The party realizes that Dur-Dur is still with the yuan-ti. That's bad. But they need to recuperate first because everyone is just a tad bit sleepy.
“Let's go find them! I gotta find my daddy! King Warchief demands your service!" Dur-Dur-Dur demands of everyone's service.
The super heavy rain is pounding on them, so stealthing through Omu is easy. Dur-Dur-Dur is naked of course, and he eyes one of the ruined houses along the path, "Hey we should go into one of these buildings and take shelter from this rain!"
Dragonbait smells of disapproval.
"Let's go to the tabaxi's house. Nobody is in there," 🌱 says.
They go back to Bag of Nails’ house, which is still mostly intact. 🌱 looks around to see if the venerable tabaxi had any diamond dust since diamond dust is a pretty valuable spell component, but he finds none, so he goats elsewhere.
"Hey Minion, keep watch outside!" 🌱 tells the grung, who plops himself outside in the rain while everyone else sets up their base.
Chumbawumba keeps close to the others since he doesn't know what the hell's going on in this place. He’s also probably having issues readjusting to the outside world after being trapped in the tomb for over half a year. Also, now that he's finally free, Chumbawumba is able to eat something besides fungus.🌱 gives Chumbawumba fungus from the goblin food bag.
"How are we going to get into this place?" 🌱 says, thinking about the Fane of the Night Serpent. The last time they went in there, the situation got a little bit intense what with the awakening of Dendar the Night Serpent.
"How are we going to stop people from making me give them my axe?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, remembering how the yuan-ti tried getting into his head. He ties his axe to his hand.
"That place was designed with snakes in mind,” Zanzibar says, remembering the ramps and crawley holes. “Could the fairies turn us into snakes?" he says to 🌱.
🌱 throws his serpent staff on the ground, and it turns into a real snake. "Let's not be invisible... they could see us in the rain,” he suggests.
Zanzibar resummons his familiar, and it's a seagull this time since seagulls are rain birds, right? Sure, the party is 200 miles away from the beach right now… but seagulls get lost right?
"Why not a snake?" 🌱 says. "There are flying snakes. Can't you summon one of those?"
Zanzibar pouts and summons a flying snake instead. He sends the flying snake out, and it sees the entrance to the yuan-ti palace. After checking out the area, the snake finds no guards outside. It’s safe!
But how to get inside?
Time for plotting!
Zanzibar casts Rary's telepathic bond on all his teammates while 🌱 summons the pixies to polymorph everyone into little snakes! Now they’re transformed into snakes and can communicate with each other through thought speech. It’s just like Animorphs now!
The snake PC’s, led by a flying snake and a serpent staff big snake, slither their way through the heavy rain with the little fairies in tow behind them. It would be adorable if it wasn’t so weird. They reach the door to the palace, but the holes at the bottom are too small for the large serpent staff snake to go through, so 🌱 wraps himself around it like a caduceus and reabsorbs it back into his body… just like he does in regular wood elf form!
How else do you think he carries all that stuff around?
Dur-Dur-Dur slips through snakily, and he sees two yuan-ti broodguards and a pureblood just relaxing on the other side of the big door. They take no notice of him. He tells the other PC’s, <There are two broodguards and a pureblood... I think we should kill them.>
<This used to be the palace of Omu..."> Lukanu mutters from outside the door, a hint of regret in her voice.
<This is my throne?> Dur-Dur-Dur says, intrigued.
<You're a king?> the grung says. <I pledge my knighthood to you!>
This is definitely not his first king.
The snake PC’s creep through the door, unnoticed. They begin to take position around the lackadaisical guards, ready to strike. For a subterfuge mission, it really says a lot about the PC's when they choose to break out of stealth immediately after entering the first room.
<Your king warchief swings first!> Dur-Dur-Dur says, then drops his polymorph. "WHERE'S MY DADDY!?" he shouts, then swings at the pureblood, striking her with his axe.
The grung drops his polymorph as well and attacks with a pike and smites the pureblood, then he swipes again and pins her through the stomach into the wall. His first kill for his king!
🌱 uses chill touch on a broodguard while Lukanu unsheathes Flametongue, then sees the nearby broodguard panic in recognition as she swings Ras Nsi's sword and slays the serpentine squatter. She points at the last one and shouts "YOOOOU!" as Dragonbait steps up and eradicates the last one with his Holy Avenger.
With the foes slain, the PC's give Shatterspike to the grung since he needs a magic weapon.
Zanzibar is still snakey, so he slithers his way down an eastern path and finds a quaint little stone room with mood lighting and—oh yeah—a sacrificial altar with dried blood all over it. Two little trails from the altar lead into the south wall, and he notices that the blood is frozen as it enters the walls.
Hrm, why would blood be frozen down here?
I don’t know, why don’t you ask Episode 37!?
Zanzibar peers into a holding cell on the east end of the sacrificial altar room and sees some yuan-ti in the locked up area. Pits on the floor hint that prisoners are inside. <This looks like a place that would be holding some slaves,> he says.
Dur-Dur-Dur hears that there are slaves to unleash, and slaves can be daddies, so he charges into the other room, pulls a lever that opens the cell, and runs into the middle of the snake people! Oh no, there’s a basilisk in here—FUCK basilisks, Dur-Dur-Dur ain’t got time for no CR 2 monsters so he just hacks that bastard apart and punches another yuan-ti in the face.
Chumbawumba rolls into range and drops down a force cannon, blasting apart several yuan-ti as he shoots them full of magical lead, "Heh, snake hunt!"
Zanzibar pops out of snake form and ray of frosts them. "Your ice king is back!"
The remaining broodguards swat at Dur-Dur-Dur, hacking at him while the grung smites away these foes that would hurt his king! Dur-Dur-Dur kills one, then notices that another broodguard is wearing scraps of his father’s clothes.
"Keep that one alive! He knows where my daddy is!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts.
As the party piles in and mops up the remaining broodguards, 🌱 orders a pixie to cast sleep on the broodguard wearing Dur-Dur’s clothes, knocking it unconscious.
They tie up the broodguard, and Zanzibar and Dur-Dur-Dur begin a round of dubious questions! Why roll investigation when you can roll interrogation?
“Where is my daddy?” Dur-Dur-Dur shouts at the yuan-ti who can only speak parseltongue.
As established in an alternate reality, Zanzibar can speak the language of snakes, so he is the translator, "The big green one wants to know where his daddy is!"
“You!” Dur-Dur-Dur says, then punches the broodguard.
“You!” Zanzibar says.
"Who's you!?" the broodguard hisses, confused.
"You are wearing his clothes. Where is he?" Zanzibar says.
"Whose clothes?" the yuan-ti says.
"The prisoner!" Zanzibar says.
At this point, they realize that there are several prisoners locked up beneath them. One of the prisoners could be Dur-Dur-Dur’s daddy! Dur-Dur-Dur runs over to the cells, "Which one of you've seen my daddy?"
"Please let us out! Please!” the prisoners plead.
"I ASKED WHICH ONE OF YOU HAS SEEN MY DADDY!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
“If he’s not here, he has been taken!” a prisoner shouts.
"By whom?" Zanzibar says.
"The woman, Fenthaza!" a prisoner says. "She leads them!"
Dur-Dur-Dur helps the prisoners escape, seeing that there’s a variety of people captured by the snake folk. Within the prison are a cocksure battiri goblin, a Chultan boy with a flower garland, an elder Turami woman, a babbling mad Chultan, a shivering malnourished tabaxi, and some white lady.
"Your king has saved you! Now tell us about about yourselves,” Dur-Dur-Dur says.
The boy keeps to himself, muttering praises to Tymora while clutching his flower garland while the babbling Chultan keeps shouting nonsense. The tabaxi introduces himself as Pottery Shard, saying that the yuan-ti kidnapped him while he was travelling between Port Nyanzaru and Fort Beluarian. The goblin greets the room as Mung, and he got snatched up while foraging in the jungle. The Turami woman says she was a crew member of the Star Goddess and she fell into the jungle as the ship crashed in the jungle. The white lady leaves.
"How long ago was my daddy in here?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Short guy? Beard?" Mung says.
"They took him out a few days ago."
"Okay everyone just gather up!” Dur-Dur-Dur says, drawing his vorpal greataxe. “I have to perform a ceremony. I'm going to knight this grung!”
The grung steps up and kneels.
Dur-Dur-Dur clears his throat and rests his axe on the grung's shoulder, making the critter the first grung Dur-Dur-Dur has ever touched with a weapon and let live. “You shall henceforth be known as Sir Pal'e'wag from the Dur-Dur-Dur Clan... everyone clap!"
Some people clap.
"You are dismissed!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
All the brand new NPC’s leave except for the babbling man who stays in the corner. The party realizes he has mad monkey fever, so Sir Pal’e’wag heals him of his ailment... but he seems really scaly, and hissy, and… the prisoner is a yuan-ti pureblood!
Zanzibar rolls up his sleeves, which takes a while because, you know, wizard. "See the big green guy?” he says to the yuan-ti. “He's looking for a small green man that sort of looks like him."
"They put us here to be made better," the pureblood mutters.
“Made better?” Zanzibar says.
The pureblood points at the broodguard, "You obey. You obey forever."
"Ask him why they wear other people's clothes," Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"See the big green guy?” Zanzibar says. “We are looking for his father. Your friend over there is wearing his father's clothing. Does that happen a lot?"
"You're looking for his dad?" the pureblood says.
The pureblood smiles. "You already found him." he says. "That's how they make you better. You become one of those." He points at the broodguard.
Zanzibar stops to consider how to continue with this information that Dur-Dur-Dur doesn’t quite know yet. "I do not think that is the right answer right now...” he says. “How do we un-better someone? So come up with the right idea of how we make that one un-better. Have you ever seen an unbettering ceremony?"
"The only way that I've ever heard is... to make a wish,” the pureblood says, smiling.
"Hrm... I don't have that spell yet..." Zanzibar says. But he knows that one of the party members could reverse the effect… by killing the broodguard and bringing him back with a reincarnation spell. "I encourage you to consider that answer and then answer again,” Zanzibar tells the pureblood.
The pureblood drops to his knees and confines himself to his fate.
Zanzibar takes this time to telepathically speak with 🌱, <This one says that one is Dur-Dur. And he says the only way to undo that is a wish spell.>
<That is an interesting thought,> 🌱 says, being a little more literal than he probably intended.
<I think Dur-Dur has been really fucked with in the head, in addition to the body. He is now a yuan-ti. This is a rough process,> Zanzibar says.
<WE were literally just snakes a moment ago!> 🌱 says.
Zanzibar grumbles, <Yeah and we were like 'yay snakes!' It was funny! We can't let Dur-Dur-Dur know his dad is a yuan-ti!"
<Why not? It's better than his dad being a dwarf!> 🌱 says.
<He's not even wearing the hat anymore! He'll never figure out his dad was a dwarf. I don't think he'll like that his dad was a snake hive mind thing,> Zanzibar laments.
<Yeah… but then he'll kill all the bad guys!> 🌱 says.
<Or us!> Zanzibar says. <Okay, if you think the result is like a net okay for us, I will warn him not to hurt that one if that one is his daddy.>
<How mad do you think he'll be if he found out you DIDN'T tell him his daddy was a snake?> 🌱 says. <All right I got an idea…> “Dur-Dur-Dur pull out your Navel of the Moon and find out if your daddy is here."
Dur-Dur-Dur takes out the artifact and it glows like a sumbitch while near the broodguard formerly known as Dur-Dur.
"Oh what a coincidence!" 🌱 says.
Zanzibar turns to the pureblood, "Do you remember things before you were made better?"
"I was born this way," the pureblood says.
Zanzibar turns to Dur-Dur-Dur. "Well, this guy says that guy is your guy."
"Wait..." Dur-Dur-Dur says, thinking.
"He has been transformed... if you will,” Zanzibar says.
"They turned my daddy into a snake?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"He doesn't remember anything about it, so you have to teach him how to be your daddy!" 🌱 says.
"Did you do this?" Dur-Dur-Dur says to the pureblood.
"He says someone named Fenthaza is in charge," Zanzibar says.
"WHERE IS FENTHAZA!?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, and he grabs the pureblood. "Dragonbait, keep an eye on my daddy!"
They push the prisoner along. While that's happening, Pal’e’wag summons a mastiff for a mount since he is a knight now. That’s when the party notices teleporter circle in the room similar to the one that Ras Nsi used to enter the room with Dendar...
"If you know how to use that, you can use it to find her," the prisoner says, pointing at the teleportation circle.
Zanzibar checks out the teleporter, and after careful deliberation… he has no idea how it works. "This one is better versed in magical devices than I am," Zanzibar says, pointing to Chumbawumba.
Chumbawumba steps up and cracks his knuckles. "All right you muthafuckas make room. Aight, shift over...” He checks out the circle for a while. “Nope, it looks like a fuckin' circle!"
🌱 can't figure it out either, also rolling terribly on his arcana check to figure out how the snake-porter works... but Dur-Dur-Dur rolled a 22 on the arcana check, so he is damned sure aware of how to get it working! Apparently, you have to visualize the place you’re going to. But none of them know what the throne room looks like.
"It's time for a reign to end," Lukanu says then steps into the teleporter and vanishes.
Dur-Dur-Dur steps through with the rest of the party, and they emerge in a room with four pillars supporting a vaulted ceiling, and steps ascending to an iron throne carved in the likeness of a hydra. Four flying snakes perch around the room. Sitting on the throne is what appears to be a beautiful Chultan woman with a snake’s tail for legs, and she is in mid conversation with—a merchant prince of Port Nyanzaru!?
Ifan Talro’a, the merchant prince of beasts, startles at sight of the PC’s.
"Wh-What are they doing here? Guards!" Fenthaza shouts.
Dur-Dur-Dur runs up to Fenthaza and swings, hitting her. As he makes contact, four ghouls crawl out from behind the throne, but Chumbawumba opens fire on them with his guns. Pal’e’wag dashes up on his frogdog, which bites Ifan.
The flying snakes all scatter!
Zanzibar casts tasha's mind whip on Fenthaza, and she fails the save as 🌱 turns into a symbiote and litters the area with spores. Fenthaza invokes a nightmare on Dur-Dur-Dur, filling him with dread as his head is full of images depicting his dad being massacred.
As Dragonbait lays down supporting fire with a longbow, Lukanu steps up to the throne and swings Ras Nsi’s sword at Fenthaza, hacking her head in half as the yuan-ti slumps to the ground in a heap. Lukanu then goes to a ghoul and swings, killing it. She mad!
The rest of the party jumps in on the ghouls, eviscerating the undead creatures with ease. Ifan tries to run, Pal’e’wag’s waggy dog sinks its teeth into him, killing him.
Zanzibar loots Ifan Talroa, finding two messages written on notes meant to be carried by flying snake couriers. The first one says, "HIDE. DENDAR IS RELEASED!" and the second one says, "COME TO US. IT’S NOT SAFE IN PORT NYANZARU."
Well none of that is ominous, is it?
Dur-Dur-Dur goes to sit on the throne, and Lukanu leaps in front to block his approach.
"Why are you stopping me from sitting on my throne?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"He thinks he's the king now," Zanzibar mutters, translating between the two.
"He is not the king,” Lukanu says. “The royal family still lives, I know it! And he is not the royal family!"
"She says there is a real heir somewhere, and it isn't you!" Zanzibar says.
Dur-Dur-Dur takes out the Skull Chalice of Ch’kagare and shows it to her.
"He has invoked the ancient rite of dibs!" Zanzibar translates.
"You think that really makes you king?” Lukanu says, pointing to the skull. “That used to be an Omuan king."
"Sir Pal’e’wag, I need you to escort this young lady away from these premises," Dur-Dur-Dur says.
Zanzibar runs in before anything escalates. "Lukanu, is there like an arrangement we can make where we let him sit there and think he is the king until you can restore the proper bloodline?"
Lukanu looks at the hydra throne, grimaces, then spits. She backs away. "... That is not the real throne anyways."
Dur-Dur-Dur sits on it.
"She says you can have the chair, but you have to take it elsewhere," Zanzibar says.
"... Well this is my palace!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.