The party just killed a tree.
But that tree was a dick, and it had it coming.
They return to the surface with Meepo in tow. The stupid little kobold has never seen the sky before. He marvels at it, wondering "Where is your ceiling? It's like a pit that I can't fall into."
"That's the sky," Valour says to the kobold. "It's where the gods live."
Meepo gasps, "Oh! Well my goddess, Tiamat, lives deep within the prisons of the Abyssal hells. She has been trapped down there for years. Your gods are strange."
Zanzibar suggests going to his father's house and taking Meepo along so that he can get used to the outside world. The party arrives at dusk, then explains the situation to the Manzibar, who is baffled that a cult and warring factions of goblins and kobolds were hiding under his town this whole time. He immediately considers firing his urban planner and hiring a new Planzibar. The party then explains the tree they recently killed showed the PC's a vision of something spooky, like a bunch of souls heading to Chult, which is where the party is headed soon.
The Manzibar nods, then tells the party that Captain Odah has captured Lady Akunai and seized her assets for the city. Lady Akunai was mumbling like a lunatic when they found her, babbling about "the rot" and carving out her own eyes.
Crazy and gross!
McSneakle insists that their escapades were way more dangerous than the Manzibars, and they deserve more payment.
While McSneakle keeps reminding the Manzibar that his bag of holding still has room in it for more rewards, Valour retires to his guest room. He washes up, then takes out the Candle of Guga that was given to him by Botha. He sets the candle down, speaks Tyr's name, then lights it.
"Keeper of the Balance, Defender of Justice, High Avenger... I ask for guidance," Valour says.
Tyr responds, filling Valour's head with images of the Seven Heavens of Mount Celestia. But the Seven Heavens are void of approaching spirits—where are the souls of the newly dead?
"The Child is intercepting those loyal to me," Tyr says. "You are to journey to Chult, slay the Child... and slay the Heretic."
Valour blows out the candle, but is confused as to who "the Heretic" could be. He then returns to the party and recounts what he communicated with Tyr.
In response to Valour's recounting of his conversation with Tyr, 🌱 announces that he is a skeptic about all these deities and whether or not they exist. 🌱 also forgot that two sessions ago he mentioned that speaking the names of deities gave them more power.
So Valour goes "Oh yeah? The gods are real. I'll show you. Meepo! Take this candle and talk to your god!"
Valour gives Meepo the Candle of Guga, and Meepo sets it in front of him, speaks the name "Tiamat," and has a nice conversation with his hellbound, imprisoned, tyrannical goddess of evil dragons. Tiamat roars at him, telling him that even the Nine Hells have no new souls arriving at their gates. When Meepo asks Tiamat, "Well, what would you do in a situation like this?" Valour blows the candle out and says, "I think that's enough."
Meanwhile, McSneakle tracks down Botha to get an update on his blood disease, who answers her door and says, "Oh yes, the bagshitter is back."
"Give me the news, witch," McSneakle says.
Botha shrugs. "It seems that at some point in your past, you died and were brought back to life."
"Oh yeah I remember that," McSneakle says.
"You... you do?" Botha says, exasperated.
Botha then goes on to explain she has no clue how to solve his blood condition, but that maybe his death and resurrection has something to do with the worsening condition of his body. She's upset, because she was really looking forward to having a frog-person for a slave.
Everyone then seeks out Captain Odah since she has Lady Akunai locked up and they want to question her. They find Captain Odah and ask her how her day has been.
"Our primary suspect is clawing her eyes out and mumbling madness," Captain Odah says.
The party tells Captain Odah about episodes 7 and 8.
Captain Odah immediately agrees that their day was worse.
McSneakle and 🌱 want to extort more loot out of Lady Akunai, but Captain Odah says she'll only let one person into the cell at a time. The other PC's wait outside the interrogation room as Valour steps into Lady Akunai's cell.
"What's your roll in all this?" Valour says to Lady Akunai.
Lady Akunai sits chained in a corner, wearing soiled rags. "Those who live below... we made a deal..." she says, then explains how she died in childbirth many years ago, was resurrected, but recently began to rot. She knew something in Chult was "clawing at her" and that "nobody can outcheat death." Some months ago, she bought a Gulthias fruit from the cult below the city, and the fruit kept the death curse from claiming her. She eventually ran out of fruit, so she tried obtaining a phase spider, hoping she could use the threads to make a cloak that would let her "phase out" of the Material plane, away from the reach of the curse.
"No matter," Lady Akunai says. "My eyes were the first to go..."
Valour then casts ceremony, performing a funeral rite for her to keep her corpse from being taken. "Never mind my corpse," Lady Akunai says. "It's my soul that's being stolen."
Valour leaves the room, and McSneakle steps in.
"Where's the gold, lady?" McSneakle demands.
"It has been claimed by the city—"
"As a person who has also died and come back to life, I've heard all I need to hear except where the gold is at."
Lady Akunai laughs, "The death curse will come for you, too!"
McSneakle then tries to cast charm person on her, but Captain Odah kicks him and the rest of the party out of the police office and tells them to stop being fuckups in her interrogation room.
McSneakle and 🌱 stomp off, angry at this bullshittery, but Valour and Zanzibar go looking for Elisin. They find her in a barracks, armed with a training spear and wearing initiate's gear for the town guard. She waves at Valour and greets him.
"Next time I see you, you'll be the captain!" Valour says, patting her on the shoulder. "Listen, there was a great evil here, and sometimes that's what happens when people feel like they don't have a choice. I want you to make Kinchasa into a better place. You can do that officially as a member of the city watch, but it's not enough."
Valour then gives her 200 gold pieces, telling her to use it only to make a difference in the city.
Elisin freaks out and hugs him, then other members of the city watch gather around her and cheer. Valour casts ceremony again, this time using the coming of age ceremony to welcome Elisin into adulthood.
Elsewhere in the town, McSneakle and 🌱 are pissed that they couldn't get Lady Akunai to fork over some of her gold that she already forked over to the popo, so they get to thinking. McSneakle uses alter self to make himself look like the Manzibar, and 🌱 wild shapes into a little cat. Together, they find Lady Akunai's house, which is surrounded by guards. 🌱 climbs the walls and scurries into Lady Akunai's house, looking for any loot that wasn't claimed by the town guard.
McSneakle runs to the gate, surprising the guards. "My stupid cat has run into Lady Akunai's house, and I need to go get it!" The guards, surprised but not willing to disobey the Manzibar, step aside. "Oh and give me your spear in case I find an enemy!" McSneakle says, snatching one of the guards' spears and running inside.
While inside, they scope the shit out of her house, looking for anything of value that isn't nailed down. 🌱 paws at a jewelry chest, which McSneakle opens and finds 120 gp of rings, jewels, and earrings. 🌱 then creeps through her drawing desk and finds a collection of maps, one which happens to be an unfinished map of Chult!
At that point, 🌱 smells another cat in the house. He snarls, then scampers to the main hallway to look for the other interloper. He sees another cat that looks just like him, and right behind the cat is the real Manzibar, who is being tailed by his guards and is shouting "What do you mean I've already lost my cat and went in to find it!?"
McSneakle and 🌱 bolt like hell because they can't do another nickel in the clink again, so they leap out of the house's upper windows and scatter like roaches in a tanning bed.
Back at the real Manzibar's house, Valour and Zanzibar wait a while before the real Manzibar returns, telling them he just had a strange moment with Meowzibar near Lady Akunai's castle. He handwaves the event, choosing instead to focus on a task he wants his son to carry out.
The Manzibar tells them that, since they are going to Chult, it's time for Zanzibar to act like a leader. The main city in Chult is Port Nyanzaru, which is ruled by merchant princes, one of them being Princess Jessamine, the arbiter of plants, poison, and assassination. The Manzibar wants to establish a good connection with one of the princes so that he can open a direct trade route to Chult.
And he wants Zanzibar to establish that connection!
With that being said, the Manzibar tells Zanzibar that he will load 320 square yards of silks seized from Lady Akunai's assets on their ship to serve as a gift of good intention to one of the princes. He also has outfitted the party's ship with basic supplies and a small crew to tend to them on their journey, as well as money to pay for a toll that, as he's heard through rumors, "can lead to dire consequences if not paid."
The Manzibar enforces that he is giving this task to Zanzibar as an investment, and that Zanzibar is to only let those he trusts assist him with the investment. "So tell me, my son, do you trust these people with your investment?" The Manzibar says immediately as McSneakle and 🌱 run in and demand some of the silk that was taken from Lady Akunai as payment.
Zanzibar thinks for about 10 minutes, finally admitting, "I trust them with my life. I can trust them with my fortune."
McSneakle and 🌱 don't give a rootie tootie about this silk trade thing and sneak off to hatch a plot that involves having Minion perform a juggling act with McSneakle using dancing lights to distract the vendor of the magic items in Kinchasa to allow 🌱 time to sneak in while disguised as an animal and steal the magic items—
The Dungeon Master tells the duo that it's past 9:00 PM in this town and most shops are closed. Maybe McSneakle would have had money to afford an expensive magic item if he didn't blow it all on a fucking vape!
At this point, the party realizes that they lost Meepo.
But they find him in the Manzibar's courtyard, staring into the starry sky that has no ceiling.
The next morning everyone wakes up. Of course they do.
Valour heads down to their boat, the Lady's Vengeance, and meets the three new crewmen, Jabori, Asafa, and Badru, who were named after a Google search. They are loading the boat. Valour meets up with Argus, who is still on the boat.
"Are we going somewhere?" Argus asks.
"Yes, but it's dangerous," Valour says.
"Oh, okay. I probably won't go then," Argus says, then gets off the boat and disappears into the crowds of Kinchasa.
McSneakle, 🌱, and Minion get ready to enact their plan to steal magic items from the shopkeeper, which they start off by having Minion float in the air with magic and juggle little flames.
"That's pretty impressive, isn't it?" McSneakle says, trying to get the shopkeeper to look at the display.
"Yeah look at that juggling frog, it sure is neat!" 🌱 says.
The DM promptly reminds them that if this thievery goes wrong, they will die, and that a guy who has 20,000+ gp worth of magic items probably has some degree of defenses to keep people from taking them.
McSneakle and 🌱 decide to try their luck in Port Nyanzaru instead. You know, the port with an established Princess of Assassination. Let's rob people in that place.
Everyone gathers on the boat, and 🌱 checks on his Sorendough starter that he built out of Soren's tail, the magic mushroom, and smoke mephit ash. It turns out he created a tincture that, when being drunk, instills the user with a roll on the wild magic table!
The party sets sail!
While sailing, McSneakle realizes that he has the Death Curse. Holy foreshadowing!
With the Death Curse, McSneakle must make a DC 5 Constitution saving throw at the beginning of each day. Failure means the DC goes up by 1 the next day (DC 6). If he fails enough days to where the DC becomes 20, instead his max HP will drop by 1 upon failing the Constitution saving throw. The fruit of the Gulthias tree can staunch the save by 30 days, and the piece that 🌱 possesses has 4 bites worth.
McSneakle fails none of his saves on the journey.
A week passes by, and they pull into the Bay of Chult, but then the water begins to churn, and a big fucking dragon turtle rises out of the sea, blows hot steam over the deck of the ship, and makes everyone shit their pants! IT'S AREMAG, THE GIANT TURTLE, BEAST OF THE SEA!
BESTIA EX MARI!
BESTIA EX MARI!
"I am Aremag and I wanna know where the gold's at, bitches!" it shouts something along those lines. "You gotta pay the turtle tithe, the terrapin tax, the tortoise toll! Gimme some gold or you gonna get wrecked!"
Before the party can throw McSneakle overboard, Zanzibar gives Aremag the tribute that the Manzibar gave him, and the dragon turtle sinks into the depths, allowing the party to travel into Port Nyanzaro.