When Doske returned to the surface, he revealed all that he had found, even the gem. He requested that he hold onto it, though the rest of the gold was split amongst the seven of us. We continued our trek across the lake balanced on the floating disks.
Thick vines plagued the water. Fortunately we were above the surface of the lake and not sailing through it, as our wagon would certainly have been able to go no further through the ruffage. Before it got too thick, Doske was returned to the wagon so we could all travel together again.
Before too long, we found a plethora of corpses floating in the water and intertwined in the thick vegetation below the surface of the water. Also tangled in the vines was the body of another huge crustacean body. As with all the rest of the bodies found, Mystaria gave it a brief blessing as they drifted by.
In the return to the shore, we came across a peasant trapped on an island in the middle of the lake. How he got there we do not know. We brought him aboard and fed him, also tending to his wounds. From being in the water, he had caught blinding fever, a disease that would render his eyes completely useless in a matter of days if left unchecked. Barring licking his eyeballs, however, we were safe from catching the disease too, though we regularly checked Doske and Nikolai for signs of it too, since they had also been in the water.
We bandaged the man and allowed him to rest in the wagon. Ap’rald and Vermer continued to lead the wagon back to solid land. We found another island on the way. This one was of extra thick vegetation as opposed to rock such as the one where we found the peasant. On the second island, the skeleton of a humanoid lay. The party looted the corpse, but faced difficulty when we tried to get his magical ring. It seemed fused to the body, so we attempted to sever the hand. The hand, however, seemed fused to the vines. Eventually we cut the arm from the island, and the pipe that was holding it there rapidly descended deeper into the water. It implied there was something much heavier than anticipated at the other end of the pipe.
Doske left the wagon to attempt to find what we may have lost. Our reasoning was that whatever it was, it deserved to be hidden away from the castle and in the water below this mystery vegetation and in contaminated water. He cut his way down into the vines, eventually breaking below the surface, and he continued farther. We had a rope tied to him for good measure.
Doske lowered himself down through the vegetation, and eventually reached a break in the vines. There, he found a rusted iron box, overgrown with the same vines that hid it. It was five feet to a side and had a similarly rusted lock holding it closed. Doske broke the lock open and opened the lid. The box had been densely packed with body parts. Since it had been packed however, significant rotting had occurred, so the box was not as tightly, or cleanly packed when Doske opened it.
Buried beneath the limbs and other parts, Doske found a single scepter, approximately three feet long and made of platinum. The shape of a snake wound around the scepter and its jaws opened at the top in such a way that it looked as if a gem may fit inside. Doske tugged on the rope and he was pulled to the surface.
Doske, Captain Merddyn, and Ap’rald took turns attempting to find a way to place the gem Doske had found earlier into the scepter. Eventually Merddyn found just the right way to set it, and the scepter and gem became… a more different scepter! Each of the three gave the scepter a good looking-over, and tiny flaws in the gem were found. Merddyn and Doske passed it back and forth between them, and again, Merddyn figured it out.
When held at precisely the right angle, a symbol appeared in the imperfections in the stone. Eventually, Captain Merddyn drew the symbols in the air with the scepter and a message revealed itself. “Beware the fallen light from which your foe will strike.” On occasion, the symbols would change themselves, but the message was always the same. In addition, Merddyn and Doske developed a deep distrust of each other.
Eventually, we returned to shore. We camped, slept on solid ground for the first time in days, and had a hardy breakfast before setting out to Ryshbell. The whole time, Doske suspected Captain Merddyn of watching him, and vice versa. It appeared to Doske that Merddyn’s sleep was very troubled, though when he pointed it out to Mystaria, she saw no difference from any other time he slept. Both men asked Mystaria and Ap’rald to watch over them for any unusual signs.
On the way to Ryshbell, we were still without horses to pull the cart. Fortunately, during the long float back to shore, Ap’rald was able to fix the wheels on the wagon, so it was in moderate working order once we reached land. Doxl Mayne also attached all the blue carcass to it so we looked pretty snazzy. Unfortunately, it means that by the time we got to Ryshbell, we were in a blue armored wagon being pulled by an elderly gnome on a floating disk. We bought horses immediately.
Unfortunately, we received no discount for destroying the monster of Confusion Lake that had been plaguing the countryside. In fact, the merchant had never heard of such a beast. No one in Ryshbell had. What’s worse, they hadn’t heard of the ranger who warned us about it or the four archers who helped us defeat it! Something very strange was going on.
Back in a city that had been implied to have been in her past, Doxl Mayne started trying to remember some of her life before she lost her memory. She found herself back on the top of the clock tower, and that’s when she decided to remember. She had thrown herself off here before. Apparently the force of the memory was so strong, she did it again. She nearly died from the fall, but by some miracle [I attribute it to Salyan], she survived. It took about a week for her wounds to heal, so the group stayed in Ryshbell for that time.
Captain Merddyn donated his time and services to the town guard. Vermer assisted the clock master in improving the design of the clock. Doske and Mystaria waited with Doxl Mayne. And Ap’rald did more research about the town and the castle we just left.
Near the end of the week, the clock approximately exploded, though no link could be traced back to Vermer. As it did so, several people who had been nearby at the time were injured. The doctor who had been tending to Doxl Mayne decided she could go early for the sake of freeing up the bed for the new slew of injured coming in. Knowing that Vermer had been helping with the clock, the party felt partly responsible for the injured and stayed a few more days tending to them.
Eventually we left again, heading to Hogsmead Inn to check up on Brr. Unfortunately, the innkeeper said that Brr had gone on a week’s vacation to Quivarra, so we didn’t get to meet up with him. We were going there anyway, so we figured we might meet him on the road.
In Quivarra, there was so much to do. Mystaria, Ap’rald, and Doske went to the temple to warn them of Shamash’s betrayal. Vermer went to the library to learn what he could. Everyone else went to the Wizards’ Tower to find out about the new items we found and to inform them of Rahsorn’s untimely death. Unfortunately, they could not show the scholar in the tower the scepter because Doske had it, and he was at the temple with Mystaria. When he finally did arrive though, he still couldn’t show them. The scepter was gone.
A wild search ensued to find it, eventually leading them to a poker-playing Giant named One Tooth. Ap’rald, Doske, Doxl Mayne, Captain Merddyn, and Nikolai stalked him from a halfling’s house to his own home. Rather, Doske was led there, because he got caught, and the others followed behind in the shadows. Eventually Nikolai ran off to get Vermer and Mystaria, who were both at the temple.
After Doske had made “stew” for the giant, he was locked away in a crate that the giant used as a pillow. The rest of the party, now reunited, shanked the giant in his sleep, nearly killing him. They chained him up while he was unconscious and attempted to interrogate him when he came to. Unfortunately, the giant would have none of it. He wouldn’t stop screaming once Captain Merddyn gave him a healing potion, and eventually a crowd gathered.
Having thoroughly exhausted all other options, we told the growing mob that the giant had a chest full of gold, and we left them to it. In the process, Vermer also took a few handfuls, causing the mob to become hostile against him. They attacked before he could escape, and the rest of the party was pretty much powerless to help him, save charging in to also get murdered in the gold rush. So Captain Merddyn stayed behind to make sure he got out okay, and then everyone met back at the docks where some of the party members had considered getting a turtle to take them to a city closer to Mechanatropolis. Proper discussion will happen at a later date.