Savage Tide

Chapter 12: Prince of Demons Part C
Part C: Wat Dagon and the Final Encounter

Chapter 12: Prince of Demons

Part C: Wat Dagon and the Final Encounter

10th Coldeven, CY 614: What’s Happening in Wat Dagon

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr followed where Kargoth had come from. They found a partial broken room falling away into the sea. Kaywen detected something invisible floating in one corner. This was Nulonga, an aged sorcerer and a thrall of Demogorgon. As he launched a magical attack, sounds were heard behind them. It seems a search party had caught up with them. Three war ape brutes and Ulu-Thurg, a bar-lgura set upon them. Eventually Nulonga was brought down and slain as were the others. On the ancient one’s body was found an old iron key. They explored the extent of this area but it ended with the sea.

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr headed east now through a winding tunnel and into a steaming room with a rickety wooden pathway. Vison was obscured but by flying they could safely follow the path and reach a door. Kaywen tried the key. While it appeared to fit, the door was quite hot damaging him and threatening the key. When Kevrey and Whyspurr got their they aided him in his efforts with the lock and got the door open.

They had reached the Chamber of the Great One. Much of the area was taken up by murky waters which lapped upon a rocky beach. In the shallows rested an enormous oyster with a blackened and pitted shell, its interior charred as well. Within this shell on a slithering bed of horror and alien flesh rested a huge black pearl, larger than a man’s head that pulsed with black energy in which ghostly, disembodied faces seemed to shriek. A pair of 4’ high wooden stakes with strips of leather hung from their sharpened points protruded from the oily sand on the narrow beach near this monstrous shellfish.

As if sensing their presense, the oyster’s maw snapped shut. Then a body rose up out of the water. No! Could it be? Yes, indeed it was, the body of Vanthus Vanderboren once again! “How many time do we have to kill you?” they all wondered aloud. Before they could react, however, they saw a vision, no, it was real, on the beach. A gate had opened, and a large two-headed ape creature, that whom they knew was Demogorgon, was racing toward them. He hit the beach! But, before the gate could close he was joined by, and passed through by, their ally, Gwynharwyf. One look at Demogorgon was all it took to set poor Whyspurr shaking with abject fear. Byrker boldly moved in to go toe to toe with their greatest foe. Styvesandt, as he been ready to do for a long time, took up a position along a ledge and began shooting with his outsider bane long bow. Aely took on Vanthus; Kaywen did what he could to protect one and all.

In the battle that followed, Demogorgon tried to dispel the magic protections that the party enjoyed, eventually taking some of them away. One of his attacks weakened Kevrey to the point where he could do little to hurt him. Demogorgon summoned a balor which took on Gwynharwyf. The brave and resourceful eladrin eventually took it down, only to have it explode and damaged everyone in the party. Aely slowly overcame this incarnation of Vanthus only to be set upon by another old foe, Cyralaine, the centaur. Meanwhile Byrker and Styvesandt stuck with their assault upon the Great One. Each time they seemed to have him weakened, however, he was able to heal himself and continue. Aely defeated Cyralaine, only to now be joined by the maralith, Lillianth. When Aely left her to help the others against Demogorgon, Lillianth unleashed one of her famous blade barriers which separated some from her master. Those who cold continued to attack Demogorgon. Once again they could sense they he was severely wounded. This time, however, he did not get a chance to heal. As a final blow was dealt, a nimbus formed around his heads resembling two crowns of dark energy. They merged into one single crown, and as the towering demon lord crumbles to the ground, his dying roar echoed out from Wat Dagon and into both Gaping Maw and the Shadowsea – a beacon to all who lusted for power. The maralith, Lillianth, made a hasty retreat, perhaps hoping to gain the crown herself.

As the party took stock of their situation, now in possession of the giant master shadow pearl they became aware of the pretense of Iggwilv. She approached the Great One’s remains, opened her Iron Flask of Tuerny and gathered what she could. Bidding them a smirk and a final farewell, she, too left.

It seemed their quest was at an end, but what to do with this master pearl? Gwynharwyf, soon joined by Celeste, suggested that the pearl could be safely disposed of in the Fountain of Beauty in their Court of Stars. Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr accompanied them there. When the pearl was placed in the fountain it crackled and smoked and seemed ready to burst. Then, just as suddenly it turned white and brittle, the consistency of chalk.

The eladrin then made sure the party got home to Farshore safely; assuring them they were always welcome in the Court of Stars.

“I’m going to try to get as far away from this place as I can,” proclaimed Kaywen.

“I’m going to stay by your side, Buddy,” assured Aely.

“I’m going to change my pants and then get stinking drunk,” said Whyspurr.

“I’m with you, little guy. Well, not the pants thing, but the drunk thing, that sounds good,” said Kevrey.

“I’m going to ask Lavinia to marry me,” said Byrker.

“I’m still hoping to find my parents,” lamented Styvesandt.

THE END
………………………………………………..

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Chapter 12: Prince of Demons Part B:
Part B: Towards Lemoriax and Beyond

Chapter 12: Prince of Demons

Part B: Towards Lemoriax and Beyond

10th Coldeven, CY 614: Nearing Lemoriax, Gaping Maw

Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr followed the Skull King, Quah-Nomag to the outskirts of Lemoriax. Along the way he explained that there was some sort of interdiction zone working against them, blocking their progress. As they studied the situation, they notice a particular camp of the enemy and its similarity to one they had seen before. It clearly resemble the one they had been in where they (thought?) they had formed an allegiance with General Bogromar. “Perhaps it is the camp of his brother, Tetradarian? Aely voiced. Kaywen ‘sent’ a message to Bagromar telling him they would be scrying via the crystal ball. Once they had his visage in sight they told him they were about to launch an attack on his brother. He looked in wonderment because he was, in fact in combat with his brother right now. Apparently Tetradarian was not here therefore. Bagromar suggested that the leader in the camp could be the second in command, War Secretray-General Gromsfed the Drowned. “OK, we’ll assault this one,” but how?

Eventually Skull King, Quah-Nomag agreed to sacrifice 5,000 of his ‘troops’ to serve as a diversion so the heroes could slip in to the camp and get at the command tent. This worked and Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr found themselves in battle with Gromsfed. He put up a good fight but was no match for their superior numbers. Once he was dispatched, this army, the Demon Horde, fell into disarray and it was relatively easy to get nearer to Lemoriax.

Still there was the problem of the interdiction zone. According to Quah-Nomag it was emanating from a temple well within the city. This time he needed a diversion so his troops could get in. It was time to use the Iron Flask of Tuerny, well, that which/who was inside it. Kaywen got a close to the city walls as he deemed safe released Obox-ob, who, sensing the nearness of his greatest enemy, made haste for the city walls and began wreaking havoc. Quah-Nomag assured them he could take it from here and urged the heroes to head for Wat Dagon.

As Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr followed the beach towards Wat Dagon they met Iggwilv, who said it was time to pay the favor they owed her. She wanted the Iron flask of Tuenry. Kaywen demanded an assurance that this would mean their debt was paid in full. Once Iggwilv agreed, he handed over the flask.

As they neared the complex, they could see that the city was defended by a dug in array of foes. Fortunately an Eladrin force arrived to take these on, allowing Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr to get to the main gates of this place.

The wide wooden gates, mouldy with age and banded with corroded metal hung open and inviting. In they went, through a courtyard where they found a pool with a statue of a fat frog like demon. Here they were met by what at first appeared to be Lavinia, who thanked them for their service and mocked them for their stupidity. They soon saw through the deception, however, and eventually General Gorvash, a glabrezu, revealed himself i true form. He showed them what was left of Vanthus, yes, folks, Vanthus. The former brother, then death knight looked like a worm with only his human head to identify him. In the fight that followed this incarnation of Vanthus was crushed by an ice storm. Eventually Gorvash was slain as well.

They proceed further into the complex where they found an arena like, or cathedral like area. It had a massive stone ceiling some 40’ overhead. A magical circle had been inscribed on the floor and in the center of the circle was a small cauldron. Arrows began to rain down on them, shot by some ghastly archers. They were soon joined in the attack by St. Kargoth the Betrayer, the first death knight. Not one for speeches he set to a merciless attack on the party as arrows continued to fall. It took some fireballs to take out the archers, and Aely had the ‘good’ sense to take pity on Kargoth, so she healed him a few times, which, ironically served to hurt him very badly.

For now the situation calmed down. . . . . . .

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Chapter 12: Prince of Demons
Assault on Gaping Maw

20th Ready’ing, CY 614: Farshore

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt took a few weeks to get themselves ready. They spent time gearing up, getting new magic items and improving upon their old ones. Kaywen spent time in intensive study, trying to learn new and better spells. When they felt they were about as good as they were going to get they called for a meeting of their Abyssal allies. . . . . . . .

10th Coldeven, CY 614: The River Styx

After some delicate negotiations, the meeting was set for a place the lesser of all evils, on the Sea Wyvern on the River Styx. Charon was most pleased with this choice and attended in person, as did Gwynharwyf, accompanied by Celeste. Iggwilv and her four arcanaloth apprentices attended via astral projection. Malcanthet, reluctant at first, sent a Radiant sister via astral projection. Orcus sent a proxy – rotten, shambling, blood stained cadaver known as Xerivar.

The main part of the discussion/negotiation centered around the role of each ally. Iggwilv explained that there were five portal points around Gaping Maw. While Charon’s Fleet of 5,000 marraenoloths would enter the Brine Flats and run interference, it was up to the others to decide upon entry points. Gwynharwyf preferred the flanks so he would send in the Tourbillon Gale Host in from the Blood Run gate and Celeste would come in from the Oldclot Cove portal with the Starry Night Host. Orcus would supply four legions. He favored a head on approach so volunteered to enter the Lemoriax potal. That left it up to the Heroes to choose between the Jungle and the Beach entry point. When Iggwilv announced that she had discovered that fortress of Wat Dagon contained a master pearl which could and would set off all of those which had already been spread around Greyhawk, they decided that the Beach way would be the closest to this goal.

10th Coldeven, CY 614: Beach Portal, Gaping Maw

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt, accompanied by an eladrin force supplied by Gwynharwyf entered through the Beach portal. They found the area to be well defended by a dug in force of demons. The eladrin offered to run point thereby allowing the Heroes to head directly for Wat Dagon. Since Kaywen had supplied the Five with phantom steeds, it seemed the way to go. Aely had also summoned a number of water elementals which she set into the nearby waters. They had no sooner hit the water when they found themselves in a massive fight with the Ixitxachitl that guarded the shore. Oh, well, As the FIVE moved westward along the beach they received a sending from Iggwilv herself. “Lemoriax portal compromised. Orcus’ legions shut out. Arendagrost is present. If fixed we can salvage the attack.”

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt teleported to the Lemoriax portal site. What they found astounded them. There was a field of busted stumps, trees looked burnt or melted or frozen. Black blood and gore and bile were splattered across mounds of dead fiends and other horrors. In the center of it all stood a sinister totem, 10’ tall and carved of demonic visages. As they got closed to this pole Kaywen realized that many, if not all, of the protective spells he had cast were not working. At about this time a huge beast rose up from below the surface. It had a trio of maws with vaguely fiendish heads, each with a gigantic mouth of rotting teeth and rows of fangs. Its body was little more than a tangle of whirling tentacles each large enough to crush the life out of a person. It was also at this time that each realized his magic items were no longer functioning. As the beast began a furious attack, Kaywen backed off to do some studying of the situation. As the battle raged, with the party finding it quite fruitless to attack this thing, he came to understanding the situation. The totem was an item of negation of magic. The Heroes moved to the edge of the area to try to lure the beast, Arendagrost, out. But it knew its place and only reached out to attack. Even though they could get in the occasional swipe, it seemed to heal just as quickly.

The totem would have to be destroyed or removed. When arrows barely nicked it, and nothing else seemed to damage it, Kaywen asked the others to be a distraction while he moved around its line of vision. First, he summoned an earth elemental, outside of the area. Handing it one end of a rope and telling it to ‘stay,’ he then snuck in from the side making his way to the totem. Arendagrost caught sight of this but Byrker’s knightly power kept it near him. Kaywen got the rope around the pole and commanded the elemental to ‘pull,’ only to have the rope snap! At this point Styvesandt suggested they all charge the pole hoping to topple it. Byrker volunteered to keep the beast at bay, even though it could mean his demise. Kaywen grabbed the tied end of the rope, Aely, Kevrey and Styvesdandt charged the pole . . . . and all pretty much bounced off. Meanwhile Byrker was beyond death, staying on his feet only through magic means. He then entered the area to block the beast’s way. The other four took another shot at the pole. This time their combined efforts were successful and the totem fell uselessly to the ground.

For the next bit the five of them took on Arendagrost, now actually doing some real damage to him, while he did his best to hurt them. But with the pole down, the portal could be opened. It was not long before Orcus’ IX Exsanguinos legion entered and help finish off Arendagrost.

The FIVE wanted to head for Wat Dagon but the Skull King, Quah-Nomag, told them that Lemoriax itself was protected by a powerful interdiction zone and aksed them to accompany his legions to the edge of this zone as their skills would be of use. Seeing no real choice here, Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt agreed.

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Chapter 11: The Enemy of My Enemies

Chapter 11: The Alliance to End all Alliances

Fireseek, CY 614

18th Fireseek, CY 614: [65 days]

. . . . . . . Finally the water stopped pouring, though a major lake had been created. Emerging from the mist and vapor churning up from the turbid dark waters was a long skiff propelled along the water’s surface by a gaunt hooded dark figure. As it approached an almost palpable aura of menace preceded him. “What have you done to my river????” its deep throated voice demanded to know.Charon, Boatman of the River Styx, faced them, and he was NOT a happy camper.

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt stood aside the River Styxx, having returned from the Wells of Darkness in a rather different way- the redirection of the river itself! They saw a grey cloaked boatman poling towards them, his extremely dark face hidden by the cowls. As he neared he shouted at them, “What have you done to my river?” It was then that they realized who he was – Charon the boatman guardian for this famous river. It did seem some explanations and apologies were in order. Once this was done he invited them aboard the skiff and they were all swept up and through a rift into the depths of the lower planes.

Charon admitted that he, too, was an enemy of Demogorgon. He reiterated the advice of the Lady of Debased Eros, that they should recruit an army of his enemies. He suggested they start with the Witch Queen Iggwilv as he was one of the few who knew where she was. The FIVE also knew that they had come into possession of missing copy of the Demonomicon which should be of great interest to her. Charon told them where to find her, took them to the Sea Wyvern, and blessed their boat so that it would have free passage in the depths and all aboard would have protection from the elements of the depths while on board.

19th Fireseek, CY 614 : Iggwilv’s Landing

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt, after some rough times with some Stygian Linnorms and three of Iggwilv’s Arcanaloth Accolytes, managed to eventually gain an audience with Iggwilv. And after some bribery that did not include the Demonomicon and the agreement that each would ‘owe her a favor’ she agreed to help them. She furnished them with a list of potential allies who might be willing to join their alliance against Demorgogon. As they already had Charon, she suggested attempting to enlist Orcus, Gwynharwyf, Malcanthet, Obox-ob, and Bagromar. The FIVE would set out to contact each of these in that order to enlist their aid. As the rested for the night, they knew they had 64 days to fulfill their agreement with Ahazu.

22nd Fireseek, CY 614:

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesand traveled to Thanatos in Lachrymisa to contact Orcus. He showed some interest but wanted to test the mettle of The FIVE so Byrker had to do battle, mano a mano against ‘one’ of Orcus minions – the two headed death giant Lestra and Orbenet. Once Byrker handily dispensed with the beast, Orcus joined the alliance. He promised to muster his armies and have them ready to do battle in two weeks time.

26th Fireseek, CY 514: The Court of Stars

After a return visit with Iggwilv, Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt proceeded to the realm of the eladrin where they first had to tolerate Sir Andros Fearnaught when they were ‘rescued’ by Celeste who took them before Queen Morel. The Queen and Gwynharwyf were very interested in the undertaking especially when they heard the part about the Shadow Pearls. But, as always it seemed, there was a test first. Queen Morel explained that in the World of Ash there dwelled a foul tempered wyrm named Redfang who had razed eladrin holdings and had fatted upon ‘her children.’ She asked them to slay the beast and then return one of the stars from his belly. Upon their return they would be taken to the Fountain of Beauty to seal the alliance. The FIVE proceeded to Yggdrasil, the World of Ash, to deal with Redfang.

The FIVE found themselves in a woods, a very strange and mystical woods, with many unidentifiable aromas. At times their heads were spinning with visions of nymphs, satyrs and other mythical creatures. Finally they emerged onto what they realized was a huge moss-covered root with a cavern leading off from it. Perhaps suffering from the ‘effects’ of the woods Byrker first called out a greeting and then forged forward into the cavern. They soon found themselves approaching, and in battle with, an immense linorm – Redfang, Gnawer in Darkness. He appeared to be a huge dragon, wingless with two heads and no hind legs. In the epic battle which followed, they somehow managed to fell the giant beast. Byrker, much to Kaywen’s dismay, took as much of the meat as he could from the wyrm, planning to make it the ‘special’ at his tavern back in Farshore. Kaywen shrunk what was left of the beast, quite a lot actually, planning to offer it to the Well as a fulfillment of their bargain with Ahazu. While they were gutting the beast they did discover and free a star, fulfilling their obligation to Queen Morel.

27th Fireseek, CY 514: The Court of Stars

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt found the court in the throes of a great celebration as news of their success had proceeded them. Gwynharwyf led them to the Fountain of Beauty where they were encouraged to drink. As a result they began to resemble eladrin and would have benefits to their appearance for a week.

2nd Ready’ing, CY 416: Shendilavri

After another return to Iggwilv, Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt headed to where they could find Malcanthet. They went there to bargain for the legendary Tuerny’s Iron Flask which Iggwilv suggested they would need. They found Malcanthet’s court to be rather revealing as they had to be naked to appear before her. When she tried to use her wiles on Byrker the knight was able, thanks to Kaywen’s protections, resist. So she agreed to hand over the flask if they would find and bring to her one of her Radiant Sisters who was missing. Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt went to Crimson’s chapel where they battled her Peloran Heretics [vampire monks] and eventually subdued her. Upon their return to Malcanthet’s court they watched as Crimson was welcomed by the other 12 Sisters as the ripped her to shreds. Hmm, an opening in the court? Anyway, Malcanthet handed over the Iron Flask.

6th Ready’ing, CY 416: Iggwilv’s Mansion

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt returned with the flask and awaited further direction. When Iggwilv tried to advise and help Kaywen with the flask, he stubbornly refused. “OK, then have it your way.” But there were something very ominous in her words. She told them of their next ‘quest’ that of freeing the Aspect of Obox-Ob from where it was imprisoned and getting it into the Flask so they would have this outsider to command at some later date.

9th Ready’ing, CY 416: Feedgut in the Blood Shallows

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt traveled to the Blood Shallows on the 81st layer of the Abyss where the aspect had been imprisoned. Using various magics they determined that the aspect was likely below ground inside the storage hut in the main encampment. Having, again refused Iggwilv’s help when she offered a scroll of freedom, and again getting her displeasure, hmm, they had contacted the Mercanes and bought one instead. They passwalled into the camp and snuck into the storage hut, read the scroll and watched as all Hades broke loose. They quickly fled to watch the carnage as the Aspect began laying waste to the camp. And then Gorgant, the Two Faced, an aspect of Demogorgon appeared and began doing battle with Obox-Ob. Again they watched until Gorgant summoned a marilith to help him. At that point, fearing that their aspect might not survive, they entered the fray on its side. When they had defeated Gorgant, the marilith took flight and Kaywen quickly and successfully drafted the aspect of Obox-Ob into the Flask of Tuerny.

13th Ready’ing CY 416: First Mountain Camp, Pazunia

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt, having conferred with Iggwilv once more, headed to Pazunia where they hoped to get the alliance of General Bogromar, a clone of Hethradiah, one of Demogorgon’s heads. They hatched a plan which called for Kevrey, yes folks, Kevrey to attempt to bluff Bogromar that they were mercenaries and were on his side, having already met with his brother Aameul and were now favoring Hethradiah.

The plan actually seemed to be working as they gained entry to the camp where they were directed to the Balor, Dingoslag, who was the camp director. He agreed to take them to Bagromar. But, well, what a surprise, after leading them to an open area he turned on them! They soon found themselves in a battle with the balor and many, many, did I say many?, other demons gathered around and cheered Dingoslag on. But, as the FIVE gradually gained the upper hand they tenor of the crowd changed and they became the favorites. When Dingolslag died, and exploded, and they survived the explosion, they found themselves with a clear path to the main tent.

Inside they found two nalfeshnees and several glabrezuz as servants who watched their every move. General Bagromar appeared as a one headed Demogorgon – baboon head, tentacles, the mix of scaly and furred skin. He seemed busy with some map and dictation. Suddenly he looked up at them and beckoned them nearer. “Yes, yes. You’re the ones who just murdered Dingoslad. What do you want from me?” In spite of the fact that Kaywen first, and eventually each of them realized they were in a zone of truth, they decided to proceed with the bluff story. Needless to say, Kevrey had spoken maybe two lies in his very uncertain and unconvincing style, before Bagromor began questioning the story. Since Kevrey had little in the way of truth to offer things began to seem bleak . . . until Byrker spoke. He began to speak in his naturally inclined truthful manner. The more Kaywen and Aely tried to shut him up the more he spoke. Styvesandt noticed that many, very many demons, were gathering outside the tent as if they were being summoned in some way. Somehow Byrker’s words were gaining favor with Bagromar. Byrker continued to outline, well give away the details of their plan and the alliances they had made. He offered the letter from Iggwilv, again against the wishes of Kaywen and Aely, he told of their alliance with Orcus. He also mention the friendship of the Eladrin, But, since too many days had gone by they no longer resembled elves so Bagromor was doubtful. And then Byrker pulled out a steak. Not just any steak but a dragon steak he had made from Redfang. “We slew this dragon at their request.”

Bagromor raised an eyebrow and sniffed. Unknown to all but a few of his closest friends, he was a hidden gourmet and he began eating and enjoying the offering. Bagromor admitted that his brother had resisted the consolidation of their armies and that he was not getting the respect he felt he deserved for his successes in the Blood War. “But, what can be done?” he asked whipping his mouth with one of his dretch scribes. It was at this time that both Aely and Kaywen began to realize that Byrker was getting somewhere so Kaywen mention the Flask and Obox-Ob. He even offered to open it at which point Bagromor back away. Byrker decided to push his luck and be as diplomatic as possible, asking General Bagromor to consider an alliance of some sort. The rest of the party shook their heads in agreement, except for Styvesandt who was still counting demons outside, “1,345,276, uh, 1,345277, uh, 1,345278. . .”

Bagromar spoke, “I can give you props for Iggwilv’s letter, and that Flask certainly gained my attention. Your story about Orcus might have some truth to it. Hmm,” and then his reasoning was interrupted by a giant and very satisfactory belch!. “That was the best dragon steak I have ever had. Looking forward to some more of it.” As he stood, Styvesandt noted that the demons outside the tent were dispersing. “Consider it done. Now leave, before Common sense returns.”

And they did!

15th Ready’ing, CY 416: Farshore

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt returned home to their colony to begin the final preparations for what would prove to be a one chance, succeed or fail, live or die effort. They knew they would have one, and one chance only, to get their loose and erratic group of allies to somehow coordinate and attack against one of the greatest foes, the mighty Demogorgon. If they failed the Shadow Pearls which were already spread around the world of Greyhawk would be unleashed and nothing could be done about it.

They would have a few weeks to organize themselves and then convene the War Council of their allies to finalize plans for the assault on Gaping Maw.

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Chapter 10: Into the Abyss Part D: Contacting Ahazu
Freeing Shami-Amourae

Fireseek, CY 614

16th Fireseek, CY 614:

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr searched the area. They found a rather unorganized, yet very full, library. Most of the books were on the mysteries of the Abyss with a particular focus on dead and forgotten demon lords. Among these texts were a couple of special finds. For one, there was the collection of spell books which once belonged to Ulricon the Necromancer. Inside a blank tome, hidden in a cut out section, Whyspurr found an amulet which turned out to be an amulet of the planes. But the piece de resistance was a large closed tome sitting almost casually on a lectern – a copy of the Demonomicon of Iggwilv!

Once Kaywen got over the urge to set about studying these immediately, they decided to attempt to communicate with Ahazu in the black inky pool. They could see a dark skinned naked humanoid shape with bat like wings, an elongated head, and long, thin arms. ‘Must be him,’ they hoped. Kaywen dared to touch the pool. A voice in his head asked, ‘Why are you here?’ After some back and forth, well, lots of back and forth, it became clear that Ahazu was a hard bargainer. The best offer they could get was his agreement to show them how to free Shami-Amourae in return for their putting the Tooth of Ahazu in the pool now and then refilling the Well of Debased Eros with a creature of equal value within 66 days. There being NO choice at this point, they agreed to the deal knowing that if they failed in their part of the bargain, their souls would be lost forever. Once agreed to, Kaywen put the tooth in this pool. Shortly after a mist arose engulfing his hands until he felt something heavy within them. As the mist dissipated he found he was holding what appeared to be a Book of Infinite Spells opened to a page which contained the freedom spell. ‘Read it at the edge of her pool and she will be freed.’ The voice of Ahazu chuckled ominously and fell silent.

They spent the night in a magic mansion contemplating their options.

17th Fireseek, CY 614: [65 days]

They thought about trying to get a replacement before freeing Shami. Attempts to find those powerful adversaries they had failed to fell in Divided’s Ire proved fruitless, so they decided to go to the Well of Debased Eros and read the spell. They developed a plan whereby they would free Shami while still keeping her captive. Once they got what they wanted from her, they would put her back in the well. Hmmmm. . . .

They flew down to the bottom of the Well of Debased Eros. The Simian creatures were gone but hovering over the pool was a very large spider like creature, which looked like a very large retriever. When it was prodded by Byrker, it attempted to petrify him. It did its best to keep them from the pool but eventually they destroyed it. Then Aely began casting a binding spell and just as it resolved, Kaywen read the freedom spell. As he finished, the page turned and the book was empty. Momentarily Shami-Amourae rose from the inky liquid, breathed in the air, smiled at them and then just as suddenly jerked in horror, her eyes bulging, her tongue sticking out. A voice declared, “You shall not have this prize! I shall use her to destroy your bodies, and I shall send your souls back to Shattered night forever.” That green necklace that had been around her neck proved to be a chokesnake which had taken over her powers. It quickly stunned Whyspurr, but before it could do much more Byrker and Styvesandt killed it with some very carefully aimed attacks.

Shami-Amourae, in all her seductive beauty stood before them. She quickly realized that though she was out of the liquid she was till bound here. She made it clear that no information would be forthcoming unless she was first guaranteed her freedom. Again, since there was little choice in this matter, the party agreed. They flew together out of the well. There they talked. They asked her about her former lover Demongorgon and his weaknesses. She explained that he was his own worst enemy. She had often played his two heads against each other. In fact, she explained how each head, Aameul the right one and Hethradiah the left one were actually plotting against the other. It was Hethradiah that was behind the shadow pearls and the savage tide. Each was vying for control of the demon lord. After explaining this, she suggested, “Each situation he faces brings two reactions, no one. And when faced with multiple dangers across multiple fronts, these reactions can paralyze him.” She mused about what might happen if Demogorgon was faced with a large scale invasion of Gaping Maw by armies of multiple enemies at once. She made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with this plan, however. She needed time to disappear and to rebuild her own force. "But if you feel suicidal, I’d suggest consulting with someone who knows more than I do about the Abyss. Someone like that tart, Iggwilv, perhaps?”

A few more questions were asked and answered until it was agreed that she had fulfilled her part of their bargain and she was free to go. Just as she was about to take her leave, however, a torrent of dark water cascaded from the sky, as if a great waterfall had suddenly appeared in the heavens. The water engulfed most of them save her and Styvesandt. Shami began to fly away while Aely, Byrker, Kaywen and Whyspurr floundered about, almost being pushed back into the well. Finally the water stopped pouring, though a major lake had been created. Emerging from the mist and vapor churning up from the turbid dark waters was a long skiff propelled along the water’s surface by a gaunt hooded dark figure. As it approached an almost palpable aura of menace preceded him. “What have you done to my river????” its deep throat-ed voice demanded to know. Charon, Boatman of the River Styx, faced them, and he was NOT a happy camper.

. . . . . .Thus endeth the Tenth chapter of the Savage Tide . . .

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Chapter 10: Into the Abyss Part C: The Overlook
Part C: The Overlook

Fireseek, CY 614

16th Fireseek, CY 614:

They studied the pool. Within it they could sort of see a female form with a green necklace in a once fine but now tattered gown. Somehow both Byrker and Kaywen managed to communicate telepathically with the form. Byrker thought he heard ‘free me.’ When asked how or who they heard ‘I hear his dreams.’ When asked where they heard ‘over look.’

They concluded that perhaps this whole area has a lord of some sort and he might be the one to consult. But who might he be? Twas then they remembered what got them here – the Tooth of Ahazu. Kaywen consulted his knowledge of the planes and came to learn that Ahazu the Seizer was the demon lord of night and abduction but he vanished some time ago. It is commonly held that he is now a prisoner in one of the Wells of Darkness, ironically, as he is credited with creating this realm. Armed with this information Aely set about finding the path to Ahazu. The spell had them retrace their steps where they could now see, off the marble path, a ruined fortress which, ahem, ‘overlooked’ the realm. Flying now, they followed a winding footpath to the top. Their journey was only slightly interrupted by a flock of varrangoin berserkers.

Upon reaching the fortress they found much if it to be in ruins. Only one area remained in any way intact. As they entered each felt a force trying to dissuade it which Kaywen realized was a forbiddance of some sort. Eventually they came to the tower room which was some 80’ in diameter the walls of which were adorned by mural and paintings two of which seemed interesting. But the main eye catcher was the central 40’ area which was a many tiled mosaic – a map of the 73rd layer of the Abyss. When Kaywen gave Aely an up close and personal look at the tiles, her face pushed some of them down. Slowly Kaywen felt the urge to remove the Tooth from his pack. Slowly but surely it, or he, began to sketch a symbol, apparently that of Ahazu in the air and then into the tiles. When it was finished the tiles disappeared send both Aely and Kaywen downward! Luckily each wore a ring of feather fall so it was a pleasant journey . . . Byrker used his boots of levitation and took Kevrey with him. Styvesandt drank a potion of flying and followed. As they descended they could see that the walls of the shaft were gouged and pitted. Several hundred feet bellow ripples glinted the inky black liquid. Thousands of horrifically silent ants clung to the walls.

Once they reached the bottom, settling aside the pool, the Abyssal Ants swarmed. No sooner had they dealt with the insects then they were set upon by three Keepers of Ahazu – varrangoin liches! It took some doing and some real team work to defeat two and drive the third off. Finally they seemed to have the situation under control.

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Chapter 10: Into the Abyss Part B: The Pit of Prisoners:
The Pit of Prisoners

Fireseek, CY 614

15th Fireseek, CY 614:

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt made their way to and into the Pit of Prisoners to reach the Wells of Darkness. They were temporarily disoriented and then found themselves in the base of one of these ‘wells’ amidst a heaping pile of rotting flesh. Far above a dim circle of blue light beckoned. However, between them and freedom circled some Chasmes and rummaging through the rot were some ancient abyssal ghouls, neither of whom were rolling out the welcome wagon. When the fight was over the FIVE flew out of this well. The blue light turned out to be a blue sun which cast a dim illumination down upon this vast realm, a vast badlands through which wound a maze of flagstone pathways.

As they pondered which way to go the realization hit them that perhaps they should have inquired as to which well contained Shami. Finally Kaywen decided to consult his knowledge of the planes. He discovered that she was contained within the Well of Debased Eros. Armed with that knowledge Aely was able to find the path. They stayed on the marble flagstone and made their way past a few other wells until they found the one they sought.

Peering in to the Well of Debased Eros they saw it was 40’ wide and about 100’ feet deep. The true nature of the well was obscured by what appeared to be a canopy of trees which took up maybe 70% of the interior. Bryker began to slowly fly down. He was quickly greeted by some rather large simian shaped creatures – gorallons. Rather than attack the knight, they tried to tempt him, seduce him even, through a variety of suggested hand, face, tongue and other body part motions. As sexy and provocative as they were, Bryker chose war over love. He and the others attacked the gorallons and killed them. But, the knight was not without compassion. Once the simians were dead, he honored them by ‘cutting off their dicks and sticking them in their mouths.’ Such kindness, such empathy.

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Chapter 10: Part A - To the Abyss
Part A - Red Shroud of Broken Reach

Savage Tide Adventure Path

Chapter 10: Into the Abyss
Part A: Red Shroud of Broken Reach

Fireseek, CY 614

14th Fireseek, CY 614: The group had spent the better part of a month recovering in Farshore. They had welcomed in the New Year. As well, some had perfected new spells, skills, actions; others had improved upon their items. Some had done both. Whyspurr and Styvesandt went off somewhere for about a week. Finally it was time to follow the leads given them by Orgosh the Despoiler. He had told them of Demogorgon’s debauched visits to the Ire with his lover Shami-Amourae. He told them of Demogorgon’s wrath when he discovered that she had found a way to manipulate him. Though Orgosh did not know what this secret was, he did know that Shami-Amourae had been imprisoned in the Wells of Darkness. Orgosh told them to seek out Red Shroud of Broken Reach, as she knew more about Shami-Amourae than anyone alive, or dead. They needed to travel to the Abyss, to the town of Broken Reach, to seek out the one know as Red Shroud.

And so they did.

Kaywen used the various scrying, knowledge and contact skills he had to learn the location of Broken Reach. Broken Reach, as it turned out, sat on the Plain of Infinite Portals, first layer of the Abyss, having been built by a succubus sorceress named Red Shroud, the very person they were looking for. They would have to use magical means to get to Pazunia, since it was on a different plane and the wakeportal would only take them to the Abyssian Ocean. The Sea Wyvern and a grateful Lefty would have to stay in Farshore. It would be up to Aely to plane shift them there.

They arrived in some miles from Broken Reach and then Aely greater teleported them to the outskirts of the town. The outskirts seemed almost ruins but within they found a thriving city within.

Figuring Red Shroud would be among the leading citizens they began seeking out the most luxurious buildings, one of which turned out to be a hotel, the Bloody Fang. When they informed the manager, a demonic presence in a tuxedo, that they were looking for Red Shroud, he suggested they book the Malcanthet Wing for those rooms came with the directions they would need. Escorted to this wing by the demon-hop, they found themselves on the west wing of the next to top floor. The one room they inspected was incredibly well apportioned with just about every luxury one could expect to find. And, sure enough, there was a visitor’s guide to Broken Reach with odd red cape marks upon it.

Before following the guide, they decided to hit the very well equipped market place, ‘manned’ by a variety of creature types. One of the more interesting stalls sold rods for plane shifting, something that should come in very handy at some point. From there the map led them to what at first appeared to be an empty lot. Upon closer inspection a hole with a circular staircase was found. Byrker led the way followed by Styvesandt, and eventually the rest. They went around and down, around and down, for a very long time . . . until they came to a hallway, which, naturally, went around . . . but then quickly opened onto a raised vestibule which contained four female statues. The women depicted was not familiar to them, but was definitely not Shamri-Amourae. Again, around until they came to a red door being guarded by a nalfeshnee who identified himself as Ygrax. When told they had come to speak with Red Shroud he remained silent for a bit and then said, “She will see you now.”

He ushered them into an large room and onto a glass floor. At the other end, on a dais raised some 50’ above, sat a beautiful woman who was obviously the model for the statues seen earlier. One either side of her stood two hezrous. Off to her right was a wispling who would be introduced as Shadowfire. He would prove to be the sidekick/comedian of the show.

Red Shroud introduced herself and asked why they had come. For once the Party took a cautious approach in what they said. “Information,’ was the answer given. Red Shroud made it clear that her time was valuable and costly. She set her talking price at 10,000 gp, in coin, magics, or things of her interest. Rather than haggle or inquire, they handed over the coin. Cautiously they asked about the Wells of Darkness. Red Shroud was in a good mood a volunteered a good deal of information about this area. She told them it was on the 73rd layer of the Abyss, and while there were a number of ways of getting there, one of the easiest was if one had a Tooth of Dahlver-Nar. There began a long discussion, brain racking, and search of belongings for somewhere way back when they thought they might have come across one of them. Finally, after much remembering and thinking, Styvesandt pulled from inside his pants the Tooth of Ahazu, which he had gotten long ago on the Isle of Dread, which would allow them access to this level. Red Shroud explained that the tooth would allow them to enter the Pit of Prisoners which would deposit them on the 73rd level where the Wells of Darkness were. Once they got directions to this pit they thanked her and left.

It was agreed that they would spend the night and head down the pit the next day. While most decided to stay in the Bloody Fang, since they had ponied up 500 gp for the wing, Kaywen made it clear that he would be staying is his Mordenakinen’s Magnificent Mansion. To each his own.

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Chapter Nine: Part B - The Prison of Divided's Ire

Eventually they found themselves in a large room with many more Hezrous and one rather huge creature which had four arms, all of them armed. He quickly reversed gravity on them. Eventually they got down and got out of there.

They tried the other side of the main area where many crevasses were. They met an interesting red woman who identified herself as S’Sharra. Later they were accosted by a flock of vrocks and a huge Lemorian Golem. After this battle they retreated to the Sea Wyvern to rethink things.

9th – 14th Sunsebb, 613

The next day they returned to deal with Kulubax. This time they were ready for the ceiling trip and defeated him and his minions.

They continued through some buildings, one of which contained the ubiquitous statue of Demogorgon. They reached the western wall of the prison and found two massive iron doors beyond which opened to the river, the volcano, and the other section of the prison. Through this door a wide stone bridge stretched across the gap between the islands. At twenty foot intervals on either side stood stone statues of robed women, their hands extended down to the sea as if beseeching someone for help. Their stony eyes dripped blood. To their north they could see a wide balcony on which three large gargoyle like creatures with powerful bat wings and green skin stood watching. Each had four powerful arms and vaguely canine heads with horns and small webbed ears. Across the divide were three perches on which sat lanky demons with bat like wings, gargoyle like heads with glowing yellow eyes and great mouths filled with fangs, and leathery black and gray skin. The party began to cross under the cloak of invisibility. About halfway their, they were certain that both groups were watching them, but neither took any action. The volcano occasionally flared up as well.

Across and through more massive doors, they entered the room of the shrieking pillars. This oddly shaped chamber featured many open doors which simply led to empty dusty rooms. A single pillar of iron rose up from the floor to the ceiling overhead, its surface studded with countless hooks and barbs. Stretched over these hooks were dozens of faces, seemingly skinned from the heads of men and women and affixed inside out in an overlapping pattern of flesh over much of the pillar. A grating endless shriek wailed from horridly from the faces, and their eyelids and lips twitched and writhed as if in immense pain.

Beyond they came to a hallway at the south end of which stood two angelic like creatures, each with a trumpet. These two greeted them with, “Hail heroes, and behold the kingdom of Saureya. What errand beings you to this forlorn land?” After some talk, these two told of their own fall from grace and their long suffering and hopeless future here. As things seemed to go well, they led the four to the throne room where Saureya waited. Pale white steps with cracks led up to a large , Y shaped, hall. On either side of the room were statues fo angelic like beings bent double from their suffering, one arm shielding their faces, the other thrown up as if to ward away some terrible evil. At the far end of this room was a throne, pooled around which was slick crimson blood. Seated on the throne was a beautiful man with silvery hair. Faint tattoos, almost like scars, crisscrossed his flesh, making it seem like he was assembled from pieces. Rising up from his back were gory stumps that were likely once his wings. They gazed upon the creature, likely a fallen angel. They approached him in a friendly manner. The creature identified himself as Saureya, an astral deva, and told his story of hideous failure. After a bit, he even asked them to kill him.

Deeper on this side they came into an odd village of sorts surrounded by spirits of the dead. They met one who called himself Orgosh, a lich. He promised to tell them what they might do next if only they would rid the place of Vanthus.

They continued their search for Lavinia. It led them across the cauldron and into some rather filthy areas where they met and dealt with kelubar demondans, filth demons, and the leader of this area, Belshamoth, with whom they negotiated passage.

Later they headed south into an better area. In one very well apportioned room they encountered a cowering gnome, Nurt, who told of being held captive by Lillianth. Byrker promised to return for him, but that promise would be broken. In another hall area came upon some more Hezrous. The party found itself in a very difficult battle with these Hezrous and the one known as Lillianth. It took some time to finally drive them off. In the course of the fight, Byrker had spotted Lavinia suspended in a cage over a lava pit, as had been forseen in Aely’s divination some time before. Once this battle ended she was rescued.

Lavinia was willing to go back to the Sea Wyvern for the night but insisted on accompanying them to kill he brother the next day. They opened the Southern doors and saw a stone bridge across the major lava sea leading to an island encampment. As Byrker began across the bridge, he was greeted by a half dozen Shadows of Socothbenoth, shadow demons, whose incorporeal form still allowed them to rip with their vile claws. Once these had been defeated, the they crossed the bridge and entered a room on the small island which contained a pile of dead bodies. Unfortunately, this pile also contained many undead bodies, those of Dread Wraiths. Once the Wraiths were dealt they proceeded to the next room where, at long last, found Vanthus. In what proved to be a rather anti-climactic battle, Kaywen disintegrated Vanthus before the now death night could do much more than hurl a few insults.

With Vanthus dead and Lavinia rescued, they recalled that they had made a deal with Orgosh the Despoiler, he of the moaning region, to return with proof of Vanthus’ demise. He then told them of Demogorgon’s debauched visits to the Ire with his lover Shami-Amourae. He told them of Demogorgon’s wrath when he discovered that she had found a way to manipulate him. Though Orgosh did not know what this secret was, he did know that Shami-Amourae had been imprisoned in the Wells of Darkness. Orgosh told them to seek out Red Shroud of Broken Reach, in the Abyss, as he knew more about Shami-Amourae than anyone alive, or dead.

It was at this point the party bid found and final adieu to Divided’s Ire. They returned to their ship and used the wakeportal to return to the real world and Farshore for now.

Thus endeth Chapter Nine of the Savage Tides Journal.

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Chapter Nine: Part A - Into the Maw
The Abyssinian Ocean

Chapter 9: Part A – Into the Maw

Sunsebb, CY 613

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr spent some time after the defeat of the Scuttlecove Crimson Fleet to rest, recuperate, and improve their items, as they planned the next steps of their actions. For one, there was the still existing need to locate and rescue Lavinia. Second, there was, yet again, the need to vanquish her seemingly immortal brother, Vanthus. And, of course, there was the fate of the world at stake with the many shadow pearls that were out there somewhere.

While they could visit the 36 cities where the pearls had been delivered in some fantasy of locating and recovering all of them before whatever evil plan Vanthus or whomever had in store, the more reasonable approach seemed to be to follow the lead of going into the Abyss. This was confirmed by having Aely commune with the higher powers. So, sometime in early Sunsebb, CY 613 , the Sea Wyvern, equipped with the wakeportal and no crew, went where few have gone before – into the Maw!

8th Sunsebb, 613: Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr, using the wakeportal they had acquired from the Crimson Fleet, set ‘sail’ for the Abyssinian Ocean. They soon found themselves on a vast ocean with little knowledge of where they were, as few maps, OK no maps, of it exist. But, with Aely’s use of ‘find the path,’ Kaywen was able to set a course for the Gaping Maw. Along the way they encountered another vessels, the Sapphire Griffon. It turned out to be an interplannar merchant shipped manned by some 9 feet tall, blue skinned humanoids, mercanes, and their tieffling crew. They offered to supply the party with just about any item one could name. After this encounter Kaywen took the Sea Wyvern under water. Using some directions they paid the mercanes for they found their way to the Gaping Maw. Once they had managed to survive the difficulties of the entry, they looked for, and eventually found the island of Divided’s Ire, where the mercanes had told them a prison did exist.

8th Sunsebb, 613: The Sea Wyvern passed along the south and east coast of the island. It seemed more like two island the western of which appeared to be a volcano. As they rounded the eastern coast the spotted the Crimson Scar, the ship that had belonged to Captain Whyther, but had been taken by Vanthus. The found a more secluded cove where the anchored the Sea Wyvern. From there they dimension doored to the Crimson Scar. They found this ship in good order, just completely deserted. Taking a route through the jungle they headed towards the massive building that was the prison. They approached the only visible entrance to the building under the cover of invisibility.

Kaywen sensed a strong domelike magical presence around the outside of the building and he realized that magic transport in and out would not be possible. Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt began their exploration of the prison. Directly inside the saw a crevasse and a wall. Rather than challenge this area, they headed north thru the maze of cells, many cubes suspended one foot from the floor by a thick adamantine chain that hung from the ceiling. The cells contained a myriad of denizens from the various planes. They made their way around the cells, opening some locked doors which revealed torture rooms, until they came to a long corridor. In a row along the center were four twelve-foot-tall iron statues of armored demonic warriors. Braziers spewed smokeless green flames hung from the ceiling between the statues, shed a sickly light. Atop at least two of these statues were Babaus demons which approached and attacked them. Unnoticed at this time, two others fled off somewhere. . . . . .

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