An Aboleth under the shining city of mithral? Surely the Guard won’t tolerate this for long!
Chan Ming Tamut seemed the worse for wear as he woke the Guardsmen in the Adept’s bunks. Vincent, Grechin, Solitaire, Elias and Daa had no trouble keeping pace with the senior guardsman as he trudged with them, stone faced, to the offices of the Inner Circle. There, the group was met by Anna Smallhand, who handed the party a folded paper sealed with the symbol of the Guard’s inner circle, and instructed them to deliver the message…
An aboleth was found some months ago, it seemed, in the sewers beneath the Guard’s market district, and although guards were now in place to keep its newly taken choker slaves from wandering out, it had yet to be confronted directly, protected as it was by a horde of Skum.
“Go down to the sewers”, Anna ordered, “clear the Skum, find the creature, and deliver this message to it. If you can agree to its terms, do so and return to me. If not, kill it.”
“Does the message say we are to be killed,” asked Daa Smith. Anna, smirking: “We wouldn’t be THAT cruel.”
And so the adventurers found themselves waist deep in sewer water, hacking bloodily through the fish-like slaves of the Aboleth, through the tunnel toward what turned out to be an empty room.
Only more Skum. And a recently dug out fishbowl of a room, at the bottom of which lay a newly uncovered stone seal, ancient in appearance. One of the Skum pointed to the party, then down to the seal.
Solitaire questioned the Skum, but it silently pointed. Down again, and to Solitaire, and down.
Solitaire swam to the bottom of the room, and grasped the seal. He tugged at it, and the Skum skittered to the edges of the room, bubbling and clicking nervously to one another.
Unable to move the seal, Solitaire surfaced for air. Daa swam in with him, and together they worked the stone disc free from its mooring, revealing a vast open-air cavern below, into which the water began to rush.
Daa and Solitaire were pulled under, and fought to swim free, but only Daa, with the use of a teleporting anklet, was able to break free of the water’s pull and swim free. Solitaire was pulled under, through the hole, and fell out of sight into the cavern below.
Seizing their moment, the Skum attacked, but were put down by the remaining group. After the brutal struggle, the Guardsmen peered into the dark of the cavern below… what was this place, how long had it been there?
Gretchen lay dead on the drying stones, having fought until her heart gave out from loss of blood. Solitaire was lost somewhere below in the dark. Vincent, Elias and Daa returned to the surface, requisitioned supplies, and recruited a senior researcher from the Guard’s libraries. They pooled their money to have a cleric return breath to Gretchen’s body, and the four returned below to retrieve Solitaire.
Under the sewers, they found twisted, moss and mineral-covered remains. A nearly intact, sprawling cyclopean city of carved and shaped stone, in a cavern that descended almost a mile, and extended in every direction beyond their sight.
And waiting there over Solitaire’s body was the Aboleth. A slimy, green-blue thing, larger than some whales, its fins and tentacles twisting around it as it hovered over the stony outcrop where Solitaire’s body had broken. It blinked one of its three eyes, red and large as a saucer, and moved in an approximation of a bow.
Daa swallowed his apprehension and stepped forward with the sealed message, the librarian cringing behind him, terrified but too curious not to peer at the thing round Daa’s body.
The Aboleth, apparently near-sighted, opened the letter with a flick of a tentacle, and struggled to adjust the document to the right distance from its eyes for a clear view. Squinting a moment, it let out what might have been a gurgling chuckle, and said, in an impossibly deep lilt, “Your terms are acceptable. Who will stay?”
“What do you mean, who will stay,” asked Gretchen. “Our agreement with the Guard has a price,” said the Aboleth in its strangely accented Common. One of you remain as a token of faith. To serve me, for all your days, and act as our ambassador to the surface".
Without blinking, Elias stepped forward. And then Vincent. Asking no questions, they volunteered. Daa turned and glanced evilly at the librarian for a moment, but shook his head and stepped away.
The Aboleth satisfied, Solitaire’s body recovered, Gretchen and Daa returned bewildered to the halls of the inner circle. Reporting to Anna, they waited three hours in the office before being met by a messenger, who thanked for their service and explained Anna was unavailable. Frustrated, Gretchen and Daa collected their pay.