Pirates of The Jewel Archipelago

Part V - Kingsport

Reunions and Dream Monsters

From the slaver ship, the crew finds coded letters between the pirate captain and the mysterious Belit, Queen of the Coast. The letters reference a Stone and a place called Dark Harbor. The party infers that this must be her hideout, and the Stone she refers to in the letters is a teleportation device, explaining how her ships are able to strike around the world so rapidly. The stone itself is also found, and Rothlek studies it’s secrets on the journey to Kingsport.
The Siren’s Song has a pleasant voyage to the Imperial Capital on the Southern Seas, and they dock at the Rivermarket, Niara flirtatiously netting them a discount on docking fees.
Taking their letter of recommendation from Captain Von Margensburg to the Office of the Admiralty, they meet Captain D’Armitz, the officer in charge of Privateers. He is a rugged man, standing stark contrast to the ostentatiousness of the Admiral’s Fortress Mansion. He seems impressed by their letter and their deeds, and has no hesitation drafting letters of marque for the crew.
After getting their official papers of registration, the new privateers hit the Rivermarket, looking for supplies. They spend their prize money from the captured Trireme to purchase enchanted weapons and armor.
As evening creeps in, Jack suggests that the crew have dinner with his family. The Johns family is excited for him to return home, and the crew is treated to a warm and friendly dinner, most of which was purchased by Niara.
With the sun long set and their bellies full, the party heads back to the ship. The crowds on the street have thinned out, but Kingsport never truly sleeps. Suddenly Niara is grabbed by behind, and a gruff voice scolds her, “What are you doing here? He’s always watching, it’s too dangerous! You know this, Coral!” The man spins her around to glare into her face. He is a half-elf, aged well past his prime. When he sees her face he frown and growls, “You’re not her.” Then flees into the crowd.
The party gives chase, pursuing him through the night streets of The Rivermarket and through the gates to Pub Alley. He knocks a fruit stall over, forcing them to jump it or climb over, then plunges through a crowd gathered listening to a street performer. The crew is able to jostle their way through, and Milah catches sight of the elf disappearing down an alleyway. They follow him through the narrow twisted darkness, trusting Milah’s sense of smell to track him more than anything else. They hear a door slam shut ahead, then reach it seconds later, only to find it locked. Milah’s expert skill with a lockpick quickly removes the obstacle, and they see the half-elf disappear into a building in the Reaches.
Niara is shouting at him to wait as they rush after him, desperate for information on her mother. They get to the door, finding it unlocked, but fail to notice the trap set on the door. Niara and Milah barely avoid the bolt of lightning, getting only minor burns, but the rest of the crew gets severely shocked.
Rushing inside, they are caught in a half-dome of ice. Ignatious begins trying to hack his way out, but the ice is thick. Standing on the partially caved-in second floor they see the half-elf, regarding them coldly. “Your disguise is faulty, Urugothol,” he says, “I haven’t seen Captain Biscara in many months, but i can tell that you are not she.”
Niara is able to convince him that she is Coral’s Daughter, and he releases them from the icy prison, and introduces himself as Kublai Tal, once a famed adventurer, now a paranoid recluse. He talks with Niara, telling her that her mother is mixed up in some deep dark secret stuff, and mentions Jormunnger, the world serpent.
He tells the crew that the trouble Coral is in is far too dangerous for them to be of help to her. He does, however, have a smaller problem that they can help him with.
He has been chasing a monster through Kingsport. It is a foul monstrosity from the realm of dreams. It came to the material plane to steal souls and sow madness among the people. He says he has pursued it for days on end, and it is exhausted, but he believes it has laid a trap for him, in a warehouse on the docks. However, if the players were to enter the warehouse, they could defeat the beast. Turn the ambush back on the ambusher, as it were. Kublai Tal says he can lock down the building so that the aberration cannot escape from the trap. He promises to grant the party enchantments as a reward, and to give Niara something that will help her solve the mystery of her mother.
The warehouse is a dilapidated wreck on the furthest dock in the Reaches. Peering through cracks and sooty windows, it appears devoid of life. Moldering boxes and crates are stacked around haphazardly, forming a low labyrinth. Ignatious and Rothlek, calling upon the new magicks that they have learned, burst through the door, enlarging themselves so that they are twice the height of a man. Niara begins her bardic performance, inspiring courage among her allies, and Milah slips stealthily in through another door and slinks up to a balcony that overlooks the crowded warehouse floor.
Kublai Tal puts up the wall of force around the warehouse, and the party feels a thought projected into their mind, that the monster realizes it’s trap has been reversed. The crew moves through the warehouse cautiously, keeping a lookout for the beast.
Ignatious feels an alien presence press against his mind, and a voice whispers to him, telling him that his allies are going to betray him, corrupting his mind against the crew. He attacks, but misses, perhaps subconsciously battling the compulsion. Jack notices something, one of the crates flickering weirdly as Ignatious falls under the spell. He decides to fire at it, and instead of the sound of a bullet shattering wood they hear a wet smack and suddenly, instead of a crate there crouches a hiddious abomination. A fiend of simian proportions, thick torso and long arms, with pallid, hairless, rubbery flesh. In place of a face is has a mass of writhing tentacles. It stands as tall as the magically heightened Ignatious and Rothlek. Jack’s bullet left a wound which begins oozing a thick black ichor.
The crew attacks, charging in the stab and slash and hack. Milah crawls across rafters and drops down behind the things, sinking her psionic blades deep into it’s back, cutting across where she thinks its spine should be, but the wounds show nothing but meat, and the monster seems unperturbed. Jack pours bullets into the beast, alternating reloading and firing each barrel of his new twin-barreled pistol. Rothlek tears at the thing with tooth and claw, and Niara whips at it while singing an enchanting song, empowering her allies. Bingo scores several hits with his newly purchased enchanted rapier, baptizing the new sword in black blood.
The horrible creature soaks up thier attacks, striking with its many tentacles, sapping sanity from Rothlek’s mind and restoring it’s own health. It casts a spell, it’s tentacles writhing hypnotically, that sends Rothlek’s Eidelon shell back to its home plane, leaving the caster devoid of his greatest defense. Ignatious’ mind is still reeling with the alien thoughts of the aberration, he strikes true and fells Rothlek, stepping over the bleeding man to press back the attackers flanking the monstrosity, but his will finally forces the alien presence from his mind.
Badly wounded, the beast makes a final play, extending a tentacle to touch Ignatious. Suddenly the two switch places. The crew advances on the beast again, striking it as it backs up defensively, its tentacles raised. Ignatious, meanwhile, looks on in horror at the beast take his own shape. His crew advance on him and start attacking, and as he tries to call out, his voice makes no sound, and he sees tentacles writhing from his face. In desperation he strikes at the monster, and lands a solid blow, cleaving the thing in two and finally ending it’s attack. With it’s death, the illusion ends, and the crew can see that Ignatious had been glamoured to appear as the beast, and the beast as Ignatious.
Kublai Tal enters the warehouse, then, and magically sets flame to the creature, incinerating the corpse, just to be safe.
TO BE CONTINUED!!!

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