Skull and Shackles

28 The Bleak House

Session Twenty Eight

In this session of the Skulls and Shackles campaign, the pirate companions decide to delve deeper into the dark forest and follow after the strange cat that has been haunting their dreams. They arrive in a small clearing within the dark forest, where they find a large gathering of felines surrounding a sleeping sasquatch. Mary and Tidus find the felines’ presence to be unsettling, while the other companions find the clearing to be welcoming. Wynter uses a hex to speak with the animals and soon learns that the felines have been waiting for the pirate companions for some time. Apparently centuries ago in another lifetime, Quade made an ally with a spirit of the wild known as the Cat Lord (the events of the Planescape adventure: Something Wild.) The felines are emissaries of the Cat Lord sent to help the pirate companions by providing a shelter within the Dark Forest. As long as the sasquatch sleeps, the undead spirits of the forest will stay away. The pirate companions do not question as to why there is a sasquatch sleeping in a clearing within the dark forest and instead decide to trust in the felines. After eight hours of blissful rest, Wynter convinces one of the felines to show the group the way to the heart of the Realm: The Bleak House.

Two hours of traveling through the forest and the pirates finally arrive at their destination. Their cat companion stays behind, in case if the pirates wish to return to the clearing.

Preparing their defenses for a potential fight, the group ventures forth but catch sight of a sobbing creature within the forest. Mary and Wynter attempts to communicate with the timid sylvan creature, but they are interrupted when Wynter’s shouts draws the attention of a band of wyverns from the Bleak House’s broken tower. The group drives the wyverns back, especially De’de and Mary’s magic. Once the dragons are defeated the group turns their attention back to the dim-witted fey creature. The creature introduces herself as Rigzarreth, and that she is on the island in search for her father, another past incarnation of Quade. Learning that her mother may very well be somewhere within the Bleak House, Quade suggests to bring Rigzarreth along with the group, but Mary is wary because Rigzarreth is a forlarren. It is only a matter of time before the fey creature will snap and attack the group.

Rigzarreth aids the group by pointing out that there is a trap at the front door. Mary disables the creeping doom trap and then sneaks forward to scout the great hall. Followed by the others, the pirates begin to explore the great hall until they are attacked a pair of witchfire sisters and their will-o’wisp minions. After defeating the witchfires and their conjured minions, the group continues on into the fort and begins to open doors. They face a number of challenges along the way: spectres, sahkil wasp monsters, a pukwudgie dirge bard called Abrogret, the sahkil nightmare lord called Olanna, and eventually Rigzarreth herself when she snaps and attempts to assassinate Wynter. Fortunately, Wynter is able to evade the attempt, but Turpin Irons is killed when Olanna redirects an attack from Quade against the former Hurricane King. They raid the Bleak House’s hidden rooms, such as Olanna’s secret shrine to Mahathallah, a whore queen of Hell, and Thaiyanthan’s treasure room where his clone is kept. They avoid speaking with the bone devil visitor from Stygia and instead march on to the final confrontation of the Bleak House, the Library.

The fight with the Prolonger is quick and dangerous. De’de dies from a finger of death spell, but is brought back to life with the assistance of Quade’s legendary blade. Mary ensures that the Prolonger can’t escape with dimensional anchors and spirit wards. But it was Wynter who saved the day when she casts a spell that severed her ties to the arcane arts. By rushing up to the Prolonger and using her enchantment’s presence to suppress the Prolonger’s own spells, it was enough for Quade to break through his father’s defenses to deliver the death blow that slew Thaiyanthan’s feeble old body. When the Prolonger attempted to possess the companions, Mary’s magic protected the group from the wizard’s last attempt to escape death.

The session ends with Quade becoming the master of the mindscape. He uses the magic of the mindscape to transport the group back to the astral construct replica of the Island of Empty Eyes, and conjures the Soul Anchor to the group’s presence.

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