Xring, Hissarmau, Violetta, Endora Syzygy, and Individual 23 wait in the Voidskimmer for any of the others to return. While they wait two more nautiloid ships enter the Keep’s exclusion zone through the rift.
Deciding that Klasath and Moswen have had more than enough time Violetta casts invisibility on herself, sings up some courage and heads into the keep with her starwheel pistol drawn and cocked. Moving with the speed of motion on the Astral she flashes unseen through corridors empty save for the occasional corpse.
The invisible bard reaches the chamber just as Moswen is waking up. The Mulhorrandi cracks an eye and sees an Illithid beginning to feed on Casimir. There is a sudden flash of actinic black light and mind flayer reels backwards its tentacles smoking. In the doorway behind shes sees the magical aura of the invisible Violetta peering in.
Moswen sits up suddenly and targets the Illithid with her eldritch blast, Violetta attacking simultaneously with her spiked chain. The warlock feels a wave of nausea and pain wash across her, but shakes off the effects of the Illithid mind blast without losing consciousness. In short order the two manage to deal out some major injuries to the Illithid until it finally steps backwards and vanishes into thin air.
Besides Moswen and Casimir, who is just now coming around, the still breathing body of Ibid lies on the floor. Of Lemmy, Larren and Klasath there is no sign. Moswen grabs the delirious Ibid and throws him over here shoulder. As rapidly as possible, which is quite fast for smart people on the Astral, they head for the smalljammer.
Meanwhile Xring and Hissarmau attempt to keep Endora calm while the modron stands in the cargo door staring up at the dragon fire from the Githyanki attack and makes soft “woot,woot” noises. Suddenly a familiar form fades into existences, as though from a teleport. It is Lemmy.
As the warrior materializes he draws his deep crystal swords and leaps towards Xring. As he does so Hissarmau notices a metal collar around his neck with a single softly glowing amber jewel set in its front. A whirlwind melee ensues, in the middle of which Violetta and the rest enter the ship and join the combat. Thinking it would distract any male Moswen grabs Violetta and kisses her deeply right in front of the fighter. He barely even notices. Hissarmau manages to fracture the jewel, but Lemmy teleports out immediately thereafter. Before he does he stares right at the still invisible Violetta as though he can see her.
Dragging the unconscious Ibid into the cockpit and putting him out of the way in a corner. AS they catch their breath another form fades into visibility in their midst. Its Klasath, his bladed chain already spinning and an amber jewel shining from the silver collar around his neck.
As the fight is joined his chain slashes out injuring Endora severely, and hitting Hissarmau and Violetta as well. A burst of eldritch blasts from Moswen along with a flurry of attacks from the others leave him in sorry shape rapidly. Like Lemmy before him the Elan disappears from view, leaving the cockpit free of further bloodshed at least for a moment.
After a rapid confab, during which they notice three more illithid nautiloids entering through the portal, Moswen takes the helm. Once again they all experience the wrenching turbulence of crossing planar boundaries as the warlock’s form and the helm are surrounded by a nimbus of block and violet energy. Suddenly bright daylight bursts through the windows of the smalljammer.
Looking out the windows they see an enormous tree, miles in diameter around the trunk, rising up and down as far as can be seen in a sky unadorned other than by clouds. Clear blue skies have replaced the liquid silver of the Astral. Moswen notices motion in the foliage here and there as she circles the trunk with the Voidskimmer. As the best climbers Xring and Hissarmau are sent out to hit the branches and do some recon.
After venturing a few hundred feet into the branches they encounter a humanoid creature that looks like nothing so much as an enormous squirrel. In broken common he introduces himself as Kippenval. During the somewhat fragmented conversation they have he asks about their “bird” pointing towards the smalljammer. He also seems to want food. Hissarmau gives him some milk out of her supplies and he slurps it right up most appreciatively.
At one point while talking to the monk Moswen calls him a squirrel. He immediately jumps up and grabs her shoulders shaking her soundly. “NOT a squirrel! NOT, NOT, NOT a squirrel!” he proclaims in a loud and determined voice. He then sits back on his haunches and begins to clean his whiskers.
They manage to get that he is a guide and that they are on the World Tree Yggdrasil. While the ladies manages to get him to follow them towards the ship he stops and refuses to go any further once he is about a hundred feet from the ship. Casimir enters the conversation shouting from the upper deck to the party on the branch. After much discussion he says, “Okay if you don’t come aboard there is no gold and no food for you.” Kippenval twitches his whiskers a moment and then repies “Okay, bye!” and vanishes into the undergrowth.
As the feline and the Mulhorrandi report back on their interactions with the ratotosk Ibid finally wakes up. He seems very scattered and discombobulated, complaining of things digging through his mind. Very shaken he sits in the corner quietly while Xring checks him over. While they do this Casimir jumps out onto the branch and gathers some deadwood and leaves which he takes in and leaves in chest in his quarters.
Taking the ship into an irregular orbit of the titanic tree they circle its trunk investigating the terrain as best they can from the open decks. After several circuits they notice motion in the undergrowth, motion that resembles humanoid activity. Violetta and Casmir disembark leading he rest of the crew (except for the helmsman) into the branches. After a bit of looking they notice part of a red cloak sticking out from behind a branch and call out to the concealed travellers….