The Time of Shadows

To Cleanse an Ocean

The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and his companions face off against the Yuan-Ti force waiting for them on the other side of the stone doors. The Yuan-Ti leader is a particularly skilled water witch and assaults Mustafa with poison mist and ice projectiles while it’s minions swarm and keep Mustafa from closing the distance. Jacob and Kailey pick off a couple wraiths, but in a spectacular display of water-mastery, Mustafa turns one of the Yuan-Ti’s weapons against the enemies around him. Where once the poison mist choked Mustafa, now the mist burns with radiant power and burns the evil beings surrounding him. A vicious duel between Mustafa and the Yuan-Ti finishes the combat when the Yuan-Ti is knocked to the ground and before it can recover, Mustafa bounds off a nearby wall and plants his ice-strengthened sword through the wriggling snake’s chest.

A search of the corpses yields some gems and several evil implements used by the Yuan-Ti in service to Zehir. Those that couldn’t be disenchanted later were promptly destroyed and the group moved on to explore the temple a bit more. Salt water and neglect had taken their toll on the murals and painted surfaces, though any carvings remained where the walls themselves were intact. Most were fragmentary and didn’t lend much insight. After resting for a bit, the group opens the last set of doors and find long carved stairs leading down deeper into the temple.

The stairs eventually lead to an open chamber with four pools and an altar dedicated to the Ocean God. The pools seem to be clouded and befouled, the altar also tainted and defaced. Mustafa draws closer to one of the close pools of water to find that the tainted water originates from a dark, indistinct object at the center of the pool. It seemed to be conflicting with clean water from the edges of the pool, like two self-renewing sources of water vying for dominance of the pool. Using his sealing arts, Mustafa attempts to cleanse the pool of corruption with the seals of Water and Radiance. His first attempt is thwarted as he tries to form the Radiance seal and he is thrown back a short distance. Jacob and Kailey join his efforts, assisting during the Radiance seal and manage to suppress the foul object at the center of the pool. The clean water at the edges of the pool surge forth and seem to eject the object forcefully, letting it plop to the floor outside the pool. The group inspects it to find it is a lizardfolk heart, carved with runes and tainted ritual markings. Outside the pool, the heart rapidly dissolves, freeing the shadowy ghost of a tortured lizardfolk. At the same time, the other three pools manifest similarly tortured lizardfolk wraiths, which attack Mustafa single-mindedly. Mustafa does his best to ignore the wraiths and use his sealing arts on the remaining pools, correctly judging that the wraiths will fade as the first one did when the corrupted heart is destroyed. After cleansing the second pool, the remaining wraiths seem to focus their hate for Mustafa and grow in power slightly. This also makes the cleansing of the pools more difficult, but Mustafa perseveres and manages to cleanse the last two pools quickly.

With four clean pools, the chamber falls silent. Clean, clear water fills each pool, though each seems to have a different aspect of the ocean represented in the shallow pools. The first is crystal clear, giving the impression that Mustafa can see fathoms deep as if the ocean floor were just within reach. The second pool was that of the deepest ocean, a blue that was dark and rich with the power to swallow massive ships and hide immense creatures under the waves. The third pools surface was calm and still, but seemed to be filled with the crash of white-capped waves and the ocean whipped into a storm. The last pool seemed deep and shadowed, or rather, full of the shadows of all manner of sea life, as if they swam not far above and blocked the sun with their form.

Mustafa and the others turn their attention on the altar and try to cleanse it in a similar way as the pools. The ritual is a success for a moment before they are blasted back by an unseen force. The stone altar crumbles to reveal a Couatl with savage wounds covering it, prominent among them, a pair of large punctures on it’s neck that look like a snake bite. Mad with pain and rage the Couatl attacks and Mustafa is forced to defend himself. The enraged ocean god seems without much of its power and facilities which allows Mustafa to land a crushing strike, brimming with radiant power. Contrary to destroying the tortured Couatl, the radiant power seems to banish the marks of abuse and corruption as the blow lands. A strong follow up strike cleanses the last marks upon the deity and the fight is abruptly finished. The Ocean God, known also as the Winged Guardian, relates that his corrupted state was due to a joint attack by Zehir and the Shadow Lord and that he is very grateful to Mustafa for clearing their ilk from his temple. Even in his reduced state, he offers a boon to Mustafa and his companions. Mustafa asks that the Winged Guardian resumes his duties to the Lizardfolk Tribes as soon as possible and that any assistance with dealing with the followers of Zehir that might still threaten the tribe would be welcome. The Ocean God granted each a drop of water from the first pool, which granted purity to each of them, helping to resist small amounts of poison in the future. Mustafa, Jacob, and Kailey were very thankful and took their leave, heading back to the Greenscale Tribe city. Hopefully to hear from Sheera Star now that the Tribes had their divine host back.

Halfway back to the Tribe, they were met by a contingent of shamans and warriors. They professed their own thanks for Mustafa’s efforts in restoring the Winged Guardian to them and that they were on the way to the Temple to help restore it and guard it from further threats. Mustafa bid them well and continued north, stopping briefly in the Sun God Ruins to investigate a large number of lizardfolk settling into any structure with a roof still intact. The elders of the group mentioned that the ruins were going to be inhabited more for protection now that the tribes knew they were in danger. Chief Darkclaw sent some of the toughest warriors to start settling each of the ruins. Mustafa approved of the move and continued towards the city, arriving several days later to a city in celebration. Any who saw Mustafa recognized him and were not shy about expressing their gratitude for what he had done for all lizardfolk. Soon they made their way to the center where Chief Darkclaw could be found where they were greeted warmly and thanked effusively. Darkclaw told them that the shamans were working the ritual that would allow them to commune with the Winged Serpent and hopefully gain a conversation with the legendary Sheera Star as well.

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