Planejammer: The Misfits

Hissarmau's Journal - Part 4
It's been awhile...

19 Elient, 1360 DR

Oh yes, where were we? Forgive me dear beloved scroll and my future readers herein. I have been unable to journal as faithfully as I may have wished, but I have kept a series of notes for when I may fill my scrolls at my leisure. And I have such a moment now, comfortably ensconced on Nick the Gift-Giver’s asteroid, warm, dry and well-fed after many adventures.

When last I wrote, Ibid and Xrng had joined our company and we were stuck in a cavern with space zombies. We came together in battle very efficiently I must say (it was our first time fighting together with Xrng and Ibid), and Casimir and Ibid extended the blessings of death to the trapped souls. We then entered Sigil via a magic door located on the asteroid, finding ourselves in the Hives, a truly cursed area of Sigil full of demons and filth. We quickly got off the street and entered the Body Celestial Tavern. Ai yi yi. That was a boozy evening full of drunken confessionals.

Over plates of Bytopian Cheese and OTP, Lemmy revealed some of his secrets. A former officer of the law, he got mixed up in the Guardian Wars and joined the Sons of Mercy, one of sixteen contending factions.

Lemmy secured us a portal key for 600 Gold with the promised destination of Rock of Bral, but our way was via the Gate of Celestian. Ibid looked distinctly uncomfortable on hearing this and I remembered the tensions between followers of Celestian and Ptah. We entered the temple and well, a longer walk this humble student can’t honestly remember. The moment we entered, all the Celestian priests fell silent and began to line up along our passage. As we passed, my sensitive ears twisted back to catch the occasional smothered snicker. A general Celestian consensus had been reached apparently—“Let’s all take a moment, point and laugh derisively.” I noticed my compatriots straightening their backs and smoothing their clothing and hair discreetly while Violetta began to whistle a lively, brave air. I quietly fell back, matching my loping stride to Ibid’s shorter stride and haughtily stared down the undignified Celestians. Our arrival at the other side of the gate was just as derisive unfortunately.

We signed on with an Elven trader called the Swift Star with Sarin, the ship’s Quartermaster. After signing on and stowing our stuff aboard the ship, we decided to spend our last evening among the scrolls of the Seeker’s Library researching various subjects. I found no further information in the crypto-zoology department regarding the Araneans and nothing on Haven-Fahr. I can only wish for the best for the sadly oppressed Araneans. Lemmy began asking about a prophecy, his guiding prophecy as it turns out—to seek a three-year-0ld "wise beyond her years. . . " in the Tears of the Goddess, who’s to play a great role in future events (among the Guardian Wars perhaps?)

We retired to a nearby tavern. Violetta looked most uncomfortable and finally admitted that Lemmy’s prophecy gave her a start. She confided she woke up about three years ago with no memory of her previous life and two mysterious rings on her fingers. She thrust her hands into the candlelight and I say a metal band of Baatorin green steel on her left hand and a blue metal band of celestial (as in heavenly, not those Celestian priest fellows) origin on her right. Taken into Lucille’s by one the girls, Violetta was trained in the Bardic arts, she has since felt a compulsion to hide behind her mask. Quiet for a moment, she reluctantly admitted to feeling comfortable among the Hives of Sigil and fears that she might be a good person either trapped in a very bad body or escaping an ugly past. We decide to return to the Seeker’s Library to perhaps help Violetta and found some tantalizing mentions of The Blood War and the lower plains of the Abyss. Neither bode well, but Xrng and I put as positive as possible a spin on things to cheer Violetta.

We returned to the Swift Star. I was assigned to work in the rigging and occasional piloting duties by Sarin. I found working in the rigging to be very stimulating to both mind and body. After a couple of days, I was swinging through the rigging as if I’d been born to it rather than to the mighty Taanmrow! I quite amused my fellows one day hanging upside down from the lines by one foot as I casually knotted up the rigging, singing a dirty Shou ditty all the while.

Our trip was largely uneventful. A couple days out of Unipaxilla, we crossed the Crystal Spheres while enjoying an excellent glass of a thin, yellow Elven wine to celebrate any “Newbie” crossing. Like the city of Sigil, the Crystal Spheres are beyond the Gods’ reach. It was unspeakably beautiful.

Our peaceful trade journey came to an abrupt end when we encountered a wall of turbulence. Everyone was flung about and there were many minor injuries. After being thrown off course, Ibid spotted a large ship still on course and began to follow, hoping to catch up. As we drew nearer and the ship began to slowly fill the windows of the bridge, I felt my hackles begin to rise. I barely managed to strangle back my fearful yowl, though I failed utterly in getting my fully ruffled coat to settle back neatly. I shut my eyes but could not shut out the knowledge.

It cannot be. It simply cannot be and that such a lowly person as I, a mere novice student scarce out of the monastery, would witness such an event.

“The” Spelljammer, the original ship and cloaked from the Gods’ sight, grew ever larger in my mind’s eye. It was last spotted about 4,000 years ago during the Fall of Netherill, a time of blood shed and scrolls destroyed.

I must write the Seekers immediately as well as my Wu Jen, Master Kitaro Fujiama

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Hissarmau's Journal - Part 3
Let me explain...

Things aren’t going well for us at the moment though we have sighted that bastard-spawned piece of troll shit Vanth Vanderboren. Even exchanged words with him—not myself personally, but my companion Henry Darger did. And actually, not words per se, profanities being a better descriptor. But let me explain. . .

I have finally recovered from the gibbering mouther attack, though I did suffer from a definite sense of disorientation when facing the Vault of Tarkania a couple days ago. Before attempting the vault, our company has been swelled by two: Ibid, a dwarven cleric of Ptah and an old acquaintance and fellow Seeker, Xrng Ke Kadu. Hired by Lavinia on my recommendation, Xrng is, well, unusual. She is Xixchil, an insect-like species with four arms, two smaller limbs capable of the most delicate of crafts and two large and frankly intimidating arms used in combat. I am most grateful to my masters for the sending of a familiar face in response to my request for assistance. She is a very skilled young wizard and most adept at the making of maps and diagrams. My milieu is words not visuals unfortunately so her assist on this end of the record keeping will be most valued on my part. I cannot say much of Ibid though he seems to be a decent fellow and has no slaves attending him, a plus in my book (pardon the pun!).

The vault was most interesting and yielded much for our consideration. The vault was largely looted (by that orc prick Vanth naturally) but he missed a few chests. Most of the chests were filled with the predictable gold and gems, but two chests contained the most precious of all things—documents. The moment I spotted them, I leapt to the fore, ready to plunge my paws into the mass of paper. The moment I did, I felt the Lady Lavinia’s sharp-nailed fingers dig into my ruff and cast me away! Mrow! “Family business,” she said crisply. Such was the strength and suddenness of the move that I felt myself spiral back in time to when my dam would snatch me up in like manner whenever I was about to get into trouble. Quick on its heels was a sense of outrage. Does she not know she handled (rather rudely I might add) the last of the great Taanmrow??? But it is her property and family’s business so she is right and I was rather, well, graceless. Poor Henry! If he ever does manage to bed the hellcat, his poor back will be in ribbons.

Vanth did miss a valuable resource though, leaving behind (inadvertently?) numerous IOUs owed to the Vanderboren family. Including, interestingly enough, a 250,000 GP contract signed by the Temple of Ptah. There was a diary as well belonging to the Lady’s (and Vanth’s) mother. Praise all the Gods that the diary fell into Lavinia’s hands rather than Vanth’s for Vanth would only destroy it. Perhaps it will bring some comfort to Lavinia and become a treasured heirloom in time. After walking Lady Lavinia home, we went to the docks with tentative plans to return to Haven-Fahr where Vanth had been.

When we arrived, we discovered seven Elven Man-O-Wars at dock, fully half the Realmspace fleet and all combat-ready and under the direction of Admiral Icarus. I tracked down a member of a Hadozee Oathpack (wish I had time to talk with him personally) and he told me that a critical meeting was going down here on Dragon Rock concerning the Elven-Orc conflict. Rumored to be attending the meeting as well was the mage of all mages, Mystra the Goddess of Magic’s rumored lover, Arch Mage Elminster. Ah, to be breathing such rarefied air and in such intriguing circumstances, circumstances which became all the more intriguing as events unfolded.

I spotted Captain Galen of Haven Fahr, marched in manacles to one of the Elven ships under heavy guard. I couldn’t believe it. Some justice was served after a fashion as the gaoler now found himself gaolee. But what business did the Elven Fleet have at Haven-Fahr? And how did the fleet’s arrival there affect Nemeitia’s and the Araneans situation? While telling the others of what I saw, some common ruffian slipped Lemmy a note warning us that the Lotus Dragons (a violent mafia) were following our activities closely and warning us off our quest.

So we finally decide to swipe a skiff when Henry noticed someone following us. When confronted, the guy (Shefton Rusk) tells us he’s a former top lieutenant of Vanderboren’s in some exotic animal scheme and wants to sell Vanth out due to conflict over a woman. (I really must spend some time soon at Lucille’s in order to learn further of these womanly powers that make men go to such extremes. Such wiles might well profit my scholarship as well as help me resurrect the Taanmrow.)

After sealing the deal with Rusk, a most unpleasant individual if I ever met one, we returned to the docks to again seek a ride out. We milled about and I heard a ringing voice exclaiming, “There he is! Henry Darger! How ridiculous!” followed by a scandalized yet oddly regal snort. I grabbed Lemmy (really I plucked at his clothing rather than truly grab. With someone so massive how does one “grab”?) and headed back to the group quickly in order to alert everyone that someone was on to us.

As I relayed the information, a truly awe-inspiring sight came upon us. A woman of noble, even arrogant bearing wearing a simply blinding amount of jewels of outrageous style broke up our party as quickly as a charge of bad-tempered Orcs. “Casimir? Casimir Syzygy!”, she demanded, cornering a suddenly embarrassed looking Henry. My jaw dropped in astonishment. This overwhelming and magnificent creature was Henry’s dam! I was frankly so intimidated that even the thought of batting at the woman’s jewels didn’t cross my mind. Yet this terrifying creature brought us glad tidings. Henry’s uncle has departed this world (May his Gods receive him kindly!), leaving Henry (embarrassed son of a premier Dragon Rock founding family) the recipient of a small jammer named Void Skimmer, making Lavinia’s offer of the Blue Nixy redundant. A most timely ride in my opinion.

Under Rusk’s direction, we arrived at a small asteroid where Vanth supposedly had a bolthole. I assume Vanth has many of these as so many people seem to be hunting our Mr. Popular.

We entered the underground tunnel and while scouting it out, Violetta was attacked, tumbling down into the tunnel with us along with a dead Rusk, a knife sticking out of his back. Above us the infamous murdering bastard Vanth appeared. After an exchange of profanities, along with one intriguing sentence (“Give my regards to Penkus, Casimir!”), Vanth trapped us in the tunnel, sealing the trap door with rocks and debris.

After exploring the tunnel, we came upon a labyrinth of rooms. I felt my hackles rise as we went along, hearing a very distant thread of sound, a tone of misery and desolation that became more distinct to my ears as we moved further into unknown territory. After clearing the first room (with 5 illusion-clad wooden doors with brass hardware), we entered a second room and I discovered from whom the sounds of anguish came.

Frickin’ Space Zombies. Hate those things. Nasty to dispose of though one should be glad of being the instrument of freeing a soul’s body from bondage. Xrng went into attack stance when confronted by the three creatures. Ibid neatly drove two of them back into the shadows. Delighted I followed my instincts that morning (all honor to the Taanmrow!) and loaded up an undead spell, I let it rip on the remaining Zombie. And scored, melting the hell-spawned creature’s face. Henry dispatched the thing to its just reward with his gun.

So, one down and two to go. Ibid is quite good at holding the enslaved creatures back I must admit.

To Do:
*Write acknowledgement to Master Tsing Cho, Seeker Fifth Degree for gracious release of Xrng to our company.
*Keep Sai handy.

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Hissarmau's Journal - Part 2
“I don’t wanna play anymore. . . “ me on 14 Flamerule

20 Flamerule 1360 DR

Yeah, it was a rough run.

I’m currently curled into my nest of cushions with the light pouring down on me from the nearby window, recovering from the injuries I’ve suffered during the mission. I’ve been taking comfort in my cozy home, thankful to be here. My books are neatly lined up along the back of my desk with my pencils corralled into an iridescent Shou Long red enamel-wear pencil cup, stenciled with the glyph of knowledge, a small gift from my old master Kitaro Fujiama. The walls are strewn with maps, pictures culled from random sources and everything from interesting rocks I’ve found to foreign currency. While some find the amount and variety of wall decoration overwhelming, most see a harmonious flow at work and no one realizes that my artistic displays are actually a form of storage for me. Lemmy is quietly stretched out in my favorite chair, soaking up the sun along with his hard-earned whiskey. He makes an unlikely nursemaid but quite a good one I find. He wanders out periodically to stretch his legs (to the nearest bar I’m sure) but comes back with choice tidbits from the local eateries. I’m still licking my whiskers periodically from the tasty half-chicken and I occasionally take up a bone, breaking it open and sucking out the marrow at my leisure. He was even decent enough to make a few passes and lunges with that amazing sword of his (called True Will) when I was suffering through a particularly rough patch of physical pain yesterday, though the glowing effect that I saw during the gibbering mouther attack wasn’t apparent.

As to the mission, it was technically a success (we’re all alive which is frankly success enough all things considered) and we learned more information in relation to son Vanderboren. Another chest awaited us inside the web-frosted village, already detonated leaving an old woman dead. It was meant to go to his sister, a woman called Lavinia. Unfortunately, this unnatural son and brother has fled the asteroid, leaving behind some mysterious horses and chaos in his wake.

Haven-Fara only became infested with spiders after Vaderboren dropped off the chest with the disappearances of the townspeople beginning at roughly the same time. Right now, no one in the group seems to fully realize the racial undertow of the situation, something I don’t know is good (Ignorance is bliss) or bad (I’m withholding potentially useful information).

We met a gentleman named Nemeitia, owner of the Black Fly Bar, during the course of our initial adventures at Haven-Fara. He was being held in custody by Captian Galen—suspected of being a looter during the recent disturbances. I found him very composed for being in such an unstable position but I found myself becoming cold with suspicion as Henry interviewed him. He is Aranea, a “cousin” to and descended from the spiders. When everyone was leaving to return to our rendezvous at Dr. Griff’s home (an arachnid scholar lost in hairsplitting, blinded by his own myopic focus, and determined to join our trip to the caverns in the name of research. He seems physically incapable of stopping the flow of inanities that literally tumble from his mouth all the time.), I lagged behind, murmuring a wish of consoling the prisoner in his time of trial. Once alone with Nemeitia, I politely confirmed what I suspected and inquired about the delicate balance his people have managed to maintain. Plus, I swore to keep his secret. Oh, I so wish I had the leisure to talk with Nemeitia about his people, their customs and beliefs, their history. To watch his people and talk to them in the course of their days.

That murderous Vanderboren has upset the delicate balance and secrets of Haven-Fara. Nemeitia is of the native population of Haven-Fara. The Aranea, the tribe he is a member of, are a species of shape-shifters. Specifically, they can shift from human to spider and back again. Captain Galen, the owner of the Good Fortune Tavern is descended from the legendary Captain Haven and his crew and fully human. Nemeitia and his kin have sworn to keep the secret of their heritage and vowed to never shift to spider shape. It has worked for hundreds of years, perhaps not an ideal solution to racial tensions (Why should one group be oppressed while another is free?) but a workable one accepted by the Araneans. The tensions between the humans and the Araneans has been viewed strictly a natural “old versus new” rivalry by the humans. And now this ancient balance is threatened by an outsider’s reckless actions.

All the missing townfolk are Araneans. I assume they have gone to the underground tunnels in an attempt to rescue or otherwise help their distressed cousins. We need to get back as quickly as possible. While the Araneans have shown remarkable control through the centuries in maintaining their vows of secrecy and the retention of human form, they are now in a seriously destabilized condition where the natural instinct to survive might trigger spontaneous reversal into spider form as it is a superior form in battle with their ability for sorcery and the more traditional attributes of the form such as the ability to make webs and use venom. In man form, they are only human, robbed of their rightful splendor. If the humans discover the Araneans’ secret, we could have an interspecies bloodbath on our hands.

The going looks rough though. We entered the caverns through the secret entrance at the Black Fly and had scarcely started down the path when Lemmy suddenly cocked his head to the side as if he heard something then went troll-shit on us, swinging wildly on Violetta and taking a swing at Henry as well when he tried to intervene. A gibbering mouther had scrambled Lemmy’s brain! I spotted the ugly thing hidden in the bushes and leapt to the attack. And ended up getting my furry butt kicked, being eaten in short order by the beast. The last of the mighty Taanmrow, ignominiously devoured!

The battle raged for some minutes but I missed most of it as I was caught in the beast’s belly, painfully having my fur and flesh eaten away. Henry joined me for a moment I think, but managed to escape. I tried to follow, but had been too weakened by all the blood I was losing. Only after Henry firebombed the mouther could I effect my escape, wrenching my shoulder in the process.

Getting back to the ship is a fuzzy memory at best. My first real clear memory is telling Henry “I don’t wanna play anymore” when asked about piloting. After a three-day run back to Dragon Rock, Henry and Violetta sent me home to recover with Lemmy in attendance.

I don’t think this is going to be easy going, but we absolutely MUST return as quickly as possible. Nemeitia and his people need us. Then track down that Vanderboren. . .

Things to do:
Write up report of Nemeitia and his people for the Seeker Library and arrange for follow-ups. Code it as “Senior Members”—proper security protocol.
Write up the “Legend of Slug Love” as sung by Violetta, the Masq’d Bard.
Re-grow coat.

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Hissarmau's Journal - Part 1
Twas The Seventh of Flamerule

Part The First

Exciting doings lately. On the seventh of Flamerule, I went out and ended up meeting a drunken, rather plug-ugly human male named Lemmy Sorpic. Normally, such company is not for me outside of working commissions, but he has this amazing purple, glowing, glittering, unusual therefore tempting sword. Such a teasing prize was well worth following the hulking fellow into this rowdier bar in the Burrows district. He was pretty cranky when I experimentally swatted at his lovely lovely sword but sullenly let me buy him a drink. So I happily bought a round and chatted away, finding out that he was a new arrival to the Rock looking for some action while I watched Lemmy’s eyes droop lower and lower from the drink. He kept asking about a smart-ass three-year-old. Poor fella. Probably some messy domestic situation I imagine. Ah well. I buy another round.

After some time, Lemmy lurched to his feet, muttering about needing a place to crash for the night. Being such a compassionate soul, I naturally couldn’t let him stumble around drunk at night so offered to put him up for the night. Once he fell asleep, he couldn’t warn me off his sword anymore, leaving Me to inspect it at leisure—it was just too glittery for its own damned good and I’ve ever been a sucker for such unique things. I’ve never seen a crystalline sword and its ambient glow was driving me a little crazy.

I tossed a coin to one of the bar goons to help me get Lemmy loaded into a rickshaw. After arriving at my house, we bumped into the lovely and charming Violetta, “The Masked Bard” and a fellow named Henry Darger. Once the others picked themselves up and dusted themselves off (I naturally kept my footing due to the blessings of my ancestors’ agility), we all retired to a local teahouse called Chu’s, settling into a quiet (i.e. private) room in the back.

After some conversation, I was offered a job piloting to a pirate base with the goal of rescuing some fella falsely accused of murder (aren’t they all!). Lemmy drunkenly agreed to come along as extra muscle while I ultimately agreed after the additional promise of first dibs on any protective amulets along with my pay. I may be 16 and from the Horde Lands, but my masters refused to abide any foolishness during my training and schooled me in the basics of handling of the Order of the Wren’s and Master Fujiama’s accounts and contracts, along with everything else.

We eventually retired to Lucille’s House, where “The Masked Bard” is the resident musician and dancer and where Henry lives. Lemmy decided to stay (something about a black whore and a fat whore) at Lucille’s while I decided to hang about talking to the ladies about the finer details of womanhood. After having two male masters who schooled me well in all matters of fighting, meditation, spell casting and piloting, I felt it was time to acquire some “feminine skills”. Henry (considerately I think!) offered to show me the way, but he wasn’t exactly going to show me what I had in mind, the mattress mambo being a far cry from make-up and being a graceful lady and all that troll shit.

I bounced between my place at the edge of the Red Lantern district and Lucille’s, gathering my few items together for the commission and trying to find any information about the spectacular murder. Political overtones were hinted at so I wanted as much information as possible. I finally struck paydirt with a bartender. The Vanderboren family has suffered a tragedy it seems. A lovely chest was sent to Papa and Mama Vanderboren, which was sadly booby-trapped with magic spells, exploding and killing both parents upon opening, leaving the son accused of the horrendous (and unnatural—Patricide and Matricide for pity’s sake!) crime. And we’re looking for the kid. Unfortunately, I was unable to ascertain the political angle, leaving me still uneasy.

Alas, the whole orphan thing. Had to have a damned orphan angle. Being an orphan myself, my whole tribe wiped out by barbarians when I was only a kit of 10, I feel badly for the kid though if he’s guilty I think he ought to suffer proper punishment of the law—I mean killing such precious connections, abomination! So I’m stuck satisfying my own terrible curiosity as to whether the kid is innocent (and thus should be permitted his mourning and responsibilities to his ancestors unmolested) or if he’s guilty (whereupon he should be executed summarily). I would do anything to see my parents again, even my cranky great-aunt Narcissa would be a welcome sight, bad cooking, worse breath and all.

We finally left Dragon Rock a few days later with me at the helm of the ship. After accidentally reversing into the mast of the main ship, I was to make a quiet, discreet entry with the wreckboat, but missed it by a mile, screeching into port and banging up the ship when I attempted to make the narrow entrance. No one really liked that (I heard cussing of all languages—quite remarkable really from a linguistics standpoint), but I feel I leavened the mood by pointing out that the new damage would only add verisimilitude to our story of needing to dock due to damage to our ship. Really though, I was momentarily distracted by that space-blasted purple glittery sword. Freakin’ thing.

After arrival, we began to look about while Violetta recounted the tale of Pirate Captain Haven and his Squidship (apparently there’s a large treasure involved as well).
We ran across a guy in one of the tunnels. The guy tried to run but a large bear-hug from Lemmy stopped him. He was only willing to tell us his name (Jess Furrier) and the name of the village (Haven-Fara) that was ahead of us. He claimed to have no knowledge of our guy and he had no obvious means of return, the landing dock being empty upon our (albeit accidently!) noisome arrival. In thanks, we trussed him up, gagged him and tossed his weapons down another corridor.

We found a large, forested cavern with the village of Haven-Fara in a clearing in the center. Over the village was a large formation of psionic crystals which shed a gentle light over the scene. A weird trident looking thing was in the center of the village, reaching high for the crystals above. And over it all, like a demented frosting, were spiderwebs. We decided we were too hasty about Jess Furrier so went back to let him loose and hopefully gain his help. Silly human tried to run away but I brought him down in a flash with a nice low, sweeping kick. My master would have been so proud.

Furrier is eager to accompany us, wild to rescue his fiancée from the besieged village. According to him, the village was fine when he left two weeks ago. So Henry is accompanying Furrier as he retrieves his weapons. Violetta, Lemmy and I returned to the village where I spotted an opening. Lemmy has decided to enter while Violetta and I stand watch.

Right now, I’m trying to forget all those times I’ve played with spiders in the past. I’d spend all day when I was a kit, following particularly large spiders about, swatting, batting, pouncing on them. My play looks, well, awfully rough in hindsight actually and now I’m on my way into a village with spiders large as hunting dogs. (sigh) I really hope the spiders don’t decide to “play” with me. Wish I could meditate—maybe for a quick second??? Ooooooommmmmm. . .

Facts recently learned:

Lemmy drinks OTP

Mascara opens up the eye area—Thanks Lucille’s Ladies!

Vanderboren murder details

Pirate Captain Haven and Squidship legend

Note to self:

Practice take-offs and landing

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Episode XXII: Thoon

As we open Violetta and the Xixchil ghost are standing in the cockpit of an Illithid Boreworm which is sitting, psionically cloaked, on the grounds of Crosswinds Keep. While the unconscious form of Larren occupies what is obviously a lifejammer helm the door at the back of the compartment opens reavealing an illithid. Xring quickly casts protection from evil.

The illithid lets loose with a mind blast which dissipates Xring’s ectoplasmic form. Violetta manages to resist and just barely remain conscious. The mind flayer then retreats further into the Boreworm. As it passes Larren begins to stir, although weakly. For a moment he feels a wave of sorrow and regret that he has “failed the masters,” but he quickly shakes it off and takes stock of the situation. Realizing that he is manacled to a Lifejammer Larren summons up a sonic energy push and shatters one of his restraints. As he begins to free himself Klasath appears in the doorway, chain in hand and ready for battle. A metal collar with an amber chunk of deep crystal set into it adorns his neck and the Githyanki’s eyes are full of rage.

While Violetta engages the githyanki Larren shatters his own bonds and then the illithid control collar around Klasath’s neck with one energy push after another. Leaning on each other for support the group stagger unsteadily back to the smalljammer. As they arrive Moswen notices the small transparent disc of energy that denotes a scrying focus. She quickly dispells it.

After dispelling the scrying focus Ibid, Klasath, and Lemmy stay aboard the smalljammer with Individual 23, and Endora while the rest of the crew head back to the Boreworm for further investigation.

Once Casimir and the ladies have entered the Illithid ship Klasath, who stayed behind, feels the deck of the smalljammer shift under his feet in exactly the way it does when a spellcaster has assumed the helm. He races to the control room only to see Ibid sitting in the helm, surrounded by corruscating ropes of energy. As the Githyanki enters the dwarven priest looks up, eyes glowing, and utters one word. “Thoon!”

Hoisting his fighting chain Klasath closes with the dwarf and after a few blows wraps the chain around his throat from behind. As he does this the back of the dwarf’s head explodes outwards and a cluster of tentacles bursts from within his cranium and reaches for the Githyanki. Klasath jumps back out of range and brings his chain around in a double strike taking out both the tentacles and the dwarf’s cranium in one blow.

Hissarmau takes the helm, delaying takeoff while the recon team returns from the Breworm ship. Once all are aboard she takes off. In short order the situaton becomes frighteningly clear. The Voidskimmer has no way to pass through the asteroid’s circle of exclusion, and there are two illithid Nautiloids cicling the limited space inside the sphere. She then sets a course circumnavigating the deceased Power’s head, trying to keep it between her and the nautiloids.

Two almost octopus like constructs begin to follow the ship, Larran identifies them as Stormclouds of Thoon although he lacks details about them other than their link to th Illithids. While able to pull random facts seemingly from the fabric of the universe he does not, t seems, know everything.

As they maneuver so as to peek over the “horizon” of Crosswinds Keep the crew’s blood runs cold as they see a huge portal open inside the Sphere of Exclusion. Roiling madness is the only way to describe what they see on the other side. “Far Realm” breathes Larren. Shifting and changing as they fly, two more Illithid Boreworm ships enter the Sphere.

Klasath, Casimir and Lemmy land on the “head” to do some recon in the now abandoned keep. As they search they find numerous bloodstains, left one can only assume by the prior residents. Casmir does find an Illithid Qualith pen, which he pockets without telling anyone.

In the course of their investigations they find an unhidden trap door behind the bar, opening it up they see a large number of kegs and bottles surrounded by large greenish eggs..

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Episode XXI: The Misfits On The Move

While Hissarmau tries to relax after her terrifying experience and the others party with the Vikings Moswen tries to use some of the giant leaves of the Yggdrail to patch the holes in hull. Ibid, in the meantime continues to tend to the unconscious Xring, Casimir and Endora. Individual 23 sits on the Voidskimmer’s wind whistling to itself.

Casimir finally awakes, tries to sit up, and falls back down dizzy and battered. “What the frak happened to my ship?!?!” he asks. Ibid fills him in a bit. Elekith walks over bearing a bowl of soup and an ale. Casimir stands up, pulls his starwheel and holds it to the elf’s head.

“Never without my permission, never when I am drunk. Never.” He says, cocking the trigger. He then leans over and kisses the elf on the top of his head and sends him away. He then goes into the ship to examine the damage.

As he inspects the damage to his beloved ship Casimir collect several smaller pieces of the fractured hull for future study, noting that they seem more like some form of ceramic rather than anything living. Returning to the encampment on the branch he engages the Ratatosk in conversation. After the second time Cas calls it a squirrel the creature lets loose with a taunting string of profanity and slurs on Csimr, his family, his home plane, and many other things besides.

Astounded by the potty mouth eloquence of the creature Casimir compliments him on his profanity and offers an apology. He then asks if the Ratatosk would give him lessons. He then shakes hands with the now hesitant and confused creature and heads towards the camp fire.

Annoyed by the plethora of propositions she is receiving from the Vikings, Violetta goes to bed.

The next morning Violetta is awoken by the smell of frying sausages. Putting on her silk kimono, a gift from Angel, she heads out on the wing where she sees the Vikings cooking and breaking camp. The others slowly start drifting out of the ship, suffering varying degrees of hangover.

Over breakfast Violetta argues about the lenght of days on Yggdrasil with the Ratatosk until Ragnar tells her the days here are of random length. While she does so Ibid and Moswen pour over the parchment they won on the Astral, realizing as they study it that it is not for planar travel. Instead it seems to take you “outside,” the planes themselves.

Ibid checks on the bug. The Xixchil’s sytem is not reacting wel to the spelljammer shock. It seems she is worsening. Later that morning her condition takes a nosedive. A few hours later Xring the Xixchil dies. As the others look on, stricken, Moswen gets an inspiration. Scooping up the surprisingly light insect she runs for the helm and sets Xring in it. There is a flash of white light and a moment later a ghostly translucent Xring rises from the Xixchil corpse.

Xring converses with the flabbergasted crew, explaining that she believes something about connecting to the helm as her spirit left her body interrupted her trip to the realm of Mrrn, the Hive God leaving her stuck here as a ghost. Since she had a full complement of spells at the time there was certainly arcane energy enough to cause the disconnect.

The crew begin to discuss what to do with the body. Violetta asks if they can remove the jewels and such from her carapace and integrate them into the ship’s repairs. Xring consents and then says she would like to be taken to the Tears of Selune and buried in space in the manner of her people.

Ibid spends the next few hours with Moswen giving her a crash course on piloting a spelljammer. With him at her should providing guidance she manages to planejamm to the Astral. Setting her mind on Crosswinds Keep she takes the Voidskimmer racing across the Silver Void.

As they approach the swirling maelstrom of color pools called the Elserryn Cluster the warlock reduces speed takes a cautious final approach. As the dead god’s head upon which Crosswinds Keep is built moves into view they see several Githyanki void ships, numerous troopers and blackweave warlocks, and several red dragons assaulting the external perimeter of the Zone of Exclusion. Xring, using the logic “I’m already dead,” moves into the outer fringes of the fray. The Githyanki note her presence, but it seems that as long as she doesn’t interfere she is ignored. She attempts to get closer to the force shield but the boiling mass of energies from the combined Githyanki / Red Dragon attack makes it impossible for even a ghost to get very close.

With a heroic effort and Ibid’s expert help Moswen manages to port the ship into the Circle of Exclusion, appearing just off the dock for Crosswinds Keep. She is momentarily dazed and completely drained of magic to the point that can no longer even fly.

While destructive energies are held at bay by the transparent force shield they cast flickering multihued light across the still and silent expanse of Crosswinds Keep. Violetta tries casting forth a message to Lemmy and gets no discernible response. Casting invisibility on herself she brings the now incorporeal insect along and heads into the silence of the Keep itself.

As they zoom through the Keep they find little other than a scattering of bodies, craniums broached and devoid of brain matter. Far too few bodies. Hissarmau messages them that something odd has been found and they return to the dock.

Guided by Moswen and Hissarmau via message spell the ghost bug and the invisible helbred make their way toward the visual disturbance noticed by Hissarmau. Violetta gets close and manages to break through the psionic invisibility to find an Illithid Boreworm ship.

Upon hearing that its ilithids HIssarmau reminds the bard about Yggdrasil’s Star. She heads back to the ship and retrieves it from Moswen although she does not activate it. The invisible Violetta return to the Boreworm with the star in hand and ready.

As the ladies move around the ship they come the viewing port, which seems to be made of some sort of scarlet semitransparent resin, where she sees Larren unconscious with. He is sitting in a spelljammer helm that has chains attaching at his wrists, ankles, and neck. Xring passes through the hull into the cabin and tries to wake him to no avail.

Violetta enters the ship through the open side port just as the interior door opens revealing an illithid. Xring immediately casts protection from evil.

Roll Initiative!

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Episode XX: Ysggdrasil Power Dive

As Violetta and Casimir call out to the people hidden in the branches of the Yggdrasil Moswen hovers amongst the branches in the Voidskimmer with HIssarmau, Xring and Individual 23 looking down from the exterior deck. Endora Syzygy stays inside, completely blown away by the transition from the Astral to the Yggdrasil.

Four humans dressed in nordic style accompanied by one rather tall elf and a ratatosk guide step into the open. “They’re all guys, I’ll let you do the talking,” says Casimir out of the side of his mouth to Violetta.

The leader introduces himself as Sigurd Jarlson. The others are Rolf, Ragnar, Thorveig, Bjorn, Elekith the elf, and Tharvalg the ratatosk guide. Violetta asks where they were going and is told they were “traveling from one portal to another.” Discussion proceeds, the upshot of which is that they decide to make camp there on the branch and confer for the evening. The vikings, curious about the both smalljammer and two buxom women who seem to run it, agree to share what info they might have that would be of use.

Ibid goes back to guard the ship, Endora and the modron. Violetta and the rest proceed to perform for Sigurd and his men. Violetta sings and provides the beat with her drum, Moswen does backup vocals, Xring does that cricket buzzing things she does, and Hissarmau caterwauls. Surprisingly under the helbred bard’s direction they put on an amazing performance (Perform 35).

“That deserves a proper toast, eh lads?” yells Sigurd, laughing and clapping at the end of the set. He has Ragnar pull out a quarter keg with a huge, thick wax seal on it with the bas relief of a hammer. Cutting the seal they serve a round in drinking bowls. Trying to be funny Violetta manages to dump the bowl full down the front of her tunic, immediately capturing the attention of all the men there. Well, almost all.

Mosewn notices that the elf seems hardly appreciative of the decolletage presented. She decides to keep and eye on him. Casimir down his, tries to stand up, fails, tries again. As he finally makes it to his feet he staggers off to the ship, listing a bit to starboard all the way. Moswen catches the elf watching Cas’ retreating buttocks appreciatively.

Moswen, Xring and Violetta confer on the side for a moment and then Violetta and Xring approach Elekith and over the next several cocktails convince him that going to Casimir’s cabin and “enjoying the evening” is exactly the right course of action. In short order he leaves for the ship. Violetta messages Ibid to let the elf in and to leave him and Casimir alone.

Meanwhile Moswen is drunkenly trying to teach Hissarmau and the ratatosk to play jacks. Tharvald seems quite taken with the game, although a bit confused on its rules. As the swaying warlock takes her turn she manages to accidentally hurl the jacks over the edge of the branch…

Violetta joins the Vikings as they pour a few rounds of mead. Moswen, already intoxicated, proceeds to get belligerently drunk. Xring heds back to the ship to check up on things. As she depats she asks Violetta if she is okay. “I’m with a bunch of vikings, what could happen” Violetta

Xring does a quick circuit of the ship, hearing sounds of “intimacy” from behind Casimir’s door. Ibid tells her not to disturb him, the elf is in there. Getting a good chuckle out of the self proclaimed leader’s evening of sodomy they leave to continue making the rounds. Moswen staggers on baord shortly thereafter and passeds out cold on the deck.

Xring returns to the Viking camp and finds Violetta dancing on the branch drunkenly to the appreciative hoots and howls of the nordic contingent. As the xixchil approaches Sigurd grabs Violetta’s hand and says “look, the stars are about to come out, lets go watch!” In short order the group make their way towards the outermost end of the branch where large objects, vaugely like pinecones, hang at the outermost tips of the branches.

A few moments later the “pinecones” open up to reveal small points of faery like light. These are the stars of the Yggdrasil. Xring, using her innate climbing skills, manages to squirm out to the end of the branch and after several tries manages to catch one of the stars in her hand and bring it back to the group. Hissarmau, seeing a shiny thing and not wanting to be outdone by the bug makes her own attempt. Losing her grip she falls, managing to catch herself by one paw. She hangs there for a moment while the others race around looking for rope, and then plummets down through the branches as she loses her grip one final time.

“The Ship, its her only chance!” yells Violetta. Xring, maing use of her superior speed, races back to the Voidskimmer and sits in the helm. It seems like forever as the helm link forms, losing her almost half a minute before being flight capable. Once online the xixchil puts the smalljammer into a power dive down through the branches in an attempt to rescue the “ship’s cat.”

While Violetta and the Vikings watch from the branch Xring punches through the foliage below as she pursues Hissarmau. The catfolk monk invokes still mind as she falls and tries to guide her fall between the titanic branches of the World Ash. The Voidskimmer takes some hits on the way down, one branche piercing the hull and ripping through Moswen’s abdomen. As the race continues the ship takes more damage as branches shatter the front, left porthole and the dart spitter. In the process Endora gets injured severely by a hull breach and the branch that caused it.

Looking out of the porthole Moswen sees the figure of Hissarmau, tail fluffed out to several times its normal width, falling almost even with the ship. Holding her side to stem the flow of blood she braces herself in the cargo bay doors waiting for the right moment. Thinking she has it figured out Mowsen leaps from the ship, trying to tackle Hissarmau and push her onto the stability of one of the passing branches. Their hands miss by a matter of inches. As the monk continues to fall, Moswen is barely able to grab a branch and pull herself up onto it. As she looks down she sees the catfolk falling still as the Voidskimmer shatters branches on its way down to save her.

It is at about this point that Casimir’s voice is heard to roar from belowdecks, “My Ship! What the F*ck are you doing to my ship!” As he does so another impact slams him into the wall knocking him unconscious. Elekith the elf catches him, “I’ll kiss it and make it better,” he whispers. At the same time on the other side of the ship Individual 23 gets smashed up by aother wayward branch.

Through some complex maneuvering through the branches Xring is finally able to get the ship’s deck somewhat underneath Hissarmau as she angles the Voidskimmer into a more horizontal orientation. The monk does a m incredible roll and tumble onto the ship, grabbing the cargo door and hanging on as they crash through the surrounding foliage.

As Xring pulls the ship up and exits the foliage she veers too far to one side clippig the left wing of the Voidskimmer on a branch. Part of said branch smshes a ten foot hole in the ceiling of the cockpit while other branches pierce various portions of the now battered ship. Xring is thrown from the helm in a blast of energy and lies motionless on the floor with purple smoke rising from her body. The ship begins to tumble out of control through the atmosphere.

Looking down from above the Vikings are cheering and howling at the foolhardy bravery of the maneuver. When someone mentions betting on the outcome she immediately puts down 350 gold pieces on The Misfits.

Meanwhile back on the ship Hissarmau, makes use of her feline balance and speed to head for the bridge. Taking in the situation quickly she sits herself down on the helm. The few moments while the helm attunes to her seem to take forever, when it finally engages she manages to pull it out of the tumble and shoot straight upwards to the original encampment on the branch above. (Pilot check 21!) As she lands on the wooden expanse she sees Violetta collecting a significant amount of Ysgardian coin from the Vikings. As she steps onto the deck they cheer wildly!

“That was amazing! What do you call yourselves?” asks Sigurd, grinning like a madman. “The Misfits, ” replies Violetta, “We go where evil dares!”

“To The Misfits!” shouts Ragnar!

Pulling out the sealed keg of “the good stuff” Sigurd leads the cheering for Moswen and Xring. The bug and Endora are carefully laid on the ground at the side of the feasting while Ibid applies potions and poultices to their woulds. Casmir is tenderly carried out in the arms of Elekith, who tends to his unconscious form.

Violetta begins to imrov a song about the rescue they all just witnessed, using minor image to replay a more idealized visual image of events alongside her music.

As the irregular night time of Yggdrasil darkens once again the party is in full swing.

Abscences: Lemmy, Klasath, Laren, Casimir, Ibid

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Episode XIX- Friend or Foe

Xring, Hissarmau, Violetta, Endora Syzygy, and Individual 23 wait in the Voidskimmer for any of the others to return. While they wait two more nautiloid ships enter the Keep’s exclusion zone through the rift.

Deciding that Klasath and Moswen have had more than enough time Violetta casts invisibility on herself, sings up some courage and heads into the keep with her starwheel pistol drawn and cocked. Moving with the speed of motion on the Astral she flashes unseen through corridors empty save for the occasional corpse.

The invisible bard reaches the chamber just as Moswen is waking up. The Mulhorrandi cracks an eye and sees an Illithid beginning to feed on Casimir. There is a sudden flash of actinic black light and mind flayer reels backwards its tentacles smoking. In the doorway behind shes sees the magical aura of the invisible Violetta peering in.

Moswen sits up suddenly and targets the Illithid with her eldritch blast, Violetta attacking simultaneously with her spiked chain. The warlock feels a wave of nausea and pain wash across her, but shakes off the effects of the Illithid mind blast without losing consciousness. In short order the two manage to deal out some major injuries to the Illithid until it finally steps backwards and vanishes into thin air.

Besides Moswen and Casimir, who is just now coming around, the still breathing body of Ibid lies on the floor. Of Lemmy, Larren and Klasath there is no sign. Moswen grabs the delirious Ibid and throws him over here shoulder. As rapidly as possible, which is quite fast for smart people on the Astral, they head for the smalljammer.

Meanwhile Xring and Hissarmau attempt to keep Endora calm while the modron stands in the cargo door staring up at the dragon fire from the Githyanki attack and makes soft “woot,woot” noises. Suddenly a familiar form fades into existences, as though from a teleport. It is Lemmy.

As the warrior materializes he draws his deep crystal swords and leaps towards Xring. As he does so Hissarmau notices a metal collar around his neck with a single softly glowing amber jewel set in its front. A whirlwind melee ensues, in the middle of which Violetta and the rest enter the ship and join the combat. Thinking it would distract any male Moswen grabs Violetta and kisses her deeply right in front of the fighter. He barely even notices. Hissarmau manages to fracture the jewel, but Lemmy teleports out immediately thereafter. Before he does he stares right at the still invisible Violetta as though he can see her.

Dragging the unconscious Ibid into the cockpit and putting him out of the way in a corner. AS they catch their breath another form fades into visibility in their midst. Its Klasath, his bladed chain already spinning and an amber jewel shining from the silver collar around his neck.

As the fight is joined his chain slashes out injuring Endora severely, and hitting Hissarmau and Violetta as well. A burst of eldritch blasts from Moswen along with a flurry of attacks from the others leave him in sorry shape rapidly. Like Lemmy before him the Elan disappears from view, leaving the cockpit free of further bloodshed at least for a moment.

After a rapid confab, during which they notice three more illithid nautiloids entering through the portal, Moswen takes the helm. Once again they all experience the wrenching turbulence of crossing planar boundaries as the warlock’s form and the helm are surrounded by a nimbus of block and violet energy. Suddenly bright daylight bursts through the windows of the smalljammer.

Looking out the windows they see an enormous tree, miles in diameter around the trunk, rising up and down as far as can be seen in a sky unadorned other than by clouds. Clear blue skies have replaced the liquid silver of the Astral. Moswen notices motion in the foliage here and there as she circles the trunk with the Voidskimmer. As the best climbers Xring and Hissarmau are sent out to hit the branches and do some recon.

After venturing a few hundred feet into the branches they encounter a humanoid creature that looks like nothing so much as an enormous squirrel. In broken common he introduces himself as Kippenval. During the somewhat fragmented conversation they have he asks about their “bird” pointing towards the smalljammer. He also seems to want food. Hissarmau gives him some milk out of her supplies and he slurps it right up most appreciatively.

At one point while talking to the monk Moswen calls him a squirrel. He immediately jumps up and grabs her shoulders shaking her soundly. “NOT a squirrel! NOT, NOT, NOT a squirrel!” he proclaims in a loud and determined voice. He then sits back on his haunches and begins to clean his whiskers.

They manage to get that he is a guide and that they are on the World Tree Yggdrasil. While the ladies manages to get him to follow them towards the ship he stops and refuses to go any further once he is about a hundred feet from the ship. Casimir enters the conversation shouting from the upper deck to the party on the branch. After much discussion he says, “Okay if you don’t come aboard there is no gold and no food for you.” Kippenval twitches his whiskers a moment and then repies “Okay, bye!” and vanishes into the undergrowth.

As the feline and the Mulhorrandi report back on their interactions with the ratotosk Ibid finally wakes up. He seems very scattered and discombobulated, complaining of things digging through his mind. Very shaken he sits in the corner quietly while Xring checks him over. While they do this Casimir jumps out onto the branch and gathers some deadwood and leaves which he takes in and leaves in chest in his quarters.

Taking the ship into an irregular orbit of the titanic tree they circle its trunk investigating the terrain as best they can from the open decks. After several circuits they notice motion in the undergrowth, motion that resembles humanoid activity. Violetta and Casmir disembark leading he rest of the crew (except for the helmsman) into the branches. After a bit of looking they notice part of a red cloak sticking out from behind a branch and call out to the concealed travellers….

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Episode XVIII: The Siege of Crosswinds Keep

Crosswinds Keep in The Elserryn Cluster, Astral Plane.

While Klasath the Githyanki hides aboard the smalljammer with Ibid standing guard and the enigmatic modron talking to itself in non sequiters down in the cargo bay the remainder of the crew have a drink or two and eaves drop on the surrounding conversation in Crosswinds Keep proper.

Klasath realizes fairly quickly after they leave that he is breathing. That means time is passing. Tales say that sometimes the rules change when one is on the corpse of a power. Just because the Athar denies the divinity of the powers does not mean he is stupid enough to deny their reality bending might.

Meanwhile in the Keep’s common room Moswen, Larran and Xring are spending quality time at the bar trying out a variety of Sensate sense stones. Moswen in particular is enamored of the fleeting glimpses of other memories. She buys about a dozen stones that contain the memory of being a daisy in a Bytopian field. Violetta meanwhile has wandered to the adjoining chamber where a bard is performing. The song is the story of a succubus turned to the path of good, a redeemed soul rising from the pit of the Abyss. Scratching her horns she snorts at the subject matter.

A guardsman wearing the same uniform as those on the hammership that escorted them in approaches the group at the bar as they are trying wavoosh, an intoxicating vapor cocktail from the Elemental Plane of Air. He asks them to gather their crew as the owner would like a word with them. As they begin to go looking for the other crew members a guard comes running in from outside yelling “Battle stations! Battle stations!” The various Lion Guards as well as many of the assumed spellcasters head outside the keep.

As Violetta, HIssarmau and Moswen follow the guard they are greeted by an incredible sight. About three hundred feet out, at the edge of the Sphere of Exclusion they followed the hammership through, no less than six Githyanki astral ships are attacking the force shield with fervor. Even more disturbing is the fact that they are backed up by three red dragons with Githyanki knights riding them. The force shield is awash with black laced energies and the flames of the dragon’s breath weapons to the point where it almost completely obscures the Silver Void itself. Moswen joins up with the spellcasters asking how she can help.

Several of the patrons of the common room have also drifted outside, Violetta hears one exclaim, “Oh you should see this! Its always spectacular!” After fifteen minutes or so when it is solidly clear that the Githyanki are making no headway against the protective magics people begin to drift back inside.

The crew, except for Ibid on the ship and Klasath who is in hiding, are gathere together and brought to meet one of the Keep’s owners, Elthure Vildenof a human who seems to be in his late fifties. He has a gray beard that comes to the middle of his chest, and he wears spectacles.

Violetta and Larren are both aware of tales about him. A wizard and a scholar, Elthure Vildenof originally hails from Thay (Toril, Realmspace). He was once on the path to becoming a Red Wizard, but then turned his back on his order and suffered the inevitable assassination attempts that followed. When the Stalwart Lions, his adventurig group, left Faerûn he disappeared from common knowledge. From what Klasath said on the way here it was the Stalwart Lions that created Crosswinds Keep.

Vildenof asks about the smalljammer and its illusion. As the group try to feign ignorance another guards enters bringing Casmir and Endora with him, bikering all the way. Once Violetta is able to get a word in edgewise she asks Casimir what happened.

He remembers nothing between being knocked unconscious at Lavinia’s on Dragon Rock and awaking amidst the wreckage of an Elven Man O War in the Silver Void, along with his mother and several Pirates of Gith. What woke him up was a hammership that had stopped to investigate the wreckage. The ship was one of the Lion Fleet, and the two were rescued and brought to Crosswinds Keep.

After drilling them more on the nature of the ship, Vildenof sits back silently and listens as the group begin to discuss their situation. After awhile servants bring in food and wine and Vildenof excuses himself to chek on the siege.

Suspecting eavesdropping the group proceed to have a heated debate in writing. Larren reveals that he has tapped the universal unsconscious for information and has learned several things. The smalljammers are indeed young incarnations of the Spelljammer. When a Spelljammer dies one of them grows to take its place. He also says that some believe the Spelljammer to be one of the Ancient Brethren, a group of beings beyond even the gods themselves. It is an obscure reference, and one that no one else there has ever heard mention of. He says that in some esoteric circles The Serpent who taught Vecna of Grayspace and the Lady of Pain in Sigil are also rumored to be amongst the ranks of the Ancient Bretheren, at least amongst those that have even heard the name…

Sounds of combat outside draw their attention. Lemmy breaks off a table leg while the others all look for improvised weaponry. Violetta cast invisibility on herself and peeks into the hallway where she sees a furless dog like creature with mucus covered purple skin and a frill of tentacles writhing around its massive jaws. She very quietly retreats back into the room and shuts the door again. After a moment of preparation the group burst from the room and attack. Unfortunately for them the kigrid is no longer occupying the hallway, instead it has been replaced by an Illithid.

As they enter the hallway the Ilithid attack with its mind blast knocking Ibid, Lemmy and Endora Syzygy unconscious. As the catfolk monk closes with blinding speed the ilithid manages to grab on to her with two of its four tentacles and begins drawing her head towards its mouth. Moswen manages to nail it with her eldritch blast and Hissarmau breaks free. After a brief melee the illithid is seriously injured and plane shifts out. The group immediately make for the main entrance of the Keep.

As Our Heroes leave the building they are greeted by an imposing image. Inside the force shield there is what looks like a portal with stars showing behind it. In the foreground is an Illithid Nautiloid floating just off the bow of the deceased Power’s brow. Outside the sphere the Githyanki numbers, and the number of red dragons has skyrocketed. The Gith forces throw themselves at the force screen with mouting fury, driven almost berserk b the illithid prescence.

As the spectacle rages before them they take a quick head count and realize they left Lemmy and Ibid unconscious in the meeting room along with Casimir’s mother Endora. Larran and Casimir go back for them. Moving with the lightning speed of the Astral Plane they arrive in short order only come upon four illithids collecting the bodies of their friends. The tentacle faced horrors turn and unleash their mind blasts. Casimir and Larren join the ranks of their captives.

After getting themselves to the smalljammer the remaining members of the group peer from the portholes to observe the titanic forces being unleashed at the Crosswinds Keep force shield. After a few moments wait Klasath and Moswen decide it has been too long and head back to the meeting room looking for the others. When they arrive the Casimir and Larren are laid out in a line along with the still unconscious victims of the first mind blast. An Illithid and a Kigrid are in the room, as the two enter they get caught in the mind blasts and know no more.

Violetta, Hissarmau, Xring, Individual 23, and Endora Syzygy peer apprehensively out of the Voidskimmer’s porthole at the eerie silence on the dead gods head.

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Episode XVII: Chess With A Modron, Drinks on a Dead Gods Head

Last Episode: As the Mulhorrandi sits down she and the helm are suddenly surrounded in a corruscating numbus of purple flame sot through with black arcs of energy. There is a violent lurch and everyone except the catfolk and the xixchil is thrown from their feet. As they get to their feet they notice the sky outside the ship’s posts has gone completely silver. Khlasath cowers away from the window exclaiming “No, no, no, damnit! Not the Astral!”

As the silver light streams in through the windows Violetta feels momentarily light headed. While Xring tends the unconscious Ibid, Klasath explains that he is a pariah amongst his people and being on the Astral is a death sentence if they get caught. As they interrogate Moswen about what happened and discover she has no idea the githyanki explains some basics of the plane: lack of time, getting places by thinking about them, etc.

During the course of the conversation a change in Violetta’s chain, as it now has the aspect of both being made of silver and being of githyanki craftsmanship. As Klasath asks her about it a figure comes into view in the distance. In short order it resolves into a strange looking cube, a cube with spindly chicken like arms and legs as well as a strange almost comical face. Larren identifies it as a Modron, native to the plane of Mechanus, a creature of pure Law.

In a strangely stilted prose the creature introduces itself as Individual 23 and, they think, inquires why they are there. Closer view shows the creature seems to be made of a an odd mix of metal, stone, and flesh. All in all it almost seems more of a construct than a creature of flesh and blood. Under its arm it carries a stone tile about a foot square and it holds a staff in its left hand.

After a brief and slightly confusing conversation the Modron asks, “Interrogative: Participate in game?” After a bit of conversation they agree and the Modron tosses the board out into the Silver Void where it rapidly grows to huge proportions.

Upon attaining full size the crew are transported to the surface of the board where they have taken the place of several pieces on the white side of the board. Surrounding them are living chess pieces, the Chaturani from Mechanus. The Modron sits on a raised dias at the other end of the board directing the black side’s pieces.

A rapid, vicious game ensues. As the pieces move, animate, and fight Violetta feels a pulse at her temples and, suddenly released by the energies of the Astral, strikes out for the first time with an Ego Whip. As the strange, boxlike entity plunges headfirst into depressive lassitude Larren directs the game towards a rapid checkmate. In the course of the combat Lemmy had been “killed.” At its end he appears on a dias opposite the Modron beaten but barely alive.

As a booming voice from above announces “checkmate,” the black pieces defeated, including the checkmated King evaporate in amber light leaving behind three scrolls hanging suspended in mid air where they stood. Two are maps, in the same style as the map of Athas Violetta memorized a few weeks ago. One is labeled Dasaraches, The White Fortress. The other one is a city map emblazoned with the name Tyr.

In addition to the enigmatic maps is a scroll bearing a powerful incantaion, The Song of The Jammer. Combining elements of arcane, psionic and musical notation it seems to be a complex multi hour ritual that allows a smalljammer to breach dimensional barriers. At least that is the best they can gather from it.

After the game Klasath explains to Moswen how to rest in the Astral. Being a warlock she is unused to the energy draining effects of the helm. Being bereft of all her arcane abilities has rattled her a good deal. Individual 23 has, in the meantime, begun balling to himself while standing on the open deck of the Voidskimmer. He keeps saying that “Mad, mad, mad! Giotractuszeit mad will be,” wringing his strange spindly hands.

Acting as the native guide Klasath finally suggest the best place to seek shelter would be Crosswinds Keep in the Elserryn Cluster. As a githyanki he would have to hide in the ship, his race are forbidden there and constantly attempt to breach the settlement’s defenses.

He gives a detailed description to Xring and off they go. After five hours they come to a swirling array of color pools, portals to other planes that orbit in a complicated array much like and asteroid field. This is the Elserryn Cluster. Off on the other side of this maelstrom of color pools floats the enormous stone head of a dead god. Built o the back of the head is their destination, Crosswinds Keep.

As the smalljammer describes a sweeping arc around the swirling array a pair of seemingly normal hammerships move into view and hail them. A quick visit from the guards of the Lion Fleet allows them to be escorted inside the magical sphere of exclusion. Moswen immediately picks out the leader, Justin, and begins the now familiar batting of her eyes. Violetta rolls her own eyes and walks off. In short order the Voidskimmer is following the hammerships through the force shield and up to a dock on the side of the head.

While Klasath hides and the Modron sits in the hold talking to itself Ibid paces the perimeter keeping watch and guarding the ship. In the meantime the rest of the group make their way to the main keep where they are charged two gold to enter. After doing so they make their way to the common room and order a round of drinks.

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