“What is that thing?”
Uthal, Tricks, and Lisanna must have heard that question a dozen times while they portalled up to the Windy Valley from their original sighting of the Pandemonium Stone from the Hinterlands. Oh, there was no doubt it was the same stone they saw off the coast of Port Cullis all those months ago. But where had It been since disappearing from there? And why was it reappearing so soon? The party did not have time for these questions as they and the other capable fighters from the Holy Caravan (as it had been self-named) used a series of portals to double-time their ascent to the Windy Valley.
After a few portal jumps, the party got a respectable but safe distance from the Pandemonium Stone. They had filled in their compatriots with what they knew about the Stone – it was the embodiment of the elemental chaos and existed outside of time; it has a bunch of Maruts living on it; and it is worshipped for obscure reasons by slaads. Oh, and it attracts monsters of an elemental and dire persuasion. Lisanna’s calm delivery of the information seemed to steady the nerves of some of the less battle-hardened of the accompanying troupe, though Uthal’s nervousness at being so close to the Watchers of Tomorrow again was palpable.
For a moment, it sounds like something even more terrible than a giant storm-enshrouded megalith is approaching. The air starts vibrating as if a swarm of giant wasps was surrounding them, and, just as the noise becomes deafening, Uthal’s grim visage turns to relief in realisation of the source of the noise. A moment later, a giant V of dwarven airships – frigate class, Uthal notes – thunders above them from over the cusp of the valley edge. A deep, slower ‘whumwhumwhumwhum’ sound replaces the wasp-like buzzing of the escort ships, and, as the party and their comrades shield themselves from the blustering winds, a battlecruiser airship big enough for a crew of 200 looms overhead, momentarily eclipsing the sun.
“The sister-ship of the Craghammer,” Uthal intones reverently. “The spearhead ship of the Battle for Green Valley.” (think of the vignette)
Fireballs and lightning bolts are launched from the frigate decks as autocannons (a slightly inferior version to the ones equipped on Esteban & Makani’s ship) open fire from the sides, but to little effect on the Stone. From atop the stone, Tricks just spots humanoid figures standing, or hovering just above, the surface of the stone. She doesn’t think that any of them are Kima, but she gets the indescribable feeling that Kima is here, lurking somewhere.
As the Craghammer II comes broadside to the Pandemonium Stone, and the frigates begin to disgorge warriors onto the ground, the party ponders its options.