At the tavern, Ysabelle—reeling from the awful power she had channeled—made the mistake of imbibing alcohol, lowering her mental strength. Funikashi appeared to her (rather than Brandis), and she was able to fend him off with the aid of her companions as well as a friendly dwarf drunkard named Thunderkeg. Without Vayne there to protect her, Ysabelle had to tap into her own inner strength, but ultimately she won the day.
Vayne returned the next day, seemingly depressed after her time in the Shadowfell. Her natural wit and charm turned into catatonic staring until Brandis struck her at her request. The sharp pain let her focus once more, and Vayne went immediately to Ysabelle. The girl might have expected a scolding for her reckless actions with Razor or at least that matters would grow tense between them. Instead, hugged her and apologized for abandoning her when Ysabelle needed her. “That was ill done,” she said, “it will never happen again.” She further vowed that she would always be exactly where Ysabelle needed her to be. Ysabelle forgave her, and they joined with the others.
That night, Ruthchek appeared in Sigil, looking for Vayne’s help. Apparently, the crew of the Chromium had mutinied, from which the hobgoblin had barely escaped with his life. He suspected they’d also consumed a trap he’d obtained for future use: a banquet laced with motes of Lakal, the destroyed home world of a pitiless planar race called the Quom. Were they to get their hands on the crew, they would surely kill them all horribly in order to acquire the pieces of their world, and probably they would destroy the Chromium as well just in case. This, Vayne could not stand, and she convinced the heroes to help her rescue the ship. The heroes—needing transport and a place they could not be so easily found—set off at once to find a berth to the Shrapnels, where Ruthchek thought the Chromium was being hidden.
They took a portal to a floating earthmore in the Astral Sea while waiting for their hired ship. During that night, Vayne had awful dreams about banderhobb—frog-like creatures of the Shadowfell that shadar-kai children are taught to fear. In her dream, the monsters attacked a girl that was both Vayne herself and also her lost daughter, Viridian. She awoke to find banderhobb attacking in actuality, and the heroes barely fought them off. It was disturbing, to see the connection between her dream and reality, but Vayne kept her silence on that point.
When the spelljammer showed up to take them to the Shrapnels, the reason it had come so cheap became obvious as soon as the heroes saw the curved conch shell shape of the ship and met its helmsman: a mind flayer. The equally disreputable captain claimed to have the creature under control, but the heroes learned the hard way that the mind flayer was dangerous in the extreme (and beyond their powers to defeat). They also discovered the captain was both a slaver and a smuggler. Wonderful.
Vayne called on Sunic for a favor, and the elf easily dispatched the mind flayer in the dead of night. He then disappeared, though not before he’d helped himself to the ship’s stash of treasure. The captain was furious at this misfortune, refusing to believe the heroes’ protestations of innocence. Ultimately, Tristan casually pushed him overboard, and the heroes had a new ship, albeit with a flaw: the helm would work for none but the dead mind flayer.
They were adrift.
TO BE CONTINUED!