Not wanting to deal with an entire city full of soldiers, the party commandeered a boat by mind-controlling the owners, and used it to cross the river to the side with the Temple of Enka on it. Cane made some basic transformation potions to diguise the four of them as the elven boat crew, and then they stole their insignia and rowed up to the temple docks, where the guard on duty waved them through.
The temple was tense because about 2/3rds of their wards were down -- leaving a random patchwork that seemed ot have no rhyme or reason -- and everyone's silver-eyed magically enforced loyalty to Enka was missing. But weird things being brought to the temple without any forewarning was how Enka worked (Enka was all about things happening to work out alright because of serendipity) so they didn't around much suspicion when they took the boat's cargo into the inner sanctum.
There they spent a while laboriously defusing the layers and layers of defenses around the crystal. No one else was in the temple because of the cacophanous mistimed music (the instruments no longer being continuously synchronized, with the anchor in place), and Cane whipped up an incense version of Mental Cruel Tea to encourage people to stay away. But the very last defense was also the spell holding the crystal up, and while Cane managed to catch it (although he nearly threw out his back in the weak elven form) moving it from its resting place in midair was enough to set off all kinds of alarms.
They'd planned for this -- they had teleport crystals to take them back to the rest of the Time Bomb's crew. Unfortunately, when Cane tried to teleport with the crystal, he happened to land in one of the patchwork anti-teleport wards which was right along the path from where he was standing to the riverside camp. Huh.
"Let's find a clear path -- Nico can see the wards, right?" But everywhere they looked (out each window) boom, a ward of one sort or another in the way.
So Cane pulled out a recipe he'd never had a use for before -- the candle of flight, that made everything in a 10' radius weightless, and they tried to bounce up towards the ceiling. Unfortunately, they didn't bounce very fast because they needed to be sure to keep everyone within a 10' radius, and incoming centaur guards had time to react to the alarms.
Nico managed to mind-control one of them, and blind the other, but the other was using dancing bows which fired at the target he intended -- the candle. Cane tried to block their shots, and managed to keep the candle safe right up until they were at the very top. As he painted the ceiling with passwall paint, a fireball from one of the bows got through and melted the candle.
Cane managed to reach through the ceiling and pull himself onto the roof, and Kyngeah caught herself on some nearby decorations and followed after a few seconds. Nico... tried to fly, with wings he didn't have, and fell. So he grabbed the dancing bows out of the air, jumped on the back of the hypnotized centaur, and had that centaur tell the newcoming guards that they needed to rush off immediately to warn their superiors -- the blind guard didn't realize Nico was going with him and didn't say anything to contradict that story.
That worked up until the guard with Nico on his back ran right into an unfortunately placed null-magic field, turning Nico back into a feathery bird creature and un-hypnotizing the guard. Nico scanned around for more wards, and saw that the first nine places he would step had one horrible fate or another waiting for him to prevent him from escaping -- but one of them wouldn't prevent the teleport crystal, so he chose that doom and teleported, meeting back up with Cane and Kyngeah (and Takara, riding in Kyngeah's pocket since Cane had commandeered her teleport crystal as a replacement) at the riverside. They turned the boat into a land-ship with more caravan's miracle cream, and ran off into the woods.
Cane: "We just need to get out of sight so that we can crush this crystal and bring back our ship."
Anignoresis: "Ah, actually, we need to be back in the same place to use the crystal."
Cane: "At the crash site. Crap. It's going to be crawling with elves."
The crash site was crawling with elves, and centuars, none of whom had found whatever it was that they were looking for, although Cane could tell that for some reason they were avoiding this cylindrical area near the middle of the burned out clearing with nothing important in it. There were only a few mages with the enemies, who looked like scientists more than combatants, so they decided to attack, using Magnus' shadow-clones to occupy the soldiers while they took out the mages.
The instant army did, in fact, occupy the soldiers, but the initial volley from the party's spells and guns and stolen dancing bows failed to immediately kill all the mages -- one or two went down, but one turned himself into a shadow, one covered himself in mithril, and one was protected by a spell that reflected attacks.
The battle was going moderately well for the party -- although victory wasn't certain -- when Takara pulled out a magic arrow and fired it at the mithril guy. It exploded. A lot. Everyone in the clearing was at least knocked unconscious except for Kyngeah and Takara, who were down to single digits, and Nico who had lots of extra armor from his spells. Cane would have survived the blast nearly unharmed except that he was standing right next to the epicenter, since the last person the mithril mage had attacked was him, in melee. Oh, and the mithril mage was still up, basically unharmed as far as they could tell.
But with Kyngeah awake, this was an unqualified victory for the party -- she could heal them all, and did, and only one enemy was left to face all of them. He tried to surrender, as an excuse to interrogate them magically -- the mage himself was long since gone, and the mithril was an empty shell left to fight in his place. He did manage to distract them just long enough, although it obviously hadn't been his intention.
During the battle Cane had crushed the gem, making the Time Bomb conspicuous again, although no one had had the time to get on board yet. Just as the mithril shell crumbled, the Amalthean resistance managed to kill the last unicorn, and Amalthea vanished.
So the Time Bomb's crew found themselves on a small sliver of forest in the middle of a desert, on an unknown moon. They were all on the same sliver, so they were still together at least. Their ship was not. Oops.
last session | next session
Ramifications that I thought of on the drive home:
(1) Some random moon somewhere just got anchored. The local lords are probably not very happy about that.
(2) TWO random moons just got fully functional temples of Enka (since the crystal they stole was one of three). Maybe this is not such a good way to stop the spread of the empire. q:3