Saturday, December 29, 2007

In This Issue: Murgosis DIES!

The Maelstrom followed the Sunrise to a quiet spot of sea at dusk. Wizards aboard the Sunrise conjured a great whirlpool that devoured both vessels and spat them out into a great undersea cavern. Jean-Pierre bade Winston to pick a handful of crew and row out to an island in the center of the cavern.
So they ran the Maelstrom's rowboat ashore on an island lit by some type of natural phosphorescence. A short search turned up two gate-like pillars the size of an ogre that were covered with runes. Curiously, the pillars did not even exist for Jean-Pierre, for he could neither see nor touch them.
Adannaya and Arthur examined the runes and came to the conclusion that most were wards against undead, meant to keep them out... and also keep them bound. Further examination revealed a script worked into the runes that spelled out the legend:

Bound by Honor
Bound by Evil
Bound by Fate

Arthur and Adannaya posited that merely walking between the pillars would transport a live person to... wherever the pillars teleported.
No one wanted to risk and unknown teleport, so they gave up and went home.

Ha, just kidding. The crew went through the pillar gate and came upon an island with a Chin temple at its apex. As they trudged up the hill they were met by a spectre that wore trappings of a priest of the sun god. "You may not pass," he proclaimed.
As he spoke, more spectres manifested behind him.
"Why can we not pass?" Murgosis asked.
"We are bound," the spectre replied. "You may not pass."
There was more banter, but Stelgar quickly grew bored with it. He tumbled behind the lead specter and stabbed him in the back.
A full thirty spectres manifested and swarmed the crew. The chilling touch of one of these spirits weakened a mortal greatly. Were it not for the enchanted weapons most of the crew the battle would have gone much worse... but even still, Murgosis fell. The chilling weakness of spectre attacks overtook him, and he vanished with an unearthly moan.
Then the battle was done. The crew was much weakened and many put forth the idea of recovering from their spectral wounds aboard the Maelstrom. The debate went on until Marik consulted the storm god and learned that Murgosis was not exactly dead, but could be "recovered." After further divination the crew decided to recuperate at the very spot the battle took place in. After two days the remaining crew members finished the trudge up to the Chin temple.
The temple had no visible door or other entrance, but there were three large statues - an old warrior, a middle-aged matron, and an androgynous youth - near the front that faced down the hill. They animated and had the purpose of the crew's visit to the island from them. The matron even went so far as to settle Jenna somewhat from her grief of losing Murgosis, then opened a doorway into the temple.

Meanwhile, in Chin-Cathay...
Nicodemus B. Fishington, still in cursed cat form, visited the Temple of the Three with his entourage in tow. As he had servants light incense, the Matron aspect turned and spoke.
"You will be leaving by a different door."
"But... there is only one door into the temple, Honored Mother."
She nodded, but spoke no more.
Feeling unsettled, Nicodemus bade his servants to gather and leave. But when they left, they entered not into the sunny streets of Ran Jang, but into a torchlit undersea cavern infested with barbarians.

Still long-faced from the loss of Murgosis, the crew collected Zakhi's bauble and returned to the World with Nicodemus in tow. After some short words with Jean-Pierre, they decided to give the bauble directly to Zakhi aboard the Sunrise. Zakhi was cordial but guarded, and it seemed that he had things he wanted to say but could not. He hinted that the Maelstrom could find more information at a Sun Temple west of their current locale. The crew visited the high priest and he related the tale known as Dread Pirate Zakhi and the Curse of the Sea Witch.

The crew agreed that it would be a noble and worthy endeavor to free Zakhi from his curse, but as they had no way of locating the rest of the baubles Zakhi needed they decided to return the Red King's shield.

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