Fairweather heads down into the hold of the Wild Card to catch up with Blackwizzle, who’s tied up along with the goblin and escorted by Fairweather’s fighter. In the process of trying to get Blackwizzle to go along with them, Fairweather holds a knife to his throat, finally breaking his resolve after all the beatings and captivity, leaving him sobbing on the deck. Feeling bad, Fairweather takes him to the dock, buys him a small catamaran, and sends him off into the sunset, possibly never to be seen again.
Meanwhile, Doc asks Krod for guidance as to what to do with the goblin. Somehow he actually gets a vision, where Krod at least wants him to offer a fair fight. Doc drags the goblin up to the main deck before cutting his ropes, whereupon the goblin latches on to Doc’s throat and tries to choke him out. Struggling, Doc gets leverage and powerbombs the goblin, smashing his skull into his spinal column and paralyzing him. Doc tries to run him up the flagpole but the knot parts and the corpse smashes into the deck. Doc kicks him overboard.
Tarim, engrossed in the strange letter, makes some excuses about having to meet the wizard who wrote it, and disappears for almost a week. The group sails from Hanging Bay to Pirate Bay and eventually to Stove, picking up their hired forces alcottage ong the way. They roll into Stove, where they’ll wait for Archer, with twelve thousand soldiers and more than two hundred twenty boats. Tarim reappears with a totally hardcore wizard-guy, complete with robe and crystal staff and blind eyes made of metal or something. After waiting the whole day, they try to find a whorehouse by asking around at bars. A cloaked man approaches them and tells them to go outside of town to the House of Secret Relaxations.
The group finds a cottage-like house set up against the cliff base, just north of the town itself. Fairweather goes for the doorknob. As he touches it, it tries to hold person him and speaks, telling him to knock first. He knocks. The door opens into a gorgeous reception room with the madam behind a desk. Fairweather, as Duke “Duke” Dukeman, gets the group in and asks for whores. Apparently this is a special place, with personalized services. Tarim goes back first, and the madam sends in a very young, first-time whore. Tarim and Trisha learn some things together and fall in love, promising to reunite after the big boss fight. Doc gets taken to a half-empty room and introduced to a part-human orcish woman, and the two hatefuck for five hours until she finally passes out, leaving Doc triumphantly smoking a cigar. Barrosh ends up in a room with a single bed and many couches. Eventually a whore comes in… and another… and another, until Barrosh is surrounded by seven whores, and descends into bliss.
Finally, Madam Sarah approaches Duke Dukeman, expecting to take him back to a room, and is completely taken aback when Duke says “I hope it’s you.” She stops, startled and blushing, and Duke smoothly talks her into closing up the magic door out front and taking him back to her very own bedroom in the back.
The next morning, Doc wakes up still drunk, and the rest are totally blacked out, through bliss and alcohol and the drugs slipped into the booze in this place. The three zombies are escorted to the reception area and stripped of all their cash. Doc manages to fumble a fistful of dragon treasure out and pay off his escort to keep the rest. Archer walks into the house, speaking with the madam as an old friend, then asks for the room.
In short, Archer demands the return of the green orb, makes sure the party has actually gotten an army, and informs them they’re going in first, right now. Fairweather refuses to budge and angrily leads the party out of the whorehouse and back to the boats.
The party and their fleet head south to Piper’s Rill, arriving mid-afternoon. With some quick scouting they decide to sail with the bulk of their fleet into the main mouth of the bay, towards the outer rainbow sphere, while the mercenary troop transports and a 25-ship pirate escort cut through the eastern strait into a nearby bay to land troops. The party decides to take to the sky with their pegasi and the hired wizards, while Clancy leads the crazy orcs and Fairweather’s soldier across land to meet up at the base of the sphere.
Flying above the melee, the wizards check out the sphere. Steel-eyes does some kind of spell that makes his eyes glow, then has some kind of mental conversation with Alric, who relays the details of the sphere to the party: seven layers, negated by opposing spells or at least elemental energy types, and wayyy bigger than it’s supposed to be. So big that it probably can’t be entirely dispelled like normal, but might come down in sections instead. The group decides to hit the base of the sphere so ground troops can come in behind them.
Nathan throws out a chain lightning to clear the LZ and the party hits the dirt. Surrounded by a wall of fire, they start dismantling the wall. Barrosh tries his ice breath on the red shell but it isn’t enough, so Alric takes down red and orange with cone of cold and gust of wind. The shells break open in a geodesic triangle shape about forty feet across, with one edge roughly parallel to the ground. Nathan takes some reminding about what he’s supposed to do, and ends up threatening Fairweather with disintegrate before using it to destroy the yellow shell. The green shell is supposed to be broken by passwall, but no one has it; thankfully the massive construction of the sphere has given it some extra vulnerability to similar effects, and Doc’s dimension door is close enough to take down the shell, although he takes some backlash. While Alric and Nathan bicker over what kind of force spell to use on the blue shell instead of magic missile, Doc stands up and triggers the ring of the ram, smashing the blue shell inwards. The penultimate shell, indigo, needs a daylight spell. The closest anyone can think of is Doc’s radiant smite. Doc swings at the shell and takes it down, but in the process is driven briefly insane by visions of Krod and violence and entire lifespans in a few seconds. He goes catatonic while the group pulls him out of the way, then smashes Barrosh’s nose with a sucker punch. Eventually he comes back to reality. Alric tries to dispel magic the violet shell, as the constructs push in through the fire. His first attempt falls short. Steel-eyes steps up to help him somehow, and together they dispel the last veil, with Alric brutally ripping it out of place and throwing it into the bay.
With the way open, and Clancy’s orc death squad only moment behind, the group summons their pegasi and heads into the blasted city of Piper’s Rill, fully loaded and ready to take down the man at the middle of it all.