Savage Tide; Pathfinder
a fist-sized, oily, black pearl
These pearls are roughly the size of a man’s fist, and all are uniformly a glossy, oily black. Staring into them results in ghastly images invading the mind of the looker, and some who have seen them can swear that they can hear the teeming howls of a mad jungle when they look too long.
Upon being activated, each pearl lets out a cloud of green, acrid, oily smoke that quickly spreads to envelop an area of several square miles. Those who come into contact with the vapors are subject to the effects of Savage Fever.
The provenance of the shadow pearls has been an ongoing matter of investigation for the Gang of Five, starting with the first detonation of one such pearl at Kraken’s Cove, a detonation that infected thousands of jungle and sea fauna with savage fever, nearly killed Harliss Javell, was responsible for the deaths of thirty or more Crimson Fleet pirates, and quite possibly began Vanthus’ involvement with Demogorgon.
After dismantling the lion’s share of the shadow pearl production line and following its trail to both the beginning and the end, it seems that the life cycle of a shadow pearl is laid out something like:
- The pearls are extracted from gargantuan clams that are natives to the Abyss, brought to the Great Temple at Thanaclan by Khala, an aspect of Demogorgon. It is not known how long these pearls take to grow or from what seed, but when first taken from the Abyssal clams, the pearls are roughly the size of a chicken’s egg.
- After being harvested, Khala would perform a ritual on the pearl seeds that involved torture and human sacrifice. By conducting this ritual, the pearl seeds would swell with misery, torment, and pain, literally tripling in size as they became fatted on negative energy. It was to serve this end that the Mantru Olman tribe was cultivated by the demons at Thanaclan and permitted to live.
- Once prepared, Khala would send the pearls to Ulioth, in Golismorga, the Mad City. Situated directly beneath the city of Thanaclan, this massive underground cavern once served an alien race of creatures called the aboleth as their home and city. While the cavern had been drained by the Olman-created Tlaloc’s Tear, the absolute chaos and mind-twisting madness of the city remained, and it was here that Ulioth used impossible and alien creatures to further nurture the pearls. Steeped in a caustic, burning sludge in the depths of the Black Ziggurat of Holashner, here the pearls would sit and take on layer upon layer of absolute madness, growing to the size of a grapefruit.
- After Ulioth judged the pearls to be sizable enough to be viable, he would remove the pearls from the ziggurat, prepare them for transport, and send a batch on a litter with his kopru minions, who would then deliver them to troglodytes from Laogroat, the Sick Village, who had become infected by the still-newborn pearls. From Laogroat, the troglodytes would pass the pearls on to a Crimson Fleet crew.
- Once in the hands of the fleet, Demogorgon would instruct Cold Captain Wyther as to where the pearls were to be delivered, and to whom. According to Wyther, his chain of custody broke the second they were handed over in their respective region, to an intermediary – usually a demon disguised as a merchant or traveler – who would then distribute them to major population centers, though he did not know how or to whom.
Reportedly there are as many as 40 shadow pearls spread throughout the world, with only two accounted for: one, which exploded at Kraken’s Cove due to the unwitting intervention of Vanthus, and the second in the city of Cauldron, just hours before the Sea Wyvern and her crew left for the Abyss, a detonation that reportedly included Moxie Blackrose and Mason Dracktus, among others.