To the Seed of Winter
Bejam extended to Kord’s Deliverance an invitation to visit the decently stocked magic item stores on Nefelus before their departure. He also took them down a deep winding staircase to a cavern, clearly below sea-level. It was beneath the bay of nefelus, he told the party. An air pocket trapped in the cavern had been discovered by divers many years ago, and the passage way dug out to the surface. Magic now helped maintain the integrity of the air pressure in the room to keep it from flooding.
The reason for their excursion sat in a squat, imposing heap on the edge of the water.
“It is called the Apparatus of Kwalish,” Bejam told the companions. “I know it is hardly the equivalent of a villa, but we hope it will suffice for your journey after the Seed of Winter. It is yours to use however and how often you wish.”
As it offered both speed and stealth, being able to approach underwater and thus unseen, the party chose to use the mammoth contraption. It took very little time for Gwydion to master the controls. With their supplies in hand, Kord’s Deliverance bid a hasty farewell to Bejam, and prepared to leave.
“I am sorry we have had so little time,” Bejam spoke to Asha. "If the reports we hear of the prowess of Kord’s Deliverance are even half true, however, I am confident we will see you back here in Nefelus soon, " Bejam smiled warmly. “And then, we shall talk.”
Asha nodded. As she stepped towards her waiting companions, she hesitated.
“Have you ever spoken with a past life before? One of your own, I mean.”
“Of my own? No.”
A shadow of disappointment clouded Asha’s face. Bejam watched her curiously. Then he answered carefully, “But I have read reports-rare, mind you-of similar phenomena.”
Asha stared up at Bejam, poised on the edge of a further question. Bejam waited patiently. But Asha shook her head slightly, almost to herself, spun and quickly made her way to the Apparatus. The hatch snapped shut, and Kord’s Deliverance sank into the ocean depths.
A mere hour later, a quick surface reconnaissance had shown in the near distance a massive iceberg. There was no question it was the one upon which the Thraxinium had determined the seed of winter could be found. “We’re here,” Slyron said.
Gwydion dove the Apparatus down again, and scuttled across the ocean floor until the bulk of the iceberg floated above them. They circled the huge island of ice, searching. After a short while, Slyron sharp eyes picked out a curious feature. An indentation with a different, lighter shading than the pockets surrounding it. The bluish light emanating from it revealed a wide entrance way.
The Apparatus clambered up and along the tunnel. It was wide, and after a short distance, ended at a steep shelf rising up. Above, an opening into the air.
The blue skinned sahuagin stared in amazement at the huge, crablike form that surfaced suddenly. They scrambled quickly as a fireball exploded in their midst, and a lithe form wielding a massive blade materialized beside one of their companions near the edge of the shore. The figure spun the sword in a whipping circle, and the sahaguin dropped into two pieces.
The hatch opened and the rest of Kord’s Deliverance roared out to join Asha, and Slyron. He’d already slipped from the Apparatus, unseen by anyone, and had skewered an enemy.
The sahuagin were overwhelmed. They managed a short resistance, but with their numbers dropping every round, the remaining few, plus their spell casting leader, sought a retreat. They were not fast enough. Kord’s little army of death dealers quickly tracked them down, and eliminated them.
Slipping up the passageway to the next chamber, the companions discovered a decidedly more dangerous target. A slumbering Behir lay off to the left, its thirty foot form curled in the corner of a large chamber, a lair by the smell of it. The passageway continued to the right, its length flanked by openings at ranging from 10 to 15 feet high. A wordless question passed between the members of Kord’s Deliverance as they beheld the snoring beast. Pass on or attack?
“Attack, of course! By the throne, we’re Kord’s Deliverance!”
The Behir was startled from its sleep by the assault. Not hesitating, it leapt to all of its dozen feet, and charged up. Slyron shifted to the side furtively. And well he did; the nearest target to the Behir was now Morgan, and the Behir promptly swallowed the dwarf whole.
The rest of the party stood stunned, as the Behir flashed a wicked smile in their direction. A moment later, its eyes widened. A flash of light and fire belched from its mouth, and the behir contracted in a roar of pain.
“Flamestrike!” Gwydion said.
“His fault,” commented Ghesh as they dashed back in with weapons slashing.
“Morgan’s gonna be nothing but indigestion for this stupid beast.”
The rest of the party swarmed the behir, braving its nasty electrical shocks that arced and leaped back and forth between the party members with stinging pain. After a few more rounds of intestinal destruction, the behir had had enough, and spat Morgan back onto the ground. The acid-scarred, snarling dwarf staggered to his feet.
“Damage report!” he yelled.
“I’m ok, but getting very worried!” a very worried, but essential unharmed Gwydion called out.
With good reason. While the rest of the party duked it out with the behir—who now decided Gheshkan was a much better target to swallow—two more sahuagin appeared, running out of the passageway to the right. Slyron managed to dash over and cut off one of them, leaving the other for Gwydion. Reluctantly and distastefully, he engaged in hand to hand combat.
The behir had scant success in swallowing Gheshkan too, although the party was beginning to suffer mightily from the lightning attacks. Morgan opened the stream of life, and Asha, who was the least harmed of the party, unleashed her final daily power against the beast. Finally, Gwydion’s Hound was able to drop the behir with
In the meantime, the sahuagin facing Slyron retreated, bleeding from two severe wounds. Slyron hesitated; Gwydion looked to be in trouble, but the retreating sahuagin could raise the alarm. When it yelled out, a gurgling cry that echoed off the icy walls, Slyron shrugged and turned to help the wizard.
Dispatching the last sahuagin quickly, Kord’s Deliverance regrouped to deal with the next threat. Alerted by the warning cry, another sahuagin appeared on a ledge further down the passageway to the right. This sahuagin, though, was significantly different than the others. Ten feet tall, with four arms, this sahuagin carried a massive spear and brandished wicked claws. At the sight of the party, he reached behind his back and pulled forth javelins, launching them. Then, as Asha and Gheshkan moved forward, the sahuagin leapt from the ledge to wade into combat with relish.
Slyron, meanwhile, had slipped down the passageway, finding another ledge some half a hundred feet further along. Kipping up onto the edge neatly, Slyron began to make his way forward towards an opening deeper into the chamber when he froze. Floating down from the ceiling was a grotesque and frightening monster. Slyron shrank into the shadows. With a massive eye in the centre of its globelike body, and several other smaller eyes perched on stalks, like ocular hairs, the creature immediately focused angry glares upon Slyron. Unnerved, the rogue slid back and off the ledge, dropping to the floor and making his way back towards his companions quickly.
The 4 armed sahuagin yelled out in draconic. Asha translated quickly. “He’s calling for some reinforcement! Someone named … to abandon his post and help!”
“Another sahuagin perhaps?” Gwydion said as he launched a magic missile towards their enemies.
“I don’t think so,” Slyron said. He told Gwydion what he’d seen. Gwydion paled. “A beholder! Morgan, we should regroup! We can’t possibly fight that creature too.”
Morgan ducked a javelin, and swore. “I’ve got the stream open! I think we can do this!”
“No, Morgan, beholders are incredibly dangerous! Most of my spells are gone!”
“My powers too,” called Asha, “although I can hold out for a while.”
Morgan swore again. The 4 armed sahuagin had retreated back up onto the ledge, from where he and two more of his smaller, two armed kin launched javelins at them. “Fine! Back to the apparatus. We’ll have to use the scroll now.”
So Kord’s Deliverance quickly made a strategic withdrawal to regroup. In an hour’s passing, they would be back, recharged.