As the xixchil looks at the newcomer she sees a petite elf of exactly five feet with pewter colored skin and slightly slanted eyes. There is a definite resemblance to Tavist.
The dragonblooded half drow snaps her fingers and two drow males bring in a sack and throw it at her feet. It is just the right size for a corpse. She gestures towards it. “A message for the Elven Fleet, father. So glad that you could be our errand boy.”
“Should I ask how your mother is?” he responds.
“Probably not,” she shakes her head slightly, smirks and raises an eyebrow. ” My name is Kalarra, Father” she says as she and the other drow step back into the shadows and disappear. Taj detects traces of shadow walk magic.
Marcus meanwhile is stunned, “That… that drow is your daughter?!?!” Tavist tells him its a long story as he turns to investigate the “message for the EIN.”
Examining the sack they find a scroll tube tied off to the rope that was used to tie it shut. It also becomes obvious that there is a body inside. Taj and Kaolin open the bag while Tavist tried to open the scroll without disturbing the seal.
Tavist manages to foil the seal and opens the scroll to read, , “The Nation of Eternal Twilight declines your generous offer. We have no reason to see the suns of the world above continue to shine. ” There is no signature and the flowing script is written in undercommon. Meanwhile Kaolin and Taj Pach find that the contents of the sack consist of only one thing: the body of a void elf in an EIN Ambassador’s uniform with a gaping hole in his chest where his heart has been ripped out.After searching the area and sealing the Celestian rest stop Kaolin casts sanctuary while Taj casts a rope trick. Kaolin anoints the elf’s body with sacred oils and says a few prayers over him. They bed down for the night inside the rope trick leaving the ambassador’s body in the chamber outside.
The next morning the put the ambassador’s body into Kaolin’s carpetbag and then sit down for a heroes feast. Once properly fortified the hadozee priestess casts wind walk and they make the last leg of their journey back to the surface.
Once on the surface they pay Marcus and Tavist tries to hire him. The underdark guide declines and returns to the realms below through the cave entrance they just left.
While Kaolin and Tavist engage in a long winded argument about what to do next Taj wearies of discussion and teleports everyone back to warehouse 23 in Greyhawk. Grimm seems shocked to see them so soon and immediately informs them that representatives, high ranking ones at that, from both the Church of Celestian and the Elven Imperial Navy have been round asking for them within the past few days. The EIN representative should be back this afternoon.
Now that they are back and safe Kaolin pulls out a diamond the size of a plum and begins chanting the prayers of resurrection over the elven ambassador. Moments later his chest heals up and he breathes a ragged sudden breath. As he composes himself he gives his name as Aravan. Kaolin immediately barrages him with question and comments until Tavist grabs the manic hadozee by a single hair and drags her from the room.
Bouncing through the office Kaolin is bubbling with excitement, “it worked! I just brought someone back from death!” Taj mentally corresponds with Grimm, telling the dwarf to order a celebratory cake from the local pastry maker.
Once Aravan has had time to get himself together Kaolin casts heroes feast and they all sit down to dine. The magic fortifying properties of the holy food does the ambassador a lot of good, although his eyes retain the look of someone recently tortured.
Mid meal a servant comes in and announces that an EIN admiral is here. Tavist tells them to show the admiral in. Moments later a grey elf with long golden hair and deep purple eyes is ushered in, a sunsword hanging in a scabbard at her side with the wire twist of a Greyhawk peace-bond wrapped around the pommel.
“Admiral Kannis Koehtriaque of the Elven Imperial Navy, called Eagle Dawn and Dancer of the Forgotten World” announces the servant who then bows and departs. Tavist notices a rarely seen insignia among the medal s at her breast: Lionheart, the grand base of the EIN.
After standing and making introductions the admiral asks for privacy so they send away all but Kattar. Kannis informs them that the EIN has the fabled artifact known as the Staff of Celestian , and that due to a centuries old agreement between the EIN and the Church of Celestian Kaolin’s services are required in Spiralspace immediately.
Agreeing to give him an answer shortly the three bicker for the next hour about the proper course of action. Kaolin is bursting with excitement to see an artifact of her deity up close but by the same token suns are going dim across innumerable spheres. Eventually they decide to go to the Rock and see what the Fleet wants of them.
They talk to the ambassador about setting a guard on ancient Nautiloid and he agree to get some warbirds detailed to the area as quickly as possible. When Admiral Koehtriaque returns they tell him “we’re going to take the quick way, inform your men you will be on Bral by dinnertime today. They then proceed to the Green Dragon where thy take the portal to Sigil. Moving quickly through the city they make their way to the Celestian Temple in the Lady’s Ward where they take the portal to the Celestian Temple on Bral. The admiral is quite taken aback.
They emerge on Bral to find it snowing, unusual in a city that never has noticeable weather beyond a light periodic rain. The admiral leads the way to the Elven Forest amidst the freezing snow and sleet. Entering one of the tree buildings of the elves they warm themselves by a glowing fire in a room full of high ranking Fleet officers.
Shortly after arriving they recognize the figure of Grand Admiral Lylanna Nuliaque, “Daughter of the Wolf, Mistress of the Forgotten Hope,” enter, flanked by her two silent bodyguards. In her hand is held the grey shaft of the Staff of Celestian. Kaolin’s eyes go wide. Looking around the Grand Admiral speaks. “Good, everyone is here. Let us proceed.”
Sar, Casualik snaps his fingers and everyone in the room is telported to a huge, richly furnished ballroom with a glassteel skylight facing into wildspace. Tavist and Kaolin recognize it immediately as Castle Skyview, the palace of Prince Andru of Bral.
Prince Andru, attended by Diadan Cartan his spymaster (father to Kaolin’s apprentice Cyril Cartan), steps forward and greet the group. He and Grand Admiral Nuliaque explain that Bral and the EIN have had a sub rosa alliance for two centuries now. The EIN have unlimited use of the facilities on the downside and at the port as well as owning the land on which the Elven Forest sits (the only land not owned by the crown on the Rock). In return the EIN must use Celestian’s Staff to move the Rock from one sphere to another during time of need. This happend once 150 years ago when the Rock was moved from its original home in Realmspace’s Tears of Selune to Spiralspace, accounting for the many conflicting legends about its location.
In order to use the Staff in this fashion a “High Priest of great power” must wield it. Kaolin, being the most powerful Celestian available, has been tapped. As Kaolin steps aside with a group of Celestian Priests and elven wizards Tavist wanders over to Sar Casualik. As he approaches he sees a stiff interaction between Sar and Kanis. As she walks away he hears Kanis mumble, “tightass.”
He then proceeds to fill the tall mage in on his adventure in the underdark of Oerth, particularly meeting his daughter. The tall mage has something for Tavist as well. The EIN has been able to determine, with reasonable accuracy, that there is a scholar who can tell them of Arrack and the Annulus. His name is One-Six-nine and he is a Fal residing in Herdspace. Tavist arches an eyebrow at the news. Falmadaraatha are huge slug like creatures that eschew proximity to civilization. They are known as the “scholars of wildspace.”
The meeting breaks up and Taj teleports them back to the main office of House Seven Stars on Bral’s docks. Kaolin goes to a private chamber to meditate and prepare herself for the ritual while Taj and K’Tel batten down the hatches. The sound of heralds voices reach them through the closed windows, informing the population that the Rock will be moving to a new sphere and to remain calm and indoors until further notice.
While Taj is securing the offices Tavist stops by the House of Metege, miraculously still open, and drops off his tunics to be altered. With newly sprouted dragon wings none of them fit. He lounges about over a pitcher of glowwine and talks to Metege about possible business opportunities. “After all, luxuries are what sell…” On his way out he gives Metege an ounce each of cacao and of Shou cinnamon as a gift.
Gathering the next day are the Seven Stars, a variety of Celestian Clerics, the Admirals and War Wizards from Lionheart and Gamalon Idogyr, Archmagus of Bral. The Grand Admiral presents the Staff of Celestian to Kaolin, who with wide eyes accepts it. The staff is smooth and grey and the names of places throughout the spheres and even the places move across its surface in a variety of languages.
Prince Andru and his guards enter the ballroom and lead the crowd through the hallways of Castle Skyview, eventually taking a wide spiral staircase that lay hidden behind a tapestry. After descending a few hundred feet they reached a natural passage which opened out, after a few hundred feet, into a geode-like, crystal lined room. In the center of the floor, surrounded by arcane and divine glyphs, was a metal disc with a slot in the top the same size as the Staff.
The wizards and clerics begin chanting, burning incense, and gesturing in peculiar ways. After a few minutes of this Kaolin steps forward bearing the Staff and slides it into the metal disc. As she does so she mutters, “I really wish Drake were here to paint this!”
A burst of brilliant blue light erupts from the staff and from Kaolin’s eyes. When she looks up light is pouring from her eyes and her purple dyed fur is blowing as if in a heavy breeze. Giving a jungle shriek she bounds up the stairs, running for the surface. She runs past the startled guards and climbs a tree in the royal garden. As she does so she realizes she cannot feel the snow.
Suffused with power and knowing innately what she can do Kaolin slowly begins to pilot the Rock of Bral out of its orbit. Taj Pach and Tavist dimension door to The Valis and move into a flanking position off the bow of the asteroid along with a variety of ships, mostly Bralian Navy or EIN. Smoothly and quickly, with not a jar felt by those on its surface the Rock begins to accelerate towards the crystal shell of Spiralspace.
Her barking hadozee voice comes echoing down from the treetop, “Get me bard! Someone needs to sing about this later! Don’t make me turn this rock around!”
A crew of royal servants hastily construct a platform for the priestess as she will be here for the entire flight to Greyspace. Meanwhile the city is geared up for the phlogiston as best as possible. Thinking ahead on this topic Taj begins researching a new dweomer, all she will say about it is “Now that I’ve learned to drink kaave I don’t like it cold.”
After assigning House guards to Drake’s Gallery Tavist informs the manager that Drake will be away for a long while and he will be taking charge of affairs until Drake’s return. When asked where “Master Landrake” might have gone all the dragonblood would answer is “he’s trying to find himself.” He spends the rest of the days in flight either on the Valis, in The Laughing Beholder trying to pitch “luxury procurement” to the only known friendly beholder, or the offices dockside.
In Prince Andru of Bral’s private royal gardens Kaolin of Celestian, hadozee contemplative and pilot of the Rock itself asks for a kitten.
As the city approaches the crystal shell beams of blue light blaze from the hadozees eyes opening a portal in the shell easily large enough fr the Rock to go through. All fires are extinguished and Kaolin take it into the Flow.
The next several days begin to develop a routine, little is seen other than the multicolored mists of the phlogiston and the periodic pack of scavvers or delphinids. A tenday passes and then in the middle of the second watch the silhouettes of several ships become visible through the Flow.
Moments later they come into visibility: four illithid nautiloids flanking a 200 ton illithid super dreadnaught.