Leaving the ship and daylight far behind, the party continued further into the darkness of the ocean cavern. The party swam away from the ship with Aleera leading the way. As they swam further ahead they came to a low lit area. There were rickety floating rafts that allowed standing out of the water. The group spotted figures moving on those rafts in the distance and stopped to formulate a plan.
Aleera used her telepathy to tell the party to stay behind while she used her magic to alter her image. Where Aleera used to swim, in her colorful garb, now stood one of the figures on the rafts. She had gills and fish scales all over her body and looked like one of them now. She swam over to the platform and climbed aboard. She seemed to blend in well. She had also cast a spell to allow her to speak and understand any language. Aleera saw a much older version of the creatures and approached it. She spoke to them asking where they were. The older man introduced himself as the chieftain of this pod of eel folk. His name was Steelscale. He explained that there was something going on with the others of their kind. Many were becoming more feral and violent. They would often leave once the rage started and were never seen again.
He further explained that this village was the last bastion for those eel folk who didn’t listen to the whispers to join. They wanted to live in peace and the only reasons they were attacking was because they were hunted for the special glands inside and the vast fishing that eradicated their natural food sources. Aleera asked why they had taken the ship and the humans that were lined up in a row. Their hands were tied in front of them and rope held them all together. Steelscale explained that they were being sacrificed to make protectors for their people and allow them to eat and swim in peace. They had taken over the island as their last place of safety and would die before they left.
Aleera decided to tell him that she had a group of others with her that could help. She told him that they were all different races that were shunned in some way or another. She let him keep thinking that she was an eel folk and then she lied and said she had magic through her pact with a deity that could help them. They were wary at first but desperation breeds action and they agreed to hear her team out. She motioned for them to come forward out of the water and telepathically explained to them that she was masquerading as one of the creatures to facilitate peace. She asked Steelscale to show them how they were creating the water elementals that they had stated were the sacrificed guardians they used.
Steelscale led them into a cavern closed off by immense doors. They were parted by fellow eelfolk guards armed with spears and tridents. The group entered the large cavernous area. It was simple with basic wave patterns for decoration on nearly all surfaces. In the center towards the back was a raised dais with a simple blue bowl resting on top. It was large and looked like waves of the ocean frozen in the azure material of the object. There was already a ritual underway and the group watched as a man, one of the sailors from the Jade Lion, was thrust into the bowl. Kariss, using her quick mind, used her magic to turn the water in the bowl into ice. It turned just in time for the man’s feet to touch down on the now solid surface. Aleera explained that elementals were not the way and that even now the towns on the coast were preparing to send massive amounts of troops and ships to eradicate what they perceived as a threat to their livelihoods.
At first Steelscale and his elders were indignant and ready for war. Aleera told them that she had a solution that would mean peace for the eel folk and a ceasing to all hostilities. She laid out a plan for the eel folk to help repair ships much faster than the humans could and provide underwater protection for them too. In exchange the towns on the coast would provide steady food and ensure safe fishing and spawning in the area. The eel folk would no longer be hunted for their gland and would be able to both protect and be protected by the coastal inhabitants. It took some convincing but in the end they agreed and the party ensured the deal by stating they would send a month’s worth of supplies as soon as they reached land. After all was said and done Steelscale handed them a small sack that held four beautiful beads. Beads of Force. He said they were treasured among his people and that the tribe would be honored for the group to have them.
With the plan agreed upon, the party left with the remaining survivors of the Jade Lion and slowly made their way out of the darkness and into the fading sunlight of the day. They got the ship ready and then boarded their own ship. Finally, they headed for the port of Deep Harbor. The sun slowly faded to their side and the party went to sleep aboard the Annabelle Lee. They were all content with their efforts and glad that they had averted a potential genocide of the eel folk. With this new plan they would be safe and would provide invaluable help to the coastal towns.