MERP: Tol Sulereb, at Last

After equipping themselves at Randar’s, the party travelled to the Nabal Mazry to recruit Drogo for their assault on Tol Sulereb. Drogo enjoyed a bit of pickpocketing, stealing the new sea travelling eyewear that Bertram had custom made by Randar. Drogo stole them and then teleported off to Winton Coldfoot, Mayor of Nabal Island. Bertram had to buy a second pair but Randar also augmented the spell on him so that he could generate items that were more deadly, and therefore useful.

Pallando explained that a ring of power would be needed to use a palantir, which would be needed to penetrate the Maelstrom. But the correct palantir had to be used, one that had the least blood in its history. Drogo first cast Otterlungs and then teleported to the sea bottom where he had stored the four palantiri. He used the dwarvish ring of power provided by Tanukkodol to gaze into the palantiri and discern their past, looking for the one that is most given in freedom. He did not gaze into the one from Shrel Kain, as it was damaged by Elentari’s blood. The palantir from Fayoul was stolen from the Balrog’s ghost by Delcaran, who used a variety of small children to feed the ghost as he dived. The palantir stolen from Lest was freely given to Elentari by Tulric, because he feared that Demetrios might recover it. And the palantir from Dilgul was won by Lord Winston from Jackelsprat in a card game. Drogo brings the Lest palantir, but after talking with the rest of the party, returned it and brought up the Dilgul palantir.

Drogo used the palantir they stole from Lest to guide them through the Maelstrom, with the aid of Tanukkodol’s dwarvish ring of power, and the spiritual aid of Grafarlig, Bertram, and Tanukkodol. Tulric served as a captain and the crew followed the great hero with joy initially, but in fear later.

They arrived offshore and anchored on the north end of the island, three miles from the pyramid in the center of the island. Drogo flew inland past the werewolves and landed near the tower. The werewolves would not come within a mile of the tower. He flew up to the first level and then up to the top, looking for an entrance. He spotted a gate on the east side, down on the ground.  After resting, he teleported Tanukkodol, Grafarlig, and Bertram to the first level above the gate. Then he joined them (after some pipeweed), and used Portal to carve out a stone ring in the top of the tower, to which they attached their ropes.

The party lowered themselves down by ropes, Drogo reasoning that if he was killed, they could still climb up to the first level. On the door was the directions in Black Speech to “speak hate and enter.” Tanukkodol was the only one who could read it, but he didn’t want that responsibility, so he whispered the word into Bertram’s ear. Bertram failed to say it correctly, and instead there was a rumbling deep below them. Tanukkodol said it correctly and the gates swung open.

On the first level was a giant statue of a beautiful man, surrounded by a hundred sleeping werewolves, which were not statues. The stairs that led up were sealed by great steel doors and padlocked. Drogo teleported the party past them to the stairs to the stairs, teleporting Bertram last because he could only teleport two others at a time.

On the next level, 2 huge matrons were taking care of 16 elven babies in cribs. They told the babies they would be very strong one day. Grafarlig’s armor wakes them as the party continues up, and Bertram tried to use his harp to quiet the babies, but a Matron struck him a heavy blow. Luckily, he was using the dagger of invisibility, or she would have crushed him like an eggshell.

On the next level, eight men in robes with heads bowed over circular containers, probably for the palantiri, now missing. They watched the party but did not interfere. On the wall, engraved in black speech, were the words, “This is a place of peace and no mercy.”

The next level had multiple passages going to a multitude of locations, obviously a central location for the Ways. Continuing up, the party came to a small room with the master palantir. They settled down, because Drogo would have to stay there for a week to be able to reliably teleport back. Bertram is seduced by the palantir during the night and begins to fear that Drogo will misuse the palantir and should be stopped.

After several days, Bertram started questioning Drogo, which makes Drogo suspect some sort of corruption. Drogo sent all three of the others to the ship, then moved down to the next level down where he slept.

Back on the ship, the others learned that there were elves who had escaped from Torlumen who lived in a beautiful sanctuary carved by Ways magic at the western end of the island. Those people had saved Tulric and Solia fifty years ago, and the couple had lived with them for thirty years. The people there never had any children. There were lots of families, and every ten years 16-20 women would get pregnant but every baby was lost through miscarriage, or so they said. Solia died in childbirth and Tulric left the island. Now Tulric realized that the elves had given up their children so they could live in peace. There are forty people in the village, and the party calculated that 80-100 babies had been taken in fifty years.

At the end of the week, Drogo covered the palantir with his blanket and tied the ends, then teleported it back to the ship. The Maelstrom disappeared and the werewolves went berserk, attacking each other, the tower, and the village. Pallando took the master palantir downstairs and Tanukkodol accompanied him to keep watch.

Drogo teleported Tulric, Bertram, and Grafarlig back to the tower to rescue the children. They helped the Matrons fighting the werewolves, who were attacking up the stairs. Drogo teleported in and out several times, taking 3-4 babies with him each time, back to the ship.

Tulric shot his bow three times per round, but the werewolves were healing every round. Grafarlig tore into them as well, after bonging Bertram on the head. Ughthug also fought the werewolves.

As he teleported in, Drogo voiced his worries regarding what the babies grow up into. Grafarlig asked the matrons and they replied that they would grow up big and strong, except for the weak ones, which would become werewolves.

Drogo teleported Ughthug and Grafarlig out and then came back for Tulric. They also made the jump and reached the ship, but Tulric immediately slipped over the side and used the ship’s boat to slip away, saying to Drogo that it would be best if Tulric died that day. And that’s what Drogo said ever after.

Meanwhile, Pallando fell prey to depression and came close to using the master palantir. Tanukkodol talked him out of it, though he was also ready to shoot his mentor if it came to that.

The matrons were killed, as were the villagers, and then the ravenous beasts ripped each other apart.

Grafarlig, Bertram, and Drogo took the elven children to the elves of Mirkwood. From there, Drogo returned to the Nabal Mazry, where he continued supporting the rangers, transporting them and their goods when necessary through teleportation, and communicating with Oldar through his birdspeech. And at the bottom of the Sea of Rhun lays a chest with 4 palantiri and 2 rings of power (one dwarvish, one an elvish ring of cold). Only Drogo knows where it lays.

Grafarlig returned to her people and became a famous, glorious Dwarven hero.

Bertram/Ughthug were reconciled and Bertram took up residence in Dilgul. Bertram and Ughthug left each other notes and eventually learned more about each other. Bertram found out more about the fight between Randar and his brother. Bertram still sometimes finds himself in strange new lands, as Ughthug retains his wanderlust.

The Syndicate took over much of the merchant traffic on the Rhunaer, with Feldenaith (or someone quite like him) at its head.

Pallando and Tanukkodol travelled to the Grey Havens, where Pallando set sail for the western lands with the master palantir, but not until he charged Tanukkodol with fighting the second blue mage. Tanukkodol accepted that charge and returned to the Far East.

And thus ended the Campaign of Rhun.

About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
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