Meanwhile, back on Tinris and in the depths of the Tower of Arvana Sanys, Gnimish, Elwood and Glorian have been enjoying some unstructured time to themselves. Gnimish has put on some weight and begun to appreciate creature comforts in a heretofore unknown capacity… all the while staging a guerilla war of pranking on Elwood. Elwood has been studying parts of the Tower between incursions on Gnimish and Glorian has been devouring all manner of arcane lore.
It is into this setting that Father Au, ranking High Priest of Barnatim, arrives and drops the news of not only the abduction of Ilfandra, but the disappearance of the rest of the crew. After a short burst of activity, a routine of scrying and studying is undertaken. Father Au binds an Axiomite named Theta Sigma – a creature of pure law – to the Tower as a guardian and begins sending out entreaties for assistance from other members of the various faiths of Tinris.
On the tenth (at least to the Tinrisian perspective of time) such day, Moz and company arrive on a strangely tiled landing of the Infinite Staircase. A strange cabinet of glass, wood and metal which seems to have some sort of bubbles trapped within it begins playing loud music in English – a language plainly understood only by Moz and Aika – and a recorded image of a svelte man crooning into a wand is broadcast in front of the case. The door of this landing is a swinging door made of a light metal, through which the party boldly pass after a moment’s examination of the strange magical musical device.
Upon their entry onto a Prime Material Plane, Moz is immediately spotted by Father Au’s scrying and within moments a rescue effort is mounted. Father Au conjures a Gate through which Gnimish gestures to Moz. As the Gate appears over a previously mundane appearing mirror, Moz scrambles the group into battle readiness before realizing its exact purpose.
In short order, the crew are once more reunited. Father Au explains that the Bright Star herself is already en route back, but will not be returning to Tinrisspace for at least 100 days. Brother Joshua and Arturus are laid in state and the circumstances of their demise presented. As the Orcish High Priest hadn’t prepared for this eventuality, he begins to send further requests to the many faiths in search of someone able to return Brother Joshua and Arturus to their non-deceased states.
Before long, a member of the Gathering of the Green, a dwarf by the name of Bolana Blode. Arturus declines the request for reincarnation, choosing instead the idyllic life of a new resident to the Beastlands. Brother Joshua is less reticent, and returns in the body of an elven female. Realizing quickly her situation, the new Sister departs quickly for elsewhere in the Tower to bathe in the transformative waters of one of the many magical baths therein. The druid takes her leave moments later.
As Brother Joshua finds his manhood again, the rest of the party catch up on the goings on both at home and abroad. Father Au reiterates the gravity of the situation with the missing Goddess and it is decided that the group will call in whatever reinforcements are available and lick their wounds.
Morning finds the party scattered through the Tower, but mostly ready for the task ahead. Elwood mentions that there is a potential solution for their paladin to be restored his humanity and sets to as the rest of the party gather.
Across the continent, other things are in motion. A young, yet wise, halfling cleric of Ilfandra has found herself back in the Dwarven capital of Lake Umfula after partaking of several strange and dark portents. The brighter of the suns, Adris, has started visibly dimming and her miraculous abilities seem… different somehow. Upon arrival in Lake Umfula, Itsasne finds a convocation of many faiths already underway. Ilfandra’s disappearance is revealed, as is a plan by the crew of the Bright Star to rescue her, volunteers are being sought even now. The ranking member of her own church calling her to the fore, Itsasne promptly volunteers. It is made yet further clear that a ship of the line, the Agreement Champion – flagship of the World Navy, will arrive on the morrow to ferry forth any recruits to the Tower directly. A cloaked and hooded figure reveals herself as Ilfandra’s Herald Messenger by providing Itsasne with a divinely charged weapon of her Goddess and then taken for a walkabout by the Revered Mother to answer any questions and set her affairs in order before riding on the Abyss.
After an afternoon and evening gearing up and girding her faith about her, the young cleric sallies forth for a day of many firsts. Upon arriving at the docking site for the spelljammer, Itsasne is met by a young cleric of Makati Wahari, the Tinrisian goddess of time. The two converse very briefly before being ushered up the gangplank. Provided with a copy of the current Spacefarer’s Handbook, a tome written by the admiral for newcomers to space, she retires to quarters feeling perhaps a bit out of her element.
As motivation spreads through the crew, the Agreement Champion touches down, pitching Itsasne to the deck as gravity planes do unusual things to the erstwhile groundling’s senses and sensibilities. The ship is met promptly by Admiral Moz himself who springs into a surprise inspection, much to the chagrin of her crew. As the Admiral makes himself busy, introductions are made and Itsasne begins to feel more – not less – out of place in this coterie. However, as Aika introduces herself, things begin to feel a bit more comfortable. A meal is proposed, seconded and moved downstairs as Gnimish meanders upstairs to memorize his spells for the day ahead.
The plot fully rotates and the young-seeming messenger of Makati Wahari explains the fully gravity of the course undertaken. Simply put, that the principal star of Tinris will be extinguished in one month’s time without the influence of the Pantheon’s head deity. All is not lost, even should this come to pass, she reassures, pledging the full support of the remaining pantheons of Tinris in a concerted effort to sustain life on the world. She then departs, piquing Gnimish’s interest for a moment before vanishing completely into the flow of time once more.
The party reassembled, it is determined that they all set forth immediately. Father Au, along with Glorian, provide some insight into the journey ahead and then Gates the entire group – leaving only himself, Glorian and Goh to remain at the Tower – to Lost Carisar.
Arriving in a large, dimly lit chamber, the party draws themselves up to charge into the Infinite Staircase at the far end. Brother Joshua, in possession of and soon possessed by a magical mace, is having none such. Screaming out in an unknown tongue of millenia long forgotten, he charges to meet the oncoming undead shadows which now move from their places of concealment. Elwood moves to cover while declaring the event. Moz, thinking as quickly as is his prerogative, draws down a pistol and blasts the mace from Brother Joshua’s hands – leaving the paladin to wonder dazedly what had transpired. Mop up of the shadows is quick and efficient as the party moves to the door. A slick, slippery material of bright pink with a similar black handle, greets them and welcomes them back to the planes-transcending Infinite Staircase.
After several brief misadventures on the Stair itself, the crew find themselves on a tremendous landing which seems to house an entire tent city which locals call the “Nowhere Inn”. Preparing to make way quickly, the group pause to find a guide and meet an ogre mage named Ceylow. Initially distrusting such an obvious resolution, Moz bypasses this option and instead seeks out the nearest representative of Hell. While the rest of the party converse with one of the Stair’s guardians, a lillend named Sareena, Moz engages in converse, negotiation and agreement with a demure and well-mannered pit fiend for the most direct route to the doorway leading to the realm of Graz’zt. Upon reaching an arrangement which endangers no souls or persons of import, a tiefling guide is called forth and directions given.