Chapter 135 –Hooray, Hooray, it’s a holi-holiday....of death!
After dealing with Cranin, we return to the Underdark through our normal manner of Wind-Walk, covering our journey all the way to the City of Glass and beyond its gates in hours rather than the years that the initial journey took. We end up near the shoreline not far from our previous encounter with the scary birds and Troll, looking out across the dark gloomy water to the scary islands that are indicated on our map if not revealed to our eyes as they are hidden by the fog and mists.
As myself and Beard have no lower level utility spells to protect people from the cold, everyone feels the icy embrace as we travel over the water. Agador with the keenest eyes through the aid of sight spells can see a dense foggy bank, peaks of an island just piercing the top of the fog and so we follow him towards it. The un-natural darkness of the thick fog becomes really hemmed in now, rendering low light vision useless, and even Darkvision is reduced down to 30’.
It is decided that Agador and Beard will take point and head inwards, while the rest of us float like Ghostly spirits just outside of the darkness, ready to come and aid if we can. As the duo fly deeper inland, they soon break free of the thick clouds and appear amongst huge black stone sunken heads, like granite giants submerged and buried to the neck. These are not the sombre carvings similar to an old island named after a festive holiday, but a perverted twisted nightmare of this, the faces contorted and twisted in pain and fear, some with skeletal or abused features or simply the face of extreme cruelty.
Agador falters, finally falling foul of whatever effects the island has on people, the cold biting deep into his bones and he gets the unshakable feeling of disturbing thoughts and anger direct towards him. Agador steels himself against this though and he and Beard continue on in Wind-walk form, passing more heads which radiate the magic of Necromancy.
They drop to the ground and walk rather than fly as they approach a ruin covered in slightly thicker fog and mist then they had already seen. Passing one broken stone structure after another, there is no way to tell what buildings they once were the bricks fallen in on themselves or no more than a foot or so high at any point. Suddenly they are surrounded by man sized shadows that are made of the fog itself, and nearly ten of these creatures bear down on them.
Agador manages to twist amongst the undead and protected by his ring, the creatures miss him, but the ones on Beard grab him and he reacts badly* as he is struck repeatedly with talons of negative energy. Beard manages to react first and flies straight up in the air to escape the creatures and they both fly back to the beach.
Time soon approaches for the waiting people and before long we head to the designated meeting place. They explain what happened, and it sounds as scary as the warnings on the map had led us to believe. “When you said we were having a holiday,” pointing at a grinning Robbie, “You actually meant a holiday of death!” says the new member of the group Hobo. We underline beware on the map, then again for good measure and leave, heading back to shore.
We head back to our camp and over some poor cold fare peruse over the map, checking the location of the next ‘beware’ island. We Wind-walk towards that, with Agador relaying what he can see with his magical sight as we move closer. The island is croissant shaped and very small, a few hundred yards across rather than size of the huge Un-dead isle.
Inside the cove there is a sandy cove with an outcropping of white rock standing about 15 feet high, and as we approach, we see that there are markings written in black upon it. The top is very barren, and we hover about 40 feet above the water watching for anything untoward before we land. Seeing nothing, we move behind some rocks and change from Wind-walk to stand on the sandy beach of the material plane.
As we move from the rocks, it is commented that there are lots of bones upon the shore, and then realised that the white sand all around is pretty much all bones and very little sand. Stopping to examine them, they all seem to be of the bones of death through natural causes rather than displaying the nicks and breaks of weapon damage. I don’t like the look of the black mark written upon the stone though, and think aloud that it could be a unholy symbol of some kind, possibly insanity.
We deliberate about going near it, and think about summoning things to look for us instead. Robbie turns to more practical things though, and summons and sends his Unseen Servant to gather the gems and jewellery that he can see at the base of the pillar of stone.
The wind and weather conditions have started to increase in ferocity and suddenly it becomes very strong, and Robbie is picked up and thrown across the beach into the water. I dig in my pack and reach for the Cottage to drop as shelter against the weather, while Robbie is valiantly struggling to hold onto the rocks near the water’s edge that he has been blown onto.
Once the Cottage is down and opened, I fly to Robbie and grab hold to drag him back inland. Soon we are both inside, wringing our wet cloaks against the roaring fire and watching the weather pick up, water spraying up the sides of the windows and crashing near the door.
We wait out the storm, patiently watching for an hour or more, and then leave the isle, flying past another island that is not marked on the map. As we get close we see that the island has steam rising from it, and the air turns very much warmer, the clouds and fog surrounding the island tinged with a red glow. The island is definitely volcanic and covered in lava and is also very large with a huge fissure in its middle.
We move into land and finding an area that does not look quite so active, change back to normal to investigate the area. We start to clamber over rocks and notice that moss and lichen is the only vegetation, seemingly with no creatures on its shores. Geysers shout out at intervals, barking hot pressured steam into the air high above and all of us watch our step to ensure we are not blown skywards in boiling steam. We spend all afternoon clambering over rocks and find no buildings, dwellings or any signs of life at all.
Leaving the lava island, we head to the next unmarked one and find a ruined jetty and pier. Moving closer and spreading out slightly, we head towards dilapidated buildings which are dotted around, all of which show no outwards signs of life and are in various states of repair. The construction of the settlement appears to be Elvish architecture from the way the wood has been treated down to the method of the buildings, and very very old.
Not wanting to travel to more islands of death or boredom, we stay the night in the best of the huts and watch the star like effect on the roof of the cavern.
* Took 14 con damage!