Gathering the wounded and fallen on the deck of the Thunderhead, our heroes did what healing they could. All but Ayelin and Greyshanks recovered and they began to search for a means to take control of the drifting airship. Soon the Ismenni Glum and the Firstborn Gharial had made it aboard the ship to assist.
Listening at a barred hatch amidships, Quill heard the thrum of machinery and some disturbing banging. He shouted greetings through the door in every language he knew (which is several), and got a threatening response in Ignan, the language of fire. The banging was growing in intensity and the group feared whatever was in the cabin might be damaging the ship, while they chanted for freedom. When our heroes pulled off the bar, three large mephitis burst out onto the deck.
Two were immediately dismissed by gems found on the fallen tiefling wizard, and the third was swiftly dropped by the combined efforts of Ferris and Quill.
Inside the ‘engine room’ they found four small furnaces with clockwork and vents going out toward the ship’s workings. There were also posted diagrams the gave insight into how the machinery functioned, although the descriptions were written in the language of demons.
Moving throughout the ship, Norrick and Quill rooted through the cabins and bunks of the crew. In one stateroom they found a hidden rope that seemingly led nowhere. Pulling on it, Norrick was engulfed in a gout of flame but deftly rolled away. Following the rush a fiery elemental burst out of some kind of portal into the small cabin. Norrick shouted alarms and fled for ‘help’, while Quill was overrun by the magical creature. The monster chased Norrick into the open hold, where it was greeted by Ferris’ bolts and a bearded devil summoned by Alaric. It lashed and burned, but it could not stand against the combined group and was soon vanquished.
Within the fire-shrouded portal the devil returned a warded steel box that contained the tiefling fire mage’s spell book and a wand floating disk. The rest of the lower cabins contained stores and small treasures, but no great power or answers. There was, however, a heavy steel safe that contained 26 bricks of salamander’s breath.
Returning the high cabin, Norrick uncovered and disabled a Symbol of Death before anyone was harmed. Inside the sumptuous chamber they found the Waste’s belongings and several of her papers, including the matching journey book to the one the party carries. They also found a sehenstone used by the fire mages and promptly wrapped it tightly in cloth.
There was a chest hidden beneath a bench in the stern, and Keller noted it was infested with mind worms. They drenched it in brining water from the hold to kill the worms and Norrick opened the lock. Within were a great number of treasures for trade and for use in this forbidding jungle.
The papers held official orders from the Fire Lord and a personal note to the Waste that said, “We have all faith in your success my radiant star, but we will have others preparing the contingency. Perhaps the best use of these soft indigenous forms.”
Other notes were written in the spidery hand of the creature known as Kharsus Fantoul. They detail several small demiplanes and explore the idea that one could create a bridge back to their home plane by ‘hopping’ from plane to plane. The details were written in code (as well as in Abyssal) and were beyond the party’s understanding at the moment.
There was also a large armoire that radiated abjuration and necromantic magic, but they chose not to disturb it for now.
Our heroes, who had been slowly tacking back toward the ziggurat, chose to moor the airship and rest for the evening. They plan to return to draconal in the morning and to more thoroughly review the Waste’s papers after spending more time digging through the code (and learning Abyssal).