Cartographies and Colonies

another letter home

Father,

Some things have happened since my last letter which I believe require your attention. At the direction of the Maw, my remaining companions and I were sent to the islands where we encountered the pirate Pearl Eye to seek the assistence of the cleric of the local deity Mad Jenny. It seems that there is only one cleric of each god on Mboshu, and although she is something of a rebel, keeping the depths of the mountain clear of dark magic is apparently Mad Jenny’s responsibility. The cleric, as it turned out, was a half-drow-half-gnoll (don’t ask, I didn’t) or droll, and is apparently every bit as mad as one might expect. We continued down our previous course in the hidden drow caverns, encountering several undead contstructs (sketches and diagrams of the bodies and animating circles enclosed), and eventually reached a level which I believe to be below the current lava pool. Following the tunnel further still, we discovered a large cavern containing an underground sea containing an island which housed a temple seemingly dedicated to Llolth. (Try saying all of that five times fast!) From the temple – which the cleric of Mad Jenny promptly burned – we were able to recover a (barely) sentient artifact which claims to date from the initial Drow exodus from the Green Isle and further claims that it’s stated purpose was to contain and suppress the drow aboard its ship for the rest of eternity. Needless to say, this plan failed when the ship somehow ended up in its current location.

:sigh: Father, this brings me to the good news/bad news/mad news portion of today’s report. The good news is that we are all alive, we have discovered the identity of the drow lich (a former high priest of Llolth, it seems), and we have successfully burnt what I fervantly hope is the only temple of Llolth on Mboshu. The bad news is that the lich has apparently already regenerated and has stolen the amulet which Vekd claims contains part of his soul from the cleric of Mad Jenny who in turn stole it from me, we still have only limited information on any allies which the lich may have in Mji, and I am no longer certain that diverting lava into the offending tunnels will be safe or effective. The mad news is that two quasi-sentient beings – the lich and the statue – which claim to date from the age of the original Ard Righ claim that Vekd is either the Ard Righ himself or his son, leaving me to question whether any of this is even plausible.

Father, I know you have been more than generous in your support of this project up until now, and I would not blame you if you decided that Mboshu is no longer a worthwhile use of family resources. That being said, if you are willing I have three requests.

First would you please forward the enclosed maps to the engineers and artificers with whom Sarah has been discussing our project to see if it is still managable? The presence of water below the mountain could be a serious boon to our interests, but presents new challenges which we may not have been anticipating as well. A consensus opinion would be very useful.

Second, did we ever manage to get funding for that under-sea-boat design from the temple of ManannĂ¡n mac Lir? I know we were having some issues with catastrophic depressurization of the pressure suits the last time I checked, but I believe the basic boat design was essentially sound. I ask because the lich escaped through an underwater tunnel while making use of an undead octopus as cover, and such a ship could give us the edge we need if it could be delivered intact to Mji in a timely manner.

Third and finally, and I can’t believe I’m forced to ask this, could you please have agents discretely look into the plausibility of the claim that Vekd is, in fact, a direct heir to the Ard Righ, preserved over a thousand years, with a part of his soul residing in an amulet under the control of a thousand-plus-year-old drow lich and, if so, what the ramifications of that occurance are likely to be? I know I asked Isaac to compare his portrait with those in the National Portrait Gallery in Elfhame a while back, but I am now convinced that we might actually need to know this information for the good of the realm. Bizarre as it sounds, I’m starting to think that a bodyguard from the Elfhame docks might actually be more important and dangerous than an entire new lost colony.

Father, thanks as always for your love and support, and for that of the rest of the family. I love you all, and in spite of everything I still hope to be home for the Exibition with new stories to tell.

Love to you all,

Rube

P.S. as there is a chance that one or more representatives of the Maw may wish to attend the Exibition, we should probably consider having the heads in the whack-a-gnoll table repainted to represent something a bit more innocent; perhaps a garden pest or something like that.

Rube

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