The Tombstone continues to make it’s way up the Sword Coast. Captain Gregor and his two sons Braedon and Darrel are still exhausted, but Aces and Modreg are of great help in crewing the ship, allowing the three salty dogs a bit of rest.
Modreg becomes quite the rigging monkey, and is able to scurry up and down the masts effectively, adjusting and reefing sail. Cliff is up at dawn in the mornings doing fighting routines on the rails of the ship. The Feypoppies, Teena, Vitnee and Chael watch him and begin to incorporate his moves into their dance, noticing their interest, he takes an active roll in their practice, and they in turn teach him a few tricks as well.
Ehd decides to take the time to write a book on war strategy and Terrlen mostly keeps to himself and attempts to stay out of the way of the ship operations. Megilwath is almost never seen, and stays in a dark corner of the ship. Fanidea stirs in boredom.
At some point Rumbert approaches Aces and apologizes for beating her so badly in poker and asks about the curiosity about Sona and the Feypoppies. Aces tells the story of Sona and then Rumbert tells her what he knows about the musical troupe’s interest in the girl.
He talks about each of the three girls and runs down their places…Teena Tigerlily is the lead and she vyes for attention. She is a control freak and takes any idea she finds to be good as her own.
Vitnee Moonshale is the one who believes that Sona will be a great addition to the Poppies, and she secretly wishes to replace Teena with Sona as group leader, which is why she is desperately seeking her.
Chael Starwind is the third wheel, she tries her hardest to extinguish the fires between Teena and Vitnee. She is relegated to back up singer even though she has more talent and a better voice than both her group mates combined, though she never gets the spotlight. She is thinking about a solo career.
The two thank each other and Aces notices Braedon and Darrel using a spy glass to track movement over one of the islands. Aces sees what they are pointing at and tells them that it is Lythannis and his Pegasus, Celestine, just now catching up to the ship.
When the Eladrin dismounts the white winged horse, He stands as tall as always but his brow is furrowed more than is in character. He pulls Aces aside and speaks…
“We cleared the rubble, all the way into the underground levels and beyond the wizard’s library. There was…too much death. Blood everywhere. We. We couldn’t identify the bodies with so much damage. There were no survivors from inside the tower. I am sorry.”
He looks down for a moment and Aces denies that the Eladrin and Sam could be dead. She knows them to both be far craftier than Lythannis is giving them credit. Lythannis is filled with hesitant hope and regains his eladrin composure, then he says
“Something else though, among the few salvageable items from the library level we found this…”
He unwraps a dagger and hands it to Aces.
“They identified it as Sona Summergale’s Songblade. Once they accessed it’s secrets they found her entire catalog of songs, in full, along with one final message. Judging by the time it was infused, it would be after she was taken by the Shadovar.”
Everyone within earshot leans in at the mention of Sona Summergale. Lythannis places his hand on the dagger and tells the mul she should probably listen in private.
Down below Aces, Modreg, Megilwath, Terrlen and Lythannis listen to the message…
“Need help. So cold, so alone…betrayal. Abandoned! My head…whispers…Oh gods, the whispers! I told them…everything! The agony! Not my body…memories…fragments. The darkness! He returns. Never long…he returns! Please just let me die!”
When the message ends, everyone stands in silence, it takes them a while to discuss what it may mean. Aces can’t figure out how the dagger got into Sona’s hands after she was taken prisoner by the Shadovar, and even more perplexing, why it ended up in the wizard’s tower of Baldur’s Gate.
Lythannis then mostly keeps to himself, staring out at the sea, drawing picture after picture of Mentathenis.
That night, the boat makes anchor in a very narrow passage between the mainland Sword Coast and a group of islands halfway between Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter.
Fanidea stands upon a crag over and within a webbed world, a massive funnel, floating moats and nests are all around her. It can only be described on a celestial scale as It stretches out, around, and behind her again, then twists upwards into infinity.
Though so large, it feels absolutely crushing and, it is nearly impossible for the Drow to breathe.
When she turns, she realize that she is at it’s end. The very bottom, and the deepest part of the spider’s lair. The the body of Lolth it’s entwined before her, spun-in, and tangled in webbing. She shifts, and her long slender widow-black legs push through and rip their way out. She emerges in all her glory, all her perfectly disgusting beauty. Her flawless dark elven body and face of a drow noble are propelled forward atop her arachnid lower half. 8 feet click across the stone surface as she strides towards the Drow, a maniacal smile pasted across her face, eyes burning red and death white hair billowing out behind her.
From Fanidea’s hands ignites the Wraith Scythe, and as the spider queen nears, she draws it back and prepares to strike.
Fanidea awakes and Megilwath asks if she is alright. She assures him she is, though she can hear a voice in her head telling her that she could have the power to kill Lolth if she just took up the Wraith Blade.
When Fanidea snaps from her meditation, the Wraith Blade whispers many things to the Drow. Promising ultimate power, enough to destroy Lolth. It also reveals to her that the Wraith Blade is only a name, and it can be any number of weapons, even a Scythe. It urges her to kill Megilwath and take it into her hands. She skirts around the idea at first, remembering the entire reason she is on the boat in the first place is entirely in opposition to what the Wraith Blade wants. She is supposed to protect Megilwath at the request of her guild in Menzoberranzan.
The cursed blade eventually starts to threaten, and no sooner, a host of Goblins and Orcs begin an assault on the anchored Tombstone.
Aces, Megilwath and Fanidea engage the oncoming enemies. Aces has the crew of the Tombstone moving as quickly as possible. And they begin hoisting anchor. During the fight, Fanidea decides to flirt with the idea of taking the blade before something truly evil gets their hands on it. The goblins and the orcs swarm onto the boat, but Aces and Modreg are able to manipulate and dispatch them easily knowing their way around the boat. Under clouds of darkness Fanidea attacks Megilwath from behind. It takes a moment before he realizes what is going on and turns his attacks against the goblins towards Fanidea. The Drow Cleric leverages the power over her kind and her undead minion crocodile from the Koa-Toa cave.
Megilwath attempts to defend himself but is very nearly killed by her, but Ehd and Aces figure out what is happening and lend aid to their friends who both claim they are being assaulted by one another. Eventually Fanidea is subdued and thought to be dead by the others but through her Amulet of Defered Death, she is able survive. before she slips off the side of the boat, she tells Ehd she is sorry, and she was tricked. She makes her way to shore and sneak past a trio of Ogres. The group finishes off the remaining Orcs and Goblins and Gregor, Braeden and Darrell get the Tombstone moving just as the Ogres bust through the trees and make their way into the water.
Fanidea wanders through the woods, badly bleeding. Her white hair caked with red. Her scythe drags behind her. After a while, she comes to a road and is nearly run over by an oncoming horse and carriage. She announces herself as not an enemy and that her ship was attacked. The man driving the carriage pulls back his hood to reveal himself as Gendar, the Drow shop keep from Baldur’s Gate by way of The Seven Pillared Hall, by way of Sschindylryn. He vaguely recognizes her from when he caught them in Baldur’s Gate and led them to his new underground (and now mobile) shop.
He tells her he is on the way to Neverwinter, hoping to catch her friends again (his best customers) and offers her a ride and rest in his cart. She gladly accepts and up the road they go.