After cheating his punishment (and inadvertently showing everyone else responsible how to do it,) Hanos goes to see Zyn, who’s still fuming about it (among other things.) In a moment of clarity, Hanos actually says something meaningful and damn near caring to Zyn, making her feel a little better.
Rather bored underway, Celia has been working up to making friends with Sophie, the only other actual full-blooded elf on board. Unfortunately, Sophie is a bit of a disappointment; Celia had expected a warrior of action, but Sophie keeps to herself and seems to avoid confrontation rather than seek it out. Finally deciding she can no longer put it off, Celia politely corners Sophie in her room and strikes up a conversation, trying to find any kinship between them. Celia teaches Sophie three “words” actually spoken by Bedim, but the intended joke seemed to have been lost in translation. Defeated again, Celia switches the conversation to asking about the blades (who spend most of their time in the cargo hold throwing daggers at one another and occasionally bleeding.)
Later in the day, the blades go to Xax with the claim that things are being moved around in the cargo area and that something small is scurrying about, yet no one can seem to get a good look at it. After a thorough search, a small crate is found that shouldn’t be there. Xax charms the creature psionically, which turns out to be some type of small mimic, only quicker. Offering it food, Xax lures it to the observation room and shows him to Hanos before leaving it with him. Hanos coaxes a name out of it, Darger, before leading it down to the galley where Sophie is cooking to see if there are any scraps. After it transforms to match a cooking pot, Celia arrives to admit what it is, a creature bonded to her called a “mummer.” To demonstrate, the mummer comes to her and assumes the shape of the pack she was wearing when it cam on board.
Some time after, Zyn decides to hand over cargo duties to either Celia or Sophie. Xax proposes a contest: have both “contestants” look over the cargo for five minutes each, then have the blades hide stuff and each has to figure out what’s missing. Celia does well but not as well as Sophie, which fits well with also being the primary cook. Finding herself useless again, Celia quietly slips out of the cargo area and to another part of the ship.
Eight hours later, a strange object causes the ship to slow to tactical speed. A celestial dragon appears to be winding through the sky on a course to cross their paths. Zyn makes the decision not to react and pass the creature like two ships in the night. The Last Born watch silently without calling attention to themselves as the dragon passes them without altercation. Breathing a sigh of relief, the smalljammer powers back up to speed afterward.
The ship passes through the corridor into Nightfall space the following day only to encounter two elven cultivars attacking a dragonship. For the first time, the crew witnesses the firepower of as cultivar as a pulse of energy is unleashed upon the dragonship, fully destroying a third of the craft and disabling it. After initially ordering the ship to move low and fast against the spheres edge to try and get away, Zyn is convinced by Xax and the crew that they can’t let these elven ships keep going the way they’re heading.
Hastily throwing together a plan the elves would least likely suspect, Hanos creates the illusion of an illithid dreadnought as if it were “decloaking” between the cultivar ships. In a panick, the second cultivar fires its primary weapon, passing through the illusion and disabling the first cultivar ship. Zyn commands Nia to change shape into a Neogi mindspider as Xax broadcasts a warning with his mind to the intact elven ship to stand down and prepare for boarding.
Acting as an ambassador, Xax steps unmasked aboard the elven ship with Mal as his “loyal slave.” The druid in command of the elven cultivar begins questioning a centuries-old treaty with Xax. When the druid refuses to obey Xax’s demands and begins to make threats of his own, Celia is called in to make an impression (several, actually.) Seeing their commander stuck down by a drow elf commanded by an illithid (who boarded from a neogi mindspider in the shadow of a dreadnought), it all turns out to be a bit much for the poor elves who surrender rather than be gutted.
After rescuing the remaining passengers on the dragonship and incarcerating the elves crews (but reluctant to simply kills them off), it is decided to return to Moil Colony with both the prisoners and the intact cultivar ship. Questioning the refugees turns up new information that Thald may be helping out on Nightfall.
Making a quick stop to catch up the captains on how close the elves are getting, Hanos presents Sterl with his wheel lock pistol, mystically redesigned with a hundred shots of enchanted ammo. Hanos offers to make more of them. Sterl is also most interested in what large scale damage he might be able to coax out of the captured cultivar.
Departing again for Hyetal (and any candidate spheres on the way), the crew settles in for the long days and night of travel ahead. Twenty days and three spheres out of Moil Colony, the ship slows within range of a large asteroid. On board Nia, the Last Born notice a low resonating hum throughout the ship just as a pulse of light flashes across the decks. Xax mentally calls a muster, but Zyn doesn’t answer it. Gathering in the observation room, the phenomenon happens again, taking Hanos this time. When the event happens a third time (taking Mal), a tower is spotted on the asteroid where the light seems to be coming from.
Xax puts the Raylen and Sophie in charge of the ship with a two hour window; if they don’t hear from anyone by then, mount a rescue effort. Raylen takes the crown of stars and drops Xax, Celia, and Lochlan onto the tower before taking the ship out of direct sight of the tower. Xax manages to dispel the next effect from a crystal in the tower’s rooftop, then shapes stone to open a hole in the roof (and the excess material to seal away the tip of crystal) to gain access when smashing the crystalline structure seems to fail.
What dangers lurk in the darkness below?
Session XP: 6425 per player