Monday, November 9, 2015

Far Isles Session #12 - Out to Sea

Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 2)
Azimer (Calmonari 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with familiar Dirty Bird
Einer (Fighter 1)

Still determined to 'snap' the Duke and his household out of whatever mind control enchantment they were under, the party's next idea was to get all the Parts of Xaxus as far away from the tower and the obelisk as possible, hoping distance would break the hold. The bound and gagged Parts were thus dragged out of the tower and down to the beach, to be housed as comfortably as possible in the perforated hull of the "La Juliana". Unfortunatly, when Azimer set to questioning the Duke, his nods and head-shakes made it was apparent he (and presumably all) were still under the sway of Xaxus.

Stumped as to what to do next, Azimer, Chaff and Einer decided to finish exploring the north shore of the island, leaving Abdul el Abdul and Hester to stand watch over their prisoners and root through the wreckage for more supplies (which liberated some barrels of wine and water, and a nice dagger in a water proof sheath). The weather remaining relatively pleasant, the trip around the rocky shore was easy if not particularity enlightening. There was nothing to see but rock and wind blasted shrubbery, at least until they came alongside the two towers. Looking up, Chaff noticed a giant seabird lift off from the side of the eastern (non-Xaxus) tower. The bird approached the party and began to circle overhead, drawing everyone's attention as they tried to figure out what the critter was doing. That simply drawing their attention was the plan became evident in a few moments, as a screeching sound and flapping of wings came from behind the trio. Turning around, Chaff was knocked flat by a second, swooping bird. The first one now dove at the party, knocking Einer flat as well. As the two birds circled around to buffet them again, Azimer joined her companions on the ground, and he/she and Einer set trident and spear to try impaling the fast approaching foes. Meanwhile, Chaff lit his match cord, and took careful aim with his pistol as one of the birds dove at him. With a resounding boom, the vivmancer fired his weapon and caught the bird right between the eyes. The birds skull exploded, and the body plowed into the rock and heather scant feet away. The second bird let out a loud screech, then turned away and flew back towards the tower.
Chaff blew the smoke away from the muzzle of his pistol, and the trio climbed back on their feet and wiped off the dust and bird guts. They decided to continue their exploration, at least as far as the top of the bluff from which they could observe the ruins of the temple of Manakata. They had just reached that point when a half dozen cultists of Manakata emerged from the ruins and headed in their general direction. Chaff sent Dirty Bird aloft to keep track of the cultists, while the party retreated and tried to stay out of sight. The cultists wandered towards the towers, breaking into a couple of smaller groups. They seemed to be searching, looking for something or someone. They did find the mangled remains of the giant bird, which in the end they dragged back towards the temple. Having been cheated of the chance to recovered the bird for their own supper, Chaff, Azimer and Einer turned about and, in the falling darkness, headed back towards the beach.

The party and prisoners settled down in the wreck of the "La Juliana" for the night, to be awakened in the morning by a howling storm. A few more attempts were made to 'break' the hold of Xaxus on some of the prisoners (a bucket of cold seawater, separating the Parts of Xaxus) but to no apparent avail.  In the end, the party decided to put off looking for a way off the island for the short term, and head back to the towers to have one more look for some way to pry the Duke away from Xaxus. The prisoners legs were unbound (but they were left gagged and blindfolded) and they were marched back with the party, it being impossible to leave anyone to guard them. Once in the bird tower, however, the Parts of Xaxus were bound once more and left in a secure room. Said room, bypassed on the previous exploration of the tower, contained a set of stairs going down. Once the prisoners were secure (and Dirty Bird left to watch over them),  the party descended the stairs. Hester indicated that none of the Duke's party had explored below this tower, so she could offer no indication as to where they might lead.

The stairs led to a small room, notable mostly for the huge stone head which filled most of the space.
The head was domed shaped with odd protrusions extending from it, and as the party entered the room is swiveled to face them.   From the head came a booming voice, speaking in a totally alien language which no one in the party could understand. The head paused for a few moments, then release a loud booming cry which made the walls shake and nearly defended all in the room. That drove everyone out of the room, through a door in the far wall. Once they were out of the room, the head fell silent. Breathing a sigh of relief, everyone looked around at their new surroundings. It was apparently an old storeroom, with old sacks, clay jars and crates covered in the dust of ages. Careful investigation uncovered a coil of copper wire, long glass rods in the crates, rotting corn in the sacks. and a variety of liquids in the clay jars. Two were filled with pure alcohol, one with a powerful acid, and the fourth some sort of super glue. With which Abdul el Abdul glued one of the glass rods to the back of his hand, forcing the fighter to use one of the jars of alcohol to remove it.

Another door led out of the room, opening into a long narrow corridor. So long in fact, that Chaff soon found he was losing contact with Dirty Bird in the tower above. After a brief pause and discussion, the party went back to get the prisoners and marched them down the corridor with them. Counting footsteps, Chaff figured they had traveled most of the way across the island before they finally came to a stout wooden door. Listening revealed nothing, so Abdul el Abdul carefully pushed it open. There being no sign of anyone or anything on the other side, the fighter  pushed it open all the way and everyone entered. It was a large room, again showing no sign of having been disturbed in hundreds of years.  The only items of note were a door in one wall, and a strange brass tube with a flanged mouth which emerged from another wall. Abdul el Abdul put his ear to the tube, and could hear faint sounds of grunting and wrestling. Based on the sound and Chaff's counting off footsteps, best guess was the temple of Manakata was on the other side of the wall.

Which left the door. Where did it lead? Since it was obvious the cultists of Manakata had not discovered this room, Abdul el Abdul felt it was safe to crack the door open and look on the other side. Opening it revealed a short corridor with several other doors exiting. And at that exact moment, a door directly opposite Abdul el Abdul opened, and two muscle bound brutes of Manakata emerged in a loud of steam. Luckily, the fighter was able to close his door before the pair noticed him. At least now the party knew that they were in fact at a secret back entrance to the ruined temple of Manakata. However, after a little discussion, the party wisely decided they were not in much of a state to take advantage of that situation, being burdened with prisoners and under-strength overall.

So now what? Chaff and Azimer tired one more time to communicate with the Parts of Xaxus and "bring them around", but to no avail. Unable to find a way to successfully complete their original mission (i.e. recover the Duke), everyone decided it was time to cut their losses and and get off the island. But first, what to do with the Parts of Xaxus? There was no room in the gig for anyone but the party (and Hester); not that taking the kooks with them was high on the priority list anyway.  Abdul el Abdul put in his vote to just kill them and be done with it, but the rest of the party wasn't so sure. In the end, the plan was to leave them in this room with the brass tube, and use the super glue to seal the door shut. But not leave them to die; so the prisoners bonds were loosed a bit and an old rusty spear left in the room with which they could eventually cut their bonds and free themselves. The hope was locking them in here would buy the party enough time to prepare the gig for an ocean voyage. And just maybe, leaving the two cults close together would solve all their problems in a blood-thirsty massacre.

Last order of business before leaving the Parts of Xaxus was some looting; Abdul el Abdul figured the Duke didn't really need that bejeweled waistcoat anymore. And besides, it went well with the diamond necklace he'd lifted earlier from the Duchess. That done, the party headed for the beach. Abdul el Abdul started to prepare the gig for sea, while Einer, Azimer and Chaff put their minds to the food situation. Hester explained the cultists of Xaxus had subsisted mostly on the weird cabbages and nectar from the now destroyed plant. The four confirmed this when they went back to explore the towers again, finding nothing else edible. Well, there was still that giant bird presumably still nesting up in the tower. Gull jerky it was, and the four came up with a plan. Chaff and Hester would use some old sail cloth to cover the windows and trap the bird inside, while Azimer and Einer used the jug of acid to eat through the barred door and confront the beast on the other side. And all went according to plan, except that Azimer and Einer had a tough time fighting the squawking giant gull. Trapped, it rushed them again and again, pecking ferociously with it's giant beak. Unfortunately for Einer,  the under-armored fighter bore the brunt of the assaults, and he was soon pecked to death. just before Azimer finally skewered the bird with his/her trident.
After first taking a few moments to loot some shiny treasure hoarded in the bird's nest, the remaining three carried both the bird and Einer back to the beach. The weather was clearing, so final preparations were made to head out to sea. First of all, Azimer went for a swim, hoping to encounter porpoises again and ask directions to the nearest land. The calmonari's' luck held up, and he/she ran into the same pod of porpoises as the day before. From them, Azimer learned the mainland was about 150 miles to the north-west, and the closest islands were 100 miles due east, with another island 150 miles to the north-east. Thanking the helpful cetaceans, Azimer returned to shore with the information.  With a good south blowing, the party decided to head for the mainland rather than drift about trying to hit the islands. Not a moment too soon either, as Chaff sent Dirty Bird back to the temple of Manakata to find the two cults had gone head to head, and Manakata had won. Half the parts of Xaxus lay dead on the sand, while the others were bound and obviously about to be used in the fiendish ceremonies of the muscle-bound god. Without further adieu, the party jumped aboard the gig, and turned the boat towards the mainland.  


Duke Don Ferdnado's bejeweled doublet (200gp)
6 gold dinner plates (60gp)
assorted silver cutlery (20gp)
a pair of naval swords
4 stone bio-weapon grenades

1 Giant Skua


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