pirates_of_the_phlogistonAs Kaolin pilots the Rock of Bral through the phlogiston with the Staff of Celestian, four illithid ships including a dreadnaught that must weigh at least 200 tons come into visibility through the Flow.

As the lead ships escorting the Rock accelerate to engage more illithid ships appear from the multicolored mists of the Flow. Tentacled hulls move into view from every angle surrounding the Rock while the ships of the Bralian and Elven Fleets maneuver to the defensive.

Taj Pach points out the small form of a cuttle command ship hanging back behind the dreadnaught. Tavist sends word to the helm to plot a course towards it while the elven armada Correlon’s Grace engages the titanic illithid ship. Meanwhile the Infernal Contraption engages a nautiloid using sparkbolts and gnomeflingers.

The Flow erupts in battle, ballista bolts and lightning bombards flying from ship to ship while mental blasts the width of a ship’s deck boil through the intervening wildspace.

Meanwhile in the Royal Gardens of Castle Skyview Kaolin and her guardian General Tomojak the “Mayor of Gifftown” suddenly find themselves targeted by the mental blasts of three illithids as they teleport in. As Tomojak shakes of their mental attack and responds with his devastating Gauntlet of Tamus, disintigrating one where it stands in a single punch.

Kaolin invokes storm rage and flies from her perch, the Rock now moving on momentum alone, and blasts another illithid with lightning bolts from her eyes. Another mental blast clouds her vision and gives her a splitting headache but she remains steady in the air. A moment later another blast of electrical energy strikes from her eyes annihilating the last one. Below Tomojak can be heard bellowing for additional guards and swearing at the lack of his firearms.

At the leading edge of the combat a pair of elven warbirds peel off and turn on their fellows, a problem that recurs across the battle lines all around the Rock. It would seem the mind flayers have seized control.

The Valis evades contact with the controlled warbird and outruns a nautiloid as it heads towards the cuttle command ship. Another illithid ship is not so easy to elude. As it comes within range Taj Pach dimension doors across the intervening wildspace into its air envelope, wings extended. Immediately upon appearing she casts decrease ship rating on the nautiloid, following up rapidly with a an inflict damage blast with the Staff of the Techno Mage she acquired in the Dragonstar multiverse. As chunks of nautiloid hull are blasted away she gets a wave of blurry vison and a sudden splitting headache, sure signs of illithid mind blasts. As she dimension doors back to the The Valis Tavist blasts the ship with a lightning bolt from his belt of spell storing.

Back on the Rock of Bral the Royal guard and a detachment of Elven Imperial Navy troops arrive in the Royal Gardens to act as reinforcements for General Tomojak and Kaolin. Shortly after they arrive scores of illithid thralls (mostly humans and grimlocks but containing a variety of spacefaring races) teleport in. Melee, of course, ensues.

While the battle rages on the grounds of Castle Skyview teams of thralls and small groups of illithids teleport into various locations throughout the city. In the sky above and behind the castle an EIN armada, Arvandor’s Blade, rams one of the illithid dreadnaughts, the resulting arcane/psionic explosion destroying both craft in a titanic blast that rocks the very phlogiston!

Two nautiloids break through the navy blockade and head towards the Rock itself, making it within 200 feet before being blown out of the sky by the Firebal Alliance.

As suddenly as they appeared, the illithid craft suddenly and simultaneously, retreat. As sounds of battle die down a massive cloud of debris floats around the Rock of Bral. The EIN lost no less than twelve ships, one an armada class, the Bralian navy fared almost as poorly. The illithids did not escape unscathed as the numerous shattered nautiloid hulls can attest.

Taj Pach sets up a triage in the hold of the Valis and psionically corresponds with nearby ship captains to et them know the octopus is now acting as a hospital ship. As the injured begin the roll in Tavist brings his ring gate into the room and gets Kaolin to reach through hers and cast mass cure spells  without having to leave her position on the Rock.

Once the excitement dies down and the city guards declare the streets safely free of both illithids and (known) thralls Kaolin glides down to the docks to sit on a pier and enjoy the view. Her guardians have a fit and begin the long run from one end of the city to the other to reach her.

The hadozee priestess, eyes still glowing and fur still blowing in an unseen breeze, ducks into the Rockrat to grab a drink and stays for the daily brawl. Having had her fill she flies back to the palace, passing over her breathless guards just as they reach the docks. She waves cheerily as she flies past heading back.

Over the next two weeks in the phlogiston Tavist makes the rounds, trying to lay the groundwork for some expansion of the House Seven Stars trading business. From the the Burrows where he shares Bytopian hobbit weed with some of Meredyn Sandyfoot’s seconds to The Laughing Beholder where he talks up Large Luigi at length he makes the circuit. He even heads down to Giff Town for some Yaneesh at Ozzy’s favorite restaurant. Tolompo is now managing the place and comps his meal and antitoxin. Tavist tells him that Ozzy is gone for awhile, not sure how long. When asked for details all he will say is   “Last time I saw him he was doing well.”

Taj Pach takes advantage of the time to seclude herself with some of her hive in the surgery on The Valis. Nine days later when she emerges her new body modifications are obvious: she has given herself over-sized and counterbalanced joints. Even her casual movements now ripple with barely contained speed.

Tavist meanwhile has been building a lock making/picking rig in the lab where he can practice his “casual entry” skills.

Soon the mist of the phlogiston part to reveal the massive pearlescent surface of the Greyspace Sphere. Using the Staff of Celestian Kaolin opens a portal in the sphere’s surface and carefully guides the Rock and its escort fleet through it into Greyspace. Looking back at the inner sphere wall they see the stars of Greyspace, huge gems hundreds of miles across set in the inner surface of the sphere and emitting light.

Avoiding further entanglements Kaolin pilots the asteroid city into the sphere until she reaches The Grinder, the sphereical asteroid belt that divides the inner and outer system of the sphere. Under Prince Andru and Admiral Cirathorn’s direction she moves the Rock into place in the asteroids and removes the staff form its setting. Her eyes cease to glow and her fur stops blowing as thought he invisible wind tousling it has stopped.

The Grand Admiral of the Elven Fleet enters and walks up to Kaolin. “Thank you,” she says as she takes the staff from the reluctant priestess. With her other hand she extends a scroll tube, “this should help you, don’t share it.” Later examination reveals it to contain the most comprehensive map of the spheres any of them have ever seem. It even includes coordinates for reaching the legendary Athas!

After receiving thanks from Andru and the EIN Kaolin teleports to the dockside offices of House Seven Stars looking for Tavist and Taj Pach. Tavist is just arriving after having picked up his clothes at the House of Metege. “Nice to have a tunic my wings will fit through!”

After taking time to give K’tel instructions about coordinating with Grim at their warehouse in Greyhawk Kaolin uses her word of recall to transport them to the deck of the ancient nautiloid where it sits in orbit behind Luna. Now that they are all together Tavist brings them up to date on the lead they got from Sar about the fal known as one-six-nine in Herdspace.

Taj tries to get the circuitry to activate the nautiloid, this time receiving an immediate response, “Awaiting course input.” Deciding that they will probably need backup Tavist sets K’Tel to restocking not only The Valis but also The Killroy’s Folly (turtelship) and The Infernal Contraption (Sidewheeler) as well.

Once stocked and supplied they use the sphere map given Kaolin by the Grand Admiral to map a route to Herdspce. Tavist informs the EIN that they are heading out to finish their mission.

As the three ships assume formation and head for the sphere wall Kaolin’s vice can be heard to say “I flew a city!”

Image courtesy of SilverBlade