Episode 35

The party must be in two places at the same time. They have no choice but to split the party and hope for the best. Andrazel, Selene, and Marnos head to the Fortress top deck to meet Geda for another round of interrogation; Edwyn, Tormgar, and Orryn remain in the infirmary to await Itheral and her promise to show them the location of the Surface Ship. The party is closer to departing the cursed Fortress, if destiny allows their broken unit to reform.

Scene 1: The party splits

The party has two major commitments. One is to Itheral, the leader of the Shadowfell, now awake and active without the apparent need for convalescence after a long span of sickness and unconsciousness. She wants the Shadowfell off the Fortress and she wants the party off the Fortress, both by the Surface Ships located on the underbelly of the Fortress. The party is aware the Shadowfell have their own agenda and that everyone's time is running out.

The party's other commitment is to Geda, the Revenant Captain of the Fortress. He wants to interrogate the party and extract everything they know about Gathela. He and his crew are driven by the unholy mission of revenge. Denying them is impermissible. They provide the choice between acquiesce or death.

Thus the party decides: Andrazel, Selene, and Marnos will go with Geda, and Edwyn, Tormgar, and Orryn will go with Itheral. Selene will do her best to explain to Geda why the rest of is missing and hope for the best.

The party tries to get a few hours of sleep. They need to be sharp. They each find an empty bed in the infirmary and lay down under the steady bright lights.

Scene 2: Walking to the Tower with Geda and Revenant Contingent

Andrazel, Selene, and Marnos head to the Fortress top deck. They leave Edwyn, Tormgar, and Orryn behind. Andrazel, as an Eladrin, sleeps less than other members of the group. In the early hours of peace, he's come up with a plan he hopes can extricate them from the Revenants.

The rest of the party wakes up. As Andrazel departs with Selene and Marnos and two of the engineers that came with the party on the Minnow, he asks everyone to trust him. He has a plan, but it will rely on everyone's true surprise.

Geda and a mixed crew of twenty-one are waiting for the party on the top deck. As Andrazel, Selene, and Marnos approach, Geda asks about the rest of the party. It's a tense moment. He expected them to be there. After an initial stumble, Selene explains that the other members are helping out other Revenants, and the party sent those who knew the most about the Gethela. Geda, seems to buy it, says "fine", and gestures for everyone to follow him.

They head towards the tower. The deck is as expansive as a town. It's a fifteen minute walk away.

About five minutes into their walk, Andrazel casts. First, a teleportation portal and then a small explosion of force directly in front of the party to knock them back and the Revenants away. He executes the chained spells quickly, before anyone can react.

It works, Selene is slightly injured, but the party falls backwards through the portal and onto the infirmary floor. They await a half-second for the two engineers but they don't fall through. Andrazel makes the decision to cut the portal. The Engineers are left behind. Their fate is in Gods hands.

As the party gathers their breath and attends to minor wounds, they note that a large cabinet pushed to the side exposing a large grate. A Shadowfell soldier sits nearby, and they guess the other split half of the party has headed down the duct behind the thin bars.

From the deck above, they hear the expansive toll of the emergency bell. It will be a nervous wait until the rest of the party returns.

Scene 3: Journey through the Belly of the Fortress

Simultaneous to Scene 2

Soon after Andrazel, Selene, and Marnos leave, Itheral walks into the infirmary. She asks about the rest of the party, and they explain that they had to go with Geda. Itheral says we'll hope for the best, but I can't do anything about it. I'll show you where the ships are once. I don't have time for two trips.

She asks a Shadowfell to help, and together they push a long wall cabinet to the side. Behind it, a grate covering the entrance to the ventilation duct. The grate is removed. The duct opening is small. The party wiggles in, behind Itheral, and they descend down into the belly of the Fortress in complete darkness.

The air pressure builds and the party can hear the steady thump of what sounds like a large blade. The party breaks into an inner-core, main circulation fan. Below them, a large spinning fan with blades larger than any of their splayed bodies. Other ducts branch out from the periphery of the space.

Itheral leaps a long tangent to another duct and pulls herself inside. The rest of the party must follow. Tormgar isn't confident in his abilities, so they proceed with rope hoping that they don't sag into the churn of the blades below.

The second duct continues downwards. Knees are scraped and sore. The duct ends and they head down an inner bulwark wall. But finally, they emerge from an access panel into the middle a long hallway. Itheral jumps down and turns right. She asks the party to quickly follow and they do. Itheral says the entrance to the port-side Surface ship is the end of the hallway.

As they walk down the hallway, the party passes by the broad opening to a massive space. Inside, are multi-story stacked rows of cells filled with goods, stretching back past the limits of their vision. It could be the darkness, but the space seems bigger than the ship itself, bigger than the block-sided warehouses of Gathela. There are no terminating walls they can see. Itheral says it's the warehouse hold. It's why the Fortress exists.

Some storage rooms have cell doors and in a few the party can see movement inside.

At the end of the hallway, there's a large, circular hatch flush with the floor, engraved with Dwarven scripts of power. And in large, block print, the name: "Spirit of Duerra" in large letters. Itheral says, "Here's the captain's hatch. Just below your feet is the navigation deck." She drops to her knees and twits the latch wheel. It turns freely. But she doesn't open it.

Itheral tells the party good luck and excuses herself. She quickly walks away and turns right into the warehouse hold. The party follows but they can't catch up and can't find her.

Rather than enter the ship, they decide to head back to the infirmary and wait until the rest of the party returns from Geda, even though it may take them all day to return. They feel exposed in all the open space.

Orryn hears the plan but decides to ignore it. As they walk past the warehouse , a glimmer catches Orryn's eye. With a tug of his cloak, he leaps in and up, winged and flying, and heads down the isle of cells and deep into the darkness.

Tormgar and Edwyn aren't going to wait or corral Orryn. He can handle himself. They head back to the duct, hoist themselves, and begin the laborious trip back.

Scene 4: Reunited

The bell pound is continuous and Andrazel, Selene, and Marnos feel every beat as they wait. They are planning an escape. They know they have started an irreversible process and will receive no mercy.

They hear sounds from the grate, they head towards it and the Shadowfell guard lets them listen in. It's the voices of Edwyn and Tormgar. They wait the few minutes for them to appear and climb out. They quickly debrief each other and vise versa, and the gravity of their joint situation is conveyed. They need to escape immediately. They grab all belongings and head back down the duct. Behind them, they hear the metal of the cabinet being pushed back into place. Their return is not welcome.

They make back through the ductwork, over the central fan, through the internals of the ship, and down to the hallway. They jog to the warehouse hold to grab Orryn and head to the ship.

Scene 5: The cargo hold

Orryn cannot be found. Marnos scans the space. He sees movement along the interior wall to their left a good four-hundred yards away and moves closer to see. It's a pair of Revenants, securing large barrels against the wall. He turns around and tells the party to head the other direction.

There. The party catches a glimpse of Orryn, flying flat and fast along the first long row of cells. As he flies past, he tells the party to run. Behind him, a humanoid, lizard-like monstrosity and a Dwarf, running in unison, chasing Orryn.

The pair is upon the party before they can turn. They raise their weapons. Tormgar knows the lizard must be a Red Slaad and looking at the confused dress of the Dwarf, he assumes he is one too. Slaads, especially the more powerful ones, can shape change.

Without Orryn's help they avoid harm. Tormgar was correct. The Dwarf was a Slaad and in it's death it morphs into its original form. But Orryn is off again, vanished. The party is angry. They can't call out and reveal their location.

Scene 6: The end begins

The ground under the party's feet shift, slowly and carefully, a subtle turn and slip. The constant low stutter of the Fortress engines have sped up to a continuous hum. The Fortress is in motion again.

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