Captain Gideon had done a bad thing. A really bad thing. The kind of thing that’s so bad that he didn’t share it with his crew until after it was over. He had taken a job from the wrong employer. It was stupid. He knew it was stupid when he did it. What was he supposed to do though? The Cult of the Dragon Below offered payment up front, mostly in part due to their history of double-crossing freelancers in the past, and how was else was he supposed to get his baby back in the air?
The crew was livid of course, but their apprehension about going to drop off the merchandise was only rivaled by their fear of what the reprisals might be for holding on to said merchandise. So into the Glowing Chasm, the very heart of the Mournland, they went; lazily flying deep into the earth past Kyhber Crystals dozens of feet long jutting out of either side. Glowing with an ugly inner light that provided the only illumination down here.
After several close calls they came upon a dock which lay on the lip of a subterranean river. The helmsman, with grace only a man of his experience could manage, lowered the ship into the waters and had the men tie off the only recently restored Sweet Delight.
At the dock waiting to greet them smiled a man. At least he was humanoid in shape. This man had no eyes and his smile showed that there were no gaps between his teeth. They more resembled a beak than anything else.
Scarlet : If that’s his face I’d hate see what he’s got hidden under that robe……..
The crew disembarked and Captain Gideon approached the “dockmaster” ; returning what he hoped was a confident smile.
Dockmaster: Ahh. You’re right on time. Delightful. You have completed your task?
Gideon : Yes. It’s all on board. One of the crates was damaged during the operation though. I’ll have the men unload it now.
The dockmaster frowned at the mention of the damage to some of the cargo but gestured down the tunnel.
Dockmaster: If you’ll follow me please. My master will see to your payment.
Deeper into the earth they walked. For nearly an hour they traversed caverns lined with crystals which thrummed as though alive. Eventually the dockmaster came to a stop at a seemingly unremarkable stretch of wall and traced an arcane sigil on its surface. With an audible rumble the wall parted, spilling brilliant sunlight into the cave, and the crew advanced into the unlikeliest of sights.
A a sunlit valley, lush with greenery, and brimming with wildlife spread out before them. The cavern so far above that a few clouds could be seen overhead. Though if you peered hard enough you could make out a few stalactites.
As the dockmaster lead them onto a wide swath of open plain riders in the distance immediately changed course to intercept. Upon coming close enough to see that they were escorted by the dockmaster however they did not even bother to stop the crew and after an hour long hike they approached the base of a massive spire, a worked stone column which appeared to be a natural rock formation once upon a time, which overlooked the miniature sun that lit this cavern. They wound the spiraling staircase of the tower until they stopped at an unremarkable stretch of wall. The dockmaster began tapping on the wall in an intricate pattern.
Immediately Arctus’ opened his arcane senses to detect the walls faint magical glow and Rowena made it a point to memorize the pattern in case it was important later. These are dangerous cultists, paying clients though they may be, and the need for a hasty exit unimpeded by magical doorways might not be out of the question.
After a few moments of gesturing from their guide the wall slide open; giving way to a balcony on the other side. With not just a little hesitation the crew stepped through onto the landing to meet with their “client”.
A few moments after emerging onto the precipice the crew is assaulted with a blaze of light. Everyone but Arctus is struck dumb, the faint tattoo symbolizing his secret worship of his dark god (who must not be named!) prickles slightly at the touch of the magic surrounding him.
The rest of the crew find themselves assaulted with a vast flood of images, feelings, sounds, and a few fleeting words. To converse with this being is unlike anything they’ve experienced. It rips through their minds for the information it seeks. Did they succeed in their task? Yes, but some of the cargo was damaged.
The being lets a wave of agony wash over those in its thrall. Though the accompanying feeling they get isn’t anger, but more a sense of a lord disciplining his vassal in the hopes that they will do better next time.
Next the being before them offers yet another task, vast sums of wealth which flood before the crews eyes is to be the reward. The crew has the profound sense that this being doesn’t lie because when you’re at the eschelon of power lying becomes irrelevant. The offer is a genuine one. After several moments of hesitation the Captain agrees. Partially out of fear for what this thing will do if it’s denied and partially because his unquenchable lust for riches.
Arctus follows the crew as they are carted back to their ship in a trance. He begins to question the dockmaster when he notices that his teeth feel strange. Probing them with his tongue he finds that they have grown together into a single solid piece, similar to that of their guide. He spends the next half hour waiting aboard the deck of the Sweet Delight, rubbing his tongue across his front teeth, and waiting for the crew to regain their senses.
When the crew wakes up the Captain doesn’t hesitate to start giving orders. Some of the ore they recovered from The Lightning Rail Heist is to be loaded into the engine and with it they are going to punch through the a new plane, recover an Element of Dawn (whatever that is), and bring it back for their “client”.
The portal yawns wide and a pitch black void stares out from its maw. Scarlet guides the ship into breach and it promptly closes behind them. The world around them is darkness, darkness in all directions, even those with darkvision find themselves blind on this plane.
Within moments of the breach closing the crew feels a powerful upward draft. For several seconds the crew looks about. Saren looks at the sails and then shouts
Saren_Auric: “HOLD ON TO SOMETHING!”
The pronouncement comes too late for many of the crew as the ships hull collides with inky black waters. The Sweet Delight nearly capsizes under the strain of the impact but ultimately manages to bob back to the surface.
Rowena smiles, how rare it is these days that she gets to be truly in her element. She approaches Scarlet at the ships wheel and directs her to the nearest land, her inability to see not phasing her innate navigation in the least.
With their heading decided, the Sweet Delight sailed off into the darkness……..