Chapter 23

The Vortex of Worlds

April 10, 2020

Kaamber and Raz were still clinging to survival on the mountaintop, hoping for rescue, when they were attacked by a Frost Giant with a pair of Winter Wolves as companions. Their doom seemed unavoidable when suddenly a Halfling barbarian wielding a magical Dwarven Throwing Hammer charged in to save them and helped slay the enemy.

Yara Goodleaf was the sole survivor of a destroyed Halfling shire who had sworn revenge on the giants responsible. She had no place to take the pair and, seeing Raz shivering in the cold, could only offer a small fur cloak for the elf to put around her shoulders.

The next day, the Black Acacia finally sailed into view and Kamber, Raz and Yara were met by Captain Professor J. Konnifer flying around on Theren’s broom. She told them that Salbrizaar had been killed by the O’Blesseds and Theren fell victim to the pirate crew of the Veiled Rebecca. She also said that Kaamber’s former crew had deserted, leaving her the ship which she crewed with new sailors in order to come rescue Kaamber and Raz.

Although he was crushed to find he was no longer captain of Black Acacia, Kaamber accepted the new reality and got aboard. By virtue of having saved him and Raz, Yara was invited to join as well. The boat then set sail back to Cascaveda before more giants could arrive.

Konnifer was eager to get on with the adventure of finding the wizard Tolok and put out the word that she needed more adventurers. In no time at all, a carriage arrived at Stars Taverna, where the party was staying, and out stepped the very young, very rich Ramona Geminov, her nurse, Petrika Briasa, and a trio of animated corpses in fancy dress. The young heir to the estate of renowned necromancer Ivan Geminov, the teenage Ramona was very eager to leave the city aboard any skyboat that would take her toward adventure.

A week of sailing over the clouds brought the Black Acacia to the Vortex of Worlds, which was a trans-planar hurricane whose mouth was formed by a circle of 12 earthbergs. While attempting to tie the boat to a tree atop one of the earthbergs, the party was attacked by flying Stirges. The beasties were dispersed by Konnifer’s magic, but a gigantic, blue-tinted version of the monsters appeared and joined the battle, felling both Ramona and Petrika before it was slain.

Investigation of the earthbergs revealed a cave in one of them where a treasure pile was to be found made up of exquisite and valuable art objects. Knowing that the Vortex was controlled by Chasme, Demon Princess of Parasites, Konnifer deduced that these were all gifts given to her by previous adventurers who had passed through the Vortex of Worlds. She decided to add the party’s Scepter of Swarm Control to the pile and waited.

The next day, nothing had changed, so they decided to take a jeweled skull from the treasure pile and toss it into the Vortex, hoping that would summon Chasme. That night at midnight, she came, looking very much the same as the big blue bug they had killed the day before. Princess Chasme accepted the Scepter in exchange for letting the party use the Vortex. When Konnifer asked if she could also guide them to the right area of the Vortex to reach the Pocket Plane of Grimanski, she demanded the lives of the sailors in exchange.

To Konnifer, whose inclinations ran toward Evil, it was a fair deal.

Chapter 24: The Pocket Plane of Grimanski