Back in their quarters at the Twelve’s floating citadel, the party began making preparations for their trip down to Xen’drik. The goal: Find the Vishal Expedition Company and use them/their information to extort Meldrin Tella as best they can.
As the party made some purchases from the reconstituted Merchant District of Korth, and weighed the pros and cons of a train ride vs an airship journey, Lirin d’Lyrandar and Toshar d’Lyrandar paid the group a visit. In a gesture that Lirin apparently found somewhat disheartening, Toshar (whose behavior and appearance marked him as someone with both a larger dragonmark and higher standing in the House) decreed Acinonyx’s great service to the House and sudden manifestation of the Mark of Storm to be a wonderful omen, and instructed him to take the helm of the new airship Phoera the next time he was in Sharn. He was given free reign to do as he liked with the ship, with the understanding that he would take missions beneficial to the House when they deemed it necessary.
In the meanwhile, the party made arrangements to authorize the unknown gnome to pay the group Anvil(le) upon their return from the Boneyard, with a ballpark figure of 1000 galifars adjusted for quality of findings.
Acinonyx talked Toshar into letting the party take a discounted (merely 600 galifars!) airship ride down to Sharn, and took advantage of the week-long journey to get some lessons from the ship captain on how to use the wheel of wind and water to command the bound elemental and steer the ship. Acinonyx is now considered Trained for the purposes of Charisma-check airship piloting.
In Sharn, the party got their first glimpse at the airship Phoera, which they discussed rechristening as the Cloud.
While in the city, the party recieved a communique from their gnomish financial cohort, who instructed them to pick up their monetary gains at the House Kundarak bank. House Lyrandar gave Acinonyx a list of a few cities that would have shipments for the PCs to pick up, should they visit, including Stormreach. The PCs also dropped in on Morgrave University to see what was going on; Administrator Velroon has still not returned, and a priestess of the Silver Flame – presumably thanks to what Acinonyx had told Samoth Teran and company back in Korth – had gained entry to his office and was apparently very concerned about what the supernatural-evil-detecting ritual she had just cast had revealed. Oiler painlessly sedated her (which is to say, terrified her into fainting) and quickly glued a random picture from the room and a knife into her hands for laughs. The priestess will likely be very confused and alarmed when she wakes up.
After confirming that the Vishal Expedition Company had sailed south a few weeks ago on an elemental galleon bound for Stormreach, Xen’drik, the party set sail on their own airship. The Phoera/Cloud made good time even as they passed over the dangerous area known as Shargon’s Teeth, and they deftly stayed on course even as storm elementals congregated around the ship and attacked the party. One of the wind elementals knocked Acinonyx off the side of the ship, but the crew sprang into action with Redbors grabbing a life ring and vaulting off the ship to catch Acinonyx, Acinonyx pulling Redbors in close to activate the life ring, and Oiler and Mak-nud commanding the wind elemental to retrieve the duo. Shortly afterward, the thunderheads parted and they were at Stormreach.
The harbor city at the northern end of Xen’drik was bustling with energy among the buildings constructed around the giant ruins. The Red Ring (of Death) gladiator pit caught the attention of a few members even as House Lyrandar loaded their shipment of Siberys dragonshards onto the party’s ship in anticipation of their eventual departure. As the PCs asked around to find out where the VEC had gone, they eventually learned that the VEC had gone to talk to a man named Vilch that was part of the Bilge Rats gang at the northern end of town, and were looking for an Eberron dragonshard of some sort. The party invited themselves into their hideout and talked at them until the gang let slip that A.) the leader in the room was carrying an Eberron shard in his pocket, and B.) they were itching to beat up the party and rob them. At this point, naturally, a fight broke out.
The party made good on a very pointed threat towards the second-in-command, burning him from without and within even as the rest moved in to attack. The leader (Vilch) was magically bound to his chair for a good portion of the fight, as his cohorts summoned a horde of wizard-eating rats and eventually let slip the fact that they were all wererats themselves. There was no escape, even when Vilch turned into a werewolf to flee, and eventually the party was left with several dead lycanthropes and a very frightened, very impressed-upon wererat.
The final verdict: The dragonshard wasn’t the VEC’s end goal, apparently, as it was swiped by Vilch from another, separate expedition, and merely carried a map to a location deeper into Xen’drik. For now, the PCs are going to sort through whatever loot was stashed in this hideout, let Redbors buy and learn the Cure Disease ritual so he can get rid of the filth fever one of the wererats gave him, and rest before moving on.
Need: 12 successes before 6 failures.
Thus far: 4 successes (intimidation, airship flight, information gathering, Vilch “interrogation”). 0 failures (no botched checks, no severe delays such as taking mundane transportation.)
- The Party’s New Airship: A carved and painted image of fiery, phoenix-like bird graces the prow of the boat, and the bird’s wings sweep back horizontally to encircle the front half of the ship and form the elemental binding struts. The fire elemental ringing the ship pulses with a deep orange color, flaring with spurts of deep red or purple, and raging bright yellow when the ship is traveling at high speed. A partially-enclosed reinforced glass bubble covers the helm, which juts above the narrow cabin at the rear of the ship enclosing the stairs down to the lower deck. The entire ship is just shy of 100 feet long.
- Brief History of Xen’drik: As described during the session, long before the human nations ruled Khorvaire and even before the goblin kingdoms, an empire of giants ruled the continent of Xen’drik with arcane wonders and power the likes of which have yet to be replicated in the modern age. However, their empire came under attack by creatures from Dal Quor, the Plane of Dreams, and in their desparation to fend off the creatures, the giants used blood magic and sacrifice to destroy one of Eberron’s 13 (now 12) moons, permanently altering the structure of the universe and shunting Dal Quor off so that it could never orbit close to Eberron again. The repercussions of this nearly shattered the giant empire, however, and in the chaos their elven slaves rose up, rebelled against their giant masters, and escaped to the island continent of Aerenal (forming the foundation of the elf-ancestor-worship culture Redbors’ religion is based around.) The giants, unwilling to lose their slaves, got ready to unleash the same power that had destroyed the 13th moon… but before they could damage the cosmos again, the dragons of Argonessen attacked the giant empire en masse and razed it to the ground. Now all that is left of the giant kingdoms, tens of thousands of years later, is a shattered landscape ravaged by magic but filled with giant ruins and artifacts.
- Dragonshards: For clarification: There are 3 main types of dragonshards. According to common myth, the world is formed from the bodies of three great progenitor dragons; Siberys’ body forms the sky and the golden, glimmering ring that stretches across it at night, Eberron’s body forms the surface, and Khyber’s body is the underworld that gives birth to fiends. In keeping with this:
- The golden dragonshards that rain down from the sky are called Siberys dragonshards, and are used to create items that enhance a dragonmark’s power. The wheel of wind and water that Acinonyx uses to control the airship is built with Siberys shards.
- The red shards that form in geodes near the surface are called Eberron shards, and are used in the creation of many magic items and enhanced spells; the map in Vilch’s hideout, and the focus for the enhanced Tenser’s Floating Disk that the magewrights used to transport the core of the Emerald Claw airship, are both Eberron dragonshards.
- The deep purple and black shards that grow in the depths of the underground are Khyber dragonshards, and are used in binding magic; the shard at the core of every elemental-powered vehicle, such as an airship or the lightning rail train, is a Khyber shard.