To New Zhia, or Bust!

Our deliberations over what to do with our captive Thrymspaker spark touched upon various possibilities, including shipping it to Hestavar, or Celestia, or using it to lure their forces into traps of various kinds, or keeping it in the Crag The immense storm gathering on the horizon made us fearful of keeping it in Vergence for long. We might prevail against the giants, but waves of demons would eventually overcome the city.

Given so many possiblities, I elected to follow the instructions I had been given and prayed for inspiration. I got an unambiguous sense that Hestavar would not accept our new charge. No explanation was provided, and the others chose uncharitable explanations. I believe their motive was that such unquestionable evidence of actions from the Mad God might provide too much awareness and break the divine warding which depends on their maintaining ignorance.

Gareth feared that the spark might do something to Oli that would escape detection if she studied it alone. At Gareth’s request, Captain Keffin was called back from the front to assist in examining the object. Keffin reported that the front had cooled off since the capture of their leader. There was no longer much for him to do at the front. Their forces had pulled back and were no longer easily subject to his scout group attrition techniques. Their investigation of the jar didn’t turn up anything particularly actionable other than confirmation of its long range demon calling ability. Word was sent to Raiden noting that an opportunity to fight a very large number of demons was in the offing.

Oli was awakened by Sprocket who relayed an entreaty from another gnome who had a special invention to demonstrate. Oathsworn command had failed to appreciate its potential and weren’t investing significant effort in exploiting it. Oli allowed him to demonstrate its tremendous luminescent power and instantly realized its full potential. Far beyond the weaponized potential imagined by its inventor, it could be used to project magic circles many miles in diameter.

That same night, Terhali experienced a vision. A bright sunlit beach, by an endless oceanic body of water, with tall tress bearing odd large brown husked fruits. She climbed up and up and perceived that she looked down upon a circular archipelago as she looked closer she realized that the sand bars and islands formed a magic circle a thousand miles across. As she concentrated on remembering it, she felt a searing pain on her back.

Terhali sought out Keffin in his lab and had him take the image from her mind. He examined her back and found that the portal code had been incised into it. Her wound healed under his care, but left a clearly readable scar. He also pulled a single raven feather from her hair. The Raven Queen had given them the coordinates for the target of their destination, New Zhia!

Raiden’s Flying Temple/Cloud/Fortress arrived over Vergence and he shot down in a lightning strike. He agreed to take possession of the Jar and was happy to use it to lead the demons on a merry chase with occasional fight break. Guan Yu, Terhali, and Keffin would go with him to provide extra security. They lured the demons and the storm that held them away to the barrent lands of the north.

Oli, Hibernius and the venerable Eladrin spent considerable time considering the logistics of transporting our lands to our new home. Their final plan was a slightly complex multi phase operation. First they would shift the city of Vergence into a place prepared for it in the dry lake bed of Starfall lake. That would conveniently locate it centrally in the fertile agricultural areas of the southern baronies. Then they would sent the dwarven home mountain through, its high default load stone would naturally lift it to clear the way below. The final step, initiated moments after the mountain, would move the best of the southern lands through. The end result would move the capitals of our peoples through, provide us with arable lands, and the defenses of a flying mountain fortress.

Scouts were sent to study the area, eventually reporting back that the area was mostly ocean and desert. The only available resources there seemed to the bounty of the sea. Something none of our peoples were particularly adept at. This inspired us to consider that we would need to bring anything we were likely to need along with us. Our civilians, and the somewhat quarrelsome goblins, were encouraged to gather everything they could get, especially live plants, animals, and lumber, from outside the transport zone.

Plans were swinging into motion when were alerted by unscheduled arrivals at our circle. Emperor Marcus had us called in to help determine how to deal with the repercussions. What we found was a horribly wounded and maimed Rote Stang. With Oli’s intervention we were able to stabilize him and get a report from his assistant Krieg.

Krieg related a worrying tale that one of their elder dragons, thought lost at Vigil, had returned. It had returned corrupted by the Maelstrom. Based on their description of its ferocity, and the way that it consumed the souls of the dragons that it slew, it had clearly arisen to be another Thrymspaker. It assaulted the Crag and destroyed the dragons that came against it, including Rote Stang’s mount Flail. He harried it as it plunged down after its real target, the eldest. The ancient red broodmare who had spawned Flail and the others. The source of the fires which powered the Crag and maintained its height. Rote Stang had fought it to the last, even wrenching the broken Sailcutter ballista bolt from its wing to stab at it after his lance shattered. But his assault was not enough. It drank the soul of the eldest and flew out of the Crag, down below Zhia.

Javelin recognized the bolt and related the story of how his unit, escaping from a crashed Craggen vessel, had been pursued by an elder dragon, one which had quite overmatched them. They were barely able to take refuge in the wreckage of the scout destroyer. Within it, they returned a grand ballista to operational status and timed a Sailcutter round shot to drop it into the Maelstrom. Their success had provided an opportunity for the Mad God.

We left Krieg to watch over his master and considered our options. Though we spent a few minutes cursing the Craggen’s arrogant failure to call upon for aid during the battle, that was water under the bridge. Lacking any more adamantine canopic jars, we probably couldn’t trap this one. But we could hope to destroy its vessel. The Thrymspaker would need to follow the chain down to its base to do its work. If the spark alone could accomplish such, it wouldn’t need the dragon. Though it would recover and find some other host, it would hopefully be diminished and require more time. A few more days or weeks would be enough.

Lacking any other options, we set out on the Stormcrow with booster rockets blazing, to race a dragon (strong enough to kill the Crag) to the chain. If we can manage to drop it on the mote that the giants moved into place, we might have a chance to carve it into bits. Or perhaps we can harpoon and snap it up in the ship trapping jaws of the Stormcrow. Though the ship would be substantially worse for the wear, its better than letting the Thrymspaker get away. I’ll send up a quick prayer before the end, if Hestavar isn’t ready for the Dusk War to start, they may need to send some reinforcements. There is only so much that a homicidal maniac with a chain sword and some friends can do against the hordes of the Abyss.

-Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius



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