Day… I don’t know, honestly… I’ve been too pre-occupied with these damn squiddies, and after hiking back to get the boat in order to access the entrance we found at the base of that cliff, I think I’ve lost track of a few days. It’s late afternoon by the time we make it back, but thankfully Besmara has blessed us with low tide for our task.
“There it is… you can make out the shepards at the entrance now,” says Drago as he lowers his spyglass. “We’ll weigh anchor in this cove and take a skiff out.”
“Well isn’t this grand,” groans Zach as we come into view of the entrance with the skiff and take in the small tunnel and the water lapping the rocks at about half level. “Looks like we’ve got a lot of swimming to do.”
“Or perhaps we could climb,” replies Priest as he points to a path down the rocks. “The climb is steep… but nothing good can be accomplished without suffering.”
“If it’s okay with the rest of you, I’m still going to send a scout to check out the top first,” says Drago as he rubs his hands together and mutters the incantation that summons a slightly glowing eagle to do his bidding. “Hmmn… no ambushes that I can see…”
“Well that settles it then,” says Zack with a wistful grin. “Did I ever tell you guys about the climbing contest that Jack and I had as kids? Let me tell you…”
I don’t know if it was just to get away from hearing that story for the 10th time, but it definitely seemed to push us along and soon we made our way to the top to find a barren, rocky expanse with nothing… but a 18ft hole in the ground.
“Looks like we found the back door,” says Drago as he kicks a pebble down the hole and counts out the seconds before it splashes below into the water. “I’d say we’re about 40 feet up. Looks free of rocks if we want to dive down there, but it’s hard to be sure.”
“I could cast a spell that will aid our decent,” I offer as I peer down the hole with Drago.
“Whatever you’re going to decide, do it quick!” warns Zach as he points behind us. “Stirges!”
“Blood-sucking bastards!” I yell as I feel the prick of their needle-like nose in my back. I reach back and pull it off of me in frustration as I fight the wave of weakness that threatens to overcome me. Priest takes aim with one of his guns and then screams in pain as it backfires, sending him to his knees as he grabs at his eyes.
“That does it,” I mutter as I duck under the attack of one of them and chop another in mid air with my cutlass before sending a barrage of magic missiles into a third. “Everyone down the hole!”
Drago hops onto Jabber and rides the scrambling eidelon as it climbs down the hole into the cave. The others gather around the entrance and with a quick incantation of a Feather Fall spell we float gently into the waters below.
Drogo quickly dispells the eagle and summons a dolphin to guide us through another tunnel that seems to be purposely decorated with sharp points. “Be careful,” I whisper back to the others as I take point. While a part of me is glad to be back swimming in the waters again… this is not the location I would choose. I motion Priest to come up and cast a Light spell on his holy symbol so that we can make out more details as we move down the tunnel into a large circular room.
“I think I just felt something move around my ankles,” I warn as I freeze at the sudden sensation.
“It looks like there’s an island of sorts in the middle there… it might be a good idea to get out of the water if we can,” says Priest.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” I mutter as I make my way to the rocks and climb out. Zach follows after me with a story about how his brother Jack once wrestled an alligator after it brushed up against him without asking first. He’s soon interrupted by the screams of Drago, however, as eight of those damn squiddies rise out of the water to attack.
Four of the slimy bastards slither over the rocks towards me with spears raised, so I give one the taste of my blade before sending a spell of Shocking Grasp through it, leaving it flailing in the water before it dies. Priest stabs another as it attempts to bite his ankles and Drago flails in a panic, but still manages to knock one against the rocks unconscious.
We manage to kill the rest after a heated battle, though Priest is left feeling a little sickly after being scratched by one of those… things. “We need to keep going… do you think you can manage?”
Priest nods stoically as he tightens a bandage around his arm, and we continue through a narrow and slippery pathway covered in seaweed that opens up into a large open room with three rocky islands covered in sharp rocks and a faint blue light emanating from a foul smelling moss on the ceiling. The far end of the chamber has two opposing tides meeting, creating water spouts and turbulent waves.
“Hold up,” I warn as I make out pieces of cork with fishhooks tied to them floating amidst the seaweed. “I don’t know if this is an alarm or just meant to slow us down… but I’m going to need to clear these.” It takes a few minutes… but thankfully a Mage Hand cantrip is good enough for the task in case there’s anything more dubious about the devices. The movement is slow, but eventually we’re able to make our way through the waters along the side of the cave.
“Strange… do you see here?” says Priest as he runs his hand along the wall. “These markings… they are crude, but seem to depict the ancient sea deity Dagon.”
Suddenly I feel my blood run cold… and it’s not just because of the water we’ve been swimming in. I glance around at the walls and the islands and take in the garishly painted symbols that seem to decorate the entire cave… when it’s not decorated with hooks and other pointy things.
“We need to get out of here… now, before they sacrifice us to their inhuman fish god!”
“I concur… this place does give off an unholy aura. It would be best if we depart.” replies Priest.
A large iron grill suddenly smashes down from the ceiling, taking Drogo under the depths as it pins him to the rocks. “Come on… if we work together, I think we can raise it!” I tell Priest, and after a few moments Drago kicks to the surface.
“Come on, let’s move!”
We continue on through another tunnel that splits off when a large form the size of a small horse explodes out of the water with black tentacles and glowing red eyes. Thankfully fiend-touched squids don’t like the taste of steel and lightning any more than the next monster, and it takes off down the other tunnel with a squirt of foul smelling ink that I sincerely hope doesn’t get in my hair.
“Just go ahead and kill me, you sons of bitches!” we hear a female voice growl from a cave ahead.
“Hey, is that…” Zach asks before we all raise a finger to our lips. “Do you think that’s Sendara?” he continues in a whisper.
The woman’s scream echos down the hall followed by a splash, leaving no time to answer. We all run into the large room to see a larger than usual female squiddy covered in jewelry and skulls, with an even larger, mansized squiddy behind her laughing as Sendara’s red hair disappears beneath the waves.
Drago quickly summons a dolphin and grabs hold as it dives beneath the waves to rescue our endangered cleric while Zach begins singing a song reminiscent of the lullibies I’d hear as a child. The big grindylow’s roar turns into a yawn as Zach yells out, “I slowed him down… go get him!”
I leap into the fray with my cutlass drawn and with a big swing knock the squiddy druid into the wall where she slumps into a heap on the ground before sending a summoned splash of acid into the face of the larger one. The remaining squiddy charges me in anger and attempts to bite me… but thankfully a quickly summoned spell shielf just manages to keep his rotten teeth from around my arm.
I risk a quick glance at the water and notice in fear that Drago still hasn’t come up yet. Priest dives down to help as Zack begins telling a story of how his brother heroically defeated a monster larger than him single-handedly.
It takes more strikes with my sword than I’d imagined to finally fell the angry beast… but thankfully my spell shield held long enough for me to make him a new throat-hole.
Sendara bursts out of the water with a grateful gasp of air, soon followed by our other missing crewmen as well as Priest, who seems to be holding a Drago-sized statue in his arms.
“What happened down there?” I ask worriedly as I clean the squiddy blood from my sword and join them. “Is he ok?”
“Good news is there’s a lot of treasure down there,” Zach says as he runs his hand through his wet hair to get it off his face.
“And the bad news?”
“Ghouls.” Priest deadpans. “The halfling is temporarialy paralyzed… but he will improve with time.” He takes out his holy symbol and stands by the water. “In the meantime, my duties call to me.” He raises up the symbol and with a chant a glowing wave of energy eminates from him multiple times and into the water. “…that should do it,” he mutters before groaning and collapsing on the ground.
“Crap… I think he’s got Ghoul Fever,” Sendara warns as she checks him over.
Zach turns a pasty green as sweat beads across his brow. “Yeah… I don’t feel too good myself.”
“We need to get all of you back to the ship,” I reply. “Now that their leader is vanquished, perhaps Besmara will look over us and they will scatter.”
*Precious metal inlade shark scrimshaw – massive octopus eating whales drawing. dozen silver and gold rings hammered into the bone. Worth about 250 gp.
*Monster Tooth: a foot long hole in side with plug of seaweed in it. I pull the seaweed out of it… 6 pearls with 75gp each roll out.
*Whale skull with arcane symbols and scrimshaw (25lbs 3 ft across) – functions as a series of scrolls: *alter self, *black tentacles, *blur, *color spray, *daylight, *enlarge person, hypnotism, *slow, touch of idiocy, and *vampire touch.
*8 4lb silver ingots (20gp each) off of the prisoners.
*gleaming untarnished crossbow bolts – 4 (+1)
*1/2 of a pair of bracers. (magical)