War of the Burning Sky Session 30

Two of the guards from the Wayfarer came into the captain’s quarters and dragged Giorgio out, kicking and screaming, “I’ll never tell. You’ll have to pry it out of me!”

The Guildmistress looked quite upset.

“Where is he being taken?” I asked.

“He needs to be questioned,” the Guildmistress explained. “We need to find out what the hell is going on around here. Apparently, from what I can tell from these controls, and what was happening here, is that—so our ship can teleport places—he was trying to hijack the controls to teleport the ship, but it's certainly not safe to teleport anywhere right now considering the state of affairs with teleportation and all that, right? I don't know if any of you have tried it, but if you go through you will get burnt to a crisp before you come out the other side.”

“We are familiar,” I shared.

“We've been trying to figure out a way to teleport,” the Guildmistress continued, “but we haven't sorted that out quite yet, and so we've been grounded, in a manner of speaking His dastardly deed here, would he have gotten away with it—we owe you a great debt of gratitude—this whole ship, depending on how far he would have sent it, would have been incinerated and all of us aboard it. You were actually only seconds away from averting a disaster. So we thank you for your assistance. Otherwise we all would have been dead.”

“Some of his accomplices got away,” Cyrus shared. “They jumped into the bay.”

“Yes,” the Guildmistress acknowledged. “That's unfortunate. For the time being, we'll have to find out who they were and hunt them down. In the meanwhile, we need to find out what's going on with Giorgio.”

“Where are you taking him?” I inquired.

“We're gonna take him below deck for a short period and see what he's willing to part with,” the Guildmistress smirk cruelly. “He'll talk.”

“How long has Giorgio been part of your crew?” Cyrus inquired.

“He's been part of our crew for a number of years,” the Guildmistress admitted. “He's never alluded to being dissatisfied with the operations of the ship and he has quite a respectable position here. It's quite shocking to me that he would feel that way and turn on us in such an instant.”

“Is it safe to assume he has a bunk or a cabin somewhere on the ship where he stays?” Ulfgar inquired. “Would it be possible for us to search it? There might be clues there to how the Ragesians were able to turn him.”

“He must have some communication method,” Cyrus added. “He’s been with you this whole time.”

“Yes. Come with me,” the Guildmistress led us to the crews’ quarters under the fore deck. “You’re certainly welcome to search. These are the crews’ quarters. Everyone bunks up in here, including him. He's got the top bunk in the back over there.” She pointed to the top bunk on the front-right.

Searching his bunk and footlocker, we didn’t find anything of interest.

Cyrus ran back to the captain’s quarters and retrieved Giorgio’s ornately decorated staff, which he had seen leaning next to the control panel. He brought the staff, which was adorned with ribbons and kerchiefs, to Xireas to identify when possible.

Pointing to the burnt bodies of the two orcs, I asked the Guildmistress, “Do you know, these people? They were helping Giorgio. Are they part of your Guild?”

Looking them over, the Guildmistress stated that neither were part of her crew. Ulfgar described the gnome, who she also indicated she didn’t recognize before disappearing down the circular staircase.

Searching the two orcs’ bodies, I found three potions of healing, two potions of greater healing, two potions of water breathing, a suit of plate mail armor, a shield, a battleaxe, and a shortsword.

Cyrus noted that there were no Ragesian standards on the armor or shield.

“Thanks for your help, Katrina,” Cyrus noted. “That could have been pretty hairy if you weren't here.”

“Yeah, it was,” Katrina replied. “It seems like we averted disaster by the skin of our teeth. That's a situation I'd like to avoid again.”

“Then you probably shouldn’t hang around with us,” Cyrus quipped.

“It wasn't the first time,” I responded. “I doubt it will be the last.”

As dinghies began to arrive to ferry people off the ship, we all went down the stairs to catch up with the Guildmistress. The audience and crew were rushing up the stairway against us to get to the deck and off the ship.

“Where did they take Georgio?” Cyrus asked, but no one had any response.

“Excuse me,” I pushed through the crowd. “Pardon me. Greataxe coming through. Where did the Guildmistress go?”

“Oh good, you're here. Come on in,” the Guildmistress emerged onto the spiral staircase and ushered us into a side room.

Once we were all inside, she closed the door and continued. “We found out some disturbing news. I've been in communication with Simeon, and we just got some disturbing news about this whole situation. Once we put the pressure to dear old Giorgio, he started to sing like a bird. I am very troubled by this, if it's true. What he's saying is gonna have terrible implications. Apparently he was put up to this by none other than Lee Sidoneth! I find it hard to believe that that's the case, but we simply can't deny the facts or you know, or let that go. I spoke with Simeon, and we need you to go and try and find Lee immediately.”

“I knew it!” Cyrus muttered.

“According to the information we have from this guy,” the Guildmistress explained, “we don't believe Lee is long gone, as you say. We think he still may be somewhere in the city. We need you to go find Lee. Can you do that for us?”

“Okay, we can try. Sure,” Cyrus grinned. “Can I kill him?”

“It would be our immense pleasure,” Ulfgar added.

“Yeah, if he's the perpetrator of these things,” the Guildmistress agreed, “in my view, do as you must.”

“Yes!” Cyrus muttered.

I asked the Guildmistress to store the armor and weapons we retrieved from the orcs, including the greataxe, and she agreed.

After we had been ferried back to the marketplace and recovered our weapons, we divided up the potions, with Xireas and I each taking a potion of water breathing, Cyrus and Ulfgar each taking a potion of greater healing, and Ulfgar taking all three potions of healing, drinking one on the spot.

As we headed toward the Temple of Oceanus, it was apparent that the wind had picked up considerable force. While our cloaks were fluttering in the breeze, people around us were forced to lean into the wind forward, and were holding their cloaks tightly around them. In our rush, we pushed on unhindered.

Before we made it very far, Bernardo appeared and walked up to Xireas, “Xireas, Simeon would request your presence at the tower to help him with the scrying to try and figure out where Lee is. He says you've been working with him of late.”

“Yes, I have,” Xireas acknowledged. “He's been teaching me how to use some of the tools and the tower.”

“Yes, he needs your power to help him figure out where Lee is,” Bernardo explained. “He's gonna be looking. Would you mind very much?”

“No, not at all,” Xireas replied. “But what about my companions?”

“I shall go in your stead,” Bernardo offered.

“Okay,” Xireas looked around. “You guys are right with that?”

“Of course,” I responded.

Xireas reached out from under her cloak and handed a couple of things to Bernardo.

“Are you sure?” Bernardo asked.

“Yes, yes,” Xireas replied. “I think you might need this stuff. Take it.”

As we passed the Lyceum tower, Xireas said, “I'll catch up with you guys as soon as I can,” and departed with Katrina while the rest of us continued on to the temple with Barnardo.

At the temple, the doors were shut and the windows were shuttered. Just beyond, the ocean was rough, slamming up against the cliffs.

“What are we going to tell Torrent if she's in there?” I asked.

“I was just going to suggest that we say we need to speak with Lee immediately,” Ulfgar suggested. “Do you know where he is? Find out first if she knows.”

“That's a good idea,” Cyrus agreed. 

“I agree,” I responded. “We could even tell her that Simeon is looking for him in relation to the incident.”

“Once, if she answers us,” Ulfgar added, “we can always always say he's been implicated in the crime of trying to kill all of the diplomats on the Wayfarer. We can tell her, if she wants to help us or come with us—that's something that might be a different conversation, but we can say that we've been asked to bring him in.”

“I have no issues with that,” I agreed. “I trust Torrent to do the right thing.”

Cyrus and Ulfgar agreed.

We banged on the doors and some moments later Torrent and a couple of parishioners carefully opened the door, struggling with the wind and trying not to let too much water blow in.

“Come in, come in,” Torrent urged us. “It's terrible outside.”

Drenched, we all slipped inside.

They closed the door, cutting off the roaring if the wind whipping around outside.

“What are you guys doing outside?” Torrent asked. “You have to stay out of this weather. It's pretty bad. It's getting worse!”

“We're looking for Lee,” I asked. “Do you know where he is?”

“Lee?” Torrent considered. “Well, he hasn't been here all day. I don't think there's been any meetings at the tower…”

“He’s probably home, then?” Cyrus hinted.

“The most likely place is home,” Torrent surmised, “looking out over the veranda enjoying this sort of tempest of the ocean. That would be the most likely place to find them. What's going on? Everything Okay?”

“I'm afraid not,” Ulfgar replied.

“We need to speak with him as soon as possible,” I added. “The headmaster's looking for him.”

“There was an incident at the show,” Cyrys revealed.

“At the Wayfarer’s show,” I clarified. “The Spectacular Trial of Toteth Topec.”

“Yeah, and so we need to see him,” Cyrus continued, “make sure he's alright, and see if there's anything else going on.”

“Torrent, it's imperative that if he does show up here while we search for him,” Ulfgar pressed, “that you detain him.”

“Wow, that sounds pretty bad,” Torrent acknowledged. “Okay, I trust you all, so I will do as you ask, if that's the case. If he comes here, I'll delay him here until you get back. But the most likely that I think he would be is at his home.”

“Thank you,” I replied, and we departed.

Returning to the awful weather, we rushed off to the east.

The wind was blowing and most people had vacated the streets. Shutters that hadn't been battened down yet, were hitting against houses.

The cold on our already wet clothes was miserable, but we were unimpeded by the wind thanks to the tidereaver’s tears we all carried.

We were about halfway to Lee’s island home, when Ulfgar said he was receiving a sending, and repeated it, “‘Scrying Lee impossible. Look for the eye of the storm. That's where you'll find him.’ It was from Simeon.”

We continued east from where we could see the storm seemed to intensify, centered around frequent eruptions of lightning.

Eventually we reached the edge of the ruins on the eastern coast.

The lightning appeared to be coming from north of Lee's house.

We pushed on through the ruins toward the lightning.

Following a path toward the lightning, we came upon a half open, rusty gate. An embossed metal placard beside the gate read, “Carcer Tevensum,” the ancient name for Teven’s Prison. Two stone pillars rose ten feet on either side of the gate, each capped by a gargoyle.

Beyond the gate was a narrow courtyard, surrounded by a high cliff on the west, north, and southern sides. Rusty guard railings—broken and useless in places—lined the eastern side.

Cyrus searched the gate for traps before passing through.

Ulfgar and I inspected the gargoyles, Ulfgar rapping one with his staff.

When nothing happened, we followed Cyrus through, though I warned that, “We should be aware that these things could potentially come to life.”

We agreed we needed to find Lee first.

Advancing beyond the gate, I warned, “I see two more inside.”

Turning to Bernardo, Ulfgar asked, “Do you know anything about this area? It sounded like it was some kind of former prison. Have they explored this area before?”

“I, personally, have never been here,” Bernardo answered. “These are part of the old ruins that were destroyed by storms hundreds of years ago, and I take it this was the prison of that community.

“Cyrus, would you like some light?”

“Yeah, that'd be great,” Cyrus replied.

“Where would you like it?” Bernardo asked.

“Can you put it in the palm of my hand?” Cyrus asked.

“I suppose I could,” Bernardo replied and cast light on Cyrus’ palm.

Along the eastern edge of the courtyard, nine more stone pillars rose ten feet, also capped by gargoyles that leered down at the sea twenty feet below.

The surface of the sea was still choppy despite the clear skies above. A hundred feet away to the east, the sky was dark again, and lightning crackled nearly constantly over craggy islands, ruins of the old sunken city, which stretched away from the coast until the storm swallowed them.

Ulfgar suggested we topple the gargoyle statues into the sea, so I cast guidance on Ulfgar and Cyrus and I helped him push the nearest one.

After rocking it back and forth, it finally toppled down, smashing into the cliff face before sinking into the crashing waves below.

We moved on to the next gargoyle statue, this time casting guidance on Cyrus, who easily pushed it over the edge.

As we moved north along the courtyard, we spotted a staircase leading down to a cobblestone and sand shore where strong waves crashed in from the sea.

We realized that we were on the roof of a building.

Moving onto the next gargoyle statue, and repeating the process, we could not budge this one.

We toppled two more gargoyle statues, but were unable to topple two others. We ignored two others that were not near the edge of the water.

We followed the steps down to the sand, and I waded knee deep into the water, but could not see any entrance.

Cyrus went farther, treading water, and found an entrance and waved us over, calling, “I found that way in. This way.”

I cast guidance on myself as we all followed Cyrus into the choppy water.

The doorway was dark, and one of the gargoyles loomed ominously overhead. Just inside the door, a rusted gate had been torn off its hinges, and it scraped back and forth along the ground as waves lapped into the room beyond.

There was no light inside the doorway until Cyrus held up his palm, illuminating the gate and beyond.

I checked the entryway for traps and found none.

Cyrus waded inside and the rest of us followed.

The water in the room was waist-deep in most areas. A hallway led west, flanked yy two doorways; the doors themselves practically rotted away. Another rotted door led north, and a wide doorway with a damaged gate hung open to the south.

As soon as we passed through the gate to the south, two lobster-like aberrations—as large as us—emerged from the water, each with a set of nasty pincers and pinkish tentacles writhing from their mouths.

I maneuvered between the creatures and my companions, but my warhammer bounced off its thick green scales.

Bernardo cast Maximilian's earthen grasp and a five-foot tall hand rose out of the water and reached for the creature in front of me, but could not secure a hold on it as the creature grabbed me with one of its giant pincers, crushing me through my armor; its slimy tentacles slithering into my armor.

The other creature tried to grapple Cyrus with its pincers, but the warrior protected himself with shield and slashed into it twice with his longsword.

Ulfgar flanked the creature grappling me, and stabbed his spear through its carapace twice and axe-kicked it in its crustacean face.

Still grappled, I swung my warhammer at the creature attacking Cyrus, but missed.

Bernardo restrained the creature grappling me with his Maximilian's earthen grasp and began crushing it as it continued crushing me with its pincers.

The other creature grappled Cyrus with its pincer, but was momentarily surrounded by the flames of the warrior’s hellish rebuke and slashed with his longsword.

The creature grappling me was stabbed two more times by Ulfgar’s spear and kicked again.

Wearing of the creature’s pincers, I tapped its carapace with my warhammer.

Bernardo shot a firebolt at the creature grappling Cyrus, but it hit the wall.

Cyrus slashed into the creature grappling him.

The creature grappling me snapped Ulfgar with its other pincer while its poisonous tentacles continued to slither inside my armor, paralyzing me.

Ulfgar stabbed the creature two more times with his spear and kicked again.

Bernardo hit the creature with a fire bolt.

The creature released me and grappled Ulfgar with its pincers.

Squeezed by the creature’s pincers, Cyrus slashed his longsword furiously, hacking it to pieces.

Unable to pierce the creature’s carapace while he was grappled, Ulfgar punched a hole through its shell and ripped out vital organs.

Breaking out of the paralysis, I grumbled, “That was close!”

From the rotted crates, this room appeared to have once been a storage room.

In one corner, we found a body, which Bernardo identified as the remains of a Lyceum mage.

“Alas, this was Philippe,” Bernardo explained. “He was quite the adventurous sort. He must have found this place and came to investigate it.”

Searching the body, we found a necklace with a pendant of unity that unfolded to reveal an etching of a woman.

“This is his wife, Elena,” Bernardo shared. “If you gentlemen don't mind, I shall like to bring this back to her.”

Checking the body’s wounds, I surmised that he must have been done in by the crustaceans.

“He wasn't very high in the ranks as yet,” Bernardo indicated “so it's possible that these creatures overcame him rather quickly.”

We took a short rest in the far side of the storage room where it was drier.

Back in the entry room, I listened at the door to the north and checked it for traps, but all I heard was water lapping against stone.

I opened the rotted wooden door easily and only saw rotted shelves against the far wall and something floating in the shallow water. 

I closed the door and we moved on.

I listened at the northern door on the west wall and checked it for traps, but found nothing.

Opening the rotted wooden door, we saw a table and four chairs, and a chest in the far corner, all in much better shape than the other areas.

“It looks like there's a chest in there,” I described, “but I don't see anybody or any other entrances.”

“Alright,” Cyrus replied. “I guess we could come back and we can loot this place after we've dealt with Lee.”

I listened at the southern door on the west wall and checked it for traps, but found nothing.

Easily opening the rotted wooden door, I saw nothing but a lever on the far wall. It was in a down position.

“Bernardo,” I waved the mage in. “Can you help?”

I cast guidance on him as we investigated the level.

“Let's think about this for a second,” Bernardo considered. “This was a prison, so what would this control in a prison? Maybe it’s controlling some gates or cell doors. It's obviously mechanical, so I don't think it's magical.”

“If I can offer,” Ulgar interjected, “I think it probably turns something on or off.”

“You don’t think it opens the gates?” I asked.

“I wouldn't want to push it up and there's a bunch of gates further down and we let a bunch of stuff out of the prison,” I pondered. “Even though this prison's hundreds of years old, right?”

This is what was that show where everybody's on the island that I keep pressing the button, but they didn't know what the button did, what didn't do.

Looking down this hall, Cyrus suggested, “Why don't you pull the lever, and I'll see if these doors here close or open.”

Cyrus began wading down the hall to get a closer look at the doors, when three iron spears shot out from the wall, one stabbing Cyrus.

Meanwhile, the lever in the room snapped up.

“The hallway’s trapped!” Cyrus shouted. “There's a floor trigger. I don't know where it is.”

“It looks like it's probably disabled now,” I called back.

Insisting the spear wound was just a scratch, Cyrus suggested we leave the trap disabled and continue on, so that if we have to run out, we could run in and arm it behind us.

We followed Cyrus down the corridor until it opened into a large cell block.

The cells appeared to have been warped by an earthquake, causing large gaps between many of the bars. A narrow walkway extended into the darkness between the rows of cells, the water getting slightly deeper farther away.

Many of the cells still contained the skeletal remains of prisoners.

As I proceeded down the hall, the skeletal remains began to rise.

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