The party woke up in the middle of the night because the hotel was on fire. Since the elevators weren't working, they had to use passwall potion to get down to the first floor (since they didn't know where the stairs were) where they saw a giant robot outside, stepping on people at random and setting everything on fire.
Oh, and Nico was dead from smoke inhalation. Kyngeah tried to ressurect him, but it didn't work -- his body was fixed, but his soul was missing somewhere.
Anyway, the robot was basically invincible -- it was made up of dozens of grid, and so every time you damaged it, the components would either break off and attack separately, or rearrange to fix the damage. So they staged a fighting retreat from the burning hotel, ran past dozens of other giant robots burning down pieces of the city, and got to the port where the technicians 'improving' their ship were about to take off without them.
Takara stopped them, and the party waited until everyone who could physically fit on board was present before taking off -- the elves assaulting the port were getting too close anyway. There were 600 people crammed onto a ship meant for 40 -- it was standing room only. Some aerasol feriphal potion to turn everyone into little electric squirrels helped a little, but it was still pretty cramped, so they headed for the nearest Ree base -- the one that they'd been told had been recaptured from Amalfian forces.
Yeah, it wasn't still recaptured when they got there. They did a high-speed strafing run, using a Sanctuary spell to cover their escape after firing their weapons at the docked ships in passing, and continued on towards Morpheus.
Except that Morpheus had shut off its beacon. Luckily, they ran right into the nightmare field and spoke with one of the nightmares they'd never seen before, who explained that they'd won against Ython's stragglers, but they'd lost three nightmares in the process, including Crisium and Imbirum. "Imbrium's just misplaced. The lords of Ix put her in stasis -- maybe you can negotiate to get her back, if you ever make contact with Ix."
Nightmare: "Whose side are you on?"
Cane: "I'm against Enka."
Nightmare: "But not for Morpheus."
Cane: "We *tried* to be for Morpheus, but it's kind of hard."
Cane: "Well, the *first* time we had to flee it was because of a conflict between Nubium and Crisium... the second time, Imbrium and the realists."
Nightmare: "There aren't any realists anymore."
Cane: "Riiiight. Well, it's good to hear they're lying low at least."
Anyway, they made various arguments to the nightmare about why they should send a representative to bid on the drakivolki auction at Jaxom, and eventually the nightmares agreed. They told them where the Brushfire had been last seen -- heading out from Morpheus, towards 'a world shrouded by a giant storm' -- like they'd figured, it was heading for the Sun.
The nightmares did *not* agree to let them land on Morpheus, instead sending them to a nearby repair dock that was currently uninhabited -- the dock where they'd first met the (rogue) grid. At least everyone could get off the damn ship and stretch their legs! And the technicians thought they could refit one of the hulks that the grid had left into something that would fly, and most ofthe refugees decided that that was better than being crammed onto the Time Bomb again. Until Cane mentioned that they were heading to Midas next -- what's that? Genies that grant wishes?
But before they were ready to leave (that is, before the representative from Morpheus arrived), the dock was invaded by the main fleet from Paladine, which had most of the drakivolki mercenary ships in it. Hundreds of ships! Luckily, everyone on the dock was a feriphal, so the invading fleet assumed they were on their side, and started docking to be repaired.
About forty ships were 'repaired' by the time the representative from Morpheus arrived. With his help, they captured one of the enemy ships for some of their crew to use to have a bit more elbow room, and rigged the dock to explode to give them an excuse to flee at high speed. Once Takara got back after stealing all the enemies' plans and maps, they put the plan into action.
The explosion was a bit bigger than they'd expected -- the Time Bomb was damaged in such a way as to keep it from flying straight, and they didn't see what happened to the other ship they'd captured -- the enemy fleet was also heavily damaged, at least.
After jury-rigging some repairs, they limped in to Midas about a day and a half before the auction, where sure enough they were greeted by the genies. The genies told them that Jaxom would not be found before the auction, because it was moving around using the vanes the party had convinced them to install. But it *would* be found just in time for the auction -- every drakivolki ship would be there, and any ship carrying a prospective bidder. By luck. This was good, since it meant they didn't need to wish to be transported to Jaxom in time for the auction, which had been their original plan.
They *did* need to wish Nico back alive, though...
And the genies informed them that Ree had, in fact, fallen to the empire and was in league with Enka now. A military victory was looking less and less like an option.
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