Trials of the Tridents
- 1 Summary
- 2 Notes
- 2.1 1 Fruit 808
- 2.2 2-4 Fruit 808
- 2.3 8 Fruit
- 2.4 9-18 Fruit
- 2.5 19th fruit
- 2.6 20 - 26 Fruit
- 2.7 27 Fruit
- 2.8 28 Fruit – 1 Harvest
- 2.9 2 Harvest
- 2.10 3-6 Harvest
- 2.11 7th Harvest
- 2.12 9th Harvest
- 2.13 10-15th Harvest
- 2.14 16 Harvest
- 2.15 18 Harvest
- 2.16 19 Harvest
- 2.17 20 Harvest
- 2.18 21 Harvest
- 2.19 22 Harvest
- 2.20 23 Harvest
- 2.21 24 Harvest
- 2.22 25 Harvest
- 2.23 26 Harvest
- 2.24 27 Harvest
- 3 Nominations and SGT Snippets
- 4 Reference Information
<-- Return to Scribe Notes
The adventure is to take place on Alusia on the outskirts of the Lunar Empire, and the Islands of Adventure.
Adventure: Trials of the Tridents
Session: Autumn 808 wk
Night: Tuesday 7:00pm till late.
Level: Medium / High Level.
Location: 31 Methuen Road, Avondale Map
Information: Information from players for Jono
Matt Tumbledown a Titan.
- Mebh a Warrior, played by Julia McSpadden.
- Christopher a Warrior, played by Michael Young.
- Toledo Steele a Warrior, played by Craig Harper.
- Amelia a Ranger, played by Rosemary Mansfield.
- Flamis a Fire mage, played by Jacqui Smith.
- Pierre a Cook, played by Andrew Luxton-Reilly.
To complete some "Trials of the Trident" for Matt Tumbledown.
1 Fruit 808
Wherein we have Many Meetings
After the Guild Meeting, I was sent to Meeting Area A, which was an open courtyard to the west of the meeting rooms. There I met a group of my fellow adventurers. These were:
- Pierre – a rather ugly human male warrior in full cold iron plate, bedecked with weapons. He explained that he was a Water Mage, but half of his College was missing as we learned later.
- Mebh – an attractive female human warrior in very well made breastplate armour. She had some skills in air mages including the ability to enhance arrows and to create clouds to fly on.
- Christopher – a tall human male warrior, plain of appearance and dressed in green scaly armour, with a black cape, a sabre and a distinctive black ring. He had some skill in ice magics.
- Toledo Steel – a handsome male human warrior.
- Amelia – a female halfling and master ranger.
- And myself, I am Felicity de Valiante, called Flamis, a female human Fire Mage. I was wearing a belted robe over my chain-mail bikini, and a long black cloak. I was carrying my Rod of Fires, a black staff.
There were also three storm giants waiting there, looming over us, and I learned that it was expected of us to speak Giantish, a language of which I knew very little. Mebh, having been previously to the Lunar Empire, highly respected there, and able to speak Lunar was a natural choice as Party Leader. I offered to be military scientist since I was the least likely to be in melee combat, and also scribe. We learned that we would have to go down to the harbour to meet our employer on his ship, and that we should be properly provisioned, and that we might require horses. I hurried back to the farm, and borrowed Basalic’s Portable Hole, provisioning it with root vegetables, apples, dried fruits and pulses, salt pork, flour, oats, eggs, dried herbs and spices, along with my set of pots and pans, my small anvil, portable forge, toolkit, tents, campbed, blankets, rope and climbing equipment. I collected Flamefoot II, horses for Pierre and Toledo, and one of our specially bred halfling ponies for Amelia. Then we all followed the giants down to the harbour where a huge seven-masted Junk was moored called The East Winds of Tycho. On board we could see an enormous person, the titan called Matt Tumbledown, the ship’s owner, and our host.
We were told that we would set sail in three hours, and that the horses could be stabled on board. A human named Tally came to show us where to take the horses, and then showed us to our cabin, a large room with bunks for all of us. Meanwhile, Pierre and Mebh went to the butchers to get some steak and kidney, and came back with four buckets of kidneys and six sides of beef. These Christopher froze, and they insisted I make room for them all in the Hole.
Shortly after that we sailed out. It was a nice day, with a fair wind, but the ship was remarkably stable, and I soon became accustomed to the motion. Around 5pm the bell rang for dinner, which was a good and filling stew. Everybody here seemed to know Mebh, addressing her as the Winner of the Lunar Games. There were two other passengers, who said they were also guests of Matt's, and that they were spell-casters entering the Trial of the Twin Orbs. One admitted to being a Water mage, and I studied the other’s aura, learning that his highest ranked spell was Shadowform. He was a Celestial mage then, and either of the dark or the shadow. They knew little about the Trials of the Tridents beyond the fact that they are the trials for warriors.
2-4 Fruit 808
On the evening of the 3rd we moored at Adjepbar, a port city in the Five Sisters. We were told that the ship would stay her for five days. I planned to make us some tridents. One of the giants gave me a shopping list for the ingredients I would need to make certain items which would help us communicate with the Giants, comprising six rubies of good size, six camel testicles, a pound of black myrrh, and a pound of unhatched locusts. To this was added a pound of rock salt and a pound of blue sand. We decided that it would be safer to do our shopping in the morning, and planned to be up bright and early.
Shopping in the Heat in Adjepbar
At 5am in the morning we were ready to head into the town. The crew presented Pierre with a suit of fine leather armour, saying that his plate would be far too conspicuous. We were told that there are pirates in port and that they wore blue sashes. They were to be avoided. We also obtained the address of a person who had succeeded in the Trials of the Tridents.
As we headed into town we found it already crowded with folk heading into market. We were immediately besieged by people wanting to sell food and things and services, but what we chose was the services of one person, a good guide for five silver (and worth every copper farthing). He took us to a clothier, a relative of some sort, who selected six sets of fine white embroidered robes in the local style, and asked 700 silver for them. I thought this was a bit steep, and attempted to barter, until I studied them and realised they were very well made. Now properly dressed, we went to get the camel’s testicles (for 6sp), and then stopped a coffee shop for refreshments and conversation. We learned that the pirates were now infesting the areas of the market where we needed to go. So, after Christopher bought some coffee beans, and we purchased a guest gift of cinnamon rolls, we set off across the city to the residence of the person we wanted to speak to regarding the Trials of the Tridents.
On reaching the area, we waited at a nearby tavern called the Golden floor of the skies, while our guide fetched the person. He was pleased with the cinnamon rolls, and we sat and talked, learning the following:
Regarding the Trials
- To enter we would need six ghoul heads to be presented at the temple (they might ask for the heads of six succubi, but that was said to be less common, and if they didn't like you).
- The first trial involved swimming down to kill a fish in a hole.
- In the second trial we would have to kill a crab.
- For the third trial we needed to kill an octopus (or similar cephalopod) in a pitch-black pit.
- The fourth task varies.
- For these first four tasks we would take our own tridents.
- The fifth task was difficult because we would have to go onto the minotaur island naked, and without any of our items (or else we would not come back). We should oil our bodies and dive on the western side of the island to obtain fine tridents broken from the coral that grew there. Then we would fight the minotaur enchanter with the wizard’s eye in the ruined temple, who fights in the smoke.
- The setting for the sixth task, is a shipwreck infested with sharks, and the giant shark must be defeated. The sharks will all attack if there is 'any blood' in the water.
- In the seventh task, we need to attack griffins from below.
- The eighth task involves serpents.
- In the ninth task we would face Cloud Giants.
- He did not attempt the tenth trial, and few do. “Nine is fine”
- The number of trials attempted depended on the people.
- The “Trial of Twin Orbs” was for casters, and was so called because if an adept succeeded that person would be able to cast two spells and have them orbit until ready to be released.
- The blue sand allowed a master weaponsmith to create certain permanent magic items.
It was becoming extraordinarily hot, and the others were sweltering, so on the advice of our guide we went to the Dwarven tunnels. Predictably, the dwarves knew Mebh. They were able sell us forms of iron to make tridents, cold iron at 700sp, and caster iron at 500sp. They also offered tridents already made at master rank, at 1700sp for the cold iron ones (of which we purchased two), and 1100sp for the caster ones (we bought two of these). After we were shown to a table in an alcove, Christopher cast and the area suddenly became very cold. He explained that the mana level here was extremely low. Which was enough to put me off casting heat-proofing on the others. The dancers promptly left our area, and so did I, since I was more comfortable in the heat. Dwarves dancing on tables…. That’s so very strange. So was the dwarven sculpted lunch they brought us. We took our leave around 3pm, to the sound of horns blowing from the minarets. These people wore red and our guide told use that they were fire-worshippers (some party members speculated that it may be the cult of Aim). Runners turned up with the rock salt and the locusts.
Everyone except me was exhausted from the heat when we went to get the myrrh, the rubies and the blue sand. Toledo fronted up with the 30,000 sp for the blue sand.
We had an excellent dinner at the tavern we had stopped at that morning, and returned to the ship around midnight.
Wherein I Make Coils
I spent the next three days turning the ingredients into coils which could be wound around our weapons (the giants wore theirs as ear-rings). They will allow their owner to speak a giant language heard at the rank of the speaker. Meanwhile, Mebh investigated the problem of the ghoul heads. She found a person who wanted to hire us to get a chest from a town called Shorapur which is infested with undead. Apparently the chest was full of the blue sand, and he would share half of it with us. We would have to wear black cloaks, and paint our boots blue so the undead would not see us.
Wherein we Visit Shoraphur and Gather Some Ghoul Heads
As our boat approached Shorapur that evening, we could see smoke and dust rising in the air above the city. There appeared to be fighting in the east, residential fires in the west, and some kind of industry in the centre. Using my crystal ball I could see that the city was kidney-shaped, around a harbour. There was a river running north to east through the eastern outskirts, quarter of a mile wide at the mouth. The walled inner city around the port had been mostly restored. The jeweller’s street was in the outer city to the east of the walls. Avoiding the port and possible Urielite entanglements, we could reach it from the western desert or from the river. The city was formerly noted for glassmaking.
Looking closer to the jewellers we could see that there were fires are deep in the cellars and underground. Dallow said there was coal and peat under this city. They so needed a good fire mage here! There was some furtive movement, perhaps looters.
Looking at the docks we could see people working hard, unloading supplies from a big ship. We pulled the boat into shore on the other side of the river beyond a promontory. We made a fire and Pierre made a hot meal of steak and kidney pie that made us all feel tougher. While dinner was cooking, a large walrus came up the beach and looks to us, followed by more walruses and seals. Amelia produced a magic facecloth, and I produced my magic comb, and together we got the salt out of everyone. We headed inland across the ruined fields. In the distance we could see ghouls prowling the fields. As we got closer we could see that the ground was riddled with pits.
Shortly after beginning to cross the fields, we encountered our first group of ghouls I dragon-flamed the central group and they fell to dust. Mebh slew another and it also disintegrated. Then they ran away, back into the ground. We got only one ghoul head out of that fight.
We proceeded further across the fields, and suddenly a mass of ghouls and skeletons came up out of the ground surrounding us. They attacked us, striking and draining, and were soon joined by imps and wraiths, and what seemed to be human necromancers controlling the lesser undead. The party fought back and I stamped my staff on the ground, casting a fireball at point-blank range. Then I couldn’t cast because there wasn’t any mana there any more so I fed a waters of healing to Toledo who was badly hurt. Pierre did a clever thing that resulted in me being teleported to one side of the combat so I could do the fireball thing again, destroying a whole bunch more. Then one of the undead hurt Mebh really badly so she couldn’t stand. Pierre leapt around the battlefield spectacularly…. As did one of the big bad guys – who was promptly killed by Pierre. Another one tried to run away, until Christopher whacked him in the back. And then they all ran away, back into the holes. So we got to collect more ghoul heads, another six, which was ample. We dumped the heads… and some entire bodies in the portable hole, to be looted later. We used Mebh’s tower shield as a stretcher, and carried her across the fields. Everything seemed to be keeping a respectful distance from us. I don’t think they liked my fireballs. However, the imps had got Mebh and I with serious bad luck, reducing our strike chances and cast chances for next sixteen days.
We built a raft and crossed the river… then we made our way with little incident to the jeweller’s street. Then we had to dig our way down to Dallow’s strongroom, and claim the chest. We decided to be good and not try to loot the neighbours. It was midnight by the time we got back to the boat, and we were so tired. We cast off and weighed anchor. Pierre had to let loose two grievous injuries he had suffered in the fight and Amelia, Christopher and I rushed to aid him. Thanks to Amelia’s skill, he survived, but had suffered a disfiguring facial injury.
We got back to the great junk by lunchtime, and the entire boat was winched aboard. It was a relief to get back on board.
And so to the Temple of the Trials
We travelled along the Wild Coast anchoring for a day at Tycho City, where Dallow left us, saying that he could sell the blue sand for us, for twice the usual price we could get. We could contact him back at Adjepbar. We turned left at Cognitum and headed up the Esel River to the Inland Sea. Amelia and the ship’s surgeon spent a lot of time healing Mebh and Pierre. We had the ghoul heads preserved and sorted the loot from the bodies, which we then chucked overboard for the sharks.
Pierre after suffering a horrific face injury: “Arghhh… I cannot taste properly”
'The East Winds of Tycho' moored off shore at Ajaal, a town by the mouth of the Esel River, on the southern shores of the Inland Sea. One of the giants made a flying cloud, and then we travelled six hours on it, into the Gargoyle Mountains, to the Temple of the East Winds. A titan wearing a gladiator’s helm came out and greeted us in the giantish tongue. He said that he needed six ghoul heads, and then we would begin, so we handed them over. He pointed at a watery pit, and asked who would be first, and Mebh stepped forward.
20 - 26 Fruit
He told her to get a fish, with her trident. We all had to have a go, but it wasn’t hard even for me. The first task complete, the next day he trained us and we all learned how to use the trident to the first rank of skill. He told us stories in the evenings. He informed us that this year the fourth trial would be tridents against fire salamanders. We learned that his name was Maxirus.
We went into the pit again, this time to kill crabs. Then Max spent the next two days teaching us trident to the second rank. All the time the Giants piled up fire wood.
Max told us that the third trial would be against a giant electric eel.
This was rather more difficult, but with Amelia going first, and her immunity to lightning, we all succeeded in only half a day. Then we took three days learning the third rank of trident.
For a few more days the Giants had been pilling up even more fire wood. On the evening of the third day, a man in fancy armour came up the hill carrying a shark’s head. The titan shook his head. Evidently it was the wrong shark. He said his name was Callow, and he came from Tycho.
Needless to say, he knew of Mebh. He had fought the octopus, and described it as showing intelligence, wielding multiple tridents, using Water Magic, and turning the water black. We helped him get his friend’s body up the top of the hill. Apparently, there was a witchdoctor over the next hill, who should be able to help.
He told us a bit about the trial against the salamanders. He warned us to stand on the dark red ground, not the bright red. We should stay away from the wall because that would be where the salamanders come from. A fire counterspell would help keep the elementals at bay. He offered us to share some tea he had brought from Tycho.
Max asked to see Christopher’s healing belt, thanked him for the ghoul heads, and made it work again. We all showed him our variously magical belts, and he duly admired them. Mebh, Christopher and Toledo showed him their depleted sashes and he brought us a fresh set of six for all of us. These provided superior strength, and protections against water magics, but made it hard to drink liquids.
About nine of the clock that evening, we had an unexpected visitor. Braegon came walking up the hill and joined us for supper. After which he generously resurrected the dead adventurer, who was a Namer called Cosra, and then cast some very useful spells on us, which would last until the morning.
Mebh: “Are you sure you’re a Fire Mage?” Flamis: “I’m a Fire Mage with a brain” Braegon: “We’re going to have to report you to the Fire College.”
Wherein we Visit the Plane of Fire
We are instructed that we would have to bring back six stony hearts. When the salamanders die only some of them will release these. We would therefore need to kill at least six salamanders in order to bring back the six stone hearts.
The giants made a portal to the plane of Elemental Fire. I cast counterspells on everyone, and we stepped through one by one, Toledo first, and were immediately beset by elemental creatures literally coming out of the walls, many of them actually salamanders in their natural form, and others wearing tiaras which were Greater Elementals, which we had been warned not to kill. I set about casting fire counterspells, while the others fought off and killed the creatures, collecting the crystalline hearts where they fell. It was most difficult for the water mage and the ice mage, both of whom were more vulnerable to the effects of the place. We had also to avoid glowing red pits in the surface of the rocky ground. I’d say the air was unhealthy too, but we had prepared for this expedition with vapour-breathing, fireproofing and fire armour spells, without which we would not have survived long. The creatures seemed much weaker when in the area of a counterspell, and were then easier to kill.
It was going remarkably well until I slipped and stood on one of the glowing red pits and found myself fully fifty feet away from the party…. And promptly was whacked on the head by one of these creatures. I think it must have been trying to squish me like a bug. I considered casting fire arc, but it was quicker to simply run for it, taking another concussive blow as I ran past another one. At this point we had seven of the gems, and so we ran for the gate, me first.
My poor head ached… and could somebody please fix my armour…? Apparently, none of the party were armourers. Amelia, at the titan’s suggestion, went up the hill, to get some useful herbs. She reported a strange glow over the Lunar Empire, which the titan said was the doing of the Moon Goddess. The titan told Pierre the location of the Temple of War. If War should be defeated, then the titan would divulge the location of other temples. For the Trial of the Twin Orbs, I was told, one must go to the Temple of the South Winds, to the south of the Lunar Empire. From the herbs she found, Amelia made a salve that helped cure my sore head and Pierre’s sore shoulder remarkably quickly.
28 Fruit – 1 Harvest
The titan trained us in the fourth rank of trident.
One evening Max offered to take us to see the Temple of the Twin Orbs. From a distance, since that place was inhabited by a Dark Titan. It was a mostly ruinous temple in a desolate valley. I memorised the place so I would know it again.
When we got back we noticed that the giants seemed to be watching us speculatively. Mebh thought they were probably betting on our progress. Max told us that the next trial would be the giant octopus. We had two choices. One was found in the deepest part of the Inland Sea…. The other lived in a lagoon in the Isles of Adventure. The giant octopus was described a savage, savage beast. The titan suggested that we cover ourselves in fat, because that would make its blows less severe.
And so we go Back to Adjepbar
Early in the morning the giants made another cloud and took us back to the ship. One of the adventurers from Tycho told us that we should talk to Captain Eylea of the Value II about the location of a Giant Octopus for us to kill. We travelled back down the river Esel to Cognitum.
We reached Tycho and docked there. Then we (with the exception of Mebh) went ashore and got some seal fat impregnated with rosemary. The armourer on the ship offered to fix my armour, but said we would need some cockatrice blood. Mebh offered some paste that would fix my armour, and Amelia made this paste work better. And with more of the paste, we were all given better protection.
Wherein we Encounter Eylea and the Value II
When we arrived at Adjepbar, Amelia spotted the Value II. It was flying the flag of the Ffenargh. Apparently Amelia had met Captain Eylea previously. One of the giants suggested that Pierre should investigate making a cave bat stew to help people see through the ink cloud. We went ashore to learn where to get cave bats. Pierre found out that the cave bats were in the caves to the north, in bandit country. We were told that we could hunt them, and it would only take half a day. Then we realised that Amelia had gone off. She had found Captain Eylea, and we were going to meet her at lunchtime.
We then went to see Dallow. First we showed him the last of the salamander crystals, and he offered to find out what it would be useful for. He confirmed that we would need the big hairy bats from the caves north of town. These would be hard to kill, because they make dreadful sounds.
We arrived at the pub in time for lunch. Mebh put 120sp on the bar, and we had a very nice lunch. They asked if we wanted cold rocks for our table. I checked the aura and they appeared to be a temperature alteration focus. So I suggested that Christopher cast a cooling spell while touching the rocks, and it worked very well.
Captain Eylea turned up around noon, highly agitated and complaining about the docking fees here. Even she had heard stories of Mebh. Apparently after the Lunar Games, the Drow ships came here, and sunk all the pirate ships, which explains why all the pirates are in this town making a nuisance of themselves. She wanted us at the ship by three, so we sent a runner off to buy some of the cave bats. Over lunch we learned that she was a Water Mage, and wore the symbol of St. Theodoric, a church of the Powers of Light. The runners came back with six cave bats at 115sp each. Dallow has been offered 17000sp and the deed to a sunken ship in exchange for the salamander heart crystal, apparently by a wizard who has been crafting some kind of Staff of Fires for the last four years, and needs this as the final component. He lives in the Gatar Depression. We asked Cosra to kindly divinate the blue sand, the salamander heart, the cave bat stew, and the items we got from the ghouls. He advised us to try to stab the octopus in the eyes, so it would not be able to cast.
We boarded the Value II and sailed south and west for the rest of that day and the following night, through a giant arch.
They Called THAT an Octopus?
Shortly after dawn we arrived at an island that looked like a doughnut with a slice taken out of it, and had a steep and jagged island in the centre. The Captain cast buoyancy spells on us, and we were wearing our sashes. We used a dinghy to get ashore, and triggered an assortment of scrolls and invested items. Some of us also ate the cave bat stew, which was very tasty, though I think that I should have given it a miss.
We wandered the sandy shore of the atoll, until we came to a deep dark cave entrance. Dallow and Cosra offered to go in and pull out our remains if we didn’t come out in an hour. They also drew us a map indicating where the giant octopus most often lurked, in the maze of water-filled caves below the island. They told us there were also a pair of big nasty sharks down there, one of them a hammerhead, and a colony of frogmen.
As we looked into the pool, Mebh said there was something moving in the water. Mebh and Toledo jumped in, and reported that it was an enormous sea anemone, easily avoided. Amelia noticed that there were some phosphorescent water plants floating in the water, providing us with a light source, and assured us that these were harmless. As we all entered the water, Amelia spotted things coming out of the kelp, large crustaceans of some kind… giant spider crabs. They attacked us and we fought back with our tridents. We swiftly killed the bigger ones and the little ones ate them. There was a lot of goop in the water, but Amelia said it wouldn’t hurt us.
We carried on, and then we met the really big crabs. They were huge, and had some sort of barbed mandibles that stabbed people. Then Amelia spotted a denizen… a crab with a rider. One of them grabbed Christopher, but he was tough and fought back. I charged a large, as opposed to huge, crab near the denizen and killed it with one blow much to my astonishment. Then the denizen started harvesting its body. The water began to fill with black icky stuff, as Toledo hit one of the huge ones hard enough to make it back off, and Christopher and Pierre severely wounded another. Then Amelia reported something enormous coming through the kelp, sniffing at the ichor. Mebh stabbed the one that was fleeing and it stabbed her back. Then Toledo killed it. Several eels came out of its mouth as it died and the water turned black. It went quiet. The denizen left us alone, and we headed down the corridor, avoiding a number of sea anemone traps.
After about fifteen minutes we reached an enormous water-filled chamber. There was a good deal of kelp in this room, and a whole lot of huge sparkly jellyfish up near the ceiling, thirty feet up periodically sinking and rising, trailing fifteen feet. Further above them, Amelia spotted a gigantic twelve-armed cephalopod, which had to be the giant octopus. The philosophers would probably have wanted to call it a dodecapod, I suppose.
Suddenly, as Mebh stepped forward to observe the currents, the octopus jumped down at us, showing an unexpected alacrity. It fired enormous barbs at us from one of its tentacles, striking me, and taking down Pierre. Each of its twelve tentacles had an eye on it. Mebh swam up and attempted to hit one of the eyes. It responded by flinging darts back at her, and temporarily paralysed her. It tossed more darts at Toledo, and stunned him. Amelia swam up into the inky cloud, and hit it, wounding and disabling one of its tentacles. Toledo, Amelia, and Mebh struck it again, and then it fired at Toledo, and at the rest of us down the back. Then, having run out of darts, it lashed at Mebh, knocking her unconscious, and at then Toledo. Next it lashed at Amelia, striking her too. This was not going well.
Amelia whacked another arm almost asunder. So it concentrated on her, but fortunately missed most of its attacks. It went very black. Mebh chopped off another arm, which wasn’t just an arm, being the third arm on the right, the hectocotylus, and it literally exploded all over her. So it concentrated its attacks on Mebh, even though Toledo removed another arm, and came down to bite her, and tried to eat her. So Pierre swapped places with Mebh, while Christopher healed her. I charged in and struck it from below, luckily severing another tentacle. Then Pierre stuck and disabled the eighth arm, drawing its remaining attacks to him, and then it was our turn. We all struck, and Amelia took off another arm.
Then the bubbling bits from where those darts had struck my armour earlier exploded, which was intensely painful, and I was so glad I had got Basalic to make me those Strength of Stone scrolls. And then the giant shark turned up, behind us. The octopus took down Pierre as he drew its attacks again, and then we destroyed all but one of its remaining arms. And next, according to Pierre, the shark addressed him in Lunar, saying he was too pretty to eat. Mebh struck the final blow, the last arm was pierced, then still more black goo spread throughout the area, and a bunch of little octopi swarmed over Mebh. We each took one with us. I spotted a sparkly butterfly-like thing and claimed it as my own. Finally we made our way made to the surface, fortunately without further event.
Darrow and Cosra greeted us with club sandwiches, and Pierre made tea. The Captain wanted to get away under cover of darkness, because she had seen sea griffins landing on the central island. Amelia checked over Mebh and discovered that she was infected with a bunch of parasites. Apparently we all have this. It was some kind of mark of success. We dried out the octopi on the beach, but the sparkly thing turned out to be no more than a shiny scale.
A Magnificent Celebration in Lunar City
At evening we returned on the dinghy to the ship to hear that the Captain had been fighting griffins. Then we sailed back to Adjebar in just two hours. There must be weird currents around here. We got back on board the junk, thanking Captain Eylea, and decided to celebrate on board. Matt Tumbledown was there, and he suggested we go ashore, and party there. What we didn’t realise at first was that he meant Lunar City. He told us to dress up for going out on the town. One of the giants warned us to take nothing to Lunar City that was attached to any of the Powers.
The giants all dressed up in a sort of uniform, in a blue tabard over blue leather armour, which rather clashed with the ruddy complexions of the fire giants. Amelia and I wore the robes we purchased in Adjebar, Toledo and Christopher wore ship leathers, and Mebh got changed into her fancy Lunar armour. Matt did something, a heat haze rose up around us, and we found ourselves on the mountain plateau at the Temple of the East Winds. Max greeted us and asked if we would be back for more training in the morning. Mebh, at Matt’s prompting, said we’d be there in the afternoon. “They have spoken,” said Matt.
He raised the heat haze again, and we found ourselves in a beautifully well-manicured copse of trees. This was apparently the palace grounds. We followed after Matt, and went through some enormous gates into the Lunar City proper. The buildings in the city were also big, commonly three to four stories high.
We were led into one of these buildings that had a large central atrium. There was one table with giants we didn’t know, and another table with giants we knew from the ship, and Matt led us there. There were maybe fifty giants, a few elves and halflings, and a couple of hundred humans in the courtyard. The seating was cleverly designed to allow conversation between persons of differing stature. We were first served a small bowl of a golden liquid that we forced ourselves to imbibe, fighting the after effects of the sash. It made me feel relaxed all over. I noticed these little signs on posts saying in Dwarvish, “No shouting at the staff”. Next they brought us fine beer in tankards, all adorned with a pattern of a thousand little squares. They fetched menus for Amelia, Mebh and I, which had a long list of wines.
One of the humans came over and said that the headwaiter wanted to speak to our party leader, so Mebh went off to talk to him. People were staring and pointing at Mebh. When she returned she explained that we were guests of the house and did not need to worry about payment. He also had a gift for us from the giants, a chest with odd-shaped bottles of what we initially assumed was very fine liquor.
Meanwhile, bowls with nibbles appeared. Mebh came back and explained that she had bought some of Matt’s favourite wine back in Seagate to present to Matt and the giants in return for their gifts. So we gave it to them, starting with the tallest people, which meant Matt was first. He told us to enjoy ourselves, and not drink too much, especially of the dwarvish wine. Personally, I didn’t think that drinking too much was going to be much of a problem.
When Amelia and I looked at the strange-looking bottles in the chest, we saw that they were covered with dwarvish runes that described the makers, their lineage, and the ingredients. This seemed to indicate that these are not random alcoholic drinks, however superior, but magical potions. The dwarvish wine was very nice, tasting of fine wine, yet with the warmth of dwarven spirits. One of the giants chatted to Amelia, and suggests that she visits the Northern Temple at some stage, given her skills in not getting lost and her interest in plants. Some human guards in uniforms came and went. By midnight, when they brought out some more substantial foods; platters of roasted pork and poultry, the place was extremely crowded.
At half past midnight some other important people arrived. Toledo thought they were from the Palace. Around one in the morning, the desserts came out, and the music slowed and dropped in volume. The drinking carried on until about three in the morning, when we were told that rooms on the top floor were laid out for us. Breakfast would be served between five and six in the morning. So we had a final round, toasted Matt’s hospitality, and headed up to bed. We were then shown to a well-appointed suite of rooms, with many curious plants
More Training and Preparing
We were woken two hours later by the odours of breakfast cooking. The décor in the courtyard had been completely changed. New statues, new tabletops… These were laden with heated bread, eggs, bacon, and sausages and heated dried fruit. Matt arrived, wished us all a good morning, asked us if we’d enjoyed ourselves, and thanked us for not fighting the night before. We spent an hour over breakfast. I have to say that the fruit mixture was strange, but it made me feel much better.
When we were finished, the giants led us for a brisk five-mile walk through the city to an armoury. Matt exchanged bags with a dwarf, and led us back to the Inn. Matt settled up with the Innkeeper, giving him five ingots of some sort of metal. One odd thing - everyone we saw in the city wore clean and tidy, well-tailored clothing. You had to wonder where the beggars were. Mebh explained that everything was extraordinarily expensive in this part of the City.
Matt led us to a wrestling match, which was very interesting. It was a sport, not real combat, and a demonstration of skill. There were people betting on it and so on. Toledo noted that there were a couple of important-looking guardsmen watching us.
Matt thanked us for our company, complimented us, raised the heat-haze again, and we found ourselves back at the Temple of the East Winds. Max handed us each a trident with three different coloured prongs, and the training began again. I could see that these were very well made, even better than I could make. Analysing the aura, I could see that these tridents were magical, the purple prong with enchantment, the red with fire, and the white with ice. Amelia and I spent the evenings trying to identify the potions (without removing the seals), but all we could figure out was that they were designed to enhance weapons in some way.
On the evening of the fifth day Matt returned to collect us. He chatted to Max for a while, then came back and said he was ready to take us back to Adjebar. A heat haze arose and we were back on the junk. We went to talk to the friendly giant, who told us the potions were dwarven weapon-spirits. The ones with multiple heads were permanent, and needed to be opened in order from the highest to the lowest.
We asked for our horses to be put ashore so we could ride them for their exercise. They are brought across on slings, onto a barge, and onto the land. We went armed in case of bandits, and rode out along the coast road, past some mansions and into the desert. We encountered a patrol of guards who stopped when we greeted them. They confirmed that the road ahead was clear, and so we rode on. After an hour or so we rode back to the city. The horses, under the direction of Mebh’s stallion, headed for an Inn having stables, where they could stay. At a cost – we were quoted 250sp a week for the warhorses, and 120sp a week for the palfreys.
Pierre eyed up some of the reptilian riding beasts stabled there with a view to soup, and was noticed, which led to dinner for six at the Inn, notably without lizard on the menu. Rather there was spit-roasted pork, slashed and stuffed with seasoned polenta instead. After we were served a big bunch of merchants and sailors arrived and it became apparent that the meat had been prepared for their party. But there was plenty for us too. At 35sp together it was good value.
Flamis: “You can do the lacerations, I’ll do the roasting!” Pierre: “Ah yes, the fruit from Seagate is well known.” Christopher: “And so are the nuts”
Having eaten our fill, we headed back to the ship. There was a circus in the centre of town. We avoided this, in case there were mimes. We hired a ferry, and returned safely to the junk.
When we got on board we saw that there was a raised sand pit, seven or eight feet on a side, and a few inches deep. Within we could see a model, an array of buildings – a sort of military scientist’s sand castle. Clearly they were planning an assault. Their plans were good, but a little inflexible. Mebh gave us some hints. When we asked where it was, they told us that it was on a cloud. And we could not help them, because we would be storming the main island… on the ninth trial. Then we learned that we were doing the sixth, seventh, and eight trials on the next successive three days. One can only hope that none of us gets badly hurt.
We learned that there would be a shark in the island with the coral. We should kill the small sharks first.
The seventh trial would be against some mermen in a flooded castle, who are casters. We would need to gain a piece of knowledge from them regarding some kind of sea monster. On the clouds we would be fighting a cursed Cloud Giant, who hits extremely hard. They wanted to know if we had teleportation magic, and because of the wards Fire Arc would not qualify. The tenth trial would be fought halfway up the Block, and the very thought of that made Mebh quail. Somehow I did not think that we would be going that far.
After that I went to the stern castle where there was a fire. I sat and stared into the flames… and my other selves sent visions of what might come to pass.
Visions of Pain to Come
First I saw us fighting lots of little sharks, and then a giant shark came from above and attacked Mebh. This was plainly our quarry, and I will recognise it again. Then I saw the party in the desert, fighting these giant scorpions, deliberately getting stung, and then running away… It looked like the badlands north of Sanctuary.
Then I saw us fighting the sharks again. I could see that we had to kill all the little sharks before we could kill the big one… I’d seen this trick before. It could transfer its damage to its minions.
Finally, I saw us fighting what looked like pirates – one ugly brigand in particular who snuck up behind Mebh and attempted to knife her in the back. Him, I would remember. This must be the other hazard we would encounter on our way to the sharks.
At Mebh’s insistence, I did the ritual twice more, first for the merfolk, and then for the minotaur.
I could not see where the flooded castle was, only getting the confused headache that I knew meant somewhere in the Isles of Adventure. Then I saw the merfolk with their magics and tridents… When I asked if we might negotiate with them, I saw myself in the flames, perhaps performing another ritual. When I asked what we might exchange for the information we need I saw bits of bodies, of Toledo and Christopher floating in rough water – so I guessed that would not be a useful approach. When I asked about precautions we should take I saw us in a dark chamber made of ruined ships, climbing across the top, each carrying some kind of kelp. When I asked where we would find the kelp, I saw us in the desert again, looking rather dehydrated, and I saw Mebh falling into a hole, and hordes of scorpions coming after us. And then Mebh found treasure in the hole, though she was skewered through the shoulder by a massive shard of stone.
As for the minotaur, rather risking another headache by asking where the island was, I asked how I would remember it, and then saw myself on a rocky island with my hands cut off. Not a promising start. When I asked what other hazards exist on the minotaur’s island I saw us clambering over razor-sharp rocks and coral as we were being battered by strong and buffeting winds. So I asked what magic the Minotaur would use against us, I saw darkness and storm, and a torrent of seashells and broken coral rushing at us, evidently a form of the necromantic stream of corruption. It was when I asked what other special abilities the minotaur had that I got the biggest shock of the night, seeing something scything through my hands as I went to help an injured Mebh. Then, recovering from that, I asked what magics would be nullified by the minotaur’s island, and then saw flashes of flower petals falling to the ground, only to wither and decay. I concluded that the place nullified life. As for what special precautions we should take facing the minotaur, I saw Toledo fishing for coral weapons.
After all that it wasn’t after 3am I was finished and it took me and I got to sleep.
Of Sand, Spiders, Scorpions and a Very Odd Hermit
And then the giants came to wake us up at 5am. I tried to go back to sleep, but then Toledo came and yelled at me so I had to get up. By 6:30 we went ashore, to be greeted by a bunch of people who wanted to carry our luggage. I didn’t have any. We went to the Inn where our horses were stabled, and got rooms so I could sleep through the heat of the day. It cost 24sp for the day. First they served fruits and breads, and then I went to bed, hoping to get some sleep.
Meanwhile the party went to find the person who had succeeded in the trials. First they looked for the guide, and found him looking over some bad maps. He led them to the other fellow’s house, and they had a third breakfast at a good Inn. They learned we needed to get the poison sacs and that the best way to get them was to get stung. These scorpions were huge, the size of wagons. There was a crazy old hermit who knows about them. As for the kelp, there is a famous pirate lair in a dead kraken where there is a market where we might be able to trade.
They woke me up around 3pm, and I explained about the wildfires. We decided to wildfires the horses, except Mebh’s – because it could fly. After that and fireproofing horses and people, I was ready for a restorative and a Waters of Healing. Speaking of which, Pierre had made five Waters of Healing at Rank nine for each of us at cost during the journey here. I protested that I had plenty, but as it turned out, more didn’t hurt.
After about half an hour, we came to a canyon. Our Guide told us we would need to stop going so fast and sneak past to avoid the hazards in the ravine. There were webs across the track, and I set fire to these. Ahead there was a black pool of liquid. We crossed through this without harm, and a mile or so later we came to a nest, canopied by spider-webs stretching for hundreds of feet. I set light to the web, and then all Hades broke loose… if Hades is full of spiders… and other things. Something stung me with some sort of necromantic acid… Mebh went and attacked an ogre-like creature and trampled it. I dragon-flamed and killed the thing that stung me, and Toledo killed another. Then one felled my horse under me, and Pierre’s horse too. Mebh’s warhorse finished off the ogre, and she came over to my side of the fight and clobbered a giant spider. Then the buzzing sound resolved itself into some flying creatures coming our way. One of them swooped down from behind me and picked me up. Desperately I realised I could not cast, and was about to trigger my cloak, when I felt Pierre swapping places with me, and began to prepare instead… and then the creature, burdened with Pierre’s not inconsiderable weight, crashed into the ravine wall and expired. Mebh trampled the spider next to where I was now standing, as I prepared to cast again. One of the spiders spat something horrible at Christopher’s warhorse, nearly taking him down. Toledo hit another of the winged things on the way through. I cast my Dragonsmite spell on the last giant spider, the one attacking Christopher, and it blew apart. We sorted ourselves out, and I cast cleansing flames, first on Christopher’s warhorse, Storm, and then on the other horses. This burned off the nasty acidic necromantic stuff, preventing it doing further damage.
Half a mile later we came to a cave surrounded by patterns of coloured sand… we yelled and a shortish person in a dark robe came out. He lets us in, telling us to avoid the white sands. The guide offered to look after the horses while Mebh ferried us in. The hermit knew Mebh of course, and offered to tell her great things. He seemed to know all about why we were here, and about the scorpions. He told us to each fill a bowl with a little white sand, travel down the tunnel, avoiding the blue pond, and tip the white sand into the black pond. This we did without event.
He told us that we would be ambushed by scorpions at midnight, and we would have to run away on the horses because I wouldn’t be able to cast. Mebh would be badly injured in the ruins and fall down a hole and find great treasure. The hermit really enjoyed the wine that Pierre brought. He offered us skin-changes for the horses. Apparently the hermit turns into a ravening monster every night. Pierre made a stew to make us more dexterous.
In the evening we headed out into the desert. It got quite chill, cold enough that Pierre put fire-armour on us. It was nearly midnight when we feel a chill in the air… I cast weapons of radiance, and felt the mana level drop to low…. Then at midnight the ground went dark, and a swarm of little scorpions came our way…. Followed by a bunch of big ones. One threw a sting from its tail at Pierre that sticks in him, and another killed his horse outright. A third got Christopher. We now had all the poison sacs we needed stuck in us, so we decided to run for it. The horses stomped on the little ones as they tried to climb up their legs. I had no choice but to quickcast fireball on the area using my staff, and Mebh rode through the big ones, trampling and fighting, thus creating an opening. Pierre clambered up behind Christopher and hung on for dear life as we ran through the gap to the east. A cloud of burnt stuff followed us as we galloped away, caused by some sort of magic generated by the giant scorpions. Mebh took to the air, and soon they gave up.
She then led us south and back towards the cave. After a while we came upon some ruins. We stopped, and Christopher started removing the barbs. Then suddenly the building beside Mebh exploded, and a shard took my left hand clean off at the wrist. There was a gigantic scorpion… and I had no fatigue to cast… (and again I would have been dead if it hadn’t been for Basalic’s scrolls) so we all hit it and it ran away back down its hole… Toledo went down the hole and found twelve gold coins and a scroll-case. Mebh had a chunk of stone sticking out of her shoulder… But I was bleeding and Christopher had to heal me first. And then we ran again… eventually the cloud stopped following us, and we got another brief respite.
Spike (Mebh’s horse): He can feed me oats for a month… Toledo: That’s what stableboys are for. Spike: Yeah, I know.
Then the spectral warriors came after us, and we ran again. There was lightning in the sky, and I began to think that something here didn’t like flying things. And balls of lightning kept bouncing around. I guessed it didn’t like running things either. Finally we got to rest. In the morning we went back to see the hermit, as we had promised. We learned that we were being chased by spectral scorpions and would die unless we got rid of them.
So, we ran the horses on wildfires all day to Shoraphur, where we knew there was consecrated ground, and made our way to a fortified Gabrielite chapter house with a church attached. This was once the city keep by the looks of it. There were a group of well-armed female guards who challenged us… Mebh explained that we were in need of consecrated ground, being pursued by foul magic, and they led us inside. The church was still being renovated. Inside, a brother of the order was waiting, and addressed us by name. Apparently Matt and the ship were in the harbour. The brother wanted to fix Pierre’s face before my hand, saying it brought fear, and that I had insufficient leaning towards the church. I protested that I was brought up a Gabrielite. One of the nuns came to heal Mebh and the others, but they had no quick way to heal me. They made a fine portrait of Pierre, I am not sure why. By evening we were informed that the scorpion ghosts had arrived at the gates and been destroyed. Apparently they were after Toledo and Pierre for taking stuff from the ruins. Matt arrived with dinner, and we had trouble staying awake. We went back to the junk afterwards. Matt summoned Braegon to heal me. Braegon informed the group it would take around seven days to fix the hand. The party decided not to involve Braegon at this time. Braegon and Matt leave.
More Preparations and Amelia goes Shopping
We slept and were awoken at 5am. At breakfast we spent a long time talking, mainly about how to get to the place where the shark would be found. Pierre asked one of the giants if we might borrow one of the ship’s longboats, and this was arranged for later today. It would be fully provisioned for the eight of us. In discussing tactics I proposed using nets in order to hamper and contain the smaller sharks, and this suggestion was well received, and nets duly obtained. Within the confines of the sunken ship this should be quite effective. Mebh had skill in using nets, but ideally, we would prepare the netted area in advance and attract the sharks to it, trapping them in ground of our choosing.
Mebh learned that some dwarves were working on the scorpion venom in the ship’s alchemy lab, and would be finished in four hours. Amelia discovered that there was a shop in the halfling quarter of Adjepbar that sold some form of magical potions, but only halflings could safely go there. Toledo took the chest with bottles to the dwarves to have them identified. I got to look at the coins Toledo found and, while they were not magical, they were exceedingly valuable, being worth perhaps ten thousand silver each, because of their size and rarity and the purity of the gold. Amelia learned that Callow has defence magics, which is one less thing we will need. We also learned from Callow that we could draw on ship’s stores for restorative potions – only they are for giants and would do decidedly excessive amounts of endurance damage – the highest numbered ones enough to kill me outright.
Cosra came back with the tridents, explaining that they store one weapon spell on each of the prongs that don’t run out until they are used. At the moment they were loaded with fairly low ranked weapon of flame, weapon of ice, and enchant weapon. Any combination of weapon spells could be used. They could also do earthquake damage when the butt end was thrust against a wall.
We felt the boat moving, and we were on our way back to Adjebar. Then a giant came offering to take Amelia to the hobbit quarter of Adjebar before lunch. Callow suggested selling the coins to a gold merchant in the dwarven tavern under Adjebar. Toledo helps Amelia hide the coin on her person, and off she goes. On the deck are a bunch of titans and storm giants, dressed up and ready to go…. Amelia ran back down and got properly dressed. Amelia was asked to hold one female giant’s hand and the heat haze came up and took them away.
Toledo went back to the dwarves, and came back with the bottles labelled in common. For example: “A simple four-part weapon spirit.” On each bottle there were similar instructions and expectations…. Potions that were to be consumed and would have unusual consequences… There were flavours written on the bottles too. Three of them were designed to summon a spirit hero (if drunken in the correct order) and the hero would aid the imbiber and then, in some way, enchant their weapons. There were also six two-part weapon spirits that have temporary effects allowing the weapons to affect specific things such as the unholy. Finally, there were three one and two-part weapon spirit to apply to blades that replicate weapon spell. I was rather annoyed because I’d seen what was on those bottles, and I must have been drunker than I thought, because the dwarvish was now perfectly clear.
So now we turned our attention to the scrollcase that had been brought out of the ruins. The exterior case was finely crafted, and worth over a thousand silver, but not magical and not trapped. There was a fine bone or ivory case inside the exterior wooden case. This did have an aura - of enchanting, of diminishment…. We gave it to Cosra to divinate – and learned that it had a case inside which if we put a valuable parchment inside will make a scroll of the last spell to benefit the user.
Amelia came back just before midday. She had some fifty doses of silversands for quickness, which would be put on the teeth (lasting a couple of weeks) and then licked off when it was needed, and would cost around 500sp per dose. She had some strength of stone investeds (4 scrolls x 3 charges), some six potions of same, and six basilisk eggs, which could be grated and added to a meal, which were a gift from the leaders of the halflings. She also had some unusual foodstuffs for Pierre to play with – olives inside snakeskins.
The scary thing was that the giants had captured a pair of human assassins who were after Amelia. Matt explained that there would soon be an opportunity to open certain Golden Gates, beyond which was found a demonic wasteland, where lay a corpse which needed to be recovered. He wanted some heroes who have completed the Trials to attempt this. So the assassins must have been sent by Matt’s enemies. And probably those pirates I was anticipating running into as well.
After lunch we lowered the longboat off the boat, and with the services of a navigator from the junk (and Pierre, our party navigator) we managed to sail the little ship.
After a day of sailing south, we passed three low desert islands with birds, and some air elementals of some sort stirring up the sand. We caught up with some dolphins, Pierre and I talked to them, and they agreed to lead us to the sharks, after we convinced they that we were capable of winning. We sailed past islands with giant rock archways large enougth for a ship to travers. Other islands with thick green forests with camp fire smoke and the sound of drums coming from the island hills and forests. For about twelve hours they led us, until 4am the next morning, when they stopped and told us to rest.
Around dawn we saw pirate sails in the east… and they would take maybe two hours to get here. We were in a lagoon with sandy shores, we saw some four masts sticking out of the water at odd angles. To the southeast we saw a mana storm gathering… curved lightning and all. This was going to be very tricky, and we wouldn’t have a whole lot of time.
We went for the sharks first…. I noticed that Amelia had grown taller over the last few days, and had grown a metal arm. We prepared ourselves, waded into the water, and swam to the ship. The sunken ship was eighty feet long, and we could see there was a big hole in the side, under the water. There looked to be three decks, the uppermost deck being hampered with skeletons, nets and other debris. Getting in from the top looked impractical. The whole vessel was covered in barnacles and looked dark and ominous.
Mebh went first, and started to kick the wall to make the hole larger, then we moved in. The smaller sharks ignored us to begin with because there was no blood, and we concentrated on putting up nets without initiating attacks. The giant shark, our quarry, was lurking near the bow. Pierre went up through a hole to the upper deck and encountered a giant squid and more sharks. We continued netting off the various areas.
After we were satisfied with the nets on the lowest deck, Mebh, Christopher, and Pierre went through the hole to the upper deck. What we hadn’t realised at this point was that there was another hole between the decks towards the bow where the big shark was. The squid let out an enormous screech, and all the sharks went nuts, moving rapidly and running away from it. The big shark went into a frenzy, getting sand everywhere and started heading for the forward hole to get to the upper deck. It poked around and came back down again. Meanwhile as they began laying nets on the upper deck, a swarm of smaller sharks went for Pierre, who came tumbling back down through the hole to where Toledo and I waited. The rest attacked Christopher, biting his back, then Amelia, and Mebh. The giant shark came back down and around, and started biting its way through one of the nets, and then took a hunk out of Toledo.
On the upper deck, Pierre killed one of the smaller sharks. Below, another came up behind me and I whacked it on the nose, as Christopher blocked off the big one with a wall of ice. The shark I had hit suddenly healed itself. That was going to be a nuisance. But not for long because Toledo and I killed it seconds later. The giant shark vanished and went upstairs, and bit Mebh. She evaded and it scraped over her, forcing her down onto the deck, smashed Pierre with its tail, and bit down on Callow, taking off his leg. Amelia healed him, as we started dropping nets and killing the smaller sharks. The big shark carried on squishing Mebh into the deck and slammed Pierre into the wall, creating a Pierre-shaped bruise on its flank.
Meanwhile Christopher killed a smaller shark, and then got tangled in a net, so the shark bit off his hand. Toledo went to rescue him, killing that shark and I killed the other one. Pierre swam down the hole nearby to lead the big shark away from the others and give them time to heal. He only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough time for the others upstairs to regroup. The big shark squished one of the little ones in order to get at Pierre, and practically broke his neck. Then it went back up to have a go at Amelia. Reasoning that the fastest way to get at the remaining small sharks would be to remove the wall of ice by attacking it with the butt of my trident, I did this, and the resulting concussion was most impressive (and rather painful). Then Toledo and I got to kill the smaller sharks that were nibbling on Pierre, but not before it bit off his hand. Meanwhile upstairs the big shark killed the brave Mebh. Then the last small shark came sniffing after Christopher, and Toledo killed it.
Then the big shark, having killed Cosra, came down the hole and went for Toledo. It dragged him sternwards, and suddenly there was a huge shark in front of me. Toledo hit it and then it bit me. That hurt! It tried to drag me across the deck, but the floor here had been cleared by the earlier detonation, and I was unharmed. So, in desperation, I turned the butt of my trident into the wall of shark and it disintegrated in an immense explosion of shark meat and more pain. I had not only killed the giant shark, but I had survived the experience, to my great surprise. Later I learned that Pierre had also been killed by the blast, but this had not been apparent because he immediately resurrected.
Amelia: “Enough to put you off shark fin soup for life.” Pierre: “I’m going to enjoy THIS shark fin soup”
Flamis: “There’s enough shark in that thing to make a year’s worth of bouillabaisse.”
Then we healed those who were still alive and then we looted. Toledo found a number of corpses of other adventurers the sharks had killed, over the centuries. There were twenty-three additional tridents from earlier eras, seven bottles, three scrolls in cases, and around six thousand silver in coin of various denominations. By the time the looting was done, two hours later, the pirate ship had gone, though the mana storm was still sitting there. Perhaps they had run from the mana storm.
I studied the auras on the scrolls, (and later Cosra divinated everything). There was:
- “Brunhilda the Unforgiving’s restoration.” – restore life, fix all ailments.
- “Avoid Unpleasant Fate.” – take away one bad thing, including death.
- “Restore Youth.” – as it says.
Two of the bottles were labelled: One read “Gutrog’s Grog” in Dwarvish, and the other “XXX” and these predictably proved to contain alcohol. For two more of them, I could make out the auras through the glass. One had restoration re-enchantment reinvigoration – this would restore life etc, including greater enchantments and curses. The other read infertility, and had been made 422 years ago. It too would restore life, but also confer permanent infertility until death.
A day later we got back to the junk. All three of the deceased were promptly resurrected, and Mebh was able to get her Greater Enchantment replaced. Pierre made a magnificent shark soup. Cosra was given the job of divinating the loot. The biggest problem was the unlabelled opaque bottles. We opened one of them, and a djinni in it. We had to remind him that we expected the traditional three wishes. After some discussion we decided to simply ask for improved healing for the remainder of the season. He assented, we thanked him, and then he picked up his bottle, wished us well, and left.
Fortunately, Amelia had collected an unusual type of seaweed that looked very much like the one I saw us carrying on the trial against the merfolk. Its aura signified that it had a restorative effect. Amelia sat down with me and was able to regrow my hand in just four hours. Curiously I felt a little lighter and tired afterwards. Then she did Pierre. That was even quicker. Toledo started playing with the pile of tridents. The first one he picked, the shiniest, would make its wielder respected, had some improvement to skill and damage, and would allow a person with superior skill to do multiple attacks. A couple more were worth looking at, and the others were mundane.
One of the giants told Amelia that the kelp, if kept moist, had some ability to absorb magic. For the first time, as we discussed this, the huge ship listed slightly. When we went to investigate we found lots of people running around. They said that a storm was coming, and it would be a bad one. We carefully battened down everything and stowed the bottles.
I began to perform another questioning ritual, and somehow managed to set off a bunch of wards. One of the giants wanted to know what I was doing, but when I tried to explain it all, he rapidly lost interest. After breakfast, Amelia started fixing Christopher. Mebh went to talk to Matt, who suggested she talk to the winds about the minotaur. I helped Pierre get the boat ready for another journey.
After breakfast, we had the giants lower our boat, and we sailed out towards the islands. The sunrise that morning was purple – apparently an omen that something fantastical would die today. Mebh called up the winds and they told her which way we need to go to find the minotaur. The dark titans put the minotaur back every year. The winds and the airs were very dark there and it smelt bad. The minotaur was bad, and it ate people. We would have to kill it and bring its head back. The wind started to cry, making it rain and Mebh reassured it that we’d be okay.
After a few hours, we came to an island… we could see a ruin, where there was a group of humanoid figures with misshapen heads. The wind told Mebh that there were at least a dozen lesser minotaurs. The island was very rough, covered with sharp rocks and broken terrain.
We prepared ourselves with fire armour, shadowform, featherfall, vapour breathing, water breathing - and after finding a nearby island that wasn’t the minotaur one, we triggered strength of stone. This went without incident until Pierre backfired and Christopher started to drown, until Mebh put a sash on him. The namer eventually removed the backfire, some hours later. Pierre decided to take the most powerful of the giant restorative potions, went grey and pale, bits of him splattered all over us, and then he resurrected again. I had to wonder if this was a deliberate attempt on the “Best Death” award.
Finally, we all stripped naked and oiled ourselves. Amelia and Mebh, as the best swimmers, flew to the western side of the island, and harvested a collection of branched coral “tridents” for us. They gathered a dozen or so over the next fifteen minutes, together with some lengths of kelp, some shells and some pearls. We could see that it would be not at all easy to climb those razor-blade rocks, but Amelia’s climbing skill was superlative, and she was soon at the top, and lowering a rope of kelp to Mebh, who followed her up. Seeing them out of the water, we started flying towards the island. Amelia made a mat of kelp as a landing platform. We landed one by one and discovered the land was not nice. It was hard to stand without putting one’s feet through the nasty sharp friable stuff. And it must have had cold iron in it, because if one got it stuck in one’s flesh, it stopped one drawing mana. Then Christopher landed, covered in ice armour. A dark fog started to come out of one of the buildings.
Realising that it was a really bad thing that Christopher wasn’t naked, and that the Dark Titans were probably going to come and kill us for his mistake, we flew for our lives. Then the Dark Titans appeared. The first one that went for Christopher, and thumped him most of the way to next week. Then a second one appeared, and swatted Toledo, so hard that he looked like a squished melon. The third appeared as a looming shadow, behind me where I had landed on the boat. And that was the last I knew of that. The titan had killed me… and I was in two pieces, half of me on the deck and half of me on the titan’s great club. Meanwhile Christopher was also killed, and then Pierre got out the potion of reversing fate, drank it, and everything changed.
We were all alive, on the island where we started, and Christopher landed, this time without the ice armour. We cobbled together shoes from the kelp and choose coral “tridents”. We cast weapon spells on them, and then we walked, rather gingerly, to the ruined building. We found an entrance, and within we could see there were a number of smaller minotaurs, and a whole lot of statues, evidently fellow adventurers from the tridents most carried, turned to stone. Mebh said she could smell the big Minotaur. Then the small minotaurs withdrew to the back, and the large Minotaur stepped up onto a broken plinth in the centre of the ruin.
Pierre initiated the combat by swapping places with the Minotaur, placing it right next to me. The namer placed an enchantment counterspell on the ground around us. I licked my teeth to quicken myself, and stepped back, preparing my spell. It kicked me, and then Mebh and Toledo and Christopher all hit it. It screamed back at them, responding with its petrification magic. Then I cast Dragonsmite on it, with rather more than the usual flash and bang, and the Minotaur fell down and died. That was quick, and much easier than we had expected.
Then we tried pulling the statues out of there. The first one we got out, the namer checked it, and it was going to come back to life in some weeks. Apparently these were this year’s failed candidates. The smaller minotaurs avoided us. We looted the body of the big Minotaur, taking a nice-looking trident, a weird shield and a cloak, and also his head. Then we went back to the boat, and headed back to Adjebar.
A couple of hours later a storm brewed up. Mebh created a calm around us, but we still exhausted ourselves bailing and keeping ourselves afloat.
At dawn we found ourselves becalmed in a sargasso of assorted shipwrecks. Now, thinking again about the visions I had earlier, I realised that all I had to do was perform a flamesight ritual in this place, and view the writing on the wall, which would contain the information we needed. I found myself looking out of a fire in a temple. There were merfolk there, lots of them, and murals, and writing on the wall in a strange script. Carefully I memorised it and wrote it down. The namer said our auras had changed, which meant that we had completed the eighth trial. That felt like cheating, but I was so very glad that we hadn’t had to kill any merfolk.
We started heading back, and realised we had real problems. It turned out that there was a hole in the boat’s hull, which I fixed with the aid of my gloves of shaping. Then I cobbled together some pumps and then everyone got to remove the excess water.
Mebh spoke with the wind, which said we needed sufficient salt to cover a person in order to return to Adjebar. We could buy this at Nagarel, a free port to the south.
In which we A-Salted our Halfling!
At around eleven in the morning we arrived at Nagarel, which was a smallish port that looked somewhat like a pirate haven. Some people came and welcomed Mebh, including a bunch of foppish Destinians – and Mebh asked them about the salt. Apparently there was an easier route, but that involved going around the islands, and would take weeks. The leader of the Destinians was quietly introduced as Captain Candarol. Then we were all introduced. They seemed to regard Seagate adventurers as magnificent. It was five in the evening before we could get away. But we did get an ample supply of “vanilla” salt, together with a letter to take to the Guild. Apparently they want some professional grave-robbers to loot some ruins up the rivers to the south of here.
We decided to spend the night there, moored safely beside the Destinian ship. We all slept, deeply.
We woke at 5am as usual, except Pierre and Toledo. So I purified and then I made a breakfast of date griddle scones and fresh fruit to show Pierre. Mebh had another chat with the wind and asked it about how the halfling covered with salt was to be used. It indicated that all we had to do would be to cover her up, and then the magic would work and we could travel on north. So we did this, and as far as we could tell, it worked.
We arrived at Adjebar by evening. The junk dominated the harbour, even though there were now two Destinian ships here. There were giants now actively guarding the ship, readying equipment and fully armed. They were plainly on edge about something. The first officer welcomed us back. Apparently they had fought an encounter the day we left.
In which we Ran the Gauntlet into the Temple
Matt came up on deck, and suggested that we went immediately to the Temple. He asked if any of us spoke Titan and then called a mage on deck to cast quickness on us. Then the heat haze came up and we found ourselves on top of a rock chimney (of a type technically called a tepui). Then the earth mage cast defence spells on us. When asked, Matt explained that he expected that we would be attacked at the temple – by seven Dark Titans – and there would be only three good titans. Then he handed us a potion bottle each and a gem. The gem would make us regenerate if dropped on the ground, and the potion could be used to cure the poison on the weapons. We told Matt about the using the Fate and he said that we were now immune to those three Dark Titans, and should therefore run past them.
Matt then said he would take us to a seer. The heat haze rose and we found ourselves up in the mountains on a tower where there was a huge bell. A woman came up and led us down the stairs and into a large throne room. Matt was announced in Giantish as a leader of the First Ones. There was a human woman on a huge ornate throne who bowed to Matt, and he asked her to find out what fate we avoided. She took us to a huge font and showed us a vision in the surface. There were seven Dark figures staring at us. They all looked back at us. Then the heat haze rose and we found ourselves back on the mountaintop.
We then worked on some serious planning – first we got Matt to teleport us in closer, so we could use my crystal of vision to have a look at the area in front of the temple. I was appalled. There were two monstrous storm giants, a dozen fire giants all lined up in a row, a dozen stone giants, a pair of high-ranked fire elementals and their attendant fie mages at the ends, and a big earth elemental front and centre. The entrance to the temple was blocked by a seventy-foot high, forty-foot wide, wall of fire. Further out there were two piles of sand that Matt suggested might contain djinn and efreeti bottles. There were also some strange shimmery walls there that neither the Namer nor I recognised. No way would we be able to fight our way through that lot.
After due deliberation, and final preparations such as the casting of counterspells, we decided to have Matt teleport us into the air close in by the cliff and use a combination of my fire arc spell and various teleport items and abilities (including my cloak which Amelia had borrowed). This worked excellently, except that one of the nightmares that Toledo summoned went for Amelia… but it was destroyed in the wall of fire as we ran through it and the nightmare followed.
The titan Max, and a short bald human woman whose appearance and attire indicated that she was one of the seers, came to meet us. We showed them the shark head, the minotaur head and the scroll, and they seemed very pleased with us. We explained that during our preparations, Matt had asked us to go unlock some doors at the castle while the giants were making their way back from here. She had some potions from the dwarves for us. Quite strange things - these clear bottles with wispy things inside. She explained that it was a special day for her, because she had been given a dispensation to speak.
We drank the potions and woosh we went up through an air vent for a far while, ending up in a cave where there was a dwarf waiting. Pierre and I overshot, and ended up outside. Matt came and got us. Then he asked if we were ready, and teleported us to the castle, instructing us we should cross the courtyard as quickly as possible. It was only then that I for one realised that we were about to face the ninth trial.
The Ninth Trial
Arriving at the castle we spotted a bunch of well-equipped guards across the courtyard, some of them Erelheine, and one an ogre. In midst of them stood a Lunar herald. Mebh said to make certain we did not hurt him. Pierre attempted to teleport and swap places with one of the mages, but a shimmery wall flashed into existence and blocked him. So we approved on foot… they readied weapons, and the herald stepped back. It got serious pretty fast – the wall was blocking my spells, and they had some nasty magics – an ogre rune mage nearly turned Mebh and Toledo to stone. The herald announced that Mebh the Magnificient and Herzog the Destroyer were locked in battle. There was one fellow dealing out some nasty air magics that tossed Christopher clear across the courtyard, and Herzog the ogre was evidently a rune mage. One of them died and his death curse caught both Toledo and Christopher, blinding them both. Another threw some nasty cold stuff at me, which I fortunately resisted (thank goodness for the choker of counterspells Mebh loaned me, and my heat shield which mopped up the rest of the damage). One of the Erelheine did a funky move, tossing his sword in the air and shouting something, and then hit everyone in that row.
A creature materialised behind Christopher, that the namer said was a fire banshee demon, and started burning him. I cast dragonsmite at the rune mage…. I saw him fall, and that was the last thing I saw for a while. Everything went dark, as the Rune Mage’s death curse hit me - I had been cursed and blinded. Then the herald announced something about the lady Mebh being allowed to pass. I reached down and cast a fire special counterspell on the area in front of me, where the banshee-thing was, and it went away. Meanwhile the remaining Erelheine withdrew from combat. Amelia explained that the rune mage was their employer or something. Matt offered to store the bodies for us. The Erelheine went inside, through the big doors, and we followed. Toledo and I washed our faces in the font inside the door, under Amelia’s direction, and we rapidly regained our sight.
Toledo: “Thank you, Amelia, you’re a sight for sore eyes!”
In the centre of the enormous room was a standing lightning storm, and behind that there was a gigantic archway, and a set of colossal gold double doors. Matt explained that he was unable to pass that way, and gave Mebh some parting gifts, rings and armbands.
About a minute later, the storm giant turned up, descending out of that storm. We readied ourselves, and Toledo charged first. He struck the giant, and lightning frizzed all over him. Then, as the others advanced, the giant struck Toledo with his huge sword, and blinded him in his right eye. I cast dragonsmite at the giant, but it didn’t seem to stun him – maybe he was deaf from all that thunder and lightning around him. He whacked Toledo again. There was a giant chiming sound, everything went quiet, and suddenly the giant and Amelia were carried a long way across the room by something like a lightning version of a fire arc. The giant declaimed, “A challenger has stepped forth.” Then the winds picked up again. The giant swiped at Amelia, but she dodged, and then Toledo blinked across to where Amelia was fighting…. And hit it, and there was an enormous explosion of lightning and stuff. Amelia stood there looking frazzled, but Toledo was okay because he had borrowed Amelia’s ring of protection against lightning. Then the giant was taken up into the storm around the roof. Toledo went to wash his eye in the font, and we heard fighting outside. As we approached the great doors, we heard a howling wind and a nasty sulphurous smell. I fireproofed everyone just in case.
Through the doors we saw before us a path, with a howling chasm of darkness and screaming horrors on either side. This, Pierre said, was the part of Hell called the Valley of Death. We should not leave the path, regardless of what we saw, most of which would be illusions designed to tempt us to leave the path. We walked for a while, and then we saw across the way some plains barbarians, and the captain we had met before, fighting some imps. But these were surely illusions. In the distance there were three crosses with people on them. We carried on walking, to the valley floor, where our path met the main path. I carefully memorised that spot.
Amelia the halfling in Hell: “I think I want supper later. Maybe days later.”
We began walking towards the crucifixes, and we met some persons, who recognised Pierre. These were guides, and they knew of the body we were seeking. They said they would lead us to a place of safety, and took us into a fortress. They offered to fetch the corpse we sought, in exchange for our delivering a message to the Dark Titans. We agreed that it was likely we would meet one of them or their minions sometime soon. Their message came in the form of a shield. Apparently this would remind the Dark Titans that they had a weapon, and should return it. They brought a crystal ball, and showed us the person, whom Mebh said was called Richard the Inquisitor, lying next to a coffin. The guide went out to fetch the body, and this took an hour or so.
We spoke to the other man who was melting gold in a pot… casting it into coins, in a magical mould. We agree to cast some of our coins in this form. These coins can alter fate, and we ended up with twenty-seven of them. So we used one to bring back Richard, and then Amelia healed him. We talked to Richard, and learnt that he knew another way out. He named the guide as Estion, and went on to explain that he had been apparently been killed by the death curse of a vampire he had been fighting. Mebh introduced us. He added that his means of returning us would involve using some silver coins that would take us to the headquarters of the Lunar Inquisition, and we really shouldn’t be carrying anything aligned to any of the Powers. Richard also asked for the date, and then told us “Velleron” was the current password, and would stop us getting killed.
We used the coins, and found ourselves in a big room with an iron floor. The guards there were pleased to see Richard. They showed us the door fairly quickly, and we headed out, with one of the guards as an escort. We were in a large, seven-story building. We went out through a courtyard into a busy street, and found ourselves in Tycho City. Richard led us down to through main market square, where somebody tried to sell Mebh an elephant. Eventually we reached a courtyard where we could see fifteen giants and a titan – who was Matt. Matt proceeded to offer me long-term employment, but I declined, explained that I had a husband and family to get back to. We had some beer - quite good beer. Apparently in twenty minutes some assassins would figure out that Mebh was here and come after her.
So Matt offered to take us back. Then, the heat shimmer came up and we found ourselves on the plateau in front of the Temple. A single Dark Titan waited. He said he would not hurt us, today, and Mebh gave him the shield. Then he disappeared in a heat haze. Richard explained how the whole sequence of events had been set up, in case he failed against the vampire. He added that the Dark Titans would not now harm us, following the delivery of the shield. Pierre then offered to make dinner, especially for Richard.
We all headed into the temple, and reported in. Max said a dwarf had been here, saying we would be going to Lunar City to celebrate, and added we shouldn’t drink too much before ten. The seeress offered to come with us and explain everything. It was only then that we realised that it was the middle of the afternoon of the next day… we’d somehow lost the better part of a day in Hell.
Matt took us to Lunar City, and we got some sleep, and Pierre made food, a nice eel stew. We had nice drinks too, with Richard. The seer explained that we might have triggered the tenth trial simply by coming here, but that we were not forced to do it. Richard cannot remember anyone who has completed the tenth trial – and we have brought the total number completing the ninth trial to eleven. We learned that Richard’s favourite meal is “Bundaberg and Herring pie”. Richard offered to bring us some things that would help. Matt took us to the location of the vampire’s hoard and treasury, in the middle of a vast plain. Richard needed to retrieve one item, to turn over to the inquisition, but we could help ourselves to anything else we wanted.
Nominations and SGT Snippets
- Best Death
Hot and Not
"A" = always on, "Y" = Yes please, "-" not required, blank = as required
|Vapour Breathing||7||4 Hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||-|
|Feather Fall||7||4 Hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||-|
|Fire Armour||15||16 Hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||-|
|Fire Proofing||8||9 Hrs||Y||?||?||?||?||?||-|
Amelia, Flamis, Toledo, Pierre, Mebh, Christopher
- Marching Order
Amelia, Flamis, Toledo, Pierre, Mebh, Christopher
6x Fine White Embroidered Robes in the Adjebar Style
6x Weapon Rings of Giant Speech (made by Flamis, using 30000 sp worth of blue sand plus sundry other materials)
1 x Chest of blue sand
Sundry items looted from the undead at Shorapur (after looking at them it is 2,200 sp worth of stuff).
1 x fire salamander crystal (merchant in Adjepbar offered 17000 plus a map to find a treasure map for this)
3 tridents (from Braegen on loan)
Salve for bone healing (made by Amelia from herbs near the Temple of the East Winds). Changes the time for healing from hours to minutes.
Chest of assorted strange bottles containing oils for enhancing weapons
6x Trimagic Tridents (made in Lunar City gifted by Matt Tumbledown)
12 Golden Coins valued at ~10,000sp in Adjepbar.
6000 sp (from the shark boat)
30,000 sp blue sands
1,000 sp wine
120 sp lunch
40 sp lunch
500 sp bats
4 sp salt
17 sp breads
2,100 sp rubies
6 sp Camels testicles
7500 sp Waters of Healing
24 sp lunch
57 sp lunch
500 sp Wine to fix Flamis armour
690 sp Bats
12480 Endurance sands (24 * 520sp)
400 sp stabling palfreys for a week
500 sp stabling war horses for a week
120 sp lunch
2000 sp Healing