19. Into the Fog

Our heroes awaken on the pirate boat, docked at a fog-enshrouded isle. Tralamin has disappeared, leaving behind his magic compass Bradbury, and Jarmangle has somehow joined the others, with no memory of where he has been. Robyn, for whatever reason, does not wake from her slumber. The ship is otherwise empty, with the three pirates they had locked in the hold having disappeared. They try to use Bradbury to suss out Tralamin's location, but find that Bradbury is not properly functioning. The group decides to venture onto the island, slinging Robyn over a spectral horse summoned by Irving.

The adventurers encounter a small and rather creepy child, who directs their attention to his house, a large mansion overlooking a gated cemetery. At the house, they're surprised to find Tyne, dressed as a maid and with apparently no memory of her brother and his friends.

Other bits of weirdness abound. Feer's Mirror of Truth reveals that the lady of the house has no eyes. Said matron works a small knife into her own palm, which causes nosebleeds in those observing. The man of the house sits in his study, surrounded by fresh copies of books that are nearly a hundred years old. He alone seems to understand that there's something terribly amiss here, and tries to impart to our heroes a cryptic warning.

As they explore the house and its surrounding environs, the group splits up. Tyne disappears and reappears, seemingly without reason. Jarmangle finds himself alone with the palm-knifing lady and, despite the group's earlier surmise that she was an eyeless ghost of some sort, proceeds to bed her, much to her screeching delight. This tryst is interrupted when the group discovers that a coterie of stone gargoyles have carried off the still-unconscious Robyn to the graveyard.

The group gives chase, and battle is joined. The pantless Jarmangle is frequently knocked over as the mobile gargoyles fly by. Robyn finally awakens, and together the group soon makes short work of the gargoyles.

Exploring the cemetary, they discover the grave of the small boy they met at the dock-- much to the chagrin of the apparently alive small boy, who seems fearful of his mother. They find the bodies of the three pirates, all having met the same grisly demise: their skulls have been cracked open, and the brains sucked out. At last they decipher the father's warning: beware the illithids.

Venturing back into the house, they find a secret passageway into the basement. Strapped to a slab in that basement is Tyne, subject to some feverish torment; watching over her are three illithids: a man, a woman, and a child.

The battle that follows is, in a word, disastrous. The group huddles in a narrow passageway, firing arrows and spells into the room. The illithids move to the corners of the room, avoiding the projectiles, and sneak their way to the passage, using their dangerous psychic magics to stun the group. The lady illithid zeroes in on Irving and, considering the brain of a wizard-skunk to be a delicacy, proceeds to suck it out of his tiny skull, dropping his lifeless body on the cold, dank floor.

His friends panic, yet barely manage to turn the battle in their favor. They discover that Tyne has some sort of parasite burrowing into her brain. This, too, causes them to panic, and Jarmangle laments that Irving is no longer there to advise them on a reasonable course of action. Robyn and Feer manage to remove the parasite, but are unsure of the extent of the damage.

They return to the dock and pile into the lifeboat, as there is still no wind to power the ship. As they paddle onward, seemingly in circles, the fog suddenly lifts and they find themselves approaching the Bell of Harvest.

Tyne, still reeling and feverish, receives a mental message from Tralamin, revealing that he is in Justice, and surrounded on all sides by drow. The group pieces together that this is where Jarmangle has been, and that somehow, the strange magicks of the fog has switched the two. Leaving Tyne in the care of her bride-to-be Leesa, and pausing only to give Irving their traditional throw-the-body-into-the-air-set-it-on-fire-and-let-it-land-in-the-water send-off, the remaining trio speed towards Justice on a despearte rescue mission.

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