Arriving on Bral the crew gladly disembarks from the Man O War (getting some raised eybrows on the docks) and heads for the Warehouse. A quick update from K’Tel informs them that substantial monies have been put forth in their behalf by the EIN, including 60,000 gold (50,000 of which went to buy a new Dragonfly class ship) to the company and a sizeable bribe to Gadarick Main to halt the audit. Its about then that the Theridon’s daughter, Annya, shows up. A sprightly lass of about 17 with her father’s eyes and a tail!
While making introductions an EIN messenger arrives with an invitation to brunch the next day in the holdings of House Ellodan. That evening is spent at The RockRat, The Laughing Beholder, and then one of Hastain the Reigar’s legendary parties (at whick Etsuriko gets gleefully drunk to the surprise of all present) Theridon spends most of the time catching up with Annya.
The next day they are allowed entrance, with escort, to the Elven Forest. Arriving in a glade set with large tables they notice many familiar faces. Fong Lu of the Seekers, their EIN contact Silvanus, Kiade Ellodan Lord of the Bralian Void Elves as well as his cousin Silas Ellodan of the Celestian Temple, and many others are in attendance. Ld. Ellodan thanks everyone for coming and raises a toast. A magnificent elven feast follows, followed by brandymead and Kaave. It is then that discussion begins. Ellodan then introduces Adm. Icarus of the EIN RealmSpace Fleet.
Icarus then details the EIN reconaissance that the major engagements of the war (now covering 32 spheres!) seem to be misdirection. It is belived that several scro strike teams of one to three Mantis and Scorpion calss ships are making a surgical strike on some unknown objective. The scro believe it will win the war for them. There are also tales that a demigod leads them now, and it is the strike force he is with that shall be hitting the real goal.
“Everyone here has been involved in the war effort somehow. Many of you have come into contact with scro and their War Priests, as well as several major installations like the Gammaro Base. A massive bout of scrying magic is called for, et us see what we can glean from the currents of magic before we take action.” He then shares several pieces of news.
The planet Borka in GreySpace has been obliterated completely (rumor has it that the Elven Gods called down their wrath upon the planetoid); RealmSpace has become part of the front line of the war, and major engagements are constant there; and lastly the scro homeworld, Dukagsh, has been located approximately 18 months beyond known space lanes. The Priests and Mages in the gathering are brought into a small grotto with a scrying pool in it’s center, and the arcane recon begins. Kaolin and Drake are able to conjure images of Morkitar giving a firey speech to a platoon of scro shock troops on board a Mantis ship. Once all the info has been gathered that can, lots are drawn for the missions (just as on the Constellation on Edill).
The party is given two days to get prepared for this mission and then depart in an EIN Man O War ship, The Sword of Correllon. Shortly after takeoff Kaolin and Drake are invited to the bridge to bless the ship before departure. They are then allowed to stay as the ship uses its experimental helm (powered by a psionic and a spellcaster) to breach the dimensional barrier and enter the astral. The PlaneJammer makes the trip to GreySpace in three days. Unveiling another one of their unique helms, the elves put them aground using flitters equiped with cloaking helms that make them invisible. The are set down at the edge of Tovag Barragu, a massive group of standing stones dating from the Suel Empire.
Observation of the two Mantis ships at the circle’s edge reveals them to have only a small guard detachment. Our heroes decide to forge ahead to the center of the stones. On the way in Kaolin stops to use Speak With Dead on a corpse in order to glean information. The corpse was a cultist of Vecna who was slain by invading scro. He says a monstrous figure led the warriors, and they kept chanting, “Ascension!” as they came.
As they enter the center ring of stones they find signs of combat, blood, scorch marks from arcane energies and broken weapons littler the circle. Looking through the arches they see many visual distortions which probably indicate portals. Kaolin uses her portal sense on the one that seems to have had the most traffic. She gets a feeling of evil, but not of hostile physical conditions. It feels as though there is a rain forest on the other side.
Casting Invisibility Sphere and Silence on themselves they step through. The other side is an exact duplicate of Tovag Barragu, but with a few differences. It sits in the middle of a rain forest rather than on the edge of a salt flat, it also is occupied. A small tower rises from the center circle, and nomad style tents are arrayed about 120′ away. Investigation of the tents reveal a party of about thirty centaur nomads keeping watch on the tower. Deciding not to reveal themselves, they approach the tower just as two guards wearing the symbol of Vecna take up position outside the door