After the exhausting events previously recounted, it was wonderful to have a few days of rest before we set out on the airship. I was able to find a sage with a few useful rituals that I plan on learning, and we were all able to catch up on what we had missed from each other’s adventures.
Old Ren, the proprietor of the Fiery Flagon, had taken a bit of license and used us to promote a big 3 dragon ante tournament sponsored by a Volo looking to make a bit of a splash in local politics. (I’m not entirely sure which Volo this was meant to be. I’m sure the Waterdhavians know). We didn’t really mind our names being used so freely, as we were ready to cut loose a bit, and it was a fun party in the end. Rhogar won the ‘celebrity’ match and added another pile of coin to his stash from the ship, while I came out a bit ahead myself thanks in part to the young noble’s bankroll.
I also got to spend some time talking with Greevus about the Lonesome March. I have some ideas grinding around in my head about what to do with her, and being on the ship sparked something in Greevus as well. He is going to need some time to recover from the terrible disease he contracted from the ghouls, and I suspect that he will be spending a lot of his time learning from the sea merchants. “Captain Greevus,” he said once as we were talking, and I could see the gleam in his eye.
But time moves on and soon enough we were being hauled up into the airship, surrounded by the gnomish airmen and whatever goods were being transported along with us. I was not looking forward to this trip. The sky is no place for a dwarf, and I dimly remembered the horrific trip on the Griffons. That mental haze was not due to time, as it was only weeks prior, but due to the copious amount of spirits I consumed before the trip. But I digress. The airship was surprisingly stable and I could almost forget that I wasn’t on land, mercifully, and I began to think that maybe the next few days wouldn’t be so bad. I studied my rituals and generally bided my time, catching up on more rest. Many humans think that dwarves and gnomes must get along, being ‘the same height’ and everything, but most dwarves think of that as an insult. We are clearly taller than the gnomes.
We were very nearly to our destination when we heard alarms being raised around the ship. I had seen some defensive weaponry placed around the ship, but hadn’t paid it much heed – I was about to see it in action. We made our way to the stern and were quickly briefed by a stout gnome in ridiculously spiked armor. He pointed out the large ballistas, which I now realized were used to fire, not missiles, but gnomes at their attackers. This seemed pretty insane to me, but I wasn’t surprised in the least to see Rhogar charge over to one of them and start strapping himself in to some sort of harness.
We saw 3 gray blurs in the distance that quickly resolved themselves into gray dragons. Quicker than I thought possible they closed the distance and were on top of us. It was a strange feeling. On the one hand, you’re relieved to see that the dragons are only the size of a small cabin, but on the other hand there are blasted dragons swooping down on top of you. The gnome commander had already launched himself at the nearest dragon, but missed and was being reeled in when one of them came straight through where Zalius, Ack, and I were standing. It was too low and we were able to get in a couple shots but I knew we wouldn’t always be so lucky. I scrambled up onto the platform where the gnomish archers were attempting (pathetically) to take aim and tried to prevent them from shooting their own allies in their errant zeal.
The skirmish was going rather well, but it is always terrifying to see a dragon settle down in front of you, and one of them did just that. Rhogar, having failed to get into the ballista in time (those harnesses must have been designed for gnomes), leapt over and managed to shred one of the dragon’s wings so he couldn’t escape and we were nearly able to put it down before its companion came to help. I don’t know how the gnomes expected to be able to repel an attack like this without seasoned adventurers around, but they were lucky this time, as we were able to take care of the other dragons relatively easily.
That proved to be the only matter of note on the whole voyage and we were soon over the Serpent Hills where the portal to the fey awaited us. We were mostly following Rhogar’s lead, as he is the one in some sort of communication with the Sister, though there was certainly dissent on our course of action. Killian was particularly adamant that we should know more about The Broken before handing them a weapon so readily, and I admit that his argument was persuasive. I would have liked more information before we decided on our action. In the end though, we didn’t know exactly what Rhogar was feeling and decided to get the sword first. Time will tell if it was a good decision.
It wasn’t hard to find where we were supposed to be, and as we moved through a narrow defile the light changed and we were in the Feywild. We exited out from the ravine into a scene from a wild dream. Colossal trees, impossibly lush foliage, a startling array of colors and movement, it was as though we had stepped into a glee man’s story. We followed Rhogar’s lead and came to an monument in a wide clearing. It was clearly ancient and centuries of supplicants had worn grooves around the base. There were signs of more recent use, with suspiciously dark stains on a new alter constructed over the older foundations. Zalius could pick out a few details of the script around the base, and Killian copied it with his fancy quill for later examination. After some fancy arcane mumblings Zalius was able to decipher it and we found an ancient legend of “the skyblade, Sorrows Morn” and how it came into the possession of Kay’ool’kek who united the communities of Eladrin under his will. This sounded very much like a legend that has grown up around Pity’s sword. We can only hope that Kay’ool’kek’s descendants are kind, reasonable people and will hand over the sword if we ask politely. Yeah, right.
We continued on the path until we were warned by Zalius’ imp that there were beings ahead of us. We got close enough to see a giant on the ground, with what looked to be Eladrin all around, but we couldn’t tell what was happening. We tried to circle around but weren’t able to pick a path that wouldn’t intersect with whatever was happening in front of us. Two Eladrin walked towards us from the enormous glade, bows on their backs. Rhogar walked forward into the open and, being Rhogar, sat on the ground and put his weapon in front of him to show that we meant no harm. I guess the Eladrin just thought that meant he was an easier target, because they loosened their bows and began to fire on us. We joined battle and were not too worried, but quickly realized that there was more to this than a simple territorial dispute, when a large beholder floated around a stone circle and came towards us. I had never seen a beholder before (it wouldn’t be my last), and I know now how Zalius must have felt when they stumbled upon the mind flayers in the Undermountain. My bowels turned to water, but Kelemvor granted me courage and I summoned his divine hammer as I charged towards the beast. A skeleton appeared along with the hammer but was easily brushed aside. There was bigger game in this forest.
The archers proved more troublesome than I had initially assessed, as they were able to fire over the width of the entire glade while we were pinned down fighting the beholder and some sort of Eladrin mage. We finally put down the threat but I had a sneaking suspicion that this was not the terrifying beholder of legend. It was a little too dull – and a lot less lethal – than I would have imagined, but its presence here portended a greater threat than finding someone with the sword and negotiating for its release. Why is it never simple? As we exited the glade we passed the fallen giant – a Cyclops. Its lone eye had been carved out of its head.