Savage Tide

On the Isle of Dread Part Four

Chapter Four: The Isle of Dread

Part Four: The Shrine to Demogorgon

4th Reaping, CY612 (cont.)

Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr continued to puzzle over the candles, the mirrors and the thrones. After a couple more missteps including one where Kaywen was trapped within one mirror while his bestial image attempted to kill the others, they finally figured out how to use the mirrors as the passage they were. They found themselves in a large cave room where they were set upon by some female Bar-Lguras. After defeating them, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whyspurr moved through a nearby door into another throne room which held a mob of fiendish baboons, from which they fled.

Moving back through the cave room they found another exit which led into a new room which had many high piles of bones set about. The sound of bubbling water turned out to be a pair of fountains to the west where water poured from the fanged maws of baboon heads. Aely turned the water off in one but when she tried to stop the flow of the other one by turning what appeared to be a harmless iron valve she set off an ice storm! As they moved east towards some other doors they were hit by a lightning bolt from what appeared to be some sort of undead naga. This foe proved more difficult to hit than an undead should. It was only after it was killed that the magics it had cast wore off that it was revealed to be a spirit naga. The sound of water gurgling down a drain brought their attention to the receptacle below one of the no longer flowing baboon heads. In the basin upon of pile of whatever was found an iron right handed monkey paw. The significance of this paw became apparent when the continued east into the next room. The iron doors which led out were very locked, but they were flanked by two statues depicting hulking simian fiends each one holding out a missing hand, one right and one left. They had the ‘right’ one but . . . .

Back they went to the baboon room. This swarm took some toll on the party but was eventually defeated. A search of this room turned up a secret passage which opened into a treasure room of sorts with two chests. Naturally, one was trapped and the other had some treasures, coins, and the left hand paw. With this other ‘key’ in, er, hand, ahem, they went back and opened those iron doors. Down a long hallway that was flanked at intervals by even more ape statues, which howled warnings as they passed they came to a pair of copped doors.

Aely, in a dramatic moment, thrust open the doors, not stopping to buff up first. They opened into a huge chamber which seemed to be watched over by five hideous statues. To the east and west stood four towering demonic ape statues in alcoves, facing a roaring fire pit in the room’s center. On the opposite side of the room was an even larger stone statue. Possessing the stout, stylized body of an ape, this statue had two stone tentacles where each of its arms should have been. Sprouting from its shoulders were two fanged baboons heads. The statue lorded over the room atop a great dais, staring out in frozen rage. And, as if this wasn’t daunting enough, they saw poor Urol dangling 40’ above the fire pit on a strong chain which was linked to a winch about 10’ up on the west wall. It finally dawned on Kaywen that these were all symbol of the Prince of Demons himself- ‘Demogorgon!’

Both Aely and Kaywen took to flight, one to get Urol, the other to turn the winch, but both were just as quickly blown backwards out the door. It was then that their real adversary appeared in the form of yet another Bar-Lgura, this time a male. He proved more than a match for them on his own, driving Styvesandt away, and damn near killing everyone before being taken down. They took a quick moment to free Urol, who had been getting closer to the fire, and to recover when . . . .

. . . . the large statue began to animate. They wanted to flee but were quick to realize that this was the source of the magic that was keeping them trapped within Fogmire. In the ensuing battle Styvesandt was crushed and thrust aside and Aely had yet another brush with death. She did use that crown to some advantage and eventually the Lemorian Golem was defeated. No sooner had that happened then a peaceful feeling come over all of them.

Rather than take any chances on staying inside, they made their way back out of this complex. There, they were enthusiastically greeted by the others, even Avner, who also felt the fog lifting and their spirits rising as well. They would resume their journey southward the next day.

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On the Isle of Dread Part Three

Chapter Four: The Isle of Dread

Part Three: Along the cliffs

2nd, Week of Richfest, CY 612

Once out in the real world once more, Urol outlined the possible routes. While heading into the interior seemed tempting, he suggested following the coastline as much as possible. “There are terrible beasties on this isle. Best to stay on its edge” Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt decided to heed his advice. They spent the next many days making their way up and down along the cliffs, across beaches, through abandoned villages, and through narrow gaps. As they did so, the overcame them a sense of gradual foreboding. Each at times thought he was being watched and/or followed. This sixth sense type fear was only heightened by a series of strange events. During the night watch on two separate nights, those on watch found themselves in complete darkness as if the stars had been struck from the sky. One morning they woke to find a dozen bird carcasses arranged just outside the light range of their camp. Each bird was tied, wings outstretched and head to the ground, on an X-shaped frame. One night their sleep was disturbed by a rock slide, not all that uncommon till the rocks were examined and found to contain human skulls. The only time they saw another living human being, one on a cliff above them while they were down on a beach, they waved, only to have ‘him’ disembowel himself and plummet into the ocean! When they examined the spot where he had fallen from, there was no sign of anything, most of all, no blood. On two different days they were attacked by gargoyles but that was par for the course.

3rd Reaping, CY612

Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt had led the survivors southward for about six days when the coastal path took a clear turn inward. While the jungle forest with its lush growth seemed tempting, at Urol’s urging they continued on the rough up and down coastal path, till it just ran out of route. Seeing no other way, they reluctantly turned inward into the jungle. As they walked on it was easy to see that something was strange in here. The animals and plants were deformed in some ways. It was also difficult to find a clear way. Some wandering brought them to one notable clearing, one with ruined stone buildings and a dead man strung out across some wood very similar to the way those dead birds had been arranged. The dead man spoke, welcoming them to the area and warning that they would never be leaving. His words proved prophetic as every time they left this clearing, they wandered for a few hours only to find themselves back here once more.

Resigned to this odd fate for now, they set camp for the night.

4th Reaping, CY612

In the morning things seemed no different than the day before, that was until they realized that Urol was missing. The only witness was Urol’s crow, Miss Crazie. Styvesandt ‘spoke’ with her. She who told of seeing Urol suddenly taken by some hulking creature that looked like a large orangutan, which just appeared and then disappeared. Since Urol was in effect their guide and he did have his maps and general knowledge of the isle, they decided he was worth finding. Aely used her locate object spell to ‘find’ Urol’s journal.

This led them in a northerly direction for about half a mile where the fog-thick jungle thinned a bit before a low hill. Above, a large spire of black rocks loomed, while at the hill’s base, the image of two gigantic fanged baboon heads carved into the rock leered out at the jungle. Their gaping maws revealed two caves that led into darkness. There must be some significance to these visages, but no one could figure out what it was. Aely used her ‘head,’ well, OK, one of the skulls to test the safety of one of the entrances and they began to explore. She came upon a small bloody handprint, which seemed Urol size. Later they found the gnome’s belongings behind a boulder.

At first the interior seemed just cave but gradually proper construction was found. The natural caverns gave way to worked stone and led to a pair of bronze doors engraved with scenes of all manner of demonic reptiles and simians tormenting human slaves. A pair of stone statues flanked the doors, depicting leering monkey demons, their tongues dripping an oily red liquid. The door could not be budged. Each statue had a small inscription at its base. One read, “Give with your right,” the other, “Give with your left.” Aely finally grasped the significance and the door handles, sacrificing some blood from each hand in the process.

They entered what seemed the final chamber. It was stained with blood. Two stone thrones sat on either side, set into alcoves. On the far side of the chamber was a blood-caked altar of greasy green stone, topped by a pair of black tallow candle. Iron-framed mirrors stood on either side of the altar, their reflections warped and indistinct. After some discussion it was decided to light both candles. While this momentarily cast some light on the subject, it also triggered and explosion which burned Aely and then the candles went out.

“Guess that was not what we’re supposed to do.”

But, then, what were they to do and, where was Urol? . . . . .

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On the Isle of Dread Part Two

Chapter Four: The Isle of Dread

Part Two: Thru the Dark Passage

1st, Week of Richfest, CY 612

Following Lithiria’s directions and advice, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Remnil, and Styvesandt and the other known survivors, headed south keeping the two peaks as their guide. They rode on horses that Kaywen’s magic provided. As they neared the base of the mountains, they had to deal with s flock of terror birds. Once that was done, they made their way inside. The horses balked at the passage/tunnel as it was dark, dank and echoed. The party walked on for an eternity, more like six miles, until they came to what seemed a construction, and underground complex. All of this was Olman in nature.

The large entry room held a throne upon which a dead warrior had been pinned by a very nice spear. Through some large doors they found two stone passages across a canyon of great depth. Upon crossing they were set upon by some gargantuan centipedes and once again it was poor Whyspurr who bore the brunt of the attack, almost dying from there constitution draining poison. Once across and inside, they realized they were in a ancient Olman burial place, not that anything was buried. The dead were standing, entombed in niches in the wall. In one short area there were no niches which drew the attention of Kaywen. When they discovered a secret chamber, a special tomb, they were set upon by mummies apparently this tomb’s guardian. The tomb turned out to be that of Teonahwanhi, apparently once a great shaman. Among the items found within were a blue marble rod and a magic pearl.

They came into a room with two large iron doors decorated with symbols of water and sea life in tarnished copper. Across from them were two pedestals, one dusky red granite, the other blue marble, each with a notch cut into the side. The blue rod fit into the blue one. It became obvious that a second rod was needed, a red granite one, so that the mechanism that worked the iron doors could be activated. that did not open no matter how hard they pushed. Further exploration brought them into a room with a murky pool at the bottom of which Aely, who’d been pushed in by Kaywen, found just such an item. When each rod was inserted in its color match pedestal and turned simultaneously, the iron doors opened.

The late day sun could be seen to their south across a salt water pond of lake. As Aley made her way across she was assaulted by some large, hungry crabs, but they became a welcome sight and delight as once slain they made a wonderful supper. The party set camp on the beach to the south, waiting for day break to emerge from the underground and head south once more. They slept, perchance to dream . . . .

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On the Isle of Dread Part One

Chapter Four: The Isle of Dread

Part One: Awakening

26th Wealsun, 612 The Isle in sight!

And so it came to pass, after sailing for some 84 days, the end was in sight. The northeastern portion of the Isle of Dread was sighted! Unfortunately, that good weather which had blessed the journey except for one brief interruption until now, turned. A major storm overcame the poor ship, and Amella did all she could to keep the ship on some sort of course. The Sea Wyvern came aground on Masher Reef, lair of giant worms knows as Mashers. For those who thought them mere rumors, one welled up and attacked! No sooner had it been defeated then another, as the waves continued to wash over the helpless ship, appeared. Amella finally did manage to get the ship off the reef, but the Sea Wyvern was taking on water faster than all hands could bail. The decision was made to abandon ship, each to his own devices trying for land with all that could be salvaged.

The cold dark sea rushed up to meet the survivors, and in a cacophonous roar of wave and ruin, all went dark . . . .

27th Wealsun, 612 Morning has Broken

. . . gradually each came awake on the beach and began taking stock of their situation. Most of the ship’s crew had been lost, and the ship was some 200 yards off shore listing completely to one side the main mast stuck in a sand bar nearby. Even from this distance Amella could tell that it could not be repaired now. “Maybe if we reach Farshore we can come back with proper salvage equipment and raise her.” Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Remnil, and Styvesandt had survived as had Whyspurr, Tavey, Urol Ferol the druid and his pet crow, and one of Aely’s acolytes. As they made plans to salvage whatever supplies they could from the beach, the sea and the ship, a voice rung out. There was one more survivor. Avner Meravanchi had clung to some flotsam and was dragging himself to the shore, complaining all the while about the terrible job of sailing that Amella had done. His horse came trotting up the beach as well.

They spent the rest of this day gathering what supplies they could from the wreck and fending off first a T-Rex and later a flock of Terror Birds. Urol and Amella consulted as to their location. Urol was reasonably acquainted with the Isle, so he could estimate where they were with some accuracy. His rudimentary map explained that they were on the north east of the main Isle of Dread. Their destination, Farshore, was on a small isle off the southern coast. They would have to traverse the eastern coast of the main isle, through some jungle but mostly mountains, till the hit a narrow area that led to an archipelago. From there they would have to cross some water to get to Farshore.

28th Wealsun, 612 Heading South on the Isle of Dread

Early the next morning, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Remnil, and Styvesandt and the other known survivors, set out. Urol took them through a jungle area, one in which there was a large depression from some unexplained event well in the past. During this trek, they encountered a young Diplodocus being chased by some Terror birds but decided to let nature take its course. Later they came upon an Olman ruin. There they met an old ‘woman’ named Lithira, who spoke Sylvan. She also warned them, “Four eyes have gazed upon you and their servant seeks you out.” She told of the Dark Mountain Pass nearby that might help them in their journey by saving a climb up the mountains. Cautioning that some ‘hungry birds’ nest near its opening.

When this conversation ended, Lithiria ‘transformed’ into a spider of sorts and scuttled away. It was decided to make camp on the edge of these ruins for the night.

. . . . . . . . .

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The Sea Wyvern's Wake [Part 6]

Journey’s End

7th Flocktime, 612: The Pass – Azure Sea to Vahoun Ocean

About a week from Tamoachan the ships came to the pass which would take them into the Vahoun Ocean. It was also an area known to be patrolled and controlled by the Crimson Fleet. Forewarned was forearmed then, as the Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie clung together for protection and they proceeded. Unfortunately, when the attack came there were two pirate ships as well. The Sea Wyvern was on its own. But with Kaywen now capable of casting fireballs, the Wyvern had little trouble toasting and roasting the boarding party before it swung across. Once it did they had but to mop up what was left of the ‘Crispy Fleet’s’ representatives. They sunk their ship, the Purity, for good measure, and took what was left of its water and food stores.

18th Flocktime, 612: Fort Greenrock

Lavinia had promised of a stopover at Fort Greenrock to rest and resupply, but that was not to be. From their ships they could see that the fort was no longer standing; it was smoldering instead. A landing party was dispatched to investigate. They found signs of a battle and the fort having been razed. Styvesandt concluded from the tracks that it had been lizard men who had done the damage. While they could follow the tracks into the dense jungle, it was decided that anything that had been taken was probably used up since the attack had occurred some months before. Lavinia knew of other places for fresh water and they did have the supplies from the pirate ships, so they sailed on.

22nd Flocktime, 612: Atikula River

The ships stopped here to get some fresh water. The scenic beauty of the 900’ wide waterfall that produced a fresh water ‘pond’ somehow attached to the ocean was captivating. Equally captivating was the many headed hydra that lurked within. But the cooler heads of the heroes prevailed. The water supply was replenished and the remains of many other ships were found well below the surface.

28th Flocktime, 612: Village of Renkrue

The long awaited promise of rest and relaxation was finally fulfilled as they dropped anchor off the coast of a small island where this native village was set. Lavinia had brought along some metal trade goods, and some minor magics were purchased from the village shaman. One other purchase, the offer by Avner to buy one of the villagers daughters, was met with less favor. Fortunately, Aely was able to put this deal on ‘hold.’ The days spent here were indeed relaxing after all.

18th Wealsun, 612: Journey’s End

To date, the ships had enjoyed reasonable weather, but that began to change as they got further south. Four days after passing the island of Ruja, one they decided to not visit, the wind kicked up, the seas grew wild, and the rain came down. Kaywen aided as best he could in holding the winds at bay while any with sailing experience helped Amella navigate through the night. They survived this storm, but morning brought two disturbing sights, or lack thereof. The skies were still angry and the Blue Nixie was nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, they had agreed at the start of the journey that if either ship got separated, the other would continue hoping to meet up at Farshore in the end. The Sea Wyvern, therefore, continue on course as best it could.

Until one grey morning that is. On this day something seemed strange about the waters below. They seemed almost solid, as if the sea had formed some strange sort of skin. The air seemed dead and the sails hung limp, heavy with moisture from the receding fog. . As the mist cleared it was not the sea below and around them but a wet green field of weed. This swath of dirty green stretched flatly in all directions. “Sargasso,” declared Aely. The ship fell silent; absent were the sounds of the no existent waves against its hull.

Pooling their collective knowledge of a Sargasso, they knew that they were in deep trouble. From the sheer width of this, they concluded that this was Journey’s End, one of legendary proportions. This ‘living land’ is rumored to have its own black soul that fuels the hunger of its children rumored to live within it. They could expect visits from these ‘children’ in the coming night. With some time on their hands and the sighting of some other ships equally caught in the mass, they decided to test the ‘waters.’

The mass was sponge like but walkable for the most part, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Remnil, and Styvesandt set out across it to the nearest wreck, some 600 yards away. As they neared it, they saw that it was strangled with weeds and vines almost as if immense green claws had taken hold. The ship, the RAGE, was roughly the same size as the Sea Wyvern; they could almost taste their fate as they listened . . . and heard nothing. ‘Maybe we should go aboard. . . . . . . .

18th Wealsun, 612: Journey’s End

. . . . . . Boarding the Rage they found the ship entangled in greenery, some of which was quite vicious. They also found the journal of a monk named Anhelm. It documented his final days as he and his friends tried to fight off plant like creatures which kept coming for them each night. Some who went out onto the Sargasso never returned.

That night the Sea Wyvern was attacked one wave of moving mucous green humanoids.

18th Wealsun, 612: Journey’s End

Knowing the fate that awaited them if they did nothing, and when Kaywen’s attempted to slice through the Sargasso did not work all that well, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Remnil, and Styvesandt decided to search the Sargasso for the Dark Heart, knowing that it must be found and destroyed if they were ever to escape. Leaving everyone else on board they went from trapped ship to trapped ship, some of which had been there more than fifty years. As dusk was coming in they came to one ship in a part of the mass which seemed darker and more alive. The ship, the Thunderer, was in surprisingly good shape, only sunk in the morass. As they looked back over the Sargasso, they felt it was somehow closing in on them. Having little choice they boarded this ship. On the deck they found skeletal remains entangled in vines.

They began a deck to deck room to room search of the ship. Deserted and broken all that remained were remnants of what once was. It was on the second below deck that they discovered a dark hole, maybe 100’ in depth. Fortunately, Aely had sufficient rope to get them all down. It was in the depth like hell that they encountered the source of all the vines, the heart of this Sargasso, the Mother of All, a 20’ tall mass of vines from which all these horror had emerged, carrying a young. A battle of epic proportions ensued and miraculously they all survived.

No sooner had the Mother been defeated, however, than did the Sargasso began leaking and returning to the ocean that it was. Luckily the Thunderer broke apart in large sections which allowed the heroes to float until help in the form of the Sea Wyvern arrived. Captain Amella righted the course as best she could and headed for Farshore around the southern tip of the Isle of Dread once more.

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The Sea Wyvern's Wake [Part 5]

The Ruins of Tamoachan

15th Planting – 2nd Flocktime, 612: On the Seas

The Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie spent the next few weeks sailing on calm seas ever southward towards Fareshore. Before leaving Fort Thunder Aely purchased a Bag of Holding from Shadow, Arn Galter’s man. She also spend time and money stocking it with all sorts of, ahem, useful itemsn such as soap, nylon rope, a butterfly net and, well, one gets the picture of a woman out of control with a credit card, er, gold pieces.

2nd Flocktime, 612: Tamoachan

The ships stopped off shore here as Lavinia had promised Urol Ferol that he could search for the lost ruins. So that he not become lost, she asked the party, who suddenly discovered that Remnil was once again missing ?, to accompany the gnome lest he become as lost as the ruins. Ever dutiful, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt set out with the ranger at the lead. As they moved further into the jungle Styvesandt began to question Urol as to the veracity of the map. Urol explained that he had purchased the map from a one legged sailor. Hmmm . . . ‘Peg’ claimed he had been given the map by dying elf they had fished from the sea. Hmmmmm . . . It seems this elf before he expired told of an expedition to these ruins and the finding of a heretofore unexplored section of the city! Hmmmmm . . . . It was this new area that Urol was anxious to find and enter. When Styvesandt asked what had happened to this party, Urol replied that they had been attacked by a strange eight-legged lizard . . . . with glowing eyes . . . . that had turned all the other party members to stone. At this point Kaywen stopped in his tracks as the description sure fit a basilisk, and he had recently had the pleasure of being stoned by one. “WHAT!?” Urol kept walking non pulsed, saying that they should not worry as he had purchased some stone to flesh potions from a mage back in the Queen City of Enstad, someone named Raela. “Not sure why she had them on hand, but I have plenty.”

“How many is plenty?”

“Two”

Hmmmmmm . . . . . . .

After about an hour and a half walk they did find some ruins and using the tattered map they did find a seemingly intact area. They did not find a basilisk but they did find some stone statues that did resemble the remnants of an adventuring party. Entering one of the passages they encountered and many eyed, many mouthed beastie which did its best to devour them before they slew it.

Leaving this chamber Aely walked straight into the basilisk, but managed to stay fleshy and they eventually drove it off into one of the many collapsed tunnels that were around. Finding only one other promising opening, they moved inside. In one large room they were trapped by a wall of fire. In another they had to break through a wall of iron. ‘There had better be something worthwhile in here.’ In the final chambers they found themselves in a death struggle with a lesser varrangoin and a will o’ the wisp. They did manage to destroy the former but the latter proved a much more persistent and pesky foe . . . until . . . Aely pulled out her trusty butterfly net and trapped it!

In these final chambers they realized a true find – a golden idol of a bat with rubies for eyes and tiny slivers of pearls for fangs. It seemed a sort of representation of Camazota, the ancient god of bats and the night. It radiated a faint aura of transmutation magic. Identify magic suggested it was some sort of key. While it did have great monetary value, 2,500 gp, they knew better then to sell it, at least not for now.

Having exhausted the new area, they returned to the ships and set sail southward once more.

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The Sea Wyvern's Wake [Part 3]

Fort Thunder: Part Two

6th Planting, 612: The Armec Village in the jungles beyond Fort Thunder

The guides given them by Drake guided the party to the Armec Village. At first the villagers prepared for battle – warriors formed a line, women and children ran for safety- but once the guides explained the situation and the words heroes and rescuers got said in broken common the party was well received. The village itself was different from what one might expect. Yes, here were many grass type hits, but there were also four well built yet old stone buildings. The people themselves seemed of different stock. Their dress and the architecture were of an archaic style. Several gardens were seen around, so they seemed somewhat sedentary in nature.

The party was offered a couple of huts of their own to rest up and prepare for the celebratory feast that the chief, Hamar, promised. In the meantime, women of the village, young vivacious women, made themselves available to the male members of the party. Remnil was only too happy to oblige.

Shortly after dark they were treated to a native ‘feast,’ a selection of root crops, berries, and some sort of meat, the kind that it was best to eat and not ask questions. Once Kaywen mentioned that they were out here looking for a graveyard of sorts, the murmur of ‘elephants graveyard’ wafted through the people. Chief Hamar explained that they knew of an elephants graveyard, but they would not go in it as it held an important and tragic part in their tribes’ history. He explained that a long time ago these people lived far north of here, but were forced to move by another tribe. Their last hero, Arm, led the Armec deeper into the jungle until they discovered a hidden valley where elephants go to hide. Here the valley’s nature spirit revealed itself to Arm. Following its instructions they built a temple and lived peacefully for many generations. About four generations back, however, a man called Honapo became the high priest. He spent much of his time roaming the jungle till one day he returned with some form of madness. He entered the temple and, swinging a huge ivory mace, stuck down many of the native. Some managed to escape and Honapo locked himself within never to be seen or heard from again.

The Armecs blamed themselves, thinking they had somehow disappointed the elephant spirit. They left the valley never to return. Their numbers grew smaller with each successive generation. Remnil vowed to do his best to remedy that situation. The chief made it clear that none of the tribe would go into that valley, but he would supply guides to get the party there. All he asked in return was that if they found the temple they should search it an return the staff of rulership and the high priest’s spell book to them. A deal was struck.

7th Planting, 612: The Elephants’ Graveyard

The next morning the group was guided south till they found themselves on cliffs looking down into a sunken valley to 250-300’ below. The rogues and ranger agreed that climbing down these weathered and crumbling cliff walls would be much too dangerous. Off to the east they saw what appeared to be an active volcano. The natives point far to the southwest. “Temple way over there somewhere.” The guides offered to lead them to a tunnel entrance.

Once there, they were on their own. The tunnel rather high and wide, led downward until they could see the light glinting off what appeared to be a floor of bones. Once out of the tunnel they were attacked by a man eating plant. Surviving this welcoming committee, they crunched their way slowly across this floor resisting the temptation that the occasional tusk offered. About halfway across the valley floor, the landscape changed in that there was some green vegetation now rather than bones and tusks. Eventually they detected the glint of a lake, a building and off to the west a large cave mouth. The map suggested the temple was near the lake so that was where they headed.

This building, presumably the temple, was a high granite structure, obviously very old. The walls were crumbling in a few places. The only entrance was a set of wide gates, partially open, which led to a courtyard beyond. As they entered the courtyard they got in a fruit and coconut throwing fight with some rather large apes. Driving them off, they entered the building and began a systematic search of the rooms within. They found some old weapons, a few magic ones, a stairway which led to a basement, a room with skeletons who wanted to rumble. As they were defeated they only reformed to fight some more until they were incinerated. They found a room where people had been tortured. The most intriguing room appeared to be a temple with a high ceiling and statues of elephants aside a stone slab altar on which rested a beautiful golden idol. Kaywen ventured in only to fall, well feather fall into pit trap, narrowly miss being cleaved by a scythe, until he could see the idol clearly. It was gold with sapphire eyes, depicting a man with the head and legs of an elephant. It seemed a very valuable piece, yet Kaywen decided to leave it behind rather than desecrate the room any further.

With this level thoroughly searched, they decided to head down below. Again they were faced with a number of door with rooms beyond. Again they made their way in a systematic manner. This worked well for the first few, only some zombie assaulted them and they were quickly put to rest. Unfortunately for Kevrey, the fourth door was not the charm. Though he searched for traps, and finding none, when he opened the door, a symbol burned itself in the wood. Kevrey tried to shake off the effects but to no avail. He turned to the others with a very confused look on his face, and began acting like a blubbering idiot! For now at least . . . . .

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The Sea Wyvern's Wake [Part 2]

Fort Thunder [Part One]

4th Planting, 612: Fort Thunder

With Lavinia, Amella, and Whyspurr, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt used one of the long boats to row in to the main dock area of Fort Thunder. There they were greeted, examined and indoctrinated by the dock warden, one Dunile Craig and her helpers Dietrick Paul and Lenore Richmond. Once the laws of this outpost had been explained and accepted, the Four with Lavinia and Amella headed to the Painted Boat Restaurant and Boat Repair docks. There they discussed their problems with Ringo Steelhands, the local boar expert. This dock area was set up for boat retrieval and repair, so it seemed OK to have the Sea Wyvern towed in, raised up and examined.

At his point Aely, yes, folks, Aely had a gem of an idea. Recalling all the odd occurrences during the voyage she suggested that this was a real good time to search the ship for the stowaway! When everyone had recovered from the shock, they took advantage of this situation. Once the crew and passengers had been carefully led off, Aely used her detect evil and Kaywen her detect magic to scope out the ‘empty’ ship. This led them to the lower storage deck where that cubby hole had been discovered. Here they detected an apparently invisible presence which turned out to be a very violent woman who now tried to kill them using spells and rapiers. She almost escaped till Styvesandt delivered the knockout blow as she reached the main deck. Once trussed and tied she was questioned. Reluctant as she was, it turned out she represented the Crimson Fleet who for whatever reasons had sent her to disrupt the voyage. She was to check in with her higher ups whenever they hit land. Again, Aely had an idea. [M*&^er F*&^er!] He suggested they have here send a bogus message, one which would mislead the higher ups into thinking they were not where they were. As luck would have it, there was a branch of Heaven Sent, the Greyhawk message service here in Fort Thunder as it had been started here years ago by Lawful Cleric Jeremiah of Zilchus. Their captive agreed and the deed was done. Having taken pretty much everything this woman had, she was now let go.

As this was going on, they were surprised by Whyspurr who came running up to them with a paper in one hand and a stumbling drunk in the other. The paper was the ever popular ‘treasure map’ and the drunk was their long missing buddy Remnil. When asked where he’d been all this time, he belched ‘pup crawl.’ Considering his current state that seemed eminently believable.

The map which Whyspurr had ‘won’ at the gambling table in exchange for a bet of 35gp, which he did not get back, was of some place called the ‘Elephants’ Graveyard,’ a legendary place where elephants go to die and leave their very valuable tusks behind. Local legend, as told by Fabius, the sage whose name was on the map, or this portion of the map, had it that many had tried, but few if any had succeeded in the smallest of way, for the map showed it to be beyond the ‘Leopard Swamp’ and the area of the head hunters/cannibals. ‘Let’s go! Can we? Can we?’ cried Whyspurr. The obvious excuse was that there was no time as once th ship was repaired they would set sail right away. But then, how convenient, Ringo informed them that repairs would take at least 10 days to two weeks, so they did have time. And Lavinia was not about to leave without them since they owned the Sea Wyvern.

They set about equipping themselves with pack animals and supplies from Mardikian’s.

5th – 6th Planting, 612: Fort Thunder: the jungles beyond

Bright an early the big team headed off. Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey, Remnil, and Styvesandt along with Whyspurr and this poor old Fabius moved past the wood cutting operation and into the jungle. Following the map they skirted north around the swamp but careful not to venture too far east as that would bring them near to the cannibals. As they neared late afternoon of the second day, still in the jungle, they heard the sound of shouts and perhaps a battle of sorts ahead. Stealthily they moved towards a clearing where they saw what appeared to be natives attacking what appeared to be not natives. Aely, apparently on a ‘good idea’ role, or so she thought, entered the clearing only to have the native turn their spears on her. As the others came to her aid, they were all attacked by a third group, humans who had also been hiding in the jungle. After a very difficult fight, the group survived. Some of the natives and one of the humans fled. A search of the dead humans turned up the other part of the map. Fabius confirmed that these people had visited him some time back and asked about the grave yard, so maybe they pilfered his map. The other group of humans to whose aid they had come were very grateful. Their leader, a man named Drake, claimed they were hunters who had felled some elephants and were on their way back to the Fort. To show their gratitude, they gave the party two pack horses and four elephant tusks. He also told of a native village not far along and gave some of his bearers, who hailed from said village, over to them as guides and introductions.

Drake’s group headed west and these natives led the party to their village where they would spend the night. . . . . .

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Looking Glass Deep [cont.]

Chapter Two: Interlude – Looking Glass Deep [conclusion]

. . . . . Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt continued their exploration of this interior area meeting and defeating other hobgoblins along the way, with the strange voice harassing them verbally and with fire as they went. It was only after they had defeated a cleric type that they discovered a hidden passage and thought to begin a meticulous search for other passages, that they got to the bottom of the mystery. Thru a long hidden passage they came upon a tough band of hobgoblins and finally a very unique room. In this, the Throne Room, they found the hobgoblin behind the voice. Tzarrik, master of this domain, was seated in an iron throne ringed with a halo of glowing runes which literally floated 10’ above the floor. The room itself was a vista of the cosmos. Stars seemed to twinkle along the black walls, floor, and ceiling, while stray, ragged streams of color floated across the walls’ surface. Tzarrik proved a tough and unyielding adversary capable of magic, but eventually they were able to take him down.

Once it was over Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt had time to inspect the compound fully. This room only appeared to be the universe. The walls were really there, just they somehow had the cosmos on them. When Kaywen took the throne he found that upon concentrating, he could see the other rooms in which they had been and sensed that he could cast his magic through his ‘vision’ as if he were in those rooms. They decided to keep the secrets of this place their own little secret and to keep the place, however remote it seemed, to themselves. They did find the key, the Key of the Way, on Tzarrik, so they figured they could secure the place as they left.

27th of Readying, CY 612

Locking the doors to Looking Glass Deep, knowing that there was more to learn about it, Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt headed back down the trail to Carver’s Pit where they reported to Zachary that there would be no more threats to the herds of the locals. Then they headed back to Sasserine.

2nd of Coldeven, Sasserine

Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt went each his own way in town, getting magic items identified, following other leads, and the like. At the Seekers Lodge, Kaywen was introduced to a gnome named Urol Forol who claimed to know about the Olmas. He told Kaywen that he had a map of some Tamochan ruins somewhere to the south, and hoped that Kaywen might like to journey there someday.

4th of Coldeven, Sasserine, Vanderboren Manor

The Four went to check in with Lavinia only to find the manor in a state of upheaval. Much of the furniture was being covered and/or stored an bags were being packed. Lavinia welcomed them and told them of her discovery. She’d had sufficient time and help to study the documents and journals that they had recovered from the vault. It seems her parent had been keeping a secret – a secret colony! They had established a colony, aptly named Farshore, as it was some three months sailing distance to the south, on a small island off the southern tip of the, ahem, equally aptly named and infamous Isle of Dread ! Not only that, she was planning to go there and she expected the four of them to come along!

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Looking Glass Deep

Chapter Two: Interlude – Looking Glass Deep

19th of Readying, CY 612

During a few days of rest and supply gathering in which they learned that the coins they had recovered were Olman in nature. The Olmans were an ancient race/religion which rumor had it once inhabited this region and that to the south. Their religious beliefs and practices led them to ‘become one with the animal’, and again rumor had it that they cold shapeshift into giant cats particularly jaguars.

26th of Readying, CY 612

Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt then took on the task set for them by the Azure Cathedral. They headed west past Mashwan to the foot of the mountains where the Cathedral had a small outpost at Carver’s Pit. There they met the good Zachary, someone Aely had met during her years in Sasserine. He told them of problems with goblin types who were coming down from the mountains and raiding the local herders, making off with some of their cattle. He told of a possible ruins in the mountains built by the mage Urlen Sparlek years ago but long since dead. Perhaps that might be the goblinoid stronghold.

Following tracks and a path that wound its way up the mountains they came to a wall upon which some hobgoblins were keeping watch. Aely decided upon a friendly approach, and asked to negotiate some sort of agreement by which they hobgoblins might stop stealing the cattle. After some delay the hobgoblins decided to answer with arrows. The Four had little choice but to engage in battle. After winning the wall and entering what turned out to be a compound of sorts, they found themselves in a grove of trees in which they were set upon by an owlbear. Finally as they approached a the mountain side in which there were solid metal doors, they were attacked by more hobgoblins.

Eventually they entered and found themselves inside the mountain in some sort of house. They began a meticulous search of the premises encountering more hobgoblins, a water weird and a voice. Yes, a voice, one which laughed at them, mocked them, and harassed them with fire! . . . . .

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