Monday, January 22, 2018

Far Isles Session #78 - Land of the Silver Lotus

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6) 
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy 
Torak (Cleric 6) 
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 3)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)

With business in Xin complete, and feeling a need to put some sea room between them and the rather dramatic demise of Calcidius, the party had Lynessa get the "No Man' Sea" under sail without further delay. The delay came once they were at sea, for they made slow progress. Trying to make their way into a headwind (when there was any wind at all) resulted in a rather slow passage, but the ship did make landfall on the Isle of Dread after a long but uneventful two weeks sail. Once there, they decided to make a quick stop at the village of Tanaroa. Thinking they might need a friendly place to refit and resupply at some point, they wanted to ensure they would still be welcome in the village by the wall. A strong storm drove them with hair-raising speed  along the rock and reef fringed coast, and they arrived off the village in a half day. It being much to stormy to bring the ship close to land, or to launch one of the ship's boats, Kwinsea, Awg and Rodrigo (using the shark spear) opted to swim ashore. Ominously, they all observed signs of fire scorched trees between the beach and the village. There was also a noted absence of activity on the shore, in stark contrast to their previous visit. But the three elected to push on towards the village. The jungle thinned as they approached the village, and they could now see more troubling sights. First of all, the step pyramid in the centre of the village was surrounded by the village warriors. They guarded the non-combatants who clustered about the lower steps of the pyramid, while at the top stood the village matriarch J'kal and the war chief Bakora. The trio also noted signs of destruction; burned crops and huts in addition to the scorched trees.  Kwinsea stepped forward to speak on behalf of the party, reminding the chiefs of their last friendly visit. J'kal cut her off, and demanded the party leave. After their last visit, a 'fire wizard' had arrived looking for them, and and caused mass death and destruction in the village before being driven off. Helping the party had obviously been bad taboo, and the matriarch insisted once more that they leave and not return again. Even offers of help from Kwinsea couldn't change her mind, and with the warriors  starting to get antsy, the three returned to the beach and the "No Mans' Sea". After discussion with the rest of the party, they decided to just head east in search of Empyrius. 

Forbidden Mountain
With the still strong wind at their back, they didn't sail far beyond the Isle of Dread (just a half day) before making landfall again. Once more they faced a jungle coast, running roughly north-south. Roughly in the centre rose a tall, flat-top mountain with straight cliffs that ran right into the sea. Rather than land right away, the party decided to circumnavigate the island. On the southern tip they observed a village surrounded by a log palisade. Further east the land turned swampy, and there were two other islands close to the main one. Off in the distance to the north-east were signs of additional lands. The three islands were surrounded by a rocky reef which would prevent the "No Man's Sea" from approaching, but it looked like the ships boat could pass at high tide in some places without too much trouble. Having spent several days sailing around and charting the island, the "No Man's Sea" ended up back off the village. They weren't there long when they observed a half dozen dugout canoes being pushed off the beach to come out and meet them. When the dugouts got closer, the party could see the people in them were pygmies. Kwinsea, once more using her skill with languages, was able to have a stilted conversation with the apparent leader using the native pidgin she'd picked-up on the Isle of Dread. She asked the name of the islands: 'Land of the Silver Lotus' was the reply. She asked about Empyrius; the little man didn't know what she was talking about, but suggested King Tiku or the witch-doctor Batutu might be able to answer her questions. He directed the party to enter the canoes and come ashore with them. After a short debate about who should go,  in the end they all decided to go.  Torak, however, s;lipped on the ring of invisibility and brought up the rear of the party. Just in case there was trouble. 

King Tiku
They arrived ashore safely, and were led into the palisade. But their guides did not bring them to any of the huts; they were instead taken toward the hill flanking the east side of the village. At the base of the hill was a low opening flanked by pygmy warriors. The party was guided through the opening and into a pygmy height tunnel. Led this way and that, they were thoroughly confused by the time they were brought into a larger, higher ceiling (i.e. 6' high) chamber. This was the throne room of King Tiku. The king was sitting on a throne caved of some giant monster skull, surrounded by his royal guards and a half dozen slave girls. The slaves were not pygmy's, but of regular stature. The throne and the floor was covered with rugs of monkey fur. Tiku ignore them at first, and sat there devouring dishes of monkey meat and fried lizards, guzzled down with great tumblers of something. Tossing away the last monkey bone and wiping the grease off his face with a slave-held monkey fur, King Tiku demanded to know what the party wanted. Again, talking in the native pidgin, Kwinsea offered a small coffer of coins and a bottle of fine wine (which Tiku uncorked and guzzled as she spoke).She made small talk at first, and learned that ships from Visryi, the City of Glass,  had been visiting the island for some time to trade for monkey skins, exotic feathers and silver lotus. She then asked to speak specifically to Batutu as the party were seeking tales and lost legends, and hoped the witch-doctor could help. King Tiku send several guards to fetch the witch-doctor, and after some time they returned leading a wizened little man, wrinkled as a raisin. Kwinsea first tried all her languages on the witch-doctor, discovering he spoke some common and dwarven. Hoping to keep King Tiku from overhearing, she switched to common and asked the witch-doctor about Empyrius and legends of long ago. Batutu knew nothing of Empyrius, and his legends told mostly of local issues, especially the evils of the Forbidden Mountain which the party had observed from the ship. As he spoke of the Forbidden Mountain, the witch-doctor glanced sideways at King Tiku, who watched the proceedings impassively.

Suddenly the king spoke, telling the guards to take Batutu away. He then addressed the party in broken common, saying if they wished to learn anything more of the Forbidden Mountain and legends of Empyrius, they must do something for him first. He would tell them all he knew if they would recover for him the three rainbow gems from the swamp pygmies to the east. He was coy about the gems, saying only they were glowing jewels of blue, indigo and violet. Bring them to him, and King Tiku would tell them all they needed to know. But they would need to leave an 'honored guest' to ensure they did return with the gems. The lecherous little king eyed Jaz at first, but in the end the party convinced him to accept the ship's cook, Fishguts, who could cook monkey and lizard like the glutenous king had never seen. The deal made, the party transferred the nervous Fishguts to the care of the pygmies and then started to make their plans to recovered the rainbow gems ...




Fishguts (for now ...) 

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