- The party emerged from the subterranean temple spattered with blood and covered in rock dust. They had won, Krekulphyr had been defeated, and the village of Respite was safe again. But the victory had cost them Tegan Ashmara’s life. Even the acquisitive Marielle agreed that they must devote some of their massive earnings from this adventure to the best of the raise dead spells, true resurrection.
- Instead of the deserted village green, they found that there was a frightened-looking but festive welcome party waiting for them, including a band and a grateful Clarissa on a stretcher. Juno asked how the rag-tag group had had the cojones to waltz into a monster-ridden city, and Clarissa replied that “the lawyer” had predicted the very minute that Les Cinq would emerge victorious from the temple. “What lawyer?” asked Clement.
- An officious halfling wearing a monocle and spats stepped out of the crowd and introduced himself as Marcus Blunderbuss, Tomnein’s personal attorney. He presented a letter (see link) and a mass teleport scroll, and commanded the party to return to Melvaunt immediately.
- As Marcus had told them, Les Quatre (and poor dead Tegan in the bag of holding) arrived in Andros’ shop, where they bought a few useful scrolls and other items before attending to the most important event of the day: Tegan’s resurrection. Andros expressed some slight concern that Brother Clement might suffer a scroll mishap when he tried to cast such a high-level spell. [Ed. The chances were slim; Clement’s wisdom score is pretty kick-ass.] Andros took the party to the basement, where he offered them a free use of a pair of magical ready-steady boots, a wondrous item which prevented scroll mishaps.
- Soon, the pink of health had returned to Tegan’s cheek. She told the party that her spirit had spent time in two of the Outer Planes and had learned that the gods themselves were nervous over a mysterious event called a “polthanatrum,” which none of the unearthly beings would explain.
- Andros interrupted her tale to announce that Molly Quinn had sent a message over from Trevethian Island asking that they return as soon as possible—there was trouble in their fief! Indeed, Tomnein had given Aubrey the message to bring the boat around in plenty of time to take them home.
- “One more thing,” cried Andros as the party were leaving his shop. “My mother, Lisette, has been suffering from strange headaches for a week now which my healing potions cannot help. May we stop by the island and ask your help? Perhaps tomorrow morning, for breakfast?” Marielle patted the shopkeeper’s arm soothingly and assured him that he and his mother would be welcome. “Tres, tres welcome!!” leered Peri the Mace.
- The weather was beautiful for sailing, and Les Cinq were enjoying the scenery and views from the deck of their coaster boat. Suddenly, Copernicus sent a telepathic message to Marielle that there was a boat approaching, about a quarter-mile hence, bearing five humanoids. The owl mentioned that they were headed straight for them, and that the rowers were giving it their all, going hell-for-leather. The party wisely took a moment to buff themselves.
- Les Cinq relaxed when the boat came into visual range, and they recognized Ruggiero and Crusoe. It seemed they had come by boat (with three rowers rounding out the party) for a visit from the Monastery of Jade Harmony. As the hunky monk and addled druid waved, loud thuds were heard underwater and their boat began the pitch wildly. The party gasped as five giants covered in fish scales emerged from the water, and four eagle-like creatures made of green seawater dive-bombed the men on the other boat. A beautiful woman soon appeared, her torso emerging from the water several yards away. She called out, “HOW MANY TIMES MUST YOU BE WARNED? HEED OR DIE.” The woman appeared to be a magic user of some sort. Before the party could do much damage to these watery foes, the baddies had nearly killed Ruggiero (who wisely turned himself invisible as soon as possible), slaughtered the three rowers, and rendered Crusoe unconscious and near death.
- Once Ruggiero was invisible, the giants began smashing the Jade Harmony boat to smithereens, destroying it within a round. Crusoe’s inert body was bobbing in the water, and who KNOWS where the invisible Ruggiero was. Marielle rained down fireballs and Clement brought the holy smite, although the watery female’s spell resistance nullified the Priest’s magic. Billy Bartholemieux turned Juno invisible and hasty, and the rogue began to skewer the magical female with arrows. Tegan used one of her magical necklaces to help Marielle burn the giants. Then the ranger flew out over the water and rescued Crusoe, healing him with the Necklace of Holy Aid. Billy used his bead of force to encapsulate one of the giants, then used his ring of fly to rescue Ruggiero, thereby bravely making himself the prime target of the fishy giants.
- The beautiful water woman offered the party a deal: promise not to interfere with Ruggiero’s death, and they could survive. The party’s choice was easy: they refused!! The water witch had by then taken a lot of damage from Juno’s arrows, so she teleported away in a huff, leaving her minions to continue the battle. Eventually, the party killed most of the giants and watery fliers. Tegan and Clement theorized that the giants were being mind controlled (their eyes were rather glassy), so the cleric tried dispel magic to free them from the magical woman’s thrall. They learned (through a DM error) that their theory was correct.
- Once Aubrey had brought them back to land, they asked Ruggiero and Crusoe why the water woman had wanted Ruggiero dead. The two seemed sincerely perplexed by her animosity, and announced that they’d simply come to ask the party’s help on a minor magical question. Ruggiero had found an interesting item in the monastery’s archives: the Diorb of Sudoryx.
- This wondrous item was made of two spheres joined by gems. There was a hole on either side, and lore indicated that if a male half-elf and a female half-elf put their fingers in these holes in a grove of trees on the night of a harvest moon (tomorrow night—how fortunate!), the Diorb’s magic would reveal itself. The item’s magical aura was currently masked.
- Tegan, Billy, and Ruggiero had water breathing cast on them, and they flew/swam down to the ocean floor, searching until they found the chest that had gone down with Ruggiero’s boat containing the magical item, thanks to Ruggiero’s locate object spell. Success!
- Crusoe couldn’t stop marveling over their luck. “What righteous timing that you spotted our boat just at the exact time of the attack! Had you waited another minute, we’d have been dead. Praise the gods that you hurried back from Respite!”
Next time: Everybody wants a piece of us. What else is new?
In the Nick of Time
Memorial Day weekend, 1 of 2. Also, what's the secret to Polish comedy?