Battle of Hest
After gating back to Hest, the fight was on. Orixia and Phantine rallied the remaining giff to try to drive off the pirates, while Wendeam, Andra, Ariel, and van Rijn attempted to destroy the daemons and demodand mercenaries. The final conflict occurred outside the God Machine, where Razalflow proved to be cowardly (or discreet, depending on how you consider it) and fled the field rather than face the group, though it was a near run thing.
The God Machine’s Broken Parts and the Eater of Time
The God Machine seems to have a functioning but oddly so part that was incorporated into its parts from Trobriand’s lab… this seems ominous and some mind probing was used to try to recover the memories from the first time in Trobriand’s lab. Not much was concluded, but on the way back through the lab, Andra, van Rijn, Orixia, Ariel, and Wendeam stumbled on part of Trobriand’s laboratory where a bizarre artifact known as the Eater of Time had been placed. Unfortunately it activated some of Trobriand’s uncompleted or imperfect creations, including an iron golem, an aurumvorax, and other beasts. Ariel managed to disarm it but not before a stern fight.
A ghost ship was sighted in the Astral on a course towards Hest. Not wanting it to get into navigational areas, van Rijn, Wendeam, Ariel, and Andra went out in a small skiff to intercept it. It proved to be inhabited by a crew of those drained of life by the Astral… they appeared to be gith, but not like the pirates. They had a much simpler style. They were still undead, however, and Wendeam received a wound from them. Attached to the bottom of the ship was a dust-encrusted heavy leather container, which contained a githzerai in Temporal Stasis. After some trepidation, the Stasis was dispelled. The githzerai inside was named Zell, who proved to be a skilled rogue of the githzerai explorer class. She had been in stasis for nearly 1000 years and spoke of how a unified group of githzerai, githyanki, and ee’ar—winged elves—had mounted an expedition to the Astral to try to follow the path of Zerthimon, one of their founders. The gith pirates appear to be the descendants of the expedition, which obviously failed. Zell, lacking any other leads, joined the group.
The Ee’ar Golem
Zell knew of some ee’ar ruins that were worth investigating. Wendeam, van Rijn, Ariel, and Zell went. The island proved to have several ee’ar guardian constructs. Most were destroyed, but one, in the shape of a prismatic minotaur, turned out to be dimly sentient and managed to communicate that it would serve for gems.
Styg’s Alchemical Breakthrough
Styg made a huge breakthrough on the production of powerful explosives from void salts. He managed to eliminate the use of charcoal and fire salts by dissolving the void salts and forming aqua fortis and then mixing them with soap. Unfortunately he did so by detonating the lab back in Hest, which needed to be replaced. Styg’s creation is too unstable to use now, but he’s searching for an improvement when he gets more raw materials.
Raid on Sitirthra’s Pleasure Palace
One of van Rijn’s father’s old crewman, Onghena, appeared on the docks in Hest. After a harrowing tale of being captured in a port and sold as a galley slave, Onghena expressed a desire to return to the skies of his own world where he could die. He also told of the gith pirate captain who seems to have a secret hideaway. The captain was Sitirthra and Onghena knew how to get there. A raid was mounted. Yna, the aasimar captain from Sesh, agreed to take her vessel with Andra, Wendeam, van Rijn, Ariel, and Zell. A long sail later, a group of ruins emerged. Zell approached stealthily and scouted, noticing that a pirate and a courtesan were in a boat below. Wendeam and Zell dropped down and attacked, subduing both. They got a bit of intelligence from the pirate. Assault on the palace began: More pirates, bugbear eunuchs, and bizarre mechanical fiends proved to be tough, but were eventually dispatched or surrendered. van Rijn toyed with the notion of recruiting the bugbears. The courtesans were held securely. One was a Quan woman who told news of how long it had been in her land, revealing that van Rijn, Ariel, and Andra had been gone for a long time. The Kang had attempted invasion of the Elven Isles by fleet but the fleet was destroyed by a massive storm before it arrived.
After a while, only a locked door remained. Zell picked it and it revealed a private dining room, a torture chamber, and another locked door. She picked that too, revealing a Brain in a Jar, who proved to be the remnant of a long ago githyanki captain that had been part of the group following the path of Zerthimon. This was interrupted when an invisible vampire attacked and drained the life from one of the bugbears to restore herself and then fled. Wendeam and van Rijn chased after her but she managed to elude them. Zell tried to dismantle the brain but failed. Andra used magic to tell Yna to flee to avoid the vampire and Ariel’s gate was used to take everyone back to Hest.
Brain in a Jar
When Zell was trying to disassemble the Brain in a Jar back in Sitirthra’s palace, she broke… something. Styg is working on trying to reactivate the Brain in a Jar.
Running the Vortex
After running from the vampire that was in Sitirthra’s Pleasure Palace in Hest, Captain Emit’s ship was locked in a tight run from the pursuing and very angry gith pirates. Fortunately during a check in her plight was noted and so Andra, van Rijn, Orixia, Ariel, and Wendeam gated in. van Rijn took over at the helm for the exhausted Yna, who could barely stand. Her plan was a bold (or desperate) one: Run an Astral vortex, counting on skill to gain speed or force the pursuing pirates to break off. Fortunately van RIjn was able to carry this plan out. At this point, Ariel stayed to defend the ship while Andra, van Rijn, Orixia, and Wendeam teleported to the pirate vessel. The didn’t reckon with the fact that the vortex itself was stirred up by the presence of magic, and that seemingly sentient and very dangerous pieces of it emerged. The pirates themselves were torn asunder by the vortex and everyone else fled to escape the nigh-invulnerable fraction of the vortex. Fortunately at this point, no pirates were nearby and so van Rijn and Andra helped sail Yna’s vessel back to Hest.
Arrival of Ecin Dek Oms’ Vessel
The Senior Captain of Sesh’s trading vessel arrived. It contained a large quantity of powder. Given that Phantine managed to recruit more giff this is good. Phantine is trying to bargain with the giants for all of the powder… which is likely to be very expensive.
A mercane merchant visited Hest, accompanied by several thuglike guards, including a stylish minotaur named Bruno who seemed to take a shine to Orixia. A different mercane proved to be there later (oddly) though the ship crew was the same. Many deals were had with them, including “Prime Membership”.