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Tag: wildspace

Chapter 1 — Void Scavver
Back at the docks, Szordrin, Jayce, Nargroth, Oma, and Kytharrah arrived, bringing with them both Martho, from the Interlink Consortium, and the simian sailor, whose name they learned was Bansh. They had made a quick stop at Martho's apartment in Low City for him to grab some maps first, but otherwise took the same route back as they come to get to the Interlink Consortium store.

   As they passed through the crowds of sailors and dockworkers, they noticed a new vessel now tied off there, a metal and wooden conglomeration with towers, steampipes, and massive waterwheels on each side. A crowd of gnomes were leading four monstrous-sized hamsters off the vessel, each larger than brown bears.

   "Giant hamsters?" asked Jayce, who still looked like a drow.

   "Giant space hamsters," corrected Bansh. "They make tasty sandwiches!"

   Martho explained things a bit more. "It is how the gnomes at least partially power their spelljammers, instead of using sails or wings, but they still have helms, too. I do not pretend to understand it." Martho shrugged. "That is gnomes for you!"

   When they reached the Frihet, they found Ombert deep in conversation with some men on the docks. They overheard him discussing how he might sell their Lantanese clockwork toys and smokepower for profit. They waited for the men to leave and then were welcomed back by their ship's Captain. Upon spotting Jayce, Ombert had a sudden look of fear or discomfort.

   "Good Captain, it is only I, noble Jayce," explained the drow.

   "Oh, yes, Jayce, I did not...," said Ombert.

   "I know! I am barely recognizable in this new outfit that I purchased at market, no?"

   Martho did not seem to suspect anything, thankfully, but Szordrin quickly changed the topic to their next plans. "Hakam and the elves will be back shortly, but they are running some side errands. We found someone who can guide us to the Interlink Consortium Corporate Asteroid. How soon can we set out?"

   "Now? Seriously?" asked Ombert. "How long is the voyage?"

   Szordrin looked back at Martho. The cloaked man answered, "How long? Oh, almost no time at all. It is in the Tears. Perhaps an hour, tops. The trick is navigating from rock to rock correctly to find the right one. Its location is not on any commonly sold maps."

   Ombert shook his head in surprise. "I am never going to get used to how things work in wildspace! To think that one would leave for a second destination in the very same day!"

   "I know! I love the Sea of Night!" exclaimed Nargroth.

   "Even so, I will not be able to take you anywhere for a while;" Ombert said, "I have to finish setting up a vendor's booth in the market. The men that you just saw me speaking with will be returning in a few hours to finalize some details with me. However, the ship is emptied of cargo, except that your mounts are still onboard, and we paid the berthing fees, so I could send her with Loreene in command and most of the rest of the crew, if you are in that big of a hurry."

   At this point, Ombert slowed his speech a little, having noticed the upright baboon with droopy skin standing there. Bansh stepped forward and introduced himself with a bow, extending one of his wing flaps like one might bow with a cape. "Bansh nee Rainbowchild, at your service," the creature said.

   "At my service, eh?"

   "He wants to join our crew," said Oma.

   Ombert yelled up at one of the sailors, who was working at the railing. "Frath, did everyone return yet?"

   "Nay, Cap'n. Patrik and Shemus came back just before the Mis..., just before our passengers, but Gorji still isn't here."

   "Well, Bansh, is it? It seems one of our crew could not count his hours, so Tymora may have smiled on you. What can you do?"

   "I grew up on deck, Captain. I can do almost any task that you ask of me, but I am no cook nor can I navigate."

   "Stern sails?"

   "Since I was four years old!"

   "I shall let you work with Loreene's crew on this short jaunt out and back, as a test, and if she likes what she sees, I shall consider taking you on for the long haul. Fair?"

   "It is most fair, Captain!" said Bansh, bowing again. "I thank you. It will be a pleasure to serve." The simian hurried aboard the vessel.

   "He did not even ask what I pay," Ombert said in a low voice. Then he yelled up to Frath again. "Frath, set this one to work with Guttar." Frath nodded.

   "Gorji is missing?" asked Jayce. "Do you think that he was kidnapped? Should we go looking for him?"

   "It has only been five hours," said Ombert. "He is very late, but I am sure that he just had too much fun on shore."


   Everyone else also boarded the vessel, and Solisar began to look over the Martho's map of the Tears with him.

   An hour later, when Hakam and the elves returned, Gorji was still absent. Ombert was more angry than concerned, but Hakam offered to pray for the means to locate him in the morning.

   "That will also give him time to show up," said Solisar.

   "I do not know...," said Jayce. "This worries me."

   The sailors, however, shared Ombert's lack of concern. "He never really loved the sea enough to be a sailor anyhow," said Bollus, a young and bald crewmember from Calimshan with a dragon turtle tattooed on his back.

   "Probably found a pretty spurnarmor at a festhall and lost track of time," said Brad.

   "You always suspect a conspiracy, Jayce," said Leokas.

   "And I was correct the last time that I did, was I not?"

   "Forget about the missing sailor for now," said Szordrin. "Let me tell you what Martho explained to us about the rod of retracing. He said that the it was not a normal rod of retracing but rather a rod of intraplanar retracing. The rod would have functioned somewhat differently than we were told in the store. It still locked onto 'residual threads' in the Astral Plane and could then be used as a spell focus, but it did not retrace to the last cosmological plane that the target was on; rather, it retraced to the last gravity plane of the target within the same plane of existence, whether that be a planet, a worldlet, or even the deck of a spelljammer. This all means that the murdered started from somewhere in our own plane of existence, somewhere in Realmspace."

   "Realmspace is still very, very big," said Oma.

   "Would such a rod give further information beyond that?" asked Hakam.

   "As far as I understood it," replied Szordrin, "it could place you anywhere on the gravity plane, so let us hope that your target was on a small worldlet like the Rock of Bral and not on a full-sized planet like Toril. We still would need to know how the murderer found out that my master was in the Underdark."

   "How expensive is such a rod?" asked Hakam. "Do we know?"

   "We asked him that, and he said about 500 platinum trade bars."

   One of the nearby sailors nearly choked upon hearing the sum.

   Loreene came up to them. "Are you ready to head out, gang?" She already had her vest on that she always wore over her bandeau when it was her turn in command.

   They nodded. "If possible, we hope to be able to return back to the Rock to find an inn before nightfall," said Solisar, "assuming nightfall is even a thing on the Rock."

   "It must be," said Nargroth, "can you not tell that the Rock is revolving? The sun has moved, just like it would have on Toril."

   "You are right, Nargroth. Indeed, it has. At about the same rate as on Toril too, I think."

   "Well, let us sail, then!" said Loreene to the adventurers. "It is a good thing that I held back at the bar with Gren; no one told me that we would be setting sail again so quickly! But, I'm happy to take you where you need to go."

   As they waited for the sailors to untie the vessel from the dock, Szordrin asked Martho a question. "Are fires forbidden on the Interlink Asteroid?"

   "Generally, that rule is held on any small worldlet, yes."

   Jayce took the spelljamming helm again, since it was still linked to him from in the morning. Loreene assigned Rimardo, the Turmish fellow with dreads, as pilot. Solisar and Martho stood behind Rimardo at the map table and prepared to guide the Frihetfrom asteroid to asteroid in the cluster. Loreene began to issue commands to her fellow sailors, and soon, they were rising from the docks at the edge of the Rock of Bral and into the black sky of wildspace.

   Martho would explain to Solisar and Rimardo to which asteroid they should point next, Rimardo would issue commands for heading, which would be relayed, and the sailors would adjust the sails, pointing the spelljammer toward the destination, which was often invisible at such a distance. Then word would be relayed down to Jayce in the forecastle and almost instantly the rocky form of a small asteroid would be some hundred yards in front of the ship. Most of these asteroids were very tiny as far as asteroids go, some only hundreds of yards across.

   When they were about half way to the Consortium's headquarters, Szordrin, who was standing at the port-side railing of the main deck, was enjoying the view. Suddenly, from somewhere below the boat, a 20-foot-long, jet-black form emerged. Szordrin found his head and upper body held sideways in the gaping maw of some creature and felt countless teeth puncturing the flesh of his shoulders and upper chest and back. He struggled with his partly free right hand to press against the monster's pointed snout, which felt like sandpaper. His body went into so much shock, that he did not even feel the pain of the bite.

   Kytharrah spun around, hearing Szordrin's yell. He saw what could best be described as a black cyclopean shark, seemingly able to swim through empty space. Szordrin's entire head was currently in the beast's mouth. The minotaur bounded over and grabbed the "shark's" snout and lower jaw, struggling to pry open the mouth, but even Kytharrah was not strong enough to force the clamp open.

   Leokas launched a volley of arrows from the forecastle into what he hoped was the creature's vital organs.

   "Positively terrifying!" exclaimed Martho. He rose from the map table and covered his eyes. Oma gasped. Solisar looked over. The space shark's body was easily three times as thick as a man's. Its single eye strangely glowed. Solisar's magical vision showed an aura around the whole body as well. He rushed down the starboard steps from the sterncastle, extracting a bit of licorice root from his pouch as he descended. Several standing around him felt a sudden surge of energy and motion, but this transmutation magic was not soon enough for his friend.

   Szordrin continued to struggle, but to no avail. "Ormur!" he shouted, hoping to summon their magic rope from within its pack. The black, one-eyed shark opened its jaw rapidly, surprisingly wide, and its teeth jerked forward before the wizard could respond. In about three seconds, Szordrin's entire body was gulped into the beast's mouth.

   Szordrin was gone.

   Belvin appeared beside Kytharrah and laid hands on him. A surge of strength rushed through the minotaur, but the minotaur had no idea what to do. The monster had just eaten his friend! Belvin began screaming threats and obscenities at the beast in Sylvan, commanding it to spit out his companion. Leokas continued to shoot arrows, now aiming for the shark's tail so as not to also strike his swallowed friend.

   The sailors only just recognized what was happening and began screaming out, "Shark!" Nargroth roared in rage and charged down the steps from beside Oma to the main deck, but he could not reach the shark-like creature in time. It lifted its large head from the railing and was turning in space, about to "swim" away.

   From the top of the mizzen-mast, Bansh dove down recklessly, wings extended and cutlass drawn. He struck the side of beast, slashing its flesh open behind its tail fin, but the four-inch deep gash was not even enough to draw blood. Bansh continued to shoot past the shark into the reverse gravity below the ship's central plane.

   "Man overboard!" shouted Rimardo.

   Hakam burst through the port-side door from the forecastle, having no idea what the commotion was outside on the deck. Seeing a massive shark directly in front of him, he called on power from Anachtyr and boldly pressed his open hand against the shark's side. Black, crackling energy spread through the monstrous shark's body, and it twitched and writhed, but it was still not dead. Only then did Hakam seem to process how large and dangerous his opponent seemed. He stumbled against the railing and grabbed hold tightly.

   The shark flapped its tail to jet away from the side of the ship, but it was pummeled by two blasts of force from one of Oma's spells. It rolled to the side a bit, giving Kytharrah clear access to its thick neck.

   Hasted by Solisar's magic, and strengthened by Belvin's spell, he drove his blade down with great speed and power. The first swing opened up its neck, spraying blood on everyone nearby. The eerie glow in its one eye immediately faded, but not before Kytharrah could stop his second swing, which almost entirely cut the shark's head off.

   The massive, limp form of the beast slapped against the side of the ship and then tumbled. Bobbing in the gravity plane, it began to drift away, but Bansh, also bobbing, grabbed its tail and heaved it back. He reached his hand into the exposed gullet of the shark and tugged an unconscious Szordrin from the creature, covered in vile ooze. Gore and mostly digested bits from earlier meals now floated out of the shark's body to spread out over the invisible gravity plane.

   Sailors and adventures all hurried to help get the bodies of Szordrin and the shark back onto the ship, and they tossed ropes out to Bansh.

   "That was verifiably terrible!" exclaimed Martho.

   Belvin and Hakam were both examining Szordrin on the deck. "He still has a pulse," Belvin said. Oma gasped in relief.

   The druid neutralized the poison that Szordrin had inadvertently ingested, while the cleric used his magic to close the multiplicity of dagger-like bite wounds.

   Szordrin came to consciousness and coughed up a mess of stomach acid from the shark. Thankfully, his fiendish blood granted him magical protection from many acids, granting him the few more seconds that his teammates had needed to free him.

   "Is this dinner?" asked Kytharrah.

   "Might not be safe to eat, my man," said Diero, another Turmish man.

   "Certifiably not!" said Martho.

   "No, I have eaten void scavver meat," said Bansh. "It is not as delicious as night scavver meat, but it is still delicious."

   "A scavver?" asked Belvin and Solisar together.

   "The smaller ones are just annoying scavengers," said Bansh, "but these kind are person-eaters. All scavvers hang around the air envelopes of small wildspace objects, hitching rides on passing vessels. The small ones are actually nice for tossing waste out to, and the night scavvers are, as I said, delicious, but these big ones,..." He didn't finish his thought.

   Szordrin stood silent, still in shock, as the others discussed eating the monster that had so nearly eaten him. Belvin finished decapitating the scavver, and more of its stomach contents oozed out. There was something shiny there. Out of habit, he swiped it. It was coin. He wiped the poisonous goo off and saw a woman's face on the coin. The iconography looked familiar. He went below deck without saying anything else to the others. He had a lot to think about.
Session: 105th Game Session - Wednesday, Aug 22 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Chapter 1 — The Wonders of Wildspace
~ 6th of Tarsakh, The Year of Rogue Dragons, morning
wildspace


"I think that one prophecy is about the dragon in that one song that Jayce used to sing," said Brad.

   "What are you babbling about?" said Gren. "You've been trying to solve the prophecies for hours. We are flying higher than we've ever been; isn't that exciting enough for ya?"

   The main deck and castle decks were crowded with all 40 souls — including the animals — aboard the Frihet as it rose higher and higher into the sky, with the exception of Jayce, who was at the spelljamming helm in the forecastle. Many of the sailors were in the rigging for a better view. Even the sailors who were on their sleeping shift were here. Most were looking down, having never seen Toril from this perspective, a beautiful giant orb of blue, green, and brown, with white strands of clouds. About a third of the left side of the disk that they could see was covered in darkness, like a waxing or waning moon, as the sun was to the starboard side and they were pointing north.

   There were numerous conversations among other small groups of sailors, with one stating ignorance about the world not being flat and another responding that only a landlubber would think such a juvenile thing.

   "Some of the worlds are flat!" said Nargroth, interjecting into one such conversation. "The Rock of Bral, for one, is too small for an ocean, but even if it had one, you could not sail around it; it has a topside and a bottomside." The half-orc's tusks were fully visible, so large was his smile. So long had he wanted to leave Toril and see other worlds. It was finally happening.

   "He speaks the truth," confirmed Solisar, when one of the sailors challenged this. "The sailors had come to trust the sun elf as a fount of knowledge about spelljamming.

   Not everyone was enjoying the view. Rinald was trying to get a view down on the planet that he was leaving, but his wife Maegyn, who was severely afraid of heights, was clinging to him. His sons, Torm and Therion, were nearly hanging off the rail for a better view, which only made their mother more nervous.

   With the exception of Rinald's family, all of them had been high over the surface of Toril in the Frihet before, high enough to notice the planet's obvious curvature, but none of them this high. The magic of the spelljamming helm was such that elevation was gained far more quickly than forward motion while within the gravity well of a planet. They had been climbing and accelerating for more than a half hour now. The most they had ever traveled straight up in the past had been about five minutes.

   "How high are we?" asked Ombert, who was trying not to look nervous, as he stood at his position in the aftcastle.

   "I am not certain," said Solisar, who was standing by him. "Remember that this is the first that I have traveled so high either. Perhaps 3,000 miles? The elves of the Imperial Navy explained to me that Toril's gravity well was about 4,000 miles."

   "And what is that supposed to mean?" asked the halfling.

   "It is the point at which down will no longer be down," the elf replied. "We will know when it happens."

   "3,000 miles!" exclaimed Loreene, the short-haired first-mate. "How big is Toril?"

   "If we had tunneled that far through its surface," said Solisar, "we would not yet have reached its center."

   "Look at that there!" said one of the sailors named Diero. "Is that a tornado?" He pointed at a spiral cloud formation traveling over blue ocean far south of the continent of Zakhara, (which was itself south of Faerûn.)

   "It could not possibly be a tornado," said Solisar. "It is far to large for that. See, it would cover all of the Chultan Peninsula there. Perhaps it is what a hurricane looks like from wildspace."

   There was a sudden jolt, and Rinald's daughter Miri let out a scream before her husband Stedd calmed her.

   "What was that?" asked the captain.

   "It is what I told you would happen," said Solisar. "Our ship is now operating under its own gravity. Order our helmsman to roll us over."

   "What?"

   "Trust me."

   "Helm, roll us full about to starboard," called Ombert.

   A sailor, Indo, on the main deck below, relayed the order to Jayce in the forecastle.

   No one felt anything unusual — there was no feeling of vertigo or motion at all — but the disk of Toril that had been below them flipped around to be directly above them in a matter of seconds.

   "Valkur's beard!" cried out one of the crew.

   "Is spelljamming magic so powerful as to move the very worlds?" asked another.

   "It is we who have moved," said Solisar. "Toril is exactly where it always has been."

   "I get it," said Gullbeak. "We are upside-down now but stuck to the floor." He jumped up and down on the deck a few times to confirm his theory. (Kytharrah, too, joined in the "jumping game" and continued long after the gnomish sailor had stopped.) Maegan, seeing her world now above her instead of below her, lost all feelings of unease from height.

   Since most of them had been looking down at their world, only now did some of them notice the rest of wildspace.

   "Hey, the moon is below us now!" called one of the sailors.

   "Where are the stars?" asked Therion. "Do not the stars live in the Sea of Night?"

   "They are all still there," explained Solisar. "You simply cannot see them because the sun is too bright. We must be in its shadow to see stars; it must be night." He pointed up at Toril. "The shadow that we can see on our world is night for all those on Toril right now. If we were to sail to that side, I assure you that we would see many stars."

   "What now, navigator?" asked Ombert.

   "At this point, I think we can rely solely on the magic of the helm," said Solisar. "Give order for Jayce to point us at the moon. Then we should head directly toward it."

   Ombert called out a command to dip the bow of the ship down, which was relayed. Toril fell quickly astern and the moon, Selûne, was now directly ahead. It was a half moon, its left side aglow from the sun's brilliant light. To the right of the moon were the Tears, trailing behind in the same orbit. Only nine were visible as distinct objects at this distance, appearing as unblinking stars, but there were hundreds of asteroids in the Tears.

   "If we are 4,000 miles from Toril now," asked Oma, "how much farther is it to Selûne?"

   "According to the maps that I have acquired," said Solisar, "the moon is 183,000 miles from us."

   Oma gasped. "Even Jayce can only fly the Frihet at 80 or 90 miles per hour," she said.

   "We just came 4,000 miles in 40 minutes, remember. The spelljammer travels different speeds in different contexts. Now that we are free from Toril's gravity well, our speed will be far beyond that, almost unimaginably fast. I am told by my spacefaring kin that we can reach Selûne in mere minutes. Pardon me, I must speak with Jayce now."

   The black-haired elf moved down the steep steps from the aftcastle and crossed the deck to the forecastle doors. He entered the helm room where Jayce was sitting in the magical chair, head and arms pressed tightly into shaped recesses. Jayce's eyes stared straight ahead, but Solisar knew that the bard's senses were greatly enhanced, such that he could see every passenger on the deck outside and even any piece of seaweed stuck to the bottom of the keel.

   "So, my pointy-eared friend, how does this high-speed thing work?" asked Jayce.

   "Unfortunately, I am not certain," said Solisar, "Try to focus on the moon. Do not try to move us forward so much as concentrate on being there."

   "I shall see what I can do," said Jayce, who began humming a song as he tried to feel how to make the ship move forward. After a half minute or so, he spoke again. "Ah, I got it. We are moving. Nine hells, we are moving!"

   Solisar stepped back outside onto the deck and looked out. Everyone else was looking aftward. There were many audible gasps. Toril was shrinking, and quickly. It was subtle at first, but soon it was undeniable. Their bodies once again felt no feeling of motion; Toril and Selûne simply were changing shape behind and before them.

   After only a couple minutes, Toril was small enough behind them that one could cover it with his or her fists. As for the Tears of Selûne, several dozen were now visible.

   "I can't believe me that home is so many thousands of miles away," said Gren, looking back.

   "A hundred thousands," corrected Nargroth.

   "Do people live on the moon?" asked Niff, the bald halfling sailor.

   "Yes!" said Nargroth. "Are we stopping there?"

   "The citizens of the moon call it Leira, not Selûne as do we," said Solisar. "The Leirans are extremely xenophobic; the elves suggested strongly that we do not stop there unless we fall in dire need of air or other supplies. They even use magic to cover the near side of the moon so that their cities cannot be observed from Toril. The government of Leira actually demands that all ships approach from the far side, which we need to pass on to Jayce, as we are almost there."

   "What races live there?" asked Nargroth.

   "Primarily elves and humans, I am told."

   Ombert called out, "Dead stop!" and the moon and planet stopped changing size.

   Though it was well past the end of many of their shifts, most of the sailors remained above deck. A few, however, were growing anxious. "I don't like this!" said Rimardo. "It is too quiet out here, too... empty!" He went below deck.

   Solisar laid out a map across a small table behind Ombert. He glanced behind at Toril and ahead at Selûne (or Leira) and then made some measurements with some tools upon the map. Ombert looked at the map with him.

   "I believe that that largest speck of light there is Sadness, the largest of the Tears," explained Solisar. "All of the Tears are orbiting around the central Tear, called the Castle, which is not large enough to see from where we are, but here it is on this map."

   "How are we supposed to navigate to the Rock of Bral if the Tears are moving?" asked Ombert. "It would be like sailing to a floating island!"

   Like the moon's rotation, the speed of their orbits around the Castle are synchronized with their orbit around Toril," said Solisar. "You can think of them collectively as a single revolving object. Just like we only ever see one side of Selûne from our world, so Sadness is always about 100,000 miles from Selûne and 138,000 from Toril, no matter what time of the month it is."

   "Ah, I understand. So we can make this heading here," said Ombert, taking a measuring tool from Solisar's hands and curving out a path on the map. He then called out a heading for the crew to pass on to Jayce. Moments later, the moon and Toril and the Tears began orbiting around them, as if the Frihet were the center of the universe.

   "Take us forward!" commanded Ombert, and the Frihet launched ahead, meaning, from the perspective of those on board, that the tiny speck that was Sadness grew into an object the size of a fingernail in about half a minute's time.

   "Where is the Rock of Bral relative to Sadness?" asked Ombert.

   "It is here on the map," said Solisar, "about 20,000 miles from Sadness. Once we get closer to Sadness, we should be able to sight this Tear here, Dragon Rock. Sadness is about 50 miles in diameter and we can see it from here. Dragon Rock is the largest of the Outer Tears trailing behind Sadness. It is only ten miles in diameter, so I expect we will be able to see it clearly once we travel about 80 percent.... Yes, it must be that speck there, see?"

   Dragon Rock was indeed a tiny speck next to fingernail-sized Sadness.

   "Dragon Rock is a major spelljamming port," said Solisar. "From Dragon Rock, I am told that one aims first for Tear #213 and then Tear #202. Finally, one can sight the Rock of Bral from there, at a distance of 2,000 miles."

   "How many Tears are there?" asked Loreene.

   "Hundreds," said Solisar. "Most of them do not have names, and most are smaller than a mile in diameter. They are spread out over a distance of some 80,000 miles. The Rock is actually one of the smaller ones. It was originally a hiding spot for pirates. You can see how finding a one-mile-long object in an 80,000-mile area could be difficult if one did not know the way!"

   Omert adjusted their course and had Jayce head straight toward Dragon Rock. In only a minute's time, Dragon Rock was close enough for them to make out features. It continued to grow larger and larger until suddenly, it stopped growing.

   "What happened?" asked Ombert. "I gave no order to stop."

   "We are just at the edge of Dragon Rock's gravity well," said Solisar. "The spelljamming magic will not take us into a gravity well at wildspace speeds. We must be within about ten miles of it."

   "Something moving high above bow to port," called out the lookout from the crow's nest, gazing through a spyglass. "It look like a giant squid, but it has sails!"

   "Ye don't need a spyglass to see that," said Gullbeak. "There is another one right there, probably two miles away."

   "Are they pirate ships?" asked Szordrin.

   "What flags are they flying?" asked Solisar.

   "Ain't no skull and crossbones, but I don't know the colors either," called the lookout.

   "Is that a shark?" asked Martin. About a mile to starboard, traveling roughly parallel to the Frihet was a sailing vessel constructed to look roughly like a hammerhead shark. It was moving past them at a good pace but was clearly now under the power of wind created by its helm, as its sails were full.

   "Are all spelljammers made to look like marine creatures?" asked Belvin.

   "No, those crafted by our people make them like birds or butterflies," Solisar replied.

   Then he said, "Captain, we need you and the crew to 'sail' us around Dragon Rock. Keep us from getting any closer to it, though, or we will drop into its gravity well."

   Ombert began calling out orders for his crew to steer around the ten-mile wide rock floating in front of them in a clockwise manner.

   "Look! There are buildings on it," called out one of the sailors. It was true, they could see a collection of buildings at the edge of the asteroid. The other spelljamming vessels that they were seeing were all heading toward these buildings. They could count over a dozen other spelljammers now, some of which seemed to be docked close to the buildings.

   "It is a spaceport!" said Nargroth.

   "I think that there is another port there as well," said one of the other sailors.

   "The vessels are oriented the same as the plane of the bulk of the asteroid," noticed Ombert.

   "Yes," said Solisar. "We shall have to do the same when we approach the Rock of Bral. Otherwise, when the asteroid's gravity overcomes ours, what is sideways or up for us might suddenly become down! Notice how the buildings are all on the flatest side."

   The sailors especially were fascinated by the strange array of vessels that they saw. Besides the ones crafted to look like squid or hammerhead sharks, there were several vessels that appeared fish-like, with sails coming off the sides and bottom of the hull like fins and large curved, round windows made to look like eyes. Not all the ships had a nautical theme; there were also multiple vessels with an insect motif, with wings instead of sails and long, spindly legs, perhaps for landing on flat surfaces instead of ocean water. They were too far away to make out any persons on board these vessels, so they looked like giant creatures floating through the ocean of space. Only a few other vessels looked like a standard sea-sailing craft as they had.

   The Frihet sailed through the darkness around Dragon Rock. It was strange to everyone on board that it took them far, far longer to circle half way around a ten-mile-wide asteroid than it did to travel the nearly 300,000 miles from Toril to where they now were in their solar system. They passed scores of additional ports, each with more approaching and departing ships, as they circled, and were introduced to still more varieties — ships that looked like birds, like Kara-Turan dragons, like tiny asteroids carved to look like dwarven heads, like butterflies with wings made from giant leaves, and still others with no comparison to anything that they had ever seen.

   "That is an elven vessel," said Solisar, pointing to one of the leafy butterflies.

   There were suddenly gasps from many of the crew. "Good gods!" cried out Miri, Rinald's daughter. "They are beautiful."

   "I have never seen this many stars!" said Loreene. "They seem so much closer from here."

   As the Frihet passed into the shadow of Dragon Rock, eclipsing the sun, the decks of the Frihet were covered in darkness and brilliant stars became visible.

   Ombert was scanning space, trying to convince himself which of the many specks of light ahead of them was Tear #213. With all the stars, the process suddenly became more complicated, but this problem was solved by simply orbiting a bit further around Dragon Rock to bring the sun back into view. Then, by using Dragon Rock and Sadness as reference points, he and Solisar agreed that the third "star" to the left was #213, and Jayce sent them heading in that direction at spelljamming speed.
Session: 103rd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 11 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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