The party decided to go for the insane plan – to drill through the floating Alphatian continent with the mole machine. Leopold, a distant cousin of Gretchen’s, joined the party, allegedly sent by Prince Sigemund to supervise things. Leopold, an experienced military commander, had a disturbing history of being the only survivor in his various military engagements.
Firstly, the party visited Rupert’s castle in the Aalbanese mountains, where he had lovingly restored the great Prince Ark, the great Alphatian exploration airship.
The party found that the Ark was hostile, but they managed to defeat it in psychic combat. The Ark agreed to help the party with their plan, providing that they rescued her captain who had been thrown into a deadly Alphatian prison, the Labyrinth of Night, for protesting the war with Glantri. Her captain had been a famous explorer, namely Prince Haldemar of Haaken, Lord Admiral of the Mightiest Empire Captain of the Ever-Victorious Princess Ark and Imperial Explorer.
The party found the Princess Ark haughty and stand-offish; they were confined to crew quarters but Gretchen was able to persuade the Ark to give her a run of the officers’ cabins. Cannech was also able to finagle a copy of the Ark’s plans.
Cannech had sent a message off to Klantyre, requesting that the mole machine be transported to Rupert’s castle forthwith, but found that his cousin, Prince Fergus McCrae and the ‘Order of the Golden Dragon’ was requesting his presence. They party flew to Klantyre in the Princess Ark, and found that Goldie had taken control of Klantyre, and had freed all of the menagerie animals. She had made the dwarves swear allegiance to her and stopped them drinking and fighting in the streets, teaching them ‘civilisation’. She was angry that the party had killed her son, Malakhar, but accepted Gretchen’s reason. However, emotionally, she was still angry at the party. She tried to bind the party to her will with a blood oath, but Patrin grew wroth and counselled her with the Parable of the Vengeful Mother. Goldie’s anger broke and she relented, allowing the party to take the mole machine. She asked the party to undertake a quest for her in future; to find her a potential mate.
With both the mole machine and the airship, the party started to dig through the Alphatian continent. After a near-disaster that had them fighting elemental phase spiders, they were able to resume their drilling.