Sunday, January 31, 2016

Far Isles Session #22 - The Blue Tower

Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 2), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Dirty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog, and hench-monster Cephenere the Medusa
Torak (Cleric 2)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 2)

The party sailed cautiously towards the village, and were soon intercepted by a flotilla of tribesmen in dugout canoes. They surrounded the sailing boat and raised their spears in defiance, while somehow still paddling their canoes. When it became obvious they weren't about to immediately attack, the party tried to communicate with them. Their language was pretty much indecipherable, except to Torak who recognized some words and cadence from ancient sacred writings of the Drowned God. Curious! He was able to make it known that the party wanted to see the chief, and after some time a man dressed in some sort of fish scale armor arrived, paddled by four rowers in a big canoe. Torak opened negotiations, offering excess weapons and wine in return for food. It took some time to convince the chief to cooperate.He was more interested in getting the party to go away, as he seemed to fear something of or about them. However, the sight of shiny steel brought him around, and the natives loaded down the sailing boat with fish from the superabundance they carried in their canoes.  But the chief then made it clear the party was not welcome to stay any longer. Torak did ask the chief if he knew of any towers around. In answer, the cleric was directed to two possibilities; a tower floating on a cloud to the south, or a tower of lighting to the south west.

"Fish for a Week"
Taking leave of the tribe, the party raised sail and headed south towards the cloud tower. In less than an hour, they'd reached a chain of islands which the chief had not mentioned. In addition, on one of the larger islands stood a strange blue tower. Since it was right in front of them, the party decided to check out this tower instead, and brought the boat into the swampy shore. Tying up to a convenient swamp cypress, they jumped into the knee deep water and started to slog towards the hill on which the tower stood. After about an hour of trudging through the waters, the party climbed onto a low rise that was mostly out of the water. While walking dry shod was nice, they were also met by an overwhelming smell of rotting flesh. They found the source; a 10' wide pit filled with skeletal and half-rotten human remains. Some looked fairly fresh, others long dead. And as they watched, out of the pit crawled three  giant clawed hands which skittered over to attack. The party took care of them, but moments later a quartet of skeletons emerged. These were dispatched as well, but it was decided sticking around here continually fighting undead was not an option, so they dropped back into the swamp and headed towards the tower once more. After another hour or so, they climbed up onto the grassy hill and stood at the base of the blue tower. It rose straight until, halfway up, two wide rings encircled the tower, while the top it terminated in a square box. From the windows came faint sounds of occupants, including that of music. Chaff had Dirty Bird fly up to the tower entrance.  The ragged parrot observed a blue door with a sign, painted in a bright floral design, which said simply "Welcome".  That made everyone nervous, so the party sat on the grass and had a picnic of raw fish while they discussed how best to approach the tower and it's inhabitants.

In the end, they decided to just go on in. Inside the entrance they found yellow velvet curtains forming a passage, at the end of which stood a door.  The room itself (as would be most of the rest of the tower) was lit by a swarm of weird blue and yellow fireflies that flitted overhead. Chaff had Cephenere look behind each curtain, and she reported a table with books behind one and musical instruments behind the other. Rather than investigate this at the moment, the party passed through the door instead. There they found a harpsichord, a glass table and chair set, and a set of stairs going up. On the table was a pretty flowery teapot and trio of tea cups. Abdul el Abdul sat down, followed by Torak and Xavier. Once the three were seated, a pair of white gloved hands appeared, floating in mid air, and holding a white card. On it was written "Delightful Conversation". The three took the hint and waxed politely on the matter of the day, although Abdul el Abdul struggled a bit talking about anything but fighting and slaving. Torak and Xavier found the tea quite good as well, although Abdul nearly chocked to death on the bitter brew.

Tea party over, everyone headed back to the entrance. Chaff tromped over to the books. There he also found a large armchair, an item Cephenere had failed to mention. The vivimancer looked at the books: a massive tome titled "The Complete Epic Works of Galstar the Great"; a slim cheap volume called "The Maiden and the Warrior"; and a third faux leather tome  "Thoughts on My Rule, by Vortex the Destroyer". Each seemed stuck to the table until he sat in the chair. Chaff selected the second book, and found it to be a rather tawdry tale that brought a flush of embarrassment to his face. As he settled back to read, he also found himself sinking deep into the chair. So deep, the rest of the party noticed he nearly disappeared, only to claw his way free just before being fully engulfed. None of this stopped Kwinsea, of course, who sat gently and ladylike into the cushions and choose the thick tome, which was filled with delightfully poingnent yet eminently readable drama.

Passing next behind the other curtain, they noted once more that Cephenere had left out important information. Namely, in addition to the musical instruments, a set of stairs descended  from this room. Everyone ignored the musical instruments, and headed down below. This room was much more utilitarian than the ones above, consisting of kitchen, storage and some straw mats. There were signs someone had just used the kitchen, with fresh food and signs of meal preparation. As the party started to poke around, Torak heard sounds behind some of the crates and barrels. There emerged four figures; one looked like a native from the dugout canoe tribe, another some outlandish barbarian (now wearing a chefs apron) and two townsfolk. Torak spoke to the tribesman, and learned the four were servants of "The Blue Mage",  a most wonderful and wondrous master. Questioned further, he revealed their master always had guests coming and going, but the servant could not say from whence they came or to where they finally disappeared.

Taking that information in hand (and trading some fresh fish for salted pork), the party headed back to the tea room and then up the stairs. Reaching the top, Torak in the lead was startled when he heard a female voice whisper in his ear "Turn back, and try to escape while you still can!" He shook his head to clear the voice, and the party moved on. But the voice returned. None the less, the party pressed on, and upon reaching the top the stairs found themselves in a torus shaped corridor that wrapped around the centre of the tower. Several doors led out from the half of the corridor they could see, and Abdul el Abdul marched up to the closest and opened it. It was a bedchamber, and an occupied one at that. Inside sat a woman, frustratingly trying to play a harp. She was dressed in a fine gown, but he did not look comfortable in it. Startled, she turned to the party to ask, in rough Common, who they were and why they were interrupting her practice? During the ensuing short conversation, they learned she, Xuna, was a guest of the Blue Mage, could not really say from whence she'd come, and she was practicing her harp to entertain at the evening meal. It would appear all the guests were expected to contribute to the ambiance of the social gathering.
Xuna on the Harp

At this point, there appeared next to Torak a young woman. Tall, pale, and dressed in black, she grabbed the cleric and yelled at him: "YOU MUST GET OUT OF HERE WHILE YOU CAN!". And seeing the newcomer, Xuna screamed at her, saying "YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GONE!" This overwrought exchange was all too much for Abdul el Abdul, who slammed the door shut. It did not stay closed for long though, as the woman burst out of the room, now carrying a net and trident, and ran past the party. Abdul el Abdul tried to lop her head off as she went by, but she ducked and sped on. He pursued, and caught her at the bottom of another set of stairs. As he stabbed at her, down the stairs bounded a half dead looking panther which pounced on the fighter. And just to add to the chaos, two of the other doors on the floor opened; out of one stepped a Greek hoplite in bright bronze armor, and out of the other came a greasy looking fellow in leather. They charged into the fray, and soon a running battle raged around the corridor. Chaff sent a reluctant Cephenere into battle, and she turned the cat and woman to stone, but not before the cat tore the life from Abdul el Abdul. The medusa then circled around to where Kwinsea and Xavier battled the hoplite, and she likewise turned that shocked warrior to stone.  The leather clad man, meanwhile, retreated back into his room and barred the door. A sudden silence then fell over the scene of battle ....



3 Giant Crawling Claws
4 Skeletons
1 Greek hoplite
1 Amazonian warrior in a party dress
1 Undead-ish cat thing

Abdul el Abdul

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