The Esoteric Order of the Golden Globe


Author's Background: Until recently I'd been moving around a lot which precluded me doing the full mature campaign that I've been wanting to do for years. Despite the challenges of a job and family, I've recently got into a somewhat more stable situation, and so when I was approached to run a D&D game for a group of almost total newbies I readily agreed. The campaign is now in its 16th session meeting about twice monthly, and I think worthy of a story hour so this post is basically to help me force myself to actually start writing it before I get too far behind and start to forget everything that has happened (already a danger).

Because I've got a real job now and a family and many other demands on my time, I knew I was unlikely to invest the 20 or so hours a week I used to invest in writing back when I young. To help me along I'm doing what I often do in such situation and that's adapt published material to the larger framework of my story and setting. Having a starting point like that helps keep the material flowing with alot less effort than making up everything from scratch. So, it's likely that well-readers may recognize certain scenarios in slightly altered form from the account that follow. Other aspects will be wholly novel and I hope entertaining.

The game itself will or would be recognizable to anyone with 3rd edition D&D experience, but there are a lot of unique quirks to the mechanics which may or may not come out in the narrative. My house rules blend 3.0 and 3.5 but are skewed heavily in certain directions that fit my particular style.

Dramatis Persona
Jarl Felix: Human Rogue, 1st level
Rex: Human (Misanthrope) Fanatic, 1st level
Maruth: Human Cleric of Showna, 1st level
Mandible: Human Explorer, 1st level
Lythen: Elven Sorcerer, 1st level
Gareth: Human Champion of Aravar, 1st level

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It’s is the third hour of the day on the 12th day of the second month. The morning sun shines thin but clear in the chilly winter air. In the harbor district of Amalteen the life of the city is fully underway. It is Wallsday, and many skilled craftsman have shuttered their shops, but the commerce of the harbor continues unabated. Shouting above the barking dogs and screeching sea gulls, the fish mongers hawk their wares. Several ships have come into port on the morning tide. The stevedores turn capstans to power the cargo cranes while singing out there work songs. A wrinkled and grey headed hill giant sings loudly and off key as he works along side. All this is occasionally drowned out by the bellowing of mastodons dragging their carts and sleds. On one of the quays, a particularly vicious looking crew of buccaneers is beginning to disembark. Goblins, Orine, and tattooed humans from barbarian lands spill out on to the dock, drawing wary looks from the well-dressed merchants there to receive cargo and news from foreign lands. It takes no skilled observer to see that the ship is in the service of the Queen of Irendi, as all the officers are tall, red-headed, and green eyed concheeri, some of which may have noble titles to go along with their true names in their homeland. One particular barbarian, a particularly tall and ruddy skinned mokoeen stands out from the rest, as even his fellow crewmates seem to fear him and give him a slight berth as he stands at the base of the gangplank taking in the city.

Along side the harbor street, in the shade of an old olive tree that is one of the few remaining along the docks is a cafe were those without pressing business take leisurely late morning repast. A glowing iron stove gives a little heat to the few customers taking in the sun, and talking over their the remains of their morning meal. Among the more usual merchants and ships captains, a few customers stand out in their unusualness. The most eyecatching is a willowy languid elf even more androgenous than is usual for their fair race, and beguiling in appearance like a dangerously feral fey. Nearby two fairhaired and white skinned northerners are having some heavy discussion that is punctuated by occasional laughter. One is a nondescript sailor but the others garb marks him to be a cleric of the sun goddess Showna, whose worship is known and approved of but still somewhat strange in these parts. Not so that of the god who the armored pilgrim guard sitting at the table nearby. The clasp of his travel stained cloak and the prominent mark on his tabard marks him a servant of Aravar, the god of Death, patron of Sailors and of this fair city. On this shoulder is still the boutonniere of a pilgrim, which shows he has not long been in the city. Just sitting down to a table by himself is a man in the embroidered tunic and white cloak that might mark him a lay brother of Aymara. His short beard is well trimmed, but his cloak is strangely slovenly for a servant of the goddess of beauty and purity. Faded stains mar its whiteness, and it has been several times rudely patched like a gleeman's cloak. He seems rather like a player from a poor theater playing a lay brother of Aymara. He orders a glass of wine and begins to puruse the packet of letters he carries.

The big barbarian on the docks shoulders his travel pack and swaggers up the quay. As he nears the end, he suddenly snakelike grabs up a stranger walking by and pulling him half off his feet roars in his face, "Where are the pleasure girls?" The shocked man shivers in terror at the tattooed bone bedecked and monstrous face, unable quite to find his words at this sudden turn of events. "Bah." grunts the Mokoeen and moves on.

Now though a few of the sailors in the harbor have become unusually animated about something. It is not a general alarm and most business in the harbor and the general din continues unabated, but there is a subtle and spreading note of change in the sound. Some of the sailors seem to have stopped their usual chores and to be peering over the side of the ships at something in the water. Others are shouting with a note of unusual urgency. The change goes not entirely unnoticed in cafe. The young northern sailor and the bearded lay brother both stand alertly and look about as if fearing some empending attack. But no danger is evident. They look at each other curiously and scan the docks for some sign that will illuminate the matter, but none is forth coming. The big barbarian has now mounted the ladder up the harbor's sea wall, and he yells his query to a stevedore passing down the left side but is ignored.

The sailor walks toward the sea wall trying to understand what is going on. He is accompanied by the young laybrother. Seeing the other two patrons get up from their seats, the armored gaurd also stands and walks over to join the other two. "Pardon, but what is the matter, goodman?", he says. "I'm not sure.", comes the reply from the young sailor. "Something in the harbor seems to be the cause of some excitement." "The let us go see this thing that everyone is marvelling at.", says the lay brother. The three walk together across the broad street to the sea wall. As they arrive, the big barbarian comes over the wall, seemingly oblivious to any trouble. He barks at the young northern sailor, "You! Are their any women in this city? Where are the houses of pleasure?" The young northerner laughs, "Long voyage, brother? I'm sure if you head into the city, you will see some fair ladies waving at you, but perhaps you can tell me what this excitement in the harbor is about? Why all this animation?"

The big man shrugs and looks back over the sea wall, "I don't know. Tide going out I guess?" The other three men peer curiously over the sea wall.

Gangplanks start falling off the anchored ships and clattering onto the piers. Small boats suddenly disappear from the edge of the quays. Several of the big tall-masted sailing vessels mysteriously start to slowly keel over, there masts and rigging tracing a deceptively slow arc through the air like falling trees. Sailors begin to panic, some jumping off of their ships and a few lashing themselves to the desks with ropes. The stevedores have ceased their labor, leaving behind primarily the sound of agitated sea gulls. Much of the crowd is now frozen, staring out to see and pointing, though a few have oddly started jumping over the sea wall.

The big barbarian says, "Tide going out fast. Real fast. This happen all the time here?" Understanding suddenly dawns on the young sailor, "It's going to come back fast too! Run!" He wastes no more time, but turns and runs, motioning to his comrade, "Run! Up the hill! Run!" The brother of Aymara wastes no time in following. The cleric at the table of the cafe bolts up, and takes off after the sailor with his orange and white robes flapping. The sultry elf gets up and looks around, and then begins pushing through the crowd toward the big stone temple of Shalymar the sea goddess on the edge of the harbor. The big barbarian says, "What's wrong with them?" A look of horror overcomes the face of the armored pilgrim guard as his imagination begins to encompass the situation. He turns and shouts, "A wave is coming. A wave is coming! Everyone run!" The barbarian turns and looks out to the harbor, "There's no wave. A wave isn't coming."

Gazing out in to the harbor, they see a valley of brown muck where only moments before was clear blue water. The Arbra river on the cities northern edge now flows across a mud flat all the way out to the harbor mouth. Fish and eels are flopping in the ooze and sea weed. A few small boats are even stranded on dry ground in the middle of the harbor. Some children and a few other people are now frolicking on the terraces of the exposed sea wall and others are now running on the mudflat trying to grab up fish.

The barbarian's confidence wavers, "Ok maybe a wave is coming." He turns and begins fleeing up the hill. The sultry elf continues to walk along the harbor street, fighting through crowds of gawkers and nervous draft animals. The gaurd continues to scream, "Run! Run for your lives!", but to little avail. The few people whose notice he attracts treat him as a strange and potentially dangerous curiousity, but otherwise his words are drowned out in the general hubbub and excitement. The whole harbor area is now in a state of confusion. Some people are rushing away from the harbor, others are rushing towards it to see what the hubbub is about. Collisions and screams occur on the street. On the mud bottom below, some are now running and stumbling back toward the sea wall while others are jumping down the terraces to cash in on there chance at free fish. Dispairing, the guard turns and runs, and as he does the reason for the confidence in his delay becomes immediately apparant. Even encumbered by his armor, he runs like the wind. It is clear the power of his deity is upon him, for as fast as the fleet barbarian runs, yet the armored man is overtaking him up the hill.

Progress up the hill proves to be challenging. The streets are filled with street vendors, and wains going down to the harbor to be loaded or unloaded. The sailor and the laybrother of the artist's goddess move agilely through the crowd, but their cleric friend is struggling, though his shouts of, "Flee!", "Make way!", and "Run for your lives!" seem to be having some effect, though often as not it is to bring people out into the street to see what is going on. A merchant tries to grab the barbarian, with a shout of, "Where you are running to?", but the big man simply extends the flat of his hand knocks the man onto his back. Up ahead, the laybrother vaults nimbly over a wheel barrow of oranges.

Back in the harbor, the general sounds of confusion are now replaced by terror. The murmur of the crowd has become a shrieking, screaming, whinnying bellowing, roar which after a few moments becomes a sort of thunderous static in which you hear nothing and so seems oddly like silence. The elf, finding it difficult to make progress, seems to reconsider the plan of making it to the distant temple and instead turns up a side street and begins to run, but it clearly too late. The elf is pressed on all sides by a crowd which has finally begun to understand the gravity of the situation and is fleeing in a mad panic up the hill.

On the adjacent street, things are faring only a little better. The cleric not as fleet or as atheletic as the others is falling behind; the sailor looks briefly back to check on his friend's progress, but the neigh of a horse brings him back to his own situation just in time to avoid being trampled on as a shying horse jolts a cart out into the street. The sailor tries to tumble underneath, but can't drop low enough in time and smashes his head on the cart with such force that it knocks him on his back. His cleric friend catches up to. Another man tries to acost the barbarian with a punch, "You can't do that to my friend!", but the barbarian nimbly side steps and clothes lines this attacker to the ground as well. Behind the barbarian a crowd has formed. The pilgrim gaurd tries to get them to flee, but to no avail. A small child steps right into his path, certain to be trampled beneath his heavy fast moving boots. Making a profit out of difficulty, the black cloaked man simply scoops up the little girl in his arms and proceeds scarcely hindered up the slope. This alone of the man's actions hithertoo has the intended result, for the crowd becomes immediately incensed. A mother screams, "My baby! He's got my baby!" Men take up cludgels and bludgeons from what is at hand and proceed to chase after him crying, "A kidnapper! Way! Make, way!", and stop him. Angry goodwomen - perhaps aunts, cousins and neighbors - flee along just behind with a look of murder in their eyes.

Now though back in the harbor, the ground has begun to shake and there is a murmur as of distant thunder. A mound of water rises into the sky as it races toward the harbor, lifting, turning, and tossing large boats as if they were toys.

The fleet footed gaurd despite his burden and armor easily outdistances his pursuers and comes abrest of the Mokoeen barbarian, who grunts at him in admiration. Up ahead the cleric drags his sailor friend to his feet and manages to dodge a runaway hand cart that is leaving crockery in its wake, while the laybrother checks his pace wondering if he should go back to help. The elf is in a stampede as humanoids and beasts of burden flee in panic up the hill away from the death that is surely coming. A big mastadon plows through the crowd, leaving red smashes in its wake and nearly trampling the elf to death, but leaving a hole in its wake that allows some freer running, but the elf is nonetheless scarcely 50 yards from the sea wall.

The wave impacts the cities sea wall with a mighty crash that sends water perhaps 60’ into the air. The wave itself crashes onto the street in a hill of churning foam higher than the head of a giant. A few small boats, some containing still terrified sailors crown it. Several large ships are picked up and slammed down again as if they were toys in the hands of an angry child. They shatter and come apart with a deceptive slowness before exploding. Great stone blocks at least 4’ across are blasted out of the sea wall and hurled like catapult stones across the broad harbor way, smashing with the wave into the inns and warehouses that line the street and spinning them about like a autumn storm spins the fallen leaves.
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People run madly up the streets, their screams being drowned by the thunderous approach of the wave. The wall of water impacts the city at twice the speed of a running horse. Those buildings nearest shore disintegrate faster than the eye can follow and become part of the grinding monster of timbers that chews through the city. The roofs of buildings shudder and collapse into each other until they become a solid mass moving behind the wave. Walls of foam bristling with wooden spears rush up the streets devouring everything in there path. The fleeing of the elf is futile. Facing down death, the elf turns to the wave and briefly considers the arcane tools at his disposal. Nothing can save, the powers now at his disposal are too limited, and still too untested. The wave eats him and he disappears.

Back on the other street things are less desparate. With the wave still some few hundred yards behind them, they have a brief but all important time to put additional distance between themselves and the harbor. With luck and speed they might still get far enough up the long sloping hill of the city to escape it entirely. The big Mokoheen is now the rearmost of the six strangers, but he's closing the gap on those ahead, pushing his way through and over the crowds with brute strength and wilderness honed speed. The champion of Aravar Traveler's Friend is in even better position, as he not only has passed the Mokoheen, but bearing his burden is quickly catching up to the other three, who are now having to leap and dodge a bunch of crockery overturned from a stall and smashing and wheeling down the street. A few of the other runners don't make it, and go down hard onto the cobblestones. No one stops to help; the wave is coming fast.

A dozen seconds latter and it overtakes the barbarian. But by now and at this height, the wave is no worse than that of a bad winter storm. It rolls over the barbarian, slaming him down, and then up again. But the barbarian grabs ahold of a bit of floating building and manages to keep his head up. He's soon swept up to the cleric of Showna, but now the wave is only waist high. It knocks the cleric over, and drags him roughly over the cobbles, but without its earlier power. The big barbarian picks up the floundering man out of the water and says, "Ha! Too cold for bathing, father." Soon the wave carries them into only knee high water, where they manage to grab ahold of some still standing beams and wait out the inrushing and outrushing of the tide, before struggling through the water to the barricade of broken beams and roofs that marks the waves high water mark a few yards on. There they find the other three, as well as a few other survivors who managed to out run the wave or who were not so close when it began.

Not that far away several other survivors push themselves painfully out of the murk, or clamor off the makeshift rafts that brought them to safety. Many others were not so lucky. Motionless limbs lie bleeding into the fading sea water all around you, some of them severed from their bodies. The quiet is broken by moans and occasional screams. One of the survivors nearby, a great burly seaman is quietly sobbing. He turns his back on the carnage and starts to clamor up the wooden barricade. As one lifts their eyes from your nearby surroundings back out toward the beach, one is able to see that the sea is slowly receding, leaving flotsam and jetsam to lie where it may. The buildings nearest you are skeleton frames, their lower stories washed out. Only a few buildings nearer to shore still stand, poking up through the water like scattered islands. Chief of these is the great temple of Shalamyr the sea goddess. About 40 yards ahead, a great hill giant – the one you saw earlier working as a stevedore -- pulls itself out of the slime and swirling water. He lifts his head up and stares for a moment before bellowing, “Frrieeends!”, “Friieeends!” Then still bellowing, the giant starts to wade out into the receding water.

For a while, everyone near the barricade stands stunned staring out at work of a disaster of scarcely imaginable proportions, and feeling - unlike the giant - quite too small and feeble to deal with such a problem. It is the young fair skinned sailor that first finds his courage, "We should look for survivors." "No", says the barbarian, "We should look for the dead.", and without bothering to debate leaps down into the standing pools and wreckage begins to go to the nearest body. Recovering from his grief, the older and burlier sailor speaks up, "Are you daft? This isn’t the only wave. There will be more in a few minutes. No one can tell whether they will be even greater than this one! Count yourself blessed that Great Nuati has spared you and leave the damned to their fates!” Several of those around you shudder at this pronouncement, and one or two turn to follow the veteren seaman away from this apparantly damned place.

The Champion of Aravar turns to one, "See that this child is taken to the Temple of Aynwyn and sheltered there until her parents may be found.", then turning to the others gathered there, he says, "Come, there is work to do. Dead or living, both need our help." He then turns his back to the city and heads down into the wreckage. The younger sailor, the cleric of Showna, and the laybrother of Aymara follow him as well as about half of the company gathered there, and they begin the grisly business of searching through the wreckage of home and body for survivors.

Trouble breaks out almost immediately. The big Mokoheen is unashamedly looting the purses of the dead he finds, and it is not long before one of the men see him. "You, beast! By gods what are you doing! Have you no respect for the dead?" The big Mokoheen looks up unconcerned, "Garrr.. these don't have any need for coin, and I've lost my belongings, my ship, and my passage out of this place. What is it to you?" The man though in his grief and anger doesn't bother to consider this answer or the situation, but charging through the damp seaweed and muddy water, strikes the big man on the chin. The Mokoheen snarls and throws the man down in the water, "Fine. You can have these to yourself, I've no desire to kill you on a day such as this whether you deserve it or not. The spirits have drunk enough blood already, and will have to be content." He then stomps off under the watchful eye of the champion, who came over to intervene should it be necessary.

The dead clearly number in the many thousands. You can barely go 10 yards without seeing signs of a body, crushed, mangled, or simply lying face down in the water. Signs of life are much rarer though. A few survivors in the distance have freed themselves and are wandering or wading aimlessly. Some are calling out for friends or loved ones. A few other smaller figures can be seen far away, drifting back out to sea on floating debris. Hope is quickly fading toward despair, when the young sailor calls out, "It is the elf from the cafe." He frowns, "Dead I think.", and he bends down to apply what leechcraft he knows, "No, alive, if just barely. Some one lend me a hand to move this beam, I don't think she'll live much longer without aid." The champion and the cleric both come running over, but even the three combined can't clear the wreckage needed to remove the elf. The cleric kneels down, and calling upon the power of his sun goddess, closes the wounds with a nimbus of pale yellow light. The champion calls out, "You! Big man! Come over here and add your shoulders to mine." The barbarian shrugs and shuffles over, and soon the four together clear away the debris, and pick up the still unconscious and badly battered body of the elf.

"I've met her before.", says the young sailor, "Lythen, I think is her name. At least that is how she is called." "I'm Gareth.", says the champion extending a gloved hand. "I'm called Mandible.", says the young sailor with a smile. "Don't laugh. My parents are fur trappers, and thought it was handsome and masculine name. I'm lucky they didn't name me Jaws." The champion grins, and the cleric laughs at this old joke. The cleric of Showna says, "I'm Brother Maruth, an acolyte as you can probably see, of the Light Lady, and friend - as he will allow it - of this young runaway." Turning to the brother of Aymara he says, "And you I've seen before in the temple quarter, though I don't believe we've been introduced." "I'm called Jarl, and we've crossed paths even before that. I was also a student in Talernga until just a few weeks ago, and I remember you from when you were an initiate in the temple there."
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"There are surely more injured among the wreckage. We can't do much in such a disaster as this, but lets do what we can", says the Champion.
Moruth answers, "I'll tend to the wounds of this elf. You go on ahead and call me if you need me."

The others wade out into the swirling and slowly receding water, finding little to be hopeful about. After some time however, Jarl hears a weak voice amongst the wreckage. Darting nimbly over the debris, he finds a man in merchant garb pinned beneath some heavy beams and gasping for breath. He pulls aside some beams to reduce the load, while the young sailor, who was close behind him tries to reduce some of the weight on the man. The barbarian, curious, arrives soon after and behind him comes the armored champion stumbling over every hidden obstacle. The four backs are soon combined, and Jarl manages to make a lever out of a one of the boards and the man is soon freed. He proves to be a local coppersmith, who is grateful for the rescue, but his broken ribs prevent him from being much help. He's sent to see the priest who is performing triage on the elf and the walking wounded.

A bit later, a waterlogged cur scurries through the wreckage. When it sees the three men, rather than fleeing, it stops and begins barking and wagging its tale franticly. It takes little understanding of animals for the three to realize it wants to be followed. The dog leads the party about 15 yards away to a smashed wagon partially covered in timbers. Partially protected by the wagons frame and partially buried is a boy, about age 12, with an arm that is clearly broken and blood gently seeping from several wounds. He's clearly lost a lot of blood. The sailor Mandible tries his best to bind up the boys wounds to prevent further bloodloss, while the other three do their best to shift the cart. After some effort, both manage to succeed at their chosen tasks.

The sailor carries the body of the lad back to the Priest for better healing than he can provide with his limited skill. The others continue in their search. Not long after, they come a across a giant jellyfish, perhaps 60' in length sprawled amongst the wreckage, its glistening tentacles gently rocking in the shallow water as its massive body pulses helplessly. This they stay well clear of and press farther down into the wreckage.

Soon after they find a bull shark, thrashing in a shallow pool. This hazard is also avoided.

Mandible calls to the others, "These people need to be taken to a temple, and few are well enough to carry anyone. Thanks for the help, perhaps I'll me with you latter.", and with that he departs, joining the priest and a few people with lesser injuries in carrying those wounded unable to stand towards the temple district at the top of the hill. They reach the debris line that marks the high point of the tidal wave, and the priest turns back, beginning to pick his way toward the other three.

At about this time, the three come upon a second man pinned in the debris. He's richly dressed in dark purple, and has a sword at his side. A heavy beam lies across his legs. Though clearly in pain, he addresses his rescuers with a hearty greeting, "Ho there, fellow citizens. Thanks be to Justian that you've found me. I believe my leg is broken, and I'm unable to get enough leverage to pull myself out."

The three move to help him, but he waves them off, "There is someone else trapped in here with me, over near that bit of roof. I've heard them moving not that long ago, but they seem unable to answer."

The three begin digging through the paving stones, bricks, bits of slate and lumber. The pile stirs a bit. Finally they heave a great beam off, and pull up a section of tiled roof. But as they do, the roof is forcefully pushed aside, knocking over the champion. Out of the desbris in a whirl of frenzied motion comes a great monstrous humanoid some 7' tall, in form something like a man but covered in rough skin like a shark and having clawed flippers for feet and hands. It's head is like a great wedge and fringed with tentacles. It's red lidless eyes bulge out from the sides of its head, its pupils contracted to mere points. It pauses then bellows at its inadvertant rescuers, revealing a mouth that splits its head with rows and rows of teeth.

About 100 yards away, the Priest says, "Showna preserve them.", breaks out into a run. The wounded stranger gives out a shout, "Oh no, a Deep One!", and tries to pull his blade out, but he's helplessly pinned.

Jarl whips out his rapier and prepares to face the creature, but its extremely fast, and batting aside his blade begins to savage him with its claws. Gareth rises to chop at it, but its like chopping wood. The big barbarian draws a two-handed blade from the leather cord on his back and bellows a challenge in reply. Jarl tries to back away from the creature, but in his wounded state he's just not quick enough and the creature cuts through his armor and evicerates him from his groin to his sternum. The champion shoves the creature aside with his shield, while the fanatic slashes the creature across the back, but the creature seems oblivious to pain.

Jarl staggers backward, holding his intestines in with his hands, and dripping blood into the shallow pools of water. He struggles to retain consciousness, he vaguely hears the priest above the pounding is his ears.

The creature now turns in annoyance to the champion, and sinking its teeth into his shoulder, procedes to cut him across the face and hips with his flailing claws. The champion manages to get far enough away from the creature to interpose his shield, and swings futilely at his attacker. The fanatic is screaming, "Go down you bloody fish!", while flailing with his weapon like a madman.

Jarl turns and stumbles away, he makes it another dozen steps, and then collapses into the shallow water, his blood now turning it red. Gareth is too wounded to do more than fend the creature off, but the blows of the barbarian seem to have finally got the notice of the creature, who now turns his fury on the more lightly armored big man, slashing him deeply with its claws while it dunks nimbly beneath another swing.

The priest now arrives at Jarl, and sensing that the young man is a mere seconds from passing from this world, calls on the power of the Sun goddess streaming down from above; light momentarily fills his hands and Jarl's bleeding stops though he remains unconscious. The deep one, though bleeding from many wounds, continues to heedlessly attack the barbarian, leaving the Champion of Aravar enough space to step behind beast and stab it deeply with his blade. The Deep One staggers, finally feeling his wounds, and the Barbarian takes the oppurtunity to behead the creature with one clean blow.

He stops to rest on the hilts of his blade, no less bloodied than his companion. Gareth slaps him on the shoulder and leaning also on his blade says, "You're handy with that sword, and as fierce of a man as I've ever met. I'm glad to have fought at your side."

The barbarian says, "I'm Rex, no clan, brother of beasts and slayer of men, but I will fight with you, even if you are a scrawny Drestian god lover."
Before the champion can reply, the stranger in purple says, "Bravo. I see you are skilled in arms, and that was heroic work. However, if you have strength remaining, I'd like up."

Gareth says, "Oh yeah, right. Be right with you. I'll do what I can, but there is just two of us now and some parts of us are missing, and that rubble would have been heavy for three.", but he staggers over reluctantly followed by the barbarian who slumps with exhaustion now that the blood lust has left him.
They begin straining on the beam, but its to no avail. They can barely budge it.

Just then the priest, some twenty yards away notices that the water has receeded greatly in only the past few moments. He looks out to the bay. Another breaker is roaring across the still high water towards the city. He shouts, "Wave! A second wave is coming. You must hurry. I can't carry Jarl alone."
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Gareth says, "Oh crap. Aravar give me strength." and tries his best to lift the beam.

The Mokoheen says, "This isn't going to work. Let's just kill him and take his stuff. Then we can carry that other one back."

The purple clad stranger says, "Whatt?!? You can't just kill me!", and fumbles for his sword again.

Gareth says, "We aren't going to kill him.", and then turns to stranger, "If I had time to save you both, I would, but I don't seem to be able to rescue you and one near at hand needs my aid. May Aravar guide you on your paths in the afterlife."

The two men turn to walk away, with Rex saying, "Are you sure we can't just kill him?"

The purple stranger says, "You can't leave me. In the name of the Despot and the Decamarchy, I command you to come back here!"

Gareth mutters, "Oh no." He turns and gives the man a second look, noticing the scabbard at his side and his rich purple garments again and says, "You're a Decamark. You're the Bel-Mercado, aren't you?", and hurries back.

The purple stranger says, "I am Lord Anuerian Bel-Mercado, Tenth of the Ten."

Gareth calls, "Rex, you must give it one more try. You'll be richly rewarded, I'm sure."

Rex turns and runs back, "Gold? Ok, one more time."

Either by way of miracle, or because this new inspiration provided the barbarian the strength he needed, with great straining the two manage to shift the pile enough to pull out the Decamark and help him to his feet. The wave is now seemingly only seconds away. The Champion and the Decamark both stagger and hop together up the hill, while Rex helps Moruth carry the still delicate body of Jarl away. Moments after they leave, the area is covered again by water and brings down more stonework on to the place where the Decamark lay, but fortunately, this wave is not quite as fierce as the one before and comes not within 50 yards of its previous high water mark allowing the party to escape this second wave in comparitive ease.

Overwhelmed by their injuries though, they are forced to abandon further rescue efforts and go to find the sailor. There being no temple of Showna in the city, they agree to go to the great Temple of Aravar located just beyond the hills crown. There they find a great crowd of wounded filling the whole great hall on make shift pallets, and healers who are not able to spare any resources to provide much help beyond that Moruth has already given. The Decamark stiffly thanks them for their aid and bidding them farewell, seeks out his own halls. They decide to place the elf and Jarl in the small apartment rented by Moruth in the temple quarter, while Gareth assists the other congregants of the temple as best as he is able.

Two more waves struck the city, each a few minutes apart and each a little less than the former. The fourth wave which struck the city barely washed across what was left of the sea wall. After that, the inhabitants of the part of the city which escaped destruction began to come down from the hill. First of these was the garrison of soldiers in the Despot’s palace, who’d overcome their shock and confusion and come to order with the resolve to lend aid and restore even before the third wave had drained from the city. Over the course of the day, a few more are rescued. But many more are not. In the first hour, many are pulled alive from the wreckage. By midday, the pattern has become monotonous and yet the work has barely begun. As the day wanes, fewer and fewer are found. In the area closest to the harbor where all three waves struck, there are none. In the mid-afternoon, word spreads through the city that one of the Decamarks, the lord of House Moltari, has been found dead in the wreckage. His young son together with the household knights, bears the body from the wreckage. As the sun begins to set, the old stevedore giant, his strength gone, sits down in a heap and heaves giant sized sobs that can be heard across much of the city. In preparation to continue the search through the night, the soldiers of the despot begin bringing braziers and lanterns down into the wreckage and set up camps at intervals across the ruined portion of the city.

The Mokoheen tires of the cramped quarters of the small apartment and makes camp among the wreckage, eventually finding some place where no one complains that he's squatting. After two days and nights of constant and much prayers to Showna, the elf Lythen and the Laybrother of the Lady of Arts are restored to health. During this time Moruth and Mandible renew their childhood friendship and discuss what has happened in their lives since they parted.
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Three days pass. The young explorer Mandible gets work as a teamster in the city, allowing him to pay off what he feels are his debts to the Jarl the lay brother of Aymara in whose apartment he has been squatting. The Mokoheen Rex reluctantly takes work as a porter, clearing wreckage - and covertly looting houses and the dead as he does so. Gareth, Jarl, and Moruth have more than enough work tending for the wounded and desolate citizenry - though few and paltry tithes are forthcoming. Gareth helps the other congregants of Aravar begin preparations for a mass grave in the catacombs, and to lay to rest the bodies so that they will not rise in vengeance or confusion. However, all the Aravarites know that in such a circumstance, their resources are too meager to find and perform the proper ceremonies for all. There will be problems.

Lythen returns to the ruins seeking her 'family'. Of the 20 'sisters' in the brothel, only 2 survived the tsunami other than herself - one is now scared, disfigured, and hysterical. One of the two bouncers also lived, but is dead drunk. The current 'fancy boy', the daughters of the prostitutes who lived in the house and prepared the meals and did the sewing and were prepped for the day they could sell their virginity are all dead. Almost everyone she has ever known is dead. Most of 'the family' is now dead as well, though 'The Painted Lady' is rumored to have survived Lythen is unable to contact her and no one can say where she is. One of the few that is privy to the secrets of the 'The Painted Lady', Lythen privately wonders that the one who been said to have survived is the same person who was 'The Painted Lady' four days ago. For the first time in her life though, she is truly free and answerable to no one. She wonders what to do with her freedom, and allows sparks to crackle from her hands thinking of the power Mr. Biogen helped her unlock just a year ago. She wonders if she could dare now use it, now that she is free and no longer under his disturbing menacing hungry gaze.

On the night of the next Wallsday, in the middle of the night, the protagonists are wakened by the shouts of a crier and the ringing of bells in the streets. Looking out the window, they see a crier in the livery of the Palace shouting, "By order of our Benevolent Despot, Lord Dikelgard, all able bodied men are ordered to take arms and report to the nearest guard officer. Until otherwise instructed, move in groups toward the harbor and there join up with the guard. By order of our Benevolent Despot…"

The protagonist begin dressing and putting on their arms, and discuss what might be going on. "Some new threat to the city, obviously.", says Jarl. "And one that requires arms."

Moruth says, "Better that than more waves. At least this may be something with which we mere mortals may contend."

Mandible asks, "But against what, that's the point. And should I also come, seeing I am not of the city?"

Jarl answers, "If you can use those swords you carry, then yes, your help would be welcome. Besides, I doubt our enemies will greatly distinguish between citizens and guests." As they finish dressing, there is a hammering on the door. Jarl draws his sword and cautiously opens it, to find a young page, probably only thirteen. He looks excited, and says, "If you truly be men-of-arms, the despot commands..." Jarl answers, "Yes, yes, we heard and are coming, but what is this danger?" The page says, "I know not, sir, only that they say an enemy has entered the city through the harbor.", and he turns to knock on the next door. Moruth shouts, "That is only my neighbor, a seamstress, save your trouble and hers.", and the protagonists head down the stairs to the street were they see that Lythan has followed them.

Jarl says, "I thought the call was only for the men of the city."

Lythen smiles wickedly and says, "So it was."

Jarl says, "Then you are a man, then?"

Lythen laughs and says, "Do you think that only men are capable of fighting? You'll find I can handle myself."

Jarl says, "So you're a woman then."

Lythen only laughs and moves down the street gracefully swishing skirts and swaying hips.

The night is overcast and very dark. Mandible lights a lantern given to him by Moruth the priest, and the part makes their way through the darkened streets. Occasionally overtaking or being overtaken by groups of shopkeepers and crafters, looking uncomfortable and afraid in padded armor and carrying militia spears. As the group reaches the edge of the desolation and ruins, they can see in the darkness the fires and torches of the camps near the water and hear distant cries and shouts as of battle - but no ringing steel and no clear sign of who the enemy is nor any torches that might suggest the landing of boats. At this distance, from the dim torchlight the figures can not be clearly made out. As they begin to creep cautiously down toward the harbor, a voices bellows out of the darkness with a growl.

"Can no one get sleep here. What is this noise about?" It is the big Mokoheen Rex.

Gareth says, "There are enemies in the city. Battle is afoot."

"Blood to be shed? That is more like it. I was about to die of boredom in this cursed city. There is hardly drink, nor meat, nor woman to be found. Let me go with you."

Gareth says, "I for one will be glad of your sword."

Rex roars, "The let us make haste!" and he unslings his sword and begins to make haste down the road, followed by the company.

He goes only about 50 yards though before the elf calls out, "Halt, there is something moving in the darkness, and it bears a long spear." She points ahead and a little to the left.

Jarl readies his bow and the group instinctively forms a formation, with the Templar and the big barbarian in the front. However, the young sailor suddenly charges straight out into the darkness screaming furiously. Jarl only has time to mutter a curse before the big man and Gareth shrug and follow the retreating light source. Suddenly, into the rapidly moving circle of light appears shark skinned deep one. It carries in its hands a long spear of a strange white substance that might be bone, which it brandishes nimbly and sets. Undeterred, the sailor charges right into the spear, only avoiding skewering himself by the narrowest of margins by a last second attempt to knock the spear aside with his sword but nonetheless tearing a huge gash in his side. He stabs at the fish man, which immediately drops its spear and prepares to apply its claws. Jarl fires an arrow, but wary of hitting the young sailor, misses and sends the shot out into the darkness. The rest of the party surrounds the deep one on all sides. Gareth yells to the sailor, "Tactics young friend. Fight defensively, while we take this beast down."

The sailor nods, and dropping the lantern near his feet, draws a second rapier and assumes an unexpectedly skillful en garde, fending off most of the blows of the deep one. The rest of the party attacks the creatures exposed sides and rear - a slash from the Templar, a might hack from the Mokoheen, a nimble thrust from the lay brother, an awkward flail from the cleric who appears of the group most uncomfortable in battle, and the raging deep on staggers pouring black blood all over the ground. Just then Lythen pulls a short ivory wand from somewhere in the folds of her dress and stabs it into the beast, calling out in a strange tongue as she does so. Lightning crackles from the wand and engulfs her target. In seconds, it lies motionless on the ground at her feat, smoking and smelling of oil and blackened fish.

Jarl says, "You are a wizard?"

Lythen says, "Yes, something of that sort. Well, I'd say that went rather well. This company seems to be rather good at surrounding things and beating the feces out of them. Shall we find more?"

Rex grins and curses his approval.

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