The Maiden of the Sea
The party found themselves needing assistance across The Great Rift, so Frank flew the short distance to the monastery on the other side but could not find any of the monks. He therefore decided to construct a basket to fly everyone across, but the basket’s ties failed and almost crashed down upon the rest of the party. Grizzly deflected it with his axe, however, and sent it careening down into the sea 100 feet below.
When Frank and Butterfly flew down to retrieve the giant basket, they discovered a beautiful light glowing under the waves and also noticed that the lava cooled impossibly fast when it touched the water. There wasn’t any steam rising from the water, as well. They decided to take the plunge and swam down into the water, where Butterfly discovered the large amount of sea life congregated there was surprisingly friendly. They also saw that the source of the light was coming from a beautiful submerged temple which, according to a talkative octopus, housed the Goddess of the Sea. The octopus assured them that not only should they be able to breathe under water there, but that falling from the ledge far above would not harm them.
Butterfly trusted him and tried breathing in the water, which worked, so Frank followed suit then flew up to demonstrate to the other party members that they could safely jump down into the water by allowing himself to fall the entire distance and safely splash into the sea. Grizzly didn’t trust him, though, and decided to sacrifice another horse to make sure it was safe. After he chucked the poor animal over the ledge, Butterfly and the remaining horses turned against him for his borderline evil actions and sent him over, as well.
The party decided to pay a visit to the Goddess of the Sea once they were all under the waves. She was still in the form of the beautiful, tiny fish that She had been trapped in while imprisoned in the Cave of Sorrow. Grizzly found a kindred spirit in a shark who was also in the temple while Frank spoke with the goddess, who was still very grateful for his assistance in freeing Her and gladly helped the party reach the top of the cliffs on the other side of the Rift (with their cleaved metal basket in tow).
Snakes In The Grass
The party found that they could not enter the mine tunnel because of the volcanic eruption so they headed into the forest in search of some cave entrances the monks informed them of. Along the way they encountered a farmstead with numerous animal corpses lying around the property. They appeared to have died of fear while trying to reach shelter, so the party decided to investigate the central building and see if anyone survived. Despite detecting the presence of minds inside, the door was locked and they did not respond to the party’s calls, so Butterfly sneaked inside to investigate.
She could not find anyone inside at first, but then she discovered a trap door to a basement. The animals below were not hiding, however, they were congregated around their new leader – an evil soul that had been freed by the collapsing underworld. They also weren’t survivors, they were the souls of the slain animals and they all came up to ‘free’ the party members from their mortal constraints, as well.
The party members fled, but as they fell one by one Frank used his laser to destroy two of the animals’ souls, temporarily stopping the attack, then managed to destroy the evil soul leading them. Meanwhile, Butterfly and Grizzly’s spirit bear forced the souls back into their bodies.
With the animals brought back to life, the party continued on until they came across an Azer smithy named Mirg Rockbiter from Fargrim’s homeland. The Council, the secret wizard leaders of the animal cities to the West, had once tried to enslave him like they had with Frank. Mirg was an inventor who had traveled to the area to work with ‘the mad genius’ and had his inventions stolen by The Council. He was more than happy to lead the party through the caves to the active mine tunnels nearby.
Frank used his invention to pinpoint the closest miners, who did not seem overly inclined to stop mining at the party’s requests. After a little show of force which left one miner dead and almost everyone injured, the miners agreed to lead them back to the central mining headquarters in the Kingdom Beneath, a complex of re-purposed ruins beneath the animal cities, in return for not destroying their mining equipment (or any more of them).
The foreman of the mining operations was thankfully more open to listening to them and arranged a meeting with The Council. After carefully wording how ceasing their mining expeditions would benefit them, the Council agreed to temporarily halt operations and sent the party to the edge of the Obscura to learn more about the damage that had been done to it and ascertain the state of the Land of Fire and its inhabitants, in particular The Fire Prince.