Rendon investigated the cloud stairs, which turned out to be solid, so the party climbed the cloud steps. Tre Tre preferring the security of solid ground decided to stay behind. At the summit stood an enormous tower, topped with what appeared to be a wizard’s hat. Upon entering the tower, a huge Cloud Giant descended from a hole in the ceiling. Zhephyros spoke to Helen “Hey Bawalla! Long time, no see.” It turned out that this was Helen’s plan, breaking the orb summoned Zhephyros, because he owed her a favor form the old days. Though much discussion it was revealed that giant’s currency is almost exclusively magic items and favors. She received a favor from Zhephyros by aiding him a battle against a Fire Giant, seeking his blood. Helen recounted the trouble she’s currently in for the friendly giant, but didn’t have a specific task in mind to fulfill his debt. Without any suggestions from the rest of the party, Zhephyros recalled a rumor he’d heard. A ‘normal’ sized Ruby locked away in a tower. Without much more to go on, other than a general direction (south east) and distance, the party decided to pursue that in hopes of obtaining a gemstone that could pay off the entire debt. Helen agreed, and left her guild members to ride the cloud to obtain the huge ruby.
Helen and Campy packed up the other items (gemstones from the chest and mundane weapons) to sell and set out to find buyers. Urnhold suggested they ask for potential buyers for lots of little rubies. Tre Tre decided to keep the Elderberry Fire tavern open in their absence, being the bartender and guard.
The journey was long but by cloud they would make it in record time, only a week of travel. Rendon took particular interest in the spell books in Zhephyros’ collection. At one point, Dhoug noticed a Griffon overhead, which as it turns out Zhephyros keeps as pets, untrained & dangerous at the top of his tower. Gre curious about riding one asked their names; Aarakibi, Tabbi & Arukee. But when Zhephyros lost interest, Gre was unwilling to tempt fate alone.
The journey itself was not without it’s dangers as well. On the third day a dozen Cultists riding giant Vultures arrived, seeking an audience with the owner of the floating dwelling. At first the adventurer’s attempted to block access to the tower. Aggressive talk, with their leader Yan-Ci-Bin, ensued but fighting did not break out. The leader of the Cultists merely sought the aid of the Cloud Giant in their primordial war. They were on a mission to unite all creatures of the Air. Through some further investigation the adventurers discovered that the ultimate purpose of The Cult of the Howling Hatred is to return civilization to the time when life was simpler and elementals ruled. As an offering, Zhephyros received a bag of Pixie Dust. The cultists camped outside the tower on the cloud, while waiting for an answer. Zhephyros asked the party what they thought he should do, and didn’t receive a clear answer other than a general distain for the Cultists. He ended up deciding not to take up their offer, and the cultists left peacefully. Having felt guilty for accepting payment, without providing anything of worth in return, Zhephyros gave the Bag of Pixie Dust to Urnhold. At least his conscience would be clear.