Searching for Riggs, Ono jumped through the portal and found the column of gas. Jana and Orie took one look at the fleshy walls of the new chamber and climbed back to the surface. Keahilani, having secured the Sealord’s Blessing, followed after his friends. Pulsating, strangely biological walls surrounded them. Brass tubing ran through it like veins. The grey gas billowed from the column and the party began to choke. Keahilani immediately felt clouded and almost lost consciousness. Ono, Ozzy and Aleister began beating down the locked circular door and freed themselves from the trap.
They explored one room and found body parts hang on meat hooks, including a dwarf, dolphins and Tulita fishermen. In others, the seabed floor seemed to have grown through the strange structure as if welded to it. The large, cobbled together zombies animated in another room. Jade spikes in their heads glowed and a grating voice spoke through one of them, pleading for them to leave while the creature repaired its “craft.” It promised to leave as soon as it made repairs. The party ignored it and moved towards another room. The voice promised an agonizing death as it tore them apart slowly and made them power its greatest creation. The “tattered reavers” attacked. It was a near thing. Their claws sliced through Bertram, nearly killing him. Only Aleister’s willpower kept him alive. Keahilani immediately began to heal, barely keeping up with the carnage around him. Bertram recovered and spider climbed up a wall to safety where he attacked with a longbow. Ono managed to say on his feet as he pummeled the reavers and Keahilani healed him. Ozzy summoned a pack of wolves and sent in Crikey to battle. Aleister used spells to attempt to slow the creatures down. The last zombie fell and the party moved onward.
In another chamber, a narrow path traversed a stagnant pool of water. A robed figure materialized at the far end of the chamber and began casting. Aleister obscured him with a cloud of fog. Ono and Bertram crossed the pathway to do battle with the mage. At that moment the bridge collapsed beneath them. While Bertram jumped to safety, Ono fell into the water. Black leech swarms began filling his mouth and ears and latching onto exposed areas. Losing strength, Ono managed to pull himself from the pool. At the same time, Captain Riggs became visible and thrust a rapier into Aleister’s back, mumbling that he was sorry. He began to feint and parry, first attacking Aleister, then Keahilani. The mage seemed to teleport out of the fog cloud and Ono rushed to engage. With one swipe, he realized that the mage was simply an illusion and warned his companions. Though Aleister’s sleep hex didn’t work against Captain Riggs due to a Protection spell, the rest of the party beat him into submission.
Removing Riggs’ ubiquitous gloves, they found an undulating black spot on one hand. Keahilani believed a creature was under his skin; lacking Remove Curse, he began a delicate operation and removed a large, engorged leech. Healing Riggs, they found that the hold on the captain was gone. He explained that the leech’s allowed the “engineer” to control him and he had led many people to their doom and witnessed horrible things. The Engineer performed surgeries on creatures, most often when they were still conscious and alive, using their bodies for some strange purpose. He described it as a tentacled monstrosity with many eyes and brain sacs. Aleister surmised that it was a neh-thalggu, a creature from the black spaces between the stars and often associated with the Great Old Ones. Riggs wanted to leave and seemed traumatized, but the party pressured him into helping them rid the world of the evil. He agreed and said it was the least he could do.
Opening another chamber, they encountered eight zombies with scythes grafted to one arm. They made quick work of the creatures. Aleister and Ozzy helped the party cross the leech pool using Water Walk and other spells, first placing blood in one corner of the pool to distract the vermin. Opening another door, Riggs began to tremble, saying, “No, not here. We must leave! It’s the Vivisectionist!” The room contained metal tables, surgical instruments and machinery of an unknown nature. A strange, elongated instrument with a head full of razors and claws sat on a tripod. It animated and swiveled towards the party. The Vivisectionist attacked…