Castle Mystery, Part VI: Pranks, Perpetrators, and Punishments
Contemplating their next step, the party decided it would be better to risk a long rest again rather than pushing on ahead with depleted spell slots and a weakened little miss. They opted to retreat to the library and board up the door, taking turns with a watch. First up was Pistachio and Xinas, who decided it would be hilarious to prank a sleeping Loopy by attaching an illusion to one of his boots - a large illusory lit circle affixed to the bottom of his boot, expanding outward with a message of “Chosen One” written in Minotaur and an arrow pointing in the direction of Loopy.
When Loopy awoke he was surprised to find the state of his boot but was unable to extract any information from Xinas or Pistachio as to what had happened. He roused a drowsy Solaine to join him on his watch. He prompted him for more details about the “Deep Abyss,” a destination that his sentient trident, Ethali, mentioned as being a part of her past. Solaine gave him some details, namely that it was actually a very large region of the ocean many hundreds of miles long suspected to be a few weeks swim from where they were now - and that they had a number of sea elven settlements, a few known for their regional taste for anglerfish. The last segment of the watch with Tarn passed with no issue, and they all woke with at least an hour of daylight breaking through the window.
Pistachio offered to bolster some items for the party again, inadvertently(?) revealing to Loopy that it was they who had put the illusion on the boot. After much discussion (and stinky boot sniffing) the group decided to press on to the final floor of the tower, opting to cast some spells before they made it to the top floor. As they reached the top of the stairwell they found a room completely encircled with organic masses, and some on the floor - most of that had the tell-tale shadow of a body inside. The rest of the room was filled with misc equipment: vials, strange sharp instruments, and other items befitting some sort of laboratory, albeit not one they had ever seen. Before they could investigate much further they heard the purr of a voice behind them.
“Ahh, there they are. We’ve been waiting for you.” They turned around to see a fair woman with sea green hair, pointed ears, and pale blue skin rising from a pool across the room. She was adorned with attire in part consisting of netting fitted with bits and bobs: shells, pieces of coral, small bottles, and the gleam of numerous bits of metal objects. A finely wrought elaborate circlet rested on her brow, and her hands and feet were webbed. She was flanked by 3 terrifying figures, more sahuagin of the same size and stature like the ones they had faced below, all of them carrying large toothy clubs. 2 slightly smaller sahuagin with spears could also be seen to the left and right of the circular room.
“You’re quite the interesting lot, waking much sooner than you were supposed to and fearlessly making your way this far. Quite ruthlessly, too.” A dark smile crossed her lips as she spoke, “what brilliant specimens, I just KNEW you must be with your life essences so potent. And what is this?” She looked at Solaine with disdain, “Our special guest seems to have gotten lost. Be a good boy and come peacefully and we won’t find another of your kin to take your place.” Her eyes alighted on little miss and a smirk crept along her face, “Ahh and it seems like the little shade of the castle has finally come home in the flesh, you’d make a lovely specimen as well. Now I will give you all a choice - return to your stasis so you might live another day or take part in one final experiment.”
Solaine was initially confused and dismayed to see another, apparently of his kind, allying themselves with the sahuagin. However, after a moment he was cursing under his breath and revealed that this woman was of the “malenti” but he did not get a chance to elaborate on what that meant before the party geared up for a fight with the casting of spells and outward signs of aggression. Noting Aldon casting a spell on his sword, the strange woman reached her arms out to her large companions, seemingly casting a spell on them, and the combat began.
Even with Solaine and the little miss there to help them, the fight proved to be treacherous. Even with one of the large clubbed sahuagin hanging back to protect the “malenti” woman, the sahuagin was able to harry the party in close range, and the woman at a distance. Solaine cast a Beacon of Hope on the party but was quickly targeted and taken down. Little Miss was similarly targeted by sahuagin and attempted to escape, successfully landing a Fireball on the malenti woman and her bodyguard. Tarn took on a velociraptor form and managed to get a few hits in before being knocked out of that shape and casting a Moonbeam on of the large sahuagin. Pistachio ejected from his steel defender to let it fight independently, and opted to fight from afar, zooming in and out to attempt the occasional attack. Marret succeeded in applying Hideous Laughter twice more, largely immobilizing one of the large sahuagin for a while, and palmed a healing potion to Little Miss. Aldon and Xinas exchanged blows with one of the large sahuagin, eventually succeeding in dispatching it. Aldon took a protective stance over Solaine’s unconscious body. Loopy attacked one of the lesser sahuagin and aided his party members before being struck down.
As this was happening, the party also succumbed to a sickening gas that exploded from one of the pods and caused Marret, Solaine, and Xinas to experience an unstable mutation effect. Another pod lashed out at Tarn with a grasping tendril and pulled them back until they were completely enclosed within it, restrained. The malenti woman’s spiritual weapon wreaked havoc on the group, was counterspelled at one point when attempting to heal her allies, and attempted to subdue the Little Miss but failed. The Little Miss, seeing one of the large sahuagin looming over Loopy’s body gearing up to finish him off, attempted a Hold Person spell in desperation but failed, before running over to Solaine and dumping a healing potion in his mouth to bring him back to consciousness. Xinas made a run for the malenti woman, taking an attack from her bodyguard in the process.
To be continued…