Session Log 2022-06-13

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The party awoke within their tornado-shrouded campsite to another rainy day. Heiras was able to walk again under her own power, but remained weakened by her time tied to the chaos-channeling spire. Klaitos and Ignis supported her while the party trekked the remaining length of the elongated passage through the Knotted Zone. Robin asked her to share some stories to liven up the hike, and was regaled with fond recountings of the horrible pirates of the Thundercaller's fleet. Ekkels, meanwhile, tried to play a card game atop Klaitos' shoulders with his Little Dudes, but the storm-wall whisked his cards from their hands.

Klaitos maintained the storm barrier for the first stretch of walking, but as he grew tired, Robin stepped up to take it over. However, her thin patience - coupled with the illusion's inability to block the driving rain - made for a shoddy illusion. An elongated arm reached out of the Knotted Zone towards the "tornado", but Robin made up for her middling focus with her vengeful crossbow, sending the arm reeling into the shearing planes of folded space. Ekkels, well-rested from a night and morning of no spellcasting, seized Klaitos's magic and conjured a new, non-illusory tornado to dissuade further reachers-in.

Though Ekkels' winds blocked the rain from falling on their heads, the distorted landscape of the Knotted Zone caused the rainwater to flow erratically across their path. This culminated in a broad storm surge blocking their path, threatening to trip them up and send them sliding into the shredding walls of the passage. Lacking rope with which to tether themselves, Robin, Heiras, and Ekkels clung to Klaitos as he carefully crossed the rushing water. Ignis waded across solo, trusting his heavy armor to anchor his steps.

Beyond the tornado's wall, the party seemed to be nearing the passage's end. However, Ekkels sensed a strange tug at the storm magic he still wielded, coming from the ground ahead of the party. Klaitos poked his head out of the storm to investigate, and found that a span of the muddy path near the exit had been inscribed with runes of chaos magic, not unlike those he had nullified outside of the entrance to the archway maze. He stepped away from Ekkels, trusting in the chaos mage's hold on his storm magic, and took a closer look, deducing that the effect of the runes was to cause magic passing over their threshold to go haywire.

Unfortunately, his investigation brought him too close, and he fell into the trap. His own storm magic spilled out uncontrollably in all directions. Ignis stepped forward, enduring the weather, and tossed Klaitos his cloak to pull him back to safety. Ekkels pushed back against Klaitos's unleashed storm, protecting himself, Robin, and Heiras. Robin spotted elongated figures emerging from the Knotted Zone to ambush the distracted Klaitos and Ignis. She nailed one arm with an arrow alongside an illusory volley to intimidate them into withdrawing. Ignis hauled on his robe and pulled Klaitos free of the trap, and the two of them returned to the safety of Ekkels's wind barrier.

The chaos-rune trap presented an obstacle to exiting within the safety of said barrier, since drawing near would scramble Ekkels's control. However, knowing that it was there, it seemed easy enough to disrupt - Ekkels used the ongoing tornado to fling the mud of the path in all directions. While the party was ignobly spattered, the span of runes was likewise covered and nullified.

Finally emerging from the Knotted Zone, the party was reluctant to let their guard down. Klaitos left the rest of the group in the tornado to climb aboard the Stormjumper and replace its stolen Aether Core. He was standing on its deck when he heard a loathing voice from his past. Maergos, son of the Thundercaller, descended from the storm-wracked skies on a blocky flying throne. He expressed his pleasure to have chanced across the stolen Stormjumper, but claimed that Klaitos's head was the prize he sought above all else.

Klaitos ignored the taunting and rushed down to the engine of the ship, but found the door welded shut. Meanwhile, Maergos called down lightning around the Stormjumper, making it harder for the rest of the party to climb up. Robin climbed evasively, and Ignis endured a grazing strike, but Heiras and Ekkels were blasted off the rigging.

Klaitos, lacking the time for subtlety, recklessly tore the door - and much of the surrounding structure - free from the wall. Ignoring the damage he had caused, he loaded the Aether Core into the engine, then raced back to the deck to confront Maergos. Robin took a shot at Maergos, but he piloted his throne out of the way almost effortlessly, striking her with lightning in response. Ignis watched the storm mage carefully, but reasoned that jumping aboard his throne would be dangerous if he could simply evade the armored Fireheart's attempt at boarding and let him plummet.

Klaitos emerged from belowdecks and raced across the ship and jumped to grab ahold of Maergos's throne, heedless of Ignis's concern. The throne veered up into the sky, out of reach of the other combatants. Klaitos called his cousin foolish for attacking them alone; Maergos expressed doubt but directed his attention to the shadow of a vessel, veiled by the storm clouds above. Maergos flipped his throne violently, throwing Klaitos off while remaining tethered to its seat.

Below, Ignis wracked his brain to come up with an insult to provoke the storm mage, but for all he could recall, the best he could come up with was "thunderfart", an invective easily ignored. Resigned, he left belowdecks to gather rope. Meanwhile, taking advantage of Maergos's distraction, Ekkels helped Heiras aboard and escorted her to the pilot's seat.

Klaitos picked himself off the ground and began climbing the side of the ship as Heiras took flight. Maergos, high above, began conjuring grander inclement weather to trap them. Klaitos and Robin weathered a blast of electrified shrapnel from the ship in the clouds; Heiras was pulled out of the way by Ekkels.

The ship weaved through the darkened sky as grim twisters and crackling thunder began to overshadow the party's escape. Robin, drawing on her dreams these past few nights of flying off in the Stormjumper instead of sleeping in the miserable Tower, conjured up two illusory duplicates to confound Maergos's wrath. With her aid, Heiras was able to escape his storm - no ship in the Thundercaller's fleet was ever as fast as hers.