The party spent some time arguing about whether to take the strange man to the "Cloudsire," they had learned about earlier—the large stone head near the northern gate—or to the prince's manor. Eventually, after an interjection from the strange man from the sky that the one he sought was "not of stone," the party decided seeking out the prince was the better option, despite their unease at the number of guards at the manor. The party then set off through the city, careful to avoid the main roads to keep their strange companion out of sight.
Later, as the party neared the central square where the prince's manor was situated, Ardeth—who was leading the party, primarily to keep his distance from the strange man who fell from the sky—noticed a strange scraping sound coming from one of the roofs above. At Ardeth's warning, the party stopped, and just in time—for there was some sort of foul creature none in the party had ever encountered before spread across a rooftop. The creature had translucent blue skin like that of their new companion, but that was where the similarities ended. The creature was almost formless, a blob of flesh with winding, multi-jointed limbs sprouting forth at random points. The party's companion, though still in pain, growled at the party to kill the creature before it killed them, a warning that they took to heart.
After a very successful first firing of Harold's new, explosive, ammunition which split the strange creature into two charred and reddened blobs the party exterminated the creatures without difficulty. The creatures, after being defeated, crumbled into black dust that quickly blew away in the wind, explaining the black markings the party had seen on occasion on their way through the city. Before the last of the creatures was defeated, however, it reconfigured its shrinking form into a human head that spat out hateful words in a language that the party didn't recognize, but their strange companion did.
At this time, the party's new companion finally introduced himself, and his situation to the party. He told the party his name was Saeyvithos darAqellim—or Saey—and he was a Cloud Dancer, a Cloudborn warden of the Sky Prison, and that the creatures that were falling from the sky and attacking the city were Cloudwraiths, creatures that hate all of those who live on the surface. With this knowledge in hand, the party continued forward in the direction of the prince's manor.
On the main road leading into the square, the party discovered a member of the city guard laying on the ground, injured. After a quick patch job by Sylthana the woman was able to explain that she had been fighting with her unit throughout the city, and that, sadly, she would not be able to help get them into the manor, her unit not being one of those set to guard it. The guard thanked the party and made her way off to return to her unit, leaving the party to finally enter the central square.
Once in the square, the party spent some time discussing their next move before Harold made the decision to approach the guards himself. After several long minutes of attempting to smooth talk the party's way into the manor, Saey joined him and was successful in convincing the captain to let the party inside. The party was then escorted into the comfortable, but not overly opulent, manor by several guards down into the basement where the prince waited in a large chamber behind a massive metal door set into stone. Inside the party found Prince Therric in conference with representatives from several other nations, including Calladai, Halaroth, and Oshnaluna. The prince, once he had gotten over the surprise of having several strangers escorted into his sanctum, explained to the party that he already knew about the Sky Prison, and that it had, at one point, been just one part of a larger whole, one that had fallen in the current location of Herrion over 1200 years earlier.
While Therric had information that helped the party he was not, in fact, the person that Saey was seeking, he claimed that Therric's blood did not "sing" to him. Therric explained that this was because he was an adopted member of his House, and that key parts of his family's genealogy had been lost in a disastrous fire some years earlier, meaning finding someone who might possibly have some way to reach the Sky Prison would be problematic. Prince Therric mentioned that there was, however, a repository of knowledge on an island in Virali Bay that had, a century earlier, fallen beneath the waves in a storm. The tower that held these documents was magically protected, so they should be preserved, but he had no way of reaching said tower. At this, Saey volunteered that he could get them down to the tower if they only had some way of reaching the part of the bay in which it lay.
At this impasse, the Calladaian representative stepped forward, mentioning that he was the captain of a ship that could take the party out to their goal. In fact, his ship was the only one at the docks that still had enough crew to set sail at this time. The party decided to take the man up on his offer and wasted no time in heading out towards the waterfront.
As the party made their way through the streets the party also noticed that the red scar in the clouds had faded to a near-invisibility with no more Cloudwraiths falling to the city. Content that the city would likely not be destroyed in their absence, the party boarded the Calladaian ship, which quickly set off across the water. While there was a brief moment where several party members—and crew members—were swept overboard by a sudden wave, the captain—named Rhothan—was able to successfully navigate to their goal in only a few hours without any deaths or any messes from Kalise.
Once anchored above their goal Saey perched himself at the bow of the ship and apologized to the party for any discomfort as his form stretched out, almost endlessly, until the entire ship was enveloped in a large sphere stretching out from Saey's still-humanoid body. Suddenly, as the sphere was completed, the entire thing suddenly plummeted down into the ocean at high speed, with water and ocean life streaming past as the ocean floor approached. Almost as suddenly as it had begun, their descent stopped, with the ship being less than a dozen feet from the edge of the Saey's "skin." Saey screwed up his face in effort and the edge of his form shifted to form a staircase that terminated at one of the leaning tower's windows, into which the party quickly entered.
Inside the tower the party discovered several floors with beds and other furniture, with scattered reading material, but it wasn't until they reached the top floor that they found something truly worth investigating. Along the wall near the entrance to the top floor the party was able to discover a loose stone in the wall that, once removed, revealed an icy blue stone that glowed a similar tone to Saey's skin—in fact, what little they could see of Saey's form out a nearby window almost seemed to be reflexively reaching to the stone as they examined it. The party pocketed this stone and continued along, discovering footsteps climbing the steps and eventually ending at the far wall on the top floor, upon which was scrawled a large rune that after a little bit of investigation the party was successfully able to decode and open, revealing a small chamber in which the desiccated corpse of a man was clutching a large tome. The party wrested the tome from the corpse—accidentally snapping off their arms—and found inside an incredibly detailed genealogy of the prince's House. They were able to determine that the corpse had been in this room for at least ten years and, going by the red powder on his fingers, had drawn the rune on the wall that had hidden this chamber from sight. As well, Ael'srill was able to discover a silver bracelet on the man's wrist that had the cold fire symbol emblazoned on it.
As the party began making ready to leave the tower suddenly began to shake around them, and water began to pool around the edges of the windows as the magic separating the party from certain doom began to break down. The party scrambled down the tower to their point of entry and leapt back out onto the Calladaian ship, upon which Saey almost immediately began their ascent, though somewhat slower, and more labored than their descent. As the ship finally breached the surface of the ocean Saey immediately snapped back to his normal form and collapsed into unconsciousness. The party arranged the Cloud Dancer into a slightly more comfortable position as Rhothan and his incredibly unsettled crew sailed the party back to Herrion, taking only slightly longer than the initial trip had taken.
Once in Herrion the party quickly made their way over the prince's manor and unloaded the large tome on one of the prince's scholars, who set out to compare it with other documents, looking for any possible living descendants that could provide some sort of method of returning to the Sky Prison and solving the current crisis.
—END OF SESSION NINE—
—TO BE CONTINUED—