When last we left our heroes, they had achieved their first great victory together in what remained of the old toll house, located at the end of the broken bridge connected to the Sunken City. After taking a short breather for the sake of planning, the party began following the strange map which they had looted from the corpse of the slain bugbear. To their surprised, the back of the map was inscribed with two phrases: “Book” and “The Accounting of the Shards”.
Making their way further along the abandoned bridges connecting the towers of old, they frequently noticed light shining in the distance at random intervals. As they ventured deeper into the city, they discovered its source: a humanoid bolt of lightning feverishly striking against some kind of dome-like barrier, to no avail. Following the scribbled map, they came upon the entrance to a large tower-like building, atop which was inscribed the phrase “Spire of the Deepvessel”. At this point, Mattimeo realized that the unseen servant he had summoned earlier had vanished from his side. The gateway which seemed to grant entrance into the tower itself was filled with a dark void, electric arcane energies playing across its form. Upon the stone which made up the gateway were inscribed dwarven runes, communicating a riddle to those who could read it.
After many blinding attempts at traversing the mysterious void, a draconic exclamation of “Lightning” caused it to dissipate, showing but a hallway and a staircase to our jolly band.
Entering into the spire proper, the party found themselves in what may once have been a large study, lined with bookcases and a large portrait depicting The First Four. One of the walls in the room consisted of a large window, through which the players could see another spire of similar size hidden beneath the waves. Investigating the room in detail, our heroes found an entrance to a hidden alcove, in which they found a chest, containing a set of jewelers tools, and a patch-covered robe which they believed may have once belonged to Vehemaia the Patcher.
While trying to open a large set of doors found opposite the study, Krov managed to cause a slight cracking of the wood, upon which water began to trickle through into the tower. Knowing that their time inside the tower had probably become somewhat limited, the party headed down a large flight of stairs into the spires depths.¨
Further down, the band came upon a very old, but still fairly fit alchemical lab containing notes signed by Gromg Deepvessel. Evidently, the tower had history in spades. The party investigated further, pushing open the door to what appeared to be a storeroom for alchemical reagents. Looking through as assortment of sacks and crates, our heroes came upon iron (which eventually fell through the bottom of the crate), sodium (that Mattimeo saved in a number of glass vials, basically inventing the shrapnel grenade), a tightly sealed box with draconic runes carved into the wood and, beneath it, a locked trapdoor.
Notsium Durkax eventually managed to solve the enigma of the sealed box, finding inside it an Alchemical Jug inscribed with dwarven runes, which he believed to be the eponymous Deepvessel. Using the Jug in order to produce acid, somewhat to his own dismay, Durkax managed to melt through the thick padlock which sealed the trapdoor, opening the road into even deeper reaches within the tower.
Heading down a long ladder chute, the heroes found themselves in a flooded arcane sanctum, containing an arcane circle carved into the stone floor, a two bookshelves lining opposite walls, three doors seemingly leading out of the tower, along with a large set of double doors leading back into the spire itself. These great doors, however, were frozen over with some sort of unmelting ice, upon which both swords and fire left nary a mark.
On a workbench near the center of the room, the party found an old leatherbound tome titled “The Accounting of the Shards”. From what little they could glean from the book without deciphering the earlier entries, it sounded like the ravings of a madman.
Upon removing the book from its resting place, a connection to the arcane circle was triggered, causing the three outgoing doors to freeze over like the double doors, after which the water itself took on a serpentine shape and pounced upon the players. After a harrowing fight dimly lit by a glowing workbench whose light bounced of the frozen doors and the eventually frozen head of the watery being, Mattimeo finished the elemental being by basically vaporizing it against the nearby wall through pure arcane force.
Investigating the bookshelves after the encounter, the heroes found each named with a different plaque: “Gehrman” and “Terteias”, respectively. Feeling that time was wasting, the party deactivated the freezing effect by smashing the arcane circle into gravel. As they soon came to realize, a small crack in a set of double doors connected to the ocean can build up to quite a bit of water over time. With the entire room flooding at an alarming rate, our heroes managed to flee out of one of the defrosted doors, finding safety from the flood beyond.
They found themslves staring out at the Sunken City beneath the waves, the bridge the sttod on seemingly shielded from the surrounding water. From their new marine vantage point, they could see not one, but three other towers connecting to their spire of origin through similar bridges, albeit some broken. Looming above the surface, directly above the furthest spire, sat the spectre without sound nor motion, seemingly still impeded by the mysterious barrier.
Trapped beneath the ocean surface, looking out over a drowned city and with a strange being looming overhead, is were our heroes find themselves, Beyond the horizon