The Pakthryxl Proxy

Where Things Continue to Go Boom
That is How You Parley!

I have heard said that I am an exceptional negotiator. I feel that in this instance it is exceptionally true. Especially given the current state of negotiations before my involvement…

I would say by the time I have finished with this dancer and her sea priest they will have conceded to every term. I am confident we will leave with the Folly, the Shredder, and all of wealth that was brought to the table, including compensation for Hellig’s ordeal.

Yes, my natural talents working perfectly with my highly honed skills will close this chapter.

I mean yes, the fact that the pirate queen’s vessel seems to have exploded and gone under water helps my position. I swear I heard the kobolds squealing with glee right before the eruptions began.

The fact that Aven slew an individual of short stature on a swan shaped boat, that may or may not be the Pirate Queen has little to do with how well this is going. Sure, my three friends seem to be the only ones left, could indicate that the Aven, Myrrh (Kitsune), Reskafar Xurwkar, and the Rune have finished off the Pirate Queen’s entire crew… But, that does not stop negotiations.

After all a parley is parley, a deal is a deal and I am one damn exceptional negotiator.

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Failed Negotiations!!! Myrrh in Trouble
Captain's log found in a rowboat

BOOM GOES THE POWDER KEG!
The salt pepper explosion was impressive and much more fantastic than my personal armament. It was almost beautiful, the way the fiery shrapnel lit the island vegetation on fire and pushed a mushroom cloud of smoke into the sky, except it also blazed my friends. Myrrh looked half dead, but Lorenz and Tebrilith looked like cooked death. I gave enough time for my exploded comrades to re-board before returning my attention on the Pirate Queen. By this time, Aven commandeered the Shredder and had the few remaining gunners target the Never Enough. With two ships against one, the tide of battle had turned in our favor!

The Never Enough raised the parley flag. It was time to negotiate terms of our victory; however, Lorenz’s wounds were too grievous for him to take lead. The Pirate Queen insisted on audience at a specific time and a lengthy banquet to follow. Myrrh, Aven, and I took leave of the ship to meet with the supposed Pirate Queen, but not before scouting the tower. Three lovely munthrek women arrived late to the tower introducing themselves as Captain Gifford the Pirate Queen and two high ranking officers. They began expertly preparing a very deliberate and extravagant dinner as calm as circling sharks. I watched the first mate Reyna Olyver slowly fold napkin birds and the second mate shine the cutlery. This was not how I pictured this parley playing out, their idle chatter and carefree demeanor was more than we could take, so we flinched first, second, and third.

“Enough of this bullshit, we want Volla Afalle’s head on this platter, then you wenches can sail off into the sunrise!”, I shouted in frustration. That name shattered their domestic charade and brought them crashing into the filth where I dwell.

“How did you come by that name, Kobold?”, Captain Gifford mumbled through her clenched teeth obviously shocked.

Feeling I had the upper-hand, I righteously spouted, “The Pirate Goddess Besmara told us that name. We are her servants and the she wants Volla dead. Now go fetch her head for us, the tide is going out”. As soon as the word “tide” rolled off my tongue it all clicked like the inner workings of my musket.

Captain Gifford saw the wave of realization about the tide in our faces and pressed her boot to our throats, “Your ship will be stranded as soon as the tide leaves and you will be at the mercy of my twenty cannons. Since your mouths spew only venom, I declare this parley over!”

Myrrh quickly stepped in, “Let us not be hasty, I am sure we can come to an accords”. His hand slowly, almost invisibly, reaching into his cloak.

“Hand over 1,000 gold per crew member to continue this parley. Take it or die with the tide”, commanded the supposed Pirate Queen.

“Very well", Myrrh replied not missing a beat, “We will need to go back to our ship to to collect that much treasure”. His hand disappeared farther into his cloak. I anticipated Myrrh to strike her dead at any moment with his hidden weapons.

“As a sign of trust, let us swap crew-mates. Who among you will put his life in your companions hands and come aboard the Never Enough with me? I will send Reyna to your ship to collect the gold.”, declared the munthrek.

Myrrh smiled, removed his hand from his cloak, and with a slight bow answered, “Take me”. Aven and I were about to lose our shit until we noticed Myrrh flicker a wink to us that seemed to say “I got this”.

I have no idea what is about to happen, but I will not underestimate these pirate bitches again. I have faith Myrrh will provide an opening for us before it is too late.

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It’s a Trap!!! Rendezvous with the Pirate Queen
Captain's log found near aftcastle.

Our spirits were at an all time high after ransacking the Voshgurvaghol temple and defeating the twisted shoggoth. Goethe later informed me it was not a full grown Shoggoth just a tadpole. After my soul got trapped in a gem, my crew was able to roast the tadpole shoggoth and remove all four blue soul trapping sapphires. Again I was thankful to be alive enough to enjoy the celebration. The treasure got even spicier when Goethe determined two of the gems have Aboleth Veiled Master trapped inside them. I think we should free them and have them join our crew!

We reset course for Azlant and along the way we picked up four munthrek pirates hours away from dying of thirst and exposure. We found out they were stranded by the False Pirate Queen for being too weak. That bitch is close! We invited them aboard to man the cannons and relay information about the Pirate Queen. The coral island, Caster’s Atoll, seemed like a good place to look for her.

Approaching Caster’s Atoll we saw a Pirate Queen ship, the Shredder, anchored. Blatz did some invisible scouting and found ~40 crew manning lots of siege weapons. We decided to sneak attack the Shredder at dusk to weaken the Pirate Queen’s forces. It was tricky navigating the treacherous coral reefs while Goethe disguised the ship with illusions but we managed to surprise the unaware pirates and decimate their ranks. Victory was almost within our grasp.

Then the unthinkable happened. The Deep Sea Current took a heavy bombardment of cannon fire on it’s keel. We had sailed right into a trap! The Pirate Queen’s ship the Never Enough can also sail underwater and was positioned directly below us firing cannons like mad. The next phase of her trap involved a pyre being lit on a small island at the center of the harbor, Tebrilith was about to be burned to death. Lorenz immediately summoned a griffon and soared to the pyre trying to be a big goddamned hero. The Deep Sea Current took evasive actions away from the Never Enough but ended up in the firing lane of the Shredder. The Shredder living up to it’s name tore my sails to pieces. Not wanting to be dead in the water I activated my own ship’s underwater sailing gem and headed for the pyre. I caught a glimpse of a long fuse being lit near the pyre right before I dove the ship. A frantic thought came to mind, “Vestin is going to have his hands full if that fuse leads to a powder keg!”.

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The Horrendous Experiment!!! Voshgurvaghol
Captain's log found near latrine.

My crew just keeps growing which I like. Recently added the best navigator around, Vaghol, a living rune created by a really famous lady, the Goddess Besmara. Vaghol may have tricked us into freeing him and forced his way on to the crew but he can read a map faster than I can load my musket. I fear Vaghol time with us will be short since he will have to be returned to the Goddess Besmara. I wonder how Vaghol will take that news? Lorenz knows the details so that is good enough for me.

The Kelpies Wrath kept it’s promise and took Captain Balta’s jeik and gave us a jewel that allows my ship to sail underwater like a freaking manta ray. My ship is amazing and I soon expect to find a way to make it sail through the clouds! Do we really have to give it back?

Vaghol the keen map reader pointed out the location of Voshgurvaghol, the lost Aboleth city, from the charts we stole from the Mordant Spire Elves. With great hesitation and consternation, I agreed to explore the sunken city. If any of the legends are true surrounding the Aboleth than we shouldn’t be waking the dead, but the promise of treasure outweighs all earthly fears. The best part was when I got to sail the Deep Sea Current under the waves right to the entrance of an ancient ziggurat as tall as two mountains. Ten of my village on Raptor Island could have fit into this one sunken temple. We gained entrance at the base of the pyramid by following skum tracks. We met Glubbex Gulpoth the forge’s tour guide, killed all the skum slaves, and I got to shoot the ooze out of a ooze monster. Thank God we made a few preparations for once!

From the bottom of the temple there was nowhere to go but up to the apex. As we explored it soon became clear that this temple’s purpose was to house the twisted flesh experiments of the mythic Aboleth. Jars of eyeballs, noses, ears, and mouths were found in every room. As we ascended the temple, the jars of organs we found in each successive room got bigger and bigger. Goethe had a hard-on thinking we found the birthplace of the shoggoth. I didn’t understand what he meant until later, I just wanted to reach the top and steal the blue sapphires the size of dragon eggs then hightail it. At the apex we found the largest containment pool with four blue soul stealing sapphires surrounding it. Myrrh did his thing and we quickly stole the closest gem. Easy as pulling the trigger!

Then we heard it. A few bubbles from the pool then a few more. We disturbed something big and I bet it had more than one eye and one mouth. Goethe screamed, “The Shoggoth is coming!”. I braced up waiting for the flesh monster to appear from the pool. The humongous creature crashed its way through the surface of the pool like a breaking wave and let out an endless shriek of gibbering madness. I could not seal the babbling from my mind and lost my grip on reality. When my senses finally returned my comrades were in dire straits: Aven was barely standing, Myrrh was nowhere to be found, Goethe was flailing around blindly, and Vestin was panicking. I unleashed a salvo of bullets that blew away much of the monsters backside causing the ooze to wheel and charge me. I struggled mightily against the attacks of the monstrous ooze but I was soon swallowed whole and seconds away from death. Then came nothing. The next thing I knew I was on the deck of my ship covered in black ichor reeking of burnt eyes and mouths.

I am thankful to be alive and owe my crew a life debt. Maybe munthrek can be trusted a little?

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Beyond Balta: The Rune in the Deep

“Captain Balta, what a fool. The man thought he could steal from a god, even one as unpredictable as Besmara, and avoid consequences. Again, a confident fool, but a fool nonetheless. Ghosts, undead; necromancy leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. We are now rid of the dead fool, and his dead crew, at the least. Besmara’s herald, the Kelpie’s Wrath, came upon us soon after another instance of Balta’s annoyance.”

“I must give credit where it is due. The kobold does know his way around a ship, and makes remarkable use of that tiny cannon he carries, additionally his quick reactions and calling of “parley” to the Wrath. I imagine we would have had as little success as our friend, captain Balta. Although, I still cannot call the creature “Hole Maker”. He must have a real name."

“Recently, it seems foolishness has been as abundant as the seas. I missed the halfling aboard our ship, the “pirate queen”. She stayed on the ship, under my nose, for days, and I never saw. The somewhat more divine pirate queen wants her eliminated. As this Volla Afalle made a fool of us and stole a ship and crew members from us, I’ve no compunction against it. But we have other matters to attend first."

“In our deliberations with the Wrath, we agreed to search the wreckage of the Messenger for this lost treasure of Besmara. Perhaps it was the contagious foolishness of Balta, or the seas themselves addling our brains, but we surely missed many obvious signs in an old aboleth lair, naturally laden with numerous traps and obstacles.”

“Whoever trapped this living rune, this “Vaghol”, I do not know, but they did excellent work. If only they hadn’t a penchant for riddles, we might have left with the rune in our control, instead of outside and threatening for us to conceal it from the Wrath."

“It was a troublesome ascent, but it seems we have fooled the Wrath. Now we have a living rune to deal with, one which demands more of us than I am willing to give. Additionally, our betrayal will be discovered eventually, at which point we may see what other fates the real pirate queen can conjure. If we are to defend against the inevitable, we must, no, I must, gain more power.”

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Enter!!! The Kelpies Wrath
More Captain's logs scrawled into the crow's nest

Parleys are usually as exciting as watching coral grow with captains squabbling about this and that. But parley with a gigantic sentient ship that sails underwater and can talk into your mind who also happens to be the herald of the Pirate Queen…much more exciting. The ship introduced itself as the Kelpies Wrath and wanted to make a lucrative deal with us on behalf of the Pirate Goddess Besmara. The Wrath untangled the story surrounding Captain Balta, turns out, Captain Balta smuggled a great treasure from Besmara that sunk to the seafloor after his ship, the Messenger, wrecked. Besmara wants her treasure back, wants Volla Afalle the false Pirate Queen murdered, and a favor to be named later. In return, we get a seamount of gold, good riddance of Captain Balta’s jeik, and our ship gets further mysterious magic improvements. We agreed to terms, I think, either way sounds like a win-win to me.

In preparation for our underwater excursion, priestess Kaledith was kind enough to summon her merchant friend Zylith Hoclya to outfit us in style. I ate good, crafted some underwater bullets, and sang songs while the other slaved over the details in the coming days. The Kelpie Wrath dropped us off at the burial site of the Messenger and casted some magic on us so we wouldn’t drown and die underwater. We found no treasure in the wreckage only ancient drag tracks leading to a mysterious shimmering portal at the entrance of a grotto. The portal was definitely a surprise, but we threw caution to the currents and breached the portal anyways.

Once inside the ruins, long story short, feeling proud I walked out with Besmara’s Treasure Map.

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A Mysterious Captain Jeik?
Captain's Log

I spotted something floating in the water from miles away. I gave the order for the Deep Sea Current to slow down and the order for the Valdemar munthrek to salvage the mysterious rasvim. It looked like a great crest of a jeik if you never-mind the ocean odor and rotten blue horse leather. My old captain, rest his soul, worn one but it had considerably more bullet holes and scorch marks than the floating jeik. It was to big for me so I left it to my first-mate Aven who worn on his head like a shark fin. We all had a good laugh which was welcomed after the Adoro attack.

The mysterious jeik soon become more mysterious in the passing days. It was following Aven around the ship like a fly to a dead fish. Lorenz between sea sickness bouts soon told us it was chikohk. Aven tossed the jeik into the water but it was soon around the next corner waiting for him. It was bloody funny since Aven was panicking (as much as Aven can panic). Aven may have even consulted Goethe for analysis.

At the stroke of midnight on the 3rd day, the jeik manifested the ghost of the infamous Captain Balta. I had heard stories that Captian Balta was cursed by Besmara for false offerings. He looked long dead and rotten but his lust for gold was insatiable as ever. He demanded tribute to be thrown into the sea. He would smile a toothless empty smile as he fixated on the sinking rasvim. I stood there is bewilderment as Captain Balta made further demands of gold and more bewilderment as Aven kept throwing coin overboard. Soon Myrrh was sounding the alarm on the top deck so I scurried up to see what was the matter.

Many brine phaos or draugr were slowly climbing up the hull of the Deep Sea Current. Myrrh gave me a look not of fear but of confusion. On the high seas, hesitation even for a klewar can sink a ship and lead to doom. I gave him the order to kill the barnacle-encrusted walking corpses and I opened fire. Captain Balta appeared before me in an instance to protect his ‘crew’ and demanded more tribute to the sea. I don’t take orders on my own ship plus I wanted to see if holes can be made into ghosts. I fired a salvo into his ghostly chest and was excited to see a Captain Balta bleed. He was tricky to fight as in kept flying through solid walls and giving us evil looks that suppressed our will to live. We finally managed to vanquish the ghost with our community of magic weapons. Goethe almost lost all his will to live and afterwards could only communicate in grunts, snorts, and drooling. Honestly I have seen sea gulls with more spirit.

Three days passed and the jeik still followed Aven around like a bad copper penny. I suggested we put the jeik on our elf prisoner and leave him in adrift in a rowboat. My suggestion was gaining traction until Captain Balta manifested again seeking tribute. He didn’t seem to have any recollection of us. This time we had no hesitation and my musket blew him to pieces before the ghost could harm us.

During the second fight with Captain Balta unexpectedly a great galleon emerged from the dark depths of the sea. The wake of the great ship almost capsized the Deep Sea Current. The massive ship was covered in arcane carvings and the towering masts barely supported the moldy sails and rigging. Sea weed, barnacles, and coral were in the places where wood and steel would be. Draugr were swarming the top deck and gun ports were open. Could this be Captain Balta’s ship? What is a captain to do?

“Parley!”, I cried. The gun ports closed and a gangplank descended.

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Pacifying Vilya Sul

After our final battle with the Mordant elves, being poisoned and nearly drowned, I found I needed some time, for many things. Although it was an irritant to be in such a weakened state, I had to admit I owed my new companions a debt, as they had doubtless saved my life. Perhaps they had earned my trust as well.

Soon after that misstep, we encountered an Aspis Consortium ship, upon which we were successfully able to unload a great deal of our acquired bounty, much of which was base, lesser gear, fit only for ship hands and brigands. Although its general quality was low, its quantity did serve us well. In addition to the masks from the elves, we made a more than modest profit, with Sevardomos’ help, of course. The woman does know how to talk to a merchant, if little else.

The high seas are treacherous, as I’ve learned, much more so in the last weeks. Which is why I was belowdecks as a horrendous seastorm battered our ship, and after one last wave crashed upon our deck, deposited a gang of crazed Adaro upon our deck. The battle was fierce, but the storm was fiercer. We battled it as much as the Adaro. To my pleasure, it was not I who was poisoned and left helpless this time, but Myrrh. I imagine he enjoyed it less so.

As the waves crashed, the Adaro pierced us with spears. The small kobold was nearly knocked off the side of the ship, but I was able to alleviate that weakness. In the end, after much blood and trouble, we had slain the Adaro and their shark kin. I found that I had perhaps made up for my previous incapacitation. I will never make the same mistake twice.

After that, we had to deal with Slate again. This “half-dragon” of some unknown variety is a curious creature. I’ve never seen the like, nor read of it. He is intriguing. I must know more. He has a history with this Sylph woman who follows us, Sul. I’ve yet to speak with this Sul, but it appears that Myrrh shares a rapport with her. That may be useful.

It pains me to admit, but it took me far too long to realize, Slate’s lamp is not only magical, but holds a genie therein, one capable of granting wishes. It is no wonder that Slate values it so, and keeps it close. As a Sylph, this Sul would have dealings and likely friendships with “Air folk” like this genie. This will be a delicate situation. I will have to leave the talking to Lord Vestin and Myrrh.

Slate indicates he needs merely one item from this hoard we are to find in Azlant. This intrigues me intensely. What could it be that he desires so? Why will he need, what I can only assume to be, a wish from this genie at the time of finding it? Will this item and wish combination be worth multiples of everything else we may find in this hoard?

Only time will tell.

But Vilya Sul grows impatient. I can only trust in Vestin and Myrrh’s capacity to placate her until our job in Azlant in done, then she can take back whatever relation to her slate holds.

This voyage is becoming more interesting than I ever imagined. Perhaps this treasure we seek may hold even more wonders still…

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A Rude Awakening
A Griffon, an Octopi and Tiefling go for a swim...

I was hoping to get a decent nights sleep. The downside to adventuring, you miss many of the finer things in life, my personal chef isn’t even on board.

After my rude awakening it became apparent that things were not going great. The wizard was gone (lost to sea), a kobold shouting obscenities, and surely more forces of the Spire en route. With no other options on the table we had to negotiate.

The elves were unexpectedly willing to negotiate. All we had to do was to give up the prisoner, the map, and ourselves and for all that they were willing to give us our lives. At this stage not all that unreasonable of a deal. Thankfully the everyone complied and we had a momentary cease fire.

At least there were no more supris…. A fucking half-dragon.

Slate is a half-dragon. A half-dragon with a greatsword. So much for giving him up to the Spire. Well at least he could throw an illision out there and I could give them “the map”. Back upstairs with an invisible Myrrh in tow. With no planning and a short number of options it seemed violence was going to be the answer. Hopefully Goethe can last a few more rounds with that octopi. The signal was given…

After a brief amount of violence the battle was over, none worse for wear. Goethe definitely owes Aven a favor or two. With everyone safe on board we made off with speed. No need to spend any more time in sight of the Mordant Spire.

Tomorrow we must firm up negotiations with Slate. He will be necessary so the contract will need to be renegotiated. I am looking forward to sitting down at the table with him. He has something specific he looking for so hopefully we can use that to our advantage. Kaledith will unfortunately take a hit as she withheld key information that will certainly cost us.

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We get by with a little help from our friends?

It is time for us to make haste and leave this place! Belithradien and a large contingent of the guards looked to make sure we were not going to escape with the Azlante secret holder, Slate. A fog grew denser on the bow which could only be the work of weather magic of sorts. As we plowed toward the ship the water receded leaving the bow on land, but easier for us to ascend the ropes to the ship. Belithradien intercepted Aven but he intelligently retreated to the boat to avoid the frothing elf.
It was seen on the shoreline, a row of archers preparing flaming arrows to bring down the masts and ignite our boat. A crunching was heard on the bow, as a bear, most likely the weather magician, began to eat the boat. The man/beast could use a little more fiber in his diet if such things appeal to him. Reskafar began to lurch the boat to the water, the bear latched onto Goethe’s leg and a fight broke out between Aven and Belathradien. Goethe was freed as grease coated over him, Myrrh took a stab at him, and Aven ruined a perfectly good day for Belathradien.
The archers let loose their flaming in arrows, but before they passed the shoreline, they were flung high into the air and dropped onto the ground, harmlessly. A large gust of wind toppled and battered the archers. Goethe began to control the wind to help the boat move and dissipate the fog cloud, as the rest of us moved to the stern to redistribute the weight. The bear retreated from the boat and left us with one more present, a storm of ice began to fall onto the boat. One last large gust of wind moved the boat to get out of danger and onto the sea. Slate muttered, Vilya Sul under his breath as he saw a shape earlier in the battle. It unnerved him and he wanted to be gone from this place. Was she the mysterious helper with the arrows and wind?
Once we made it to the high seas, healing was definitely in order, but not before a large storm would batter and beat us. Though it was treacherous, it gave us a chance to get some distance between us and the Spire before others could follow us. A discussion was overheard between Slate and Kaledith. Slate was not very happy over the amount of help Kaledith had agreed to. He wants first pick with all items found, and Ternockifel, his boss would not be pleased.
Upon the horizon, Reskafar, saw a elven griffin rider. He must be a scout from the Spire. He made us, and turned back around. I am certain, in a matter of hours, they will be upon us.

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