Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chapter 5: The curse of Mephrekhet

This story answers the question of what happened to Alexander the Wizard and Alan the thief after they survived Sailors on the Starless Sea.

This was played as 1 night adventure with Alexander (John) and Alan (Selina) joined by 6 Zero level characters.

The supporting cast:
Run by Greg

               Captain James Hook
                                                        1st Mate Gilligan Hasan Kuthrapali

                                                               Boarding Marine Vos

                                     Run by Brian

                                                              Elven Mariner Luna
                                                         Navigator Jill and her monkey Jack
                                                                           Cabin boy

For two days Alexander and Alan have been lost somewhere in the Winedark Sea. Alexander has gained mystical control of the Dragon boat and as night falls uses the stars to navigate for home. After a few hours a terrible storm rolls in and it is all our heroes can do to stay on course! Soon dark shapes are seen ahead and the sound of the waves breaking on rocks is heard. The reefs are near and so is something else! A lightning flash reveals a large double banked Galley, it looks black in the night and bears golden eyes of Horus upon its bow! Another large wave pushes the dragon boat towards the reef upon which the Galley stuck, but just before the rocks take them grapples snag the dragon boat and it is pulled alongside Cog that itself is roped to the black galley.

Orders are shouted in heavily accented Tharbrian above the din of rain and thunder. Quickly rough hands grab both Alexander and Alan forcing them to the deck of the Cog.
"Is your boat seaworthy?" asks a drenched sailor in a leather hat. Behind him stand a bald man with a boarding axe, a skinny fellow with a cutlass, a cabin boy, a blond girl with a monkey and charts tucked under her arm and a female elven Mariner brandishing a longsword.

"My boat is seaworthy, who asks such of the Dread Magister Alexander and his henchman?" Alexander stands tall on the deck of the cog and makes the runes on the dragon boat glow a ghostly green. Alan catches sight of the monkey trying to sneak up on him and quickly draws a dagger hissing at the monkey and it darts back to its blonde mistress.

"My name is James, I am captain of the Zopporo's Folly. We were attempting to reach shore ahead of the storm when we ran afoul of this Stygian Galley, the lure was too much but now I fear the storm will sink us all. My ship is beyond repair and only stays afloat as long as the Galley does. I think by your title you recognize the chance fate has given us here. Join me and my crew as we pilfer the riches that must lie aboard this Funeral barge of the Demon Empires. We then use your boat to escape and you have my word as Captain we split the gains fifty fifty!"

A quick glance at the markings of the Galley convinces Alexander that the captain speaks true. This is a Demon Empires Galley, and it is fitted as a funeral barge. Only someone of great rank would be sent to the netherworld in such a manner, and the probability of great wealth as well as perhaps stygian magic aboard the vessel is high indeed.

"Captain, I agree to your terms. I shall add my mystical prowess and the skills of my deadly chiropratic henchman to your quest. Let us be off!"

The eight adventurers scale the black ships hull using the boarding ropes placed by the crew of the Zopporo's Folly. In minutes they find themselves arrayed on the main deck of the Stygian galley.  A flash of lightning reveals a deck bare of rigging and sail, only a coil of rope and a block-n-tackle set lie on the deck. Upon inspection a torn shirt and pair of breeches are also found. Captain James unseen by anyone kicks a chunk of entrails overboard, and wonders where his original boarding party are. "Collect that gear men. What say you Wizard the forecastle, quarterdeck with cabin, or below decks? We have scant time to dally."

"The cabin is where I believe we will find something of most value." says Alexander.

The group turns and makes for the stairs to the quarterdeck, upon gaining the deck Luna sees something in the dark hiding just the other side of the cabin, its door banging with the sway of the deck as the galley is ground across the reef as the storm swells seem to increase in frequency. " Captain, something there!" she points with her sword. The crew advances ready to fight when they discover a bedraggled sailor gibbering in fright. "It's Farad" exclaims the cabin boy. "What has happened Farad? Where are the others?" asks captain James.

"Others?" inquires Alexander looking askance at James. "Yes, well I sent a previous boarding party over. Ten men, and now we have found one." James shrugs his shoulders and turns back to Farad. The gibbering crewman screams as another thunderous roar cracks the sky "We should not have opened it! aaaiiiee!" he pushes past the startled crew and races for the railing  Just as he makes to jump to his death on the reef below Alexander creates a large hand of firey blue magic that grasps the crazed man and brings him back to the group. "My magic will protect you, tell us what happened!"

Farad bows at Alexanders feet,"Slortar told us to open it, and as we cut the linens to get at the jewels.. it rose so fast.. kadeems head was smashed... we ran below it was everywhere in the dark! Magic, that will save us! Break the curse!" Turning to James, Alexander explains he will hold open the door to the deck cabin with his magic hand so noone will be trapped inside. Doing this allows the group to enter the cabin and light a torch and two candles to enhance the dim light from a pair of oil lamps hanging from the ceiling.

The room is dominated by a pair of sarcophigi, one of which lies open the lid broken on the floor beside it. Ebony wood couches and peacock feathers line the walls. And bood and gore is splayed about the chamber. A shortbow of stygian make with 4 arrows lies on the floor, with a pair of bloodied sailors knives and torn linen wrappings. Jill, Luna, and the cabin boy huddle over the opened casket and find a strange bottle within. Alexander reads the hieroglyphs on the caskets and says the opened one is for Atemun the consort and the closed one denotes Mephrekhet of royalbirth. James instructs the set up of the block and tackle while he uses a crowbar borrowed from Alan to work loose the lid of the second sacophagus. Vos stand ready with axe and torch, as Alan with bow and Alexander watch from the doorway. Jill, Luna and cabin boy heave on the rope and the casket lid rises to reveal a strangely horrifying and enchanting sight!
 The struggle is great for Captain James as he wants to caress the breast of the dead stygian, yet the severed hand wearing a large ruby ring that seeps blood seems to dare him to do so! It's dead fingers slowly stroke the belly of the woman. In the doorway of the cabin even Alexander and Alan are slightly enchanted by the sight before them,
Captain James reaches for the jeweled breast and the hand leaps to attack! Alan fires an arrow catching the hand in the wrist. Jill and the others startled drop the lid upon the casket. Finger tips protruding from under the dropped lid freak Alexander out that he leaves the doorway and severs them with his dagger. Vos uses his torch to burn the offending digits. "Raise it again, quickly we will be ready this time." says Captain James. As Alexander backs towards the door magical hand at the ready,  Vos readies his axe, Luna moves in to shift the lid as Jill and cabin boy heave on the rope. The lid is raised and shifted then dropped, James grabs for the golden headress, the hand leaps at the Captains face but is knocked aside by a flaming blue hand! "Aha! die foul thing!" cries Vos as he chops the hand as it lands on the floor!  Jill moves towards the casket of the stygian queen.

A crack of thunder rouses Alan's attention to a sight revealed by the lightning standing on the main deck below! It grunts and raises it arms towards him revealing  a missing right hand! "By the Gods! a Mummy!"

"Whatever your going to take, get it now!" cries Alexander. "Grab that bow Gilligan and aid the chiropracter!" commands James. Gilligan quickly scoops up the stygian bow and makes for the doorway. Suddenly the eyes of the woman open and lock gaze upon Luna and Jill! The women cry out in agony and Jill withers to a dried husk before everyone! Luna strains against the power of Mephrekhet raising her sword and driving the point down between her eyes! The hand scampers between the feet of Vos and James and leaps directly on to Luna's face instantly crushing her skull in its grasp! Cabin boy cries his fallen friends names and grabs Jill's gear and jack the monkey. Vos pulls down an oil lamp ant tosses it in to the casket with the Stygian bitch, at the same moment James relieves her of her jeweled breast covering!  From the quarterdeck Alan and Gilligan have been staggering the mummy with withering bow fire! However he mounts the steps towards them!

Her casket aflame, the group backs to the door. They watch in horror as she sits seemingly unaffected by the flames. Cabin boy stabs the hand to the deck near the body of Luna. He then severs the finger and takes the bleeding ruby ring for himself! Mephrekhet reaches for the boy but is blocked by Alexanders magic hand. Instead she rips an arm from the dead elf and the flames extinguish as she invigorates herself with blood!
Alexander decides to use his magic, but Mephrekhet dispells his attempt with but a look! The mummy has reached the quarterdeck and the party breaks from the cabin. Alexander casts his magical hand again and uses it to force the mummy overboard! He then turns and magically seals the cabin from outside! "If she breaks this seal I will know." he says to the group. Alan peering over the deck to the reef below says "The mummy is gone, the ocean has taken him!"

The entire galley lists and the sound of timbers shattering can be heard from below. "Do we dare the hold my friend?" asks James of Alexander. "Of course we do." he responds with a wink. "Gilligan go prep the magisters dragon boat for us, we'll be coming fast! They rest of you with me to the forecastle!" James leads the group across the main deck at a brisk pace.

Descending quickly, the group makes their way through the rowers decks. They find a few more terribly maimed former crew of the Zopporo's Folly. Cabin boy deftly scours the bodies for useful items. This act causes shudders in James and Alexander. "Something not right with that boy." James mutters. The hatch to hold is found and in the flickering light of the torch held by Vos they see more treasure than they could ever get away with! But also the hold is three quarters flooded and the water rises as they watch! The party leaps into the waist high water and grabs blindly for whatever they can grab. As Vos grabs a golden statuette a movement catches his attention, eight huge tentacles burst from the water! The rest of the group break in fear for the steps ascending to the deck above clinging to the few treasures they were able to grab! Vos however turns to the tentacles and says "You'll not have my share sea-beast!" The party looks on calling to Vos as he hurls his axe at the black eye of the devil from the deep. He then turns and leaps over a tentacle and seems as though he will reach the others when he wrapped in a steely cold grasp and the sound of his cry if muffled as he is pulled under water! Alexander casts a magical hand that pries Vos from the clutches of the giant octopus! Farad carries the limp body of Vos as they all quickly make for the main deck, the deck of the galley buckling beneath them! The storm has finally won and the Stygian barge begins to crumble upon the reef.

As the group reaches the main deck, their route to the Dragon boat is blocked by a drenched one handed mummy! "Rargh!" it cries and lunges towards them. Cabin boy runs past the mummy only to be attacked by the severed hand! Alexander uses his magical hand to force the mummy overboard again! "Stab the ring!" cry James and Alexander to the cabin boy as he evades the leaping hand! The rest of the party leap down to the deck of the Folly. Cabin boy draws the ring out, lays it on the deck as the hand races towards him. he looks longingly for a second at the large ruby then strikes it with a hammer!

Scarlet fire lights the night like a lightning strike as the others are clambering aboard the dragon boat. "cabin boy?" wonders James. Then the small form of the boy is seen leaping from the deck of the galley as it completely breaks apart and sinks. Hauled aboard the dragon boat they see cabin boy's face has been horribly burned. Alexander commands the boat to move and James is able to point out the safest route through the reef. In the distance the glow of the lighthouse from Tegal can be seen and the rain begins to lessen.