Hellfrost

Island of Mourning - Session 17

Perhaps I should not have tried to blind Adad's Son

Storm clouds gather after the Spirit of Suleiman escapes from the gargantuan Cyclops. The Cylcops is Bariq, the Son of Storms, and some believe to be the Avatar of Adad. The storms are very rough and heroes and crew alike fight seasickness…then a living storm itself!

The storm gets particularly fierce when Ahmed climbs up the center mast, girds himself in the rigging, and defies the existence of a “storm god” (he is Devoted). When eyes clear and focus after a massive flash of lightning, our heroes see living lightning surging towards them. Naji and the crew focuses on the herculean task of keeping the ship under control in the storm. The lightning jinn seem to focus on Ahmed and the crew.

As things seem to turn the heroes way, another blinding flash of lightning – Ahmed finds himself staring in the the huge eye of Bariq, the Son of Storms! Tabari overhears Naji mutter “Perhaps I should not have tried to blind Adad’s Son.” But there was no time to consider its meaning. Bariq proceeded so pummel the heroes. Ahmed takes two brutal blows to that destroys the main mast in the process. He leapt forward to try to stick the eye of Bariq, but is ineffectual. Bariq grabs Ahmed, throws him across the ship when he crashes into the captain’s quarters.

Bariq hammered Salim so hard it drove him through the deck into the hold. Tabari and Ariceli were similarly crushed under Bariq’s might. As Bariq turned on Menivis, there was a load crack – the keel had broken under the power of the storm and the weight of Bariq. Menivis sees the other half of the ship rushing to him as all goes black.

Tabari is the first to awake. He finds the ship intact and everyone asleep on the ship. The Spirit appears unharmed and they are in a strange port – the buildings and the people resemble descriptions Tabari had read of Hekata. After all are wake, Tabari orders Naji to stay with the crew and have the ship ready to depart.

But before leaving, Tabari asks Naji about his comment during the storm. Naji then tells what happened to the crew back on the island with the cyclops. They had not told their tale as the terrible weather had been non-stop. The crew had been overrun by the beastmen. They were forced to sail to another small cover and were then taken to a huge cave. There they found Bariq. There were other mariners there and they were being eaten for dinner. Clearly, the crew would be up for the next meal. Thinking quickly, Naji convinced Bariq that one could not just eat people, but one had to properly cook them. If he allowed them to build a fire, he could demonstrate.

Bariq, skeptical, allowed this. Naji then noted its always best to cook to music. One of the crew quickly took up a lullaby from her homeland. The combination of the warm fire, the recent food, and the song put Bariq to sleep. Naji and the crew then heated up a large log and attempted to blind the Cyclops. They were successful enough to escape, but Bariq managed to bumble along behind them only partially blind. Naji sent the crew to prep the ship whilst he led Bariq down another trail. Bariq must have heard, seen, or otherwise sensed something that took him on down the path the led to the stone cyclops fort.

Naji returned to his crew to rescue the heroes just in time, as Bariq somehow had stumbled onto them in all the excitement.

Back to the port of Ankhura, as the heroes learn of the locale’s name. The heroes disembark to explore. The people speak Hekata but do not seem all that interested in the new arrivals. Ahmed notices there are no signs of the Devoted. Tabari notes there is a large but run down temple of Tammuz, the god of dead and the afterlife. He eventually locates a shrine to Qedeshet and speaks with the lay attendant. Tabari becomes convinced they are trapped in the ancient past.

Meanwhile Salim meditates while Ahmed keeps an eye on him. They eventually see Naji nosing around, trying to communicate with the local women. A couple of teen girls seems interested, but at the same time distant.

The group discusses what to do next. Based on some local maps, this appears to be the island revealed by the lens recovered from the Island of Lightning. But something is not right here. As it nears sunset, the group decides to try to leave. But they cannot board the ship!

As the sun sets, they see a glow up on a nearby hill. It forms a processional of spirits that marches to the temple of Tammuz. The doors are open and, perhaps as a trick of the lighting, the temple looks more robust and kept up than it did during the day. A priest of Tammuz comes out to greet the gathered masses. The masses supplicate the priest to let them in, to let them pass. The priest mournfully shakes his head and closes the doors. The crowd wails, and dark tendrils form and weave their way through the crowd. They start to coalesce into dark shapes, and those shapes sense the heroes…

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