Journey to Fate’s doorstep: closer to their destination

The crystal cave is absent of anyone or anything as the Drow’s Bane enter and inspect. Naismith picks up the magical horn, horseshoes and feather along with the marid’s tunic and vest. The party swims toward the back and enters each of the three corridors; each corridor leads into a small cavern where a blue-and-white shimmering portal stands in the center. Talina inspects the first portal, “I think this is a portal back to Olhydra’s location, wherever that may be.”
“I guess we must go through the portal as our next step,” says Royce.
“Is that what you remember from your images?”
“Unclear as I only see the images leading me through the crystal cave into a corridor and then darkness, but I continue to travel through it.”
“Let’s inspect the other two portals as we need to decide which one to enter,” says Naismith.

After inspecting all three portals, the Drow’s Bane decide to enter the middle one. Nong goes first, walking through the portal only to appear behind it in the same room. The others look at Nong surprised he did not vanish into the portal; after an hour of getting creative, the party is still unable to figure out how to enter. Naismith, dressed in the marid’s tunic, vest and holding a bag of mined crystals, enters the portal only to pass through it in another failed attempt.
“You see! I told you dressing up as that marid would not make much difference.”
Nong laughs, “Well you looked quite funny in its garb, so that was worth it.”

The party continues exploring the cave for clues; they comb the platform with the stone chair on it, the sacks and tools but nothing seems to unlock the portals. Eventually, Naismith inspects the back walls of the three caverns and discovers a clue; the middle cavern’s back wall is an illusion.
Naismith yells out, “Hey everyone over here!”
“What did you find?”
“This wall is an illusion. I think we are not meant to travel by portal but through this wall, which behind it is a corridor that continues.”

The party moves through the illusion, with Nong in front followed by Royce and Naismith; Talina escorts a frail Mordrock from behind. The path is a dark ten foot corridor that continues onward for hours. After four or five hours of travel, the party begins to hear strange sounds coming from up ahead; Nong can make out that two hundred feet in front of them, the corridor widens. “The corridor is widening ahead, maybe into a cavern of some sort,” says Nong.

The strange sounds are getting louder, however no one is affected by their magical luring. The Drow’s Bane approach the cavern entrance. On the ceiling are two huge sea anemone creatures, who are making the noise; their long tentacles reach out into the cavern below them. The party realizes they can crawl along the center of the floor to avoid coming into contact with the tentacles. On the opposite side, the pathway continues into darkness.

Everyone successfully crosses the cavern and continues down the path. By the end of the day, they notice the water has become cloudy and tainted making it more difficult to swim through; the corridor also widens again. Thanks to last night’s Heroes Feast, no one is poisoned by the tainted water. Nong sees a few dark shapes swimming towards them. He signals to the group and the party grips their weapons preparing for danger. A large fiendish creature appears before Nong, taking him by surprise. The fiend’s gurgling voice speaks in abyssal, “Nong Sung Roc, it is time to come home. Surrender the wand to me now then we will kill your comrades together.”

Nong looks back at the party, who stare back at him wondering what is being said. Nong answers the fiend, “Send the master my regards,” and attacks. The fiends screech and spit acid at the party. One fiend attacks Nong while the other sprays the party with acid spit. When Nong kills the first fiend with quivering palm, the other attempts to flee, only to be caught by Royce’s sentinel attack. In short time, the second fiend is nothing more than a pile of black ichor on the cavern floor.

“The path continues onward but it’s getting late, we should rest,” says Talina.
“Let me take us to the Ethereal Plane for the evening then,” replies Mordrock.
Modrock casts the spell and the party spends another night in the Ethereal Plane camped out in a fortress dedicated to Tempus, except for Nong of course.

The next day, travel continues with Nong leading the pack; for several more hours the party travels down the narrow corridor until something changes – the corridor begins to ascend. Nong, Naismith, Royce and Mordrock recall the vision implanted in their minds and it checks out with what lies ahead.
“This is right, I know it,” says Nong.
“Yes I agree, let’s quickly move on, as we may be close,” replies Royce.

Without realizing what just happened, Nong crests the water into oxygen filled darkness. He halts the group behind, as he inhales the stale cold air and then descends under water.
“There’s a large air-filled cavern above,” proclaims Nong.
Naismith swims up, “Let me have a look around.”

For the first time in many days, Naismith inhales air as he looks around, making his way onto cavernous dry rock. He now notices the foul smelling air and cold dampness of the cave but continues forward. The cavern is large with a few pathways leading out of it; he tries to recall this image from his memory but only sees darkness in his mind. Nong peers out of the water as the others follow suit. Naismith feels an extreme cold near him but does not see anything in the darkness. He pauses for a moment, as he hears the others ascend onto dry rock, then makes his way back to the party. He moves closer to a stalagmite near the water and inspects it, but finds nothing out of the ordinary; Nong, runs up another and looks out across the dark cavern.

Suddenly, there’s movement ahead and all eyes dart to the cavern center. Everyone hears the raspy voice before seeing the figure rise up from the ground, “You cannot defeat him, he’s unstoppable…you are a fool to have refused the calling back to home and now it is too late.” The shadowy figure, dressed in full plate has pale white skin and red angry eyes. Mordrock freezes, his mouth agape as he recognizes the undead creature hovering to be none other than his fellow companion of Adventurers Incorporated, the fighter known as Rupert.
“This is your last stand Nong Sung Roc, and your companions too,” as Rupert turns and stares into Modrock.
“We will take back the wand and deliver your souls to the Prince of Undeath!”
“Modrock! Who is this?” screams Naismith.
Mordrock stutters, “I…know…him. He’s…a fellow companion of mine, Rupert.”
“Not anymore it seems to me,” replies Nong as he attacks Rupert with the wand only to realize it does not respond.

Rupert draws from his back a humongous two handed glowing green greatsword. Nong see’s in his periphery another shadowy figure, forty feet up towards the back of the cavern move; the monk blinks and sees four identical shadowy figures instead of one. There’s something familiar about the robe the four figures are wearing, especially the six stars around the neckline. Nong peers at the faces and sees pale skin, angry red eyes and…high elven ears.
“Oh god this can’t be!” exclaims Nong as he dodges the fell sword swipe.
“What is it?!” shouts Royce.
Unfortunately, no one but Nong can see the invisible undead Kendall hovering above them.

Royce and Naismith close in on Rupert and attack when they hear a familiar yet broken voice from the cavern ceiling, “DROW’S BANE! YOU CANNOT DEFEAT HIM. I COULD NOT DEFEAT HIM AND NOW I SERVE HIM JUST LIKE YOU WILL!”
“No, no! That’s…” says Royce.
“Kendall…” replies Naismith as he barely misses the magical freezing cold air blasted from where the voice was heard. Everyone except Naismith, feels the bitter cold engulf and pummel them.

Rupert takes advantage of the opportunity and wounds Royce; Royce feels a gash open up from the hit and winces as the pain seems to linger longer than normal. Nong responds with a burst of quick hits to Rupert as he watches Kendall from his periphery. Before Nong can devise a plan to attack the wizard, a female voice is heard in the cavern.
“You failed to protect us, Royce and now you will be corrupted as am I. You cannot stop Him. Resistance is futile.”
Royce cries out, “This can’t be, He got to Illian too! Damn you Orcus!”

The sound of a horn being blown overtakes the cavern as the Drow’s Bane glance up toward the corrupted ranger, hovering near a stalactite. Illian waves her hand in front of her as multiple beserker spirits rise up from the floor, battle cry, rage and charge the party. The beserkers spread out and surround everyone. Talina braces herself as spiritual battleaxes hit her, the same goes for Mordrock; Naismith, now standing on top of a thirty foot stalagmite, looks wide-eyed as several beserkers fly up and attack him.

As if things could not get worse, the party hears an unnatural squeal as the large undead boar companion, Tusker, charges from the shadows and flattens Royce. The party screams in response, “Nooooo!!!! He got to Tusker too!”

A crackling sound is heard from the cavern floor and Nong is nowhere to be found. Naismith is the first to see the quadruple Kendall appear for the first time; he fires an arrow at the wizard and sees the quadruple become a triple. “Damn YOU!” screams Naismith. Kendall pulls a star off his neckline and flings it toward Naismith; the star flies toward the rogue transforming into seven darts that connect with their target causing Naismith much pain.

Royce, surrounded by Rupert and beserkers, casts Spiritual Guardians which do not last for long once Kendall takes notice; the wizard immediately dispels Royce’s spell leveling the playing field once again. Mordrock and Talina, surrounded by beserkers, use their magic to hit as many enemies as possible but are quickly interrupted by Kendall’s countering. The battle is difficult for the Drow’s Bane, but they eventually get a moment of respite as Royce takes down Rupert and his nasty two-handed sword of wounding.

Meanwhile, Nong stares up at labyrinthine walls he finds himself in. He is confused as to how he got here but sprints down one of the paths hoping to quickly return to the fight. Unfortunately, he does not get his wish.

Illian sends lightning arrow after lightning arrow towards Royce; the damage fries the cleric who is now badly wounded. Seeing how Mordrock’s healing spell was interrupted by Kendall, Royce takes a risk and casts Mass Heal; Kendall pauses and lets the healing spell occur, realizing he may need an escape. The tide begins to turn, like it has in previous battles, once the warm healing energy washes over everyone, restoring them to full health. With a new sense of confidence, the Drow’s Bane press on as beserkers begin to dwindle in numbers. Naismith gets another good hit on Kendall making him a double from a triple.

And then…Tusker is the next to fall by Royce’s blade.

Illian lets out an unnatural scream in response and instantly vanishes from her position to appear next to Royce striking him with both scimitars, vanishes and appears next to Mordrock attacking him, followed by Talina and finally Naismith. Illian reappears five feet from Talina, who sees the undead ranger covered in bloody tears streaming down her face. Naismith and Royce pounce on the ranger and quickly take her down; as Illian falls she looks at Royce and Naismith and whispers, “thank you for freeing me…”

Kendall quickly understands he is outmatched as the party moves toward his location. He proclaims,
“You are stronger than I thought Drow’s Bane but I have learned a lot from you today. We will meet again!”
Moving his hands in front him, Kendall finishes the last words of a spell causing everyone to instantly freeze in time. He flies toward the ceiling, casts another spell and vanishes.

Seconds later, time returns to normal as the party almost collides into Nong, who looks happy to be back in the fight.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: the path leads to a cave

A two hundred fifty feet by two hundred fifty feet tidal wave erupts from the watery draconic mouth and washes everyone away, except for Royce, who manages to be the last one out of the shipwreck. Royce glances up and sees the gigantic draconic mouth attached to a body now forming out of the churning water; he also sees his party, including Talina and the sea worms, pushed fifty feet away behind an immense tidal wave.

Royce swims out of the shipwreck and begins casting offensively at the Leviathan elemental, being mindful of anything following him out of the shipwreck. Everyone else is pummeled by the tidal wave force as it pushes them another hundred feet; some attempt to swim through it but are not strong enough to withstand its power. Eventually the sea worms can’t take the constant pummeling and collapse. Naismith attempts to swim up the wall in hopes he can crest it while Mordrock uses his magic staff to create vines that extend from the staff, through the tidal wave and toward the Leviathan, successfully grappling it. Talina casts Control Water to form a pocket around herself and Mordrock, enabling them to swim through the wave.

The Leviathan elemental is strong and wild, lashing out at everyone in its reach. At one hundred fifty feet out, the tidal wave begins to lose steam; Nong and Naismith finally manage to crest it and swim toward the party. When Nong is in range, he uses the wand to unleash a fury of skeletons that descend upon the elemental. Eventually, the Leviathan cannot withstand the multitude of attacks and spells cast upon it, that it dissolves and flees.

The party regroups to assess the situation. Royce and Naismith focus on opening the metal box; except it is rusted shut requiring brute strength over nimble fingers. Royce manages to pull it open, finding inside several gems and a horn of blasting.

The party continues their journey forward, following the images in their mind as best as they can given the unfamiliar environment. Each night they take a long rest in the Ethereal plane inside a mighty temple dedicated to Tempus; except for Nong who inhabits Daern’s instant fortress further away. During the first night, Nong senses someone near; when he opens his eyes, he sees staring down at him the red demonic face he has met before. The red face attached to a demonic body and bat wings, looks down and whispers in abyssal, “It’s time for you to come home Nong Sung Roc, even though you are feeding the master quite well these days.” Nong quietly reaches for the wand as he remains silent staring back at the fiend.

Inside the temple, Mordrock on watch, sees the being hovering over Nong and stirs the others to wake, as he gets up and runs toward the instant fortress; by the time he arrives, the being is gone.
“Who or what was that Nong?”
“Someone we met in Fort Morninglord.”
“What did he say to you?”
“Nonsense. When I reached for the wand to kill him, he disappeared.”
When the others arrive, Mordrock describes what he saw and everyone stares at Nong for a response; Nong shrugs, rolls over and returns to sleep.

Two days later they see ahead of them an entrance to a large cave, five hundred feet away. They swim closer and see four water-shaped beings standing guard around the entrance. The Drow’s Bane confirm the images in their minds resemble this cave which persuades them to get closer. Talina suddenly halts the group,
“Those look like myrmidons, elemental guardians,” as she squints her eyes to get a closer look at them.
“They are wearing the symbol of…Olhydra, the evil princess of water elementals. This is not good,” she says.
“We have no business with Olhydra or her minions, we just need to parley and be escorted through the cave,” replies Royce.
Talina looks at him, “I hope you are correct, Royce, that it will be that easy.”

The Drow’s Bane make a plan: Nong, Naismith and Talina will sneak up above the cave entrance and conduct reconnaissance, while Royce and Mordrock swim directly toward the cave entrance to parley. When the four myrmidons notice Royce and Mordrock, they swim toward the clerics and form a line blocking them. “We come to parley, we do not mean harm,” says Royce.

Two of the myrmidons break off and swim back into the cave. Moments later, Nong, Naismith and Talina above the cave entrance, see four huge shark heads emerge, along with a marid and the two myrmidons. Talina’s eyes grow wide as she sees the huge sharks swim toward Royce and Mordrock.

Naismith takes advantage of the situation and successfully sneaks into the cave, remaining hidden amongst the ceiling. The cave is immense and its walls are covered in glowing crystal that illuminate the cave. Some sea elves mine the crystal walls while others, carrying bags full of crystal, swim toward corridors in the back. In the middle, stands a platform with a stone chair on top of it.

Royce and Mordrock wait for the marid to approach them while the four huge sharks surround the clerics; their toothy maws just ten feet away on all sides. Royce, who already casted Tongues on himself, greets the marid, “Well met, we are seeking an escort through your cave. We do not mean harm and come in peace.”
The marid stops in front of Royce, looks him up and down, and says, “this mine is property of Olhydra, the elemental princess of this domain. You cannot pass through her property, ” proclaims the marid.
“We come in peace,” responds Mordrock.
“Yes, we carry a great burdon, the wand of Orcus, and we must destroy it, to rid the multiverse of its evil. Through that cave is what leads us to complete our mission,” says Royce, “here, let us offer you things as payment,” as he takes out the Horn of blasting, the Horseshoes of speed, and Qualfeather’s Feather Token and hands them to the marid.

The marid receives the gifts delightfully and spends a moment to examine them; it realizes each gift is highly valuable. Unfortunately, Royce’s deliverance of the deal proved flat to the marid. It looks at the four huge sharks, then the four myrmidons and back at the two humanoids, before responding,
“Be gone from here, I don’t want to see your faces ever again!” then turns and begins swimming back toward the cave. Royce and Mordrock watch as the marid retreats with their belongings without accepting their deal. Royce scowls, unsheathes his sword and attacks!

The marid pays no attention to the squabble behind it nor does it see Naismith’s surprise attack. The rogue is quick to slash deep into the marid, spilling blood everywhere. The marid, so startled, turns invisible and attempts to flee into the cave, but as soon as he moves a thunderous sound erupts from his space, causing more damage to itself. Sea elves begin to scream, dropping their tools and fleeing toward the corridors. Naismith swims into the cave and yells out in common, “Free Yourselves!”

Nong can see the invisible marid swimming quite fast in retreat. Unable to catch up to it, he pulls out the wand of Orcus, points it at the marid and commands in abyssal. Instantly, the marid freezes in mid-swim, collapses, and dissolves into water; leaving only its clothes and the party’s magic items behind.

Outside, Royce and Mordrock are encumbered by swarms of shark bites and myrmidon trident swipes. Naismith casts Faerie Fire on the group lighting up several sharks, myrmidons and Mordrock too. With Mordrock shining brightly, the sharks instinctively continue to attack the bright bleeding object, biting off chunks after chunks of Mordrock’s body, until he falls. Naismith is able to restore him to life briefly, but Mordrock succumbs to further shark bites, tearing the dwarf apart from limb to limb.

The party eventually defeats the sharks and myrmidons at the cost of one of their own. The party spends time opening shark stomachs and collecting Mordrock pieces and lays them in a pile. Royce counts the limbs and body parts and feels enough is there for him to cast Raise Dead. The spell takes effect, sealing wounds and restitching arms and legs until the body of Mordrock lay whole again in front of them. Naismith is ready to cover his head with the Cap of Waterbreathing once the spell completes. As Mordrock opens his eyes, he takes in breath and looks around, quite weak and frail from the horrifying experience.

The party smiles as they look down on their revived comrade. “Help him up,” says Royce as the party embraces their companion and swims toward the cave entrance.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: follow the path

The Drow’s Bane and Lela splash into Catchbreeze, soaking wet against a cold day in the month of Nightal. Their first breath back on land, is an exhale of cold fog in the midday light. Royce suddenly looks over to Lela who is inhaling the air comfortably, and then he relaxes.

The Drow’s Bane have been gone for three weeks in the Elemental Plane of Water. Royce and the others take off their Caps of Water Breathing and begin to call for Petha to bring towels to dry off. Lela rapidly speaks to Royce in Aquan; the cleric casts Tongues so he can understand her. Petha and Joscellan make their way to the party, arms full of towels, and a look of curiosity as to where their masters have come and gone this time. “Welcome home masters, it’s good to see you again, how were your travels?” as she hands out towels then comes upon Lela. “Good day miss, I see the masters have brought with them…a friend?” as she looks toward Royce, Naismith, Nong and Mordrock. “Petha meet Lela, she will be staying here with us. She’s a Water Genasi from the Elemental Plane of Water. Oh, and she speaks Aquan and doesn’t speak Common, just yet, something you can help with?” says Royce. A bit perplexed, Petha responds, “Understood master Royce. I will contact the Guild of Languages to hire a tutor immediately. And is she a guest?”

Naismith jumps into the conversation, “Lela is well skilled in taking care of people and is quite talented in singing and dancing. I’m sure with Djanni now departed, there is an opening for some help? I think in time, Lela would fit in quite well,” as he smiles at Petha. Petha looks at Naismith, gives him a nod of hesitant confirmation, then focuses her attention back on helping the party dry off.

The Drow’s Bane spend a few days at Catchbreeze to discuss their plans to return to the Elemental Plane of Water. They all confirm recalling a similar vision implanted into their minds about where to go next. “I think we should plane shift to the Citadel of 10,000 Pearls,” says Mordrock and continues, “from there we can swim south into the Darkened Depths again but this time farther to the East to locate the giant cave in the vision” Royce responds, “I’ll get us close to the Citadel but not inside. Seeing it is the center of bureaucracy for that plane, I don’t want to be trapped among throws of tourists and patrols.” They continue discussion and agree to depart the following day.

The next morning they head down to the Dock Ward to visit Nong; Royce, Naismith and Mordrock decide to plane shift from his boat instead of Catchbreeze. Nong’s boat is in harbor, as the others approach, they hear familiar angry shouts about spoiled supplies and tainted liquids; there’s even a small fight breaking out near them. Nong, standing on his boat, enjoys the scene unfolding as he sees his comrades approach. “You came to visit me?” says Nong. Royce replies, “Yes, and we will plane shift from your boat in the harbor.” “By the way, this is unnecessary drama Nong, let’s get moving!” as he points to the squabbles behind them. As Nong’s boat moves away from the dock, a small furry creature rubs against Royce’s leg; he looks down to see Samantha, and instantly can tell she’s not quite right. “Nong what the hell is this? An undead two-headed cat? Why?” exclaims Royce. Nong keeps rowing, paying no attention to Royce, then says, “it was a gift from the dwarf. Go piss on his day instead of mine.”

There is an uncomfortable silence in the air as Mordrock reaches down and scoops up Samantha. “She’s mine and it’s a long story Royce. In fact, Nong, let me take her back to my place for the time being.” Nong nods and turns the boat around and heads back to the dock. Royce still shocked by this horror, keeps muttering under his breath, “You’re a cleric of Kelemvor! You’re a cleric of Kelemvor!” Naismith, standing on the opposite side of the boat, sighs, shakes his head and turns away from the group, flipping his coin as he stares out over the harbor.

An hour later, the party appears near the Citadel of 10,000 Pearls in the Elemental Plane of Water. They take a moment to adjust their caps, and let their bodies acclimate again to being fully submerged in water. The beautiful Citadel is glowing from the thousands of orbs that give it an appearance, it is covered with shiny white pearls. Today looks busy as a stream of crowds line up outside the citadel along with caravans moving to and from it. Out of the corner of Nong’s eye, he catches a bright flash of light two hundred fifty feet southeast of their location. He turns to look in that direction and can make out movement around a shape fixed in the water; he sees another flash then says, “Look there. There’s something going on over there. I’ve seen two flashes of light already.” The others glance in that direction. Naismith sees many figures moving around the fixed shape, some bipedal while others appear fish-like. “Something is definitely going on over there, maybe a fight. We should take a closer look just to see,” says Naismith. Nong turns and begins swimming in that direction as Naismith is right behind; Royce and Mordrock, who swim a lot slower, follow way behind.

Nong approaches within one hundred fifty feet and sees a caravan being attacked by four huge sharks and six Sahuagin. The water is cloudy and red, half eaten bodies of sea elves float around the caravan. A figure in a fighting position is near the caravan fending off the beasts. Nong recognizes the figure to be Talina Tanglestrand, who is trying to protect the caravan. He smiles and whispers to himself, “looks like Royce’s girlfriend could use some help,” as he quietly swims up to the nearest Sahuagin and attacks it from behind.

Naismith and Nong are first to engage and are able to pull the attention of the sharks and Sahuagin away from the caravan toward themselves; however this comes at a cost for Naismith, who is devoured multiple times from the four huge sharks. Nong catches Talina casting a familiar spell at one of the sharks where it instantly disintegrates before them; “I like her already,” he says to himself. By the time Royce and Mordrock catch up, the fight has tipped in favor of the Drow’s Bane and Talina. Moments later, the surviving Sahuagin and shark flee.

The party approaches Talina and the caravan; they can see the two worm mounts have been bitten and a sea-elf is badly injured. “Thank you. I could not have asked for better timing. We were attacked by a Sahuagin hunting party and they were a bit tough on us,” says Talina. Royce, who is delighted to see Talina again replies, “It is so good to see you again. What are you doing out here?” Mordrock, Nong and Naismith slowly shift backward, grinning and looking at each other. Talina smiles as Royce approaches and says, “I was protecting this caravan on its journey to the Citadel of 10,000 Pearls. That is what we Tritons do Royce, protect inhabitants of this plane.” Behind her, the wounded sea elf, Artoz, is coughing up blood. “This is not good,” says Talina as she turns to help Artoz. Mordrock swims up to the wounded sea elf and gives him a big dose of healing. Talina smiles in relief, “Thank you…uh, Mordrock for saving his life.”

She turns to Royce again, “Did you find what you were looking for?” “Not directly but we now have a path to the location,” as he pulls out the map and shows her. She reviews the map and responds, “it sounds like you are heading into the Fathomless Caves. That’s what lies below the citadel. Have you been before?” “No we haven’t but we have a route in our minds,” says Nong. “I have been there a few times. It is a large black rock shelf that is littered with caves. Do you know which cave you are looking for?” asks Talina. “Not really. We have an idea but once we see the particular cave, we will know it’s the one to enter,” replies Naismith. Talina turns to Royce, “I could help you on your journey, if you would like? First, help me escort this caravan and then I can join you.” Royce immediately responds, “We would love that Talina! But first, let us help you get this caravan to the citadel,” as he nods to the others. Mordrock, Nong and Naismith stare back at him and slowly nod.

Two hours later they head south on the two sea worms that served as Artoz’s mounts; a gift of thanks for saving his life, his family’s life and the caravan. Royce names his mount ‘Wormy’ and travels alongside Talina, who is leading the way. Mordrock and Naismith ride on ‘Spaghetteos’ and Nong follows behind. The travel is somewhat familiar in terms of the farther south they travel the darker it becomes. The first night’s rest consists of a large temple to Tempus where everyone sleeps, except for Nong who inhabits Daern’s Instant Fortress, three hundred feet away.

Over dinner, Talina learns about Mordrock’s legendary encounter with Tiamat, banishing the queen of evil dragons back to Avernus from the material plane. Talina is awestruck by the story as she listens intently. Royce and Naismith then share with her their journey into the Underdark and they’re legendary encounter with Demogorgon.

As the party settles in for a night’s sleep, Talina moves further away from the party to sleep by herself; she faces away from them as she prepares to sleep; except she is not sleepy. Instead, she decides to have some fun and casts Message: “So…I can’t sleep, I’m still inspired by your brave stories. Tell me another? Like what did you encounter with Crazy Oman?” Royce hears Talina’s voice in his head and looks over to see her on her side, facing away from the group; he laughs to himself and then whispers, “Well…we traveled to the Trench of Death with Crazy Oman….”

Naismith, who is keeping watch for awhile, can’t recall the last time Royce talked in his sleep; he glances over at Royce, who appears to not only be mumbling but laughing as well.

Several days more into this journey and the party sees the top of the Fathomless Caves in the distance; as they travel closer they notice a shipwreck lying on the black rock shelf five hundred feet away. They swim toward the shipwreck; fifty feet above it the sea worms buck and rise up as if startled by something unseen. Talina quickly grabs both worms and speaks to them softly which eases their tension. She looks at the party, “You go on and explore the shipwreck, I’ll be here with the sea worms. Something feels strange to me as if we are in the presence of something large.” The Drow’s Bane swim towards the shipwreck and notice it has several large holes in its side, they decide to swim in.

Inside feels a lot colder than outside. Royce motions to swim further inward, “The next level down, is where the crew and captain’s quarters should be, if we want to look around.” They swim into a room that might have once been someone’s quarters; several pieces of broken bits of furniture still exist. Mordrock blinks and swears he saw something move past them in the hallway outside of the quarters. He casts a spell and immediately senses undead all over this place, “This place is crawling with undead, we should leave quickly!” as Mordrock begins to exit. He crosses into the hallway where he feels an immense feeling of cold pass through him, taking his breath away for a moment. “Ghosts!” he thinks to himself as he picks up the pace and swims toward Talina.

Naismith and Royce find a loose board in the wall and pull it away to find a metal box inside. Royce pulls out the metal box and finds a ghostly face staring back at him from the now empty space. He gasps as the ghostly face reaches through the hole, opens her mouth and wails uncontrollably. The terrifying sound pierces into Royce, Naismith, Nong and Mordrock; Naismith is so overwhelmed by the sound, he falls unconscious. Nong grabs Naismith and makes their way out of the room, followed by Royce.

As if responding to the banshee’s wail, the ground beneath the shipwreck begins to tremble. Pieces of the ship fall in toward the party as they desperately search for a way out. Outside, Talina and Mordrock see a large formation in front of them coalesce from the surrounding water. The water churns and churns and they realize the churning is forming into a gigantic draconic face whose mouth opens wide and unleashes upon them.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: Yokagoggor

The Drow’s Bane, Lela, and the seahorse mounts, exit the viscous portal onto a massive expanse of barren land leading toward gigantic stone blocks on the underwater horizon. A sickly green illumination emanates from the stone blocks lighting up the area in a dull glow, enough for the party to see Crazy Oman fifty feet away; he beckons them to follow him as he swims toward the stones. Lela, still holding Royce’s hand, continues to tremble in fear as Royce motions her to jump on Sparkle; he looks at the others with a worrisome glance as they continue onward.

An hour later, the party sees the stone blocks begin to take shape; the glowing stone resembles the remnants of a massive titanic city. Pillars, stairs and ramps come into view under arches that spread out across the city; gigantic doorways now in ruins, suggest the previous denizens to be titans or other gigantic creatures. The party now feels as if they are being watched; a feeling familiar to them from past encounters with beholders and mind flayer kin.

Nong calls out to Crazy Oman, “Where are you taking us?” Crazy Oman replies, “My master is not far now,” as he points forward; Nong can barely make out a huge pit in the ground ahead of them. “We are going to the Pit of Blasphemous Dark to summon him. Keep those seahorses alive until then,” he says licking his lips while staring at Nong. Nong, Naismith, Mordrock and Royce give each other an unsettling and suspicious look after hearing the news. “I don’t trust him one bit,” says Naismith. “I have heard stories about a great ancient city in the ocean depths that resembles this. A great terrifying god is rumored to be asleep there. I only hope Oman is not taking us to meet a god,” says Royce.

An hour later they approach a large pit one hundred feet in diameter. The pit descends into darkness and the walls consist of a black iridescent material that appears to undulate when you focus on them. Crazy Oman begins to dive into the pit and motions the group to follow him. The seahorses buck and cry out, resisting approaching the pit. The party calms their seahorses except for Beatrice who refuses to acquiesce to Naismith’s gentle pets until Royce interjects and calms her down. Nong stares down into the pit and even with the help of the Robe of Eyes, he cannot see anything except darkness below.

Reluctantly, the party descends together.

The descent into the pit is quite unsettling and it causes everyone’s sanity to begin to slip. The seahorses, Lela and the party are unable to mentally resist the alien environment and its ability to wreak havoc on their minds; Royce and Mordrock notice their seahorses acting odd and so is Lela. Royce, Naismith, Nong and Mordrock also feel an entity probe their thoughts, absorbing everything about who the party is and what they are looking for. They have felt entities probe their minds before, and often are not strong enough to prevent such intrusions.

The descent at the bottom narrows until the diameter is fifteen feet across. Crazy Oman stands below looking toward the northern black wall. “The summoning chamber is through here,” as he disappears through the northern black wall. Nong moves up to the wall and sticks his head through; instantly he feels another attack on his sanity sucking more away. He does see beyond the black wall however, a large cavern with a dais and stone wall seventy feet ahead. He motions back to the party and heads through. As each creature disappears through the wall, it feels more of its sanity slip away. By now, the seahorses are doing loops in the water and Lela is hysterically laughing, unable to control herself. Royce decides to cast Greater Restoration on himself to halt the consequences.

The summoning chamber is surrounded by black iridescent walls that form a protective barrier around it, except for a twenty foot entrance directly across from the wall the party exited. Crazy Oman swims up to the dais and spreads his hands across the stone wall; this wall resembles the stone wall that became a portal after he smeared his worm’s blood across it. The chamber is dark except for Royce’s sword, who is barely emanating enough light which is abnormal; Royce feels uneasiness from his sword, a feeling he has not felt from it, in a very long time.

The party looks around and sees corridors leading off in both the East and West directions which all end with black walls. No one else appears to be in the chamber with them. Crazy Oman motions them to approach the wall. “You must do what I did with my worm to summon my master. The creature must be alive when you rub its blood across the wall and rub until it dies within your grasp,” he proclaims as he swims above the party watching intently for their next move. Naismith is very uneasy about this and just scowls at Crazy Oman; Nong takes Pony up to the stone wall and looks back to the others, who reluctantly follow him.

Blood fills the water as the screaming seahorses collapse as their death takes hold. Lela sitting behind the group begins to cry and hold herself as she witnesses this gruesome act. The wall begins to absorb the blood. The party releases their dead seahorses and steps back from the dais. The wall begins to churn and soften into viscous black goo. Suddenly, Gigantic black tentacles shoot out of the wall and spread out above the party into the chamber. A huge bulbous body follows as it moves onto the dais spewing a dark green aura all around it. The writhing tentacles surround each party member as they hear a loud voice in their minds, “You have summoned the great Yokagoggar! Bow before me for I know all that you seek!” The Drow’s Bane flinch as the loud voice speaks to them and notice Crazy Oman groveling on the ground next to the dais. Then, Crazy Oman speaks in Deep Speech, “Mighty master, I have brought you these servants who seek your wisdom. They need your guidance and in return, will serve you as I do.” Nong stares back at Crazy Oman in disgust as he comprehends the speech.

All is silent in everyone’s mind except for Nong. “You hold power…you serve…Orcus…no mortal can grasp the wand’s true power…,” says Yokagoggar telepathically to Nong. “Bring the wand to me and I will spare your miserable existence…the wand is no longer yours orc…it is your gift to me…NOW!!!”

Nong can feel the wand’s emotional response swell up inside him; he feels its anger, rage and hunger for destruction. Nong wickedly smiles, moves closer to Yokagoggar, and holds the wand out; as opposed to surrendering, he attacks the huge creature instead.

With the tension in the room now released thanks to Nong, Royce, Naismith and Mordrock spring into action. Yokagoggar responds by spewing out a black ink that causes psychic damage and eats away at the party’s sanity causing more Greater Restoration spells to be cast in response. The ink covers the whole area including Lela, who is huddled on the ground; she stops moving as soon as she comes into contact with it.

The party can hear in their minds the rage and confidence of Yokagoggar as it continues to strike every party member. Crazy Oman responds by attacking the party with lightning strikes, while screaming “Traitors! You shall be punished for your treachery!!” Two large creatures emerge from the black walls behind the party; the misshapen creatures, who are all arms and teeth, swim close to the party and unleash a fury of blows connecting with everyone around them. The battle continues with the party enduring punishing blows by the creatures, Yokagoggar spewing sanity cleansing ink and Oman casting spells.

There is a twinkle in Nong’s eye as he moves to a misshapen creature, strikes it several times, followed by a snap of his fingers; the result, instant death for the creature. Nong’s next victim is Crazy Oman, followed by the second misshapen creature. As the tide of battle shifts in favor of the Drow’s Bane, Nong feels for the first time, fear from Yokagoggar.

The party continues to wail on the huge creature until Nong hears in his mind, “ENOUGH! Let me live and I will show you what you are looking for.” Nong screams out, “Halt! It wants to negotiate!” as Royce, Mordrock and Naismith hold their next attack in response. Nong swims closer to Yokagoggar and says, “show us the way foul creature and I will let you live. Foolishness means instant death!” as he raises the wand preparing to strike.

Yokagoggar begins to crawl backwards through the wall as its tentacles lash out and penetrate the mouths, noses and eyes of the Drow’s Bane. Immediately they feel images being implanted into their minds from the tentacle invasion. They imagine a path starting from just beyond the Citadel of 10,000 Pearls descending into the depths of the Fathomless Caves. The path winds through cracks and crevices, breaching through lairs of unfamiliar creatures and continuing into a cavern filled with green water and more unfamiliar creatures. Beyond, the path continues to where the water crests, to reveal an air filled cavern.

The tentacles release themselves from the intrusion and slip back into the wall; Yokagoggar is gone from the summoning chamber. The Drow’s Bane take a deep breath and register what just happened to them. Royce sees the body of Lela and swims toward her. He lifts her into his hands and casts a resurrection spell that breathes life back into her body. She opens her eyes, sees Royce’s face smiling down upon her, and begins to cry in overwhelming emotion. Royce embraces her and whispers to her, “it will be alright, Lela, we will be home soon.”

Nong and Mordrock decide to explore the cavern for treasure. Mordrock looks through a black wall, which zaps his sanity, to find a smaller chamber beyond. He moves into the chamber that contains a large number of pods fastened to the walls, ceiling and floor. He notices the pods agitate as he approaches them. He glances around the room but finds nothing of interest. When he moves too close to a pod, a tentacle bursts out of it and swipes at Mordrock who runs back out of the wall, taking another sanity hit. He explains to the party what he found at the same time an annoyed Naismith exclaims, “Let’s get out of here now. We don’t need any treasure as we survived with our lives and got what we came for!”

Nong and Mordrock ignore Naismith and explore the black wall behind the summoning chamber. Mordrock steps through it expecting to find a chamber for the cost of his sanity but realizes the wall is dense. If he steps further in, it will cost more sanity. He pulls the rope signaling for Nong to pull him out.

The final attempt at a treasure hunt is from the Ethereal Plane where the party and Lela go next. Mordrock and Nong penetrate the thick black wall; they continue walking for fifteen minutes until the wall opens into a small chamber; fortunately, their ethereal plane movement does not cost them their sanity. Inside the chamber they see Yokagoggar on top a mass of coins and items; four small structures surround it channeling dark energy into the huge creature. “It’s healing which is not good!” says Royce.

Mordrock and Nong focus but struggle to make out any details besides coins that Yokogoggar is sitting upon. The party spends five minutes debating whether or not to materialize into the chamber to steal treasure, before making a hasty escape across the planes. As they get enough courage to do so, Royce detects Yokagoggar has noticed them from the Ethereal Plane. “Shit! He sees us. He knows we are here!”

With that, the party decides to abandon ship and recall themselves back to Catchbreeze, empty handed.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: en route to the master

Half day into their descent toward the Darkened Depths, the party unexpectedly crosses through a strong current. Crazy Oman and his mount are carried away, so is Royce, Nong and Naismith along with their mounts. Mordrock and Lela manage to stay mounted, fighting against the current as they watch their comrades quickly float away. Mordrock also catches a glimpse of several shapes below swimming up toward the excitement. He casts a protective barrier around himself and Lela and prays that will be enough. Moments later sharks circle around them trying to penetrate the barrier to gain access to their next meal.

Nong holds onto Pony, takes out his grappling hook and rope and flings it toward Naismith who manages to catch it in the fast current; he swims toward Nong and hopes together, they can grab Beatrice as she passes by. Royce casts Control Water and is able to push the current upwards behind Mordrock and Lela. Successfully he also manages to catch the sharks in the current’s redirection and sends them upwards away from the party. Together they catch their breadth, wait for Crazy Oman to catch up and descend as soon as possible.

When the first day of travel draws to a close, Royce casts Daern’s Instant Fortress and the party swims inside recognizing there is no solid ground in any direction for them to camp on. Inside they make camp and Royce takes first watch. Besides hearing a massive rumble somewhere far below them in the deep dark, nothing else happens. It is not until early morning does Naismith notice Crazy Oman leave the fortress and swim to the second floor, where he takes out an obsidian statue and begins praying, including slicing his palm and rubbing his blood all over the statue. When he returns to camp, Naismith notices outside the fortress is now filled with sharks hungry for blood. The party takes pot-shots at the sharks from the fortress’s arrow slits eventually scaring the hunters away.

During next day travels, Naismith alerts the others about Crazy Oman’s ‘prayer’; which makes the party further suspicious about their guide’s motives. By late afternoon, the party sees a large land mass coming into view where they agree to make camp. Tonight everyone agrees to sleep in the Ethereal Plane in order to observe Crazy Oman.

During the night, Crazy Oman awakes and moves toward Pony who has been deteriorating in the presence of the Wand of Orcus. The prior evening, Royce had to cast Greater Restoration on Pony to keep him alive. Tonight, Crazy Oman takes out his dagger and drags the blade across Pony’s skin while Crazy Oman smiles and licks his lips; the blade does not cut Pony but glides back and forth across the sea horse’s skin. After a minute, Crazy Oman returns to the second floor to pray.

In the early morning, Royce notices from the Ethereal Plane, the sea horses are freaking out and Daern’s Instant Fortress is shaking! He warns the others and as they return to the Elemental Plane of Water where they witness what feels and sounds like an earthquake. They rush to gather their belongings and mounts and collapse the fortress. Three hundred feet away Nong reappears in the water and sees the ground on which they camped on last night, belong to a great beast moving away from this location. He swims toward the party to warn them and the party does everything in its power to escape safely from the back of the beast.

The third day the party learns from their guide the destination is seven more days of travel into darkness. When they stop for a mid-day meal, Mordrock casts Geas on Crazy Oman commanding him to obey the Drow’s Bane, for the next thirty days. Crazy Oman succumbs to Mordrock’s spell and Nong begins the questioning.

“What is that statue you pray to?” asks Nong.
Crazy Oman obliges, “it is a statue of my master.”
“Who is your master?”
“My master is Yokaggogar.”
The party is puzzled by the name and no one can recall any memory of such a being. Nong hears a familiar voice inside his head and gives into the call. “I know this being Nong,” says the dark voice inside Nong’s head. Nong turns away from the party, grips the wand and responds, “Tell me who this thing is.” Instantly Nong feels the wand suck a piece of his life force away as payment for the information. “Yokaggogar is an ancient star spawn proto-ooze from the Far Realm,” responds the satiated dark voice. Nong turns toward the party and shares this information.

Everyone feels uneasy hearing Nong’s news but realizes they are half-way into the Darkened Depths with no other lead to follow. Royce decides to take a chance on expediting the voyage by casting Wind Walk on the party; except he realizes that only eleven creatures can go.

“Leave your worm behind as we don’t have enough room for my spell to include it,” says Royce.
Crazy Oman replies, “I cannot do that for the worm contains enough blood for the sacrifice to enter the portal.”
“What portal?” exclaims Royce.
“The portal to see my master,” says Crazy Oman.
Royce, Nong, Naismith and Mordrock stare at each other, surprised with how this story continues to unfold.

After a debate, Lela jumps off Red Shirt who has been chosen to stay behind and be set free. Naismith shakes his head in disgust knowing full well the party is giving Red Shirt a death sentence as soon as he is freed to roam the Darkened Depths alone. After Mordrock gives Red Shirt his final meal, Naismith creeps up to the sea horse and slits his throat. Crazy Oman is the first to detect the blood in the water and licks his lips while everyone else is horrified. “I cannot let this poor sea horse succumb to a gruesome death, it is just not right. I did what’s best for him no let’s go!” cries Naismith.

Royce casts Wind Walk and the spell transforms the eleven survivors into gas; the gas is mobile in the water and they are able to descend through the depths at an increased speed. By evening time, they reach the portal saving four days in travel time. They materialize and swim towards a large obsidian stone. Crazy Oman approaches first with his sea worm, takes out his dagger and slices the worm’s throat open. As it convulses toward death, Crazy Oman forces the sea worm’s neck against the rock and rubs the blood all over it while chanting in deep speech. Dark runes begin to glow across the surface transforming the center into a thick, viscous mucous, too dark to see through. “Come…,” says Crazy Oman, “the master is near…,” as he enters the black womb and disappears.

Royce sees Lela crying and grabs her hand, then grabs Sparkle and pulls both into the portal. The others grab their mounts and do the same.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: making final preparations

The Bubbles and Baubles festival’s crescendo happens tonight!

Brass drums are lining up along every street; their beautiful melody travels up and down the corridors adding vibrancy and energy to the crowds, who stroll along blowing bubbles, singing and laughing.

The Drow’s Bane make their way towards a stable near the City’s entrance where they plan to procure mounts for tomorrow’s travels with their guide, Crazy Oman. They approach a fifty foot tank of water where inside they see the stable and a locathah who motions them to ‘swim’ up to the top to enter. “Welcome to Maris’s Stable,” says the locathah in Aquan. With the exception of Naismith, the three others have figured out how to communicate in the Elemental Plane of Water’s native language. “We need five mounts for a week,” says Nong, making sure their guide will be covered in case Crazy Oman does not have a mount of his own. “Very well I can help you with your need. I have five beautiful sea horse mounts I can rent for a week,” replies Maris. Like everything in the City of Glass, the price is high but the party has enough funds to easily pay for it.

“You must take our training class today if you want the mounts tomorrow morning,” says Maris; the party decides to return after lunch for training. “I’ll see you in a few hours then,” says Maris, “but before you go, you must name your ponies!” he proclaims. “They will respond to their names if you treat them well. Come let me get the ponies for you so you can name them now before training.” Maris excuses himself and goes to fetch the sea horses.

Royce bonds with his horse naming him Sparkle; Nong bonds with his horse and calls him Pony. Naismith chooses Beatrice and Mordrock, Samantha. The fifth horse is left standing there. “Someone has to bond with the last horse or he won’t pay attention to your group,” says Maris. Royce steps up and bonds with the fifth horse calling him, Red Shirt.

After an afternoon of lunch and sea horse training, the Drow’s Bane curiously wade into the Chain District, where one can buy slaves. The first rows of stalls they come across are filled with animals and beasts of burden for sale. As they make their way deeper into the stalls they notice the product changes from animals to a colorful race of humanoids they have never seen before. These ‘slaves’ are not bound in chains nor are they being mistreated by their Sahuagin handlers; no, in fact some are singing or dancing while others practice acrobatics. The party is surprised to see this when they are greeted by a Sahuagin. “You looking to buy? We have the best trained genasi slaves in all of the city, and the best prices too!” smiles the Sahuagin.

Twenty minutes later the Drow’s Bane exit the Chain District with Royce’s new purchase, Lela, a female water genasi slave who is trained in singing. She keeps her head down and follows her new master, somewhat disappointed she was not purchased by one of the aristocratic Marids. Naismith is not okay with this purchase and just keeps to himself the disappointment of what just happened; however he also concludes that nothing should surprise him anymore about these comrades he runs with.

They arrive back at the Laughing Sea Horse where Royce hopes to see Talina at the bar. As they enter, he looks around and unfortunately, Talina is not there; Naismith moves quickly past the group and heads straight for the bar. Urteya, who is at reception, raises an eye brow when she sees Lila walk in behind the party. “Excuse me, but will you need another bed tonight for your…guest?” says Urteya. Royce, Nong and Mordrock turn around and greet Urteya than look back at Lila. “Who’s purchase is that?” replies Urteya with a look of surprise. Royce and Mordrock look at each other and then Mordrock points to Naismith sitting at the bar. “I see, well I can arrange for a cot to be brought to that gentleman’s room for…her,” responds Urteya, not impressed.

“Her name is Lela,” says Royce as he introduces Lela to Urteya; Lela looks up and gives a bow before moving behind Royce, keeping her head down. Urteya smiles in response then looks at Royce, “Do you understand what you just did? To be honest, I don’t get many Material Plane tourists who purchase slaves, so let me educate you on something,” she responds. Royce, Nong and Mordrock seem interested in hearing what Urteya has to say that they unconsciously step closer to her. “Slaves on this plane perform a role in society very different than what you may experience in your home world. Here, they are raised as entertainers who also know how to take care and provide for their masters; they are taught that it is a great honor to serve the Marid genies. They are not to be abused nor are they expected to do hard labor; we have beasts of burden for such things. It is against the law to mistreat a slave and if you are caught doing so, you will be punished!” says Urteya. Royce, Modrock and Nong digest this information, nod and respond, “thank you Urteya for your guidance. We will ensure Lela is taken good care of.”

That evening, Royce takes Lela onto the patio to watch the finale of the festival. “Would you like me to sing for you master?” says Lela in Aquan. Royce quickly casts Tongues on himself and when he understands her, nods in agreement. Lela begins singing and Royce is impressed that her voice is very beautiful; he gets comfortable in his chair, stretches a bit and then gives Lela a big smile of approval.

Mordorck, Naismith and Nong sit in Mordrock’s room with the two crates of souls. “I can perform a ritual, praying to Kelemvor to welcome these souls into his domain,” says Mordrock. “Yes, I think that is the best we can do for these poor things,” responds Naismith. Mordrock picks up a soul jar, opens it and stares into it; inside he sees a small light of energy. He begins to chant the ritual in dwarvish, calling to Kelemvor to shepherd this soul’s journey to the Fugue plane. Mordrock feels his deity’s power as Mordrock wills the vulnerable soul to approach his breadth. Naismith and Nong watch as the small light in the jar begins to levitate out, and approach Mordrock’s mouth. Mordrock inhales slowly bringing the soul to his lips, gently kissing it before exhaling and blowing it away. Naismith and Nong, watch as the soul moves away from Mordorck’s mouth, swaying up into the the room and then fading away.

Mordrock sits back, takes a moment and reflects on what just happened. Kelemvor during the ritual revealed to Mordrock, how easy it is to control a soul’s destiny. With a good ritual, a soul can be released and freed but with an evil ritual, the soul can be released and consumed for its life force; the power balance over souls is very dangerous. Mordrock glances over at the Wand of Orcus and stares at it for a moment; he realizes the danger of conducting this ritual so close to something that feeds on souls. He is about to say something to Nong, when all three of them hear shouting from the lounge downstairs, “hey! this drink has spoiled!…you brought me rotten food! I want my money back!!!” Nong looks down at the wand then says, “Umm…got to go,” as he jumps up, exits the room and quickly leaves the Laughing Seahorse inn.

Naismith looks at the crates and counts how many soul jars remain. “One freed and one hundred ninety nine to go,” he smiles. Mordrock and Naismith spend the next several hours freeing the remaining souls. That evening during Nong and Mordrock’s long rest in the Ethereal Plane, Mordrock is rewarded by Kelemvor for his good deed; when Mordrock awakes the next morning, he feels more refreshed than ever.

The Drow’s Bane and Lela make their way to Maris’s stable bright and early. As they mount up and exit the City of Glass, they see one hundred feet away, Crazy Oman, mounted on a large sea worm. He gives a toothy smile in their direction, then focuses his attention on Lela. Royce instructs Lela to ride Red Shirt and beckons the sea horse to stay close behind him. The party heads toward their guide. Crazy Oman greets them and says, “Let us go see the master…,” as the large sea worm begins swimming downward. As the Drow’s Bane follow, they notice behind them the beautiful domed City of Glass with its large ice foundation getting smaller and smaller in the distance.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: the wait begins

The Drow’s Bane check into the Laughing Seahorse inn, a beautiful building in the touristy Tides district that came highly recommended by their guide, Suggi. The interior is a combination of sea-foam green, coral and dark blue. Across from reception is an open lounge in front of a bar and stage; few patrons glance up to see the newcomers enter the establishment.

“Who’s next?” commands a voice in Common behind reception. The party approaches and sees smiling back at them, a plump older sea elf with red hair and prominent make-up next to a petite merfolk who stands ready to assist. “Welcome, welcome to the Laughing Seahorse inn, where we take pride in making you feel comfortable and at home!” pronounces the sea elf at full voice. “My name is Urtya Ney, and I’m the proud owner of this establishment and my assistant here, Meena Tills, will gladly show you around. How may I help you this evening?” smiles Urtya.

Urtya checks the party in for two nights and Meena escorts them to their rooms. On the way toward their rooms, Royce sees sitting at the bar, the same triton who previously greeted him on the street. The party decides to grab a drink and relax a bit in the lounge while Royce takes the opportunity to head to the bar. “Excuse me, my name is Royce and I noticed you on the street earlier today,” says Royce. The triton turns toward Royce and gracefully smiles before responding, “nice to you meet you Royce. Talina Tanglestrand. Yes I do remember catching your eye earlier today,” she says giving him a quick wink of her eye. “Please sit and join me for a drink Royce,” as she signals for him to pull up a seat. Royce notices the shell-sequined dress Talina wears is shiny and beautiful, which outlines her body and reveals one of her long sexy legs; a very different outfit than what she was wearing earlier today.

Their conversation is light and playful and after a second drink, Royce begins to share more with Talina. He explains to her about the Drow’s Bane journey to this plane, the wand and eventually shows her the map. For some reason, Talina gives off an energy of trust and compassion to Royce, making it easier for him to share. She takes an interest in the map and also frowns when she hears about their guide in three days. Without missing a beat she responds, “Yes, Crazy Oman is someone to watch your back around. I would not trust him with anything. Hopefully he may get you to the answer you seek…but beware of the cost.” Royce nods and smiles back at her, thinking to himself, he never mentioned the name of the guide, yet she knew exactly who he was referring to.

Talina excuses herself, stands up and walks over to the stage where a few musicians are getting ready for another show. She moves to center stage behind the magical device that projects voices and waits. A beat later the lights in the lounge lower and the band begins a smooth torch song melody. Talina begins to sing and everyone in the lounge just stops and turns to listen to her beautiful voice. Naismith smiles and gives her a small clap recognizing this lady has talent!

Talina does not stay long after her set. On her way out, she walks up to Royce and his two friends. After introductions, Talina says to them, “best of luck on your adventure; may it reveal to you what you have been looking for.” She then looks at Royce, gives him a smile and a wink, and makes her way toward the door. Naismith and Mordrock both glance over at Royce and grin.

The next day when Mordrock and Nong return from their nightly camp out in the Ethereal plane, Nong is intent on finding out more about the whispers he heard in the Shark Tooth. Later in the day, the party returns to the Shark Tooth to inquire from Xuldroath, how to find an entrance into the Freezer district. Several coins later, the Drow’s Bane exit the tavern en route to a concealed entrance not too far away.

The Freezer district is an underground illegal black market, composed of a catacomb of tunnels carved out of the ice foundation underneath the City of Glass; a reminder to Royce, Naismith and Nong how similar this environment feels, to the tunnels of the Underdark. Royce’s Locate Creature spell identifies a close proximity of fiends. They pursue the lead walking briskly through tunnel after cold tunnel to come into a larger cavern opening. Ahead of them they see two figures in robes carrying a large case. Nong moves first to the two figures; as he approaches they turn around. In abyssal they say to him, “Nong Sung Roc, why do you bother your brethren? We are on assignment from the master. Go play somewhere else!” Nong responds with a scowl but does not pursue them further. He turns around and moves back toward the party. “Those are not the two I’m looking for. They are not priests of Grazz’t. Royce let’s keep moving to find others,” as Nong brushes past the group and keeps moving in the opposite direction. Royce, Naismith and Mordrock stare at each other in confusion before following Nong.

Royce detects a few fiends in the opposite direction. They turn a corner and come upon two individuals who appear as drow, both carrying similar cases. Nong approaches them, “What do you have in those crates?” The two turn and look at him and then the party. They shake their heads and continue walking. Nong moves to block them and says, “I said what do you have in those crates?!” as he aggressively turns the wand in his hand. “None of your business orc! Leave us alone!” screams one of the drow. Royce notices the insignia on their robes is the insignia of Grazz’t. This time Nong does not stand down but escalates the tension further resulting in a fight. Nong is quick to perform a Quivering Palm on one of them and then maliciously snaps his fingers after the drow refuses to acquiesce. Upon seeing the first drow instantly drop dead, the second drow drops his case, casts a spell and vanishes.

Mordrock examines the case and realizes its contents are captured souls; each case containing about fifty souls. He is immediately disgusted by this revelation and moves to free them. The others surprised by this discovery, agree and help Mordrock. Nong does not take part in freeing the souls; he just shrugs. Naismith begins to look around and remembers the description of how to get to the BlackBrine Sisters poison shop. He urges the party to follow him further into the Freezer. Twenty minutes later he successfully arrives at a small make-do shop and recognizes Brenna within it.

Brenna shows Naismith vials of Assassin’s poison, Oil of Taggit, Drow poison and Wyvern poison. All vials are extremely expensive compared to what Naismith is used to paying on the Material plane. However, he does purchase a few vials knowing it may come in handy against Crazy Oman. The party returns to the Freezer entrance, exits and does their best to sneak out onto the alley behind the Shark Tooth tavern. Fortunately, no Knights of Glass patrol passes by at the same time.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: searching for guidance

It takes a few seconds for the Drow’s Bane to adjust to the dim light, thumping beat and the smell of brine, booze and body odor just inside the Shark Tooth tavern. Like a scene straight out of the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine, the multiverse of patrons across all four floors stare at the newcomers in bewilderment, before returning to their drinks and idle chatter.

The Shark Tooth is expansive with a large hole in the ceiling’s center that spans three floors up; each floor above contains a honeycomb of alcoves that look down onto the first floor. Patrons swim up and down through the air to reach higher floors, for there is no stairway in this tavern. The party, still standing at the entryway, notices a large bar to their left. Behind the bar is a large broad shouldered black dragonborn with a nasty smirk on his draconic face. Nong moves toward the bar with Royce and Mordrock in tow; Naismith decides to explore the first floor on his own. At the bar, Nong takes a moment to listen in to the conversations around him and catches a few words in abyssal, “Freezer…priest…Grazzt.” He glances up and catches Xuldroath staring at him; Nong smiles and makes his way over to the dragonborn.

Xuldroath, the dragonborn bartender and owner of the establishment, is content to speak to Nong after much coin is dropped for the purchase of house wine and “lubricating” the bartender’s dry mouth. Nong gets straight to the point, he’s looking for guidance on traveling to the Trench of Death. Xuldroath provides a name of a patron who should be able to help him – Crazy Oman, who usually sits on the second floor. While this conversation takes place, Naismith explores the dingy shadows and feels something reach across his waist. He reaches down and grabs a slimy tentacle that is looking for a pocket to pick. He yanks the appendage off of him and moves toward the bar, never looking back.

The party travels to the second floor with Nong running up the wall, and Naismith using his cloak to fly; after a few failed attempts to lift off the ground to swim, Mordrock clicks his heels and rises up; Royce, who succeeds on his first attempt, successfully lifts off and swims through the air. They roam the second floor looking for anyone or anything that fits the description of Crazy Oman; they spot a lone individual talking to himself at a table. Nong approaches, sets a bottle of wine on the table and speaks, “are you Crazy Oman?” The lone individual appears to be male, his skin somewhat translucent, with a bald scalp and tentacle protruding from each side of his mouth. One of his eyes wanders as he looks up to Nong, except the wandering eye behaves like a chameleon’s that moves around with purpose rather than just being lazy. “That is what some call me…yessssss,” says Crazy Oman as he smiles and licks his lips. “Come, let us share drink together as we may need your help,” says Nong. Crazy Oman smiles as he motions for them to sit at his table. Nong sits, pours wine and continues, “we need help getting to this location on our map,” as he reaches over and takes the map from Royce, showing it to Crazy Oman. Crazy Oman touches the map as both of his eyes narrow in on the map’s content; he also brings the map up to his face, smells it and then licks it, “…devil skin parchment this map is made from…interesting.”

Crazy Oman sips his wine then sits back and says, “my master can help you with what you seek. You must come with me to meet my master…he lives in the Trench of Deatthhhh.” The party, now with a feeling of distrust and cynicism, inquires more about Crazy Oman’s master but learns little about who or what it is nor why it calls the Trench of Death, home. Crazy Oman senses the Wand of Orcus and reaches out in an attempt to pet it but Nong pushes his hand away. Crazy Oman frowns and then looks at the party, “you see…before I can take you to my master…I need your help!” he waits to read the party’s response before continuing, “…last night I was here and somewhat drunk…when my beautiful blood diamond necklace was stolen from me! I cannot return to my master without it.” The party inquires about Crazy Oman’s evening but Oman cannot remember who could have done it, but is adamant about finding it before he can help them.

Nong, now frustrated, leaves the table and journey’s back down to consult with Xuldroath. A few more bottles of wine and a hefty tip, provides Nong with valuable information about who was seen with Crazy Oman last night – 1) the female locathah assassin called Goto Arr, 2) a coven of sea hags known as the Blackbrine sisters and 3) the rowdy wereshark gang called the Fins of Doom. Nong returns and calls the others to join him away from Oman’s table. “I have information from Xuldroath about who was seen with Crazy Oman last night; the dragonborn also gave me the location of where each hangs out when here. Let’s go find them!” The party discusses further and decides to pursue Goto Arr first.

They spread out across the fourth floor looking for locathah patrons. A group of them are spotted in one of the corners. The party approaches and Mordrock speaks first, “Excuse me, I am looking for Goto Arr. Have you seen her?” The locathah look at each other and then one replies, “Why do you seek her? Do you have work you need done?” Naismith glances down at each of the locathah and his eyes focus in on the middle one who is dressed in fine leather armor with several daggers running up and down her body. “Yes, we need her help with something,” says Mordrock. There is a nod at the table and all of the locathah except the one dressed in fine leather get up and swim away. “Please, sit down and what did you say your name was again?” says Goto Arr. The party and Goto Arr make introductions and small talk. Goto Arr appears friendly and amiable and Mordrock seems quite enamored with her, occasionally slipping in a flirtatious joke here and there during the conversation with her; Royce, Nong and Naismith look oddly at Mordrock when this happens.

Goto Arr appears to play coy when Mordrock states why the party is looking for her; she listens carefully and eventually reveals her intent. She may be willing to part with information if the party can help her locate who is responsible for stealing the weapon order she placed for an upcoming contract in the Plane of Fire. Apparently she was expecting to rendezvous two days ago with a weapon’s merchant coming into the City of Glass, but the merchant never contacted her nor was the crossbow reported to have arrived into town. Goto Arr believes someone in this tavern overheard her conversation and stole the crossbow. If the party can discover who is the thief, she will help them.

The party moves down to the third floor where they hope to find the Blackbrine sisters; they are somewhat flustered being pulled into another personal agenda not related to what they came to the Shark Tooth for. They immediately spot a trio of sea hags at a table and approach them. Naismith begins the inquiry, “Excuse me do you know where I can find the Blackbrine sisters?” The three glance up at the group and Bernadette says, “Yes you have,” then Brenna continues, “found us, why,” followed by Beatrix, “do you seek us?” all seamlessly flowing together to form the response; this type of conjunction continues throughout their conversation. The Drow’s Bane pause for a second as they take in what just happened and then Royce, Nong and Mordrock look to Naismith.

Naismith describes what the party is looking for in regards to Oman’s necklace. The sisters stay quiet for a moment, turn and look at each other and then speak. “You see…we believe a rival poison supplier has moved into the Tide District and we want them…eliminated; business is down and we blame them for the cause. We are preparing to speak with Goto Arr for the contract but we have not worked up the courage to do so. Could you perhaps help us?” They pause but do not wait for a response, “If you could introduce us to Goto Arr we will gladly help you with information you seek.” Nong who looks the most frustrated upon hearing this replies, “why don’t we just kill this supplier for you now? It will save all of us time!” They respond, “We do not know you nor trust you orc. Help us speak with Goto Arr or be on your way.” Brenna who has been watching Naismith all of this time begins speaking in thieves’ cant; Naismith picks up on what she is doing and plays along. Through thieves’ cant, Brenna offers Naismith an opportunity to purchase her poison products if he is interested. She tells Naismith to seek her out in the Freezer for the transaction. Naismith acknowledges this, gets up from the table and motions for Royce, Nong and Mordrock to join him.

“What kind of nonsense was that story between you and Brenna?” says Royce to Naismith. “Who cares about taking the long road to observe the sea ponies! This is not the time.” “That was Thieves’ Cant Royce. Brenna was offering me an opportunity to buy her poison, which happens to be very good, so she says,” replies Naismith. Royce stares back and says, “Fine but that is not priority right now. We need to figure out all of this crap before another personal agenda is thrown at us to solve.” He continues, “let’s find the Fins of Doom as I have a feeling they are the ones who are behind this missing necklace.”

The weresharks are playing cards when the party arrives. Three great whites, a hammerhead, and a nurse shark, all in hybrid form, are loud and obnoxious with each other. One of the great whites notices the party approaching and yells out, “What do you want!? Ain’t interested, now scram!” as he laughs and the others join in. Royce approaches the table and with an intimidating tone, manages to get their attention. The nurse shark, although the shortest and weakest looking of the five, appears to be the leader; he motions for the Drow’s Bane to sit and play cards. After several games with Mordrock and Nong being the victors, the nurse shark makes a request. “You guys look like you can help us out cause we think we know where your necklace is. You see, we need a smuggler like real quick, for the goods we just hijacked a few nights ago. Turns out Xuldroath knows of a guy, but dragonface wants one thousand gold pieces upfront before he talks. That’s insane man, we don’t have no thousand gold pieces. But I can tell, you do.” The hammerhead pipes up, “Yeah, spot us the thousand gold man and we can help you out!”

Royce learns through “gentle” persuasion their hijacked shipment contains a particular crossbow. He pulls the party aside to discuss options and they eventually decide to buy the crossbow and forego helping the Fins of Doom with Xuldroath. Royce lays down three hundred gold as a deposit and offers two hundred more upon receipt of the crossbow; that’s enough to get the sharks to go fetch it. Mordrock, Royce and Naismith decide to inform Goto Arr of the agreement while Nong stays for another round of cards.

As they approach the table on the fourth floor, Goto Arr is nowhere to be seen. Mordrock seems a bit disappointed when Naismith glances up and barely makes out the assassin concealed on the ceiling, two daggers in hand looking ready to strike. He quickly casts Faerie Fire on her and succeeds. She screams as she lights up in a purple aura blowing her cover. She drops down, as Naismith, Mordrock and Royce ready attacks.

“I didn’t trust you would be back, to talk. I figured it was a setup, as I have never seen you before in the Shark Tooth. Why are you back?” as she looks at Mordrock.
He replies to her, “We have located your crossbow and are having it retrieved to give it to you. Apparently, the Fins of Doom hijacked your merchant a few nights ago.”
“I will assassinate each of those weresharks for this,” she calmly says, “When you approached me I did not have any information about the whereabouts of your necklace. I have my scouts out looking now to see if I can help you.”
“Maybe there’s another way you can help us then,” says Mordrock. “The Blackbrine sisters may need your help with a contract. We can introduce you to them.”
She pauses for a moment, unclear why these four individuals want to help her or why this dwarf is coming onto her but replies, “Very well. I can accompany you to meet them. I respect those sisters, as their product is some of the best I have used.” She then approaches Mordrock and whispers in his ear, “thank you dwarf,” and squeezes his hand; Royce and Naismith look at each other and grin uncomfortably.

Nong appears minutes later with crossbow in hand and interrupts the moment, “Here is your crossbow,” as he places it in front of the pair. Goto Arr steps away from Mordrock and examines the weapon. She inspects the fine craftsmanship and proclaims, “This beauty can pierce any armor including magic armor. Yes, this is the one I commissioned. Thank you for retrieving it,” and stows it away. Then she says, “Come, let us go meet the sisters.”

Nong makes the introduction between Goto Arr and the Blackbrine sisters who sit for awhile discussing contract details. After their business is done, the Blackbrine sisters get up to go to the bathroom. “Where are you going? We’re not done, you and I,” threatens Nong to the sisters. All three respond, “To the bathroom, we will not be long. Well done, orc for helping us with Goto Arr. You will not be disappointed,” and the sea hags make their way to the first floor. Goto Arr beckons Nong to sit at the table with her. Nong moves in and sits opposite Goto Arr, who begins talking with Nong. His leg brushes up against something on the seat next to him, a small pouch of some sort. He casually keeps conversation while reaching his hand over to the pouch to feel its content…which feels like jewelry. He grabs the pouch, while making a brief laugh to whatever Goto Arr is saying and then says to her, “Excuse me Goto Arr, I must be going. I believe I have found what we have been looking for,” Nong gets up from the table and makes his way to the others, who are with Crazy Oman.

The pouch, which contains Crazy Oman’s blood diamond necklace is thrown onto the table interrupting the conversation. Crazy Oman looks up and then grabs it, quickly looking inside. “Yesssss, my necklace!!!” he cries out as he reaches in, pulls out the necklace and begins kissing and licking it. The party stares at him scowling in disgust. “Now let’s go. We helped you, now you help us!” demands Nong. Crazy Oman, looks at Nong and begins reaching to pet the wand again, while saying “Yesssss orc, you have done well. I will do my part and take you to see my master.” Nong swats Oman’s hand away as it approaches the wand. Oman responds, “Three days from now meet me at dawn at the main entrance to the city. And I would procure mounts if I were you,” as he wickedly laughs.

The Drow’s Bane promptly leave the Shark Tooth satisfied with their endeavor, but feeling really unsure if this journey with Crazy Oman gets them any closer to reaching their goal.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: the City of Glass

The interesting fact about the City of Glass is that it is encapsulated under a large glass dome sitting on top a bed of glacier ice in the middle of the Sea of Light. Under the dome there is air and natural gravity for walking with specific areas intentionally underwater. Creatures either walk if they have legs or swim through the air thanks to the surrounding magic.

The Drow’s Bane arrive at a common port of entry at the city’s edge. Lines of creatures wait for registration into the city; an unfamiliar language, Aquan, fills their ears. Nong appears to understand the unfamiliar language and translates for the group. It takes them a few hours to weave through the lines eventually making their way to the registration patrol; registration consists of identity specification, bag inspection and stowing all weapons until city exit. The group is quick on their toes and successfully distracts the Locathah patrol guard enough to allow Naismith to secretly stow a dagger and Nong to hide the wand; all other weapons are confiscated.

The patrol guard hands them a map of the city and says, “Please enjoy this week’s Bubbles and Baubles festival all throughout the city. Experienced, guides are available through these doors.” Royce, Naismith, Mordrock and Nong exit registration and enter the city. They take in the immense space, breathe in the air and acclimate to the mood lighting across the city; their eyes affix to the bubbles of all shapes and sizes that rise up through the air, popping as they reach the glass dome way above the city. In response, cheers and fireworks can be heard throughout.

A string of guides rush the party and a kuatoa named Suggi lands the job. Suggi escorts them immediately to the shopping districts explaining how everything they desire is within reach in the City of Glass; what they also realize is that everything is far more expensive than Waterdhavian prices. Exotic glowing materials, beautiful corals and seaweed silks adorn the walkways up and down the markets they pass through; merfolk, sea elf and kuatoa vendors call out to them ready to bargain and haggle for everything the Drow’s Bane’s eyes glimpse in wonder.

The party spends time buying weapons and equipment suitable for underwater trouble. Naismith inquires about magic items for sale but pauses when he hears the price for a magic dagger, “Sorry but I don’t think I can do that price.” The merfolk vendor responds in Aquan then suddenly switches to Common, “You buy both and I’ll cut the total by ten thousand gold. Two magic daggers for fifty thousand gold is a deal my friend. No where else can you get such a deal, come on!” Suggi jumps in and pushes the party forward recognizing the situation tensing up.

“Suggi where do you suggest we lodge for the night?” says Mordrock.
“The Laughing Seahorse in the Flow District is the best place. Tell them Suggi sent you,” replies Suggi, “In fact, let me take you there.”
Royce looks Suggi up and down and is convinced Suggi says that to everyone he helps. Nong approaches Suggi next, “Suggi, can you take us to the Fathomless Caves or Trench of Death? We need to get there as soon as possible,” explains Nong in a serious tone.
Suggi looks up at Nong and begins to step back from him shaking his head, “That’s not my line of business Mr. Orc, if you want guidance to those places try the ‘Shark Tooth’ in the Tide district.”
“Can you take us there?” responds Nong.
“Uhhh,” pauses Suggi, “I will take you to the street where it is located but I will not go any further. That’s a seedy location and dangerous! Beware of the warehouse district!”

After Suggi escorts them to where the Laughing Seahorse is located in the Flow district, he requests payment for his guidance; the party pays him his fee and a tip. Suggi relaxes a bit and then agrees to escort the party to the Tide district, “Okay let’s go,” says Suggi pocketing the gold. The Drow’s Bane pick up their pace and head toward the Shark Tooth. Along the way, they pass a beautiful female triton dressed in robes who catches Royce’s eye, while she focuses on the Tempus insignia across his armor; she looks him in the eye and smiles. Royce in passing, returns the glance but cannot recall what or who this creature is. “Who’s that?” says Naismith. “I don’t know,” responds Royce. They continue onward passing into the Tide district and notice the scenery change as they move deeper into the district.

Naismith sees Skullport in many of the shadows, dilapidated warehouses and sketchy looking creatures standing or swimming about. Mordrock glances toward Suggi who appears to be shaking a bit, maybe from fear. “There down that street is the Shark Tooth,” points Suggi still shaking a bit, who bows before them and quickly turns around and runs back to safety.

The party looks down the shadowy lane to see near the end, a four story stone building marked on its side with black and red streaks that resemble blood; the metal sign above the large front doors reads, “Shark Tooth,” in Aquan. Nong points toward the building, “The sign reads ‘Shark Tooth’,” and begins to walk down the lane. As the Drow’s Bane approach closer they hear from within, lots of loud shouts, growls and grunts over a continual tribal music beat.

Journey to Fate’s doorstep: much needed downtime

The celebration of Simril at Catchbreeze was grand! Every neighbor and friend came for the festive celebration and stayed well into the night feasting, drinking and looking up into the clear night sky to follow their ancestral or birth star. Musicians played for hours as servants brought trays of drinks and appetizers around the guests who patiently waited to greet the Drow’s Bane. Royce, Naismith and Mordrock enjoyed the change of pace as each relaxed into their drink and conversation, perfectly happy to forget their problems for one night.

The Drow’s Bane spend several more weeks at the estate catching up and enjoying some down time before making preparations to journey to the Elemental Plane of Water. The four spend significant time examining the map of the Elemental Plane of Water, and decide to break into Kendall’s library in hopes of finding a resource describing the plane; they do get lucky and find a tome describing the Elemental Planes of the multiverse. Nong, who can read elvish, translates details about the City of Glass and the Citadel of 10,000 Pearls. They discover the City of Glass is a major metropolis which houses 30,000 residents of all walks of life; the Citadel is the residence of the center of government ruled by marid genies. Further research leads them to believe the ‘X marks the spot’ location on the map is somewhere in the darkest depths of the plane, where places like the ‘Fathomless Caves’ and ‘Trench of Death’ prosper.

Since the library break-in, Kendall has been on Royce’s mind a lot; Royce decides to scry on the wizard one more time in hopes of any news. He approaches his crystal ball and casts Scrying, waiting for Tempus to show him anything about his friend. Royce can feel the familiar divine strength imbue in him a vision of light that quickly fades to obscure gray clouds, blocking Royce’s vision. “Either the spell failed or Kendall is not on this plane,” ponders Royce.

Nong’s boat rows into dock where Mordrock steps onboard. Nong immediately rows back out the harbor to his familiar location, three hundred one feet from shore. “Here, I brought you a friend to keep you company on your boat,” says Mordrock who pulls from his cloak a small two-headed kitten with pupilless eyes. “I visited my apartment earlier today and realized that Samantha needs to live somewhere where she can roam about, like this boat and not in a stuffy apartment,” smiles Mordrock. Nong looks down at the kitten and pets it before looking back at Mordrock mischievously grinning, “How does Kelemvor feel about you raising undead kittens? I thought he was anti-undeath?” Mordrock puts his finger up to his lips, “shhh,” winks and smiles. Samantha is drawn toward the Wand of Orcus’ dark aura and begins to howl upon contact with it; Nong and Mordrock watch as the kitten’s eyes go from pupilless to fiery red. Mordrock looks slightly concerned but Nong stares at the cat and says, “Go play and don’t scratch anything!” as they watch Samantha instantly obey Nong and skip away. Nong looks back at Modrock, “Thank you…I like her already.”

A day later Royce presents to the group his findings, “I have spent time scrying for Kendall and did not find him on this plane. I also communed with Tempus and have learned the following.” Naismith and Mordrock lean in waiting to hear what Royce has to say next. “Glasya wants Orcus destroyed. The Elemental Plane of Water is the right path for us and…,” Royce takes a long pause, “…Kendall is in trouble.” Naismith responds with a look of shock to Royce’s last words. “When I asked Tempus is Kendall okay? The bright light of strength faded into darkness. I know this is not a good sign for our friend,” says a worried Royce who looks at the group with a saddened face. They share the news with Nong who agrees the best path forward, is to continue to the Elemental Plane of Water, in spite of the Kendall news.

Royce’s father’s ship arrives in Waterdeep where he will stay at Catchbreeze for the next month, waiting out the worst times of winter to pass before heading back home. Petha arranges Royce’s living quarters to accommodate his father instead of cleaning out Illian’s or Kendall’s rooms. Father and son will spend a short time together before Royce must depart.

An additional last minute surprise lands in Royce’s lap which is the officiation of the marriage between Djanni and Lulach. The ceremony takes place in the sanctuary of Tempus and an informal celebration follows in the courtyard; Naismith opens the celebration with a familiar tune he still remembers from his bardic days. Naismith walks up to the newlywed couple and after giving each of them a hug says, “Djanni this gift is for you and Lulach, this is for you. May you begin your life’s journey together with happiness and prosperity.” Fifty platinum pieces for Djanni and a silver raven wondrous figurine for his brother.

The next morning, Royce, Naismith, Mordrock and Nong stand in a circle with their hands linked. Royce holds onto a forked metal rod and casts Plane Shift while speaking the words, “City of Glass.” Seconds later, the Drow’s Bane phase out of Faerun and appear in the Elemental Plane of Water.