The strange illness seems to be spreading, keeping Kaolin busy using her restoration spells to save various members of the crew. Deciding that the situation is critical and time is of the essence they begin mobilising the crew to transfer all aboard and essential equipment (loosly defined of course) to the tinker gnome ship. The crew is apprehensive, but far more afraid of the vortex and the escaped drow than of the gnome craft. Drake mobilizes a team of ten to move his quarters over and then, with Cyril as assistant straw boss, to move the personal items of the entire command crew. While the packing up is going on Etsuriko finds some paint and paints a huge Shou ideogram on the rear of the ship (closest translation in common would be, “infernal contraption.”).
Once everything is transferred the batten down the hatches and prepare for the escape attempt. While Theridon powers up the psihelm, Kaolin casts curse of the brute on Etsuriko, Ozzy, and Tavist. With Tavist and Etsuriko in one wheel and Ozzy in the other they set course for the barrier. Drake, keeping lookout on the aft bow detects Dostrealt’s staff on a nearby neogi Deathspider. As the Steam Wheel begins to move the Deathspider activates and follows, deftly avoiding a minor image of a wall of iron Drake cast behind them. It proceeds to pace them staying just out of spell range. Careful observation shows it to be crewed by skeletons of various races.
Theridon gets off the helm just before the sidewheeler strikes the turbulence field. Both ships hit the vortex barrier simultaneously. To Drake’s arcane sight the two ships seem wrapped in a coruscating field of arcane lightning, the fields around the two ships joined by a huge arc amidships. It seems as though the magical field around the Deathspider is interacting with some other form of energy beyond Drake’s spectrum of visibility. The ships remain connected by this strange field as they are battered in their trip through the vortex.
Taking some heavy knocks resulting in a few crew casualties and a hole in the hull, the exit the vortex in the Phlo near their previous position. Both ships hang dead in space for 24 hrs while their pilots recharge. The next morning (ship time) the Deathspider begins to charge them, firing huge bolts of arcane energy from it’s mandibles. The chase ensues, the Deathspider staying just out of spell range and continuing to fire upon them. Theridon drops to tactical speed in an attempt to engage the drow, but the Deathspider overshoots them at spelljamming speed.
It takes another day to reach the GrommSpace sphere. Kaolin cheers as the planetary display lights up an illusory image of the Grommish star system. Three days in towards Gaya, they are approached by three EIN Man ‘O Wars and a strange organic looking ship like nothing they have seen before. Drake uses a Major Image to produce huge vibrant orange flashing letters in elven saying, “We are NOT gnomes!”
The ships pull to, the Man ‘O Wars flanking the unfamiliar ship. Shortly afterwards seven figures leave one of the EIN ships on gadabouts and fly towards the sidewheeler. As the command crew gathers on deck an EIN officer (rank of Hiril or Lord) lands, with six hadozee warriors in EIN colors as guard. The leader, Lord Elrohir, adopts the usual arrogant void elf attitude, to which the Cmdr. responds with more of the same. After he drops the Grand Admiral’s name things get tense