Our story opened as SeaChild arrived a few leagues west of where the party waited. They looked on in muted astonishment as its crew brazenly drove the desert-dwelling trimaran into the surf, and then a short distance out to sea. It seemed the Willie’s modifications actually worked. Upon their boarding, Willie reported to the party that Plainsrunner had caught up to him, and were waiting about an hour away. Arndt, the Vengeance, and company headed back out to open water, intending to sail for Farwater, back in Collosa. Before parting ways, Zayn and Tarsus signed an agreement with Blue, making the Gyredancer an official privateer in the service of Tulesa.
Upon their return to Tulesa, the party went their separate ways for a short while to attend to various bits of delayed business. Sindar set to work on his mysterious plant creature, finally discovering its true nature: an immature mimic. Just the revelation that there were such things was sure to raise hackles around the IGG- potentially the most exciting part of the discovery for young Mr. Pelt. Processing this discovery for a while, Sindar took a break to present Tulesa’s hidden arcane core to the new engineers from Haralin. Inquiring after the treatment and results of the imprisoned cultists in Dingo’s care, Zayn and Tarsus met Goffa: one of Dingo’s newly appointed “special police”. Meanwhile, Finn ordered preparations for Hana Daea’s body, intending to attempt his first resurrection and fulfill a promise to her son, Kando.
Individual business attended to for the moment, the party reconvened to meet with the ruling council they had established to rule Tulesa in their absence. After each member provided updates on their particular areas of responsibility, Zayn and her compatriots tasked them with figuring out ways for the small town’s economy to begin to flourish and become self-sustaining. The contents of the Tulesti citadel’s vault would not last forever. Meeting with Squeaks, apparently now Tulesa’s resident druid, Zayn gave her custody of the powerful item that had been used to temporarily strand their ship- the weather control stone. Squeaks was asked to make use of it as often as possible to help the town develop arable land quickly.
Meeting privately with Arastea Ghomesh, Tarsus came clean about some potential bad blood between her and the original group from just a precious few weeks ago: They had acquired the book that Wils had stolen from her, and turned it over to the Empire before they really had a handle on what was happening in Riyaqa. Ghomesh was bothered, but generally peaceful with the revelation. After some discussion, she revealed that she had been on her way to meet a contact in Port Miller when the book was taken by Imperial agents. She knew only that she was to go to the Tarred Crow and ask about “the war”. With that, Tarsus knew exactly who she was intended to meet, and carried that information back to the rest of the group. If he knew something about that first book, then War might know something about the one they carried now. Needing a night to rest before pressing further, the group settled in in Tulesa. Finn used some of his remaining time to hire the Asad engineers (in town to oversee the construction of the sovereign spire representing the source of power behind an Asad seat) to design a chapel for him, and he took the first steps toward construction. After about a day and a half in town, the group was ready to leave for Port Miller.
Zayn carried the group to Port Miller with a Teleport spell, heading nearly directly to the Tarred Crow tavern. Moments later, they had their audience with War and presented him with the page they still carried from the original book that was supposed to be delivered to him. After some analysis and referring to a couple of tomes he had brought to him, War announced that previous information they had was close, but not entirely accurate. The wards the page described were confusing because they were designed to contain an evil entity on the inside, and ward it from other evil entities. It was a collection of spells meant to contain and conceal. When the group moved on to asking about the cursed skulls and the prayer book they currently had, War stopped the discussion and gave them a more remote meeting location off shore. Before breaking of the meeting, the group gave War some of the crested Black Fleet armor they had collected in Haralin, asking him to put it to good use.
Hours later, the group rowed up to the island War had indicated far out in the bay of Port Miller. War had brought a gift for the party as thanks for the armor they had presented.
Under the more controlled circumstances of the island, War directed Sindar to again open the book and demonstrate what had happened before. Opening it plunged Sindar into a nightmarish recollection of events from the life of the book’s author, living through his induction into the clergy of the Church of Fen somewhere in the Shadowfell. As the vision paralyzed Sindar, the rest of the group saw the portal open to the Shadowfell, just like last time. Only this time, there was an army waiting. Hundreds of shae charged the portal, though thankfully, from a distance. Finn grabbed the book to force it closed before they came though, but found something strong resisting his efforts- something too strong. Seeing his friend’s struggle, Tarsus jumped in. Together, they overcame whatever unseen thing had tried to stop them. The portal collapsed and Sindar snapped out of his trancelike state.
The story closed as the relative peace of the sea-washed island was broken by a low growl from an unseen source. The thing that held the book open was still here. Something had gotten through from the Shadowfell, and would need to be sent home.
The vote has been tabled in the Asad while missing delegates are searched for and rescued. An automatic procedural clock of 60 days started when they went missing, with 4 days now remaining before the delegates are declared dead and replaced.
The Black Fleet has been spotted in Riyaqan waters, now heading south out to open sea.