect the Feywild to the Material Plane. After consulting with the book imp Akuma, Seth reached the conclusion that the debt he still owed to the shadar-kai barred him from the Feywild.
The heroes found Qualinost in a sorry state. Eladrin armies, hundreds strong, had occupied the south quadrant of the city. Moreover, a dimensional anchoring ritual engineered by the eladrin had bound the Qualinesti to the Material Plane, preventing them from mounting a counterattack. The elves’ only weapons were their superior woodcraft, their limited military intelligence – returned by brave Qualinesti scouts before the ritual began – and the unanchored heroes Morden, Lutesinger, and Rilla. Scouting reports indicated that the ubiquitous rifts between planes were caused by a canary sapphire held by the eladrin. Morden, Lutesinger, and Rilla set off into the fey city of Hod to destroy the gem, while Seth remained behind to aid the elvish commander Joaquim fen Habbakuk’s offensive on southern Qualinost to draw the eladrin army through the rift and ease the way of his party.
The night was wildly successful. Seth’s improvised guerrilla tactics routed the eladrin, and his team in the Feywild reached the sapphire ahead of schedule. But abruptly, just as the gem shattered, Seth found himself three hours back in time, staring into the dimensional portal his teammates had just left through.
Once again, it was Akuma who helped make sense of this development. The sapphire, far from merely creating thin places, was the vessel that allowed the cross-flow of energy between the Feywild and Material Planes in Qualinesti. Without it, a planar suffocation enveloped the forest, which ceased to exist on either plane. But Seth’s debt to the shadar-kai was inexorable: Seth could not cease to exist without first fulfilling that debt. Instead, mysterious metaphysics transported him back to a time when he could have acted to save the forest.
Over the ensuing hours, Seth moved about independently, gaining information that he could use to swing events in his direction. Not least, he allowed his own capture by the eladrin, who brought him as a prisoner to a ritual circle; speaking to one of its members, the wizard Nadire, Seth gleaned information about the eladrin commander Taelthas the Twilit and learned how to earn Nadire’s trust.
The next night, Seth put his plan into action. Shaking his elven escort, Seth was again taken prisoner by Nadire and her circle – but this time he was ready with a message to be sent to Taelthas. Taelthas appeared at the ritual circle, and Seth explained how Taelthas’s own rituals to empower the gem had sapped it to the breaking point. He also divulged the elves’ plan to destroy the gem. In exchange, Taelthas gave Seth an iron dagger to emblemize a favor owed. Seth cannily traded Taelthas’s favor to the shadar-kai Nalani, resident of the Whitewood corresponding to Qualinost, in exchange for the return of his own. Now Seth was unstuck in time, and also unstuck from the Material Plane. He entered the Feywild and snuck through the unearthly brass and iron streets of Hod to reach the tower at its center, where the eladrin kept the sapphire. Reuniting with his team on the roof of the building, Seth saved the gem from destruction, and disrupted its empowering ritual in the bargain, thwarting the eladrin offensive for months. While they were unable to wrest the gem itself from Taelthas’s furious clutches, the defeat of the ritualists and the subsequent commotion allowed the elven army to retake Qualinost. The city’s short-term safety was assured, and Joaquim expressed a glimmer of hope that the races – thus on even footing – might be able to reach a concord.
In gratitude, Joaquim dispatched two druids to Seth’s Adastra to supercharge the town’s agriculture. After a day of celebration in Qualinost, Seth and his party left to the south to seek Wayreth Forest, all in ignorance of what they might find.