When we last left our heroes they had just slain the diabolist Wren and dramatically removed her head and thrown it down into the engine room of Steamhome. What they didn’t realize was that they were being watched by someone aboard the airship “Helen”. Westin, a human on the lam, purveys the scene from a safe distance. Once he decides the adventurers are the good guys, he introduces himself. Westin has already bought passage on “Helen,” so it looks as though they will all be traveling together.
The party heads down to the engine room and discovers that Wren’s mercenaries have all been captured. Upon questioning, these men reveal that Wren hired them to help her find Athiel, but she hadn’t given them any reason why. Since she was keeping company with a half-fiend, the mercenaries thought it best not to ask too many questions. These men are left for the Steamhome authorities to deal with.
Seeing as how our adventurers are no longer in a rush, Trover proclaims that they will leave in the morning. They are given rooms in The Keg Inn. That night, each of them are plagued by nightmares of Wren constantly chasing them. This is so unnerving that when it comes times to wake and leave, they are more than happy to.
Life floating above Athalan is quite peaceful for the next couple of days. Demos decides to start mapping the land below. That is, until Erik the second in command discovers that the wizard has the ability to make bombs. They discuss weaponizing the ship for the next day or so. Westin maintains a vigilant watch, in case his pursuers might now be capable of flight. The others rest in their various ways.
On the third day, as they near their destination, Fealton, rainclouds form and proceed to dump buckets of rain upon them all. Around mid-day, something entirely unexpected happens (isn’t this always the case). A wounded griffon flies out of the clouds pursued by some frightful looking giant birds with deer heads, antlers and all. Our heroes feel obliged to defend the wounded creature, so they lock into combat with these strange creatures. They best two of them, but one gets its antlers caught in one of the lines running up to the balloon. It struggles to free itself, pulling “Helen” every which way in the process. Tuatha manages to cut it free, and the injured beast flies off. Turning to the griffon, they discover a note tied to it’s leg.
I die and Skytumble Tor dies with me. My castle will soon crash into one of they cities. I beseech thee, do what thou canst to stop it. My griffon will bring thee here and my treasures will aid thee.
On cue, as soon as this note is read, the sun is blocked out my a floating mountain with a giant-sized castle perched on top. This must be Skytumble Tor. Demos recognizes the name Celestia Soulshadow as a famous wizard who died shortly after the War of Iron. So the chances of her coming to fix the problem are limited at best. The confused Maelstrom Thunderclash did get one thing right. His castle is about to plummet into Fealton. Seeing as how Fealton is their destination, and there will be no Fealton if they don’t stop this tumbling mountain, our heroes decide to do what they can. As if the gods are aware of their plan, three more griffons arrive to carry them to the castle.
More of the deer-headed birds attack, but the griffons make some dramatic evasive maneuvers and manage to escape long enough to drop their passengers off into a room covered with twigs and other detritus that use to form nests for creature that have recently perished. Also in this huge room is another galleon, similar in shape to “Helen,” but with no balloon. They figure that this must be a magical flying ship and that they are not alone on Skytumble Tor.
They party makes their way up the stairs and find themselves in a hall. They also discover that gravity has shifted and the far wall from the stairs is now the floor, requiring them to slide down what would have been the floor to get solid footing. Down the hall is a door on the same wall that they stand on. Opposite that are double-doors that are open and have a rope dangling out of them. Down the hall are another set of double-doors and soon a large piece of masonry gets thrown out of that.
“Torment me no longer, vile fiends!” This deep bellow follows the now shattered masonry. Westin, intrigued by this, ventures a peek into the room beyond those doors. It is a bedroom for a giant. The bed, which is mounted to the floor is the only furniture that remains. The giant (assumed to be Maelstorm Thunderclash) clings to the bed while the wind whips at him because there is no more ceiling to this room. “Take my treasure, kill me, loot my halls, but whatever you do, destroy the cubic gate in the great hall or cause the deaths of thousands.”
This is followed by a quick explanation by Westin that they are here to save Fealton, after which the dying giant tells him how to get at the treasure in this treasure room. Fortunately, the treasure room is in just beyond the single door now at the feet of the party. They open the door, tie a rope to the one that dangles from the double-doors above, and climb down into the treasure room. This is a bit of a challenge, since the shifting gravity and lack of a ceiling makes it tricky to walk/climb here. They locate the trapdoor in what would have been the floor of this room and remove the treasure located within.
Now they move onto the main quest, stopping the destruction of Fealton. Our heroes climb up into the room beyond the double-doors above them where they soon discover some of the other people that came in on the flying galleon. Crossbow bolts and arrows are exchanged, but then Arien notices that these men are being led by a cleric whose patron deity is the same as hers, Brother Udolf. An agreement not to kill each other is reached, followed by an agreement to stop this castle from destroying Fealton.
Brother Udolf explains that they were brought here by a wizard named Slake. He’s not sure if he trusts Slake, but the party leader, Erastil, vouched for him so they all went along with it. Slake said that he had to retrieve this cubic gate in order to free some of his brethren who had become trapped beyond the gate. Treasure was involved, and that is all it took to convince the majority of other party members. Udolf came along to keep his companions out of trouble.
All of them push on from this room, which puts them on a newly formed ledge (it used to be a room) exposed to the sky. This gives them a clear view of the ground spinning below. Westin experiences vertigo and has trouble keeping himself steady and sane. The deer-headed birds don’t help matters as they arrive and start picking off people (only extras, none of our main stars). The party manages to get inside with minimal losses to the perytons (Brother Udolf was kind enough to give them a name).
The next room beyond the ledge has no gravity at all. Bodies of some of Brother Udolf’s former companions float through the air, having been blasted by some sort of lightning trap. Demos recognizes glyphs on the door to one end of this room as being the cause of death. They decide to take a different exit. Voices can be heard beyond the other door, but they abruptly stop and it becomes clear that the party has been heard. The door is opened a crack and Brother Udolf discovers that two more of his companions are just beyond, left to guard this area. More agreements are reached and Darrin the fighter and Harper the sorcerer join forces with them to destroy the cubic gate and save Fealton.
The next room proves difficult to enter. Westin attempts to open the door only to have it blown shut. Arien tries to no avail. Brother Udolf joins with Arien and together they force it open. Unfortunately, the door whips in the opposite direction while Udolf still has a hold of the handle. He gets carried into the room and then flung out of the castle as they discover this room has no roof or floor. The only remaining structures are two staircases. Gravity has shifted to the western wall meaning they must jump from the doorway towards that wall. Once that is accomplished the party notices a rope ladder that has been strung over the gap between staircases. They make the climb up.
This gets them all to the largest room any of them have ever seen. Maelstrom Thunderclash’s Great Hall is enormous even by giant standards. Huge pillars hold up balconies on either side of the room. There is a massive table and chairs floating in the air. Above them is a simple cube made of some unknown substance. Gravity is minimal and towards the floor. On the balconies are mercenaries that Slake brought with him, along with Erastil, Darrin and company’s former party leader. Slake himself is on the floor trying to reach the cubic gate.
Combat ensues. Mercenaries start firing arrows. Erastil, seeing his companions with what he assumed would be the enemy stops short of attacking. Our heroes return fire on the mercenaries and start attacking Slake. The wizard commands Tuatha to fetch the cubic gate for him, which almost works, but the ranger is able to shake off the spell. He keeps his composure though and pretends to follow the order. A stray arrow hits the cubic gate and it releases some sort of bluish gas that heads right for Tuatha. His arm starts to turn to stone, but again he is able to resist the effects. No longer wanting to be anywhere near the cube, Tuatha drops down.
Slake, realizing that his spell didn’t work on Tuatha, takes up trying to climb the chair again. Harper has the good idea of casting a grease spell on Slakes’s makeshift ladder, causing him to fall, after which he drops his disguise and reveals himself to be a catlike humanoid known as the legendary raksasha. Finding himself surrounded, Slake starts firing off lightning bolts, nearly killing Darrin and severely injuring Westin.
Demos uses a spell to move the cubic gate away from his companions and towards the mercenaries. Erastil, realizing that the gate must be destroyed, attempts to make a daring leap at it. However, he isn’t able to resist it’s gaseous trap and he turns to stone. A handsome statue of the man that once was Erastil floats to the ground. The mercenaries, seeing that they are out matched and don’t want to become statues, flee the area as fast as they are able.
Slake releases another lightning bolt; this one is less devastating. Our heroes continue their attack. Harper makes a move towards the cubic gate and starts blasting it with fire. To her own amazement, the trick works. On her second attempt, the cube explodes, encompassing them all in a white light. Once this dissipates, they find themselves floating amongst gray clouds. Slake is there, but he quickly vanishes. The party has more things to worry about though as a huge shadow is approaching through the clouds. This soon reveals itself to be “Helen.” The airship got caught in the cubic gate explosion. Everyone climbs on board the now very cramped deck.
The situation is assessed and Demos figures out that they are in the Ethereal plane. There is no sign of Skytumble Tor, but they assume they were successful in saving Fealton. Now they must find a way home. The statue of Erastil is discovered floating around, so they tie it to a line and use him and some other weights as anchors, so they can lower their altitude.
Below them, again as though preordained by the gods, is an island. Figuring this might provide some clues as to how to get out of this plane, they head there. Unfortunately, this island is shrouded by clouds of negative energy. One of the nearby clouds releases a lightning blast that punctures the balloon. The crew jumps into action and tries to guide “Helen” into a controlled crash onto the island shore.