S09E11 - Hot Potato

The heroes recover the orb from the sea floor, reach Port Nyanzaru, take a boat, and drop the orb back into the sea.
2024-05-12 – ⁠2024-05-16 2nd draft

With the orb gone and no sleep for two days, the heroes decide to postpone all problems until the next morning. They somehow manage to get the raft to the tree canopy, secure it haphazardly, and set camp there. Ellie and her raptors choose firm ground instead and take the first watch.

While Sophi is in her elven sleep trance, Ada opens a telepathic link to her and tells her, under intense pain, that she’s been captured by Valindra and that she won’t last long. Filled with anxiety and regret about her beloved sister, Sophi wakes up to Ellie’s change of watch call.

A couple of hours later the poorly fastened raft falls to the ground. Everybody except Ellie, who preferred to sleep on the ground, Sophi, who had climbed to the top of the tree, and Tiny Timmy, whom Chos had enough time to protect, gets hurt in the fall. Despite the impact, Avilos didn’t seem to notice.

The next morning Chos walks as far into the sea as possible and casts locate object. Luckily a feeble response comes back: the orb is barely but still within the spell’s reach.

Planning for the orb’s rescue.
Planning for the orb’s rescue.

The party builds a bigger, stronger raft and then Chos, Saefa, and Mao set off towards the orb. When they reach the location pointed at by the spell, Chos, wearing his heavy armor, prays to Beory, his goddess, casts light on his wooden shield, takes a big gulp of air, and plunges into the sea following the 250ft of rope that the party tied together for this purpose. Rapid changes in water pressure don’t seem to affect Chos, and he finally reaches the sea floor where he sees a massive pile of zombies, skeletons, and, ghouls scrambling to reach whatever is in its center.

Chos takes his holy symbol out and casts turn undead. The spell turns out to be stronger than the orb’s undead attraction and a narrow passage opens in the mass of undead beneath him. He carefully grabs the orb with his gauntlets, puts it into his waterskin, and pulls the rope repeatedly. Up on the surface, Saefa notices the tugging and takes off into the sky pulling Chos out of the water. She then heads to the shore helicoptering Chos beneath her. Meanwhile, Mao rows back ashore. Once regrouped, everybody gets on the raft and they start rowing again, this time towards Port Nyanzaru.

That night, still aboard the raft, Carnivore wakes up, undresses, and tries to jump into the water. Ellie tries to stop him but he’s too strong and determined and Ellie wakes up Sophi, Chos, and, Avilos for help. Together they manage to hold Carnivore long enough for him to snap out of whatever possessed him.

The next day, after hours rowing, the party arrives in Port Nyanzaru. The heroes notice that Chos looks terrible: carrying the orb is taking a heavy toll, his face is gaunt, his skin pale, and to him, the world is turning grey.

After returning the boat to its slightly annoyed for the delay owner, Chos and Ellie go visit Gaeleth to give her an update and ask her for guidance around the orb. While they’re with her, they also ask Gaeleth for help and, with a heavy heart, hand Tiny Timmy over to an acquaintance of hers, a kind mistress called Betty. After saying good bye, Chos and Ellie go to the Temple of Celestian to update Grandfather Zitembe on what they fund and ask for help. Zitembe tells them to come back later while he gathers information.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party goes to the Goldenthrone Palace to warn the city lords of the imminent undead attack, without implicating themselves as being the direct cause. The two lords in the Palace at the time, Lord Ifan Talro’a and Kwayothé, take note and thank them. At a certain time, Saefa tells Sophi that she’s received important news from her handler, Mata Hari, that she needs to deal with, and says bye to the group.

Saefa and Tiny Timmy say bye, for now.
Saefa and Tiny Timmy say bye, for now.

After the palace, they come across Armin Hammerbeats who, happy to see them, invites them to his tavern to participate in the monthly singing contest taking place that evening. Avilos also comes across Azionna, the red wizard she met on the boat that brought him to Na Pali, who flirts with him and asks him out on a date that night. Avilos promptly accepts.

The heroes weighing their options while drinking margaritas at Armin’s.
The heroes weighing their options while drinking margaritas at Armin’s.

The heroes regroup at Armin’s tavern and, after sharing their findings, Chos and Ellie go back to the Temple of Celestian. Zitembe suggests they leave the orb to him to research it but the heroes are suspicious of his intentions and instead ask if Celestian’s clerics could try to destroy the orb in their presence. The clerics try several spells with no effect. Chos then asks the eldest cleric if he could cast Identify on the orb to see if it’s the Soulmonger. A bit weary of it, the cleric touches the orb as part of the ritual, but his arm starts to disintegrate into black shrouds as soon as his fingers touch the surface. The horrified cleric screams with excruciating pain, but, soon, the rest of his body explodes into shrouds from inside out.

Zitembe’s interest in the orb evaporates and the party switches to plan b. They ask Zitembe for help getting a sailing boat, they buy two iron boxes, one of them big enough to hold the other one inside, they put the waterskin with the orb inside, they load the ship with as many rocks as they can, they then sail for two days towards the Eastern coast of Port Nyanzaru’s bay, and drop the orb and the rocks to try to cover the box.

Spot where the heroes calculate that they’ve dropped the orb.
Spot where the heroes calculate that they’ve dropped the orb.

Still weary about the orb’s range but relieved to not have an undead army chasing them, the party sails back to Port Nyanzaru.