Savage Tide

Chapter 17: Shock the Monkey
The heroes are on their way to Farshore, but a whole lot of trouble (including teleporting demon monkeys, bloody puzzles, and mobs of fiendish baboons) gets in their way.

Savage Tide

Part IV: Here There Be Monsters
Chapter 17: Shock the Monkey

Our Cast:

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elf Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Duerak Gildas (Nate) Half-Dwarf/Fire Giant Fighter

Yereth Cloud-Walker (Connor) Minotaur Barbarian/Druid

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Chapter 16: Cliffs of Dread
The party fights gargoyles and are haunted by a strange creature on their journey along the coast of the eastern shore of the Isle of Dread.

Savage Tide

Part IV: Here There Be Monsters
Chapter 16: Cliffs of Dread

Our Cast:

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Duerak Gildas (Nate) Half-Dwarf/Fire Giant Fighter

Yereth Cloud-Walker (Connor) Minotaur Barbarian/Druid

Monday, October 18th, 1234 AY

The heroes walked along the cliffs of dread, their party a mix of moods.

Amella Venkalie, the once-captain of the Sea Wyvern, was happy, as they were finally out of the Dark Mountain Pass and back by the sea. Her good spirits were evident as they hiked along the twisting path, since she whistled almost constantly, a past time she rarely indulged herself in.

The one thing that seemed to put a damper on her mood was her growing irritation with Urol Furol, the gnome naturalist that seemed to be sickeningly fascinated with the flora and fauna of the Isle of the Dread. The two had been bickering continuously since they had left the tunnel, and it was beginning to grate on everyone’s nerves.

Urol himself was in a fine spirit, and though his attempts to befriend Amella (which led to the bickering) had failed, he became interested in a species of seagulls that nested along the shore of the cliffs.

Avner Meravanchi, the arrogant noble that everyone hated, paled often at the beginning of their journey on the cliffs, still horrified by the mutilation and death of his horse, Thunderstrike, but he got over it soon enough, and was in a relatively good mood.

Kurgol Banetooth, depressed half-orc fist fighter, was as grim as ever, his haunted eyes revealing everything, yet at the same time revealing nothing of what was going on inside his equally haunted mind.

Tavey Nesk, cabin boy and apprentice of Jericho, was in a good mood as well. Ever since leaving the tunnel, he had been showing off his acrobatic skill by performing flamboyant and sometimes dangerous stunts near the cliffs. Hee was getting awfully close to the edge… wherein lay a fifty foot drop onto rocks and then finally into the abyss of an ocean that surrounded the isle.

Unfortunately, Jericho, along with Nimlar, had been scouting ahead frequently, and the duskblade had yet to see one of these stunts.

Daelis took it upon himself to scold Tavey, walking up to the boy as he finished one of his stunts.

“Watch yourself Tavey,” the half-elf said with a resolve in his voice. “Don’t be so careless. One wrong step and you could be gone.” To accentuate his point, he kicked a small stone over the cliff, and they watched—for a long while— as the rock flew down towards the bay below and then finally hit with a small splash.

“I’m good enough,” Tavey retorted, though his eyes were uncertain. “I can catch myself if I start to fall.”

“I wouldn’t count on that,” Daelis said, grabbing the boy’s shoulder. “Stay away from the cliffs, Tavey. And stop showing off. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

Tavey blinked, slightly stunned at the bluntness of the statement. But after a moment, he nodded, and, chagrin showing on his face, walked back towards the opposite side of the party.

At that moment, Jericho returned from scouting, but without Nimlar. Daelis informed him of what had happened, and the duskblade thanked him, before going over to talk with Tavey himself.

Jericho explained that Nimlar was going to scout ahead the rest of the time, providing insights to them of what lay in front of them along the cliffs. Daegoth was also separate from the party, but in the opposite direction. He was looking for a pass that his people used to get the ocean—the pass that Daegoth and his brother had used to perform the funeral rites of their father at sea.

Where his brother had tried to kill him.

He knew that it lay along this cliff wall somewhere, but he had never been very familiar with the area, so finding it might be difficult.

The heroes continued along the cliffs until dusk fell, and then set to the work of making camp. They finished this in a relatively short order, and then assigned watches, letting the spellcasters—Jericho and Rapton—sleep.

Daelis was on watch during the eleventh hour of the night when he heard a sound just outside his range of vision. He started at the sudden sound, drawing his rapier.

That’s when everything went dark.

Yereth and Jericho awoke suddenly, alerted by a slight clicking sound against the rock in the center of their camp. Daelis, in the sudden darkness, had not noticed the clicking.

The pair opened their eyes, but saw only darkness. They blinked a few times, thinking that their eyes were not open somehow, but still could not see a thing.

“Yereth, let’s cast a spell to undo this darkness!” Jericho whispered to the minotaur.
“Good idea,” the bulky druid said, beginning to chant quietly.

Yereth cast a light spell, and Jericho sent off a flare at the same time—and suddenly the darkness was gone, but the light spell seemed to do nothing more than bring the stars and the moon back into the sky. The night remained. The flare shot up into the sky, illuminating for a single instance, a hunched-over humanoid seeming to float in mid-air above their camp.

Then the figure was gone. Vanished.

The others, who had been woken by the occurence, began to react to the situation.

Amella ran to Daelis, unconsciously seeking him out because of her fright.

Tavey tried to be brave, but Jericho could tell that the boy was scared out of his wits.

Urol was completely puzzled.

“That doesn’t make any sense, how did this happen?” the gnome asked.
“It was a darkness spell,” Jericho responded. “That’s why our light spell only canceled it out, restoring the area to its normal light.”
“But who—or what—was that thing, and why would it attack us?”

Jericho didn’t have an answer.

It was then that they realized that Kurgol was nowhere to be seen.

Immediately, Yereth and Jericho went off looking for him. Luckily, Yereth found Kurgol only a dozen yards away, sulking on an outcropping of rock overlooking the cliffs.

“What are you doing?” the minotaur demanded. “Someone just attacked us, we have to stay together!”
Kurgol just nodded, and headed back to camp.

Tuesday, October 19th, 1234 AY

It was 1:00 PM, the next day. The party was walking along the cliffs, when suddenly, Kurgol stopped.

“Something’s not right.”

A rock slide thundered down the cliffs towards their heads.

The party was bombarded by rocks—most of them managed to get away in time to escape the worst of the damage, but Daelis and Yereth weren’t as lucky, taking a few of the stones straight on.

After it was over and the dust had cleared, Amella looked at the rubble and her eyes widened.

“Daelis,” she said with alarm. “There are skulls!”

Sure enough, there were human and lizardfolk skulls mixed in with the rocks.

“I demand that you put a stop to all this tomfoolery!” Avner demanded, stamping his foot down. “The creepy darkness, and the creepy skulls, it’s starting to look like you don’t actually—”

Daelis slapped him upside the face.

“Keep yourself together!” he shouted.

“Alright, I’m all right…” Avner began to mumble to himself, shaking his head as if to clear his mind. “…My horse died…”

And he walked off.

Urol was even more confused. “Why is this happening?”

There were still no answers.

Kurgol picked up one of the skulls and began to study it, a fact that made the party slightly disturbed.

Urol identified the skulls as Olman, lizardfolk, and other humans—ones that might be from the Sasserinian culture, probably people from Farshore.

The heroes searched the ledge up above where the rocks had originated from, using Nimlar, who had just returned from scouting ahead and was alerting by the noise. The ranger found tracks on the ledge, ones that looked ape-like.

The tracks showed no sign of leaving or arriving in the area.

The party continued on along the cliffs until the evening, when they realized that Nimlar had yet to return and update them on the road ahead. Usually he met them when they set up camp for the night, but the ranger did not come back, and the night came and went. The morning dawned, and still Nimlar was nowhere to be found.

He was missing.

The party kept going, not knowing what else to do. They came to an area with ledges above and below them, creating a set of what seemed like giant steps. The drop, however, after the last bottom ledge consisted of an eighty-foot drop.

It was of course here that they were ambushed.

Swooping down from the cliffs came a gargoyle, feral and wild-looking, with geometric patterns carved into its rocky skin. It dove for Avner, screeching with wild abandon. Avner screamed in response, and barely got out of the way of the terrifying beast.

Two more gargoyles flew down right behind their companion, attacking Duerak. Their claws scraped against his armor, but neither managed to cause any real damage. Duerak swung with his axe and scored a hit against one of the gargoyles, chopping into its thick hide.

More gargoyles poured out from above them, screeching and diving towards the unsuspecting party. Daelis dashed forward, drawing his rapier and slashing at the air, which was thick with gargoyles. He drew blood, cutting into one of the creature’s faces.

Jericho drew his swords as a gargoyle attacked him, slashing with two quick strokes. He expertly severed the beast’s wing, and the thing collapsed to the ground in a mass of shrieking flesh.

Poddle smashed a gargoyle in the face as it swooped by, sending it spinning to the ground. He cackled. “You don’t have the courage to face me, then?”

Avner, screaming in terror, ran at full speed away from the gargoyles…right off the cliff. Fortunately, there was a ledge twenty feet below him, which he landed on roughly. Unfortunately, he was knocked unconscious by the impact.

A gargoyle flew down after him.

Amella took a wild swing with her sword, but missed horribly.

Kurgol, seeing Avner in trouble, and still not caring about his own safety, rushed to the edge of the cliff and leaped, landing on the ledge twenty feet down and rolling. He managed to pull it off with little injury, and came up, ready to fight off the gargoyle.

Gargoyles flew around them, slashing with their claws. Duerak took a few hits, and though most of it was deflected by his armor, he did take some damage. The others were hit as well, though only nicks and scratches. They managed to dodge most of the claws.

The battle continued, and swing after swing took down gargoyles. The beasts slashed at the heroes, and though most of the attacks missed, a few connected. Soon the party was covered in blood—their own and that of their enemies.

Kurgol charged the gargoyle about to slay Avner, grappling the beast and lifting it high above his head. The creature screamed but the half-orc held it tight. Then he threw the thing off the cliff to be splattered on the rocks eighty feet below.

The gargoyles flying around Duerak continued to attempt to batter him into submission, and though they scored a few hits, the half-dwarf warrior continued to fend them off valiantly.

A few of the gargoyles broke off from the half-dwarf and attacked Daelis, drawing blood and forcing the half-elf to back away from his offensive.

Rapton continued to mutter his incantations, drawing on the power of nature to conjure flame from the air around him and sending it hurtling at a pair of gargoyles, burning them and pushing them back.

Duerak, roaring with rage as the gargoyles flew around him, lashed out with his axe and scored a hit on one of the creatures, almost bringing it down.

Daelis did the same, thrashing out with his rapier and stabbing one of the gargoyles in the chest. It screeched, but pulled itself off the blade and flew away, swooping back in for another attack.

Jericho rushed towards a gargoyle, brandishing his swords. He swung true and cut deep, sending a shower of black blood spraying across the stones as his weapon connected with gargoyle flesh.

Yereth rushed to help Duerak, holding his axe in one hand and reaching out with his massive fist to grab a gargoyle out of the air. The gargoyle screeched as it was pulled down towards the earth and crushed beneath the muscled arms of the minotaur.

The battle shifted after that, and the party pushed back ferociously, driving back and killing the gargoyles until the last few fled in terror back towards the mountains.

The party helped Kurgol back up on to the main path, and they continued on along the cliffside road, now even more wary. Daegoth soon met back up with them, disheartened by his bad luck in trying to find the path back to his tribe, but now more eager than ever to get to Farshore, where he could make his way back to his people.

The party assumed they would see Nimlar as well as they continued on, but he had truly disappeared, and they had no clue where he could have gone. They went the entire day of travel without seeing any sign of the elven ranger, and camped that night still chewing on thoughts of what could have happened to their friend. The gargoyles and the strange attack on the camp in the night wore on them, and they slept fitfully.

Wednesday, October 20th, 1234 AY

They awoke to Avner screaming.

As the party came groggily awake themselves, they soon saw what had made the nobleman so terrified. Just outside the camp (and outside the light range of their fire, which explained why the people on watch didn’t see it), were arranged a dozen bird carcasses. Each bird was tied, wings outstretched and head to the ground, on an X-shaped frame. Although the birds appeared to have been dead for days, they were certainly not there the day before.

The rest of the party, though not as distressed about the appearance of the birds as Avner was, were puzzled as to the origin of the bird carcasses. Urol and Kurgol examined the bodies and talked quietly about the date of death and how they could have gotten there.

Tavey approached Jericho and asked quietly, obviously shaken, “Why is all this weird stuff happening?”

“There’s obviously a magic-user involved here,” Jericho said, shaking his head. “Here, let me try and see if there’s any residual magical presence.” The duskblade reached out with his own magic and tried to detect any faint magical auras.

There was nothing. He frowned.

After a cursory examination, the rest of the party decided that there was nothing inherently dangerous or insightful about the encounter, and so they moved on.

They traveled for quite some time before coming to another obstacle. Up ahead, the path came to an abrupt end, looking out over the bay. Nearly sixty feet above, it continued along its southern route. A bamboo platform hung near the upper path’s edge, suspended by several vines draped over a log driven in to the cliff face above. The other ends of the vines hung down the cliff face and were attached to a second log at waist height on the lower ledge. Down below, a dozen or so abandoned huts lined a wide but rocky beach.

The heroes inspected the lift for a while, before deeming it was relatively safe, though a little creaky, and they decide to have Yereth operate the contraption while the rest of the party was lifted up to the new path. Daelis climbed aboard the lift and tested it—it seemed to hold. Yereth hoisted the ropes and Daelis was lifted up to the new area safely. He exited the lift and called to the others to hurry up.

Jericho, Urol, Tavey, Avner, Amella, and Rapton all consecutively went up the lift, one at a time, and make it with no issue. The only remaining beings were Duerak, Daegoth, Yereth, and the animals, Duerak’s horse Jerry and Yereth’s rhino companion.

The animals seemed to be the biggest problem. Though Yereth summoned a giant eagle with his druidic magic to carry the horse, Jerry, there was nothing that the minotaur could do to take Temul, the rhino, any further. Yereth regrettably commanded his companion to go back to the other side of the island, back to their home.

Duerak, Daegoth, and Yereth decided that it would just be safer, given their respective weight, to have the summoned eagle carry them up to the top of the ledge as well, rather than deal with the chance that the lift would break with them aboard.

When the party reached the top, and looked back at the vines that the lift had been operated by, they noticed something they hadn’t seen before… One of the vines had been partially cut. Someone had sabotaged the lift. Luckily, they had been smart enough about using it that it hadn’t been an issue…but the danger had been there.

They continued on.

Thursday, October 21st, 1234 AY

The next morning, as the party was eating breakfast, Amella was looking through the food supplies and found something unexpected. “Half of the food here is gone!” she yelled over the silence of the morning.

There was a moment of tension, and then she looked straight at everyone’s favorite nobleman. “”/characters/avner-meravanchi" class=“wiki-content-link”>Avner…" she hissed.

She marched up to the man, who blanched visibly, and stuck her finger in his face. “You stupid, stuck up brat!” she said. “I thought you’d been taking more than your share…”

“I didn’t do it,” Avner retaliated, getting some fire back in his visage. “Anyways, what would it matter if I did? I’ve more than earned it…”

That sent Amella into a tirade that dwarfed a volcanic explosion.

Kurgol promptly left, not wanting to have anything to do with this anymore.

Tavey looked around awkardly, sidling up to Jericho and pulling on his sleeve. “Could we go train or something?”

Jerry whinnied loudly.

Urol shook his head in disgust, and the rest of the party looked on similarly, everyone getting pretty annoyed by Avner’s constant arrogance.

After a while, Urol spoke up softly, almost imperceptibly, in the middle of the argument. “What is that? Something’s wrong…”

Suddenly Kurgol came running back from where he had gone. “Everyone, stop! Something’s coming!”

Everyone looked where Kurgol pointed. In the sky, flying towards them, was an army of gargoyles.

The party wasted no time. They abandoned their camp, which was strewn about the rocky ledge, and moved back into a cave system a few hundred feet away built into the cliff walls. They started to set up defensive positions, with the strongest fighters towards the cliff entrance. The gargoyles were about a hundred and fifty feet away from them and closing fast once they got into position.

Daelis, though feeling just a tad foolish, started singing a few notes in order to cast his bard magic, imbuing the nearby Daegoth with unnatural strength. The lizardfolk grinned at him and nodded in thanks.

Yereth was chanting in his own magical tongue as well, calling on the powers of a more natural force. There was a rumble as the sky above the flying gargoyles darkened, and suddenly a huge bolt of lightning flew down from the heavens to flash among the creatures. Unfortunately, they twisted and turned as they flew, and only one of the gargoyles seemed harmed by the bolt.

The gargoyles came forward, screeching. The party held their ground.

Daelis rushed forward just as the gargoyles were upon them at the mouth of the cave, stabbing with his rapier and fending one of the beasts off.

Jericho finished muttering in the language of magic and shot a bolt of energy from his fingertips, smiting a gargoyle from the sky and throwing its burning carcass to the ground in a smoking heap.

Daegoth tackled a charging gargoyle, biting into him with ferocity and then bringing up his axe to dig into the thing’s exposed chest. It flailed and threw itself away from the raging lizardfolk, screeching shrilly.

The gargoyles swooped in as one, more than dozen at once, clawing and biting at the party, but ineffectively at first. After a moment, from the middle of the pack, came the biggest, meanest looking gargoyle, a massive brute that work a stone crown fitted with rough gemstones. It bellowed and attacked.

Daegoth and the others fought valiantly, keeping the gargoyles at bay at the mouth of the cave and slaying several of them. None of the party were seriously injured, and soon Daegoth took down the huge brute, undoubtedly the leader of the group. The rest of the gargoyles fled shortly thereafter.

Daegoth claimed the crown, and the party recovered from the battle, healing their wounds. Soon after, they headed back out on the path south, now hoping to get to Farshore more than ever.

Nimlar was still missing, however, and their journey was far from over.

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Chapter 15: A Strange Journey
The heroes find their lost comrades, along with a strange new companion, and journey through the jungles of the Isle of Dread and through the Dark Mountain Pass.

Savage Tide

Part IV: Here There Be Monsters
Chapter 15: A Strange Journey

Our Cast:

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elf Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Duerak Gildas (Nate) Half-Dwarf/Fire Giant Fighter

Yereth Cloud-Walker (Connor) Minotaur Barbarian/Druid

Sati Blood-Fire (Darren) Phanaton Sorcerer

Friday, October 15th, 1234 AY

Nimlar Sumel awoke upon the shore of the Isle of Dread. It was late in the evening, as the ranger could tell by the position of the sun on the horizon, so, after he oriented himself to his surroundings, he started to make a camp as quickly as possible.

Yeris flew from the trees and landed on a nearby log. Nimlar went over to his companion, and petted the eagle, happy that the bird was okay. Then they went to finding any others who might’ve survived.

He found Rapton on the beach, disgruntled but relatively intact, and woke him. The cleric, after clearing his head, also helped Nimlar in the establishment of an encampment.

While they were setting it up, they saw something climbing in the trees…

Nimlar held his bow arm, waiting to see what this was.

A humanoid that looked like a mix between a racoon and a monkey leaped down from the trees with a spear, landing gracefully and immediately pressing the point of his weapon against Nimlar’s neck. Sati blood fire

“Who are you?” the small creature asked.
“We mean you no harm!” Nimlar answered, dropping his bow and holding his arms up. “We come in peace!”
The creature paused for a moment, and then lowered his spear. “Works for me. You don’t smell like dinosaur.”

The monkey was a phanaton (as Rapton recalled what this type of creature was named), found exclusively on the Isle of Dread. This particular phanaton introduced himself as Sati Blood-Fire.

Nimlar then asked the creature if it could help them start their fire. The creature agreed to help, but first they needed to gather some driftwood for the fuel.

Nimlar, Rapton, and Sati searched the beach for pieces of wood and leftover wreckage from the ship that were dry enough to be used for firewood, as well as any supplies that might have washed ashore.

They found a considerable amount of driftwood, which they brought back to their meager camp, and then hurriedly searched for the supplies as the night drew close.

In addition to the wood they found one hundred pounds of feed, and a heavy wooden shield. After those two items, they discovered something else: the half-dwarf Duerak Gildas washed up on shore, along with his warhorse, Jerry.

They reunited with their friend and continued their search, finding sixty pounds of rations, which would come in handy later on their journey to Farshore.

They gathered the firewood together, but they still needed flame. Sati shot a burst of magical flame from his fingertips with little effort, igniting the fuel. The phanaton was a magic-user!

The group sat down around the campfire and started on a meal. Nimlar asked Sati if he’d seen any weird travelers recently, because they had no idea where their friends were at the moment.

“I saw a ship marooned on a reef about a half mile away from this spot,” Sati replied, nodding. “I can take you there in the morning if you’d like.”

The group agreed, and they went to sleep, with plans to search for their comrades in the morning.

Saturday, October 16th, 1234 AY

They headed out in the morning for the shipwreck, and were surprised to be greeted with a curious sight. The body of a great dinosaur lay half-eaten on a cluster of rocks about five-hundred feet off-shore, near the shipwreck itself, which was indeed the one they were looking for: the Sea Wyvern.

The body of the dinosaur was being picked at by two great elasmosaurs, as well as a group of scavenging pteranodons. Nimlar picked up the trail of their companions, a group of tracks which headed south towards the mountains, and they set off to find their group.

After a few hours of travel, they caught up with the others, who had been moving slowly because of their various members and beasts of burden. The rest of their companions were in a clearing near a huge crater which stretched across the jungle, with a small stream running through said clearing.

They had just about reached them when suddenly, eight terror birds burst from the jungle, on the trail of a baby diplodocus.

Reunions would have to wait.


Urol cried out to the heroes, begging them to save the baby diplodocus.

Sati was hiding in one of the trees, so he turned himself invisible as soon as he saw the terror birds coming. From the cover of the tree, the phanaton cast another spell, shooting a fireball from his fingers that burst in the middle of the hunting birds.

Chaos ensued as the avians burst into flame. The diplodocus ran past the heroes, while the terror birds began to panic as the flames licked their feathers and their flesh. They ignored their meal choice and instead looked to the heroes with a deadly ferocity. The birds were angry now.

Duerak spurred his horse to retreat to the southeast, to get a better vantage point for attacking the birds. He fired off an arrow from horseback, which connected into the torso of one of the creatures.

Nimlar retreated as well, using his magical boots to propel himself all the way to a trench to the east, where he laid low and started to snipe the birds from a distance. He hit one of the terror birds with a long shot from across the clearing, using his dexterity to expert effect. Terror birds   htbm

Amella, letting the heroes take care of the situation on their own, moved away to the side of the battlefield.

Jericho started to chant, then shot a flaming ray of magic towards the terror birds, blasting them back with his arcane might.

Daegoth stepped forward, unflinching in the face of the dangerous creatures, and breathed a blast of lightning through the group of terror birds, tearing into their flesh.

Rapton retreated to the trench where Nimlar was as well, preparing to cast a spell while doing so.

Yereth took his great axe and cleaved into a nearby terror bird, slaying the great avian in a single blow. The bird flopped and writhed to the ground in its death throes, then went still.

Two of the terror birds rushed towards the tree where the fireball had originated, and jumped and snapped at Sati. They managed to slash the sorcerer for some damage, but the phanaton managed to keep his balance and avoid the other attacks.

Daegoth was attacked by a terror bird, but the avian couldn’t manage to break through the lizardfolk’s heavy armor. A second bird joined its comrade in attacking Daegoth, and this one connected and did damage through the armor.

Another terror bird rushed forward to attack Duerak, who was riding on his horse, Jerry.

The diplodocus had fled by now, and was now trotting back into the crater to rejoin the herd. Urol began to cheer as the dinosaur reached safety, then realized that the terror birds still needed to be dealt with, so quickly rushed away himself.

Tavey, still freaked out by the terror birds, but wanting to help with the battle, began to throw rocks at the flightless birds, but to no avail.

Avner, on the other hand, stood in shock at the battle that was going on before his very eyes. Kurgol rushed past the dumbfounded noble and charged at one of the terror birds, attacking him with an extra scimitar the party had found for him after he had tried to attack the previous monsters they had encountered with his fists. The half-orc unfortunately missed, but seemed unfazed.

Daelis charged into combat and attacked a terror bird with his rapier, but missed.

Sati fired a magic missile from his perch in the tree, blasting the terror birds below the tree with the spell.

Duerak dropped his bow, then brought out his axe. He slammed the weapon into the back of his pursuing terror bird, which drew a gurgling screech from the avian as it crashed to the ground, dead.

Yeris helped out as best he could, scratching and clawing at the terror birds with its talons.

Nimlar fired off a stream of arrows from his cover in the trench, slaying one terror bird while putting holes in a few others.

Jericho, for some reason, decided that he wanted to get on Avner’s good side, and teleported next to the noble, then readied his weapons.

Daegoth tore into the terror bird next to him, missing with his axe but managing to bite the creature.

Rapton finished casting his spell as he reached the trench, creating a ball of flame floating in the fey’s palm. With a word, the ball shot a jet of flame which streaked across the clearing to slay another of the terror birds.

That left four.

Yereth slashed into his attacker, tearing through muscle and bone with his axe. The terror bird fled in… well, terror, running away from the horrible warrior.

The rest of the beasts followed their pack member, rushing off into the jungle to find easier prey.


The heroes reunited, bringing each other up to speed and planning their next moves.

Yereth, almost immediately after the battle was over, approached Jericho, intent on beating him up for being close to Avner. The minotaur got the duskblade into a grapple, but Jericho explained that he was trying to protect Avner.

“I don’t believe you,” Yereth said, but he did release Jericho, letting him off with a warning. “The next time I see you near him, you are banished.”

Jericho wasn’t entirely sure if the minotaur had that power.

The party headed off on the road to Farshore, taking Urol’s “scenic yet quick” route down to the southern mountains. From there they would find a pass that went through the peaks and then go along the cliffs on the eastern shore of the Isle of Dread, eventually reaching the Olman village of Tanaroa, where they could find guides to take them the rest of the way to the colony of Farshore.

Sati Blood-Fire, who was about to head back into the jungle after helping these strangers, overheard a party member talking about the Shadow Pearls. Now being a sorcerer and living on the Isle of Dread his entire life, Sati knew a whole lot about said pearls, and happened to be on a quest to find the artifacts and study them. Since the party had encountered one already, and had heard stories of many more, the phanaton finally decided to join with them until they reached Farshore, where he could hopefully find more help for his studies.

The heroes continued on for about an hour, then stopped for a quick lunch (with Jericho training Tavey for a while). When they were about to leave, Jericho decided to apologize (again) to Avner.

“Listen, I think we should make up,” Jericho said, although maintaining his distance because of Yereth’s rule. “I can offer my services to protect you, and can do so much better than Yereth.”
“Oh shut your mouth!” Avner said, irritated.
“I can protect you longer than the minotaur!”
“Really? Really! You’re a scrawny little teenager; he’s a minotaur! He’s a big, buff, bull-thing!”
“But yet, I am extraordinarily more intelligent than said ‘bull-thing’.”
“This conversation is over!” Avner said pompously, waving his hand in annoyance. “Go away!”
“I’ll let you hit me for every time I’ve offended you.”

Avner beat the tar out of him.

The heroes tied the duskblade to Thunderstrike and continued on into the jungle. After a while, Jericho regained consciousness, and was untied and could walk with them again, though he was very sore.


At about 2’oclock, another group of terror birds intersected with their party, seeming like more of a chance encounter than a planned ambush on the bird’s part.

Daelis, always quick on his feet, rushed forward with his rapier and managed to score a hit against one of the terror birds.

Jericho fired off a ray of fire at one of the creatures, tearing through the flesh of the beast with arcane might.

The terror bird Daelis had just attacked retaliated, but the adept swashbuckler dodged the swipe. What he didn’t dodge, was the second bird who attacked him from behind.

Another of the terror birds attacked Daegoth, but couldn’t penetrate the lizardfolk’s armor.

The last of the terror birds charged Jericho, but the duskblade kept them it at bay as well.

Nimlar, calling for the companions in front of him to duck, fired off a stream of arrows, some of which connected with the bodies of the terror birds. Avner was one of the ones who ducked, and he cried out in fright as the missiles flew over his head.

“Be careful you clout!”

Rapton cast a spell at one of the terror birds, weakening the avian with a contagion.

Yereth stepped closer to one of the terror birds, then swung his axe as hard as he could into the torso of the closest enemy. The weapon gutted the poor creature, and innards began to spill out onto the jungle floor.

Daegoth brought his own axe down into the neck of one of the terror birds, almost decapitating the beast. Instead, it flopped wildly, its neck almost severed.

Sati shot down a ray of fire as well, tearing into another terror bird.

Duerak charged at another of the avians, slashing into it with his weapon. Blood squirted in every direction as the wound connected.

Urol began to taunt the “stupid terror birds”, calling them names and all around making fun of them. For some reason, even though he was a druid, and should respect all nature, these flightless birds freaked him out incredibly.

Kurgol charged into combat again, not surprisingly, and in an amazing feat of strength, slayed a terror bird with his scimitar.

The other civilians went off to the side, letting the heroes do their work.

Daelis scored another hit against one of the terror birds, and was accurate as usual, but didn’t do the massive damage that Daegoth was capable of. He won by small, careful strikes.

Jericho took his swords and cut himself across the arms, drawing the blood into the weapons and empowering them with magical energy. He swung both in a masterful stroke and almost killed his enemy, cleaving through feather, skin, muscle, and bone.

The terror bird near Daegoth took a chomp at the lizardfolk, but as an armadillo, he was safe in his shell of armor.

Another of the beasts hit Jericho with its powerful beak, doing some damage to the duskblade, but not enough to stagger him at all.

Yeris did some damage as usual, scratching at the exposed faces of the terror birds, while Nimlar fired off arrows into the midst of the avians.

Rapton, using his divine magic, summoned a sword made out of energy and send it flying towards a terror bird, slashing.

Yereth side-stepped his enemy and then finished it off in one quick motion.

Daegoth tried to score a hit on his attacker, but he missed his much more agile opponent.

Sati brought out his bow, stringing an arrow and then firing it off. Unfortunately, his archery was not as adept as his spell-casting, so the missile fell harmlessly to the ground.

Duerak charged on his warhorse, slaying a terror bird with a well-placed axe.

The last of the beasts fled into the jungle.


Toward the end of their first day of travel,the jungle began to thin. Eventually, it opened up to reveal an area littered with ancient stone ruins. The mountains directly to the south were not particularly tall, and Urol pointed out that their best chance to find a pass still lay in that direction.

Jericho, who was chronicling their journey and making a map of this area for the Noseon Society, took note of this ruin, writing down in his log and marking it on the map.

The heroes, curious as always, decided to investigate the ruins, and as they explored Jericho confirmed that the architecture was Olman, though this was slightly hard to tell because of the state of decay across the site.

They also found, much to Daelis’ (and Amella’s) discomfort, that the ruins were infested with spiders, although those of the monstrous variety seemed to avoid them and skitter off into dark holes when they drew near. Spider webs caressed the ruins, hanging between old walls and carpeting the floor. After this discovery was made, Daelis decided to stay behind and not continue to search the area, because of his fear of spiders. Amella vouched to stay with him, but not so much as to watch him as the fact that she too was afraid of spiders. Lithira

The heroes continued exploring the site, and found, in a clearing in the center of the ruins, there sat a throne made of webs and bone. As the heroes approached, they could make out the form of an old woman sitting on the throne, looking in their direction and beckoning them forward. Jericho quickly identified her as an aranea, because of her affinity for spiders and haggard appearance.

She sat on her seat, her face curious, wearing a worn gown of black silk with cobwebs. She called out to them in the language of the Olman, which Jericho easily translated.

“Who are you that has wandered into my web? You are not form this place. I have not seen your like in an age. I am Lithira, queen of these ruins. What brings you to my domain?”

Before anyone could answer, Duerak threw a rock at the old lady. It whizzed by her head, narrowly missing her.

Lithira scowled. “What did you do that for? Do you wish to incur my wrath?”

Sati, who was standing off to the side, turned invisible.

“Pay no attention to my companion over there, he is not in his right mind,” Rapton said in Olman. “We are sorry for disturbing you. We just recently crashed on this island, and are trying to go south to get to our own people.”

“That is unfortunate,” Lithira said, taking the apology in stride, though she kept a wary eye on Duerak. “Pray tell, what is the world beyond this island like? I have always wondered that.”

Rapton went on to tell the old lady of Sasserine, and their various adventures therein, and then their journey south.

Lithira listened with rapt attention, fascinated by the story.

“I thank you for your tale,” she said when Rapton had finished. "The world beyond sounds truly wondrous and I would very much like to visit it one day. As for your journey, there is little I can do to aid you. You should know that the way south is dangerous. There are unnatural things that lurk in dark places, now more so than in the past. I know that four eyes have gazed upon you and their servant seeks you out. You would do well to avoid him.
“If you plan to head south, take the dark mountain pass that travels under the peaks. It was made by the ancient ones, but beware—hungry birds nest near its opening not far from here, and they are fierce near their young. May you wander the web to find your way home.”

The heroes were puzzled by the premonition that Lithira had foretold, and asked her about it, but the aranea knew not what the meaning of her prophecy was, just that it was true. Daegoth then asked her if she knew anything about his tribe, using Rapton to translate.

“Ah, unfortunately, I do not know much of what you speak,” Lithira said. “I know that there is a tribe of lizardfolk around the area, but I know nothing about what has transpired there in the last few years.”
“But aren’t you a queen?” Rapton asked.
“Nay, I am but an exile, from my own people, forced to live a life alone. I claim mastery over these ruins, but it is but a diminutive domain.”

The heroes gave Lithira their thanks, and then set off towards the mountains to the south.


The evening had almost come to an end when the party came to the base of the peaks. After a few hours of searching, they found the pass that Lithira had told them about, but (as Lithira had also told them) there was a slight problem: a nest of terror birds stood only a hundred feet north from the entrance.

The heroes immediately started to make a plan.

They would set up position about seventy feet away, in the cover of the trees, and then Sati would hit the terror bird nest with a fireball. While the beasts were still recovering, Nimlar would bombard them with arrows while the rest of them charged the terror birds.

When they were ready, Sati, from his spot in a tall tree, shot a massive fireball streaking into the unsuspecting terror birds. The nests ignited, as well as the avians themselves, and the small plateau turned into a swath of chaos as the crazed birds ran this way and that, shocked and injured by the attack.

Duerak kicked his horse’s flanks, sending it galloping up the hill towards the nest. The half-dwarf raised his axe aloft and yelled a battle-cry as he flew at his enemies.

Sati, wasting no time, quickly cast another fireball, and blasted more of the terror birds with deadly flame.

Jericho cut himself with his blades, then charged up the hillside himself, though he did not shout a battle-cry, instead stalking up with a deathly silence.

Nimlar loosed an arrow from his bowstring, cutting through a flaming terror bird, then nocked another and fired. The second arrow cut deep into one of the larger birds, sending a shriek from the thing’s throat.

Yereth and Daelis followed the others, charging up the hill with their respective weapons.

The terror birds finally recovered from the chaos, and one charged toward Yereth and crashed into him with deadly force. Bird and minotaur tumbled down the sharp incline and landed at the bottom in a heap of fur and feathers.

Another terror bird slashed at Daelis, knocking him over and creating a bloody gash on his side. Daelis managed to dodge out the way of the next strike that the avian made though, one that would’ve been fatal.

Rapton shot into a sprint as well, though he didn’t charge at the enemy. Rather, he ran towards Daelis, to try to help him out in his battle with one of the larger terror birds.

Daegoth started to sprint up the incline, then stopped suddenly and breathed an arc of lightning from his gaping maw, which blasted into and through the terror birds uphill.

Duerak galloped by one of the terror birds on his warhorse, chopping at it with his axe. The bird screeched and just managed to dodge the attack as the half-dwarf thundered by.

Sati began to summon the magical energy to fire off another fireball, then blasted it once more into the ranks of the birds below, setting more birds aflame, and slaying one of them.

Nimlar’s eagle Yeris swooped down and began to scratch at the terror birds, not doing much damage, but distracting the birds enough for Nimlar to strike a brutal blow against one of the avians. The terror bird gurgled as an arrow connected with its throat.

Yereth stopped his charge and then began to cast a spell, trying to enchant one of the terror birds.

He failed.

The terror bird took another chunk of flesh out of Daelis as they wrestled on the ground. Daelis tried to get the terrible bird off of him so he could get to his rapier, but with no luck.

Rapton cast a spell on Daelis, healing his serious wounds so that the swashbuckler could fight back.

Daegoth, seeing his companion in dire need of assistance, ran towards the struggle, then grabbed the swashbuckler out of the way, and tackled the terror bird himself.

Kurgol charged in as well, though the other civilians stayed behind, slashing at the terror bird nearest to him with his scimitar. Though he managed to hold the bird’s attention, he did little else, not scoring a clean blow.

Duerak circled the nest and then charged back at the terror birds, hitting one in the face with his axe as he galloped past. Gore flew as the weapon connected with the thing’s skull.

Sati started to cast another spell, but instead of a fireball, he shot a ray of flame instead, scorching the earth near his enemies and connecting with one of the birds in a burst of heat.

The smell of burning flesh was heavy in the air by now.

Jericho, with his magically imbued swords, stabbed into another one of the birds, finishing it off with a sickly blow.

Yeris continued to annoy the birds, while Nimlar fired arrows, but to little avail.

Yereth slew another of the terror birds with a mighty blow from his axe, since his spells were doing little to help.

The terror bird now in a contest of death with Daegoth, managed to penetrate the heavy armor of the lizardfolk and strike his flesh with a grinding sound.

Rapton readied his mace and then smashed into the terror bird now attacking Daegoth, crushing the thing’s leg.

Daegoth ripped with deadly ferocity into his enemy, biting and tearing and slashing, and in the end almost killing the beast.

Kurgol, his own enemy slain, moved to one of the last terror birds, but did little to hurt that one either.

Duerak, his enemy slain, rode down the incline again, firing an arrow off from his shortbow into a terror bird’s torso.

Sati shot another scorching ray at the birds, creating more chaos and flame, and reducing the number of terror birds to a single one.

Nimlar shot a final arrow and pierced the bird’s eye, sinking into it’s brain and killing it.

After the fire had burned out to a low ember, Urol searched through the terror bird nest and found a single surviving egg, which he kept and protected almost territorially.

The party, after some surveying of the area, found the pass that Lithira had told them about and, being wounded and weary, decided to camp just inside the entrance.

It had been an eventful first day on their journey towards Farshore, and they were sure they would need their strength in order to protect themselves, and each other…


Sunday, October 17th, 1234 AY

After a good night’s rest, the heroes headed off down the tunnel, which, according to their information, should lead to the other side of the mountains at the edge of the cliffs on the eastern side of the island. Dark mountain pass

Rapton used his divine magic to create a light from a small stone, which he used to guide their way through the corridor.

The heroes however, started to feel like they were being watched, though they couldn’t see anything…

Amella was unhappy that they were going underground, since she didn’t exactly trust that the roof wouldn’t just fall in on her. She kept close to Daelis during their excursion in the tunnel, and seemed to never leave his side.

Avner was ecstatic of the fact that there were no terror birds, and was very chipper during the journey.

He commented lightly to the party as the walked, “I wonder if we could find any fresh food or some wine around here! Now that would be a good thing.”

Even though the party was a little skeptical about Avner’s expectations of their current situation, they were at least happy that the nobleman wasn’t whining at the moment.

Thunderstrike, Avner’s horse, was nervous as they plodded on through the pass, and he made a painfully large amount of noise as he trotted skittishly across the carved stone.

Urol was happy, and thanked the party for saving the diplodocus extensively, before he was distracted by a curious change in the architectural style along the tunnel.

About halfway through the tunnel, they heard the faint sound of tumbling rocks behind them. The dim light that informed them that the outside world still awaited them vanished suddenly, and they were left only in the illumination Rapton’s spell provided.

Someone had trapped them inside.

Having no choice but to continue on, the heroes did so. Soon they reached the end of the long narrow tunnel, and came into a complex that marked the last stretch of the underground pass.

Urol identified the complex as a kind of reception hall, where visitors going further into the island were made prepared for their journey to the capital of Thanaclan. Dmp complex

The chamber they first came into was large, and it was shrouded in darkness. Rapton’s light did not seem to penetrate the darkest corners of the room, and shadows danced across the walls as the heroes entered. A small, stagnant fountain lay directly opposite the entrance, while a stone throne sat on a dais at the far end of the room. A humanoid rib cage was pinned to the throne, held there by an ancient spear, while all around it laid the remainder of the poor soul’s bones.

Amella became angry as they entered the chamber, and cursed aloud.

“What’s wrong?” Daelis said.
“I can’t believe there is still more to go through!” Amella exclaimed. “I thought we’d be out of the dreadful place by now.”

Avner, his usual nosy self, began to search around the room, probably looking to see if there was any wine around, though it was unlikely.

Kurgol went immediately to study the bones, and the heroes were slightly chagrined by his grim fascination (it seemed) with death.

Urol examined the throne, marveling at the Olman architecture.

“This architecture is amazing! Truly magnificent!” Urol said.
“What is architecture?” Yereth said, confused by the Common word.
“Well, it means buildings,” Urol said. “Like a style of building things.”
Yereth nodded and walked over to Daegoth. “Architecture means different types of buildings.”

Sati went straight for the spear, and after checking it over and realizing that it had a magical aura on it, was delighted to find that this was the kind of spear he used. It was a little long, since it was made for a human and not a phanaton, but after getting some help from Daegoth in cutting a length off of the shaft, treated himself to a new weapon.

The rest of the heroes searched through the small room, looking for anything valuable. Daegoth found a simple necklace made of triangular gold plates on the throne’s seat, which he took and stowed away in his pack, planning to sell it in Farshore.

“I found something!” Avner shouted as he peered into the dark water of the fountain. “Bring a light over here!”

Rapton did so, and they saw what Avner had discovered: a red stone rod sitting in the bottom of the stagnant water that lay in the fountain, some eight feet down. Daegoth lowered himself in and recovered the item.

“It looks like some kind of key,” Urol commented as the lizardfolk came out of the fountain. “Do you see the slight grooves on the sides? It looks like it fits into some kind of slot.”

The others agreed and they kept the rod for later use, giving it to Sati to safeguard.

After another cursory search of the room, which turned up nothing, they continued on to the exit of the chamber, a ten foot wide staircase that ascended about three yards before ending at a broad platform overlooking a wide chasm. Two primitive stone statues flanked the balcony, their impassive countenances caked with mildew. The chasm itself dropped away into a black gulf of swirling water. Two bridges spanned the chasm, exiting the room through separate double doors on the far side. Bridge chasm

The heroes continued, choosing to go across the bridge on the right, and were careful not to trip, lest they fall into the gaping pit below.

Suddenly, the party spotted something skittering on the rock ceiling of the cavern, and, from the darkness, appeared three giant centipedes, their carapaces a dark brown. They crawled down the cavern walls, one coming from their front, another from behind, and the last dipping down from a low-spot on the ceiling to dangle right in the middle of them.

The heroes readied for a fight.


Yeris swooped down and began to attack one of the centipedes, though the eagle did little but distract the vermin.

Nimlar fired off arrows at the one in front of the party, while Daelis and Daegoth moved to hold it off with melee.

Duerak pulled out his bow as well, then reversed his position in the saddle, so that he could fire at the centipede coming from behind them. An arrow connected with the creature, sinking into the exoskeleton with a sickening crunch.

Yereth fought off the one coming from behind as well, slashing at it with his axe and scoring a few good hits.

Sati shot a fireball back towards the same centipede, and the flames blasted into the vermin with deadly ferocity.

Daegoth blasted the centipede in front of them with his lightning breath, repelling the creature for a few moments so Daelis could get into position to attack it with his rapier. Giant centipede

Jericho was helping Yereth in the back of the party, fending off the centipede coming from that direction.

Rapton pulled out his crossbow and shot a bolt towards the centipede as well, scoring a hit against its head, which caused the bug to emit an unearthly moan.

The centipede in the front tried to penetrate Daegoth’s armor, but of course, it was unsuccessful.

The centipede clinging to the ceiling, who had done nothing but wait so far, promptly dropped into the middle of the party, shrieking.

Now they were being attacked on three sides, and the party was split down the center…

The flanking centipede tried to make an easy meal out of Avner’s horse, and managed to wound the animal pretty badly… which sent it into a panic.

Jericho made a grab at the horse’s reigns, and succeeded—but got his hand caught, and was suddenly pulled off his feet. Thunderstrike bolted back onto the platform, dragging the poor Jericho behind it.

Avner cried out, and then exclaimed, “I wish we had a couple of nice terror birds instead of these stupid bugs!”

The heroes rolled their eyes.

Yeris continued to scratch at the centipede from behind while Nimlar fired off his arrows at that one as well. His missiles sunk into the flesh of the vermin, and it went still.

One was dead, two remained.

Duerak, the third centipede now lying right in front of him, dropped his bow and grabbed out his axe and shield, laying into the vermin.

Yereth now turned to the middle centipede and began to wail on it as well, slashing with his axe and almost killing the thing.

Daegoth took his own axe and finished off the one in front of them, then the rest of the party turned to face the last centipede.

Sati shot a ray of flame towards the centipede, engulfing it in fire and causing it to shriek again.

Daelis ran up, and scored his first hit against the vermin, since he had been fighting defensely before.

Daegoth reached the fight by then, and finished the centipede off with a mighty blow with his axe.


After recovering Thunderstrike and Jericho, the heroes continued on, crossing the bridge without anymore difficulty. Rapton healed anyone who needed it with his magic as well.

On the other side of the chasm, the heroes went through two double doors—after Daegoth and Yereth pried it open, since it was slightly stuck—into a chamber in which one corner had completely crumbled away to reveal a stagnant pool of water, its surface calm, dark, and mysterious.

Nimlar went immediately to explore the pool, but suddenly, from the water appeared a huge midnight black ooze, its surface a transparent obsidian. Directly behind it was another smaller ooze, this one cold grey in color.

Nimlar stood right in the path of the aberrations…

Duerak reacted quickly, grabbing out his axe and charging—astride his horse—at the largest of the oozes, laying into the creature with reckless abandon.

Yereth as well, charged with his axe and swung, but to the two warrior’s horror, their attacks did no damage. Instead, the blows split the black pudding down the middle creating two enemies each half the size of the original.

Sati sent a ball of fire slicing through the air and exploding into the three oozes, slaying the smaller gray one.

Daegoth blasted into the two remaining oozes with his lightning breath, damaging them with crackling electricity.

Yereth slashed into one of the oozes with his axe, splitting it down the center again, and creating more, but weaker, enemies.

Nimlar said a few choice words in the tongue of magic, creating a web of vines to try and entangle the gelatin creatures. Though it didn’t do much to hinder them, they did stay put.

Rapton cast a spell as well, providing Daegoth with protection from acid.

Duerak rode around the black masses, cutting into one of the man-sized oozes and splitting it in half again.

Sati sent another fireball hurtling towards the oozes. The sphere exploded and killed all of the now small oozes, ending the battle.

The only exit to the room was through a pair of doors leading north, so the heroes rested for a few minutes and then continued on.


Two gigantic iron doors stood closed to the south in this small chamber, decorated with symbols of water and sea-life in tarnished copper. Opposite of them were a pair of pedestals, each with a peculiar notch cut into the side. One of these pedestals was made from a dusky red granite, while the other was crafted of light blue marble.

The heroes immediately recognized that the rod they had found earlier fit into the red column, so they inserted it perfectly into the notch. The doors, when they tried to open it, would not budge, however, and it seemed like they would need to find a blue rod as well.

The heroes, through a door once again to the north, entered the only part of the complex they hadn’t explored yet, searching for the other key. They left the horses, and all of the other people besides Urol and Avner, in the chamber with the doors.

Deep niches were set into the walls of the ten-foot-wide corridor, each holding fragments of human skeletons caked in mold and fungus. Rusted metal collars and iron necklaces rested in each niche as well, and a few still retained fragments of crumbling burial shrouds. On spaces where no niches had been carved, intricate murals of a skeletal humanoid or hound, each wreathed in a long, coiling snake, decorated the walls.

Avner immediately began to nose around at the various niches, despite his previous fright, as did Urol, though the scholarly gnome did so at a more respectful distance.

Avner saw a particularly beautiful golden necklace, and he began to reach out his hand for it…

Yereth, meanwhile, was searching around the room as well, when he, by accident, discovered a secret door a hundred feet down the corridor.

The door, a piece of the wall which slid into the hollow part of the wall piece next to it, slid open just as Avner’s hand grasped the necklace.

The mummified Olman grabbed Avner.

Avner screamed.

The mummies, one by one, crawled from their niches to do battle.

Daelis acted quickly, drawing both of his rapiers and rushing up to the mummy attacking Avner, then stabbing it in the shoulder. The mummmy moaned and dropped the horrified nobleman in a heap on the cold stone floor.

Yeris flew at one of the mummies and began to scratch it, but did little to hinder the undead menace.

Nimlar shot off his arrows as fast as he could, sinking a few of them into a mummy.

Rapton grasped his holy symbol between his clenched fist, chanting. He rushed up to a mummy and blasted it with natural energy. The mummy flinched back, moaning in pain.

Duerak slashed into another mummy with his axe, chopping off chunks of rotted flesh from the gruesome creature.

The mummies fought back, however, slamming into the heroes. One attacked Jericho, doing some major damage, while Jericho fought to resist the deadly mummy rot inherent in his enemy’s strikes.

Another slammed Daelis in the side, crashing him into the wall on the far side of the corridor.

Sati leaped to the side of the corridor, shooting off a scorching ray as he did so, which blasted into a nearby undead.

Yereth tackled another of the mummies, resisting the mummy rot and pinning the aberration to the ground.

Daegoth blasted the mummies with lightning, the rays of thunder arcing through the air with a deadly beauty.

Avner and Urol took the distractions of the heroes and used them to flee the corridor, getting out of reach of the mummies.

Daelis struggled to get unpinned from the wall, and barely managed to raise his rapier to stab into the mummy’s torso. The mummy moaned again and stepped back slightly, so Daelis took the advantage and charged.

Nimlar shot off four more arrows, missing two of them, but the other pair sinking in once again to an unsuspecting mummy.

Rapton shot another wave of natural energy at the unholy creation, and then attempted to smash it with his mace, but the mummy managed to get out of the way and only caught a glancing blow.

Duerak killed the mummy Yereth was grappling with his axe, bringing it down with a heavy blow to the head, and then charged another of the things.

The mummy attacking Daelis clobbered the swashbuckler with a wrapped hand, hurling him against the far wall again.

Sati shot another scorching ray at the menaces, blasting one of their arms off.

Yereth grappled another mummy, pinning it against a niche and crushing the mummy’s head with his massive arms.

Daegoth slashed at a mummy with his axe, then took a chance and bit down hard on the rotten flesh, tearing off chunks of it in the process.

Daelis took a slash at the mummy he was facing, but missed pitifully, and, unfortunately, causing him to expose himself…

Nimlar shot off a volley of arrows, once again, and got a few shots in at the mummies, but nothing to slay any of them.

Rapton blasted another mummy into oblivion with the natural power he possessed, utterly destroying the creature.

Duerak charged another mummy, slashing it with his axe and chopping away more decaying flesh.

Another of the mummies attacked Yereth from behind, clawing at him with it’s unearthly paws. The minotaur roared as he tried to keep his other enemy pinned while another was on his back.

Yereth killed the one he had pinned with a gore, and threw the other mummy off with a shrug. As he began to fight the other mummy, he saw Avner, who sat whimpering next to one of the empty niches.

“Avner, get out of here!” he yelled as he tackled the second mummy.

Daegoth tried to attack a mummy with his axe, but he missed, so he blasted it in the face with lightning instead.

The mummy attacking Daelis slammed into him violently, but the swashbuckler brought his rapier up just in time to run through the undead, slaying it.

Nimlar fired off an arrow, catching a mummy in the throat. The aberration moaned as it died, crumpling to the floor.

Rapton blasted another mummy with natural energy, disintegrating it.

Yereth snapped the neck of the last mummy, and threw the disembodied head against the wall of the corridor, destroying it utterly.


The heroes entered the chamber that had been unlocked at the start of the battle, a small crypt dominated by a large stone sarcophagus. Both the walls of the room and the sarcophagus itself were covered in decorative patterns and carvings of animals. The top of the sarcophagus depicted a man dressed in robes, wearing a feathered headdress, and clutching a blue rod in one hand and a ceremonial dagger in the other.

Since the stone rod depicting on the top of the sarcophagus was only that, a depiction, the heroes surmised that they had to open the coffin to get the actual rod.

The plan they devised was this: Nimlar would tie a rope on to the handle of the sarcophagus, get a safe distance away, and pull it open. Sati would shoot a fireball inside, hopefully destroying any mummy inside.

The plan went perfectly, until they opened it.

Instead of a mummy being inside, it was just a regular corpse. But something did happen.

Nimlar took a small spear to the side.

And suddenly the room was filled with flying spears.

The heroes all took spears, and unfortunately, the spears were poisoned. After the spears were finished flying everywhere. Rapton, who had luckily but mostly uninjured, healed everyone and cured the poison that would have been damaging had he not been there.

Inside the sarcophagus, on the corpse, was the blue stone rod, a ceremonial silver dagger, and around the neck of the corpse was a golden medallion inset with a shining pink pearl of power.

The heroes went back to the exit, now with the other key in hand, but before they opened the door, by popular consent, the party decided to rest in the exit chamber for a day. They were confident that they had enough food to make it to Farshore, and they felt safe in the tunnel, since they had cleared it out pretty thoroughly.

And so the heroes rested, content in the knowledge that they had made it through another day.

Monday, October 18th, 1234 AY

On the afternoon of the 18th, after the party had gotten considerable rest, they inserted the second rod, and opened the doors.

The heavy iron portals opened with a creak and a spinning of gears, exposing the tunnel to the outside world for the first time in years, possibly even centuries. Urol had explained that these doors were “water doors” made to keep the rising waters of the bay from flooding the chambers within during high tide. There was usually an Olman phrase that unlocked the doors, but, luckily, since it was highly improbable that either Urol or Jericho could stumble upon the right combination of words, the Olman creators had made the rods as a fail-safe, in case the pass-phrase was lost or forgotten.

As the water doors opened, the smell of fresh salt air flooded the chamber from the world outside. Beyond the doors was a broad set of seaweed-choked stairs that led down to a small beach. The waters nearby looked shallow, and the sun sparkled on the slowly eddying waves.

Amella shouted in excitement, reaching out and hugging Daelis. She then froze, and slowly retracted her embrace, looking embarrassed. She was still excited, however.

Avner looked around anxiously, obviously checking to make sure there were no terror birds. After a moment, he relaxed, but he muttered under his breath, “I hate those nasty birds…”

The rest of the party had different but milder reactions, but the overall consensus was that everyone was happy to be out of the tunnels.

Daegoth, happy to be by the water, waded into the shallow bay to check and make sure no hidden menaces were… well, hiding.

He was promptly attacked by giant crabs.


Daelis charged into the fray, attacking one of the crabs with his rapier and catching the blade in its face.

The crab retaliated, but the agile swashbuckler dodged out of the way of the clumsy swing. Two more of the crustaceans attacked Daegoth, but his heavy armor prevented them from causing him any harm.

Duerak spurred his horse forward, churning through the shallow water of the bay towards the waiting crabs. The half-dwarf swung down with his axe, chopping a crack into the shell of the crab closest to him.

Nimlar fired off an arrow at one of the crabs, hitting it square in the claw, but in reality not doing much to harm it. Another arrow took it in the eye, though, and the creature shrieked shrilly.

Sati cast a quick spell, launching him into the air, and he flew across the expanse to the stairs on the other side of the bay.

Daegoth splashed through the water and brought his axe down hard on a crab, smashing it in its shell. He immediately swung again, slashing another crab.

Yereth charged through the shallow water, then crashed into a crab with his axe as well, killing one instantly.

Daelis stabbed another crab in the eye, slaying it.

Duerak trampled over another crab, crushing it beneath his horse’s hooves. He finished it off with an axe blow to the head, then pulled his horse to a stop.

Nimlar slayed the last crab with a final arrow, and the crustacean let out a gurgling shriek before dying in the salt water of the bay.


The battle was over, but before anyone could even catch their breath, Nimlar yelled to Sati, “What were you doing?! You could have helped us! Instead you fly off and leave us to fend for ourselves?!”
“Imbeciles!” Sati shouted back, his face cracking an evil grin. “The shadow pearls are mine!!!”

Nimlar’s eyes widened.

“No.”

Sati shot a fireball directly at the heroes.

Everyone dove under the water, and most of them managed to dodge the worst of the flames, but Jerry, Duerak’s horse, took the blast full on. The poor animal fell into the water, struggling to keep from drowning. Duerak was thrown off from the beast, landing in the water a few feet away.

Daegoth dropped his shield as he went under the water, then began to crocodile swim his way towards his once ally, now enemy.

The sorcerer laughed, then flew off into the sky, his spell still active.

Duerak came up with a splutter, then grabbed his bow out, stringing an arrow and firing it, though the missile failed to hit it’s target.

Yeris flew towards the phanaton, talons at the ready.

Nimlar drew his bow as well, firing off a few arrows, but only one connected, nicking the sorcerer as he flew overhead.

Sati flew higher and higher, then slowed, turned and shot one final blast of flame at the heroes.

The heroes were ready this time, however, and weathered the fireball with little damage. Jerry had gotten upright, and though the horse was singed, he was relatively intact.

Sati was far off by now, but Nimlar, enraged after this betrayal, lined up another shot. He fired. And he hit.

The phanaton was struck square in the chest, and his flight wobbled, but continued nevertheless.

Nimlar lined one final arrow up.

Shot. Hit.

Sati dropped out of the sky.

The heroes cried out in victory.

Nimlar cried out in distress.

He saw, with his enhanced elven vision, Sati pull out an obsidian pearl the size of a human fist. And crack it.

A drop of blood hit the pearl.

And the Shadow Pearl was activated.

“NO!”

The heroes ran back into the complex—as if that would help them somewhat—and tried to figure out SOME way to block the effects of the pearl. They knew they had one minute before the pearl activated.

They couldn’t get to the pearl in time, and even if they could, they had no way of containing it. They couldn’t get away fast enough, since the radius was a mile wide.

Then they realized. There WAS no way.

So they huddled together and waited for the inevitable.

They felt and saw a green blast of energy, and they all felt nauseated. But they opened their eyes, and no one was changed.

They had survived.

But Avner’s horse, Thunderstrike, had not.

The heroes not-so reluctantly slayed the mutated horse, and Duerak took it’s horns to keep as a trophy, something that Avner did not approve of.

But in the long run, they had been lucky.

The heroes looked out over the bay, and then set out to Farshore…

View
Chapter 14: Shipwrecked!
The heroes are shipwrecked on the Isle of Dread!

Savage Tide

Part IV: Here There Be Monsters
Chapter 14: Shipwrecked!

Our Cast:

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Yereth Cloud-Walker (Connor) Minotaur Barbarian/Druid

Friday, October 15th, 1234 AY Daelis eye

Daelis opened his eyes.

He was on a sandy beach, washed ashore by the tide. He was sore, in body and mind, and very disoriented.

The swashbuckler got to his feet, and saw the jungle, a looming, primal mass of twisted vegetation that met the thin strip of beach, branches shadowing the sandy shore.

Daelis turned, towards the ocean, spotting the Sea Wyvern shipwrecked upon a small reef a few hundred feet from shore, damaged to the point of uselessness.

Suddenly, a noise from the nearby jungle made him spin around in surprise. Daelis saw the brush in the jungle rustling—something was coming.

The half-elf reached for his sword, but alas… it was gone.

Instead, he grabbed his sap, readying for combat against whatever might come out of the trees.

Out strode a minotaur, hoisting a large greataxe over his shoulder. He stopped suddenly, seeing the swashbuckler.

“Who are you?”
“Daelis Eagleheart,” the swashbuckler replied, still holding his sap before him.
“And what are you doing here?” The minotaur asked, eyes searching.
“We came to aid Farshore, but instead we crash-landed on this forsaken beach.”
“Farshore?” the minotaur asked, confused. “I don’t recognize that name.”

Silence.

“So you shipwrecked here? Should we go save your companions or where you sailing alone?”

Daelis laughed, thinking that the minotaur had just made a joke, but when he looked closer at him, he realized that the axe-wielding sentient was being completely serious. He quickly became serious again and said a quick word of agreement.

They scoured the beach looking for the rest of the crew and passengers, eventually turning up a soggy and unconscious—but alive—Jericho.

“You brought a kid with you?” said Yereth (the name of the minotaur), wrinkling his face as they pulled Jericho from the tides.

They woke him up, and the duskblade spit out water as he came to, coughing with pain.

“Who’s this person?” Jericho asked, referring to Yereth.

They were introduced, and then the three went to work on finding the others.

Daelis found his rapier in the sand, luckily undamaged, and returned it to its sheath.

Yereth, meanwhile, found Daegoth. The lizardfolk came to, and grumbled solemnly.

“I hate when I do this…” He mumbled.

They saw Tavey next, floating in the water, unmoving. Jericho thought he might be dead, but closer inspection proved that he was alive and well.

Tavey awoke in a daze, confused and scared at his surroundings.

“Where are we?” he asked as he spit up water. Isle of dread shore
“The Isle of Dread my friend!” Jericho replied, helping the lad to his feet.

They found Urol as well, and though the gnome was scraped up a bit, he seemed basically fine, and was overjoyed (despite the inconvenience of being shipwrecked) to be on the Isle of Dread again. After making sure his companion Miss Crazzle the crow was okay, he immediately set out to explore the various tide-pools on the beach front.

Next Daelis found Amella. Coughing up water, Amella awoke, shaken by the violent storm the night before.

“Is she alright?” Yereth asked. The minotaur leaned down and checked Amella, to see if she was alright.

“She’s dead,” he said after a couple of minutes.
“What?” Amella said, clearly still alive. “I’m right here! I’m breathing!”
“Oh,” Yereth said. “Alright then.”

“What happened?” Amella asked, as the minotaur walked away.
“Well,” Jericho said, sarcasm permeating his words. “Your marvelous steering got us on those rocks over there!” He pointed to the Sea Wyvern two hundred feet out.
“Like you would have done any better?” Amella snapped.
Jericho waved off that comment. “At least we survived.” After a moment of thought, he continued. “Speaking of dead people, where’s Avner?”

Down the beach away, Avner Meravanchi stood, squeezing water out of his shirt. He spotted the heroes, and then proceeded to march up to them and start to hurl insults at them.

“I demand you tell me right now how you’re going to provide for my safety on this dreaded isle!” Avner started, but he was ignored. The party was getting pretty sick of the noble’s whining, and isntead, they turned to Yereth.
“So what are you doing here anyway?” Jericho asked the minotaur, as the druid’s origins and intentions were still unknown.
“Yeah, who are you?” Daegoth added.
“I was sent a vision from the island,” Yereth answered, his voice going soft.
“The island sent you a vision…” Daelis reiterated skeptically.
“Yes. Don’t islands send you visions sometimes?” Yereth asked in all seriousness.
“Not that I can recall no… My cousin Nimlar had a vision but it wasn’t from an island.”
“I see visions of dead kobolds,” Jericho said sarcastically.
“That’s just your daydreams,” Daelis said. Then he turned back to Yereth. “That’s the only reason why you’re here?”
“Well, not really,” Yereth said. “I was also hunting a Big One.”
“A big one?” Daelis and Jericho asked in unison.
“A Big One.”
“Alright,” Daelis said. “I’ll take your word for it.”
“I know what he’s talking about,” Daegoth said. “Terrible lizards that prowl around the jungle. They’re good to eat, too.”
“Thunder lizards?” Urol asked from nearby. “Yes, I know of them. Pretty dangerous. Huge beasts, not too smart, but terribly ferocious. They have very tiny arms, though.”
“Sometimes I hunt Sharp Ones as well,” Yereth said. Then he turned to Daegoth. “Do you hunt Sharp Ones?”
“Yes I do.”
“I have a Sharp One and a Horned One as well,” Yereth said, gesturing to some unknown companion in the jungle. “Ishat! Temul!”"

A raptor known as a Fleshraker trotted out of the underbrush, along with a rhinoceros. Yereth introduced the two animals as Ishat and Temul, and said that they were his companions.

Daegoth was confused. “These don’t live on Gala re Zathos,” he said, pointing to the rhino.

Yereth began to rant in his native tongue. The rest of the party looked incredulous.

The party was going to ask the minotaur about what he was saying, but Avner interrupted again.

“Is anyone listening to me?! I said, what are you going to do to insure my safety?”

Jericho responded by drawing his sword and putting it up to Avner’s exposed neck.

Yereth was puzzled by this. “Is this man a Bad One?”
“No,” Jericho said. “Just the Annoying One who should kill himself.”
“But all people are created equal are they not?”
“No, not in his eyes.”
Yereth glared at Avner. “Man, you need to be taught a lesson. All people are created equal…there, what’s next?”
“Maybe you should punch him in the face.”
Daegoth interrupted. “What is your name, minotaur?”
“I am Yereth Cloud-Walker, guardian of the Isle of Dread.”
“I am Daegoth of the Zay’Dinoq tribe.”

Avner interrupted for a third time, even though Jericho’s sword was at his throat.

“You’re not going to do that Jericho, so just drop the weapon.”

So Jericho kicked him in the spot where no man should ever be kicked. Avner keeled over and started gasping in pain, crying out with loud wails.
“You—jerk—“ He said, gritting his teeth through the pain. “I—need—those!”
“We do not need more of you running around!” Jericho retorted.

Daegoth helped Avner to his feet as Yereth grabbed Jericho’s arms, twisted until the duskblade’s swords dropped from his grip, and then put him in an armhold.

“Now what was that for?” Yereth asked calmly.
“He’s been annoying this entire trip,” Jericho responded.
“You don’t do that to your own companions!”

Jericho began to protest, but Yereth put his fingers to his lips.

“Shh…” Yereth said quietly, listening. “I hear something.”

Silence.

“It’s a Big One.” Tyrannosaurus rex

Just then, a huge tyrannosaurus rex plodded out of the jungle, roaring with ferocity as it eagerly faced its new meal.

Yereth threw Jericho to the ground as he faced his prey.
“I’ll deal with you later.”

Amella, Urol, Tavey, Kurgol (who they had also found washed up on shore), and Avner ran at the first sign of the monster, content to let the adventurers handle the giant beastie. They gathered near a tidepool, waiting for the fight to finish.

Daelis acted first, shooting a crossbow bolt at the dinosaur. The missile connected with the thick hide of the beast, but it did not seem to do much to deter it.

Jericho pulled himself to his feet and side-stepped to the right of the party. He drew out his bow and fired an arrow at the monster, which scored a hit on the beast’s thigh. Once again, however, it did not do much damage.

Daegoth started to charge forward, then opened his mouth and set lightning arcing towards the dinosaur. The tyrannosaurus took the full force of the blast, roaring in pain as the electricity surged through it’s body.

Yereth charged the lizard with his axe, laying into the dinosaur for all he was worth. The weapon dug into the beast’s leg, drawing gore and blood.

The tyrannosaurus roared again, and then reached over and chomped down on the minotaur, rending and tearing his flesh. Yereth was being eaten alive

Daelis fired another crossbow bolt, which hit, but once again, it was like a needle poking… well, a needle poking a tyrannosaurus.

Yereth began to thrash around with his greataxe and his horns, tearing up the exposed flesh of the dinosaur’s mouth. The tyrannosaurus bellowed in pain, well, as much as it could with the minotaur still in its mouth.

The beast started to try to swallow Yereth then, but unfortunately, the powerful build of the minotaur prevented it from doing so, leaving Yereth still in the dinosaur’s mouth thrashing around.

So the tyrannosaurus bit down instead.

It began chewing Yereth up, sending waves of pain coursing through the minotaur’s body.

Daelis charged the animal, stabbing into it with his rapier, but unfortunately it did not do much in the way of hindrance to the great beast.

Jericho pulled another arrow from his quiver and sent it flying through the air towards the tyrannosaurus. It connected solidly, adding to the beast’s wounds.

Daegoth finished his charge, slashing the animal with his axe and biting in deep into the beast’s flesh.

Yereth slashed some more from within the beast’s mouth, and the dinosaur looked like it would drop him at any moment, if just to stop the minotaur’s barrage of damage against its jaws.

The dinosaur finally dropped Yereth from its mouth, and the minotaur landed on the ground with a thud. The beast had realized that it couldn’t swallow its meal, and it was desperately hungry.

Yereth noticed that the other party members were fighting the beast at this time, and looked angry.

“You idiots! I was fighting the Big One fine by myself!”
Daelis frowned. “Yeah, by getting chewed.”
“Exactly,” Yereth said. “He let me out after I stabbed him a couple times.”

Daelis just rolled his eyes.

Unfortunately, the fight was far from over. The tyrannosaurus charged Daelis instead, seeking an easier kill, and bit down on the swashbuckler. The beast’s teeth tore his flesh tremendously, and the half-elf screamed in pain as he dangled from the animal’s jaws.

Daelis regained enough sense to attack, though, and a moment later stabbed into the beast’s mouth with his rapier.

Jericho threw down his bow and grabbed his dual swords, then charged the tyrannosaurus. His swords connected with a sickening sound.

Daegoth brought his axe down on the dinosaur’s neck, and cut almost halfway through, then swung again. The attack connected, and the beast’s head fell to the sand of the beach.

They had killed a tyrannosaurus rex.

Yereth stood up from his position on the ground and immediately went over to the other adventurers.

“What were you doing?! That was my battle!”
“We were saving your butt, that’s what we were doing,” Daelis commented.
“I didn’t need saving. It spit me out and I killed it.”
“Daegoth killed it,” Seth broke in. The others agreed.
Yereth paused. “It’s dead, does it matter?”

Amella, Urol, Avner, Tavey, and Kurgol, who had kept away from the fight and let the adventurers do their work, made their way down the beach towards the heroes. Avner, who was at the head of the pack, was absolutely furious about the attack and demanded once again that the heroes make all efforts to ensure his safety and wellbeing.

“You almost let me get eaten by that gigantic beast!” Avner shouted, the veins in his neck bulging. “I want to know how you’ll ensure my safety!”
Daelis pulled a dagger from his belt and handed it to Avner. “Ensure your own safety.”

Meanwhile, Daegoth was cutting out the heart of the dinosaur, a traditional ritual after a hunt in the lizardfolk culture.

Amella followed behind Avner, looking miserable, and Tavey was next. The cabin boy went up to Jericho and offered to help clean up the mess.

“We’re not on the ship anymore,” Jericho said. “You don’t have to clean up.”

Kurgol followed, looking into the jungle with a grim seriousness.

Urol strayed a bit behind the others, picking up pieces of seaweed, shells, and any other natural specimens he can get his hands on. He muttered to himself and took notes furiously in a large water-proof book.

Jericho walked up to Kurgol and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Are you okay?”
Kurgol looked at him and nodded. “I just have a feeling that this isn’t going to be a very friendly place.”

Now Daelis was injured from the fight, so the heroes made a camp on the beach while Daegoth stitched him up with his dragon shaman abilities. They also figured out what exactly they were going to do.

For starters, they didn’t know where they were. They knew they were on the Isle of Dread, but where specifically on the island was a little trickier.

“Where are we?” Jericho asked Yereth, who had lived on the island his whole life and would probably know.
“We are the northeast shore of the island.”

Farshore was at the very south of the Isle of Dread, situated on a small separate island called Temute. To get there, they just had to head south, but what route to take was the question.

Urol, luckily, had been thinking ahead and pulled out a map of the Isle of Dread. Giddy at the prospect, he started to plan a route that “while scenic, remained quick and safe”. The route would take them through the jungle to the mountains directly to the south of them, through said mountains, and then along the bay, eventually leading to the village of Tanaroa, the first of a number of native settlements that surrounds the colony of Farshore. The journey to Tanaroa alone was approximately one-hundred and thirty days, and Urol estimated that the trip should take ten days to complete.

Yereth didn’t care much for this though, and was about to leave (since he had just come here because he was tracking down a Big One), when Avner asked him where he was going.

“This is fun and all,” Yereth said. “But I have no further need of being here. I will return to my home.”
Avner frowned. “Why can’t you help us? We need plenty of aid in reaching Farshore alive, at least, with these clowns at the steering wheel!”

The party members objected, but Avner insisted.

“That guy just took on a tyrannosaurus, and survived!”
“No, he just sat in his mouth while we killed it!” Jericho said.
“Exactly,” Avner replied. “He went in a dinosaur’s mouth and came back out again!”
“I did that too, though,” Daelis said.
Daegoth turned to Yereth. “Avner just wants you to be a meat shield, he hates you.”

They began to argue again, but the debate ended quickly: with Jericho kicking Avner between the legs again.

“Not—again!” Avner screamed. “I still want to have children!”
“I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,” Daelis commented.

Jericho kicked Avner to the ground again, and started pummeling him.

“I will kill you in your sleep, do you hear me?!” Jericho yelled angrily.
“You psychotic maniac!” Avner shouted back.

Daegoth intervened, dragging Jericho away, but this did little to stop the torrent of insults.

“I’m gonna kill you! I’m gonna kill you!”

Daegoth knocked him out, which sent Avner into a roar of laughter.

They got back to planning their journey and figured out how much food they would need. Taking into account the amount of people and the consumption rates of each person, they figured about seventy-eight pounds of food would be needed.

Since Avner’s horse Thunderstrike had also swam ashore and seemed relatively okay, they also needed one hundred pounds of feed, though the horse could carry more than three hundred pounds, which would come in handy to carry all the supplies they would need.

Luckily, Urol assured them that he (along with Daegoth and Yereth) would be able to find sufficient food along the way to cut those weights in half.

Avner refused to eat anything that was found on the isle, but Urol derided his squeamishness about “eating local” and plucked a bright green soft-shelled crab from a nearby tidepool.

“See?” The gnome said, smiling reassuringly. “There’s delicious food all over this island!”

He popped it into his mouth, but his eyes bulged and he immediately spit it out. For the next hour he was sick to his stomach.

“Once again,” Avner said. “I am not eating anything on this island!”

Water wasn’t of much concern for the voyage, since frequent rainfalls would provide the party with plenty of drinking water.

Yereth finally decided to come with them, due to a vision he had received “from the island” that had brought him to the wreck in the first place, and the fact that he didn’t want to leave these city folk to die in the jungle.

After they had gained the aid of the minotaur, the party set about to searching the beach and the wreck of the Sea Wyvern for supplies (including Jericho, who had come to by now).

In all, they found thirty-five pounds of food; seventy pounds of feed, two scrolls of shrink item, a scroll of remove disease, a case with ten crossbow bolts, a suit of studded leather armor, a signal whistle, an explorer’s outfit, and a quarterstaff.

Also, they found the barrel they had filled with their tokens for the Iron Brigade, such as roc talons, hydra heads, and so on, and one griffon egg. The other eggs had been smashed, unfortunately, but a single one remained.

After all that searching, they still needed thirty-three pounds of food, so they spent the rest of the day fishing, hunting, and gathering the rest of their supplies.

Unfortunately, they were still unable to find Nimlar, Duerak, Rapton, or Poddle. They didn’t find their bodies (though they did find the bodies of many of the other people aboard the Sea Wyvern), which was a good thing, but they still had no idea if they were alive or not. They didn’t have much of a choice to keep looking for them however, and needed to get the civilians to Farshore as quickly as possible, since they had a dwindling food supply and did not want to place them in any more danger than they had to.

It was nearing dusk by now, so Urol (and Yereth) suggested they camp the night on the beach here, and then set out into the jungle the next morning. With luck, they should reach the southern mountains by the end of the next day, and since none of the other party members were fond of sleeping in the jungle, the decision was made. Shipwreck beach

They would spend their first night on the Isle of Dread on a lonely beach.

Yereth pointed out that having the carcass of the tyrannosaurus nearby was probably not a good idea, since the body would almost assuredly attract predators to the area. So Yereth and Daegoth (after scavenging as much meat from it as they could) managed to drag the corpse out into the ocean, setting it adrift on the water.

Then they made camp and went to sleep…

Saturday, October 16th 1234 AY

The heroes awoke that morning ready to set off for Farshore.

On a small reef about two-hundred feet to the northeast of their position was the body of the tyrannosaurus, which they had pushed into the water the previous night. Pterodactyls swarmed around the corpse, scavenging meat from it down to the bone. Two huge plesiosaurs were eating it as well, their huge necks able to reach from the water to the reef.

The party gathered their supplies, shouldered their packs, and set out into the southern jungle.

They were saddened, though, of the fact that they had no idea where the rest of their companions were. They could only hope they were okay…

The party consisted of: Daegoth, Daelis, Jericho, Yereth, Amella, Avner, Kurgol, Tavey, and Urol, along with Thunderstrike (Avner’s horse), Temul (Yereth’s rhino), and Ishat (Yereth’s raptor). Isle of dread 2

The journey from the beach to the southern mountains was a thirteen-mile trek through jungle inhabited primarily by terror birds and dinosaurs (as Urol informed them). Fortunately, large game trails criss-crossed the expanse, making travel a bit easier than normal. The jungle consisted of tall trees flushed with brightly-colored birds and thick hanging vines. The canopy kept the region shaded with occasional shafts of light. Terror birds hunted the jungle with some frequency, and so at about nine in the morning, a group of the predatory avians attacked the party.

A terror bird launched itself out of the jungle to attack Temul, screeching with ferocity. Luckily, the rhino wasn’t surprised and managed to deflect the blow, all the while bellowing its own battle cry.

Daelis Eagleheart reacted quickly, stabbing the terror bird with his rapier furiously. The bird screeched at him as it reeled away from the strike.

Jericho started to chant in the spidery language of magic, and suddenly, a ray of energy blasted from his fingertips, searing into the terror bird with the sickening sound of melting flesh. The attack seemed to be very detrimental to the bird, and it teetered precariously, threatening to fall at any second.

Two more terror birds crashed out of the jungle to attack the party, but Yereth met them head on, charging with his horns and goring one of the avians.

Yereth’s rhinoceros fled, moving away from the battle to avoid being attacked. The rhino was not built for combat, even though it was immensely strong.

Yereth’s raptor, however, rushed and attacked one of the terror birds, sinking its claws into it with wild ferocity.

The third terror bird ignored Yereth and instead attacked Daelis, who was busy with the first beast and didn’t notice the avian until it was too late. The swashbuckler was knocked to the ground as the terror bird’s jaws slashed into him, drawing fresh blood.

The first terror bird, who had been blasted by Jericho’s spell, decided that it was a good idea to just try to grab a quick meal and high-tail it out of there. The creature attacked Tavey.

The terrible maw of the avian slammed down onto the cabin boy, crushing bone and tendon and knocking the poor kid to the dust. Tavey screamed in terror, then regained his composure and managed to stand up and then limp away as the terror bird chased after him, screeching all the while.

The rest of the civilians followed suit: Amella, Avner, and Urol ran away from the fighting.

Not Kurgol, however. His face grim, he charged silently at the horrible creature and—without any weapons—attacked the bird. The half-orc’s fist connected solidly with the beast’s face, and for a moment the avian was stunned, so Kurgol took another swing.

The half-orc was punching a terror bird in the face.

The second terror bird, which was just attacked by Yereth, retaliated and bit into the flesh of the minotaur. The druid gritted his teeth and prepared to strike back.

The third terror bird attacked Daelis again, but the half-elf managed to dodge the blows and counter-attack with his rapier, scoring a hit in its leg.

Jericho, seeing Kurgol without, shouted to him and then threw him his longsword. The terror bird next to him tried to take a snap at him, since giving his weapon away distracted him, but Jericho saw and dodged the attempt. The duskblade took out his shortsword and then stabbed deep into the bird’s gut.

The bird screeched a horrible howl, and then fell dead.

Two more terror birds entered the fray from the bushes, making the total number of terror birds five, but since one of the previous beasts had been slain, there were now four of them left fighting.

One of the newcomers charged and attacked Ishat, Yereth’s raptor companion, and scored a hit, slashing at the dinosaur with its beak.

The terror bird near Kurgol attacked the half-orc again, slashing the poor half-orc with its beak. The half-orc quickly retaliated, slashing the bird with Jericho’s longsword. Terror bird portrait

He didn’t even flinch.

Daegoth, who had been completely surprised by the arrival of the terror birds, had stood motionless for a long moment, but he finally regained his brain functions and brought up his waraxe. He feinted, pretending to attack a terror bird with his weapon, but instead blasted two of the birds with his lightning breath, slaying the first and severely damaging the second.

Daelis stabbed into his enemy again, this time sinking his rapier into the eye of the terror bird. The blinded avian screeched in horror as its eye was plucked out.

Jericho started to chant against, and shot two fiery rays from his hands at a terror bird, killing it with a blaze of fire.

Yereth wasn’t using his axe, as he wanted the fight to be more of a challenge, so he gored and tackled one of the terror birds, but still managed to kill it. His raptor managed to slay another of the terror birds, sinking its poisoned claws into the exposed flesh of the avian and tearing through to the bone.

The terror bird Kurgol was attacking managed to get a lucky hit into, and the half-orc seemed to take a lot of damage. He struggled to keep fighting, his forehead bloody from the slash across his head and blood dripping into his eyes, making it hard to see.

Kurgol did keep fighting however, but all he managed to do was miss and put himself in more of an exposed position.

Daegoth rushed in at the last second in an attempt to save Kurgol, tearing into the terror bird with his waraxe. He managed to slow the bird down enough to prevent from connecting a killing blow on Kurgol, but did little else.

Jericho dropped his remaining sword and drew out his bow, firing off an arrow at the last terror bird. The arrow missed barely, hitting a nearby tree. The duskblade cursed under his breath.

The terror bird lunged at Kurgol for the final strike…

…And Yereth cut its head off.

After the battle, Yereth pointed out that there were quite a few terror birds in the area, so he set out to make sure that they would be less visible to the beasts and try to avoid them as much as possible.

They continued on towards Farshore

Amella seemed depressed and miserable, because of being of out of her element in the jungle environment, and because she had crashed the ship.

Avner remained brutish and demanding as they walked, often going out of his way to go into long boring stories about his various, and completely fabricated, escapades.

Kurgol was grim and serious, not talking to anyone and keeping a watch on the horizon for any enemies. He seemed to be apathetic about his welfare and didn’t care whether or not he died, as was apparent by his rush into combat without any weapons.

Tavey was frightened, but tried desperately to hide that fact, as to not look foolish in front of his teacher. He seemed shaken as well.

Urol, however, seemed to not be fazed at all. He was absolutely fascinated with the surroundings, and though the encounters they had experienced with the dangerous creatures, he seemed ecstatic as always.

Jericho started to feel guilty of the comments he made to Amella about it being her fault for the ship crashing, so he went to apologize.

“It’s alright,” Amella responded, looking down. “It was my fault anyway.”

Jericho went to talk to Tavey, who was pretty terrified after his encounter with the terror bird.

Get it? He was terrified after he met the “terror” bird? … It’s funny right? Hehe… yeah.

He tried to comfort him, and such.

Yereth healed Kurgol with his druidic magic, since the half-orc was still damaged from the terror bird attack, and Tavey was healed as well.

Jericho also, for some completely random reason, decided that he would let Avner get three free shots at him.

Avner kicked him in the place where no man should ever be hit…three times.

Jericho threw up.

After that little episode, Yereth went up to Avner and told the noble that he was on his side in the petty conflict that was going on between him and Jericho.

Daegoth discussed the state of the island with Yereth for a bit, then asked if he knew anything about the tribe of Zay’Dinoq. Yereth had heard of the tribe before, but had never gone down to that area, so knew nothing of the condition of the settlement.

“So how are the jungles doing this time of year?” Daegoth asked, making small talk.
”Oh, they’re pretty monster infested,” Yereth responded with a straight face. “I’ve been killing a few of them off, but I can’t do everything!”

Daelis, in an attempt to pass the time while they stopped for a quick lunch, asked Amella if she’d like to spar.

Amella felt too depressed however, because of the recent events, so she didn’t feel like doing so at the time.

Yereth saw Urol drawing a brightly colored tropical bird that graced a nearby tree, and was dumbfounded by how good the gnome was at it.

“How did you learn how to draw like that?” he asked.
“It’s pretty easy, you just… draw, I guess. It just came naturally to me.”
“Kind of like my strength comes naturally to me,” Yereth said.
“Strike a pose,” the gnome asked suddenly.

Yereth obliged. Yereth urol sketch

Urol started to draw the minotaur, and he continued to ask him questions.

“So, I didn’t know there were minotaurs on the Isle of Dread, how did you get here?”
“I was born here.”
“Interesting.”
“Are there other minotaurs here?”
“Yes.”

A long pause.

“Where do they live?”

“Why, are you going to hurt them?”
“No, I’m just a druid, I’m fascinated with the natural world and the races that inhabit them…”
“You’re a druid?” Yereth asked.
“Yes.”
“I’m a druid!”
“You’re a druid?”
“The other minotaurs are all druids, too!”
Urol’s face brightened. “Very nice to meet you!”

The two shook hands, but Yereth almost pulled his arm out of his socket, so they stopped prematurely. They began to talk to each other in Druidic, and were fascinated to find they had much in common.

Daelis tried to go back and talk to Amella, to try to get her to feel better about herself since she was feeling so down.

“There was nothing you could do about you know,” Daelis said, sitting down next to the once-captain of the Sea Wyvern. “It wasn’t your fault that the ship crashed, Amella.”
“I know…” Amella finally said after a moment of silence. “It justs bugs me that I couldn’t do anything about it! It’s never happened before… I just felt… helpless. It kind of reminded me of the time… when my husband died. That was the only time besides now that I ever felt… helpless. It justs bugs me I guess. And this jungle.” Amella grabbed a small stick and threw into the trees. “I have no idea where I am or what’s happening. If it wasn’t for Urol, or Yereth, or Daegoth, I wouldn’t know where the heck I was.”
“None of us would I suppose,” Daelis added.
Amella nodded.

Jericho decided to talk to Avner again.

“Avner, we have been fighting too much. The entire voyage here we have been into petty fights, and I think it should stop. How about we don’t do anything to each other until we reach Farshore? We’ve been at each other’s throats, and one of us is going to hurt, or worse.”
“Well,” Avner said pompously. “I’m not the one being a jerk here. You’re the one who’s being such a brat, that he just has to have his own way every single time he opens his mouth!”
“Have you heard yourself lately, my friend? Have you even listened to yourself speak one time during the voyage?”
The veins in Avner’s neck started to budge. “When we get to Farshore, my uncle is going to rip your head off! He is going to send you to the guillotine, and off with your head!”
“Did I just hear something about taking off heads?” Yereth interrupted. He had been listening to the conversation and thought he should join in. “Cause if there’s a problem here, I can rip off a whole bunch of heads.”
“He threatened my life with his uncle,” Jericho said.
“Oh, well that’s fine then,” Yereth said, glancing at the nobleman. “Good job Avner.”
“He’s being a complete idiot,” Avner added.
“I have listened to you jabber—“ Jericho started, and then stopped himself. “First off, I take you as an understandable man when you get used to things. You had trouble sleeping in the same room with the commoners, correct?”
“Yes,” Avner said, wondering where this was going. “It was ridiculous.
“Did you get used to it?”
“I guess it was okay, in a slumming sort of way.”
“Then why can’t you get used to living like a simpleton right now? I know you’re a noble, which is a great honor, but I’m saying you don’t have to flip out on people when you can’t get your way.”

Yereth walked up to Daegoth and asked, “What do noble and simpleton mean in the language of humans?”
“I think they mean the same thing…”

“How smart are you?” Jericho continued, still talking to Avner.
“I received the finest education in Sasserine.”
“I would assume that I am smarter than you, though,” Jericho said.
“You see what I mean?” Avner said to no one in particular. “He’s just stuck-up like this, all the time!”
“What?”
“He needs to have everything bow under his little nose!”
“My apologies,” Jericho said, not wanting to offend him. “Here’s two gold.”
“I’m not taking your bribes!”
“Listen, I slaughtered my whole village, I don’t have a home to go to, and you do! You have a rich uncle who can do whatever he wants waiting in Farshore for you!”
“You slaughtered your whole village?” Yereth broke in, shocked. He then gathered the rest of the party around. “Did you all know that Jericho, slaughtered his whole village, and he is traveling with us? Who is agreeing with this?!”
“Not me,” Daegoth said.
“I don’t agree,” Avner said as well. “I still think he’s a psychotic maniac!”
“What is going on over here?” Daelis asked, walking forward.
“Jericho slaughtered his whole village!” Yereth said again. “Why is he traveling with us?!”
Jericho quickly tried to change the subject. “What I am trying to get at, is that I think Avner and I should not be at each other’s throats!”
“Hey, I’m totally up for that!” Avner agreed. “He’s the one who continues to be a stuck-up brat!” He pointed at Jericho.

The two began to fight furiously, but Yereth broke it up by grabbing them both by the hair. They immediately began to yowl in pain.

“Ow, ow, ow!” They both said in unison.

“We are done here,” Yereth said calmly.
“Take your hands off of me!” Avner exclaimed.
“You see what I mean, we don’t need a minotaur!” Jericho said.

Yereth pulled some more on their hair follicles. And they screamed some more.

“It takes me three days to get my hair like this!” Avner said, whining all the while.
“And you say I’m a brat!”

Yereth continued to pull, trying to get them to stop. They didn’t, so Yereth pulled out a chunk of Jericho’s hair.

“Ahhh!” Jericho screamed horribly.

It didn’t seem to help much though, as they continued to fight and bicker.

Daegoth walked to the three of them and asked calmly, “Yereth, is there anything I can do to help here?”
“Just grab his neck and choke him until he stops breathing,” Yereth responded, indicating Avner.
“I could just cut off his head,” Daegoth said, his face serious. “That would probably work better.”

Avner and Jericho glanced at each other. Avner began to protest.

Yereth grabbed Avner by the neck.

“Ahh! It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!!!” Avner yelled continuously.

They continued to fight, and Yereth continued to pull and shout at them, still holding Avner, until finally Jericho spoke up.

“Avner, we’ve both been stuck up this entire voyage.”
“No.”

Yereth still held Avner on a pressure point on his neck, and Jericho by the hair.

“Listen!” Yereth yelled out finally. “You guys will not be within ten feet of each other at all times until we get to Farshore! Until then, no interaction at all! Alright?”

They both continued to squirm in pain, Avner making a high-pitched whining sound.

“Alright!” Yereth ended.

Avner passed out.


The heroes continued on till about noon, when they came upon a vast depression in the jungle Diplodocus herd that stretched nearly six miles across and one mile wide. A meteor struck here decades ago, and the jungle had never reclaimed the broken ground. Today, the clearing was made up of rough ground, spattered with clumps of tall grasses and the occasional furrow. The crater was home to a herd of enormous dinosaurs known as “diplodocuses” in Old Toru, towering behemoths with elaphantine bodies, long necks, and even longer tails. A dozen of the dinosaurs dwelled in the crater, and although they often came to the crater’s rim to feast on the plants that grow here, their size made a simple matter to avoid them.

But it turned out to be hardly a simple matter.

As they scanned the crater, off to the right, in the underbrush of the jungle, came repeated crashing noises. Suddenly, a baby diplodocus crashed through the vegetation into the clearing where the heroes gathered, trailed by eight hungry terror birds.

Urol cried out to the heroes that they had to save the dinosaur…

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Chapter 13: Journey's End
The heroes reach the end of their journey, but also their greatest challenge yet...

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 13: Journey’s End

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Duerak Gildas (Nate) Half-Dwarf/Fire Giant Fighter

Sunday, September 19th, 1234 AY

When we last left our heroes, they were in the Olman village of Renkrue, getting ready to set off after two days of shore leave on the island (which Renkrue lies on).

The various passengers, heroes, and crew-members boarded the Sea Wyvern, all going to their various jobs and niches on the ship.

As he boarded, Nimlar noticed that something was wrong with Kurgol. He seemed downtrodden again, and he sported a large black bruise on the side of his face.

“What’s wrong?” Nimlar asked, approaching the half-orc sympathetically.
“Nothing, nothing.” Kurgol mumbled, shrugging off the elf’s attempts at comforting him.
“Did you get punched in the face?” Poddle asked, also seeing the half-orc and approaching.
“No,” Kurgol assured. “I just hit my face on a pole.”
“Would you like to come with me and chat about it?” Jericho asked, seeing the situation.
“That’s alright.” Kurgol mumbled.
“I’m here for you if you need me…”
“It’s alright, I’m fine.”

A moment of silence.

“I don’t feel so well,” Kurgol stated, looking tired. “I’m going to go…sleep. See you guys later.”

Then he walked off.

Later, Poddle brought the heroes together to announce something to them.

“Alright, I have something to tell you guys,” Poddle said. “I haven’t told this to anyone else (except people). In the kobold tribe I used to be in back on the Isle of Dread, we had this crazy chieftain. Now, he would make up these freaky holidays, and one of them happens to be today. It’s called ‘Free Day’. Now what you have to do is everyone has to give away something for free… and you have to give this thing to a kobold. If you don’t accept my holiday, then I will call you racist.”

Nimlar gave Poddle some vials of urchin poison that he had (but had just been lying around collecting dust), but Jericho wouldn’t respect Poddle’s holiday, refusing to give him something.

He finally relented, though. He gave Poddle a free bath.

By pushing him into the ocean of course!

Poddle (after getting back on deck) complained that it was a violation of his contract, but Amella decided to let it slide. Poddle had demanded to be given something free.

After an argument, the heroes dispersed, each going to their respective places on the Sea Wyvern. Nimlar retired to the crow’s nest, and was looking out over the horizon, when he saw something. Not on the horizon, but below, on the deck of the ship.

Ship crows nest 2

He saw Kurgol.

The half-orc walked up to the rigging, and began to climb up, somber and grim.

“Is something wrong?” Nimlar shouted down to him, puzzled.

Kurgol paused momentarily in his climb, but then continued.

“You’re kind of scaring me!” Nimlar exclaimed, very confused now.

Kurgol didn’t even pause this time, slowly but steadily climbing, higher and higher. He got to a high point in the rigging (but not high enough to be near the crow’s nest) and then stopped. He turned around, and that’s when the heroes realized.

Kurgol was trying to kill himself.

“Kurgol!” Jericho yelled in Orc, trying to stop the half-orc from ending his life. “What is wrong? Maybe I can help!”
“Nothing can help me now,” Kurgol sighed. “I just need to end it.”

Nimlar began to inch down from the crow’s nest to where Kurgol was, using the conversation between him and Jericho to distract the half-orc, allowing him to get into position.

“I’ll give you money if you come down!” Poddle shouted, but no one listened to him.

“I’m trying to be your friend!” Jericho exclaimed, frantic now. “I can assist you, teach you a new life as a duskblade!”

Kurgol shook his head. And then he let go.

The half-orc’s fall was stopped however, by one elf named Nimlar.

“Every life is worth living!” Nimlar said, saving Kurgol’s life.

The half-orc started to struggle, shouting, “Let me go! Let me go!”

Then he broke down and sobbed.

“You’re sure you don’t want any money?” Poddle asked.

Nimlar brought the half-orc down to the deck, where he stopped sobbing and started just sniffling.

Jericho leaned down next to Kurgol and comforted him, saying in Orc, “We are your friends and we’re here to help.”

Kurgol looked up at the heroes. His gaze was one of deep thanks.

“On Renkrue,” Kurgol said softly. “A group of humans, they took my aside… and beat me.”

The heroes realized then that the half-orc’s wounds didn’t stop at a bruised face. He was cut and scarred in many different places all over his body.

The heroes were angry, really angry. They turned around the Sea Wyvern and started to head back to Renkrue, intent on giving those intolerant humans a piece of their minds. Lavinia, however, disagreed, saying that although it was sad, they needed to continue on with their mission, they had no time to waste. Nimlar backed her up, but the rest of the heroes didn’t.

Lavinia won out. And they continued…

Wednesday, September 22nd, 1234 AY

The next couple of days past uneventfully, and on Wednesday the heroes found themselves bored, to say the least.

When the water below them became more violent and quick, Jericho guessed that they had reached a stretch of ocean named “The Pearl Current”. This swift flowing oceanic current sweeps up from the southern Shimmering Sea to the Tarrian Gulf, and though Lavinia’s charts indicated the presence of the current, determining when and where it started and ended was a trickier prospect, as the Pearl Current’s exact shape and width vary.

Current

Jericho noticed that it was harder to keep the ship on course, but he managed to do it anyway, with no mishaps.

Meanwhile, Nimlar played with an elven toy that he had had since childhood and Duerak practiced his fighting, but they ended up talking to each other.

They chatted for a bit, and then parted ways.

Now, Jericho was feeling irritated at Poddle again, so he decided to try to kick him into the water.

Instead, he fell in himself.

Tuesday, September 28th, 1234 AY

After nearly two weeks on the open sea, land once again loomed on the horizon. For a moment, the heroes thought they had reached the Isle of Dread ahead of schedule, but in truth they’d only spotted the island of Ruja, an uninhabited island surrounded by perilous thousand-foot-high cliffs and crowned with a tangle of thick jungle.

Cliff

Rumors had long held that Ruja was the lair of some form of terrible monster, but the difficulty of even reaching the jungle peaks above had ensured that the isle’s interior remained unexplored.

The heroes looked at each other slyly.

After clearing it with Lavinia, the heroes prepared to set out to explore the island of Ruja, intent on finding and killing this “terrible monster” if they could find it.

Hey, they’re adventurers, what do you expect?

After several hours of clambering up the perilous cliffs (aided by Nimlar’s rope skills, Jericho’s teleportation spells and climbing abilities, and Poddle’s boots), the heroes finally reached the crown of the island.

Waiting for them was a gigantic bird, feeding its smaller (but still gigantic) hatchlings.

It turned to them and screeched: the battle had begun…

…And the heroes sprung into action.

Roc

Daelis acted quickly rushing towards the avian and conjuring (using his recently acquired bard abilities) a spear, thinking that if he could get the bird to charge him, he could stab the weapon and injure the bird.

Duerak charged forward as well, drawing his bow and climbing a small hillock, then firing an arrow. Unfortunately, the missile was just dodged by the roc, and only succeeded in making it angry.

Jericho ran to within ten to fifteen feet of the huge roc, pulling out his bow as well and firing off a shot. This one hit, but it seemed to do little at all to wound the terrible monster.

Nimlar fired off a volley of arrows from behind his comrades, hitting and slightly injuring the bird, but not much.

They could all tell it was going to take something big to take this bird.

Poddle drew his hand crossbow and fired off a bolt… which bounced off their avian attacker harmlessly.

Poddle stared for a second, then exclaimed: “Come on man!”

Duerak fired off another arrow from his position on the hillock, but as before, he missed his target.

Jericho as well, fired an arrow, but his connected, as before, doing some more damage, but really…the roc didn’t look wounded…at all.

The roc stretched it’s great wings, screeching angrily, then, in a blur of motion, swooped down from it’s nest and grabbed Jericho with its talons, digging into his flesh and lifting him into the air.

Nimlar fired off four different arrows in rapid succession at the roc, but missed all four.

“Darn!”

Poddle, not caring about Jericho’s welfare, went for the roc hatchlings, intent on capturing them. He climbed atop the rock that the roc nest was on and saw the roc babies.

They were bigger than him.

Roc hatchling

Daelis, although he didn’t care THAT much about Jericho’s well-being, he did care somewhat, and he wasn’t just going to let him get eaten. So he discarded his now useless soear and used his bard abilities to daze the roc, hoping it would fall (but not off the cliffs) so they could grab Jericho.

The roc stopped its flight and just hovered for a second, blinking.

But that was all.

Duerak followed the roc with his bow, getting ready to fire off another arrow… which he did, to great effect.

The roc screeched and started to shake off the effects of the spell, as blood trickled from its many wounds.

Jericho struggled to escape the roc’s claws, but then he decided to do something desperate. He slashed himself with his longsword, giving his sword an arcane glow, and then stabbed the weapon as hard as he could into the wing of the roc.

The roc screeched in agony and then started to fall out of the air… towards the perilous cliff face.

The creature crashed into the cliff side, barely missing the ten-thousand foot drop to the ocean below and instead landing on a small ledge only five feet below the top of the cliffs.

Jericho was dropped in mid-fall, and he managed to tumble out of the way of the falling avian… and survive himself.

Nimlar acted quickly, using a spell to entangle the roc in a nest of vines. It wasn’t going anywhere.

Then he fired an arrow at the bird, barely having to aim, since it was very vulnerable in its current position. The arrow thudded into the beast, wounded it even further. It began to thrash about underneath its vine layering, and fear was very evident in its eyes.

Daelis, intent on ending this battle, rushed towards the downed beast and tumbled down the cliff face (gracefully, as only a swashbuckler could do), and landing right next to the roc.

He readied his rapier.

An arrow sliced into the bird’s hide, fired from the bow of Duerak, further cementing the roc’s fate.

Jericho, however, was the one who got the killing blow. The duskblade raised his sword… and then brought it down into the roc’s neck.

The thrashing stopped.

Poddle’s thrashing, however, had just begun. He struggled to try to capture the huge roc babies, lunging and grabbing at them, but they easily dodged his clumsy attempts.

Nimlar ran to help the kobold with trying to tame the beasts, since the main battle was over with, and used his power over nature to change the roc’s attitude.

The hatchlings stopped trying to escape.

The heroes knew they couldn’t keep all of them, so they killed two and Duerak kept the last one.

They sent WAR back down the cliff with the roc strapped to his back, telling him to bring the new pet back to the Sea Wyvern.

The heroes then decided, since it was getting late anyways and they needed rest from the long climb and hard battle with the roc, to make camp at the base of the cliffs and set out to explore again the next morning.

Jungle night

They went to sleep with eagerness about the next day…

Wednesday, September 29th, 1234 AY

After an uneventful, but slightly creepy night, in which various noises bombarded the party from the jungle animals that roamed the night, the heroes awoke and set out into the jungle, ready for adventure.

They traversed the wild for about an hour before coming across a pack of three terror birds, giant predatory birds, flightless, that were known to be very aggressive (as Jericho informed them).

Jericho and Nimlar were the only ones of the party that weren’t surprised when the great birds came crashing through the trees to ambush them on the small game trail they had been following, plowing into the party and attacking.

Ws jungle dreaming 1600x12001

Jericho acted quickly, and imbued his longsword with an otherworldly enchantment, then charged the nearest terror bird, weapon aglow.

The bird bit at him, but he dodged it and then came in hard with his weapon.

Nimlar drew an arrow and launched it at the second terror bird, hitting the beast in the shoulder, but not slowing its charge.

He drew two arrows, then fired them as well, and they were quite a bit more deadly. Both hit square in the neck, sending the terror bird to the ground. It thrashed about, then weakly got to its feet, but the terror bird looked like it was on its last leg… literally, as it had broken a leg in the fall as well.

Nimlar managed to get another arrow off as well, striking the wounded terror bird again, but still not killing it.

Daelis remedied that situation with a quick slash.

The next terror bird also charged at Nimlar however, and attempted to bite him, but the elf managed to dodge out of the way of the beast’s attack.

Poddle charged the nearest terror bird with his warmace, but… he missed.

Nimlar drew some more arrows, firing them off with almost mechanical efficiency.

A terror bird fell dead.

Terror bird portrait

“Hey!” Poddle yelled, as the bird crashed to the ground before him. “That was my kill!”

The last terror bird fled.

The heroes continued on towards the center of the island… though Poddle still grumbled about “kill-stealing”.

After exploring for about four more hours, they came upon an encampment.

It was crude, obviously not created by a highly-civilized race, but it was civilization, something the heroes were not expecting on this deserted island.

There was a small group of huts and tents in a clearing not far from a small plateau which contained a large hole, or pit, in the center of the ground of the bluff.

284423 tribal village 0

Standing around the pit were five revolting creatures, which looked like a cross between a gangly human and a bloated spider with long, slender arms and legs protruding from a rounded, fleshy body. They had spider’s heads each with a pair of bulbous black eyes. One, which the party assumed was the shaman (because of his various ornaments and his long slender black staff) was chanting something and waving around his staff in some sort of ritual.

“They’re summoning something evil,” Nimlar said calmly.

Silence.

“We need to kill them…”
“Wait, what?” Daelis said, confused.
“They’re ettercaps,” Nimlar informed the party. “And the shaman there seems to be summoning some sort of evil beastie.”
“Should we attack them?” Duerak asked.
“We should at least kill the shaman,” Daelis recommended. “Before he summons up some sort of demon…”
“A demon?” Poddle said, eyes growing wide. “Why is they’re always a demon…?”
“So are we attacking them or what?” Duerak asked.

The heroes looked to Nimlar.

“Why are you looking at me?” Nimlar asked.
“Well,” Poddle responded. “You’re kind of the leader… I mean, if we had a leader, you’d be it. We’re technically a democracy, but you just have the responsibility of being the leader, without any of the actual power.”

Nimlar stared at him.

“So…?” Poddle said.

“Yes!” Nimlar said. “Yes, we’re attacking them!” He grumbled and began to set his bow. “How did I get mixed up with these illogical suicidal maniacs?”
“Adventurers,” Daelis corrected.
“What?” Nimlar asked, looking at him.
“Adventurers is the word you were looking for. It takes too long to say ‘illogical suicidal maniacs’.”

Nimlar allowed a grin.

Then the battle began.

Ettercap

The ettercaps were indeed summoning something, and it was indeed evil. The bulbous spider-people shrieked as they noticed the heroes, and hurried the ritual to its completion.

Poddle, who had managed to escape notice of the ettercaps by sneaking around their encampment, (since all of the creatures were at the ritual pit) did just that, snuck around their encampment, ready to deliver a sneak attack when he got in range.

Nimlar, who had found a good position behind an outcropping of rock, began to fire off arrows at the ettercaps, who—unfortunately—had the high ground.

It was gonna be a hard fight.

Nimlar’s first arrow hit the ettercap closest to the party squarely in the back, causing the spider-creature to shriek in agony, but holding its ground as they finished the ritual.

“Washa’kashi, yasha!” The shaman yelled out in its spidery tongue, apparently completing the ritual.

A horrific shriek came up from the pit, and something began to crawl up… something big.

Duerak charged up past the encampment, heading for the ettercaps on the ridge, but was met by one of them, who charged down. They clashed in a mess of steel and claw, but neither one seemed to damage the other much.

The summoned creature finally appeared from the threshold of the pit. It was an enormous spider, bigger than a house.

Daelis, who had been in the middle of a charge, stopped dead in his tracks, frozen with fear.

He was deathly afraid of spiders… especially ones four times the size of himself.

Jericho charged as well, towards the ettercap attacking Duerak. He swung both of his swords, but only one connected.

A thin line of blood appeared on the ettercap’s arm. But it wasn’t a glancing blow. He had torn through half the creature’s limb, almost severing it. The ettercap clutched his wound in pain, exclaiming in its native language.

Poddle decided to forgo a sneak attack, and instead weaved through the ettercaps and used his enchanted boots to walk along the rim of the pit, behind the spider.

Nimlar pelted the poor ettercaps with more arrows, but only one connected on the one he had hit before, drawing fresh blood.

Yeris swooped in from the skies to claw at the ettercap shaman, creating a nasty scar on the thing’s forehead, but doing little else but annoy it.

The shaman retaliated with his staff, but fortunately Yeris dodged the clumsy blow.

“Ish-ish, paa!” The ettercap screamed.

Duerak, given an opportunity to attack by Jericho, swung his battleaxe at the wounded ettercap.

He slaughtered the poor creature, beheading it and blasting the skull halfway across the clearing, to fall into the ritual pit.

“Your head has been removed from your body,” Duerak said to the corpse of the ettercap matter-of-factly. “That is unfortunate.”

The ettercap that was wounded by Nimlar charged down the ridge, intent on murdering the annoying little elf who had shot it with pointy sticks. The creature vaulted over the outcropping Nimlar had been taking cover behind and attempted to slash the ranger with its claws.

The swift elf easily dodged the swipe however, and was now in perfect position to kill the clumsy beastie.

The elf smiled.

The ettercap nearest to Poddle launched itself at the kobold, even though it would be jumping head-long into the gaping chasm Poddle just happened to be right next to.

“Ess yra vsani-giis!” the ettercap bellowed as it missed Poddle completely, dropping into the pit and falling to its death.

The enormous spider noticed the pitiful kobold killing its summoners, and so it turned towards Poddle and bit into him, almost dropping the rogue right then and there.

Images

Poddle felt poison seeping through his veins, rendering his muscles almost useless. The only thing that kept him from falling into the pit was his magical boots.

Jericho turned away from Duerak and the beheaded ettercap and charged the huge spider, determined to kill the horrible thing before it could kill him.

Or at least, that was the plan.

Poddle somehow managed to crawl away, using the charging Jericho as a distraction to keep the spider from finishing the job. He hid behind a jumble of boulders behind the encampment and was collapsed.

Nimlar fired at the ettercap point blank, slaying the creature instantaneously, then turned his aim towards the spider.

He managed to score some blows, but it wasn’t much.

“Adventurers…” Nimlar murmured.

Duerak charged at the spider as well, bringing his battleaxe to bear and digging into the arachnid, but unfortunately not hard enough to penetrate its thick hide.

Daelis finally shook off his fear, knowing that his companions would need his help, and managed to fire off a crossbow bolt, which penetrated the spider’s flesh and sent out a shiver of pain up the arachnid’s body.

Daelis smiled weakly, still shaken by the ferocious beast.

The spider swung its huge leg at Duerak, but the half-dwarf dodged out of the way, almost being knocked to the ground.

Jericho slashed the spider with his swords, cutting off one of the legs and making the spider’s body lurch in protest, almost collapsing.

Nimlar aimed an arrow, then fired, hitting the spider in one of its eyes. A blood-curdling scream filled the air, and birds flew from nearby trees in fright.

The elf drew another arrow.

Yeris and the ettercap shaman still fought it out, and the bulbous shaman got in a hit, cutting the harpy eagle with its poisonous claws.

Yeris felt weak, but he kept fighting.

Duerak swung his axe again and again, chopping into the arachnid with reckless abandon. He wasn’t going to let this beastie get away.

Not this time.

The huge arachnid bit at Jericho, striking flesh and jarring the duskblade with the razor-sharp fangs.

He felt… so weak…

The duskblade reached for the potion he kept on his belt, popping the stopper off and downing it.

A wave of strength flowed through him, negating the previous poisonous effects of the spider bite.

He swung and took another of the arachnid’s legs out.

A smirk came to his lips.

Nimlar let loose.

Two arrows connected with the spider’s body, sending spurts of blood in every direction. The third missed, but the ranger could tell the arachnid would be dead soon.

Yeris ended the little duel he was having with the shaman by soundly ripping out the ettercaps’ throat, effectively killing the thing.

The harpy eagle landed on a nearby tree, watching his companions finish off the huge spider beast.

Duerak cut off another of the arachnids legs, almost bringing it down, and Daelis slashed at the thing with his rapier, but neither actually killed the spider.

Jericho cut himself, drawing power into his swords, and then grabbed on to the arachnid’s legs. He climbed up on top of the spider, crawling on to its head, and then stabbed down with all his might.

The spider fell dead.

“Good riddance,” Jericho spat as he climbed off of the mangled corpse.

The heroes looted the rest of the encampment, finding two-hundred and twenty gold pieces for each of them. The shaman’s staff turned out to be magical, made of dark slender wood with depictions of crawling insects carved onto the wood. It had the ability to summon swarms of insects to attack your enemies, which Jericho revealed.

After gathering the treasure, the party headed back to the ship, reaching the cliff-face by nightfall. The heroes decided to camp out the night on the island once again, and climb down to the ship in the morning.

Thursday, September 30th, 1234 AY

The morning dawned, and the heroes returned to the Sea Wyvern, their itch for exploration sated and their eagerness to reach the Isle of Dread rising further.

“Welcome back,” Amella said cheerfully when the heroes climbed aboard the deck of the Sea Wyvern that clear morning.
“Anything interesting happen while we were gone?” Jericho asked curiously.
“Not really.”
“Has Tavey been doing his exercises?”
“Yes he has. He followed every instruction you gave him.”
“I hate to break up the conversation,” Nimlar interrupted. “But we have people who are poisoned here, could someone call the cleric?”

Rapton came from below deck and healed the various wounds and poisons the heroes had entitled themselves to while they’d been off.

“I’m glad I decided to stay behind,” Rapton said, wincing at the nasty injuries. “Sometimes I wonder why I ever joined with you illogical, suicidal—”
“Don’t,” Nimlar interrupted. “Just, don’t.”

They set out on the stretch of open sea that lay before them…

Monday, October 4th, 1234 AY

The days passed and the expedition drew closer to the Isle of Dread. But unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be a walk through a meadow the rest of the journey.

Journey’s end had begun, but so had the hardest thing the heroes had ever faced.

Up to this point the expedition had been lucky, they had seen relatively clear weather without a storm in sight (except for the slight gust they had experienced near Fort Blackwell, but which had been easily weathered).

This luck was about to end.

Late Monday night, the wind whipped into a frenzy, and by dawn, the ships were caught in a full-fledged storm.

Waves crashed, winds buffeted, and lightning seared the sky with its arcing blasts.

Jericho couldn’t manage to keep the ship on course, and accidentally went off the intended path. It could take days to realign their expedition.

The Sea Wyvern still manages to weather the storm, and in the morning the waves die down and the sky is clear once again.

There was still one problem however: the Blue Nixie was nowhere to be seen.

Lavinia’s standing orders in this case were to continue to Farshore and reunite there, so the heroes had no choice but to continue on… alone.

Fang was sent to find the other ship, and make sure Lavinia was fine. He flew away on the morn and wasn’t seen until days later.

Jericho asked Amella to call a ship meeting, to make sure the passengers of the ship didn’t overreact. She consented, and the passengers and crew were gathered on deck before noon.

The people began to panic, but Nimlar, with a stirring speech, managed to calm them down and boost morale.

He assured them they would make it to Farshore and they would find the Blue Nixie again.

But the ranger wasn’t sure he believed that himself…

Friday, October 8th, 1234 AY

On the 8th of October, the heroes awoke to a disturbing sight.

As the grey dawn broke, burning fitfully through the morning fog to light the sea, something seemed strange about the waters below. They seemed almost solid, as if the sea had formed some sort of strange skin. The air seemed dead as well and the sails hung limp, heavy with moisture from the receding fog.

Finally, the mists began to clear, and what was unveiled was not the gently rolling vista of the sea, but a wet, green field of weed. The swath of dirty green stretched flatly in all directions. To the stern it extended for perhaps a half-mile, beyond which lay the open the waters of the mocking sea. In all other directions, the weed extended to the horizon. Trapped within its vice were dozens of other long-dead ships, their hulls protruding from the sargasso at odd angles, masts askew, sails hanging in tatters. One such ship lay mired only six hundred feet to the port, and it seemed to be in better shape than the others. Perhaps most unnerving however, was neither the sight nor smell of so much sun-baked seaweed. It was the unnatural silence, for the thick choking green has robbed the Sea Wyvern even of the strangely comforting sound of water lapping against her hull.

It was not a healthy silence. It was the silence of a graveyard.

“What is that?” Amella said, shocked at the sight.
“A sargasso,” Jericho replied, walking to the railing of the Sea Wyvern and looking at the horizon. “It is a treacherous patch of vegetation often driven by storms only to collect in regions of the ocean that even the wind and currents seem to fear. A path a mile across would be unusual… yet this swath stretches to the horizon.”
“It’s unnatural,” Amella shuddered.
“I think I know what it is…”
“Yes, it’s unnatural! I just told you!”
“Very unnatural…”

Jericho narrowed his eyes.

“Sailors call it Journey’s End.”
Amella gasped. “Journey’s End? But that’s just a legend.”
“Could a legend do this?” Jericho asked, his face serious.
“What’s Journey’s End?” Nimlar asked, also shocked at the appearance of the sargasso.
“A living island,” Jericho replied. “That appears after storms. This living land is said to have a black soul that fuels the hunger of children rumored to live within its green embrace.”
“Sounds delightful!” Poddle said sarcastically. “Have I ever told you how cheerful you are in the morning, Jericho? In all seriousness, you really need to stop being so jolly.”
“Journey’s End is one of the sea’s more terrible blights,” Jericho continued, ignoring Poddle. “And is said to be able to crush ships in its grip. Its children are awful creatures formed of the weed itself, and are said to rise by night to slake their hunger upon any their green mother has caught in her grasp.”
“Real jolly…” Poddle added.
“So,” Daelis said, walking into the conversation. “What do we do?”

The heroes began to formulate various plans to try to escape from the sargasso, such as having Daegoth try cutting away the weed with his lightning and axe.

The seaweed, however, grew back with unnatural speed, almost as fast as they were cutting it. They didn’t get far before they grew tired, and then the weed grew back to full strength, making the past hour of hard labor yield nothing.

They did discover that the weed was solid enough to traverse however, and so after the failed attempt, they (Nimlar, Poddle, Duerak—not Daelis, who didn’t trust the weed to not suck him under—and Jericho) decided to head to the nearest wreck to possibly find some answers.

As they strode across the seaweed, they felt the dampness of the weed and the disorientation of walking on unsure ground, well, disorienting. There also seemed to be strange currents in the puddles that swirled around their feet, almost as if the fronds of the weeds themselves were stirring.

It felt… alive.

The wreck was strangled with weeds and vines, almost as if immense green claws held the ship in their grasp. In many places the caravel, a ship hauntingly similar to the Sea Wyvern, had been torn apart by the vegetation’s rampant growth. A plate near the stern gave the vessel’s name—the Rage.

“It looks to me like a Dragon Armada ship,” Jericho observed, as they neared the vessel.
“If it is,” Poddle said. “I’m going to laugh and spit on it.”
“Yes, it serves them right!”
“No, people died, I was gonna laugh at that.”

“So are we going in?” Duerak asked as they arrived at the ship, and stood there, not moving.
“No, of course not,” Nimlar joked. “We’re just going to look at it from afar!”

They climbed aboard the deck of the Rage, made of timbers that were rotting and squelched nastily underfoot as the heroes walked across the surface of the wood. Ship beams had been ruptured by the vines, which clung to every surface. As the heroes explored the Rage, they noted signs of combat—a swath of dried blood, a broken rapier’s blade lodged in the mast, and signs of frantic fortification.

The upper deck was wreathed in slippery seaweed and swaths of what appeared to be thick green mucus. Although almost everything had been smashed, the remains of three dozen burnt torches and an upturned cauldron that seemed to have recently been filled with oil were still visible.

They headed below deck, through doors that had been barred with timbers, but to no avail, as they laid smashed therein along with a broken ballista, into the crew room of the ship, lined with smashed and tangled beds.

Beyond the crew room laid the captain’s cabin, which the heroes headed to. A large hole was in the floor, through which the green of the sargasso could be seen.

As the heroes entered the room, they noticed a tattered journal lying on the edge of a table across the room. Unfortunately, the ship’s deck had sunk, and the journal lay precariously perched at the table’s edge.

As soon as the party started towards the journal, the floorboards twisted and buckled, sending the journal into the sargasso five feet below.

Jericho rushed to the hole and tried to leap down, but he was suddenly caught by the foot and he fell flat on his face.

He saw the journal—it had landed in a small pool of soggy water—as he hung over the hole, only kept from falling by the vine now wrapped around his leg.

It was alive.

Jericho beat at the vine with the hilt of his sword, and the vegetation let go, retracting to the wall, which was covered in now writhing vines.

The duskblade jumped to his feet and readied his weapons.

Another vine shot at his exposed legs, but he quickly brought down his swords to deflect the blow. The vine writhed back.

Unfortunately, while he was focused on that vine, a third vine hit at his neck, and this one hit.

The vegetation wrapped around Jericho’s soft neck and began to constrict him, choking the last bit of breath from his lungs.

Jericho slashed at the crushing vine with his longsword, cutting into it but not making it let go or even doing any lasting damage.

Nimlar, who had stood in shock as the events had transpired, finally shook off his surprise and pulled out his bow. He launched a volley of arrows with blinding speed.

He connected two arrows with the vegetation, causing the plants to writhe, but not loosing their grip on Jericho.

Duerak charged in with his axe, yelling out a Dwarven battle-cry as he chopped one of the vines into oblivion.

Two more remained.

One lashed out at Duerak, but the flimsy vine just bounced off the half-dwarf’s heavy armor. The second continued to choke Jericho, bringing him down to his knees. He fought it however, and finally pried loose the constricting tendrils of the vine, and the plant writhed back to lunge again.

But Jericho did a back-flip into the hole, intent on landing gracefully to the ground and saving the journal. Instead, he was hit mid-air by the vine again, causing him to fall out of balance with his flip and land painfully on the soggy weed below.

Jericho groaned in pain, but then crawled and grabbed the journal. It was a little waterlogged, but it was legible.

Nimlar fired off a single arrow, cutting into one of the vines, and then grabbed a potion from his belt.

“Jericho!” Nimlar yelled. “I’m throwing you a potion!”

He launched it gracefully into the hole.

A vine launched for Duerak again, but once again, the half-dwarf’s armor pushed it aside like it was nothing.

Poddle charged the vine with his warmace, smashing into it but not killing it.

The other vine attacked Duerak, and what do you know? It missed.

Jericho grabbed the potion that was thrown down to him and strapped it to his belt.

“Nimlar!” He yelled back, getting ready to throw the journal. “Journal!”

The elf caught the journal and then turned to escape the ship, worrying that there would be more vines.

“Jericho, we’re retreating! Get out of there!” He yelled as he sprinted out of the room.

Duerak finished off the second vine with a hack from his battleaxe, but the third vine attacked him. Fortunately, nothing hits Duerak, so of course, the vine was deflected.

Poddle swung at the last vine, but missed.

Duerak, however, finished it off with his axe.

Jericho was luckily out on the sargasso (the hole led to the outside), so it was easy to retreat and join up with Nimlar and the others.

When they had met up outside the Rage, they looked through the journal. It chronicled the tale of a monk named Anhelm and his journey along the southern coast of the Amedio to visit the natives of the Isles of Axuxal. The document told of a fierce storm that drove the Rage far out to sea, but it was the entries on the last few pages that were of the greatest interest to the heroes.

The pages are written down in the following paragraphs:

This foul green land is stained with blight. We tried to cut away the weed, but to no avail, and soon had to abandon the tools we had used, their edges dulled to misery.
At noon I ordered Carus and Twaid out onto the weed to explore. How large can such a place be? The crew grow restless.
It is dusk. Efforts to destroy the weed have failed. I have explored what I could, but this is all mists and weed. When will Carus and Twaid return? Despite the calm, the night is not stil, and I feel eyes watching me.
The night brought noises but no attack, but I fear for my brothers, I heard cries in the night—was it them? I feel something is alive here, but what can it be? Captain Grough claimed the land had a black heart—maybe Carus and Twaid will have some useful information when they return.
Afternoon. I have decided to find my brothers, and have taken Ranis and Pale with me. They are good brothers, and will aid me as best they can. We shall find the land’s black heart.
We headed east, making good headway as only brothers can. By night we had covered many miles but nothing but more of the green.
It is night, and I can hear life. Something moves at the edge of sight. Why do they not show themselves. I can hear them whisper one word, over and over, “Outsiders…”
It is afternoon. We have come to a terrible place, a forest of weed grown in mockery of real life, a mire of skeletal ships. How many souls have been lost here? Our supplies grow wan, we must return by the morn to the Rage.
It is dawn, and we have returned to the Rage too late. The crew are gone and the green holds her ever fast. Where have they gone?
I can hear them in the day now. They are outside. They are watching. They want me to join them, but I shall not.
Ranis and Pale are dead. They came through the mist, yet they were not the same. I knew them by the tatters of clothes draped over the green that took their flesh. What wore their bodies has been vanquished, but I know now that these were but the children of what dwells at this land’s heart. I must seek the mother at this heart, for to destroy the mother is to destroy the brood. If only I had…

The heroes were slightly disturbed by the haunting journal, but went to work as soon as they reached the Sea Wyvern, thinking of some new courses of action.

They eventually decided on the following: they would wait out the night and stand ready for any creatures that would attack them, taking it in watches and sleeping with their weapons beside them, and then in the morning, head east, where they assumed would be the heart of the sargasso.

As the sun set, Nimlar noticed shapes stirring in the distant green, and as the last light of day faded and the mist rose once again, the heroes saw the shape of horror rising from the weeds.

The children of the sargasso arose.

These plant monsters were vaguely humanoid, fatted on the bodies of the sargasso’s victims and hungry to add more to the hive.

The vine horrors crawled and writhed, climbing and slithering up the hull of the Sea Wyvern, intent on murder.

It was going to be a long night…

Nimlar drew his bow and fired off four arrows at a vine horror which reached the deck. All four connected solidly in the body of the horror.

Unfortunately, the vine horror looked undamaged.

It was going to be a long night…

Jericho charged and jumped off the railing from his position at the wheel, landing next to a seaweed creature and stabbing his short sword into the vegetable body of the deformed vine beast. Seaweed spilled from its abdomen, possibly intended to represent guts, landing on the deck with a disgusting sound.

Duerak charged at Jericho’s vine horror, intent on cutting its head off.

If that was a head…

The half-dwarf cut into the seaweed of the body with his axe, almost severing the thing’s arm. The arm, however, reformed with surprising speed.

“Outsiders…” It whispered as it relentlessly came forward.

It was going to be a long—well, you get the picture.

Daelis charged a nearby vine horror, stabbing with his rapier and connecting with the thing in the gut. The creature kept coming forward, not caring about the blade jammed into its torso, whispering the same haunting mantra… “Outsiders…”

Another vine horror started to crawl up the side of the Sea Wyvern, and the heroes looked out over the sargasso and realized that there were several, if not dozens, of weed monsters slowly marching towards the ship, seeking their deaths…

The vine horror reached a point on the deck where Poddle happened to be, and attacked the kobold with its fists of seaweed.

Poddle adeptly dodged the strikes from the alien beast and then brought up his own weapon, smashing the heavy warmace into the head of the vine horror.

Seaweed guts splattered across the deck, but the sargasso monster, face half-gone, still came on.

“Nothing will kill these things!” Poddle exclaimed, dodging another blow.

A vine horror shambled towards Daelis, joining the one already attacking the swashbuckler in its mindless war.

The weed beast slammed into the half-elf with surprising speed, knocking Daelis off balance and out of position. Then the vine horror came in hard, punching Daelis in the chest and knocking him halfway across the deck, to crash into the railing and almost fall off the edge.

“You can say that again,” agreed the swashbuckler as he slowly got to his feet.

Nimlar launched an arrow from his elven bow, cutting through the thick neck of a vine horror and poking out the other end. The vine horror seemed stunned for a moment, which was a victory if there ever was one, but it regained its composure and continued on its deadly march.

“Nothing will kill these things!” Nimlar shouting down to his companions, his keen elven ears picking out the conversation between Poddle and Daelis, and his keen sense of humor (which wasn’t exactly elven) causing him to make a joke.

Daelis grinned at him.

Nimlar strung another arrow and repeatedly shot the thing, determined to bring it down. They needed it…

Three arrows plunged into the horror’s back.

It was dead… and that meant that they could die.

After that, the battle really begun…

Yeris swooped down from the crow’s nest and sliced at one of the vine horrors harassing Daelis. Ribbons of sausaged seaweed fell to the ground, but the vine horror seemed not to feel it.

The vine horror finally noticed that its flesh was falling off, and then proceeded to bat the eagle away. Yeris flew around and shrieked at the unnatural thing, trying to get his claws in to attack.

Jericho slashed into the horror in front of him, cutting of chunks of seaweed as he furiously cut at the thing with his swords. He wanted these things to die. Really bad.

Another vine horror slammed into Poddle, knocking him to the floor and punching him repeatedly. The kobold protested loudly, and proceeded to slam them with his warmace.

“There!” Poddle said, leaping to his feet as his attackers stumbled back. “You look much nicer without a face!”

Duerak hacked at his attacker, chopping off neatly sliced pieces of soggy seaweed, which just happened to be animate. Duerak found this very amusing. He was fighting (and winning of course) against seaweed monsters. He concurred that they were very creepy and dangerous, but still… it was rather… whimsical.

He then proceeded to own them.

The vine horror being attacked by Yeris finally retaliated brutally, and sent the poor bird flying across the ship, wounded and battered. But alive.

Poddle tried to own them as well, but he failed, swinging his warmace clumsily and not being able to react in time when another of the things hit him from behind, knocking the mace out of his hands and sliding him all over the deck.

The kobold crawled quickly and recovered his weapon, but found himself surrounded by enemies…

Nimlar fired off more arrows, slaying a vine horror and putting a few holes in another, helping out Poddle by distracting some of his adversaries from his sniper post.

Jericho hacked the head off of his vine horror opponent in one clean swipe.

Duerak chopped off one of the arms of the vine horrors… no two arms of the vine horrors, and then a couple other chunks of seaweed. He was getting the hang of fighting these nasties.

Daelis took a swing at his attacker, but only caught a glancing blow on the dodging seaweed beast. He saw out of the corner of his eye Poddle being attacked by vine horrors, but he was too occupied with this dang thing to be of any use to the kobold now. He would deal with this one first.

Nimlar fired off more missiles, lodging three in the torso of a vine horror, but not slaying it.

Vine horrors attacked both Poddle and Daelis, wounding them slightly as the kobold and the half-elf desperately tried to keep the creatures at bay.

Daelis continued to fight the vine horrors, but not very effectively.. He did score a hit, but didn’t slay the seaweed monster, and put him in an awkward position which provoked the vine horror into attacking again. He managed to block the strike, but he was getting annoyed at the non-dead state of these enemies.

Duerak chopped at a vine horror, and shockingly, forgot to cover himself from attack, and the second vine horror got a clean blow in, a serious blow. The half-dwarf was knocked to the floor, gasping in pain, shocked by his mistake.

Determination burned in his eyes.

Jericho chanted quickly and then pointed his palm at the vine horrors, blasting them with a ray of lightning, which arced across their bodies with crackling static.

They roared with unearthly power and came on.

Duerak tried to make up for his mistake by making a successful and effective lunge, but he missed again.

Things were turning fast…

Daelis used his bard abilites to daze a vine horror, then stabbed into another one with his rapier, cutting out some of its seaweed.

Disgusting, the swashbuckler thought.

Poddle swung his warmace and killed a vine horror, adding another body to the layout of the battlefield (aka the deck of the ship).

Nimlar fired off more arrows from the crow’s nest, scoring some minor hits against the vine horrors, but nothing spectacular.

Jericho fired off another bolt of energy, seriously damaging another vine horror. It looked to be on its last legs, barely able to still keep fighting.

Duerak cut into another vine horror, determined to kill the thing, but only succeeded in cutting of an arm, which would grow back quickly.

Another vine horror behind Jericho lunged at the duskblade, who was focused on his spellcasting and didn’t see it coming. Nimlar saw, however, and tried to get an arrow drawn. He knew he wouldn’t make it in time, so he called out.

“Daelis!”

The swashbuckler reacted with utmost precision and speed. Stepping back slightly from his foes, whipping out his crossbow, and plunging a bolt into the neck of the vine horror, slaying it.

Jericho nodded his thanks.

Poddle charged at a nearby vine horror, slamming it in the legs and knocking it to the ground in a blur of seaweed.

The seaweed monster was quick, however, and recovered, attacking both Poddle and Daelis in a quick motion. Fortunately, the two were quick as well, and dodged the desperate blows easily.

Another vine horror slammed Duerak, and the warrior was still surprised by the well-timed attack. These things were dangerous…

Nimlar continued to stream arrows out from his bow, striking a horror in the chest with three arrows, but not quite bringing it down.

Jericho took a swing at the vine horror, but missed. He cursed himself under his breath.

Duerak slayed another vine horror with a mighty swing from his axe, relishing the combat with the creatures. He loved fighting…

Poddle slammed his warmace down again onto the vine horror, sending seaweed bits flying in every which-way direction. The creature retaliated, however, hitting Poddle with a quick punch but missing Daelis, who dodged the clumsy side-swipe the thing made.

Two arrows suddenly poked out from the chest of the vine horror, and it fell to the deck, dead.

“Huzzah!” Nimlar shouted from his post, giving a quick salute to the pair below.

The elf drew an arrow again and then shot it into the eye of another vine horror, quickly falling back into his rhythm.

Duerak fell back, wounded once again by a vine horror. It looked to be the last one, judging from the emptiness of the deck. An arrow hit the seaweed monster and it fell, felling the last one.

It was over…

Dozens of more vine horrors could be seen gathering around the Sea Wyvern, whispering the word “outsiders” over and over again, but for some reason, no more attacks came. The heroes watched wearily til the morn, and when the first light of the day came peeking over the horizon, the children of the sargasso were gone.

Saturday, October 9th, 1234 AY

The party was now determined that they needed to find and destroy the Heart before the next night, or else they would be overwhelmed. They barely held off the last assault. They needed to end it.

They noticed that towards the east, the swath of seaweed seemed to darken, possibly indicating that there was more than just a seaweed plain in that direction.

The heroes had already figured that east was the direction they should try, and this only strengthened their ideas. They had Rapton heal them and then got their weapons together.

Then they set out to kill the Heart.

They trudged through the swath of seaweed, intent on their target and cautious in their mindset. After long hours of travel, they saw what was making the eastern direction look darker. The normal seaweed plain was replaced with a literal kelp forest, made of large bunches of seaweed clumped together like bushes and trees.

Behind them, the heroes saw the children of the sargasso slowly following them, possibly wanting to protect the Heart from trespassers. Luckily, the heroes were almost there. Unluckily, the vine horrors were cutting off their only route of escape.

They would have to see this through to the end… or die.

The heroes traversed through the kelp forest, and closer to the center of the sargasso, and eventually discovered something lodged at the Heart of the land—the wreck of a caravel called the Thunderer.

As the party approached the ship, they heard a strange whispering voice in their minds—not so much words so much as a mental beacon.

They looked back across the sargasso and saw the entire place coming alive. Hundreds of vine horrors continued to make their way towards them, intent on their destruction.

The heroes entered the Thunderer.

Unlike the other wrecks, the original skeletons of the crew remained aboard, soggy bones mingled with broken chests, weapons, and rigging. The wreck itself was nearly sunken into the weed.

It was a mere five-foot climb to clamber onto the main deck, where the heroes readied their weapons and prepared themselves for the horrors they might find below.

The lower decks were accessible from above, but were located below the level of the weed surface. Along the walls, fronds and feelers of seaweed protruded and twitched.

They did a cursory search of the upper deck, which yielded nothing, and then ventured into the depths…

“Outsiders…” The word was whispered, but the source was unclear.

The heroes searched frantically for their enemy, and were suddenly besieged by all sides by vine horrors.

Six, to be exact.

They all died.

Then… everyone woke up.

They were still standing in front of the Thunderer. It was a dream of some sort, possibly the influence of the foul presence of the sargasso.

The heroes shook off the haunting dream, and entered the ship for real this time. They proceeded to the lower decks and were ambushed by three vine horrors.

Nimlar fired off three arrows—a single and a double shot—almost blindingly fast at a vine horror as it burst from the wall. The plant monster jerked back in pain, three missiles protruding from its chest.

Poddle rushed to the wall, using his slippers to walk along its surface and attack a vine horror. He missed.

Nimlar took a step back and let loose some more arrows, but these were not as fortuitous, and all missed.

Jericho did a blade of blood and cut into one of the vine horrors with his imbued blade, severing a chunk of weed.

Duerak charged at the fourth vine horror, hacking the seaweed monster with his battle axe and letting a sizable chunk of the weed fall to the rotting wood floor.

Daelis took two quick swipes at one of the seaweed creatures—the same one Jericho was attacking—but the vine horror managed to dodge them, whispering the mantra “Outsiders…”, once more.

The vine horror being surrounded by Jericho and Daelis unleashed its fury on the two companions, slamming into them with its powerful “fists” of seaweed. Both were knocked away, stunned and dazed, but relatively intact.

Duerak’s attacker struck him as well, and the half-dwarf gritted his teeth as he heard something snap.

Poddle took another swing at his enemy, but the vine horror moved quickly and avoided the awkwardly placed kobold, who still hung from the wall.

Nimlar launched another arrow directly into the face of the vine horror in front of him, slaying the creature.

Jericho killed his vine horror with a slash with his longsword, and Duerak finished off his a moment later, ending the battle.

Nimlar scavenged a few arrows off of the creatures’ bodies, and then the party set off deeper into the wreck of the Thunderer, except for Duerak, who vouched to stay up top to make sure none of the other vine horrors flanked them.

They came to the hold of the ship, and therein lay what all adventurers love—treasure.

They got about a thousand gold each, four scrimshaw carvings each depicting one of the four seasons, a silver candelabra, and a barnacle-covered shield depicting men being devoured by sharks.

They also found a water-tight bone scroll tube containing arcane scrolls of hold monster, waves of fatigue, and permanency.

As they were gathering up the treasure, another group of vine horrors attacked them, still whispering the chant “Outsiders…”

Nimlar sprung into action, firing off his arrows point blank at the vine horrors and ripping through the creature with fury.

The vine horror roared an unearthly roar, then slammed Nimlar into the wall of the ship, knocking the ranger unconscious.

Jericho slashed into the vine horror, cutting a chunk of plant off, and Poddle slammed the second one as well, hitting also and damaging the two vine horrors considerably.

Nimlar managed to stabilize, so he didn’t lose any more blood, but he was still in danger of being attacked while he was down.

A vine horror hit Pddloe with a back-hand swing, but the kobold took it and continued to fight, slamming into the creature with his warmace.

Daelis slashed the vine horror once, and managed to cause some damage, but nothing considerable.

The vine horror retaliated and punched the swashbuckler with both of its vegetative fists, battering the poor half-elf.

The second vine horror took a swing at Jericho, wounding the duskblade.

Daelis brought his rapier up and stabbed into his enemy with all his might, puncturing the torso and spilling out a pile of soggy seaweed intestines.

Jericho finished it off with a final beheading.

Daelis moved to the last vine horror and slashed it across the back, helping Poddle with his fight.

Jericho finished that one off too.

After giving Nimlar some healing potions, the heroes continued on…

When they finally reached the lowest level of the ship, in the aft hold labeled “the Maw”, the heroes came to the lair of the Mother-of-All.

They had found the Heart of the sargasso.

A huge section of the hull had rotted away there, leaving a stinking pit with walls of writhing green and brown vegetation. These walls writhed with horrible half-formed life, semi-human shapes twisting and spasming from thick tumescent stalks like anthropomorphic fruits ready for harvest. The pit dropped away into a noisome, unseen depth, certainly far deeper than sea level, into an unknown abyss below.

The heroes ventured recklessly to the edge of the pit, and looked down to see the Mother-of-All, a dislocated sack of foul smelling vegetation that was wreathed in screaming humanoid forms that struggled to free themselves from the foul flesh. A vast distended belly bathed in foul green mucus hung from the vaguely humanoid form. Infantile cries echoed from the hideous passengers that slowly pulled themselves from their mother. Twenty feet tall, this grotesque hybrid of woman and plan was a nightmare of mucoid arms and clustered eyes. It was a deviant thing of rot, a pyramidal bulk that rose to a head of eyes and barbed, thorny teeth.

Nimlar aimed his bow down the pit, firing an arrow at the ugly aberration. The missile hit with a furious momentum, striking the Mother in the torso and silencing one of her screaming children.

Jericho shot an arrow down as well, but he missed, not having as good of accuracy as his elven companion.

Poddle squeezed to the rim of the pit as well, and fired off his crossbow at the still-surprised Mother-of-All, scoring a nice hit on the bloated creature.

The heroes thought themselves safe to be at the rim of the pit, since it was a hundred feet to the bottom, and it would take the Mother quite a while to climb up the abyss and attack them.

They were wrong. And that mistake almost cost their lives.

The Mother-of-All sank into the seaweed wall of the pit.

And reappeared at the top of the hole.

Where the heroes were standing.

The Mother sent one of her limbs clawing at Nimlar, striking the elf and drawing considerable blood, almost downing him. She also bit into Jericho’s arm, savagely tearing through his skin and muscle.

This was no cake walk.

Nimlar quickly swigged a potion, but while he was distracted, the Mother took the opportunity to attack the ranger, scoring a vital wound on him.

The ranger retaliated by drawing his bow and firing point-blank into the Mother’s eye.

Jericho took out the staff he had gotten from the ettercap shaman almost weeks ago, and proceeded to use the magic stored within. He attempted to summon a swarm of spiders, but the infantile vine horrors that clung to the body of the Mother attacked him, distracting him and causing him to fail in the casting of the spell.

They tore him apart.

He was almost falling into unconsciousness, but he held on for his life…

Daelis slashed at the Mother, but her hard seaweed-encrusted hide deflected the blow, and it seemed to do nothing at all.

Jericho, in his last attempt to attack the Mother, shot a ray of lightning at her… which did nothing. She was immune to electricity.

Poddle stepped back and drank a potion, but this provoked the Mother into an attack, wounding him even as he healed himself with the elixir.

The Mother-of-All attacked Daelis, cutting a gaping wound across his torso.

Nimlar withdrew, fleeing from the Mother and getting out of range of her terrible claws. He stayed at the doorway, intending to shoot arrows from there.

Poddle rushed forward and attacked the Mother, scoring a hit with his warmace.

The Mother attacked Daelis, scoring more hits on him and felling the swashbuckler.

Daelis lay on the deck, bleeding out…

Poddle smashed the Mother again, but it was deflected by the seaweed hide.

In return, the Mother-of-All killed him.

Nimlar had to choose.

He had to choose who to save.

The elf got out his rope and grappling hook and threw it at his choice, catching the person on the belt with the hook.

He chose Daelis.

Pulling with all his might, the elf got Daelis away from the Mother-of-All.

Unfortunately, Jericho paid for that choice. He was eaten by the Mother-of-All, dragged to a watery doom…

Just then, Duerak appeared.

Nimlar healed Daelis by shoving a potion down his throat, helping him regain his health and his consciousness.

Daelis and Nimlar ran.

Duerak grabbed Poddle’s body, and also ran.

The Mother-of-All followed.

The heroes ran for their lives, the Mother right on their tail, until they reached the deck of the Thunderer. The party saw something flying in the distance…

Daegoth riding on Fang.

Fang slammed into the Mother-of-All, knocking her off the deck of the ship. Then the dragon proceeded to kill her.

The mother collapsed in on herself and died—a writhing mass of rotting vegetation that howls and shrieks until finally it lies still. A moment later, the sargasso itself wakened, as the countless vine horrors that still lived within felt the death of their Mother. Without her to hold their forms, they rapidly fell apart into sludge. A few moments after that, the sargasso shuddered and shook as it began to unravel from the center.

The Thunderer sank into the waves.

Sunday, October 10th, 1234 AY

The party, alive, but now barely holding on to life aboard driftwood and wreckage (and Fang).

The darkness of night dissipated, as the dawn shone out the clearer.

After about three hours of floundering around, the heroes saw something on the horizon.

The Sea Wyvern.

The ship pulled alongside the floating heroes, and a familiar face appeared: Amella.

“Need any help there?” she said, smirking.

Amella (and the rest of the crew) was saddened greatly by the death of Poddle and Jericho.

Tavey was shocked at his master’s death.

Fortunately though, the other members of the party quickly informed the crew and passengers of the possibility of resurrection, if they could find a cleric…

The heroes remembered a powerful cleric on the Blue Nixie, which brought up another question. What about Lavinia?

Fang informed the party that Lavinia was perfectly fine, and they had just been blown off course, like the heroes had. She was fine and informed them to just continue and meet at Farshore.

The heroes decided to strap Poddle and Jericho’s bodies on Fang, and then send them to the Blue Nixie to get resurrected. Poddle’s money was used to pay for the material costs of the raising for himself, but in Jericho’s case, there was a dilemma.

The duskblade had nowhere near enough gold to pay for the resurrection, and the other members of the party weren’t going to chip in.

But they asked Lavinia (in a note attached to Fang) to pay for the duskblade’s raising, in exchange for working for free for her until the debt was paid off.

She accepted.

Wednesday, October 13th, 1234 AY

On Wednesday Fang returned, this time with two alive and well heroes: Jericho and Poddle.

They sailed on…

Thursday, October 14th, 1234 AY

Only five days after the Sea Wyvern escaped the clutches of the sargasso, she encountered her greatest threat yet.

As the sun dawned, the day was overcast and grim, and Nimlar sat in the crow’s nest, watching the horizon.

He noticed something off the starboard bow—land.

The ragged, jungle-choked peaks of the Isle of Dread loomed on the horizon.

The sight of land brought a cheer to the crew and passengers, and consultation with sea charts confirmed it—the Sea Wyvern had nearly reached her goal. All that remained was to sail down the eastern coast to Farshore.

Alas, by the time the morn had become noon, it was obvious that fate had something else in store for the ship. The rain began shortly thereafter, and by two o’clock a second storm was in full force, much more powerful than the first.

Not quite a hurricane, but close.

The _Sea Wyvern crashed around in the storm, and eventually lost their sense of direction, the wall of rain and cloud choking their vision. They bounced wildly through the waves, almost tipping numerous times, but somehow the skill of Amella and Jericho kept them from sinking just yet.

For several hours, they were lucky and managed to keep the ship from rolling or washing, and the Sea Wyvern kept relatively intact. But at about five o’clock, that luck ended.

The ship suddenly rocked violently to the side as it slid down the face of a large swell. The wave was huge, almost impossibly huge, and various people on board were knocked from their feet as the ship hit the swell.

Fang seemed to fall off of the ship, plunging into the depths of the ocean in a huge splash of seawater.

They wouldn’t know the real story until much, much later.

The swell passed, and the ship was still intact, though less a few crew and passengers.

Soon after though, a wash came. The ship plowed into another oncoming swell, causing the surf to wash over the deck, potentially able to sweep anyone off deck and into the ocean.

Daelis slipped and fell, pushed by the water over the edge of the ship… but luckily he managed to grab on to a stray bit of rigging and save himself.

Too close.

Another wave of surf came, but everyone managed to steady themselves (even Daelis, who was hanging precariously over the edge of the ship), except for poor Banaby Chisk, Avner’s only servant since Quenge was killed.

He was taken by the depths, and was never seen again.

After the ship defeated the wash, another mishap occurred.

Suddenly, a tremendous lurch struck the ship and the sound of splintering wood filled the air. The Sea Wyvern came to a sudden stop, and the heroes, though caught off guard, managed to keep from falling over.

Waves crashed against the ship, which now leaned perilously to the port, and with a side-ward glance down at the waves below, their suspicions were confirmed.

They were stuck on a reef.

Suddenly, a giant eel jumped out of the water.

The worm-like fish measured nearly thirty feet from tip to tail. Its face was a terrible circular maw of grinding teeth, with two beady eyes peering out from the crown of its head. Large spines rose from its sinuous back, shuddering and rattling with menace.

“A masher!”

It was Urol’s voice, barely heard above the storm, even though he was yelling, but still enough to get the meaning.

“How do we kill it?!” Daelis yelled back, drawing his rapier as the eel hissed and slithered his way.
“Oh, the normal slice and dice!” Urol answered. “But stay away from the spines!”

The eel lunged for Jericho, who couldn’t react in time and got a chunk of flesh torn from his leg.

Nimlar then attempted to use his ranger abilities to empathize with the animal, trying to make it not attack them.

It failed.

Poddle came up from the lower deck to see the eel attacking, and went into stealth mode, sneaking around the creature in order to get a good hit against it.

Daelis went into acrobat mode, gracefully leaping on top of one of the rowboats that lay on the side of the deck from his position on the upper deck, then climbed atop the railing at the edge of the ship and balanced across it, landing back on the deck right next to the eel.

And all in one sentence!

Duerak pulled out his shortbow, aiming it up at the worm-like eel and firing. Unfortunately, the storm made it difficult for the arrow to fly correctly, and it fell to the ground harmlessly.

The eel took another bite at Jericho, and this time scored a more serious blow, almost downing the duskblade with its powerful jaws.

Nimlar drew his bow as well, firing off an arrow and scoring a hit, but nothing major.

Poddle was in position by now, and surprised the eel with a well-placed blow to the head.

Jericho, in his last heartbeats before going unconscious, used his magic and teleported a short distance away from the battlefield, just far enough away to get out of the range of the eel’s deadly jaws. Then he fell to the deck as the rain fell around him, unconscious…

Daelis struck at the eel with his rapier, stabbing in deep and drawing good blood from the creature.

Duerak fired two more arrows from his shortbow, but unfortunately the storm was still interfering with his shots, since he wasn’t as good of an archer as Nimlar, so they both missed, falling with a clink to the deck.

The masher, however, had decided that this prey wasn’t as easy as it first took them to be, and high-tailed it out of there. Daelis and Poddle both got passing hits against the eel, but they both missed.

The masher left.

A few tense minutes after that, Amella managed to dislodge the Sea Wyvern off of the reef, but the storm was far from over.

Another wash came soon after that, and the heroes braced themselves for the wave of surf. Poddle was knocked off his feet, carried by the power of the water towards the edge of the ship… but saved in the nick of time by Daelis, who managed to grab him and hold on to the mast, saving them both.

After the wash ended, the storm abated somewhat, but the damage was done.

Striking the reef had holed the ship in several places, and only by putting the entire crew to work bailing can she stay afloat.

As the night grew darker, the Sea Wyvern was in poor shape indeed.

It was obvious to the heroes that their vessel would not reach Farshore—they would be lucky to reach any shore. The closest stretch of land beckoned only twenty-five miles away, where a narrow strip of beach along a thick wall of jungle might afford somewhere safe to land. The heroes told Amella to head for the beach, their best chance for survival.

The storm continued through the night.

Although the winds abated enough that there were no longer any threats of rolls or washes, it was still strong enough that the tattered ship seemed in danger of sinking at any second. Caught by the storm and the tide, the badly listing Sea Wyvern was driven toward the northern shore of the Isle of Dread, closer to the narrow strip of beach that would hopefully be safe.

The primeval vista loomed larger before the heroes through the driving rain, periodically lit by flashes of lightning.

Suddenly, the ship lurched again, throwing everyone to the deck. The Sea Wyvern tilted crazily to the side, lurched one last time, and rolled.

The cold dark sea rushed up to meet the heroes, and in a cacophonous roar of wave and ruin, all went dark…

View
Chapter 12: Along the Coast
As the heroes hug the Amedio coast, they fight aggressive flotsam, basilisks, bat demons, will-o-wisps, hydras and drunken Olmans.

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 12: Along the Coast

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Saturday, August 7th, 1234 AY

Jericho decided to converse with the cabin boy, Tavey, since he was always so quiet.

“How are you doing?” Jericho said, trying to look non-threatening.
“Al-alright…” Tavey said cautiously.
“You’re afraid of me aren’t you?” Jericho asked.
“Just a little bit,” Tavey answered.
“Here’s some gold,” Jericho said, handing the boy two coins.
“Thank you, sir.” Tavey said politely. “Thank you very much. That’s very nice of you!”

Jericho then asked if he wanted to practice his swordsmanship. Tavey answered with an enthusiastic yes.

The two sparred with wooden swords, honing their skills and softening up Tavey to Jericho’s company.

“So, why did you come on this ship?” Tavey asked inquisitively, in the middle of a parry.
“Oh, I got stuck with those idiots,” Jericho said sarcastically, pointing towards his companions.

Poddle happened to walk by, and responded with a: “Hey!”

The two began to argue, and then eventually Jericho called it quits and went back to the wheel.

When the duskblade reached it, he decided to have a little fun. He took a hard right.

Nimlar managed to keep his balance (and so did Daelis, but he was below deck), but Poddle wasn’t so lucky.

He fell off the ship.

Poddle was thrashing about in the water and cursing the name of Jericho. Nimlar threw him a rope and brought the kobold back on board, but he was in a foul mood the rest of the day.

Poddle began to berate Jericho for his actions, stating they were against the contract he had signed, but Jericho maintained that it was an accident. They got into a fight, and Jericho said that he hated kobolds, which counted as excessive verbal abuse in the contract, so the duskblade had to hand over his five jars of poisonous herbs to Poddle.

Later, Jericho told the rest of the party why he had such a bone to pick with Poddle.

When he was traveling in the Amedio, working as a mercenary to pay the bills, he was captured by a group of kobold slavers, and was held prisoner for several months.

Poddle and Jericho got into another fight, threatening each other and pulling out weapons. Nimlar got between them and tried to break up the fight, telling them to stop.

Poddle walked away, and Jericho went back to the wheel, though there was still contempt between them.

Poddle went down to the brig to talk to Conrad, offering to break him out for a thousand gold pieces.

“I don’t have it on me,” said Conrad, looking around to make sure no one was listening. “But I can get it for you.”
“A thousand gold?”
“I can get it.”
“It doesn’t work that way boy,” Poddle said. “You get me the money and then I’ll get you out.”
“The ship has a messenger hawk, right?”
“Yes.”
“Get me some paper, pen and ink, and I’ll write a message to my benefactor in Fort Blackwell. He’ll get you a thousand gold with ease.”

Poddle got him his utensils and let him write the message, but read it before he sent it. On the surface it seemed like a regular message asking the benefactor for a thousand gold, but Poddle wanted to make sure it wasn’t coded. Reluctantly, he asked Jericho to help him decipher the message and check for hidden codes.

It was coded.

The coded message told the benefactor about the Isle of Dread and Farshore. That they were both “ripe for the picking”. It would be a very good location to confiscate, because of all the exotic resources.

Poddle had Jericho write a new letter (forging the signature of Conrad), using the same coded system, except this time with a different message: send his worker Poddle five thousand gold.

Sunday, August 8th, 1234 AY

The next day, Urol approached Jericho and asked him a question.

“So I was wondering, what’s your story?” Urol said, curious as always.
“I was raised in a very decent home and I loved geography,” Jericho said. “I was probably one of the smartest people in my village. But one day it all came crashing down, and I found myself here. Oh, and one time I was taken prisoner by a bunch of kobolds…But eventually I escaped and ever since then I found myself on the path to kill every assassin in the world!”
“Interesting…” Said Urol, confused a little.
“Are you an assassin?” Jericho said seriously.
“No… I’m a druid.”

Jericho was wary, however, and pressed further, infuriating Urol.

“I’m an old gnome druid!” He said indignantly. “Miss Crazzle, peck out his eyes!”

Jericho readied to defend himself.

“I was kidding…” Urol said, already tired of the conversation.
“So, you’re not an assassin?”
“No, I am not an assassin!”
“Lift up your sleeves!” Jericho demanded.
“Whoa there,” Poddle broke in, seeing the situation. “You don’t need to do that!”

Urol lifted up his sleeves, anyway, and Jericho found there was nothing.

“I’m sorry,” Jericho apologized. “I’m a tad bit antsy; since I’ve already killed three assassins so far.”
“So what’s your story, Mr. Gnome?” Jericho said after a silence.
“Well… a long time ago, I was a little gnome!”
“Never mind. I’m out of here!” Jericho said, leaving. “Goodbye!”

Poddle asked Urol to tell his story anyways, and he obliged. A long boring story ensued, about Urol’s life as a young gnome, growing up in Celion Forest living with a group of fellow wood gnomes, and how he became a druid.

Jericho went to the captain to apologize for being too forward. Amella accepted the apology, and then Jericho asked her a question.

“What’s your story, ma’am?”

Amella told Jericho how she had grown up in a slum, but became a sailor at a young age, falling in love with the open sea. Later, she married the love of her life (also a sailor), Heldram Venkalie. They smuggled goods past the barbaric Dragon Armada, but one time while making a deal with a group of gnomes, they turned on the pair and killed Heldram. Amella also revealed that she has been searching for the killer, a treacherous gnome named Shortstone Badgewell, since.

Nimlar also checked the supplies to make sure everything was in order. It was.

Avner, haughty as usual, began to order Tavey around, which Amella did not like.

“Tavey!” Avner said, elitist in all his glory. “Get me a nice cool drink!”

Poddle and Jericho, seeing this, decided to put a stop to it.

“Hey, Tavey,” Poddle said, grabbing the cabin boy. “You don’t have to do that.”

Jericho tapped Avner’s shoulder.

“What do you want, Jericho?” Said Avner, looking at him with disdain.
“I want you stop bossing my friend around.”
“Don’t stick your nose in other people’s business!”

The two pestered the noble until he relented.

“Fine, I’ll leave him alone! It’s his job anyways, sheesh!”
“If you do it again,” Jericho said threateningly. “I’ll pay you a little visit while you sleep.”
“Whatever.”

Avner walked away.

Later, the heroes saw Urol trying to converse with Amella. Amella didn’t seem to like this.

Poddle went up to the old gnome, and attempted to diffuse the situation by asking Urol to show him his sketches.

It worked.

“Oh yes I can!” Urol said excitedly, fumbling around in his pack for his sketchbook. He finally found it, and flipped to a page with a drawing of one of the redcaps they had found near Fort Blackwell.
“This is one of those redcaps,” Urol told Poddle, showing him the sketch.
“Oh yes!” Poddle said, remembering the creatures. “I almost caught one of those…”
“And here’s the big snake!”

Urol went through numerous sketches of his, showing them all to Poddle, and left Amella alone. The captain was grateful.

Monday, August 9th, 1234 AY

The weather took a turn for the worse, becoming cloudy overnight. As the hour neared noon, rain began to fall, first as a light drizzle, then as a heavy pour, then finally settling into something in between.

One of Avner’s servants, a meek man named Quenge Asper, was standing about near the railing of the Sea Wyvern, when he saw something move in the water. He leaned over the rail and peered at the spot, wondering if it was just the rain on the water or something more.

Poddle, seeing the man close to the edge, went to warn him.

“You really shouldn’t be standing so close to the edge there,” the kobold said.
“Well, I just saw something in the water,” Quenge started to say, but he was cut off in mid-sentence when he was suddenly grabbed and pulled into the ocean. Icthyasaurus

A giant aquatic reptile, called an Icthyasaurus (in proper Old Toru terminology), had eaten the poor man and dove down back into the depths.

The crew and passengers immediately went into an uproar, with Amella trying to calm them all down. Avner stomped up to Skald, going into a tirade about how he should have been paying attention to the rail, blaming him for the death of Asper.

Nimlar came to the defense of his colleague, arguing that he couldn’t have seen it, that it came from underneath.

Daelis argued with Avner, pointing him out and saying that he didn’t do anything either, he was just as guilty as all the rest of them.

Avner just swore at him.

The heroes later attempted to get Avner kicked off the boat, but Lavinia wouldn’t condone it.

After this, Daelis was on the way to his quarters, when he spotted Avner in his room, sobbing.

“I’m sorry Quenge,” he heard Avner whisper. “I should have been there.”

Daelis told the rest of the party to lay off Avner for a bit, telling them what he had seen.

Avner had recovered by then, and he went over to Skald and apologized.

Tuesday, August 10th, 1234 AY

Nimlar and Daelis sparred with their swords, while Jericho went to talk with the cabin boy, Tavey.

“How would you say your temperament is?” Jericho said to Tavey.
“My temperament? I would say it’s… good,” Tavey answered.
“I was worried that you might get pretty frazzled with Avner bossing you around like that.”

A silence.

“Well, just wondering!” Jericho said, taking his leave.

Poddle decided to boost everyone’s spirits by inviting them to a card game. Well, just his spirits I guess. It was an old trick game he had used back in his days in Ahato. He never lost. Cards

He invited everyone who wanted to to join him; Avner, Lirith, Skald, Tovin, Kurgol and Shefton accepted.

Poddle didn’t want to scam Kurgol out of his money, so he lied and said that there were too many people at the game already.

“That’s fine,” Kurgol said, smiling a toothy grin. “I’m not one for card games much anyway.”

The game began… and Poddle won, collecting all of his opponents gold.

“Oh, I win. That’s too bad…” Poddle said, faking pity. “Would anyone like to play again? I’ll put two-hundred and fifty this time!”
“No…” Was the response.

Except for Avner, who was determined to win.

Poddle owned.

“One more round?” Poddle asked.
“No that’s alright,” Avner said, getting ready to leave. “I think I’m done. I have nothing left anyways…”
Poddle shook his hand, and in the process pick-pocketed five more gold.
That’s all I have! Poddle thought sarcastically.
“You know what?” Poddle said enthusiastically. “That was a really good game, I want to give you a hug!”
Twenty more gold for Poddle.

Wednesday, August 11th, 1234 AY

The next day, the party neared the mouth of the Havekihu River, where they would refill their water.

While the crew loaded up barrels with water (with which Daelis, Daegoth and Nimlar helped), the other members of the party went off and did their own thing.

Poddle was fishing, and he called Tavey over.

“Stay away from Avner,” the kobold advised Tavey. “Don’t do anything he says. Oh, I got something on the line! Do you want to pull it in?”
“Sure,” the cabin boy said, grabbing the pole and pulling up a common freshwater fish. “I caught something! Thanks! Can I keep it?”
“No,” Poddle said in all seriousness. “I’m just kidding, go ahead.”
“I can’t wait to show Miss Venkalie!” Tavey said as he ran off towards the captain.

Poddle watched as Tavey showed the catch to Amella, and how she acted. She was beginning to become a mother figure to the young boy. Poddle smiled.

Jericho, meanwhile, was practicing parkour, jumping from trees in the nearby jungle and training.

Later, Poddle asked Tavey if he would like to pet WAR. He said yes.

“What are you doing?” Said WAR, confused.
“Just got with it man,” Poddle said. “He’s a little kid!”
“So how can he talk?” Tavey asked, interested as always. “I’ve never heard of an animal talking before.”

Poddle told him about the magic of the druids, and how they can awaken animals.

Jericho returned from his training at this time, and had an idea. He wanted to train Tavey in the ways of the duskblade.

He asked Tavey if he wanted to, and the cabin boy answer was an enthusiastic yes (after checking with Amella, of course).

While they were training, Poddle kept fishing, catching a total of ten fish that day.

Tavey was already skilled at climbing and the various athletic requirements of the duskblade, but was lack of magic. Jericho began to train him.

Near the evening, less than half-an-hour after the expedition got underway again after resupplying with water, a thick fog sprung up.

Jericho remembered that fog banks like this often occur along the coast in the region, but the thickness of it was nevertheless oppressive. Fog

Passengers headed below deck, and the crew grew silent as all ears strained to the starboard side, marking the distant sound of breakers on the shore as the only trustworthy method of ensuring the expedition didn’t draw too close to the shallows while still staying parallel to the coast. The fog grows thicker, and soon even the Blue Nixie, only a few hundred feet ahead, was lost to vision.

At this point, Lavinia ordered the ships to anchor for the night until the fog burns off in the morning. The voice of one of her crew calling out from the fog to the Sea Wyvern announcing the short stoppage is curiously muted by the fog, but nonetheless easily understood. Amella anchored the Sea Wyvern and everyone prepared for a long night.

The heroes took shifts watching the ship in case of anything foul occurring during the night. Nimlar took first watch.

Of course, the fog was far from uninhabited. Near midnight, when Nimlar was on duty, the entire ship lurched as if striking a reef, causing the elven ranger to almost fall from the crow’s nest, where he was keeping watch.

The heroes woke up at the lurch, and scrambled to get their weapons and find the enemy.

Nimlar, from his position in the crow’s nest, saw what they had hit. It appeared to be a huge pile of flotsam clinging to the hull, surrounded by transparent jelly. The elf took out his bow and shot an arrow into the thing, but it seemed to just sink into the gelatinous mass, not appearing to cause any damage. Nimlar was weary to order his harpy eagle to attack, in case the ooze was dangerous, and stayed his hand.

Poddle, frightened out of his sleep, quickly rushed away from the rail and grabbed his crossbow, firing it at the flotsam.

He missed.

Nimlar pulled two more arrows from his quiver and fired them at the ooze, but the fog was thick and the arrows failed to hit their target. He fired another arrow rapidly, but once again he missed the gelatinous mass.

Jericho woke as well, pulling out his wand and firing acid at the ooze, which seemed to wound the creature considerably. The duskblade called out to his companions, telling them that acid had an effect on it, and readied his wand for another blast.

Daelis, who had been sleeping near the ballista in order to use it quickly in case of an attack, fired it off now, but missed horribly.

The ooze reached out and grabbed Jericho, pulling him overboard and beginning to suck him into itself. The duskblade shot his wand point-blank at the creature as he was grabbed, blasting acid into the creature. Ooze

Poddle moved away from the ooze, going to help Daelis reload the ballista, while Nimlar went out on a limb.

The elven ranger attached silk rope to the end of his arrow and shot it into the flotsam, trying to get Jericho out from its clutches. Jericho saw the arrow and immediately recognized what Nimlar was doing. He grabbed the arrow and Nimlar pulled with all his might.

The gelatinous mass made a sucking sound as Jericho was ripped from its body, crashing onto the deck of the ship, but relatively okay.

Daelis and Poddle had finished reloading the ballista, so Daelis fired it off at the great ooze, but he missed once again.

WAR came up on deck then, and proceeded to help Daelis with the ballista, freeing up Poddle to help fight the ooze.

The kobold loaded and fired his crossbow, hitting the ooze.

Jericho shot his wand off again, damaging the ooze as well.

Daelis fired off his ballista once again, but this time he hit the flotsam, damaging it further.

Since the heroes were just firing ranged weapons at it from afar, the ooze focused its attacks on the ship itself, attempting to sink it by dissolving the wood.

Nimlar fired off more arrows, wounded it further, but it was still not close to dying.

Jericho used his wand and shot acid at the ooze again, doing more damage.

Daelis missed with the ballista, meanwhile the ooze kept eating up the hull of the Sea Wyvern.

Poddle fired his crossbow at the flotsam, but he missed.

Nimlar shot off more arrows from his perch in the crow’s nest, slightly damaging the gelatinous creature.

Jericho shot more acid from his wand and wounded once again the ooze.

It was getting tedious.

Nimlar fired more arrows, seeming to seriously injure the creature. It was almost dead.

The ship was beginning to sink, as the ooze dissolved the wood of the ship, creating a hole. The passengers and other crew of the Sea Wyvern were trying to patch up the breach, but one of them got pulled into the gelatinous mass and was killed (luckily just a random colonist).

Nimlar wasted more arrows, missing the ooze with his attacks.

Jericho also shot off his wand, but he was more successful, further wounding the ooze and almost killing it.

Daelis missed once again with the ballista.

Poddle shot another crossbow bolt off and did some minor damage, but then Nimlar drew an arrow, determined to kill the thing.

“I summon the power of the Sea and Air!” He cried as he let loose his arrow, slaying the creature.

It was dead.

The flotsam ooze floated, the driftwood and debris that once coated it slowly sinking or drifting away.

Nimlar jumped into the water, sifting through the wreckage and looking for valuables. Among the debris there were the bodies of no less than six sailors. It is unclear if they were merchants or pirates, as they are little more than bone now, but one of the bodies wore a ring that was strangely unacidified. Another wore gauntlets.

Jericho identified the items (since they were obviously magical) as a ring of mind shielding and gauntlets of ogre power.

Nimlar took the ring and the heroes gave the gauntlets to Daegoth, further enhancing his strength.

Thursday, August 12th, 1234 AY

The next day was Jericho’s birthday, which he mostly kept to himself, except for Tavey (with whom he had formed a close bond with), Nimlar and Daelis (who he had also come to trust)… oh, and Poddle.

Lavinia however, had known his birthday long before this, and decided to throw a suprise birthday party for him! Soon everyone was giving Jericho presents. Nimlar gave him the magical ring he had claimed the night previous, hoping it would help the Duskblade better control his inner demon. Daelis gave him some magical boots he had picked up a while back and Daegoth gave him five gold, while Poddle gave him a drink of his Firebelly ale.

Lavinia gave him a magical suit of chain mail, which Jericho took with a big smile and thanks.

The many other crew members and colonists didn’t get Jericho anything, since they hadn’t planned on it and they didn’t have much to give, but they celebrated with the rest of them, gathering on both the ships to congratulate Jericho. Even Avner gave him a hearty “Happy Birthday”!

At one point during the party, Lirith got into a heated discussion with Kurgol, which turned into a free-for-all name calling session. She berated Kurgol for his heritage and called him an “ignorant halfbreed” and other titles such as that.

“Hey there,” Poddle said to Lirith, walking up to the pair. “We’re not being racist now are we?”
“Yes!” Lirith proclaimed. “Yes I am! Who let this half-orc on here!”

WAR walked up behind her.

“We’re not being racist now are we?” WAR said, emphasizing heavily.
“Are you threatening me?” Lirith said haughtily.
“Of course not,” Metallica said, joining in. “He’s just giving you friendly advice.”

The heroes circled around her, giving her death stares.

“Get out of my way!” Lirith demanded.
“Sit down,” said Daelis.

Lirith complied.

Meanwhile, Jericho was complaining to Amella about this, and the captain quickly broke up the fight and sent Lirith on her way, but not after scolding her and demanding she pay gold to Kurgol to reconcile.

Jericho, in a flourish of emotion, stood up on a crate and started to give a speech. The crowd cheered, thinking he was going to give a birthday speech. Instead, he called up Daelis.

He whispered into Daelis’ ear what he wanted him to say (since Jericho was not a good public speaker), and Daelis went into one of the most moving monologues he would ever give.

“My friends!” He began, eying each individual person there. “My companion Jericho has something that pains him very much to speak of, and he wants me to share it with you. I relate to him, in many ways. He wants me to talk about hate. We all have differences, different backgrounds, different personalities, different professions, and most especially different races. Why is it so difficult to look past them? Too long have I watched people, good people, be persecuted for that what they look like. Who they are. They can’t change it. It’s not theirs to decide. The one thing there is to decide is how we will treat this people. And the answer is simple: as living, breathing, thinking beings. Not as animals, not as inferiors, but as people. People, who go through the same trials and tribulations all of us go through. My friend, Jericho, he urges you, on his birthday, to put this… racism, aside. For one night at least, let’s let just be people.”

The crowd was deeply moved. Everyone stood up and applauded. It was a night to remember.

Jericho smiled.

Later on in the night, Kurgol and Urol became friends. The speech was very effective.

Apparently, though, the captain wasn’t impressed. She began to express her disapproval about Jericho teaching Tavey. She forbade it.

“What if I paid you to teach him?” Jericho asked.
“It’s not about money!” Amella replied, angry. “I don’t trust you. Unless you prove yourself, you can’t teach him anything!”
“How do I prove myself?”
“Maybe don’t randomly punch your own friends!”
“I have protected everyone on this ship numerous times from threats! I have more than proven myself!”
“Fine!” Amella said, giving in. “I’ll let you continue. But a word of warning: If you do anything, anything at all to hurt him, I will kill you.”

Afterward, Jericho began to talk with Urol about geography. The subject eventually ended up on the ruins that Urol was planning on exploring, the lost Olman city of Tamoachan.

Urol’s desire to explore Tamochan arose only a week before the expedition left, when he came into possession of a tattered map. He purchased the map from a one-legged sailor who claimed to have been given it by a dying elf fished from the sea. This nameless elf claimed to have been part of an expedition to the ruins and to have found a previously unexplored section of the city. Unfortunately, his party was attacked by a strange eight-legged lizard with glowing eyes who turned those who saw it to stone. Alas, on the voyage back to Sasserine to recruit a new party to explore the ruin, his ship sank in a storm. Having no need to explore a dangerous ruin, the sailor sold the map to Urol for a pretty penny.

The heroes began to formulate plans on how to defeat this eight-legged lizard (which Jericho identified as a basilisk).

All in all, it was a pretty good birthday party…

Saturday, August 14th, 1234 AY

A day passed with nothing eventful, but when the sun rose on the next day, the heroes were met with an odd sight.

For several miles along the coast, enormous spider-webs cling to the boughs of the great jungle trees, while huge black shapes move about within the webs.

The heroes discussed combating the monsters, but Lavinia pressed them to continue on, so they complied.

Jericho continued his training with Tavey, who was coming along nicely, picking up the magic side of it easier now, even casting his first spell that day.

Amella watched from the sidelines, still wary but knowing that it meant a lot to Tavey.

“The hawk should have been back by now,” Amella mused, talking to Poddle (referring to the messenger hawk Poddle had sent out earlier that week). “I don’t understand it.”

Poddle agreed, thinking it was strange.

The rain still pattered on, as it had since Monday.

Jericho, after finishing his training with Tavey, talked to Lavinia, asking her about getting a priest to talk to him about his issues. She complied, having the cleric she had on her vessel to help him with this.

It seemed to make everyone more at ease.

It was seen that Kurgol and Shefton had become friends as well, and the half-orc seemed to be much more respected than he was, thanks to Daelis’ speech.

Poddle went down to the hold to speak with Conrad about the letter, which should have arrived by now. He suspected him of some sort of trickery, but couldn’t be sure until he talked to him.

“I sent that message a long time ago.” Poddle, said to Conrad. “And the messenger hawk should have been back by now. Why isn’t it?”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Conrad shrugged.

Poddle slammed the brig door shut and began to walk away, but stopped when he reached the doorway.

“You’re not telling the truth!” Poddle exclaimed, turning around. “You know what happened to that letter!”
“Yes I do,” Conrad said slyly, thinking he had tricked Poddle. “And your little Isle of Dread? Well, right now, a fleet of Dragon Armada ships are on their way to take it.”
“Oh, really know?” Poddle asked, knowing he was talking about the coded letter he had tried to send, but that he had already foiled. “Is this your letter?”

He held out the letter.

“What? What did you do to the letter?! Did you even send it?” Conrad said, shocked.
“No,” Poddle said. “I didn’t. I sent a different letter saying: ‘Give me ten thousand gold!’”
“Well, he’s not going to send you it!” Conrad argued.
“I know right…” Poddle said, sighing. But then he snapped out of it. “Wait… Why?!”
“Because,” Conrad said. “There’s no reason to! I’m just a lackey, I’m done for. I know that.”
“Oh, you are?” Poddle said, grabbing out his warmace. “So I guess I can kill you right?”
“You don’t want to do that.”
“Why not?”
“Well… Because maybe the captain of the ship… would kill you!!!”
“And she would know that it was me?”
“Yes… Because right now, I’m going to yell. Help! Help!”

Poddle moved to close the door to the brig, but just then Daegoth appeared. The kobold made some excuse and left, in a foul mood.

Poddle approached the captain with the news of Conrad, telling her the events that transpired (but conveniently leaving out the parts about wanting to kill him).

“I knew that cleric guy was planning something!” Poddle vented, pacing back and forth as the sun finally vanished into the western horizon. “I told him to—”

Suddenly, a voice cut off Poddle.

“The prisoner, the prisoner has escaped!”

The heroes rushed to the brig to find that Conrad had indeed escaped.

Daegoth, meanwhile, had been fishing, and saw a cloaked figure run towards one of the rowboats and start to lower it. The lizardfolk went over to the boat and held on to the rope pulley, stopping the boat from lowering any farther. The figure looked up and let out a shout, then dove into the water.

He started to swim to shore, but then started drowning, since he obviously couldn’t swim.

“I can’t swim!” He cried, floundering about in the ocean.

Daegoth jumped in behind him and managed to get the man back to the ship, dragging him up on deck.

It was Conrad.

He began to cough and sputter, but Daegoth looked on him with disapproval.

“What do you think you were you doing?” Daegoth asked.
“Going for a swim,” Conrad joked between coughs. He managed to smile weakly, but when Daegoth didn’t think it was funny, quickly grew sober. “All right, I was…trying to escape…”

The other heroes came then, and Poddle began to get red with anger.

“That’s it! I’m sick of this!” He said, grabbing out his weapon.

He knocked out Conrad with a well placed blow to the head.

WAR, go put him down in the brig, now!”

After the priest came to, the heroes brought Rapton in to cast a truth spell on him, then began to interrogate him.

“How did you get out?!” Poddle demanded.
“Someone let me out,” Conrad replied, his eyes cold.
“Who?” Jericho said quietly, walking over to the bars of the brig.
“Someone…” Conrad said, trying to avoid the subject, as he knew he was under the effects of a spell.
“Someone… What’s his name?!” Poddle asked, quickly losing patience.
“Well…” Conrad stalled. “It wasn’t Bob! I know it wasn’t him!”
“Tell us the truth!” Poddle yelled.
“Shefton!” Conrad said, finally giving in.

The heroes (and Poddle), confronted Shefton, demanding why he did it.

“I knew there was something messed up with you!” Poddle screamed. “Hiding under the bodies of my companions and all that!”
“I’m sorry…” Shefton said, not looking up. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“You’re sorry?” Poddle reiterated. “You shouldn’t have done it!?”
“He offered me a new life!” Shefton confessed. “As much money as I could ever want!”
“Money is not the source of all happiness.” Daegoth said quietly, but no one listened.
“He offered me money too!” Poddle said, partially to himself. “But he didn’t give it to me, did he now!?”
“He said that his benefactor could hook me up for life,” Shefton said.

“I believed him,” he said under his breath.

“He said that if I helped him escape, that he would bring me to his benefactor,” Shefton said again, looking up at them for the first time. “But when I saw Daegoth on deck, I hid, and let Conrad go on alone.”

The heroes argued about what do with him for a while, before Shefton finally came forward and interrupted them.

“Put me in the brig,” Shefton said downheartedly. “I know what I did was wrong. Do what you will with me…”

The captain came then, and agreed that until they could decide what could be done with the pair, the brig was the best place for them. Amella also decreed that Shefton would take over Tavey’s cleaning jobs until further notice.

Wednesday, August 18th, 1234 AY

On the coast, the heroes caught sight of a collection of immense ziggurat temples, ruins from the ancient Olman civilization of bygone ages. Ziggurat

The heroes jumped at the chance to explore it, and Lavinia complied. They found a cache of treasure including eight hundred gold pieces (which they split) and a carved harp of exotic wood with ivory inlay and zircon gems (which Daelis took), but no traps or dangerous creatures threatened their passage, it was a fairly easy exploration with a nice payoff.

Urol (who had come with them), identified the harp as a valuable instrument that the ancient Olman used to play, and encouraged him to learn to play it.

Daelis did.

When the heroes set off again, Daelis sat down and began to try to teach himself to play the harp. It was going good.

Jericho gave seven gold pieces to Tavey (because he had an uneven number), which the cabin boy delighted in.

Things were going good.

Thursday, August 19th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes spotted something splashing in the water.

It was a juvenile bronze dragon. Kameri

The dragon had a ribbed and fluted crest sweeping back from its cheeks and eyes, the ribs in its crest ended in curving horns. The dragon also had small horns on its lower jaw and chin, it had a beak-like snout and a small head frill, as well as a tail-neck frill. The smell of the sea surrounded the dragon and its scales had a golden-brown cast.

Daegoth stood in awe.

This was a bronze dragon, his totem dragon, his idol in life. Slowly and stuttering, Daegoth asked the dragon what his name was.

“What is the name of the great being that has chosen to pass by?” Daegoth said, in the flowing Draconic language.
“Hail lizardfolk!” The dragon replied in the same tongue. “My name is Kameri, but in Common I am known as Fang.”
“I am Daegoth,” said Daegoth, bowing low. “I apologize for not introducing myself beforehand, it was rude of me.”
“Think nothing of it,” Fang responded. “I can tell that you are a dragon shaman, I can feel your aura.”
“My totem dragon is your own species,” Daegoth confirmed.
“I am honored to be in the presence of a dragon shaman of my totem,” Fang said, still floating atop the azure waters.
“As am I,” said Daegoth, bowing again. “To be in yours.”

Fang flew up onto the deck of the Sea Wyvern, landing next to Daegoth and shaking off the water that still clung to his hide.

“Do you mind if I sit and chat with you a while?” Fang asked, sprawling his bulk across the deck of the ship.
“I don’t mind,” Daegoth said. “But I will have to explain it to my friends, they aren’t accustomed to seeing dragons.”

Avner walked out on to the deck, took one look at Fang, and screamed, running across the ship and eventually falling into the ocean below.

Nimlar threw his rope over the side, and Avner clung to it, still shaken.

Daegoth talked to Amella about having the dragon aboard, and she was wary at first, but she trusted Daegoth and allowed him it.

Daegoth went back to Fang and continued his conversation (and Daelis and Nimlar went with him, fascinated, and both able to speak Draconic).

“What are you doing in this part of the ocean?” Daegoth asked, fascinated.
“Oh, my lair’s not too far off,” Fang replied. “I left my brood and went off on my own a while back and I found this place. There are a lot of sharks in the area, and I love a good shark!”
“How long has it been since you left?”
“About… Five months by your reckoning. I’m about twenty-five years old in human years. Dragons usually leave the brood at about that time.”

After a little more chit-chat, Daegoth asked Fang a question.

“Would you like to stay wit us? To come with us on our adventure?” Daegoth asked, telling him the story of their adventure so far and their plans to come.

“You’re going to the Isle of Dread? I have heard many legends about that place…”

Fang scratched his brow, thinking, and then looked up.

“You know,” Fang said. “If you’ll have me, I think I will! Sounds like quite an adventure, and I love a good adventure! It also sounds like you’ll have a lot of battles, and I love a good battle!”
“As do I,” Daegoth said, smiling.

Just then, Poddle walked in.

“Hello, O dragon friend!” Poddle said fancily. “I—”
“A kobold!” Fang yelled, unfurling his wings in preparation for combat. “Watch out everyone its a kobold! How did it get on the boat?”
“This is my friend,” Daegoth objected. “Poddle Flip-flop.”

Fang relaxed.

“I am your humble servant,” Poddle said, really hamming it up. “I give you twenty-five gold.”
“Twenty-five gold?” Fang said disbelievingly. “That’s an insult!”
“Oh sorry!” Poddle said. “How about seventy-five?”
“That’s a little better than an insult… Thank you kobold for your service.”

Just then, Fang remembered something.

“I almost forgot,” he said, eyes lighting up. “I have amassed a small, humble hoard, I would like to take that with me if I am to join you.”

Daegoth nodded.

“I’ll help you put it on the ship.”

The expedition went a mile out of their way so Daegoth and Fang could gather the latter’s hoard, but it took relatively little time and soon the dragon’s treasure was aboard and they were underway again.

Jericho, while helping the pair load the treasure aboard, was given a strange look by Fang.

Later, Fang approached Daegoth on this matter.

“He’s not any danger,” Daegoth replied. “But I would be wary, just in case.”
“Why do you travel with someone as… foul as him?” Fang snorted.
“He is skilled in battle,” Daegoth answered. “And he has unique talents that no one else does.”
“Do you trust him?”
“No,” Daegoth admitted. “But all I suggest doing is being wary, nothing more.”
“Alright,” Fang said. “If you say so, I’ll give him a chance.”

Jericho, sensing that the dragon didn’t like him, put together an offering for it. A ring of mind shielding.

“I thank you for your gift,” Fang said courteously, he was still wary however.

The heroes sailed on…

Saturday, August 21st, 1234 AY

The next day, it began to rain. The rain cleared up by Saturday, but it had made the air muggy and it was getting almost unbearably hot.

So the party decided to go swimming.

As the other heroes enjoyed themselves, Daegoth and Fang went hunting along the sea floor and managed to kill a shark, providing a good meal for everyone.

All in all, a relaxing, fun day.

Wednesday, August 25th, 1234 AY

Several days passed, and the coastal journey continued, until the party came in sight of the lost city of Tamoachan.

Urol began to almost salivate in anticipation of the trip into the ruins, and the heroes readied themselves for the battle with the basilisk, since Lavinia had asked them to join Urol in his exploration, to protect him from such things.

Urol showed the map to the heroes, telling them that the section of ruins marked on his map were only an hours’ brisk walk through into the jungle from the coast, and they shouldn’t have any difficulty along the way. The entrance into his section of the ruins was supposed to be hidden in the lee of a partially collapsed ziggurat, which they should be able to find with ease.

“I believe the strange reptile the elf’s party fought was a basilisk,” Urol said, which Jericho confirmed, as he had done before. “A creature whose gaze petrifies its prey.”

The heroes shifted uneasily, still wary about fighting this thing, but Urol assured them they could defeat it easily.

“If by some chance one or two of you is turned to stone,” Urol said. “I have plenty of doses of stone salve to undo it.”

After discussing countless ideas on how to kill basilisks, the heroes finally set out, their full party consisting of the following: Daegoth, Poddle, Daelis, Nimlar, Jericho, Urol and Fang (who wanted to come to observe their group tactics in battle, and to give advice to Daegoth).

Through the jungle they hiked, until finally reaching the entrance.

The jungle parted to reveal the ruins of a large chamber, once held within the root of the ziggurat above but now open to the elements. Images of pouncing and stalking cats graced what was left of the vine-strangled walls. Dozens of moldering stuffed jungle cats laid scattered around the edge of the exposed chamber, along with several strangely unweathered statues of men dressed in armor. Of the five passageways that once led further into the ziggurat’s depths, only two remained uncollapsed.

Suddenly, a large eight-legged lizard crawled out from inside one of the collapsed tunnels to hiss at the party.

The basilisk. Basilisk

The heroes went into action, with Daelis firing off a crossbow bolt, but barely missing the great beast.

Jericho brought out his wand and shot off a charge, burning the hide and causing the basilisk and hissing in pain.

The basilisk moved towards Jericho and hissed again, this time in anger. Then its eyes glowed up.

Jericho could feel the eyes boring into his brain, trying to petrify him, but he managed to resist it, though he was a bit shaken.

Then, another basilisk slithered from the same tunnel. There were two.

Poddle ran towards the second basilisk, trying to get behind the beast before it attacked. It didn’t work.

The beast’s eyes glowed and it aimed the gaze at [[:poddle-flip-flop | Poddle], but the kobold managed to resist it as well.

Daegoth attacked the first basilisk with his waraxe, cutting into its foreleg and damaging it considerably.

Nimlar pulled out his bow and fired off a shot and hit the second basilisk in the leg, drawing blood. His second shot hit its side, and the beast turned towards the elf and snarled.

Yeris swooped in to claw at the beast, digging into its face and wounding it further.

Daelis moved in to attack the first basilisk, slashing it with his rapier and cutting a gaping wound into its ribcage.

Jericho rushed forward, discarding his wand and stabbing into the first basilisk with his swords, drawing fresh blood in the fight.

The basilisk’s eyes glowed, catching Jericho in its gaze once again. But the duskblade resisted it. Again.

But then the basilisk did something Jericho couldn’t just “resist”. It opened its jaws and bit into his thigh, scoring a hit against the duskblade.

Poddle swung at the second basilisk with his warmace, hitting it between the eyes, almost killing it, but not quite. The basilisk retaliated with another gaze attack, but Poddle resisted once more. The beast hissed and moved towards Poddle, trying to bite him, but the kobold managed to dodge out of the way.

Daegoth brought forth his axe upon the first basilisk, smiting it where it stood. His attack cleaved through the first of the beasts and hit the second as well, cutting off one its forelegs.

Nimlar rushed forward, drawing an arrow as he did, and firing it in the remaining basilisk’s eye.

Yeris clawed at the basilisk as it entered its final death throes, thrashing about in rage, but not falling.

Daelis finished off the great beast with a well placed crossbow bolt.

They had done it.

Meanwhile, Fang had been watching from a nearby overhang, analyzing their tactics.

Jericho asked the dragon what he thought of their teamwork skills after the battle. He was impressed.

Searching the area for treasure, the party found a somewhat damaged marble statuette of a reclining humanoid figure with head turned and legs drawn up and a small silver pyramid in the rubble-choked passageway the basilisk’s had turned into a nest.

There were two passageways that remained uncollapsed, which led deeper into the complex. Here, the party split up.

Daelis, Jericho, and Rapton opted to go to the right, and the other three (Daegoth, Nimlar, and Poddle) went straight.

They left Fang to relax on the outskirts of the ruins, and he decided to go hunting until they returned.

The first three entered the passage, which went in several yards before coming to a large chamber. It was dark at first, but Jericho cast a spell which revealed the whole of the chamber.

A huge statue of a lumbering man outfitted in decayed skin and cracking skulls—Its gaping and tusked mouth wide enough to swallow a halfling whole—stood to the north. A battered but once intricately carved well sat to the south. The whole area was littered with skulls and tangled vines. The vines seemed to be gathered around a large hunk of plant mass clinging to the well—which suddenly started to move and turned around to attack the trio.

Jericho rushed to attack the shambling mound, but his attacks were deflected by the tough hide of the creature.

The duskblade flinched.

Daelis rushed forward as well, stabbing with his rapier and seeming to cause some damage to the thing.

Daeis smirked at Jericho. The duskblade glared at him.

Rapton came towards the plant creature too, laying his hand upon it… and bursting it into flames. The creature flailed around in pain.

Rapton looked at the other two with a sly face.

The shambling mound slammed its appendages into Daelis, going into a rage (as it was on fire). Daelis was blasted back, stunned for a moment by the strength of the thing.

Jericho swung his swords once again at the shambling mound, but once again his weapons could not penetrate the armor of the plant creature.

Daelis recovered quickly, and charged at the shambling mound, cutting into the hide with his weapon and doing more damage to the wounded plant.

But the plant creature retaliated, slamming the swashbuckler upside the head and knocking him to the ground.

Well, that smarts, thought Daelis.

Rapton shot the shambling mound again with flame, wearing the tough beast down with fiery attacks.

Jericho withdrew for a moment and cut himself to power his swords with magical energy, then attacked the plant again, beheading it with two swift slashes.

The shambling mound fell, its body still licked by flame, writhing and withering into a dried husk.

The trio regained their health by drinking potions, then searched the well for anything useful.

The well was filled with bones, but the three picked through them (it took about a half-an-hour) and found six turquoise gems (two for each of them), a magical dagger (which Jericho took), what appeared to be an ivory wand at first (but was actually an fan made of ivory slats), a platinum bracelet and one-hundred and twenty-four gold.

Meanwhile, the other four (Daegoth, Poddle and Nimlar + Urol) of the party were going straight.

After walking down the long corridor, the four came to a ten-foot wide, fifty-foot long landing overlooking a chamber to the north, accessible by a short flight of downward, sloping stairs. The entrance to the larger room was framed by dozens of skeletons carved into the fifty-foot wide arch, their bones intertwined with hundreds of carved snakes. Unnerving ripples of black smoke slithered and danced among the carvings.

The four passed through the arch to get to the other chamber, but sensed a dark presence, and they suddenly all felt nauseated. It passed quickly, but it was just…odd.

They looked into the room…

The floor of the large chamber once contained a breathtaking carving of an ancient city, yet time had taken its toll on the map-like carving, reducing it to a tangled mess that, ironically, almost seemed to reflect ruined Tamoachan above. The walls were decorated with brightly colored frescoes depicting a royal court in ceremonial garb and a king arrayed with magnificent armies. Pathways wound through the ruins, affording a twisting route through the rubble. In the center of the room was a wide plaza, in the middle of which rested a low stone table.

The quartet started to search around the room, looking for anything valuable, while Urol studied the carving in the floor.

Suddenly, a wall of flame appeared along the southern wall, advancing northward towards the heroes….

“Run!” Poddle shouted, spotting it and scrambling away.

The heroes rushed towards the eastern wall, where a small passageway led deeper into the complex (and more importantly, away from the gigantic wall of fire).

They all managed to get in the small alcove leading into the passage, cut off from the main room and away from range of the trap.

The wall passed by, and they were safe.

They decided to continue going down the tunnel, and come back to that room later, exploring the rest of the ruins first.

Several moments later, they heard another flaming wall appear in the same room, and looked back to see fire passing over the entrance. They waited a bit longer, but the fire didn’t appear again, so they continued.

They reached the end of the tunnel, which was more like a natural vent through the stone rather than a constructed passage, and came to a new chamber.

The walls of the room were covered with eroded glyphs and hieroglyphic images depicting what appeared to be bat-like creatures feasting on humanoids. The eastern wall beyond a low archway in the room consisted of a strangely out of place sheet of iron.

The four were confounded by the strange metal wall, especially Urol. It was weird for two reasons: One, where there seemed to be an entryway to another room, the metal sheet was blocking it. Two, the Olmans didn’t even use metal, extensively at least (as confirmed by Urol).

The characters poked around for a bit, before Daegoth decided to try to break it down with his waraxe.

Him and Nimlar (with his longsword) slowly wore down the metal sheet, before eventually breaking through about thirty minutes later, right as the other three party members caught up to to them.

The party was reunited and they continued on through the metal wall.

The next chamber bore a strange resemblance to the previous one, in that the floor consists of stone scale model of an ancient city. Yet whereas the previous model was terribly damaged, this chamber seemed relatively well preserved. The layout and style of the city was quite different, with four wide canals converging upon a large lake in the center, from which rose a great stone pyramid. Mighty temples rose from the low angular buildings, while the stone walls depicted lifelike depictions of leering bats, lizards, and snakes.

Jericho recognized the model as a section of ruined Tamoachan that once served as a necropolis for the city’s dead.

Urol immediately freaked out at the perfect condition of the model, but Poddle wanted to make sure that the area was safe first… so he threw Jimmy Do out.

“Aahhh!” Jimmy Do yelled as he flew through the air, then landed with a thud.

After a few moments, the shrunken head cried out: “This is kind of uncomfortable!”

Several more moments passed, and then Jimmy Do said: “Can you get me now? I don’t think there’s anything dangerous!”

Poddle rushed forward and grabbed Jimmy Do, ready to dodge a trap at a moment’s notice… but nothing happened.

The heroes relaxed, and then they started to explore the chamber.

Urol ran into the room and started to study and sketch the model.

“This is amazing! Absolutely amazing!” The gnome exclaimed, exhilarated at such a historic find.

Jericho, as he searched the room, discovered that the top of the pyramid in the center of the chamber could be pushed aside.

Poddle inspected the removable top, but he thought it looked trappish, so instead of just opening it, Nimlar used a rope to pull of the top from a distance. Sure enough, a thick cloud of noxious gas floated out of the pyramid, but the heroes weren’t affected.

After the dust settled, the heroes looked inside the pyramid, revealing a hollow within occupied by a mummified Olman priest, bound in a fetal position by lengths of brittle leather cords. The priest was quite dead, but the golden ceremonial necklace around its neck looked valuable…

The party grabbed the necklace, inspecting it more closely. It was carved to resemble a string of bat and lizard heads (which were in reality beads).

The heroes continued to search the room, when suddenly…

A giant bat creature flew into the room, roaring in anger. It had smoldering eyes, large leathery wings, and a long spiked tail, as well as terrific claws.

Jericho’s eyes narrowed. It was a demon.

Daelis reacted quickly bringing out his crossbow and firing a bolt at the bat demon. The missile sunk into its shoulder, and a cry of pain let loose from the guttural throat of the demonic creature. It grabbed the bolt with its jaws and yanked it from its own flesh, then spit it upon the ground.

Then it roared.

A high-pitched whirring responded to the bellow, and suddenly a glowing wisp appeared out of nowhere.

But it didn’t attack them. It attacked the demon.

It sent a bolt of electricity arcing towards the abyssal bat, burning into its hide and causing pieces of singed skin to fall off of the creature.

Jericho, determined to kill the demon, ran up the wall and flipped off of it, attacking the bat in mid-air with his dual swords. At the same time, Nimlar drew an arrow and fired it towards the abyssal creature.

One demon head, an arrow embedded between its eyes, fell to the floor and a duskblade landed on the ground, a smile on his face. He glanced at Nimlar and nodded his thanks.

The heroes turned to the will-o’-wisp, about to thank it, when it turned and attacked them as well.

Jericho’s smile turned into a grimace of pain as the will-o’-wisp’s lightning bolt tore through his body. He fell to the ground, smoke drifting off of his body.

The duskblade recovered quickly though, and gave a battle-cry as he charged the wisp and brought down his swords. But the will-o’-wisp was too quick, and dodged his clumsy attack with ease.

“Nimlar!” Jericho cried out, withdrawing from the wisp. “Shoot it!”

Nimlar obliged.

He drew three arrows in a row, firing them off, but the first two missed, even though masterfully aimed. The third seemed more like a lucky shot than anything, but hit it all the same, and causing a shriek to come from the small orb.

Daegoth tried an attack against the wisp, but it was much too fast.

Rapton began to chant, and suddenly a sword made out of pure force materialized from thin air.

The sword floated towards the will-o’-wisp and then attacked it, swinging itself at the orb.

It did nothing.

The heroes were getting frustrated by now.

Daelis swung at the wisp with his rapier, but once again his attack was foiled.

The will-o’-wisp sent a bolt of electricity at Daegoth, but the lizardfolk managed to dodge out of the way. He wasn’t so slow after all.

Jericho swung at the will-o’-wisp with his swords, and missed with the first one. The second, however, hit home.

But…it wasn’t dead.

Daelis and Jericho both attacked with their swords, but (of course) missed again.

Nimlar, determined to kill this gosh-darn thing, fired a single arrow.

And it was dead.

The heroes recovered, then started to continue on to the next chamber to the south, when they noticed Urol was still sketching the model.

“Alright Urol,” Poddle said. “We’re going to go on now.”
“What?” Urol said, eyes wide. “I- I haven’t finished sketching the model of the city yet!”

The heroes decided to let Urol stay and sketch while they continued on into the last chambers.

A huge circular disk of stone dominated the floor of the next chamber, its face carved with dozens of concentric rings of hieroglyphs and shapes. A filthy nest of bones and rubble sat atop it, which the heroes assumed was the bat demon’s, since he had come from this room.

The heroes searched the room haphazardly, but found nothing, so they continued on to the next.

Twin statues of men dressed in strange, ancient armor and wearing towering headdresses made of coiled snakes, and bat wings stood at either side of the arched doorway that led to the next chamber. Beyond the archway beckoned a circular room, its walls adorned with dozens of niches in which rested the dessicated bodies of long-dead men and women.

The heroes continued on through the archway and suddenly saw a yawning shaft, set in the center of the room, which descended into the gloom. The walls of the shaft were fitted with more niches, upon which laid the dusty bones of heroes, priests, kings, queens, and warriors of a bygone age. Resting upon the topmost niche, cradled in the arms of a skeleton, was a glittering golden statuette of a bat.

Jericho climbed up the niches and grabbed the statuette, bringing it back down for the others to see. The idol was a fantastic work of art, with rubies for eyes and tiny slivers of pearl for fangs and claws. The duskblade recognized it as a representation of Camazotz, an ancient Olman god bats and the night. He also realized that the statuette radiated faint transmutation magic.

When the heroes came back to the room where Urol was, the gnome looked on the idol with eagerness.

Then he asked if he could have it.

“This is a very rare artifact of archaelogical value,” Urol explained. “Only a real collector would actually recognize the worth of this thing!”

The heroes argued whether to do this, but eventually they agreed to give it to the gnome as a gift.

Urol was delighted.

The heroes made their way back to the Sea Wyvern, and met up with Fang along the way (he had been out hunting).

When they arrived at the ship, Jericho went off to work with Tavey in his duskblade training, and Daegoth began to be trained by Fang, who was teaching him how to breathe lightning. Daelis practiced with his harp, and then, suddenly, he used magic. He had unlocked the powers of the bard.

The heroes left Tamoachan behind…

Friday, August 27th, 1234 AY

Another day passed with nothing interesting happening, but on Thursday, the heroes spotted eight dolphins frolicking alongside the Sea Wyvern.

Urol sketched the porpoises, but other than that, the heroes left them alone.

Sunday, August 29th, 1234 AY

The next day, it began to rain again. On Sunday, as the expedition approached the tip of the Tamoachan peninsula, Lavinia drew the Blue Nixie up alongside the Sea Wyvern to speak with the heroes. She informed them that the next several miles would be among the most dangerous of the journey, as they must now thread the needle and sail through a Dragon Armada blockade. For many years, the Armada had maintained a strong presence on South Olman Isle, particularly the city of Teshan. Although their navy had grown lax in their once strict patrols of the region, Armada ships were still common in the sound between the peninsula and South Olman Isle.

Lavinia suggested that, in order to minimize the chances of their expedition being spotted, the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern should sail through the sound seperately, about a half hour apart, to meet up again on the southern side.

The heroes (most of them anyway), rejected this idea, wanting to fight Dragon Armada ships (they had a bone to pick with them). Amella agreed with Lavinia, though, and so it turned into a big brouhaha.

Eventually, Lavinia deferred to the heroes, and the two ships went together through the sound.

As the two ships sailed through the choke point, the heavy rain obscured their vision, adding to the already anxious atmosphere. Suddenly, on the horizon, the heroes spotted two ships, coming towards them.

Dragon Armada ships.

Luckily, the heroes were prepared for a situation such as this. Daelis, WAR, and Metallica manned the ballista, ready to fire at any moment, while Urol took Jericho’s place as navigator as the duskblade took position in the crow’s nest, ready to cast a new spell he had been dying to try out.

Nimlar was on deck, as well as Poddle, Rapton, Daegoth and Fang, all preparing for the skirmish to come.

One ship broke off and headed towards the Blue Nixie, which had went first, while the other came straight for the Sea Wyvern.

The heroes said a quick prayer, and then the battle commenced.

Daelis attacked first, shooting a bolt from his already-loaded ballista at the ship. It slammed into the mast, and the creak of wood was followed by a battle-cry from the sailors of Purity’s Prow (the name of the pirate ship, as evident by the name plate hanging from the hull).

Jericho, stretching out his hand, sent a ray of lightning blasting into one of the opposing ship’s own ballistas. The wood caught on fire, but the siege weapon wasn’t destroyed… yet.

“Yeah!” Jericho yelled, thrilled at the power of his new ability. “That’s what I’m talking about!”

Nimlar fired off a number of arrows, almost simultaneously, at a pirate that was manning one of the ballistas.

The elf killed him.

Yeris flew at top speed towards Purity’s Prow, which was coming steadily closer to the Sea Wyvern (it was about forty feet away now).

Daegoth and Fang dove into the water, then the dragon swam full speed towards the opposing ship (with Daegoth hitching a ride). When they got near the front of the vessel, the lizardfolk let go, swimming on to the back of the ship, while Fang stayed at the front.

Then they got ready to do some damage.

Daegoth used to his waraxe to sunder the rudder, so the ship was now on a collision course with the Sea Wyvern, though it was slowing down, since Fang was attacking it from the front as well.

WAR and Metallica loaded up the ballista, and then Daelis fired it, aiming for the captain of the ship.

He missed.

Instead, he hit the ship.

Rapton cast a spell, causing entangling roots to spring from the deck of Purity’s Prow. Only two pirates and the captain didn’t get stuck in these.

Poddle shot a crossbow bolt, hitting the captain in the arm. It didn’t do much damage, but it got his attention.

Purity’s Prow began to sink, because of the holes put in the front by Fang, and slow down as well. It was still coming closer to the Sea Wyvern however, and still had a chance to ram it (not good for the ship).

The pirates of Purity’s Prow, however, didn’t want to attack the Sea Wyvern anymore. They were more interested in not getting entangled by the vines summoned by Rapton and then pulled to a watery doom when the boat sank.

So they jumped. Well, at least two of them (and the captain) did. The others were still stuck in the vines.

Nimlar fired arrows at the captain, floundering about in the water, and hit home. The pirate struggled for to stay afloat as two arrows embedded themselves in his chest.

Yeris flew down and tore at the man’s face, but somehow the captain stayed alive.

But not for long.

An explosion ripped apart Purity’s Prow as Daegoth and Fang both used their lightning breath at either end of the ship, utterly destroying it and sending pieces of wreckage flying into the rain-filled air.

The pirates who still remained on Purity’s Prow, died in the explosion.

A cry of victory came from the Blue Nixie, the other pirate ship was in full retreat.

They had won.

Monday, August 30th, 1234 AY

The party sailed on, and the next day, it was Poddle’s birthday!!!

The party gave him presents, including four-hundred gold from Daelis and a buckler from Nimlar. Then they danced!

Wednesday, September 1st, 1234 AY

Daegoth was fishing one night, two days after they had broke through the blockade, when suddenly in front of him was a giant eye. It was the size of a tower shield, and stared intently at the lizardfolk before the shape sank back into the depths of the ocean.

It didn’t show itself again, but it kept the party on edge for a couple of days afterward.

Friday, September 3rd, 1234 AY

On Friday, the heroes spotted strange things along the coast. For ten miles on the jungle coastline, vast Kapok trees grew. Hundreds of tribal ornaments were in the trees, as well as numerous dessicated corpses of lizardfolk hanging from the boughs.

Daegoth was determined to find out what happened to his kin, set to avenge them if necessary. The rest of the party followed.

They took rowboats and landed on the coast, then entered the ominous jungle, searching for where the lizardfolk could have come from.

They inspected the various corpses, hanging from the boughs, and found seven platinum pieces, two aquamarine gems, an agate, and a moonstone, but no sign of anyone (or anything) living.

Suddenly, a small lizardfolk child wandered out from the brush.

“Do you know where my mommy is?” She said in Draconic, walking up to Daegoth and putting her hand on his arm.

Then maggots squirmed out from her eyes, and her body fell to the ground, infested with worms.

Daegoth tried to investigate the corpse, but it disintegrated at his touch.

Then the heroes knew something was horribly wrong.

They saw things slithering around their feet, writhing about on the ground. Suddenly, a giant snake appeared in front of them and hissed. It opened its jaws and lunged at Nimlar—but dissipated into the darkness as quickly as it came.

A spider the size of a man’s fist dropped on to Daelis’ face, and the swasbuckler screamed and flung it away. It crawled… towards the bodies of his wife and child. A whole swarm of spiders was eating their flesh—but then it was gone.

Out from the shadows, walking with his head in his hands, was Nimlar’s father, Arsul. He whispered something unintelligible, and than dropped his head to the ground. It rolled, coming to a rest at Nimlar’s feet.

“Nimlar! Avenge me!” He yelled, before crumbling to dust.

The backdrop of the forest dropped away from Jericho’s vision, and suddenly he saw before him an empty village, bodies strewn everywhere. Kazgar.

“You killed us…” A voice said.

Poddle screamed, seeing a clown before him, holding a butcher knife and an unbreakable grin.

Daegoth saw his tribe, all dead. And Krazog stabbing a small lizardfolk child, over and over and over…

Rapton saw Lavinia… kissing Tolin Kientai.

The heroes eventually realized that it wasn’t real, and recovered from their traumatic experiences, and trudged through the jungle, trying to find their way back to shore, as they had lost their sense of direction because of the hallucinations.

Daegoth led the way, hacking and slashing his way through the underbrush, before finally coming to a clearing. The hallucinations eventually faded away, and before them, in the center of the clearing, stood a lizardfolk shaman, dressed in tiger skins and carrying a wooden staff with many ornaments hanging from it.

“Why have you come to our forest, Daegoth, son of Vaerok?” The shaman said in a coarse voice speaking Draconic.
“How do you know my name?” Daegoth said, his eyes narrowing.
“Our tribes have stayed in contact,” the shaman replied. “We are the Tiger-Claw, you know of us…”

Daegoth nodded. He knew of a tribe of lizardfolk that lived in this area, though he had not remembered until now. What he definitely didn’t remember was that they hung dessicated corpses from their trees. That part was new.

“I remember our alliance,” Daegoth said. “I do not, however, remember that the Tiger-Claw defiled their dead in such a way. Why do you forsake our customs?”
“They are corrupt,” the shaman spat. “A disease has spread through our tribe. Many people have died, going crazy with the filth before finally… they just stop breathing. A thick crust of skin slowly spreading over their body… and then, they die.”
“Were those hallucinations caused by you or are we effected by the disease?” Daegoth asked.
“The forest. It has become cursed,” the shaman said, looking around at the trees.
“Do you know the source of this curse?” Daegoth asked. “Maybe we could help.”
“It started when a new shaman came into the village,” the shaman said. “He gathered followers for a ‘new religion’. The first to be infected were these followers. It just got worse from there.”

The heroes planned on going and finding this “shaman”. The lizardfolk shaman told them that the other shaman lived in a great Kapok tree a couple miles away from the village.

They set out.

An hour or so later, they reached the giant tree, which had a door in the trunk. They walked up to this and Jericho knocked. A small slot in the door opened and a lizardfolk head appeared.

“Who’s there?” It said.
“We’ve come to investigate the plague that has been going on!” Daegoth said.
“There is no plague here,” the voice said. “Only the truth.”
“What truth?”
“The truth that sets you free!”
“The truth that sets you free how?”
“You must accept the embrace of Laog.”

A silence

“Can we come in?”
“Unless you submit yourself to Laog, you cannot enter the holy ground.”

The heroes kicked the door in.

The shaman was crushed under the weight of the door, and the heroes rushed in the hut to find two recently killed lizardfolk, infected by the disease, but obviously killed by having their throat slit, as well as a large number of herbs and potions on various shelves.

An altar sat in the north of the room, with pieces of diseased skin laying atop it.

There was nothing else in the room, so the heroes lifted up the door to find that the lizardfolk they had crushed was indeed the shaman they were searching for.

They had killed him with a door.

The party returned to the lizardfolk village, and told the good shaman about their victory.

The lizardfolk healers of the village had suddenly been able to treat the disease, thanks to the heroes’ relief of the foul presence in the area.

The disease was defeated.

In thanks, the lizardfolk tribe gave the heroes a large supply of food.

The heroes went back to the Sea Wyvern, and sailed on…

Saturday, September 4th, 1234 AY

Lavinia approached Rapton the next day, and shockingly, called off their engagement. She seemed to have considerably changed her mind about the whole thing.

Rapton stalked off, confused.

Tuesday, September 7th, 1234 AY

The next two days were uneventful, but on the fourth day since leaving the lizardfolk village, they came to Fort Greenrock.

Although Lavinia had hoped to be able to resupply the food stores at Fort Greenrock, it became obvious as soon as the expedition rounded the last coastal bend before this remote colony of monks and druids that something terrible had happened. The wooden palisade surrounding the fort had been torn apart, and the fort itself had burned to the ground. It appeared that whatever grim fate visited the place occurred several months ago, for no sign of life or activity could be seen from shore.

The heroes went ashore and investigating the ruins of the fort, finding further evidence of a great battle. Dried blood stained the timbers of collapsed buildings here and there, broken weapons laid in the sand, and hundreds of black-feathered arrows decorated the sides of the ruins that faced the jungle.

Rapton recognized the arrows, saying that the workmanship on the arrows had come from lizardfolk. Meanwhile, Nimlar took said arrows to resupply his quiver.

The heroes wondered if they should search out these lizardfolk, but Lavinia urged them to press on, saying that they’ll have one final opportunity to restock supplies at the village of Renkrue on the Axuxal Isles in about ten days.

They sailed forth…

Saturday, September 11th, 1234 AY

As with the Havekihu River and Xatalati River before, the expedition stopped at the mouth of the Atikula River to refresh the supplies of fresh water. Unlike the previous two rivers, the point where the Atikula reaches the sea is marked by a magnificent nine-hundred-foot-wide waterfall that cascaded two hundred feet over a cliff into the ocean below. With no beach nearby to speak of, it was easy enough for a ship to sail in fairly close and then send out a rowboat with barrels to fill.

There was only room in the narrow harbor for one ship at a time, and Lavinia graciously offered to let the Sea Wyvern go first.

She was totally unaware of the danger therein.

The crew of the Sea Wyvern went to work, filling up various barrels of fresh water, which, all in all, took about a half-an-hour to complete. As they were nearing the last of the barrels, the heroes noticed something moving in the water.

Suddenly, a seven-headed hydra surged out from the depths below, exploding with a tremendous spray of water as it attacked.

Nimlar reacted quickly, firing off multiple arrows at one of the hydra’s heads. The head reeled back as they connected, the hydra roaring in pain.

The battle had begun.

Jericho rushed forward, launching off the railing off the Sea Wyvern and grabbing one of the various heads of the beast, holding on for dear life while trying to get into a position to do damage to the creature.

Unfortunately, he failed.

Jericho was flung into the air, landing in the water below, unable to attack the hydra, but luckily out of the hydra’s range as well.

Another of the hydra’s heads attacked the ballista, damaging the siege weapon to the point of not being able to use it to shoot.

Daelis was ticked.

Nimlar fired off more arrows, but missed his shots, since the flailing heads of the hydra easily dodged the flying missiles.

Jericho managed to keep himself afloat while he cast a spell which elongated his weapon, allowing him to make a slash at one of the hydra’s heads. He missed however, and now floated atop the water like a sitting— well, like a floating duck.

Daelis fled from the ruined ballista and attacked the same head with his rapier, cutting halfway through but not totally sundering it.

Then it healed completely. All their work was for naught.

The head of the hydra reached down to the awkwardly positioned Jericho, biting into his arm and pulling him out of the water, then dropping him back into the ocean, where he floundered some more.

Three other heads lunged at Daelis, all three scoring hits on his body and wounding him.

The remaining heads further destroyed the ballista, damaging it to the point of ruin.

Now Daelis was really ticked.

Rapton cast a spell, drawing mystical energies to conjure a sword of pure force, as he had done in Tamoachan, and slicing at one of the hydra’s heads.

It did some damage.

Nimlar drew more arrows, firing them at the second head and hitting home. The head shrieked and then fell limp, but the heroes didn’t celebrate at this apparent victory, for they knew that the beast would heal, and they had little time to finish off the head.

Jericho plopped back to the surface of the water, and then said a quick word in some spidery language.

He disappeared….

…And reappeared on the deck of the Sea Wyvern, readying his swords to slash into the first hydra head.

The decapitated head fell into the bay.

Daelis swung his rapier and cut off the second head, but the problem of burning the heads to make sure they didn’t regenerate still remained.

I could really use a torch right now, Daelis thought.

Suddenly, a torch appeared in his hand, burning brightly.

Daelis’ bardic magic was starting to reveal itself!

Rapton shot another burst of flame from his hand, successfully burning one of the hydra’s head stumps.

That’s one head that wouldn’t be regenerating.

Nimlar fired an arrow at the dangerous hydra, but missed by a hair… or a scale I guess.

His second shot was luckier. A head fell limp, arrow lodged in its brain.

His third shot also scored, wounding another of the hydra’s heads, but not to the point of killing it.

Yeris continued to attack the hydra, but the beast was quick and managed to dodge the eagle’s blows.

Daelis used his newly-created torch to burn another one of the hydra’s bloody stumps, preventing it from regrowing, but also breaking his torch in the process (apparently the creations were fragile at best).

The swashbuckler shrugged and then took a swing at another of the heads, severing it as well.

At this time, Poddle returned from the hold with a barrel of Firebelly ale, then he promptly chucked it.

The fire already burning on the hydra’s flesh ignited into a fireball, consuming the other severed stumps in the explosion.

Only three heads remained.

The hydra screeched in pain as the fire burned through its hide, retaliating with an attack on Daelis. Only one head hit home, but it tore through the Daelis’ flesh, sending waves of pain through the swashbuckler.

Rapton shot off another blast, the fiery… well, fire burning through one of the heads and killing it. It didn’t regenerate as well, since the fire effectively stumped the head.

Nimlar fired off more arrows, felling the sixth head, but not stumping it.

That left only one head.

Daelis rectified that situation with two quick slashes.

He then burned the two heads with another conjured torch.

The battle was over.

The heroes finished refilling their water with no trouble, and then continued on…

Sunday, September 12th, 1234 AY

The next day, the expedition passed a blackened valley along the jungle shore. Closer inspection revealed that it was a vast sacrificial pit into which what looked like hundreds of humanoid apes were thrown.

They passed it by…

Wednesday, September 15th, 1234 AY

After two non-eventful days, the heroes spotted something in the sky. A flock of six wyverns swooped down to fly alongside the _Sea Wyvern, cavorting in the skies above and occasionally swooping down to skip their talons or wing tips across the ocean’s surface. A few came close to the ship and looked curiously at her wyvern-shaped figurehead before flying away.

This went on for about ten minutes before the flock continued on.

Friday, September 17th, 1234 AY

On Friday, the heroes reached the Olman village of Renkrue, where they planned to stop and get supplies, since Fort Greenrock had been abandoned.

The party proceeded to sell all of their various treasures and items to an Olman merchant who paid good coin for their baubles. Lavinia also purchased supplies for the expedition, including food, feed for the horses, and various tools needed.

Lavinia gave the heroes, the Jade Ravens, and the crews of both the Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie a day of shore leave, which they all used differently.

Amella wanted to stay on board the ship during the shore leave, but the heroes insisted that she hung out with them, so she obliged.

Conrad Horst, a trouble-maker from the very start of the journey, was being left in Renkrue, and he had to pay for his voyage here, leaving him broke.

Avner had been busy already. While the heroes had been shopping, the nobleman had been perusing “other wares”.

Initially charmed by the quaint village, Avner quickly became obsessed with one of the village daughters. His attempts to purchase her from her parents, insulted the islanders to such an extent that they refuse to continue trading with the expedition.

The heroes were extremely anger at Avner for this, and immediately handed him over to the village authorities, letting them do justice as they would. They demanded a public apology from the noble, and he gave them it, whimpering with fear.

Then they publicly flogged him.

During this, Poddle came up to Avner and looked him in the eyes.

“I hate your guts,” he said grimly, spitting in his face.

After this, Avner spent the rest of shore leave on the Sea Wyvern, embarrassed and humiliated (not to mention in great pain from the flogging).

Nimlar saw Skald go off by himself into the jungle of the island, so he followed him, trying to not be noticed.

Skald seemed to just be exploring the relatively safe interior of the island, and Nimlar was about to head back when Skald turned around.

“I know you’re there,” he said, looking exactly at the place Nimlar was hiding. “Why are you following me?”
“Well,” Nimlar said, coming out of his hiding place. “You’re a ranger, I’m a ranger, I wanted to see what you were doing. I was hoping I might learn something from you out here.”

The two rangers explored.

Urol couldn’t have cared less about the village of Renkrue, but he quickly became obsessed with the wide variety of life to be found in the extensive tide-pools that line the nearby shore. He spent hours exploring these pools, scribbling in his notes and squealing with delight at each new discovery.

Tavey Nesk, as cabin boy, was expected to stay on board the ship, and he took his duty seriously, so he did so, passing the time by playing marbles on the deck with a local Olman boy.

Lirith enjoyed her time with the people of Renkrue, heading to the village tavern to grab a drink and mingle with the locals.

The heroes did the same, heading for the tavern, when Jericho decided to try to pick pocket an old man.

“Ahhh!” The old man yelled as he realized he was being stolen from. He then proceeded to beat Jericho over the head with his cane.

“You whippersnapper trying to steal my stuff!” The old man continued as he whacked the duskblade.

Jericho kicked him in the shin.

“Ahh!” The man yelled. “My leg! My leg!”

At this point, guards came on to the scene.

Jericho promptly teleported to a nearby roof, then jumped off and eventually lost the guards.

He put his cloak on to conceal his identity, then met up with the rest of the heroes (Daelis, Poddle, and Nimlar, who had come back from exploring with Skald) at the tavern.

The heroes entered.

Daelis went over to a man who seemed to have had too much to drink already, and offered to buy him a drink if he could beat him in a fight.

Meanwhile, Poddle talked to WAR.

WAR, we’re going to go start a bar fight!” Poddle said enthusiastically.
“No,” WAR said indignantly. “I will not take part in this violent enterprise!”
“Yes you will!” Poddle replied. “Or else you aren’t getting any bananas tomorrow!”

They argued, and eventually WAR won out. He would not be fighting today.

But Poddle would be.

After stealing some money from a nearby patron, Poddle went up to the bartender and calmly ordered a drink, paying with the money he had just lifted off the unsuspecting customer.

Jericho approached a patron in the tavern and bet him a hundred gold pieces that he couldn’t best him in a fight.

“I-I’ll take you on… bud!” The man slurred, his speech impeded by the heavy amount of alcohol flowing through his veins.

That’s when the fight began.

So, all at the same time, Daelis was starting a friendly hand-to-hand combat with a patron, Jericho was starting a fight with a drunkard, and Nimlar was having another friendly contest with a slightly-tipsy customer.

At that moment, the largest bar-fight this tavern had ever known erupted.

Daelis slammed his fist into the side his attacker, striking the first blow of the night.

The man recovered quickly however, and swung back, barely giving the half-elf enough time to dodge out of the way.

“You’re good competition!” The man laughed heartily.

Poddle sipped his drink, witnessing the beginning of the fight and contemplating when he should join in.

Jericho punched his combatant in the face, knocking him off his feet.

The drunkard punched back, but Jericho grabbed the man’s fist and stopped the blow in mid-air, twisting the slurring attacker’s arm and sending a wave of pain up his body.

The tipsy man fighting Nimlar took a swing, but the elf easily dodged the blow, hitting back with a quick strike of his own. The man stumbled back, stunned.

A high-pitched cry rang through the air, followed by a man’s drunken laughter.

Lirith held her face, looking fearfully at the man who had just punched her. Then her fear turned to anger, and she gave him an uppercut which knocked him off his feet.

He wasn’t laughing anymore.

Jericho punched his drunkard in the face again, then shoved him to the ground. The drunkard yelled loudly and then came back at him, tackling the duskblade to the ground.

Daelis punched his attacker in the stomach, then followed it with a kick, but the man dodged the second blow and came back with a hammer fist, slamming the half-elf to the ground.

Poddle walked up to Lirith and her harasser, telling them to break it up. Suddenly, a man came at him from behind, trying to grab Poddle, but the kobold rolled away, too quick for a clumsy attack like that to work.

At that moment, the entire bar went into an uproar.

A dwarf rushed at a human, head-butting the poor man into a table, crushing it and him into the floor.

Numerous other patrons punched and kicked each other, threw each other out of windows, and more or less got the crud beat out of them.

Nimlar dodged another blow made by the patron attacking him, using his agility to great effect. The ranger came back and slammed his fist into the patron’s jaw, sending him crashing out the window.

Lirith attempted to kick her harasser in the groin, but the man rolled away, retaining enough sense to save himself from that kind of pain.

Jericho grappled the drunkard, lifting him and slamming him on the ground. The man managed to avoid being hurt by this though, rolling out of it and coming back up, clumsily, to his feet.

Poddle rushed at the man, trying to grapple him, but he was greeted by a kick to the stomach, sending him sprawling.

Lirith and her harasser went back and forth, trying to punch each other, but they were too drunk to effectively fight. The battle between them was nothing but a number of consecutive misses.

Nimlar, since he had taken out his previous attacker, walked to another customer and asked him to fight.

“No,” the man said simply. “No thank you.”

Then he walked out.

Nimlar shrugged and rushed to help his companions.

Now, I could go on to talk about how the drunkards swung and missed, and the heroes swung and hit, but we all know how this is going to end. So suffice to say, the heroes won the bar fight.

Lirith had passed out during the fight, because of being drunk and being punched, so Jericho kindly brought her back to the Sea Wyvern, since the duskblade felt bad for her. He brought her to her quarters and let her rest, and then he left.

Jericho went up on deck and looked out over the horizon. They were on the last stage of their journey. Only the open sea lay before them and their goal. It was in sight now, their destination.

The Isle of Dread.

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Chapter 11: The Hook
The heroes battle redcaps, snakes, and griffons on their journey around The Hook, the tip of the Amedio penunsila, and uncover Father Feres' true identity as well.

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 11: The Hook

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Saturday, July 31st, 1234 AY

A small settlement of approximately 2,000, Fort Blackwell was located near the northernmost tip of the peninsula known to sailors as “The Hook”. One of the few coastal Amedio forts not controlled by the Cabal of Shadows (its distance from the Amedio interior makes it not worth the effort for the Cabal to control), it remained an independently governed walled town perched on the edge of civilization.

Fort Blackwell was a cozy town with a tiny harbor protected by an immense sea gate hung between two squat towers. Before the Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie were allowed within the harbor, a troop of Blackwell guards had to search each of the ships and interview their captains. Fortunately, years of relative peace and being ignored by both the Cabal of Shadows and the Dragon Armada (who maintain larger ports of call in various forts elsewhere along the coast—forts wisely avoided by the expedition) had made them rather lackadaisical in their searches, and since there was nothing outwardly suspicious about either of the boats or their passengers, the guards allowed both ships entrance into the harbor after a mere 15-minute inspection.

The sky above had become rather menacing by now, though it was still early in the day, and a storm seemed to be brewing something fierce. Lavinia called the crew and passengers of each ship together for a meeting, informing everyone that because of the storm, they were to wait it out in Fort Blackwell, possibly for two to three days. She also pointed out the fact that it would be seven weeks until they reached their next friendly location where they could resupply, so she encouraged them to get all their shopping done here if they could.

A messenger hawk arrived in the fort that day with two letters of credit (250 gp worth) for Poddle and Rapton. Their first round of income from their new hotel.

Nimlar, asking around about this “Shadow Pearl” that Daelis had heard about from Urol, found a old seaman who told him a legend of Thanaclan and the ancient Olman empire, similar to the one the gnome had shared with them. The one new point: the Shadow Pearl was apparently given as a gift to the Olman, from strange creatures that are not detailed in the legends.

Daelis, Daegoth, and Nimlar went to the local Iron Brigade arena, and were commended for their defeat of ferocious sharks.

The various crew-members and passengers of the Sea Wyvern went their separate directions after reaching Fort Blackwell: Amella, Skald and Tavey stayed on the ship during the stay in the fort, Father Feres visited a shrine of Atarian, Avner and Lirith went to a tavern and partied, and Urol set out to explore a set of caves reported to be located nearby.

The heroes offered to go with Urol to the caves, to protect him from dangerous creatures and easing their own itch to explore.

“Well, I doubt there are any ravenous monsters out there,” Urol said sarcastically when the heroes asked to accompany him. “But you never known…so sure! I’d love the company!”

Only Rapton was excluded from this, since he had other plans with Lavinia. So the heroes, along with Urol and his trusty crow, Miss Crazzle, headed into the Amedio Jungle to explore.

The party followed a rough path along a swampy river heading southwest, deeper into the Amedio interior. When the heroes reached a small glade that opened up to the left of the road, opposite the river, which lay on the right, they were suddenly ambushed by three redcaps. Redcap

Now, redcaps are the most evil fey you’re ever likely to meet. They are mass-murdering psychotic killers who live on other creatures’ pain. A redcap stands 3 to 4 feet tall, weighs about 50 pounds, and looks like a tough old man with protruding teeth. On their heads redcaps wear bright red hats—kept fresh and moistly colored by dipping in their victims’ blood—and on their feet they wear boots of iron.

They should be stabbed on sight.

Anyways, three of these dangerous fey had set up an ambush in the small glade. Two of the redcaps hid behind large outcroppings of rock, sending sling-stones soaring towards the heads of the heroes, while the last jumped out from behind a large tree and charged forward with his wicked-looking scythe.

Their only warning was a stick snapping, the sound carrying through the air and reaching Nimlar’s keen elven ears just in time for him to react to the attack.

Jericho was scouting ahead unfortunately, and came into the battle much later.

A stone bounced off of Daegoth’s shield, thrown from a redcap’s sling at the huge lizardfolk, but hardly posing a threat. A second rock barely missed Poddle, the dexterous kobold dodging out of the way just in time.

The third redcap leaped into melee with Poddle, slashing down his scythe with a mindless ferocity. The kobold managed to bring up his greatsword in defense, blocking the strike.

Nimlar, whipping out his bow and drawing an arrow, struck the scythe-wielding redcap in the leg, but the psychotic fey seemed not to notice. Yeris screeched, and the eagle scratched at the same redcap, drawing blood, but barely nicking the tough little bugger.

Daelis drew his blade and stabbed the redcap engaging Poddle, causing it to screech in pain, but it recovered quickly and slavered even more intensely in its thirst for blood.

Daegoth charged up toward the rocks where a redcap slinger lay in hiding, and surprised the fey by bringing the butt of his axe down onto the creature’s face. The redcap recovered quickly, and started to bring its scythe up to engage the lizardfolk in melee, but Daegoth cut off its head. The body suddenly disintegrated, leaving only its equipment and a single tooth, which Daegoth took.

The second slinger shot out another stone at Poddle, but missed once again, as its companion was in a fight with the kobold and he couldn’t get a good shot in.

The scythe-redcap slashed at Daelis, but the adept duelist blocked the clumsy blow. The fey gnashed its teeth and dodged out of the way of Poddle, who stabbed at him with his greatsword.

Nimlar moved into a position to fire at the last slinger, and shot an arrow which hit the redcap in the shoulder.

The elf smiled.

Urol, grabbing out a wand and enchanted his quarterstaff, rushed to attack the scythe-wielding redcap, thrilled to be in battle once again.

He didn’t get a chance to attack, since Daelis ended the combat with a well placed stab, disintegrating the redcap and taking its tooth.

Daegoth and Daelis then both charged the remaining redcap slinger, that managed to fend off their initial attack by rolling away, but they were coming quickly behind it.

Just then, Jericho returned from scouting the area, joining the combat and drawing his bow. He shot off an arrow at the last redcap, but missed.

The redcap withdrew, scurrying away and climbing a nearby tree, screeching all the while.

Poddle reached the tree and attempted to reason with the creature. It just slavered and gibbered at him. So he shot it.

Urol, who had brought his sketchbook, sat down on a rock and began to sketch the redcap, fascinated by the fey.

Nimlar, who had his back to the swampy river, noticed something behind him. He turned and saw a enormous snake slithering towards him out of the swamp, hissing menacingly. Giant snake

Then it lunged.

It bit into Nimlar’s leg, knocking him to the ground and causing the elf to cry out in pain, alerting the others to the new threat.

Daelis, hearing Nimlar’s cry and sprinting towards the river, pulled out his crossbow and let loose a bolt, which tore into the snake’s hide. It hissed and let go of Nimlar, coiling back up for another strike.

Jericho wasn’t going to let it do that. He jumped on top of the huge serpent, barely able to hang on as the snake writhed.

Which was not a good idea, since the snake was a boa constrictor.

While the party was focused on the snake, the last redcap decided to make a run for it. He leaped off of the tree and sprinted further up the glade, towards the hills.

Poddle, seeing the redcap’s flight, pursued and stabbed the fey with his greatsword, killing and disintegrating it. Poddle took its tooth, as well.

Nimlar, using his attunement with nature, empathized with the great snake, stalling and entrancing it.

The other heroes noticed that the snake wasn’t attacking, so they all slowly backed up to a fallen log (except for Urol, he was sketching it), ready to shoot the serpent if it tried to attack again, but it didn’t and moments later it slithered back into the swamp.


Meanwhile, Rapton and Lavinia were having a pleasant evening on the Blue Nixie, drinking wine and talking.

Rapton decided to propose to Lavinia…and she accepted.

Lavinia and Rapton were getting married!


It was beginning to get dark, and the storm was in full force now, and sheets of rain began to fall down, in addition to the thunder and lightning. The heroes realized they would not be able to make it back to Fort Blackwell that night, so they (well, Nimlar) followed the trail made by the redcaps to a small cave. Jungle rain

The party lit a small fire and began to dry their clothes off, preparing to weather down for the night. The fire’s light revealed more than just a cave: there was treasure! As the heroes rifled through the loot and made camp, suddenly Rapton appeared. He had managed to catch up to them after his date with Lavinia, and used his skill with nature to find them.

It was at this time that Jericho decided to take out some of his anger. Since Poddle had apparently “questioned his loyalty” earlier on the voyage, he punched him in the face.

Or tried to, anyways.

Instead, Daegoth tackled Jericho.

Then Poddle knocked him out with the butt of his sword, and the two lizards dragged Jericho outside, stripped him of his clothes and equipment, and tied him to a tree…during the storm.

Daelis dragged Jericho back in, but he got considerably wet…and he was naked.

Meanwhile, Nimlar and Rapton took most of the treasure that was in the cave, but no one seemed to notice. Afterward, they split the remaining portion among each other.

They spent the rest of the night in the cave.

Sunday, August 1st, 1234 AY

The heroes headed back to Fort Blackwell the next morning, the sky still dark and ominous, but no longer storming.

Daegoth and Poddle, going to Captain Venkalie, wrote up a written contract that stated if Jericho harmed them physically (or extensive verbal abuse) he would have to give them one item of their choice from his inventory. After Jericho signed this, they gave him his stuff back.

The heroes decided to spend the rest of their time in Fort Blackwell at an inn, where they bought a suite and basically relaxed in luxury. They ended up staying another day after this, waiting for the storm to dissipate, but on Tuesday morning, set out again for the Isle of Dread (but not before Poddle sold his greatsword and had a replica of his old warmace made).

Two things that had happened during their stay in the fort: Avner and Lirith had broken up after a nasty fight the last night of the stay, leaving the two bitter (well mostly Lirith). Second, Kurgol converted to the worship of Atarian, under the guidance of Father Feres.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 1234 AY

The heroes said goodbye to Fort Blackwell, setting their sights on the horizon and preparing themselves for the second part of their voyage. Nimlar, feeling sick and feverish from the wound given to him by the great snake, spent a couple days in bed rest.

Jericho decided to try to woo Amella again, so he gave her his kukri, lying and saying it was magical.

“Thanks,” Amella said awkwardly. “I’m still not going out with you.”
“I’m the smartest person on this boat!” Jericho protested.
“Granted, that’s true,” Amella said. “But you are definitely not the wisest person on this boat.”

Afterward, Jericho decided to hinder the relationship between Lavinia and Rapton by telling Lavinia the “truth”.

“Rapton is only marrying you for your money you know,” Jericho said to Lavinia. “He’s going to kill you while you’re sleeping!”
“I know he is marrying me for my money, Jericho,” Lavinia said. “That’s obvious. But he’s not going to kill me in my sleep, I know him better than that.”

She didn’t believe him.

Avner, seeming to have already recovered from his break-up with Lirith, wanted to test his mettle. He challenged Daelis to a duel.

The two battled for a while, but Daelis was obviously the better, and the duel ended when the half-elf had a kill shot, but instead told Avner to surrender.

He did so.

Avner began to respect Daelis after that. His ego seemed to have deflated considerably.

Now Shefton, who had been relatively ignored since the beginning of the voyage, was finally engaged in conversation by Poddle.

“Hey man!” Poddle said cheerfully.
“Hi! Poddle, its nice to see you,” Shefton said. “Sorry for ignoring you, I didn’t want knowledge of me getting out.”
“How did you escape the tunnels?”
“By hiding under the bodies of your companions.”

Poddle then invited Shefton to go fishing with him and Daegoth.

Poddle caught a baby hammerhead shark…then used it for bait and caught a juvenile hammerhead shark. He ate that.

Wednesday, August 4th, 1234 AY

The day was boring, so when it turned evening, the heroes decided to have a dance party!

But it was just a distraction so Poddle could set yet another trap for Avner. A couple of fist-sized rocks in a net set to fall when the door opened.

When Avner retired for the night, he activated the trap. He got knocked unconscious, and was bed-ridden.

Captain Amella lined up the crew (and the party) and asked who did it. She was mad.

Daelis suspected Poddle, so he had Rapton use zone of truth on the kobold and reveal that he was the perpetrator.

Poddle was sentenced to one day in the brig and payment to Avner (500 gold).

Thursday, August 5th, 1234 AY

The next day, on the coast, the heroes spotted a huge fifty-foot high vine-clad statue, an Olman ruin from their ancient empire. A number of ruined buildings surrounded the statue, making some kind of temple around the great work, a man wearing a royal headdress and carrying a ceremonial washing bowl. Olman statue

The party asked Lavinia for permission to stop and explore these fascinating ruins, and their patron acquiesced. Poddle, Daelis, Jericho, and Rapton took a rowboat to the shore, while Daegoth walked on the bottom of the water, since he could breathe underwater.

When they arrived at the ruins, Poddle went about to searching the ruins for any secret doors or chambers he thought might be hidden there, while Daegoth gathered some fresh fruit from the nearby jungle.

Suddenly, a sound which was similar to the roar of thunder, but which was more steady and predictable, occurred. A great griffon soared through the air, landing inside the bowl of the great statue.

A griffon nest.

The heroes made a plan to get the griffon eggs: Poddle would begin to sneak up the side of the statue (using his magical slippers) while the others distracted the griffon and allowed Poddle to take its eggs.

Jericho shot a flare up into the bright sky, causing the griffon to screech and then start to go the edge of the nest, unfurling its wings.

It swooped down. Griffon

The griffon grabbed Daelis with its huge talons, lifting him into the air. The half-elf stabbed into the beast with his rapier, wounding its leg, but not loosing its grip.

Poddle, who had made it into the nest by now, found four eggs. He gathered them into his bag and started to head down the statue.

As the griffon lifted Daelis into the air, Daegoth lunged at the beast, slashing it in the flank with his waraxe. Rapton swung his mace as well, crushing its foot.

The griffon was wounded now, screeching in pain, while still holding Daelis in its talons.

Daegoth brought Jericho to him, grabbed him, jumped into the air (with the aid of his tail) and chucked the duskblade at the griffon. Jericho slashed the beast with his swords, wounding the griffon even more. Rapton cast a spell which caused roots to come from the ground and catch Jericho on the way down.

Daelis stabbed the griffon, trying to get loose from its tight grip. The beast shrieked in pain and seemed almost to drop him, but it regained its iron grip a moment later. Daelis tried to stab it again, but he couldn’t manage to get his weapon up.

Just then, another griffon appeared, soaring towards the great statue. There were two.

Poddle ran down the statue as fast as his little legs would carry him.

The griffon that was holding Daelis somehow managed to tumble and not injure himself on his dropped him, giving up and starting to fly away.

Daelis somehow managed to tumble and not injure himself on his fall, standing to his feet and exclaiming: “I’m okay!”

Daegoth jumped into the air, using his tail to launch himself from the ground. He brought a javelin up to throw at the first griffon…but missed horribly.

Rapton began to cast a spell, chanting incantations as a celestial hawk appeared, screeching and flying at the first griffon. Its claws scratched at the beast, doing some minor damage.

The griffon, however, had taken enough damage, and it crashed into the jungle with a screech, breaking its neck in the fall and killing it.

The second griffon, seeing its mate fall and Poddle making off with their eggs, roared out in anger and swooped down at the kobold, grabbing Poddle by the shoulders and lifting him into the air. The kobold managed to slip off the satchel that held the eggs though, and brought up his warmace in time to smash it against the griffon’s leg.

Jericho pulled out a wand and shot out an acidic arrow at the griffon, scalding the beast.

Rapton, casting another spell, caused the griffon to start to flee in fear, dropping Poddle.

Daegoth, rushing forward and holding out his arms to catch the kobold, managed only to break Poddle’s fall. He didn’t catch him very well.

The griffon fled, and the heroes, who had the eggs and had no desire to fight it anymore, returned to the Sea Wyvern with their reward.

Daelis cut off the first griffon’s head, and Daegoth severed the wings and talons, both preparing to present them as trophies at the next Iron Brigade arena they found.

Poddle, huffing and puffing as he was lifted onto the ship, began to brag.

“I just…killed…a griffon.”

The heroes began to relate their adventure to the crew and passengers, and Daegoth noticed that the cabin boy, Tavey Nesk, was especially interested in the account. He asked the lizardfolk to retell the story again and again.

The day passed…

Friday, August 6th, 1234 AY

During the night, Father Feres had awoken and puked his guts, becoming shaky and feverish within a couple minutes. The next morning, the heroes found him bedridden, with Kurgol kneeling beside him praying to Atarian.

Rapton decided to check the priest over, using his clerical abilities to see what was wrong with him.

He found it.

A strange pulsing growth was nestled in Father Feres’ belly. Rapton didn’t recognize the growth, but he knew it wasn’t good. So he performed surgery, cutting the pulsing orb from the priest.

Avner happened to walk in in the middle of this.

The nobleman screamed and ran out of the room, shouting that they were murdering the priest. Daegoth caught up to him, and attempted to reason with him.

“Avner, you just need to calm down.”
“You’re murdering him!”
“He was performing surgery on him.”

Avner just continued to shake involuntarily. Then he fainted.

After the surgery was complete, Rapton studied the growth in depth, and came to the conclusion that it was some kind of parasitic creature, possibly an egg sac. So he cut it open.

Inside, he saw the larvae form of an amphibian creature.

So the heroes put it in a jar.

They then asked Father Feres why exactly he had a growth in his belly.Father Feres started whimpering, and then he came clean.

He wasn’t a priest at all.

Kurgol looked shocked.

“You lied to me?” Kurgol said in a dark, grim voice.

The half-orc walked out of the room.

“Father Feres” then began to tell the real story…

His real name was Conrad Horst, a former scribe who had taken Lavinia in by convincing her that he was a clergyman. In fact, Conrad was a desperate criminal recently forced to flee a neighboring city when his scam of swindling old ladies out of valuable heirlooms came to light, and he spent several months hiding out in Sasserine.

Conrad had recently hired his services out as a mule to a sinister man whose name he didn’t know. In return for delivering a sealed box to a shrine of Atarian at Fort Blackwell, his benefactor had arranged for Conrad a new identity as a priest. Disguised as Father Feres, Conrad hoped to travel to Farshore not only to escape persecution from his enemies, but to establish his scams in a new location unaware of his talents.

The heroes asked him what that had to do with the growth in his stomach, and he told them that he first began to feel sick after he delivered the package to the shrine. The shrine (which was definitely not dedicated to Atarian) was apparently a cover-up for a more sinister organization, but Conrad knew nothing more on that front. The fake priests invited him to stay the night there, and he did, so his guess was that they were responsible.

Poddle feared the effect that this turn of events would have on Kurgol (who he had come to pity), so he did two things: he argued for a fair trial of Conrad Horst, not an execution, as to not fuel a desire for revenge in Kurgol, and he sincerely read through the Book of Atarian (the holy book of the deity) and thought about converting. He didn’t of course, but he looked into it.

Kurgol, however, recovered quickly from the revelation. He was initially shocked, but he came to realize (as he told Daegoth) that Conrad was just a false prophet, and that Atarian is still good. Just because there was one impostor didn’t mean that the entire religion was a sham. He still sincerely followed his deity and he seemed to be okay.

Poddle brought Conrad to the captain for justice. Slaad

Amella conferred that the impostor would be locked in the brig until the next stop, and then he would be let off (after paying for his voyage of course).

Poddle “Flip-Flop” thought this was going easy on the priest, and he didn’t like it one bit.

Later, the heroes asked around at what the amphibian larvae was, but no one knew…until they asked Urol.

“Destroy it now!” He yelled in horror. “Destroy it! That is a slaad!”

They gladly obliged.

Just another day in the lives of our heroes…

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Chapter 10: Come Sail Away
The heroes set sail on The Sea Wyvern for the Isle of Dread...

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 10: Come Sail Away

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Duerak Gildas (Nate) Half-Dwarf/Fire Giant Fighter

Sunday, July 18th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes relaxed. Lavinia had called them to a meeting that afternoon, so Daegoth spent the morning doing some shopping, while the others relaxed at the Vanderboren Manor.

Daegoth bought some heavy armor, which made him even more beastly.

About that time, Aniphastus Knowlern came to Rapton and Poddle with good news: the hotel (in its most basic form) was up and running! None of the more exotic renovations had been done yet, but the general layout was completed and guests had started to arrive.

Poddle also went to find a druid to cast a spell on his ape, WAR. He wanted WAR to be able to talk, and that was something the druid could do. Poddle’s ape was now awakened.

“Hello master!” WAR said, as the spell took effect. “My name is Walter Adolf Rasseldorf, how are you today?”
WAR!” Poddle shouted, engulfing his pet in a big hug. War

Poddle soon found, however, that WAR was a pacifist.

After this, Poddle bought two barrels of Firebelly ale and two spiked gauntlets for WAR, though the ape didn’t like the violence involved.

Nimlar also bought an improved quiver, which could hold up to fifty arrows.

Before the meeting started, Lavinia brought to their attention that Heldrath Kellani was having charges brought against her for the part she played in the Lotus Dragons business.

That afternoon, the characters met with Lavinia and she explained to them what their next “assignment” was. Journal lv

“Do you recall this journal we recovered from my family vault?” Lavinia asked, and when Poddle (who was the only one who had been there) nodded, she continued. “It turns out that it was my mother’s. My parents may the gods rest their souls, were brave—foolish and rash some would say, but I have never been one to criticize an adventurous spirit. On the contrary—” she cast a wry smile at them all. "I admire it. In any event, it would seem that about four years ago, my mother and father undertook a risky endeavor. They sailed the Blue Nixie, along with a ship full of colonists, down south to a place they refer to as the Isle of Dread.

“You may have heard of this place—if you haven’t, it seems apparent from reading my mother’s journals that the place is aptly named. A jungle-covered abyss infested with immense reptilian monsters, feral savages, and peril at every turn. Yet the southern peninsula remains relatively sheltered from the menaces on the isle mainland, and it was here, among the villages of several friendly locals, that my parents founded the colony of Farshore.

“The Isle of Dread represents an untapped trove of resources—exotic lumber, spices, animals, foods, and even minerals like silver and gold. Once Farshore was up and running, the influx of trade would have guaranteed my family a relatively uncontested flow of wealth. Yet before mother and father were able to return to Farshore with supplies and more colonists… my brother made his move and left me in the state you found me a month ago.

“Since we recovered this journal, I have not been idle. If Farshore fails, than my parents’ last legacy fails. I intend to carry on their work, and have planned for a journey south to the Isle of Dread to resupply and join the colonists at Farshore for the rest of year. I have the Blue Nixie readying in the harbor to take fresh supplies to the colony, but I find myself a vessel short.” Lavinia’s face breaks into a glowing grin as she continues, “You wouldn’t know of anyone with stout hearts who might happen to be interested in helping me mount this expedition, do you? I fear the journey itself might grow dangerous at times, and there’s no way of knowing what state or condition Farshore is currently in, but I suspect danger is a vice you have.”

Talking to Lavinia after she gave her presentation, the heroes quickly learned Lavinia had already hired an able crew to sail the Sea Wyvern and the passengers were already confirmed. Lavinia had been getting the ships ready since the heroes left for the ruined temple almost a week ago, so she was very well prepared. Also, she told the heroes that they could leave tomorrow, if the heroes were up to the challenge. Sea wyvern

The heroes got to work preparing the Sea Wyvern for the voyage.

The first order of business was the plotting of a course, but this was a short step, since Lavinia had already mapped out the voyage, and Jericho (who was to be the navigator for the Sea Wyvern) just looked them over to familiarize himself with them.

The second order of business was to secure a crew. Lavinia had already secured a crew and taken on passengers for the voyage, so the heroes didn’t have to do much here either. Three of them joined the crew (Striker [as the navigator], Daegoth and Nimlar [as run-of-the-mill crewmen]), while the rest stayed passengers, and they also brought some other passengers aboard as well; Derek, Metallica, and Jimmy Do (and WAR, who was proving to be an intelligent, capable gorilla). Zagon came as well, though he went on the Blue Nixie.

The heroes were introduced to the various crew and passengers, starting with their captain: Amella Venkalie. The heroes were slightly disbelieving that their captain was a woman, but they accepted Lavinia’s choice. Amella venkalie

“You’re a girl!” Poddle said to Amella, when she was introduced as their captain.
“You’re a lizard!” Amella responded.
“Touche.”

The other three crew members were Skald (the fey-touched ranger), Lirith Veldirose (the tom-boy warrior), and Tavey Nesk (the cabin boy).

The passengers of the ship were also introduced to the heroes.
Father Feres, a human priest of Atarian that was going to the Isle of Dread to do missionary work among the native tribes, was the first of these.
The second was Avner Meravanchi, the noble that Nimlar and Daelis met at the banquet. Skald

Next was Urol Furol, a gnome druid that was an expert on the Isle of Dread, and Tovin Domini, the archer that Nimlar talked with.
Also, Kurgol, the estranged half-orc that was beaten up by the heroes in Rumblegut’s tavern, was on the voyage, though he seemed very sad and dejected, not even noticing the heroes.

The last person was Shefton: the half-elf that led the heroes to Vanthus and then mysteriously disappeared when the party was massacred in the caves below Parrot Island. He seemed to not pay much attention to them, and Poddle, being the only one who had met him, decided he was going to talk to him later. Lirith veldirose

The third order of business: supplies. The Sea Wyvern had sixty tons of space for supplies, ten tons of the space was consumed by repair supplies for the ship itself, a further ten tons for food and miscellaneous supplies, leaving forty tons for the heroes to work with. Ten tons of this space was used on Duerak’s warhorse and its feed and supplies. Twenty tons were then used for additional supplies for Farshore and food for the voyage. The last ten tons were used for Avner Meravanchi’s purebred horse, Thunderstrike.

The last order of business: armaments. The heroes (especially Daelis), wanted to outfit the Sea Wyvern with a ballistae. They did so. They also bought forty-nine ballistae bolts. Avner meravanchi

With that, they were ready to set sail.

Monday, July 19th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes prepared to set off, loading onto the Sea Wyvern and saying goodbye to their friends in Sasserine. Lavinia, the Jade Ravens, and Churtle went onto the Blue Nixie_, getting ready to head off as well. !(media-item-align-right)http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/116100/FatherFeres.png(Father feres)!

Unfortunately, there were problems from the very beginning.

Avner Meravanchi, the last person to arrive (along with his servants, Banaby Chisk and Quenge Asper), came a half-an-hour late, and didn’t apologize. The servants immediately began loading on Avner’s horse Thunderstrike, as well as all of the animal’s numerous supplies and feed. It took another half-an-hour to get the horse in the jury-rigged pen that had been set up for in the Sea Wyvern’s hold, at which point Avner found out he was supposed to sleep with the “commoners”.

“I am not sleeping with the commoners!” Avner exploded at Amella, who was already losing patience with the stuck up nobleman. “Are you kidding me?! I demand my own quarters!”
“You’ll sleep with the rest of the passengers or you can stay in Sasserine,” Amella replied. “Your choice.” Kurgol

Father Feres, in a pathetic attempt to calm down the noble, asked him to calm down. Avner promptly commented on the priest’s extraordinarily long ear hair, and the holy man was sent away sulking.

Skald tried to stay out of the argument, busying himself with some rope, but Urol took an obnoxious interest in Thunderstrike’s pedigree.

Lirith seemed interested in Avner, in more ways than one. Tovin domini

“What seems to be the problem?” Said Daegoth, seeing the argument and trying to help.
“I don’t want to talk to you lizard! If you can’t help me get my own quarters, then I have nothing to say to you!”
“Why do you need your own quarters? Everyone sleeps in the same quarters, except for the captain of course.”
“I am a noble. I am not going to sleep with the commoners!”
“I’m the son of the chieftain of my tribe. Well, was.”
“Nobody gives a darn what you are!” Urol furol
“How dare you!” Poddle said threateningly.
“I demand he is taken off the ship,” Avner said hotly. “Take him off right now!”

At this point, WAR came up on deck.

“Is there a problem?” The gorilla said, scratching his chin.
“What?!” Avner said, wide-eyed. “How is the ape talking? How is it talking?” Tavey nesk

WAR looked at the noble with a deathly gaze.

“Okay! I’ll sleep with the commoners! I’ll be fine!”

Poddle went up to WAR, patting him appreciatively.

“Good boy.”
“Why thank you master.”

Avner was in a very bad mood that day.

After finishing up the preparations and getting Avner situated, the heroes set out for the Isle of Dread.

It was well into the afternoon when Poddle asked Jericho why he had mysteriously shown up when they began making preparations. Jericho admitted he had been in jail.

“What?! Then why are you on this ship? Go back in jail!”
“I don’t know how I got away…I just blacked out and woke up on the streets of Sasserine. I headed to Lavinia’s place and they pointed me down here.” Shefton

“Captain,” Poddle said later to Amella. “Jericho isn’t invited on this ship.”
“What do you mean? Of course he was.”
“He just told me that he was in jail earlier.”
“What? I don’t believe you, he’s a sixteen year-old kid for goodness sake’s!”

Amella wouldn’t listen to Poddle about the subject any further.

The heroes pressed Jericho for more information, and he confessed.

A week ago, before the heroes had headed out for the temple, Jericho had gone to a store to buy a new sword. The owner wouldn’t give him a good price, and then Jericho blacked out. The next thing he remembered was the body of the shop keeper on the floor and blood on his hands. He grabbed a lock-box and two fine swords and was about to leave when a young employee of the dead man walked in on the gruesome scene. Jericho attempted to kill him too. He failed, and the youngster managed to warn the guards. Jericho was chased by the guards, but managed to lose them in the sewers. He made it back to the Vanderboren Manor with his loot, but the lock-box only contained letters and business records, no money. The duskblade passed out in the basement of the manor and when he awoke, he was exhausted and felt even more tired than he had before. When he talked to Lavinia later that day, he found out disturbing news: the guards had found a shop-keeper, his apprentice, and two of their own dead in an alley. The heroes headed to the temple, but when Jericho returned to Sasserine, he was arrested and brought to jail.

The party then discussed what would be done with him.

While they did that, Poddle went up to Father Feres for help.

“My friend just told me that he broke out of prison, and he’s possessed by a demon.”
“And he’s on this ship?!”
“Well, I told the captain that he shouldn’t come, but…the captain doesn’t really listen to me, cause I’m a lizard.”
“My cleric training did not prepare me for this situation…I’m more of a heal-your-wounds kind of cleric.”
“So you don’t happen to have a magical ring that you made because you anticipated this exact situation?”
“No, no I do not. I don’t have a spell that could do that either, I’m not that powerful of a priest, sadly.”

The heroes finally decided to throw Jericho in the brig. Because of this, Urol Furol took over as navigator of the Sea Wyvern.

Later that day, Poddle talked with the captain.

“So, what’s up?”
“Nothing much. I’m kind of captaining the ship.”

Then they proceeded to talk about mundane things and the Isle of Dread and such, talking for most of the day.

Daegoth, seeing Kurgol in his dejected state, decided to introduce himself (he hadn’t met the half-orc yet anyway).

“Hello, I’m Daegoth.”
“Kurgol.” The half-orc sighed.
“I’ve noticed that you’re distraught, care to explain?”
“I don’t even know you.”

Silence.

“What are you on the ship for?” Daegoth said awkwardly.
“Eh, trying to make a new life for myself in Farshore. Just volunteered and they had me aboard.”
“I come from a tribe that lives on the Isle of Dread; I lived there myself most of my life…until my brother pushed over the side of our canoe…but that’s a long story. And now I’m here, finally going back.”
“You’re homeland is the Isle of Dread?”
“Yes.”
“Can you describe it to me? I’ve never been there.”

Daegoth described the Isle of Dread and all of its jungles, volcanoes, landscapes, terrifying creatures, man-eating plants, and horrible giant reptiles.

“Why am I going to this place?” Kurgol said after the horrifying description of the dangers therein.
“I don’t know…”

Jericho, during this time, managed to bribe Poddle, Daelis, and Duerak with his gold and weapons to allow him to get out of the brig. He then took back his job as the navigator from Urol.

Nimlar was sent to help Skald with the resetting of some rigging, and while doing this, got into a conversation. The two talked about the ship and Nimlar asked about the various parts and how they worked, admitting that he was not experienced with sailing in the slightest. Skald gave him a basic explanation of how the ship worked, what to do in given situations, etc.

As the day started to wind down into the evening, the heroes caught sight of an unidentifiable carcass being eaten by three sharks.

Nimlar, Daelis, and Daegoth decided to retrieve the carcass (possibly a humanoid) and kill the sharks, so they readied their weapons and the Sea Wyvern slowed down. Nimlar drew his bow and fired off two shots almost simultaneously, the arrows sinking into the flesh of one of the sharks. Yeris, flying in low, clawed at the sharks as well, barely missing being bitten in half by one of the bloodthirsty creatures. Daelis let loose a bolt from his crossbow at the second shark, drawing blood.

Daegoth, leaping off the deck of the ship, crashed into the first shark, axe cutting into the beast and almost felling it, but instead sending it into a rage.

The other two sharks, gathering around the now fresh meal of their dying companion, attempted to take the lizardfolk down as well, but Daegoth managed to beat them back. The first shark attempted to shake off the dragon shaman, thrashing about as it slowly bled out, but Daegoth finally ended its struggle with another chop of his axe.

Nimlar hit again with his bow, this time on the second shark, and almost took it down. Daelis fired off his crossbow and hit the second shark, though still not killing it.

Daegoth, crashing into another of the sharks, slashed with his axe, teared with his claws, and bit with his very sharp teeth. It died.

The last shark, in a frantic attempt to still get a meal, bit at Daegoth, but it failed.

Nimlar fired another shot and hit the third shark, while his eagle clawed at the same shark, tearing an eye out and causing the beast to thrash and start to turn away, attempting to flee.

Daelis got another bolt into the beast, but it wasn’t enough to bring it down, so Daegoth swam towards it and took it down with a blow to the head with his axe.

The heroes brought up the shark’s bodies and the other carcass and began examining them. The carcass the sharks had been eating was an aquatic beast that lived near the Isle of Dread (and not a humanoid as the heroes thought). They ate the sharks, but kept the teeth for an amulet (Duerak) and for proof to give to the Iron Brigade representatives in Fort Blackwell, the first stop on their way to the Isle of Dread, to give them more prestige (Daegoth, Nimlar, Duerak, and Daelis).

The sun set on day one of the heroes’ voyage to the Isle of Dread.

Tuesday, July 20th, 1234 AY

The second day of travel along the Amedio coast was non-eventful (except for a chat between Jericho and Amella), leaving the heroes to their thoughts. They were finally realizing what a long voyage this really was. It began to dawn on them that they weren’t going to see Sasserine (which had been their home for over a month) for at least eight more months, and that fact put a slight pall in the air the first few days of the journey.

That day, Jericho attempted to “woo” the captain.

“You have beautiful eyes,” Jericho said, in a pathetic attempt to flirt with Amella. The captain looked at him in disbelief.
“Aren’t young a little young?”
“Physically not mentally, dear.”

She just kept staring…

Wednesday, July 21st, 1234 AY

On the third day, Lavinia sent a message via a rowboat piloted by one of her crew. She wanted to invite the heroes, their crew, and Avner Meravanchi over to the Blue Nixie for dinner to celebrate the start of the expedition. As dusk fell, the two ships drew close and a line was thrown between the two, a pulley was attached, and a net seat was hoisted, allowing for safe crossing between the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern.

Lavinia looked very fine that evening, dressed in a silk shirt, jewelry and a dress. She led the heroes into the ship’s galley, where the feast was to be held. The Blue Nixie was a bit bigger than the Sea Wyvern, and even after a couple of days, the party and their crew were much more relieved to get a little more elbow room.

A fine spread was laid out on the table, including grouse, peacock, and elven wine imported from Azatharia. Lavinia, the Jade Ravens, the heroes, their crew, and Avner sat down to eat.

“I know this is really weird,” Amella said to Daelis, who happened to be sitting next to her during the feast. “But you remind me…of my dead husband.”
“Uhh…”
“I’m sorry…that was a little awkward I know. But really, the resemblance is so uncanny…”
“Who was he?”
“Heldram Venkalie. He was a sailor, and a darn good one. We used to smuggle goods past numerous Dragon Armada ships. Unfortunately, my husband was killed by a group of gnomes. Their leader was a treacherous cur named Shortstone Badgewell.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…what happened?”
“We were doing business with the group, smuggled goods and the like, when they betrayed us and killed him.”
“Is he still alive?”
“Yes, unfortunately I haven’t found him yet.”

After a long silence, they went back to eating.

Later that evening, Rapton gave Lavinia a poem he had worked on the previous day.

She loved it.

Unfortunately however, Avner had talked to Lavinia and had gotten himself his own quarters, whining until their patron granted his request. The nobleman was flaunted this fact the next couple of days, further establishing his jerk status.

Jericho went back to the boat almost directly after the meal, using the neat seat and pulley system that had been set up. As he began to swing to the other side, the rope suddenly jerked and Jericho was falling…and then he was in the water, struggling to stay afloat.

As he thrashed about in the water, he saw a large jar plop into the water. The lid opened up by itself, and out came a small, blue, horned creature with bat-like wings (a mephit), screeching and lunging for Jericho. Pickled mephit

A lump of acid flew from the creature’s fingertips, not hitting Jericho but instead clumsily landing in the dark water and throwing up a cloud of steam as it sizzled in the ocean. Jericho had managed to calm himself to keep from drowning, but reached for his swords and remembered that he had traded them for his freedom. Luckily, he did have a kukri, and drew the curved weapon and attacked the mephit, wounded it, if only slightly.

The mephit, in response, shot a cloud of poisonous gas at him, but Jericho resisted the effects of the cloud and struck out with his kukri again, slicing the creature’s throat and silencing it.

After being thrown a rope and drying off, Jericho relayed the event to the other party members and Lavinia. Clearly, this was no accident, and the heroes were determined to find out the one who was responsible.

Saturday, July 24th, 1234 AY

Over the next three days, Daegoth and Poddle went fishing, Daelis, Amella, Nimlar, and Jericho practiced their swordsmanship and sparred each other, Rapton wrote poems, and Duerak slept.

The heroes noticed in that time that Lirith and Avner were “involved”, but it was obvious that Lirith just liked him for his wealth.

Jericho, noticing this going on (and still wondering about the incident with the mephit), went over to talk to them.

“Hello,” Jericho said, waltzing up to the couple boldly.
“Hi Jericho,” Lirith said awkwardly.
“Did you guys see my stunt a couple nights ago?” Jericho asked. “That involved me falling off the boat?”
“No,” Avner replied. “But we heard about it.”

Jericho was suspicious of their motives, and as such he suspected Avner (and possibly Lirith) of being involved with the “accident”.

Later, Jericho talked with Nimlar and Daelis about what they had said and how he thought Avner was lying. The latter two asked Avner the same question, and they both thought he was hiding something as well.

Jericho, Daelis, and Nimlar brought in Daegoth and Poddle on this turn of events, and they asked the pair to do a little intimidating.

“Avner,” Daegoth said, pulling the noble off to the side. “Do you know anything about the net collapsing and the mephit in the water that almost killed Jericho?”
“No,” Avner replied. “I don’t know a thing about it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m very sure.”
“Well, just so you know, if you are holding something back…I’m gonna have to hurt you. Like really bad.”
“How dare you threaten me! I did not do anything to Jericho!”
“Threaten you? You want to see threatening?”

Daegoth grabbed Avner by the neck, shoved him against the wall, and put his axe to the noble’s throat.

“Seriously!” Avner said, terrified. “I don’t know anything about it, please don’t hurt me!”

Poddle judged the noble’s reaction and was convinced…that he was telling the truth.

“He’s telling the truth, Daegoth.” Poddle said, believing the noble.
“Well, thanks for this chat,” Daegoth said, dropping Avner and leaving. “Oh and by the way, if you’re lying, I’m gonna kill you.”

Avner sat on the deck, hyperventilating.

At this time, the entire party was brought in on what they were doing here, and they came up with a plan on how to find out who did it.

They would gather as many people as possible into an area and Rapton would cast a spell, which made everyone in a certain zone have to tell the truth. They would systematically do this until they had asked everyone on the Sea Wyvern.

Every single person knew nothing about the incident.

Sunday, July 25th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes proceeded to do the same thing to everyone on the Blue Nixie. Still the same result.

The party returned to their ship empty-handed.

That day, after their afternoon meal, Poddle began to feel extremely sick. He managed to shake it off at first, but then he took a turn for the worse.

Rapton, casting a spell, found that Poddle had been poisoned. He was bed-ridden, being tended to by WAR and Metallica, while the heroes looked for the culprit.

When the heroes investigated the poisoning of Poddle, a colonist spoke up and said that he had seen Tovin Domini around the pantry, acting strange.

Unfortunately, another zone of truth directed at Tovin revealed that he knew nothing about it, and that he hadn’t even been near the pantry.

Again, the heroes weren’t any closer to solving the mystery.

Monday, July 26th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes decided that to find the culprit, they needed to search every inch of the ship. Rowyn

In the hold of the Sea Wyvern, the heroes found Roywn Kellani, the guildmistress of the Lotus Dragons that escaped their grasp. She had stowed away in the cargo hold of their ship and was not the same calm, collected individual that they had met in the guildhouse. She was high-strung, emotional, and utterly crazy.

Rapton, who found her first, immediately cast a spell and shot a jet of flame from his hands, setting Roywn on fire. Duerak, hearing the commotion, drew his bow and headed down the stairs to the hold to find Rapton, Daegoth, Nimlar and Daelis attacking Rowyn.

Daelis charged the psychotic Rowyn, stabbing her in the arm and causing her to screech in pain, pouring out curses and death threats. She seemed to ignore the fire now engulfing her clothing, however.

Rowyn slashed Daelis with her own blade, and howled in glee, even though the wound was fairly minor and she was surrounded by her enemies.

Daegoth, lifting his great waraxe, cut Rowyn’s head off.

The heroes looted her numerous magical items and various other equipment, including scrolls, magical leather armor, potions, and her magical rapier. Then, they burned her body (though they kept her head for future purposes…)

Tuesday, July 27th, 1234 AY

The next day, the Sea Wyvern was attacked by a lone gargoyle, a water species called a kapoacinth.

During the following battle, Poddle got out of bed (he was still sick, but getting better) and went into Avner’s room, stole his clothes and his wine, and threw them overboard (well, the clothes anyway), all the while laughing maniacally. He then put Rowyn’s head in the empty chest that had once held Avner’s clothes.

Back on deck, the gargoyle swooped in on the ship, going for Jericho. The duskblade, who was navigating at the time, drew his swords, launched himself off of the wheel, and clipped the gargoyle’s wings, knocking it to the ground. Daelis, drawing his own blade and rushing towards the downed kapoacinth, delivered a killing blow to the head, finishing the monster.

Later Urol Furol the gnome introduced himself to Daelis and they had a conversation.

“So, why are you on the voyage?” Urol asked, his face showing extreme interest.
“Well, my companions and myself are accompanying Lavinia on her voyage to Farshore.”
“Oh right, you’re with the group of adventurers that work for her! Nice to meet you, I’m Urol Furol.”
“My name is Daelis Eagleheart, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
“No really, the pleasure is all mine! I was once an adventurer myself, but those days are long behind me…”
“Really? Do you have any good stories you’d like to share?”
“I could spin a tale or two…we have the time of course…”
“That we do,” Daelis laughed.
“I actually went to the Isle of Dread once…fascinating place. Sadly, my stay on the island was unfortunately short—due to events beyond my control, I might add! We’ve certainly nothing to fear this time around!”
“I’m glad we have someone with at least a little experience with our destination…Other than the natives I guess.”
“Ahh the natives! Fascinating culture…The Olmans, or as they call themselves, the Uliri’Olma-Ixlata, are a people that used to have a vast empire…but, according to their legends, their capital Thanaclan was destroyed by a giant black pearl, which dominoed across their empire and ultimately brought about their downfall…”

Daelis wasn’t expecting that one.

“That’s very interesting, we had a run-in with a similar pearl not so long ago…”
“Really?” The old gnome said. “Was it obsidian, about the size of your fist, and you could see things swirling around in it?”
“Yes that sounds correct. We found it shattered in a cove infested with savage creatures…men turned into monsters.”
“Hmmm…Very interesting…”
“It seems that the pearl exploded and released some kind of gas, which changed everyone in the cove.”
“That description is very similar to the legends of the downfall of Thanaclan…here read this.”

Urol left to get a dusty tome and read a passage aloud to Daelis.

“…Unleashed from the cruel heart of the fell seed known as the Shadow Pearl, the wave swept over an ancient city perched atop the crown of a remote island. The tide transformed beggar and noble, merchant and thief, resident and visitor into feral, ravenous fiends. The fruits of centuries of labor came crumbling down in a matter of days, and when the survivors tried to stem the tide by destroying the pearl, the resulting blast of power sunk the city into a boiling lake of death."
“….Wow that’s incredible.”
“Do you think the two could be related? If not, the coincidence would be incredible…”
“It seems they must be,” Daelis replied. “I hope we don’t encounter another…”

And with that ominous statement, the conversation ended.

Wednesday, July 28th, 1234 AY

On the coastline of the Amedio Jungle, there laid a teetering stone village. The heroes passed it.

That afternoon, Avner finally noticed that his items were missing (and saw Rowyn’s head), and came to the heroes to complain.

“Who stole my clothes?!” Avner said, huffing and puffing haughtily. “And my wine?!”
“Calm down,” Jericho said. “I don’t know who took your clothes, but I’ll investigate.”
“Alright…”
“Now just go to your room, and I’ll give you some of my clothes.”

Poddle, being his usual devious self, decided to further the web. He pulled Avner aside and blatantly lied to him.

“Who do you think stole your clothes? The demon-possessed kid. I saw him after the gargoyle attack, going downstairs to the quarters. His eyes were red, just like before.”
“What do you suppose we do?”
“Tell the captain and throw him overboard.”
“What are you talking about? We can’t kill him!”
“Who said we were going to kill him?”
“Then what?”
“We’ll let the ocean decide.”

Avner went up to Jericho and accused him of taking his wine. Jericho admitted to it, even though he didn’t do it.

“You took my wine and my clothes, didn’t you?!”
“I didn’t take your clothes. I don’t like your style.”
“Well…that is very insulting, but still! You did take my clothes! He said so!”

Avner pointed to Poddle.

After more arguing, Avner spoke up again.

“That was extremely expensive wine! I’m taking this up with the captain!”
“If you’re taking this up with the captain,” Jericho said. “You better find yourself a new navigator.”

When Avner insisted, Jericho made a sharp turn to the right, sending Avner flying off deck into the ocean.

Daegoth, always the honorable one, leaped into the water after him, and Nimlar threw a rope to help them on board. Avner, not getting the message, still complained to the captain.

Amella dealt out captain’s justice and decreed that Jericho had to spend a day in the brig and give Avner almost all his clothes and something from his inventory. Avner took one of Jericho’s favorite wands, so the duskblade punched him. Avner got his other wand as well.

Jericho was in a foul mood.

While this was going on, Poddle decided to play another little trick on Avner. He made a trap. A rope tied to the ceiling and then a noose on the ground, that when stepped on, launched the victim into the air and left him hanging.

Literally.

Meanwhile, Jericho talked Nimlar into going into Avner’s room and stealing the duskblade’s wands back. Nimlar, who had grown to trust Jericho, agreed.

That night, Nimlar sneaked into Avner’s room…and was caught in a rope, launched to the ceiling, and hung by one leg from it.

Avner drowsily came awake…

“What’s happening?”

The noble grabbed a candle and lit it, shocked to see someone hanging from his ceiling. Nimlar grabbed his bow, drew an arrow, knocked off the tip, and shot it, knocking the candle from his hand.

Avner screamed and ran forward, slamming into Nimlar and knocking himself to the ground.

And…the lit candle set Avner’s bed on fire.

It was about this time that Poddle entered the scene.

“Whoa! What’s happening?” Fire pillow

Poddle decided to attempt to put out the fire…with a pillow. The pillow went on fire as well. The kobold threw the flaming pillow, which narrowly missed Avner.

And then Rapton entered.

“What the heck?”

Rapton put out the fire with a spell, shooting forth water from his outstretched palm.

Daegoth, Daelis, and Amella also came running on to the scene.

“What happened here?” Amella said.
“Captain,” Poddle said. “I have no idea what happened. I heard some screaming in here, I ran in—”
“Shut up. Someone better tell me what happened here in the next five seconds or I’m going to be very, very mad.”
“What did I say?” Poddle said.
“I’m waiting,” Amella said impatiently. “Anyone want to explain this?”
“It was my fault,” Rapton said. “My candle dropped.”
“Well, what were you doing in this room?”
“Uhh…We were having a party!”
“Okay…What kind of a party?”
“I can’t exactly tell you what happened because I’m so drunk right now.”

It was at this point that Avner came to.

“Avner,” Amella said, really losing her patience now. “Do you know what happened here?”
“I just woke up…and I didn’t know what was going on…”
“Don’t you remember the party?” Rapton said, nudging the others to play along.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you remember?” Nimlar said, catching on. “We were having such a fun time that I accidentally hit your head with my mug?”
“What? I don’t remember this…LEAVE ME ALONE!”

The heroes and Amella argued some more, and then Avner whimpered something.

“Can I…go to sleep now?”
“Of course.”
“Oh, well I guess I can’t…my sheets are burned to a crisp.”
“And you’re pillow is burned to a crisp!”
“You can use my sheets and pillows,” Daegoth said kindly. “I don’t use them anyway, I sleep up on deck.”
“Alright…thank you.”

Avner whimpered and climbed into bed.

Nimlar, however, did manage to grab Jericho’s two wands in the confusion…

Thursday, July 29th, 1234 AY

Daegoth and Kurgol went fishing most of the day, getting to know each other even more. Daegoth finally understood why the half-orc was so sad when he told him this: the gnome friend he had (the person Poddle stole money from) committed suicide two weeks ago.

The party’s attitude towards Kurgol was a lot less hostile after that…

Friday, July 30th, 1234 AY

The day was non-eventful, except for a small chat between Daelis and Father Feres.

“So, what brings a priest to a perilous place like the Isle of Dread?” Daelis asked. Storm clouds
“Ehh, I just want to help the destitute people who live on the island, of course…”
“Well that is a noble cause. There isn’t any personal incentive?”
“No, of course not!”

After an awkward silence, Daelis ended the conversation.

“Well, its been good talking to you. We appreciate your selfless contribution to our journey.”

Father Feres excused himself and walked away.

Saturday, July 31st, 1234 AY

That Saturday, the heroes finally came in sight of their first resting stop: Fort Blackwell. The skies grew ever darker as they came in sight of the settlement, promising the first storm of the voyage.

View
Chapter 9: The Heads of the Hydra
The heroes head to the ruined temple of Axuzitocl, defeat its guardian, and are guests of honor at a banquet.

Savage Tide

Interlude I
Chapter 9: The Heads of the Hydra

Our Cast:

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Sunday, July 4th, 1234 AY

After the shocking revelation of the assassins’ disappearance, the heroes explained the situation to the rest of the clergy of Chayus, who, though skeptical at first, believed them and then put their poor brother to rest.

The party met up with the others (Daegoth, Nimlar, and Rapton), explained the events of the past few days to them, and then they started to prepare for their expedition to the temple of Axuzitocl.

While Nimlar had been away, he had befriended a native harpy eagle named Yeris. It had become his companion and seemed to follow him around everywhere.

Monday, July 5th, 1234 AY

The next day the party headed out, everyone in tow, to the ruined temple complex known as Beroarak’s Maw.

Tuesday, July 6th, 1234 AY

On the second day of the trip, the heroes were ambushed by a linnorm, a great wingless wyrm that came from the vine-choked trees of the jungle to come upon the unsuspecting expedition. Poddle, Daegoth, and Rapton were separated from the other four members (Daelis, Nimlar, Jericho, and Duerak) and were forced to split up.

The four decided in this case the best option was to continue on to Beroarak’s Maw and meet up with the others there.

Friday, July 9th, 1234 AY

The party reached the Hungry Fish River, a dangerous body of water said to contain man-eating fish. Across the banks of the river was Beroarak’s Maw.

Nimlar used his rope and masterfully threw it across the river, securing it to a branch on the other side with the grappling hook. The elf shimmied across the rope and landed gracefully on the other side, waiting for the others to do the same.

Daelis, Duerak, and Jericho followed, though their technique paled in comparison to Nimlar’s.

The four reached the temple in one piece, the entrance a 30-foot-tall, vine-choked sculpture of a gigantic crocodile or dragon’s head, and got ready to wait for the others.

Jericho and Duerak scouted the area, making sure no foul creatures lay nearby, but Daelis and Nimlar had another idea. They didn’t wait for the others and entered Beroarak’s Maw on their own, confident they could handle whatever the temple could throw at them.

They were wrong.

An owlbear mother had made its nest in the first chamber of the temple, and she did not want to be disturbed. She roared and charged as her babies screeched in alarm as they sat in the nest. Owlbear

Daelis met the charge of the owlbear and managed to get a slash in at its hide, but the deadly creature shrugged the attack off. Nimlar fired off two arrows, but only one hit and that one was also shrugged off by the beast.

The owlbear lifted one claw and laid into Daelis, who barely kept himself standing.

The fight continued, the heroes scoring minor hits on the owlbear, and the owlbear pummeling the two.

Finally, when Daelis was on the verge of falling and the owlbear seemed to be on its last legs as well, Nimlar had to make a fateful shot that would end the battle, and missed.

Daelis was mauled into unconsciousness.

The owlbear closed in on the ranger, who could not draw his sword in time and was able to get out only one other weapon, his keen dagger.

One stab made the beast about to fall…and Yeris finished off the wounded beast with a strike to the mortally wounded creature’s face.

Jericho and Duerak made it there just in time to see the owlbear fall.

The heroes, with the exclusion of Daelis, who was unconscious at the moment, captured the owlbear younglings, cut up the mother owlbear and fed it to them, and sent Duerak (while promising to avenge his comrades) back to Sasserine to give them to the Iron Brigade (the organization could make great use of guardian beasts such as these).

Sunday, July 11th, 1234 AY

Nimlar, Daelis, and Jericho rested in the first chamber of the temple for two days, regaining their strength and waiting for the other members of the party to arrive. When they didn’t come, the three decided to continue on alone, facing whatever dangers awaited them.

Nimlar went ahead, scouting the hallway that first went out of the chamber. At the end of said hallway, he found two doors, one on the left and one straight ahead.

They went straight.

They found a room with a large number of barrels and crates, some kind of storage chamber, which had a large well in the middle.

In the various barrels and crates, the heroes found many different basic supplies, including food, water, rope, tents, etc. They also found some gems (a bloodstone and three golden pearls) as well as a watertight scroll tube (with three scrolls inside) and a wand in the bottom of the well.

They passed by the room and went straight ahead once again, entering a large chamber that held many interesting features.

In the middle of the room was a large circular arcane symbol, its edges etched with runes and incantations written in Olman, which Jericho recognized. Huddled within the circle were three adventurers, their faces filled with despair and misery.

“Don’t come any closer!” They screamed. “It will kill you!”

To the left was the giant corpse of a large wyrm—the same type of creature that ambushed the heroes earlier.

At the back of the chamber lay a large platform led up to by a set of stairs with a flaming brazier on each side. On the platform was another symbol, this time a red snake. Standing on this symbol was the ghostly visage of a long-dead Olman priest. Ghost

“Why do you disturb my rest?” It rasped.
“Are you the one who has tormented these adventurers?” Nimlar asked of the spirit.
“Yes,” the priest coughed. “They also disturbed my rest and killed one of my guardians.”

When the heroes did not take the hint and leave, the spirit croaked a horrible cry.

“Leave now or face my wrath!”

All the while, the adventurers whimpered pitifully, their voices a reminder of what happened to the last group that crossed the ghost.

“We’re looking for a great beast that lives in this temple," Nimlar said, trying to reason with the priest. “Do you know where it is?”
“Yes I know the beast,” The spirit rasped quietly. "He is directly underneath you.”
“Do you know a way to get down there?”
“Yes I do.”

The stone on which the arcane circle was drawn then began to crumble, the adventurers falling to their doom in the pit below.

Out from the depths came the beast they had been looking for—the hydra.

Daelis, whipping out his crossbow, immediately got a shot off and hit the hydra in the shoulder…only to have it immediately heal.

“Crap.”

The hydra charged at the three companions, its five heads roaring furiously and twisting about. The heads struck simultaneously at the three, and though Daelis and Jericho managed to dodge the attacks, Nimlar was hit.

Nimlar, desperately firing arrows, tried to hit the heads, the only weak spots the beast seemed to have, while Yeris clawed at the hydra’s face. Hydra

Daelis cut off one of the heads, driving his rapier through the neck. Almost at once, two new heads began to form from the stump. Daelis, not even thinking about what he was doing, shoved the torch he carried in his other hand into the dead stump.

It became lifeless.

The heroes, though injured almost to the brink of death (Jericho going unconscious at one point), systematically cut off the hydra’s remaining heads and burned the stumps, killing the great beast.

“I give you credit for defeating my guardian,” The ghostly Olman priest said as the hydra fell. “I will allow you to leave in peace—if you offer a donation of treasure.”

The heroes agreed to these terms, and after giving the specter a thousand gold (and the specter giving them a blessing in the name of Axuzitocl), left with the five heads of the hydra and two barrels of hydra blood in tow.

Apparently, hydra blood is a healing agent.

After sending Jericho to find the other party members and to bring them to Sasserine (so they could pick up Daelis and Nimlar at Kraken’s Cove), the half-elf and the elf built a raft made out of the various barrels and crates found in the temple and set adrift on the Hungry Fish River, with plans to follow it to Blood Bay and then eventually Kraken’s Cove.

Thursday, July 15th, 1234 AY

On July 15th, the pair reached Kraken’s Cove, and found that all the savage creatures in the cove had been killed. All that was left to bear witness to the tragedy that took place here was numerous skeletons and barren jungle beyond.

Friday, July 16th, 1234 AY

The next day, the rest of the party arrived on the Hairless Bonobo. They headed out to Sasserine and reached it the next day.

Saturday, July 17th, 1234 AY

Daelis and Nimlar gave the hydra heads to the Iron Brigade, significantly increasing their status within the organization. They sold a large amount of the healing agent (made from hydra blood) to various merchants, and sold some to a researcher since hydra blood had not been used for healing before. The pair also participated in a battle at the Sasserine Arena, where they slew a great tiger.

Later that evening, the entire party attended a large banquet in their honor, held for their noble feat of defeating the Lotus Dragons (Nimlar wore his magical chain shirt, transforming them into amazing clothes). There was dancing, music (played by a popular band of gnomes) and lots of food.

Daegoth and Poddle came in first: Daegoth went straight for the food, but Poddle soaked in the attention, since everyone was clapping for the “honored guests”.

When Daelis and Nimlar entered, they saw a familiar face: Heldrath Kellani, the mother of Rowyn, and also the one who sent stilt-walking and dancing assassins after them. Heldrath kellani

They reported this to Lavinia, who said she would bring it before the council tomorrow, and promised to keep an eye on her during the banquet.

Daegoth, after eating a bunch, arm-wrestled Tolin Kientai while Poddle was off socializing. The kobold went up to a beautiful female noble and asked her to dance with his “friend” Daegoth. She declined and walked away.

Poddle came back and then Daegoth arm-wrestled him…and smashed his arm through the table.

Liamae Teslikaria, as soon as she saw Nimlar, walked up to him and asked him to dance. Politely, Nimlar accepted.

While this was happening, Daelis decided to go talk to the various Jade Ravens, starting with Kaskus. They talked about mundane things, but nothing interesting, so Daelis moved on to Zan Oldavin. Zan oldavin

They talked about normal things for a while, before Zan asked Daelis something.

“Why do you travel with an Azatharian elf?” He said, referring to Nimlar. “They are undeniably racist against half-elves, you must know by now.”
“Nimlar isn’t,” Daelis answered. “He was…raised differently. He doesn’t have the same bias that other Azatharians have. But trust me, I know what you are talking about. I grew up in Torius because my parents were forced to flee Azatharia to stop the persecution.”
“Sad. This happens to so many half-elves these days. I was raised here, because of the same situation.”

Nimlar was still dancing.

Rapton, in an attempt to impress Lavinia, went up to a buff bouncer and used a spell on him, causing him to run away in terror. Then he looked back at Lavinia and winked.

Daelis went to talk to Tolin Kientai, who seemed distracted.

“What’s wrong, Tolin?” Daelis asked.
“What? Oh, nothing. I was just distracted.” Daelis glanced over his shoulder to where he had been looking. He saw Rapton showing off for Lavinia, and understood.
“Look,” Tolin said, looking around to make sure no one was listening. “Could I tell you something?”
“Of course.”
“You won’t tell anyone, right?”
“I promise.”
“I kind of…like Lavinia, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh, yes I understand.”
“It just bugs me that Lavinia would go for a weird fey creature. Rapton just doesn’t seem her type.”
“Oh trust me, I don’t quite get it either.” Tolin kientai

Daegoth, going up to Lavinia, asked her if she had found anything about his brother, Krazog.

“We haven’t heard anything yet,” Lavinia said. “But you might see him soon.”
“See him?” Daegoth asked, confused. “How?”
“Don’t tell the others, but we’re planning a voyage to the Isle of Dread. We’re going to take the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern, your newly acquired ship, and sail to the isle to supply my parent’s colony, Farshore. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Anyway, you will see your brother soon enough, and I’m sure you’ll be able to rectify the situation there.”

It was about this time that Nimlar finished dancing.

Nimlar went over to the chef and asked him about the food, complimenting him on his kitchen skills. He then proceeded to ask him if he had heard any rumors about Azatharia lately. The chef said he hadn’t heard anything.

Nimlar went over to a corner, looking around the room, when Daelis met him. They stood their chatting, when Heldrath Kellani promptly interrupted their conversation.

“I just want to make this abundantly clear,” Heldrath said, staring at them coldly. “If you ever come near me or one of my daughters again, I will not hesitate to kill you myself.”
“Let me make THIS clear,” Nimlar replied, sticking an arrow into the wall next to her head. “If you ever threaten MY friends, I’ll kill YOU!”

Heldrath walked away.

Nimlar took the arrow out of the wall.

Nimlar, going to get some food, saw a random person and decided to talk to him.

“Good evening,” Nimlar said, bowing politely.
“Good evening,” the random person said. “My name is Tovin Domini, what’s yours?”
“Nimlar Sumel.”
“Oh, this banquet is about you right? You and the other adventurers?”
“Yes,” Nimlar said. “But it’s mostly for them, I’m just the one who sits back and shoot arrows.”
“You’re an archer?” Tovin asked, interested.
Nimlar nodded.
“I’ve picked up the bow myself.”
“Really? What kind of bow?” Tovin domini

And they went on to talk about bows in their various forms. After their discussion, Nimlar asked Tovin Domini if he had heard anything about his kingdom, Azatharia.

“Well, actually I just heard some really disturbing news,” Tovin said, looking concerned. “Azatharia went to war with Torius.”

Both Daelis and Nimlar were distressed at this news, so Nimlar asked him another question.

“Do you know why they’re fighting?”
“Trade disputes,” Tovin said, though he looked doubtful. “That’s what they say at least. I really think its because Azatharia is taking their racist prejudices to the next level, trying to wipe out their inferiors. They want to have some kind of ‘racial purification’.”
“So Azatharia is the one who started it all?”

Tovin nodded.

“How long has this war been going on?” Nimlar asked.
“They say it just started some time in early June.”

After this, Tovin excused himself to join a dance, so the pair got something to eat.

Meanwhile, the other heroes were having a drinking contest; except Duerak, he was randomly hugging people.

Daegoth won the drinking contest.

Later, a young noble with a handlebar mustache came up to Daelis and Nimlar and engaged them in conversation, though he was quite annoying.

“Hello!” The young man said, sizing them up. “I heard this banquet was held to commemorate your…services. My name is Avner Meravanchi, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you,” Daelis replied politely.
“You’re Daelis right? Daelis Eagleheart?” Avner said as Daelis nodded. “And Nimlar Sumel! I’ve heard about you, you’re the nephew to the king of Azatharia right?”
“Yes,” Nimlar confirmed, though the word had a bitter taste on his mouth.
“Oh, I heard about the news, a war going on between Azatharia and Torius?”
“I just learned recently as well.”
“Oh, shocking isn’t it?”
“Yes, I’m wondering if I should leave right now…”
“Well, I don’t know if there’s much you could do in that situation. Baeldeth is a powerful man.”
“Enough about me, what do you do?”
“I’m a noble, son to Zebulah Meravanchi, a very important noble in the city. We handle all sorts of affairs, like…” Avner meravanchi

And he went on and on about the accomplishments of the Meravanchi name. All the while, the pair was trying to remember anything they could about the Meravanchi’s…but the name didn’t ring a bell.

“Hmmm…I don’t recognize that name,” Daelis said, thinking intensely.
“What are you talking about? Of course you—How could you not recognize the name of the Meravanchi’s? How long have you been in Sasserine, like seriously?”
“About a month I guess,” Nimlar said. “But we are always out on adventures—”
“Oh you’re adventurers…” Avner said, barely hiding his disgust.
“You might know Rapton,” Daelis piped in.
“Oh…the green dude?” Avner said, still disgusted. “He is an abomination to society! I can’t believe they let him in—wait, you know him?”
“Yes,” Daelis said. “He’s our cleric.”
“Sorry, but…nevermind. I have nothing to say on THAT subject.”

The conversation deteriorated from them, so Avner excused himself.

After this, Daelis and Nimlar went out onto a balcony, contemplating their pitiful existences…when suddenly Nimlar collapsed.

Nimlar dropped to the balcony, memories flashing before his eyes. Then he was on a high hill overlooking Azatharia, when green waves of energy suddenly engulfed the countryside. Then he was falling…falling…and then, materializing from the darkness, a black pearl. It exploded, and then the men and women that surrounded him were deformed and hideous, transformed by the pearl.

Nimlar woke up.

He was sweating and convulsing on the balcony when Daelis’ voice finally became clear.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, shaking the downed elf.
“Cousin?” Nimlar said, somehow realizing the fact as he looked upon the face of Daelis.
“What? I’m not your cousin!” Daelis said.
“Yes, you are.”
“How do you know that?”
“What’s your mothers name?”
“Amena Eagleheart”
“What was her maiden name?”
“Amena Sumel.”
“That was the name of my father’s sister,” Nimlar said, trying to piece the puzzle together for Daelis. “She ran away because she married a human, and that was forbidden in my country. She left for Torius.”
“What? That is my mother!”
“Wait. How did you know that?”
“I don’t know.”

Nimlar then continued to tell Daelis the rest of his vision, and the half-elf immediately recognized the description of the pearl.

“The Shadow Pearl,” Daelis said to a confused Nimlar. “You weren’t there, but the pearl that we found shattered in Kraken’s Cove—it turned everyone there into monsters.”
“Also, there was this green energy,” Nimlar said. “I don’t know if that means anything, but I wanted to tell you.”
“That’s what Harliss said,” Daelis told him. “Oh my goodness. You had a vision…of the Shadow Pearl.”
“How do you know its name?” Nimlar asked.
“I don’t know, it just—came to me.” Shadowpearl

Silence.

Then Lavinia walked out onto the balcony.

“Is everything all right?” She said, wondering what just happened.
“Did you just have a vision like me?” Nimlar asked.
“No,” Lavinia said, confused. “What are you talking about?”
“I just had a vision of the Shadow Pearl.”
“You mean the pearl you found in Kraken’s Cove?”
“Yes.”
“Wasn’t it the thing that turned everyone there into monsters?”
“I saw it destroy my homeland.”
“Has this ever happened before?”
“No, I’m guessing its some kind of revelation from the gods.”
“You might want to go see the Arcanists,” Lavinia said. “They’re a group of wizards and other arcane experts that might be able to help you understand what that vision meant.”
“Do you believe him?” Lavinia said to Daelis. “Do you think he really had a vision?”
“Yes,” Daelis said.
“Well anyway,” Lavinia said, shaking off the weird event and getting down to business. “I came because they’re ending the ceremony now. Worrin Lidu is going to present you with the Medallion of Sasserine.”

The heroes headed to the ceremony.

The band of gnomes that were entertaining that evening played a tune while Worrin Lidu presented each of the heroes with a medallion.

“I’d like to present you with the Medallion of Sasserine,” he said to each of the heroes as he gave them their honorary medals.

The banquet hall burst into applause.

Afterward, the gnomes played a special song for the heroes…which happened to be less encouraging than they would have thought. It titled “Chosen One” and was all about how heroes are nothing new and that its bad luck to be one.

The banquet ended there, and the heroes headed back to the Vanderboren Manor to spend the night.

View
Chapter 8: The Tattoo
The heroes go back to Kraken's Cove and claim the Sea Wyvern, get in a barfight, and are attacked by mysterious assassins.

Savage Tide

Interlude I
Chapter 8: The Tattoo

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Tainted Human Duskblade

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Duerak Gildas (Nate) Half-Dwarf/Fire Giant Fighter

Thursday, July 1st, 1234 AY

The party regrouped at the Vanderboren Manor to decide what to do next. Daelis, Nimlar, and Daegoth had heard rumors of a giant reptilian beast that made its lair in a ruined temple to the south, and so talked with the others of the possibility of heading there. As it turns out, Rapton and Poddle had talked with another Killoren village in the area and the settlement had agreed to open negotiations with Sasserine if the heroes could recover an artifact with great natural power found in the same ruined temple complex. Striker had also been given a mission from The Noseon Society which sent him to the same temple, where he would recover an Olman relic. The party decided to wait a couple of days, however, before venturing there, to do some shopping and minor exploring beforehand.

Nimlar and Daegoth decided to help out at the Iron Brigade, doing various chores and other menial tasks. Rapton reported to The Sanction of the success of his mission and of the possibility of another village joining, and then spent the rest of his time working out treaties and other official papers for his organization.

The other three, (Daelis, Poddle, and Striker) were wandering Sasserine when they were approached by a huge bronze-skinned man. Duerak gildas

“I am Duerak Gildas,” he said bowing. “It has come to my attention that you plan to head to a ruined temple complex…is this true?”
“Yes,” Daelis answered. “We are going there.”
“If I may, I would like to accompany you,” Duerak said quickly. “You see, I was recently part of an expedition sent by the Iron Brigade to explore the same complex, but the rest of my party was killed by some kind of giant reptile. I barely made it out alive. I would like to avenge my companions, and slay this foul beast that has caused me much grief.”
“We would be happy to have you,” Daelis said, smiling. “But we aren’t heading out for a couple of days yet. You could keep us company if you like until then.”
“It is agreed then,” Duerak said, reaching out his hand.

The two shook.

The current group, (Daelis, Poddle, Striker, and Duerak) decided to head back to Kraken’s Cove to claim the ship that survived there, as well as possibly doing a bit more exploring and killing some monsters.

They paid Crazy Pete to take them to the Cove once more, and hired a labor crew that would get the abandoned ship back to Sasserine. On the way there, Crazy Pete kept looking at Striker strangely…

Friday, July 2nd, 1234 AY

Reaching the cove, the heroes saw that the abandoned ship was still waiting for them, ready to be claimed. The nameplate titled the ship “The Sea Wyvern”.

While the labor crew hauled the Sea Wyvern off, the heroes decided to try to lure out anymore of the savage creatures that might be in the cove. They banged on their weapons and shields, making loud noises in an attempt to lure the creatures out of the caves.

Three savage pirates, two lackeys and what looked to once be a cook. He wore a chef’s hat and held in his hand a bloody cleaver.

The two lackeys immediately charged at Daelis and Striker, but the two warriors managed to fend off their clumsy swipes. Striker counter-attacked and took off a pirate’s head, the beheaded corpse falling limply to the ground.

Daelis wasn’t as lucky and barely managed to fend off his combatant, missing with his rapier as Duerak flanked the pirate, but the fighter missed with his mighty axe as well.

The cook, heading to Poddle, swiped with his cleaver, but the kobold dodged his blow and tried to bring his greatsword to bear against the creature. The cook deflected the strike with his cleaver and snarled.

Daelis, still locked in combat with a pirate, blocked another blow as Striker landed a hit on it, causing the creature to growl in fury. Daelis then finished off the savage pirate, stabbing it through the heart and letting it slide from his blade.

Duerak, going for the cook, swung his axe in a wide arc, slicing the chef’s stomach and spilling its innards. The cook, in a desperate last strike, hit Poddle with a backhand swipe with his cleaver, but the kobold soon finished off the dying pirate with a stab from his greatsword.

Poddle, who had noticed that in the battle with the pirates Striker had been acting strangely, was convinced that he had somehow become infected with the same thing that turned the pirates into mindless monsters.

He drop kicked him in the stomach.

“Why the heck did you do that?!” Daelis yelled, shocked.
“He’s turning into one of them!” Poddle said. “One of the monsters! He’s been acting strangely since we got to the cove!”

Poddle had Metallica tie the helpless Striker up and bring him into a nearby cave, one that seemed to have served as a meal hall before the Shadow Pearl had activated.

“What was that for?” Striker asked as he came back to consciousness.
“Because you’re…sick!” Poddle exclaimed, getting ready to interrogate his friend.

Metallica set him up against the wall of the cave, but Poddle objected.

“Metallica! What are you doing? Put him in a chair like a civilized person!”

Metallica hefted Striker into one of the many chairs that lay overturned around the chamber, but didn’t get far before Poddle interrupted.

“Now kick him off.”

Metallica complied.

Poddle grabbed his greatsword and put the tip against the soft skin of Striker’s neck.

“Why are you acting strange?!” Poddle questioned the Duskblade.

By this time, Duerak had excused himself, wondering what kind of companions he had that turned amongst themselves at the first sign of anything wrong. He thought this was all a little weird.

“I’ll tell you,” Striker surrendered. “I’ve been hiding it for too long already.”

“I was born in the Torusian town of Balus,” Striker said, and that news, Daelis was slightly shocked, since that was the town he grew up in. "When I was four years old, an elven assassin killed my parents. His name was Tahlavel Maran.

“For some reason, Tahlavel didn’t kill me. He brought me to the neighboring kingdom of Azatharia, where I grew up in the small elven village of Gilvanna. It’s not called Gilvanna now of course, but I’ll get to that.

“As I grew up among the elves, I noticed that weird things were happening inside me. I don’t know if it was hereditary or because of some foul magic, but I am part demon. Nobody liked me in Gilvanna, so I learned to get by on my own until a Duskblade decided to teach me what he knew. His other students hated me, but he persisted, and taught me everything I know today.

“When I was thirteen, something happened inside of me, something took control. I blacked out, and when I awoke, my entire village was destroyed, everyone dead. You may have heard of the village. Kazgar, its now called, the elven word for “grave”.

“I wandered for three years before coming to Sasserine, where I met all of you. I hope you can understand that I did not do those horrible things of my own free will. Its this thing…inside.

“My name, is Jericho Moonscar.”

The heroes accepted Striker’s story and as a result, everyone started to trust each other just a little better.

The party decided that they had done enough exploring and wanted to head back to Sasserine to take a load off and maybe head to a tavern to relax. With the labor crew getting the Sea Wyvern ready to go, the group sailed back to Sasserine on the Hairless Bonobo.

Saturday, July 3rd, 1234 AY

The heroes arrived in Sasserine in the evening on Saturday and went on the lookout for a good tavern. They headed to Rumblegut’s, not really because of its famous reputation, but because of its infamous reputation.

Hey, a good bar fight every once in a while is a vital part of the adventurer profession!

When the heroes arrived at the tavern (excluded Duerak, who decided to play it safe and wait outside), they saw a familiar face: Kurgol the half-orc, the friend of the gnome that Poddle had stolen from.

Poddle decided to have a little fun. He snuck up to the half-orc and attempted to use sleight of hand to lift his money pouch.

He failed.

Poddle fell to the ground, spilling gold in every direction. He looked sheepishly to his comrades, who were slapping their foreheads and preparing for a fight.

Daelis, always quick, blurted out: “Hey! Why’d you push my friend!”

“Are you serious?” Kurgol said, disgusted as he recognized the two. “I’m so sick of you guys!”
“Have you had too much to drink sir! I don’t know you!” Poddle said, catching on to Daelis’ idea and then glancing over to the bartender. “Bartender! How much beer did you give this guy?”
“He’s only had one shot, man!” The bartender said, confused.
“How big was that shot?” Poddle said, playing along as long as he could. “Do half-orcs use some kind of different measurement?”
“That’s it,” Kurgol said as he rolled up his sleeves. “I’m ending this—”

But that was as far as he got as Jericho’s fist connected with his face.

Everything started to go downhill from there, so Poddle gathered up the coins on the ground and booked it.

“Did you get me a pint?” Duerak said, as he saw Poddle exit the tavern.
“No, but I got you some gold!” Poddle answered as he and the half-dwarf high-tailed it out of there. “Let’s go!”

Back in the tavern, the fight was underway. Daelis grabbed out his sap and swung at Kurgol, coonnecting solidly. Jericho kicked at the half-orc’s head, but Kurgol ducked and then head-butted the badly positioned Duskblade, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Daelis swung with his sap, but Kurgol easily side-stepped it and dodged a blow from Jericho as well, coming in hard with a punch that dazed the human once again.

Jericho attempted a kick to the half-orc’s stomach, but the half-orc grabbed his foot and held him fast. The half-orc ducked as Daelis swung his sap, leaving the half-elf off guard.

Kurgol than unceremoniously dropped Jericho to the ground.

Daelis, recovering from his clumsy miss, took a strike at the half-orc’s legs, trying to trip him up, but Kurgol leaped atop a table and sneered. Jericho jumped atop the same table and tried to smash a wine bottle atop the half-orc’s head—and failed as the half-orc ducked and then jumped atop Daelis, punching rapidly.

Daelis returned the attack with a rap with his sap across Kurgol’s head. This dazed Kurgol just enough so Jericho could leap atop the half-orc, using both hilts of his swords to slam in from behind. Kurgol fell to the ground, whimpering.

“I give up,” he said.

The heroes left Rumblegut’s and headed back to the Vanderboren Manor, laughing and joking about their run in with Kurgol. They were walking over a bridge when Poddle and Duerak noticed something odd. Four fishermen, sitting on opposite sides of the canal, looked suspicous, and when the pair saw a concealed weapon on one of them, they immediately sprung into action. Elven assassin

Poddle turned around immediately, coming face to face with two assassins that were coming at them from behind. The kobold vaulted over the cloaked figure, drawing his greatsword in the same movement and slicing off the assassins arm. Crying out in pain, the assassin desperately lunged at Poddle, managing to get a glancing blow on the kobold’s arm.

Duerak, reacting quickly, drew his shortbow and fired off a spectacular shot, killing one of the disguised assassins posing as a fisherman with an arrow between the eyes.

“What did I do wrong?” Duerak yelled as he dodged an arrow from one of the assassins.
“You joined us!” Daelis replied as he too was almost hit with an arrow.

Jericho wasn’t so lucky, taking a nick from one of the arrows and wincing as the sharp iron cut through his exposed skin.

Poddle dodged an attack from both of the assassins he was engaging, rolling away and heading towards one of the archers, leaving the melee to the more adept fighters.

Two more assassins jumped out from behind the statues situated on the south side of the bridge, making the total number stand at eight. The two slashed Daelis and Duerak with their swords, but the skilled warriors deflected the blows.

Duerak, attempted to hit an assassin with his axe and shield in the same motion, completely and utterly failed, putting him in a very bad position and allowing for an archer to make a deadly shot against him. The arrows thudded into his torso, sending him staggering back.

Arrows clicked off of the stone bridge as Jericho charged toward an assassin, his swords circling in a deadly arc. The assassin tried to get in a low slash, but Jericho blocked the clumsy strike.

An arrow barely missed Duerak but hit Daelis head on, pounding into his shoulder like a sledgehammer…except, more like an arrow. Daelis slumped to the railing of the bridge, spitting out blood. Then he found some kind of strength within him and charged the assassin Jericho was attacking, getting in a deadly hit which almost downed the cloaked attacker.

Jericho finished him off with a well placed beheading.

“I’m coming for you next!” Jericho yelled at an archer, charging and jumping full speed off the bridge.

Poddle charged at the archer, rolling at the last second and ending up behind the assassin, close enough so he could see his ears: pointed ears. Poddle swung his sword at the elf, but he dodged at the last second.

Duerak retreated, refitting his bow with an arrow as he stumbled out of the range of the assassin. He pulled back the drawstring and let loose, but the elf was too quick and the arrow bounced harmlessly off of the stone blocks of the bridge as the assassin charged him and dealt a deadly blow to Duerak’s torso. The half-dwarf fell to the ground, blood spilling from his wound.

An arrow whizzed by Daelis’ head as he dodged yet another attack from the mystery assassins. He too had noticed by now that these were elves, and so did not underestimate them in the least. Seeing Duerak’s fall, the swashbuckler charged at the assassin, finishing off the elf with his rapier as he slid the blade through his enemy’s ribs.

Jericho ended his leap with a roll, and ended that roll with two swords puncturing an assassin’s heart. As he finished off the elf, he noticed a tattoo on the assassin’s arm. A black clenched fist. He immediately recognized it as the tattoo Tahlavel Maran had when the elf had killed his parents. The harbingers

Poddle missed another attack against the archer, who had pulled out his sword and tried to fend off the kobold as best as he could. From where he stood fighting, Poddle could see Duerak finishing off another assassin with his axe and shield, the half-dwarf seemingly recovered from his wound in the heat of the battle.

The assassin that remained fired off arrows, but was not scoring any hits as the party closed in around him. Daelis halfheartedly fired his crossbow at one of the archers, but it fell short. Suddenly, leaping across the canal in a adrenaline-fueled act of epicness, Jericho grabbed the ledge of the opposite canal bank, reaching up at one of the archers and grabbing his leg.

Poddle, surveying the battlefield and determining that they still needed a captive to tell them what they wanted to know, promptly hit the assassin he was fighting in the face with the hilt of his sword, knocking him unconscious.

Daelis tumbled off of the bridge onto the stone of the canal and ended the remaining assassin’s life with a well-placed blade, ending the battle. Jericho pulled himself up onto the edge of the canal as well, grumbling.

“What?” Daelis said, looking at him curiously.
“That one was mine!” Jericho said angrily, but then realized the foolishness of it all and began to laugh.

Poddle, after waking up the unconscious assassin they had captured, began to get ready to interrogate him.

“Who are you working for?” The kobold yelled, holding a dagger to the elf’s throat.

He wouldn’t talk, so Poddle cut his arm, which caused the elf to grimace but otherwise he was unaffected. Jericho, having an idea, began to cast a spell which would fire acid out of his fingertips. He used this spell on the place where no man should ever be splashed with acid.

The elf impaled himself on Poddle’s dagger.

The heroes found two elven assassins who were still barely alive, killed one and then took the other to the nearby temple of Chayus. The heroes paid a priest to heal the assassin, but did not tell him he had just tried to kill them. Instead, the priest was under the impression that this man was an ally of theirs; a comrade.

The heroes headed back to Lavinia’s to spend the night, satisfied that in the morning, they would have answers…

Sunday, July 4th, 1234 AY

The heroes came back to the temple of Chayus, only to find that the priest was dead and the assassin was gone…

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