Part I – the Hag Under the Bay
As those fool twins are currently occupied with other, ‘more important’ matters, it has fallen to me to record the momentous events relating to our foray into Cornumbria. The devolved political structure of Cornumbria is much more familiar to me than the Albish King with his barons. Each chieftain rules his own demesne as he sees fit and by right of might, deciding on the laws himself rather than having to appeal to a higher power.
Dougan mac Éogan had proved an interesting enough companion on the road from Karickbridge. A well-educated man with a good grasp of the situation at hand. What had promised to be a relatively peaceful mission from Baron Aldred though ended up turning into the type of farce than Elathan increasingly seems to lead us into, although to be fair, it wasn’t really his fault. This time.
When we were still half a day’s ride from Dun Falas, mac Éogan received news of foul deeds concerning his youngest niece, Siandabhair. He hurried back to Dun Falas, leaving us to follow in the morning. Arriving in the fortified seatown, we were informed that the king’s daughter had been abducted by a local hag dwelling beneath the bay. Whilst the elder mac Éogan saw fit to send his forces left, right and centre, Dougan persuaded his brother that our little band would be suitable to delve into the briny depths in order to rescue the girl. With the help of a foul tasting brew courtesy of the Tallith’s druid, we were able to progress into the bay under water and still breathe.
Approaching the rocky outcrop where Siandabhair had been taken by the sea-hag’s minions we were caught off guard by a number of hideous sea monsters that the locals referred to as Sahuagin. Horrible scaly creatures with webbed hands and feet that are able to wend their way seemingly effortlessly through the water. Although our sub-aqua breathing was not impaired, fighting under water involves many hazards. We were unable to converse with each other, a circumstance that was soon to have almost disastrous consequences, and the water also greatly affects the way that weapons can be wielded. Swinging is almost out of the question due to the resistance on the arm and the weapon, so we were reduced to stabbing feebly at the creatures in order to defend ourselves.
We slowly retreated towards a cave in the rock that was hidden behind a patch of seaweed. Elowyn and Elathan first, then Nab’han with yours truly fighting a rearguard action to keep the monsters at bay. If it wasn’t for the defensive forcefield generated by the torc I acquired in Tuanamon’s realm, I think that the Sahuagin would have been the end of me, for as soon as the others entered the cave they appeared to be swallowed up completely. But my fortune and blade held and I could position myself so that only two of the creatures could reach me with their devilish tridents. At the end the water was muddy with their blood, making it almost impossible to see.
As I dispatched the last of them, I felt a sudden jolt, emanating from the sword in my hand, more of a pleasant sensation than unpleasant, and continuing to pervade my whole being. It felt like… It felt like my father standing behind me as I was tackling a particularly difficult problem and saying “well done my son!” I had a brief memory vision of taking the sword from the King under the Forest those long months ago and sensed Valandar’s spirit approving my standing in the breach for the others.
Battered but feeling the better for it I made my way into the tunnel, where the others appeared to be amusing themselves by blithely exploring the caverns within. Silently we made our way through the system, slowly getting used to propelling our way through this strange environment, using hands on rocks to drag ourselves along as much as walking. It was still frustrating not being able to communicate verbally though.
Amongst other weird and wonderful things we found in that underwater place were a cavern containing a pair of huge eels, their evil-looking jaws snapping as they stared at us with their beady little eyes.
Eventually, however, we followed a passage to a huge wooden door. Pulling it open slowly against the water we found the hag who had abducted Connall’s daughter. We were only able to squeeze through the gap one by one, and it was Elathan at the front for a change, engaging with the hideous creature, whose foul stench was apparent even through the water. Although she was strong and in her natural element, we were eventually able to overpower her and capture her through sheer strength of numbers. Somehow she was able to communicate directly with our minds, letting us know that we were too late; that Siandabhair had been removed to her sister on the Lough – our visit to the depths of the bay had been in vain. Determined that we should have something for our troubles, we searched around her lair, eventually finding some valuable-looking baubles along with a suit of fine chainmail and a magically enhanced spear.
Binding her with rope, we decided that she would have to answer to the Tallith herself for her crimes and so we started off back across the bottom of the bay towards Dun Falas. Half way there, she managed to loosen her bonds and was able to take flight. There was no way that we would be able to catch up with her and so we let her flee.
As we emerged from the bay, the crowds were eagerly waiting for us and any news we might have of Dun Falas’ favourite daughter. There was a groan around the harbour as we let it be known that Siandabhair had not been in the bay, but was to be found with the Hag of the Lough and that the Hag of the Bay had eluded us, but the despair that we had feared was not present. There was still hope that we might find her alive.
To be continued…