I stared around at the larger ship. Once everyone gained their feet (except Caz), discussion commenced as to the how, why and wherefore of the ship’s change. Suddenly, Lemmy exclained that the ship looked momentarily like a galleon. Violetta, Ibid and myself went to the observation deck to check the ship’s appearance. It looked like a smalljammer. Violetta suddenly got a dreamy look on her face, faraway and remote. Faintly, I heard Xrng’s voice drift up from the helm, “Do we dream still?” Staring at Violetta, I nearly jumped ship at Ibid’s roar, “Wake up!” right into Violetta’s ear. Violetta shook herself abruptly and looked for a moment to be having a hard time getting oriented. Violetta decided she needed to take a little lie down on the deck.
As Ibid and I crouched down by Violetta, she told us of a legend that smalljammers like Caz’s are organically descended from “The” Spelljammer. After she regained her equilibrium, we returned to the helm. Xrng attempted to speak to the ship in Xixchil and received the distinct impression that the ship had just gone through puberty. Witticisms flew back and forth amongst us concerning that incredibly awkward, yet annoying period of life called adolescence. “No, I don’t wanna go to Arabelle and you can’t make me!!!” the ship would shriek through the helmsman. Followed by doors slamming through out the ship.
Three hours later, we made dock at Dragon Rock after much merriment. Leaving the ship, Caz began to negotiate with the appropriate officials regarding fees. While Caz got into heated discussion with the harbormaster, Lemmy turned about in a circle, scanning the area. His eyes drifted lazily across the scene then abruptly focused on the ship, “I told you it was a galleon!” he bellowed. Too late, I covered my delicate ears. “What?” the harbormaster demanded, frowning at us. Caz gesticulated wildly behind the official’s back. “I told ‘em that I’d take ’em drinking at the nearest tavern,” Lemmy rumbled, jerking his thumb in our direction.
“I’ll have to get my pipe. I’ll be right back,” Violetta suddenly said. As the disgruntled harbormaster watched, Violetta raced into the ship. She returned, brandishing her masterwork flute and we all set off to Lucille’s. As we walked along, Violetta informed us that the ship looked like the Voidskimmer and not a galleon when on the ship itself. Was this an illusion, a protective cover or the ship trying out new looks as adolescents tend to do? After securing a private room, we ordered food and beverage to be delivered.
As soon as the server left the room, Lemmy rounded on Caz, “What didja do to the ship?” Caz replied that he was just as surprised as Lemmy, “I’ve known the ship since I was a child and it’s never done anything remotely like this.” Lemmy began to speculate, “Ya think the ship knows we’re off to battle in the Tears of Selune? That maybe its messin’ with our heads?”
Discussion was momentarily tabled while our food was set before us. I ate hungrily of the chicken and egg dish and sipped fastidiously at my ale. Speculation resumed after a last saucy wink from the pretty red-headed server. Violetta twisted a greasy bone between her fingers, "I wonder if “The” Spelljammer cloaks itself and that’s why no one sees it." As dinner went on, Xrng told us of sentient ships of Xixchil manufacture made from space whales. The story was received amidst a chorus of groans with Violetta’s solo cry of “Disgusting!”
As the shadows lengthened into evening, Xrng and I decided to go on a news gathering spree. Five silvers got me a broadsheet full of reports of increased Scrow activity in the area. A vague and breaking story of a major space engagement off of H’catha that had occurred about a month and a half ago was at the very top of the sheet. Was the Unhuman Horde abuilding for the final battle? Frowning, I tucked the broadsheet under my arm and went for more fresh scrolls. Yeah, I may be going into a prophetic battle and might possibly die, but the fresh, pristine scrolls were my personal affirmation that I would live to record our victory.
Our last days on Dragon Rock were filled with preparations. Xrng and I decided to visit the Seeker’s Library where I dashed off a scroll to my Master, Tsing Cho, Seeker 5th Degree about the time shift. I bundled together Master Cho’s scroll (acting as a cover letter) along with my own written scrolls and the broadsheet dated 5 Uktar and made arrangements for it to be sent on to him. After that urgent task was out of the way, I settled with Xrng in the main reading room and we began to go through all the information relevant to the forthcoming battle. Xrng focused on shape-shifting ships and the Tears of Selune, while I pursued information about “The” Spelljammer and Lemmy’s prophecy. Xrng shared with me that shape-shifting ships were usually associated with wizards while the Tears of Selune had apparently just appeared one fine day many eons ago. While I found nothing concerning Lemmy’s prophecy, “The” Spelljammer information proved more confusing than clarifying. While “The” Spelljammer ranged from being considered a bird of bad omen to a harbinger of great good fortune, its physical appearance, a massive Spelljammer large enough to carry a good-sized city on the back, remained a common thread of the accumulated legends and myths.
Afterwards, Xrng and I met up with Lemmy and Violetta at Gordy’s Grubs and headed over to a psionic, Xixchil tattoo and body modification shop run by a Xixchil by the name of Shintach Kithrick’k. Lemmy got two psionic tattoos on his forearms charged with body purification and a third charged with vigor on his back. Violetta had a pair of angel wings inked on her back. As the tattooing commenced, Xrng fell into conversation with the owner. After listening to the quiet chatter of Xixchil and watching Violetta and Lemmy wince and squirm, I became inspired by their body adornment to do something similar. After a short search, I found a barber who was willing to cut protective symbols into the hair of my coat. 30 GP later, I retired to Lucille’s for the night.
The next day, we all went to our ship to discuss the battle. The possibility of stealing a fully armed Elven Admiral Ship or otherwise gaining the Admiral ship (and thus getting the entire Elven Fleet by extension) involved in the battle was discussed and finally abandoned in favor of taking the Voidskimmer.
We boarded and I was chosen to helm the ship. As we cruised through the Tears, things remained eerily quiet. As I breathed deeply and evenly, my concentration focused on guiding the ship, the quiet was abruptly ended with an explosion to the side of the ship. I grimly held to the helm and kept focused on maintaining speed and dodging asteroids as Ibid cried a warning of an incoming Scrow mantis ship. He quickly cast Sanctuary over the ship. Part of my mind held it’s breath. Would Sanctuary work? It was meant to be cast on living beings. I felt a deepening sense of security and well-being settle over the Voidskimmer and concluded that Ibid’s Sanctuary had been successfully cast.
“Buckle up everyone,” I yelled as I leaned forward willing every bit of speed from the ship that I could. It wasn’t enough as Ibid reported that the Mantis ship was gaining. I began to weave in and out among the asteroid field, much to my companions’ increasingly frightened fury. “Crazy cat,” I heard Caz scream as I whipped between two large asteroids. As I came out, I nearly ran into two Goblin ships and frantically I tried to slip under the ships. Feeling the Voidskimmer begin to veer out of control, I dragged the ship out of it’s slide, coming a hair’s breadth from an asteroid and disaster.
I forced myself to ignore the screams of panic and smile hugely, sensing the pursuing Mantis ship come to a fiery end on the asteroid I had narrowly avoided. “I meant to do that!” I howled. I think I meant to reassure the others. As I rapidly closed in on our destination, the Goblin ships began to give chase. I knew I was on the edge of the Tears. I had to stay within the Tears because of the battle, but perhaps I could send the Goblin ships out. No sooner had I the thought, I was applying the breaks, hard. Panicked screaming was replaced by the sound of tumbling bodies and roars of pain. The noise scarcely registered as I watched with great satisfaction as the two Goblin ships stream past me into open space.
I followed the Goblin ships with my eyes, delighted my ploy had worked so well. My line of vision came to rest on the largest Elven Warbird I’ve ever seen or heard of. Holding my breath, I watched as flitters separated from the Warbird and destroyed the Goblin ships. “TaanMROW!” I screamed as the Goblins exploded into debris. I settled back into my seat, moistening a fingertip and running it over my eyebrows and smoothing my whiskers as if this was perfectly normal and my intended flight plan all along. By the time everyone had sorted themselves out, I was coolly presenting the Warbird to my companions, “Elven Fleet anyone?” I asked cheerily.
As I tried to establish communication with the Warbird, I slowly pulled the Voidskimmer out to meet the flitters, presenting the side of the Voidskimmer to them making clear my peaceful intentions as they surrounded our ship in what I hoped was an honor guard. Ibid had the presence of mind to grab a bottle of wine and two glasses and proceeded to the deck. After righting a table and two chairs, he popped the cork, poured two glasses of our finest wine (Caz winced) and settled back into his chair. A moment later, he received a mental transmission asking about our identities and purpose. Ibid replied that our group was supposed to be here as planned. After a tense moment, we were invited to land on the Warbird, Storm Breaker, to assist with their “inquiries”.
As we exited the ship onto the deck of the Storm Breaker, we were met with Elven troops. Unlike the usual Elven warriors dressed in silver plate mail, these men were dressed in black leather uniforms and armed with star wheels. The troops parted, permitting an older Elven man wearing his hair neatly gathered at the back of his neck to step forth and inspect us. “I am Captain Solon of the Storm Breaker.” Ibid prepared to present Caz.