Our friends found themselves sailing on a beautiful day, with the sun shining, the water crystal clear, the breeze warm, the waters themselves warm, many colored fish darting about therein…
Below decks, Mira spent her time reading. Katey was constructing a special carriage at the sternside hull of the ship, Blath was enjoying the view at the bow of the vessel, and all were engaged in various ways of passing time. Hearing the horking of a seal, the party’s interests were piqued, and they looked to see where it came from.
Although it was interesting to see a seal who swam away at their approach, what was more interesting was the perch the seal sat upon above the water. It was the tip of a bowsprit, pointed upwards, just sticking out of the waters! A ship was sunken there, on a downward slope. Although our friends searched for Captain William to gain his opinion, they found him not, but suddenly remembered at the first mate’s prompting that he had gone on leave some time ago, with Manus also, stopping for shore-time on a tropical island some ways back.
A little baffled at this discrepency in memory, they stood puzzled. Disarmoring, Segomo dove into the waters to search the forecastle. After prying open the door, he found the remnants of a married man, as well as a variety of items. The wedding band engraved “I shall thee love no matter the distance” he left upon the ring finger of the skeleton, but the trident, coinage, and compass he took.
Entreating his friends to come into the water with him, Segomo then swam to the sternside hatch about forty feet below the surface. With the aid of his friends, they knocked the hatch open, and entered into the dark chamber, cloudy with debris and sediment owing to their rough entry. In order to see better, Homer was magically illuminated to show the contents therein. Mostly there were floating crates and boxes with all sorts of mundanities within, as well as some tequila, and a barracuda that the cleric had disturbed from its resting spot. Favoring the trident for underwater combat, Segomo made quick work of the barracuda, although it lacerated his forearm badly.
Mira, not wishing to dally underwater any longer than was necessary, swam upwards, for she had noticed a pocket of air above. At the surface, she saw a room which lingered above the water about five feet. She recruited the dwarf’s stout shoulders to boost her up into the cove, which she, being the lightest and one of the tallest, was best suited to grab. She helped her friends also, holding a rope, to enter into this fore-part of the ship, a small room turned on its side with the sinking of the boat.
A little prodding in this highly cluttered area revealed two dire rats which defensively attacked the group. In the confusion of immensely close-quartered combat, a skeleton wearing only a loincloth and a ball and chain on its foot rose up, took hold of Mira, and plunged out of the room into the waters below.
Mira, in shock, was not able to take a deep breath before her plunge and had perhaps thirty seconds to escape the grip of this bony nightmare. Without Homer’s light, she was being dragged into the dark depths, trying to squirm free to no avail, pulled by the weight of the ball and chain, desperately keeping the clamping teeth away from her neck with her left hand, and frantically stabbing with the knife in her right. Seconds passed, but the party did not come to her aid, save Katey’s guard, who could see nothing without Homer.
As she plummeted deeper, twenty five feet below, bumping into crates and barrels, she heard her dwarven ally plunge downwards. Mira, with a few good blows, severed the skeletal right arm, which though still clinging to her shirt was no longer pulling her. Segomo descended quickly and severed the beast at its spine, leaving the ball and chain to plummet rapidly to the bottom, and easing Mira’s escape. Finally she wriggled free from its grasp and burst to the waters’ surface just as she thought her lungs might explode. The dwarf ended the last remaining vigor of Mira’s bony foe.
Meanwhile, marked by a distinct callousness for the welfare of the lady bard, whose own words to herself were “I thought I was going to die,” Blath and Homer looted indiscriminately. Looking in a mirror marked “Veritas”, Blath noticed a secret compartment behind him, which was not revealed to his naked eye. Thrusting his blade within, he found the wall to be illusory. Homer quickly obtained from within an item that Mira would later recognize as Perseus’ Shield, a buckler which could reflect a spell back on its caster, as well as a crossbow engraved with lightning bolts.
Leaving the wreck, Blath used some magics he thought he knew to detect the magical ability of the items. Realizing Segomo’s golden compass was magical, they began to follow it. For it had no normal head, but a skull was at the end of the magnet, and it pointed them eastward.
These sailors set sail for some days, and they suddenly passed through a dense ring of fog and found a place where the waters were calm and a large rock spire rose from the sea. At this point, Katey realized something was not right, for she recalled something of this in the past. She asked where the captain was, recalling also that he said he would not ever leave the ship to sail without him. She asked several questions to the first mate, none of which matched her own vague memories of what existed. She began to doubt the reality of their situation, and even realized she did not actually remember meeting such a first mate, or any such crew as was there. Spreading her conspiracy to her friends, they too began to realize that they did not remember where they came from, or why they were here. The golden rings they played with in their hair, or in their ears, they realized they did not previously own. They realized, too, that they had not been sailing for some years together as the crew insisted, and they grew angry. The crew became afraid of their bellicosity and suspicion, and retreated below decks. Homer, seized by a bizarre frenzy, attempted to set the Amandine ablaze, before leaping out and following the party to the rock spire, wading in through the shallow waters beyond the sandbar.
They tried the steel-reinforced wooden door, but could not open it. Attempting to view it in the mystical mirror, they saw two skeletal guards standing next to them, and the writings “Say ‘friend’ and enter here” in Giant, a language which Mira spoke. Homer, thus, said “friend” and the door swung open with ease.
In a sort of mania, Homer Thunder-Waved the entrance, causing a general disturbance of the peace, and some discomfort to the skeletal guards, which remained at post. Not to be satisfied with just that, as he entered the spiraling hallway, he harrassed the two cowled guards at the point of entry into the main room. As he stepped near them, he could make no figure of what resided within their cloaks, save the cockroaches which, when Homer’s boot fell nearby, scurried underneath the robe and were not seen again.
After investigating these guardians for some time, they finally worked up the resolve to enter. Therein was seen an oil lamp upon a table full of gold, daggers and books, which was the centerpiece to this open cavern room. At the desk sat a skeleton, wearing suspenders and striped pantaloons, as well as a dated buccaneer hat with a single, thin red feather, a little frumpy. Behind him was a vampire at guard.
Segomo sat down at the table in front of this skeletal figure, who had as yet not moved. Mira, too, sat down. It appeared to take offense at Segomo’s inquiries without proper introduction, and so as Segomo stood to introduce himself, so too did the skeleton, who shook Mira’s hand also. “I am Kendrick the Dead, and who are you others, who have marched into my humble abode so cavalierly?”
At that, a bit of tequila was poured all around, and a mop was brought nearby. Introductions were established Although he seemed uninterested in explaining what was going on for them, Kendrick the Dead did inform them on most of the matters of their questions. They were in a dream, but a dream they were all sharing, and so in fact this was quite different from a normal dream. They were existing on a dreamplane, inhabited by all who dream, although most who dream here are purely made of dreamstuff— insubstantial, temporary. But for our friends, and for Kendrick, it was different. They were really on this plane, not just imaginitatively, brought together in the interests of treasure. Kendrick loved the treasure that had ceased existing in the material planes and had found its way here, and they sought after things from the material world. For reasons unknown to the party, Kendrick possessed a certain individual who they wished to see, but he would only show her to them if they granted him a boon.
He needed a special rod back from one Herman Sewald, which he himself was reluctant to obtain as it had the power to destroy those enjoying unlife. He also requested whatever magical items were on Henry’s person, spare none. Agreeing to this exchange, Kendrick assured them that whatever power or fate had bound them here, as well as the special visitor in his custody, would awaken them once it was satisfied.
But how would they find Herman? “Rest assured, friends,” said the handsome bones in a buccaneer’s hat, “that this is the world of dreams. You will find what you seek. Just walk back out of the door. You will find what you seek.”