Episode 34

The Minnow is dead. The party is Fortress bound. The Revenants are focused on revenge and are falling into a dark event horizon. They cannot be reasoned with. The party appears to have a single choice: escape. They need to find and board a Surface ship.

Scene: Saving the Minnow

The party is trapped in a conversation with Geda. He commands the party's attention until he abruptly decides he has other business to attend to. He tells them to meet him at the navigation tower at dawn. It's an order.

Behind the party, the steady sizzle of the Minnow has broken into a staccato. It wasn't designed to make more than one trip. If the party wants to leave the Fortress, they'll need to leave now. But they can't. They need to meet with Geda in the morning, and if they don't they know they will be killed if they come back.

They need more time. So Andrazel tries his best to stop the engine gracefully, pinches off the fuel, and concentrates on the diverting the arcanic energy channels, but his efforts fail. The Minnow stops and Andrazel doubts if he can get it up and running again.

Scene 2: Tormgar's Communion

With an evening to kill, the party occupies their time trying to find lodging and exploring the Fortress deck. Revenants move about and complete their work, but even though the Fortress is full of bodies, it still feels empty. Dwelling lights are off. Points of congregation, like the central squares, are empty. Nobody appears to need sleep.

The rare groups of Shadowfell keep to themselves and are clearly interested in the party, although they don't approach.

Tormgar needs time to himself. He believes fully in the power and causes of the Umbrella—his belief after all has gotten him aboard the fortress—but the same force is apparently condoning murder. He speaks with Myrani, who encourages his communion. Tormgar walks about until he can find a small place of peace and finds one in an abandoned recreation room, a few hundred yards from the landing point of the Minnow.

Tormgar drops into deep concentration and descends deep below the floor of reality. The imprint of the material plane drops away. He's in a different place. Is it a different plane? He looks around. He can see the outline of the room he's in. The shapes of Orryn and Marnos and Andrazel pass by the door and look in. He knows it's them even though he can't see their faces. They're blurred. They're walking through a pool of color, first blue, then deep magenta.

Contentment fills Tormgar. The Umbrella have always worshiped the Power as Kielaph, the Great Crusader, she who brings justice and answers. But that's not the case. There is no form to what Tormgar feels. It's something more basic, a force of movement, something fundamental. It doesn't speak but Tormgar knows what it wants. It wants justice, yes, but of a kind beyond the lives of men and women. Myrani worships Kielaph as one would Mystra, the Goddess of Magic, someone who personally attends to the lives and needs of the worshipers. Tormgar feels called to action and supported, but as an abstraction, not as a person. He can't use the same name. It's wrong. He will call her Aliel the God of Restoration.

It's liberating and scary but it doesn't help him with the Revenants. Her voice is as powerful and silent as a river.

The world tightens and his view of the material plane slips away.

Scene 3: The Infirmary

Aredhel finds Marnos apart from the rest of the party. She approaches and tells him she has a place for them to stay, down in the infirmary. The beds are clean and the Revenants don't need them. To them, injury is fate and death is success. The space is a fifteen minute walk and under the deck, in a low, rectangular room.

Marnos turns to end their conversation and find the party. Before he can break away, Adrehel says that their leader, Ithrel has awoken from a coma. She was incapacitated for most of their journey, but has awoken and risen. Adrehel spoke with her and she says she would like to meet the party. Marnos says of course.

Finally, a place to stay has been secured. Marnos joins up with Edwyn and Selene. They go to gather Tormgar and find him unconscious, curled against the wall. He cannot be woken. Edwyn gives him a second, less gentle shake. No response. Edwyn slings Tormgar over his back, and heads with the rest of the party to the infirmary to sleep and attend to Tormgar.

They arrive, glance at the near rows of cots, and pick one. Andrazel speaks with a Shadowfell who says that the Fortress can do funny things to people. Let Tormgar lie. He will probably awaken, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.

Despite the comfort of the cots, the party sleeps fitfully. The room is fully lit and they have an early morning meeting with Geda.

Scene 4: The Observation and Control Tower

After a few hours of sleep, the party gets up. They head to to the upper deck and their rendezvous point. Tormgar is still unconscious. They leave him be.

Geda greets them along with twenty other Revenants, both soldiers and engineers. Often it's hard to tell. Regalia is no longer used. He turns to point at the large central tower that rises two hundred feet above the height of the deck. He says they will go there. The party follows.

The party reaches the tower base. The base is smooth, black iron but the Revenants find the hidden crease of an access door, wait for a scan, and wide doors materialize for the party to walk in. The interior is hollow except for large support columns and thick ropes of bundled wires that spiral along the walls. Geda heads to the center of the tower and the Revenants cluster round. The party follows their lead.

Their a jolt under their feet, and they are suddenly rising as if Feather Fall was cast in reverse. The rise up the hollow column. An aperture opens at the top. They move through and it closes. Now around them is the world: Gathela, the plains of grain and Dwarven industry, the smudge of the mountains beyond, and the ocean of clouds that cover the cauldron and disappear into the horizon. The platform is ringed by a short railing and a covered by a ceiling held up with peripheral columns, but there are no other features. The party doesn't understand how the Fortress is controlled.

Geda heads over to the Eastern side of the tower deck to look over Gathela. He starts asking the party questions about the city. Things that have changed in the decades he's been away. He's meticulous, exacting, and exhausting. The conversation stretches for several hours. Edwyn is becoming increasing agitated. It's an interrogation. He's wondering how many he can kill.

A soldier from the Northern side of the deck cries out. Incoming Elites. The party heads to his side and watches as the circles of glossy fire bloom on the deck and soldiers emerge. They are Gathela Elites1, soldiers that have been trained in magical arts and have control over dimension. They can enlarge at will. They wield javelins and hammers. Geda yells. Another inbound group. He turns to the party. "We will finish this tomorrow, at dawn. Let's take care of business."

Everyone gathers at the aperture, the floor opens below them and the party shudders. But, as before, a gentle force guides them and they descend.

Scene 5: Battle with Gathela Elites

After landing, the party rushes to defend the Minnow. If everything fails, it's their only hope for escape. They take up position. A trio of three enlarged Elites, swinging and moving on from a crowd of dead Revenants, note their defense and head towards them. They hit hard, both with javelin and hammer and they hit hard. Andrazel and Harmnos are critically injured.

Tormgar has passively observed as the world has moved. He can catch things in glimpses. He is reassured and lost. He's not sure how much time as passed. Maybe a few minutes? Off to his left, in the distance he sees a intense explosions of magic. He thinks the party may be in trouble. He's not sure if he can walk or if he has legs, but he will try.

Tormgar reverie breaks. The party is in front of him, in battle. He's not sure how he got to his current position, or reality, but he's there to help.

The Elites have clustered into a defensive unit. Selene casts fireball twice. The explosions detonate in between their bodies, and do their job, but the Minnow is the unfortunate collateral. It's deck is broken, navigation channels are twisted. It will never fly again. The hope that Andrazel could repair the earlier damage is lost. They are Fortress bound. They must find the Surface ship.

Scene 6: A Conversation with Itheral

Itheral is waiting when the party returns to the infirmary to rest for the night. She's an older Elvish Shadowfell. She rises to her feet from the edge of a cot and greets the party. Something about her, her appearance perhaps, catches in Marnos' brain, but he can't figure it out.

She says she knows where the Surface ships are. She can lead the party there. They explain they must meet Geda in the morning. She says don't worry, we'll leave before dawn.

She leaves the party to decide. She elicits strangely strong reactions. Edwyn, Selene, Orryn, and Andrazel trust her. Tormgar and Marnos do not. Is there a way to do both? It's decided: they will split the party.

  1. Re-skinned Druegar Warlords with identical attributes and abilities. 

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