Now underwater, those not swept away by the surging wall of water were now locked in a battle between a unlimited swarm of transformed sea creatures and the need to breath. A few of the soldiers noted that a torch was still burning merrily in one of the corridors in the rear of the ship… a corridor no longer guarded as transformed creatures began to move belowdecks. So a small squad of soldiers led by the Coven Leader Uruviel, a Elven Wizard of the Dragon Coven, broke from the main circle protecting the deck entry to the cargo hold to plug the defense in the rear stairwell.
They found that a magical barrier prevented water from leaking belowdecks, which meant that there was a good chance that the ship would surface soon. Unfortunately, they also found that they now had to defend the location from fishmen attempting to gain entry and a transformed shark trying to clear them out from behind. Eventually, they were able to secure the door and moved below to try and protect the treasure. After finding the corpse of a transformed puffer fish, they moved down to the cargo hold to witness some sort of salt swarm taking out the guards there by draining the moisture from their bodies.
With the help of magic and fancy swordwork, the group was finally able to retake the cargo hold. The halfling sapper from the Bat Coven, Dicey Riley, found where the small glowing box that contained the treasure was stashed and stood guard over it. Above, the ship finally resurfaced with a groan, and was plowing through the storm once more. With a cheer, it seemed that they would be able to handle the remaining fishmen and defend the ship against any further invaders. It was then that the Narwhale pierced the cargo hold, its massive horn barely missing the young halfling. Dicey quickly snapped up the treasure and pocketed it in her magical uniform for safekeeping from the enemy…
Of the 728 members of the 9th Order on the Maiden’s Fate, five struggled to seeming consciousness in a horribly blinding light. Coreglith the half-orc fighter; Ta Kai Oh, half-elven cleric; Uruviel the elven wizardess; Dicey Riley, female halfling thief, and the human assassin Heinen. Barely able to make out their surrounding due to the heat and light, they were finally able to discern that they appeared to be in some sort of desert, surrounded by statues of soldiers and the ancient wreckage of dozens of ancient ships. Before they could fully make heads or tales how they got from a frantic battle on the sea to the middle of a desert, they were teleported away to a very dark place – some sort of crypts once they could finally adjust their senses once more. Struggling to pull himself from a pile of rubble nearby, another soldier from the Paragon Host – albeit from a different Order – finally managed to extract himself, seeming more relieved by their appearance than their current perplexed state.
The man identified himself as Dellon of the 8th Celestial Bat. He then went on to tell them a fantastical story about what happened the night of the attack. Apparently the Paragon Host failed in its mission to protect the treasure. At the time of the failure, ship by ship, every member of the Host was locked in stone and the ships were sunk. Now they were in a damned time, where the oceans have been drained or worse, and the Thirteen are now worshipped as gods instead of the great Spirits.
The first of the Paragon who woke determined that until they retrieved the treasure and completed its voyage to the location of the great city, they would all be in this doomed state never able to go on with their lives. Those who gave up this idea were instantly turned to ash by the still terrible power of the thrice born curse. So the survivors formed themselves into a mercenary company for hire so that they could fund their search. They did well in this path for the last forty years. But apparently one of their last employers coveted their wealth and power and they were betrayed from within their great keep “Menhir”. Dellon fell back just moments ago to the crypt in the hopes that reinforcements would arrive from the wreckage in time to turn back the rout.
Within the area of the crypt they were located was a totem of Miadeh, the Spirit of Luck. Knowing that they could hasten their training by offering a tribute to the gods instead of finding an actual trainer and spending several weeks to improve themselves, they asked Dellon if there were any gold handy. Dicey pulled the treasure chest from one of the hidden pockets of her Raiment and showed it to Uruviel. They opened it to see if it contained the Trellian, the fantastical treasure that had doomed them all. When the small chest was set on the ground, it quickly grew in size until it was a full sized chest. Unfortunately, it was only filled to the brim with platinum. Fortunately it was enough to train the soldiers so that they could continue.
Quickly taking charge as she did not fully believe his “Falling Back” story, Uruviel instructed the others to clear the rubble so they could find some answers. While clearing the rubble they unwittingly stumbled upon a giant rat, which was quickly dispatched. On the other side of the the rubble they discovered its nest and the release to open the secret panel to the basement. How the soldier could have missed a nest with a pony sized rat raised more warning flags in the cursed soldiers minds. The door to the basement opened rather noisily so the two sappers, Dicey and Heinen, separated themselves silently from the group to handle any attackers.
A few minutes afterwards, light began to illuminate a stone stairwell across the crowded basement. After a moment, two armed men with crossbows strode into sight, looking around warily. As they moved into the basement, one asked the other if it might be a ROUS, to which the other replied that they were just legends. Wishing to be done with the men, the elf stepped forward and revealed her presence. While the two guards seemed amazed at her being in the basement, their lives were ended quickly and quietly by the thief and the assassin. Having come down to the basement under the pretense of rat made the Dellon’s story even more suspect.
A short scouting trip later, Dicey informed the group that there was a kitchen at the top of the stairs. A kitchen with servants cooking a meal. A kitchen where there was no battle in evidence. Answers needed to be had. So the group marched up and walked into the kitchen. The startled servants were put off guard by Uruvial’s story that they were invited here by the lord of the castle. A quick reckoning of the date, the 87th year of Eirokun’s Rule, and it was discovered that it had in fact been 3 years since Dellon’s assault on the castle. Apparently the rest of the Host was dead and Dellon had turned to stone when the cave in had struck him.
Taking some food, the group moved out into the dining hall to await the castle’s new residents dinner plans. They were interrupted once by a elven mage, who attempted to run to warn the rest of the castle but was assassinated in his tracks and then again by two guards coming in to take up their stations for the evening meal, only to be put to sleep and then be murdered when they raised suspicion that they were going to raise an alarm instead of simply fetch the resident Lord. The Wizard was drug under the large banquet table by Dicey and the sleeping guards were murdered in the now empty Kitchen by the Heinen…