Our Heroes rise to their feet after the turbulent changes in the Voidskimmer complete, except for Casimir who hit his head on the cheese board knocking himself unconscious. After ascertaining that the increase in size is the only visible change in the ship they proceed on their original path towards Dragon Rock. Much discussion ensues while en route about the cause. While examining the the ship’s exterior through the view port Xring has a momentary vision of the form of a galleon superimposed over the lines of the smalljammer.
Our heroes come to general agreement that since a smalljammer is a living ship it must have had a growth spurt. Violetta suggests that it may grow up to be The Spelljammer, that maybe there are more than just the one. Contemplation of having their ship turn into an unruly teenager both amuses and disturbs them for the remaining two hours of their trip.
Upon docking at Dragon Rock they notice another peculiarity, once off the ship it appears to all of them as a small galleon. While Casimir pays the air and docking taxes Xring runs back aboard and looks out of the ship’s port. From there it stil appears to be a smalljammer. Trying to conceal their shock the group decide to head for Lucille’s, where a private and warded room can be had for discussing the situation. Ibid in particular endorses this idea, extolling the virtues of bearded dwarvish women on the way.
They reach the Red Lantern District and find a room is available at Lucille’s. Arranging for women, drink, and food Casimir vevrifies the date. They have two days until the “Battle of the Tears,” that Jector predicted at Redhurst. In the meantime Ibid entertains himself getting lap dances from the two dwarvish girls on staff. He stays along with Violetta and Lemmy while Xring and Hissarmau hit the market in search of the latest gossip.
Word on the street, or “the chant,” as Lemmy calls it, is mainly of increased scro activity in the sphere. Many feel the tide of the Unhuman War II is turning towards Realmspace. Imperial Elven Navy ships have greatly increased in number and rumors have it there was a fleet engagement just outside the orbit of the beholder world H’Catha.
The next day Ibid goes to the Temple of Ptah to research ancient Mulhorandi myth looking for any appearances of The Speljammer. On one set of tablets he finds mention in the tales of Ptah navigating the spelljamming ships bearing the Mulhorandi God’s avatars to Realmspace. When the ships of the Gods approached the crystal sphere and first entered Realmspace The Spelljammer was sighted flying across the sky over Mulhorand.
Hissarmau is far less successful in her day of research, finding a vast array of mutually conflicting stories, tales and sightings of the Spelljammer. Unfortunately with so much conflicting data there is little way to sift fact from fiction.
Lemmy and Violetta look around for recommendations on a good tattoo shop, preferably one that can merge “The Invisible Art” (psionics) with their ink. They are repeatedly told that Kithrick’k’s Tatoos is the place to go. Its a xixchil business with all that that entails. Grabbing Xring to “talk to her people” they head on down and arrange to talk to the mantis in charge.
Shintach Kithrick’k, and elder xixchil whose carapace is inlaid with sweeping spirals of mithril and patterns of inset crystals and jewels takes great interest in Xring. Once she tells him that she is a female of the S’chedu (Silverclaw) Hive in the core of The Tears of Selune he nods and welcomes her.
Both Lemmy and Violetta submit themselves to the xixchil’s needles, while Xring watches the master at work trying to learn as much from observation as possible. Lemmy gets two psionic tattoos, one in the form of a white dagger on each forearm with the power Body Purification bound into each. He also gets one of an upraised fist that contains the power Vigor. Violetta gets a normal tattoo, a back piece of angel wings.
During the course of conversation while at the Tatoo Parlor Lemmy finally realizes that Violetta has psionics as well.
The next day they convene at the docks. Being incredibly subtle (i.e. standing on the docks and pointing at an Elven Warbird) they discuss Ibid’s idea of stealing an EIN Warbird so that the fleet would chase them to the trailing edge of the Tears where this alleged conflict is supposed to occur. After much debate, highly influenced by the fact that it would just be fun to steal an EIN ship, they finally set the idea aside. After all, Jector’s divination only said they were needed there, not the Elven Fleet.
The rest of the day is spent securing supplies and planning for the morning’s departure. Food, ale and rope in particular are secured.
The following morning at 8 bells Hissarmau takes the helm ad pilots the spelljammer out of dock. She sets course for the trailing edge of the Tears, the region Jector sent them to. Three hours should see them arriving, still with no idea of what The Battle of the Tears is supposed to be or who it will involve.
About a half hour out from the trailing edge of the tears a explosion near the starboard wing shakes and tosses the ship. A glance to the rear reveals a scro Mantis ship in hot pursuit. As Hissarmau begins a mad chase, weaving between the chaotic swirl of asteroids, Ibid is struck by an inspiration. He attempts to cast Sanctuary on the Voidskimmer, to his surprise it works. Since the smalljammer is a creature he is able to make the magic work!
As they dart through the flying rocks, trying to make up for their pursuer’s superior speed, they come upon a pair of goblin arrowships which immediately join pursuit. Hissarmau attempts a fancy maneuver between asteroids and flubs it, barely reacting in time she is able to swerve away from the rapidly approaching surface of an oncoming chunk of space rock with only 5-10 feet to space. The Mantis is not so lucky. A moment later the scro vessel smashes into the asteroid, a crash rapidly followed by a colorful arcane explosion a moment after impact.
Hissarmau regains control of the Voidskimmer and accelerates towards open space with the goblin ships following closely. As they approach the border between the interior of the Tear and open space Hissarmau stops short and directs the ship straight down as fast as possible. The two arrowships shoot past them and into the open wildspace beyond the Tears.
As the arrowships exit the cluster a huge expanse of the space before them shimers briefly as a strange ship suddenly appears in their path. A huge green ship, obviously based on the Elven Fleet’s starfly construction but three times the size of an EIN Armada. Seemingly studded with bombards and emitting a veritable cloud of flitters it fills the formerly empty space with armed activity.
Flitters armed with some kind of rapid fire magic missile cannons take out the two arrowships and then converge on the Voidskimmer. Two of the sleek and predatory flitters move in close and pace the Voidskimmer, flying in along its gravity plane and stopping just outside the point where their air envelopes would merge.
Ibid grabs a bottle of N’jarer (sea elf wine from Karpri) and a pair of glasses which he takes up on deck and waits. The flitters conitune to pace the ship, several more holding position further off. After several minutes Ibid feels the tingle of an incoming message spell as one of the flitter pilots contact him.
“This is Commander Iarendil of the INS Stormbreaker, identify yourselves.”
To which Ibid replies, “Its us, we’re here.”
“We have been trying to reach you on all standard radio frequencies for three and a half minutes now. I repeat, identify yourselves.”
After come curt dialogue Ibid forcibly cuts the conversation after agreeing to follow the flitters to the main ship to meet with its Captain. Four of the strange flitters take up position as escorts, leading the Voidskimmer to a landing space on the main ship. On Ibid’s direction Hissarmau sets down as close to the center of the deck as possible.
Elven troops march up and surround the ship, although they lack the silver plate mail indicative of most EIN troopers. Instead they are clad in highly embossed uniforms of earth toned leather. Each one seems to have a holstered starwheel pistol at his or her hip. A tight group of soldiers surrounding a figure in white leather approach. AS they do Ibid gets a table and chairs from below decks and grabs an additional bottle of wine.
The figure in white and three of his guards climb aboard. “Greetings, I am Solon. Who speaks for you?”
It is at this point that everyone pushes Casmir to the fore. Solon raises an inquisitive eybrow…..