spell jammin', across the universe

Journey to the center of the Planetoid

As sound of the drows neck echoed throughout the chamber to silence, it was replaced by the whirring and rasping of metallic saw blades. It grew to a crescendo until it too was replaced, by the noise of a dozen rib cages simultaneously splitting open as one. The party retreated to the recently discovered corridor to set a defense against the dozens of golden clockwork horrors moving across the room. Ihsahn and Jonny repelled the first attack wave, but the return salvo of lightning bolts was enough to convince them that discretion was the better part of valor, and further retreat may be called for.

A plan was quickly hatched by the two humans, and, on the run, collected Thul Urak’Dorn (by the armpits) to quicken the tactical withdrawal and, if not for some hasty footwork, nearly brought Norad undone. Recovering quickly, Norad brought down the first line of clockwork horrors with some careful bow-work, but this hardly impeded the progress of the group at all.

During all this, Shadow and Slytherin examined the tunnel, discovering a set of doors leading to some sort of storage room. The rest of the party quickly entered, and set about setting defenses against the oncoming horde. The room, much like the temple above, had walls adorned with carving, this time of a barren and mountain topped filled landscape. While the warriors set the doors against the invaders, the spell casters set about finding a way out.

The ceiling held a gem, much like the one atop Shadow’s staff, and the one found on the drow, Thul brought the three in alignment, and their magic was revealed. Slowly, the magic light from the gem, refracted through the staff, and in turn through the ceiling, slowly revealed a sky of purple/blue, a smell of cold damp air, and, eventually, the actual landscape described on the walls, as the party was transported, along with the contents of the room,to another place entirely.

The character stood among debris of the room (including half of a clockwork horror) on a wide, flat, featureless plateau. Mountain tops were visible in the distance, indicating the party were some distance up. Some searched the items that came with them. finding Norad missing gear. Ihsahn Wongraven of Ravendark, then followed by Thul, searched the area. A large staircase, cut into the mountain, was discovered nearby, as were dwarven runes, confirming the suspicion that the party were standing in the lost dwarven treasure planet of ‘El Dorado’.

The started to move down the stairs. with johnny and Norad on point. Shortly,a group a figures was seen coming up the stairs in the distance, apparently someone on horseback, with two pack animals and two figures on foot. A quick return to the mountain top was conducted, with fortifications against the unknown travelers. Shortly, two of the isectiod drow came into view, and what appeared to be centipede like constructs, made out of drow parts, but no sign of the rider on horse back. Battle ensued, with the later addition of a sniper, the mysterious person on horseback. As the battle ended, the person on horseback was revealed to be an amalgamation, with the top half of a female drow , well built, muscular and flowing red hair, with the bottom half of a large, mechanical spider.

Rest was taken, and the plan on what to do next was discussed.

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Stranger in a strange Land

The hooded and bound hostage collapsed against Ihsahn as their bounds were cut. Ihsahn layed the stranger down and removed the mask, revealing the face of Norad, the ranger lookout from the Nostromo. He had been badly beaten and tortured, teeth and fingernails missing, deep bruises and cuts. Thul attended to his wounds while Ihsahn searched the rest of the tunnels surrounding the room, finding nothing. The colour returned quickly to Norads face, and, with a deep cough of blood, he awoke, and he started to fill in some blanks of what had happened.

He told of leaving The Rock of Brall, setting back on their course, and being hit out of nowhere by the mysterious spider ship. The crows nest he was in crashed to the deck. Through the stars swimming in his head, Norad saw one of the black skinned drow walk across the deck towards him, reach our a hand, and draw a blade across the palm. He drifted in and out of nightmares from then on, until ihsahn cut him down from the pole.

When Norad had recovered sufficently, the party moved on, further exploring the tunnels. Norads animal companion, Pliskin the snake was discovered in the room where he had been tortured by the Drow, but his gear ws nowhere to be found. Small pockets of clockwork horrors where found dotting the area, mining materials out of the wall, some valuable, some not so much, and one, a modest find of Mithril nuggets, was nearly enough to put a smile on an old dwarves face.

A room of victims of the clockwork horrors unique breeding methods was discovered, including some of the people who acccompanied Glim Beren on his initial exploration. Another room relvealed the body of Stanton, the spelljammer from the Nostromo, who had suffered the same tortures as Norad, but had not survived.After paying due respects to their fallen comrade, the party moved on.

Next, the party came apon a large room, walls covered with organic residue, floor littered with carapace parts and chewed bones. In the center of the room was a gigantic neogi, body swollen and undulating. victims were affixed to the walls around the room, some half orcs, a grimlock, an illithid,and Po, Logan and Captain Skerrit from the Nostromo. The captain had much the same story to tell as Norad, untill he was incinerated by a lightnening bolt. The party turned to see a Clockwork creature, platinum this time, flanked by 2 gold horrors. The explosions of the Horrors as they were destroyed lead to the weakening, and eventual cave in of the original tunnel, blocking that way for the characters.

As the dust setteld, A strange cackling noise could be heard. At the back of the room, a drow was attached to the walls, through the hand on one side, through the wrist below her missing hand on the other. She seemed to be cackling and chanting in their strange language this drow seemed to be slightly more elvish, skin having a grey tinge, with thin, sharp, drawn feartures, almost masculine. Here face was deeply scarred in the shape of a spider, her hair grey and matted. Ihsahn quickly dispatched her with a twist to the neck, but not before her chanting was finished, and her eyes took on a cloudy grey appearance. A slow keening noise started up from the bodies around the room, and all started convulsing and kicking an a familiar way.

And then, the room starts to fill with the noise od dozens on mechanical saws starting up, and the sound of spinning blades on bones….

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Pitch Black

The seconds that the group and drow locked eyes seemed to hang in the air for weeks, if not months, but, in a flash, she was among the party. Ihsahn was the first to draw blood, but mysteriously fell. Johnny used his enchanted bracer to clear the darkness enchantment, and the battle was on, with another female drow joining the fray. The cause of Ihsans malady was quickly apparent, as any blow that drew blood from the drow gave of a noxious vapour, causing unconsciousness in those that fall to its effect. The battle was fast and furious, the drow being quick and agile, and the retaliation of the party being with magical flame and brute force, repelling an attempt to wrestle Shadows staff from his grip.

Just as the party seemed to be gaining the upper hand, the drow executed what could only be described as an stategic retreat. Acting as one, the two drow met in the middle of the fray, one casting a darkness enchantment on the other, and , in return, was decapitated by the first, setting of a wide spray of their poisonous blood over the party. The enchanted drow then fled through the sphere of darkness at the back of the room.

Johhny shared his observations with the rest of the party that the two drow seemed to be identical in nearly every way.

The party then pressed on through the sphere of darkness, finding themselves in a tunnel, perfectly round and smooth, which slowly lead them down into the depths of the asteroid. More of the mechanical spiders where discovered, and dispatched, and also the lair of the umberhulks was discovered also. Strange movements and lights led the party to a large room with many entrances, where a bound and gagged figure was discovered. This turned out to be an attempted ambush by the drow, attacking in larger numbers than before, but to the same result. As the party investigated the mystery person, Thul discovered a gem on the person of one of the drow. This fist sized, opaque gem of indeterminate type seemed to give of a light, invisible to normal eyes, but allowed those with night sights to see in colour. This illumination also seemed to play strangley though the gem on top of Shadows staff. Finding no further use for this for now, he turned his sttantion on the mystery hostage.

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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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