As the amnesiacs finally reached the top of the Sarnath sea wall, the green mist lit up out over the lake, showing several more Ib Shades. One of the shades, looking more resplendant than the others in regalia of some sort, brandished aloft a green stone statue, semmingly solid despite being held by insubstantial fingers.
The group sprang into action, with Scorcher floating up, and firing another Fireball at the spectral amphibians. Lekovi waited, to see what the creatures would do. Cailyn and her Rhinoceros companion, and Taber rushed towards the edge of the seawall, ahead of the others. The creatures then charged at the group, slashing at them with incorporeal claws, instilling a sense of foreboding into changeling and rhino. The translucent priest brandished the idol, and beams of power lashed out, visibly drawing the very moisture from the bodies of the amnesiacs. River charged at the creatures, calling on his faith to strike them solidly, and Lekovi then broke from his reverie, casting Haste on the group.
Just after Lekovi completed his spell, the green mist parted, and far out in the lake, the group could see a sinister bulk surging upwards in the water. Revealing itself to be the inspiration of the idol carried by the shades, a giant, scaled lizard, with a tangle of undulating tentacles falling from it's chin like an unnaturally motile beard. The creature began moving at a stately pace towards the city, seeming to both swim and walk upon the water. The sight of the creature filled the group with unspeakable terror.
Scorcher began throwing more fire at the Shades, drawing the attention of one of them, which then charged up towards him. Cailyn, River and Taber struck at the creatures, with varying levels of success, but slowly carving their spectral bodies assunder. The ghostly priest cast a Sound Burst spell, stunning River, and damaging the spellcasters. Fighting off the malign influence, Lekovi mentally attacked one of the shades, destroying it. The gigantic lizard travelled closer to the city, still at an unhurried pace, but caused the lake to surge up again. The resulting wave washed over the seawall, knocking Taber and River into the rear of the wall, and collapsing the stairs to the ballroom below.
Scorcher backed away from the creature threatening him, and destroyed it with beams of fire. Taber and River regained their feet, and together with Cailyn, destroyed the last pair of shades. Lekovi magically suggested the priest go meet with the lizard creature, which it began to do, carrying the idol out over the lake. Taber, realising the danger of losing the idol, looked askance at Lekovi, who just shrugged and smiled.
As the lizardlike creature moved closer, a fierce storm broke over the city, lightning and rain lashing down, but only over the building of Sarnath. Scorcher threw magic at the retreating Ib priest, while Cailyn attempted to shoot him, and Lekovi attempted to drag the statue away from him with telekinetic strength. Over the next few moments, the priest reached the lizard, came to his senses, and turned back towards the group, launching magical lightning from the storm at them. River began pulsing out healing energy to offset the assaults.
The lizard creature finally reached the walls, and snapped Taber cleanly in half with one mighty blow from his fanged maw. Almost physically stunned by this display of power, the group now rushed to try and recover the idol, the target of their trip here. Lekovi used magic to reduce the ghostly priest's strength of will, and continued trying to pull the idol from him, while River slashed at him with his axe, finally landing a killing blow. The stone idol crashed to the top of the seawall. Cailyn and her Rhino bravely faced the mighty lizard, which then proceded to thrash about, and snap them both painfully out of the Dreamlands.
River called for the remainders of the group to grab the idol, as he stepped up to the beast and chopped it at. It's hide provide too strong, deflecting the blow. Heedless of the danger, Scorcher swooped down to collect the idol, only to be snapped in two by the creatures razor teeth. Lekovi used one final burst of psychic power to snatch the idol to his hands, just as he saw the creature proceed to tear River to bloody chunks. Closing his eyes, Lekovi wished to be home…and awoke unharmed on the Sellen Starling.
Each of the amnesiacs found themselves badly affected by their experiences, and took some time to recover from their new maladies. River fought off a recurrence of a fugue state, while Scorcher was sunk into delirium. cailyn wanted nothing more than to swim, perchance to drown, while Taber believed he was still in the Dreamlands, and refused to be told otherwise. River was able to use magic to restore his current memories, and was then able to pray for further magic to restore the rest of the amnesiacs to what passed for normality.
22nd Lamashan, midday
Travelling further into Lake Kallas, the group saw a damaged and stranded fishing boat in the distance. Thinking them endangered, Cailyn requested a fly spell from Scorcher, and flew over with a rope. Upon arrival, though, the supposed fishermen revealed themselves to be malicious spellcasters. One summoned a swarm of poisonous frogs on the Sellen Starling, while a second magically warped the Sellen Starling's rudder. The other two drew hidden scimitars, and tried to kill Cailyn.
Scorcher reacted quickly, and launched a fireball at the deceivers, dealing serious wounds to them. The two previous casters changed to hawks, and flew for the Sellen Starling, while the other two duelled with Cailyn. After a brief flurry of magic and blows, the quartet were killed. Recovering the bodies revealed they all carried enchanted weaponry, and that they each carried a wooden holy symbol, carved to resemble a water rat. River identified this symbol as being beloved of Hanspur, and explained about Hanspur's faith.
Towards the end of the day, the Sellen Starling pulled into Riverton, on the south eastern shore of the lake. Captain Freeling told the group that the Starling needed repairs, and that this was the best place to have it done, even though she didn't normally like to be here for their dusk Hanspur services. As she approached the dockmaster to find carpenters, a strange group walked to the ship.
The group seemed to be mostly composed of human and half-elven woman, wearing mud-spattered robes, surrounding a blonde elf dressed similarly. The elf's hair was tangled and spiky with mud, and a feverish glitter was visible in his pale blue eyes. As he walked up to the barge, he threw his hands out, and shouted that he had seen them in murky reflections, and would impart Hanspur's wisdom in private. The group invited him into the cabin, and he joined them alone, leaving his coterie behind on the docks.
Inside the cabin, the man's demeanour changed somewhat, as he spoke more normally. The mad gleam still shone in his eyes, though. Introducing himself as Naerel Twice-born, he told the group that Riverton had been visited several weeks prior by a red-sailed ship. The ship's master seemed to be a man dressed in thick clothing, but some instinct told Naerel this was no natural man. Naerel related how this not-man had approached him, and described the group to him, asking if he had seen them at all. Naerel replied no, and the not-man had offered a ruby the size of a child's fist, despite the lack of information. Naerel offered this ruby to the group, and when they were reluctant, he dropped it on to the deck, saying he did not wish to keep it. Lekovi evaluated the ruby, and found it was likely worth at least 5000 gold pieces, depending on purity. Looking at it, the gem appeared to be more like a solidified form of some liquid than a gemstone. Lekovi checked the ruby and Naerel for magic, or for Psychic Significance, finding traces of suffering. Lekovi decided this meant the ruby had simply picked up some vibes from being on the slave ship.
Cailyn negotiated with Naerel for some healing magic for Taber and Scorcher, and he agreed. The group asked Naerel some other questions about his background, and the town, and his experiences. They also asked if he had seen Lowls. Naerel thought he had seen him some months ago, briefly. Naerel then invited the group to the dusk services. The group attended, and spent the night drinking at a tavern.
23rd Lamashan, midday
The group spent some time selling a number of items to travelling merchants, and purchasing some of the meager supplies in town. Captain Freeling then told them the repairs were done, and they could depart. As the Sellen Starling made it's way down the East Sellen river, a strange creature burst out of a treetop across the river, and swooped at the amnesiacs. Despite it flying swiftly, the group were not caught unawares, and quickly dispatched the creature. None of the group were able to identify the beast, but they searched the forest near where it had appeared, and discovered a treetop nest of sorts. Inside the nest, they discovered a pouch containing six small but flawless rubies. Suspecting the further involvement of the mystery not-man captain, the group returned to the river, and the barge sailed on.
23rd Lamashan, evening
Lekovi led the Dreamlands Excursion ritual again, and the group travelled to Dylath-Lenn, the city of dark basalt, and location of Ambassador Quaveandra. They took the final step off the staircase, and found themselves in a lavish drug den, filled with many humanoids vending and partking in all sorts of exotic addictive substances. Opium and flayleaf were the most familliar of the indulgences, but Lekovi saw many other strange and unusual drugs in use. When offered a dose of Opium, Lekovi immediately tried it, and relaxed into its embrace.
Cailyn spied the Night hag Ambassador, and approached respectfully, introducing herself as a niece. Quaveandra welcomed Cailyn and her compatriots, and asked about where they were from. Hearing they were from elsewhere, she leaned in, and whispered that she had a proposition, if they were interested. Cailyn leapt at the chance, saying they were looking for her heartstone, and asking if the Ambassador had previously seen either them or Count Lowls. Quaveandra replied that she had not met any of the amnesiacs before, but that Count Lowls had been involved in an attack on her several months ago, which resulted in her losing her heartstone. She also outlined how she felt one of her retinue was trying to assasinate her. The attack by Lowls was just one incident of many, including poisoned food, and even the anonymous delivery of a cursed Robe of Powerlessness. Through deduction and elimination, Quavendra had narrowed down the suspects to only three, and hoped the group would help find the culprit.
Cailyn led the interviews, and took them to speak first with Dol Theth, a fortune teller. Dol Theth boisterously greeted the group, and told them how they were destined for great things. River asked if he was destined to take her Dreamlands items to the real world, and he exclaimed that it would be so. Looking at Lekovi, Dol Theth began asking questions about a presence around him. Lekovi checked Dol Theth and himself for any signs of Psychic Significance, finding none. The group asked several questions about the recent happenings with Quavendra. His answers didn't give any indication that Dol Theth had anything to do with the assassination, so they moved to their next suspect.
Kavriki was a musician playing a lute. The group approached, and began asking about what she had seen recently. Overall, Kavriki didn't appear to have had any involvement with any of the assassination attempts, but Lekovi caught her lying about something. After a little more conversation, Kavriki suggested they talk in a more private setting, and led them to one of the curtained-off rooms. Taber attempted to subtly detect magic, and found Kavriki did have auras. As they walked into the private room, Kavriki subtly activated a switch beside the entrance, but Taber noticed it. He signed to Lekovi what he had seen. Kavriki told the group that Quaveandra was involved in trying to set up a new trade in souls from the Dreamlands. She tried to appeal to the group, hoping that they might decide they needed to shut this evil traffic down…and fell on deaf ears. Seeing she was getting nowhere, Kavriki attempted to attack, dealing some damage to Scorcher, before being beaten into unconsciousness by the rest of the group. The group discussed what had happened, and were still unsure what the plot had been. Cailyn looked at the switch, and found it had disabled a trap, which he then permanently disabled. The trap appeared to have contained poisonous gas. They confiscated all of Kavriki's combat items, and poisons, and then went to talk to Ammanetta.
Ammanetta turned out to be an older Tiefling woman who acted as a steward and secretary for Quaveandra. Comparing notes abut what they had found out about Kavriki, they finally decided Kavriki had been the assassin, and went to inform Quaveandra. Quaveandra was happy, and handed over her heartstone…which Lekovi recognised as just being a normal gem. The group called Quaveandra on her bluff, and she reluctantly handed over her real heartstone. They then awoke themselves.
25th Lamashan, afternoon
While docked at the Galtan town of Dabril. Skywin had gone into town to visit some contacts, taking half of the crew with her, and leaving the amnesiacs in charge. Not long after, the vessel was approached by a hooded Gray Gardener, one of the executioners of Galt's Revolutionary Council. The Gardner demanded to board and question the group, and the rest of the crew. Cailyn refused to allow the Gardner aboard, but agreed to allow private questioning at the gunwhales. The Gardner asked the group, and each of the crew members if they had met or knew the whereabouts of Senator Emilo Daldamane. Nobody had heard of him, or knew anything. At the end of the interviews, the Gardner examined each of the group with a Detect Alignment spell, and then moved on. The group observed the Gardner interrogating other ship crews.
25th Lamashan, evening
Enacting the Dreamlands Excursion ritual again, the group travelled to the city of Celephais, to visit the court of Viscount Pietro Brellin. They arrived in the middle of what appeared to be a ball, attended by many different well-dressed nobles, with a handful of merchants and peasants in attendance as well.
The amnesiacs approached the Viscount's dais. As they moved closer, they saw the Viscount coughing in the middle of his conversation, spattering the floor, his chin and clothing with a thick, tarry phlegm. Neither the Viscount, nor anyone present seemed to take any notice of this. The Viscount noticed the group, and waved them forward to speak. Recognising them as outsiders, the Viscount asked them their business. Cailyn again asked if the Viscount had met Count Lowls. The Viscount confirmed he had dealt with Lowls several months ago, making a deal to provide him one of his signet rings. Cailyn revealed they were also looking for a signet ring, and the Viscount offered to have one fetched for them, if they would perform a task for him. Warily, the group agreed, and the Viscount explained his problem.
He had apparently promised to perform the Sunset Waltz with several of the atendees at the ball. Afterwards, he discovered that, unexpectedly, his beloved would be at the ball for the Sunset Waltz, and he of course must dance with her instead. If the group agreed to tactfully inform the three other dancers of the change in plans, he would give them a signet ring. The group agreed, and the Viscount described the poeple he required them to talk to. Leaving the Viscount, the group asked other ball-goers about the people they needed to find. They could not find anything about Maudette, but did locate information about Lady Splinterbone, who the group strongly suspected of being a vampire, and Adrvin Telgriette, a merchant prince.
The first person was Lady Splinterbone, and the group quickly located her. She was a very beautiful woman, and had just finished dancing with a gaunt, pallid man. The group told the Lady of the Viscount's dilemma, and she agreed to forgo her dance…if one of the group would dance with her. River rushed to volunteer, but when she spied his holy symbol, Lady Splinterbone refused. Looking over the group, she also rejected Cailyn, and eventually settled on Taber. Taber reluctantly agreed to the dance, and joined the Lady on the floor. After a short time dancing, the Lady told Taber that if she was expected to keep quiet about the Viscount's actions, she wished to partake of a little of his blood. Even more reluctantly, Taber agreed, and the Lady bit his neck, draining some blood from him. Finally leaving the dance floor, Taber returned a little unsteadily to his friends, and River magically restored his health.
Still unable to locate anyone who knew anything about Maudette, the group decided to approach the merchant, Ardvin. The merchant appeared quite upset about losing the opportunity to do business with the Viscount, but Cailyn suggested an alternative, with Quaveandra's soul-trading business. Once Scorcher couched the offer in more flattering terms, Ardvin agreed.
Despite spending more time talking to guests, the group did not find anyone who had seen Maudette. However, they did spy someone suddenly being grabbed by a webbing lasso, and dragged up to the ceiling. Nearby partygoers actively avoided noticing the capture, and similarly purposely took no notice of the drops of blood that rained down afterwards. Looking more closely, the group noticed that several people had splatters of blood on them, and looked more closely at the ceiling. Above seemed to be a set of catwalks, positioned beneath what seemed to be a giant tangle of spiderwebs, with clouds of darkness above obscuring the ceiling.
At Cailyn's suggestion, Scorcher cast Fly on each of the amnesiacs, and they flew up, looking for Maudette. They quickly found her, bound in webs, and only partly conscious, but still alive. Surrounding her were a number of spiderlike creatures. Cailyn identified them as Giant Spiders, and some form of Ettercaps. The Ettercaps looked a little unusual, with each of them being purple and bloated, with an extra, useless arm hanging from the centre of their chest. The group quickly destroyed these hideous creatures, and rescued Maudette, returning her to the dance floor, and then returned to the Viscount.
The Viscount, despite another coughing fit, was quite pleased to see the amnesiacs return. He had his servants rewards them with one of his signet rings, and also a belt, which turned out to be a Belt of Mighty Constitution. A hush fell over the ballroom, and the musicians ceased. The partygoers backed away from the center of the dance floor as an immense, bloated, purple spider with seven legs descended from the darkness above the ballroom on a thick
string of webbing. The viscount stood, enraptured, and sighed, “My beloved!” as streamers of tarry drool dripped from his mouth. Viscount Brellin slowly made his way onto the dance floor to dance the Sunset Waltz with the monster to the polite applause of the revolted partygoers. The amnesiacs rushed to wake themselves, and leave the terrible visage behind.
26th Lamashan, morning
Awakening back in the real world, the group of amnesiacs realised they had only one dream quest left to pursue – the Captain's Tricorne.