Episode Twenty Nine - Pearls of the Sea Twins
Episode Twenty Nine – Pearls of the Sea Twins (Level 13)
*Bounty hunters are looking for the group, and Lyda’s admirers inadvertently draw them to the group. Masked men bread into the room, using toxic gas to try to knock out their prey. They also approach through the bar, but Catzin starts a bar figth to slow them down and buy the group time. After trouncing their opponents, they narrowly avoid the town guard, with Darius taking on the form of the barkeep and sending the guards in the wrong direction. They run for the docks, and board The Lucky Twin, a ship that is clearly a pirate galleon masquerading as a well-armed independent merchant ship. Captain Jalarem has agreed to take them across the passage at extortionate rates. The ship debarks at dusk, starting the two and a half day journey to Olsterik, Iluithum.
*Tobias, already developing a nasty cough, breaths in too much of the toxic gas during the fight with the bounty hunters, and it settls in his lungs as a sucking pneumonia. He quickly becomes too ill to be aware of anything beside his own misery, with a high fever, vertigo, and other awful symptoms. Adding extreme seasickness onto that list makes his condition even more wretched.
*Captain Jalarem of The Lucky Twin, a burly half-elf, tells the party to stay in their cramped, windowless quarters, but they are anxious to explore and find out more about the ship’s business, and stealthy enough to get away with it. Lyda and Carmenith take turns tending the miserable Tobias, with Catzin standing guard. Ichtaca, Darius, and Vash creep out to explore and gather information. They find the galleon to be heavily crewed with tough humans and half-elves, all speaking Iljerkr. Signs are everywhere of lucrative business. The “merchant vessel” carries no trade goods, but is heavily armed, with vast holds holding only empty containers and gear for securing cargo they don’t yet have. Dissatisfied with cold gruel, Icthca acquires better food from the gallery, stealing food and drink of a quality to befit a king’s table. Darius and Vash creep into the captains’ cabin, admire his displayed weapon collection (including one magical maul), and open his safe. Inside they find several bags of coin (including their fare), and a mysterious box holding two huge pearls, one black, one white. The pearls radiate a subtle magic, and Darius and Vash determine that each is associated with one of the twin sea goddesses. The pearls can be used to attract or repel natural or aberrant sea creatures, and to summon a great sea creature or group of lesser creatures, and attempt to dominate it. Vash and Darius leave everything as it is, and sneak out carefully.
*Ichtaca finds himself among the crew, eavesdropping on a conversation he cannot understand. He uses the meteor bracers to connect with Lyda, who inexpertly manages to enter his mind and help him. She speaks Iljerkr well enough to translate for him. They overhear the crew complaining about the captain’s new plan, which is to turn the ship around a day out, and return to Imsund, Telgard to turn in their passengers for their bounties. More than half of the crew want to continue along with their previous plan, which involved ambushing a small fleet of merchant ships. The crew is divided, dissatisfied, and mutinous.
*The three explorers convene back in their quarters to enjoy a delicious meal with the others and plot. They then capture the second in command, first mate Hadd, tie him up and hide him in a hold, and Darius takes his place. Darius meets with the Captain, and convinces him to give up on the bounties, and pursue the more lucrative attack on the merchant freighters instead. The captain tells Darius to be ready for his usual mission when they flag down the merchants tomorrow, to “warn” them of treacherous sea monsters ahead.
*The group now head down to interrogate the real Hadd, who refuses to talk until Vash gets creative with his threats, making the man believe he is being burned, when he is only being prodded with cold metal. Hadd tells them that the merchant target is a convoy of ships, three cargo frigates and at least five battleships running guard through these monster-infested seas. It’s sailing from Olsterik to Imsund, and the Lucky Twin is due to intercept it tomorrow. The captain will flag them down to “warn” them of a great, treacherous monster in the waters ahead, and while they parley, Hadd will do his usual task. He will sneak on-board and plant Maruma’e’s pearl, then set it to attract aberrant creatures. The Lucky Twin will retreat a ways off, using Lakhi’s pearl to deflect the same aberrant creatures. When the merchant fleet is torn to shreds, the pirates will dispel the aberrant creatures and dominate one to help them collect the scattered cargo.
*The heroes wait until just before the planned rondevu with the merchant fleet, stealing gunpowder charges and setting them to damage the ship in full view of the merchant’s military escort. Then, Darius and Vash steal the pearls, along with the captains cash reserves and a magical maul. Icthaca uses Lakhi’s pearl to summon a natural creature to help them, and a pod of dolphins arrive. The dolphins converse with Ichtaca, who has been chewing the special herbs he has that allow him to commune with spirits and communicate with natural beasts. He easily convinces the dolphins to help, and the pod whisks the group away into deep waters, even carrying their gear in nets. Behind them, part of the Lucky Twin’s hull explodes, and the merchant fleet approaches to aid the vessel. It seems likely that the pirates will be boarded and arrested.
*Leaving the pirates to their fate, the adventurers now find themselves being pulled through cold waters by small, hardy dolphins. The creatures are fascinated by humanoids that can communicate with them (through Icthaca) and entertain them with songs and stories the whole trip. More pods join them as they go, until the party’s escort numbers in the hundreds. The creatures will not approach a large city or travel through heavy shipping lanes, so the journey takes a full day and a half through uncomfortably cold water. The group is fighting off hypothermia and exhaustion, and those with the smallest bodies, Catzin, Lyda, Carmenith, and Tobias, don’t fare very well, with Tobias becoming so ill the group worries they will lose him. Icthaca convinces the dolphins to travel in warmer currents, and to group up around the beleaguered swimmers to keep them warmer.
*The dolphins leave the group on the beach in a wilderness area in a cove 100 miles north of Olsterik. They find themselves on a long, white-sand beach, with semi-tropical rainforests just beyond the dunes. It’s several hours after sunset.
The captains cash reserves were 3,000 gp worth of mixed Telgardian and Iljerker currency, not including the recovered fares.
Vash took an enchanted maul from the ship (Crashing weapon +3). He and Darius also stole the Sea Twins’ Pearls.
Marumae’s Pearl: (A luminous black pearl the size of a plum)
Once per day, as a standard action, the user can summon a great aberrant sea creature or a group of lesser ones with a hard dungeoneering check, and, with a hard dungeoneering check of the creature’s level, the user can dominate the creature or group. Once per day, as a standard action, the user can set the pearl to either attract aberrant sea creatures or repel natural sea creatures.
Lakhi’s Pearl: (A luminous white pearl the size of a plum)
Once per day, as a standard action, the user can summon a great natural sea creature or a group of lesser ones with a hard nature check, and, with a hard nature check of the creature’s level, the user can dominate the creature or group. Once per day, as a standard action, the user can set the pearl to either attract natural sea creatures or repel aberrant sea creatures.
The Pearl Box: (A small bone, ebony, and mother of pearl box, worked with images of natural sea life on one side, and aberrant sea life on the other. It’s carved with two round depressions on the inside, holding two huge pearls.)
The pearls cannot be removed from the box for more than 24 hours. If either is taken out for more than 24 hours, it will then vanish and reappear in the box.