If you need to be brought up to speed, the story so far:
- Chapter 1: Blood and Butterflies
- Chapter 2: Murder and Glass
- Chapter 3: The Sin Pit
- Chapter 4: Tussles in The Tangle
- Chapter 5: The Assault on Thistletop
- Chapter 6: Secrets Behind The Curtain
- Chapter 7: Murders At The Mill
- Chapter 8: Halflings and Ghouls
- Chapter 9: Fox in The Hen House
- Chapter 10: Something Rotten in Magnimar
- Chapter 11: The Crumbling Tower
- Chapter 12: Demonbane
- Chapter 13: Trouble at Turtleback Ferry
- Chapter 14: The Taking of Fort Rannick
Ready? Good! Because...
The Return of Black Magga!
Along with the waters, something has crawled out from behind the walls of the Skull's Crossing dam. Something dangerous, primordial, and hungry. A creature that seems to bend reality around itself, its powerful tendrils slipping sideways through dimensional rifts in order to rip and tear at the flesh of any who seem appetizing. A creature legends named Black Magga!
|This is WAY above my CR!|
Unaware of what, exactly, this creature was, the companions rushed into the fray to save as many of the townsfolk as they could. Arrows flew from Thok's bow, and Zordlan joined in the harry the creature. Mirelinda invoked a power none could pronounce, sending her magic against the beast's hide. Zhakar breathed deeply, and sent a blast of blinding light straight into the monster's face, burning out its eyes. Though hungry, and enraged, Black Magga quickly decided there was easier prey elsewhere in Golarion, and slunk back into the lake to lick her wounds.
Bloodied and harried, the companions tried to figure out what could have happened in the past day or two that would have let such a horror loose. The town's nominal mayor didn't know, but he was sure the answers could be found up at the Skull's Crossing dam. A place that, despite its continued existence being of major import to Turtleback Ferry, no one had been to in years. It had been overtaken by trolls, or so they said, and from that time onward no one had the courage to investigate.
It seems they sent letters to Magnimar for aid, but that aid never came.
A Relic of The Old Times
Above Turtleback Ferry, along a path through the mountains, was an ancient, stone dam. Covered with colossal skulls, the stones were too large, and far too old, to have been placed by anyone living in the valley today. A great work of ancient Thassalon, the dam had stood, holding back the waters of the river for more than a thousand years.
And there were ogres trying to tear it down.
|Destruction without a permit? Can't have that.|
The crew of ogres, who were apparently unaware of what befell their comrades at Fort Rannick, were less than pleased to be interrupted just as their work was starting to really get underway. Though steel clashed, and battle roars rang through the pass, the ogres were quickly scythed down before the steel and spells of the companions. They knew that even a slight delay might be enough to doom the town below, and the integrity of the dam on which they stood.
The labor crew were, of course, not the only ogres in the dam. Nor were they the only threat!
There was a second crew of ogres within the dam, exploring the interior, and deep within there was a creature called (in the primitive pidgin giant the ogres wrote in) Wet Papa. The skragg awaited in a pool of scummy, filthy water, but even its regeneration wasn't enough to save it from the fire and fury that fell upon it when it attempted to harry the companions. A skulltaker awaited in one of the other rooms, as well; a bizarre, mechanized contraption that pinned its enemies to the floor before removing their heads. A device that had seen its share of intruders, to judge from the number of skulls it bore.
Bloody and bedraggled, the final room they explored held twin binding circles... and one very old, very tired pit fiend.
The engineers of ancient Thassalon had indeed found a way to power the colossal dam... by using the life essence of the damned. For centuries this fiend and another had been trapped... but it was dead now, and there wasn't enough life left in the remaining fiend to reseal the dam. Without hesitation, Zhakar extended his corrupt hand into the other field. Pain slammed up his arm, and something sucked away at the essence that filled him. The fiend closed its eyes, sighed, and collapsed into dust. The dam raised, and the waters ceased to flow. Turtleback Ferry had a reprieve... for now, at least.
There was more to do, of course. Because it seemed that while a lot of pieces were moving, it was the same hands directing all of them. Hands that, if the companions were to safeguard themselves, their friends, the nation, and perhaps more, would have to be stopped.
What is around the next corner? Find out on the next installment of Table Talk!
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