It’s cold, and the air is humid; the mist that surrounds you makes lazy grabs at your clothing and skin as you pass through it, resulting in patches of damp cloth cligning to your flesh. There is no sound here other than the occasional creak of wood coming from the boat you are in, the hesitant jostle of the lake surface as the tip cuts through the water, and the quiet breaths you make.
The area around you is nondescript – you see nothing but mist, and no sky above you. You remember that the sun was shining when you left the rickety wooden dock ten minutes… no, twenty.. was it an hour ago? Four hours? Fourteen? How many days have you been in this boat? The foggy perimeter of your vision reminds you of a dream; are you even sure you’re awake?
A deep cough comes from the man steering the boat – he is laden with pockets and pouches, and carries a hunting knife, a crossbow, a harpoon, a loop of rope… he seems to have no problem directing the boat where it has to go. Or perhaps he doesn’t know where he’s going at all – he’s done nothing but row the boat forward since you got here, and hasn’t once turned around to face the direction you’re going.
His expression is neutral purely because of the grimace he wears from directing the oars through the water – he wears dark goggles over his eyes. He hasn’t said a word since you stepped off the deck, back when the lake seemed less misty… come to think of it, you could see the other side of the lake from the dock… where is it now?
Your train of thought is disturbed by a looming shape that appears through the mist behind the man. He makes no mention of seeing it, but immediately ceases rowing, and allows the boat to float over to it – it appears to be a broad wooden platform, like a dock, but it is attached to no land. it simply sits in the middle of this misty, aquatic otherworld. Your boat trails towards it.
The man stands up, and ties a rope between the boat to one of the four poles at each corner of the standing dock, and jumps onto it, holding out a hand to help the first of you – the boat’s two other passengers, step onto the platform.
“We’re walking from here,” he says, arm outstretched towards Baha.
The Standing Dock
After boarding a boat and traversing part of the Sehen Lake with the ferryman Grzegorz, the pair find themselves on a wooden platform, surrounded on all sides by mist and water. Grzegorz asks for the first part of his toll, and takes ten gold each from the pair. He then asks Desmond to keep a watch on the lake’s surface for him, and to report any movement that he sees – and see something, he does. He reports a movement in the water far in front of him, along with the sound of a rush of water. Grzegorz takes note, and asks a request of Baha as well – she is to use her shortbow to fire chunks of meat in a particular direction from the platform (and, according to Grzegorz, must not accidentally drop the meat into the water immediately surrounding the platform). This she achieves with some ease, and Grzegorz makes the final preparation – a small ritual that involves rubbing strange herbs on the soles of the shoes of the party, as well as firing a crossbow bolt across the lake, with a leaking bag of herbs attached. This done, Grzegorz steps out onto the lake to demonstrate that it is now possible to walk on its surface. The group proceed to walk along the lake, Grzegorz leading the way with a map illuminated by Desmond’s floating lantern.
Crossing the Lake
While crossing the lake, both Baha and Desmond spot something under the water – a massive, dark shape that seemed to them to have a fin. Desmond especially was unnerved by this, and reported it to Grzegorz, who responded only with the advice “Don’t look down.” Before ten minutes were up, the group had crossed the lake.
The Sehen Lake Ruins
The party arrived on the opposite side of the lake before long, and were met by the Sehen Lake Ruins. They proceeded in before long, and were startled to find a man waiting for them. This man was Meinrad Steig, who seemed to know both Desmond’s and Baha’s names, and was considerably on-edge and unhinged. He delivered a poem to the pair addressing them both by name, before handing the poem to Desmond, and leaving – though not before Desmond noticed the Sign of Ta’lab embossed on one side of the parchment. Somewhat shaken, the group continued into the ruins proper.
The Deep Complex
When the party continued further into the ruins, they found themselves in a colossal “room”, consisting of a roughly spiral-shaped pathway extending counterclockwise downwards into the darkness, as well as an abyssal shaft in the middle that anyone careless enough could fall into. The group started down the path, occasionally exchanging words, before their path was halted by part of the walkway having collapsed. In an effort to bridge the gap, Grzegorz attempted a running jump to get to the other side, but failed, and ended up smashing his face and ribs against part of the broken stone, before falling ten feet onto his back, landing on the section of walkway that had fallen. The remaining two then jumped down the gap – Desmond landing surprisingly gracefully, and Baha being less fortunate and sustaining some damage. The group then began to take care of their injuries, in preparation for further descent into the depths of the complex.