DRAMATIS PERSONAE:Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes
Before proceeding any further, the party had additional questions for Korun the Creekman. First of all, they had him sketch out a map of the Coral Cays. The blue man complied, and was able to give a fairly detailed chart of the closest islands. The lair of his former wereshark employer was nearby, so Korun knew this area well. He pointed out Dusek's island, as well as the location of one of the Amazon tribes with whom they'd crossed spears. He was also able to point out in a more general sense the location of the Blue Amazons, a weird long persistent storm, a variety of ruins and a general sense of where to find other islands. He was oddly evasive about where to find the Creekmen, giving a general and vague location with no details. When asked where they might find more information on Empyrius, Korun suggested the Creekmen elders had a great store of old tales that might help. So in the end, the party headed up the island chain towards the purported location of the Creekman villages.
Fighting contrary winds once again, they didn't make it too far before having to drop anchor for the night. Scanning the horizon in the failing light, Torak noted some activity several hundred yards off the bow. He first called up Awg for a look, then the rest of the party. Rodrigo scurried up to the crows nest with his spyglass, and spotted a trio of blue-skinned women, riding dolphins and driving a pack of sharks away at spear point. They moved off, not noticing or paying attention to the ship, until the sharks finally gave up and swam away. The dolphin riders then turned to the north-west, and likewise dove and disappeared. When this excitement was over, Kwinsea decided to summon an aquatic creature and then speak to it in an attempt to learn more about the isles. A large sea turtle responded to her summons, and ponderously answered her questions. The aqumancer learned the storm isle had been that way forever; there was a city of underwater humans or humanoids somewhere to their west; and that if they wanted 'shiny' things, they should seek out the stone ruins of the 'turtle-men' and collect the fragments of their shells. All of which was interesting, but not of immediate use for finding Empyrius.
Next day opened with a pod of giant great white sharks approaching the ship. Rodrigo, on watch, had the musketeers roused and put to work driving them off. Amidst great grumbling and complaining, the ships' guards fired a volley, striking one of the beasts. That was enough to scare them off, the two non-wounded animals nipping at their bleeding colleague as they swam away. The musketeers went back to their hammocks, the sailors arose, and the "No Man's Sea" sailed forth again. The wind had shifted to the north-east so they made better time over the next few days. They sailed past a beach with stone turtle-man ruins, then past the scary elemental storm island, before cutting south-west around the Blue Amazon islands towards the Creekmen. Along the way, Chaff plied Korun with liquor to find out why he was so evasive about the Creekmen. In the end, there was nothing sinister to learn. With so many enemies in the Cays, the Creekmen were just very wary of giving away any information on their hidden villages or their way of life. Korun had no intention of showing the party the location of the villages; he expected them to drop him off-shore and he'd head home alone. And bring back an elder or two to talk later on. When the vivimancer passed this along to the rest of the party, there was some conniving thought put to tracking their guide. But in the end, they decided to trust the blue man to return. So when they finally dropped anchor off the massive mangrove swamp of an island to which Korun had directed them, they let him take the ships boats into the creeks, hoping he'd return. And then they waited. In the meantime, Awg went looking for 'pretties' to bring back to H'sslik if they ever happened back that way again. The calmonari was rewarded with a pretty purple fish he'd never seen before, which went right into one of their holding tanks. Kwinsea also took the time to summon once more, this time getting a visit from a trio of swordfish. She pumped them for information on the Creekmen, but the saltwater fish could tell her little about the land-dwellers.
In the end, their trust in mankind was rewarded when Korun returned a couple days later with a boat-full of Creekmen. The party let them aboard the "No Man's Sea", and threw a great feast to impress their guests. And afterwards listened the the accompanying elder (Talos) spin tales of the past deeds of the Creekmen and their Terocolid forebearers. It would seem the Terroclids were a very militaristic people, divided into many petty and warring island-states under the nominal rule of a High Tyrant. Each petty kingdom had it's own "God Who Walked Among Men", providing counsel and assiting those in power. And in return were worshiped and supported by their human followers. Empyrius was a"God" of a state at the northern edge of the island chain, but exactly where Talos couldn't say. The party asked Talos what had caused the fall of the Terocolids, and were told the women-folk (who it seemed had been treated as little better than chattel-slaves) has risen up under a leader by the name of Damarius the Liberator and destroyed them all. The Amazons were the descendants of those women. Asked about other places they might learn more, Talos directed them to the fallen remnants of the Terocolids. In particular, there was a ruined temple ofrsomething on nearby high cliff. He also told them of a weird structure, consisting of four giant crystal eggs in an iron lattice. It had stood on a low limestone ridge on a nearby cay as long as anyone could remember. But none had ever gotten inside as there was no obvious entrance.
The feast over and day getting short, the Creekmen prepared to leave. Chaff asked how they'd get back to their village, since they weren't keeping the ships boat. Korun grinned, then whistled loudly. Out of the nearby creeks came a small flotilla of Creekmen. It seems the Creekmen didn't fully trust the party and kept a ace up their sleeves. But they left without incident, leaving the party to decide what to do next. It came down to heading north to wander about looking for Empyrius. Or hitting one of the locations Talos reveled, looking for answers and maybe some loot. In the end, loot prevailed, and the party decided the eggs sounded like the most likely place to find cool stuff. As they headed there, they passed bu the other ruins as well. It was difficult to see as there was a heavy rain and mist, but they were surprised to see a beam of moving light on the headland near the ruins.
|Spire of Iron and Crystal|
They pushed on however, reaching the eggs later in the day. Chaff summoned the fly and took off on patrol. From overhead there were a couple of possible entrances. At the topmost point of the topmost egg, there was a narrow opening apparently leading inside. On the second egg down was a small balcony, hidden from view below by the ironwork. There was no door to be seen, but maybe something could be discovered on closer inspection. Chaff buzzed down to pick up Kwinsea and dropped her on the balcony to search; but the aquamancer could find nothing. So through the hole it was. Chaff ferried everyone up to the top, one by one, then lowered them down the tube on a rope tied to one of the fly's legs. Torak went down first, squeezing down the steep, narrow passage. As he did, the cleric was shocked to find the upper part of the egg filled with mist and lightning. Thankfully not hurting him. Below he could see a maze of rooms, all of which appeared open at the top, but detail was sparse due to the obscuring light and cloud. He safely made it to the bottom, landing in an octagonal room. The walls were made of a smokey quartz-like substance, and in three walls were doors made of a similar but darker material. Overhead was nothing but mist and crashing lightning, and the air had a definite electrical smell. Underfoot was a small hole in the floor, covered by a grate and with a fan whirling inside. Close inspection revealed a series of small tubes which were collecting some sort of fluid from the air and draining it to parts unknown below.
The rest of the party joined Torak, leaving the fly hovering overhead. They then headed out to explore, starting with the northern door. This room was essentially empty, except for a hidden pit trap (which Chaff fell into) and strange symbols carved into the quartz walls (which the mages identified as being elemental in nature). They pushed on to the next room, finding a large set of cranks and gears on the north wall. While there was some trepidation about messing with it, Awg boldly strode forward and put the mechanism in motion. And found that as he/she worked it, the lighting overhead started to die down, until it stopped completely, plunging the party into darkness ...
TOTAL XP850 (exploration XP)