The final battle looms. Losses have been atrocious. King Mathias of House Taj is confident they will win, but the bleeding has to stop. Vizir Ja’far informs the group the Shamans protecting the Kreana King are at the Ironclad. The group volunteers for a surgical strike!
The King Mathias gives a heartfelt speech to the group and Princess Silana shows her appreciation. The group is given two Pearls – one will get them to the Ironclad, one will get them back. The group plots, as they know the layout of the accessible areas of the ship.
Girding themselves, the heroes flash in over the deck of the Ironclad…right in front of a Great White shark! Then crossbow bolts come out from the battlements on the deck! The group battles hard and clears the deck, but there is blood in the water from their own wounds.
They then go down through a massive hole in the deck to the aft-mid-deck area . An after-effect of the old water elemental engineering room is that this level has a counter-clockwise current. As the group hunts for Shamans, they catch sighted of a serpentine form off in the gloom of the water. They then engage a Shaman and his protector. As they attack, another set attack from behind the group. Then a young Sea Dragon comes around the corner and breathes is caustic water mixture! The battle is fierce, with Ahmed finishing off the dragon in a dizzying whirl of blades!
Healing up what they can, then enter the lower deck. In the central area is a circular dais. Tabari had tried to divine its use when the group was here previously but never really got anywhere. Now, there is a glowing purplish gem floating above the dais. Unbeknownst to the PCs, the dais nullifies up to -2 in maintenance penalties for spells that are cast from it (they are still Maintained, just reduces the penalties).
There are a number of Kreana around, and a battle ensues. Eventually, the other other four Shamans and their protectors engage the PCs. As each Shaman is killed, a protection on the Kreana King drops. Eventually, he notices and returns to the ship via Sanctuary! With him comes 4 Bloodragers. All are crazed with blood frenzy.
The battle is tough. Menivis is nearly killed. Salim is bleeding badly. Other have Fatigue effects of spells from the Shamans. All of the group pounds on the Kreana King. Ahmed, dancing through the water as if he was born there, cut the widest swath of destruction among the Kreana and finished off the King!
In the area there is a merman chained to a wall. It turns out to be Prince Albion! The group sweeps the area and returns to the Palace with the dead King in tow, spirits high…
…only to arrive to carnage! Members of the Coral Guard and King Mathias are dead! There are many Kreana bodies as well. It is hard to see with all the blood in the water. Tabari rushes over to the King and casts Insight. The scene replays itself in his mind. A secret panal near the throne opened and Kreana rushed out. The Vizir rushed out of the room to summon more of the Guard. The battle was fierce, but short. It was a suicide mission…there was not much that could be done.
At least the Princess was safe and the Crowned Prince had returned.
Of the Death of Kings (Ahmed POV)
Ahmed sat quietly on the floor next to the bed where his friend Menivis lay. The warrior had borne the brunt of the vicious battle with the Shark King, his body torn in countless places. That foul monarch had been slain but it was little comfort.
“Was he the Prince?” muttered Menivis. Ahmed took a cup of water and gave his friend a drink. Menivis’ body was covered in bandages and healing salves but he could still lean up a bit. Ahmed was sure if a kreana burst into this healer’s room, Menivis would pick up the sword and fight but there were times when you gave your body its due.
“Yes, though that muddies the waters. The sharks attacked the palace while we were gone and slew the king. The princess survived and is the most capable but they might elevate the son to be king. I don’t know how it works in this place. It is such a blend of traditions it is hard to know what they believe.”
Menivis took another drink and then lay still for awhile. Ahmed began to think he’d finally fallen asleep when the Cakali shifted.
“Our time here is done, isn’t it, brother.” Menivis’s dark eyes searched Ahmed’s face. The dervish warrior nodded.
“Good. It has been too long since I felt the sand underfoot and used the strength of the rock in my battle stance. All this swimming is a different world, one I’ve not trained to be a part of.”
“I agree. I long to feel the heat of the sun on my face and from the sand. I’m sure Salim feels the same way though Aracelindoliel and Tabari may still be enchanted by the strangeness of this place and its people.”
Ahmed rose. “I’ll talk to them. It is time to go.”