Deposing the Reef Giants
The confrontation with the Reef Lord began with a line of triton sentries charging the party. The warriors dispatched most of them efficiently, but following closely were a megalodon and a giant octopus. The shark knifed through the water and tore into Blynk, chomping down and ravaging the cultist like a ragdoll, as merfolk warriors swam to his assistance prodding the beast with spears until it eventually let go and died. The spellcaster’s magics ruptured the octopus’s body, killing it and releasing a could of ink. Into the bloody, inky tempest charged the Reef Lord himself, and his queen the Reef Lady kicking up a whirlpool around her. They made quick work of the merfolk escort. But where was Biff? Sinbreena Dim Doored away to try to find him as the Reef Lord’s onslaught began.
Late to the party, Biff Wellington moments later came torpedoing in through the leviathan’s maw. He launched himself straight at the Reef Lord, intercepting giant’s charge at the vulnerable clerics as Tosh prayed to heal Blynk’s grievous bite wounds. But the valiant Wellington seemed to have underestimated the Reef Lord, who blithely turned aside the spiraling half-ogre’s massive blade.
Having Dim-Doored back against the esophageal wall of the leviathan, Taliyana cast a Lightning Bolt, which went off behind the reef giants in a sparkling explosion through the water – the happy arcs of electricity danced along the backs of the Reef Lord and Lady like so much dandelion fuzz. They seemed only angered however, as each drew back their enormous tridents and drove them into their nearest foes: the Reef Lord’s slammed full into Biff’s face, tearing out some teeth, while the Reef Lady’s plunged into Korog’s chest before she twisted it back out, as the gnoll burbled a piteous howl.
Meanwhile, Sylas the wolf doggie-paddled up to one of the two remaining triton sentries and bit savagely into his leg, holding him and chewing as he flailed with his spear. And the clerics now regained their composure; each prayed to Heat the Metal of the reef giants’ tridents, hoping to complicate their tactical plans. It seemed to work, for after a few second of renewed assaults on Biff and Korog, they each released their grip and let their enormous weapons float away, boiling the water around them!
Biff now exploited the Reef Lord’s momentary distraction at his burning trident, and hacked his two-handed sword deep into the giant’s midsection, wrenching it back out with a gout of blood and a bit of entrails. Korog too rallied for a couple of substantial slices into the Reef Lady with his Longsword of Perspiration. Tali summoned another Lightning explosion just then, which again slightly zapped the Reef Lady, but this time it powerfully jolted the Reef Lord himself, who, still leaking entrails, went motionless in the water and floated away from Biff, lifeless. Wellington turned to regard with cold fury the other remaining triton who had sidled up behind him to prod his back with a spear, and cleanly slashed him in half.
The Reef Lady was now enraged by the defeat of her husband (and her own serious wounds and loss of her trident), and she reached out and wrapped her powerful hands around Korog’s throat, fixing him with a glare of pure hate and throttling him as he feebly swished his sword through the water. Tosh behind him was praying fervently for the gnoll to survive the rage choke. Blynk meanwhile swam over to where the last triton was locked in combat with Sylas the wolf. He meant to drive his blade through the triton’s ribs from behind, but with all the ink and blood in the water there, he bumped into the foe instead – the triton whirled around and slashed Blynk across the chest with his spear. Biff saw what was going on though, and launched himself over in time to remove the triton sentry’s head before he could do any more damage.
As Tosh burbled some wry combat advice to the beleaguered Korog, such as “Stick her with the pointy end,” the Reef Lady hunched down, and then kicked backwards, driving herself (the gnoll in tow) back down into the darkness of the leviathan’s gullet… right past where Taliyana had secreted herself! She sniped the passing giant with a salvo of Magic Missiles, ending the reign of the reef giant tyrants and releasing the sputtering gnoll.
The party regrouped, and Tosh announced that he had Withdrawn during the battle to Divine a clue from Petraeus about how to achieve the party’s goal. He was told cryptically by the god, “Put some back into it… or was that the other way around?” From that, the clever hin worked out that some investigation of the leviathan’s spine was in order, and indeed it turned out that the Reef Lord had carved out a sort of vault system in several of the sea monster’s vertebrae. Inside, the party found several chests of treasure, and a Tablet of Fate (which mesmerized them all for a few moments), and a glowing black short sword that perhaps was the Death Key asked for by the Lich Lord Ras’Nassi.
Back to the Surface World
Further, at the leviathan’s blow-hole was docked another gnomish diving bell. They piled in, worked out how the mechanisms inside must function, and used the vehicle to ascend back to the surface, adjacent to the Lich Lord’s zaratan island.
They came ashore and repeated their hike up the zaratan’s central mountain, past the rows of dormant skeletal warriors, into the mountain stronghold, and met Ras’Nassi once again in his gloomy throne room, where he had a feast prepared for them to eat as they debriefed him. He was thrilled at their retrieval of the Death Key, and drooled a little bit as he caressed the darkly glowing blade.
His last obligation with them was to fulfill his agreement to send them back in time several thousand years, to before the Island of the Thunder Lizards had been destroyed. He explained that they could then conduct their search, and when they had found the second Eye of Lizera (actually another Tablet of Fate), they could return by merely encanting his name, “Ras’Nassi,” which would transport them back to the present without any time having elapsed here. Then finally they would use the Death Key on him, his spirit would be released from his bodily prison, and their business together would be concluded.
To the Savage Past
They took a few days to rest and recover, and when they were ready all returned to Ras’Nassi’s throne room. He began an arcane chant, and mystical blue energy slowly coalesced around Biff, Korog, Blynk, and Tosh. Suddenly they each felt intense vertigo as they were pulled into a coruscating blue tunnel…
…and they slid out of the tunnel just above the ocean, a few hundred feet from a prehistoric tropical island, naked as the day they were born. (Ras’Nassi’s chronomancy only works on biological material – not on their gear.) They plopped into the water, terrified and sputtering, and frantically began paddling for shore. Tosh and Biff used their uncanny abilities to Command Beasts to summon some friendly dolphins to facilitate their swim.
Staggering up onto the beach, they took stock of their situation. Blynk assessed the terrain and determined that signs of activity were present – humanoid and larger tracks were evident running up and down the shore. Farther up the beach was a tropical jungle, and mountain peaks could be seen in the distance. The occasional shriek and growl came from the jungle, but Blynk hiked up to the tree line, climbed a tree, and found several coconuts which he threw at Biff, playfully conking the half-ogre on his thick skull. Korog began procuring basic necessities like fresh water, food, firewood, etc. and started a fire to ward off scavengers while Biff and Tosh began fashioning crude wooden spears and stone hatchets, but Blynk appeared to just wander farther and father off into the jungle… he didn’t come back.