Torchmen of the Dwimordelve

Saltmarsh Subterfuge, part 2

kua'toa, aboleth, node, saltmarsh

The white light turned out to be the glow coming from a strange pool held in an adjoining room. Mooz walked almost as if entranced towards this pool — but then, Mooz generally is in a trance — and lifted from it a writhing, squirming tentacle, besuckered, generally ill-appearing in its severed nature. Why it still lived, I don’t understand, still don’t, even writing back after all these weeks. Would that we had left it where it was, but something acted to soothe all our minds, the creature’s tenuous link to its apart limb charming our minds. Mooz, with the rest of us, stumbled out of the sahauguin lair to hurl the thing into water as it wished. As we did so, an arcane portal opened up — we caught a glimpse of something truly awful, squidlike in appearance, before it and the tentacle vanished in a crackle of magic. We were left wondering what exactly we had done, but the wonderment didn’t last as we realized we had much more to do to clear this dank pit of its inhabitants.

We returned to the spriggan encampment to reclaim Jackknife, who, perhaps in a fit of consideration for the creature’s thousand years of feyworld delights, had rested there while we fought knife and nail for white tentacles. We decided to rest two nights. The first, a trio of hooded figures surrounded our camp, raising their arms in a mysterious way. Nothing of note happened, however, so we continued our rest. After a second night, we decided to embark again towards the sahauguin lair.

There we witnessed a strange death ceremony as a small band of kua’toa set out those we had slain upon the water, raising their arms to the sky in a gesture of defiance. We waited until they had completed their little ritual, unarmed as they were — perhaps a foolish notion of honor, come to think of it — and held a brief respite to consider our strategy. Therein we saw a terror unto itself, for little Pervince, apparently the most stoic of us all, decided to pluck out his own eye and two of his own teeth to be able to hear and see what Node heard and saw.

I haven’t spoken of Node, have I, in this? He turned out to be the little puzzlebox we received from the necromancer-druid, after we had solved a series of clues and received some sum of money for each one. Unfolding at the crux of the final clue, he declared himself a ‘modron’, something from the plane of Law. As far as I could tell, he was a metal contraption the likes of which I’d never beheld, a boxlike creature with limbs and a face. From within he produced a demonic eye and tooth, then… operated… on Pervince to replace the little man’s eye and tooth with the demonic organs. I don’t think I’ll forget the screams, though the number of horrified pain-shrieks to which I bear witness has risen rapidly since first I left my rice farm with Mondaal and Dillus, rest his heart.

Once we’d rested and entered the pit again, something bizarre happened. I know bizarre is quickly becoming a very relative term, but still, playing with the streams of time is not something I had thought possible. Pervince met Pervince, a duplicate of himself, who told us he was from the future, having flipped his hourglass-inscribed coin that we’d received as part of a set from the necromancer-druid and returned back an hour in time to warn us we had done ill. He instructed us to act in a very specific manner, for if we did not, all timespace would come undone… I didn’t have the foggiest how he meant, but with the marvel of a second Pervince before us, what choice did we have to believe? We retrieved a bag of coins and a chunk of malachite from a chest which Jackknife meditated upon to open with a copper key, the malachite bringing him luck from his deity, Chulg. As continued instruction from Pervince drew us in farther to the lair, we sent Node out — on command — to be captured by fishmen, which he was. We ambushed said fishmen, slaying them all with surprising ease, perhaps because of a second Pervince’s knowledge and assistance, and slipped by what he told us was a sparring room, from which we heard definitively the sounds of clanging metal.

Then, ill luck! As we fought another pack of slimy creatures, I miscast my spell of locking upon the sparring door, and all doors within my arcane senses flew open with a bang! Tossing myself out of the way, I only had a glimpse of burly fishmen before I managed to escape their line of sight without incident. We continued on. Ambushing another set of flimsy-looking guards, Jackknife’s magic bolt of lightning exploded one in a grisly manner before the others threw down their weapons in surrender. We took them into custody, heading down into jail cells, in which we found our past companions, the lizardmen of Yig. Something behooved us to have a talk with the fishmen we imprisoned in their own cells, and they told us a tale so absurd it could only have been true. The people of Saltmarsh, under the influence of the sahauguin — apparently these creatures we had been fighting were named kua’toa, and were enemies of the sahauguin — bred themselves with the kua’toa to create horrible half-creatures of ill intent. Contrary to what we had first thought, it was not these kua’toa who held sway over the Saltmarsh denizens, but their own leader Casp Averton and the Sahauguin! We freed the kua’toa under the notion we might parley with their leader. The lizardmen of Yig almost rebelled at this notion of peace with the kua’toa, but we explained to them the situation carefully and they agreed to a ceasefire… at least until the sahauguin were destroyed.

I cease this entry here, and will resume with the peace conference.

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dkarrde

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