The group gets a feel for their new environment: the sheared off slab of Thunderspire floats in a calm dark sea. Both water and air barely move. Grey-pink storm clouds loom in the distance – they seem strangely unnatural. No life besides theirs can be found on the surface of their rocky island.
After a brief exploration, Mialee and Zedra settle on a cavern wherein a temporary base camp is set up. Meanwhile, Kyrrox sets out on Griffy to scout from the air. Even from the maximum altitude Griffy can reach, Kyrrox sees nothing more. Besides the curious pink storm in the distance, there are no other features of land, sea, or air to be observed. She returns and reports.
R4S is all too familiar with being stuck in parallel planes, and the subject of rations became an immediate concern with 4 extra people plus a griffin. They decide to try ringing Herman’s bell; after all, it worked in The Feywild. Sparks and smoke jump from the bell as Mialee rings it. A faint voice is heard from inside the bell, a rattle and jingle of tools, then in a flash of light, Herman appears before them. He is visibly agitated. He hands Kyrrox the gnome’s head mask she commissioned, and gives her a look of disgust.
Mialee asks Herman about food, or food-producing items. He does not have another magic basket, but is willing to sell r4s standard rations at exorbitant markup. Zedra inquires about availability of medicine for the poisoned members of r4s. Kyrrox loudly talks about smashing the bell and trapping Herman there with them, but does not act on it. In the end, R4S buy a week’s worth of medicine for each poisoned member and nothing more. Herman warns them the bell may be permanently broken, and departs.
Loki feels particularly unneeded, and takes a spoonful of threep oil. He sets out on an “exploratory journey” around the perimeter of the island with reluctant Patyen in papoose. Kyrrox, armed with longbow and arrows, heads out atop Griffy to see if she can catch any fish. She expertly skewers two large fish on one arrow and brings them back to camp. Mialee tends to the weak Hidden Hand members. Zedra is able to discern that the pink clouds are magic-based, but cannot tell their source. The group decides to rest for the night and start fresh in the morning.
During the night, Loki experiences a powerful vision: I seemed to be back in the Prime, floating high above Thunderspire as it used to look. I saw the Portal Cube fly out of the cave from where I threw it and watched as it emitted a disc of blue-violet light, bisecting the mountain. The top section then sank into the base and disappeared. Suzette stood nearby, where we’d left her, in shock. She began to speak frantically in Common, not gibberish, as another figure approached from behind. It was Marcus. She asked why he did it, and he seemed distant, strange somehow. As they argued, Mialee approached. She, too, looked… off. As I watched, hovering from above, Mialee made eye contact with me. The three decided to go to Fallcrest. A strange black smoke was seeping from Mialee’s bag.
Loki awakens and joins up with the rest of the group. He relays the vision, though amidst the confusion at its implication, they realized the cube is likely in the Shadowfell with them. After some brainstorming, it is decided Zedra and Kyrrox would fly out on Griffy to try locating the cube in the sea. After four hours of searching, they do locate the cube and bring it back to camp. Zedra gets a good sense of the device after a few minutes of “wizarding” it. The good news is that with some tinkering, Zed thinks he can reconfigure the cube to work across other planes. The bad news: it has exhausted whatever power source it had, and cannot be recharged in the Shadowfell.
The priority of getting out of the Shadowfell persists. Since there doesn’t seem to be anything useful about the slab of Thunderspire they arrived on, the start would be getting off this rock. The only point of interest in any direction is the storm. In order to transport ten people the distance required, Zedra casts an Arcane Gate on the rock wall of their cavern. Kyrrox and Zedra then fly on Griffy a half day, and still see no land. They do spot a ship of some kind. A raft is fashioned out of Kyrrox’s hide armor, resized for a giant and lain in the water. Zedra casts the other Arcane Gate on it. He passes through and sits by the “home” gate in concentration to keep both open across such distance. Loki sticks his head through and looks around like a periscope as Griffy, swimming, pulls the “portal raft” towards the ship. Loki sounds the Summoning Horn and Kyrrox joins him in the gate to send up a signal arrow with a sunrod attached.
Soon a dark flying shape, resembling a huge insect, leaves the ship and heads to the portal raft. Loki waves a sunrod to attract it. Within minutes it reaches Loki sticking out of the portal. A man on a small gyrocopter hovers over Loki in the portal and introduces himself as Georges Manbridge. Georges is familiar with r4s’ plight, having been stuck in the Shaowfell himself for 17 years. Mialee pops her head through the portal as Georges tells them he and his ship are from a town called Gloomwrought. After some chatting, Georges pulls down a funnel on a tube and speaks into it, addressing “the captain.” Georges relays that a group of 10, plus a griffin, are looking for passage to the mainland. As the ship moves towards the portal raft, Georges fills the time by telling them about the pink storm. It is a magic prison, of sorts, housing Orcus’ soul. The Demon Prince was pieced out and separated after The War of the Shadowplague, and his soul is kept here in the Shadowfell. His body lies in the Prime, and his mind – in the Feywild.
The ship is brought about, and some negotiations are made. The Captain agrees to transport R4S/HH to Gloomwrought for 100 gold pieces each. Some of the ship’s crew pull the raft aboard and proceed to stand around in confused awe as the members of R4S and HH step through. Loki recedes into the portal and reappears carrying Zedra. As soon as everyone has come through along with their supplies, Zedra is told he can release the portal. As soon as he does, he collapses to the deck in exhaustion.
The crew consists of 25 men – mostly human with a few elves, dwarves, and Shadar-kai among the ranks. The 4 day journey to Gloomwrought is uneventful. With a magnificent display of self-restraint, Kyrrox does not make a move on any of the crew, nor any member of the Hidden Hand.
The night before arriving to port, Kyrrox has a vision, a continuation of Loki’s: I saw Suzette, Marcus, and Mialee enter Fallcrest, the two Hidden Hand members headed in one direction and Mialee ducked down a deserted alley. After a few turns, she looked around to make sure she was not followed, then morphed into Dwarfie. The pack oozing black smoke was still present. “Dwarfie” then headed over to meet with Selos, who was very unhappy about the recent turn of events. He expressed his anger and frustration that “those Salsa people”, and by extension the mind prism, ended up in the Shadowfell. Doppelganger-Dwarfie looked back at me, like he knew I was hovering above watching. He made eye contact, so I waved. He did not wave back.
The morning heralded their arrival to Gloomwrought: a dark and dreary town, with steep-roofed grey buildings looming over narrow winding streets. A high wall surrounds the city limits completely, extending into the sea several hundred feet. A government official meets the ship at port and asks who might be staying in the city and where they are from. R4S, being new visitors, are required to sigh duty visas to gain entry to Gloomwrought. The “Duty” part of the visa enrolls them into a city-wide lottery (drawn every three days) to help power a massive electrical fence along the city wall. The fence and wall are all that stand between Gloomwrought and a near-constant siege of ravenous undead.