Saturday, February 17, 2018

Far Isles #80 - All the Wiggly Things

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6) 
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Zombie Jaz (Zombie)
with a late appearance by:
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes
But I Thought We Were Friends?
The party paused to take stock and pick up the pieces. With two members down for the count, there really was no choice but to return to the "No Man's Sea" and regroup there. They made it back to the ship late in the day and without any trouble. Rodrigo joined them from the galley to discuss what to do next. The swashbuckler was determined to get something out of this venture; revenge if nothing else. While Torak stayed behind aboard ship to tend to the fallen (and Kwinsea stayed with him to make sure they didn't come back to find a new zombie-Chaff), Rodrigo strong-armed Awg into making another delve into the temple caves. They took zombie-Jaz with them, several doses of dinosaur sleep poison, and as many flasks of oil and supersaturated brine as they could carry. One they reached the dry hilly centre of the island, Rodrigo used his simian sword to summon a small band of monkeys. His plan was to quietly take one aside and kill it, stuffing the body with sleep poison to use as giant slug bait. Unfortunately the monkey was too wily for him, and in the ensuing monkey-hooting struggle, the rest of the band fled and Rodrigo gained a new monkey-bite scar across the neck before killing the simian. 

All that done, the three headed back into the caverns and straight (but carefully) towards the slug slime filled cavern. A little scouting about made them believe there was another giant slug at the end of the slime trail leading north, so the party set up an ambush. In the narrow passage, they poured out all their oil, then topped it off with a sleep poison stuffed monkey corpse. Extinguishing their lights (except for Rodrigo's lit cigar), they pulled back against the cave wall and waited. After about  a half hour, they heard a squishing sound, followed by slurping. Figuring their foe had come, Rodrigo stepped forward and flicked his cigar into the oil pool, which lit up into a wall of flame. Reveled in the light was another giant slug, in the process of turning around after eating the monkey, but now trapped, roasting in the fire. Awg tried shooting it with his/her laser pistol, and zombie-Jaz tossed a brine bomb, but both missed. The slug now turned enough to loose a steam of acid spittle at the calmonari and zombie, both of whom were lucky to survive. The slug by now was in bad shape from the dying fire, and a few good hits from the laser pistol, Rodrigo's wheel lock and swings from the zombie-wielded Terminaxe ended the gastropodic threat. 

Eww, Leeches.
The great corpse blocked most of the tunnel, so they had to climb over the body to access the cavern beyond. This one proved to be of huge scale, the ceiling disappearing into the darkness above. In the centre was a mound, shaped almost like a step pyramid but apparently a natural formation. From the top of the pyramid emanated an eerie blue-purple glow. Worried about getting trapped in the chamber if there was a third giant slug, Rodrigo and Awg sent zombie-Jaz to investigate. She crossed the chamber no problem, and then had to climb the 50' tall pyramid, using some convenient hand holds to help her get there. Once at the top, the two adventurers saw the zombie bend down to pick up a large handful of gems, several of which were glowing with that eerie light. But before zombie Jaz could return with the haul, the holes she used to climb to the top started to disgorge vast swarms of what looked like leeches, their black slimy bodies shimming in the strange light. These thousands of creatures slithered up the sides of the pyramid, intercepting the descending zombie Jaz. In moments they had covered her body, and she/it fell into death a second time. After a minute or two the leeches moved away, leaving a now completely fluid drained husk behind. They then proceeded to collectively push the gems back up the pyramid, until they were once more collected in a neat pile at the top; the creatures then returned to their holes.

Determined to get the gems, another cunning plan was hatched. Gathering all their rope, a lifeline was looped around Awg, who then used his sword to levitate to the ceiling and hand-walk across the cavern until he/she was above the pyramid. Lowering down, the calmonari hauled out a small sack and used his cutlass to scoop the gems into the bag. At that moment, the leeches once more swarmed out of the holes. As Awg levitated away and hand-crawled back to Rodrigo, the leech swarm turned to cross the cavern to follow him and the gems. That got Rodrigo and Awg moving fast, to get ahead of the swarm and back to the ship's boat. As they pulled hard on the oars, the swarm burst out of the cave entrance and into the water, continuing to mindlessly chase the boat until they made it to salt water which stopped the swarm cold . 

Rainbow Gems
Back on the "No Man's Sea" with their bounty, the party now decided to head back to the Anchorage to have Chaff raised before he got too ripe and rotten. Eight day's uneventful sailing found them back at their home away from home. For the first time in a long time there were ships at anchor; the trader Dravos in the "Barbaric Wind" and the three masted "Imperious". But the party was uninterested in any chit chat. They shipped over to the beach and off to Bellephrone right away. Swapping her the bulls-eye shield in return for her services, they stuffed Chaff in the cauldron to let her do her work. Returning a few days later, they found a fresh pink Chaff awaiting them. Except his left hand had been replaced by his intestines; the hand could be seen occasionally pressing against his belly from the inside. Chaff was fine with this, but everyone else was a bit grossed out. 

Now back to full strength, the party sailed back towards the Land of the Silver Lotus and tired to figure out what to do next. They decided to go back to Barana village and try to talk privately with the witch-doctor Batutu. He seemed to know things he was unwilling to say in front of King Tiku, and the party hoped he might help them decided what to do with the gems and maybe he could point them in the direction of Empyrius as well. Speaking of the gems, no one had actually seen them since the cavern. Awg protectively and snarlingly kept them to himself, and was occasionally seen sitting alone on deck and staring wide eyed and dazed into the open bag. There was definitely something not right about those gems. 

With the "No Man's Sea" anchored off the village once more  Chaff cast his transparency spell on Kwinsea. The aquamancer, being the only one who understood the pygmy language, would swim ashore and accost the witch-doctor for questioning. Reaching land, she waited awhile before she noted two guards emerge from King Tiku's chambers below the eastern headland. They marched through the village to a door in the western hill, and after talking to the guards there, the witch-doctor Batutu emerged and accompanied the original guards back to King Tiku. He was gone about an hour, and when Batutu emerged, he slowly walked across the village, this time unaccompanied. Kwinsea saw her chance, and intercepted the old witch-doctor along the way. Once the old man got over the shock and figured out to whom he was talking, he led the unseen Kwinsea out into the yam fields beyond the village palisade so they could talk without being overheard.

Kwinsea asked him about the gems and the Forbidden Mountain. Batutu told her the story of a race of Ancients that once lived on the Forbidden Mountain. They were ruled by a great sorcerer named Kwalu the Rainbow Stealer.  It was he who made the rainbow gems, objects of great power, but which also spread greed, discord and treachery. Eventually, two pygmy brothers made their way onto the mountain and stole three of the gems. The two brothers fell to fighting over the gems,and one killed the other, splitting the pygmy tribe. Losing three gems also lessened the power of Kwalu, who was overthrown by four kings of the Ancients. After that, the Ancients become addicted to silver lotus and eventually died away. Batutu did not want Tiku to get any of the gems; the witch-doctor feared the power mad pygmy king would destroy the tribe if he got his hands on the powerful artifacts. Tiku's obsession was also fairly recent; he'd been fed the idea by a tall stranger named Ugar who'd arrived in the village a few months ago from some far off land.  Batutu once more implored Kwinsea to not go to the Forbidden Mountain to get he gems for Tiku. If anything, they should take the gems and destroy them. The gems had been enchanted from the rainbow that once graced the thousand foot waterfall which disgorged  from the mountain, and could only be destroyed by throwing them off the waterfall precipice and into the mist. 

Kwinsea finished up by asking again about Empyrius. Batutu knew nothing, and suspected that Tiku didn't either. Most likely the pygmy king faked knowledge of Empyrius to fool the party into gathering them gems for him.  Asked of his opinion of King Tiku the crafty witch-doctor said only the village was not getting all it was due from the King's trading with foreigners; perhaps it would be good if that changed. 



3 rainbow gems [blue, indigo, violet]
10 other gems (100gp x2, 25gp, 250gp, 50gpx2, 10gp, 750gp x2, 1000gp)

1 Giant Slug

Fishguts (for good)
Jaz (again)  

* 2xp/gp house rule in effect

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