The Heart/Brain of The Matter

Belligerent emephant-men, suave dark elf vampires, mind flayer ghosts and sentient spaceships.

The party made their way to the Council of the Moon without major incident- 5 epic-level characters were more than able to handle a single wererat without class levels.

Upon arriving at the city where the Council was situated, they were approached by a dark elf and his retinue. The drow, who identified himself as “Mourn,” seemed to be familiar with the comings and goings of the island, and was especially interested in the presence of a large group of powerful-looking individuals. He attached himself to the group, explaining that he was looking to speak with the people in charge as well.

The group arrived at the Council’s gathering place, where they discovered that the Council was now deferring all their judgments and decision-making power to “Mighty Nox the Box,” who “fell from the sky and destroyed the enemy ships.” The gruff, naked elephant-man cared little for much of anything, except what he believed to be the inevitable collapse of civilization, technology and magic and a reversion to natural ways. When the party asked him if he knew anything about a ship (a special one, as he had destroyed several Valdaran ships on his own), he took them to the site of an old (but enormous) landslide. A path led to the side of it, and Phaedra’_s find the path_ (or maybe locate object, I don’t remember) spell indicated that the ship that they were looking for was down below.

She used master earth to teleport down, and Igtherez used abundant step to follow her. In the cramped cavern below, they found an illithid nautiloid craft of immense size, wrapped partially around the long-dead skeleton of a green dragon. Phaedra tried to access the cabin through an entrance on the side. A voice in her head asked for the password, but she didn’t know it. Even though Igtherez was within reach of the door, the ship did not address him.

While this was going on, Orphan and Mourn got friendly pretty quickly, talking about drinking blood and other visceral pursuits. Orphan offered Mourn some of the fruit that she had hoarded from a few months ago, explaining that it was the best fruit she’d ever had. Mourn was not impressed, but was polite about it. Nox tried to convert Orphan to his au naturel ways; and felt that he was making progress, as Orphan stripped down, but held onto her weapons.

At some point through all of this, Phaedra and Igtherez returned to the surface before Phaedra’s claustrophobia got the best of her, and they explained what lay below the ground.

Nox, eager to be rid of the group, as well as the newfound technological marvel, struck the ground with a mighty fist, creating a chasm a mile deep, and revealing the ship. The party descended by various means and approached the ship, but not before Kayden dimension doored himself (and only himself) to the helm, where he was accosted by an illithid ghost, which bellowed telepathically “*_fire the gravatic cannon!_*” before sending him into a stupor.

The rest of the group walked around the side, to the entrance that Nox knew about. The hole in the side of the ship led into a sixty-foot walkway, which opened into an auditorium. The stage held a raised platform that contained a vertical set of stocks. Igtherez noted with some disgust that this was a performance eating area, a terrible practice that illithids would use to collectively gain the most pleasure from eating a particularly tasty or experienced brain.

After this revelation was brought to light, the party went in the direction that Nox had tried to go in, before being stymied by a locked door that had struck back with a powerful electric discharge when he had tried to break it. An imprint of his fist was still in the door, and Igtherez tried to finish the job, but the door struck him back as well, nearly killing him and causing him to soil his robes.

Orphan looked at the door, as well as the construction of the floors and wall, then drew upon her connection to Dispater and commanded the door to open, as well as resetting the password to “Nox the Box’s fist.” Traveling through the ship became much easier at this point.

The party walked down many hallways, each an irritating 60 feet punctuated by a door, and came to a large set of double doors that did not respond to Orphan’s new password. They decided to leave these for later, and kept looking for Kayden.

They found the helm and Kayden’s unconscious form, then were attacked by the ghost as well, who knocked Orphan out with its telepathic imperative, then Phaedra. Nox and Mourn were able to fight ghosts as easily as living creatures, and Igtherez was immune to its telepathic attacks. He took their unconscious companions out of the helm room during the battle.

Meanwhile, inside the collective unconscious of Phaedra, Orphan, and Kayden, a battle raged in the skies above Orhall. A flight of colossal red dragons, bearing githyanki warriors as well as other humanoids manning ballistae, bore down on the fleeing ship as members of the illithid crew succumbed to psychic feedback from the repeated kinetic and fiery strikes to the ship. Telepathic conversation was a constant, almost overwhelming flood of mental noise, and the sight of these hideous octopus-men was almost too much for Orphan, who raised her hammer and would have struck down the nearest one, if not for Kayden, who used his mental powers to redirect her violent impulses toward the pursuing dragons.

The call to fire the gravatic cannon went out from an illithid dressed in the same regalia as the ghost that the group had encountered before, only this version held a long, slender crystal in one four-fingered hand, wielding it like a rod as he did so. A rippling in the air, not unlike a heat distortion wave struck one of the oncoming reds. The dragon suddenly could not hold itself up in the air and tumbled to the ocean, taking its contingent of warriors with it.

Orphan stalked towards the airlock and flew toward the new enemy, Phaedra close behind. As Phaedra left, the telepathic chatter became more urgent as the illithids on board began to mobilize to repel boarders, and defense of the elder brain became top priority. Kayden, who had been relishing the expansion of his telepathic powers that just being on the ship gave him, rushed to the defense of the brain, though he did not run that fast.

Meanwhile, Phaedra unloaded several high-power spells and Orphan went into a rage. A dragon snapped her up, breathed fire over her and in Phaedra’s direction (the cleric managed to avoid the breath), and spat Orphan out in the process. Orphan retaliated by literally ripping the great wyrm red dragon’s chest in half with a swipe of her massive hammer and killing it instantly while another dragon fell to a faster-than-lightning barrage of spells. The ship added its own barrage of attacks to the fray, and finally, the dragons, their ranks decimated, withdrew.

The ship shot through the sky for a few moments more, then suddenly increased its speed and flew up into the sky and out of sight, taking Kayden with it.

Orphan and Phaedra awoke to find the others trying to figure out what to do with them (Nox thought that they should be left behind, as they were too weak), but they insisted that they were okay, though some of the wounds that they had taken in the battle had left physical aches despite the fight being all in their heads.

A quick search of the helm revealed that there was no crystal rod, and a locate object plus teleport later, and the party was in a killoren village in the Blue Tree Wilderness, in front of a silver-haired elfwoman who was (understandably) shocked, confused and more than a little outraged that the party appeared out of thin air and stole a holy relic from her, especially since one of their group was a dark elf. The Moonspeaker spat at Mourn, who would have killed her then if not for Igtherez’ intervention. Nox didn’t care, and At’Mal’Uamii was too weak to resist Phaedra’s teleport spell back to the island, so the party went back with (apparently) the final piece of the puzzle.

(Somewhere amidst all of this, Kayden was left in a villager’s hut, because no one wanted to carry his unconscious body around, and if there were danger, no one wanted to be responsible for it.)

Upon seeing Nox’s handiwork, the Moonspeaker went into shock. The party led her into the ship, and she woodenly obliged, though as they continued through the place, she became a little more responsive as she saw more and more of the inside of what must have been a great mystery to her and her people. Phaedra tried to communicate with the ship using the Starshard, but the ship was… weary, insisting that it didn’t feel well; its heart was beating too fast.

Further questioning of the ship revealed the location of the heart, but no real instruction past that. The party (Moonspeaker included) went into the power core of the ship, where a series of portals opened to different planes at random and siphoned energy to power the ship. The portals were fluctuating randomly, discharging energy violently through the very large room, and the party used their various talents and powers to try and fix the problem. Nox and the Moonspeaker took shelter behind some equipment when the portal discharges proved to be more than a little dangerous, but then Mourn got the same idea, and chose to sit next to the Moonspeaker.

She fled, but only got halfway across the room before a portal to the Plane of Earth opened, discharging a torrent of stone and crushing her to death as she scampered to safety. Mourn did not emerge entirely unscathed; he was nearly killed as well, but made it out. Phaedra and Igtherez tried reading the controls of the room and seeing if they could find a mechanical way to fix it, Orphan started using a combination of her interpersonal skills and an understanding of how metal worked to try and repair it, which seemed to work, somewhat. Finally, the gravatic cannon was shut down, and the core set to minimum power so that the ship could rest and hopefully recover.



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