Entertaining the Skyshaper
“I like this place,” Grim Shadowfox told the rest. “Lots of shadows.”
It quickly became apparent the shadows were not just for effect. Two 12-foot humanoid hunters quickly moved to attack. Shadowfox knew that Firbolgs like shadow almost as much as she did.
“And so do those Shadow Snakes I see hiding in the shadows.”
A rumbling voice thundered through the sky. “You fight in my demesne, do you? Fine, then. Entertain me.” She quickly realized this must be the Skyshaper, the archfey Caliandra told her about.
While the Firbolgs started raining Moonfire down on them — to the delight of the Skyshaper — Grim was not convinced they were fighting all out. “Probably just testing us out,” she decided. “What are those war picks for?”
She soon found out. When they hit two different creatures with their picks in one turn, the Ghostravens could blind one of them.
Then she got a message from Krasire. Using his arcane lore, the Shardmind had figured out that the Skyshaper could be influenced by either acrobatics or flattery. “I can do both of those,” she shot back to him.
Sure enough, as soon as she started complimenting the archfey, the sky brightened slightly. This didn’t help Grim much, but she was sure it helped her allies.
And the enemies definitely didn’t like it.
Andrea Ravn remembered this dream. She’d had it before. On a mission to save some kids from a guy named Lamm. Only in this dream she wasn’t a Dragonborn. She was human. She had always failed before. This time she spotted the gnome hiding among the children before he could stab her. Andrea convinced the kids — known as Lamm’s Lambs — to turn on their oppressors. They her where Lamm was hiding, and went down and killed him. She awoke with a sense of success she hadn’t felt in days. And four trophies: a gruesome hatbox, a Harrow Deck (which probably belonged to the ghost who sent her after Lamm), a teak cigar box containing a broach with a broken clasp; and a knife inscribed “for a father’s inspiration.”
Andrea found magic on the Harrow Deck and on the broach and resolved to find out what they did. The Harrow Deck was probably for divination, but the broach could be useless until she got it repaired.
In this world or in the other.
She went to Amyria, who was recently elected to take Lord Torrance’s place leading the Coalition. The deva told her the Order of the Black Feather had been selected to take care of an important mission. She thought Andrea’s skills in that arena might be singularly useful.
So Andrea decided to try to catch up with them. She still thought of herself as more of a Golden-Scales kind of Dragonborn. But Amyria told her that Ragnar the Mighty was going along. Andrea couldn’t think of anybody as Golden Scales as Ragnar.
Except Grigore Weatherbie Goldforge, of course.
She found the trail of the other members of The Order of the Black Feather at the ruins of Rhest and almost caught up to them before they disappeared through a portal.
After Shadowfox’s compliments had such an impact on the ruler of this strange realm — the guy they were hoping convince to help them get to the Stone-Skinned King’s court — Krasire tried following his own advice. The sky brightened as the Skyshaper was again taken in by the flattery.
Then Shadowfox tried a different strategy: Using her acrobatics to leap to the top of one of the standing stones which surrounded them, she somersaulted out of reach of the snakes which kept shifting between them.
“Marvelous!” shouted the booming voice. And the sky brightened further.
When Krasire delivered his final compliment, Andrea saw the sun come out and heard yet another roar of pleasure from the Skyshaper.
The Shadow Snakes were not doing well under the sun’s rays. Nor were the strange creatures wearing the raven masks. Andrea could almost see smoke rising from their shadowy hides.
Except the smoke seemed to a sunshine sparkle to it.
“Like this guy likes to show off his control-of-the-sun-and-moon powers,” Andrea decided. “Almost as much as he likes flattery.”
In the heat of battle, Krasire could hear the voice of the Seed of Winter in his head, "To control is to dominate. Domination is control. See: You are now the controller. You slowed the Ghostraven with your Force Grasp. it can even immobilize, but sometimes slow is all you need. It could not get away while it was phasing, so your comrades could concentrate their damage on that one. Elimination in detail: That is what a controller can do. Just as your Kinetic Wave can push your enemies into traps laid by your allies. Just as your Betrayal can shift or slide your opponents into bunches. To control is to know just what your allies need. To dominate the battlefield is to be aware of everything on the battlefield and move the pieces where you want them to be.
When one of the snakes tried to climb the pillar where Shadowfox was acrobatically dancing out of its reach, Relvain was able to convince the others to concentrate their fire on that one. Once it was dead, they did the same to the other.
When they turned to the Ghostravens, she did not like the way the battle turned. The Firbolgs could no longer achieve true invisibility in the bright sun, but they were alternating their attacks in such a way that only one was available to attack each turn.
But Krasire finally saved the day by slowing one when it was not in a tree.
“The kid’s actually getting good,” Relvain told herself. The Dragonpinner had been frustrated as the Ghostravens kept phasing out and flying away. It prevented her from concentrating the damage on one of the two remaining opponents.
“I guess once you’ve pinned a dragon, it’s going to be frustrating to be unable to pin something as inconsequential as a Firbolg,” she told herself.
The slowed Ghostraven was unable to escape Relvain’s pin and, when the other came down to rescue it, the Shardmind caught both of them in a Kinetic Wave. Soon it was unconscious and they were able to finish off the other.