Boarding The Winged Explorer, the party journeys out from Arranoon to the city of Ix in Osirion. On the way Eldrathia notices a fight off in the mountains: clans of Fire and Earth Elementals duking it out.
Further on, the heroes find a Golden Aiwah, the fabled Topica. Unfortunately, it is near the wall clouds of a massive storm. The ship turns into the storm. The annoying White Council mage, Ariathon Hanethorpton, eggs the captain on, desperate to fulfill his mission. The party conceives a daring plan: tie Wu to a rope, have him jump off and catch the bird in a net.
Wu jumps and amazingly catches the bird in mid flight. It struggles a bit in the net, and he quickly knocks it out.
The storm rips around the ship. Caen flies overboard but just manages to catch the rope. Eventually the storm passes, but the ship is far off course. Druing the storm, some of the heroes helped to stabilize the support rigging, which kept snapping in two. A few noticed that the rigging had been shorn halfway through. Could there be a saboteur on board?
Grug is determined to eat the Golden Topica. The White Council Mage, Ariathon Hanethorpton, is having none of it. Most of the party looks for ways to distract Grug, but to no avail. The Mage places wards, glyphs, and circles of protection around the bird as well as himself. Draxis, however, kept pouring the mage more and more to drink, hoping to relax him, or just make him stupid-drunk, no one knows for sure.
Discussing with Capt Gann in his quarters, the heroes decide to head in a northwesterly direction, hoping to find the coast. They do find land, but it is an island. Flying over the island: pteranodons! (or pterodactyls, you kind of don’t care about that when they are trying to eat you.) Two waves attacked the ship and crew. One composed of the larger males, then the swifter, more vicious females.
Eldrathia called lighting, dispatching of the first wave handly. The martial heroes swiped at the prehistoric monsters as they swooped in. Eärendur was grabbed by one, who then shot into the air, but was killed before he could take the helpless mage far.
During the battle Caen noticed that a crewmember was dropping something into the engines’ chimneys. He pretended not to notice, helping to load the catapults managed by Wu and Draxis. Grug cut a pterodactyl down, slicing off a flank of the beast. He later cooked and served it, mixed with his own blend of mushrooms… several of the party, well they weren’t just high because of the airship…
Wu and Caen staged a bit of theater to help smoke out the saboteur. Wu accused Caen of being the traitor and stabbed him, throwing him overboard. The knife, however, was one of the collapsible daggers from the theater in the dwarven halls, and Caen merely jumped over the side of the ship, landing on one of the wings. He was then able to follow the saboteur,Arrak, and “persuade” him to talk about who hired him, and what else he had done. “The engines,” he spluttered. “Bombs in the engines.”
Eärendur had noticed something odd and found Caen alive and “persuading” the crewman, and then he fetched the captain. Quickly they located the blast bombs, crystalline spheres containing a terrifyingly explosive spells. They were set to blow in just a few minutes; the heroes threw them overboard and deafening explosions rocked the ship, which was otherwise unharmed.
The Captain locked up Arrack the saboteur and had his feet cut off, a tradition in some naval circles for saboteurs. Caen asked him to keep the traitor alive so that they could learn more. All he found out was that some Arkanan noblewoman, a beautiful woman with raven hair and some kind of insect broach, had hired him to sabotage the ship. She promised him riches for his family and a full pardon for his wife who was serving time in prison unfairly.
The rest of the trip paled in excitement. They arrived at Ix, picked up the cargo, maps, and then sailed across the Inner Sea to Absalom, the city of wonders to pick up the dwarven settlers, a group of thirty dwarves. The Winged Explorer traded some more cargo, and set off towards home. They proved that an airship would provide a reliable trading vessel.
Upon returning to Arranoon, the heroes were treated well. The White Council was grateful for the return of a Topica. The dwarves were excited to have new settlers and news of the cleaning and repair of the halls was welcome by Thorgrim who was indeed given license by the dwarven Lord to form his own clan and given paperwork for his taking possession of the halls. He was also allowed to adopt the orphan dwarves whom he had rescued from the gnolls. The party was asked to report by the Assembly and the conclave of druids. Rewards were given out by a thankful community. Medals and titles were also awarded to each of the heroes.
The only thing that seemed to tarnish the joyous occasions were rumors of unrest in the working force of Arranoon….