We climbed out of Soma's campsite, feeling rather refreshed. Soma first took a trip down to the beach, apparently whatever the island's affecting him with means he needs to submerge himself at least once a day. He managed to sneak a look at the fish people and noticed they didn't seem terribly interested in us, which may be of use later. Everyone else is getting pretty badly affected by the island too. Meda's eyes are bulging out of her head like crazy, Whitmore's limbs are freakishly proportioned, and I've started seeing in the dark. Which...is beneficial at least, but it may get worse later on. Soma and Whitmore decided to poke around the orrery again, to see if they could find anything else of interest. They did manage to find some instructions in Azalanti but Soma couldn't quite make heads or tales of it, but for now the orrery will remain broken until we can spare the time to look at it.
As we were investigating the ruins we heard a blood-curdling screech and saw one of those freaky fish people running away from three cloakers. For those of you who've never run into one of these damn things, count yourself lucky. A cloaker is basically a flying cloak, but with teeth. And really wants to eat you. We saw one of the cloakers envelope the poor luckless fish person while the next two decided to come for us. We started the usual slice-and-dice when one of the cloakers managed to give me a nice, big death hug that proved really difficult to escape. In addition to being gnawed on by the cloaker's teeth, it turns out that if anyone hits a cloaker, whoever's inside of it also gets hit. Now, to be fair, I appreciate Meda's fine archery skills when it's shooting nasty beasties out of the air. When I get hit by arrows that somehow shatter my already poorly abused breastplate? A little harder to appreciate. Fortunately the combination of arrows, armor shrapnel, and some other sundry things my friends chucked at it eventually killed the cloaker. Granted, I was in a pretty bad way as well, but I managed to hold my organs in long enough for Whitmore to bring me back from death's door. Unfortunately Meda also had to deal with an angry cloaker trying to eat her, but we eventually got it cut to pieces as well. After getting righteously yelled at for not mentioning my lack of hit points sooner, we patched our party back up and continued our investigation of the ruins.
The next building we found appeared to be some sort of aquarium that turned out to hold a giant octopus which soon lashed its tentacles out in the surrounding room. Having just struggled with several things trying to hug us to death, we decided getting into a fist-fight with another such thing was a terrible idea. Taking a look at the building gave me an idea and I decided to gather whatever scrap wood I could find at the only entrance to the aquarium. Once we had a decent pile put together we lit the wood and started a cheerful fire, which eventually boiled that bastard octopus alive. Man, did he taste good. We poked around and found a few corpses of less lucky people who decided to tangle with the now deceased octopus and discovered a few useful scrolls and elixirs, but perhaps more importantly an awesome cloak of the manta ray. According to Whitmore it's a cloak that allows its wearer to become basically living death underwater. I was rather excited at the idea and I'm looking forward to utilizing it when we finally have to go down to the beach.
After we left the aquarium we ran into another one of the fish people who appeared rather wounded. Soma suspected a trap, but I decided to see if my new cloak would be helpful and declared myself the Manta Lord, liege of all the fish people, to try and get information from him. It turned out though, once again, that Soma was correct for the fish person soon transformed into a giant lobster monster. Who, of course, wanted to give me a hug. I will say, though, this lobster thing? Doesn't even rate in the top five worst things that have decided to hug me. Those cloakers were pretty awful, along with the blood puddings, and one or two other things. The lobster was pretty tame by comparison. Not that I enjoyed being grabbed by claws, stung by tentacles, and bitten by mandibles, mind you. But at least when Meda shot it the arrows didn't also hurt me, so I count it as a plus.
With the lobster gone we proceeded to the next building which turned out to be a graveyard of the intellectual elite on this island back in the day. With some twenty-odd neatly arranged corpses around silvery pools of light. Soma was able to decipher some instructions and find out that the silvery pools contained the knowledge of the intellectual leaders of this island, however to listen to the lecture life force had to be sacrificed. Which is...kind of creepy to be perfectly honest. It seemed Gerlach has been sacrificing people to learn something, although what we're not entirely sure. There appeared to be some leftover life force, though, so we sat down for a lecture on how the orrery's supposed to work. I didn't understand heads or tails of it, but apparently Whitmore and Soma have a better understanding of how it's supposed to work now. Of course, it wouldn't be a day in our adventures if something we encountered didn't try to murder us. As the lecture finished a hand started crawling its way out of the silver pool. I'm starting to get really sick of this godsforsaken island.