After a few more days of travelling through the mists of the uncharted flow we finally spot a dark cloud in the distance. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that it’s the dark cloud we’re actually looking for, and not some other event or creature out to kill us.
As we get closer to the cloud we can spy steely grey bits through the dark swirls and consult with our charts to bring our ship alongside one of the listed entrances to the sphere on the map later that day.
“Here goes everything,” I mutter as I gaze at the tunnel of dark clouds that Lenata expertly pilots us through. When we get to the end I whip out one of the magical scrolls given to us by the EIN and a portal opens for our ship to slide through. The energy of the portal crackles around us and makes my fur stand on end, while our new friend Word unfortunately gets battered about. One of the down sides about being made of metal… but I’m sure Lenata will be able to mend him once we’re through.
When the ship fully enters the sphere, I can’t help but notice that everything feels colder… and that there is a thin haze over everything. It’s like this shadowy stuff permeates everything here to the point that I can almost taste it.
“Nothing is moving,” Lenata’s voice echoes over the tubes. “All of the orbits are stationary. Seriously odd.”
“Well it’s not of the Negative Plane,” I hear the Positai mutter to himself. Well, that’s a relief anyway.
Yeah… as if the sickly-green glowing pyramid acting like a sun wasn’t odd enough. This place can’t be natural… which means somebody made it for a specific reason. We’ve got a sphere in an uncharted land hidden by shadows with no actual openings to it that contains a system seemingly frozen in time. Could this all have been created to contain the Witchlight Marauders… or something else that we don’t even know about yet? Whatever is here… I get the feeling that it was kept hidden for a reason.
How exactly did the EIN learn of this place and the existence of anything in it, anyway?
…I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
“Where are we, anyway?” Ef Utan asks as he rolls out the map in the helm room. “According to this… it looks like we’re near the Dragon Constellation.”
“Here there be treasure…” I mutter to myself.
“Yeah, but right now, I’m more worried about fresh air,” Ef Utan nods. “We’re going to have to search all of these areas anyway, so let’s start with the nearest one and if the Scope of Celestial Analysis agrees, we’ll replenish our supply.”
I nod and shrug my shoulders, as I can’t think of anything better at the moment. I definitely need to shake this feeling of dread, though… and I know just how to get my distraction as I head down to my quarters for the night.
Three days into our travel inside the sphere and I am once again woken up by the sounds of battle on decks. “Gods… not again,” I mutter as I roll out of the hammock and look for my guns.
“Do you want me to help you with your armor, love?” Dassam asks as he runs a gentle finger down my spine.
“Mmm…I’d rather you help me with something else,” I grin as I slip on my shiftweave, “but duty calls and either of those activities will just take too much time.” I lean in to kiss Dassam as I grab my gun holster off a hook on the wall.
“I’ll be back before you know it,” I smile as I slip out the door to quietly sneak my way up the stairs to the top deck. After last time, I’m not about to rush into battle again.
Illustration from Wizards of the Coast
As I peek through the door I see a most dreadful creature with multiple eyes and claws rearing up next to Vedis.
“This is a Quori,” Word of Wisdom yells as he propells himself into battle. “Guard your minds, as it is a creature of nightmares!”
“Well shit,” I mutter as I duck back in the hallway and click back the hammers on my Dragon Pistols.
Think, Kenari… think… if this creature uses mental abilities like Vedis does, then maybe if it can’t see you… it can’t retaliate?
“Worth a shot, anyway,” I tell myself as I grit my teeth and launch myself through the doorway.
By the third time I’m ducking through the door I’ve gone through four loaded pistols and have resorted to quickly loading and firing one at a time. As I lean out and shoot my last shot I hear Word of Wisdom once again yelling out.
Crap… I wonder what spell the Hexblade has fallen under? I toss my spent gun to the ground and prepare to run after the ensorcelled Shu, but am stopped short at the sight of Vedis grappling with the Quori and pulling the strange shadowy stuff out of it like a sideshow mage with a set of scarves. Her strange actions make me momentarially forget the runaway Hexblade, until she slips and falls on her rear with the last of the nightmarish creature disolving into mist above her. Heh… now that’s the Vedis I know.
Now that the imminent danger is over, I run to the top deck to find that Takero was merely running for a place to hide after falling victim to the fear effects of the creature. Can’t blame him, honestly. If my hide & seek game hadn’t worked, I’d probably of been right there with him… or worse.
I really do need to find a way to improve my mental defenses if we’re going to encounter more creatures like this. I wonder if Word and Vedis could give me any advice?