…Using Vehicles which Look Like…
…giant mechanical lobsters, the three adventurers had to split up: Li Sun and Jonalith took the first submersible, while Andrea Ravn had to go it alone in the second.
Andrea Ravn remembered most of what her teachers had said about Nefelus. “Sure, the city of Magic has been out of contact with the rest of the world for over 400 years,” her master told her. “But that is hardly ancient history. Two millenia have passed since the world heard from the Dragonborn Empire.”
Nefelus was an island nation when it came to prominence defeating a great evil that threatened the whole world. But they came to believe the rest of the world was insufficiently grateful for their efforts.
“They had nothing to do with the causes of the problem, at least in their minds,” her master told her. “But they were crucial to the solution and they thought everyone should be mindful of their contribution.”
Andrea understood the lack of appreciation might have been only in the minds of the Nefelese, but that was enough for them to withdraw from the rest of civilization and become isolationist. “As if hiding from the world would mean the problems of the world would never find you,” she thought.
As soon as the city came into view, Andrea saw the Temple. Famous the world over Andrea was clear that the building housed one of the greatest libraries in the world. While she hungered to break off from the party and explore its shelves, she found herself ushered along with the rest of her group.
Andrea was happy to find that their guides (who acted as much like guards as ushers) took them to the Temple itself. Amyria told them to wait while she met with the Thraxinium (some sort of council of mages which ruled over this magocracy).
Eventually they were able to question their host — a member of this august body — who told them about the magickal assault Nefelus found itself under.
“Just before Nefelus was blockaded by the ice we sent three ships to find the source of the problem,” he told them. “Two were lost, but one made it to the iceberg. The crew perished, save one. Uarion was a Githzerai whose mental powers enabled him to make it inside, but we do not know what became of him once he got too close to the Seed of Winter.”
Before she knew what she was saying, Andrea — along with Jonalith and Li Sun — had promised to rescue Uarion, capture the Seed of Winter, break the blockade, and free Nefelus from the icy ring which surrounded it.
“At least, we can bring back his body,” she thought to herself.
After Amyria told them this promise the thing to bring Nefelus into the coalition, Bejam took them to three vessels capable of traveling underwater.
“Perhaps, if you approach unseen, you will not be attacked like the other three vessels,” he told them.
Andrea was so confident in her ability to figure out the submersibles that she decided to pilot one by herself. She recognized the vessels as Apparatuses of Kwalish. Confident that she knew enough of the history of Kwalish (a renowned inventor and magician) that she could figure out the controls.
Once she was in the craft, she found she did not remember as much as she thought she did. Before she was able to use what she remembered about how Kwalish like to design his inventions, she was floundering around in the shallows.
“I hope that doesn’t attract the attention of the Arctic Sahaugin Bejam told us about. I don’t like frogmen, even if these are blue.”
Klaxi found the City of Argent in the midst of a siege. An older gentleman, who seemed to be in charge of its magickal defenses, asked him to go to Nefelus to recruit additional mages. “I think Amyria has a plan to enlist their aid,” he said. “Belinda of Fallcrest should be able to help you find her.” Then he gave the insect-warrior a scroll which would take him to Belinda’s mother. “Perhaps you should avoid mentioning all this to her father.”
Jonalith was not sure what was going on in the other submersible, but it didn’t look good.
“Perhaps I can lead her to a safer path,” he told Li Sun, who was in the same craft. “An elf should be able to find the way, even underwater.”
Watching the currents it did not take him long to guide the mechanical lobster into a narrow trench pointed straight towards the iceberg.
“Not only will this protect us from observation, but look at those currents.”
Once Li Sun had them point out, he was amazed. “Those’ll cut 30 minutes off the time the trip takes us.” Jonalith knew Li was thinking about the limited air in their vessel. Then she saw Andrea avoiding some of the Sahuagin as she scurried her vessel into the trench behind them.
He saw Li Sun was using his arcane knowledge to figure out how to operate the claws of the lobster. “just stick your hands in here and wiggle your fingers,” the ardent said as the claws lifted up off the muddy bottom. “I should be able to even help you move along. And, if we have to fight some blue froggies….”
The claws snapped enthusiastically.
Tokk’it was hardly surprised when another adventurer came through the portal with Belinda. But the nature of the creature… “He seems to be some kind of insect,” he whispered to the young wizardess, who nodded with a smile.
Through the sealed porthole, Li Sun could see that Andrea was finally getting the hang of the controls. “Maybe all that history helped her figure out some of the quirks of these machines. Kwalish sure had some funny ideas about how to make them do what you want them to do.”
Just then Jonalith dropped the submersible all the way into the lowest point in the trench. “More frog-boys,” he whispered, and Li Sun frantically gesture back to Andrea. The warlord seemed to get the message and slowed her vessel as well.
As Andrea sat motionless, apparently waiting for the Sahuagin to pass, she seemed to be practicing with the claws which Li Sun had already mastered. “Finally trying out her Arcana skills,” he told Jonalith.
Sure enough, when they started up again, he could see the dragonborn was using the claws as well as the legs to propel the craft forward. A little fiddling with his own arcane skills and Li Sun was helping push his submersible along as well.
As they approached the iceberg, Li Sun could see the frozen formation had reached all the way to the bottom. “That could make it hard to climb up,” he said to the elf.
But Jonalith was already on it. He found a narrow tunnel leading upward into the iceberg. As the ranger steered the vessel inside, Li Sun turned around to see that Andrea’s lobster was still following.