Chapter 14

The Sultana Marid

January 18, 2020

Gloucester and Formosa leapt through the black void portal to escape certain death at the seven jaws of the hydra and found themselves on a tiny island at the center of a huge cave carved from the rock by three waterfalls coming together and funneling out through a fourth tunnel. Behind them, the archway they had come through was a naturally formed gap in a column of rock that reached all the way to the ceiling, giving the whole cave a vaulted, umbrella-like aspect.

A series of stepping stones linked the ground that Gloucester and Formosa were standing on with the cave wall at the base of the tallest waterfall and stairs carved into the rock. Bones littered the ground around the archway, a clear sign that this was indeed the hydra’s lair, and the duo decided to head for the stairs which led to higher ground and a heavy iron-bound door fifty feet up.

Beyond the door was a small chamber that branched into what looked like some kind of hatchery for large eggs where the air was thick with heat and humidity. It was also patrolled by deformed snake men who went into attack mode when they saw the intruders. Formosa put up a fight but was quickly overwhelmed by the blinding speed and ferocity of their attacks and Gloucester could only run back to the waterfall cave.

For some reason, the snake men did not follow. While the sorcerer considered his options, a weird voice emanating from the tallest waterfall addressed him in amused tones, noting a similar predicament. Addressing herself as the Sultana Marid, Grand Vizier of the Spire, she told a long tale about being tricked into imprisonment here in this cave by a wizard named Tolok and the resident Yuan-ti serpentfolk. Tolok then seized control of the Spire, the central island of the Weeping Isles, and created wards to bar Sultana Marid from returning.

After Gloucester shared his whole history, the water genie offered to return him to his companions if he promised to remove Tolok and his wards and restore Sultana Marid to her home atop the Spire. Once agreed and the promise made, the water genie opened a “water-gate” for Gloucester to submerge himself and then surface in any pool of water he chose to imagine. Visualizing the docks of Bendajee, the sorcerer dipped beneath the surface of the water in the hydra’s cave and came up for air in the polluted port of the ancient metropolis.

Gloucester wrapped himself in his soaking rags to appear more like a leper than himself and made his way to the Golden Goose to reunite with the rest of the adventuring party.

Chapter 15: An Army of Thugs