Savage Tide

Chapter 22: Details
The heroes enjoy some down time, but are inadvertently drawn once again towards the things that have haunted them for months...

Savage Tide

Interlude II
Chapter 22: Details

Our Cast:

Poddle “Flip-Flop” (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

View
Chapter 21: The Battle for Farshore
The heroes face the Dragon Armada in the ultimate stand-off, with the future of Farshore and the fate of everyone and everything they know hanging in the balance.

Savage Tide

Part V: Tides of Dread
Chapter 21: The Battle for Farshore

Our Cast:

Poddle “Flip-Flop” (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

Jembe Ram Dumba (Jared) Human Fighter

View
Chapter 20: ...'Til They Come
Meanwhile, Daegoth, Daelis, and Nimlar venture to the village of the Zay'Dinoq to liberate the tribe from the tyranny of Daegoth's brother, Krazog...

Savage Tide

Part V: Tides of Dread
Chapter 20: …’Til They Come

Our Cast:

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elf Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

View
Chapter 19: Two Months...
The heroes spend the next two months getting ready for the attack against Farshore (and doing some other, less productive things)...

Savage Tide

Part V: Tides of Dread
Chapter 19: Two Months…

Our Cast:

Poddle “Flip-Flop” (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

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

Jembe Ram Dumba (Jared) Human Fighter

View
Chapter 18: A Hero's Return
The party finally reaches Farshore, only to find it under attack by the pirates of the Dragon Armada.

Savage Tide

Part V: Tides of Dread
Chapter 18: A Hero’s Return

Our Cast:

Poddle “Flip-Flop” (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

Jembe Ram Dumba (Jared) Human Fighter

View
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

View
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.

View
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…

View
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

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.