Session Report - Shnecke's Wolves - February 11th, 2013

The group arrive in Auran'Dyre after a relatively uneventful five days, despite the Sundering manifesting several times during the journey. At one point a vast dark mass, shapeless and alien, slides beneath the vessel, its black fluid form studded by huge luminous green eyes. The crew are convinced it is an old sea God, whilst others are sure it is a herald of the end. Thatari believes it to be some kind of archomental, a being of such vast idiot power that it would be unaware of the ship and its crew; insects beneath its notice.
At another point, the group suddenly realise that they are no longer sail any ocean found in their world, the waters swirling with enticing reflections that seem to sing to the crew, inviting them to drown themselves in its beautiful waves...

9/8/1472 11:00: A huge cloud lowers above a barely visible strip of land in the far distance; anvil headed and black. The crew gather on the upper decks to look towards the distant island – the infamous Carrion Port – the air filled with excited chatter. However, as the SC draws closer to the island, everyone begins to realise that something is somehow off with the legendary port, though none can say what exactly. As they near, they can see huge clouds of what appear to be seabirds flocking around the main harbour, landing in waves, only to burst into the air again, disturbed it seems by something below.

15:40: The port now looms ahead; an ugly collection of stone buildings, roofed with shale and black tile, seeming to grow from the bare stone of the island itself. Its jetties extend out into the sea, the waters choppy with the stormwinds that blow steadily from the oddly positioned cloud that seems to grow, like a vast, vaporous mushroom, from the heart of the city (a trick of the lighting surely?). As the SC comes within a half-hour's reach of the port, two ships – low things with armoured hulls, each bearing a great cannon like device on their front, attached to what appear to be vast, armoured tanks by coiled pipes, cut towards them, with flags of parley riding high.

“What do we do captain?” Asks the slave manning the helm.

Shnecke frowns, whilst Caleph and Jaeger look meaningfully at the helmsman.

“Well...” Begins the Ulnyrr, reaching for his terrible axe.

“We allow parley.” Interrupts the assassin smoothly, catching Shnecke with a warning glare.

“Indeed!” Blusters the barbarian, somewhat annoyed.

16:05: The nearest of the ships (who's weapons it is realised are alchemical fire projectors, each capable of dousing a ship in sticky, water resistant flame in a heartbeat), the Inferno Child, slows and moves alongside the SC. Several crew members on it wave, calling out for Santhiel, and everyone realises that they don't know that the SC is no longer the Ravager and is no longer captained by Santhiel and his crew.

“We need to play this cool.” Growls Jaeger, looking over towards Shnecke.

16:06 – 16:11: An initially rather awkward parley occurs, with the assassin working to keep the Dohr'Khustan's manning the Inferno Child from guessing the fate of the former Ravagers' crew. However, the crew soon work out what has happened, and seem to accept Santhiel's death as “De way tings be out 'ere.” The group are told to consider turning away from Auran'Dyre, as it is “cursed”. It seems that when the Sundering hit, a vast whirlpool appeared in the middle of the city, destroying several blocks. Worse, the whirlpool seems to be some kind of portal, that from time to time fills the streets and the air above them with fog. This fog, they learn, allows a host of deep sea creatures and monsters to enter this plane, and to swim through it – flying and breathing on land as if swimming below the waves.

16:30: Undeterred, the group continue to sail towards the legendary port, and soon, they are berthed.

16:40 – 23:00: The first thing that greets the group as they arrive at Auran'Dyre is the slightly surreal sight of a number of angry natives trying to move the relatively fresh carcass of a huge white shark from the streets where it has apparently crash landed. Another massive fish hangs half out of a shattered roof nearby, again, apparently dropped from a great height. Hundreds of other fish lie in pieces all over the streets; splattered in the gutters, hanging from the edges of roofs, and rotting in doorways in gory drifts. The air above the city is filled with screeching and screaming clouds of sea birds, driven to frenzy by the stink of so much fish flesh, their razor beaks snapping at those trying to clean up the streets. 

The group are initially vexed, but quickly realise that these creatures must have been supported by the strange mist that emerges from the portal when it opens, suddenly finding themselves falling to their deaths when the mists retreated.

The first task for the group is finding someone that can restore Grigori and Varracuda to their normal, non-stoned state. Caleph is left in charge of the SC, a guard placed on the petrified remains of the two, whilst the group go into the pirate city to seek help. It becomes immediately apparent that the once bustling freeport is almost a ghost town; those able to, seeking more stable ports far away from the chaos that regularly envelops this place, and the group worry they will not find anyone able to help them. As it happens, they need not have worried, for they come across no less than three individuals who claim to be able to assist them. Out of the three, one is clearly the best to deal with; the High Priest of Swaervar'Tritul, Rodag Keth'Tritul – a thin-faced man, with a curled goatee and sharp, grey eyes.He oversees the House of Warding Waves; a spectacular temple carved from grey marble, sea pearls, coral and aquamarine, and is only too happy to meet with the group.

He explains that the portal opens at random times, each time unleashing waves of horrors from an alien world. He has been given the sacred task of closing the portal, but so far, has been unable to, his two most potent priests being lost to the invaders spears and magic during the last invasion.

"They come through in force, and capture any they find. Those that oppose them are slain without mercy." 

"What are 'they'?" Asks Lia, her face grim. 

"Sea Devils. Sahuagin. Nasty bastards that pollute the sacred depths with their heretical evil".

The priest snarls, his eyes dark. 

"They must be stopped. By Tritul's beard, they must. Be. Stopped." 

Rodag believes that the group's arrival is the work of his God, and that they are therefore unable to fail. The group are less certain of this, but are happy to help (Closing the portal seems a small task compared to those put forth by the other two; the destruction of a temple raised to Xzillx'Qua or, even worse, the recovery of the briny fluids in which an Elder Brain floats). Rodag gives them several scrolls, which contain a ritual that will allow the party to breath and move normally in the deepest of waters, and tells them to be alert, for the portal can open at any time.

That same night Rodag boards the SC, and works the ritual needed to restore the petrified pair to flesh. He appears to struggle a little, the magics summoned somewhat unfocused in this region so badly torn by the Sundering, but in both cases he is successful. 

Varracuda and Grigori are returned to life.

To ensure that the party do not flee now they have what they want, Rodag then, with the group's prior permission, works a powerful spell upon them, a Geas. The Geas ensures that if the group do not keep up their part of the bargain, “Your guts will be consumed by fish, and your blood will turn to saltwater”. 

The group can feel the potent divine magic upon them, and realise that Rodag isn't kidding. 

31/8/1472, 03:10: The portal opens...