Attack on the Gypsy Dawn.
With one path cut off as a dead end, the heroes decided to return to the Gypsy Dawn and consider more options. As they approached, a gunshot rang out, followed by the sounds of magical chanting and explosions. The heroes rushed back to the ship to find strange creatures, like floating brains with beaks and tentacles, harassing the ship. Skruk had been captured by one and was being carried away.
Mason warned that another one of the creatures had broken past them and got below deck. Saradoc and Ofelia rushed downstairs to handle it while Ooga transformed into an air elemental to chase the one escaping with Skruk. Kaloy and Tobias helped Mason on deck.
Saradoc made quick work of the creature below deck. As they rushed back above, Ofelia and Mason shared a moment, helping each other out just like old times. Tobias and Kaloy held their own against their respective foes.
Ooga, meanwhile, tried to rescue Skruk but was greeted by even more of the flying brain creatures. A telepathic message arrived in his head: “Leave us.” Skruk warned Ooga off as well, saying that he would be okay. Ooga stepped down and allowed the creatures to escape with Skruk, vowing to come to his rescue soon.
Frenelis, the friendly ghost.
With everyone gathered back on the ship, Mason ordered Skinny to give chase to the escaping creatures. Tobias, however, realized there was a new presence on the ship: a ghostly elf named Frenelis, who warned them they were foolish to pursue directly. He instead offered himself as a guide to help them go where Skruk would be taken. When the heroes asked why, he answered because he knew Skinny and was curious about the friendly face.
Frenelis revealed that he was a common sailor, who’d been part of research vessels in the past. Skinny, whose real name was Ogden, had served as a helmsman on a ship he’d been on in the past. On a different expedition, Frenelis’ boat was caught in a magical maelstrom and ended up here. He was killed, along with the rest of his crew, but while their souls were dragged off into the depths by evil shadows, Frenelis had escaped and remained in hiding for what may have been decades or centuries.
Into the depths.
Deeper into the darkness.
Frenelis led the heroes to a different tunnel. While Mason and Ofelia remained behind to defend the ship, the heroes proceeded on a rescue mission with their new ally. Tobias, meanwhile, heard strange echoes, of people giving praise to Lathander.
Deeper into the tunnel, their surroundings grew more and more damp. In the puddles on the ground, they could feel the presence of something watching them. Every so often, they caught glimpses of it in the reflections.
At one junction, Frenelis ordered the heroes to hide. As it turned out, there were Gith in the tunnels as well. Saradoc listened in on their conversation. The Gith had chased after the heroes in this direction, searching for them in these tunnels. The Gith already knew of this structure and had apparently lost many other expeditions to it before. Frenelis was convinced it was intentional.
As they listened in on the conversation, the Gith were suddenly attacked by enormous, lobster-like monsters. They creatures made quick work of the Gith, killing some, and dragging the rest screaming into the darkness beyond.
Echoes of Lathander’s presence.
Eventually, they came upon a desecrated chapel space. A stone statue revealed exactly who these ruins belonged to: a fearsome aboleth, an aberration of intense greed and narcissism that enslaved creatures and forced them to worship it. In the chapel, Tobias could feel an even stronger presence of Lathander. Drawn to a certain holy energy, Tobias discovered a symbol of Lathander in the desecrated chamber. Feeling it, he had visions of the past, as a cleric of Lathander tried to sanctify the place as his companions held off creatures from all around.
The Inner Sanctum.
The execution pools of Kanagreth.
Frenelis confessed he had never gone further than here, afraid of what was beyond. The heroes opened a door to find an enormous, circular chamber ringed with pools. Racks and stocks appeared apparently used in keeping victims in place lined the water. The heroes saw Skruk, captive but alive in one, and a monster was coming for his head with its enormous claws. The surviving Gith were in another. Beyond, they could see a small structure at the center of the chamber. Its doors were beginning to close.
Kaloy rushed forward to keep the doors open, while the others tried to help Skruk. Saradoc got Skruk free while Tobias and Ooga fended off the monster. Within the chamber, Kaloy could see a large, open pool with a pedestal on a platform at the center. A strange, mysterious artifact glowed on its surface.
Kaloy used her dissonant whispers to scare the creature off, but soon after found her mind taken over by another presence.
The aboleth, Kanagreth, addressed the heroes through Kaloy’s mouth as Kaloy struggled for control of her mind. Kanagreth revealed that it had been trapped here in the Astral Sea by worshippers of Lathander, who had banished it from where it came from. In an attempt to break free from this prison and return to its own world, it had been experimenting with a powerful, evil magical ritual. Abraham knew about it and had been sending the Gith this direction to investigate—the method seemed more powerful than his use of black fires. Kanagreth found Abraham quite annoying.
The heroes considered a bargain with Kanagreth, especially since they shared a mutual hatred of Abraham. However, Kanagreth’s demand was too great: he desired the soul of the faithful Tobias as payment, a cost no one was willing to pay. The aboleth taunted Tobias, showing an all-too-real image of his brother Cor being strangled and drowned in the pools below. The heroes sprung into action.
Ooga transformed into a water elemental, diving into the water to retrieve the artifact within Kanagreth’s sanctum. Kaloy broke free from the aboleth’s psychic grasp. Saradoc attempted to free the remaining captive Gith. Skruk and Tobias directly challenged Kanagreth.
Ooga retrieved the artiifact and threw it to Tobias—a holy symbol of Lathander, taken from the fallen cleric. Injured from Kanagreth’s wrath, Tobias stood strong as divine inspiration from Lathander took hold. Tobias recited a powerful ritual, banishing the evil Kanagreth once and for all but sacrificing himself in the process.
When the ritual ended, the temple felt sanctified and safe. Kanagreth was gone, but so was Tobias. All that remained was the holy symbol. Kaloy picked it up and found the word “Wish” inscribed on its side. Trying to communicate with Tobias, she received a final goodbye: Tobias was now with Lathander.
With the symbol, she wished for everyone to be back home again.
The Gypsy Dawn returned where it departed, floating beside the Cloudpeak Mountains. To the south, black smoke rose into the air in the direction of Amn. Cressin stretched and, smiling wickedly, whispered, “Finally free.” A moment later, he disappeared.