Day 241 6:20AM The Oracle’s Hall was quiet and still as the combat comes to an end. Mittens and Nico sifted through the ashes of Lodhotha to find a scroll case, some potions an a stone amulet, called a hagstone that provides magical protections.
The party healed themselves and continued to investigate the footsteps ending in the rubble pile to the northeast of the hall. When the elementals finished digging out a narrow path heading north, the party squeezed through. Exiting through the path in the rubble, the tunnel opened up to a 20’ wide, cleanly hewn hallway. Great stairs descended, stopping at a great seal that once blocked the hall. Nico’s elemental had reported breaching the seal and being hurt in the process. Nico translated the warning in the cyclops’ language, “Beware, Yai-Oni.” The party figured that this hall would need to be refilled. They back tracked to the Oracle’s Hall and headed down the excavated eastern passage.
The hallway widened out into a dusty four-way intersection. Dwag investigated and found a tiny set of foot steps around the chamber. As he continued to survey the area, Dwag was greeted by a small grey fellow, that looked slightly gnomish – the fellow introduced himself as Fribur Nereguard. Fribur was intrigued that the party came from the west – from cyclops territory – whose halls were known to have been sealed for quite some time. Fribur himself was from Shambour, a svirfneblin settlement to the east. Father Pyrlig traded a magical ring – of swarming stabs – for more information. Fribur added that Yai-Oni, earth demons, were to the north and that passage was sealed – for good reason! Who would be foolish enough to allow the fell oni in?!? To the south was the great Tamarind Market, controlled by Jhal Khrystof – a denizen of Leng, who may be in league with fell types if not outright demonic himself. The market is used by all kinds, derro, drown, trogs, ghouls, cave giants, morlocks etc. The only humans or surface-type humanoids would be slaves.
Fribur clarified that these tunnels marked entry into the Darklands. Right now the party was at the edge of Nar-Voth, the uppermost wilderness of the parklands which leads down to Sekamina. Massive vaults and settlements reside throughout Nar-Voth, as well as underground springs and pockets of noxious gases. The deeper halls leading to Sekamina reveal truly massive underground structures, rivers and lakes. Nations of deep underground folk reside in Sekamina. Grimlocks, ghouls, vegepygmies, morlocks, serpent folk, and us svirfneblin too! Beyond Sekamina is the layer of Orv, the deepest, most dangerous realm of the Darklands, home to underground oceans, jungles and great vaults that have their own artificial suns. This is the home to mind flayers, intellect devourers, gugs, gore weavers, and umbral dragons.
After the geography lesson, Fribur indicated that no other folk had come this way recently. The party took their leave and returned back to the Oracle’s Hall. By this time, it was well beyond daybreak, and the party spent the morning investigating the buildings throughout the courtyard. Most were not noteworthy. But two were originally designed for human folk, perhaps ambassadors, once upon a time when Sumitha was a center of culture. Another building hosted an indoor garden with vegetables, flowers, herbs – and while slightly overgrown from some recent neglect, it certainly looked to be well maintained.
Day 241 8:00AM The party moved into the guardhouse where they had already taken refuge from the harpies, and moved into the deeper hallways passing through the slaughterhouse and larder. Moving onward into a deep cave with a natural stream they found a powerful stench and the pool was filled with waste and detritus. The cyclops had used this chamber for a cesspool and it was foul. Dwag continued searching, in lead of the party, moving towards one of the two exit hallways. As he moved forward, the floor receded and wrapped around Dwag, trapping him in its folds, the strange beast sought to crush and smother him. The party moved in to free Dwag from the massive trapper’s embrace. For a few moments the trapper continued to crush Dwag until the party was able to slay it and free Dwag from it’s folds. They finished exploring the remaining chambers of Sumitha without incident. Reviewing their mental notes, they spent time gathering up the valuables left in various caves, vaults and upon the battlefield. Mittens and Nico teleported the party back to the Splash.
Day 241 1:00PM The party rested and went through their new-found treasures. Captain Damiano gave orders for the Splash and the Lehigh to set course back to Dread Cat Isle. While satisfied that they had explored all of Sumitha, they were flummoxed in being unable to find where the other hag, Haetanga, had gone and they had seen no other evidence of Damiano and Mittens’ father. Temujin sent magical word back to Harlan Valance that needed a scroll of salvage, in order to recover the Black Purrl. Harlan replied that he would see what he could do.
Day 242 6:00AM Temujin sent magical word to Cain Marko – but there was no response. He surmised that the lack of answer was due to the dwarf captain’s death and not to some arcane obstacle. Father Pyrlig was able to determine that the ruins of the Night Voyager was near Bhudrek Atoll. Perhaps the party could rendezvous with the wreck and speak with dead to get the answers they needed.
Nico and Mittens teleported the party back to the Oracle’s Hall. They decided that they would return the stone to Bikendi. Father Pyrlig shaped the stone hemisphere created by Temujin into an egg, to encapsulate the dreamstone. The party teleported to the Chelish fort and they were greeted by the ghostly form of Bikendi. To finish his spell and to use the dreamstone to pass into the realm of dreaming, Bikendi needed a host. Temujin bravely offered himself and Bikendi assumed control! Temujin reached into the stone egg, and pulled forth the golden dreamstone and despite the taint that Lodhotha had embedded into the stone, her heartstone, Bikendi completed the ritual, his spirit departed Temujin’s body, passing through the gate that the dreamstone created – and in a golden flash both Bikendi’s ghostly form and the dreamstone were gone.
With Bikendi off into the dreaming, his unrequited tasks completed and his haunting of the fort subsided – the Chelish fort now belonged to the party.
Day 242 10:00AM Sumitha and the Chelish fort were firmly in the party’s control. They knew that they needed to get their craftsmen to shore, safely and get them to work. The Captain favored Sumitha as the site to hold their grand soiree for the visiting dignitaries of the pirate council. They would need to keep vigilance for any returning war party of cyclops that may be due back at any time. But before they started disembarking crew onto the island, they worried about the hag, Haetanga. She was the next priority. The party made away across the beach heading east to the stand of forest between the southern and eastern harbors – they suspected the standing stones mentioned by Zora, to indicate something about the missing hag.
[end of session 89]