Brown Bear Mating Season, 4th Day of the Waxing Moon
In search of “the bog people” and answers to the myriad mysteries we have collected, our party descends into the bog using this strange device that the locals call a “bathosphere.” It’s a large sphere made of metal with circular glass windows that can be lowered into the water while maintaining a pocket of air within. It strikes me as being similar to using a reed to breathe underwater, but the bathosphere allows us to enter the depths of the bog together as a party and travel to a depth much greater than the length of a reed.
Descending to the mucky bottom, we see a half humanoid woman whose lower half is composed of swirling waters, and she has taken an interest in the bathosphere. As usual, we debate our course of action endlessly. We also discover that Arcane magic is suppressed by the waters of the bog. Colibri feels impaired and rather vulnerable without his spells, but he graciously consents to allow me use of the Water Breathing scroll he’s been carrying as it seems that divine powers are not affected by the waters even in the slightest.
Granted the ability to breathe underwater, the party departs the bathosphere, leaving Colibri and Klukaa behind to guard our retreat. As I exit, I assume a form more appropriate to the environment, a giant octopus. Shortly after our exit, the water woman, who Klukaa informs us is some sort of genie, decides to beat on the bathosphere. We attempt to dissuade her, but she seems determined. Eventually, in frustration, we attack her, and after a thorough beating she is driven off. We send the bathosphere to the surface, assuming that the explorers of the party will be able to make our way to the surface on our own.
On the mucky bottom we find many keys, 118 to be exact. Most of these are nondescript metal keys, but we also find five wooden and lacquer, three ivory, and one of intricate bone. Our group makes two other discoveries simultaneously. Eido, Onari, and myself discover a large half dome of glass containing subjugated kobolds. Lucien finds a half-buried statue of curious and diminutive size.
Eido and Onari converse with the kobolds, learning that these kobolds have been hiding at the bottom of the bog, awaiting the start of their rebellion. Meanwhile, Lucien seeks my aid in unearthing the statue, and I am shocked to discover that the “statue” is actually a seemingly deactivated Warforged of roughly Halfling size. At least, I assume that’s what it is as it matches the descriptions I’ve heard in campfire stories. Lucien sends a mental message via his owl, Victor, and asks Colibri to bring the bathosphere back down. Upon loading the warforged into the sphere, Colibri excitedly regales us all with the history of Warforged as a race, considered to be property by many but also recognized as possessing agency of their own and freed by some cities and countries.
Feeling that we have explored the depths enough for the moment, we decide to surface. At the time this seemed the right choice, but in retrospect I see that we uncovered yet more mysteries rather than any of the answers we sought. Unfortunately, as we surface, two events occur in rapid succession leaving no time to carefully consider our next action.
The Warforged awakens the moment we are no longer submerged. Luckily we thought to bind its limbs before surfacing. We learn that its name is Hero, and through subsequent questioning determine that it has been submerged in the arcane-suppressing bog for almost 500 years. It recognizes the names of some of the elven opponents we have faced, but knew them as lowly apprentices just getting their start in the world. Hero seems eager to continue on the last mission set by its master 499 years ago, but also unwilling to share the details of that mission with us. I inform Hero that we cannot release it until we know if its mission is related to our current quest or if it poses any danger to those people and places we hold dear.
As we disembark from the bathosphere but before we are finished negotiating with Hero, we see the town’s mayor running toward us, chased by Kobolds. At first, we think that the Kobold revolution has begun, but then we see that the Kobolds are, in turn, being chased by Lizardfolk. The major rushes past us, leaps into the bathosphere, and takes it into the depths. I shout a request to parlay with the Lizardfolk but am met with aggression. So be it. I entangle most them with mystic vines, and combat ensues.
We vanquish the Lizardfolk rather handily, and much to the surprise of everyone, Colibri manages to intimidate them into talking despite his short stature. We quickly ascertain that the Lizardfolk are only trying to reclaim their land and we secure an agreement to leave the bogs unmolested provided that we do so immediately.
Given little choice in the matter, we hastily depart the bog. Hero informs us that his next destination is “The Deep Ruins,” should we set him free. Luckily, Lady Cressa’s latest missive, delivered by a rather uncivilized and bloodthirsty messenger, also asks our party to investigate The Deep Ruins. Apparently a group of “questionable paladins and clerics are digging where things are best left buried.” Thus, we agree to take on Lady Cressa’s latest assignment and part ways with her messenger so that she may deliver our response. Rather than deal with lugging along a bound Warforged and recognizing that our goals are, at least for the moment, aligned, we also release Hero’s bonds. Thus, we set out for The Deep Ruins.
During our travels we discuss the mysteries we’ve uncovered and what we’ve learned thus far:
- Many arcane spell casters have been killed in pursuit of one or more goals.
- There is at least one person (or faction) who has either traveled forward in time or recently awakened from some sort of deep and slow-aging hibernation.
- There’s a Dooms Day cult who may be responsible for the sinking of Minotaurdûm.
- We have encountered several wild or anti-magic areas in the course of our travels.
- Magic items have been hidden (or suppressed in some cases) since being outlawed, but they have started resurfacing lately. Our latest encounter with the Dwarves recovering magic items from the bogs (and laundering them through Minotaurdûm is only the latest example.
This concludes my report for now. Please send word if your wisdom or distance grants you insight into patterns that I am unable to see up close.
Yours in faith and Keeper of the Balance,