Spelunking through caves went much easier than expected, the party had discovered a back way into the caverns that saved them much time and effort by exploring the Fane of King Dred first. It was not until they reached a large, obviously artificial room that they faced any significant danger.
The room contained a moderately powerful waterfall draining down into the room over a ladder that led upwards from the tiny central platform, which was surrounded by the rapidly swirling waters of a whirlpool. While this would ordinarily be a slight challenge to our heroes, the stakes were rapidly raised by the charging entry of the shark that had survived their struggle from the day before. Before the rest of the party could react, Rion was captured securely in its jaws and savaged by rows of teeth. It was not until Alain banished the creature to the Feywild that they had a chance to escape the room, clambering up the drenched ladder and leaving it behind.
Entering the first level of the labyrinth proper, they were greeted with a bizarre combination of waterlogged, debris filled and musty corridors that echoed with far away splashes and noises. Crunching along the bone-strewn passages, they shooed away dozens from tiny crabs before Maiara decided to make use of these tiny animals by calling up a Nature Guide to point them in the right direction.
The ghostly crab that Maiara called forth led them towards the center of the complex, but it had not gone too far before Al could hear ghostly, mournful music coming from a nearby room. Investigating the source of this bizarre music that only he could hear, they came to two zombies lazily clawing at a rough barricade that had them blocked out of a room. After making short work of the pair, they investigated the tragic scene beyond.
At some time in the past an adventuring party had fallen afoul of the treacherous nature of the complex, leaving a sole survivor barricaded in this room, one foot badly crippled. With sustenance provided by a Create Food ritual and the long lifespan of an elf, he took solace in the creation of a lute like no other. Crafted over the course of years from the wood from a series of roots growing down from above and fretted by the bones of his injured foot, he had a tool of sufficient complexity to devote the remainder of his life to mastery of strange, alien music. The Floot fell to pieces, but Al gathered up the “ivory” components, figuring that they might be useful later.
Meanwhile…on Stormbrace’s ship
Israna came to, facedown in a cell, in shackles and a Suppression Collar. Conri is in the cell next to her, unconscious. After “stealthily making noise against the bars” she managed to wake up Conri, who groaned an immediately panicked once she discovered her similar predicament. Israna had a moment to reassure Conri before a nearby door slammed open and a Gnoll came in, dragging Rend in a none to nice fashion and hurled him into the cell on the other side of Israna, leaving him with a fat gobbet of spit on his face as a farewell gift.
Rejoicing at their reunion, the three of them launch into a tirade of abuse at each other before being spattered by dirty swab water by a nearby crewmate, who then left them to their own devices. An unnoticed, emaciated and half decomposed figure chose that moment to make her presence known.
Zimara had been locked in that cell from months and had given up hope of ever being able to find her brother. Depressed, and with her powers suppressed by another collar, the corruption that had been slowly eating away at her was given free reign and rapidly made the most of it. She had been saving her energy for one final act, and the sudden appearance of these other prisoners had given her an opportunity.
She imparted some useful information to them, Stormbrace had one of the 9 Swords of Tyr long before capturing Israna and hers (Israna suddenly realised that her short sword was an ancient item of incredible power, woo), he was originally going to sacrifice Zimara during a ritual to raise the Heartless before discovering that she was less “alive” than he thought.
Zimara tells them that she has just enough strength left to “free herself”, before wrenching a silver mask that had been sitting below the remaining flesh on her face, hurling it towards them, breaking her collar and collapsing onto the floor of her cell, very dead. Israna, realising something of the nature of the item, makes Conri swear to take her down if she cant control it and places the mask on her face…
“It’s a crab spirit, I don’t think it can smell.” – Rion
“Rune was here, Rion rules, Al sucks, Maiara is scary” – Rune’s graffiti