Lost in the Fog
While the keepers recover, Shon frees the withered remains of his son from the deck of the Silt Queen and begins burying them in the hard-pan of the Feral Sea, where the last stalker was slain. Aduron is nearly debilitated from the feasting of the Silt Stalker and distraught by a strange ‘presence’ he senses nearby. As he recovers, he drifts off to sleep and then fades from this plane of existence.
When Shon returns from his grim duty, he speaks plainly to those remaining, “I have buried my sons in this foul place. I deserve to know what fools errand I am embarked upon. What is our destination and why are we traveling there.”
Shad is the first to reply saying, “I have remained among these pilgrims to fulfill the great hunt. There is the legend of one of the fhantom clan members who was exiled or abandoned ages ago. This man learned to hunt the Feral Sea, and consequently became mad with power and mutation, assuming the mantle of a great beast. He is now an abomination. None whom have gone in search of it have returned. If I was to return to my tribe with proof that I had slain this creature, they would not think my path was such a foolish one.”
The Keepers ponder this information in silence.
“And the rest of you?”, Shon presses.
Daren speaks on behalf of the rest that are present, saying “We seek an isle to the northwest that is covered in ruins of the old ones.”
Shon turns pale and mutters, “You seek the Eyeless Isle and the beast that rules it? So be it. Often seen are the eyeless ones who server the master of the isle; those that have torn there eyes out so that they can fully see the world. Traders whisper tales of them. Even I have seen some from afar, but none seek them. The old stories say that their master once had a beautiful voice, and that now it is the voice of madness.”
Soon, daylight breaks and the path ahead is made clear. The vessel is approaching an area known as The Rim, an expanse ringed with cracks that requires careful navigation. To complicate matters, a steam fog moves in.
Shon makes it clear the he will not be able to see the cracks in the fog, suggesting that he and a couple of the party should go on ahead in the skiff and signal the way forward, while Daren and Shad navigate the vessel. The steams can last hours, days, or weeks, so it best to forge onward cautiously, rather than wait for its passage.
Mika and O’sum volunteer to assist him, while the rest remain to guide the Silt Queen.
The Silt Queen creeps forward slowly in the fog, with Daren at the helm, following Shon’s commands. Things seem to be going well, until the fog begins to thicken and Shon’s voice becomes distant and seems to be coming from multiple directions at once. Daren soon realize that the vessel has become lost in the fog. Nobody can locate the skiff.
Daren calls out, “Full stop.”, not a moment too soon.
As the vessel grinds to a halt, a massive black rock looms out of the fog from dead ahead. The true size of the structure is obscured by the fog, but it appears to be quite massive. Daren hands the helm to Shad and ascends to the crows nest to survey the stone. Those on the vessel soon realize that the face of the rock holds an array of skulls and mummified heads tucked among its many crevasses. As the remains stare back at those on the vessel, their eyes begin to glow with a malevolent green light.
Glysh, Ash, and Daren ready their weapons as they realize parts of the structure’s nature and inform their companions.
Glysh calls out, “This abberation is not of this world and is an affront to all that is living.”
Next is Ash, who replies, “Yes, the stone is not of this world. It is a magnetic of arcane power that traps souls that die near it.”
Daren finishes the exchange, saying, " The light is its awakening. Its servants are coming."
The fog thickens pressing down on the vessel and its occupants, forming something unnatural, perhaps corporeal. There are whispers in the air in many languages. Shad hears ancient dialects of fhantom while attempting to back the boat away from the life eating stone, but it cannot move. The wheels of the vessel are bound by the multitude of bones littering the ground.
Daren, high above in the crows nest, draws Razor’s Tail and calls forth the bright red light of the blade. He attempts to discern what is within the fog, but cannot see anything. The fog continues to thicken. Shad draws his crossbows and sees something forming into a humanoid shape above Daren, and calls out a warning. Pau hurls a sling bullet at the shape, striking it, yet the bullet passes through the shape taking some of the fog with it. A being then coalesces behind Shad. The rogue feels a wave of lethargy wash over him, sapping his life. A second later, Daren is assaulted by the mist creature and feels his life being drained. Glysh closes on the creature next to Shad, drawing its ire and slashes it with Razor’s Finger. The creatures radiate necrotic energy consuming the energy of the living that approach them.
Daren abjures the creature adjacent to him with the radiance of Lir, causing it to materialize fully, and then attempts to summons his soul seeker from the gloom. The soul arrives, but it is absorbed by the black stone with a terrifying scream. Shad evadess through the mist and fires a bolt through the the creature that had attacked him. Again, the mist is struck squarely, but the bolt sails through it. Pau closes upon the creature that Glysh has cornered and opens the gate of battle. Daren then places his oath upon the creature and teleports adjacent to the creature, cleaving it mercilessly and unleashing radiant energy from the Eye of Mur.
The second one dematerializes and drifts down upon Shad, wounding him badly. Glysh strikes his materialized adversary, knocking it to the deck.
Ash assesses their adversaries, giving instruction to his allies, “Fear their life draining, which suppresses your will to fight, and call them to this world with the light of the divine or the element of fire.”, and then unleashes the Rune of Undeniable dawn, searing both with divine radiance, and then invoking the Rune of Sacrifice to fortify Daren and Shad.
As he relaxes his guard a third creature appears behind him, tall, thin, and bearing a dragon skull, and then whispers, “The old gods are dead, and their followers will die also.”
Ash’s will is subverted by the being. Daren unleashes his wasteland fury and angelic alacrity upon the prone being at Glysh’s feet, banishing it in a the scream of a thousand voices. He assesses the newcomer and determines that it is a worthy enemy, much stronger than the other aberrant undead, able to consume more life, and formed partly using the soul he called from the gloom.
Pau and Glysh forego their attacks to shake Ash from the corrupting influence. He reels as the creatures psychic effects are removed and then lands a blow that protects Pau. The draconic vampyric mist attacks Pau, who retaliates gracefully and hurling it across the deck. The being refuses to relent and crawls towards Shad, intent on killing the weakened fhantom.
Daren advances towards the draconic mist, drawing a strike from the other nearby spirit. Glysh retaliates against the attacker, punishing it with primal fury. Daren charges the draconic mist, praying to Lir, striking it, and sliding away. Shad slides towards the weak creature and places a crossbow bolt in it, while Ash and Glysh combine to bring it close to banishment.
Across the deck, Daren drops the fist of heavens on the draconic mist, bringing it fully into this world and imprisoning it. Shad runs the other wounded lesser being through with his blade, sending it to the gloom. Ash turns towards the last adversary and savages the imprisoned creature with his cage of light, wounding the draconic mist severely. It retaliates by pushing Ash and Shad to the edge of the deck. Glysh and Daren close on the incarnation, while Shad fires wide. Pau then teleports to the creature and blasts it with lightning. Ash closes on it, and activating his rune of destruction, allowing Glysh to strike and slay the vile thing.
As the fog thins and draws back from the ship, Daren, Ash, and Pau attempt to consecration the deathly black stone, but it’s vile taint is beyond the influence of Lir. Nearby, the welcome calls of Shon and O’sum are heard, as the skiff approaches the stranded Silt Queen.