One does not simply walk into the Astral Sea.
After having deposited an heir in the apparent safety of Rhosius Vane’s care, the heroes decide their next order of business is rescuing Ofelia, still a hostage to the Githyanki knight Zalthair. There’s one small problem, though: they still need to find a way to follow Zalthair, wherever he went.
As they did when they last had to chase a Gith quarry, the heroes contacted Lord Bailey for help. Bailey, however, already knew they were coming and had an elaborate setup prepared … for dinner. After getting his head straight (and eating some chicken), the heroes were able to get Bailey to work his magic and send them to the Astral Sea in pursuit of Zalthair.
Mason was not particularly excited about this idea, but went along with it anyway. Of course, Bailey didn’t explicitly tell them how to come back home.
Points of light.
Old Man Cressin.
The Gypsy Dawn materialized in the Astral Sea, where it was immediately rocked by the turbulence of having to adjust to the physics of an entirely different plane of existence. When the ship finally settled, the heroes found no landmarks to guide their way—only strange points of light in the distance, some brighter than others.
Choosing what appeared to be the closest point, the Gypsy Dawn came upon a small island adrift in the Astral Sea with a tiny shack at its center. Coming off the ship to investigate, they were greeted by illusions of ghouls warning them to go away. Not falling for the particularly poor show of intimidation, the heroes pressed forward anyway and came upon an old, scraggly man with long, unkempt hair.
The man, Cressin, said he was a mage whose experiments in dimensional traveling went wrong a very, very long time ago. He does not remember where he originally came from, only that he’s been here for a long while. However, from his vantage point, he’s been able to observe the comings and goings of Gith ships. Recently, he saw a ship pass with a human captive aboard—most likely Ofelia.
Charitable as ever, the heroes offered Cressin to come aboard the Gypsy Dawn and escape the Astral Sea with them. He took up their offer quite happily.
In the wake of the Gith.
Cressin pointed the Gypsy Dawn in the direction the Gith had traveled, and the ship undertook a long journey to get there. With no other markers indicating direction and passage of time, the trip felt even longer.
Tobias and Cressin spoke of the strange beauty of the Astral Sea, but also its loneliness. Cressin confessed that he had been lonely for too long and missed human company. Tobias offered him food in the ship’s mess hall.
Saradoc and Laelyn talked about the beauty of the Astral Sea as well, belowdecks in Laelyn’s quarters. Laelyn asked Saradoc what the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen was. Saradoc did not lie, but he also didn’t tell the complete truth.
The Gith stronghold.
A long time coming.
The Gypsy Dawn approached a Gith stronghold in the Astral Sea. Several ships were docked, though more than half the slips were empty—apparently, most of the Gith fleet stationed here was elsewhere. A Gith ship greeted the Gypsy Dawn using a system of light signals to communicate. Saradoc, thinking quickly, used magic to understand the message and respond appropriately.
Docking safely at the fortress, the heroes once again disguised themselves as Zhentarim to gain entry with little suspicion. As they entered the courtyard, however, they heard the booming voice of Abraham: Ofelia had apparently escaped and the Gith were searching for her.
Successfully tricking some Gith guards with their disguises, the heroes entered the fortress and went down into the dungeons where they found Zalthair and a small cadre of other Gith. Zalthair challenged the heroes, demanding to know who they were and what they were doing there. Finding their answers unsatisfactory, he and his men attacked.
The battle was short but brutal. Tobias was knocked momentarily unconscious as the Gith put up an harrowing fight. Kaloy killed Zalthair with her dissonant whispers, and Ofelia revealed herself to help finish off the remaining Gith. As it turned out, Ofelia was a powerful mage with an affinity for the cold.
With Zalthair dead and Ofelia successfully rescued, the heroes escaped back to the Gypsy Dawn, setting fire to the docks as they left. The guard ship changed its patrolling course to come straight for them. The ship stalled however—Mason was surprised to find Ofelia again. His ex-wife.
As the heroes make their way away from the fortress with a Gith ship in pursuit, an unfortunate truth hits them: they have no idea how to get back home.