|#1AeoliusFeb 16, 2004 11:41:49||As campaign summaries seem to be all the rage, I present Chapter 116 of "Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor'alq". Chapter 117 should be ready by tomorrow.|
(Originally posted at http://www.lobi.com/bpaa/)
Cilvia: a tiefling mermaid
Nee'Kaa: an oceanid (daughter of a salt hag and triton
A fine damselfish hivemind (swarm, aquatic)
Rimus: a human altered with grafts from a pseudonatural fish hag
Saphier: a half-dragon/half-fiend (half-topaz dragon succubus, using SS levels)
Xmador: a triton prince
Teal: a half-water elemental/half-sea elf
Alkanon: a sea elf
Seizing his moment, Xmador dives into the chill of the deep, his eyes set upon the lone devil ray rendered unconscious by his half-sister. Within his mind, he recalls the words uttered by an ixitxachitl moments before the battle was won. These creatures knew of the Nighthouse. They knew of the orichalcum quarterstaff carried by NeeKaa.
Choosing his moment with care, the triton readies his silver scimitar, slices through the devil ray's tail to remove the threat carried by it's sharpened barb, and binds the creature as best he is able.
Unseen by the triton, a metal ring that had been secured around the base of the devil ray's tail now falls freely into the depths. Drawn to the shimmering ring, the sea haggle easily recovers the item.
"The creature is one of evil" Croceus communicates telepathically from his brow. At times Xmador forgets that the agathion, dweller of the Thalasian Sea, encircles his skull in the form of a living crown of golden coral. Though it had once assumed the form of a conch horn, Croceus now serves its role as ambassador; a continual reminder that Xmador has secured a celestial kingdom in a faraway realm.
"I...shall...give...you...NOTHING!" the devil ray spits, as he regains consciousness. As he breathes, blood flows from his gills "The will of Tempest be done. I have failed. The others shall not. You will never escape the vengeful eye of the sea hag. Isalas shall..."
The captive ixitxachitl is unable to finish his final remarks. His gills unmoving, the creature quietly and unceremoniously dies.
Having traveled to the depths, the sea haggle looks to the west where the chain ray now swims. Darting towards its adversary, the hivemind easily overtakes the slower construct. Within links of animated chain, a captive ixitxachitl seems moments from death.
Their enemy defeated, the party is reminded once more of the storm which surges atop Synsaal. The devil rays had sought shelter within the confines of the gargantuan oyster. The crosscurrents and undulating waves seem to suggest they do likewise.
Adding to the ominous darkness born of the clouds above, a mysterious violet rain began to fall. Seeping into the surrounding waters like viscous ink, the rain seemed unnatural in origin.
Now familiarized with the inner chambers of the Shellship, Cilvia remains fascinated with the effects of the magical infusion given by the mermen caretakers of the living craft in which she now walks. Aware that the effects such magics were not permanent, she kept her eye upon the water.
When accosted by the merman Drenaalt, Cilvia finds his proximity disturbing. When the sunstar partially covering her upper torso is unexpectedly removed, she finds comfort in the arms of Rimus.
"My apologies." Drenaalt begins "As recompense for my indiscretion, I offer this."
The merman proffers a scallop shell filled with the infused mushroom coral Cilvia had consumed, to transform her fins into legs.
Granted sanctuary within the living vessel known as the Shellship, the newcomers Teal and Alkanon thank their benefactors. Wounded from his encounter with a ravenous seawolf, the half-elf Teal accepts the care offered by NeeKaa. Having collected the necessary seaweeds and algae required for a healing balm, the oceanid is thankful she need not venture into the open ocean again, for the hurricane above the waves now disturbs the waters below.
Applying the makeshift bandage required patience, she knew. The seawolf wound reminded NeeKaa of her hag-mark, the bite from which her beldamei powers were awakened. She wondered what might come of his wounds. The unhurried moments allowed her to reflect upon the events of the past. Albeit briefly, her orichalcum staff, taken from a morkoth statue depicting their god Panzuriel, had spoken with her.
By her side the triton Xmador, her half-brother, watches intently as she cares for the wounded.
Expressing admiration for the inner structure of the Shellship, Alkanon draws the attention of it's caretakers, the mermen Shranet and Drenaalt. Having both partaken of the infusion shared with Cilvia, the mermen walk hand in hand towards the awaiting sea elf.
"There are five chambers within the Shellship," Shranet begins "three that we use for resting and recreation, one with translucent walls for keeping an eye on the waters outside, and the fifth provides safe haven for the pearl. Two of the resting chambers are filled with the outside sea, while the third is filled with air. Between all of the chambers you will find a membranous barrier. This is part of the Shellship, do not harm it."
"I have prepared a meal for Shranet and myself." Drenaalt adds "We are more than willing to share our repast, should anglerfish, thrasher shark, and seagull suit your palate. I recommend the seagull. It's a bird, if you've ever seen one. I caught them myself."
As the words of the mermen trail off in her mind, NeeKaa's thoughts turn to the unborn infant entrusted to her care. Although she in unable to ascertain how, she is filled with the knowledge that the mechanatrix requires metals, to ensure it's continued survival.
As Teal addresses Rimus in the language of the ancient Almati, it is not solely the human who is taken aback. Saphier, the half-fiend rescued from within the scrambler submersible, understands the language as well. Rubbing the bruised knot upon her brow, the dragon-spawn wonders what else she had forgotten.
In Almati, the amulet carried by Rimus replies with a muffled cry.
Stepping from the back of Cilvia's plasmanta familiar, which it had been using as transportation, the anemoid Stinger joins its companions. With a hollow yet melodious voice, the humanoid anemone informs those nearby that the onset of violet rain has quashed it's connection with the Prophet A'nan, its patron.
"The rain is touched with evil." Croceus adds, speaking within the mind of Xmador.
That evening, as Cilvia and Rimus claim the air-filled chamber to explore the possibilities granted by the mermaid's transformation, they find comfort in their unity. It is a newfound sensation shared equally between them.
"I have instructed the Shellship to continue on it's course." Shranet speaks loudly from the pearl chamber. His voice is easily heard by all. "We shall remain in the depths until the storm is behind us. Upon first tide, it is back to the shallows."
Within the pearl chamber, the construct known as Evo remains uncommitted to its fate as keeper of the living Shellship. In recent days, the pearl had been stolen from it's home and ensorcelled by a wizard. What the sea elf had hoped to accomplish was unknown to Evo, yet the construct now possessed both a newfound sentience and powers beyond its comprehension. Perhaps the wizard sought to create a scrying orb from the pearl. Perhaps he wished to conceal a construct within the natural sphere. Evo rested within a pillow of scarlet tissue and waited.
For those who sleep, the dreams return.
You find yourself entrapped within a twisted mass of netting, surrounded by the rotting corpses of Those Above. Yet, as you struggle for freedom, the dead begin to awaken.
"'Twas the hags." one shrieks
"Salkt and Muckmyre, they called themselves. Brought the dead thing to the others, then left with a third. Tempest, they called her, joined by the black annis and stygian hag as Syliah prepared for the dark magics to come." a second added
"Rose from the dead, she did;" a third moans "Tempest, the blood hag, to lead the Wretched Gloom."
The third corpse suddenly breaks free of the tattered netting, which slithers forward in the form of a noose to ensnare him.
"Syliah has shed her skin." the three reply in unison "She calls to three, to replace those slain by the traitor Peg. And here they be!"
Without warning, the net transforms into rigging. Looking down, you spy the remains of the Enora Norray as ghost ship sails into the darkness of the depths.
Upon the deck, three feral sea hags dance and sing, holding hands as they encircle a ghostly banshee.
"They revere the one within." the tattered sails whisper "She is from the covey before; slain by the bonehag's arrogance. The banshee fills them with it's hatred, now; hatred for the haggle born of its death. Hatred for the bonehag Peg, who has birthed the stolen asura."
"My daughter, by celestial blood." the sails continue, as they form into the spectral form of Xaetra, the midnight hag. "The first of five."
Floating effortlessly, Xaetra hovers over the skeletal captain of the Enora Norray.
"Scrimshaw seeks his skin." the ghostly hag whispers "This have they promised him. But first they seek the banshee's lair, filled with the treasures of the hags before."
You awaken refreshed, yet indescribably hungered for something unspoken.
Continuing on its course to the northwest, the gargantuan oyster slides silently through the depths. Then, without warning, the Shellship stops.
Jolted from a nightmare, the sea haggle finds its mind transfixed upon a single image, the dying devil ray's unblinking eye. The image seems strangely inseparable from the words spoken within the Sea of Dreams two nights before. Born of hags' magic twice over, the spectral hag said. The collective school knew it had been formed from a hag's eye talisman. This much had Xaetra revealed. Yet what was the second magic? Unbidden, the image of a woman fills the communal mind of the sea haggle.
"There is something in the waters ahead." Shranet informs the party
"It appears to be a net, or a..." the second merman adds "... Stop!"
"A great evil lingers ahead" Croceus communicates telepathically with Xmador.
Through the transparent wall in the observatory, the party spies that which the Shellship had detected. Ahead, suspended in the murky waters, a massive net hangs motionlessly. Maintained in neutral buoyancy by the use of glass spheres and metal anchors, the strands of net seem fashioned of weathered hemp.
Entangled within the knots and cords are the lifeless bodies of Those Above. NeeKaa surmises that the corpses of fifty men, simple fishermen from their appearance, rest in the waters ahead. To steady herself, she places a hand upon the transparent wall of shell. Horrified, she realizes her suspicions are confirmed. The bodies of the drowned humans bear ritualistic scarring.
His eyes unbelieving, Rimus stares at the body of a man entangled within the center of the net. Around his neck a noose has been tightened. Attached to the rope, a bottle pulls upward against the weight of the corpse.
Staring upward towards Synsaal, Cilvia spies the keels of a dozen small fishing vessels.
|#2zombiegleemaxFeb 16, 2004 22:44:06||I enjoyed reading this although I really don't have any comments. However, I thought I should just let you know this reader....read it. ;)|
|#3zombiegleemaxFeb 16, 2004 23:39:00||Can I join the pointee-eared horn head guy mutual admiration society as well? I'll change my name to something that starts with an A, I promise. |
Well done Aeolius, your campaign remains one of the most interesting I've ever heard of.
|#4zombiegleemaxFeb 17, 2004 9:30:13||damn, I never even noticed that...|