Now that my missives are written and safely tucked away, I may return to my narrative.
Once it was ascertained that we had indeed arrived in Realm Space, Swift Star’s Captain decided to make landing at Karpi, where we had a scheduled delivery, skipping Garden due to concerns of piracy. We landed in the water (the only significant land masses are located at the poles, an extremely cold and hostile location for ship landings) disguised as a rock in order to deliver 1/2 dozen boxes to the Sea Elves.
A Sea Elf arrived riding a 30-foot Celestial Shark with a well-used trident strapped across his back. During trade discussions with Quartermaster Kelpak, Cazimir discovers his ship the Void Skimmer is on the planet and last seen the vegetation belt.
With Cazimir arguing with Kelpak (our immediate boss of the moment mind you) about going after the Void Skimmer, Ibid casually put all discussion to an end when he mentioned the red Scrow Scorpion ship of Space Orcs going past us. We dived into the vegetation belt (where the Void Skimmer presumably was). We spotted smoke further beneath us, and Kelpak ordered us to take the skiff with eight hours to find and recapture the dratted ship Syzygy lost. We were also commissioned to discover the source of the smoke and assess its threat.
We took the skiff through a hole in the vegetation where faint wisps of smoke could be detected. Going further in, we discovered four burning ships and various body parts scattered widely about the scene.
We immediately began to back-pedal. And evergrowing shriek begand to fill our ears. Without thinking, I cast my mage armor spell and crouched, ready to spring. I felt an almost simultaneous assault of abysal energy and physical impact from an explosion. Some Thing stuck its face into mine. With a fierece sudden energy of my own, I automatically (and flawlessly I might add—Master Kitaro would have been most pleased) attacked with my unarmed strike, painfully feeling the sensation of smooth muscle and well-coordinated body working flawlessly together. And managed to rip off the Thing’s head.
All well and good one might suppose. Until it rose up and placed it’s head back upon it’s own shoulders. I do not know what manner of thing it was, but as soon as its head was in place, it snarled at me. (Its breath was equally as viscious as its disposition.) Utterly startled, I struck out automatically and knocked it over with my Stunning Fist whereupon Ibid decapitated the Thing. Acidic blood flowed and the body was hastily thrown overboard.
Cazimir and Violetta fought off three more of the Things as we made our retreat and reported our findings to Kelpak. During our de-briefing, Cazimir asked the Captain to add to the incident report he was preparing that Vanthus Vanderboren (already wanted for questioning in other murders) was spotted at the scene of carnage. We had to abandon the chase for Cazimir’s ship unfortunately and returned to Toril, completing our run with the Swift Star.
With our well-earned gold, we went to a local eatery called The Singing Sword, which boasted an excellent menu. The Singing Sword also boasted a rumored interspace portal to Dragon Rock. Not wanting to draw any attention, Xrng and I cloaked ourselves as a Feline Folk and a Bug would most certianly attract attention and make our little group particularly memorable. A server dressed in stage armor flourished a sword which began to sing, looking singularly disgusted with the display he was forced to take part in for pecuniary reasons.
Violetta tried to enchant the portal’s location from our server. Confused, the server politely told Violetta the way to the Ladies Room. Violetta and Xrng politely excused themselves, ostensibly to powder their noses and pinch up color in their cheeks, really hoping to detect the magic of the door. I managed to keep a normal expression when two women raced by shrieking about a bug in the water closets. No one paid the slightest bit of attention as bugs in water closets is a common occurrence. Latrines do have shortcomings after all. Violetta and Xrng came back disappointed.
Needing an excuse to wander freely about, Cazimir apparently hit on something and called the waiter over in a most imperious manner (truly his mother’s son).
“My good man, its my charming companion’s birthday,” with a broad gesture, Cazimir presented Violetta to the server. She managed to plaster a look of birthday expectation on her face in time for the server’s full gaze to rest on her face. “She’s been hinting for weeks that this is where she wanted to dine on her special day.”
With a swift gesture, Cazimir slid his arm along the side of the server’s. Clearly experienced in this sort of thing, the server discreetly pocketed the two gold pieces and waited with a vigilant air. “She’s a dancer and I think she should have a go with the sword there. She has a lovely curve to her ankle witch she loves to show off,” Cazimir said, nudging the server in a good-fellow-well-met manner. Violetta’s cheeks paled in a most becoming blush. I rolled my eyes beneath my cloak.
Pleased with so easy a request, the server went to the harassed Knight. A duplicate routine of the sliding arm and the Knight was at our table beaming a strained smile and presenting Violetta with the sword on a bowed knee. Violetta accepted the sword with a pretty speech and began to dance about. The crowd twisted in their chairs to follow her dance. A fleeting look of frustration crossed her face and I watched her lips move, speaking a detect magic spell to the sword. After much tom-foolery, Violetta found the portal hidden behind a third-floor tapestry. We immediately made plans to return at closing time to use the portal.
We decided to wander a nearby market and I bought some healing potions while everyone stocked up on supplies. While walking along, we spotted Vanth Vanderboren in deep conversation with an Arcane. What is Vanth up to? The Arcane race, as any well-read or well-traveled person may know are renowned traders with a monopoly on spell-jammer parts. He was clearly a person of rank as he was attended by bodyguards and an honor guard holding aloft a canopy. Has this gone from simple greed and murder to a large-scale conspiracy of piracy??? Cazimir lost his self-control and raced over with no subtlety whatsoever with blood shining in his eyes.
We tracked Vanth through the crowd and found ourselves attacked by largely invisible assailants. I say largely invisible as one could detect the occasional flicker of movement. Xrng, Caz, Ibid and Violetta returned to the docks in an attempt to find the Void Skimmer while Lemmy and I continued the tracking of Vanth. Failing that, we were going to steal a ship. (Fortunately, this extreme action was not needed.) Lemmy and Violetta established a mental connection between our two groups, but for the moment we were on our own.
I tried to help Lemmy fight off his attacker. In the course of battle, I received a huge electrical shock to my very sensitive nose and scorch marks abruptly appeared with crisped patches of hair scattered over my body. While trying to drag ourselves away, we were struck by a magic missle attack. The attackers faded away, thinking us dead or near enough. Lemmy got healing potions in both of us and we took the luxury of transporting our battered bodies back to the dock via a carriage. . .
Where we found Cazimir in the company of the Harbor Master, exacting justice and his ship. Lemmy reported the encounter between Vanth and the Arcane more fully on our way to where the Void Skimmer was docked. When we finally arrived, the crew on deck spotted us and one raised a large tuning fork sort of object and struck it forcefully upon the deck. Instantly, Vanth’s crew disappeared.
We waited while Cazimir secured his ship in the company of the harbor watch. Among the x-rated paintings and exotic liquor was a box in the Captain’s (formerly Vanth’s) quarters. After documenting the box and the history of its owner, the harbor Wizard carefully deactivated the spell on the box. A large black pearl was revealed inside. Violetta explained that it was a shadow pearl, an object abysal in origin and able to create a city-wide wave of chaos when ignited.
It was going to take three days for the ship to be cleared by officals so the Harbor Wizard disguised us as Vanth’s crew. I think Vanth is too slick to be caught so easily but it was worth a try.
We had a nice respite and my fur began to fuzz up again when our peaceful bubble was burst on the third day when a dead man collapsed at the foot of our ship. Attached to flayed-open corpse was a note, “Cazimir, we’ll talk later.” There is no doubt as to its sender. Quietly, we made the six hour trip back to Dragon Rock with Cazimir’s gleefully noting the defensive improvements Vanth had made to the Void Skimmer.