Session Log 2022-07-11

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Returned from the Knotted Tower at last, the party rested at the Windwatcher's Keep for a few days, enjoying the relative comfort of its spartan barracks and meal hall.

The party debriefed with the Gale Queen and her council. He detailed what they had discovered in the Tower - perilous distortions of space and void, strange magics left to ruin, aether age artifacts of unknown purpose. They also described their encounters with Zoll, the Grand Devourer, and his elongated acolytes, as well as the poor soul in the process of being stretched into one. The council accepted this news gravely, and had it recorded for a day when the Tower and its demonic master might be recaptured or destroyed.

Afterward, Ignis inquired into the Keep's current objectives with the Queen's military advisors. The answer was nonspecific - lacking the strength to yet engage any force in battle head-on, the Keep was still working to sabotage and gather intelligence on the various factions at war. Though he was eager to help the Torch civilians in the path of the Scorpion's force of war mutants, he was reminded that the Keep lacked the space and resources to host noncombatant refugees and that he himself would draw dangerous attention should he reappear in Torch territory. He suggested that they should send a clandestine scout to warn the villages at risk, and that securing defensible territory might be higher prioritized, both of which the advisory agreed upon.

Meanwhile, Ekkels visited Heiras and Millie in the Keep's infirmary. Heiras was in recovery from severe chaos exposure, and wasn't much able to move around, but was enjoying a game of cards with the Greenkeeper. She invited him to her side and let him watch her play.

Klaitos took the strange hammer to study it. He soon realized that the function of the hammer was not intended to be conditional or specific, but that it was lacking for power - a small aether core on its handle had shattered. He left it with the Keep's smiths to be repaired. The smiths, equipped to maintain the flying fortress's aetheric engines and magic armaments, was undaunted to work with the ancient artifact and let him know that restoring the glass core would take only a few days.

Robin visited the library with the tomes she had risked life and limb to recover. She was disappointed to learn that the process of copying and translating them would take weeks of laborious effort on behalf of the Keep scribes, but decided that it was more necessary to have backups than it was to sell them immediately. The scholars started work on the Tome of Arcanic Artifice first, a project that would take about 3 weeks, but promised to take shorter notes on any critical details. Robin stowed the other two books in a hiding place. Klaitos shadowed them for a few days as they translated the first chapters. He took notes so that he might be better equipped to identify artifacts in the future.

Ekkels later joined Klaitos and the scribes in the library. He revisited the book about Chaos to see what he could learn about "grand demons" like Zoll. The book described them as rare, obscure beings, supersaturated in potent sources of Chaos and able to damage the very fabric of reality like it were paper. It noted that the continent was surrounded by an ocean of demons, lesser and greater, and that it was due to these that none had travelled to anywhere beyond its vast waters since the Day of the Archdemon. Of that Archdemon, the book offered little but speculation, describing it impossible to tell if the force that caused that dark day was truly demonic.

Ignis took stock of his possessions and various trophies. He realized that the Gale Queen might be able to activate the enchantments of the Heraldic Blade of her house, which he reclaimed from an elf turned Howling Marcher back in Haxryn's Talon. When he brought it before her, she told him that the elf had been her trusted paladin and friend, and that she still grieved his recent loss. She informed him that it would only serve the hands of a sworn knight of her service - an opportunity that she would not deny Ignis, but one that held legal implications regarding his noble standing. He decided that jeopardizing his inheritance wasn't in the cards today, but returned the sword to her rightful ownership all the same.

Pleased to have everyone else working on her behalf in the library, Robin toured the Keep to "test" the enchanted Wilga's Wisdoms on them. Most people were moderately offended, some were simply confused, but she had her answer - if she could get someone to read it, she could use it to read them - or at least, glean some of their most risible qualities.

Ekkels shakily put the Chaos book back on the shelf and resolved not to tell the party, lest Ignis lead them on a crusade against the Sea of Demons. It had mentioned the Day of the Archdemon as if it were common knowledge, so Ekkels looked for a historical text to fill in the gap. He learned that the term referred to the incident that instigated the collapse of the Aether Age, in which a force that came to be known as the Archdemon thrust the world into madness. Unfortunately little is known today about that force or this era, due to all of the madness.

The party later regrouped and discussed the Keep's intelligence and their next goals over a map of the northern continent. Ignis still wanted to be a hero to the Torch civilians, but wasn't sure how. Ekkels hastily scribbled out the Sea of Demons around the margins of the map but offered no further input. Klaitos pointed out that they might be able to effectively infiltrate Dawnthrone - there were certain to be a few giant-blooded among the Thundercaller's fleet, so only Ignis would need to be well-disguised - and that they stood to gain more concrete advantages from espionage there than elsewhere. Robin, realizing that she had an opportunity to hang around loot-laden pirates in a free spa, seconded Dawnthrone.

Robin paid her farewells and left Heiras a set of loaded dice to keep her entertained in the hospital. Heiras appreciated the gift, but confessed to owning a set already, to Millie's shock and horror. Robin prepared disguises for the party to blend in with the new residents. Herself and Klaitos she dressed as accomplished pirates, while Ignis received a deck swabber disguise complete with eyepatch and false moustache. Ekkels got out his jester's cap and bells. He was unsure if either "pirate clowns" or "clown pirates" were real things, but decided that, since it wasn't his face on all the wanted posters, he could probably make it work.