Savage Tide

Chapter 1: The Beginning
The Savage Tide begins...

Savage Tide

Part I: There Is No Honor
Chapter 1: The Beginning

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Tahlavel Maran (Seth) Elf Ninja

Tarathial Nightstalker (Trevor S.) Wood Elf Ranger

Maxel Journey (Ian) Human Druid

Drakon Striden (David S.) Human Sorcerer

In the bustling seaport city of Sasserine, a band of unlikely heroes are brought together by a single letter, which will change their destinies forever…

Thursday, June 17th, 1234 AY

Each of the heroes had come to Sasserine lately, and had gained the notice of Lavinia Vanderboren, a minor noble. Poddle “Flip-Flop” had just come from the infamous pirate town of Ahato with his former employee and friend Tahlavel Maran. Poddle had just killed a giant snail in the Merchant’s District when it had escaped its cage and caused a ruckus in the market, while Tahlavel had entered a gladiatorial competition in the Sasserine Arena sponsored by the Iron Brigade, which he had won with great honors.

Maxel Journey and Drakon Striden had just come from doing mercenary work in the outlying jungles. When a group of robbers tried to ambush a nobleman, the duo had come to his rescue and driven off the bandits, with Drakon shooting down the thieves with magic while Maxel healed the wounded and battered noble.

Tarathial Nightstalker was hunting down a pack of wolves who had been acting too aggressive lately, and saved a group of nobles from being killed by the beasts.

The letter that each character received said the following:

Lavinia s letter The carrier of the letter was a halfling woman named Kora Whistlegap. The heroes agreed to the dinner, but Poddle was a little uneasy about it (though he still reluctantly agreed). Maxel recalled that Lavinia Vanderboren had just recently inherited her estate from her parents after their untimely death. It seems they had been killed aboard their own ship when a fire broke loose.

Friday, June 18th, 1234 AY

When the heroes individually arrived at the estate that June evening, the same halfling greeted them at the gate and let them come in. They were then sent to the atrium to wait, while Lavinia prepared to greet them. They did not know each other, so got into mild conversation, starting to form a bond. Maxel and Drakon told the rest of the heroes about the news of Lavinia’s parents, since none of them lived in Sasserine and this was only recent news.

Four figures then emerged from the hall and headed towards our heroes. Kora raced behind these figures, which included a jaunty male half-elf dressed in leather armor and armed with a dozen daggers of different shapes, a dark-skinned dwarf with a sour expression dressed in green and brown robes and armed with a scimitar, an attractive but haughty-looking woman dressed in dark purple robes and with a tattoo of a crescent moon on one cheek, and lastly a tall and handsome man dressed in a polished breastplate carrying two short swords.

The tall man stopped, seeing the heroes, and sized them up for a moment before announcing “Hmm. You must be the help Lavinia’s bringing in to do the chores. Best of luck to ya!”

The heroes were slightly offended that they were being considered as “doing the chores”, but still went with Kora to the dining hall when she said Lavinia was ready.

The private dining hall was comfortable and cozy, softly lit by wall-mounted lanterns. A window overlooked the manor’s central courtyard and the carpet was thick and soft. A large portrait hung on the wall, a fine work depicting a handsome young man with a short beard. Standing before the portrait was an attractive human woman wearing a long, flowing blue dress. She smiled as the heroes entered, introducing herself as Lavinia Vanderboren. Laviniavanderboren

“As you may have heard, I recently inherited my parents’ estate. Along with this fine house, unfortunately, came a fine amount of debt owed The Sanction, the harbormaster, and quite a few guildhalls. It seems my parents, for all their success as adventurers, were not as skilled at finance as one might expect. If I’m to get these taxes paid, I’ll need to access my family’s vault under Castle Terakan.

“And that’s the problem, you see. The vaults are magically locked—keyed to special signet rings. Both of my parents had these rings, at least, until recently. My mother lost hers a few months ago. She arranged for a replacement, but it won’t be done for another month or so, too late for me. Which leaves my father’s ring. He never wore it—he had a thing about men wearing jewelry. He kept it hidden somewhere on his ship, the Blue Nixie. The problem there is that the harbormaster’s seized the ship until someone pays for the last four months of mooring. I’ve paid the fines to the man the harbormaster’s put in charge of my ship, a brute named Soller Vark. Yet when I went to claim my ship, Vark’s men wouldn’t let me on board, claiming that I hadn’t yet paid the fines. I spoke to Vark again and he denied ever receiving my payment. My complaints to the harbormaster have fallen on deaf ears—he’s a doddering old fool who trusts his man and won’t relent.

“Vark and his men are up to something on my ship, I know it. What I need is to find out exactly what they’re up to. Unfortunately, Vark’s not the type to react well to diplomacy or logic. I need someone who speaks his language…which is where you come in. If you can find out what he’s using my ship for, or even better, recover the money I paid him, I’ll pay each of you 200 gold in return once I’ve access to my vault.”

Poddle, the kobold, quickly objected to the part about 200 gold, demanding more. Lavinia reluctantly offered to go to 300 gold. They finally agreed that they would get the signet ring and open the vault, and then decide how much they would get depending on how much was in the vault.

They decided to head straight out, even though it was already at least 9 o’clock at night, so Lavinia told them where the Blue Nixie was docked: pier five in the Merchant’s District, between the Merchant’s guildhall and the Smith’s guildhall. Alas, upon our heroes arrival it became apparent that the Blue Nixie was not docked at the pier at all, but was in fact moored moored to a float about 100 feet from the pier’s end.

Maxel, the druid, sent his owl companion to scout the ship, and his bird reported back that there were about five thugs patrolling the deck, though maybe more. Maxel decided to cast a spell which allowed him to speak with animals for a short period of time, so he called a dolphin to him. He asked the dolphin to take them across to the ship. The dolphin splashed him. Tarathial, being a ranger, also tried to reason with the dolphin. It just splashed them and swam away. It was then that they noticed the fact that there was a rental shop renting out boats for 5 gold. After a lengthy discussion of whether to try to steal a boat or to just pay the 5 gold, the heroes decided to rent it legally and took the rowboat out to the Blue Nixie. They took great pains to be silent and managed to get there undetected.

When they neared the Blue Nixie, Drakon cast a spell that made a huge crashing sound seem like it was coming from the bottom of the ship, sending the thugs that were patrolling the deck down into the lower bowels of the ship in a hurry. The heroes quickly climbed up the mooring of the ship and set up an ambush for the thugs when they came back. Poddle and Tahlavel climbed up on the mast to get good ambush positions. Tarathial and Drakon went on the upper deck over the stairs, and Maxel went on to the ledge on the side of the ship to hide. When the thugs came back aboard the deck, the heroes ambushed them, hitting from every side. Tarathial shot an arrow from his longbow…and horribly missed. Poddle jumped off of the mast and killed a thug with a blow to the head from his mighty warmace. Tahlavel wounded one of the thugs with two well thrown shurikens and Drakon blasted darts of magical energy from his finger tips, killing another thug. Maxel threw a spear from his hiding place and finished off the wounded thug, while the remaining two thugs were systematically taken down.

A foul-looking brute with a scarred face (which the heroes recognized as Soller Vark and also dubbed “Scarface”), along with two more thugs (a woman and a man), came up to the upper deck then, where the heroes were waiting for them. Soller vark

The man was taken to the ground with a mace to the groin, and then had his head chopped off by Tarathial. Vark rushed forward and stabbed Tarathial in the stomach, seemingly taking the ranger down. But Maxel came from behind and healed Tarathial with a spell, keeping him in the fight. Drakon cast another spell, putting Vark to sleep but not affecting the remaining thug. But Tahlavel had already took care of that, and the woman dropped dead, an arrow in the back of her head.

When Vark came to, Poddle decided to interrogate him. Poddle grabbed a dagger from Tahlavel and proceeded to cut open Vark’s arm, then grab a bucket of salt water and dump it on the wound. Vark howled in pain. Finally, after much torture at Poddle’s hands, Vark came clean and admitted that he was hired to smuggle some exotic animals and then sell them to a ship crewed by members of the Cabal of Shadows that was supposed to meet them. Then Tarathial killed him. Blue nixie

They then searched the ship thoroughly, and found Lavinia’s father’s signet ring, as well 100 platinum that our adventurers recognized as the fee Lavinia had paid to Vark. They also found a parchment with the signet ring that listed a weird assortment of monsters, and in the cargo hold they discovered the exotic creatures that Vark had been smuggling, including monkeys, parrots, and a huge spider-like creature. They turned in these exotic animals to the city watch (but not before Poddle confiscated three of the parrots; even though he already had a lemur and a parrot of his own). They took the signet ring, the payment, and the parchment back to Lavinia, who thanked them and gave them a place to stay in her mansion for the night. She asked them if they would accompany her to her family vault the next morning, to which Poddle objected, demanding more money for doing it. Lavinia consented and gave them 10 pp each from the money she paid Vark.

Saturday, June 19th, 1234 AY

The next day Lavinia hired a coach to take them from her manor to the High Market in the Noble District, where the group took a ferry over to Castle Terakan (since it was on an island). They spent little time in the castle itself, stopping only to speak to a clerk who verified Lavinia’s identity and her signet, and who then escorted them down a spiral staircase into a large circular chamber under the castle. Castle

Over a dozen five-foot wide hallways radiated out from the central vault chamber, each of these halls were ten feet long and ended at a single iron door—the entrance to the family vault. The clerk did not accompany the group into the vault; he instead bid them good day and returned to his office in the castle above.

Lavinia led them down the hallway to her family vault, where the short passageway ended at another solid-looking iron door. The portal was emblazoned with a simple rune—an eight-pointed star. Above the door, inscribed in a flowing script on a polished silver plaque, was the name “Vanderboren”. A single handle protruded from the door, just below a circular depression bearing the mark of the Vanderboren signet. Lavinia pushed the signet ring she now wore into the depression, and the door flashed once with blue light, then slowly swung open on creaking hinges.

Inside, the floor of the domed chamber was of polished green marble. Two fifteen-foot-wide alcoves had lower ceilings and featured marble pillars carved to resemble coiling snakes. In the center of the room, five similar pillars were embedded into the walls, rising up thirty feet to a dome overhead. Looking up, the dome bore a huge representation of the same eight-pointed star that was engraved on the door to the south. The vault

From around a pillar, a serpentine construction of metal slithered out. The snake was three feet long and looked like a cobra made of dozens of circular iron bands fitted together to form a snake-like body. The construct immediately attacked Tahlavel, who the first one to enter the chamber. The heroes dove into action, with Tahlavel valiantly striding forward to meet the beast. Tahlavel slashed at it with his katanas, but the hard shell repelled the weapon, causing the elf to bounce back in shock. Tarathial rolled to a safe position behind one of the pillars and proceeded to fire upon the construct with arrows, but they all seemed to do nothing. Poddle charged at the creature, bashing it with his warmace while Maxel threw a spear at it. Poddle’s attack seemed to stun the creature for a moment, but Maxel’s spear deflected harmlessly off the creature’s shell. Drakon, who had been chanting an incantation, set forth a burst of magical darts to fling into the creature, but to his surprise, the attack seemed to be absorbed by the construct. Maxel, assessing the situation, came to the conclusion that the cobra was a construct designed to protect the vault from intruders. “Tell it to stop attacking!” Maxel shouted to Lavinia, who looked at him quizzically, but obeyed. The snake seemed to pause, and then slithered away back to the alcove it had been hiding in, waiting for the next intruder. Iron cobra

It was then the group realized that the chamber didn’t seem to have a door. Tarathial searched the area and found that one of the pillars was slightly different from the others. He felt around it for a moment before finding a small switch, which he activated. The snake designs on the walls suddenly animated, writhing aside like living creatures and forming a coiling archway that opened up to the vault.

The octagonal room was supported by a single large pillar with dozens of deep grooves along it’s sides. The seven walls of this room each bore fantastically detailed bas-relief carvings of exotic monsters in threatening poses. Starting at the wall immediately to the west of the entrance to the room and moving clockwise, the carvings depicted a tentacled monster with a glaring red eye and a mouth full of teeth, a looming dragon, a fish-like creature with three eyes and four tentacles, a two headed giant wielding a pair of immense clubs, a spherical creature with four eyestalks and a bulging central eye over a drooling maw, a gorilla-like beast with a fanged maw and six eyes, and finally a towering black spider with seven eyes. Each monster’s eyes consisted of a glittering red stone. The ceiling above was only ten feet high, with the now-familiar eight-pointed star pattern radiating out from the grooved pillar. The arms of this star were black, save for the one pointing south towards the entrance, which was red.

Maxel assessed the chamber and came to the conclusion that it was some kind of puzzle…

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