Sapphira, arrived none the worse for wear just after peak on our third day in Sigil. It seemed she did know which palm to grease and which string pull. She still had not managed to kill her father (again?) but assured us with a dry tone and slight smile that it was only a matter of time. It seems she’ s a patient hunter. Kenari continued her insistence on visiting the library of Toth but as the entry in the Mimir told of a researcher that got caught up there for 20 years and still hadn’ t found what she was looking for, the rest of us suggested we go to a library in Greyhawk where we also might be able to trade our silver for a more spendable, valuable currency.
I should have known better, really I should have when the adventure loving Kenari said she wanted to visit a library. So we traveled from Sigil through a portal (different kind of portal than I’ m used to) to Greyhawk; much cleaner and quieter than whence we came but a bustling predominantly human city none the less. We asked for directions to the largest library and were told to travel uptown to the walled upper city where Castle Greyhawk and the University were. It was only after we arrived at the library (after a couple wrong turns corrected by a kindly gnome) that Kenari reveals that she wasn’ t interested in doing any research, she just wanted to “ do something” grrr! So I was stuck in the dusty catacombs of a library, again! There was a bit of red tape seeing as how not only were we not university students we were just passing through, fortunately Greyhawk worked the way most worlds do and gold cleared the way expediently. My compatriots split up while I was reading. Vedis and Kenari headed to a bar to look up job listings and Sapphira and Ef Utan went to the School of Wizardry to sell our Bytopian silver.
After a few hours I had exhausted the library’ s store on the Spelljammer and headed to the front desk, just in time to see Kenari and Vedis limp in looking like they were returning from a war…in which they had their asses handed to them. Turns out while at the bar a bored monk took offense to them, pulled the kitties tail and then got nasty. He eventually stopped but not before delivering a message “ not to meddle in things” . They finished looking at the help wanted ads and had a couple drinks, of course, before returning to find me to heal them. After working the spell Cure Moderate Wounds a couple times they were good as new, thank Celestian. Shortly thereafter our other friends joined us and reported they’ d had much better luck and had managed to trade our silver pieces for gold 1:1! We decide to find an in about mid-town to have dinner and get a room before returning to Sigil.
When we arrived, Kenari and Vedis asked the barkeep about trading entertainment for food, spirits and a nights lodging. The barkeep allowed them to try with the understanding that if they were booed down to accept it graciously and exit stage left but that if the crowd enjoyed a deal could be made. Poor Vedis as soon as she tried to sing her throat closed up and all that came out was a croak. Embarrassed and dismayed she jumped off the stage and made a bee line for the bar where three shots of the local whiskey were lined up and consumed in short order. Kenari kept dancing and the crowd enjoyed it, most likely because many of the patrons hadn’t seen a person sized cat before or at least not many. To her credit she is a graceful dancer.
While she was dancing and Vedis was drinking Ef Utan seemed to see someone he knew and walked over to talk to them. After a short time he motioned for Sapphira and I to join them. It was an expensively dressed wizard. Magical jewelry sparkled around his fingers and neck and for certain more lay beneath his robes. My eyebrows quirked at Ef Utan, this one seemed odd company for him to keep especially since their conversation seemed stilted.
Vedis joined us and we ordered dinner, mutton for Ef Utan, Vedis and Kenari, soup and bread for me and goldenwood embers for Sapphira. It seemed Kenari’ s day for dire warnings, there under the remains of her mutton was a Yakuza blade. I don’ t know what she did to warrant their attention but it isn’ t good. All I can get from the Wizard’ s murmurs are to trust no one; great, another vague, yet dire warning. We decide to get to go up and get some sleep. Heading the warning, we took turns on watch and Kenari set a booby-trap on the door. Fortunately, the night was uneventful and we awoke to sounds of adventurer’ s breaking fast and the smell of delicious food.
It was at breakfast that Ef Utan reveals what they have learned regarding our predicament and that we can find some answers by traveling to see a wizard named Sidrathe or by going to a place called ” The Rock of Bral” and talking to a ” beholder” . Vedis and I stopped, looked at each other and broke out into huge grins and hugs, much to the confusion of our companions.
” This beholder, he wouldn’ t happen to be named Luigi, would he” , queried Vedis.
Intrigued and cautious, Ef Utan nodded, “Yes, though we were told talking to him would be a long-shot. And to get there we have to go to the docks and find a spelljammer and some sort of ship that travels in space!”
Vedis told him that Luigi was her boss and talking to him was no problem as that was Luigi’ s favorite thing to do. Then it was my turn to smirk a little, I was growing tired of the impression that I was only good for healing wounds and doing research. ” As far as a Spelljammer, you’ re looking at one. Once we find a suitable ship I can fly it and likely use that skill to barter our passage. The fastest way to get there though is to portal back to Sigil, then portal to Spiral then fly to Bral. If we leave from here it’ s a minimum of six weeks if we can find a ship headed that way. From Spiral it’ s less than a week and much more likely to find a ship headed our way.”
Ef Utan brought up that since we needed to portal we also needed a tow-headed coin and we’ d used our only one getting here, which meant he had to find some dwarven metal smiths to make us up a fresh batch. Finding them wouldn’ t be the problem, time was not our friend here.
More questions followed about space travel and the like. It seems that besides Vedis and I everyone else had only used portals to travel from place to place. I explained that until recently my definition of portals were gates in the crystal spheres that surrounded systems between Grayspace. I gave the simplest explanations I could and that seemed to
We set back out to the store front we popped out of the day before. We stopped to make arrangements to get the coins made, Ef Utan had a brilliant idea to save time, he asked the dwarf to split the coins lengthwise and weld the two head sides together. The dwarf agreed in exchange for the tail sides. While we were waiting we scouted for a compass for Sapphira without success. It was about this time that we realized we were being followed. Kenari looked around and then, seemed to vanish (I really have to ask her to teach me that trick). EF Utan and I discussed trapping our pursuer I explained how if I could touch him I could read his motives and then incapacitate him quietly. Sapphira asked why we would bother and we explained so he wouldn’ t follow us. With a very wicked smile, Sapphira said ” Let him, follow us to Sigil” .
Ef Utan and I grinned back and Ef replied “I like the way you think.”
We made our way back to the dwarves who had managed to finish five. We took for and left one for the monk who would surely come in behind us and question the dwarf about what we were up to. Ef figured that if we left one for the monk he’ d be less likely to rough up our new friend and more likely to get himself stuck in Sigil without a prayer of getting back. A few minutes later we heard a loud KABOOM and then screaming, we looked back to see a monk in burgundy and gold silk robes, hands cupped around his ears, blood seeping from between his fingers. With a little more haste to our steps
we made to the doorway just as Kenari reappeared and the city guards rushed past us. Without further ado we tossed in the coin and we portaled back to Sigil. We made our way quickly to the market square and the portal for Spiral only to realize we needed three oak leaves dipped in mead. We split up again with one party acquiring mead and other purchasing oak leaves from an apothecary. Within 30 minutes we met back at the portal with a handful of oak leaves and mead to spare (because you just never know).
This time we didn’ t appear in a city but on the periphery of a large oak grove. The scale was immense, these towered far higher than any trees I had ever seen before and as I looked closer I could see how the branches and trunks were woven and fused together to create structures, buildings, archways and paths. It was a city after all, and given it was
an Elven city it made sense. As we walked closer we could see Elves bustling about in as much as elves bustle and what looked like two leaves of an enormous plant came into view.
“What kind of tree is that?” Ef Utan asked.
Vedis and I had recognized it immediately as a Man of War ship. I explained that it wasn’ t a plant it was a ship and that each race that built ships built them in a way that was meaningful to them. For an elf that was in the shape of plants, insect races they were insects and water races they were water creature shaped. Dubious looks followed but I couldn’ t blame them as this was all new and unfamiliar. I took the lead as we made our way to port. Huge ships of all shapes and sizes bobbed and swayed, tethered by ropes as thick as my arm. Here at last was something familiar to me as breathing and just as vital. I asked the dock master if the PhoenixHawk was here and he replied that it had been recently though wasn’ t here now. I explained what we needed and where we needed to go. He suggested a retired elvish warship turned merchant craft that was headed for Bral, I thanked him and we made our way down the dock. I asked my friends to wait for me as I requested permission to come aboard and speak with the captain.
He was swarthy for an elf, he possessed the same fine features and height of his race but sailing had changed his features and he had the adventuring eye I had seen in so many before. I explained that I was a spelljammer and offered my services and those of my four companions in exchange for passage to Bral. He asked what my companions did and I explained that one was a dancer and could fight, one was a sword for hire, one a server and singer and one a sorceress. The captain grunted that she could take a turn piloting as well, I stopped I hadn’ t thought about it but Sapphira could pilot the ships too but it wasn’ t quite the same. I’ d make sure to stick with her to get her past the rough spots and unfamiliarity.
I went to gather my friends and led them to the cabin we were assigned. It was cramped but clean with enough bunks for all of us and table against one wall. Two tiny portholes and a couple lamps were the only sources of light but it would do. We finished storing our gear and made our way back to the dock, we had four hours to stock up on elf finery to sell on Bral and Vedis and I wasted no time. Vedis bought a very expensive bottle of wine and I bought some scarves and other trinkets that I could double my profit easily. Back aboard ship we put away our loot and climbed on deck for departure. I nearly laughed at the looks of my new partners which ranged from wonder, to awe to downright terror as the ropes were cast off and the solar sails filled. Power surged through the ship, as we lifted off and for a moment we were weightless then the captain engaged the shield and we bumped back down. Vedis and I knew what was happening and had our “ space legs” , the others nearly toppled over. Eventually, we made our way to the galley for dinner and I turned in for a quick nap before I went on duty at 1 am.
I figured that I would pull the late ship and truth be told I didn’ t mind. The ship was quiet and I wasn’ t bothered. I could fly in peace and enjoy the thrill of once again being linked to a ship. There is no other single sensation like it. I could feel all that power run up through my hands and arms, through my body and out my feet as I merged with the
ship. The link is an expansion of your consciousness to something a great deal larger and more powerful than yourself. I felt the thrum of the engines and the buffets of solar winds in the sails, the stars matched charts in my head and melded into glowing blurs behind us from the haze of stardust we kicked up. I missed this so much. I’ m not sure how it was for my companions but the five days for me ended too soon, even if we were headed home.
We landed in Bral and made our way to the Laughing Beholder. Vedis was chewing her lip, wondering if her pet was ok and if her boss had fired her for missing work for so long. She needn’ t have worried on either of those accounts. Seems her pet was well cared for and Luigi accepted her explanation without qualm, bringing the elvish wine certainly didn’ t hurt matters. No she didn’ t have to worry about the mundane matters; it was who was waiting for us that held my attention and concern. The same wizard Ef Utan recognized in Greyhawk was at the bar talking with Luigi, he levitated a round of drinks our way and said ” about time you got here kids, sit down and I’ ll fill you in on what’s happening”.