Bear Claws

45. Mud in my mouth, river arisen.

I could use some tea.

Characters: Jak, James, Alton, Roland, Thornside
Level: 13
Location: Sayre
NPCs: The Filth King

The Bear Claws examine the spice house and Thornside discovers that he can open the entrance by pressing on certain nails and knots in the boards that are seemingly covering the doorway. Inside the warehouse is lit by stripes of golden light that leak into the warehouse through cracks in the walls and ceiling. Debris and a fallen staircase litter the floor. Thornside notices a track through the debris that leads to the center of the room and hidden trap door.

Jak opens the trap door and dagger flies from the ceiling and sticks into his shoulder. Beneath the door is a five foot drop with a dark, four-foot high tunnel. Thornside leads the way down the tunnel and James remains behind, unwilling to venture into a tight space without need.

At the end of the tunnel is another trap door with a coin slot. Thornside lowers a coin on a string so that he can pull it back out. The trap door falls open revealing a deep room and a dirty rope ladder. The Bear Claws descend the rope ladder and climb off of it onto raised platforms that jut out from the walls. Roland drops his torch from the ladder and it stops before it hits the ground. At which point he discovers that he has a phobia of gelatinous cubes.

Alton jumps from one platform to another to get closer to the door and lands on a pile of rags that turns out to be a beggar with shiny new chain mail and daggers. The beggar throws him off and Jak leaps across to grapple him. The beggar kicks against the wall, knocking them both off the platform.

Thornside jumps onto the gelatinous cube, trying to shoot it and the cube engulfs him. Jak throws the beggar into the cube and there is a quick melee as the Bear Claws kill off the rest of the beggars who try to flee only to find the door is locked from the other side. They curse the Filth King for locking them in as the Bear Claws finish them off and destroy the gelatinous cube.

On the person of one of the beggars Jak finds a small piece of blue glass. Alton examines it and finds that it is magically attuned to some larger device to be a communications device. He tries to activate and hears a voice asking who he is trying to contact. He asks for the commander and a voice answers, “Commander Brann’ott speaking.” Brann’ott wants to know if the Bear Claws are dead. Alton tries to pretend they are still waiting for the Bear Claws to show up. Brann’ott doesn’t know what he is talking about he just wants results. He tells Alton that he will take care of the githzerai, they should take care of the Bear Claws. He hangs up when Alton starts asking too many questions.

The Bear Claws open the door and find themselves in an underground roadway that has been seemingly buried by mud and then excavated back out.

Nearby is a former temple of Ioun that has a crude painting of a five-headed dragon above the doorway. They enter the temple and find a chapel with several beggars listening to a sermon about the importance of greed. Behind the priest — who turns out to by the Filth King that beggars referred to — is a long pit, and an enormous pile of gold coins. Beyond that is a statue of Tiamat on a pedestal.

The Filth Kings sees them enter and hisses at the beggars to “get them.”

Immediately one of the beggars stands up and shouts at his comrades and they all turn and stare at the Bear Claws in unison. Jak rushes into the room and the fight begins. The Filth King whispers to Jak about greed and makes him fall into the pit near the gold. He also scratches Roland’s face with his dirty fingernails, poisoning him. When Jak climbs out of the pit the gold starts to move and a treasure golem rises up and shoots coins at him.

The rest of the beggars and Filth King get killed by the rest of the Bear Claws and the Treasure Golem falls shortly after. In its death throws it thrashes around and tips over the statue of Tiamat that breaks on the floor revealing a secret door behind it.

The Bear Claws take a few minutes to catch their breaths then venture through the secret door. There is a narrow passage that slopes downhill to another door, that is partially obscured by debris. Inside is a small library where the writings of ancient seers was kept.

There are undead librarians in the library, trapped when the silt and mud of the rising buried the building hundreds of years before. Since then they have spent their time writing the words of the seers on the walls and floors in order to keep them from turning to dust.

One of them tells the Bear Claws that five hundred years previous this site was the city of Auger, named after Auglos the Seer who invented the Bitter Glass. The Glass was an immense sphere that was attuned to communicate across the planes with smaller pieces of glass that were attuned to it. The glass had a by-product of powerful psychic energy that Auglos shunted into the Astral Sea thinking nobody would be bothered by it.

The energy attracted the attention of the githyanki who destroyed Auglos, broke the Bitter Glass and left the city in ruin. The nearby river flooded the area and buried it under silt and mud. Years later farmers began to settle the area. Then dwarves moved in and dammed up the river and dug channels for the water to drain the swamps and the city of Sayre was built on top of the buried ruins of Auger.

On the walls and floor of the building were found the following writings:

You’re watching me. I can see you, but you don’t know that. You’re listening to my words even though I’m long dead. No, not you! Idiot. You’re just writing down my words because you were told to by the old man with a beard and a magic glass. I’m talking to the other people, the ones reading this on the wall. They know I’m dead. Oh yes, dead, mud in my mouth, river arisen! I sing of a ship that sails the air, that brings swords and fire. You’ve fought it, too, but it’s worse for you. We’re just going to die. They’ll kill us all because of what the bearded man does, talking through the mirror. They’ll just flood the room, and that will solve their problem until he finds it again. He’s been looking for it a long time. You think he likes you but it’s a lie. There was digging, you see, and cleaning, and many false leads. He’ll use it to conquer you all, but no one will believe you. You’ll have to prove him a liar. They can talk through it, you see. They’ve managed to do it, and the armies whisper through the blue darkness in a way that no one else can hear. You’re dead if you don’t stop it. Even now they are discussing you. “Distract them,” he is told, “this is too important to ruin.” But you can. Boy! Boy, I demand a goose! Pluck it and ruin it and save yourself if you find the right spot. Look for the old tower when no one expects you. It isn’t where they think it is. Ask the dwarves if you like, the brothers who dream of maps. Because in the days to come SHE will spread herself, and none will be safe from HER reach, so you may wish to trust the speech of the Bladed Girl. Trust, trust her if no one else. If her people do not come together, they will certainly be ripped apart. Like my goose? I am so very hungry. I could use some tea. Boy!

—verbatim account from the recorded visions of Graiden Brackenhaus, oracular guest of Seer Auglos of Auger, as scribed by Brother Pinnot from the Church of Ioun.

”A matrix of blown glass can be formed into a mathematically perfect sounding chamber, then used to amplify magical resonance. In theory, disconnected sheets of a similar substance can be attuned to the master. This would allow communication at unlimited distance. The question is: How can one handle the planar boundary? When I began this research in Nefelus, I never expected that this would be a concern…”

“A problem has developed. I need some method for shunting away the psychic residue cast off during communication. This seems to be quite toxic. I believe that I can redirect it into the Astral Sea, where it should do no harm to anyone…”

“The final Glass is more beautiful than I could have hoped. My apprentices have outdone themselves. A full 30 feet in diameter, it has anchored itself into the very nature of our plane, and hangs in space. Our ritual went flawlessly and it has taken on a life of its own; as thoughts travel from one external pane to another, the Glass shimmers like the night sky. It is quite beautiful. It seems to be invulnerable from the outside, as I intended, but the same protections have not transferred into the interior. This worries me.”

“The interior of the Glass becomes a psychic maelstrom if the information flow is not redirected. I have succeeded in rerouting the rogue energies to the Astral Sea. So long as no one is bothered by them, I see no risk; and in such a plane, what are the chances that they will be discovered? So small as to be infinitesimal…”

“I am making only a few select panes linked to the glass, but it would be just as simple to make many. I expect that selling these to far-flung allies could make me a rich man indeed. I will need to consider it.”

—from the diaries of Auglos of Nefelus

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