Mere seconds after Aven and Zinn went into the portal, Zinn reemerges cradling Aven in her arms. She stumbles back out, and catches her footing. Aven is rigid, locked in place. “Bad, bad, bad, decision!” Zinn describes a world of space, ships, metal creatures. She had entered a big shadowed tunnel, emerging into a silver sky with floating ships and weird metal creatures with the will to control gravity. When she first entered, she saw Aven floating and sped up to grab him. Upon touching him, the ships saw her and a metal spidery claw from above went for her; she barely made it out. Aven is still catatonic.
Bork notices the portal start to shimmer, when suddenly insect-like appendages moves in from around the portal. Bork yells, “WATCH OUT!” Sentinel notices the claw is phasing in and out of reality with a dim green aura filling in the missing material. The portal gets choppy, as a large figure bursts through, head snapping to spot the entire party. The hammer-headed metallic being crackles with electricity and makes a sudden hand movement. Suddenly gravity reverses, as Fraas use his airy step and quickly casts feather fall for Zinn, Laush & Sentinel, though Shah, Gfed and Rand crash into the ceiling.
Insectoid appendages extend unnaturally toward each of the adventurers. One goes into Rand’s mouth; he turns green and vanishes from sight. Fraas and Zinn dodge. Gfed and Shah get their gravity reversed again. Laush slows down upon touching one of the insect arms, but casts airwalk to overcome the effect. Zinn enlarges. Sentinel leaps toward the metal man. Rand reappears at the other end of the room and falls to the ground again. “QAS AM UNAAT!” Rand flames the metal beast. More metal men come running from the tunnel, running toward Sentinel. Bork throws a bandolier of grenades at the metal pirates. As Fraas’ cone of cold dissipates, he recognizes the smaller metal pirates as golem-like and resistant to magical effects. Some of the metal wounds repair themselves. The big one moves toward Bork. The gravity field adjusts again. Shah goes invisible. The spider limbs retract through the portal after the big guy nods. Zinn charges but misses.
With Bork’s bombs about to explode, Sentinel heroically rushes through the enemy horde to grab Zinn and rush away. The metal constructs slice at Zinn and bludgeon Sentinel. Sentinel is blinded by an electric attack from the bigger metal pirate. Rand charges toward the pirates, as his griffon attacks with a flame blast triggering the grenades to explode, obliterating four of the metal pirates. Gfed uses weird words to fell the big one. Zinn and Sentinel strike at one of the remaining; Rand’s griffin attacks the other.
One of the golems unleashes an electric shock, sending the other into a berzerker fit. The electric shock turns Bork into ashes and the berzerker rips Sentinel apart.
Fraas creates a pit, but the golem leaps to safety. Zinn hurls a snowball at the farther one. Rand dimension doors again and falls. One of the golems charges at him, but Rand blocks the strike and instead cleaves it in twain. Fraas tries to dispel rand’s dimension door, but fails. Finally, Zinn’s snowball obliterates the remaining golem.
Rand verifies that Bork is indeed and sadly, dead. Sentinel’s light is still seen through the spyglass but his body is no longer whole or animated.
Aven is still catatonic, so Rand attempts to remove his paralysis. He awakens, “I went into the portal, and it felt like something grabbed my like before.” Examining the metal pirate corpses, “It looks kind of like the creatures from the plane I was at, but clearly not the same designer”. He mentions feeling a sudden blackness. Gfed says, “this portal is obviously more powerful planar magic than we know.” Aven picks the most useful parts of the mechanoids to take. Rand calms the dragon, and tells the frantic creature what just happened. Confused, the dragon indicates that portals cannot change destination and that the other side is different than our prime material plane.
Readying to leave, Rand carries Bork’s body and Sentinel’s head and Zinn carries Sentinel’s body.
Up the stairs and across the water, for the rest of the day and another, they make way to Griffton. Archibald notices a somber adventuring group. Fraas goes straight to the bar and drinks, silently, solemnly. Rand and the rest take the bodies of the fallen to Quinnla’s. Quinnla looks through a book of funeral rites, unsure of what to do about Sentinel. Rand asks Quinnla to keep their bodies in good condition in case the party can find a way to resurrect them. Laush goes to chat with Rose. Everyone else reconvenes at the bar. They disperse excess gear among themselves and discuss plans to head back to Belheim the next day. Zinn and Fraas spend the evening quietly drinking. Rand goes home for the night.
Early the next morning, Beck can be seen patrolling with little Timmy, and some of the rescued guardsmen.
Persevering with a significantly weaker force, the party heads to Belheim. It is much brighter than before, as Lord Garland’s perpetual nighttime spell is fading. They camp outside town for the night, which passes uneventfully. In the morning, they move toward the center of town, tracking, and moving unseen to the edge of the tower’s lake. Fraas sends his arcane eye into the tower, but everything is as they left it.
Moving west out of Belheim, traveling under cover of forest, they reach the edge of forest and spot the guard tower. Atop the tower, Fraas spots a fur-robed orc sitting in a chair. Fraas cloud shapes and approaches. The orc is more still than a person could possibly be, but nothing else seems out of the ordinary. Gfed sends his hawk to try to disturb the figure. The bird takes a circuitous route, lands on the tower, and pecks at orc’s foot. After flying back the hawk reports: “Smelly orc. Nasty. Dead. Moved. Taste bad.” Asked if there was anything else he smelled, the raptor squawks, “Tasty mole. Will eat later.”
The group decides to skirt the tower along the edge of the woods. They travel for the rest of the day into nightfall. The trek has been unnaturally quiet. In the plains approaching the hills, they move into Fraas’ magical room. The night passes uneventfully.
They travel for a few more days. It’s incredibly quiet. They pass a few small encampments, recently abandoned and continue through the foothills toward the mountain. After 3 days travel, they are about halfway there.
After 6 days from Belheim, they see a place where the hills open into a valley and from a few miles away, they can see an enormous frozen waterfall, 1000 ft tall. There is some kind of structure built into the face of the waterfall: a ledge, with buildings inside. Fraas notices about halfway up the waterfall, there is a fortification, holes cut into the falls, arrow slots. Everyone can see a finely carved staircase winding up on the north side of the city. The steps appear bigger than needed for humans. 500 ft up on the side of the falls is an opening. Lights can be seen dotting the valley in the shadow of the waterfall. Among the fires there are at least a dozen frost giants, small ogres, about 50 white-furred animals and some very large mammoths.