Tinris, The Adventures of the Crew of the Bright Star

Tinris, Season One - Episode Seventeen

Beneath the Tower of Arana Sanys

The Bright Star returns to Carisar after much discussion; the construct is very child-like and so, at the Captain’s insistence, it will be treated as such. Moz asks the construct if it would like to stay with the ship and crew and is told yes. Thusly, on arrival, Aika, Moz, and Elwood go out into the city in search of toys and books and such things for the being. (Elwood also looks into Arana Sanys at the local library but comes up empty.)

To facilitate, the Bright Star is growing “an interface unit” – in the form of a halfling woman (to better facilitate the imprinting process) over the next four days.

The next seven days after leaving Carisar, the ship takes low orbit, allowing the construct time to figure itself out. Much of it’s time is taken up reading voracious amounts of the “Captain’s Library” (books liberated from the Archmage’s tower). The volume of information it is absorbing is staggering. Four days in, at the construct’s assistance, the crew convenes a meeting to determine a name for itself (owing to a sentiment espoused by Gnimish to the effect of “it takes a village to raise a child”).

Gnimish begins reciting gnomish names (the names of his family, which number over twenty apparently) and Aika begins suggesting names of famous or infamous spacers on whose tales she has grown up with. In the end, the name of one of those spacers and one of Gnimish’s extended family suggest a name for the construct.

The “interface unit” takes the form of a buxom halfling woman with dark skin, and leafy hair. She appears first to the Captain (for, ah, about an hour) and then to the crew – and she takes the construct aside for education and a sort of maternal bonding (though the construct is firm that “she is not his momma.)

On the seventh day, the Captain announces his intention to return to the tower on the morrow and “finish this” expedition….and thereafter see what the Trade Guild wants them to do before heading back out into the Phlogiston, on a run to Spirespace. Afterward, he takes the construct aside and explains what the crew will be doing tomorrow so that it won’t feel abandoned.

The following morning, the crew of the Bright Star (minus the Bright Star herself and the construct of course) return to the Tower and, initially, cover all of the intervening floors (retrieving two of the three training manuals from the library again). On the fifth level however, when rechecking the teleport closet adjacent (for what must be the tenth time) Ismek dives for the teleport circle and – presumably – teleports. However, immediately it’s determined that he cannot be scried (with the scrying egg Gnimish is carrying) and neither Goh, nor Moz, nor the Bright Star herself, can telepathically contact Ismek. Not wanting to abandon him but also not sure that he still lives, Aika volunteers to go after the boy. She steps through and is gone in like fashion. No way is managed to assense her either. From here, Moz leads the party through every possible place they might have arrived, working their way down ultimately to the first dungeon level (again).

Meanwhile, first Ismek and then Aika find themself in a small dark cell without any visible entrance, three (sleeping) dogs, and only a pair of slots in one wall (from size and shape presumably so that food can be slid into the cells – one at halfling and one at about human height). With some work (before Aika arrives in cell) Ismek manages to get one of the slots open – to see a five foot space with only a plain black wall opposite the slot and still no way out. After Aika arrives in the cell, Ismek manages to get his figurine of wonderous power (a small silver raven) to bear a message to the others and put it out the slot in the door.

Over the next hour, the rest of the crew reaches the first dungeon level, scouts what part of it they have not explored (Quid IDs a menhir with some statues and some kind of dynamic magical field but nothing that seems to fit) before they travel to the next level down.

The Second dungeon level is a room with instructions for some kind of game and six pair of wings of flying. The party continues down.

The third dungeon level is simply a door with a name in draconic – Argix Istrana “the Just.” The party recognizes this as a NAME. Not wanting to tangle with a dragon if they don’t have to, they continue down.

The Fourth dungeon level appears to be the last one. It opens into a vast chamber centered on an immense four poster bed. Either wall along the long walls is lined with various creatures in stasis. On each “cell” there exists the name of the type of creature and then, presumably, it’s proper (personal) name. Two of the cells, which should contain creatures of faerie, are empty. From this, Moz and Elwood get an approximate date of how long ago this place was abandoned (likely about 12,000 Tinrisian years!) before finding another staircase going further down. The party follows.

The Fifth Dungeon level is made of walls of force transparently overlaid over the shifting colours of a prismatic wall. A key is present on a table…and a sign, explaining that this is her prison where she keeps her enemies. The key will only permit one person to enter her prison at a time. Moz opens the door to the prison – and is immediately assailed by a frantic silver raven. Now certain of their correct course, Moz follows the creature back to the cell, which he uses the key to open. In the meantime, Aika has been feeding the three now waking dogs – which are revealed to be blink dogs. The trio begin returning back to the prison’s entrance, looking in one of the cells on the way back. An Illithid. Moz leaves it there and they proceed back to the prison level entrance. After a moment to let everyone catch their breath, it’s decided to travel back up to the first dungeon level and begin working their way back down.

On their way back up, the group pauses in the Hall of Paramours long enough for a few things to happen. Ismek investigates Arvana’s bed toys, finding a wearable horse tail on an unusual plug-like device. The toy seems to compel him into using it, only being held short at the last moment by Gnimish’s action. Gnimish shakes the compulsion off more easily and returns to examining the area. Aika, upon spotting a trapped Astral Deva, is entranced and quickly finds a way to liberate it. Azarael Lightborne, the Deva, promptly steps free from his case and sweeps Aika off her feet – quite intent upon carrying her to the nearby bed for some form of sexual congress. Aika resists and the Deva’s compulsion is revealed as it continues to try and force her into an act of lust. Moz intervenes with a bit of an assist from Brother Joshua, bringing the creature up short by use of advanced logic in an attempt to break the enchantment on its mind. After it shakes clear of their puzzles, Aika invokes Terr Lightblade’s feather to try and end the gambit. Terr Gates in promptly, and without a word the enchantment on Azarael’s mind is removed. The two Gate back to Celestia without delay – liberating and vanishing the remaining creatures from their long imprisonment and leaving in their wake a pair of angelic feathers in thanks for Aika’s selfless actions. The crew continue upwards.

Upon returning to the first underground level, the group carefully picked their way across the river’s stepping stones and made their way to a set of standing stones. En route, both Moz and Ismek notice a path through the nearby rocks which leads East. Ismek decides to slip away unnoticed while the rest continue to the menhirs – within which stand a trio of petrified Elves, one male and two female (the females appearing to have frozen in the midst of spellcasting) Ismek discovers a sleeping Unicorn, resting quietly in the company of a Dire Lion, and decides to rejoin the group without disturbing the creatures. Meanwhile, Gnimish has discovered that by carefully applying a mirror to the webbing of arcane magic which seems to keep the Elves stoned, he can restore them. Doing so, he finds that the female Elf which he had just freed had been in the middle of casting a Baleful Polymorph, and thus Gnimish was turned into a weasel. Goh frees the other female more carefully while the first returns Gnimish to his normal form. The second female unleashes a storm giant into the clearing, quickly realizing that the fight she and her fellows had been engaged in was long over. Upon freeing the male Elf from his bondage, the trio explain that they are ranking members of the Gathering of the Green – lost to this world millenia ago when they had come to investigate and put down the atrocities of the Tower’s mistress, Arvana Sanys. After being brought up to speed, they left – taking with them the Unicorn and Dire Lion, their animal companions.

The group continues down and finds the antechamber for what seems to be a flying race. Aika quickly dons a set of white wings, Ismek not far behind with a pair of gold wings, then Moz with red, Gnimish with blue and Brother Joshua with black. After an exciting and harrowing chase through a course of floating platinum rings, Aika earns her wings permanently as the magically treated wings merge with her body. The group rubs their bruises and continues down further.

The next door is marked with a Draconic name, Argixistrana the Just – believed to follow the naming conventions of silver dragons. Entering carefully, the crew find just what they’d expected – a great wyrm silver dragon resting on a tremendous pile of coins, gems and trinkets. Deeply sleeping, Argixistrana fails to notice the group for some time, thus allowing a careful inspection of the room’s wards and protections. A powerful abjuration is found to rest under the dragon’s sleeping form, Moz proving the only person capable of discerning it. Thus it is that Moz, along with Ismek at first, approach the slumbering beast and bring it to wakefulness with their proximity. She proceeds to explain quite sleepily that she was one of Arvana’s favored lovers and was trapped here by her millenia previous. The dragon decided to sleep and wait for someone to free her, and Moz agrees to do so. Brother Joshua enters the room and she agrees, with proper officiation by this member of the Ordocar Order, to render unto the group her hoard in exchange for her freedom. Moz begins digging into the coin bed while the dragon continues talking, until the captain finds the outer edge of a emerald sigil. Striking the spell’s visual component – still unseen by anyone else – with his axe, he is struck in return by a highly dangerous bolt of magical lightning. The spell broken, Argixistrana changes shape and thanks the crew – promptly proving to be a creature of her word by Gating out to Celestia and leaving her hoard behind. Moz contacts the Bright Star to inform of the latest developments, and she agrees to fly quickly to a settlement to secure extradimensional storage sufficient to the task at hand, namely hauling an entire hoard to the surface.

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