The old man looked around at the assembled group, glancing down disdainfully at the body of the Fey before him. “Well?” Struman and Cid began to negotiate with the creature. They explained that they had summoned him from his watery depths to bargain with him for the life of the old King of the Grey Men, tho they believed was his prisoner still. The Old Man of the Sea was haughty and siamissing, declaring himself above petty concerns and went to leave the ritual circle only to find his way blocked by Fen and, more importantly, Murdo – whose gaping wound in the astral seemed to make the spirit uncomfortable. Effectively forced into communication, at lest for a while, the spirit became cagey and dismissive; at first denying that he had any such prisoner in the inky depths of his kingdom and then saying that even if it were true, why would he trade his prize possession with this rag-tag band? The conversation went back and forth with the party making various offers to the spirit, offers of servitude, of the destruction of the axe they had in their possession that was anathema his his lesser kin, but the Old Man of the Sea seemed unimpressed. They even tried to bargin with the body of Efyl, until they learned from the Old Man of the Sea that his corpse was already claimed by the sea and that his blood was the only reason he was here! Did the party truly have anything this ancient and powerful spirit wanted or needed?
It was then that the sly and cunning spirit revealed his hard. He told them of the seas future. Once his domiain had been a place of myth and legend where the creations of the Green Man, the Hag of Winter or any other beings of the land, were just unwelcome visitors. A mysterious domain full of secrets, dangers and unexplored places – tales that gave the sea power over the hearts of man and lonely places that only spirit would ever know. This is what gave the sea its magic. Powerful and unpredictable, intractable, unforgiving and immense. And yet it was this very mixture of danger, adventure, mystery and the unexplored that was changing the seas very nature. Increasingly man was encroaching on the unexplored seas, exploring its secrets, traversing its hidden currents, and fishing its depths. The Old Man of the Sea told of a time that he foresaw, not long in the future, when man would traverse every corner of his domain with impunity and arrogance, a time when the seas would hold no more mystery and secrets. A time when he, an unrelenting unforgiving force of nature would no longer represent the seas true nature. His time, it seems was ending, and that a new personification was needed, one that represented the seas new duality and mans growing role in the seas of the world. In short… he needed an heir, one that blended man and the spirit of the sea.
At first several member of the group misunderstood, thinking perhaps that the spirit wanted to make one of them his heir, but he quickly dismissed this making it clear that he needed an heir Born of spirit and man. With that revelation, eyes turned to Agnes and Elara who seemed a little taken a back. But the male members of the party were not to be let off so easily, and the Old Man of the sea told them that any of them could be a vessel for his seed, with the appropriate adjustments. So, this, was his price. The question then was, were the party willing to pay it and, if so, who would bear the child?
After some discussion, Elara and Struman both seemed intent on paying the price, though for different reasons. Struman saw it as his duty to protect his city, both by helping to deal with the current crisis but also perhaps by tying Dundees futre to the sea, perhaps granting it some favour from the new lord of the waves. Elara, on the other hand, was driven by a desperate need to do something about the current problem whatever the cost particularly given her current… situation. Knowing that the protecting astral candle that Hestaby had conjured for her had burned out with the effort of channelling the magic of the ritual, she was loosing time to argue. Her anger rising she cast a spell to entangle and entwine Struman and put an end to the argument. The spell was only marginally effective, but the Old Man of the Sea seemed amused and engaged by her fre and drive and agreed to accept her as the vessel for his Heir – the bargain was sealed.
The party attempted to convince the spirit to give up its prisoner first as a gesture of goodwill, but he refused and the party eventually relented. With a bright and bulging moon risen high in the sky, the beach cast in pale moonlight and the soft sound of the gentle surf lapping at the sea shore, the party decided to give Elara a little privacy (at her insistance!) although some refused to go far for fear that the Old Man of the Sea might renage upon his bargain (he was as capricious and unpredictable as the sea, after all!). While the negotiations had been taking place, Fen had left the group and gone looking for Orion, who was absent from the discussion. He found his barely conscious body on some rocks further down the beach, where he had landed after being struck by the powerful sea dragon spirit. To Fen (and Orions) great surprise, he had somehow [ed: cough karma!] survived the attack and had just begun to recover consciousness. Fen helped him back to the group as they made their wy up the beach tot he driftwood fires to away the completion of their bargain with the Old man of the Sea. Discussion was muted and, a few hours later, the a quiet and subdues Elara came to bring them back tot he ritual circle. The Old man of the Sea was smiling an obsequious grin when they arrived and said “Very well, here then, have your prisoner, for what good he will do you. I am done with his torment…”. Even as s=he spoke, two oversized crabs hauled an enormous blue and yellow veined giant clam fromt he sea, its hoary barnacle encrusted shell testament to its life deep beneath the waves.
With a gesture and a creaking groan the creatures shell opened, to reveal a wretched worm-pale twisted form, crunched up inside the great bivalves inners; Almost mummified, the creatures limbs were twisted and bent unnaturally, its skeen, sodden and pruned and rotting int he constant wet also sloughed off its flesh, yet with a wracking caught it spluttered up seawater and took a ragged breath, betraying the the king yet lived.
“The deal is done, now, out out of my way!” the old man said and with that he strode bak into the curling surf, the sea creatures going with him. Leaving out heroes along, on a beach, in dead of night, with an old, waterlogged, mostly dead Fey King.