Deepwater salvager Mirian Raas and her bold crew may have bought their nation’s freedom with a hoard of lost lizardfolk treasure, but their troubles are only just beginning in this sequel to Beyond the Pool of Stars.
When Mirian’s new lizardfolk companions, long believed to be the last of their tribe, discover hints that their people may yet survive on a magical island, the crew of the Daughter of the Mist is only too happy to help them venture into uncharted waters. Yet the perilous sea isn’t the only danger, as the devil-worshiping empire of Cheliax hasn’t forgotten its defeat at Mirian’s hands, and far in the east, an ancient, undead child-king has set his sights on the magical artifact that’s kept the lost lizardfolk city safe all these centuries.
Pathfinder is the world's bestselling tabletop role-playing gamenow adapted as a series of novels.
About the Author
HOWARD ANDREW JONES is the author of the Pathfinder Tales novels Plague of Shadows, Stalking the Beast, andBeyond the Pool of Stars. His first creator-owned novel, The Desert of Souls made Kirkus Reviews’ New and Notable list for 2011, and was on both Locus’ Recommended Reading List and the Barnes and Noble Best Fantasy Releases of 2011. Its sequel, The Bones of the Old Ones, made the Barnes and Noble Best Fantasy Releases of 2013.
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Pathfinder Tales: Through the Gate in the Sea
By Howard Andrew Jones
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2017 Paizo Inc.
All rights reserved.
Treasure in the Deep
As the Daughter of the Mist slipped lightlessly past Smuggler's Shiv that night, Mirian Raas would have laid bets some mangy vessel had sails spread nearby, either coasting in or heading out from the berths that tongued from the rocky shore. While the band of pirates known as the Free Captains was oath-bound to keep hands off Sargavan shipping, approaching the famed haven of cutthroats, privateers, and murderers was tempting fate.
Mirian had no choice. A nighttime drop, with all its inherent risks, was still safer in these waters than anchoring near the Shiv in broad daylight, when she would be seen by thousands of curious and covetous observers.
She stood in the high, narrow prow of the swift little caravel, leaning without thinking into every roll of her ship as she searched the darkness. The brightest gleam rose from the distant lanterns of roisterers lairing in Smuggler's Shiv. Mirian glanced up at the scudding clouds. She was cautiously satisfied. As long as they continued to cover the silvery arc of moon, the Daughter had a reasonable chance of slipping in and out without being seen.
Mirian wasn't averse to danger, but she abhorred risking her people. Sending her crew into the shrouds in this darkness increased the odds someone would plant a foot wrong and plunge to the deck, or into the black waves. She was reasonably certain her old hands could manage well, but as she turned away she felt another pang of guilt for gambling their lives on this venture.
She walked aft to the narrow quarterdeck, nodding at two of the hands as she passed, and stopped at the wheel to consult with their passenger, who waited beside Rendak, the Daughter's first mate.
Though Rendak was fit and compactly muscular, his belly usually sagged just a little. Even in the dim light, Mirian could see he was sucking in his gut. Rendak held himself a little straighter than usual, too, though his height couldn't approach that of their passenger and guide, the druid Djenba.
The woman lingered on his left, a slim figure redolent of sandalwood and coconut. Her husky contralto carried softly to Mirian. "We'll be there soon, Captain."
"How soon?" Rendak asked smoothly. With Djenba, he took any word as an opening for conversation. Divorced twice, widowed once, Rendak was hardly a romantic, but Djenba had him acting like a lovestruck youth.
"It's hard to say." Djenba spoke every word like a drawn-out sigh, detached and languid. "The animals I speak with are hardly exact." A gull on the rail screeched piercingly, then launched itself into the night. "Soon enough. I think you'll need to veer to the right a little."
"Starboard," Rendak corrected, good-humoredly, then shifted the wheel under calloused hands.
"Yes, starboard." Djenba patted one of his thick forearms. "Thank you."
Mirian was certain Djenba knew damned well to say starboard, since the famous druid had consulted with sea captains and sailors for at least a decade. Even Sargavan nobles called upon Djenba at her ramshackle oceanside mansion when they wished word of the sea, or came with coin to have her bless newly commissioned vessels. The druid's renown — and beauty — could land her just about any man she wanted, so why toy with Rendak? Mirian had a hard time gauging her.
Djenba was a fixture of the coast, true, but that didn't make her trustworthy. Reefs and currents were fixtures of the Sargavan coast as well, and they could be treacherous even when well marked on the charts. Djenba had agreed readily enough to help Mirian's expedition, though she'd refused to name a fee. She'd simply said Mirian would owe her a favor.
Mirian had chewed over the meaning of that phrase ever since, and she gnawed on it some more as Rendak exchanged a grin with the woman. Was Djenba simply playing with him, or was she honestly interested in the older man? Having never really caught on to the art of flirting, Mirian was a poor judge.
She couldn't help sounding a little clipped as she said, "I'll tell Jekka to ready for the drop."
"I'll keep her on course," Rendak declared with confidence. Of course he would — he was the first mate. But then, Mirian knew the words were really meant for Djenba.
Mirian strode off, feeling the wooden deck roll under her bare feet. She couldn't shake a sense of disquiet about the druid. Mirian would only be too glad when they put her ashore.
She opened the door to her stern cabin.
Once inside, there was just enough room to walk upright, so long as she ducked every now and then under the framing timbers. She knew the cabin well enough to have managed it in the pitch dark, but she had no need. Dull lights glowed on the table just to her right, shielded from outside view by draped and shuttered windows. Straight ahead lay her tidy bunk, under the small stern gallery windows. To her left, her well-organized desk was a blocky shadow built into the bulkhead.
She stepped to the right, where her blood brother Jekka sat at the narrow table, his long, scaled hands tracing the characters on a black metal cone the size of a small gourd. On the table beside the robed lizard man sat two of the hand-sized glow stones they were going to carry overboard with them, doubling now as night lamps.
Jekka glanced up at her, his long, dark tongue flicking out from his snout. He was slim and almost monkish-looking now that he'd taken to wearing an off-white robe. The hood hung shapeless below his wide shoulders.
His forked tongue-flick judged much more than scent. He'd told Mirian that tasting the air enabled him to read moods and gather information a human understood through facial expressions. He was getting better at comprehending body language without it, but more subtle readings still eluded him.
"I thought you had every line memorized," Mirian said.
"I do." Jekka pushed back the black metal cone, fingers brushing across the tiny, precise lizardfolk script beside a sapphire gem embedded into the reflective metal. "It's still easier to think about the words when they rest beneath my fingers. Is it time for our drop?"
While Jekka's mannerisms were a challenge to read sometimes, there was no missing his eagerness. The yellow-golden eyes above his narrow snout practically glowed, and not just because they were more reflective than her own. "Do you think there'll be a message for us when we return home?" "Probably not at night."
He objected with a polite head inclination. "It might have arrived late in the afternoon, right as we left."
"It's possible. Don't get your hopes up, though. There may be nothing. I don't know if my sister's husband is going to have any information." Or if Tradan would even want to share it, but Mirian didn't want to explain that to Jekka. Mirian had rarely spoken to either her half sister Charlyn or her husband, and neither had attended her father's funeral. Who could say how they would welcome a letter from a half-native relation, when they were blue-blooded aristocrats?
"I understand," Jekka answered.
She didn't think he truly could. The differences between human society and that of Jekka's own were too great. But then, Jekka had virtually no society left, apart from interactions with his cousin Kalina. She was likely burning oil right now at the Sargavan Pathfinder Society lodge, where she'd been welcomed to search through a small collection of lizardfolk book cones. Neither Mirian, Jekka, nor Kalina thought it likely those cones would tell them anything helpful regarding the whereabouts of other surviving lizardfolk from the Karshnaar clan, which was why Jekka was so desirous to hear something from Mirian's brother-in-law.
Tradan was one of those rich men who thought themselves experts in fields they only dabbled in. His particular interest was antiquities, which had led him to Mirian and Charlyn's father years before. In addition to Charlyn's hand, Tradan had acquired a number of Raas family artifacts, among them several ancient charts that might contain information on a small landmass off the coat of Sargava described on Jekka's book cones. The island of Kutnaar existed on no modern maps, but one of the three cones Jekka had been studying discussed Kutnaar's lizardfolk metropolis in some detail, down to the layout of its port and glittering central dome. Was the island fictitious? Had it sunk? Or might the old mapmakers have had access to knowledge long since lost and unknown to modern explorers?
The soonest Tradan could possibly have sent a return message was three days ago, assuming he'd been inclined to respond at all. Both Jekka and Kalina had practically lived upon the Raas family porch since that time, frightening any passersby by springing up to see if they'd brought letters or packages.
"We'll have to worry about packages later," Mirian told him. "It's time."
"Very well, my sister."
Jekka set the cone aside and stood to shrug out of the robe. Draped over his powerful, green-and-white-scaled chest hung a necklace of turquoise stones and a circular medallion personally awarded to him by the Custodian of Sargava. Apart from the robe, his only garment was a long loincloth, similarly belted with turquoise stones.
Mirian wore tight-fitting, calf-length breeches and nearly all the swim gear she required. She pulled off her loose blouse to reveal a muscular midriff and a dark halter, then lifted a belt from a chair back — one that held both her knife and wand — and buckled it around her waist just above the sword belt she already wore.
The wand was one-third of a legacy passed down through generations of family salvagers. The other two-thirds she wore on her ring fingers. One dark band granted her the ability to breathe beneath the waves, the other the ability to move in water as freely as in air. When Mirian swam, she experienced no resistance or counterpressure, no matter the depth.
The second ring's twin, once her great-great-grandfather's, was her objective this night. It lay somewhere in the murk below. Her friend Ivrian had fumbled and dropped the ring while rescuing Mirian from drowning. She didn't hold that against the young man. On the contrary, she was grateful to Ivrian for rescuing not only her, but her second mate Gombe as well. But she had no intentions of letting the valuable magical bauble lie in the muck forever. It wasn't just an expensive and useful tool; it was a unique one, handed down through her family for generations.
Mirian reached down to grab her haversack. She didn't expect to find anything below apart from the missing ring, but there was always a chance they'd spot something else worth recovering.
She and Jekka took up the glow stones, dimming them with a word before slipping them into pouches they draped about their necks. She waited a final moment while Jekka grabbed his staff, then stepped with him out onto the deck.
The wind was up, and Miriam breathed in the ever-present salt spray on its breath.
Djenba quietly instructed Rendak to slow, so he ordered the crew to slack the sails. A few minutes later Djenba told him to halt and, as the rest of the sails were hauled in, word was quietly sent forward to drop anchor. Gombe trotted over to report the act complete. He grinned at Jekka.
Rendak cleared his throat, and then affected a formal tone: "Captain, are you sure you don't want me and Gombe down there with you?"
Normally he just called her Mirian. She supposed the title was for Djenba's benefit. "Jekka and Djenba and I will handle it." In truth, she did want Rendak and Gombe with her, but she also wanted the ship to be safe. "It should be a quick trip. You ready, Jekka?"
"I am, my sister. Gombe, you will guard my medal?" He took it from his neck, wrapped the red ribbon about it, and passed it to his friend.
Gombe smiled. "With my life, Jekka."
"I thank you," Jekka said with a head bow. Gombe was always quick with a joke, but he had enough sense not to tease Jekka about a point of pride.
Mirian turned to the druid. "Priestess Djenba?"
The woman cast down her robe and there was a soft gasp from some of the crew nearby.
The priestess cut a shapely silhouette, trim and toned, her figure curving against fabric so wispy it left only a few patches of skin to the imagination.
"I am ready now," she said, and stepped to the ladder. "My form will change once I'm in the water. Don't be afraid. Once we are near the place, I will speak with the sea life there and learn where your ring's to be found." Without further preamble, Djenba plunged over the side in a perfect dive.
"Damn," Gombe whispered. "Can we travel with her more often?"
Mirian was surprised by a little surge of envy — not for the attention of the crew, but for the excellence of the woman's dive. Mirian checked to make sure the straps were tight over each of her sheathes. Her tightly kinked hair was too short to drape into her eyes, but she ran a hand back through it in an effort to settle her thoughts. Determined not to be outdone, she took a running leap and flung herself over the rail, parting the waves with barely a ripple.
The water was deliciously cool. The salt was a familiar discomfort to her eyes, one she blinked away. She delayed a moment to allow the magic of her rings to flower. A dull radiance shone about her neck as shimmering yellow gills appeared to filter water into air, and a similar glow rose as transparent fins took shape over her feet and formed luminous, tapering flukes from wrist to elbow.
Jekka dropped in beside her, light from his glow stone reflecting off the sharpened point projecting from his staff.
The water was inky black, and Mirian whispered her glow stone to life. It lit the area before them in a white cone.
The illumination startled a school of sleepy surgeonfish, which darted off into the darkness with a flash of blue scales.
A small whirlpool floated a few feet out, and it took Mirian a moment to realize it must be Djenba in her elemental form. The druid's swirling form kept pace as Mirian kicked down. Jekka was quick to follow, propelled by long legs; slim, clawed feet that served as natural flippers; and a powerful tail.
It was not as dark below the water as above. They passed a school of small fish with blue glowing bellies and foreheads. A radiant eel swam only a few yards out, a rippling rainbow that might have been a warning or a mating enticement.
Twenty, thirty, forty feet they dropped, passing motes of silt and tiny fish. Still they descended farther, and Mirian felt the weight of the water above even as the ring protected her from its effects.
The whirlpool that was Djenba darted swiftly away. The ring might be nearby, but it was still a vast span of seabed, even assuming Ivrian was roughly accurate about where he'd been when he lost it.
Mirian swam on, eyeing the darkness and wondering how she'd be able to spot the ring on her own. The druid was their only hope, and, she reckoned, a slim one. She didn't imagine sea creatures would have paid much notice to something dropping from the surface, let alone remember it for very long.
Suddenly there was a flicker of movement in the lemony light she shined below, and she tensed in alarm. A tentacle?
No, it was only kelp. A forest of the stuff. They were approaching the bottom. Ocean charts had shown her a few shallow ridges in this area, but she hadn't dared hope the ring might lie in the midst of one.
The druid's swirling spout appeared on her right for a moment, then vanished once more. Was she seeking creatures with whom to speak, or could she do that in elemental form? Mirian hadn't asked. She glanced at Jekka. He could hold his breath for long minutes, but she knew he was reaching his halfway point, so she was surprised when he suddenly darted off to the right. He had no time for wasted movement or energy. Strange. If Jekka had seen something threatening, he should have signaled her. That's what he'd been taught to d — but then, he was still new to all this.
She would have instantly turned to investigate if she weren't intent on following the druid. She kicked after Djenba.
Mirian saw the claw only moments before the enormous crab reached up from the kelp to snap at her. She swung away and the thing scuttled after, the clack of its pincer rattling her ears. The monster could easily have cut her leg in half.
As the crab launched itself at her, she arched over it with a dancer's grace. The creature reached for her again and pivoted sharply to follow. Frowning, she lifted her wand, concentrated as she kicked away, then sent a burst of green glowing energy from the weapon's tip and into the waving plant life beside it.
The thing stopped short at the sudden flash of light. Then, apparently deciding to pursue easier game, it trundled off into the jungle of marine foliage.
Mirian searched the darkness and the kelp again with her light, then discovered the waterspout spinning beside her.
As soon as the light touched her changed form, Djenba sped on past the kelp. She sent up a cloud of silt as she dropped toward a rocky downslope.
Excerpted from Pathfinder Tales: Through the Gate in the Sea by Howard Andrew Jones. Copyright © 2017 Paizo Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Inner Sea Region,
1. Treasure in the Deep,
2. The Black Ship,
3. Unexpected Allies,
4. The Thing in the Hold,
5. Dragon Tears,
6. The Next Bottle,
7. River of Blades,
9. Faces of the Dead,
10. Warnings From the Dark,
11. The Newcomers,
12. The Dead King,
13. Death in the Hall of Corpses,
14. Wood for the Burning,
15. The Compass,
16. The Catacombs,
17. Guests of the House,
18. People of the Vault,
19. Changing Plans,
20. Net of Fire,
21. The Open Window,
22. Questions From a Death Mask,
23. The Eyes at the Bottom of the Sea,
24. A Friend Below,
26. The Veil,
27. Into the Mist,
28. Rough Passage,
29. Beyond the Gate,
30. The Storm in the Temple,
31. The Music of the Tear,
33. A Drink Between Friends,
Excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: Gears of Faith,
About the Author,
The Pathfinder Tales Library,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hello my fellow Gamers, I have recently read a copy of the Pathfinder tales “Through the Gate in the Sea”. Let me first start by saying the book is excellent. Rarely have I read a novel that beckons to me as Gm to sit down later and take some notes to “borrow” later for my Pathfinder RPG game. I am personally running a Serpents Skull campaign which happens to take place near the region that a portion of the book takes place (smugglers shiv and surrounding sea). Where to start? The novel continues the adventures of Mirian Raas (a human female captain of a sea vessel) and her loyal friend Jekka. Now in case you have not read any of the other Pathfinder tales involving this duo Jekka is a male lizardfolk. The author gives us great insights into the relationship between the two but the most enjoyable moments for me is when we see the way Jekka interacts with other People. So often when we read we think of ourselves in the character’s shoes. When we see things from a Lizardfolk’s perspective it can be amusing, confusing yet oddly it reminds us that in the world of fantasy Humans are just a one of the many races. It makes me really wish to explore playing a Lizardfolk character who also searches for his lost heritage (or perhaps others of his kind). As for adventure This book has plenty. You go from aboard ships, to the depths of the ocean. There are pirates, sorcerers, Dinosaurs and did I mention followers of the Child-God Walkena. And of course, for my fellow Pathfinder or D&D Gm’s we can’t forget to mention cool locations. The heroes adventure ancient vaults of long forgotten crypt and then a magical island. They search for a magical artifact and of course a Party of opposite intentions wishes to find the same artifact for much less than noble reasons. I love a book that will challenge my inner creativity and in that regard this book is one of my favorites. I love a great adventure, but throw in the clash of differing cultures and rare locations and it makes a great story. I have included a link to my video review of the Novel also if you wish to see the video review. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awrRdaZ3PlI&t=1s