B’litk crosses the flaming portal into another extra-dimensional space. Actually, it is more of an extra-dimensional expanse. B’litk can see the horizon all around it. There are no mountains, buildings, or visual barriers. It is an endless expanse filled with clouds and light. Unsurprisingly, as soon as it enters, the portal dissipates, the fire jumping back to adorn the dancer’s body. B’litk finds it is becoming monotonous that all doors seem to close behind it.
The golden dragon raises its paw and flicks a claw, calling B’litk closer.
“Well met, traveler. I am Xieniphayg. It’s been eons since I’ve encountered one of your kind. So I assume something went wrong with the Timeshards?”
“With one Timeshard. But it is solved now. I am B’litk. Well met, mighty dragon,” B’litk replies.
“And I assume you got lost in the timestream?”
“Yes. I am looking for a time-anchor so I can return home. I miss my younglings,” B’litk says, with what passes for longing in its wrinkled face. “Do you know where I can find one?”
“Yes, I do. But you must find it on your own, if you are worthy. Which brings forth the question of your helper. Apparently, you have already proved yourself enough to captivate a being from another dimension, albeit a primitive one,” the dragon says.
“Here is what I will do. I will show you two paths to follow and a riddle to solve. But the riddle will be drawn from the culture of your helper. If the helper is really on your side, and worth it, you will know where to go.”
The dragon waves its tail, dissipating some nearby clouds and revealing an ancient stone well. Another wave and other clouds climb together, forming a staircase up to the shining portal.
"Riddle me this:
"One path will lead to the end, the other to the beginning.
The end begins on the opposite of Dante's own inferno's end.
Beware of beginnings for they are as deceitful as a Groundhog's Day."
The well’s rope is a fine thread of blood-red silk. B’litk climbs the well’s wall and peers inside. It is the entrance of a magma underworld. The crimson thread ends down below in a multifaceted polyhedron balancing over fire and sulfur.
Up above the clouds a magnificent portal peacefully reflects the golden hues of this pocket universe’s moonlight. The combination of light and heavenly fog prevent any attempt to see what’s on the other side.