Slaves of the Sea of the World

June 22, 2011: Sailing to Gozo
In which magic coins are better than a barrel of pickled pigeons
June 8, 2011: The Drachen Estate, Part 2
In which men are reptiles and so are snakes

Merl and Clayven snuck into the second-story bedroom window with stealthy efficiency. Although they heard voices coming from down the hall, they saw no one. They passed through the hall to another bedroom as they peered through the dark window to the courtyard below. Dozens of lizardfolk and men milled about, eating and driking. It appears as though many were enjoying the fine soup.

That’s when the mushrooms kicked in. At first, it looked like a disagreement broke out between a lizardfolk and a man. Then another disagreement. Then the lizardfolk were on one side of the courtyard and the men on the other. The lizardfolk were flailing wildly in a wild din. By contrast, the men showed an unsettling calmness. A yellow glint shone from some of their eyes.

Count Drachen stood in the middle, trying to should over the crowd. “Gentlemen!” he urged. “We must keep the peace between our noble peoples if we are to survive the war. The mammals will not submit so easily as you think. True, we are powerful, but divided we are conquered.”

That seemed to cool the lizardfolk down, but in truth some of them were just bored of yelling. They kept their distance from the men, but now focused their attention on Drachen.

“We are entering a truly awesome time of change. Our army will be a great force, so long as it maintains its resolve. Noble guests, do I have your allegiance?”

A great wave of agreement passed through the courtyard. Oaths were muttered and toasts raised.

Merl decided she’d better check the door. She heard two smalls set of footsteps walking by. The owners of the footsteps stopped, snuffed at the air, then started running down the hall. Immediately, Merl popped out of the door and knocked one Kobold down with an Eye Bite. Clayven dive-rolled toward the door and landed a shuriken in the second Kobold’s leg. He dropped with a thud, which did not go unnoticed. Clayven ducked into the outer room, but as Merl crossed the hallway, she spotted a Lizardfolk watching her from the far end of it. Clayven threw a second shuriken which missed its mark. They cut their losses and ran away into the darkness.

Dukane and Malek looked impatient. Ade looked asleep. Waiting in the cemetery was quiet work. They decided to have a look at the altar to Tiamat. What’s the worst that could happen? The octagonal structure was opened by four arches, and inside were four murals. A large, five-headed gold statue of Tiamat claimed the centre of the room. In the first mural, Dragonborn soldiers held their swords to the sky over a sea of slain enemies. In the next, Yuan-ti snakemen made formal bows to a great blue dragon. Lizardfolk kneeled before a green wyrmling. Kobolds, the ones not busy hauling massive stone blocks up a ziggurat, made their bows so low it showed the scars on their backs.

WHAT IS YOUR GIFT FOR ME?”, the statue of Tiamat seemed to hiss. Each of the three gave what they saw fit. “Well well well, what a surprise. The healer boy shall live. Man and cat, you insult me with your pocket change.”

With that, snakes began to pour out of Tiamat’s mouths. Two writhing masses of adders and vipers surrounded the adventurers. Hack by hack, they slayed the serpents, but none of them was without a poisonous bite or two.

June 1, 2011: Bard in a Bar Fight
In which Dukane and Malek meet the party and end up at the Drachen Estate
May 11, 2011: Parting Ways
In which Eglaith disappears and Beorn has an existential crisis
April 27, 2011: Insult Sword Fighting
In which the party fights like dairy farmers
April 13, 2011: Riots in Alexi
In which riots ensue, Cleo is saved, and Alexi is departed
Mar 16, 2011: The Light of Alexi is Restored
In which a dracolich tries to ruin the lighthouse ceremony

Mar 9, 2011: A Host of Angels
In which angels are killed and fancy weapons are taken

The heavy wooden doors led from Aaliyah’s room to a set of stairs leading to a trap door. Above, footsteps could be heard making slow, steady rounds. At just the right moment, Merl quietly peeked out the trap-door and saw half a dozen Alexi militiary soldiers, walking away. Hoping they knew about the vampire in the basement, she whispered seductively in their ears using Ghost Sound and closed the trap door.

The soldiers seemed to be confused and wondered aloud about where the sound may have come from. Eventually finding the trap door, they opened it and walked down the dark, empty stairs rather fearfully. The first guard slowly peeked his head through the open wooden doors. He surveyed the morbidly decorated room, the corpses on the ground, and the strange black cloud in the middle of the room. After some motivational whispering from his comrades, he walked slowly into the room and nothing happened. The second soldier joined him, and suddenly they were magically attacked from the darkness and fell unconscious. The rest of the soldiers fell back; two fighting in the hallway, and the last two shooting crossbows from the trap door. When the soldiers in the hallway were quickly killed by the intruders, the last two soldiers ran for help. One didn’t get a chance to move, and the other was intercepted by a quick teleport and shot in the back from Merl. Looking around, she found she was on the main floor of the Lighthouse of Alexi.

The entire room was made from the strong marble that had enabled the Lighthouse to stand for so many years. The huge steel doors, they knew, would lead to the large stone ramp at the front of the lighthouse. A small steel door led to the back of the lighthouse; a quick peek out the door revealed more soldiers than the party really wanted to encounter. Another ramp spiraled up the tower, with hundreds of small rooms to house the Alexi military officers. It seemed that all the soliders were deployed for the riot; the rooms were empty. They ascended the ramp to the very top of the first section of the lighthouse and found an ornately carved wooden door, beautifully decorated with gold. In the centre of the door, a golden sunburst and sprocket gave honour to Erathis, goddess of civilization. A peaceful song being played on a harp could be heard quietly through the door.

The rest of the party hiding around the corner, Clayven tried his best to look soldierly and knocked on the door. The music stopped, and an ethereal, angelic figure opened the door. “Yes?”

“Sir, we have found a vampire living in the basement of this building!” Clayven exclaimed, not untruthfully.

“Ah. Well, I’ll have someone look into that. Thank you,” the angel said dismissively as he closed the door.

Unperturbed, Culo de Hierro knocked on the door. He explained to the angel that the riots were out of control and civilization was at risk. Only they could restore the Light of Alexi and quell the riots. The angel seemed pleased and invited them all in. He examined the party carefully as they looked around at the large but cluttered room. It was filled with shelves of books, paintings, sculptures, and an impressive collection of magnificent weapons. A narrow metal staircase led up to a small door near the tall ceiling.

The angel introduced himself as Phostophilius, Guardian of the Light. He noticed Eglaith’s new sword and asked to see it. Reluctantly, Eglaith showed him the sword but did not let it leave his grasp. The angel offered to trade any two of his weapons for it, but Eglaith resisted. Surprisingly, he then asked Culo about the glowing orb hidden in his pocket. Caught off guard, Culo simply pulled out the Gem of Farnoosh and said “You mean this?”

Phostophilius immediately recognized it. “That is very old,” he said. “Where did you get that?”

Culo told him they found it in a cave in the desert, and the angel explained a little more of its history. The Gem of Farnoosh was one of many sources of radiant energy that were used by the angels in ancient times. In their war against the Djinn, the Gem of Farnoosh was stolen by the Djinn and hidden away. After the Djinn were imprisoned as punishment for their transgression against the gods, the gem was lost. Naturally, he would like it back.

Culo explained to him that they were the ones who were prophesied to restore the Light of Alexi and that’s what they intended to do with it. The angel quickly agreed. However, no mortals were allowed access to the light, so he would have to restore it for them. The disagreement grew heated, and Merl tried to change the subject. She told him about the secret cult to Vecna, and asked if he knew anything about it.

“How dare you speak that name in my presence!” he bellowed. “I will have that gem, I will have that sword, and I will have your lives!”

The door slammed shut and the angel attacked Culo with his gleaming sword, eyes fixed on the Gem of Farnoosh. He flew safely out of reach of the party and continued to swoop and attack Culo. Quickly, four more brightly glowing angels appeared and flew down to fight the rest of the party. Eventually landing a blow on the Angels of Light, the party found out that they explode into radiant energy upon their death, harming everyone in the room. They decided to focus their efforts on Phostophilius. Although the melee fighters could not hit him by their usual methods, they improvised. Eglaith found a silver bow and a quiver of arrows, while Ade threw anything he could get his hands on. After missing with a paperweight and a letter opener, he landed a solid hit with an antique teacup. Eventually, they knocked him to the ground and finished him off. “I’ll see you in Hell,” he cried hoarsely with his dying breath, as his wings shattered into a cloud of shards, which in turned killed his companion angels, who exploded and filled the room with radiant energy.

Battered, bruised and scorched, the party reflected on what happened. “Will we go to Hell for killing angels?” Beorn the Cleric wondered aloud. Not wanting to consider such spiritual questions, the rest of the party investigated the room’s cluttered contents and its collection of magnificent weapons…

Mar 2, 2011: Ugly Monsters, Sexy Vampire
In which the party fights aboleths, a sexy vampire, and reanimated skins

Passing through the dark underground cavern, the party seemed to upset its residents: a huge catfish-like aboleth and its spawn. The aboleths gave them some good tentacle slaps and psychic lashes, but in the end the monsters were defeated.

At the end of the watery cavern was a well which opened up into a fire-lit space. Quietly, Merl climbed up to explore the room. At the far side of the room were three stone coffins. The walls were decorated with the heads of humans and both types of shifters, and the floors decorated with shifter-skin rugs. A large dining table with chairs was in the middle of the room, with a stone fireplace, a writing desk, wooden wardrobes, and a heavy wooden door around the sides of the square room.

Not wanting to be left out, the rest of the party explored the room as quietly as they could. Inside the wardrobes was some extremely revealing clothing. At the writing desk were letters from many men (and some women), ranging from courtly romance to raunchy poetry, all addressed to “Aaliyah.” Although the wooden door was very heavy, Ade had no trouble pushing it open with a loud CREEEAK!

In a flash, the centre coffin flung open and Aaliyah, shouting something about the “Light of Alexi”, pounced on the closest target: Merl. The party rushed to her help, but then the shifter skins got up off the floor and tried to envelop Culo. With the party’s help, he quickly escaped. While the party was focused on Aaliyah, Beorn rushed up to the skins to Turn Undead. Tragically missing and tripping on her chair, he was immediately enveloped by the skins.

It was about then that Clayven really got a good look at the skins. One of them was his missing comrade, Fang! He was driven into a rage, and the party fought bravely despite some of them being drained of life by the sexy vampire. Luckily, Beorn escaped with his life. If the skins had killed him, they would have ripped his skin off to join their ranks. Aaliyah was put to rest by Eglaith using a wooden chair leg, and the skins were eventually ripped to shreds.

Upon searching the room, they found an ornate metal box containing a vicious-looking short sword. The engravings on the box claimed to contain The Sword of Kas. They knew from old stories that the sword was created by Vecna, the lich god, for his first lieutenant, Kas. Kas rewarded his former master by using it to cut off Vecna’s hand and gouge out his eye. The Sword offers great power to any who grasp it, but wielders may end up betraying what they love most. Both Eglaith and Ade wanted the sword, but Eglaith won it in a game of dice. For now, the sword seemed pleased with its new owner.

Feb 23, 2011: Catacombs
In which the party explores the catacombs beneath the Temple of the Raven Queen

Thanks to some investigation and some “intuition”, the party suspected that there might be some way in to the Lighthouse of Alexi from the catacombs below the Temple of the Raven Queen on Pharos Island.

Eglaith and Merl planned to make their way past the guards as before, with Merl in Eglaith’s backpack. Unfortunately, Merl was less than stealthy, but covered it up with a quick “Meow!”. Asked what was in his pack, Eglaith replied, unnervingly, “Cats.”

The rest of the party made their way to the lighthouse in a borrowed canoe under cover of Orb-induced darkness. They met Eglaith and Merl on the beach. Culo had a little trouble getting out of the boat, but Eglaith again convinced the guards to leave him alone: “Those rocks sure are slippery.”

Making their way to the Temple of the Raven Queen, they discovered that some sort of candle-light chanting ritual was going on. Tooting quietly on the Recorder of Farnoosh, Clayven summoned Windy and sent him in to howl around and blow out the candles. The party snuck quietly past the ensuing commotion, except of course for Culo, who fell on his face. He was quickly dragged to the “safety” of the catacombs.

The catacombs was series of small ossuary rooms “decorated” with walls and sculptures made from carefully arranged humanoid bones (pictured below). The party quickly discovered that touching any of the bones delivered some painful psychic damage. They also sensed the presence of spirits, most strongly near the sculptures. Culo decided to try some Mushrooms of True Seeing. After they kicked in, he started seeing wispy spirits swirling around the rooms.

Looking around carefully, they noticed that there was some food residue in the room with the cavernous opening. They offered the spirits some trail rations; the spirits swirled into the opening one by one, and the rations turned to dust. The spirits mostly flew to the room with the chandelier and the room with the bowl. They quickly decided to offer the spirits some water in the bowl-shaped sculpture. After that, they lit some candles in the chandelier and the spirits gathered in that room. Offering the spirits a drink of wine, they started to howl loudly and blow around the room carelessly. The walls of bones shook, and one of them fell to pieces, revealing a secret room!

The secret room was a natural-looking cavern with a deep, cold pool of water. The pool led to an underwater tunnel, which surfaced into a dark cave 30 feet away. When the whole party finally managed to swim through the passage and have a look around, they heard a splashing sound coming from the dark, deep water…


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