(Going by Tom’s week-count in the overview)
Having recovered from the attack by the demon scouting group, the party proceed to teleport to the Terek townhouse in Aelaris as planned. They then go to the palace and barge into a formal war meeting to point out that Lina and Alara are here so everybody should stop paying any attention to Jorg (or probably Petey) now. Everybody eventually agrees to let Lina run things for now (effectively queen, but without a formal coronation until little things like demon armies are dealt with).
Firstly, though, the party collect the 2000gp (+3000sp) reward for bringing the princesses back, and promptly go on a shopping spree.
Some discussion is then held about what the most effective way to counter the demon threat might be. The book that controls the suits of armour in Scorax City is handed over to magically-minded nobles who wish to play with it. Lina stays with the War Council to advise their next moves, and Terek and Nia also think they may be of most use being diplomatic in the capital. Vallyn, Thea, Vesuvion and Nev decide to return to Fellwalk to see if they can convince their friendly dragon to help fight the demon army. However, before they can leave the city, a funeral procession arrives from Easthall, carrying the body of [insert appropriate noble here], apparently slain in a surprise demon attack that came from nowhere. This strengthens the resolve of the party to further investigate the portal system, as it seems likely that’s where the demons appeared from.
Vallyn, Vesuvion, Thea and Nev attempt to teleport directly to Fellwalk, but unfortunately end up a day or so’s walk to the west, in the mountains, where they are eventually spotted by a very large ice dragon. It is not the one they befriended before. However, it is the mate of the one they befriended before, which it grudgingly agrees to fetch so long as the party promise not to approach Fellwalk (now the dragons’ home) any more closely. The party, of course, duly promise. Dragon the ice dragon from Scorax City arrives, is shocked to hear of Hesiah’s death, and flies off to fight the demon army near Woodpig. The party promptly revise their promise downwards and decide to attempt to get into the cave system under Fellwalk which Nev remembers and which might well contain a portal somewhere. Unfortunately, in attempting to get within the walls of Fellwalk, they alert the remaining dragon, who after being made quite angry by all the promise-breaking eventually agrees to allow the party into the tunnels if they leave one member behind. Thea remains and is immediately encased in an ice prison.
Vallyn, Nev and Vesuvion follow a tunnel that Nev and Terek never went down as kids due to it being dark and scary, and discover three wolves guarding a portal. Having dispatched the wolves, they discover the somewhat decayed remains of Egros’s hand beside the portal, still clutching a hammer decorated with Artell crests, as well as wearing lots of Artell-y rings. Vallyn takes the hammer, Vesuvion the decayed hand. Passing through the portal into the portal room, the reduced party start to investigate where various portals lead. (They do also note suits of armour outside the tower being haphazardly dragged around and occasionally crashing into walls/abysses.) The Caston portal is chosen first, as it might potentially lead directly to Aelaris; however, it seems to lead to an underground cave with a large lake cutting anyone (without a boat) off from getting to the surface. Vesuvion’s familiar is sent on reconnaissance and the party eventually determine that they are in fact on an island in the sea to the west of Parrot Bay. [I think there’s another one here we investigated and I’ve forgotten.] The party then decide to go through the penguin-themed portal which, presumably, leads to House Herreby’s lands.
This portal opens in a broom closet. Outside the broom closet is a glass dome with a viewing terrace over a beach full of penguins. Vesuvion talks to the penguins a bit, who don’t say anything particularly interesting except that people used to come and feed them fish, but then they were told no more people would be coming. Faced with a locked door, the party attempt to batter it down and soon draw the attention of a bright blue shaft of light which wants to know what they’re doing there and eventually sends a golem to accompany them to the main entrance – which turns out to be through several more domes full of penguins. The entrance is full of penguin-related banners, statues etc and a sign that says ‘Welcome to the Herreby Penguins.’ Inside, a bright blue crystal accuses them of having a bit of its brain (the blue crystal that Vesuvion has been carrying around which was constantly issuing a ‘warning’ signal), threatens to kill them a few times over, but eventually lets slip that it lost its friends – other crystals like it – when it fell into this plane. The party suggests that one of those might be the giant red crystal encountered in Scorax City, and mentions that there’s a portal to there, whereupon the blue crystal suddenly decides they might be useful after all. Streaking through the portal (leaving a trail of blue crystals in its wake), it has a chat with its old red friends. Nev wanders off to investigate the rest of the complex and discovers a) more domes of penguins, b) a gift shop and c) a village that seems to have been deserted since about the time the blue crystal took over running the place…
Eventually, the party venture back through the portal into the portal room, where the red and blue crystals are deep in conversation. Finally daring to interrupt, Vesuvion asks a few questions and discovers the following: the portals were created by the red crystal in an attempt to find his friends. Prior to the party, only one person had been going back and forth through the portals beforehand. No demon armies or wolf packs have been brought through the portal room directly.
With all this information in hand, Vesuvion, Vallyn and Nev decide it’s time to get back to Aelaris. They head back through the Fellwalk portal, collect Thea, forcibly dissuade Nev from attempting to suicidally prove to the dragon that this was his home, head out into the hills for one night and then teleport back to Aelaris.