Planejammer: Ad Astra Per Arcana

Katya's Journal Part 7 - Finding Refuge
Barfight in the old town tonight...

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Two more weeks pass after saying goodbye to the Void Elves of Darnanan before we finally come to the strange world of Refuge. Apparently it’s not the planet itself, but a “guardian moon” of sorts that orbits around it; at least that’s what the troops in the blue and white uniforms tell us after a 3 hour check-in process.

I gaze longingly at a ship that leaves the docks, free of this seemingly never-ending bureaucracy, and do a double-take as I swear… I can’t place it, but… it seemed like I saw ghosts on the deck.

Once we’re finally free to roam, it’s easy to see why this place might be named Refuge. Ships of all kinds of different styles populate the docks… even a tentacled one that makes me shudder in cold rememberance of sleepless nights filled with maddening visions.

“What’s a squiddy ship?” asks Hodey as we walk by.

“Those belong to Mind Flayers,” Constance explains kindly. “Best to leave them be.”

“So… who is up for a drink?” offers Khal suddenly. “I’m buying!”

The Githyanki priest must be grateful to be on solid ground after that last battle… so who am I to deny his generosity?

“By Adzmodeus’ beard, I certainly am,” I reply as we make our way through the throngs of humans, lizards, insectoids, and even past a group of Waylond’s race, the Giff. “It looks like there’s one down here past ’Dassam’s Leather Emporium.’”

Waylond starts up into a bawdy bar song as we step through the doors of The Golden Helm, and I can’t help but notice the groans of the elf as he searches frantically through his pouches and mutters about wax. “I’ve got to have something I can stuff in my ears…”

“Earplugs… don’t leave home without them,” I joke as I show him the crafted pair I always carry in my pouch. As one who practices in charms, it’s always good to have that last line of defense.

The bar is bustling with activity, but unfortunately they’ve got soliciting issues so it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to make some extra pocket money tonight. Feh… they probably just want me to get an overpriced license or something first. I wander my way thorugh the crowds and take particular notice of the tall blue creature talking with a Mind Flayer in the corner. Hmm… the Arcane… they were banned from Sigil, but apparently the news hasn’t gotten to here yet.

I also can’t help but notice the sparkling flamboyent gentleman with the looker at a private table in the back. Heh… Reigar… those vendetta-loving fashion victims just love to stir up trouble for their own entertainment. I’m sure they’d get along just fine with the people in Ribcage… if their clothes didn’t get them tossed out first.

“Do you all have any Wamoosh Ale?” Waylond asks cheerfully as he slaps a hand down on the bar.

Ah yes… a drink!

“I’ll have something that tastes better when you set in on fire,” I chuckle as I take advantage of the bartender’s attention and sidle up to the Giff.

“Old Troll’s Piss it is,” mutters the bartender as he comes back with a mug filled with a pink mist, and another mug that’s crackling with flames.

“Exactly what I needed,” I moan in appreciation as I sip delicately at the flaming liquid and lick my lips as I gaze around the crowd for any telling reactions. Hmm… there’s an interesting fellow in the booth over there… I wonder why people keep coming to him?

I turn to tell Waylond where I’m going, but it looks like he’s already occupied with a jittery fellow named Shaundon muttering about the “Secrets of the Arcane.” Ah well… I’m sure I can handle myself.

“Excuse me sir, I couldn’t help but notice that you seem to be someone of importance in this place,” I say to him as I saunter up to him seductively with my ale in hand and sit down in the booth with a swish of my skirts.

“You and your friends are new here, aren’t you? Let me guess… you’re looking for a job.” he replies as he taps his rings against his glass of ale. “What can you do?”

I palm my cards and spread them out with one hand as my braids pull two candles from my pouch and place them on the table to each side of me. “I can predict your future!”

“I can predict yours too if that’s all you can do, gypsy,” he snorts in derision.

Hmmn… tough crowd. I snap the fingers of my right hand and light each candle with the flame that is now glowing brightly at the end of my index finger. “I am no ordinary gypsy.”

“We’ll see about that,” he replies as he slaps a few coins on the table and hands me his card before leaving. “My name is Halas…I’ll be in touch.”

I pocket the card and finish off the last of my drink before the fire goes out and I can actually taste it. I turn to head back to the bar to look for Waylond and can’t help but groan as I see that Hodekin has joined him as they continue to talk to Shaundon. Suddenly the jittery pirate dives for Hodey and misses as he ends up landing head first onto the floor. Waylond kindly picks up the dazed drunk by the back of his collar and sets him back up on a stool as Constance hurries over in a huff.

“No! Bad Kobold! No stealing!” she says in her best motherly tone as she pinches Hodey by the ear. I shake my head and chuckle at the sight of it… I just hope he doesn’t start biting again.

Thankfully the cries of “Next round on the house!” from a group of military elves walking in is enough for everyone to quickly forget any offense and get back to what we’re all really here for. “The tide is turning the way of righteousness in the Inhuman War, my friend,” one of the elves says cheerfully as he drops a pouch of coins onto the bar.

Inhuman? They’ve obviously never been to my neck of the woods. Still… I wonder if they could use any…

“What is that doing in here?” One of the elves says coldly as he stares at Hodekin sitting at the bar with narrow eyes. Oh Hells… here we go.

“He’s of no harm or consequence, really!” Solon stammers.

“He’s our pet!” Constance replies with a smile as she puts a firm hand on his shoulder to keep Hodekin on the stool. Oh, he’s going to just love this…

After having enough of the show, I make my way through the crowd to find Khal sitting next to a grizzled dwarf staring at the Mind Flayer and Hodekin intently. “Oh not you too,” I groan as I slide into the booth next to Khal. “He’s really not that bad… honestly.” I wave down the waitress and order another glass of the local ale. Whatever it is, I’m sure I can just set it on fire myself. “So, Khal… I was always meaning to ask you… who exactly are you running from?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” he replies after nearly choking on his drink. “Nobody is after me.”

So we’re going to play it that way, are we? “Yeah… okay…” I reply with a click of my fingernails along the table in annoyance. “Well… nobody is after me either, then. I just decided to leave home because I needed a vacation.”

I don’t know who started it first… whether it was one of the uptight elves, or the dwarf with an attitude problem… but a fight breaks out before I’m even done getting my next drink from the waitress. I hurriedly slink back into the shadows of the corner and down my drink as the dwarf flings the table over and makes a bee-line towards the Mind Flayer. Oh Hells… wait for it… Suddenly people all over the bar are grabbing their heads and screaming in pain… unfortunately Khal included as he slips to the ground unconscious. I grab my head and hiss as the feeling of a spike driven into my forehead quickly passes. What was that berk thinking, anyway? Is he trying to get us all killed?

I scan the crowd quickly and notice that the military elves are starting to regroup. Even better… soldiers drunk on alcohol and victory… we’ve got to get our asses out of here! I quickly pull a thunderstone from one of my pouches and lob it to land smack dab in the middle of the table of elves.

BOOM!

The sonic blast from the stone stuns most of the elves, and manages to send one of them flying into the back of a Giff who was still playing cards at another table. Bar fights are apparently nothing new… but you still don’t interrupt a man’s card game. The Giff slams his hand down on the table and with a bellow strikes the elf before grabbing an unsuspecting human by the collar and hurling him across the bar towards our table.

I take a quick step to the side as the body hits the wall behind me and slides to the ground. I can just see Hodey through the crowd scampering over tables before his foot gets caught up in something and he tumbles into the bright flames of the fireplace. Crud… guess I better go help him. I roll my eyes at the Kobold and work my way towards the fireplace as Waylond swings his axe in a great arc above his head and charges towards the irritated Mind Flayer. It would’ve been quite the impressive sight… if he hadn’t slipped in some ale half-way there. Instead it was funny AND impressive as the large Giff slides across the floor with arms waving and crashes into the Mind Flayer, sending the both of them over the bar with a sickening “squish” and loud “thump.”

By the time I make it through the throngs to the fireplace, a bottle-bruised Constance has already gotten there to take care of Hodekin. At least… I assume that’s what she did, since he’s no longer in the fireplace. “Where is he?” I ask curiously.

“He’ll be fine… just give him a few minutes,” she mutters as she rubs a bump that’s forming on her head from a stray bottle.

“We need to get out of here!” says Solon as he appears out of the crowd to crouch by the fireplace with rapier drawn.

I bite my lower lip as I look at the worried elf. I didn’t want to do this in front of him… but things are getting out of hand quick. “Time to go,” I reply as my braids sneak out to wrap around Constance’s wrist and the ankle of the unconscious Khal in the corner.

And with a thought, all turns to darkness around us as I make my way towards the exit with the others in tow.

Gods… I wonder what Solon’s going to think of me now?

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Heinzelmann's Journal - Entry Four

Entry Four

We found a strange platform that, after i figured out how it worked, hopped from plane to plane! Very impressive device filled with crystals and such that floated high above the ground. I made a new gadget from one of the elf’s spells; a Calamus Abatement Injector, to prevent rapid falling. no-one wanted to jump, though. Everyone wanted to keep the crystals, so i invented an Endless Enumerator to record where each went if we return to the Transportalation device. We got picked up by skinny bubber dwarves in a Jammer, looks like they havent seen a pick for years, poor sods. I helped Wheyland to teach them to laugh and sing in a strange melodic gargling chaos. It was hilarious. I made Wheyland a music toy box to remember the occasion. I had to deftly borrow the selfish elf’s spellbook to get the enchantments I needed. Greedy sodden berk basher probably stole the thing in the fist place! we found a wierd book encased in mithral and crystal. With Waylond’s help so i did not float away (it was a scary experience) I was able to free the book with basic mining techniques, but Katya grabbed it while Waylond and I navigated back to the Jammer ….. I miss work. I am out of materials to work on anything. I hope i am not terminated. And that Constant girl is creepy, i think the dark follows her. Contantly Creepy, haha! I need to go tell Katya the new nickname!
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Heinzelman's Journal - Part 3
FEAR THE GOLD, BERK!

Met a githyanki getting bobbed by some githzeri bashers. I was ready to get to the bar, but Katya jumped into the fray before i could get my Apparatus of Invidious Aegis out. While i was protecting myself from these bashers, Katya went and got herself captured. I screamed my battlecry for all to hear “FEAR THE GOLD, BERK!” and shot my Impetus Projector of Veracity, freeing both Katya and the gith sod at the same time. I quickly cranked my Miasma Effluvium, as one basher summoned a Demon, covering our backs as we tried to give em the laugh. If it was not for that waddling gith, we would have.

Instead, we started hoppin’, and end up in the Astral,by the Three, at the same time two Jammers burst through the planner barriers just a few hundred feet from us! I point us to a nearby cluster as one of the Jammers breaks up and the gith sod claims more basher githzeri pirates are on the other one. We decide to make a hasty retreat before we see the dark of it, and get to the cluster, when three survivors of the destoyed Jammer catch up to us. Their begging pleas to save them hit the Gold in me, and I, of course, agreed. After a quick use of my Miasma Effluvium to cover our escape, we went hoppin again. One stop was the plane of air, and this clueless elf starts falling like a bobbed bubber! His friend Waylond is a huge basher with a maw big enough to sit in, and the other fleshy they travel with is named Constant, probably because she contantly tells people what to do.

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Heinzelman's Journal - Part 2

“Even tall ones are shorter than I am, when they’re flat on their backs in a hole filled with spikes.”
— Uncle Irthos, master trapmaker

Remember, Dont get mad, get even.

Dont forget the poison! Fresh poison means fresh kills! at least that is what uncle Irthos said until he accidently poisoned himself one day. i say forget the poison. too dangerous.

oh, and elves are stupid sods. They stole Dragon Magic and claim it as their creation. No matter the color of their skin, they kill or enslave us because they fear the Dragon inside of us! They are thieving basher bullies. We are the Dragons decendants. Search for the Dragon every day!

“The dragon scale toughens our skin. The dragon bone adorns our skull. The dragon heart flames our sorcery. We are the dragon, and for the dragon we live. Long live the dragon.”

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Heinzelman's Journal - Part 1

Katya tells me that writing down my thoughts for my children will help them not be berks, or hit the blinds. Katya loves hearing all of my stories of dragons and the Gold and my family and all, which is why she gave me this book to right it in, so she can “Read them again and again”, as she says.

The first item I would like to talk about is Snack, Katya’s familiar. It smells delicious, and if it tastes anything like the… Cheekan i think its called, then it is delicious. And its eggs! A delicasy! I had a uncle that ate a cat in the hive, and although it was tasty, as cats are of course, it turned out to be some addle coved mages familiar! This mage proceeded to turn my uncle into a cat and fed him to another uncle as warning to some of my other uncles to not eat a mages familiar. Katyas familiar taunts me constantly, but i will not eat it, becase i am a Gold and can overcome my desires! And it really, really pisses mages off.

I wonder if Snack lays eggs?

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Katya's Journal Part 6 - We've Got a Bleeder!
Elder gods, shmelder gods...

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“Oh Hodekin…” I call out to the Kobold inventor once I’m back on deck. Eventually I manage to find him with Waylond, just in time to find out that he’s given the Giff a machine to reproduce the singing of Gully Dwarves. I groan and shake my head in disbelief as the Giff turns a crank on the box and the tinny sounds of what can only loosely be called “singing” comes out of it. Still… if it makes the Giff happy… it’s much better than the alternative, I imagine.

“Hodey! I do believe I’ve found something worthy of your skills,” I tell him as I lean down suggestively and put an arm around his shoulders. “We found this ancient magical device, you see…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You want to let the Kobold do what?”

“By the 9 Hells, Solon… he’s just going to check it out!” I reply.

“But… look what you already did investigating that thing!”

“And the ship and everyone on it is fine,” I groan in frustration. “Look at it this way… if we can remove what’s in there, then nobody else will ever get hurt by this thing floating through space willy-nilly. Right?”

“… you have a point.”

“Last time I checked, I had more than one,” I joke as Waylond finishes tieing the rope around Hodekins waist.

“Off you go!” Waylond cheers as he lobs the small Kobold towards the gem and follows him with his own rope.

It’s hard to tell what he did to the gem from our position on the deck… but when a sound of shattering is followed by a frenzied Kobold scrambling to catch a cloud of floating shards around him, it’s pretty easy to guess.

“Make sure you get the book!” I whisper fervently to the Giff.

Eventually they both make it back on deck with Hodekin grinning wildly over the sack full of crystal shards he now has.

“Looks like that casing is made out of mithral! Now that we’ve broken the thing, I say we tow it in and scrap it for what it’s worth!” says Waylond as he reaches into his pants and pulls out a leather-bound book and hands it to Solon. “Here’s what was in it, though.”

“Oh sure, you’re upset about the gem, but you’ve got no problems with an unknown spellbook,” I say to Solon with a roll of my eyes as he runs his hands over the cover of the book. “Just be careful… because you know what these things usually have on them, right?”

“Evil curses?” he replies without looking up from the book.

Fire traps,” I answer with a solid tap of my black nail on the cover.

Solon audibly gulps before taking a more discerning look at the book. He peers at the edgings and markings for any signs of traps before handing it over to me. “Seems okay… perhaps they didn’t think they’d need anything extra since it already encased in a gem and floating out in space.”

“Or perhaps they thought no one in their right minds would want it,” I chuckle as I eagerly flip open the cover to read the first page. “I guess they never visited Ribcage.” I tuck the book under my arm and head back below decks to find a quiet place to read without interruptions from curious gully dwarves. _ Preklikin’s Book of Cults… if Solon knew this was a dark tome, who knows what kind of fit he’d have this time.

A month passes in the flow, much of it with my nose in that book. I’ve never seen such intricate rituals and spells… and it takes much study before I can even begin to wrap my mind around it. I just know that there is magic in here rife for the taking… if only I can decipher it with the proper key. I will keep trying…

…if the dreams don’t get to me first.

I find myself wandering the hold during one of those sleepless nights towards the mithral remnants of the gem container, perhaps in the vain hope that a new clue can be found to help me with my endeavors. It seems that others have beaten me to it, however, as I find Constance discussing its origins with Waylond.

“This is a Founder’s relic, I just know it!” whispers Constance fervently as she points to a symbol etched on the inside of the chamber. “See this? It’s a symbol of the Juna, the very first starfaring race!” Waylond gazes at her curiously during her diatribe as wisps of her hair begin to blow about as if tossed by a non-existent wind.

“The Juna? Would your Seekers Guild know more about them?” I ask as I join them in the conversation.

“Undoubtedly.”

“Is it worth more money now?” asks Waylond eagerly.

“Assuredly… to the right person, anyway.” Constance replies.

“All right then, what are we waiting for!” chuckles Waylond with a grin.

Hmmn… the Seekers… I may have to have a talk with them myself.

~~~~~~~~~

Eventually I’m able to rip myself away from the book to learn some of what it means to be a magic using pilot of one of these ships. I hate the feeling of losing a part of myself like that… but oh, the experience it gives you in return!

I’m watching and taking note of Constance flying the ship when she brings us to what they call a “sphere,” which is what encases each set of worlds and keeps them safe in the flow. Apparently we need to restock our supply of air for the ship.

A portal opens up into the side of the sphere (Constance’s doing, I imagine) and we fly into it to find the inside covered in huge glowing white flowers and black vines. Hmmph… I’m guessing Elves from the looks of the horticulture.

Waylond eagerly whips out his musical box and cranks it to emit a well-meaning but painful welcome as three Elven Warbirds (akin to the one I saw on the Astral Plane) appear to greet us. They are definitely a majestic sight with their vast wing expanse made from what look like delicate leaves. The thought hits me quickly that I should sketch one since I’m not running for my life this time, and I promptly sit down in the bridge and whip out a parchment and charcoal from my pouches so that I can begin sketching. For that matter… while I’m thinking of it… I should get a few more sketches in. Perhaps one of the elves… and ah yes, the mithral-crystal device.

“Looks like the elves want to send a boarding party,” Waylond announces. “Just to be safe, I’m going to go herd the Dwarves below decks.”

I take my cue from the Giff, and decide to play it safe in the shadows as Khal suddenly comes down with a case of the runs and abssconds to the toilet. My appearance isn’t exactly the most comforting to strangers… so there’s no reason for me to excite them needlessly. Constance and Solon seem eager to talk to them anyway…

I can only pick out bits and pieces of the conversation between Constance, Solon, and the representative from the Elves who comes aboard in his silver plate mail with leafy wings, as I’m too busy sketching the wonderous site to pay attention. From what I could make out, however, it looks like we got the air and additional supplies we needed, and Hodey is going to live another day thanks to Waylond’s quick thinking humor.

~

A few days later Solon is taking a turn flying the ship. I’m talking to Waylond about his boots and trying to get a sketch drawn for him when a strange mist begins to form on deck.

“Bleeders!” Waylond belows in warning as a wave of blood crashes over the rail and onto the ship. “We’re going to need magic for this one!”

I quickly mutter an incantation for magical armor and supplement it with a spell of shielding from the wand in my belt as the others move to quickly join us on deck with their weapons in hand. Magical attacks… An incantation comes to mind and with a few muttered words the end of one of my braids begins to glow coldly and snaps out to hit the Bleeder with a decisive strike. The spot where it hit soon begins to turn white and spread as frost quickly forms over the creature and turns its once liquid state into that of a large ice cube that cracks into bits all over the deck.

Waylond moves to sweep the pieces off the deck and back into space when suddenly the ship heaves, throwing Constance, Hodey, and the remants of the Bleeder off of the ship. Fortunately I manage to grab the rail I was near and hold on for dear life as my braids lash out to grab Constance by the ankle and Hodey by the… gods… I don’t even want to know why my hair is wet now.

“Where’s Khal?” I call out as the ship finally rights itself. Before anyone can answer, however, I hear the tell-tale sounds of someone getting sick over the side of the rail.

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Episode 3 - Barfight at The Golden Helm
  • After landing the group make their way to The Golden Helm where Weylond starts off with Wavoosh and Old Troll’s Piss.
  • Katya does some dealing with Halass
  • Kal bonds with Beldnorn the dwarf over their hatred of the illithid in the corner. (Ishatrandra, Illithid diplomat to Bral)
  • Brawl breaks out – Illithid mind blast, Kal is OUT! Weylond grapples the illithid
  • Hodeygets trapped in the fireplace underneath a human thrown by one of the Giff patrons, Constance removes him from time and he reappears outside the fireplace. Katya triggers her darkness and uses her hair to drag the unconscious Kal out of the bar.
  • Solon and Weylond hide in the tap room putting as much of a dent in the beer supply as possible, while the others bluff their way past the guard. They are found, absolutely smashed, shortly thereafter and are released once they agree to pay the tab.
  • Everyone meets up again in front of the Bazaar of the Bizarre just down the block. Helm-ho appears in their midst, but the armor falls apart when Solon puts his hand into the visor.
  • Hodey collects the armor to sell. Gets furious when shopkeeper tells him it will disappear in a few hours and Helm Ho will recorporate somewhere else.
  • Street urchin lets them know Harliss wants to see them.
  • As they head back to The Golden Helm to meet Harliss they see the city guard leading the gully dwarves away in irons. Immediate discussion ensues about whether to take the ship immediately or to see what Harliss has for them.
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Katya's Journal Part 5 - The Plan Unfolds
So you say you need a Captain, eh?

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“You Gully Dwarves don’t like the evil spirits, do you?” I ask the scared dwarf as I lean over the edge of the crate to look down at him with my best toothy grin.

“No… no… we don’t want no evil spirits bothering us! Evil spirits made the first crew go away, so we want them to play nice.”

“You see that one there?” I point to the unsuspecting Constance as she talks with Waylond. “My cards told me that the spirits like her and want her to be happy. You want the spirits to be happy, right?” The dwarf nods vigorously and I have to do my best not to laugh. “Then to make the spirits happy, we need to make her happy… and what makes her happy is flying the ship.”

“Sounds good to me!” exclaims the dwarf before running towards the bridge. “I’ll go tell the captain right away!”

I look around for Hodey so I can share my success story, but wince as I see that Waylond is now trying to get the dwarves to sing in a chorus. Dear gods… I think that’s my cue. We’re probably going to be flying for a bit… so I slide off my crate and sidle up to Solon at the window once he’s finished talking to Constance.

I look out the window at a strange sight of rubies big enough to choke a deity embeded in walls that go on as far as the eye can see, and have to shake myself to remember what I was going to ask the elf. “So… I was going to find a quiet place on deck to brew some potions, and was wondering if you’re interested in the investment? I’m willing to make some for cost while we’re on this journey.”

“Oh most definitely,” Solon replies as he fishes in a pocket for the necessary gold. “a potion of healing might come in quite handy.”

“Excellent!” I reply as I pocket all but one of the gold pieces in my pouch and head off to find a quiet room to do my work. Odd press markings… but it feels real enough. On my way through the corridors I pass one of the dwarves waving his arms about and issuing warnings to the crew about the use of fire. Apparently the pink mist between “spheres” that I’ve been seeing through the windows is highly flammable. Hmmn… good to know!

~~~~~~~~~~~

A week and a half passes in flight as I spend my time filling potion orders, doing the occasional reading, and learning about these Helms that they use to pilot the ships. I’m not sure I like what it does to ones magical ability… but at least it’s only temporary. Still… to be one mind with such a vessel… I imagine it must be experienced to be believed.

Evenually the sleep I found in a dark corner behind some crates is disturbed by a ruffling of feathers and cawing from my raven familiar.

“Stopped!” squawks Omen from the rafters as the voices of worried gully dwarves start to echo down the hall.

Investigating the disturbance sounds much more interesting than discovering the results of Waylond’s choral lessons last night, so I eventually make my way up to the bridge to find that the others have already gathered. “What’s going on?”

“It seems the ship was pulled out of the flow by a strange object in our way,” replies Constance as she points out the window to a large gem surrounded in a metal casing floating in space and emitting a pulsing light. “It shouldn’t have been able to do that by it’s size… so there must be something magical about it.”

Ooo… magical? “Has anyone gone out to investigate it first hand, yet?” I ask, doing my best to hide my eagerness.

“Come with me, little one, and we’ll see what we can find,” replies Waylond as he easily shoulders a pile of rope and strides out on deck. By the time my shorter legs have caught up to him, he’s already tied the rope onto the rail and is working on tightening it around his waist.

“Are you sure about this?” I ask warily.

“Space walks are nothing new,” Waylond scoffs as he puts his legs over the railing and pushes off towards the large gem. At least… that’s what he tried to do. Unfortunately there was a kink in the rope that got caught in the rail as it spooled out, and the jolt of it promptly sent Waylond spinning head over heels towards the gem in the most ungraceful way imaginable.

Eventually he smacks into the gem with an “Ooof!” and after I’m done snickering I cast out a Message spell in the hopes that he can communicate his discoveries to me. “Can you hear me, Waylond? This is Katya,” I whisper.

“Owww! First time the voices in my head had a name,” Waylond groans. “Is that you, cutie pie?”

“Indeed,” I chuckle as Solon makes his way out on deck to join us. “Just let me know what you see.”

Solon waves out a hand beside me as his eyes glow for a moment. “Hmmn… it’s definitely magical, but other than that I can’t identify it.”

“I come from some different magical circles as yourself… let me see what I can discover.” I mutter the words to the incantation of detection and concentrate on the magical auras radiating from the gem. “Hmmn… transmutaion and abjuration magics… powerful stuff, yet faded.”

“I think I see a book in here!” Waylond suddenly announces in my ear.

“I’d like to check it out for myself, Waylond… do you suppose I could try my hand out there?”

“Are you sure that’s wise?” Solon asks worriedly as Waylond makes his way back aboard and precedes to untie the rope around his waist. “One shouldn’t play with unfamiliar magics.”

“Magic! Magic” squawks Omen as he lands on the railing to watch the gem intently.

“How else are we supposed to learn anything new?” I ask Solon with a roll of my eyes as I retie the rope around my waist. “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

I crouch on the railing and push off towards the gem before I can hear his reply. Come to Katya, my precious thing, and reveal to me your secrets! Eventually I make my way to the gem and peer closely to see the book that Waylond mentioned floating inside. I don’t know what it is about it… but something in my gut is telling me that I have to have it. I’ll bet it’s old and powerful magics… who knows what I could do with the secrets inside?

I wonder if I can open it….

FWOOSH!

A pulse of violet light radiates with a low booming note that I can feel in my bones as my braids reflexively wrap around the gem to keep me from flying off into space. Once I’ve regained my senses I look over my shoulder to find that the ship is still rocking slightly, but it doesn’t look like any major harm was done.

“Ooo, aren’t you a crafty thing,” I mutter to myself as I run my hand lovingly along the surface of the gem. “It’s a good thing the charge in you is so old, or else that spell would’ve created a lot more than a wall of fire. I hate to leave you… but I just don’t think I have the tinkering skills to get you out yet.” I pat the gem with a smile and push off back to the deck.

Good thing I know someone who does…

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Solon's Journal, Part 4

Not being a sea-farer, I had not any idea how quickly one can become so accustomed to some things when confined to a small ship, as well as so despise others as to want to run oneself through with an antique rapier! I am thoroughly convinced that Giff are simply not capable of hearing the full range of sounds (I should say: noises!) that the rest of us hear. All right, so I have met only one Giff, but Waylond is setting for me such a terrible first impression of the “musical” abilities of his race!

First, there was that odd warbling he did, disrupting every thought while we were trying to figure out a way off the “elevator”. Then, for the Light knows how long, Waylond relentlessly attempted to coax some sort of self-important chorus out of the likes of the stupid, drunken dwarves! There was not a corner of the ship that bore solace from the cacophony of groans we were subject to every … night? (I suppose it is always night out here…) What I would’ve given for a Silence spell!

I was so overjoyed when Waylond finally acknowledged success that I actually threw coins in thanks for quiet relief. Until, that is, that bizarre, little gecko, Hodey, tinkered up another magic device that somehow reproduces the noise made by the bellowing dwarves, and gifted it to Waylond! Thank the Light, though, for his restraint – he only uses it sparingly, and seems satisfied enough that he has not undertaken to teach the dwarves any more … “songs.”

As I have learned on Pharagos, I will do well to keep such thoughts close. Despite my sensitive ears, I truly like Waylond. He has also already proven himself to be a courageous fighter, ready to defend me from the blood beasts that attacked us while I was piloting the ship.

Unbelievable, is it not? A few short months into my journey, and already Constance has taught me how to pilot a starship! It is quite draining, but more exhilarating than anything I have felt before. To cause such a huge vessel to move under my command! Still, I have much to learn. I nearly killed Constance and Hodey when I tried to fling the blood beasts off the ship! Fortunately, Katya was able to catch them both with her strange medusa-like hair, and return them safely to the deck. (I am sure she is Dark-touched now!)

We have also made our way back to “known space”, and have found the Elven Imperial Navy. Which was not hard at all, actually, considering they surrounded and boarded our ship shortly after we entered the “Darnannon Sphere.” An Elf by the name of Silmar allowed me to fulfill one part of my vow, as I presented Father’s sword, pistol and war medals and told his tale of courage and survival despite the sabotage of “Erevan’s Riddle.” He then had me sign papers that I am to present to EIN patrols as we enter each new sphere.

This “Contract of Napthas” seems a double-edged sword. On one hand, I am forced to comply with the conditions set upon me, or else be magically wounded. (I must say, I resent the implication that my word is insufficient. I as well begin to feel some of the same disdaining gaze from the Elven officers as I experienced on my homeworld.) On the other hand, it may grant us less hindered passage than we might otherwise be allowed were it not for my ancestry.

We are heading for Refuge, a world that Constance and Waylond seem familiar with. After many months of close-quartered travel, I am looking forward to solid ground beneath my feet. I should think Khal would agree, if he could only lift his head from his chamber pot long enough!

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Katya's Journal Part 4 - Opportunities

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A blinding flash fills the sky and I hiss as my braids reach up to block the light as I blink to get my sight back. My breath catches as I look up to see that above me is now filled with wonderous pricks of light that dot the night sky like jewels. Is this the Prime Material? I had heard stories… My reverie is soon interrupted by screams and cries for help, however, as the girl Constance and Khal lost their grip on the island and fell over the edge.

“Do you think we can get my rope to them?” asks Wayland.

“Let’s see what we can do,” I reply as I pull my crossbow from my belt and attach the rope to one of my bolts. “Should I hope I get it near him?” I mutter to myself as I take aim with the crossbow. “Nah… can’t risk it.”

The shot rings out with a twang and launches towards the hapless duo as the rope unfurls through Wayland’s hands. I cup my ear and listen intently for the tell-tale scream from the Githyanki as my bolt pierces his leg. “Got him! I think you can start pulling them up now, Wayland.”

“A bit extreme, don’t you think?” asks Solon as Hodey looks over the edge and grins.

“We only had one shot, didn’t we? Besides, I always thought clerics knew how to heal themselves,” I reply with a shrug as Wayland pulls the irritated Khal and grateful Constance back onto the island.

Hodey manipulates the controls on the device a few more times, until his choice of the Plane of Fire leaves much to be desired.

I swat at the devious Kobold with my braid. “Just because you and I are resistant doesn’t mean we need to singe the rest,” I mutter as the Kobold laughs and quickly shift us to Bitopia, the afterlife of the Gnomes. It was the first peaceful and utterly boring plane I could think of from my discussions with Omen.

“Oh thank the Light,” groans Solon as he sits down tiredly. “Do you think we could make camp for a bit before we do that again?”

Hodey promptly sits down and starts pulling devices and tools from his backpack as the others pull out bedrolls and make camp for the next few hours. I entertain myself by investigating more of the runes on the main platform, and discover that it’s some very old magic… done by dragons, perhaps? My palms begin to itch at the thought of such magic and technology combined together… and what I could do with such devices if I ever returned to Ribcage.

I walk back to the camp and grin as I replay the image of teleporting my enemies into the Plane of Ooze in my mind, only to walk in on a conversation.

“So where do we go now?” Constance asks. “I’m looking for my people, Solon is looking for his family, Wayland here is-”

“Looking for a good time!”

“-yes. So where do we go from here, do you think?”

“There’s always Sigil,” I suggest. “If we can find a plane with the proper entrance, we can get to anywhere from there.”

“Maybe I can get back to my troop!” exclaims Hodey as he flops onto his bedroll with a new odd device in hand.

“Assuming the odds are against us and we can’t find this place?” asks Constance.

“Well… there’s always the Prime Material, considering where you and the elf look like you’re from,” I reply. “You know… that place with the pretty sky and dangerous edges,” I chuckle.

“And how are we supposed to get down from there safely?” she asks.

“I made something just for that!” Hodey speaks up cheerfully. “It’s my Calamus Abatement Injector and it will help you land safely!”

“That’s all right, pipsqueak,” answers Wayland, who I’ve since found out is called a Giff. “I’ll take my chances with waiving down a ship.”

“A ship?” I ask. “I don’t know if we’re going to be anywhere near a sea.”

Wayland and Constance chuckle to themselves. “No… a ship that flies through the sky… like the one we had on the Astral Plane,” she replies.

“Oh… you mean the one that crashed?” I ask wryly. “Allright then, when we’re done with camp we’ll go back to the Prime and see what we can find.”

Once we make it back to that beautiful sky, Constance fills me in on the existence of ships that fly through the air currents like waves in the ocean called… what was it… Jammers, I believe. I can’t help but be envious of that kind of freedom, and quickly find myself wanting to be off this rock and up there instead. I mutter a quick incantation and with a flick of my thumb and forefinger a flare is sent up into the air in the hopes of attracting a passing ship.

Minutes pass like hours, until finally Solon points out into the distance at a moving speck of light. “There, I see a ship heading this way!”

I can hear Khal muttering at the news behind me. He’s probably worried about more of those Gith Pirates, or the monks, or… whoever else is chasing him that he hasn’t told us about. I figure whoever it is they’ve got to be better than here… because really, what’s the point of seeing the Universe if you can only do it from one spot?

“Are you guys sure we should leave this platform for just anybody to use?” Constance asks worriedly.

“You could always take the keys with you,” I shrug.

“Yes! Let’s take some of the stones for safe-keeping and give them to…” she looks around at the group of motley magic users doubtfully and finally sets her sights on the large Giff, “…Waylond! He can carry them!”

“No problem at all,” answers Waylond with a tip of his cowboy hat as Hodekin runs off to grab the stones from the control panels.

In the meantime, the ship has drawn close enough to begin pulling alongside the platform to reveal to everyone’s amusement (though I’m not sure about Solon.. you know… Elves and all…) that the deck is full of Gully Dwarves.

“Morons!” squawks Omen as he lands on my shoulder. Okay… maybe amusement was too strong a word.

“Hey, people!” yells one of the dwarves as a group of them stumbles over each other to lower the gang plank.

Constance sighs and then puts on a smile as she walks up to them to barter for transportation. I can’t quite make out what she said, but I assume it had something to do with alcohol when the dwarf shouts in glee, “They’ve got booze!”

I chuckle to myself at the sick humor of the gods and reach up to snap Omen’s beak shut with my fingers before he retorts again. “Enough from the peanut gallery,” I whisper. “Be nice for now.”

~~~~~~~~

It doesn’t take long before we’re all onboard and Waylond has the dwarven crew singing bawdy tunes in a drunken warble. I find a seat on a crate and do my best to tune it out by occupying myself with my cards. The Wheel of Fortune has held true so far… I wonder what else could be in store?

“By the Light, this is all so unbelievable!” exclaims Solon as he peers out one of the windows into the depths of space. “I knew my quest to find my home might lead to this someday, but I never imagined…”

Constance smiles at Solon’s words as she joins the group. “Now that we’re back in space again, what would you like to do Waylond?”

The large Giff leans back on a pile of passed out Gully Dwarves and stretches out his long legs and large feet. “It’s been a dream of mine for a while to find the perfect pair of boots.”

Constance grins and turns to Hodekin to ask him next, but quickly blushes when he replies with crude humping gestures. I hide my chuckle with a cough and pretend to shuffle my cards.

“Okay… we all know what Hodekin is looking for then,” continues Constance before turning to me. “Katya… what about you?”

“Oh, I got what I wanted out of this already,” I answer wryly. “I left home in one piece and managed to get as far away as possible. What do you plan to do?”

“I’m almost afraid to say just in case of the ghosts,” she replies nervously.

“Do tell, oh haunted one.”

“Well… I’ve been plagued by the spirits always doing things around me. Nothing outright evil or anything… just annoying. I have to wonder if it might have something to do with my heritage, so I’ve been wanting to find my family to ask them. And… that’s where you come in.”

“Me? I’m just a poor old fortune teller.”

“But you do read the cards, right? I was hoping maybe you could read them for me… maybe provide a little guidance, you know? Or maybe you could tell us more about the different planes. You said you talk to spirits about them, right?”

“Yeeessss…” I draw out, “but I can only talk to them through Omen, there.” I gesture to the crow perched on a pile of crates who ruffles his feathers proudly.

“Looks like a snack to me!” cackles Hodekin. I’m about to let him know just what he can do with that idea when Omen swoops into the air with a loud “CAW!” and dive bombs towards the offending Kobold… leaving a white streak of leftovers from his breakfast down the back of his head.

Waylond’s eyes get big for a moment before he lets out a loud bellowing laugh. “Now you look like a Kobold!”

“Leave Hodey alone,” I chuckle as Omen swoops back up to his perch on the pile of crates. “Besides… he knows that if he ever ate you, I’d string him up with my braids and get you back myself.” I look over to the kobold who has managed to clean himself off with one of his devices and give him my best evil stare.

“So anyway… yes… a reading. I will do my best, Constance… but I can’t guarantee anything clear cut, you understand.” I hand her the cards to shuffle, and after a few moments begin to lay out the cards on the crate in a cross formation. Just as I thought… so unclear. There’s just too much going on right now… but the poor girl needs to hear something.

“Have you ever thought about trying to talk to the spirits?” I suggest. “Perhaps they’re just trying to get your attention, and would like to help you if you gave them what they desired. When I’ve dealt with spirits and summonings in the past, that usually ends up being the case.” Constance looks at me with a hopeful, yet doubtful expression. “I mean, they haven’t actually caused you any physical or mental pain, right? Maybe they are like children, and just want to be recognized.”

“Well… okay… I never really thought about it that way,” Constance replies before walking away. “Thank you for reading, Katya.”

“Ooo…. evil spirits!” mutters one of the Gully Dwarves worriedly… and a plan begins to hatch that might just get me that ship sooner than expected.

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