Bittenleaf, Eldac, Lukas, Mwari, and Utareon consumed glands from maskfish to withstand water pressure, but Utareon retched his back up, and the party decided he was not suited for the underwater expedition after all. They descended into the depths of a trench in the ocean to Hypsoloria, the triton fortress lit by phosphorescent algae.
The fortress, however, had obviously suffered a terrible attack, as the entire eastern wing had crumbled as if something massive had slammed into it. The courtyard on the rooftop contained several corpses of tritons. Lacedons fed on the bones and tried to ambush the party. They entered the castle fortress to find it barren of life, although there were many less triton bodies than it seemed would have been living in the castle.
The armoury contained several undead horrors, including wraiths and wights of merrows and their triton zombie servants. These malevolent spirits were the remnants of some violent attack at the fortress. The party fought them off, although they did their best to kill the angelic paladin of Ochsha, Lukas.
Mwari, in kao kao form, discovered the party needed the amulets lashed to the kelp vine to enter the lower levels of the castle, so she returned to collect them, allowing them to enter the lower floor with magical seals keeping it free of water. In this reception chamber, they encountered the ghost of the deceased triton King Naeronis Wauwantahe. He explained what had befallen his people.
The tritons had protected the deep abyss for centuries, but drow deepwater ships plowed through the deep trenches to travel across oceans while avoiding sunlight. In doing so, they widened planar rifts in the abyssal depths of the ocean, releasing terrors from the elemental plane of water including an evil ancient caetaecean, morkoths, aboleths, krakens, and the kaititiro. The caetaecean wrecked Hypsoloria, and its merrow and sahuagin pirate servants working with the Raroi Ngaro killed or enslaved the inhabitants of the fortress. King Naeronis was slain by the pirate king, a marid named Glurgloog, who later stole_ Gwopere’s Pearl_, an artifact from the plane of water that the king had protected since entering this realm. King Naeronis asked that the pearl be recovered and brought to another triton fortress for protection, so that his soul could find peace.
Investigations in the sunken library revealed further information: that Gwopere’s Pearl could be used to open or close planar rifts using a ritual that involves tracing a path along a runic maze, but that the ritual was dangerous and led to a rush of currents in the immediate aftermath. They also found a sketch of the dreaded kaititiro, discovering it to be some type of aquatic beholder.
Following the king’s instructions, the group visited the seahorse pens on the way out and fed and befriended the seahorses. Mwari named them Anahara, Kiri, and Rangi. Eldac really wanted to eat one of them. Lukas pried open a giant oyster and recovered a massive pink pearl, and they also recovered some useful items from the armoury, including a +1 shortsword with a manta ray design in the pommel, the trident of fish command, and a suit of chainmail mariner’s armor.
XP: 3,237 (46,758 total)
Treasure: Trident of Fish Command, Mariner’s Armor (Chain Mail), +1 Shortsword, Spell scrolls of Sanctuary, Prayer of Healing, Goodberry, Armor of Agathys, Unseen Servant, and Locate Object. Massive pink pearl worth about 1,300 gp to the right buyer.