Champions of the Citadel

OotA Session 6: Land, ho!

"Why did you do that?!" - Alaer, after Gwyn put a hole in the boat

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Escape from Slubloodop

“Calm yerself, Lizard; do you want to be demon food? Row!” – Hemeth

Arriving on a large viking-esque oar boat, the party wasted no time in departing from Slubloodop, having witnessed Demogorgon rise from the Darklake, and seeing two of him now, wreaking havok upon the Kua-Toa city. Faelookon arrived at the boat wrought with despair bringing news of the deaths of Prince Derendil, Jimjar and his brother, Bryn. The Duergar prisoner the party rescued, Hemeth, encouraged the party to grieve later and row faster. Linwe, Gwyn and Alaer agreed and each grabbed ahold of the slippery, fishy oar handles and rowed as fast as they could, until Demogorgon was out of sight, until his roars became a dull echo throughout the endless, wet cavern that was the Darklake.

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Sinking Spirits & Sinking Ships

“Why did you DO that?” – Alaer, after Gwyn punctured the boat hull and “Shu-Shar” electrocuted the party with a shocking grasp in the water.

They rowed onward and Faelookon wept the whole time, uncontrollably mourning the loss of his brother and Jimjar, who had stayed behind and sacrificed himself instead of fleeing with the rest. The others were silent as exhaustion crept upon them, and nothing but the soft, growling sobs of the Dragonborn Barbarian could be heard among the dripping from stalagtites and lapping of water against the oars and boat. Suddenly, the boat shook, and the party noticed one of the dozen crates and barrels vibrating with movement. Startled, Gwyn was the first to act, firing a scorching Eldritch Blast that blistered between the rows of exhausted rowers… and sundered a hole in the wooden hull of their boat.

Before panic could set in, a side of the box collapsed outward, revealing Shu-Shar, crumpled in a small ball and draped in a black robe, holding a dagger. He stared blankly at the party, who for a second stared back, water rushing in through the hull. “Shu-Shar!” Alaer cried out in glee. Hemeth roared with rage and cried curses as he drew his swords. But not before Linwe pointed out the encroaching danger as the water now creeped along the bottom of the boat, soaking their tired, dirty feet with the muck of Darklake water. Franticly, the party began to formulate a plan- some started bailing water as others rowed onward, desperately hoping to find land. Faelookon noticed it first; a pseudo-island formed from an eroded pillar of stone not 100-odd feet away!

But another problem had arisen; as the water continued to spew into the boat, ravenous Manta Rays began to surround the hole, gnawing at the hull to the fright of the sinking sailors. Eldritch Blasts and spells were fired, but the few that connected did little to stop the creatures. Now sixty feet from the island, the boat became too water-laden to row onward. The hole grew and one Manta burst through. “Shu-Shar” stuck out his hand into the water and tried to electrocute the Manta, acting on instinct. It was a poor choice; the crackling lightning began to spark through the water and shocked the rest of the party. “Why did you DO that?!” Alaer called out.

Gwyn took his place atop the frontmost part of the boat, which began to slowly capsize. He fired Eldtritch Blasts off at the Mantas, obliterating one. Alaer punched another, and the party did their best to fend off the creatures. Hemeth made no hesitations and leapt into the water, swimming as fast as his stubby Duergar legs could go toward the stony makeshift shoreline. Linwe leapt after him, and Alaer and Arizira followed. Gwyn stayed atop the masted boat as he watched his Dragonborn companion and “Shu-Shar” get surrounded. The creatures bit and gnawed at the pair, and Faelookon let loose one of his lightning breaths… which electrocuted not only the Mantas, but several of the remaining party members in the water. As Gwyn began to make his way toward the shore, Faelookon tried desperately to grab the fading Shu-Shar, who was succumbing to the teeth of the Mantas. He was surprised to find that his hand passed through Shu-Shar entirely, as if he was an illusion. Thrown off by this, Faelookon stumbled, and fell into the water. The mantas were upon him, and one took a sizeable chunk of out the “Shu-Shar”, who then transformed into a black-robed Svirfneblin.

However, it was Linwe who saved the day, calling to his goddess Meilikki, who blessed him with the ability to communicate with the Mantas. He called out to them and as they heard his voice, they became passive, his words soothing their ferocity. He beckoned them forward, to bring his companions and sinking boat, now completely tipped, toward the shore. He then Spared the Dying of their Svirfneblin stranger, and sent the Mantas on their way… but not before Faelookon, in his rage, tried to shank them with a ferocious stab of his spear. Several members of the party cried out, “Stop!” and Faelookon froze in mid-stab, as if he were petrified. The others then started to scout the island and prepare for rest as they discussed the recent events, exhausted, but happy to be alive. Alaer stood and considered the still-stopped Faelookon, telling him to relax.

Hemeth started insulting the Dragonborn, calling him a foolish lizard and ridiculing his lack of control or emotional fragility. Hemeth would flash his gold teeth as he laughed heartily, his belly shaking as he continually pacified the barbarian with his words and taunting. Alaer took notice of this, too, and asked Faelookon to jump on one foot. He jumped. Hemeth laughed harder, and told him to lay down. He layed down. Hemeth started to say more, but Faelookon tried to strike him. Before his blade could reach the taunting Duergar, though, Alaer again told him to stop. He then questioned Faelookon and made him do a series of ridiculous tasks, including ridiculing his own brother, to test his hypothesis- that Faelookon was – somehow – at the behest of the words of others. He then told Faelookon not to do anything anyone says except for him, and the pair split to rest. Alaer told no one but Linwe, and the two wood elves agreed that in his emotionally unstable state of mourning over his lost brother, it was probably better to keep Faelookon under control.

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One to Ten

“I am no one. I know nothing of this destroyed Blingdenstone… I think it is safe.” – Ten
“Ye’re a stupid gnome, go with him and enjoy yer safety in ruin and beast’s bellies! I’m sure the Lizard would like that, wouldntcha, Lizard?” – Hemeth

After a night of rest on the uncomfortable stones, the party then confronted the Svirfneblin, who had woken up later that night and started carving at the dead corpse of one of the Mantas. He said his name was Ten, a Svirfneblin from Blingdenstone. He suggested the party escort him back to Blingdenstone, and insisted that it would be a safe respite from the dangers of the underdark. Hemeth spat at the gnome and refused this idea, calling out that Blingdenstone is no place for respite or rest at all, and that the party should escort him to the Duergar city of Gracklstugh. The two argued, but Alaer broke the tension by reminding the party that Jimjar had spoken of Blingdenstone being destroyed. Suspiciously, Ten appeared to know nothing of this.

Tentatively, the party decided to shelve the argument, though Linwe and Gwyn agreed with Alaer that following Hemeth was probably best. They spent the following day repairing the boat, Gwyn coming up with a rather ingenous plan to smear tar upon the hole to seal it, using the lightning from Faelookon’s breath as a heat source without igniting the pitch. Linwe and Alaer clogged the sticky patch with wood from the barrels and crates, and the party then started to flip the boat over. Hemeth grew in size and laughed heartily as Faelookon failed to lift the boat, but with the help of the rest, they managed to successfully tip their newly-repaired vessel right-side-up. They departed, heading in the direction Ten and Hemeth said was closest to a path to their cities, and more importantly, out of the Darklake.

They approached the shore after some time of rowing, but as they got closer, heard scratching and scraping noises from underneath the boat. As their boat hit the jagged shoreline, Alaer peeked over to investigate, and a clawed hand reached out, trying to grab him. Reflexively, the quick monk pulled back with ease, and the clawed hand sunk back into the water. Alaer shouted at the others to ready themselves, and almost on cue, two large, wet trolls burst from the water onto the shoreline, surrounding the boat. They roared, and readied for battle, as the boat glowed with the bluish light of Ten’s magics and the stern with the telling purplish glow of Gwyns readied Agonising Blast.

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