Dark Tide Rising

Session Twenty-Six

The adventurers are stripped of their gear and shackled. Once the church personnel have secured the facility, the party is marched south to Avery. During the trip the adventurers make it abundantly clear that they can escape from their captors whenever they wish, and are co-operating voluntarily. Despite this, the church officials continue insist that the group remains in shackles.

The party is taken to a dungeon in Avery. There they are “held” for quite some time. Eventually a group of high ranking church officers summons the group to discuss their fate. At this meeting, the party is allowed to present their version of events. After listening to the group’s story, an inquisitor presents the evidence that they have gathered against the adventurers. The church’s investigations have uncovered a long list of violent incidents, disappearances, and deaths tied to the party’s exploits. Since the majority of these events defy logical explanation, the party has a hard time refuting the church’s claims.

The inquisitor goes on to deliver more bad news. The church has determined that Colin Windhelm was responsible for the planar breach, and has already been sent to Hollowfast. He tells the group that there will be a trial, and in the extremely likely even that they are found guilty, they will soon join him. With that, the party is once again returned to their cell.

While they await trial, the group is approached by some representatives of the iron band disguised as guards. The gangsters tell the party that powerful people want them out of the way, and that large sums of money have changed hands to ensure a guilty verdict. The Iron Band offers a deal. In exchange for the party’s services, they will make sure the trial ends in a more desirable decision. The adventurers consider the offer, but decline.

Days pass with no new information. The group uses mystical means to contact Helmsley. He sympathizes with their situation, but tells the party that he cannot help them without jeopardizing his other operations. As the date of the trial approaches, the group is once again summoned by the church officials. This time they are led out of the dungeon, and are not shackled. The officials tell the group that there has been a development.

A church seer was performing divinations in order to further investigate some of the party’s claims. The results were very unsettling. The party is taken to a cell deep beneath the local temple. There they see a woman bound in chains. She is drenched from head to toe and her skin is bloated and pale. Foul looking water seeps constantly from her mouth. As the party approaches she leaps to her feet and begins ranting that the “Deep Titan” will drown them all.

One of the officials tells the party that they have tried everything means at their disposal to help the seer, but to no avail. Her condition seems to lend some credence to the adventurers’ story. The council has decided that the party must be allowed to continue their quest. However, there is still the issue of Vanicutt’s murder, and the other suspicious events that the group has participated in. To reconcile this, the church plans to hold a fake trial, where the party will be found guilty and sentenced to life in Hollowfast. In reality, they will be given a temporary reprieve, and allowed to continue searching for the source of the growing madness.

It is obvious that not all of the council members are happy with this arrangement. The inquisitor openly voices his objections. None the less, the plan is put into motion. The trail is held a few days later. The adventurers are thoroughly raked over the coals. Witnesses attest to the adventurers’ many misdeeds. As expected, a guilty verdict is handed down, and the group is escorted out by a contingent of paladins. However, instead of being taken to Hollowfast, the group is secretly handed over to Helmsley.

Once the party is safely back at Helmsley’s mansion, the next order of business is creating new identities. Once again, The Fox is called in. The illusionist transforms the party into different forms so they will not be recognized. With the matter of the trail settled, the party can finally resume their search for Hargo. Bran tries a scrying spell and sees Hargo on a boat. The scry provides enough information for a teleport, so the group wastes no time in pursuing the lead.

The party arrives on the boat to find several crew members being held down by their shipmates. To their horror, the adventurers witness bizarre creatures crawl out of the sea and on to the ship. The creatures scuttle across the deck and force their way into the mouths of the helpless sailors. Once the creatures have entered their host, the victim is released. Within seconds, the entire crew has been overtaken.

Hargo is also on the deck, but it is obvious to the party that something else is controlling his body. Using Hargo’s voice, the entity tells the group to leave, or it will kill Hargo. The adventurers, however, are unwilling to give up so easily. The confrontation quickly becomes a melee. During the fight, some of the party members are pinned by the crew. Before their allies can free them, more creatures creep over the gunwale and slither into their mouths. Making good on its threat, the entity disintegrates Hargo’s body. The party members who still retain free will decide to group up and teleport away. Before they leave, the adventurers get a good look at the entity. They recognize it as the same creature they met on the dream plan when they entered Hargo’s mind the second time.

Back at their stronghold, the party has little choice but to rest and plan. The intent is to wait until the next day and return to the ship to rescue their comrades. However, that plan is disrupted when morning comes and the missing party members awaken safely in their beds. As it turns out, the adventurers have somehow traveled back in time, and the events on the boat have not yet happened. Quinn indicates that he may have inadvertently had something to do with this.

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