Shadows in the Abyss

The Brewery of Lost Souls

The Brewery of Lost Souls is one of the best kept secrets in Freeport. Built some thousands of years ago by Aswad of Khales, the brewery survived the splintering, its clockwork automatons still operating the machinery. Seemingly self repairing and fully automated, the island still produces a tiny quantity of ale with each passing year. Whether or not it was always infused with the eldritch magics which give rise to its unusual properties may never be known, for the ale brewed in the underground tunnels of that island has the power to show the possible futures of the world. The visions provided by the ale have been a source of wisdom and guidance for the Privateer’s Council for decades, and with the looming threat of the Aboleths, the crew of Brandon Rockheart were once again put to the test, and sent to find a single barrel of the magic ale. This directive marked a dark turn in the fortunes of the party, and the first of many betrayals they would suffer.

Arrival on the island was the first great challenge, the coves and sea walls protect the brewery from easy mooring, both a blessing and a curse for those who seek to capitalise on its secrets. The crew climbed aboard a rowboat and began the steep ascent up the jagged cliff. Waylaid by giant crabs and a grueling climb, the party happened upon Lyresong, a mermaid who had become trapped in the caves of the cliffside. Helping her back into the ocean, Aramis was gifted a magical comb, allowing the user to brush their hair while underwater. He would keep the comb for years to come.

Ascending the treacherous cliff face a second time, the party reached the summit wracked with exhaustion. From the sea, the forest covering the island could barely be discerned, but now under the darkness of its canopy, Olo began to fear the possibility that this place was not as abandoned as they had hoped. Shapes moved in the rustling leaves, shadows contorted into strange gestures, and the birdsong had become absurd and deliberate. The party were being followed.

Pressing on along the rough woodland path, the group stumbled at last on the ruins of their destination. About them lay the scree and stone of the Brewery’s warehouse, and in its centre, marked with a tattered jolly roger, lay the entrance to the depths below. The group stood in a moment of trepidation, but a moment was all it took. Their pursuers were upon them. Orc trackers, clad in green cloaks and leathers let fly a volley of arrows, as the strongest among them rushed from the woods brandishing cruel knives. Struck twice by the assailants, Olo gritted his teeth, and it a flash of green and silversheen, drew his blade. The fighting was fierce. Quick as lightning, Olo cut his way through the warband, as Gweth and Aramis cast and returned fire with their own bolts and arrows. Tyrnn leapt from the walls of the ruins, taking down the archers who lay hidden in the trees. When at last the fighting was done, not a single orc remained standing and though worse for wear the party had triumphed, free now to begin their descent into the darkness beneath.

No man lives who knows the strange mind which conceived of and constructed the brewery, but the twisted machinery of that place is not built to a single purpose. Instruments at once carry out the brewing process, repair and maintain themselves, and ward off unwary intruders. Aramis, Tyrnn, Olo and Gweth found the halls of that place were filled with traps, clockwork soldiers and vermin who had made a home for themselves in the dark. One room, filled with adamantine razor wire forced the party to carefully thread themselves through the gaps to the other side of the room. Olo, ever graceful made light work of it, but fearing an arrow trap on the far side of the room, leapt through the final section and landed on a pressure plate near the exit door. At once springs and gears sent the web of razor wire rushing towards him. Unable to dodge in time, Olo was badly wounded as he was crushed against the walls by the tangle of deadly threads. Aramis struck one of the wires with his longsword Milky, only to have it cut in half and rendered useless. In another room, the party found a lever against a wall. Deliberating for some time on how best to act, they decided (perhaps unwisely) to pull it. A clunk, a whirring of gears, a series of loud clicks, then silence. With no visible change to their surroundings they shrugged and descended deeper into the complex.

After a run in with some clockwork soldiers on a series of conveyors, the group came upon a large chasm, filled with enormous gears, spinning wildly. With no other way across, they gingerly stepped onto one of the larger wheels and made their way across,  carefully jumping from gear to gear. When they had made their way over much of the chasm, they were ambushed again, this time by a colony of giant spiders. Both Aramis and Gweth were crushed between the teeth of the great cogs during the fury of the fight, suffering terrible damage. When the last of the spiders fell, the group took stock of their dire circumstances, and crossed the remainder of the chasm, praying the worst of their challenges lay behind them. The ale of foresight lay a short few levels beneath them, their quest was surely almost at an end.

Luck works cruel magic on those who live by it. Those who opt for a simple life of peace and tranqulity will never know the precious value of simply living another day. A pirate knows this value well, and knows that it cannot be measured against all the gold and jewels in Atmar. But a life spent outrunning the rifle’s spiral cannot last forever, and tragedy is ever the bedfellow of adventure. It was there in the depths of the accursed island that the party’s luck ran out.

Guarding the small barrel of mystic ale was a wooden contruct, formed from the broken barrels scattered about the room. Held together with iron bolts and rivets, the lumbering thing proved almost too much for the ragged party. Tyrnn ducked and weaved about the beast, but its powerful swings repelled him every time. Arrows and bolts had little effect, and with no weak points to speak of, the party could do little to capitalise on the advantages they found. When the creature fell at last, the group were battered and bruised to within an inch of death. The golem had one last trick up its sleeve however, and in its death throes exploded in a shower of splinters, taking Olo to the grave with it. Before the crew could mourn, the crew of the Von-Kane Twins were upon them, blasting through the elevator shaft and under the cover of flashbangs and smokesticks tried to grab the ale of foresight. Stunned, bloodied and a member down, the crew could barely muster the strength to kill the hirelings and reclaim the ale. But the crew of Aramis Barbcock does not give up easily, and with renewed tenacity packed the body of Olo into a bag of holding and ascended the lift shaft to give chase to the Twins who lay in wait above.

Racing through the woods, the group leapt across babbling streams, and over treacherous chasms, descending steep cliffs to the beach. The twins had taken the rowboats and were aboard the Mad Shark, along with Bran. Looking on in horror, they realised they were too late. The Twin’s ship sailed away from the Shark, and Aramis, Gweth and Tyrnn watched from the shore as their home, their captain and their livelihood went up in flames on the horizon. Captain Brandon Rockheart was dead.

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