Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 1), with henchman Nico (Specialist 1)
WHO WERE LATER RE-JOINED BY:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman, Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Torak (Cleric 4)
"No 7" (Halfling 1)
Climbing back up to the control tower, Chaff's first order of action was to park the fly and loot the bodies of his companions. Specifically the ring of invisibility from Torak and the prismatic ray gem from Kwinsea, but a lot of other magical bling as well. You know, just in case he makes it out but has to leave them behind. The stubby vivimancer slipped on the ring, and sent Pretty Bird to stand watch on the stairs for any sign of the Eld's return. He then set about looking for a way out, noting right away that one of the black display panels was cracked open, revealing a pink flesh-like layer behind it. Poking around with a dagger, he discovered this layer was about a foot and a half thick. On the other side of this layer was what appeared to be the hard metal/plastic outer surface of the tower dome. Chaff then gathered up gunpowder from all the bodies, and tamped it into the hole using Abdul's shield. He lit the fuse, ducked down the stairs, and hid there as the blast shook the tower and filled it with smoke. After a few minutes, when the smoke began to thin, Chaff went to check his handiwork. Unfortunately, the blast didn't make a hole. But it did appear to weaken it a bit, so the vivimancer tried breaking it down with axe, sword, and staff. But with no luck. So he gathered up the last of the gunpowder, and tried one more blast. Once again, there was no hole. But this time it did attract attention, and Pretty Bird squawked a warning that Major Xhom was charging up the stairs. The Eld warrior charged at Chaff, who by this time was mounted on the fly and buzzing near the ceiling. Major Xhom cursed the 'idiotic vat feed' who was destroying his barge, but he could do nothing about it as Chaff floated out of range of the vibrating axe and started to bombard him from above. The Eld retreated down the stairs once more, and Chaff again turned his attention to the blast area. It looked even weaker, but still withstood battering with weapons. So Chaff mounted the fly and made a mad charge at the wall, hoping to bash through.
|Ebony Fly (Pre- Crash)|
Four days sail found the "Purple Haze" back on the crowded Anchorage. Outside in the roads were two warships, one from Xin and one from the city of Visryi. Inside were a number of exploring vessels, and three merchant ships. But Chaff had no interest in them right now, and had the crew row him and the somewhat ripe bodies of Kwinsea, Abdul el Abdul and Torak over to the beach. From there, they carried the bodies overland to the boar-surrounded hut of Bellephrone the Incontatrix. There, Chaff opened negotiations for the use of her vat to bring back his companions. After listening to his story, the witch agreed to resurrect the three, in return for some scrolls and a spellbook. She also had Chaff promise that if the party was able to free the Golden Barge, she wanted it! And she had a task for them to perform, a delivery to a colleague in the swampy hinterlands beyond Xin. Chaff tried to argue, but in the end agree to the terms. His three dead companions were stripped and shoved in the vat, and the vivmancer was told to return in 2 days to retrieve them.
Chaff did as he was told, coming back two days later. This time, he was not alone. Rodrigo, a dashing swordsman, with his shadier companion, Nico, had met the vivimancer on the strand and decided to hitch their fortunes to his. Reaching the hut, they found their companions awaiting them, a little worst for wear. Plus Kwinsea had grown a lions tail and Torak's tongue had shrunk in size so the cleric could now only communicate in squeaky mumbles. But otherwise they were good, so the newly reformed party headed back to the anchorage, went shopping with the merchant Jobber Wok, and then raised sail and turned the "Purple Haze" back towards the Golden Barge. They made it in record time, catching a roaring gale that blew them through a previously unseen rocky archipelago, and dropped them at the great sandbar at the end of the second day. However, to their dismay, the barge was gone. As was the strange cube on the island. A search of the shore revealed a silver disk lying in the sand where the barge had been run ashore. Abdul el Abdul touched it, and disk projected an image showing the barge being re-floated while the voice of Under Commandant Xolt mocked them for doing all the hard work and permitting the Eld free their ship.
Much more cursing ensued, but there was nothing else that could be done. Well, except to get the lion tailed Kwinsea and her familier Hermes to go for a swim and look for the lost ebony fly. Which, by some stroke of luck, she found. The party then conferred, and decided to head back to the Magic Isles and the cloud tower they'd chekced out before chasing after the zombie raft and stumbling upon the cursed barge. So they raised sail, and in a raging blizzard, headed north again.
That done, attention turned once more to the cloud and tower. Chaff mounted the ebony fly and scouted the cloud tower. In addition to the portion sticking below, he observed more extensive structures on top of the cloud. On one tower, he also saw a weird weapon, like an up-sized version of the flying monkey guns. But he saw no other creatures. Back with the party, he decided to send Pretty Bird up to scout the tower. Through the birds' eyes, Chaff saw a bronze door set inside the tower, with a small ledge below it. He also saw, hanging from the inside walls, were a dozen sets of rusty manacles, jangling in the wind. Now, how to get up there ...
3 flying monkeys