Unfortunately our plans for multiple rounds of drinks had to be put on hold after we picked up on the sounds of many footsteps coming our way from the street ahead.
“Great, more company! Now what?” I groan, as I had used up most of my spells in that last fight.
Hodekin quickly looks around and then smiles, his sharp teeth glinting in the darkness. “I know a way! Come on!” He takes off down another alleyway and we run after him until he stops in front of a tree that had collapsed part of the wall to the right to form an archway of sorts. I’m about to ask him why he stopped when I just make about the shimmer of energy across the archway.
“Is this a portal?” I ask in doubt. “Where does it go to?”
“Doesn’t matter!” Hodey replies as the sound of footfalls is joined with angry grunting and shouts of ‘This way!’
Khal looks down the alley nervously and then steps through the archway and disappears, soon followed by Hodekin. I shrug and follow after them, as I have no desire for any more encounters this night. I really must remember to ask Khal what’s made him so popular, though. We outcasts have to stick together, after all.
“The Astral Plane,” Khal announces in an emotionless voice as I emerge to through the portal to a bright silvery shimmering expanse that goes on for as far as I can see.
In the distance there seems to be a group of colorful balls of light that I remember from my studies to be the Elserryn Cluster. Portals… this could be our way out of here! There’s also the fabled Crosswinds Keep, as well as a Githyanki city around here… but from the look on Khal’s face, I’m sure he knows that already.
“I’m all for finding civilization, myself,” I begin as I watch Khal’s reaction. “What about Crosswinds Keep?”
“We should go to the cluster to find a portal from this place… and quickly,” Khal replies as he scans the area nervously.
Suddenly there is a strange buzzing sound in the air that grows louder and louder… until with a POP an odd-looking boat shaped like a goldfish appears in the distance chased by another larger ship covered in Elvish symbols.
“What in the 9 Hells is that?” I ask as the first ship begins to break up and crashes into the…well… ‘ground’ for lack of a better term in the Astral.
“We’re still heading for the portals, yes?” asks Khal.
“Well yeah, of course…” I reply as we start walking. “Still, though… if they were able to come here in that ship…”
All intentions aside, it looks as though the Fates had their own plan in mind as the survivors of the crashed ship come running in our direction… followed by a handful of creatures that… I swear, look sort of like Khal.
“Are those… Githzerai?” I mutter questioningly as I squint.
Khal turns to look and does his best to hide his fear. “Pirates!” he hisses under his breath. “We must leave. Now.”
The party breaks into a run towards the cluster of portals as Khal waves his arms and the magical fog appears once again to hopefully cover our tracks. He then picks up Hodey under his arm and zooms past me once again. I simply must ask him how he does that!
Eventually we make it to the cluster and manage to agree on a particularly pretty blue one when the survivors of the wrecked ship catch up with us. “Please, wait! Let us come too!” begs a dark-skinned female as she’s joined by an Elven male and a… wow… what is he? He might actually make a few demons give pause before charging down a dark alleyway…
The potential for unwanted combat can make strange bedfellows, as the rest of the party nods and I shrug in indifference. After a moment the portal flashes with light and we say good-bye to the Astral Plane as we appear in a strange mist. I’m about to ask Khal where we are, when suddenly I see people falling horizontally through the air in the distance.
“Ah crap… it’s the Plane of Air,” I mutter.
“The Plane of What?” asks the elf nervously.
“Just don’t think about falling,” warns Khal.
“Don’t think about what?” asks the elf again before he suddenly starts falling through the air.
“Clueless,” Hodey snorts.
“Guess we should go get him,” I mutter before turning to the rest. “For those of you who missed the demonstration Solon gave us… First you think it, then you do it.” Everyone nods, and with a thought we’re all falling through the air towards the tumbling elf.
Time passes for who knows how long in this odd dimension… until I hear the dark-skinned girl named Constance speak up. “Hey, what’s that in the distance? Is that land?”
“If it is, I’ll be glad to get my feet under it,” announces Wayland, the large humanoid with the penchant for guns, before he speeds up and plummets past the rest of us toward the floating island.
Thankfully it doesn’t take much manuvering for the rest of us to also come to a landing on the floating island and regroup. Odd… I noticed some interesting markings on the platform in the middle when we came down. I will have to investigate while the others check out the smaller islands with the headstones on them.
“Hey, it looks like a control device!” Hodey exclaims as he opens up one of the headstones. “I wonder what it does?”
“Don’t touch that just yet, Hodey… I think this whole platform has been charged with ritual magic to perform teleportations!”
“Maybe it can get us out of this insane place!” replies an eager Solon.
I go to investigate one of the other headstones with Khal while Hodey checks out the others, and find the same control device with beautiful stones as foci. “Okay, let’s start it up! If you’re not activating the device, get in the middle!”
Hodey and I each take turns moving from device to device to activate them as the runic circles in the middle island begin to light up and pulse with energy… first blue, then green, and then red.
“I don’t like this…” worries Solon. “Are you sure this is safe?”
I grin wildly as I place the last stone in the control panel. “Not at all!”