Captain Boniva arranged docking passes in the Axian naval yards, and at some point he gained an audience with petitioner Vestin of the old Waybringer Crew. (Ed, you have no memory of this.) After seeing to many of the Maelstrom officers’ needs, Captain Modron escorted them to Second Vault 17E where they were to meet the Axiomite and receive a letter from Abadar himself!
Amendment: As it turns out, griffons are one of Abadar’s favorite beasts, and Scandrannon hasn’t been properly advanced and geared up as a cohort this whole time! So, this provided the perfect opportunity. Araris and Scandrannon were approached by a griffon rider and her own cohort – Zilvra the Axiomite and Wuyondra the celestial griffon. Long story short, Scandrannon and Wuyondra agreed to pair bond, charging both Araris and Zilvra with hatchlings to watch over in the near future. Scandrannon came out of the deal decked out in the best Axis has to offer and looking more virile than ever!
Back at Second Vault 17E, Tebrilith Peril disguised herself as Ikeda Akane – an uncharacteristic act of cooperation between the two. Few were aware of the plan’s specifics. With a magic map from the Pirate Queen, the kitsune managed to sneak into the lower holdings with a knock-off tiara. Meanwhile, the rest were introduced to Lorenz Vestin, former servant of Apsu in life and Abadar in death. He answered questions freely:
Lorenz once traveled with Aerodus Pavo, Lini Tacmet and Theodric Camrad on board the Waybringer – a sailing vessel named for their patron, Apsu. They accepted Apsu’s charge at the end of a treasure-hunting expedition that turned out to be a journey to the Obelisks of Fate. In pursuit of Grayscale to end the first Pakthryxl, they were ambushed and defeated by Ezgar in the Spellscar Desert. However, Vestin survived by offering his considerable mercantile talents in the Church of Abadar to establish the new Dread and Infernal Lines with the Grayscale Sept.
A man called old Hoary first tipped Lorenz and company towards treasure and adventure. He was also there when the Church of Abadar discovered Vestin’s crimes months later. The Osprey Piling of the Irespan Bridge of Magnimar contains a secret prison of the church. There, Lorenz was thrown in a cell next to Hoary’s (Lorenz didn’t realize it was Hoary at first). The Pakthryxl came to an end shortly after. The world outside was still shaking from the death of Aroden.
Lorenz grew old and demented from captivity, though he loved staring out his tiny porthole at the ocean and hearing the crashing waves. He vaguely remembers hearing Hoary being brought back to his cell several times, but he never recalls him leaving in the first place.
Everyone’s attention snapped back to the Second Vault as Lorenz produced a sealed letter from Abadar. A synopsis of the letter was…
That the irreconcilable differences between Apsu’s dragonkind and the remaining Grayscale Sept are once again causing major havoc to the planar economy with vast amounts of unexpected hoard wealth. It is forcing Abadar especially, and many other deities besides, to hold council and consider taking direct actions. Before that happens, Abadar would like the present crew to use their audience with the enraged god of dragons to consider a certain orb of dragonkind…
Though the orbs of dragonkind are fiercely hated by all dragons (none more than Apsu!), this orb in particular was designed by Abadar to harbor a contributed portion of will from every draconic sept. The resulting entity, the combined will of dragonkind, could then decree final justice for the grays. Of course, Apsu and a great wyrm from every sept would have to breath on the orb as an act of consent for it to work.
Other details in the letter spell out that a servant of Abadar must attend the orb at all times and that the orb must be contained in a “Third Vault” between breaths of consent.
“Why not simply destroy the grays?” someone asked. The question has been asked many times since Dahak cursed the resplendent platinums long before history was first recorded. Their prolonged misery is like none a species has ever known. It has prompted a creature like Grayscale’s desperate cunning. Even Vestin and Abadar suspect their own involvement was anticipated. Few can claim otherwise.
After Lorenz read the letter out loud a couple more times, Araris invited Vestin aside to talk privately. They discussed his possible station with the church and suitable upgrades to the Maelstrom (ship) and crew equipment for such a task.
In the basement level, Akane avoided magic detection by sliding THE PIRATE QUEEN’S CROWN from its holding with her inanimate balancing pole. Upon deftly sliding its replica back in place the tiara teetered with the slightest jingle. It was enough to alert the inevitables outside. She leaped over and beyond them with uncanny ease only to encounter a locked door. Fortunately, the constructs were no match for her flurry of swashbuckling swordplay.
The entire vault’s ambient light pulsed in alarm. Akane quickly ascended the steps and encountered Captains Modron and Boniva on their way upstairs. Where has the captain been all this time? Largely ignoring the vault alarms, Boniva announced that Slate had been sighted flying up the River Styx!