The Shattered Sea

Rank-and-Ruin

Dretch127A little retcon put Ayelin back in action (Cause Fear only works to 6HD) so our heroes were at full strength when stuff started blowing up. Hail and Fire tore through the front ranks, only to have them bolstered by additional Dretches summoned in. When the groups closed, stinking clouds obscured the center of the fight while Keller and wall-mounted halflings sniped demons from the periphery. Ayelin and Haikar joined up to play scissor twins (both withstanding the stinking cloud) and Daebor cast an aqueous orb to scope up drenches around the field.

Quill blew down Dragon’s Breath on the center of the fight and cleared out the majority of the remaining demons, while both Haikar and Ayelin side-stepped the blast. Young crewman Ferris, armed with good-aligned bolts made short-work of outlying drenches as they popped up. In the end- the nearly mindless demons were sent back to the abyss by the party.
Regrouping, the decided to move toward the ruins where the demons came from. There they found a crumbling building with a wide floor containing an inlayed diagram of the planes, with two doors mounted at nexuses. Haikar and Ayelin entered to inspect the area, fearing more dretches, but war instead attacked by a hidden halfling. Haikar is well aware of thinly tricks (using them quite often himself) and was not surprised by the sudden attack. Even when the tricky little guy produced a whip that attacked by itself and provided flanks they stood their ground. Ferris pinioned the whip and Ayelin landed repeated blows knocking the foe to the edge of death.

The stabilized him, tied him tightly and waited for him to awake in order to interrogate him.

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Calamari a la Carte

Settled on the dock on Marjestyr Isle, our heroes set out to discover what kind of tentacled creatures are lurking in the sunken ruins. The followed shadowy shapes and stirred flotsam to an area where three temple-like structures rose up out of the surf. Knowing they were watched, but unable to make contact, they returned to the Selkie and came back with a load of salted pork from their stores.

Lord of the kraken by steve argyleThis got the attention of the cecaelia, and their leader came out of hiding to demand what they wanted. Haikar assured him that they had no interest in taking anything from them, and offered the ‘land fare’ in tribute. The leader gave them two days to find what they needed and warned of ‘absolute destruction’ if the Selkie remains on dawn of the third day. Haikar rolled with the threats and stroked the leader’s public ego and promised they would be gone in time, and might bring more tribute.

The creature warned them of others on the island even ‘bigger and uglier’ than the party, and that they outnumber the party as well. He added that there may be another group that came by air, but they did not know any more of them.

Leaving the harbor behind they went toward the town. They chose a route around the south end of the central hill to get a look from above at the place where the smoke was rising earlier. Haikar spotted the head of a creature peering over the roof of a broken building, and he and Ayelin split from the grow to investigate.

At the far side of the ruined structure, Ayelin saw a crowd of squat, foul-smelling beasties climbing out a another building and charging. She stood up to the stench but was panicked by their aura and fled back through the waiting party. A dozen slavering drenches follow behind and close on the party. Harbow climbs a wall for a better angle of fire and Keller grabs Norrick and also takes on altitude. The whispered words of a fireball begin tumbling out of Quill’s mouth while Daebor readies a hail storm…

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Waterfront Real Estate

Sailing through the tight arch they emerged in a much different place. Light rain fell and a small island was shrouded in mist at there stern. As they turned toward it they could the ruins of a small village on the rise of one end of the isle backed by the sheer walls of a long-dormant volcano. There had been some more recent cataclysm, as the ‘harbor’ of this village was littered with spires and broken rooftops, marking it as the flooded remains of a former waterfront.

Our heroes chose to wait out the day at sea and did a slow circle of the island, marking no signs of any habitation other than a few abandoned structures on the island’s rocky eastern coast. Refreshed and healed the next morning, they picked their way (with the able assistance of seaman Harc) up the course of what was once a river into the center of Marjestyr town.
As they crept into town with the Selkie still taking on water, Ayelin spotted a long shape moving in the flooded ruins. Further on she it (or something else) again, this time noting the glint of a blade in its clutches. Its shape and sudden movement indicated the mysterious creature was some kind of squid form.

Fearing combat on the weakened vessel, the group made for the remaining jetty in the town’s harbor. They tied next to a rotting hull and across from vine-choked boat of a more sturdy condition. The group then turned to the task at hand, discovering what is lurking beneath the surface in the ruins of town…

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Seafood buffet

Keeping clear of the lights that sweep the harbor at night, Ayelin and Keller swim from the harbor and out to sea. Looking back they could see fires and commotion spreading out from the tier of the Serachle and scattering about the small town.

In a few hours of hard-swimming (Ayelin pulling the land-lubber Keller along) they came to the secluded cove where the Selkie was moored. Within an hour the others had joined them, and they decided to sail in haste to the Waygate that Lagwyn had told them about. Even as they set sail they could hear a haunting baying from the direction of Saltmeadow.

They sailed through the night and into the new day. While tending wounds and stripping off sodden party clothes, the party noticed that the “rashes” that Ayelin and Keller had thought they received from Yeth Hound bites were becoming hard and crystalline. Quill remarked that they were both shaped like constellations; The priest’s in the shape of Tiller, that points to the north star and the lady’s as the Starling. She recalled the locations of these marks matched the location of where they each had attacked the diviner.

Razortooth coverMid-day found them approaching a natural-seeming rock arch in the shallow sea, but it was only visible through the glass that Lagwyn had given them. As they guided their halfing crew closer the ship was rocked from below as if they had hit a hidden reef. Unfortunately, the ‘reef’ rolled under the ship and leapt out to grab up Keller in its maw. The party unloaded on this new threat and everything from sword cuts to lightning bolts did virtually no damage.
Regrouping, the our heroes fell back on their mundane weaponry. The Lukwata dove beneath the ship and launched up to assault Daebor, spitting Keller onto the deck. He escaped by Wind Blasting from inside the creature’s mouth. Slowly the party chipped away at the monstrous eel-shaped beast as it shrugged off spell attacks and mighty blows. Daebor managed to get through its defenses with a Color Spray and stunned the creature for a round, allowing Haikar and Ayelin to get in place to flank. The creature turned on Haikar and nearly swallowed him whole.

After two more tries, Deabor succeeded in stunning it again giving the elves another double-team. Five elvish slashes later the beast was staggered, and soon shredded, with bloody pieces gathering sea birds from far afield. Fearing scavengers, our heroes turned their limping ship toward the arch.

Sailing through the gap on a bright, sunny midday they immediately find themselves earlier in the day in a light, misty rain. Off in the distance they spot a small hilly island dotted with structures. Partially hidden in the mist lies the Marjestyr Academie. Behind them, there is no arch to be found.

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Diviner Intervention
1/31/12

The party on the Rocks continued until the wee hours, with quiet supervision by tiefling patrols around there perimeter. Dokken offered suggestions on how (and if) the party should deal with any blowback from their actions at the banquet. He also suggested that Ayelin disguise herself as she is a known associate of Keller and Haikar.

The new day came and our heroes joined the procession to the banquet. They were quickly separated between the high seats and the lower section. The Ominous Thump made a welcome speech and then announced the offering of gifts. Luckily, both Keller and Ayelin were carrying large gems and gave them to the First Marshall with warm regards (and high Diplomacy checks). Following that was a palate cleanser and a pantomime performed by the Thump and a cast of animated corpses reenactingg their own deaths. This was greeted by only mild applause and the Thump offered anyone a chance to outperform him, but no one took up the offer.
The next entertainment of the ‘handsome slaughter of curious avians’ with the head tables competing to shoot down sparkwing parrots. Ayelin was quite successful, but managed to shoot fewer than the First Marshall, who took the 1000gp prize for himself.

This was followed by appetizers on bone skewers and a course of stuffed stirge. During the meal, the tie fling sitting next to Keller turned to him with glazed eyes and said, “Open your mind and answers will follow”. He had been glamored by Lagwyn (who sat beyond him) who then opened a telepathic bond to Keller. This was expanded top Ayelin and Haikar and conversation proceeded.

Lagwyn told them that a brass dragon was at the Library when they sealed it, and there was a secret way in. He said that the dragon was researching a ‘great end’ that they thought was the Long Night, but now he believes it is something more permanent. He told them that the entrance to the Library was through his quarters at the school and that it was warded by false auguries and the often opened to a deadly realm. Three more tests followed, devised by the Masters of Spheres, Elements and Lore. He said the final step would require more direct conversation. He explained that the only way for them to escape without repercussions is for them all to ‘die’ in an attempt on his life. He added that he did not have long to live here and that his death would play a part in a larger plan.

Next, the Ominous Thump presented the First Marshall with the lacquered skull of a criminal and displayed a bowling alley built on the dais in the lower court. While the head table guests chose skulls from a rack, Lagwyn encouraged Keller and Ayelin to hang back. He pulled them into an alcove, gave Ayelin a spyglass that will show them a waygate to Marjestyr and tumbled three corpses from a hanky. He then cast Dimension Door and gave them a portal to outside the keep, once outside he demanded they attack him impress the image on his mind, and stepped back through the door. Suddenly a thunderous rolling crack erupted from the palace as a chain lightning obliterated the diviner and his three would-be assassins.

In the chaos that immediately followed; Haikar, Quill and Daebor fled to the manicured woods outside the courtyard (along with many others). Their next goal is to get out of this palace with their skins intact.

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Who Let The Dogs Out (11/10/972 CR)

Shifting back up to the top of the rock, Ayelin and Keller strode purposefully down to the Reliquary. They kept out of the path, as guards hurried back to the keep. When they reached the third tier they noted ordered groups of creatures making their way to the Serachle. They decided that it was not their fight and continued to make their way down to the docks, with a strange feeling that something approved of that decision.

They bluffed their way past the guards watching the stairs to the dockside and kept clear of the many large groups gathering near the quays. They met with a trio of acolytes who offered to provide a distraction. They agreed to let them follow, but luckily did not need them to do anything rash. When they reached the widest area of Saltmeadow, a district of warehouses and shipyards, they let their shadow go and aid the fight up at the Serachle.

Pzo1115 aqueous orbAs they made their way through the warehouses they became aware of a chilling howling on the air. It got louder and they decided to abandon the Reliquary and make their way to sea. When they got to the edge of the boardwalks they noted to ghastly hounds charging across the water at them. They quickly took the battle to the tide pools, and tried to escape the dogs. The Yeth Hounds snapped and tore at them from above while they tried to swim away. Ayelin was caught in an underwater sleet storm and Keller’s healing could barely keep pace with the damage. When Keller was caught in a storm of his own, he cast obscuring mist in the swirling water to avoid detection. He tried to flee underwater and was shredded by spikes on the weeds.

Ayelin turned and fought off the hounds. Keller rose to the surface, drank a potion of Expeditious Retreat, and cast Hold Person on the hound-shaped druid. The druid froze and Keller made a break for it. The last hound followed, but was turned by a Command. With this opportunity they dove back beneath the surface and swam out to sea to meet the others.

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An Early Exit

We reconvened immediately after the crack of the chain lightning went off. Ayelin and Keller had Dimension Doored free of the palace leaving Haikar, Daebor and Quill to find their own way out. They quickly ran to the cover of trees at the edge of the manicured lawns as soldiers arrived to gather the guests back together. Quill climbed on Haikar’s back as they scurried from tree to tree to avoid detection. Quill summoned an air elemental to rush off in a different direction to harry the soldiers waving torches through the shady copse.

As they approached close, one human guardsman shouted at them to hold their movements. Instead, Quill fired off Black Tentacles at them, and Daebor followed up with an Aqueous Orb, and our heroes ran for it. Reaching the base of the wall, Haikar sent up the rope of climbing and Quill cast Gaseous Form on Daebor. In a hail of crossbow bolts and Scorching Rays our heroes clambered to the top of the keep wall (at least Haikar and Quill did, the Gaseous Sorcerer moved 10’ per round).

Once atop, they were greeted by a troop of guards led by two tieflings. Haikar squared off against one wielding two matched blades. They were nearly done in by a pit that appeared under their feet, but both leaped to safety. Quill sent off a lightning bolt and Haikar held his ground as Daebor slowly made his way up the wall. When he was close, Haikar leapt to the far side of the pit and nearly fell in— only grasping the edge in desperation. Quill returned the sorcerer to solid form while Haikar climbed up from the lip of the pit. In a continuing rain of crossbow bolts, scorching rays and magic missiles (most of which landed on Daebor) they jumped off the side of the wall and disappeared into the blackness.

Feather falling into the sea below, our heroes chose the sea route and swam away from shore. Steering clear of an encampment of Sargassan sea elves they continued up the coast a few miles to find a secluded place to hide out and meet the Selkie.

Meanwhile, Keller and Ayelin were ‘casually’ making their way through town back to the Reliquary, to take the portal in his broom closet back to their ship.

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I've got a golden ticket

We resumed in the middle of the Dragon’s Dance. The next group involved two bugbears who basically beat on people while an unassuming man collected prizes. The following group was unremarkable except for one man who tried to throw prizes to an accomplice and was choked by a black tentacle. In the interim, a Raven Brother appeared behind Haikar and gave him two feathers from the Ravens themselves, which could be used as action points. It ended up not mattering as the true hero turned out to be the formerly slow-ass priest— Keller Moorstaub.

Keller drove straight to the spot where Daebor had previously seen a glint of gold and began to search. The dragon was chasing others at first but was coming closer. Keller held his ground and two rounds later found his prize. Unfortunately, he was spotted by a quick-moving man who impeded his escape. Failing to avoid him, the noew-exposed monk attacked with a stunning fist which Keller withstood. The dragon closed on the duo. Keller stepped around, placing the monk between himself and the dragon. He avoided another stunning fist, and the dragon lunged out and tagged the monk. Keller fled, only too be tripped up by Grease cast by the wardens. He managed to right himself, and reached the exit only moments before a warden unleashed another spell at him.

The crowd went insane, and Keller went to the dais of the Black Sheet temple to receive their cheers. The priest Iskinn stayed very close and tried to share the spotlight, attracting the attention of the Seachle priests on the next level up. Iskinn invited Keller inside, but he deferred because he wished to watch his companion in the final round.

Haikar entered with a group of halfings and dock workers who seem to be working in concert. They tripped the dragon with a thin woven horse hair line, and deftly traded prizes to avoid getting tagged. Following the calls of the street urchins searching the ring, Haikar found silver token and tumbled and rolled away from trip attacks to reach the exit. He jumped the last 15-feet of the ring and avoided a mass of vipers that had appeared there. After that, Keller snubbed the Black Sheet priest to celebrate with his friend and left the dais.
They went up to the Serachle and were greeted by more applause. They had a quick meeting with the druid Bekaylin who turned out to be the Seraschal. They told the party all they knew about Lagwyn and the plans for the paryt, but had little to offer. The led the party to do business with the Tymora-connected merchant house known as Axe & Anchor company to secure invitations for Daebor and Quill.

The group sold the dagger Quill recovered and used the proceeds to host a party on the rocks for the Dokken and the urchins.

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Dinner and dancing

The party took some time off and had a fine dinner at the Fatted Manatee, along with Dokken. Following the meal they spent some time in the common room to soak up the local news. Most of the talk was about the upcoming festival (officially known as the Maiden’s Misstep) and the fearful speculation about the banquet. Chatting up the locals, Haikar noted that an ‘honored guest’ of the head table was actually at the bar. He was a dwarf smith named Hof, who had the unfortunate distinction of providing the weapons that a tiefling officer used in the the winning of an honor duel and had since become quite popular among them. Tonight he was hoping to drink himself to death.

Keller approached and offered up Ayelin as a date for the event. He declined, given no real reason why this woman might be capable of keeping him alive. They persisted, and in the end he said he would do it if they paid 1800 gold to protect his heirs. This would have drained their resources and they weren’t eager to do so, so they were at an impasse. Later the musicians played ‘the Fire and the Anvil’ (with the new addition of ‘Father Bones’) and Ayelin noticed Hof’s interest in the tune. She returned and told him that she was, in fact, Lady Danger, and she was friend’s with the Anvil crew. This softened him and he agreed to let her accompany him to the banquet in exchange for their limited supply of the Salaman-durim.

When they returned, a group of urchins presented them with a place setting ‘lifted’ from the First Marshall’s head table. They paid the kids in pearls and tried to figure out a way to use them to send a message— or simply poison them.

The next day they went off to the Dragon’s Dance. The volunteers were broken into groups and sent in 8 at a time. The first cheater was scorched by illusionary fire from the dragon and a few people scored trinkets. The second group included Quill, who found a small gold dagger and watched two others get clawed with acid in the ring. He took his prize and fled.
The third group included Ayelin and Daebor. Ayelin thought she had the prize but it was trapped with a ‘Shout’ spell which she avoided, but it dropped the two guys behind her. Daebor thought he saw the prize as well but a tiny air elemental caused a vortex and spun it away from him. Before he could find it again, he was tagged by the ‘dragon’. Ayelin, too, fell to the beast.

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Old friends and new acquaintances

Action resumed at the Serachle and our heroes soon departed from the druid Bekaylen. They chose to split up, with Daebor and Quill waiting for the contest announcement and the rest going to check out the palace layout. On the way they noted the sign of the laurel crown and decided to visit their old friend. They succeeded in making him quite nervous and learning more about Saltmeadow society and who might be at the head table. Their recon was less successful, as the ‘Rock’ is perched on a narrow cliff edge and they could not get very close without raising suspicion.

The others learned (from tiefling herald/fool ‘the Ominous Thump’) that the contest would be a traditional Dragon Dance, where contestants try to find treasure (including invitations) hidden among hay while avoiding the dragon. They also learned that magical assistance would be dealt with harshly.

Regrouping, the decided to visit with the prophetic Raven Brothers. They found two at an inn called the Lone Harpy at the pricey end of the wharf. Their appearance seemed to make some of the local mercantile class nervous but the Ravens were welcoming, and offered to do a divination on-site for 1500 gp. When he returned (flustered) he shared that ‘the powers that be’ seemed vested in their success in meeting with Lagwyn, and that they should ‘use the children as their eyes’, ‘seek the center’ and ‘fade toward sunset’. They also suggested that the Ravens might be interested in meeting them and perhaps they should visit the monastery. They thanked the brothers and left (noting additional armed presence outside the Harpy) and went back to Dokken at the Reliquary,

Dokken gathered the children and gave them their orders for tomorrow, and the party sprung for some roast chickens and watered wine for the urchins’ pleasure, and took the gnome to dinner.

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