At the bottom of the deep blue

Sketch for “A Mermaid”
John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)

His miner’s lamp casts a weak glow around the grotto of the pool. His companions appear to have deserted him and Dagaard dare not follow. The enmity between Ulmo and Aule over the creation means no dwarf has ever learnt to swim. Indeed, even if he could swim and was not wearing chainmail, he would not enter the realm of Ulmo such is his kindreds fear of water. So he sits and waits. Presently, a foam like the surf on the beaches that Dagaard has seen more than he would wish on this journey, forms on the surface of the pool. A beautiful female form rises in the water and looks at him quizzically. The Gwingil questions Dagaard in a teasing way, it is clear she knows why he will not enter and after some discussion she offers to grant him passage if he will release her from the binding that holds her in the pool. Dagaard agrees to slay the priestess of the cult and banish the Maia of the dark depths of the volcano.

Stripped of all but armour and sword, Dagaard stands nervously on the edge of the pool. The Gwingil reaches up to kiss him and with a sudden jerk, the dwarf is plunged into the depths of the pool. Water rushes by him, but he is held fast in an embrace and what feels like and eternal kiss by the Gwingil. When he fears the worst he is suddenly released and propelled through water to break the surface, gasping for air, in a pool similar to the one he entered. Urgently, he scrabbles out of the water and looks around for his companions. Damp footprints indicate which direction they have travelled and he calls out to them down the torch lit corridor.

Meanwhile, Denig is studying a doorway for traps prior to opening when the door opens. Before him stands a Black Reiver, apple in hand. In desperation, Denig charges striking in one swift blow as he draws the handaxe from his belt. It would seem that they may escape detection if he continues to be lucky, when Dagaard’s holler echoes up the corridor.

Soon our heroes are outnumbered and hard pressed by Black Reivers. Fulton runs to the corridor to summon Dagaard. Or is that shelter behind the warrior’s impressive skills with a two-handed sword? Aerandir and Denig at the other end of the corridor retreat into a kitchen area. The superior fighting skills of the group begin to tell against their opponents. Several Black Reivers are wounded mortally and others begin to break fleeing through a doorway. Unfortunately, disaster strikes as Denig and Aerandir seek to pursue. A freak stroke from a Reiver engaged in combat with Dagaard shatters the dwarf’s elbow. His heavy weapon drops from his hands as his weapon arm hangs loose at his side.

The arabian warrior
BY rebel07bloodhound

The killing blow expected by Dagaard does not fall as the stone form of Denig charges the triumphant Black Reiver, who turns to meet the new threat. Dagaard staggers to safety and unseen the cowering Fulton leaps forward to lash out with his cutlass. Quickly, the opponent is cut down and while Denig sees to Dagaard’s wound (which is no more than a bandage), Fulton chases after his comrade Aerandir.

Meanwhile, Aerandir is forced to fight against Black Reiver’s in restricted doorways delaying his pursuit. As Fulton arrives, Aerandir is assessing the safety of a room in which he fears an ambush. He is right and using the gathered information launches a sudden assault with Fulton at his back. One defender is quickly dispatched as the other flees through the nearby door. Fearing another ambush the pair push cautiously onwards through a series of rooms until they come to a robing room.

Again they flush their quarry from the room and pursue him down a corridor until the arrive at a great hall. The sacred space is bathed in blue and green light. A large dias occupies the wall near them and in front of it is an altar on which the beautiful Vanwa is laid. Around her priests and a priestess chant with a chorus from a large congregation of acolytes further back in the hall. Guarding them are a number of Black Reivers including one enormous man who is receiving instructions from the fleeing warrior. Aerandir at the front pauses before urging his comrades to retreat.

Denig heads for a doorway that he believes will take him back to where Dagaard waits. But very quickly it becomes clear that this has led them to be caught in a corridor between two groups pursuers. Immediately, Denig beseeches Cloch for some divine aid, a barrier to prevent further reinforcements. Despite, recent events Cloch is still prepared to help his follower and grants two walls of wood securing one front of the party.

Meanwhile, Dagaard moves to the corridor to see if he can aid his comrades but only draws the attention of one of the Reivers now prevented from attacking Denig by the wooden wall. He flees before the Reiver, charging through a doorway and triggering a trap. A wide blade slices across the armour of his chest breaking ribs in the process. He turns and using his strength to hold the door against the disfigured warrior who is following him. It soon becomes clear to the dwarf that this impasse cannot continue for ever. He dare not leave the door and flee because he does not know where the corridor leads and the his opponent will soon cut him down. Nor can he hold the door forever for either his comrades will be cut down or others will join the warrior outside and his own death will swiftly follow. In desperation, he releases the door, bracing his might sword against his body with his good arm and hopes his opponent will impale himself on the point as he falls through the door.

Perhaps today Aule has mercy on his child for although not as effective as he planned the force of entry bludgeons the entering warrior rather than impaling him. It is a matter of moments for Dagaard to finish off the surprise and downed foe before sneaking back to the corridor to find out what has become of his comrades.

Things look desperate for the rest of the party. Aerandir at the front can do nothing but parry the blows of the huge warrior who swings his two-handed sword in vicious arcs that keep the half-elf penned in the corridor. At the same time a priest calls down unholy powers on the sailor forcing him to rely on the grace of Ulmo for protection. Fulton and Denig swap places to allow the Dunlending a better chance to use his bow. Which he does in one opportunity forcing the great warrior to fall back. The heroes press their advantage. Denig swallows a dose of Zulsendura and providing another to Aerandir. Gifted with unnatural haste the two set about attacking their opponent. The half-elf holds his own against one Black Reiver and the Dundlending launches a volley of arrows against the large warrior striking hard into his thigh.

Despite the advantage of speed, Aerandir is not able to dispatch his opponent and the priest is still free to call down unholy support for his servant warriors. Into the fray leaps Fulton, cutlass swinging he removes the hand of the priest as he gestures in prayer. The stunned priest stares at the end of his arm unable to comprehend what has happened. Meanwhile, Fulton leaps onto a bench, in the process flanking Aerandir’s opponent, and bringing his blade down on the unprotected shoulder dispatches this opponent rapidly. Having left the giant warrior looking more like a pin cushion, Denig steps into the room and, sighting a priest in the room beyond, looses and arrow. It flies and strikes the corrupt cleric straight through the arm.

The immediate threat neutralised, the party move back to the baneful temple. Within the worshippers appear to be finishing the rites before the sacrifice of the elf maiden. Aerandir races in to rescuer with Fulton close behind. Denig draws his bow ready to aid them. Again disaster strikes. With a swift dismissive gesture the priestess causes Aerandir to fall into a deep, dark, troubled sleep. Fulton leaps at the priestess in response to the new threat as Denig intones a prayer for a swift awakening of the sleeping sailor. Fulton’s attacks are ferocious and effective driving back the priestess. Soon he is joined by Denig as Aerandir frees Vanwa from the altar. Having freed Vanwa, Aerandir spies the children held in a pen across the room and he sets about freeing them while Fulton and Denig engage the priestess. Facing two worthy fighters is a task to great for the priestess who soon falls to the blades of both.

If the heroes thought killing the priestess would end their problems they were very wrong. Through the doorway two Black Reivers held back by the wood wall appear and with her last dying curse, she calls “Qadim min alzalam aleamiq!”

Tentacles
BY Trishkell

The worshipper who had already been unsure whether to attack or flee fall back in fear as out of the pool at the top of the dais dark purple tentacles grope into the temple. Fortunately, Fulton and Denig manage to evade their grasp but this is not so for the unfortunate guards who have just entered. With screams of horror the Black Reivers are pulled into the pool as other tentacles take their place.

The heroes, along with the rescued children, flee. Fighting past the now panicking worshippers, some of whom provide tasty targets for the tentacles, they make their way through the temple complex. There is no way out through the pool so they seek an alternative route of escape. Fortune favours them as they find a route that follows some volcanic vents to some ruins on an islet in the atoll. The night stars shine down on them as they drink in the fresh air and let the children sleep.

Come the morning, the party discover a large war catamaran, clearly used by the Reivers in raids. Loading the children aboard, along with a vigorously protesting dwarf and attempt to row back to the port. As they launch, a number of foaming waves being to form, soon to be replaced by the form of the Gwingil of the pool. She smiles and waves at Dagaard before propelling the catamaran on a magical wave towards the heroes goal.

With children given into the care of Eimlaq at the mosque and refusing the small reward. The party board the Ulmo’s beard for captain Reiss to inform them that he has heard that there may be a chance of earning some needed coin carrying goods to a nearby port. Soon the goods, a number of high quality carpets, are loaded into the hold. Dagaard has his shattered elbow re-set by Denig, who uses his only dose of Bursthelas to aid the healing. The sailors are soon occupied in preparations for departure.

2 thoughts on “At the bottom of the deep blue

    1. It was hard work on my part as it was pretty much combat the whole way through – for the players more the fear of everyone dying as they were outnumbered. The party averages level 5-7 but they have a level 11 healer.

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