Location: Deep seas, Kerej Karienth
After their harrowing trials at the hands of the spirits, the heroes were led by Narista away from the crystal to the Northern edge of the island, where another cliff wall faced them. Narista told them that their destination was to the north, apparently through the sea. The heroes, though uncertain of how they were going to traverse the sea, leaped off the cliff to find that they sank right to the bottom of the ocean, wrapped in a tight film of air! With the ability to walk and breathe underwater, the trek seemed much more feasible.
And they would have gotten right along their way, had Aofie not been immediately sidetracked by a kelp forest. As she pranced about, her fun was interrupted by a shadowy figure darting between the stalks. Her first guess was that the creature was a shark, and that thought alone was enough to send her back to the party, only to find that the creature was following her. It wasn’t until the rest of the group came looking for her while chopping down the kelp forest in the process that the creature came into plain sight, revealing herself to be a mermaid. Introducing herself as Anuja, she became fascinated with the party once they mentioned that they were travelers, and insisted that they return with her to the main citadel.
Upon arriving at Kerej Karienth, the Citadel of the Merfolk, the party found it to be an enormous city, sprawling along the seafloor for probably miles around. A relatively peaceful city (despite the odd looks the inhabitants kept giving to the party), the party enjoyed a brief respite from the awful things that had been happening to them. Anuja treated them to dinner, and introduced them to Dahval, a priest-in-training for the Merfolk’s god, Gystorrel.
After dinner, the party split up to gain information from the temple and various libraries of the city, on the city itself and on Gystorrel, who was apparently their god of travel and experience. After some discussing and discovery, they reconvened at the temple (partly to keep Harken from getting almost-arrested again) to discuss their findings, and were met by a priest named Vimal, who told them that he could bring them to the nearest place to where Gystorrel rested. Hopefully there they could find some trace of Akira, which was really their entire reason for coming here in the first place.
He led them down into a deep tunnel that culminated in an immense, dome-shaped chamber. A ring of sheer rock circled around deep pit of crystal, and the whole room glowed with an ethereal blue light. Vimal stated that this was the Bed of Crystal, where Gystorrel’s magic shone through the earth, appearing in physical form as the crystal. The group began to search the area while Harken decided to pray to Gystorrel, hoping for a better result than the last time, when it appeared that the god laughed at him. He was interrupted by Vimal, who began to say uncharacteristically enigmatic and cruel things before rising up to the top of the room, an odd smirk on his face.
Given the Troped inevitability of monsters rising out of the crystal pit to attack the heroes, monsters rose out of the crystal pit to attack the heroes, engaging in a pitched but surprisingly easy battle with two Crystal Elementals, who were dispatched in short order by the party. It was then that Vimal floated back down to within sight, and asked the party if they wanted to know the truth.