Tavist and Taj Pach quickly finish assuming control of the Valis – berating the crew into following them – even though they are all strangers. Apparently listening to those two is better than being tossed overboard. Or so that crew decided. Not sure where I would land on that.
Kenari lets everyone know that as far as she can tell there are regular void elves crewing the EIN ships and they are all flying the right colors. One of the Nautiloid ships does a kamikaze maneuver and crashes into the EIN warbird. Lenata quickly heals Vedis and Ef Utan. Taj Pach has Falkirk’s corpse wrapped and tucked away in the hold of the Valis. The rest of the ships begin to engage and the Serenity is quickly rammed by a Nautiloid – human enthralled fighters start boarding. Serenity fires and disables the lead weapons of the Nautiloid that rammed it. Lenata twists Serenity out of the Nautiloid’s grip – everyone is bounced around. 2 of the Nautiloids blow up – I think it’s because of the shockwave created by the Spelljammer.
Taj Pach dimension doors over to the third Nautiloid to check the helm. There are no Illithid on board – the pools are alive with their tadpole spawn. This is how they drive and power their ships apparently – and also why they ships are so slow. Lenata and Kenari move over to the EIN Warbird and after scaring some Bladesingers – convince them that they have arrived to assist with the wounded.
We’re moving around a bit – trying to get situated – when Kenari, Lenata, Ef Utan and Vedis’ strange tattoos all start glowing. They are discussing the tattoos and whether or not they should try to contact the Spelljammer when Ef Utan starts going on about how to “hear” the tattoos. All four of them get a funny look and then start describing – overlapping each other – the various visions they are all having. They see people in odd dress, then images of Illithids, one in a suit with a wand walking in a tunnel. They all shout about the red-haired chronomancer we had briefly met. Then at the end – they all cry out about the Harrowing – saying that they think this is now – people in town are hiding from a Nautiloid that is IN their demi-plane. They all see a bald, dark skinned man with a goatee in armor who is mowing down Illithid with a weapon.
At the end of the vision session, Kenari and Lenata start urging us that we HAVE to follow the Spelljammer when it leaves. Captain Vedis and Ef Utan don’t say much as they have raging headaches.
Kenari decides to search the Valis to see if Saphira hid the bomb there. Tavist organizes all the rogues to help in the search and joins it himself. It doesn’t bear thinking about just how many of his dedicated followers are actually thieves.
Taj Pach goes to search the Illithid ship. Taj has a long conversation with Vedis (who eventually joins her over there) on the merits of trying to keep the Nautiloid. Given our lack of crew and its….well awfulness really….it is decided that the ship should be scuttled and Taj Pach complete disintegrates the pool of tadpoles that serves as the helm, leaving a huge hole in the ship.
On the Valis, Tavist searches Falkirk’s things and finds warrants for his arrest, letters of credit and a small silver flask of endless whiskey that Falkirk apparently stole from Tavist way back when.
The Spelljammer starts to move and suddenly we are all scrambling to follow it. Tavist and Taj Pach decide to take the Valis and the Ancient Nautiloid back to the Tears of Selene. Taj is practically vibrating with worry – so I can’t say I am surprised. Fen joins me on Serenity and Lenata takes the helm, leaving Aspodel to pilot The Nomad.
We spend 12 days following the Spelljammer. And it’s odd, but we were following it down. Not that the Phlo has a down mind you – but we were definitely going down. We come to a place that is rumbling – a roiling waterfall of Phlogistan gas – the Phlo Falls. If I had died then Anya, I could say that I had seen everything there was to see. First the Spelljammer and now the Phlo Falls. It was amazing.
Lenata says that in this place she cannot reach any of the other planes. Kenari points out things in the Phlo – swimming and leaping up through the falls – at first she thinks it is a ship – then maybe that it’s like tiny Spelljammers. Captain Vedis wonders aloud if this is the spawning point for Spelljammers. At the bottom of the falls, we can see flashing – purple lights – as if the Illithid were teleporting here. We decide to take Serenity and the whole team down to the bottom of the falls to check this out. It’s a rough trip down and Serenity takes some damage. The crew hides below decks, but the rest of our party clings to the deck not willing to miss a moment of this sight. We hit a shockwave of force and I black out. Turns out Lenata and Ef Utan did too. Kenari manages to stop the ship somehow while the rest of us get up and get our bearings. Ef Utan calls out that he thinks he sees a ship coming from the bottom of the falls – up towards us. I look where he’s pointing and quickly call to the helm room to let them know we have incoming.
Kenari and Vedis join us on the deck, Fen heads up into the crow’s nest to keep an eye on everyone. We can see figures on the deck and Kenari tells us it is a Barge of Ptah. The crew is mostly human, a cat folk and a tengu among them. They are wearing Mulharondi style dress – but it is not exactly similar to what Kenari is accustomed to. She is extremely suspicious of the crew and unhappy when I order our siege weapons to be tipped up as theirs are. I order the parley flag to be struck and a moment later theirs goes up. Four of theirs float over on a disc – a male & female human, the cat folk and the tengu. The Tengu asks permission to board. Kenari asks that they identify themselves and the male human replies _____ of the Bright Empire of the South. “I have business with Kenari of Mulharond and Captain Vedis.” I welcome them aboard and suggest that Vedis take our guests to the lounge. Fen joins Vedis and Kenari and our guests. I stay on deck with the female human and the Tengu.
What I gathered from Fen later is that after a bit of a misunderstanding with the catfolk from the Barge, Vedis and ___ start talking. The guy tells Vedis that he’s there to help. He has a tuning fork with no number, made out of a weird black metal. He tells Vedis that he knows we are good at dodging Illithid on this side of the curtain. He also tells Vedis about the “alternates” and how they were formed after “the shattering” and explains how to use the key to go back and forth from alternates, but we can only use it on the Prime.
He tells us we should hurry back to the Prime before “the battle” and that he is there to assist. There’s some more back and forth. Some stuff about killing a god – maybe Ra. He provides Kenari with a scroll that tells of the gods’ more recent adventures and how their Ra was poisoned with the blood from an evil creature. Kenari asks if this is a “fixed moment” and he say that things are dire enough that it doesn’t matter.
We starting heading back up the Phlo falls and then towards Realm Space. The next 12 days – back to where we came from – some days it feels like we are running in large looping circles – we spend getting to know the crew of the Barge of Ptah. Vedis is slightly suspicious and some time is spent trying to figure out if anyone has ulterior motives. Lenata just flat out demands to inspect everyone for Illithid tadpoles and they graciously allow it.
They tell us about our alternates. Apparently in their world I am an instructor and a sharpshooter. Maybe I should spend some more time with Melchior learning how to use this gun.
About 6 days in, at dinner, ____ gives me a shot of a smoky, familiar liquid – then he pulls out a tuft of orange fur and says “she sent us and sent this to you.” Gods be damned – the wretched, interfering, busy body, constantly screeching nightmare of a Hadozee Priestess sent these guys. I tell Vedis we can definitely trust them, ask Fen to be in charge and down the damn shot. It’s awful.
The Egyptians want to head straight to Mulharond in Realmspace – which is under the Tears of Selene. We hit the sphere and as we do – I, Fen and Vedis are all bombarded with a psionic message. “Attention Seven Stars. Our outposts are under attack. We are moving forces where we can. In the meantime, the Great Space office, the office on the Rock of Bral and the Harrowing are all under attack. Be warned. At least one Nautiloid has breached the Harrowing.”
We’re grabbing our heads and it takes a moment and some real concentration to get the message out of heads so we can think straight. It’s a psionic broadcast by one of Taj Pach’s people. We decide to head to the Harrowing first. I’ve never been – but it is vitally important to the Spelljoined. The Egyptians seem a little distressed but agree to accompany us.
We get there and Hatuk tells us he has it all under control. The Nautiloid did breach the Harrowing, but it left a few hours ago. The Nautiloid showed up from out over the desert – people were dropping like flies. They hovered over the Sanguine Theatrer and then took off. Turns out the red-haired chronomancer was here. There was a messenger, someone escaping from the Temple of Isis with a note for Vedis about helping chronomancers. The note is from Vedis to Vedis (because of course it is). “Don’t lose these guys. They are more important than they seem. I can’t write more. Love Vedis.”
So the Spelljoined’s people helped the chronomancer and her crew escape – but now we don’t know if they managed to get out of the Harrowing or if the Illithids captured them.
Hatuk seems to have things well in hand – though it would seem 8 or so people are completely missing. Hopefully they are hiding and were not captured by teh Illithid. There are a number of people the Spelljoined don’t recognize who are all wearing 7 Stars gear and efficiently assisting with the cleanup efforts. Hatuk asks Vedis – why do those guys say we work for the 7 Stars now? Inwardly, I have to laugh. Because they do. Or will end up doing so anyway. Taj Pach is never one to miss an opportunity – even in the middle of an all out war with the Illithid – she is still looking ahead. I can’t say I’m surprised she wants to annex this group. Though to be fair – Tavist is also perfectly capable of engineering this himself.
Lenata tries to scry the red-haired chronomancer but get nothing. We park the ships and use a portal to Galdeneth. We come out in a basement room. Kenari heads up the steps and checks for traps. They are meant for the other side so we are able to pop right out. There is a woman in the shop – it’s a clothing shop – who seems to know exactly who Kenari is. She gives us cloaks and clothes so we can blend in. She gives us directions. We are about 3-4 blocks away from the docks. We outfit Vedis and Kenari with fake collars and Lenata agrees to be the “owner”.
We head towards the temple. We’re almost run over by some chariots – so Lenata causes them to crash into the illusion of a wall. Kenari notices that the sun is dimming and urges us to the temple. We get to the temple and Kenari does some fast talking to get us in. The room we are escorted to is filled with squabbling priests. Vedis asks if there is an avatar here for us to protect. The priests start up some rituals and Kenari starts having visions. First an apprentice – a woman – then violence, redness, in space – there is a mindflayer dreadnaught on its side – purplish energy – ship to sun – the sun is fading – Lenata notices that this is in Realmspace….here – but how?