Moonday, Harvester 17, 552 CY (50 AN)
Khuna drifts awake and rolls over to find herself in bed with her Lady Margot. She is back in her Lady’s chambers in Scandshar, sunlight lazily streaming through the curtains. Margot turns to her, warning her that when the serpents return for her, she should not go with them. She says that she waits for Khuna at the dawn’s light. Before she can continue, however, an axe buries itself into the chamber door. Margot says they are coming; she must flee to the Temple of Sailor’s Fortune, down by the water front.
Khuna awakens with a start. She feels somewhat weak, feverish, and shaky. It is pre-dawn, and a light, greasy drizzle mists the windows. She wakes Nobody, informing her that they must go now. A brief discussion leads them to alert the other room; Nobody taps Croitus and Resh’s window with a spear. When they awake and inquire, Khuna explains that they must leave. She sees a roof she suspects to be the Temple nearby, and the assembled party gathers its equipment — including, with some consternation, the bag of holding containing Southie — and lower themselves into the alley behind the Lady’s Chalice.
As the group makes its way through the pre-dawn streets, they see several columns of soldiers marching through the streets, evidently making their way to the Lady’s Chalice. The group quietly slinks over to the Temple of Sailor’s Fortune.
The building is indeed the temple they seek, a large shrine by the docks where sailors can pray before and after their sea voyages. Khuna knocks on the door, and is answered by a robed priestess. She seems to recognize Khuna, calling her the “Unchained Lover,” and invites the four travelers inside. Sitting in the front of the pews is a dark-skinned halfling, smoking a long-stemmed pipe.
Discussions take place, and Khuna reveals that they need to leave Sorgforge. Quickly. Conversation suggests that they may be escaped slaves, which leads the dark-skinned halfling — who introduces herself as Darstina Tallcrippler — to note that Duchy Jepson should be open to them. They agree to donate enough gold to the temple to cover the costs of a teleportation ritual, and Darstina will accompany them to Duchy Jepson. Over the ten minutes it takes the priestess to prepare the ritual, the group inquires about Darstina Tallcrippler; she reveals that she is a “troubleshooter,” although she primarily operates with an abolitionist group called the Zookeepers. When Khuna asks the priestess or Darstina about seeking “the dawn’s light,” Darstina answers that there is a village named “Dawnslight,” far to the east, near the mountains. It’s a mining village, only known because the adventuring group the Shields of the Sorrowfell got their start there.
Once the ritual is complete, the gate opens, and the five travelers pass through.
Emerging on the other side, the group finds itself in an ornate, arcane circle. It is in the middle of an open-air fortification surrounded by open portcullises and patrolled by several guards. They are alert, but relax when they see Darstina.
The surrounding town is still largely asleep. Dominating the landscape is a large palace atop a hill, and a tall tower — perhaps a hundred feet or so. Strangely, two pulleys sit by a large window near the top of the tower, their chains dangling in the wind. Darstina reveals that the local inn, the Addled Alchemist, is currently completely booked — a noble by the name of Lord Revaz de Rais, fled from Scandshar, has booked the entire inn — but she could likely find room for them in the Wizard’s Tower The group, deciding to avoid any Scandshar refugees, decides to accept the offer. They inquire a bit further about Darstina, and Khuna asks about the pulleys on the side of the tower. Darstina explains that they form a docking station for a flying ship, a spelljammer. Khuna is immensely excited by this news.
Darstina recommends the travelers speak to the Headmaster of the Wizard’s Tower. She leads them into the Wizard’s Tower, and sets them up in a side room to wait. As Khuna is feeling unwell, they inquire if anything can be done. Darstina fetches an acolyte with the local temple — the temple has apparently burned and the abbot is away on the errand that required the use of the spelljammer — and after negotiating over a donation, the acolyte sets to work healing Khuna. Although weakened, she feels much better after the rite is concluded.
As the sun rises and activity is heard in the tower, Darstina goes to see if the Headmaster is available. She returns shortly, saying he is awake and ready to see them.
A crank-operated lift takes them to the top floor, which appears to be an immense library and study. A large picture window overlooks the town, and evidently marks the place where the spelljammer docks. At the far end of the room is an old man — clad in a blue robe, and with a long white beard and long white hair. He clenches an unlit pipe between his teeth, its bowl shaped like a leering, demonic face. He looks relatively human, but the tips of his ears mark him as a half-elf.
Two small geckos, one on each shoulder, sit with him. They announce the presence of five humanoids entering the room, and proceed to jabber in various languages as the conversation continues.
The man introduces himself as Headmaster Ebenezer Cascata Mararnith Jepson, although just “Ebenezer” will do. Introductions are made, and Ebenezer proceeds to explain a bit about the situation. Determining that these are, in fact, the escaped gladiators from Scandshar, he explains that they are safe here, so long as they cause no trouble; he is also a member of the Zookeepers, and as an abolitionist movement, slavery is not tolerated in Duchy Jepson. They are free here.
They then turn to the problem of Southie. Having stowed him in a bag of holding, to the old man’s amusement, they wish a place to release him. He shrugs and sends Darstina away, telling them to release the dwarf here. They take positions and Croitus summons his one-armed dwarf corpse to retrieve Southie from the bag.
Southie has been falling through an endless void, the jar of breath clamped to his face. Despite the weariness and confusion, a certain calm has come over him. As a hole opens above him and an arm reaches down to grab him, he accepts it peacefully. Croitus reclaims the jar of breath, and everyone is somewhat relieved to find Southie at peace — he even seemed to enjoy the experience of being in the bag. He requests the possibility of having bag of holding time for maybe an hour or two per day.
Introductions are again made, and Khuna briefly discusses her plans to get to Dawnslight. Ebenezer explains that Dawnslight is probably about a month away; merchant caravans come through with enough frequency that they may be able to catch one if they so choose. Discussion continues among the group, prompting Nobody to leave the room at Southie’s newfound — and vaguely creepy — sense of peace. Once conversation has quieted, the group decides to rest and plan the next move. Ebenezer says they can stay in a couple of empty dormatory rooms.
Darstina, having waited with Nobody, leads the group downstairs to a pair of side-by-side dormatories. The group discusses what to do next, and the general consensus seems to be assisting Khuna in her trip to Dawnslight. They talk of making the journey, but she is interested in knowing if they can travel by airship, as it would presumably be faster. Khuna decides to ask Ebenezer about it, and decides to go upstairs. Southie follows. Croitus and Resh stay in their rooms, while Nobody goes downstairs to walk around the town, seeing if she can find any other eladrin.
Upstairs, Khuna and Southie run into an older woman leaving the Headmaster’s study. Khuna asks if he is available, and she replies that he is; she leads them into Ebenezer’s study. He seems to nod in some manner of unheard acknowledgment, and asks what he can do for them. Khuna asks, given the time involved, whether she could use their airship to travel to Dawnslight. Ebenezer explains that it should return at any time, probably within the next couple of days. He considers, and says he has no issue with it, although he shall have to speak to the quartermaster on the subject when he returns. She inquires about the missing airship and the missing people, and Ebenezer explains the ship can travel between dimensions. Several left on an errand to break the Peacocks’ slave trade across two worlds, apparently using some manner of arcane portal. He will let the group know when the spelljammer returns.
Having nothing further, Khuna and Southie take their leave. Khuna decides to wander around the town, and Southie chooses to follow.