spell jammin', across the universe

the spheres edge

it’s after the nightly meal one night on Glims ship. Everyone feels relaxed and in a good mood, even managing to forget what may lie ahead of the travellers. Glim is in good spirits this evening, looking better than he has for most of the journey so far, even breaking out a bottle of gnomish spirits for an after dinner drink. After a glass or two, and the tales start to get tossed around the table. Finally, it comes to Glim’s turn.

‘You know, this story about the disappearing planet of yours Thul, reminds me of another. About 40 years ago, a couple of the major Merchant groups on the rock of Brall got together with some mages, some gnomes, and a few others got together to find a solution to the toril-krynn travel problem. Now too-tall, don’t go needlessly furrowing your brow and working that brain of yours, I’ll explain.

The three major universes are realmspace (this one), krynspace and greyspace, each one encased in a sphere of crystal the size of which boggles the mind. Each of these spheres float like huge corks in the phlogiston, a gigantic rainbow hued sea of highly flammable gas. Like an ocean of water, the phlogiston is always moving, with flows, and currents and storms. Now, if you imagine the three main spheres like points on a triangle, with greyspace at the top, and realmspace and krynspace the two bottom points, then currents in the phlogiston flow from the apex to base and back on both sides, but not from one side of the base to the other. This means, if you want to travel from Toril to Krynn, you need to travel by way of Oerth, which, as you can imagine, is expensive and time consuming. There are other options, like travelling against the flow, and such, but these are even worse.

Anyway, these companies got their best and brightest together to try and figure out a way around this, and they thought they did. Between the mages, the dwarves, the gnomes and everyone else, they rigged up a contraption, something about entering a different plane, and folding space, and being in two places at once or some such. They attached it to a Dragonturtle class ship, christened her The Spheres Edge and, with a full crew, left The Rock with great fanfare. She was going to start here in realmspace, travel slightly to get up to speed, activate the engine, and, as the theory goes, end up in Krynn space and pass off a platinum statue of Fharlanghn to the awaiting welcome group. A flotilla of onlookers, socialites and investors, myself included, travelled out with her to watch this momentous occasion, watched her sped up and we all cheered as she fired up her engine and disappeared in a giant red flash. We stayed and partied for a few hours, and then travelled back to the brall to wait for news of her arrival.

Weeks passed, and with no news, and a few people started to worry. A few weeks later, and news started to filter through that there had been no sign of the Crystal Sphere. A few weeks later, and the words ‘failure’ and ‘catastrophe’ where started to be bandied about. After six months, the organisers of the experiment where quietly moved out of their jobs, and the research was filed under ‘not to be retried’. People scoured and scryed for ages to try and locate the lost crew, even searching the astral plane, and no trace of them was ever found. For a few years after, on the day of the tragedy, a moments silence was held to commemorate the losses, but, after a generation or so the practise slowly withered away, along with the memories of the Crystal Sphere.

I always wondered what happened to those travellers, always kept a hopeful eye out for them as I passed around the spheres the slow, old fashioned way. That being said, I’ll never forget that there was a moment, when the Crystal Sphere disappeared in that flash ,that, for a split second, even through the airlessness of wildspace , I swear I heard the most god-awful screams I’d ever heard. I’ve always put it down to the atmosphere of the day, and the drunken revelry around me at the time, but the thought of that noise, even today, runs a chill down my spine.

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first contact

The heroes slowly awaken within the wreckage of the Gnomish Whelk, the only noise is the broken hull crackling and ticking as the hull cools. Belongings are strewn throughout the ships insides, not a single item left in its original place. Stars can be seen through the gaps in the hull, and the heroes breath fogs from the cold air entering the ship. Wits and belongings are gathered, and the first tentative steps are made to explore the surroundings.

The asteroid itself seems to be no more than a featurless rock about 5 miles across. The area around the ship is flat and featureless, pockmarked with craters both small and large, the ground is covered with a layer of fine sand. Back-tracking the crash debris, the party discover Glim Berens’ original landing site, with his parties tracks leaving, and only his returning. Watches are mounted as the casters prepare their spells, and then the party sets off following Glims’ return tracks.

After a featureless landscape, a familiar risen crater ledge is sighted. Over the edge of the crater lies the large temple-like building from Glims’ illusionary tale. The crater itself is at least a couple of hundred meters across, and about 50 deep. The sides are steep, and the slide and scuff marks of the previous explorers can be seen descending to the bottom. The building itself takes up the majority of the floor of the crater, and rises up over hlaf the height. It appears to be made of the same material as the crater itself, but doesn’t quite look right

Investigations show that building seems to be not yet complete, built in a strange fashion, more like someone who had seen the original building described it to another, who then went on to build it.. Up close, it can be seen the nearly jigsaw way the building is put together, pieces cut out of the ground, and just stuck on each other. Pieces of gems and ore can be seen on the rocks.

The dim light from the surface barely reaches the temples only door, so Johnny lights his enchanted gauntlet, lighting the doorway and its strange quasi-elvish inscription. An attempt to decipher it was made, but only a couple of words, such as ‘darkness’ and ‘power’ are translated. The temple is pitch black inside, with only the light from johhnys gauntlet for illumination.

The temple is large, with high ceilings, additional levels visible higher in the room, supported by smooth columns. Ropes and planks can be seen weaved in among the columns, and between the higher levels. The ground is littered with pieces of stone, small bits of bone,shell and bits of metal. A strange, dank smell hangs in the air. The bones are humanoid, the shells insectoid and the metal the same as those from the strange metallic creatures.

The walls in this room seem to have etchings and engravings on them, scratched into the stone by no method known. They seem to show underground caverns, and a dark, forboding city. Ten figures walk away from the city, heads hung in shame. The carvings continue the journey through caverns and such, but finish ( in this room, anyway) with the figures standing in a large cave with what you would swear was a spelljammer in it. The next image is of a dark skinned female elf, sitting atop a throne, with a crown on her head. You recognise this as a spelljammer helm. A large, jagged looking spider like creature is in the background, front legs raised like it’s ready to strike.

The characters attempt to investigate the upper levels, but slip and fall, the load crashing and noise awakens the nest of Neogi in the upper levels, with inturn summon their umber hulk slaves. With a new found confidence and aplomb, the party works together in a well coordinated effort, and dispatches all the enemies with ease, everyone having a major role in the battle, even the giant celestial bee.

After some quick healing, the party leave through a large corridor to the north. The walls on this corridor are made from a different material, black compared to the grey of the other walls. Small gems are studded in the walls, which reflect the light and sparkle, giving the impression of stars. These walls are tall, 50 feet or so, at the top of these walls becomes the base for the level above, opening up to the space between levels above. At the ‘end’ of the corridor, the floor of the above room becomes the ceiling for the circular room at the end of the corridor.

This opens into another large room, similar to the entrance room, but this has a lower, rounded ceiling, and the floor slopes to a darkened passage at the rear of the room, as described by Glim. Around the darkened passage is what appears to be a ‘frame’ for lack of a better word, with the same spidery elvish inscription around it. The walls here are adorned with images of a battle, Dwarves being chased and slaughtered by mechanical spiders and dark skinned elves. The ceiling has the same image of the female elf on the throne, this time laughing, with the mechanical spider behind her, as if watching the entire scene. In one scene near the darkened passage, one elf seems to be holding a very familiar staff, next to another holding something glowing in its hand. In another, like glims description, one of the elves seems to have the bottom half of a spider.

Suddenly, a figure was standing front of the shadowed passage, just appearing apparently out of thin air. Elvish in appearance,though slightly taller and thick set, obviously female, dressed seemingly out of practicality more than modesty. Her skin is deeply, densely black, almost like it is made of ebony and her limbs and body have a jagged, edged look to them, reminiscent of the carapace of a beetle. The nails on her hands and feet are black and metallic, the finger nails long and pointed. Her face has the same carapace-like appearance, though facial features are visible. She watches the party with a look of curious detachment , the whites of her eyes stand out against her black flesh, excentuting her bald, nearly boney skull. She snarls, and a mouth of black, jagged, metallic teeth are visible. She starts to rise up on her toes.

And then it goes dark.
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landfall
the flight of the navigator

The Party all met at the docks first thing the next morning, after a day of turning the Rock upside down for a scroll of raise dead. They were directed down towards the end of the docks, met by the sight of glim berens craft, a large, upturned conch shell.

The party are ushered onto the ship by one of glims’ clockwork gnomish companions,where they are met by Glim, who seems impatient to get underway. It becomes quickly apparent that the ship is crewed by mechanical gnomes and controlled by a disembodied voice referred to as ‘Mother’. The heroes began to make themselves at home in the cramped conditions of the craft, and Ihsahn set about endearing himself to the captain. Cabins are located, packs are stowed, and the party meet in the mess to formulate plans and to align their ideas. Glims condition has seemed to have worsened, and retires to rest before lifting off.

The lift off and subsequent travelling are uneventful, the party taking time to rest and to theorise on the dangers that may be awaiting them.Ihsahn takes time to rally the morale of the group.

After weeks of travel, hours away from reaching their destination, Glim summons the party to his quarters. He appears sicker than the party has ever seen him, pale, weakened and gaunt. He begins to give the party directions to the site of the strange temple, when he takes a turn for the worse. Writhing and screaming on his bunk, he is attacked from within by metallic whirring and ripping noises. A small golden clockwork horror erupts from glims body, followed quickly by 3 more in quick succession. Three jump down and escape into the ship, while one climbs up Glimbs head and begins to attack the crafts control helm.

Ihsahn headed off in an attempt to intercept one of the runaway horrors, while the others try (unsuccessfully) to try and defend the control helm. Ihsahn is ambushed in the library by one of the horrors, and quickly dispatched it by crushing it with his bare hands.Another was discovered in the cargo hold, battling two of the clockwork gnomes, which are defeated more by their own shortcomings than by the actions of the clockwork horror. This horror is dispatched with no problems.

A shipwide search determines that there can only be one location for the last clockwork horror, on the outside of the craft. johnny and ihsahn traverse the outside of the craft nearly effortlessly, and discover the clockwork horror and the last gnome trading lightning bolts on the underside of the whelk. The lightning seems have no physical effect on either, though it seems to scramble whatever passes as a brain on the gnome, which turns and attacks the party. Shadow also successfully traverses the craft, though Thul needed a guiding hand from shadow to join the battle.

Lightning bolts flew from both enemies,with shadow catching the worst of one, but with johhnys dextrousness, Thuls quick and adept healing and Ihsahns totem powers, he was able to rejoin the battle, and the two mechanical terrors where overcome.

The party returned to the now helmless craft, and discovers they were unable to give the final command to land the ship, could only count down and prepare for impact. Gathering as much supplies and protection as possible, they all hunkered doen and awaited the inevietable. The planet loomed infront of them, and a deep roaring noise grew. The ship kicked and screamed around them, and Mother gave the final count of ‘5,4,3,2….’ and with the loudest noise ever heard from the party, it all went black.

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Oaths

Thul Urak’Dorn Stares at the fire place in the Inn not saying a word. As the Last Patron stumbles out Thul suddenly speaks.

“Back, before the illithid invasion, when I were young, the dwarves had a secret called ‘El dorado’.
‘El Dorado’ his eyes look about as if he can see it
" a planetoid that they had discovered, riddled with veins of pure metals, gold, silver, plenty o iron, and the parts of the planetoid that weren’t metal were dirt that were seeded with gems of all different kinds.

It’s existance wasn’t talked about to non dwarves, and it’s exact location was only known to a few.
he swallows down a mouthful of wine
This was part of the dwarves ‘rainy day fund’ incase of future emergency, a large, easily mined stash that could be converted into weapons, cash etc nods with ease.

When it became obvious that the illithid were mounting a campaign of war, the dwarves traveled to "El Dorado’ to do exactly this,but on arrival they discovered it gone . Not just the materials, but the whole planetoid.
Gone.
Thul Urak’Dorn lights his pipe and leaves the story there, quiet as if he was speaking with no one.

“I see your mind is as full of thoughts as mine Thul” Shadow speaks as he places his feet next to the fire place.

“We have lost a great deal today, that ship.., all those years locked inside it’s flimsy hull..”
“But it troubles me the most thinking of the Captain and crew”

Thul & Shadow pause deep in thought.

Shadow continues “The others haven’t spoken yet but I’ve never seen a more miserable lot”

Thul Urak’Dorn nods as Shadow speaks. He quietly picks up his hammer running a calloused finger across the runes. Another grudge to bear.
he pauses
‎"But not one I need to face alone. We are the last members of the crew for the nostromo. We will find answers and we will avenge the fallen, by Clangeddins axe I swear it!."

Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark return’s after being absent for a few hours sporting a freshly inked tattoo of the Nostromo and its Captain on his Left Forearm. He then proceeds to order tankards of the inn’s finest ale and plates of it’s best feed for all the party members and another for each of the missing Nostromo Crew Members.

After bowing his head in quiet repose for a few moments he speaks while staring down into his plate, picking sparingly at his meal. “In my decade on the Stellar Says I never encountered a man as honest, loyal and dedicated to his crew as Skerritt. He is not worthy of this treacherous assassin’s death and I swear as Ihsahn Wongraven son of Varg, descendent of Abbath that this foul deed will not go unavenged.”
The big barbarian proceeds to draw a knife from his boot and slice it across the flesh of his hand before clenching it to a fist as red blood oozes from between his digits, He speaks, in the undecipherable language of his homeland, first a whisper before rising to a thunderous crescendo which draws looks of concern and alarm from his fellow patrons before falling silent again as he casts a haunted glance at each empty place he has set at the table. He slams his knife emphatically down in the table before speaking “I will wipe them out, to a man, these spider Drow fiends and their metal created creatures. If I have to voyage to ever star in the heavens until I am old and grey and my arms then and weak, my sword will drink deeply of their foul, black blood, only then will my vengeance be sated and justice for Skerrit, Stanton and Po be delivered”

Dungeon master
Large Luigi’s offer to pay for the berthing, upkeep and repairof the Nostromo in his freinds absence is some consolation in your time of darkness.
‘Just promise me you will find him’, he said ‘and bring him back to his ship. If you can’t bring him back, make those responsible pay in kind.’
The feeling of sorrow from the beholder is palpable, not what you would have expected one from a race with a reputation like the eye tyrants. You also get the feeling that you wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for Skerrits’ disapearance, and have Luigi get hold of you first….for then, he may live up to his races reputation. a queit and maudlin evening slowly moves towards morning.Luigi is keeping Newt occupied by giving some minor chores around the tavern, the instruction possibly possibly keeping Luigi from distraction too. Your revery is interupted by the mechanical gnome from Glim Berens house making an appearance.
‘My master is readyto leave’ he intones in a scratchy voice, remenisent of a musical sqeeze box with a crack in the bellows.’ he is abour his ship. Meet him at the docks when you are ready.’ He bows jerkily, turns with a whirr, and exits the tavern.

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Glim Berens Story

When it comes to his story, he begins, the lights in the room seem to dim.
‘I bought some stuff of a human, a collector of old dwarven pieces. One of the pieces was an old war chest, a nice piece, back from before the Illithid war. Seemed to be from someone important.
Got it for a song.

(a chest appears in the middle of the floor)

I was cleaning it up, checking it over, when I came across a secret panel.

( a small drawer pops out from one side, a scroll of paper can be seen in the draw)

Inside the panel was some paper work from a dwarven general. It detailed some troop numbers, pay levels, armoury levels, and references to something called El Dorado.
Over the years, stories of Eldorado started to filter out, any treasure hunter worth his salt knew where it was, where to find it. Many went out looking for it, many never came back. Tales of ‘Haunted Space’ started to grow. After a while, people stopped looking, except for the off fool hardy adventurer, with similar results.
Well, what I held in my hands was the location, well, the locations, the orbit, of the legendary planet.
( the scroll of paper rises out of the drawer, which fades away in to the background. It unrolls, showing a starmap, one by one, like bubbles, the planets rise of the page, forming the plants of realmspace.They start moving in their orbits, through characters when needed. Out towards the back, a new body appears, going through a strange elliptical orbit perpendicular to the other orbits plane, moving anticlockwise to the other orbits clockwise)

From this, I could figure out where the planet SHOULD be, at any given time. By the way, this is just a mock up ( he gives a sly grin), or is it?.
Apart from the location, it also gave the estimates of what was contained on the planet. The amounts where staggering.
Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued. I gathered a few crew members, just to be on the safe side, and set Mothers course with the information from the texts.
It was an uneventful journey, nearly disappointingly so, considering the areas haunted reputation. We did a few sortees around the area, couldn’t find anything. Was just about to head for home, when something caught my eye, around one of the small asteroids that dotted the area.

(the star maps focus tightens to a small rock, hanging in space)

Still not sure what it was,but my curiosity got the better of me, so I told mother to land. The planet was fairly barren, not much to see, until we came across the crater.

(again, the focus tightens to the surface, dark and rocky, a POV view of someone walking up to the edge of of a crater. A voice can be heard “what is that?’. ‘ I have no idea’ A voice responds. The edge of the crater is reached and a tall, imposing building comes into view.
The view juggles, and the sounds of boots on gravel and rolling rocks can be heard.)

(all the lights out in the room. The sounds of flints striking, tinder catching, some of the candles in the room come back up slightly)

It was black as space in the temple, I nearly wish we had kept the lights off. The insides were decorated with murals of spider like creatures, black skinned elves, hybrids of the two. The ground was littered with pieces of metal, like those you hold now.
One of the lads found an opening down the back, but before we could stop him….
( a brief scream is heard, ending in a wet gurgle, and the lights go down, voices can be heard yelling, calling out names)
Then the shadows came alive
(men screaming, scratching skittering noises, hissing)
Something hit me, I lashed out, landing a hit. , and that’s all I remember
(the lights come back up)
Next I know, I’m waking up, alone. I can hear movement, far away. My head swimming, feeling like I got hit by a tarrasque, I stumbled out, back to mother. I got back to her, and set a course for home. I must have passed out, because next I know, I’m half way back to the rock of brall, feeling like I got hit by a tarrasque. ( wet coughing).

Got back in a week ago, being trying to figure out what happened, trying to forget it.

He thinks deeply for a few seconds, and a deep shudder goes through his small body.
‘I’ll take you. If I never face it, never find out, I’ll never forgive myself. I’ll take you there, but I’ll be damned if if getting out of my ship.I’ll wait, and the first sogn of trouble, i’m off, whether you are on board or not.
Give me a couple of days, i’ll contact you. The sooner, the better.

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Between The Rock and a hard place

The heroes reached Brall with pockets jungling and heads throbbing. A quick decision was made that the hair of the dog was needed. The decision was made not to go the the suggested ‘Laughing Beholder", and so ’the broken Drum’ was made as their destination. Soon enough, meat and mead was in hand, a fire was found, and a plan was hatched. Shopping!

Thul the dwarf headed for the dwarven area, to procure some new armour, a possible bargaining chip in his plan to approach the elves, and to spread the good word.

Shadow the mage headed to the Mages guild, to pay his respects to his colleagues, and to ask the Librarianfor some supplies and information. Many scroll where procured, and the name of a local half-elf scholar called Carlin that might have some information on Elvish history.

Johhny and Ihsahn went looking for their own armour, seaching draco-town for some more obscure armour types, and found more that they bargained for. While perusing the goods at merchant Dorium Maldovar store, Ihsahn noticed that the merchant jhad some of the same cogs and mechanical peices that he had collected from the strange metallic creatures encountered on the Nautloid. Much skillfull bargaining later, johnny and ihsahn had their armours sorted, and the name from where the peices came from, a gnome called Glim Beren.

Meeting back at The Broken Drum, the group decided on their plan for the next day. After deciding that Shadow and Thul would check out the Half-Elven Scholar, and Ihsahn and Johnny the gnome, they retired for the evening.

The next morning, Johnny discovered that he had had a visitor during the evening. A note had been attached to his bed clothes, welcoming him back to the rock, and giving him some instructions regarding the notes aquired from the Illithid craft. Some more of Johnnys past came out at this time, especially regarding the item in his wrist, and an explanation for the fire aboard the Nostromo.

Shadow and Thul met with Carlin, finding information both old and new.
They were told that Drow were a subrace of elf, found long ago on the planet tamriel in realmspace. Inherintly evil and savage spider worshippers, they had the beginnings of a large empire forged in a place called the underdark, a set of tunnels and dungeons under the city of waterdeep. After a number of guerrilla attacks on adventurers and the city, about 600 years ago, the city recruited as many heroes as possible, and with the city of waterdeeps armies, and those of her allies, marched into the underdark, and eradicated the drow, and razed their underground city. They were hunted down and killed like vermin, and that was the last that was ever heard of them.

After describing the mechanical spider creatures to the Scholar, he was reminded of an ancient Dwarvish tale, predating even Thul, called ‘The Miner’s Tale’.T he tale describes a group of travellers stuck in a tavern in a storm, all telling tales.It seemed to have some base in historical events, a kind of oral history collection. One tale seems told of an invasion of ‘metal nightmares throughout the spheres’. The battle seems to culminate with a gigantic space battle in realmspace.

Johnny and Ihsahn better. They found the shop/museum.house of the gnome Glim Beren. They were welcomed by a small, clockwork gnome, causing a momentary scare. They met with the sickly gnome, and were told a fantastic tale. Such a fantastic tale, that Thul was called on, to listen to the tale again, to check the veracity of the tale. It was found to be true, so a plan was made to leave within the next few days.

the next few days were quiet, as supplies where gathered, plans where made and thoeries where floated. Shadows scrolls where collected, as were armours for the rest. On the second morning, a messenger arrived for the heroes, requesting their presence at The Laughung Beholder Tavern.

The mood was somber and depressed when the roup arrived, and, if a beholder could look depressed, Large Luigi did so. He relayed the news that The Nostromo had been found, floundering in space. He didn’t have any more news, just that she would be brought into the dry docks within the next few hours. The heores headed down to meet her when she docked.

It was obvious very quickly that she had suffered the same fate as the Nautiloid, bearing large puncture wound near her bow, and other visible damage on deck. Below deck, there was no sign of any life, all crew members gone without a trace, with many indications of quick and sudden violence. After a search of below decks, the cabin boy Newt was found to have evaded the attack.

His story of the attack was – ‘All I remember was a loud crash, and the ship jumped. Nothing before it, just the crash. Then there was yelling, Norad was yelling, and then the Captain. Then it was dark…………..And then the screaming started. I hid, kept quiet, kept hiding. Then it went still. Everyone was gone. I didn’t know what to do. Then the ship started moving again…..I thought they had come back.

Large Luigi offered to look after Newt for the future, and the group left to figure out thier next move.

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road to brall

the continuation of the trip to brall was uneventfull, but not to say boring. Much time was spent thinkning about the strange findings and goings on of the nautiloid, and of Stantons tale. Speculation was rife, and many plans where hatched.

Johhny rested after his ordeal and affliction, with Ihsahn picking up his slack ( Ihsahn may possibly orgue that this is normal.) Thul and Shadow took turns manning the helm, freeing up Stanton to try to unlock some of the secrets of the Staff and the mysterious writing recovered from the Nautiloid captain. He was successful in dispelling the magical defenses,and Thul set to deciphering them. They the captains day to day logs, crew matters, stock/slave numbers and the such, pretty dry stuff for the most part, but some of the later parts of it proved interesting.

These insights gave the crew both insight and cause for alarm, trying to work out where these strange visitors fit into the illithids plans, if, indeed, they did at all. The voyage to the Rock continues on.

About a week later, and the end is nearly in sight. The planet of Toriel is in full view, her moon selune is in full veiw, and the The Rock of Brall can be seen glinting out of the Tears of Selune.Both excitment and sadness is felt through the crew, as one adventure finishes, and another begins.

Captain Skerrit anounces a dinner is to be held to farewell those leaving at the Rock, and he doesn’t dissapoint. It is obvious he has been collecting delicasies (both edible and drinkable) from the planets visited in recent memories,and has a memory for each one. Everyone is in a jovial mood, talking, laughing, some even singing. Even the normally quiet Johnny opens up, and tells a few exploits from his past, some ending well, some not so well.

During the evening, the captain gives gifts to the heroes. Yes, they were gifts that they themselves went out and collected at great danger, but the intentions were true and generous. Noteworthily, Shadow was gifted the strange staff, and was told that Stanton had more information about it.

The night continued on, gathering steam as it went on, and spirits weren’t even dampened after they were literally dampened. A sail mysteriously caught on fire after an equally mysterious flash of light, but luckily, Johnny was there to deal with it, and the party continued unabated, untill the wee hours.

The next morning is, understandably, quiet, as final preparations are made to disembark. Stanton gives shadow his final report on the functions of the staff, and helps him prepare for the jouney ahead. The heroes all get their cut of the profits for their part of the jouney, and the captain tells them that this will be his final voyage. He most likely will retire after this time around, and tells them that he will catch up with them soon enough. They step onto the awating trasport, farewell the Nostromo, and head for the rock of Brall.

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Stantons tale
Dungeon masterthat night, Shadow and Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark end up bunking together as thul is looking after Johnny. about midnight, over the sound of thuls snoring, and johnnys rasping, you hear Stantons dorr lock click, his door open, and someone fail at trying to walk quietly up the stairs. (Stanton has not been seen or head from since he saw the black hand.) Ihsahn Wongraven of RavendarkIhsahn attempts to sneak out into the corridor and attract the elf’s attention if he can see him “Stanton, we would have words with the” he calls under his breath.

Dungeon master up the stairs to the deck, and find Stanton alone, leaning on the railing. He is both literally, and figurativley, staring off into space. It takes a second to get his attention.
“huh, oh, hey, sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.’ He goes back into a thoughtfull silence, still with the haunted look on his face from earlier.
“You see that star there? That one over there? That’s Toriel my home planet. I was born in the city of waterdeep, you ever hear of it? Great city. Massive,intriguing, wonderfull , the most amazing place anywhere, I thought.’ He chuckles softly ‘ but, the places I’ve seen since leaving…..Where you from again?
he continues on, barely listening….
Let me ask you, you remember any stories from your childhood where you’re from? Monster stories? Not the ones like when the bugbears attacked the city walls, or when the dragon flew over. No, the ones that kept you up at night when you were young, the stories you told your friends when they were over to scare each other. That kind. You remember any of those?

When I was little, my fathers older brother used to tell me about this place, under waterdeep, called the underdark. It was meant to go all around under the city, and further. Some reckon you could get to one side of Toriel to the other through the tunnels.

Adventurers would go down all the time, seeking treasure, adventure, some came back, some didn’t. The ones that made it back would tell tales of what they came across, bad things, dark things…..evil things.

They were one with the darkness, quiet, and deadly, bursting from the shadows without warning, and dragging off compatriots, screaming, never to be seen again. The shadow on their souls was so dark, that it ….changed them. Their skin was dark, darker than any elf ever was, or ever would be. Soulless eyes, teeth and claws like razors. They were horrific, demons in the night.

The people of the surface were scared, and wanted rid of these abominations. They marched as one, all races, all beleifs, all together went down to the underdark, and waged war on them. The battle was fierce, and many great warriors died, and many legends were made, but, in the end, the men of the surface one, and wiped out the evil elfs, chasing them down through their catacombs, to their city, rooting them all out, untill they were all dead. Large parts of the underdark were sealed off, purposely caved in, to purge the memory of these horrid creatures, and, for generations after, and since, there was no more of these creatures. This was the story my uncle told me, and he claimed to have known people who were party to these happenings. When I was young, I believed in these tales, any creak in the house was someone, stealing through the night to carry me away, but, as I grew older, I took these tales to be just that, tales to scare young children around the fire, and paid them no mind.

Until today, when you showed me a fragment of a long forgotten nightmare, uttered a name I had not heard sine I was tiny, held in your hand something I never thought of as real, something long, long gone from this plane. But, they are back, somehow, I know they are back. We elves have our own version of that word, our own name for our lost kin. We called them ‘Drow’. The Drow have returned.And i have fear again.His last words are nearly a whisper, he gives a shiver, and returns below.

Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark Ihsahn’s brow furrows, you can almost see the gears in his head turning. He turns to Ben Scarman, and speaks to Shadow in slow labouring sentences "Seems a stretch to go from one little hand to some wet nurse’s camp fire tale of evil elves from the depths below.

If the dwarf is as old as he claims to be maybe Thul, will know something of this legend he whispers of. What of you Shadow, have you heard of such a thing in all those books you have wasted your time reading."

Shadow Ihsahn, the fear of Underdark is not something a wizard scribes about lightly.

I have seen this underworld first hand and I assure you, other then serving as an excellent vessel to cure one’s fear of claustrophobia, I would not reason to enter.

The Underdark excretes such a huge magical energy that it still makes me tense hearing it’s name today. The Drow would no doubt be drawn to this energy as are many a foolish wizard. Any wizard would soon feel the dampening of power and would make haste to leave, but the Underdark often has it’s own ideas. The few apprentice wizard’s who do return from such a foolish venture speak of passages ways that turn you around so often that even the most adept trackers couldn’t follow with that level of lighting. The true fear however doesn’t set in until they try to teleport out and find themselves depper in the Underdark.

If that isn’t warning enough one has to only imagine the inhabitants.

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Things of stone and wood.

Thul Urak’Dornthul bunks down with johnny that evening. sleep comes heavily to him, recovering from his abuse by the Illithid sorcerer. That night, he only awakens when Po shakes him, to consult on johnnys condition, with is worsening quickly. By midnight, the woody condition has moved up his arms and legs to the elbows and knees respectively, and his breath is becoming slower. yours and po’s consensus is that he will need a remove disease as soon as you are able, or he might not last past lunch time.

Dungeon masterTime passes Thul Urak’Dornsleeps. Zzzzzz,snort…..zzzzzz….goblin stole my beer…zzzzzz…. Dungeon masterthul awakens, and shakes the images of theiving goblinoids from mind. Po is nearly beside herself in panic. Johhnys limbs are now nearly completely rigid, the woody condition has spread nearly every part of his body. The whites of his fluttering eyes have turned a deep green, and strange pustules have started to appear on his face. Searching for a pulse, only the weakest of weak rythmns can be detected.

‘whatever you are going to do’ whispers Po. " it better be done quick’

Thuls prayers seem to take an eternity, but once finished, he moves quickly to johnny’s side, and starts intoning the hallowed words needed. Johnnys body starts to vibrate, as the terrible effect tales it’s last toll. Thul finishes his phrasing, and johnnys body stills.

Both Po and Thul hold their breaths….

the room is silent..

which is broken by a cough and wheeze fromJonathon Grey, and he draws a deep breath, like a man surfacing from deep underwater.
‘water’ he croaks’…..and..quick…what happened with our loot?……..’

Ihsahn Wongraven of RavendarkYou’re a lucky man Johnny, thought you’d gone to your ancestors or sure there.

Capn Skerrit has taken his share, as he’s entitled to, but left most of the good stuff to us. Especially the gems

Thul Urak’Dorn ‎" Berronar saved you lad, by her gentle hand i was given the grace to cure you o yer affliction. As fer the loot, well we shall hand it out fairly. He who came out with out items should get more, but the loot still had no been identified as yet. once we take stock o what was recovered we can divide it as must needs be. Now he hands Jonny a wine skin “drink and gather yer strength the gods of light are no finished wit ye yet”
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Dungeon master:The last memories you have is fleeing through the infested nautiloid and leaping into space. you floated for what seemed like an eternity, untill your own personal air bubble ran down, and darkness descended.

one by one, you wake up on the main deck of the nostromo. the smell of burnt wood is still in the air, off-set by a sweet, wet, musty aroma. Opening your eyes, you focus on a ring of worried faces, the entire crew of the nostromo are waiting on your awakening. Even Norad has come down out of his crowsnest to wait.

you slowly become aware of bandages, wrappings, salves and the like on any injuries you may have collected, and a beam of proud accomplishment coming from Po.

‘By the void! You all look like you’ve been dragged through the grinder backwards’ exclaims Captain Skerrit. ’What Happened?’

Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark Did anyone see anything? How did we all end up landing safely on the Nostromo instead of just drifting randomly, endlessly through the flow?

Thul Urak’Dorn Thul’s eyes fluttered open, uttering a quiet mutter of vengeance. He lifted himself upright on shaking limbs still fatigued from his defiant battle with the Illithid Captain.
“Wine”
he spat as he fumbled at the buckles on his heavy armour. Newt poured into his mouth. The red liquid slopped down the black beard. He wiped away his mouth. “The ship was far from empty. There were still powerful Flayers on board’ he sipped the wine. “ its a miracle we were not devoured but the enemy was fearful of something other than us, the swine fled the ship destroying it and leaving us for dead.” He rested the back of his head against the mast and caught his breath.

Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark Ihsahn takes a moment to savour the relief of escaping a certain death situation but then his brow furrows and his mood turns grim. “You may say it’s Morradin’s hand that plucked us from the void Thul but I say there is Illithid sorcery at work here. By rights we should be dead, food or slaves now and yet somehow we’re here. Flayers are not a mercifully peoples so why are we here!?! I can’t help but feel we’re bait on some arcane Illithid hook”

Captain Skerrit ’ ye boys were lucky we found you. we set out to look for that ship, but had no luck. i think it used to nautiloid as cover while it fled. we came back to collect ye, but couldn’t find the nautiloid. was only Norads keen eyes that saw ye. Po has been trying to do her best to patch you up, but she’s a tad worried about Johnny, what in the void happened to him?
The captain thinks for a second ’ and what do ye mean they were fearful of something? what are the squid-faces afeared of?’
Jonathon Grey awakens, your mouth feels strange. it is slightly hard to breath. you got to speak to the crew, and find yourself unable. your tounge feels solid and dry, your lips rigid.

Thul Urak’Dorn ‎"The ancient enemy from under the earth" Thul try’s to pronounce the work in Undercommon. ‎"He said the Ship was infected" gulps more wine “It wernt the hand of Moradin he was initially afraid of Barbarian, it were something else, maybe the spiders made o metal, maybe the owner o’that black hand”

Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark what say you Shadow, can you or any of your guild brothers back on the Rock help us divine the nature of any Illithid sorcery or tell us more about this bizarre claw? I agree with the dwarf, it’s our only other clue. Dungeon masterHe then effortlessly heaves Johnny over his shoulders in a fireman’s carry and carries him below deck. Eyes burning a hole in Stanton’s back as he goes.

GM: po and thul take johnny to his quarters, lay him in his bunk, and calm him with a few soothing words. ‘slow your breath’, says po ‘all will be fine’. she draws thuls attention to johnnys hands. his nails have started to take on a woody appearance. ’ whatever this is, it works fast. he may last tonight, but the next…….’

Thul Urak’Dorn ‎" Young Po, its up to you to watch Jonny this night. I must beseech the gods for powers to save Jonny. My role in the investigation of these ponderous events shall have to wait till the morrow once he is safe. I take my leave to begin my own recovery and prayers." With a nod at Po and a fatigued stagger the ancient dwarf trudges back to his quarters, his hand grasping the wall for support.

Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark Ihsahn returns to the top deck “Shadow, Stanton know more than he lets on, if you see him coming off his shift at the Helm let me know, we need to have words with the elf. I’ll need you with me should he resort to his weasley, wizard words” ‎’yes’ agrees Captain Skerrit. "he’s acting very strangely. Something had spooked him. I’ll have a word to him later, let him have his elvish ways. So Ishan what did you find onboard the Squid-face ship? anything good? Ihsahn Wongraven of RavendarkIhsahn recounts: “Entering the ship through the breach we stumbled across the wreckage of a battle between Flayer slaves and these strange mechanical creatures. We then moved into what appeared to be the Captain’s Quarter’s where Thul recovered some maps and correspondence and Johnny was stricken by whatever Venom currently has him laid up in the sick bed” Moving through the decks we came across what I can only describe as a pair of blinded ogres which quickly fell before Johnny and my blades. Moving to the top decks we found the helm room with an Illithid already dead at the helm and another which although locked seemed to be full of those mechanical beasts. On the upper levels of the ship we encountered a combat fully raging between a Beserk Minotaur, presumably another Flayer thrall, another of these mechanical bug, this time made of gold, and some sort of Illithid magus. There was an almighty explosion which seemed to tear the clockwork monster asunder, the Illithid vanished in the blinding light and the enraged Minotaur turned his focus to us, thinking us pinned in the stairwell. The horn headed beast proved no match for us, filled with the strength of my ancestors and aided by my valiant brothers in battle we quickly dispatched it to its final justice. Our investigation of the battle site led to the recover of this mysterious staff, black as night and studded with metal along with its grisly companion which has Stanton so spooked. While Shadow inspected the staff in an attempt to discern its true nature we were set upon by this foul Flayer Sorcery and although we struggled valiantly we succumbed one by one to it’s mental might and were forced to make a hasty withdrawal from the wrecked ship chancing ourselves on the icy void only to be lucky enough to be picked up your good crew Captain Skerrit. As I reflect on it I am sure something is amiss, Flayer’s don’t leave survivors there are magics either fair or foul at work here I will swear to that on my father’s name

Captain Skerrit As ihsahn begins his tale, Captain skerrit greets the sight of the bag of holding with a grunt of recognition. He opes the bag, and starts removing handfulls of coins, and starts sorting the coins with a practised hand. the seperate piles of coins grow steadily, as the captain askes the odd question, requests Isahn to repeat parts, or just utters the odd expletive. he finishes the task quickly, and, with a furrowed brow, reaches into the bag up to his shoulder. he pulls out a ornate box, about a foot a side. opening the box, he removes a handfull of pearls. he examines a few with a loupe, one he pauses on, whistles, and places it in his pocket. he closes the lid on the box, and places it beside his. he removes a paper and pencil from his pocket, makes a few notes, and places the coins, in lots of the same denomination, back into the bag.
At the mention of the staff, he crosses to shadow, and politley takes it. he looks it up and down, examining the gem and the studs one by one.’ i’ve never seen anything like this before. i might get stanton to have a look at it, if ye don’t mind. whenever he decides to remove his pantaloons from his back passage, that is.’
He hands the bag of holding back to ihshan, and then the note with the totals on it. ‘i get the feeling ye will be needing this, ye better keep it, share it between yeselves. anything else you found, i’ll get Stanton to earn his keep and give them a look over. everone turn in for the night, got a big day tommorrow. The mages got some studying, the healers got to sort out Johnny, and the rest of us got some repairs to be doin’. (yells out) NORAD..keep a close watch for our shady freinds. MR STANTON, full ahead to The Rock, if it so pleases his highness……

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