Much to the party's astonishment, a circular drow hovership floats by overhead, pausing to collect the flying monkeys. The hovership then moves off to the east.
From nowhere the man-mountain-techno-barbarian rejoins the group. Grady looks over to determine the tower is their target and says, "Let's go."
Creeping closer reveals the immensity of the slender tower ~ 240' high with a 75' base tapering down to a narrow 25' width. The tower stands on a hillock in the center of a roughly 250' clearing with tall grasses. Endeavoring to approach, the drow ranger (newly appeared from her mysterious travels in the Lands of Nether...) spies a motion beneath the grasses, almost as if a kitten were crawling about beneath a carpet. Suddenly long tentacles attack, snatching the drow and lifting her on high!
|"Now is where things get interesting..."|
Grouge leaps to his feet and bounds at his full 1,600'+ per minute run across the grassy meadow and up the hillock to the silver tower.
Inspecting his surroundings, Grouge sees that the shimmering field and black blob have vanished. The tower, he finds, stands upon three large pilings. Centered beneath the base of the tower extends down a square shaft exposing a single set of double-doors, albeit with no door handle.
The adventures cross in multiples being shuttled across by the faster members until all are present beneath the tower.
The doors slide open upon a touch disclosing a mirrored inside seemingly of polished steel. Once inside the more physically attuned to their surroundings feel the sensation of being lifted up, up, and up. One, two... three minutes pass which from what the barbarian senses as speed must have taken the party hundreds and hundreds of feet skyward. Preparing to blast their way out of the chamber, the polished room stops and the sliding double doors part. Our heroes exit into a lit chamber. Once the last person exits the doors slide shut.
|Egg-shape Domed Chamber|
The chamber floor is a park-like setting, with trees, shrubs, and ponds. 200' up a catwalk is attached to the chamber wall, circling with groups of mirrored-glass windows overlooking the scene. A similar walkway exists at the highest point in the chamber. Light seems to emanate from the walls.
The elevator shaft extends up through the chamber into the ceiling, and there are no other visible doors or means to escape the chamber.
Then, a raspy-sounding disembodied voice, seeming to come from nowhere and everywhere, and vaguely oriental, offers up to the adventurers, "Welcome. Here you may rest and heal for as long as you wish. Then to your task." Man-with-no-name remembers a name 'Matsuhara Yotsuya' completely void of context.
Party rests, recovering health and spells. After what seems a couple of days, the elevator doors open. Anxious to remove themselves from this strange, tesseractian tower, the party enters the elevator where once again the more physically attuned to their surroundings feel the sensation of being transported, down, down, and down this time, hundreds and hundreds of feet.
Stopping and opening to a dark and raining stony-edifaced street. Upon exiting a haughty voice calls out "Give us what you came for."
Turning behind the elevator has vanished and nine straw-hatted men stand back in the night rain.
|Three Tsunami of Storm Spirits|
The spirits of this storm individually use thunder, lightning, and rain magic as weapons, proving cunning and deadly opponents with their fly-by attacks. Thunder exclaims an earthshaking roar entering battle, which causes drow ranger to panic. She flees down the paved roadway into the darkness.
Eventually, though taking many deadly hits and nearly slaying the elf mage-thief, all the storms are defeated. Including one thunder spirit who expires in a concussive blast.
The man-with-no-name traces drow ranger, finds her several blocks away before a vast granite building with many tall windows staring down at them. "See there behind that streetlamp," the drow indicates in the direction of the building. "One of those windows down at the bottom is broken." The drown ranger points to the grassy landscaping, "and these fresh footprints lead straight there."
|Footprints in the Rain...|
|What are these strange folk searching for?|
Even in the dim light the men's skin seems grayish-green, eyes bug-eyed and bulging, and mouths unnaturally wide almost to their ears...
Drow ranger, acting as lookout at the broken window, hears sirens in the distance... coming closer. "Hey," she yells, "We're going to have company!"
"They were searching for something," remarks lizard-cleric, and the group begins picking through the room. Crumpled, and fortunately unburned, in one fishy hand is a piece of paper depicting a green blob and some writing...
Lizard-cleric is not detecting any magic at all in the building when, as he approaches the descending staircase at the north end of the hall, at the most extreme limits of his detection, magic! But outside the building. Lizard-cleric boosts the drow up to open a street-level window, crawl through and take a look. Outside, in the direction lizard-cleric indicates, drow ranger discerns through the dark and rain a shiny, bright-red, horseless carriage the likes of which she has never encountered.
|Looks like time to ramble on...|
Thinking quickly on how the adventurers can avoid gendarmes, man-with-no-name conjures a Shadow Walk, shifting the party through a path along the border between material and shadow. The Shadow Walk deposits the group slightly around the corner, in full view of several uniformed men about a hundred yards away, but fortunately no one notices the strange party.
Lizard-cleric follows his detection straight up to the shiny red carriage. His detection indicates, sitting in plain view on the front bench seat, an oval artifact with a frame of multi-hued encrusted gems, and a center of swirling, milky evanescence. Lizard-cleric's detection reveals intense conjuration magic...
|What the heck is that?!|