Bursting out onto the main deck in a cloud of poison gas, the party found Captain Gemmak Kadaga speaking to an illusory image. The figure he was talking to was of an ancient, undead young woman with elven and draconic features, wearing an elaborate and archaic headdress and matching robes. She suggested to Captain Kadaga that he eliminate the party rather than try her patience, and he gladly complied. Or attempted to, at any rate.
The resulting fight was brutal, with virtually every combatant becoming bloodied at some point throughout it. Kadaga and a group of Claw soldiers chose to vent their rage at the Silver Flame paladin, hacking and pounding away at him as Oiler carefully maneuvered his Stinking Cloud to keep whittling away at Kadaga, who gradually succumbed to its influence even as the Hammer begain empowering and sustaining him.
The pilot of the ship, a half-elf named Theral bearing the Mark of Storm, left the helm to assist in battle, giving Acinonyx the opening to grab the ship’s wheel of wind and water and threaten to plunge it into the ground. His threat became even more believable as the Least Mark of Storm manifested on the back of his neck. Kadaga began smashing up the ship in a furious rage, severely damaging the wheel and causing the bound fire elemental to go berserk; it lashed out at a few party members before Acinonyx calmed it down and directed it to vent its rage at its former master, Theral. Theral surrendered shortly thereafter, Guluvan began turning the ship’s ballistae back on its own crew, and Captain Kadaga attempted to fling himself off the side of the ship, screaming “My Queen! I will bring you the Hammer myself!”
Much to Kadaga’s chagrin in the last moments of his life, the Hammer fell apart in a pile of disparate bones, and Kadaga dropped to the ground with only a single bone in his grasp (but not before Oiler and Guluvan made sure to finish the job with a couple of ballista bolts.)
With the assistance of Theral (who was demanding “immunity,” possibly from the dragonmarked houses), Acinonyx and Redbors were able to guide the ship into a controlled crash landing near the edge of the Mabar zone in Korth, and the whole group escaped to a clearing where they met a small strike group from the Silver Flame. A couple of paladins and a cleric (Samoth, Gerda, Muldar) along with a few warriors, they were in the area investigating the rakshasa that Acinonyx had reported, and took note of his new suggestion to investigate Administrator Velroon. They helped the party safely loot what they could find in the airship wreckage, and then made their escape; Karrnathi patrols were starting up, and they were technically a military force crossing international borders that would probably be very bad for post-war relations between Karrnath and Thrane. Oiler sent a message to the wizard Teltha, and she arrived shortly afterward with a flock of hippogriffs and a good amount of shock. She and the party made their way back to the Twelve’s floating citadel.
Over the next couple of days, a number of things happened as the repercussions of an Emerald Claw airship falling over Korth rippled out.
- A dragonmarked heir of House Lyrandar named Lirin d’Lyrandar met with the party to thank and congratulate them for once again doing them a great favor; first the destruction of the Cloudreaver pirate band, and now the demolition of a powerful stolen Lyrandar airship. Lirin was fairly pompous and inadvertently turned up the superiority dial when he discovered that Acinonyx had manifested the Mark of Storm, possibly to reassert his own self-importance. The PCs made it fairly clear to him that this might be difficult, as he was a lord in charge of supplying rainfall to the outlying Karrnathi crops and they had destroyed an airship and a pirate gang in just the past month.
- The fact remains, however, that the party is in very good standing with House Lyrandar now, who have now hired them to retrieve the extremely valuable Khyber dragonshard from the wreckage of the airship.
- Bix has begun assembling the Hammer from the pile of bones it became, but is missing a dragon bone for the handle. The party is currently hoping they can retrieve the one Kadaga took with him when he dove off the side of the ship.
- The party checked on their “real estate venture,” speaking to the unknown gnome contact they arranged it through. The gnome is confident that they’ll be able to get back a solid 100% return on their initial investment over the next couple of weeks; obviously, this is after the reasonable fee he is keeping for himself in exchange for doing the work and keeping it on the down-low.
- A man with large burn scar on the left side of his face and 8 golden rings betraying his association with The Aurum met with the party, introducing himself as Meldrin Tella. He said that it was vital that his organization acquire the Hammer, and offered the party 1000 gold apiece right then and there to go get it and hand it over. The party talked it over and came to the conclusion that they preferred leaving the Hammer in Bix’s hands for a variety of reasons; they returned and told Meldrin in no uncertain terms that they would hold him personally responsible if the Hammer ever left Bix’s possession. He got the hint and left.
- A trial is occuring in the city for Commander Willart Grem, who is accused of treason for deliberatly holding up Karrnath’s response to the illegal presence of the Order of the Emerald Claw in Karrnathi airspace. Given the way Karrnathi law operates, it is likely that if they can’t get any answers out of him during interrogation, they’ll drag it out of his corpse after the execution.
The party, accompanied by some House Lyrandar magewrights, has decided to go see if they can find the dragonbone Kadaga took with him and retrieve the dragonshard from the Keeper’s Bane. A mid-air scuffle with some flying undead creatures proved the efficacy of immobilizating and knocking things prone, as well as the lack of combat readiness on the magewrights’ parts, but the party is ready to resume their search. Will they find the bone, or will they have to look elsewhere? Can they keep the magewrights safe while they extract the dragonshard? How safe is Bix in the Twelve’s citadel, and who else might be interested in acquiring the Hammer now that it’s been unearthed?