Wedding of Doom
Wind blew through the boy's shining silvery hair as the enormous hawk circled the castle. Huge waves crashed into the stones where the walls of the fortress met the shore. His shoulders ached where the great bird clutched him. His name was Alvin, and he was on a desperate errand. He had been dispatched from Heavenwood to oversee a great ceremony at the Crystal Shores. He frantically tried to recall the words to the poem he had written for the occasion. The hawk circled lower. Suddenly a commotion broke out on the pier below. Men on the pier were throwing fish to the bird, drawing it away from its intended landing place at the tower. Alvin should have been giving cues to the hawk, but he was trapped in the folds of his own mind. The bird spotted a particularly juicy fish sailing through the air in front of it. The hawk dropped Alvin in order to seize the meal with its talons. The young bard dropped and hit the ground rolling. His silver wig ripped away as his forehead slammed into a crate.
Time seemed to shift instantly and Alvin found himself in an enormous, soft bed. He pulled back the bandages from his eyes to see a stunning woman looking down at him. She had the face of an angel, but harder, as if she had seen the gates of the underworld. Though she wore what could only be a wedding dress, her thick, muscular arms were covered with the scars of battle.
"You will live," she said firmly. "I am Werina. Do you still remember the Charm of Bondage?"
The young bard appeared confused, "You... you mean the poem?"
Alvin began reciting the most insipid rhyme she had ever heard. Werina shook her head. It would have to do. She grabbed Alvin by the wrist and towed him out of bed, pausing long enough to disguise the bard in the uniform of a church official before dragging him to the Crystal Chapel.
As they marched up the stairs of the castle tower, Werina explained the situation. "The Merva have learned of the ceremony. They know that only the Charm of Bondage can contain the power that is unleashed by the magic rites. It is troubling that they would surface to attack you -- they are usually a cowardly people."
Alvin half-listened as he examined his fingernails. This stairway was quite long. Finally they reached a thick wooden door. Werina slammed her palm into the door near Alvin's head. The boy's eyes were fixed on the studded leather bracelet that stretched around the warrior bride's muscular arm.
"Have you listened to a thing I've said?" she asked.
The doors opened and Alvin found himself gazing into a vast, opulent room. There his eyes fell on the king. He was tall and slender, long black whiskers falling from and angular face. Alvin's jaw went slack. He wished he was a king. He wished he was getting married. Something slapped against the back on his head. Werina grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and dragged him into the room.
A great altar rested near where the king stood. The wall behind the altar was cut away, revealing a beautiful view of the sea. Alvin thought he could barely see the hint of a storm on the horizon. Wedding guests filed into the room, resplendent in robes of gold and scarlet. The sun shone through a break in the clouds and a shaft of light fell upon the altar.
Werina clasped Alvin's arm in her hand. "Now is the time," she said.
Alvin stood before the altar. He was so nervous he could hardly swallow. The king rested on his knees before him. Beside him knelt Werina, warrior princess. Alvin cleared his throat with much effort. He produced a short scroll from within his coat. He began to read.
"Here we have two lovers," he said, "brought together under the mighty, passionate light of the Ohm Soul. If any have reason why these youths of joy should not be bound forever in love, let them come forth!"
A dozen wedding guests threw off their robes. The Merva! They swung curved swords over their bald heads, sweat dripping from their wiry, tattooed arms. They rushed the altar. Werina shot a look at Alvin to keep him still. She reached under the stone block and withdrew a long leather whip.
"The Charm of Bondage!" cried the princess. "Say it now!"
Werina cracked the whip and the Merva slowed their advance. One of the assassins dropped his sword, clutching the stump of his wrist where Werina's whip had torn the hand away. The king rose next, hand on the royal scepter. He took the long golden rod in both hands and twirled it above his head. His face was as calm as a spring meadow. When one of the Merva crept close enough, he brought down the gold club and dashed out the villain's brains.
"Love is like sweet pie. Food luscious, if we choose to try..." Alvin stuttered through the Charm of Bondage.
The youth's head swung this way and that, beholding savage bloodshed that would have made the war gods green with envy. He saw a Merva circle around behind the king. It saw him! Alvin tried to chant more quickly, but the words would not come. The Merva took the black blade out from between his teeth. Alvin screamed. Werina spun to face the altar.
It was too late, the assassin had stabbed Alvin in the shoulder, and was now kneeling over him, leering. Werina kicked the creature in the head, breaking its neck instantly. She took Alvin in her arms. Black poison could be seen festering in the wound and passing up the veins into Alvin's head. He shook and sputtered. Werina looked to the king helplessly. All was lost.
The altar shook violently. The Merva backed away, allowing Werina and the king to drag Alvin to safety. The Merva began to dance and sing. Soon their evil lord would be released from his prison. The altar burst apart. A dark hole was left in its place. Slowly, long iridescent tentacles rose from the pit. More and more arms emerged until the creature's great body heaved out of the ground.
A Merva rushed to give praise to his lord. The creature's misshapen eyes fixed on the assassin. In an instant a tentacle shot from the creature's mouth and pulled the victim inside. The evil minions began to panic. Again and again the tongue shot forth and devoured them.
Alvin stirred in the king's arms. The king told him to hush, but Werina leaned closer. The dying bard was fumbling for something in his coat pocket. With sudden strength, Alvin took Werina by the wrist and placed the object in her hand. It was a long, crumbling biscuit.
"You must hold this talisman to the sky," said Alvin.
With that the bard was dead. The two lovers rose to face the evil beast. The king went left and Werina went right. The creature turned this way and that, firing its tongue at random. Just as Werina reached the altar, the creature's tongue caught the king by the leg. The king clawed the ground as the monster dragged him slowly toward the infinitely hungry maw.
Werina leapt over the monster's bloated body and held the talisman to the sky. She never doubted for an instant that the quest would fail, yet still, tears of joy came to her eyes as the great hawk dove out of the sky. The bird snatched the talisman out of her hand and drove its talons into the squid demon's back. The beast released the king as the hawk lifted it into the air.
The king and queen stood over the sarcophagus. It was etched with images of birds circling over the shoreline. With the death of their god, the Merva were no more. No longer need the kingdom be protected by magic charms. Yet, Werina thought, without evil gods and magic bards, the world seems somewhat less.
Certain entity members or associates might have jobs that take them from place to place for whatever reason. Specialized and skilled creatures of this type might be highly sought after.
There are lots of elements to ceremonies/rituals that came up in this one. Specific positions for participants, times for speaking and speeches, guests, hidden time/place, dressing up... An opposing entity might try to disrupt an event, but they might have to learn of its time and place first.
The Merva were referred to as "usually... cowardly". It's important to distinguish entity cultures with traits like this so that they all have different feels.
Being carried by flying beasts could be a mode of travel. These might be special creatures associated to special people, or it might be something more commonplace depending on availability etc. If it is very common, there might be some infrastructure at travel hubs. Beasts of any kind that perform tasks might require some kind of cue from their handlers to perform tasks properly.
If an entity member is late for something, they might be rushed by somebody else that cares. It would be neat to get all of the elements required for that simple occurence in place and having it actually matter.
You can throw certain objects to distract certain creatures. A creature might drop an item it is carrying to catch an incoming projectile if it deems the projectile necessary to catch for whatever reason (higher value, it would be lost otherwise, etc.).
Calling pets or others with food.
More than once, the bard gets preoccupied with something, and it distracts him from something. This can flesh out certain characters (making them more believable than the player's fearless, focused, remorseless adventurer, anyway). Others might become upset with a character that becomes distracted enough to disrupt something important by failing to retain information or perform an action.
There are lots of different types of poisons and ways they can work, but a common variant allows you to trace the progress of the poison toward the center of the body or head from the application/entry point by some external cue.
Seeing tentacles (or large hands etc.) drag a huge creature up from below would be neat but runs into the multi-tile occupancy problem somewhat. Tentacles specifically can be handled more like the current spilled guts (once those are done as well).
Wigs and other such prostheses.
Supernatural events might be tied to certain possibly recurring events in an entity's history, such as a royal marriage.
We had imprisoned supernatural creatures, and it might come up again. There can be all sorts of ways to release them or communicate with them etc.
A powerful entity leader or any sort of revered figure in an entity (in this case the evil beast) doesn't necessarily need to respect subordinate entity members, or members of a peripheral entity like a cult that springs up around a powerful creature/god (possibly without this creature's knowledge).