The next morning in the temple, Quinnla tells Rand that she had a vision that Bork wished to stay at rest. Saddened, he asks Quinnla to make burial preparations for Bork.
Zinn examines Laush’s picture book, but when opening the book blue flames erupt out. Shah, Zinn, and Fraas, spend the day at the tavern with ladies, booze, booze, respectively. Deagha wanders around town, eventually reaching the tavern.
Rand and Korrak walk around chatting about this mote on way to Beck, talking of the magical twisting on the mote and how even though he was seated in front of devils, that she can trust Sentinel. When they meet up with the Beck, Rand tells him about Bork and asks him to assemble the town the next day for a memorial service. Korrak heads back to tavern, and Rand to his parents’ to tell his mother about Balin being alive and captured and to let her know about Bork.
When Korrak enters the bar, Archibald, in an unusual manner, offers her free drinks. Fraas can’t sense anything abnormal, and puts it off as some kind of courtship ritual. Zinn, notices too, and asks a fellow townsman, but they don’t recall free drinks ever before. Sentinel arrives in the bar. Korrak approaches him and confronts him about the hell dimension, but he is still confused about the experience. Fraas indiscreetly asks Archibald about a potential crush on Korrak, but says he just senses she’s someone to trust.
The group convenes that night on the airship to chat with Sentinel about what happened. He had been compelled by the evil Rand as if he was Sentinel’s maker. Evil Rand had left with the words, “not today it seems.” Fraas asks, “is he your maker??” Sentinel seems befuddled. Rand replies, “evil rand was left in the past, he knew of all of us, knew of Sentinel’s history.” Sentinel also notes to Rand that his healing spell did not work. Fraas detects undead and sees an aura on Sentinel.
The group prepares to sleep the night on the boat. Before bed, Korrak and Zinn go to check on Zinn’s book, the others join in a bit later. The book’s image of Sentinel on the throne now looks like Zinn is swinging the sword at the skeletons. Only one other image is altered: where Zinn was once being knighted by a green wyrm, the image now has no-one but Zinn. Fraas reveals a conjuration aura of calling magic, which could be a connection to another plane. To examine if the moving versions of the images have changed, they take the book to Archibald, who just lifts up his eye patch and plops out his eye gem for Zinn. He trundles away clumsily, as the group moves into his private room. When looking with true seeing, the skeletons appear as a vignette of a bunch of heroes battling devils, with Sentinel leaving the throne to join the heroes. In the other image of Zinn being knighted, she now appears confused, as if looking for someone who should be there. Only one other image is altered, one where previous Bork was falling on a bridge, but now he is gone. When Fraas looks with the gem, for a moment his gaze moves around the room, where he spies Archibald’s horns, and lets out an inconspicuous “AH!”. Curious, Shah, Rand and Korrak also do so. Korrak approaches Archibald to chat about being a tiefling.
While the rest of the party goes to sleep for the night, Deagha patrols the deck and Fraas hangs out in the crow’s nest. Near midnight, Fraas spies to the north a brief flash of light and then what sounds and feels like mild earthquake. The water in the bay ripples gently. Deagha also senses this, but feels a slight sense of dropping ever so subtly.
The next morning, the group meets in the galley for a breakfast of turnip, boar-bacon hash, fried duck eggs, brown gravy, and light ale. Aven and Gfed are not there. With pangs of panic from the last time Aven went missing, Fraas dashes off to check the locks on the coin safe. Rand checks in on Aven, knocks on the door. With no answer, he enters and finds an envelope:
By the time you read this, I will have returned to Mechanus. My planar guardians contacted me through Orn to tell me that I must go back, for a while. It seems as though our recent troubles with t planes — what happened in the base of the Belheim tower, and perhaps even Sentinel’s adventuresome resurrection — are related to me. My encounter with the forces of Dark Mechanus in my old borrowed cavern laboratory has, in some way, left me marked, and any sort of planar travel, be it portals or teleportation, is now like walking into a trap. So they asked, well, demanded really, that I seek refuge with them while we study the circumstances of my explosive incident and engineer a device that can shield us all from their interference. The gnomish tinkerer that worked in the lab before me is the only clue we have, and Gfedcba recognized it as some sort of ‘musical’ writing, so he’s coming along, too. Luckily, you’ll recall that time flows differently there, so we’ll be back before you know it. We’ll be in touch!
- Aven and Gfedcba
P.S. Take care of Orn for me"
They all head back to town for the memorial ceremony where they see a ruggedly constructed platform and townsfolk milling about, confused as to why they were summoned. Near the platform is a tiny stone box with handholds. Beck notices the group, and is grateful when Rand offers to make a speech. “People of Griffton, old and new alike, we are honoring, today, your heroes.”
As the ceremony ends, Fraas hears subtle spellcasting on the wind, from the tavern. He immediately tells everyone; Sentinel runs toward the tavern. When he nears the tavern, there is a loud wooden crunch! A frost giant bursts out, some kind of light behind him. Fraas flies up to get a better vantage point and sees a large white circular portal, and one of the rescued guardsmen from Belheim.
Fraas fireballs the frost giant. The giant responds by throwing a boulder back at Fraas, but narrowly misses. Rand rushes with a smiteful blow, felling the beast. More giants move in through the portal, one more frost and one rusty colored, speedy Slag Giant. The latter rushes and strikes at Rand. Deagha summons an ettin, who attacks the Belheim traitor. The treacherous Belheim guard withdraws from the ettin and shouts out the window for help. Shah tumbles gracefully, cape majestic, through the tavern, standing protective and akimbo in front of the shocked barmaid. Korrak charges at the slag giant, slicing him into tiny bits. Sentinel speeds into the frost charging with fists ablaze. Fraas lightning bolts the frost giant and zaps the Belheim guard dead. Zinn shocking grasps through her sword, nearly obliterating the frost giant. Rand flanks the giant, hits him in the chest, and the beast clutches his organs as they fail, falling to the ground. Rand rushes to reach the portal in the tavern.
More giants come streaming through the portal: two more slags and a frost, the ettin attacking them as they move through, but they push through, attacking zinn, missing sentinel. A flying orc moves in through the portal. Deagha’s ettin strikes at the frost giant from above. Deagha begins casting another spell, and also calls lightning to strike the giants. Shah urges the barmaid to run and, in an absurdly dramatic fashion, flits out the tavern window and flips in through the top floor window. The barmaid clambers out the window and runs, beers in hand. Korrak cleaves two giants. Sentinel tumbles back, appears to flee the fight, but instead leaps up, flies toward the orc, grappling the orc as they float groundward. Fraas attempts to dispel the portal, but alas no. The slag giant swings its axe and shatters Korrak’s sword.
A very large female frost giant jarla, with an icy crown emerges through the portal. In an flash, where Rand once stood, there is now a fluffy bunny. The portal is flickering, fraas understands this means it is losing power. Deagha summons another ettin to flank the giantess, and gives zinn some mythic barkskin. While Zinn runs a slag giant through, her sword tries to dispel the magical shields on the giantess, and finally rushes over to the orc with a shocking grasp. Shah stabs at the orc mage with his rapier. Korrak takes zinn’s great axe and cleaves the orcs head in two, stomping on its skull. Sentinel approaches the frost giantess with his fists. Fraas dispels the frost giantess’s mage armor. Rabbit Rand runs away and finds a discarded helmet in which to hide. The giantess blasts an empowered cone of cold against Zinn, Shah, Deagha, and Korrak. Fraas manages to dispel her shield, opening up for the ettins swarm in and attack, knocking her out.
The group debates on how to deal with their prisoner. Sentinel votes for killing her, and then runs off to find Rand. After an hour or so of debate, Zinn delivers a coup de grace.
Among the bodies, Shah and Korrak find some potions for curing moderate wounds. Korrak also finds a gold ring of protection, and a nice looking greatsword with a magical frost effect, and Shah snags a magical white fur cloak of resistance and an amulet of natural armor complete with preserved baby mammoth tooth. Rand removes the ice crown from the jarla and finds that it magically bolsters his charisma.
Zinn goes to the dead Belheim guard and uses her sword to speak with it. “Are there any other spies in Griffton?” “Yes there are.” Everyone but Fraas senses he’s lying. “How was the portal opened?” “I am an immensely powerful wizard” Again, lying. “What was the motive behind the attack?” “When fools fall into Thoko’s traps, he’ll take all the souls he can.”
Borrowing Archibald’s eye gem, Shah sees nothing different about the fallen foes. Looking around the room where the portal was cast, they find only traces of stone dust as if a ritual had been performed to summon the portal.
The adventurers and townsfolk spend most of the day rebuilding, cleaning, disposing of bodies. The rest of the day and night passes uneventfully.
The next morning Druri holds a small ceremony for his fallen comrade, the Belheim guard, Turin. This day also marks the 2 month anniversary since Lord Garland left the mote.
Fraas dispels the rabbit form from Rand. The party goes to the barracks where Turin’s bunk was and look through his footlocker. They find nothing but extra underwear and socks. Shah finds a concealed hiding spot, with a nice bottle of corn whiskey. Fraas holds on to the liquor for ‘further investigation’. They interview Turin’s bunkmate, who says he had never traveled out of Belheim before and neither of them had been interrogated in the prison camp. His comrades had made up his bed, but didn’t find anything of note. Rand gives his condolences.
Fraas proceeds to blood biography the dead guard, but nothing new is revealed. The gang further investigates the tavern. It doesn’t appear that Turin was staying here, and it seems as if he had acted alone. True seeing doesn’t reveal anything further. Fraas detects magic and sees a lingering aura of teleportation, very strong, artifact level. The limestone dust seems like it’s just a mundane material.
Zinn speaks with dead on the frost giantess jarla. “How did the spy from our town contact your forces?” “He didn’t we contacted him.” “What was the target of your attack?” “Thoko prefers to feast upon the souls of heroes brave enough to rescue his pawns.” “How are your forces tracking us?” “We waited until you brought our pawn to your home, now we know where your home is.”
Deagha mentions that on the night that we first got back from rescuing sentinel he there was a faint rumble. Being attuned to the mote, he can sense is now slowly falling.