Visiting Brothers Mu and Fanchu, our heroes enter the seedy dockside Lyrium Den – strangely discovering a striking resemblance to the lost fisherman. There they enter into a contest of trials with Mu, while being told Fanchu is indisposed with a special customer; one Captain Jenkins. Loosing a whimsical contest of arms against Fu (his arms are much prettier than Trilly’s), Pox – now in the form of a Human – is challenged to Liar’s Dice and wins by discovering Mu is cheating. Following their victory Mu informs our heroes that the Vena Cava is docked in a small cove to the north whilst also narrowing the section of the city the Loadstone of the Planes is indicating.
Purchasing the use of a rowboat for the day from an elderly fisherman, the Party sail in search of their lost ship, battling seagull-born Vrock demons; the product of the Dire Gul eggs left of the vessel and Vizil’s dark magic. Searching the vessel, our heroes discover a large portion of the crew chained below decks, just as fearful of Captain Jenkins as they were of the Party. On liberation, they thus choose to flee – facing and embracing slaughter from our heroes rather than face more horrors. With the crew departed, and repealing Minotaur boarders (imprisoning the twin survivors within Bags of Holding), our heroes set about searching their ship, recovering their lost treasure before sailing the Vena Cava back to Chang Horn (albeit in a somewhat wobbly fashion thanks to an absence of crew. There, they bribe the dock-master with hefty sum for watching their vessel whilst seeking(unsuccessfully) a shipwright for repairs and pressganging a new crew from the Lyrium soaked den of the Brothers Mu and Fanchu. Here Trilly McAxebeard and Pox purchase “lifestylers” of Lyrium who are press ganged, undertake a voyage, arrive at the next dock, paid, burn their pay on blue powder, rack up a debt with the establishment, and pay it off through being pressganged again.
Meanwhile, Tavian and Twingo perform an extensive search of the vessel, discovering not only Captain Jenkins’ supply of ritual components but also the Gibbering Book which jumps, snaps, hisses and breaths gouts of hot steam at the duo who leave it till Pox’s return with the Warlock rightly reckoning the book for what it is…
Returning to the quest at hand, the Party follow the Loadstone of the Planes to the Lang Gan, battling Doppelganger-disguised-as-Minotaur assassins along the way and confronting their old friends Jenkins and Vizil – now sharing a body as a demonically possessed pirate captain. After a brief parlay Jenkins and his gang attack, and though the Party fought bravely the encounter proved too much for Trilly, who bore much of the brunt of the opposition alone; falling in battle. Whilst a crow did perch on her corpse it was forced away by Baron Ghede who scooped up Trilly’s soul – stuffing it into one of his empty rum bottles.
Noting the strange, rainbow-radiating object in the Minotaur’s hand, The Party decide to rob the unfortunate. No sooner does their vessel pull close than a waves errupt in tentacles as a mighty Kraken emerges and assualts both groups. Robbing the Minotaur before feeding him to and battling the beast, The Party arrive in Chang Horn with their vessel sinking, yet held afloat by Pox’s wicked magic. After merry hijinks with the dock master, The Party soon discover their dead friend Bjordin chatting merrily to Leeroy, one of Twingo and Trilly’s former crew now serving under the colours of a certain traitor. After filling in Pox and Tavian regarding the Gnome and Dwarf’s history with Jenkins and Vizil, the group confront Bjordin who claims to remember them not, but instead directs The Party to the Brothers Mu and Fanchu (but warns they are said to be agents of the Monastery) before departing.
Examining the object gained from unfortunate, Twingo discerns it is a Loadstone of the Planes, and begins to employ the portal compass to attempt to find whatever it is it is pointing to (assumably Di Bu Bao Chuan). Being guided through Chang Horn, The Party move from the Shrine of the Ancestors to the Sacred Well of Sacrifice where they are confronted by Jenkins’ crew, whom they promptly drown…
To the rattle of drums, beating out the Jolly Executioner, Trilly and Twingo are marched two by two in chains up the gallows in the prison yard of Gong Zai; followed closely by Tavian and Pox. Above them, nailed to the prison yard wall, are the bodies of four great Dire Guls – the former mounts bred by Twingo. As the nooses are fastened around their necks, a masked crier in the centre of a screaming crowd announces the list of crimes committed by the Dwarf and Gnome ranging from piracy and monster-breeding to mass murder, consorting with Demons, the consumption and illicit dealing of Lyrium. The crier further threatens Trilly to be shaved and buried as a Human and Twingo to be chopped into firewood and burnt. But moments before the lever is pulled, a priestess of the Raven Queen is called to offer the tariff but as she does so tells the four awaiting execution to be ready and run for the temple, two streets down… And then the lever is pulled by the executioner as a crack rings out and the ropes snap – causing the crowd to panic.
Bolting madly for the temple, with Trilly and Twingo stumbling along the way and Pox setting Gong Zai alight in the process, the four make it to the temple followed closly by the Colony Guard. The soldiers of the temple rush forward, invoking the right of sanctuary. As a minor scuffle ensues, the four are lured further into the temple and confront the lady of fate herself, sitting atop the sarcophagus of Saint Ochian.
The lady of fate informs the four that she has woven for then a great fate to confront the Kraken in battle – forging a new Party – but warns their quest entagled by the machinations of the Masked Brotherhood and the One Eyed Skulls. The secret to defeating both and confronting the Kraken lies in seeking Di Bu Bao Chuan – the impossible treasure fleet of the Minotaur, directing the characters to Chang Horn.
To answer the distain of Trilly and Twingo for the desires of the Raven Queen, the goddess warns she has entangled the fate of Vizil Jenkins with Di Bu Bao Chuan. Likewise, Pox wished to simply separate his fate from the wishes of the Queen of Crows, but the goddess offers the Warlock the ultimate fate to sit on a re-newed throne of the Warlock King. Tavian, mysteriously, is won over by the elongated, looming shadow of the Raven Queen.
Equipping themselves and setting off, dodging the Colony Guard in the process, the Party sets for Chang Horn. Along the way they encounter a Minotaur adrift and screaming for aid…
With the agony of the great Heart Tree, an echo of pain sounded through the Primal energies of Deluge, answered by the Druid Incermay. With Twingo conjuring arcane air bubbles of some discovered Lyrium within the hidden temple Incermay joins The Party and together they venture to the coastal caverns beneath the town of Ashenport and into the caves. Confronting the cultists and their hideous fish people allies, The Party are beaten down and captured, awakening to find themselves prepared for sacrifice and unguarded. Escaping into the town above the depths of the Kraken’s reach is revealed as the remaining town aligns against The Party just as great tentacles rise from the ocean, dragging Ashenport and Kehpri beneath the waves, while the remainder of our heroes escape aboard Charme…
Searching the town, our heroes find no further signs of life besides themselves. Attempting to enter one home then another they find both doors and windows bared. Pushing through the entrance of one residence, not only do The Party find furniture piled up against all openings but deep scratch marks in the wooden floor; indicating the furniture’s movement is a regular occurance. Finding a family cowering in the attic, the terrified inhabitants further relate the terrible history of the town and point to the church as concealing being the secret haven of the foul cult. At this point, however, the characters are waylaid by hideous fish people which they easily defeat, resisting again the Call of the Kraken. Examining the weapons of these creatures, both Bjordin and Kehpri translate the strange runes on their rusted weapons to read: “that which is dead does not die but in dreaming eternally lay.”
Soon, however, our heroes are approached by Pioter once more who claims that the cult has been forcing his aid, displaying numerous scars, and offers The Party food, rest and drink in the Smooth Sailing Tavern. Once inside, however, Bjordin and Kehpri partake moments before Twingo checks for poison, only to discover the taint! With the Kraken calling once more, the Minotaur and Drow are dragged into the ocean’s depths.
Struggling to save their friends, The Party retreat to the great Heart Tree which conjures an obscuring mist to hid our heroes from their foes while offering them food and drink. Rested, the adventurers feel the call once more, but are sheltered until Bjordin snaps, attacking Heart Tree. Faced with wandering itno the ocean’s depths once more the Gnome obtains the group’s great Dire Guls and undertakes a gallant rescue of all save Bjordin, who is held under by Burch – enacting nature’s wrath, drowning the Minotaur.
The Party arrive in Ashenport amid a storm with Charme screaming to be anchored and lashed to the docks, a request granted by her crew. There they are greeted by the dock master who directs them to the Smooth Sailing Tavern, where the other merchants are gathered for the trade fair, assuming our heroes are amongst those.
In the tavern, they meet Pioter, the owner of the tavern, Terza of the Goldleaf Trading Consortium and Matthias Creel of Surrens, Creel, and Blackwell who are enthralled in a discussion of the new Dominion trade policy. Discussing the manner in which the great continental power is using their armada to enforce a trade tax in particular, Terza outlines that they it was a pirate by the name of Captain Vizil Jenkins who helped Goldleaf Trading Consortium weather a brutal privateer assault. Suspicion peaking, Bjordin initially questions then unleashes a torrent of violence at all assembled, killing the entire tavern’s patrons except Pioter. Seeking to kill all other witnesses, it is then that The Party notice something amiss in Ashenport… no building or structure stood lit, except for the tavern.
Suddenly a voice calls from the ocean, beckoning The Party towards it. While Twingo wonders if Taurgwar will make him float, his fellows barely pull free before drowning, Bjordin and Kehpri identify this as the Call of the Kraken and deduce that Ashenport is, rather than a quaint sea-side settlement, a haven for Aberrant Cultists. Amid the howl of the sea, however, Burch hears another call. Drawn to a great Heart Tree in the centre of town where they find a shattered shrine to Melora along with a band of green-cloaked cultists lying in wait…
Having dispatched the Cultists, the Heart Tree explains to Burch the town’s grim history.
Standing around the Creation Forge, the great device cracks before The Party. Around them, the voice of Grandfather Tree echoes as from the forge sprouts a strange pumpkin headed man of metal and plant matter; a strange plant-based Warforged. Twingo seems the most affect by this, his time with the Great Green giving him a strange case of Taurgwar.
After some bickering amongst themselves as to the status of their new friend, the creature introduces itself as Burch, only to confess that it has no knowledge of itself beyond said name. Debating what to do, The Party salvage what they can from the ruins and decide to obtain help to get their Airship back to Deluge. Jostling with their Dire Guls, who resist the attempts of their masters to rule them, The Party eventually convince the birds that when the portal closes they will die if cut off from their home Spheres.
With their Dire Guls secured as mounts once more, The Party journey north to where they hope Meisasin lay. Arriving at the wonderfully mechanized city, they are greeted both with Eladrin diplomats and guns. After tense negotiations wherein The Party are viewed with suspicion for treating Gnomes as equals, the Eladrin eventually agree to help our heroes.
Transporting the Airship, along with Charme, through the portal, The Party find two Eladrin have slipped through with them. Returning to Hafenport and Ruggo the Red, they further discover the Gnome King murdered! Attempting to track their newfound foes, Twingo finds only a note promising that an Eladrin safehouse exists in Ashenport should The Party require it as accomplaces in Ruggo’s assassination. Leaving their still unflying Airship in the care of Hafenport’s dockmaster, The Party set sail for Ashenport and revenge…?
As The Party battle their way through more Goblin’s and mechanical monsters, Kehpri soon mangages to free herself from the the living tree god’s grasp and rejoin her fellows only to learn of Holst’s death and Bjordin’s morbid saving of his corpse, kept in the latters own magical bag.
Narrowly avoiding pits and other traps; soon our heroes meet Marus, assistant Artificer to Jelia and object of the Dragonborn’s quest. Attempting to kill Marus (after which the Eladrin is stuffed into the sack for his own good) the barbarian is promptly dumped into one of the aforementioned pits. Faced with diminished numbers, our heroes are soon laid low by a Forge Wraiths – the vengeful spectres of Twingo’s slave ancestors. Faced with both the Gnome and Dwarf laying before Grandfather Tree. While healing arts work on Trilly, the Root and ghosts of Xhisp battle for Twingo, who narrowly escapes with his soul thanks to a thrice-failed ressurection ritual attempt by Marus!
Comming to the forge itself, The Party come before Jelia chained to the object forced to produce more Construct Dragons as children for Calmachia – the great horror of Xhisp – bringing the mechanical beast low with their blades.
With Kehpri reduced to moss and mushrooms, Holst stuffs her into his Bag of Holding in hopes of saving his crew mate. Meanwhile, Bjordin awakes to find himself absent Gibbs and Charme silent, along with the curious ship being investigated by Don’Ko, who had been charged with a quest. It seemed
several months ago, Jelia, an Eladrin Artificer from Meisasin, went missing in search of the Creation Forge where the workings of her ancestor’s “wondrous flying city” were created. Charged with retreiving Jelia, Don’Ko tracked the errant Artificer across the Minotaur’s path.
Passing evidence of The Party’s destruction, the pair catch up to the main group currently investigating a waterfall. There they discover the corpse of a Goblin which they spend much time poking and probing to discover that the creature is indeed a corpse and not some cunning Undead. After fighting their way through Warforged and arcane engines, our heroes stand confronted by an army of green men backed by a monstrous Flesh Golem and Construct Dragon; an encounter with which ultimately costs Holst his life. Comming face-to-face with Grandfather Tree, the Halfling finds himself seduced by nature and consumed by the soil.
In the days that followed their discovery of Gibbs’ actions, Kehpri distanced herself from the new captain’s new crew only to be visted by the Queen of Crows who treatened the undead Drow with true death, should she not remain with The Party, adding the dire allusion to Kehpri being woven out of some grand and terrible destiny the Lady of Fate has written for our heroes “upon the stars themselves…”.
All gathered aboard Charme, The Party sail through a swirling vortex to find themselves cast into a land-locked forrest clearing. This dire news for Charme only worsens as the ship herself, Gibbs and Bjordin – all three bound to the Raven Queen – found themselves unconscious. Stranger still, the Dire Guls found themselves likewise altered – gifted with sentient thought and the capacity for verbal communication! Kehpri soon became likewise changed by the trip through the vortex, showing the visible signs of decay on her previously life-like body! At this Twingo deduces that The Party has entered Sphere of Life, home of the Fey; counterbalance to the Raven Queen’s own Sphere of Death.
After fierce negotiation with their mounts, The Party manage to convince the birds to accompany them on their adventure to Xhisp. Flying from the clearing – leaving the unconscious members of the crew to their fates – The Party encounter a massive dig site before a yawning open cave mouth. Here they find the ruins of Xhisp being excavated along with a band of Coal Goblins using a strange, partially reconstructed ship as a guard tower. Besting the monsters, the ship is soon revealed under Twingo’s arcane expertise to be an Elemental-powered Airship – the work of anceint Aireomancers! Advancing into the excavated caves, The Party encounter a legion of Hobgoblins; the soldiers of Nachtur. Faced with these fearsome Goblins, the decaying Drow was pounded into oblivion before being saved her fellows, finding herself faced with Grandfather Tree who attempted to absorb her soul as a creature of The Rot.