Mooncrash

Episode 121 - Belly of the Beast

Redemption of the Ocean's Pride

Game Date: Durek 13 – Durek 21, 341 F.I.
Starting Point: Chicken Bone Islands
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Dondo Whitewave, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

On a wave-tossed rock in the Scarlet Sea, a goliath shaman informs Chogaruk that the only way he can ascend to the Basalt Throne of Witcomanee is by finding and slaying the Demonmaw, the very creature he has named his legendary axe after.

Summoned back together by an ominous missive from the Abbey of All Monsters, The Nameless Company convenes in Althoren Zencaré’s secret headquarters – high in the mountains of Dread Salarza. It seems the Sunken Sisters wish to sacrifice Captain Bixby, the last remaining survivor of the Bad Omen to the Demonmaw and are calling upon the adventurers to complete their half of the previously agreed-upon bargain. Uncertain precisely how they intend to honor these agreements, the heroes nonetheless travel to Yaor Bay to collect the destitute captain and enlist his aid in rescuing his crew.

In Usago, The Nameless Company meets the Sunken Sisters and agrees to participate in their ceremony. A derelict vessel, filled with Oslite blasphemers – Bixby included – waits in the middle of the deep, awaiting the arrival of the Demonmaw. The adventurers row out to join the Sisters, hatching a plan that will see them swallowed too. Once the reverse-rain – magical weather influenced by the mooncrash – begins, the priestesses start their chant, the water starts to churn and massive fangs sprout from the water all around the derelict. Rowing quickly, Vaca manages to position the rowboat between the teeth at the very last instant, right before everything is sucked downward and into the utter blackness below.

The next thing the adventurers know, they’re inside the gullet of the creature – an unfathomably large body of black water, roofed by ribs and littered with the shattered derelicts of previously swallowed ships. Exploring around, the Nameless Company discovers many survivors – including the Bad Omen and its crew – but many are under the effects of a terrifying transformation, warping them into wet, muculent creatures called skum. Speaking with Mqueque, one of the harpooners, they learn of three potential exits from the creature’s massive belly – a magically guarded doorway, a pair of gnashing jaws and an infected artery. After reconnoitring the whole massive stomach, our heroes braved the gnashing jaws and started their exploration of the Demonmaw’s innards, seeking some escape route.

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All squeezed atop Zencaré’s floating disc, the Nameless Company travelled down the inexplicable intestine of the Demonmaw. First, they encountered a forest of baleen, stretching from floor to ceiling, that they needed to cut through. Next, they crossed a hall of polyps where rasping tongue reached out to give them battle. During the fight, both Chogaruk and Dondo fell through open arteries and were nearly crushed by the fleshy walls, had not their allies come to their rescue. Lastly, they encountered a bladder that slowly flooded with acid, forcing them to muscle open the Demonmaw’s own muscles to escape.

Finally, they emerged in the beast’s heart chamber, where they were confronted with the great organ – protected by angels, by rasping tongues and by skittering parasites. As his companions rushed forth to battle, Dondo Whitewave was confronted with a conundrum – his Mother. Behooving him to cease this attack, Dondo spent many rounds negotiating, arguing and eventually splitting with his Mother’s faith.

In the battle, our heroes were faced with numerous challenges. Roundly defeating the parasites and the tongues, they found the angels and the heart much harder to deal with. Protected by a shield of magical energy, the heart would repel any damage it was dealt back out across the chamber, striking everyone with exactly as much force. Once all the other foes were slain, they pondered precisely how this could be done. With nowhere else to go, the heroes instructed Chogaruk to deal a killing blow to the heart. The wave of energy that rippled out proved too much for both Vaca and Dondo, crippling the former and slaying the latter outright.

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The moment the Demonmaw was slain, the Nameless Company had precious little time to evacuate. The massive gullet began to drain, sucking all its ships and derelicts down into a churning whirlpool. Clambering onto the wreckage, they were sucked into the creature’s bowels, a surging rapid of whitewater and waste. Skum came crawling onto their rafts and they repelled them. Their rafts split and they leapt onto new driftwood. Soon, they were all ejected into the open ocean and – nearly drowning in the process – they reached the surface. Discovering where they were, our heroes reconvened with the Bad Omen and accounted themselves as successful survivors – only Vaca has lost all feeling in his legs.

On Witcomanee, Choagruk is crowned chieftain of the Ta’de’zalé amid blood and splendor. All surviving members of the Nameless Company receive an ominous message from the Abbey of All Monsters, telling them to watch the waters. Dondo Whitewave awakens on the Open Ocean, with a small sailboat and an uncharted map. A naked eladrin woman stands shivering in the rain outside Zencaré’s office at the Belltower Collegium, demanding to know who she is and where she came from.

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