I‘m woefully unqualified to explain the Great Beyond and its myriad planes of existence. Untangling that infinite jigsaw puzzle is not my forte, but I will say, the bizarre outlines of the endless eternities opened my eyes to what is possible. We take for granted many natural properties of our mortal plane like the blue sky, firm ground, or not being on fire all the time. Believe it or not some planes don’t have such paltry rules!
Chapter 7: Travelogue of Hell
I got to the fiendish terrarium that is second layer of Hell, known as Dis, when the Deep Sea Current sailed through a miniature two-headed snake talisman’s hellmouth. Hell wouldn’t have been my first choice, I’d much rather have visited the sweet rolling hills of Nirvana or the blissful untouched wilderness of Elysium, but the crew goes to where the Captain points the sails. Dis was as unwelcoming and cruel as you might imagine. I tasted the stale air, felt the squelching heat, smelled the brimstone, saw the everyday torment, and heard the constant cries of condemned souls. A fitting place for a world run by a group of totalitarian devil Overlords who value hierarchy, order, and punishment.
My time in Dis was thankfully fleeting as the morning dew. The ship took another hellmouth to the furthest rim of Hell, known as the Bolgian Shores, where Hell’s order erodes into the Maelstrom’s chaos. This was far more enticing excursion for me. The Captain was especially eager too. Dis’ ceiling slowly broke away into shards of sky like rays of sunlight through a stain glass window as we moved closer to the shore. Entropy was literally deconstructing Hell before our very eyes, which was unthinkable after seeing Hell’s immovable monoliths. But leaving Hell is not that easy, Hell always extracts a tax.
The Captain allied with a group of bearded devil pirates, Red Beard’s Whiskers, that ended up being more renegade than respected. At the last checkpoint out of Hell there was a fortification of epic proportion that didn’t take to kindly to renegades and their associates. Our renegade allies’ ship bolted like a bat out of Hell through the lock! We closed, but not before cannon fire came in like thunder. To complicate matters the senior crew was hijacked by unseen forces. Their journey is not my story to tell. (I highly recommend Pipp’s biography on Mr. Finnegan Torrentail if you care to learn more). In the vacuum of power left in their absence, Admiral Tebrilith was instrumental getting us out of threat range with her quick thinking. She dove the ship under the the waves instead of fighting back. The ship and crew were in tatters when we surfaced in the middle of the Maelstrom. We were alone. The elemental spirit of the ship was silent, our allies were nowhere to be seen, and the senior crew had gotten kidnapped. At least, Captain Reskafar would be proud that we all survived the long odds.
Chapter 8: Travelogue of the Maelstrom
The Maelstrom is the second plane the Deep Sea Current visited. Calling the Maelstrom a plane of existence is a bit loose. Nothing and everything exist in the Maelstrom. It is either the primordial sea that makes up the other planes or an unstoppable blob that is consuming the other planes. There is no discernible horizon which makes navigation impossible, your only option is to point the ship away from the shore and hope for the best. While moving through the seas you very well could be moving in three-dimensions instead of two since your senses get so screwed up. Unfortunately, Magic is also as unreliable as your senses. On the other hand, the thrill of adventure is through the sky. As the Captain Reskafar frequently said, “When you don’t know what’s comin’, anything is possible.”
No truer words.
What happened next to us no one could have anticipated. A powerful impentesh protean with an army of voidworms flocked to us in search of Vaghol. We learned Vaghol was originally the crown decoration of the Colorless Lord, a powerful protean of the highest rank, before anything else. Vaghol felt betrayed by the crew for winding up in the Maelstrom, we proved our sincerity by defended him to the last. During the fight, Hexa got turned into a voidworm and Pipp’s mind games got him turned into a tiny prawn. Vandlo ended up knocking out the imentesh with his bare hands. A crazy feat considering proteans don’t possess physical bodies. Tebrilith at one point decided to sacrifice herself only to change her mind later. It was not enough. The ship sank from all the accumulated damage with Thuxfeldt on-board. As for me, I got to summon the Pirate Goddess Besmara, who answered the call with panache!