The Figure in the Fog
As their ferry to PEACOCK ISLAND sailed away, Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter, Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of Moriarty, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter watched as a thick fog rolled in from the sea. In moments, the PEACOCK ISLAND DOCKYARDS were mostly obscured. They could see the illumination of the same sort of blue electric lights they’d seen in the TEMPLE OF WANJO. The lights flickered off and on but they lent the fog a their faint color. They were also aware of a larger patch of blue light which seemed to be coming from above them somewhere, but the fog prevented them from determining how far away the larger light source might be.
Listening carefully, they heard a clicking noise. Suspecting the lights might be magical, Davroar cast a spell to confirm the presence of magic in the area. He noted that the street lights glowed also with magic, confirming that they were powered by some sort of magic, perhaps technomancy. At an intersection ahead, Davroar saw a fist-sized orb of light in the intersection ahead. Weddumlir approached and saw a figure kneeling in the intersection was the source of the clicking noise. Creeped out, Wedd retreated to his friends. Davroar confirmed that the figure was the likely associated with the blue orb of magic he was seeing.
“We didn’t come all this way to be stopped by a clicking noise,” Davroar complained. Acindor agreed. Approaching the figure, the human fighter noticed that the figure twitched and spasmed but did not move. The move was repetitive. As he drew closer, it become apparent that the figure wasn’t human. The metal man did not respond in any way to their greeting.
Looking around, they noted other metal men. All of them twitched, whether they were standing, kneeling or lying down. They moved ever so briefly in time with the flickering lights, making it apparent that the faulty lights were their power source. Obviously, there was something wrong with them. Davroar noted the same orb glowing within the chests of the metal men.
“These metal golems appear to have a power source within their breast,” Davroar said. “I believe they’re inactive but beware.”
A nearby shop showed signs of heavy damage. Its windows were shattered and its doors ripped off its hinges. Interior looked like it had been ransacked. There were obvious signs of a fight of some sort. Davroar noticed one metal figure that lacked a blue orb. He could also detect a faint trace of magic on the counter in the back. Everything there was wet. They also found traces of organic blood and a broken rapier with writing on it.
Meldor recognized the script as a form of Orcish.
Davroar sneered, not bothering to hide his hatred.
Acindor peered behind the counter but instantly recoiled when he saw a couple Sally Shettebrek dolls lying back there. Davroar noticed a pair of orcish boots elsewhere beneath a pile of cursed dolls. Given that the boots appeared to be all that was left of the orc, they decided to leave the shop and the accursed dolls behind.
As they continued to explore, Davroar noted that the source of the robots’ magic seemed to be coming from the north. A few blocks in that direction brought them to a metal tower. Atop the tower an intermittent blue glow was coming from a massive crystal hovering atop the tower. The crystal was obviously cracked and damaged.
A ladder to the northeast provided access to a series of metal catwalks and stairs leading to the top of the tower. The path upwards was lit with the same sort of electric lights as the street lights. Wedd and Davroar opted to scale the tower to investigate.
Halfway up the TRANSMITTER TOWER, they were accosted by an unseen sentry, who was alerted to their presence by Wedd’s heavy dwarven boots on the metal walkways.
“Who is that?”
They looked at each other uncertainly, stunned to hear another living voice for the first time on PEACOCK ISLAND.
“We’re here to help,” Davroar said.
“I’ve heard that before. Are you with them?”
“No, we’re with us.”
They could hear the scowl in the stranger’s voice. “Are you with the orcs?”
Davroar spat. “Gods, no!”
Below on the ground, Acindor sighed deeply and wiped Davroar’s spittle off his face with exaggerated longsuffering.
“Well, that’s what the last group said. Imagine my surprise when they started helping the orcs trash everything and even managed to damage the power crystal before they left!”
“Just point us in the direction of these ruffians, sir,” Davroar said, “and we’ll make quick work of them.”
“What I really need is a replacement for this crystal,” the tower sentry said. “They cracked it pretty hard.”
“Will everything come back to life once it’s restored?” Nathan asked.
“Good as new,” the sentry said. “Now, just on the off that you’re serious about helping me, I’ll do you the courtesy of giving you a few seconds to get back off this tower before I electrify it again.”
“Fair enough, sir, but give us your name so that we might know who it is we are aiding.”
“My name isn’t important. I’m just a servant of Obscurus. I’m Nobody. You need to go and warn Obscurus.”
Once the inquiring pair reached the ground, the sentry gave them directions toward the WAREHOUSE containing a replacement power crystal. The WAREHOUSE once stood on the beach, but something had occurred to damage much of the structure. It was now standing in water. Gaping holes in the sides of the WAREHOUSE showed them that much of the interior was also submerged. They realized they could gain entrance through the holes in the WAREHOUSE walls; however, before they attempted this Davroar detected a magical residue on the top of the water. Tracing their origin, he spied some overturned barrels coming from the other side of the WARERHOUSE. He immediately warned his friends of a possible danger, especially after he noticed shark fins patrolling the waters and that their back ends were a trail of tentacles.
Wary of the water, Davroar used a bowl to scoop up some of it. As Davroar touched his bowl to the water, he noted that three sharks immediately darted in his direction. They lost interest as soon as he was no longer touching the water. Davroar lit the top of the bowl with a torch experimentally. A fireball roared up into the sky accompanied by a loud, bloodcurdling scream like a wailing peacock. Within the flame, they saw a face with many eyes and several mouths screaming. The fog was mostly dissipated by this magical flare.
Unfortunately, they were spotted by two orcs manning a campfire on a ledge to the northeast overlooking the DOCKYARDS. Davroar was unconcerned, even when the orcs blew a hunting horn to alert others to their presence. If anything, the Cleric of Moriarty seemed eager for a potential fight with the orcs.
He was more concerned with the fact that the bowl was trying to crawl away. It had sprouted a set of crab legs and was making its way back to the water’s edge.
Davroar suggested that the water was a mutagen of some sort. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, Thril tried to fill a water flask so they could take it to someone for identification. Unfortunately, when he attempted to stopper the flask, teeth sprouted from the mouth and bit down on the cork. The flask began growing hair at a rapid pace.
“Is this thing returning to life?” Nathan asked.
Thril’s flask took a quick bite of him because he was determined to keep hold of it. Instead of releasing it, Thril emptied its contents. Emptied of the mutagenic water, the creature’s struggles became all the more frantic. Newly formed claws raked at him. Thril finally decided to let the flask go. It dutifully tried to crawl back to the water’s edge when he dropped it, but deprived of the fluid that gave it unnatural life, it shriveled up and dried up into something Thril decided he did not want to keep.
They decided not to wade into the waters.
The Peacock Shipping Company
Tracing the length of the building and an adjoining structure, they came to a door marked with a peacock. Nathan realized this was one of the better known symbols of the god of fear, SHETTEBREK. As the door was unlocked, they entered and found themselves in the lobby of the PEACOCK SHIPPING COMPANY OFFICE. Posters along the wall featured “Sweet Dream Sally” dolls. A register on a long desk . A broken robot sat on one side of the desk. The other side of the desk sported a seat for an actual living employee, but no one was present. A shipping register on the desk identified several destinations throughout FARRAGO their Sally dolls were being shipped to.
Behind the desk was a long hallway. There were also two office doors on either side of the hallway. At the end of the hallway, they could see another set of doors which they figured might lead to the WAREHOUSE.
Checking out the office to the right, Acindor found sets of black gloves, most of which were in parcel boxes. The words on the sides of the parcel boxes were unreadable. The languages and letters of the words shifted around as they tried to read them. Reasoning that the gloves allowed employees or purchasers to safely handle Sally dolls without being cursed, Acindor grabbed some for each member of the party.
They were not prepared for the other “office.” Entering the door, they found a room with an altar. Sally dolls were resting in boxes on either side. Behind the altar was a mural with many eyes staring at him. The more Acindor stared at it the more he felt a sense of dread and fear. The eyes became peacock eyes, then a spider’s eyes. The fighter felt frozen with fear. Sewers waters began bubbling up between the cracks in the floor. Unable to move, he wondered how long it would take for the sewer waters to fill the room. To fill his mouth. Suddenly the altar transformed into a ravenous wolf. As it began snapping and snarling at him, Acindor backpedaled out of the room, but he could not shake his new-found fear of dogs and wolves.
Telling the others what happened, they realized the room must be some sort of curse activation station for the Sally dolls. They decided never to enter the room again.
Proceeding down the hallway, they came to the door at the end. Opening it, they beheld the interior of the mostly flooded WAREHOUSE. Sharktopuses patrolled the waters, which Davroar confirmed was still magically charged. They were on a metal walkway that led to a flight of stairs. Many of the WAREHOUSE shelves were still standing. They spotted the replacement power crystal, but it took them a moment to figure out how to reach it. Tracing the pattern of walkways and stairs, they spotted a platform with levers and controls that likely controlled a claw and crane assembly above them.
Wary of the water and the dangers it might spit out at them, Meldor and Acindor stayed by the door to guard their exit while the others made their way up to the control platform. A section of the second story walkway was damaged, requiring them to leap across to the other side. Everyone but Weddumlir cleared the jump. Wedd missed the far edge and slipped down onto a set of shelves below. It caught his fall, but the crash threatened to tip the shelves and the commotion caught the attention of the sharktopi. Thril pulled Wedd up while Acindor tossed an unlit torch in the other direction to distract the monsters.
While his friends were bumbling around, Meldor realized he could simply cast a spell to fly up to the replacement crystal. Putting thought to action, he flew up to the crystal, retrieved it , and returned back to his post. Yelling up at the others, they dutifully made the trip back down, clapping him on the back for his effort-saving idea.
Davroar made up a song for Wedd as they made their way back through the PEACOCK SHIPPING COMPANY OFFICE and spilled out onto the street:
“When Wedd did jump, he needed help.
If it weren’t for Thril, he’d be stuck on a shelf!”
They noticed that the robots began coming back to life as they passed by, already being influenced by the power crystal.
Unfortunately, when they began making their way back to the tower, they were spotted by a troop of orcs who had made their encampment at its base.