In the White Shadows

Chapter IV: Session III - Come Sail Away

Like the Angels

Unsure what time-bending realities they faced, the party launched into battle against these tiny/not-tiny lizards. Together, they danced around the room, but they looked far from nimble. It seemed as if all spacial recognition was warped — the heroes had difficulty even distinguishing their right and left hands at times.

As the fight moved deeper into the room, a large unending chasm sprawled before them. So’Khra was the first to reach the ledge — and a great horror faced him! Calling forth the worst of childhood memories, a massive, drooling centipede rose from the chasm, slid its clacking legs around the wizards chest, and sunk its jaws deep. As his eyes grew heavy, So’Khra thought the thing muttered, “Say hello to Slatine…” What?

After pronounced yelping, So’Khra fell quitely into poisonous slumber. Symon and Behrtogg continued to fight the tiny lizards, all but ignoring the massive beast slinking across the chamber. Yet somehow, their sword-slashes prevailed, and they managed to wake the wizard. Sometimes moments of triumph occur out of desparation — So’Khra then slashed off the beast’s head…

Now the party could breath and search around. Across from them, the chasm still stretched. Was that the way forward? A rocky path to the chasm’s left looked carefully traversable, and So’Khra began to pick along. It soon became clear that whatever footing did exist was much smaller than it appeared. With a series of ropes tied to arrows, followed by an adamantine-spade anchor, the party created a rope-bridge and found themselves in a small passageway.

The air grew cold in this narrow walkway. It curled and curled for some time, and the party began to hear rustling in the hallways. The party didn’t want to investigate, because they had a feeling many things dwell behind these walls. Eventually, they reached an dead end — adorned by nothing more than a chair, leaned back against the stone wall. They searched thoroughly, and outside a smooth indentation on a nearby wall, nothing else remained. Frustrated, the party muttered vague obscenities — So’Khra bollucksed up the chair in anger.

They turned back the way they came. The rustling grew louder as they did. Fortunately, the party was alertly scouting ahead, because another noise reached their ears. It sounded as if a heavy object was being drug along the ground, and it was coming in their direction!

Rather than investigate this sound, the party decided to check out the chair one more time — perhaps they had missed something. This time, as they rounded the corner, a sallow-faced man in a dark cap sat rocking in the chair.

They peppered the man with questions. What was this place? Where did he come from? Are austerity measures answer to the Greek economic crisis? He laughed at each one, giving cryptic answers implying that the heroes are searching for something — even if they know not what they seek.

Eventually, the disfigured man admitted that he was a captain of sorts, here to give passage across “the river.” He pointed to an oar (now in the smooth groove) as evidence. When the party asked to be taken across he laughed, saying they were not ready. He promised to take them, but only upon a sacrifice of great value. Otherwise they could get across in the way that all flesh does…that sounded ominous.

The party refused at first, but upon hearing the dragging noise grow closer, they acquiesced. Each placed an item before the man, which he examined closely in turn. Finding the objects acceptable, he stood and pushed away the wall. Before the party, a deep, dark swirling river stretched forth, and a boat bobbed before them.

As they boarded, the man introduced himself as Mori. Mori spelled out the rules. They would see many things. They would see people they knew. They may see themselves. However, they would know when they found what they sought. But above all else, Mori emphasized that no matter how dire the situation, he would not fight for the heroes — Mori was no more their’s than the boat was. They were on their own.

At this point, the dragging noise grew even louder, and groans began to accompany it. Just as Mori pushed off and the boat broke loose, the party saw a man, missing two limbs with a hatchet in his skull. Behind him, he dragged a long axe. At that very moment, the walls burst forth with some species of beetles, who quickly overwhelmed the hatchet man. Perhaps that is how most flesh arrived here — dead. The party gulped…

As the boat began passing along, Symon and Behrtogg simply saw scenery and people bustling about the eerie shorelines. So’Khra however, began noticing things. A young man, perhaps much like him, began to appear over and over again, experiencing different things. So’Khra soon realized that he was watching his own memories — the memories lost to him that fateful day in the tavern. Soon, the boy began interacting with a number of people — people with the broad, hard features that So’Khra thought belonged only to him. An entire village of these people soon danced before his eyes, and the boy was happy among them.

Soon, things changed. So’Khra watched as the boy’s parents introduced him to an older gentleman. As the boy shook the man’s hand, his parents turned their back on him and walked away, no matter how loudly the boy cried and reached for them. From that point on, So’Khra only saw the boy with the old man. “Was that Slatine?” So’Khra wondered. Lastly, So’Khra saw the boy’s parents, along with everyone else from the village, grow wings and take flight. As they ascended to the sky, they looked back, only to see their homes burning behind them…what manner of thing happened there?

Soon after, the boat approached a sandy shoreline. Along the coast rose a magnificent manor, fit with fluted columns and stained glass windows. So’Khra wondered if this was his childhood home. Soon, two figures – the boy’s parents!! – appeared on the porch and beckoned to So’Khra. As the ship approached, they called, “Our son, our son is here. Son, come join us for dinner!” With that, So’Khra asked Mori to dock the boat. This would require some investigating. Symon and Behrtogg looked at him, leery and confused…

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