Burnished Night

Sense, Sensibility, and Sea Monsters
The Paragons make landfall

Jason having successfully determined how to navigate the magical vessel, the Paragons spend several days at sea before they believe they’re about to make landfall. One evening with calm seas, Ivan manages to sound the alarm as scaly intruders climb up the side of the Shadow Galleon. Springing into action, the Paragons leap to attack their mysterious enemies. Dark blue scales covered with armor and more weapons, with leathery fins and flippers slapping on the deck, the toothy-marauders climb aboard and attack our heroes with spear and shield, working together in tight formation to push up onto the ship. As Craig and Josh move to engage, they’re thrown to the deck as a huge sea monster has wrapped itself around the Shadow Galleon! Just wider than a minivan, the serpent rears its ugly head only for a moment as it begins to squeeze the black ship into splinters.

Nylyss has luck holding off some of the ruthless fish-men, and Ivan manages to trick one into plunging back into the dark waves, but Mauldin is nearly outflanked before he manages to claw and gore his enemies and reposition, unleashing his magical nightmare mist.

Eventually, the Giant and go-mar carve into the serpent’s hide and arouse its ire. Firing arrows, Jason tries desperately to convert the hard-wood splinters of the galleon into a more effective projectile, but to no avail. It is Craig who manages to take advantage of the beast’s clumsy attack and strike an artery inside of its mouth. Wounded, the serpent retreats, as do the remaining Sea-Devils. Thinking they’re safe, the paragons re-group only to see the serpent rear its ugly head, carrying more of the sea-devils!

Only seconds later, however, the boom of several cannons firing from somewhere nearby sends the creature tumbling back into the sea. The bright light of gas lamps and the heavy paddling of a wheel rudder drown out the sound of the waves, and a large ship made gilded white birch pulls alongside the Shadow Galleon. Armored men, nearly as tall as Josh leap aboard. Both these near-giants and the Paragons are tense and ready to fight, until the newcomers’ leader boards the ship. Clad in a white uniform and wearing a bronze sunburst mask, the man waves his arms and throws glittering dust in the air. A few moments later, the Paragons are able to speak to this man.

He introduces himself as Marl, commander of a group of Chozar marines that have been deployed to Rezel to help deal with the Sea-Monster problem. He and his men are on their way to the Bulwark, and he offers to tow their ship. The paragons, seeing no way to refuse the magician’s offer, gladly accept, and offer him their per-determined aliases and joining him aboard their vessel, the “Morning Sun.”

Josh is the interest of many of the Chozar marines, as they all have giant blood and are interested to learn more about Giant culture. Faking his way through the exchange, the Chozar indicate that they wish to trade with him. He trades his musical instrument for 1/4th of an ancient giant song written on a cowskin scroll.

Eventually, the Paragons arrive at the Bulwark. The town near the port is dilapidated, made mostly of straw and mud, and filled with starving peasants begging to be let into Castle Caverday. Marl bids the Paragons good luck, and tells them that he’ll be quite busy in the embassy, but that their ship is safely in port.

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On the Shadow Galleon
Our heroes set sail

Inside the cave, the spiraling stone staircase eventually opens up to an expansive mountain crevice. Black feathered Draken are fast at work on enormous looms modified for their bestial frames. Others still swoop down from the sky to dine on fruits and rodents left in baskets. Few Draken meander on the ground, weaving their claws and wings to swirl magical energies that appear to be infused into the thread from the looms. The bustling mountain metropolis grinds to a halt at the sight of the Paragons and their Draken companion.

Their leader, KithKalas appears angered, but only due to the nature of their arrival. Outsiders on their island must mean that the ancient prophecies are about to be fulfilled, and that a time of great tribulation is about to befall the worshipers of Mistknell.

Kithkalas takes the Paragons to his inner sanctum, where he reveals what must be done in order to return them home. Find the Eight Aspects of the Summer Sun, return them to the island, and a ritual can be performed to prevent the sun from being extinguished. Each of the aspects was hidden in one of the burgeoning kingdoms on the northern continent. The Aspect of Water, formally in the possession of the Diggers of Eastenbarrow, was stolen and taken to the marshy swamplands of the Kingdom of Rezel. The Aspect of Fire may already be in the possession of the Cult of the Master, as it is farther North than any of the kingdoms. The aspect of Good lies somewhere within the City of Bold, and may be safe for now.

The Paragons decide to go after the Aspect of Water, on the eastern coast of the Sea. Kithkalas bids Mauldin accompany the Paragons on their journey, and tasks him with delivering four Dragon Scrolls to each enclave of Draken on the mainland.

Leading them to the coast of the island, they see their ship tied to a small dock. The Shadow Galleon is a foreboding ship made of almost ebony-dark wood, with flimsy silken sails, crewed by a group of vaguely humanoid inky-black shadows. With some trepidation, the Paragons embark on this vessel and set sail for the mainland.

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The Quest Begins
Mistknell reveals itself

The wriggling vines of the man-eating vegetables recede back into the jungle as a gigantic winged shadow swoops overhead, momentarily blocking the rain before ascending back into the billowing storm clouds. Night’s approach is masked by the storm, and you reach a small cave at the base of the island’s impossibly steep peaks just as the jungle is plunged into an even deeper darkness. As you begin to dry off your soaked clothes, you feel the presence of something unnatural in the cave. Twin pinpoints of light at the back wall. Slowly, these lights take shape, revealing themselves as the eyes of an impossibly large, pitch-black dragon looming high above you. The small cave has transformed into a massive cavern, leaving you at the feet of the gigantic winged lizard. Before you can compose yourselves, the dragon speaks.

Ironic it is that you have come seeking my help when it is I who seeks yours, Small Things. The people of the Midglass know me as Mistknell, the Dragon of night. Those who listen to my whispers shield this world from the harsh rays of its own sun, and they have done so since the Sideless war. You know not of such things. You are of the other realm? Indeed I know of this place, and if you want to secure your return to your world, I request assistance in securing mine.

This world’s sun is dying. Ages ago, the Overglass controlled it, using it to coerce the people below. In the war, control over the sun was divide into eight aspects representing the true nature of the world. The Deep Prophecies foretold of a time when the sun would no longer shed its light unless a life-granting ritual were performed with all of the aspects present. As you may have surmised, I would ask that you acquire these aspects and bring them to me, Small Things. The task is treacherous, as those your contemporaries would name “Gods” are unaware of the Deep Prophecies and bid their worshipers protect the aspects from the Overglassers. However, if you complete this task, I can grant whatever you may wish. Wealth here, a return to there…

The Dragon opens its jaws, its jagged diamond teeth revealed as it lets out a small chuckle

I could even stop the decay that already ravages your bodies. The Overglassers did not wish that you flourish, Small Things. Despite being Paragons of your kind, endowed with youthful and healthy bodies, the Overglasser’s work is unraveling. In a few years, you’ll be naught but lepers and cripples at the hands of their shoddy workmanship. I can make you whole again, or return you to the simple forms you recall so fondly. Discuss this, and other trifles with my Shadebearers atop the peaks. They will reveal the wisdom of the Deep Prophecies to you, should you accept this task.

The pinpricks of light slowly fade away as the whispering Dragon disappears into the darkness. Your torch flickers back to life as though nothing had happened, and the cavern has returned to its original size and shape, save for the wide staircase that ascends up into the peak’s interior.

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