Sundered Lands 18

The Sundered Lands of Palladium

Session 18
June 20 - July 3, 2016

The Spirit of Parrot Island

Friday October 27

Shades of Darkness

The battle with the Spirit of Parrot Island and its undead minions continues

The dark, flowing form of the spectral creature floats and moves about the battlefield as the gathered guardians try to figure out what to do with it. The pile of defeated and in some cases, burning zombies is growing, though there are still a few still on their feet, one is even clinging to Seeker’s back.
The Spirit of Parrot Island

Seeker leans frantically to one side, trying to shake off the zombie gnawing on his armor, and brings an elbow back just as the vile undead shifts. “Silver, your flames seemed to hurt it! Pour it on!” C’mon, this is just a simple zombie. How could you let one get behind you! Were you not paying attention? Rookie mistake, son, rookie mistake.

Silver proceeds to continue her plan of “cooking the ghost”, and breathes fire at it once more.

This time, as Silver’s blaze reaches the robed ghost-like creature, it disappears.

“Um … “ After a momentary pause at the sudden disappearance Valinya recovers enough to quietly sing, filling her hand with the power of the storm and keeping an eye on the new suspicious area that shimmers to her eyes.

Fortis looks around quickly and opines “let's put down the rest of these unquiet dead while Valinya keeps watch for an unwelcome spectral encore.” He punctuates his statement with a blast of light into the overly cuddly zombie giving Seeker an unwelcome hickie. “Bad touch!”

Fortis’s Sunbolt sizzles into the bloated flesh of the Zombie clinging to Seeker’s back. It moans and tries biting a chunk out of Seeker’s ear but fails to chomp down accurately. Out in the hallway, Arn takes up a position guarding the rear, hoping that his companions are doing ok in the next room.

"You're a bit too stubborn for my own good it seems,” Moonscar mutters as he takes a step back and readies another arrow.

As Moonscar pulls his arrow, the Zombie in front of him lunges toward him, reaching out with grasping hands, trying to grab onto something.

The agile little druid was ready for this, starting to sidestep its lunge then retreating beyond reach only to bump up hard against the dwarf covering his rear. Fortunately he had had the forethought to leave his cloak wrapped around his forearm when he had changed his knife for his bow. The thick layers proved just too large for the foul creature’s hands to grasp fully and it lost what remained of most of its fingernails along with its purchase upon its acrobatic quarry.

Thinking he has evaded the Zombie’s grapple, Moonscar’s smile turns upside down when he realizes that his previously dead opponent had managed to get his arms tangled up in the Druid’s many straps and harnesses.
These zombies are so touchy-feely-grabby

Silver steps to the right in an effort to stay out of the corner, and blasts more fire at Seeker and the zombie on his back.

Seeing his companions’ continued distress Fortis repeatedly blasts the persistent zombie “if anyone else would like to help Seeker or Silver not be eaten by a zombie they might appreciate the assistance. I'm not sure what types of contagion these awful things carry or how it might effect a Wolfen or a Dragon but at the very least continuing to let any undead chew on your friend is a questionable policy.” Poor Tonim. I wish I'd been able to save you.

The Zombie on Seeker’s back is all too occupied with trying to eat the Wolfen’s brain to even consider dodging these ranged attacks from behind him. Seeker hears him let out an unearthly howl as he is hit by the fiery attacks but the dead and bloated fingers continue to hold on.

Deciding it was high time Seeker was freed from his unwanted rider and not seeing the ghostly figure again, Valinya carefully unleashed her crackling ball of electrical energy at the zombie on Seeker.  

Cursing furiously in half a dozen languages the Kankoran drops his arrow and snatches his wicked obsidian long knife from his harness, sliding the blade across the fetid body in a single, lightning swift motion but failing to part more than the rotting fabric of its clothing with the keen black edge.

Seeker twists and pummels the zombie with another vicious blow! This is ridiculous. Stupid zombie - your master is loose around here somewhere. Would you just die again already! He hears a bzzzt-sizzle as another magical bolt hits the creature. He grits his teeth. The real threat to the team is that ghost. I’ve got to get them focussed on the bigger picture! Drawing a breath, he growls, “Seriously, guys, I got this! Val, Fortis, find that phantom!”

The crackling, burnt and battered body of the Zombie falls from Seeker’s back and crumbles into a pile of stinking ashes and bone, though the crushing feeling of despair and defeat still permeates his soul. Meanwhile, the Zombie grappling Moonscar tries to take him down. Moonscar tries to keep his footing but the slick bricks and the overbearing weight of the bloated Zombie are just too much for him. He goes down and the Zombie falls on top of him, gnashing its black and broken teeth at his face.

Seeing his friend in trouble, Arn turns and does a bellyflop, shield first, right on top of the Zombie and Moonscar. Moonscar feels the aggressive corpse smash between his body and Uncle Ironfists spiked shield. Rotting goo and chunks of rubbery flesh cover Moonscar and he feels a distinct pressure poking into him from somewhere near Arn’s midsection. The Kankoran considers saying a prayer to one of those gods up there that it is the Dwarf’s shield spike he feels.

The Ellyl takes a good look around, attempting to catch sight of any spectral threat. I wish I could be certain our attacks had dissipated that ghostly figure. I'm a bit nervous it fled and might return after it heals. Anyway, once we get a chance to rest I might offer Seeker something to ease his mind. Or perhaps he would prefer to struggle through this on his own considering his aversion to mind magic. Anyway I can only offer to help and let him decide.

Valinya mutters under her breath, “Ugh, independent alpha males” then sings a song she’s not sung often, a song of seeking those with hostile intent … she will find that apparition if it’s lingering around.

Arn picks himself up and pulls the Kankoran up with him as well with an open hand.   “I hope yer alright there little buddy…” and Arn holds his hand out again as his enchanted mace flies back to his open grip.       

Arn steps up and looks around, trying to see if there are any more immediate threats.

As Arn and Moonscar begin to pull themselves up to their knees, Valinya finishes her magical melody. She frowns and looks around the room. “Our ghastly foe is not in this chamber, at least.”

Silver says “There’s some sort of strange field here, starting just in front of me, and filling half of this room.  Looks like it covers the far doorway as well.  No idea what it is.”  Silver moves around the field, and attempts to peek into the next room.

Seeker gets his back to the wall and re-readies Charnag Velve. He looks a little wild-eyed as his gaze flicks around the room, searching for the potentially invisible enemy. “Okay, okay, I’m fine. Is everyone else okay?”

“I’m fine, but when we have a moment I’d like a few moments to rest and recuperate.  Maybe that would give someone else time to look this room over more carefully and we can regroup, discuss this new change of events.”

The Kankoran picks himself up gingerly, making sure he doesn’t slip and fall back into the reeking slime and checking for any injuries sustained by serving as the safety mat when Arn stuck the landing on his Flying Dwarven Boulder Drop. “I think I’m intact Uncle. Thanks for the assist.” As he starts scraping offal from his fur with an expression of disgust he looks over at Seeker and comments in Wolfen, “When we get topside I swear I will bite the nose off of anyone who asks what we've 'been rolling in.’” He looks over at the tepid pool and considers whether the water would wash him cleaner.

Even as stressed as he is, Seeker snorts at Moonscar’s pronouncement.

”Yes, a few moments of rest would be quite welcome. But before we get to that, was anyone actually bitten by one of the zombies?” Fortis glances around with concern at his companions “I wouldn't want to get surprised later with any kind of infection from this unsanitary place”.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear...

As Silver moves up to peer into the next chamber, careful to stay out of the shimmering field, an overwhelming panic washes over her. The sudden panic and need to flee through the western door hits Seeker, Fortis and Valinya at the same moment as well.

Silver feels a panic come on - whatever is in that room, she suddenly finds she has to get away from.  “That’s it, I’m out!”  She turns and heads away from the doorway she was just peeking into.

Fortis tamps down on a momentary urge to flee. I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. He then attempts to find the direction of the assault on his mind. I know you are there. I know we can hurt you and I know that twice now you have sought to invade and pollute my mind.

Feeling a pressure on her mind, Valinya struggles briefly with an urgent fear, a need to flee that goes beyond all reason.  But with her disciplined mind she quickly takes a mental breath and reminds herself of what is true … there is nothing there to be seen, and if there was she’d face it bravely to help save her companions.  With a mental shove she pushes the wave of fear aside and looks for a source … that didn’t come out of nowhere.  Perhaps the ghostly visage is to blame.  .  

Silver and Seeker, overcome by an unexplainable fear, push their way out of the chamber and flee to the west. They move past a confused Moonscar and Arn and make their way toward the far side of the room where a wooden door offers them their best escape. Fortis and Valinya seem unaffected by the fear gripping their two larger companions.

Fearing that the attack may have also affected her companions, Valinya turns to see how they are reacting, her song of bravery ready on her lips in hopes that it might counter the fear … though she hopes that will not be needed.  

Faced with a flimsy obstacle and a handy axe, Seeker lays into the wooden door. Gotta go gotta go gotta go! His axe quickly makes headway against the barrier in front of him.

Deciding that there is safety in numbers and wisdom in staying together, Valinya turns and floats after where her companions have gone in hopes of helping them and keeping the group together.  
Seeker and Silver "gotta get outta here NOW!"
The Ellyl starts backing towards his panicked companions while keeping his attention on the source of the mental pollution “Val, the ghost or whatever is causing this loss of nerve is right over there” Fortis shouts to the stalwart Mage as he points to the east. “Do we want to regroup together or face it down now before it can recover? I can see wisdom in either of those choices”

Before Valinya or Fortis can decide what to do next, Seeker already has the wooden door at the far end of the chamber reduced to splinters. As he finishes with the chopping, Silver starts pushing past him to get into the next chamber. Past the two companions trying to get through the now open door to what looks like a dark, natural cavern leading to the west. The sound of sloshing water can be heard from that direction.
Discovering the sea caves

The Ellyl waves Arn and Moonscar after the fleeing dragon and giant Wolfen. “If they get too far away they could find themselves in trouble. We need to keep close and protect them while they recover their senses.”

Hoping to save her companions more misfortune, Valinya attempts to remove their unreasonable fear with magical bravery … knowing of course it’s only restoring them to their natural brave selves.  

As she sings her song, Valinya suddenly realizes that she has not picked the correct notes and melody. This is not right, she thinks to herself. She sees that her companions have not slowed in their attempts to flee to the west. Silver, then Seeker, disappear into the tunnel past the doorway. Arn, Moonscar and Fortis move up toward Valinya’s position, watching their companions head west.

Fortis continues to try keeping all of his companions within view.
This could get very dangerous very quickly. I hope they snap out of it soon. Ideally we should just find a way to all escape then regroup. If we find ourselves cornered we’ll need to find some way to collect ourselves and mount a defense if we are being pursued.

The Sea Caves

Seeker stretches up and up as he barrels through the broken door. Gotta go gotta go gotta go! The taller ceiling and his long stride lets him easily pass Silver and he plunges into the water. Fortis’ Light spell on his buckle lets him see the way, and his magical Ring of Underwater Action make his movements almost effortless as he presses on deeper into the watery cave!

With a sigh of disappointment Valinya hastens after her departing companions, hopeful she can catch them and maybe try to free them again … singing correctly this time.

Following Seeker and Silver through the sundered door, the others finally see where the sloshing sound is coming from. About 6 yards in, the sandy tunnel becomes filled with salty, churning water fueled by what must be powerful submerged currents. The water laps and splashes against the walls of the twisted natural caverns that lead to the west. Dozens of purple and red sea urchins glisten in shallow divots along the ground and lower walls here, their spines glittering with water.  

The sound of splashing and bobbing light up ahead mark Silver and Seeker’s passage. A sudden splash and a gurgling draconic sound indicates that the shallow water of the passageway has quickly given way to deeper water ahead. Seeker makes the transition to the deeper water in the passageway easily while Silver’s is a bit less graceful as she plummets headlong into deep water when the bottom of the tunnel unexpectedly dropped away. Ahead, Seeker sees that the tunnel splits in two as it bends to the south a bit. Without much thought, he makes for the rightmost passageway. Silver, feeling quite at home in the water, swims after him, though his magical ring allows Seeker to move out ahead a bit.

Moving forward Valinya sees the fleeing duo and again tries to salvage the mission by releasing them from their fright with a song of bravery, hopefully getting the tune right this time.

Fortis quickly surveys the room for opponents then takes up a position to ambush anything following them into the room as he suggests  “We can't all escape down the flooded tunnel. Let's rest here a bit where we can defend until we can regroup and figure out a better plan.”
Sloshing through the unexplored tunnels
Valinya feels that she has sung her spell correctly but there is a magical resistance that pushes the melody back. She assumes that it is powerful magic that has ensorcelled her companions. She believes that she can break the spell, but only if she weaves her song just perfectly.

“Sound wisdom, Fortis, but I can’t leave those two to keep running away.  They’re bound to get into some sort of trouble.  I’ll defeat that spell yet!”

Fortis waits to see what happens. If Val can break their fear and let them regroup here that would be best. If not we might need to follow them and I’m not sure how well Arn and Moonscar would be able to keep up, or for that matter what would happen if the ceiling lowers and we would have to submerge ourselves. I’m not sure what would be worse, risking the companions all drown together or splitting up and being overrun while separated. For now, watch the doorway and keep anything from attacking us from behind. Let Val try to salvage the retreating problem and see what Arn and Moonscar do… What a mess.

Arn shakes his head as they watch their companions swim away.   “I thought the lad was tougher than that.   I’ll remember to pick on him about this later.”   Arn gestures towards the water with his mace, “I don’t know if we picked up any potions that allow swimming or breathing in the water, but if we have them, now may be the time to pull them out.   Otherwise, I don’t know how to go after them.    I can swim, but not heavily armored like this.     As for that foul fear magic, i’m wondering if I can push through it.  But if ye feel we are best regrouping and planning another method of attack.”

Seeker continues to move through the flooded sea tunnels toward the west. Silver’s draconic form follows him through the dark water, but at a much slower pace. Very quickly, Seeker disappears out in front, his submerged light disappearing from view. Valinya, floating in the cramped air space between the sloshing surface of the water and the dripping, uneven rock above, tries to keep both of her companions in sight, moving forward a bit then dropping back to see where Silver is.

With no way to follow easily, Arn and Moonscar remain back on the sandy shore near the doorway to the main room with the sagging ceiling. No enemies come from either of the open doors on the other side of the room and none of the 3 closed doors in the north wall open. The only sound comes from the lapping of the water behind them in the narrow tunnel. Fortis remains with them, buzzing around the narrow confines of the tunnel, occasionally zipping a short way down the sea tunnel, but not straying too far from his friends. The tiny Ellyl keeps an eye out for any potential ambush spots and ways to use the local geography to his advantage in case of an attack.

Up ahead, Seeker finally breaks out of the narrow tunnels and out into a larger cavern. The ceiling is much higher in here, though he takes little notice of it. The southwestern corner is the only area that interests him. In just a few moments, the soaking wet Wolfen is pulling himself from the water onto a sandy beach, narrowly avoiding a patch of brightly colored sea urchins. A few feet of sandy beach quickly gives way to old, haphazardly laid brickwork like the earlier tunnels the Guardians explored. A rotten and water swollen wooden door is recessed in the western wall of the room.

After checking on Silver one more time, Valinya zooms forward to find Seeker. She sees his light at the far end of a wider, sea filled chamber, approaching what looks like another wooden door. She floats up to him as he pulls his axe from his belt. The Wolfen does not notice the Elf mage has arrived.

Before he can use  his axe to alert the underground world to his presence, Valinya tries again to counter-spell the spell with an opposite effect spell … still uncertain that she will get the desired effect if she manages to overcome the original spell.  All she can do is try, so focusing as best she can in her hurried state she tries again, singing and wishing and willing Seeker to snap out of his illogical fear.  Wanting to be as sure as she can about conquering his magical fear she closes the distance until he’s only a couple of yards away.  Singing with confidence and power she feels as if she gave it a good shot, the magic flowing strongly through her towards Seeker.  

Valinya completes her magical song just as Seeker is raising his axe to batter the wooden door in front of him. As her notes quietly echo off the bricks, he cocks his head to one side and stops. “Hmm,” he says. “That was interesting.” He turns and looks at Valinya floating just behind him. “I’ll assume that was some strong and dark magic compelling me. Thank you Valinya.” He shakes his head and turns to take in his surroundings a little more carefully than he did during his mostly underwater magic-induced panic.

Cast of Characters: 

+Arne Jamtgaard plays Seeker, a teenage Wolfen Warlord
+Ben Zittere plays Fortis, an Ellyl trickster and Mage
+Stephen Kolmetz plays Valinya, an Elven Wildsong Mage
+Mike Biancone plays Arn, a surly Dwarven Warrior
+Amergin O'Kai plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid
+Daniel White plays Silver, a young and curious Dragon
and +Jason GURPS as the GM

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