The Party awoke the next day, as final preparations for launch were underway.
Kairon Von Brandt was busy making some last minute adjustments to Steel Star One, the vessel that would carry their satellite into orbit.
Some letters also arrived for The Party.
One was from Galinndan Parma, who discussed the results of the Whimsymines investigation. Evidence was found of the strange vision likely sent by Kupola. However, it was easily identified as having originated from the Feywild and having been produced by an aberrant creature. Furthermore, it was purely psychic, and it involved no spatial disruption. The rest of The Park seemed to be free of magical meddling.
The second letter was from Sinikka Takala, who expressed excitement about the launch, stating that her, Adelmar Schermer, and some military officials would be watching from the field outside the LADR. She also stated that later that day, Adelmar would be discussing defense matters with Layneworth‘s top brass, while she would be visiting their Arcane University to increase cultural understanding and such. She also mentioned being willing to ’cut class’ if The Party was around.
Launch preparations continued. The Party took up defensive positions, fearing another attack by the Second Thaumaterigcal Dominion. Carlyle, Gough, and Rhasta climbed up to the deck of a nearby airship to get a better view of the launch pad.
With only a minute remaining until launch, Gough heard a suspicious sound behind the ship, and The Party moved to investigate.
A group of covert arcane agents had teleported in out of sight, and they were preparing to assault the launch pad. Carlyle tried to intervene, but an arcane vortex pulled him from the deck of the airship, sending him crashing into one of the enemy agents.
There were several brushes with death, as the covert team fired back at The Party. Several of them moved into position behind some crates and began to assemble some sort of device. However, a well placed javelin from Abba and Gough’s archery hindered their ability to assemble it.
A gravely injured Carlyle then approached the scene and buffeted the enemy squad and their mechanism with freezing cold, rendering their contraption useless.
Their plans falling to pieces around them, the covert squad attempted to regroup and launch a counter-attack against The Party. Rhasta was pulled from the airship, and Gough was severely hurt, but both managed to endure.
His allies falling left and right, their leader eventually deployed his escape mechanism, carrying him and Abba outside the LADR, where he made his last stand, ultimately being smitten by Abba’s blade.
Meanwhile, one of the enemy agents stuck off away from the battle and tried to mount a last, desperate sneak attack on one of the mages controlling the launch sequence. Gough and Killroy rushed into action to dispatch the final foe and clear the ritual circle, allowing the mage to stabilize his field with only 30 seconds remaining.
With the launch area secure, The Party watched as a combination of alchemical fire and arcane electromagnetism accelerated the ship into the sky.
Searching for the distinct light of Kupola, they found not one, but two sources of that peculiar energy. One was not far into the northeastern forest. It appeared to be in Eryn-Ost, a town built around an ancient fortified tree. The other was further to the north, in uncharted lands littered with bewildering Fey crossings.
However, The Party’s knowledge of ancient lore indicated that there may be some sort of lost city there, a remnant from some sort of ancient battle. Abba further speculated that this may have something to do with The Dome having influenced this world in the distant past.
After some intense analysis, they discovered that the second enchantment was contained within a blue, octahedral gemstone located in the blade’s hilt. The gem had been painted over to disguise it as part of the ornamentation of the blade.
Furthermore, they were able to use the Sunblade’s ability to emit light to project the imagery that it had divined and stored away in a visible format. The blade contained a record of their battles and investigations, starting with the moment that they found the weapon.
There were also two moments captured prior to when The Party found the weapon.
The other image was of a woman who was apparently crafting the weapon. A nearby device projected information into the air identifying the project as D.R.A.W. Data Recording Artifact Weapon 05. A sinister air surrounded the scene, which seemed to be built to support both advanced technology and ancient magic.
With some help from the University to sharpen the image, and some religious back-up from The Party, Abba was able to identify the woman and the environment as being aligned with Vecna, which caused more than a bit of a stir amongst a number of the Ioun-fearing academics.
A number of other cryptic bits of information could also be seen in the sharpened image. Among them were the plans to retrieve the weapons once sufficient data had been gathered. The stand-out among these was that in the event of a high priority retrieval, Charademinds would be deployed.
She had no specific advice about the Feywild of this world, noting that no two worlds are identical in that regard. She also mentioned that the Empyrean Confederation had met with leaders from Fey Courts on worlds that they visited, but usually only after some sort of major space incident that would cause them to take note of the mortal realm.
As for the sword-projections, while she could confirm that the level of technology present in the final two images was reminiscent of that found amongs the Empyrean Confederation, she had no specific insights to share about the people therein. However, she suggested that Adelmar Schermer, being a security expert, might know more about galactic bad guys.
Adelmar Schermer noted that he had seen the monarch insignia before, identifying it’s association with a criminal organization operating out of the Empyrean Confederation’s League of Fey Realms. He recalled that they were known for trafficking in forbidden artifacts and other enchanted contraband.
As for the Vecna connection, Adelmar theorized that they may have allowed the weapons to slip into the hands of organized crime, hoping to gather the underworld’s secrets. How the weapons got here remains a mystery.
Carlyle, however, had a strong suspicion that Adelmar knew more about the organization that he was letting on. The conversation turned confrontational, and then hostile, eventually resulting in Abba removing Carlyle from the meeting.
Outside the meeting, Sinikka commented that, while Adelmar looks suspicious, she found him to be quite transparently boring. She also leaned in towards The Party, inquiring as to how credible her own silly expressions made her words seem.
From there, The Party moved to regroup and prepare to set out into the forest the following morning.