Image courtesy of Silverblade, more Spelljammer images here
Kaolin uses her crown of stars to bring the Nautiloid into orbit, hiding it on the far side of Kule, the moon.A few moments with incense and chanting and she establishes a Word of Recall that would bring them back to the bridge. (Trigger word: Tango).
Setting the buglings to guard and leaving instructions to flee in case of discovery Kaolin teleports the three to the Green Dragon Inn in the Free City of Greyhawk on the planet below. The hadozee priestess wants to stop for a cocktail but just gets the stink eye from the others.
Appearing in the shadows near the portal to Sigil Kaolin does a very colorful few dance steps, hooting in hadozee the whole time, activates the portal and the three surviving Seven Stars step through.
One of the patrons looks at another, slams his ale down and says, “Nope, I didn’t just see that either. Barwench!”
Exiting the portal in the Clerks Ward they rapidly make their way through The Cage until they they reach the Temple of Celestian in the Lady’s Ward. Not even taking time to check in at Stray Manor they make their way to the garden and step through the portal to the Rock of Bral.
As they emerge from the portal it is very easy to see that things are not going so well here. While far from extinguished the sun burns dimly compared to its usual radiance. There is a decided chill in the normally temperate atmosphere of the asteroid city. Looking upwards they see an amazing array of Elven Imperial Navy ships, including an Arrowing ship flying the colors of the admiralty which seems to be heading for Prince Andru’s private landing strip.
Setting out for the lower city and the offices they walk through streets filed with palpable tension. People around them seem to be suffering from protracted stress and fear.
Once the arrive at House Seven Stars’ offices Tavist is informed that K’Tel (their administrator) is down at the docks. Deciding time is of the essence they part ways, TAvist heads to the docks to look for K’Tel and get the skinny on what has happend in their abscnce while Kaolin and taj Pach head for the the Library of the Spheres to see if they can dig up anything on Arack or Thoon.
As the hadozee and the xixchil head for the library Kaolin grabs Taj by the elbow and says, “We have to make a stop first!” They head into Shou Town and pick up some fod at one of the noodle shops. As they enter the Library who should be at the desk but Gerald, Kaolin passes the food over the counter to his obvious joy. After a few moments of conversation he advises that they speak with Sorten, the resident expert on illithids.
Meanwhile down at the docks Tavist find K’Tel waiting at an empty slip just as three EIN Warbirds escort The Valis, long thought lost, into port. “Where is he?” asks Tavist, meaning Falkirk.
“The EIN said he escaped,” replies the gnome.
As he speaks the familiar six foot tall figure of Sar Casualik, the High Mage of the EIN appears on The Valis, along with numerous Imperial Guards. As he looks down on Tavist, whose Draconic blood he ignited in a blood ritual several years ago, he smiles. “I see you have been studious in continuing down the path of the Dragons!”
The amazingly tall elf tells Tavist that Falkirk managed to evade them at the last but the ship is recovered and seems in good order. K’Tel takes possession of the ship and Tavist instructs him to have the Praetorians detailed to the Valis. Sar and Tavist then repair to the Seven Stars offices so that they may speak privately.
Once away from prying ears Sar tells Tavist some very disturbing news. Evidently his former lover, Kavara Liveoak, was recently outed as a szarkai (albino drow) infiltrator. Even more staggering is the fact that she had a child and the best divinations point to it being Tavist’s.
While Tavist is getting his world rocked by the EIN High Mage, Taj and Kaolin meet with Sorten at the Library of the Spheres. A native of Toril in RealmSpace, Sorten is a specialist in Illithid Lore. His many encounters with them in the Underdark of his own world and others, as well as in WildSpace itself have left him nervous and paranoid. Due to age retarding magics he looks a youth of 18 despite being well over 120. He is also a member of the Fireball Alliance.
Between their talk of the Overmind and the sample of green fluid from the Thoon Altar his interest is sparked. He sends them away while he does research, telling them to return at 9 bells.
Taj dimension doors them to the street outside the Seven Stars’ Offices just as Sar Casaulik is leaving. Tavist looks thunderstruck, something they understand once he recounts the conversation. Upon hearing that the Valis has been returned Kaolin runs screaming down the docks towards its slip.
When Tavist and Taj catch up they do a walkthrough of the vessel. As they get to the lower areas they find K’Tel coming out of the hold holding his nose and looking sick. A look inside shows the rotting bulk of something made partially from flesh and partially from seemingly random items and parts. The smell is phenomenal.
While debating cleanup Kaolin suggests letting the buglings eat it. Taj is horrified “Do you eat rotten meat? No! Fresh, fresh meat people!”
Next stop is back to the offices where they appraise K’Tel of the fact that the the thers are missing in action and that the bug s buying in. Taj immediatley goes into negotiation mode while Tavist returns to help search the Valis. He and Kaolin, to her great joy, find her missing tapestry of the Spelljammer over Toril in the Captain’s Quarters.
Since one of the things Taj is bringing to the table is psionic communications she arranges a regular schedule of check ins with K’Tel.
9 Bells: The three set off to see Sorten.
When they enter the illithid expert’s study he seems surprised by Tavist and it takes a moment for them to get him abck on track. He does have some information that should be useful.
He tells them that The MInd Flayers of Thoon are a sect of Far Realm touched illithids. He also says that while he has been unable to unearth the location of the Annulus, hardly surprising, he may have found a lead. An illithid heretic named Albossk might have info that could help them find it. Unfortunately Albossk is currently incarcerated in the illithid prison known as the Spiral of Manzessine. The prison exists in Oerth’s underdark.
Kalin offers to bring Sorten to the Ancient Nautiloid via portals. He nervously declines. Tavist then steps in and offers to allow one of Sorten’s assistants to come on board for research purposes.
After leaving Kaolin casts discern location on the triangular item that Thought Taker had removed from the Juna Outpost before he plane shifted away. The results? Overmind, Elserryn Ethergap, Ethereal Plane.
While Kaolin is casting Taj and K’Tel finish the paperwork making her “a boss.” Immediately after the final paper is signed and official she tells K’Tel to institute an audit of the House resources and busieness for her to review. The gnome’s jaw drops.
Business attended to Kaolin and Tavist decide to take the bug to their favorite dive bar near the docks- The Rockrat. As they approach the door the figure of a burly human fighter type is thrown throough the doorway with enough force to leave him unconsious and limp against the building across the street. Cutpurses converge on the still figure as our heroes enter the bar.
Grinder, the ogre bouncer, greets them and collects their (visible) weaponry, except for Taj whose weapons are part of her. They enter the dimly lit and boisterous room and hed for the bar. While ordering Tavist notices Xamboor Arvo, or “Bugman” as the crew call him, a Rastipede pilot for the House having a drink. Bringing a refill for the insectoid they head over and chat. In fairly short order they’ve enlisted him to pilot when they next depart.
Taj, in the meantime, obsessively observes the extra large female xixchil at the other end of the bar. If she had ahckles they would have been raised.
After another round of ale they depart The Rockrat, taking Bugman along, and head a few blocks over to the docks where their offices are. Once there and away from prying eyes Kaolin activates her word of recall and the group are immediately transported to the deck of the Ancient Nautiloid.
“Whoa!” says Bugman.