After dismantling the slaving operation in Brekon, the two ships carrrying the rescued slaves and the adventurers left once more for the City of Andarr. Once arriving in Andarr, they dropped off the former slaves.
At that point, General Borrr'Gorak took his leave and said he had business to the north back in Arvanos. He left one of the ships in the care of Captain Garrack to continue the journey southward towards M'Chek.
Before leaving, the general's mindbender informed the adventurers and their crew that tensions between Arvanos, Crullath, and Dagroth were high. Lord Arvanos, upon hearing of the slave trade in Brekon and the Seven Cities, publicly accused Crullath and Dagroth of illegal activity. Both of the offending Lords vowed that they would take revenge to clear their names.
Thus, the crew sailed southward under these ominous circumstances. It wasn't long before they were attacked by one of Lord Crullath's galleons. Once the ships were grappled, Arvanos' crew surged toward them and quickly dispatched them. Their ship was stripped of its ballistae and any provisions, treasure, and spare parts it may have had. Then it was scuttled with the help of Orianna and her skill with smokepowder.
Heading southward, the crew was more aware of their danger. So when they saw another galleon alledgedly belonging to Lord Dagroth of M'Chek, they were more cautious. When that ship got close in an attempt to grapple, its mainmast was struck by an explosive bolt from Arvanos' newly acquired ballistae. The mainmast did not fall, but it did catch fire however. Efforts to put out the fire were hampered by a darkness spell from Andreion. He placed the spell on a crossbow bolt and sank it into the mainmast just above the damaged area.
With the ship slowed down, and damaged even further from a second explosive ballista bolt, it was no match for the adventurer's ship. They easily outran it despite losing a main sail to a fiery ballista bolt sent in retaliation from Dagroth's ship.
Having left those dangers behind, the shipmates settled into a routine again. That routine was boring, but one day it was noted that some of the crew were not only bored, they were comatose. The comatose state also happened to be spreading from bow to stern among the crew. Van took note of this and called out a warning, but it was too late. Nixie bandits were already attacking.
So, a fierce battle took place between twenty nixie bandits and the seven crew members that hadn't been charmed. Near the end, a group of O'ma Nixies came to the rescue. They apologized for the inconvenience and dispelled the charms. They said the Nixies who attacked were Titanean nixies... followers of Titanea, the fairy queen. They were attacking because of encroachments on their territory. O'ma's nixies could not put up with slaughter of innocents, so they came to rescue. After that brief encounter, they retreated back down to their ocean homes.
Not so long after leaving nixie territory, the crew came upon a derelict ship. They noticed that there were people on board and that the ship was smoldering a bit still. Once they got on board they realized the people were not people, but instead they were zombies and another curious kind of creature. The creatures were corpses too, but they were not decayed at all, and they did not smell. Their skin glowed with a pale white light, and they were able to move very fast.
After a brief battle on the deck, the adventurers searched around. They found the hole on the deck which was smoldering and they saw it contained a swirling mass of black and white energy. Perplexed, they searched the deck further and found other scortch marks. About 20 minutes later, the creatures that they killed rose up again and attacked once more, this time joined by some more creatures from below.
Orianna suggested that they beat a hasty retreat, and Van, Andrinor, and Ari agreed. They rested up and got help from three of Garrack's men (wearing red shirts) to go back to the ship and investigate. With their new help, they cleared the deck, and some more creatures on the deck below. The adventurers figured out it was best to pitch the creatures overboard once they were killed, and this was done by the red shirts.
Ari entered a door she found. The room had a zombie and a corpse creature in it. There was also a ritual setup in the room containing a silver chalice with a stone balanced on its edge. When she entered the room, she roused one of the zombies and the zombie came towards her, knocking the stone into the chalice. A woooshing sound came from outside but no one noticed it.
Meanwhile, Vanoviel entered the other door that was visible across from Ari. She found a ruined library, and the heart of the energy disturbance. After checking behind another door, she came back to the library and sat down to read.
Back at the ritual room Ari instructed the red shirts to remove the bodies and pitch them overboard. They came back and said that they couldn't, because the ship was now surrounded by a force field. They were trapped!
Everyone then met at the library and started to sift through tomes. Van found a diary written by a necromancer named Kilneihn. She found that Kilneihn was a mage who owned a tower in the Negative Energy Plane, aka the Negative Material Plane. He wished to destroy his rival Rifeiln who lived on the Positive Energy Plane. The easiest way to get to the Positive Energy Plane was to go through the Elemental Plane of Water, where he knew of a permanent portal to the Positive plane. So, Kilneihn entered the Prime Material Plane at the City of Redgate and journeyed to the City of Andarr where he commissioned a ship to take him to the Nixie settlement of Qwandovia where they guarded a permanent portal to the Plane of Water. The journal ended with Kilneihn testing his new portable entrance to his tower on the Negative plane, which he had set up in the ship's cargo deck where he kept his library.
During that time, Oriana and Ari found some phantoms who had been sailors on the ship. They told them that they were going about their business sailing, when a man materialized in mid air off the bow and threw a ball of fire down onto the front of the ship. The fireball incinerated a bunch of crewmates and scorched the deck. Apparently, they came under attack.... someone was after Kilneihn.
At that time, two ghostly figures appeared in the library. One was a shadowy robed figure, the other was a brightly sparkling robed figure. They were Dorlarath and Terach, Kilneihn's apprentices. The apprentices told the crew that they were helping their master open the mini portal when they came under attack by Rifeiln. The enemy mage casted some sort of spell which disrupted the magic of the portal and caused an explosion which obliterated both mages and their apprentices. It also created some sort of rift, apparently between the positive and negative energy planes.
The adventurers also asked the apprentices about the force field now surrounding the ship. They knew of it. They told them it was a defense mechanism, should the ship ever come under attack. A force field spell was casted right up until the last step, which involved dropping a rock into a silver chalice. That way, the field could be quickly raised if it was needed.
The one thing that puzzled the ghostly pair was that the field needed a power source, usually a magic item. However, it seems that all the magic items on the ship were destroyed in the blast. They believed that the force field was now drawing its power from the rift itself. The rift was also responsible for the regenerating of the zombies and sadiks.
Terach and Dorlarath told them that undead get their life force from the negative energy plane, and that neverdead get their life force from the positive material plane. When the rift was created the crew was killed, and half turned into zombies from the negative energy, and the other half turned into sadiks from the positive energy. Terach himself was a spectre, and Dorlarath was an anti-spectre. They were turned into spectres because of their proximity to the blast.
They said that more info on closing the rift and taking down the force field would be found in Kilneihn's library back in his tower. They thought the tower could be reached through the rift.
Upon inspecting the rift, Van found that she was able to see an entrance to Kilneihn's library appearing and disappearing at timed intervals in the swriling energy. Van and Andrinor promptly entered and dispatched two ghouls waiting in the library.
While Andrinorwent crazy looting everything in sight, Van searched the library for useful information. She eventually found a tome of Arcane Planar Abnormalities, and a tome of Force Transmutations.
The pair then went back to the ship. In the tomes it was found that the force field could be manipulated, but not directly taken down without destroying the thing which it surrounds. The rift could also be closed by destroying the place in which it was housed, i.e. the ship.
The party needed to destroy the ship, but they were trapped on the ship by the force field. To take down the force field, they needed to destroy the ship also. It was a problem. But eventually they decided to use a spell found in one of the tomes to extend the force field about 15 feet out from the ship so they could jump in the water. Then, they would burn the ship.
Thus, they pulled it off without much of a hitch. Once the ship started to break apart, the force field cracked and buckled, and the rift closed. The suction of the sinking ship almost took Andrinor with it, but he was saved once more by Van.
The END: Chapter 3
[Edited on 2/13/02 by Orleron]