The Seven Stars

After Dugan Left

After being let go by the seven Stars, yet still owning a share of Stray Manor, Dugan spent his first year after the “Vecna Incident” as follows:

Returning to Oerth and his home colony Dugan offers a tithe to his clan for his prior transgressions as well as paying his aunt back the money she had loaned him to get out of town.

Gifts his uncle with one of his platinum Mage Armor rings in a bid for forgiveness.

Tells the stories of his travels to the clan elders, displaying evidence of his prowess as both a metal worker and an enchanter.

Meets with the elders about his intent to expand the clan’s wealth and prestige by branching out to other planes and other planes. Requests a party to accompany him to Sigil and begin the process of creating a planar beachhead there, location being top priority. In the meantime based in Stray Manor with instructions to steer clear of the Seven Stars.

Gathers those willing to make the trip, only accepting those with no surviving family or with families willing to come at a later date.

2 Clerics of Moradin
2 Wizards
4 Fighters
1 Bard
1 Sorceror

Tutoring all in the art of the Magesmith. Magic items created are to be “an ultimate celebration of the talents Moradin gave to the dwarves.”

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Etsuriko - Prologue

I was born on Bral. The first child and female, which was not the calamity to my parents that it was to most Shou, or so my father would assure me. My mother died due to complications from the birth from the birth of my younger sister (Anachee), 11 months later. My father was a tinker and was well respected in the community for the quality of his work. He quickly remarried and I then had 3 more siblings. Two more girls and a son. My father, naturally, was overjoyed to have a son; although he was proud of all of his children.

My stepmother – well some things are just best not spoken of. As any mother might, she favored her own children above her husband’s previous offspring and didn’t attempt to hide those feelings. I was always different from my siblings and never really fit in with them. I particularly envied my younger siblings their mother, as I could not remember having one of my own. It bothered me as well that people were always commenting on how different I was…how special. I only felt alone – alone and motherless.

I was young when I left home (12). I had been training in the Song Ming monastery ever since I was very little…it seemed like more of a home than the one I had. Its not that my father didn’t care, but with 5 children and a greedy wife, he needed to work. His work didn’t save him though. My sister, Anachee, who had been studying with me at the monastery killed him the day I left. I can’t really say why she did it…who truly knows the mind of another? I can only guess that she was tired of his never paying attention to us…that she was angry that he had betrayed the memory of his first wife by marrying the second, infuriated that he allowed second wife to treat us the way she did…but whatever the logic behind the action, he was dead and there was no way I was staying in that house.

{{She ran off to the Song Ming Monastery. She applied herself to her studies and spent her free time seeking information on her sister, who seems to have vanished since the murders. She begins an affair with Nihrarzi, a clerk of the Royal Exchequer’s Office and is sent to the Donjon with him when he is imprisoned for stealing. Eventually the monastery is able to arrange her release}}

I served in the military on Shipwrecker – offering my services to the Shipwright’s Guild against the goblin raiders. It was good work – almost like being back in the monastery. We stopped being defensive only and began to attack the goblins in their own caves – raiding them. Not that goblins have much of anything anyone wants, but it brought the fear home to them. When we weren’t defending/raiding the goblins, I spent my time in the wilderness, training and meditating.

The storms on Shipwrecker are simply amazing in their overpowering force. I spent a great deal of the storm season out in the wild, testing myself and my abilities. When I would return to town, I would rejoin the infantry and test myself against the goblins. We were doing well and had definitely turned the tide against the goblins when everyone began to get ill from this strange flu that caused blue boils all over the body. I never got ill, even though I spent as much time as I could nursing the sick, while maintaining defenses. Luckily, the goblins were susceptible too and they lost their fair share of troops.

When the flu had raged its course, there wasn’t much of an army left on either side. It never was determined where it had come from – perhaps a magical source? Maybe a flu from one of the more alien races? It was with the new influx of troops and ship builders that gold got discovered. Suddenly, there were people underfoot wherever you turned, no matter how far out you went into the wilds. I left then…I’ve never been keen on unruly mobs.

I caught passage on a vessel operated by House Moune and there met Aric Cozar, Prince Andru’s nephew. We parted amicably, because when I reached Spiral and saw the mountains there, I had to stay. He was disappointed, but all things end.

Spiral is my second favorite place in all the realms. My first being my home monastery of course. Spiral has emptiness enough to fill the heart…beauty to stop it and danger to fill it with awe and respect. There I spent months at a time in quiet meditation and testing myself against the wilderness. I began to obtain the first glimmerings of the hint of true spirituality there. It was also there that I met and fell in love with Legowyn Brightstar of the of the House of Atreus Bladesingers. We spent many years training together – not that I, as an outsider, could learn the bladesinging techniques, but working on other aspects of being a warrior – loving, dancing and eventually fighting.

The elves, as a group, are fascinating in so many ways and their longevity gives them so much potential, but their tendency to discount anyone and everything that is not elvish, denies them much possibility. I could not, as Legowyn wanted, stay and marry him. Spiral was not my home and they were not my people. I would always be the outsider. He would not consider leaving his home to adventure…his home was everything to him…he was a fabulous fighter and was so respected by his fellows for his ability…he could have never given up being a Bladesinger and I, who selfishly wanted him to, knew it would have destroyed him. Also, my staying would have destroyed any chance for advancement he may have had…the elves of the House of Atreus are certainly more forward thinking than most, but I didn’t want to place Legowyn’s career in the hands of their magnanimity.

It was with a sorrow that still catches me unaware that I left him and returned home after a having this dream – more like a vision – of two great dragons, one red and one white circling around Bral…fighting each other over it…I was filled with this overwhelming sense of danger, but I couldn’t tell which dragon represented the most trouble to Bral. I had to go home. I have not seen or spoken to Legowyn since leaving Spiral…I wanted to rush back after hearing the news about Spiral’s capture by the Scro, but it is impossible to catch ship there. I have exhausted the few resources I have trying to get news of him. It had taken every ounce of training that I have to maintain calm….there is, at this time, nothing further that I can do. I must wait patiently until opportunity or information presents itself.

I have been on Bral for over a year now and have returned to my monastery to help to train the younger students. It has been a quiet, peaceful time. And I have to admit that I have greatly enjoyed eating at The Burnt Tail again. My own cooking is nothing in comparison to the joys of home food, or the splendor of The Burnt Tail.

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RISING- Episode 17 [Unedited]
The After Party

Wind walking across Penumbra towards the Nautiloid after taking out the Overmind.

Taj determines that despite lack of psionic circuitry she can still talk to ship.

Nautiloid says 5 day turnaround, Bugman says they are just outside spiralspace

Taj examines engines discovers they run on the probability travel principle. It also only still listens to her because she was bonded to the circuitry before.

Tavist examines captured illithid ferroplasm dagger, gives it to Kattar as a trophy

Five days later: Spiralspace

Tavist upset when Tajs staff of tehnomage failes to restore his laser pistol

Discuss invoicing everybody alive for saving the multiverse

Discuss where to spend their well earned vacation

We sould become arms dealers says Taj, Whay asks K, Arms, weapons, -t, I dont know what you poeple do -K, Tavist falls off stool laughing.

Meet with Infernal contraption, the Valis and the Killroy’s Folly

Kaolin messages Andru, rock not moving back to Spiral

Kaolin greater teleports them to Bral, in front of their office.

everyone annoyed when no one knows they saved the universe!

Tavist says go to sigil and find Ronassic, bring senese stone with proof.

Send messages to Sar and Mordenkainen

M shielded, get through to Sar

Taj walks towards Laughing beholder Louie gives them a round and joins them, Great job guys!

Tavist joins lizardfolk dice game.TAkes their money then buys them drinks with it.

Kaolin gets driunk and goes on about saving the multiverse..

The Bard sings enrapturing the crowd

Mewnwhile Kaolin shouts across the bar, commodore, will you endow me with your fruitiness? Taj yealls, hey boig silver in the corner, this means you,…

Tavist gets louis to pour his strongest into Kaolins drink, gets her instant smaashed, leads her out by single hair shuffle

Stagger back to midtown diggs, Tavist and Illyana go to uptown aprtment while Taj and Kaolin stay at midtown, Kaolin drunk and mauldlin yelling for her kitty

K sits in corner crying in her beer “I aint taking care of the drunk monkey again, monkeys throw poo” says tavist when contacted by Taj

Kaolin ddoors to celestian temple, staggers to Stary Manor and passes out in the mushroom grotto.

Next morning Taj ddoors to office bright and early to be boss underfoot, want s to get paid etc.

Tavist meets meryden Sandyfoot for early AM coffee, then gifftown for lunch, then to office.

Kaolin wakes up hungover surrounded by singing mushrooms, heals herslf and sits on the front stoop observing the sigilian streets below.

Finally decide to return to the rock, esp since she does not know how she got here. Uses a house [portal to got ot BYtopia for cheese and then planeshifts abck to rocka dn meets others at the offices.

After hearing Kaolins story Taj sends Katar fior more kaave, much more

Tavist gets in a street fight with Giff, then the Shou (Dragon lady off rock) then off to the office

Tavist and Kaolin ddoor to Library after retreiving shou food and khaave for Gerald.

G says they need an audience with head librarian.

Taj at office recieves invit to dinner at andru’s tomorrow night.

Tavist headsa towards the temple to gate to Sigil looking for ronassic

Taj adds a bunch of emeralds to her carapace in anticipation of dinnner. Kaolin gets her fur done in multicolors.

Githyanki embassy at gate, give tavist knife and letter.

Letter has gith glyph allowing free passage and aid.

Tavist goes to planewalker’s guild.Leaves message for Ronassic.Kaolin has her tabbard cleaned.

T back to bral, find out about dinner.

sleep

Kaolin continues to look for her cat. Ming.

Go to dinner.

Enter dinding room Andru, cartan, Andru woman, bodyguard. Sar, 4 emtpy chair

Ladies and gentlemen, the surviving members of House 7 Stars.

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RISING- Episode 16 [Unedited]
Lugribosk

IN Genesis Subchamber, with view of Dark Sun/Misfits in wall sized crystal window.

chao, I know this music! Explosions in the distance from Strom

Deciding to wreack havok Tavist shoots the control panel with his starwheel

Find ,map room and thought taker, Tavist shoot Thought taker with starwheel while kaolin puts a blade barrier between thought taker and juna star

Taj uses Cranial Deluge, tt shakes it off.

Enter the entryway see Illithd bas relief of tentacles crushing out suns. Just like Theridon’s dream all those years ago.

Tavist slams open the doors sees illithid, Kaolin hits it with her arrow of slaying.

Taj begin

Kaolin grabs the juna star While Kattar uses Exhalation of the Black dragon burns him while Illyana sings inspirtaional ditties

Taj; Cranial deluge “you two!” head explodes.

Taj shuts down map room, find the path to the large room.

Brin golems shrug off Taj’s disintigrate, Tavist shoots them with starwheels

Kaolin hits them with two arrows of searing light, Kaolin goes down under mental blast

Golem body slams wall narrowly missing Taj attacks with claws, teeth and tail,

Taj repeatedly fails to overcome their power resistnace, only one standing

Kattar gets up, sttscks golem wose wounds do not heal after being hit

Tavist gets up as Taj bites one. Tav fires off energy push tattoo (elec) throwing one across the room. He closes with the downed golem

Golem closing on prone Kaolin, Kattar hits with his forearm blades Taj finally overcomes their spell resistance with an energy push

Golems heal all damage except Kattars depcrystal blades and bite kills one golem

Taj, fail. “make it die” Kaolin nails it with an arrow of aberration slaying.

Tavist slams doors open door, sees illithid lord, kaolin shoots it with arrow of abber slaying, he rips arrow out of deadened shoulder and advances.

Illyana cold breath weapon, illithid advances with Lugribossk tearing its way out of him. Kaolin casts storm rage mail him with a lightning bolt Kattar hits it with deepcrystal while chanelling through it. Lugribossk manifests.

Illyana blast it with wand of fireballs. Mind balst drops everyone except kaolin and taj

Kaolin hits it with a lighning bolt The avatar then grabs her with a tentacle and begins drawing her near.Using freedom of movement she slips free

Kaolin casts a miracle after getting pounded by lugribosk. “Great celestian turn the tide of this battle”

A squad of ten quaruts appear and engage it, kaolin head otawrds fallen comrades. Tavist takes the blow kaolin heals Tavistr

Tav and K remain conscious through mental blast, t casts mage hand. Kaolinncasts windwalk as the engine explodes. Taj feel the dim anchor go away, shpere disintigrates Kaolin shouts “prepare to teleport!”

Taj contacts strom via correspond. Psionic plane shft in to Pernumbra. Appear 300 miles off from the ship “Hay, just saved the multiverse, back off!” Wind walk to ship

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RISING- Episode 15 [Unedited]
Dawn of the Overmind

In the ruins on Penumbra.

Taj downloads from annulus, vision of Strom Wakeman

They prep and rest after windwalking to the ship.

Tavist gives Illyana a wand of fireball with one chartge, gives Kaolin ring gate

Arise to a heroes feast the next day.

Step out and along with Kattar and Illyana and taj touches a rock, “portal”

Transport to Overmind meet strom and learn of the Engine Comsummate

While Strom goes off to cause chaos the party prep with mutliple castings of mage armor, conceal thoughts.

Kaolin casts find the path.

5 minutes later a huge explosion from the direction away from the Engine

Kaolin leads them through the station until reaching a locked iris door, then phase doors through to the Genesis Subchamber.

K and tavist first see ulitharid at controls, scene of Dark Sun visible through the window. While Ka phase doors in the team Tavist leviutes with his boots and pushes off towards the figure. Shoots him in the back with his laser pistol

T shoots, laser shorts out. Attacks with frost rapier and pierces its side.

Taj gets control of the view adn sees what Illy tells them is the Misfits ship in orbit oveer the Dark Sun.

Leave off in *. Genesis Subchamber

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RISING- Episode 14 [Unedited]

Kaolin free, Tavist fleeing (fear) Taj in tentacles, Kattar + Illyana fighting but free.

Illyana cat break enchantment on Tavist

Taj orb of acid cutting tentaclefreeing herself

Kattar uses painful strike and attacks with forearm blades.

Kaolin Blade Barrier kills eidolon.

Kaolin heals

Examine tumerogenesis tanks, Taj fascinated.

Enter column room with pillar

Activate the shaft (Taj) and fly down.

Enter the nethermost see swarms of illithocytes on floor, fly west through 60 door.

Aracks spirit appears tells of the annulus

Prepare to enter the Narthex

Taj sense links with Kaolin and kattar, casts invisibility sphere and flies into the narthex with Tavist.

Beyond lies a chamber with two huge tanks, one broken and blasted the other still surging with psionic and magical energies.

Tiptoeing in they search. Tavist finds and pockets a cerebrelith claw.

evenutally find the master brain pool with the Unredeemed Beast sleeping within.

Invisibility sphere by Taj begin to circumnavigate pool

Tavist uses conceal thoughts, Taj uses dorje to manifest intellect fortress,

Enter reliquary, Taj walks the pattern and takes the annulus, downloading info

Kaolin slays neothelid with greater arrow of aberration slaying.

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RISING- Episode 13 [Unedited]
Return to Penumbra

After leaving Herdspace they shuffle crew around amongst the ships of the armada and prepare for the Seven Stars to set out in the Nautiloid. Since there is no way for the their other ships being able to keep up with the ancient psionic helm the remaining ships were to set out for the Rock of Bral in its new home, The Grinder of Greyspace.

Having brought their toughest and most trusted aboard the Nautiloid Taj Pach uses the psionic circuitry to activate the ship and plot a course for Penumbra in the sphere known as Truespace. A massive sphere with over a hundred seperate star systems inside it. The sphere from which the xixchil herself originated.

Once the ship’s brainmate has engaged the Nautiloid accellerates, rapidly attaining a speed over twenty times spelljammer speed. The flow seems to to whip around the ship’s exterior like the winds of a hurricane.

A mere two weeks later, far beyond Knowne Space but still barely on the map provided by the elves, they encounter a sphere so large that it seems as though the Flow has ended in an infinite wall. Truespace. Taj activates the portal opener and they enter, the sight of this deadly space whose laws are so different from their native wildspace filling the windows.

A few days days of travel and the sight of Penumbra looms. It is a system devoid of conventional planets, having a single mighty discworld as wide as the Orbit of Toril that fills its space. A tall hollow mountain extends above and below the surface of the disc with a column of sunlight shining from it’s two peaks. Due to its walls the entire surface of the disc lies in constant shadow. Hoping they were on the right track when first the bug and the original Seven Stars crossed paths, they alight near their first landing point.

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The Journal of Etsuriko Chiason Toraneko

Day 1- Warriorsday, 3rd of Neogi 5043 O.C.
I have arrived in Greatspace and made contact with the dwarf, Dugan, who works for the Company of the Seven Stars. I have a lunch appointment tomorrow with Drake, the green elf. No one wants to mention where the Captain is and I can’t seem to locate Tavist. He’s probably in a bar, somewhere, if the rumors are true. The Octupus-style vessel they were travelling on appears to have seen some heavy fire. I have seen Kay—who must be a priestess of some power—working with the crew on repairing her ship. You can see by the look on her face how important that vessel is to her.

The trip to Greatspace on the Radiance was uneventful. Breaking into and out of the spheres and riding in the open flow have been truly amazing experiences for me. There is a freedom in travelling that I didn’t expect to find. This being the first time I have left Spiralspace, everything is new—I feel like a child staring about me.

The war is reaching farther than the news on Bral has reported. Greatspace is completely mobilized and appears ready to handle an invasion. There is an air of urgency to the citizen’s actions and trading proceeds at an almost frantic pace. The merchants I traveled here with appear to be doing a brisk business.

2nd day—post lunch
The meeting at Hermes Restaurant (garish decorations, slavish waiters, but the food was acceptable) was not all that I would hope for. The crew is suspicious—I suppose with good reason. Apparently, the Captain and Tavist have not seen fit to inform them of their little mishap on Bral. I was questioned thoroughly, but because of my promise, I was unable to give them any decent answers…they are willing to suspect me because I am Shou; but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that if I wanted to harm someone, it would already have been done. I petitioned them repeatedly for the chance to travel with them and prove my good intentions…Tavist has invited me to a picnic tomorrow (he smelled of alcohol) to let me know his final decision.

3rd day—post picnic
Tavist, for all his cleverness, attempted an interrogation that was rather akin to a child trying to pluck meat from the delicate insides of a crab’s shell. But they have agreed to allow me to travel with them as a regular crewmember. We leave soon.

In the flow between Greatspace and Grommspace
They gave me the Rastipede’s room. After several hours of labor, it is clean. I think this was a punishment—or perhaps a test—not sure. I do know this: sentient bugs do not live any cleaner than regular bugs.

It appears that we are actually on a rescue mission. One of the Company’s ships was captured or destroyed on a planet called Armistice in Winterspace. Kay has scryed and discovered that several of the crew are still alive and are trapped on the planet which is most inhospitable, since it has 1) heavy gravity, 2) winter-like weather and 3) orcs. The crew is, most unfortunately, in dire straights and we are making all speed to Armistice in an effort to rescue them. The crew of this ship appear to be a steady lot. Hardworking and relatively disciplined, which is amazing given their leadership. I have been assigned to guard duty and spend on-duty hours guarding Kay in the helmroom. She talks incessantly.

She has, however, been telling me about her home. Planet Gaea in Grommspace. She is a Hadozee and they share the planet with the Grommans, in peace from what she says. It sounds like a beautiful place. A wild planet, its jungles inhabited, but not destroyed. I would love to see it.

The Captain has not made an appearance yet. I can’t tell who is supposed to be in charge, if he is not, but I suppose since everything appears to be getting done it doesn’t matter. Drake refuses to drive and so-far several people have joked about asking me to drag Drake to the helm, but I have not been ordered to do so yet.

The flow has been quiet (except for Kay) and there hasn’t been much happening. I have, in my off-hours, been training hard and have offered to teach any of the crew anything they care to learn. No one has taken me up on it. The taint of suspicion still clings. Kay has offered me the use of the meditation room which they have set up. She doesn’t know how much her kindness is appreciated, though I have tried to thank her.

As we approached Grommspace, we were passed at rapid speeds by 3 EIN warbirds. Where are they heading too? What is happening on Spiral?

In Grommspace
We enter Grommspace. Its amazing. There are no stars…but these long columns, easily 2-3,000’ that are resting on ?? hold up braziers which blaze with flames that do not dim…As we travel in the wildspace that is space in the spheres, we are misted with a light rain…It has been weeks since I have felt fresh water on my face and find myself wishing for a downpour. We have no time to stop, but we do pass a planet which is all water…amazing. I had heard of these things, but could never imagine them. Who knows what life teems in those waters?

The air grows stale from too much use…Kay announces that to try to pass by a planet and gather air that way would eat up too much time and she has become hysterical since entering Grommspace, after her last attempt to Scry the crew trapped on Armistice.

As she described it, she was speaking with one of the crew who had told her that only 2 of their priests were left, that about 10-15 men had died in assaults from the orcs and that they had locked themselves into a cave with stoneshape spells…as the crewman was telling her all of this, Kay had a vision of a dark blue-skinned orc carrying a wood rod inlaid with crystals and then the scrying was cut short. All of her attempts to communicate with the trapped crew have since been unsuccessful. She is consumed by worry for her crewmates, her fellow priests and her fellow Hadozee whom I gather are among those trapped on the planet.

To solve the air problem, Drake summoned air elementals, 3 tiny whirlwind cones and orders them to make air. Drake was unable communicate with the air elementals and they eventually dissipated and returned to their home plane. Kay, who proved once again that she is a favored child of her god, summoned a large air elemental and politely asked him if he would be willing to refreshen our air, since we are in a hurry and are trying to save friends of ours. The elemental complies and the air is freshened again. Kay releases the elemental who returns to its own plane. Drake, I am discovering, is somewhat erratic in his treatment of others…not what I would expect from a holy man, but then he spends more of his time in study, than in prayer.

We pass through Grommspace and re-enter the flow, on our way to Winterspace.

Warriorsday, 22nd of Dragon, 5043 O.C. (flow—2 weeks out)
Today, after 2 long weeks, we spotted an EIN warbird destroyed and abandoned. Ozzy referred to it as “scro salad”. The crew decided to investigate the warbird and as I was watching the warbird and trying to keep a general eye out for other ships, I realized that the Captain was there. Our first meeting did not go well. This is highly unfortunate and may take me some time to recover. I knew he was of the Oni, but no one mentioned he also had mind powers. Apparently, away-teams link with him and when he tried to do so with me, I ducked. I was left behind…deemed untrustworthy. I had no idea. I explained to the Captain after he returned from the warbird that no one had mentioned this to me and that I most certainly did not intend disrespect…I hope he is willing to trust me in the future.

The Captain, Kay, Dugan and Ozzy went to the warbird. They found nothing but dead elves, but do come back with the Captain’s log. Drake read it and discovered that the scro broke the elven blockade in an attempt to get to Armistice. The Scro were supplying helms to the orcs trapped on Armistice. The orcs, who were betrayed and abandoned by the elves after the last war, have adapted to Armistice and have grown strong and huge…a natural ally for the Scro, I am sure. We are going to focus our search on the largest of the 3 continents—near the eastern coast. The Captain, after he read the log, decided to send the Turtle ship back out to warn the EIN of the Armistice blockade being broken.

Winterspace
What follows is an account of our time in Winterspace.

We entered Winterspace. There were several planets in the sphere. 1 firebody, 4 earth bodies (ranging in size from C to F). Armistice is the size F planet and it has 3 moons of its own (size E) which are supposed void. We take up an orbit near the closest moon.

After much arguing and discussion and after Kay made several inquiries of her god (who should perhaps be nominated to an even more prominent position within the pantheon for 1) being patient and 2) having Hadozee worshippers—I will have to mention this at the next conclave). It was decided that Kay, the Captain, Drake and Ozzy would teleport to the surface to the place where last the crew were known to be. The captain was sucked into a bottle by a Drake, who seemed to take an inordinate amount of joy in doing so…he stroked the bottle and said “I have you now” with this grin on his face…I just don’t know about him.

Tavist, Dugan and I are left with orders to continue hiding behind the moon and to wait for contact from the away-team. After they leave, Tavist and Dugan (I must meditate more frequently on the meaning of and the use of patience) decided that hide behind the moon actually meant fly around and see what’s up. I argue with them, but to no avail. This is not a military crew. I took up a spot on the deck, armed with bow & 2 quivers of arrows, fans and sai stuck in my belt and a spyglass to attempt to keep a lookout…the crew were pretty high strung, but were handling themselves well. I spotted a ship coming away from Armistice which suddenly turned into 12…Tavist, who is driving, maneuvers the ship back behind the moon but he is not quite the pilot Kay is. We hit the gravity envelope of the moon and suddenly the air was thin.

Dugan cast a couple of spells and discovered one that will refresh the air—without tormenting air elementals. Amazing—really.

As Tavist and Dugan were debating about poking around again, I spotted a Scro ship heading in sphere—towards the planet. We ducked again. I would have thought, at this point, that they would be content to stay behind the moon and wait for our compatriots, but no. We came out from behind the moon again and beheld a thing—well…there are no words to truly describe this horror… It was at least 3,000’ long. It was cigar-shaped and had tentacles and fins…the tentacles themselves had snapping heads that moved with in such a way, that you felt the entire ship was alive. Indeed, the fear and loathing of this thing was so strong that general panic broke out—myself included—and Tavist turned the ship the other way and hit spelljamming speed like his life depended on it. I have never—and I don’t think Tavist or Dugan have either—run across anything like this creature-ship.

Eventually, the effects of this creature-ship wore off and we turned back towards Armistice. It took that giant monstrosity of a horror to tame Tavist and Dugan, but after that encounter, hiding and waiting patiently suddenly seemed much more sensible. It is unfortunate that we can’t bottle the effect—instant sensibility born of fear. I stayed on the deck, near the speaking tubes and kept a look out.

As we were waiting for the away-team to return, we saw one more ship—an ogre elephant ship, heading out sphere from Armistice…for a nasty frozen little world, it was quite the hotbed of activity.

Kay, a Gromman child, Brul and the Captain all teleport back to the ship. Drake, Ozzy and the rest of the crew flew back from the surface with an invisibility spell on them. Kay took the helm for this maneuver, because getting them out of the atmosphere required more piloting skill than Tavist possesses. The crew’s flight back did not go well…but everyone managed to make it back. As they were coming back to the ship, we saw a second ogre ship taking off and heading outsphere…seems like everyone wanted out of here in a hurry.

I don’t know what all happened on the surface. Kay tells me that the blue orc who’s staff she saw was an orc with powers like the Captain’s and that he was responsible for saving the rest of the crew. He didn’t want to leave his homeworld, but he did ask that they bring along Brul (a historian and a drall) who wanted off of Armistice. I gathered that their meeting with the blue orc was a little rocky, but apparently he was neither part of the Scro who are attacking everyone or in agreement with his own fellow Armistice orcs who wanted revenge for the Elves’ betrayal.

Open Phlogiston
We are now in the open flow and have been for 63 days. We are avoiding the rivers of flow, because of all of the ogre activity. Kay is strangely insistent that we avoid all ogre trouble and yet wants to make all speed for Grommspace to get everyone—particularly the kid—home.

I have been teaching Tavist and the Captain to speak Shou. Tavist is teaching me how to tumble…Ozzy and I have been sparring and training together and I am still serving my shift guarding Kay while she is on the helm.

DAY 64
A sphere is sighted and we enter…almost immediately after entering, Kay turns the ship about and heads right out again. I gathered that the sphere we entered was Moragspace—home of the Scro and that the Company had caused some trouble here. A surprise, to be sure.

The pilots are complaining of a drag on their energy…they are finishing their shifts early and are more tired.

DAY 123 (59 days later in open flow)
Dugan and Drake, using magic, went along the ship looking for anything that might explain the trouble with the pilots. Drake finds a creature at the edge of the ship, out beyond the tentacles…A strange glowing cloud type thing that was and wasn’t physical…I ran out to the edge of the tentacles and attacked, with Drake…it appeared to be only interested in Drake and I was able to hit it many times…eventually it was expelled, but Drake’s sword was damaged and is no longer magically enhanced.

DAY 133 (10 days later)
We enter Realmspace…Kay calculated the amount of time required to travel from here to Grommspace and told us today that it would be about 30 days to Grommspace. I hope she is right…I didn’t get to see much, as we flew right through and didn’t stop at any of the planets.

The crew is talking about the child…he makes them uneasy. He floats in the air while meditating. Also, Drake doesn’t appear to be sleeping well.

I am still spending my time teaching Tavist and Captain the Shou language…they are not the most motivated students I have ever had, but they are trying. Their accents are atrocious. If only they were willing to learn diplomacy…perhaps some basic courtesy. I have also been spending time talking and training with Ozzy. He is not a typical Giff…Dugan and Drake spend most of their time in their rooms, studying, I suppose. At least Dugan is willing to drive and give Kay breaks from the helm.

DAY 158 (25 days since Realmspace)
Today we spotted a Smalljammer ship, just floating in open space. Drake, Tavist and I went on board, but were forced to come back quickly. I had to carry Tavist, who passed out from the smell. Drake says the smell was caused by numerous spells—something called Cloud Kill—which poisoned the air. Drake was depressed, because while he was arguing for spending the time cleaning the ship and taking it, Kay kept insisting we had to keep on moving. That we didn’t have any time. After everyone pressed her about her insistence that we get the child home, Kay allows that the child is in fact a demi-god who will die if not returned to Gaea. She says that she doesn’t know all the details and that we should ask Galas. Galas tells us that the Gromman gods live among them and that the child is unusual in that not only does he have the mark of Kong (?) but that he was born on an outworld planet. This has apparently never happened to the Gromman before, but they are convinced that the child’s life depends on getting home.

Drake is bereft, because we have to leave the smalljammer…profit, profit, profit. He is truly a merchant noblemen…where’s the priest?

I make an effort to spend some time with the child. He likes to meditate and frankly, I find him to be quiet and peaceful…calm and comforting really.

DAY 165
We are late for Grommspace. Today we found an EIN flitter—badly damaged, but Drake hoped it was salvageable. Tavist and Drake went on board and found a Drow elf, sleeping…now I have heard tales of the Drow, who hasn’t…but their reaction to this elf…it was something. They subdued him, while he was sleeping…even after realizing that the elf was blind and then stripped him of all of his items and hog tied him. This is how I, the Captain and Ozzy found the situation when we flew over. Drake spoke to the Drow in elvish and found out that he was a Spellmaster and a Priest of Ta on a ship called The Llasa Revenge in the armada of the Nation of Twilight. His name is Dostrealt. Drake cast spells of one sort or another and became terribly concerned…the Drow was apparently incredibly powerful…more powerful than Drake, I gathered—just from his reaction. Dostrealt tells us that he was abandoned by his armada because he had been cursed…some sort of curse that is communicable and causes random bad stuff to happen…We stayed on the flitter overnight and waited for Kay to come across in the morning to remove the curse.

Before Kay came over, we attempted to interrogate the Drow…Drake casts an array of spells and we are all able to understand Dostrealt…he seemed—for a scary Drow—to be rather forthright. He did not know and (of course) wasn’t about to tell us what his armada’s last mission was…he laughed when the Captain suggested that the Drow worked for the Scro…he seemed to be everything he was supposed to.

The Captain though…hmmm…unstable at best…for some reason, the Drow infuriated him and during the interrogation he struck the Drow several times. Even after it had become clear that we weren’t about to get any information from Dostrealt about anything—the Captain kept on striking him. Drake, who at first wanted to gut him, argued for keeping him captive and turning him over to the EIN. There is always a certain amount of violence when dealing with a prisoner of war, particularly during an interrogation—but what the Captain did…the way he expressed his anger and frustration…well…to say he lacked discipline would be like saying that water is wet.

Kay came across after all this and removed the curse.

We returned to the ship and Dostrealt was set up in a room with the praetorian guards watching over him, completely bound and gagged and without his staff, which lets him see. Everyone else divies up Dostrealt’s stuff—which really made me…well, uncomfortable but we left on Dostrealt his ring of sustenance so that he wouldn’t require feeding. Hopefully, this will contain him.

DAY 166
Ozzy, Tavist and I spoke to the Captain today regarding his treatment of Dostrealt during the interrogation. He did not seem interested in our worries. I am concerned by the Captain’s irrational actions and fear that this is the sad result of the stress of our journey.

DAY 167
There have been odd disturbances all over the ship—people are getting pinched and tripped and pushed off the rigging…but there doesn’t appear to be anything there.

DAY 176
So much has happened in the last 9 days, I haven’t had time to keep up with my journal.

A couple of days after my last entry (so Day 169) as I was meditating with Kay in the mediation chamber, I felt something pinch my butt. I jumped up and yelped a bit. Kay asked me what was wrong and when I told her, she immediately cast detect magic and then took off after something…I chased after her—but was unable to see whatever it was she was following…we ran out on the deck and Kay points out across the tentacles—"there" she says and makes to climb out the tentacles…I leapt out onto one of the tentacles and…following Kay’s directions, end up with the demon (that’s what we discovered it was) on the ballista…I shouted at the crew to hold the ballista steady and not let it get pointed at the deck. They looked at me like I was crazy. Drake joined Kay on the deck and using the cloak he stole from the Drow, cast a web spell entrapping me, the ballista crew and the demon to the ballista. That’s when I saw it…a tiny little demon—far from home and scared…Kay comes up and starts commanding it, but it doesn’t respond much except to allow that it wants to go home. Ozzy ripped me out of the webbing and then ripped out the rest of the crew. We tie up the quasit and I put it in Drake’s closet, for safe keeping. His new fun, now, is to tell everyone he’s going to “web” them.

The Vortex
As we were dealing with all of this, the ship suddenly jerks about 90 degrees—the flow disappears, the mast snaps and we suddenly were somewhere else. Not in the flow…not anywhere…there was air, so we kept on breathing…but there was nothing in the sky…Kay immediately attempted to contact Celestian, but nothing happened. When we looked around we found that we were surrounded by the decaying wrecks of at least 20 ships and who knows how many others that were no longer recognizable as such.

Kay flew to the helmroom to discover Tavist knocked out cold. She ripped him out of her helm and sat in it…I have rarely heard wails like that. I almost wish that I spoke Hadozee, because the other Hadozee looked impressed by the shrieking and yelling that was coming from the helmroom. I swear, Hopaaka may have blushed…hard to tell with the hair, but I think he did.

We crossed to the nearest ship, a Neogi ship called The Huntsmen that smelled like Umberhulk. We found that its helm was also dead, but that it had a secondary helm which was working…unfortunately, according to Kay this wouldn’t draw enough power to move our ship…too small. We agreed that night to rest and try more exploration in the morning. We needed to find a working helm to get out of the Vortex.

The list of ships we saw: 1 manowar, 1 dwarven citadel, 1 squid ship, 1 cog, 1 nautiloid, 1 galleon, 2 beholder tyrant ships, 2 Shou dragonships (the Imperial Court and the Imperial Trader), 2 gnomish sidewheels, 2 hammerships, 3 tradesmen, 3 Neogi deathspiders.

2nd day in Vortex
We fly over the elvish Manowar (the Queen of Spheres). Its been there long enough for its sails to have grown and curled over on themselves many times over. We searched that ship and found nothing of value…nor did we find any bodies, which was odd. The helm there doesn’t work and we don’t find a secondary helm, but we did find the Captain’s log. We found out from the log that it was an independent trading vessel belonging to the Company of Flaming Arrows.

We then headed over to the Imperial Trader. Its flying the colors of the Shou Long Empire. This helm is also destroyed, but we find the log which I spent a lot of time reading. While I was reading, the Captain tried his hand at lock picking. He didn’t do well. He started sweating and shaking from the poison while Tavist and Drake stood there laughing…Kay was able to do something for him and they went back to work.

I found out, from the log, that both of the vessels were travelling under the aegis of the Ministry of Divine Light and were part of the Imperial authority. They were to engage in trading and collect tribute from various outposts of the Empire. They were planning on betraying the emperor, when they got snapped into the void. The logs were about 10 years old. We continue to search the ship and we found a chest full of cinnamon, 6 chests of money and 6 large bolts of yellow silk.

We took casts of the footprints around the helm in the second Shou vessel and then headed back to the octopus.

There, we found chaos. While we were gone the Drow managed to escape. The praetorians report that a multi-colored flash of light and heat exploded from the Drow’s cell and knocked everyone out and the Drow was gone. Luckily, no one was seriously injured—but the Drow was gone. Drake is especially perturbed when he realizes that the Drow was able to do all this without his hands, his voice or any spell components. Apparently the Drow was tougher than we all had thought. We search the ship up and down, but find nothing anywhere.

Except that the Drow had found his staff in Dugan’s room (he was “studying” it) and he found his spellbook in Drake’s room. Most lovely, he spent some time defaming Drake’s room and the meditation chamber. Drake was fit to be tied into knots and Dugan was ready to kill.

3rd day in Vortex
We investigate the Dwarven citadel. Dugan looked happy to be there and he explained to us how it would work. Amazing stuff…that would be something to see. I wonder if the dwarves would ever let me on one?

We then headed over to one of the gnomish side-wheelers…they really are everything everyone is scared of. We found the Captain’s quarters, and Kay spoke with the dead captain who didn’t remember what killed him or why. He did list all of his hiding places on his ship—my god—do gnomes do nothing but build compartments? We opened the one in his room and found a slip of paper that referred to a secret elvish weapon and said only “E=mc2”.

As we were looking around, Ozzy found a huge lever that said clearly—do not ever pull this lever—ever ever…or something along those lines, so he pulled it. After a horrific racket, a door slides open. We crawl through and find a green crystal chair hidden in a room. Kay squeals with glee and sits in it, only to realize it doesn’t work…the Captain looked at it for a while and then he sat in it…it apparently was a psi-helm. The joy cannot be described…to know we had a way out!

3/16/04
*Day 4 Missed it

Day 5 Uneventful
Day 6 Uneventful—Don’t see any drow
Day 7 Missed it
Time passed oddly in the Vortex—many of us starting feeling oddly fatigued and several of the crew became desperately ill, requiring much of Kay’s attention. We spent the time after finding the gnomish sidewheeler in debate over whether to search further, whether to try to swap the psi-helm into our own ship…the crew carried on repairs to the Octopus, Kay mourned her broken helm and ended up ripping it out and putting it into this bag she has.

Day 8 in Vortex—DAY 183
We decided, finally, to transfer everyone/everything to the gnomish sidewheeler. The Captain’s studies had determined that it would take Tavist, Ozzy and I enhanced by Kay with a brute spell running full tilt in the hamster wheels to provide the steering he would need. The unfortunate side effect of the brute spell was that it made all three of us incredibly stupid. So we basically were giant hamsters. That was not a particularly good day. Luckily, the plan worked, we were able to punch our way out of the Vortex. Unluckily, the drow who had escaped had commandeered a Neogi Spidership and raised dead to crew it for him.

Immediately as we punched out of the Vortex, we spotted the Sphere about 2 days away. Hoping desperately that it was Grommspace, we made for it all speed. Dostrealt was hot on us and (he is quite the pilot) had managed to activate the Spidership’s main weapon. Without a prayer of outrunning him, the Captain brought the ship to a halt so that we could possibly board and attack. Drake mentions wanting a Spidership in addition to wanting to recapture Dostrealt. As we stopped, Dostrealt flew by at spelljamming speed and we haven’t seen him since. I would, honestly, prefer not to. I don’t think Drake feels the same way…neither does the Captain, I would guess.

So now we are finally in Grommspace (yes, that’s what the sphere was) and we are about 7-9 days away from Gaea. It’s slow going, because only the Captain can drive.

DAY 185
The crew have renamed our poor little ship—it is “The Infernal Contraption”. I found something rather paint-like…I won’t bother to re-write the gnomish name here—and painted this in Shou across the back of our ship. Drake has been sending up signs that follow us in blinking pink that say “We Are Not Gnomes”.

DAY 187
Today has been a most interesting day. I think the Captain may have truly snapped. Perhaps the strain of piloting is wearing him out. It must be the space sickness. As we were heading towards Gaea, we were approached by 3 EIN Man O Wars (flying the system colors of Grommspace)—Emerald Class (as Tavist informed me) and a strange ship—almost armada sized—that looked at times like a bulb, a plant or a fish. The ships stopped and took up formation around us, so the Captain stopped and came on deck. The crew mumbled a bit about EIN boarding parties, but we have all been too happy just to be in a system to complain about much (even our gnomish vessel).

From one of the armadas, 7 figures flew over wearing these suits that looked like mini-plants. The leader, a void elf introduced himself as Lord Elrohir. Lord Elrohir politely introduced himself and asked us what our business was in Grommspace. This is when all began to go wrong. The Captain appeared to have suddenly completely forgotten manners, diplomacy and sheer civility…he demanded that the entire armada escort us back to Gromm so that we can deliver the child…Lord Elrohir doesn’t get why this is so important and offers to send a small escort and the Captain suddenly starts mentioning some Elvish lord I had never heard of and favors they had done for him and then says and “this is how the you get treated” and before you know it, Lord Elrohir has his sword at the Captain’s neck, his honorguard (6 Hadozee Oathpack Squad) have weapons drawn (nice staffs), the ships have pointed their weapons at our vessel, Ozzy has pistols out and the Captain is agreeing to a DUEL!!! A DUEL. The crew is openly mumbling about space sickness…I wanted to fall straight off the ship—Tavist looked like he would have been happy at this point to let the Captain’s head get lopped off…oh…it was a wreck. They set the duel for tomorrow morning and scheduled a dinner for tonight. Lord Elrohir has left his second, Chewbev, here to make arrangements with Ozzy for the duel.

Tavist told Lord Elrohir about Kong Rex, our Gromman demi-god child and after conferring with his Hadozee, Lord Elrohir has agreed to an increased escort to Gaea for us and the child. After the duel.

I have come to my room to regather my senses—although meditation has proved impossible and I have resorted to writing down this account. I am going to go and work on making the Captain see sense. May all the gods in the known universe assist me with this.

DAY 188
Well…the Captain is not dead. We managed to make him see some sense and he agreed to apologize to Lord Elrohir. He also agreed that we needed to share all the information that we had with Lord Elrohir as soon as possible. Last night, Kay prepared a special feast—a “hero’s feast” she called it, on the deck of the ship. Everything went well…we presented the Hadozee honor guard with bundles of cinnamon wrapped in squares of yellow silk and Lord Elrohir with a larger bundles that was held together with a bracelet Dugan created out of precious metals from about the ship and some of the scry-resistant crystals from Armistice. The Captain managed a passable apology and a half-decent bow (that took some bit of time). Lord Elrohir proved himself a gentlemen and allowed that he was willing to forego the duel.

We began discussing our recent adventures and gave Lord Elrohir all the information we had about the Vortex, Armistice, the ships we saw coming and going there and Dostrealt. When we told Lord Elrohir about the large green ship, he said it sounded like a “witchlight marauder” which startled Ozzy to no end. Ozzy told us that they were planet eaters used during the last Unhuman War.

Lord Elrohir told us about the new ship. Model: Ormralast…called “The Lady Leonestra”. Its beautiful. Kay, of course, asked to drive and was turned down. Several times. She was even denied a tour. Lord Elrohir asked how soon we could get ready and like an idiot, I wave vaguely at the Captain and allow as he has to sleep before we can take off. A grave and awful tactical error, if ever there was one. I am just not accustomed to lying and subterfuge, it didn’t even occur to me that I shouldn’t mention the state of our driving capabilities…

Lord Elrohir did tell me that Spiral is still under the control of the Scro and he said that Bral “is still on the fence”…he didn’t elaborate there.

At our speed, it will actually take about another 7 days to get to Gaea.

DAY 195
We have, today, landed on Gaea. Kong Rex has gone off with a group of churchmen…funny, how they knew he was right there as soon as we landed. Kong Rex pointed at the Ormalests at one point and said “those are from home”. Home, Gaea? Or home, where he was born? I wonder. The High Priest, Sp’Bow of the Council of Elders, offered all of us and all of the crew lodgings and food and our basic necessities in return for bringing home the child.

While we were travelling here, Kay scryed to the Rastipedes who had taken the Turtle to find the EIN and warn them about the blockade being broken on Armistice. The Bug told her that he found and told Admiral Icharis and that they were safe in Realmspace. Kay also contacted K’Tharr on Bral who told here that the sphereside situation was stable, Bral had enforced a peacebond on Elves and Scro alike but that the Company was still being audited and what the **** did Tavist and the Captain do? Tavist was finally forced to tell all about the ruckus that he and the Captain caused in Shoutown. Lucky for them, Drake has been holed up in his room studying and didn’t hear this gut-spilling frenzy. He will soon, though—what Kay knows, all know! The Captain later got a scry saying that the audit was on hold, his daughter had arrived and when were we getting home?

Roguesday, 7th of Beholder, 5043 O.C.
Gaea is a fascinating planet. Its about 70% landmass—1 giant continent and is practically all jungle. Kong Rex directs the Captain to a city astride a ravine (Tavist, Ozzy and I get stupid again) and the Captain manages to land in a river dock. There is already docked there an EIN Man O War and a new type of Man O War…larger and modified.

After the Gromman priests took Kong Rex with them, we realized there were two elves with them, who were apparently waiting to speak to us. They introduced themselves as Legadril and Seraldon (more void elves) and requested a meeting. They inform us that our message about Armistice has gotten through and that High Command at Lionheart has been apprised. They also thanked the Captain for his services in Moragspace. I will have to ask about that sometime.

We cleaned up and met the elves at a nearby hotel. After some chit-chat and lunch, the elves informed us that they knew we had a psi-helm and that they wanted it. Drake allowed as how we were willing to allow them to study it, but that they would need to offer us a ship of our own, as we have no other method of transportation. Drake also gave them a copy of the Book of Dukash (not sure what that is) and they told us they would be in touch.

We followed Kay down the trees (finally some real exercise) to look at the market. At the bottom of the ravine there were mushroom farms…steak mushrooms Kay called them, but they don’t taste like steak, they just cut and serve them like steak, because they are so big…

We ate at this lovely hotel at the bottom of the trees—Kay ordered everything and Ozzy accidentally ate some grubs. He was not thrilled. I watched Ozzy and some Gromm play a throwing game. The natives here carve beautiful daggers out of black obsidian.

Day 2—Gaea
Kay dragged us to the waterfall this morning. It was amazing…there were two huge statutes, one on either side, about 65’ tall. The first was a statue of Kong the Overgod and the second was this intricate tree of life figure. We waited and at about 12 bells or so, the sun rose over the waterfall and the entire area was lit by a rainbow. Kay seems incredibly happy to be home.

We went to the market today, as well. I actually had some money with me, and my compatriots must be rubbing off on me, because I felt like spending it. We divvied up one of the chests of money we found on the Shou ship (rights of salvage—no I don’t feel bad) and Tavist gave to each of the crew 5 gp for whatever—even though room and board is covered—and each of us got 125 gp. At the market, we headed first to the Gromman section, where I purchased: a 4’ tall statute of Kong (for the mediation chamber), a new staff carved with Kong and other Gromman figures, a set of large lacquered cups that appear to be made out of leaves and an amber medallion carved with the likeness of Kong.

While we were shopping, the Captain got a funny look on his face and walked off. I followed him (I don’t like to let him out of my sight, really, since he is our only way home at the moment). He stopped before a void elf and introduced himself. They spoke briefly and then the Captain walked off…I think he might have been looking for others with psi powers. I didn’t know that was a talent amongst the elves.

After shopping, we had dinner with Legadril and Seraldon. They told us that the EIN has made some awards in the Company’s name back on Bral. And that a “rather substantial” deposit has been left with the home office. They also told the Captain that since our Octopus had been lost, there is under construction the new Super Octopus which is based on the plans that the Drake had drawn up. (how did they get a copy of those plans?) Unfortunately, however, that ship isn’t ready quite yet, so they will be sending us home onboard the Arrowhawk. They have commandeered the Infernal Contraption.

Where is Drake’s head these days? The elves commandeered the Infernal Contraption, admit to having copies of plans he made for a new ship and are shipping us home like cargo and he is not noticing any of this. They do mention that they will be sharing the information with us as they discover it from the Contraption, but even that fails to get Drake’s attention.

When we get home there is to be a meeting, apparently, with Silvanos and Ambassador Silmara.

Day 3—Gaea—DAY 197
We, the crew and all of our possessions have been dragged off the Infernal Contraption and are aboard the Arrowhawk to go home. We have been informed that travel will take about 3 weeks.

Drake and Dugan have taken it into their heads to harass the elven mages on board for new spells. They spend most of the trip in the brig, after my brief and aborted attempt at diplomacy classes fails.

Tavist, somehow, managed to talk me into gambling. I need a retreat.

DAY 218
Day 1—Bral

We have arrived on Bral. Finally.

We were at the office of the Company of the Seven Stars today—briefly. We received an invite to a brunch tomorrow at the House of Ellodan (they are spice traders if I remember) in the Enchanted Forest. I got paid. I need to send this money to my monastery. We found out that the EIN had deposited 60,000 gp to the Company, which their gnomish manager had used 50,000 gp of to buy a new dragonfly. Dugan flipped out and demanded his sixth share—since this was supposed to be a reward for services in Moragspace and he doesn’t care if there is a new ship or not. Another large deposit was made to Gaddarick Main to make the audit stop. The word is out all over Bral that the Company is now an EIN creature. Drake is pissed. I got to give a quick history lesson, as some people seem to think that having honest books is enough to protect one against an audit.

We are heading out for some drinking tonight.

Day 2—Bral—Late
First, I will never again drink ANYTHING called “a hero’s drink”. As a matter of fact, it is now a rule that Kay is not to order me ANYTHING. Not food or drink. I must need a retreat more than I thought, because I actually agreed to go drinking and then drank everything in front of me and crashed some party at a guy’s house named Hastain…and I distinctly remember singing! Singing!!! If I keep this up, I will have to leave my monastery and become a drunken master.

The brunch. Where to begin? So much information, my head swims with the wonder of it.

First of all, we actually were allowed into the Enchanted Forest, which in and of itself was a treat. I’ve always seen it from the outside, but I had no idea that the elves were able to create such an environment here on Bral.

Fong Lu from the Seekers, as well as some Seekers I didn’t recognize were there. Also there was Sorten, several EIN officers, Silvanos, some humans (from Bral and offworld) and Admiral Icharis—who had recently traveled here from Realmspace. For an elf, particularly for a void elf, the Admiral doesn’t seem to be quite the racist one would expect.

He gave a speech to the assembled crowd about how we need to act now to save the spheres. He told us that Realmspace had been hit hard and had been in the centerlines for the last year. He also told us about how planet Borka had been destroyed. He complimented everyone for their efforts (the Seekers and the Company particularly—what did they do in Moragspace?), but of course said he must ask for more. Funny, how the two always follow hand in hand. He also told everyone that they have finally located the Scro homeworld—a planet called Dukash and that it is about 18 months out from known space.

Apparently, its possible that Dukash, himself, is riding at the front of his army now.

Admiral Icharis asked Kay and Drake to join the scryers in the temple since they have seen members of the Scro high command and could possibly find them. Kay and Drake (of course) went below and when they came back up, they said they had found Morkitar (?). Drake cast an illusion of what they had seen below in the scrying…something about Dukash ascending and making the elves pay for Armistice and for Borca and learn fear of their secret weapons. The Captain told everyone assembled about the minerals they had brought back from Armistice and what their capabilities were. This may be why all efforts to scry Dukash have met with utter failure. But who knows…

The Admiral told us, also, that the war situation was critical in 7 different spheres and that we all needed to act now. The Admiral, displaying his non-elven traits, allowed as how the effort needed to be completely collaberative—i.e., among all the races, and that this had not gone over well with the High Command. Oh well…

Apparently, the Scro have been able to teleport ships out of danger or are willing to simply blow them up, rather than allow other forces to take them. Also, the Empire of Wa has joined in the war effort (interesting that—must see what else I can find out there).

Interestingly, and what has everyone worried, is that intercepted Scro communications indicate that the current engagements are a distraction to the bigger effort? What the hell are they up to?

At the end of the day, after Silvanos, Fong Lu and various EIN members had met in conference, Admiral Icharis announced that there were 11 possible targets and so there were 11 missions…two of the EIN were supporting a giant silver bowl between them…Ozzy must have seen this before, because he ran up and grabbed a slip of paper.

The EIN are outfitting us completely for the excursion. Our mission is to investigate 4 mantis ships which have landed in front of a giant monument on Oerth in the Greyspace system. We are to assume that Dukash is leading his warriors personally—apparently everyone on every mission is to make the same assumption. We are to figure it out and stop them. That’s all…

Scarily, all of the major churches have communed with their gods and have received no answer…nothing…why are the gods not answering?

The planet Oerth and this monument is apparently loosely associated with the Vecna Cult. The Captain doesn’t look happy about this…I think he was talking about them with his daughter last night. The rumor is this monument or whatever, has been around since before the Devastation of the Baklunish and may be some sort of window to other worlds…portals? I don’t know. The Captain will be getting some information from the Seekers before we leave.

When Ozzy picked the mission and as everyone else picked theirs—large elvish sigils appeared glowing leading the way down different paths. I went with the Company down our path and there were elves waiting there for us. They told us they would be transporting and dropping us on Oerth—we would not get our own ship and that they would be responsible for picking us back up. They gave us all wondrous objects, but mine—well…what am I to do with this? It’s a beautiful mithral circlet with a star ruby set in the center…it’s a circlet of blasting. Everyone else received magic items as well…

We don’t know when we are going to leave…we will be contacted by the elves when it is time to depart.

Day 3 Bral—Early at Monastery
I have given the Shou dragon ship journals to Mui Bei to give to Lord Chan. I have also given them my 300 gp which I was paid by the Company after our return. I still have 48 gp from when we went shopping on Gaea and I don’t really need more than that…I don’t really need that…but, I think I should hold on to it, because you never know.

Day 10—Bral
We have just met with an EIN officer who has told us we have to go. I have one hour to pack and just stopped to leave this note. Our means of transportation are unknown, as we were all sworn to secrecy and have signed a Contract of Napthas. I am having this journal delivered to Mui Bei for safe-keeping at the monastery, with my personal effects.

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RISING- Episode 12: Refuge

The Seven Stars fleet stays docked at The Water Docks of Refuge. While they are docked the Captains hire additional crew to fill out their numbers. Among the more interesting to join the group is a kobold cleric of Io named Jirotix and a squad of his followers.

While on the Arcane world Tavist decides there’s no better time to go shopping for new weaponry. Finding a local urchin named Timmy who evidently spends his time as a guide, they set off. As they are passing the shipyards the hear a thunderous roar that continues for about a minute, followed by a huge cheer from the giff mercenaries scattered about the docks. The noise came from a large blunderbuss looking cannon on the deck of one of the ships. Nothing is left of its target except smoke.

“Thats a hell belcher,” Timmy says with a wide grin, “the dwarves are really proud of it!” Tavist immediately heads for the Dwarves and buys four of them outright, making arrangements for installation later that day. He also purchases two more lightning bombards and a Mars Blade.

Weary of shopping Tavist heads for the local pub and gets involved in a Three Draon Ante game. During the conversation he discovers a fellow player is a ship’s Captain who has made the run to Herdspace. The grizzled spacer tells hair raising tales of flying with a group of gnomish scholars. He also informs Tavist that the Fal One-Six-Nine lives on one of the system’s megafauna.

The next morning after a good nights sleep Kaolin uses discern location to locate Whitefire. The divination determines that he is in the Free City of Greyhawk. Timmy arrives shortly thereafter to take them to see Omar, a dealer in exotic textiles. While visiting Omar they do find a set of Planar Sails, however they are way too expensive at 250,000 pp for the set.

Deciding to gather more information they Plane Shift to Bytopia and from there to the Free City of Greyhawk. Using more divination magic Kaolin leads them to his front door. Surprised but happy to see them he invites them in for kaave and discussion ensues. He is able to add little to their knowledge of the Annulus, but does confirm its existence. As leave he asks them to send his regards to “old thirteen squared” for him. When asked if he has met the Fal and if so what it looks like he responds to look for something that resembles an eight ton slug.

Kaolin Planeshifts them back from Greyhawk to Bytopia and from there back to the Valis in Refuge. As they appear on deck they see Kattar having an animated discussion with a pair of dwarves. Evidently the hellbelchers cannot be installed on the tentacles of the ship because they are not strong enough to absorb the recoil. Tavist joins the conversation and a decision is made to install the two on the main deck. The Praetorians are placed in charge of supervising the installation.

Tavist, under duress, takes Kaolin to The Laughing Scavver for a card game. For a change since arriving here he finally wins while playing at the “1 trade bar ante” table. Kaolin grows bored rapidly and heads back to the Valis where she and Taj Pach sit on deck having drinks and discussing the odd ways of their companion.

While conversing Taj hears the sound of a mandolin being played from down on the docks below the ship’s bow. Not only that but whoever is playing it is also extremely talented. Looking over the side they see a female half silver dragon finishing up her tune to the applause of the gathered pedestrians and dock workers.

Kalin invites her up on deck while Taj secures a few bottles from Tavist’s private reserve. The bard introduces herself as illyana Starsinger and the three hit it off merrily. Taj telepathically tells Kaolin,”HA! I’ve got a mate for him! Now I can finally get rid of that smell!” She then summons Tavist back to the ship.

Once they are introduced Illyana tells him, “My Uncle Sar recommended you highly.”

“Well then!” says Tavist, “there is only one course of action!” as he pulls out a bottle of Wavoosh which they drain in short order. Kaolin, meanwhile keeps bouncing around quipping “Hire her! We need a bard! Who’s going to sing our praises and tell the worlds of our adventures!” By the light of dawn it is decided that she shall indeed join the crew.

A few hours later the ships form up and depart Refuge headed for Spiralspace. The trip is short and peaceful and they make great time. Once more they remain just inside the crystal shell while Kaolin renews the ship’s atmospheres. As soon as this is done they re-enter the Flow and make for Herdspace. Taj spends the entire trip doing psionic tattoo work on Kaolin and Tavist. She also gets Kattar into the surgery and augments his armor while replacing his forearm blades with new psionically active ones made of deep crystal.

Unmolested as they approach the small sphere they prepare for what they have been told is an unusual entry. Creating portal in the shell goes normally, but on the other side they see blue skies. Kaolin takes the ship in and as it crossed the crystal shell the entire ship is suddenly teleported to a position ten miles inside the sphere.

A sight unlike any they have ever seen lies below them. The entire interior surface of the sphere is covered with terrain like that one would see on a planet’s surface. Woods, and fields and mountains stretch as far as the eye can see while huge creatures thousands of miles high stand at various points amidst the scenery. Above them shines a small yellow sun.

As they fly towards one of the towering creatures, the megafauna as the gnomes called them, they see that the bright colors and patterns on its hide are terrain in and of themselves. Forests and fields stretch across the “skin” of the titanic beast as though it were the surface of a world. Careful observation reveals that a series of lakes on the surface are actually colossal paw prints, even though the megafauna seem motionless.

Having determined that the Fal might lives inside the ear (Tavist remembers hearing they were subterranean) of the reptilian looking one they fly in close and Tavist, Taj, Kaolin, Illyana and Katta wind walk over and enter the ear.

After journeying several hundred meters into the tunnel they come face to face with One-Six-Nine itself, an entity that looks like a forty foot long slug. A very, very slow conversation ensues in which the Fal tells them that the path of Arrack in seeking the Annulus led him to the Capital Subterrene on the world Penumbra. “Looks like we’re going back to my old stomping grounds,” say Taj with an air of insectile exasperation.

They wind walk back to the ship and discuss their next move

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RISING- Episode 9: Rocking the Phlogiston

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.

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