- Brian – Kaamber Beltroth (Half-Elf Rogue)
- Che – Diega (Human Fighter)
- Jeremy – Aquarius (Water Genasi Sorcerer)
- Mark – Prince Ceril Binomenel (Fallen Aasimar Hexblade)
- Natasha – Raz (Wood Elf Rogue)
- Talin – Ramona Geminov (Human Wizard)
Chapter Thirty-Six: The Sultana’s Gambit
May 22, 2021
As the party stood in the red marble chamber mulling over their next move, the door opened and Jackerel entered, flanked by two large beetle-like humanoids which Raz recognized from her battle with them on the Infinite Staircase. The Lord of Doors seemed surprised to find Ramona so much older than when he last saw her, but he was here to get her and only her. He had no interest in the other adventurers – except for Raz, who had betrayed him a hundred days earlier.
The Elf explained in detail what had happened to the adventuring party he had hired back then to eliminate a Unicorn, a job which the party decided not to follow through on, a party of which Raz was now the only surviving member. Jackerel was willing to forgive her transgressions and take her out of the Underdark in exchange for the Ur-Chess set he believed she still had but in fact was given away to the Sultana Marid.
Recognizing from Raz’s stories that she, Kaamber and Ramona all had trusted access to the Coral Palace of Sultana Marid, Jackerel tasked them with getting the Ur-Chess set in exchange for their return to Cascaveda, with Diega sitting it out. However, Vladimir Geminov was eagerly expecting the return of his daughter Ramona, so the adventurers had to do it right away.
Raz had no gear, everything having been stolen by Dwarves, so Jackerel advanced her 10,000 gp to go shopping in Cascaveda until sundown and held the rest of the party in the red room to prevent their disappearance. At the same time, the Lord of Doors found two more adventurers to aid the party in their heist: the Fallen Aasimar Hexblade fugitive Prince Ceril Binomenel and Aquarius, a Water Genasi Sorcerer and a son of Sultana Marid.
As dusk fell, Raz reported back to Jackerel at the Gold Monkey Inn where she met Aquarius and Prince Ceril. They went through a door in one of the rooms back to the Infinite Staircase and then the red room where the party was waiting. After Kaamber and Raz gave Jackerel a full description of the Giant’s bungalow atop The Spire, he conjured a door there which the party could access from the red room.
Passing through the Giant’s bungalow and down to the water’s edge, the adventurers called to the Sultana Marid and were met by mermaids and the familiar water-tunnel which led them down to the Coral Palace. The mermaids were curious about Aquarius, recognizing him as one of Sultana Marid’s children whom she would abandon almost as soon as they were born, leaving it to her mermaids to find homes for them in Hyracanum.
The water Genie’s narcissism was so intense that she barely registered Aquarius at all, even though he was a hit with the mermaid court. Instead, she wanted to know where the Coral Crown Jewels she had sent them to Kuth to retrieve for her had got to, since they did not have them. Kaamber lied to her that the jewels were with their missing fourth companion, Konnifer, and that they had come here to give her an update and to introduce her to her son and the deposed Prince of Pulsevyr who had come seeking to win the Ur-Chess set from her.
Flattered, Sultana Marid’s ego also felt the sting of challenge and she took him up on it, warning him that to play it against a Genie would be no different than a Dragon, meaning that if he won he would be granted a wish, but if he lost he would be annihilated. Playing the chess game of his life, Prince Ceril succeeded and his wish was to take ownership of the chess set.
Bound by cosmic law, Sultana Marid angrily handed over the Ur-Chess set and the adventurers made a quick exit. Aquarius, however, opted to stay and get to know his mother and the mermaids. Up the water tunnel and through the door in the Giant’s bungalow back to the red room they went. From there it was a few steps up the Infinite Staircase to the second red room which led them to the tavern in Cascaveda where the party celebrated their success and waited for Jackerel to meet them.
As midnight approached, the Lord of Doors arrived and took possession of the Ur-Chess set. In return he gave the party a reward of 150,000 gp in diamonds. Then he took Ramona, telling her she was late for her wedding. When told the groom was her own father, she left in shock but managed to whisper to Raz a plea for help and the address of Casa Geminov before Jackerel led her away.
- Chapter One: Come Together
- Chapter Two: Lord of the Manor
- Chapter Three: The Land Shark, Part One
- Chapter Four: The Land Shark, Part Two
- Chapter Five: Anti-Paladin and Dragon
- Chapter Six: Pyramid of Death
- Chapter Seven: Mysterious Island
- Chapter Eight: Monsters from the Outer Planes
- Chapter Nine: The Long Arm of the Law
- Chapter Ten: Good Versus Evil
- Chapter Eleven: Lost in the Fog
- Chapter Twelve: The Infinite Staircase
- Chapter Thirteen: Return to Bendajee
- Chapter Fourteen: The Sultana Marid
- Chapter Fifteen: An Army of Thugs
- Chapter Sixteen: Flight of the Roc
- Chapter Seventeen: The Giant and the Genie
- Chapter Eighteen: Sailing the Skies
- Chapter Nineteen: Bookshop of Horrors
- Chapter Twenty: Monster Mountain
- Chapter Twenty-One: A Party Divided, Part One
- Chapter Twenty-Two: A Party Divided, Part Two
- Chapter Twenty-Three: The Vortex of Worlds
- Chapter Twenty-Four: The Pocket Plane of Grimanski
- Chapter Twenty-Five: Wizard’s Vault
- Chapter Twenty-Six: Bounty Hunting
- Chapter Twenty-Seven: A Change of Heart
- Chapter Twenty-Eight: Into the Wild
- Chapter Twenty-Nine: Sir Robb
- Chapter Thirty: Dragonfight
- Chapter Thirty-One: To the Moon
- Chapter Thirty-Two: The Firepeak Range
- Chapter Thirty-Three: Undermountain City
- Chapter Thirty-Four: Evil Versus Good
- Chapter Thirty-Five: Lost in the Underdark
The southeast quarter of Hyracanum is home to some of its most ancient civilizations. Over the past thousand years, the regional powers have been loosely amalgamated as the Empire of Zenobia, so named after the two thousand year-old Gold Dragon who resides atop the Aqualith that dominates the Zenobi Mountains. However, the Empire of Gold is in deep decline and splintering, with many of its independent kingdoms hardly giving the Imperium the recognition and respect it deserves.
These days the authority of the Empire has withered to the core that is was founded upon, which is a fellowship of paladins who patrol the realm forever offering aid to those who need it. These Samaritan Knights of Zenobi, though rare in the extreme, are always sterling examples of Lawful Good virtue as befits the Dragon Emperor they represent. They operate out of two citadels: one in the Zenobi Mountains, the other built on a floating skyland that moves around the Empire according to the winds. The Samaritan Knights are able to telepathically communicate with one another during meditation and this network is how the overall security of the Empire is maintained.
The lands of Zenobia are many and varied, covering thousands of miles of tropical and sub-tropical countryside and islands. The northern frontier is lost to the Equatorial Desert and its westward reach is blocked by the southern arms of the Central Mountains. The temperate lands to the south have always resisted assimilation.