Following the first session we all decided that we wanted to continue playing, and a couple of others wanted to join as well. Josh runs an open table. If someone can't make it we play anyway and their character is hand waved out of it. If new people want to play then they are integrated back into the story.
When Arbach entered the Tooth and Nail he found Peter and Farrow at the bar. Farrow had two glasses of whiskey waiting and handed one to Arbach. They could see Lord Rallin at a table on the 2nd floor, surrounded by guards. Arbach noticed that Farrow had changed considerably overnight. His usual rusty, ill-kempt armor was clean and better fitting. Farrow himself was cleaner and looked about with more purpose.
The three waited for Kizmet and discussed the job ahead. They finally decided that the dark elf had abandoned them and stood to head up the stairs. As they left the table four rough looking toughs, a human, half orc, elf (?) and Halfling walked up to the table. The leader yelled at the party, “This is our table”! Farrow looked back over his shoulder and said “Take it”, as the party continued to walk away. The human leader again yelled out “This is our table, stay away from it”!
As the trio started up the stairs they saw the owner of the Inn, a tough looking Dragonborn walk up and chew out the four toughs.
Lord Rallin sat at the table and looked at the three adventurers in front of him. “Where’s Kizmet”? He asked. Farrow replied, “We don’t know, but the three of us are here”. “I need that drow”. The Lord muttered. “But you three can still be of use to me” louder.
The Lord laid out his plan. The three of them would accompany him and a party of his men into the wastes in search of the Torkral Sphere an artifact of great healing power that he needed for his daughter. The party would travel to the rumored site of the artifact, The Vault of the Perished, via gasbag, flying ships held aloft by a balloon of gasses and propelled by unknown means.
At this Arbach became very alarmed, though he did not show it. Gasbags were still a new innovation, and not very reliable. The Waste was known for both extreme weather and the large variety of aerial predators, to include dark elves on flying mounts. When Arbach objected the Lord replied that the safety of the ships would be seen to and the party did not need to worry.
They then got down to discussing the price of their assistance. Lord Rallin offered each of them 40gp, half now and half upon return, a sizable sum for each of them. He then said that he was only interested in the Sphere and that if the party accepted half the rate, he would grant them all other treasure and items found in the temple.
Peter and Arbach readily agreed to this deal. Arbach got the lord to agree that the entire group would spend two days at the site after the orb was found, in order to give the adventurers a chance to locate more treasure. Farrow negotiated his own deal. He would take part in the mission for 5gp and the promise of the lord to build a temple upon his return.
Farrow wielded all of his considerable charm to win over the Lord. He pointed out that the Lord could use the temple as a tool to direct the people in order to increase his power in relation to the other houses. In the end the Lord agreed, though Arbach heard him whisper to his son, “…agree for now”.
The trio were told to report to the flying ship towers at dawn for departure into the Wastes. Lord Rallin then paid the full amount up front, causing Arbach to worry even more about the Lord’s intentions. Lord Rallin and his men left and the party sat at the table discussing the offer. They agreed that they would not double cross the lord, but they would be on their guard. At that point Kizmet arrived at their table and sat down.
The party briefed her, telling her that the Lord had commented how much he needed her. “That’s why I was late” she replied. After some discussion she agreed with the rest of the party that they would give the lord the Sphere and that the party would not double cross each other going forward.
They then discussed what they would need to purchase for the trip. Arbach only wanted to buy a scimitar. He told the others that he could find them food and water but they would want a couple of water skins each. Peter and Kizmet also wanted to pick up some paper and other supplies.
As the party left the tower they noticed that a huge storm was brewing out on the Waste. Even for the standards of that wild and unpredictable place, this looked to be extraordinary. The party moved into Lowtown to do their shopping and barely managed to get everything before the shops shut down. The inhabitants of Lowtown were boarding up their windows and doors in preparation for the storm.
The four agreed to split up and meet at the tower in the morning. Peter and Kizmet headed to the library to conduct research. The librarians left them alone in the building; telling them to lock up when they were done. Peter came up dry but Kizmet discovered that the Torkral Sphere was rumored to cure Lycanthropy.
Farrow went to the market and bought food and drinks. He then took them to the orphanage in town and attempted to distribute them to the orphans. He was stopped at the door. After trying to bluster, then threaten his way in, he gave up and turned over the supplies to the matron and her guards. Farrow knew that the orphanage had a reputation for exploiting the orphans, and the behavior or the matron did nothing to reassure him.
Arbach headed to the edge of town to visit a Shan Shaman he knew. Gendry, the Shaman, was covered in tattoos of power. He and Arbach had known each other for many years and held a mutual respect. As Arbach sat down he pulled up his sleeves to reveal the matching tattoos on his upper arms.
First Arbach asked him about the storm. Gendry told him “There is a great evil rising up and that is what is causing this storm”. Arbach replied “I am heading into the wastes tomorrow, to the Vault of the Perished”. Gendry replied, “The Vault is the center of the evil, you shouldn’t go”. Arbach laughed and said, “I have to, that’s what our people do”. He then asked if the Shaman had anything that could help him. Gendry thought, then reached into a box and pulled out a necklace of teeth. He handed it to Arbach and told him that it would protect him from Fire and Water.
The next morning the four met at the foot of the tower and went inside. The tower was empty as they made their way up floor after floor. On the third floor was an opulent waiting room with a fully stocked bar and lush seating. Arbach walked over to the bar and grabbed an expensive bottle of whiskey, stuffing it in his pack. Farrow, seeing this did the same, while Kizmet grabbed a rare wine.
Upon reaching the top of the tower the first thing they saw was the two air ships, Onyx and Bright. One ship was moored on each side of the tower. Standing directly in front of the group was an old, one armed Gnome wearing robes marked with sigils of power and carrying a staff. Arbach took him for the House Allarin House Mage. Also on the platform were Lord Rallin, his son Anslem and about 40 house guards.
Each ship had a captain and about twenty crew, all uniformed and armed with swords and bows. The Captain’s helms had a vertical crest running fore and aft.
“Good, you’re here”. “Nice to see you joined us Kizmet”. Said Lord Rallin. The Dark Elf returned the greeting and then talked to the Lord. Lord Rallin then told everyone to get aboard and pointed to one of the ships. Arbach got on first with the rest following.
As they boarded they saw the four toughs from the Inn come up to the platform. They looked abashed to see the party there, but followed them onto the ship. Lord Rallin joined them aboard the Bright while Anselm boarded the Onyx. The house guards split with twenty on each vessel. The mage boarded the Bright.
The storm was in full force, throwing the ships against their moorings like wild horses. The mage stepped to the bow of the Bright and muttered words of power, tapping three of the sigils embroidered on his robes. With a final bellow the mage slammed his staff down on the wood and the top of the tower was surrounded by a bubble of calm air, encompassing both ships.
As the last of the passengers boarded, the two ships let go the lines and started to motor into the face of the storm. The mage still stood at the bow, now boring a hole through the storm for the two ships to travel down.
They made rapid progress across the wastes. Arbach was leaning over the side, amazed at the view, and filing away the information that seeing the familiar Wastes from this vantage provided. He knew that the knowledge provided by this vantage point would be useful when navigating the Waste from ground level.
While they flew, the Halfling sauntered over and joined them. He attempted small talk but it was obvious to Peter and Arbach that he was trying to get information. Arbach listened while the Halfling and Peter talked. As the conversation limped along the Halfling made several disparaging comments about the Shan. Arbach took out his tomahawk and began to sharpen it. The Halfling sneered and continued to make rude comments, but he changed his stance to be on his guard. The rest of his party watched from the corners of their eyes.
As the Halfling talked, Arbach put away his tomahawk. As soon as he saw the small man relax he lashed out, smashing his whet stone across the halfling’s face. The small man reeled backwards with blood running across his face from his broken nose. The human leader jumped up and came over, “We’re all friends here. All friends”. He said; looking at his team mate. The Halfling looked at Arbach with eyes full of hate, spit out a tooth and said “Yeah. We’re all friends here”. The two walked back to the rest of their group where the Halfling passed out at their feet.
The voyage continued. They passed over The Wall and deeper into the wastes. Soon everyone heard a song building out of the storm. As they looked up, and listened it built into the most beautiful sound any of them had ever heard. Men stood, rapt, staring at the clouds. Only Kizmet and Peter realized that they were falling under a spell and were able to resist.
As they looked up they saw the shapes of winged women drop into the bubble of calm around the ships. They were singing as they winged down on the men, standing helpless on the deck. Soon men began to walk off the decks of the ships, arms outstretched as they fell to their deaths. Those who were standing still were attacked by the harpies with claws and blades. Peter saw a spear transfix Lord Rallin, though he didn’t appear to be dead. Peter was raked across the back by a harpy. Kizmet blew one out of the sky with her staff. Peter’s wound seemed to be affecting him as he missed with arrow after arrow.
Arbach came to himself in time to see a harpy dive at Kizmet. He knocked and fired in one smooth motion, sending the harpy tumbling. Farrow began to walk towards the edge, finally shaking off the effects of the song as his foot hovered over the edge of the ship.
Both vessels were dropping quickly, bucking and jerking. The house mage stood straight at the bow, ignoring the frantic movements of the ship. The harpies were attacking the air bags holding the ships aloft.
The crewmen at the wheels on both ships were gone. Peter attempted to grab the wheel of Bright but it spun out of his hands. Arbach ran over and grabbed it. With a monumental effort he was able to gain control of the vessel and steady its descent. The Bright was still dropping fast but was now coming in at a shallower angle. They could see Anslem, on the Onyx, standing alone and fighting the Harpies.
Somewhere between the fighting and the attacks of the harpies Kizmet was thrown over the side. She tried to grab a line but missed. Arbach left the wheel and grabbed her hand. As he pulled her onboard, Peter lost control of the gasbag and they crashed into the ground. Peter and Arbach both lost consciousness. Farrow rolled out of the cloud of dust, unharmed.