The Worlds of Elia

Chapter 5: The Sunken Pyramid

The team of adventurers now comprised of Sentinel, Flint, Varis, Solarius, and Bulge have left the ashes of Cardia and start making their way toward Talinden, in hopes of finding any survivors from Oswald’s coup. While they are weary from the past days’ events, the desire for revenge keeps them moving. Several days have passed since the battle against the dragon, and everyone is still on edge. There isn’t much conversation outside of the occasional obscenities directed toward their former ally.

The group is still a long way from Talinden, when they come across a pile of overturned wagons and carts off the side of the road. The wagons are torn apart and look as though they’ve been ransacked clean. Worse is the gashes and blood stains covering the vehicles, showing clear signs of a conflict. As they continue to investigate, they see the wagons are from Cardia, and surmise that these could have been refugees on their way to Talinden. As they search, they also notice some bloody fish-like scales, serving as some evidence to what could have happened.

The group follows a trail of footsteps and blood off the main road and toward the shoreline. As they get closer to the ocean, they notice a larger trail of blood leading into a small rocky structure. They follow the trail and find a wounded man laying inside the cave. He is close to death, but is able to provide more details on what happened. He explains he was part of a caravan of Cardian citizens that fled town once the rioting started. The group was mostly comprised of civilians, including some women and children, but thought they would be safe taking the main road to Talinden. They were attacked by a group of fish-men, against whom they were no match.

He doesn’t remember much after the attack, but does recall the fact that no one was actually murdered, but rather subdued and dragged off. The fish-men mistook him for being dead and took off before he regained consciousness. He followed the trail to the shore, but collapsed in the cave structure after losing so much blood. He doesn’t know much about the fish-men that attacked him, but is fairly certain he saw the last few of them disappear into the ocean. As he loses consciousness, Flint uses magic to stop his bleeding and temporarily mend his wounds. The man is so grateful that he hands the group 3 potions designed to help breathe underwater, and pleads the group of adventurers to find the caravan before it’s too late.

The team heads toward the shore to search for signs of the fish-men lair. Meanwhile, Bulge begins to prepare an alchemical ritual in order to brew more water breathing potions. Unfortunately, he does not know a thing about alchemy, and so his efforts resulted in a circle of rocks and sticks very neatly arranged by the shoreline. Flint notices an unusually high number of seagulls are circling a particular area of the ocean, roughly 100 ft away. The group all partake of the water breathing potions, and swim toward to investigate. As they swim deeper into the depths of the ocean, they come across a gigantic stone pyramid reaching down past where light can reach. The top of the structure is basically flat—small patches of kelp and seaweed grow here and there, moving lazily in the ocean currents. The top of the structure is about 40 ft. wide and is obviously of intelligent design. Sentinel slowly pushes his hand through the top of the structure, dispelling the illusory wall protecting the pyramid’s entrance.

Upon entering, the adventurers follow the tunnel straight down, until it levels off and opens into a wide cavern, with openings on either end. The group is met by two sahuagin guards and their pet shark. They quickly dispatch the sentries before they are able to signal for help with the horn mounted on the back wall. Varis then swims over to the back wall and effortlessly takes the horn from its mount as his trophy.

The group then quietly moves to the large, open area to their right. A group of three sahuagin are huddled together eating the innards of a large fish. Sentinel takes advantage of the situation by charging straight into a nearby weapon rack, knocking all their spears away. Varis follows up by firing a few well-timed arrows straight through two of their heads. With no other options, the last sahaugin flees back into the depths of the lair. At this point, Flint notices a few interesting trinkets on the bodies: necklaces containing a single shark tooth. He feels strong magical powers in the shark teeth, and hands it to Solarius, who is about to lose the effects of the potion. As Solarius puts the necklace on, he is immediately relieved with the ability to breathe water indefinitely. As the rest of the potions begin to fade, the group makes finding more of these necklaces their first priority.

Just then, the booming baritone sound of a horn fills the room. With their cover blown, they quickly make their way back to the lower-leading opening toward the entrance of the structure. They are met by two more sahuagin, this time prepared to fight off the intruders. Bulge takes a first strike as he swims straight through their makeshift barricade and impales one of the guards. Varis stands directly behind and fires off a few arrows while suspended above in mid-swim. After taking out the guards, they find three more necklaces, leaving Flint as the only one left without a way to survive underwater. Varis and Flint take turns taking deep breaths with the necklace on and then handing over to the other person. This works in the short-term, but it’s definitely not a sustainable solution. Also in this chamber are two cells, each containing a single human. The humans are clearly prisoners, but don’t look like it. Instead, they are yelling and praising the “Clutchfather” and refuse to listen to any other reason. It becomes clear that they are under some sort of strong magical control.

As they head continue on through the lair, they come across another larger cage, but this one does not contain a prisoner. Rather, this cage is holding a single sahuagin. The sahuagin says nothing, but just sneers at the group. Varis inspects the cage further and notices a small pile of jewels and gold behind him. Also, he seems to be wielding a magically-electrified spear. There is no door, but it looks like the bars are set in some sort of mechanism, and might be able to retract.

hey press forward and are stopped by a barricade of a series of tough wooden planks set in Xs. In between the planks are spears pointed outward. The barricade is about neck-high, just tall enough to see two more sahaugin pointing spears straight at them. Sentinel attempts to break through the barrier head-on, and is successful in maneuvering himself behind the guards. However, as he turns back around, he is met with a sahuagin priestess and her pet shark, who successfully disarm and hold him in stasis. Bulge starts to bash the barricade to pieces, as Solarius starts shooting magical fire at the two guards. Sentinel regains control of his body, but not before getting brutally wounded by the shark. He picks up his weapon and slices straight through, turning his attention to the priestess. Bulge destroys the barrier, allowing the rest of the group safe passage through. The team regroups and takes down the priestess, nabbing the fifth and final shark tooth necklace.

They dive deeper and follow the twisting cavern down until they hit a fork. There is an opening to the right, with two carved stone statues of a fish-man. Above the opening is an elaborate carving of a large fish-man with his arms in the air surrounded by a swarm of smaller fish-men. To the left is a long tunnel ending in a large steel cage containing the rest of the Cardian refugees. Similar to the others, these refugees are completely under mind control, and are unresponsive to the adventurers. They move to take on the sahuagin leader, who is sitting on a stone throne at the far end of his chamber. At each side of him are hunter sharks waiting to attack.

The sahuagin leader is strong, but is ultimately no match for the group. Sentinel overcomes his imminent fear of sharks by absolutely eviscerating the two being controlled by the leader, and Varis defies gravity and physics by delivering shot after shot with pinpoint accuracy. Bulge sees a pile of what looks to be fish eggs on either side of the throne, and decides to disengage and begin eating as many as he can. The sahaugin leader is distracted by Bulge literally consuming his children, and charges with full energy toward Bulge. The rest of the group takes advantage of his blind side, and takes him out before he reaches the other side of the room.

After defeating the leader, they search the room for any way to free the prisoners. There aren’t any keys visible anywhere, but there is a large button placed directly behind the stone throne. It’s not absolutely clear what the button will do, but the group decides to split up and stand by each cage to escort the prisoners. Solarius is appointed to wait by the button and wait for Varis’ signal, in the form of his trophy horn. Several minutes go by as Solarius waits for the signal. Once he hears it, he closes his eyes, hits the button, and hopes for the best. Varis is watching and waiting by the cage upstairs, expecting the remaining sahuagin to be some sort of a “Fish-Hulk.” To his surprise, he sees a flash of light and watches as the last sahuagin is electrified to death.

Unfortunately, it seems as though many of the prisoners met the same fate as “Fish-Hulk.” As Sentinel and Flint reach the main cage, they see one half of the prisoners huddled together in the corner, and the rest floating dead in the other. They escort the confused survivors back up to the surface, while Varis reclaims the treasures he saw earlier guarded by “Fish-Hulk.” The group leaves with the surviving prisoners to resume their long journey to Talinden.

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