Savage Tide

Chapter 12: Along the Coast
As the heroes hug the Amedio coast, they fight aggressive flotsam, basilisks, bat demons, will-o-wisps, hydras and drunken Olmans.

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 12: Along the Coast

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Saturday, August 7th, 1234 AY

Jericho decided to converse with the cabin boy, Tavey, since he was always so quiet.

“How are you doing?” Jericho said, trying to look non-threatening.
“Al-alright…” Tavey said cautiously.
“You’re afraid of me aren’t you?” Jericho asked.
“Just a little bit,” Tavey answered.
“Here’s some gold,” Jericho said, handing the boy two coins.
“Thank you, sir.” Tavey said politely. “Thank you very much. That’s very nice of you!”

Jericho then asked if he wanted to practice his swordsmanship. Tavey answered with an enthusiastic yes.

The two sparred with wooden swords, honing their skills and softening up Tavey to Jericho’s company.

“So, why did you come on this ship?” Tavey asked inquisitively, in the middle of a parry.
“Oh, I got stuck with those idiots,” Jericho said sarcastically, pointing towards his companions.

Poddle happened to walk by, and responded with a: “Hey!”

The two began to argue, and then eventually Jericho called it quits and went back to the wheel.

When the duskblade reached it, he decided to have a little fun. He took a hard right.

Nimlar managed to keep his balance (and so did Daelis, but he was below deck), but Poddle wasn’t so lucky.

He fell off the ship.

Poddle was thrashing about in the water and cursing the name of Jericho. Nimlar threw him a rope and brought the kobold back on board, but he was in a foul mood the rest of the day.

Poddle began to berate Jericho for his actions, stating they were against the contract he had signed, but Jericho maintained that it was an accident. They got into a fight, and Jericho said that he hated kobolds, which counted as excessive verbal abuse in the contract, so the duskblade had to hand over his five jars of poisonous herbs to Poddle.

Later, Jericho told the rest of the party why he had such a bone to pick with Poddle.

When he was traveling in the Amedio, working as a mercenary to pay the bills, he was captured by a group of kobold slavers, and was held prisoner for several months.

Poddle and Jericho got into another fight, threatening each other and pulling out weapons. Nimlar got between them and tried to break up the fight, telling them to stop.

Poddle walked away, and Jericho went back to the wheel, though there was still contempt between them.

Poddle went down to the brig to talk to Conrad, offering to break him out for a thousand gold pieces.

“I don’t have it on me,” said Conrad, looking around to make sure no one was listening. “But I can get it for you.”
“A thousand gold?”
“I can get it.”
“It doesn’t work that way boy,” Poddle said. “You get me the money and then I’ll get you out.”
“The ship has a messenger hawk, right?”
“Yes.”
“Get me some paper, pen and ink, and I’ll write a message to my benefactor in Fort Blackwell. He’ll get you a thousand gold with ease.”

Poddle got him his utensils and let him write the message, but read it before he sent it. On the surface it seemed like a regular message asking the benefactor for a thousand gold, but Poddle wanted to make sure it wasn’t coded. Reluctantly, he asked Jericho to help him decipher the message and check for hidden codes.

It was coded.

The coded message told the benefactor about the Isle of Dread and Farshore. That they were both “ripe for the picking”. It would be a very good location to confiscate, because of all the exotic resources.

Poddle had Jericho write a new letter (forging the signature of Conrad), using the same coded system, except this time with a different message: send his worker Poddle five thousand gold.

Sunday, August 8th, 1234 AY

The next day, Urol approached Jericho and asked him a question.

“So I was wondering, what’s your story?” Urol said, curious as always.
“I was raised in a very decent home and I loved geography,” Jericho said. “I was probably one of the smartest people in my village. But one day it all came crashing down, and I found myself here. Oh, and one time I was taken prisoner by a bunch of kobolds…But eventually I escaped and ever since then I found myself on the path to kill every assassin in the world!”
“Interesting…” Said Urol, confused a little.
“Are you an assassin?” Jericho said seriously.
“No… I’m a druid.”

Jericho was wary, however, and pressed further, infuriating Urol.

“I’m an old gnome druid!” He said indignantly. “Miss Crazzle, peck out his eyes!”

Jericho readied to defend himself.

“I was kidding…” Urol said, already tired of the conversation.
“So, you’re not an assassin?”
“No, I am not an assassin!”
“Lift up your sleeves!” Jericho demanded.
“Whoa there,” Poddle broke in, seeing the situation. “You don’t need to do that!”

Urol lifted up his sleeves, anyway, and Jericho found there was nothing.

“I’m sorry,” Jericho apologized. “I’m a tad bit antsy; since I’ve already killed three assassins so far.”
“So what’s your story, Mr. Gnome?” Jericho said after a silence.
“Well… a long time ago, I was a little gnome!”
“Never mind. I’m out of here!” Jericho said, leaving. “Goodbye!”

Poddle asked Urol to tell his story anyways, and he obliged. A long boring story ensued, about Urol’s life as a young gnome, growing up in Celion Forest living with a group of fellow wood gnomes, and how he became a druid.

Jericho went to the captain to apologize for being too forward. Amella accepted the apology, and then Jericho asked her a question.

“What’s your story, ma’am?”

Amella told Jericho how she had grown up in a slum, but became a sailor at a young age, falling in love with the open sea. Later, she married the love of her life (also a sailor), Heldram Venkalie. They smuggled goods past the barbaric Dragon Armada, but one time while making a deal with a group of gnomes, they turned on the pair and killed Heldram. Amella also revealed that she has been searching for the killer, a treacherous gnome named Shortstone Badgewell, since.

Nimlar also checked the supplies to make sure everything was in order. It was.

Avner, haughty as usual, began to order Tavey around, which Amella did not like.

“Tavey!” Avner said, elitist in all his glory. “Get me a nice cool drink!”

Poddle and Jericho, seeing this, decided to put a stop to it.

“Hey, Tavey,” Poddle said, grabbing the cabin boy. “You don’t have to do that.”

Jericho tapped Avner’s shoulder.

“What do you want, Jericho?” Said Avner, looking at him with disdain.
“I want you stop bossing my friend around.”
“Don’t stick your nose in other people’s business!”

The two pestered the noble until he relented.

“Fine, I’ll leave him alone! It’s his job anyways, sheesh!”
“If you do it again,” Jericho said threateningly. “I’ll pay you a little visit while you sleep.”
“Whatever.”

Avner walked away.

Later, the heroes saw Urol trying to converse with Amella. Amella didn’t seem to like this.

Poddle went up to the old gnome, and attempted to diffuse the situation by asking Urol to show him his sketches.

It worked.

“Oh yes I can!” Urol said excitedly, fumbling around in his pack for his sketchbook. He finally found it, and flipped to a page with a drawing of one of the redcaps they had found near Fort Blackwell.
“This is one of those redcaps,” Urol told Poddle, showing him the sketch.
“Oh yes!” Poddle said, remembering the creatures. “I almost caught one of those…”
“And here’s the big snake!”

Urol went through numerous sketches of his, showing them all to Poddle, and left Amella alone. The captain was grateful.

Monday, August 9th, 1234 AY

The weather took a turn for the worse, becoming cloudy overnight. As the hour neared noon, rain began to fall, first as a light drizzle, then as a heavy pour, then finally settling into something in between.

One of Avner’s servants, a meek man named Quenge Asper, was standing about near the railing of the Sea Wyvern, when he saw something move in the water. He leaned over the rail and peered at the spot, wondering if it was just the rain on the water or something more.

Poddle, seeing the man close to the edge, went to warn him.

“You really shouldn’t be standing so close to the edge there,” the kobold said.
“Well, I just saw something in the water,” Quenge started to say, but he was cut off in mid-sentence when he was suddenly grabbed and pulled into the ocean. Icthyasaurus

A giant aquatic reptile, called an Icthyasaurus (in proper Old Toru terminology), had eaten the poor man and dove down back into the depths.

The crew and passengers immediately went into an uproar, with Amella trying to calm them all down. Avner stomped up to Skald, going into a tirade about how he should have been paying attention to the rail, blaming him for the death of Asper.

Nimlar came to the defense of his colleague, arguing that he couldn’t have seen it, that it came from underneath.

Daelis argued with Avner, pointing him out and saying that he didn’t do anything either, he was just as guilty as all the rest of them.

Avner just swore at him.

The heroes later attempted to get Avner kicked off the boat, but Lavinia wouldn’t condone it.

After this, Daelis was on the way to his quarters, when he spotted Avner in his room, sobbing.

“I’m sorry Quenge,” he heard Avner whisper. “I should have been there.”

Daelis told the rest of the party to lay off Avner for a bit, telling them what he had seen.

Avner had recovered by then, and he went over to Skald and apologized.

Tuesday, August 10th, 1234 AY

Nimlar and Daelis sparred with their swords, while Jericho went to talk with the cabin boy, Tavey.

“How would you say your temperament is?” Jericho said to Tavey.
“My temperament? I would say it’s… good,” Tavey answered.
“I was worried that you might get pretty frazzled with Avner bossing you around like that.”

A silence.

“Well, just wondering!” Jericho said, taking his leave.

Poddle decided to boost everyone’s spirits by inviting them to a card game. Well, just his spirits I guess. It was an old trick game he had used back in his days in Ahato. He never lost. Cards

He invited everyone who wanted to to join him; Avner, Lirith, Skald, Tovin, Kurgol and Shefton accepted.

Poddle didn’t want to scam Kurgol out of his money, so he lied and said that there were too many people at the game already.

“That’s fine,” Kurgol said, smiling a toothy grin. “I’m not one for card games much anyway.”

The game began… and Poddle won, collecting all of his opponents gold.

“Oh, I win. That’s too bad…” Poddle said, faking pity. “Would anyone like to play again? I’ll put two-hundred and fifty this time!”
“No…” Was the response.

Except for Avner, who was determined to win.

Poddle owned.

“One more round?” Poddle asked.
“No that’s alright,” Avner said, getting ready to leave. “I think I’m done. I have nothing left anyways…”
Poddle shook his hand, and in the process pick-pocketed five more gold.
That’s all I have! Poddle thought sarcastically.
“You know what?” Poddle said enthusiastically. “That was a really good game, I want to give you a hug!”
Twenty more gold for Poddle.

Wednesday, August 11th, 1234 AY

The next day, the party neared the mouth of the Havekihu River, where they would refill their water.

While the crew loaded up barrels with water (with which Daelis, Daegoth and Nimlar helped), the other members of the party went off and did their own thing.

Poddle was fishing, and he called Tavey over.

“Stay away from Avner,” the kobold advised Tavey. “Don’t do anything he says. Oh, I got something on the line! Do you want to pull it in?”
“Sure,” the cabin boy said, grabbing the pole and pulling up a common freshwater fish. “I caught something! Thanks! Can I keep it?”
“No,” Poddle said in all seriousness. “I’m just kidding, go ahead.”
“I can’t wait to show Miss Venkalie!” Tavey said as he ran off towards the captain.

Poddle watched as Tavey showed the catch to Amella, and how she acted. She was beginning to become a mother figure to the young boy. Poddle smiled.

Jericho, meanwhile, was practicing parkour, jumping from trees in the nearby jungle and training.

Later, Poddle asked Tavey if he would like to pet WAR. He said yes.

“What are you doing?” Said WAR, confused.
“Just got with it man,” Poddle said. “He’s a little kid!”
“So how can he talk?” Tavey asked, interested as always. “I’ve never heard of an animal talking before.”

Poddle told him about the magic of the druids, and how they can awaken animals.

Jericho returned from his training at this time, and had an idea. He wanted to train Tavey in the ways of the duskblade.

He asked Tavey if he wanted to, and the cabin boy answer was an enthusiastic yes (after checking with Amella, of course).

While they were training, Poddle kept fishing, catching a total of ten fish that day.

Tavey was already skilled at climbing and the various athletic requirements of the duskblade, but was lack of magic. Jericho began to train him.

Near the evening, less than half-an-hour after the expedition got underway again after resupplying with water, a thick fog sprung up.

Jericho remembered that fog banks like this often occur along the coast in the region, but the thickness of it was nevertheless oppressive. Fog

Passengers headed below deck, and the crew grew silent as all ears strained to the starboard side, marking the distant sound of breakers on the shore as the only trustworthy method of ensuring the expedition didn’t draw too close to the shallows while still staying parallel to the coast. The fog grows thicker, and soon even the Blue Nixie, only a few hundred feet ahead, was lost to vision.

At this point, Lavinia ordered the ships to anchor for the night until the fog burns off in the morning. The voice of one of her crew calling out from the fog to the Sea Wyvern announcing the short stoppage is curiously muted by the fog, but nonetheless easily understood. Amella anchored the Sea Wyvern and everyone prepared for a long night.

The heroes took shifts watching the ship in case of anything foul occurring during the night. Nimlar took first watch.

Of course, the fog was far from uninhabited. Near midnight, when Nimlar was on duty, the entire ship lurched as if striking a reef, causing the elven ranger to almost fall from the crow’s nest, where he was keeping watch.

The heroes woke up at the lurch, and scrambled to get their weapons and find the enemy.

Nimlar, from his position in the crow’s nest, saw what they had hit. It appeared to be a huge pile of flotsam clinging to the hull, surrounded by transparent jelly. The elf took out his bow and shot an arrow into the thing, but it seemed to just sink into the gelatinous mass, not appearing to cause any damage. Nimlar was weary to order his harpy eagle to attack, in case the ooze was dangerous, and stayed his hand.

Poddle, frightened out of his sleep, quickly rushed away from the rail and grabbed his crossbow, firing it at the flotsam.

He missed.

Nimlar pulled two more arrows from his quiver and fired them at the ooze, but the fog was thick and the arrows failed to hit their target. He fired another arrow rapidly, but once again he missed the gelatinous mass.

Jericho woke as well, pulling out his wand and firing acid at the ooze, which seemed to wound the creature considerably. The duskblade called out to his companions, telling them that acid had an effect on it, and readied his wand for another blast.

Daelis, who had been sleeping near the ballista in order to use it quickly in case of an attack, fired it off now, but missed horribly.

The ooze reached out and grabbed Jericho, pulling him overboard and beginning to suck him into itself. The duskblade shot his wand point-blank at the creature as he was grabbed, blasting acid into the creature. Ooze

Poddle moved away from the ooze, going to help Daelis reload the ballista, while Nimlar went out on a limb.

The elven ranger attached silk rope to the end of his arrow and shot it into the flotsam, trying to get Jericho out from its clutches. Jericho saw the arrow and immediately recognized what Nimlar was doing. He grabbed the arrow and Nimlar pulled with all his might.

The gelatinous mass made a sucking sound as Jericho was ripped from its body, crashing onto the deck of the ship, but relatively okay.

Daelis and Poddle had finished reloading the ballista, so Daelis fired it off at the great ooze, but he missed once again.

WAR came up on deck then, and proceeded to help Daelis with the ballista, freeing up Poddle to help fight the ooze.

The kobold loaded and fired his crossbow, hitting the ooze.

Jericho shot his wand off again, damaging the ooze as well.

Daelis fired off his ballista once again, but this time he hit the flotsam, damaging it further.

Since the heroes were just firing ranged weapons at it from afar, the ooze focused its attacks on the ship itself, attempting to sink it by dissolving the wood.

Nimlar fired off more arrows, wounded it further, but it was still not close to dying.

Jericho used his wand and shot acid at the ooze again, doing more damage.

Daelis missed with the ballista, meanwhile the ooze kept eating up the hull of the Sea Wyvern.

Poddle fired his crossbow at the flotsam, but he missed.

Nimlar shot off more arrows from his perch in the crow’s nest, slightly damaging the gelatinous creature.

Jericho shot more acid from his wand and wounded once again the ooze.

It was getting tedious.

Nimlar fired more arrows, seeming to seriously injure the creature. It was almost dead.

The ship was beginning to sink, as the ooze dissolved the wood of the ship, creating a hole. The passengers and other crew of the Sea Wyvern were trying to patch up the breach, but one of them got pulled into the gelatinous mass and was killed (luckily just a random colonist).

Nimlar wasted more arrows, missing the ooze with his attacks.

Jericho also shot off his wand, but he was more successful, further wounding the ooze and almost killing it.

Daelis missed once again with the ballista.

Poddle shot another crossbow bolt off and did some minor damage, but then Nimlar drew an arrow, determined to kill the thing.

“I summon the power of the Sea and Air!” He cried as he let loose his arrow, slaying the creature.

It was dead.

The flotsam ooze floated, the driftwood and debris that once coated it slowly sinking or drifting away.

Nimlar jumped into the water, sifting through the wreckage and looking for valuables. Among the debris there were the bodies of no less than six sailors. It is unclear if they were merchants or pirates, as they are little more than bone now, but one of the bodies wore a ring that was strangely unacidified. Another wore gauntlets.

Jericho identified the items (since they were obviously magical) as a ring of mind shielding and gauntlets of ogre power.

Nimlar took the ring and the heroes gave the gauntlets to Daegoth, further enhancing his strength.

Thursday, August 12th, 1234 AY

The next day was Jericho’s birthday, which he mostly kept to himself, except for Tavey (with whom he had formed a close bond with), Nimlar and Daelis (who he had also come to trust)… oh, and Poddle.

Lavinia however, had known his birthday long before this, and decided to throw a suprise birthday party for him! Soon everyone was giving Jericho presents. Nimlar gave him the magical ring he had claimed the night previous, hoping it would help the Duskblade better control his inner demon. Daelis gave him some magical boots he had picked up a while back and Daegoth gave him five gold, while Poddle gave him a drink of his Firebelly ale.

Lavinia gave him a magical suit of chain mail, which Jericho took with a big smile and thanks.

The many other crew members and colonists didn’t get Jericho anything, since they hadn’t planned on it and they didn’t have much to give, but they celebrated with the rest of them, gathering on both the ships to congratulate Jericho. Even Avner gave him a hearty “Happy Birthday”!

At one point during the party, Lirith got into a heated discussion with Kurgol, which turned into a free-for-all name calling session. She berated Kurgol for his heritage and called him an “ignorant halfbreed” and other titles such as that.

“Hey there,” Poddle said to Lirith, walking up to the pair. “We’re not being racist now are we?”
“Yes!” Lirith proclaimed. “Yes I am! Who let this half-orc on here!”

WAR walked up behind her.

“We’re not being racist now are we?” WAR said, emphasizing heavily.
“Are you threatening me?” Lirith said haughtily.
“Of course not,” Metallica said, joining in. “He’s just giving you friendly advice.”

The heroes circled around her, giving her death stares.

“Get out of my way!” Lirith demanded.
“Sit down,” said Daelis.

Lirith complied.

Meanwhile, Jericho was complaining to Amella about this, and the captain quickly broke up the fight and sent Lirith on her way, but not after scolding her and demanding she pay gold to Kurgol to reconcile.

Jericho, in a flourish of emotion, stood up on a crate and started to give a speech. The crowd cheered, thinking he was going to give a birthday speech. Instead, he called up Daelis.

He whispered into Daelis’ ear what he wanted him to say (since Jericho was not a good public speaker), and Daelis went into one of the most moving monologues he would ever give.

“My friends!” He began, eying each individual person there. “My companion Jericho has something that pains him very much to speak of, and he wants me to share it with you. I relate to him, in many ways. He wants me to talk about hate. We all have differences, different backgrounds, different personalities, different professions, and most especially different races. Why is it so difficult to look past them? Too long have I watched people, good people, be persecuted for that what they look like. Who they are. They can’t change it. It’s not theirs to decide. The one thing there is to decide is how we will treat this people. And the answer is simple: as living, breathing, thinking beings. Not as animals, not as inferiors, but as people. People, who go through the same trials and tribulations all of us go through. My friend, Jericho, he urges you, on his birthday, to put this… racism, aside. For one night at least, let’s let just be people.”

The crowd was deeply moved. Everyone stood up and applauded. It was a night to remember.

Jericho smiled.

Later on in the night, Kurgol and Urol became friends. The speech was very effective.

Apparently, though, the captain wasn’t impressed. She began to express her disapproval about Jericho teaching Tavey. She forbade it.

“What if I paid you to teach him?” Jericho asked.
“It’s not about money!” Amella replied, angry. “I don’t trust you. Unless you prove yourself, you can’t teach him anything!”
“How do I prove myself?”
“Maybe don’t randomly punch your own friends!”
“I have protected everyone on this ship numerous times from threats! I have more than proven myself!”
“Fine!” Amella said, giving in. “I’ll let you continue. But a word of warning: If you do anything, anything at all to hurt him, I will kill you.”

Afterward, Jericho began to talk with Urol about geography. The subject eventually ended up on the ruins that Urol was planning on exploring, the lost Olman city of Tamoachan.

Urol’s desire to explore Tamochan arose only a week before the expedition left, when he came into possession of a tattered map. He purchased the map from a one-legged sailor who claimed to have been given it by a dying elf fished from the sea. This nameless elf claimed to have been part of an expedition to the ruins and to have found a previously unexplored section of the city. Unfortunately, his party was attacked by a strange eight-legged lizard with glowing eyes who turned those who saw it to stone. Alas, on the voyage back to Sasserine to recruit a new party to explore the ruin, his ship sank in a storm. Having no need to explore a dangerous ruin, the sailor sold the map to Urol for a pretty penny.

The heroes began to formulate plans on how to defeat this eight-legged lizard (which Jericho identified as a basilisk).

All in all, it was a pretty good birthday party…

Saturday, August 14th, 1234 AY

A day passed with nothing eventful, but when the sun rose on the next day, the heroes were met with an odd sight.

For several miles along the coast, enormous spider-webs cling to the boughs of the great jungle trees, while huge black shapes move about within the webs.

The heroes discussed combating the monsters, but Lavinia pressed them to continue on, so they complied.

Jericho continued his training with Tavey, who was coming along nicely, picking up the magic side of it easier now, even casting his first spell that day.

Amella watched from the sidelines, still wary but knowing that it meant a lot to Tavey.

“The hawk should have been back by now,” Amella mused, talking to Poddle (referring to the messenger hawk Poddle had sent out earlier that week). “I don’t understand it.”

Poddle agreed, thinking it was strange.

The rain still pattered on, as it had since Monday.

Jericho, after finishing his training with Tavey, talked to Lavinia, asking her about getting a priest to talk to him about his issues. She complied, having the cleric she had on her vessel to help him with this.

It seemed to make everyone more at ease.

It was seen that Kurgol and Shefton had become friends as well, and the half-orc seemed to be much more respected than he was, thanks to Daelis’ speech.

Poddle went down to the hold to speak with Conrad about the letter, which should have arrived by now. He suspected him of some sort of trickery, but couldn’t be sure until he talked to him.

“I sent that message a long time ago.” Poddle, said to Conrad. “And the messenger hawk should have been back by now. Why isn’t it?”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Conrad shrugged.

Poddle slammed the brig door shut and began to walk away, but stopped when he reached the doorway.

“You’re not telling the truth!” Poddle exclaimed, turning around. “You know what happened to that letter!”
“Yes I do,” Conrad said slyly, thinking he had tricked Poddle. “And your little Isle of Dread? Well, right now, a fleet of Dragon Armada ships are on their way to take it.”
“Oh, really know?” Poddle asked, knowing he was talking about the coded letter he had tried to send, but that he had already foiled. “Is this your letter?”

He held out the letter.

“What? What did you do to the letter?! Did you even send it?” Conrad said, shocked.
“No,” Poddle said. “I didn’t. I sent a different letter saying: ‘Give me ten thousand gold!’”
“Well, he’s not going to send you it!” Conrad argued.
“I know right…” Poddle said, sighing. But then he snapped out of it. “Wait… Why?!”
“Because,” Conrad said. “There’s no reason to! I’m just a lackey, I’m done for. I know that.”
“Oh, you are?” Poddle said, grabbing out his warmace. “So I guess I can kill you right?”
“You don’t want to do that.”
“Why not?”
“Well… Because maybe the captain of the ship… would kill you!!!”
“And she would know that it was me?”
“Yes… Because right now, I’m going to yell. Help! Help!”

Poddle moved to close the door to the brig, but just then Daegoth appeared. The kobold made some excuse and left, in a foul mood.

Poddle approached the captain with the news of Conrad, telling her the events that transpired (but conveniently leaving out the parts about wanting to kill him).

“I knew that cleric guy was planning something!” Poddle vented, pacing back and forth as the sun finally vanished into the western horizon. “I told him to—”

Suddenly, a voice cut off Poddle.

“The prisoner, the prisoner has escaped!”

The heroes rushed to the brig to find that Conrad had indeed escaped.

Daegoth, meanwhile, had been fishing, and saw a cloaked figure run towards one of the rowboats and start to lower it. The lizardfolk went over to the boat and held on to the rope pulley, stopping the boat from lowering any farther. The figure looked up and let out a shout, then dove into the water.

He started to swim to shore, but then started drowning, since he obviously couldn’t swim.

“I can’t swim!” He cried, floundering about in the ocean.

Daegoth jumped in behind him and managed to get the man back to the ship, dragging him up on deck.

It was Conrad.

He began to cough and sputter, but Daegoth looked on him with disapproval.

“What do you think you were you doing?” Daegoth asked.
“Going for a swim,” Conrad joked between coughs. He managed to smile weakly, but when Daegoth didn’t think it was funny, quickly grew sober. “All right, I was…trying to escape…”

The other heroes came then, and Poddle began to get red with anger.

“That’s it! I’m sick of this!” He said, grabbing out his weapon.

He knocked out Conrad with a well placed blow to the head.

WAR, go put him down in the brig, now!”

After the priest came to, the heroes brought Rapton in to cast a truth spell on him, then began to interrogate him.

“How did you get out?!” Poddle demanded.
“Someone let me out,” Conrad replied, his eyes cold.
“Who?” Jericho said quietly, walking over to the bars of the brig.
“Someone…” Conrad said, trying to avoid the subject, as he knew he was under the effects of a spell.
“Someone… What’s his name?!” Poddle asked, quickly losing patience.
“Well…” Conrad stalled. “It wasn’t Bob! I know it wasn’t him!”
“Tell us the truth!” Poddle yelled.
“Shefton!” Conrad said, finally giving in.

The heroes (and Poddle), confronted Shefton, demanding why he did it.

“I knew there was something messed up with you!” Poddle screamed. “Hiding under the bodies of my companions and all that!”
“I’m sorry…” Shefton said, not looking up. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“You’re sorry?” Poddle reiterated. “You shouldn’t have done it!?”
“He offered me a new life!” Shefton confessed. “As much money as I could ever want!”
“Money is not the source of all happiness.” Daegoth said quietly, but no one listened.
“He offered me money too!” Poddle said, partially to himself. “But he didn’t give it to me, did he now!?”
“He said that his benefactor could hook me up for life,” Shefton said.

“I believed him,” he said under his breath.

“He said that if I helped him escape, that he would bring me to his benefactor,” Shefton said again, looking up at them for the first time. “But when I saw Daegoth on deck, I hid, and let Conrad go on alone.”

The heroes argued about what do with him for a while, before Shefton finally came forward and interrupted them.

“Put me in the brig,” Shefton said downheartedly. “I know what I did was wrong. Do what you will with me…”

The captain came then, and agreed that until they could decide what could be done with the pair, the brig was the best place for them. Amella also decreed that Shefton would take over Tavey’s cleaning jobs until further notice.

Wednesday, August 18th, 1234 AY

On the coast, the heroes caught sight of a collection of immense ziggurat temples, ruins from the ancient Olman civilization of bygone ages. Ziggurat

The heroes jumped at the chance to explore it, and Lavinia complied. They found a cache of treasure including eight hundred gold pieces (which they split) and a carved harp of exotic wood with ivory inlay and zircon gems (which Daelis took), but no traps or dangerous creatures threatened their passage, it was a fairly easy exploration with a nice payoff.

Urol (who had come with them), identified the harp as a valuable instrument that the ancient Olman used to play, and encouraged him to learn to play it.

Daelis did.

When the heroes set off again, Daelis sat down and began to try to teach himself to play the harp. It was going good.

Jericho gave seven gold pieces to Tavey (because he had an uneven number), which the cabin boy delighted in.

Things were going good.

Thursday, August 19th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes spotted something splashing in the water.

It was a juvenile bronze dragon. Kameri

The dragon had a ribbed and fluted crest sweeping back from its cheeks and eyes, the ribs in its crest ended in curving horns. The dragon also had small horns on its lower jaw and chin, it had a beak-like snout and a small head frill, as well as a tail-neck frill. The smell of the sea surrounded the dragon and its scales had a golden-brown cast.

Daegoth stood in awe.

This was a bronze dragon, his totem dragon, his idol in life. Slowly and stuttering, Daegoth asked the dragon what his name was.

“What is the name of the great being that has chosen to pass by?” Daegoth said, in the flowing Draconic language.
“Hail lizardfolk!” The dragon replied in the same tongue. “My name is Kameri, but in Common I am known as Fang.”
“I am Daegoth,” said Daegoth, bowing low. “I apologize for not introducing myself beforehand, it was rude of me.”
“Think nothing of it,” Fang responded. “I can tell that you are a dragon shaman, I can feel your aura.”
“My totem dragon is your own species,” Daegoth confirmed.
“I am honored to be in the presence of a dragon shaman of my totem,” Fang said, still floating atop the azure waters.
“As am I,” said Daegoth, bowing again. “To be in yours.”

Fang flew up onto the deck of the Sea Wyvern, landing next to Daegoth and shaking off the water that still clung to his hide.

“Do you mind if I sit and chat with you a while?” Fang asked, sprawling his bulk across the deck of the ship.
“I don’t mind,” Daegoth said. “But I will have to explain it to my friends, they aren’t accustomed to seeing dragons.”

Avner walked out on to the deck, took one look at Fang, and screamed, running across the ship and eventually falling into the ocean below.

Nimlar threw his rope over the side, and Avner clung to it, still shaken.

Daegoth talked to Amella about having the dragon aboard, and she was wary at first, but she trusted Daegoth and allowed him it.

Daegoth went back to Fang and continued his conversation (and Daelis and Nimlar went with him, fascinated, and both able to speak Draconic).

“What are you doing in this part of the ocean?” Daegoth asked, fascinated.
“Oh, my lair’s not too far off,” Fang replied. “I left my brood and went off on my own a while back and I found this place. There are a lot of sharks in the area, and I love a good shark!”
“How long has it been since you left?”
“About… Five months by your reckoning. I’m about twenty-five years old in human years. Dragons usually leave the brood at about that time.”

After a little more chit-chat, Daegoth asked Fang a question.

“Would you like to stay wit us? To come with us on our adventure?” Daegoth asked, telling him the story of their adventure so far and their plans to come.

“You’re going to the Isle of Dread? I have heard many legends about that place…”

Fang scratched his brow, thinking, and then looked up.

“You know,” Fang said. “If you’ll have me, I think I will! Sounds like quite an adventure, and I love a good adventure! It also sounds like you’ll have a lot of battles, and I love a good battle!”
“As do I,” Daegoth said, smiling.

Just then, Poddle walked in.

“Hello, O dragon friend!” Poddle said fancily. “I—”
“A kobold!” Fang yelled, unfurling his wings in preparation for combat. “Watch out everyone its a kobold! How did it get on the boat?”
“This is my friend,” Daegoth objected. “Poddle Flip-flop.”

Fang relaxed.

“I am your humble servant,” Poddle said, really hamming it up. “I give you twenty-five gold.”
“Twenty-five gold?” Fang said disbelievingly. “That’s an insult!”
“Oh sorry!” Poddle said. “How about seventy-five?”
“That’s a little better than an insult… Thank you kobold for your service.”

Just then, Fang remembered something.

“I almost forgot,” he said, eyes lighting up. “I have amassed a small, humble hoard, I would like to take that with me if I am to join you.”

Daegoth nodded.

“I’ll help you put it on the ship.”

The expedition went a mile out of their way so Daegoth and Fang could gather the latter’s hoard, but it took relatively little time and soon the dragon’s treasure was aboard and they were underway again.

Jericho, while helping the pair load the treasure aboard, was given a strange look by Fang.

Later, Fang approached Daegoth on this matter.

“He’s not any danger,” Daegoth replied. “But I would be wary, just in case.”
“Why do you travel with someone as… foul as him?” Fang snorted.
“He is skilled in battle,” Daegoth answered. “And he has unique talents that no one else does.”
“Do you trust him?”
“No,” Daegoth admitted. “But all I suggest doing is being wary, nothing more.”
“Alright,” Fang said. “If you say so, I’ll give him a chance.”

Jericho, sensing that the dragon didn’t like him, put together an offering for it. A ring of mind shielding.

“I thank you for your gift,” Fang said courteously, he was still wary however.

The heroes sailed on…

Saturday, August 21st, 1234 AY

The next day, it began to rain. The rain cleared up by Saturday, but it had made the air muggy and it was getting almost unbearably hot.

So the party decided to go swimming.

As the other heroes enjoyed themselves, Daegoth and Fang went hunting along the sea floor and managed to kill a shark, providing a good meal for everyone.

All in all, a relaxing, fun day.

Wednesday, August 25th, 1234 AY

Several days passed, and the coastal journey continued, until the party came in sight of the lost city of Tamoachan.

Urol began to almost salivate in anticipation of the trip into the ruins, and the heroes readied themselves for the battle with the basilisk, since Lavinia had asked them to join Urol in his exploration, to protect him from such things.

Urol showed the map to the heroes, telling them that the section of ruins marked on his map were only an hours’ brisk walk through into the jungle from the coast, and they shouldn’t have any difficulty along the way. The entrance into his section of the ruins was supposed to be hidden in the lee of a partially collapsed ziggurat, which they should be able to find with ease.

“I believe the strange reptile the elf’s party fought was a basilisk,” Urol said, which Jericho confirmed, as he had done before. “A creature whose gaze petrifies its prey.”

The heroes shifted uneasily, still wary about fighting this thing, but Urol assured them they could defeat it easily.

“If by some chance one or two of you is turned to stone,” Urol said. “I have plenty of doses of stone salve to undo it.”

After discussing countless ideas on how to kill basilisks, the heroes finally set out, their full party consisting of the following: Daegoth, Poddle, Daelis, Nimlar, Jericho, Urol and Fang (who wanted to come to observe their group tactics in battle, and to give advice to Daegoth).

Through the jungle they hiked, until finally reaching the entrance.

The jungle parted to reveal the ruins of a large chamber, once held within the root of the ziggurat above but now open to the elements. Images of pouncing and stalking cats graced what was left of the vine-strangled walls. Dozens of moldering stuffed jungle cats laid scattered around the edge of the exposed chamber, along with several strangely unweathered statues of men dressed in armor. Of the five passageways that once led further into the ziggurat’s depths, only two remained uncollapsed.

Suddenly, a large eight-legged lizard crawled out from inside one of the collapsed tunnels to hiss at the party.

The basilisk. Basilisk

The heroes went into action, with Daelis firing off a crossbow bolt, but barely missing the great beast.

Jericho brought out his wand and shot off a charge, burning the hide and causing the basilisk and hissing in pain.

The basilisk moved towards Jericho and hissed again, this time in anger. Then its eyes glowed up.

Jericho could feel the eyes boring into his brain, trying to petrify him, but he managed to resist it, though he was a bit shaken.

Then, another basilisk slithered from the same tunnel. There were two.

Poddle ran towards the second basilisk, trying to get behind the beast before it attacked. It didn’t work.

The beast’s eyes glowed and it aimed the gaze at [[:poddle-flip-flop | Poddle], but the kobold managed to resist it as well.

Daegoth attacked the first basilisk with his waraxe, cutting into its foreleg and damaging it considerably.

Nimlar pulled out his bow and fired off a shot and hit the second basilisk in the leg, drawing blood. His second shot hit its side, and the beast turned towards the elf and snarled.

Yeris swooped in to claw at the beast, digging into its face and wounding it further.

Daelis moved in to attack the first basilisk, slashing it with his rapier and cutting a gaping wound into its ribcage.

Jericho rushed forward, discarding his wand and stabbing into the first basilisk with his swords, drawing fresh blood in the fight.

The basilisk’s eyes glowed, catching Jericho in its gaze once again. But the duskblade resisted it. Again.

But then the basilisk did something Jericho couldn’t just “resist”. It opened its jaws and bit into his thigh, scoring a hit against the duskblade.

Poddle swung at the second basilisk with his warmace, hitting it between the eyes, almost killing it, but not quite. The basilisk retaliated with another gaze attack, but Poddle resisted once more. The beast hissed and moved towards Poddle, trying to bite him, but the kobold managed to dodge out of the way.

Daegoth brought forth his axe upon the first basilisk, smiting it where it stood. His attack cleaved through the first of the beasts and hit the second as well, cutting off one its forelegs.

Nimlar rushed forward, drawing an arrow as he did, and firing it in the remaining basilisk’s eye.

Yeris clawed at the basilisk as it entered its final death throes, thrashing about in rage, but not falling.

Daelis finished off the great beast with a well placed crossbow bolt.

They had done it.

Meanwhile, Fang had been watching from a nearby overhang, analyzing their tactics.

Jericho asked the dragon what he thought of their teamwork skills after the battle. He was impressed.

Searching the area for treasure, the party found a somewhat damaged marble statuette of a reclining humanoid figure with head turned and legs drawn up and a small silver pyramid in the rubble-choked passageway the basilisk’s had turned into a nest.

There were two passageways that remained uncollapsed, which led deeper into the complex. Here, the party split up.

Daelis, Jericho, and Rapton opted to go to the right, and the other three (Daegoth, Nimlar, and Poddle) went straight.

They left Fang to relax on the outskirts of the ruins, and he decided to go hunting until they returned.

The first three entered the passage, which went in several yards before coming to a large chamber. It was dark at first, but Jericho cast a spell which revealed the whole of the chamber.

A huge statue of a lumbering man outfitted in decayed skin and cracking skulls—Its gaping and tusked mouth wide enough to swallow a halfling whole—stood to the north. A battered but once intricately carved well sat to the south. The whole area was littered with skulls and tangled vines. The vines seemed to be gathered around a large hunk of plant mass clinging to the well—which suddenly started to move and turned around to attack the trio.

Jericho rushed to attack the shambling mound, but his attacks were deflected by the tough hide of the creature.

The duskblade flinched.

Daelis rushed forward as well, stabbing with his rapier and seeming to cause some damage to the thing.

Daeis smirked at Jericho. The duskblade glared at him.

Rapton came towards the plant creature too, laying his hand upon it… and bursting it into flames. The creature flailed around in pain.

Rapton looked at the other two with a sly face.

The shambling mound slammed its appendages into Daelis, going into a rage (as it was on fire). Daelis was blasted back, stunned for a moment by the strength of the thing.

Jericho swung his swords once again at the shambling mound, but once again his weapons could not penetrate the armor of the plant creature.

Daelis recovered quickly, and charged at the shambling mound, cutting into the hide with his weapon and doing more damage to the wounded plant.

But the plant creature retaliated, slamming the swashbuckler upside the head and knocking him to the ground.

Well, that smarts, thought Daelis.

Rapton shot the shambling mound again with flame, wearing the tough beast down with fiery attacks.

Jericho withdrew for a moment and cut himself to power his swords with magical energy, then attacked the plant again, beheading it with two swift slashes.

The shambling mound fell, its body still licked by flame, writhing and withering into a dried husk.

The trio regained their health by drinking potions, then searched the well for anything useful.

The well was filled with bones, but the three picked through them (it took about a half-an-hour) and found six turquoise gems (two for each of them), a magical dagger (which Jericho took), what appeared to be an ivory wand at first (but was actually an fan made of ivory slats), a platinum bracelet and one-hundred and twenty-four gold.

Meanwhile, the other four (Daegoth, Poddle and Nimlar + Urol) of the party were going straight.

After walking down the long corridor, the four came to a ten-foot wide, fifty-foot long landing overlooking a chamber to the north, accessible by a short flight of downward, sloping stairs. The entrance to the larger room was framed by dozens of skeletons carved into the fifty-foot wide arch, their bones intertwined with hundreds of carved snakes. Unnerving ripples of black smoke slithered and danced among the carvings.

The four passed through the arch to get to the other chamber, but sensed a dark presence, and they suddenly all felt nauseated. It passed quickly, but it was just…odd.

They looked into the room…

The floor of the large chamber once contained a breathtaking carving of an ancient city, yet time had taken its toll on the map-like carving, reducing it to a tangled mess that, ironically, almost seemed to reflect ruined Tamoachan above. The walls were decorated with brightly colored frescoes depicting a royal court in ceremonial garb and a king arrayed with magnificent armies. Pathways wound through the ruins, affording a twisting route through the rubble. In the center of the room was a wide plaza, in the middle of which rested a low stone table.

The quartet started to search around the room, looking for anything valuable, while Urol studied the carving in the floor.

Suddenly, a wall of flame appeared along the southern wall, advancing northward towards the heroes….

“Run!” Poddle shouted, spotting it and scrambling away.

The heroes rushed towards the eastern wall, where a small passageway led deeper into the complex (and more importantly, away from the gigantic wall of fire).

They all managed to get in the small alcove leading into the passage, cut off from the main room and away from range of the trap.

The wall passed by, and they were safe.

They decided to continue going down the tunnel, and come back to that room later, exploring the rest of the ruins first.

Several moments later, they heard another flaming wall appear in the same room, and looked back to see fire passing over the entrance. They waited a bit longer, but the fire didn’t appear again, so they continued.

They reached the end of the tunnel, which was more like a natural vent through the stone rather than a constructed passage, and came to a new chamber.

The walls of the room were covered with eroded glyphs and hieroglyphic images depicting what appeared to be bat-like creatures feasting on humanoids. The eastern wall beyond a low archway in the room consisted of a strangely out of place sheet of iron.

The four were confounded by the strange metal wall, especially Urol. It was weird for two reasons: One, where there seemed to be an entryway to another room, the metal sheet was blocking it. Two, the Olmans didn’t even use metal, extensively at least (as confirmed by Urol).

The characters poked around for a bit, before Daegoth decided to try to break it down with his waraxe.

Him and Nimlar (with his longsword) slowly wore down the metal sheet, before eventually breaking through about thirty minutes later, right as the other three party members caught up to to them.

The party was reunited and they continued on through the metal wall.

The next chamber bore a strange resemblance to the previous one, in that the floor consists of stone scale model of an ancient city. Yet whereas the previous model was terribly damaged, this chamber seemed relatively well preserved. The layout and style of the city was quite different, with four wide canals converging upon a large lake in the center, from which rose a great stone pyramid. Mighty temples rose from the low angular buildings, while the stone walls depicted lifelike depictions of leering bats, lizards, and snakes.

Jericho recognized the model as a section of ruined Tamoachan that once served as a necropolis for the city’s dead.

Urol immediately freaked out at the perfect condition of the model, but Poddle wanted to make sure that the area was safe first… so he threw Jimmy Do out.

“Aahhh!” Jimmy Do yelled as he flew through the air, then landed with a thud.

After a few moments, the shrunken head cried out: “This is kind of uncomfortable!”

Several more moments passed, and then Jimmy Do said: “Can you get me now? I don’t think there’s anything dangerous!”

Poddle rushed forward and grabbed Jimmy Do, ready to dodge a trap at a moment’s notice… but nothing happened.

The heroes relaxed, and then they started to explore the chamber.

Urol ran into the room and started to study and sketch the model.

“This is amazing! Absolutely amazing!” The gnome exclaimed, exhilarated at such a historic find.

Jericho, as he searched the room, discovered that the top of the pyramid in the center of the chamber could be pushed aside.

Poddle inspected the removable top, but he thought it looked trappish, so instead of just opening it, Nimlar used a rope to pull of the top from a distance. Sure enough, a thick cloud of noxious gas floated out of the pyramid, but the heroes weren’t affected.

After the dust settled, the heroes looked inside the pyramid, revealing a hollow within occupied by a mummified Olman priest, bound in a fetal position by lengths of brittle leather cords. The priest was quite dead, but the golden ceremonial necklace around its neck looked valuable…

The party grabbed the necklace, inspecting it more closely. It was carved to resemble a string of bat and lizard heads (which were in reality beads).

The heroes continued to search the room, when suddenly…

A giant bat creature flew into the room, roaring in anger. It had smoldering eyes, large leathery wings, and a long spiked tail, as well as terrific claws.

Jericho’s eyes narrowed. It was a demon.

Daelis reacted quickly bringing out his crossbow and firing a bolt at the bat demon. The missile sunk into its shoulder, and a cry of pain let loose from the guttural throat of the demonic creature. It grabbed the bolt with its jaws and yanked it from its own flesh, then spit it upon the ground.

Then it roared.

A high-pitched whirring responded to the bellow, and suddenly a glowing wisp appeared out of nowhere.

But it didn’t attack them. It attacked the demon.

It sent a bolt of electricity arcing towards the abyssal bat, burning into its hide and causing pieces of singed skin to fall off of the creature.

Jericho, determined to kill the demon, ran up the wall and flipped off of it, attacking the bat in mid-air with his dual swords. At the same time, Nimlar drew an arrow and fired it towards the abyssal creature.

One demon head, an arrow embedded between its eyes, fell to the floor and a duskblade landed on the ground, a smile on his face. He glanced at Nimlar and nodded his thanks.

The heroes turned to the will-o’-wisp, about to thank it, when it turned and attacked them as well.

Jericho’s smile turned into a grimace of pain as the will-o’-wisp’s lightning bolt tore through his body. He fell to the ground, smoke drifting off of his body.

The duskblade recovered quickly though, and gave a battle-cry as he charged the wisp and brought down his swords. But the will-o’-wisp was too quick, and dodged his clumsy attack with ease.

“Nimlar!” Jericho cried out, withdrawing from the wisp. “Shoot it!”

Nimlar obliged.

He drew three arrows in a row, firing them off, but the first two missed, even though masterfully aimed. The third seemed more like a lucky shot than anything, but hit it all the same, and causing a shriek to come from the small orb.

Daegoth tried an attack against the wisp, but it was much too fast.

Rapton began to chant, and suddenly a sword made out of pure force materialized from thin air.

The sword floated towards the will-o’-wisp and then attacked it, swinging itself at the orb.

It did nothing.

The heroes were getting frustrated by now.

Daelis swung at the wisp with his rapier, but once again his attack was foiled.

The will-o’-wisp sent a bolt of electricity at Daegoth, but the lizardfolk managed to dodge out of the way. He wasn’t so slow after all.

Jericho swung at the will-o’-wisp with his swords, and missed with the first one. The second, however, hit home.

But…it wasn’t dead.

Daelis and Jericho both attacked with their swords, but (of course) missed again.

Nimlar, determined to kill this gosh-darn thing, fired a single arrow.

And it was dead.

The heroes recovered, then started to continue on to the next chamber to the south, when they noticed Urol was still sketching the model.

“Alright Urol,” Poddle said. “We’re going to go on now.”
“What?” Urol said, eyes wide. “I- I haven’t finished sketching the model of the city yet!”

The heroes decided to let Urol stay and sketch while they continued on into the last chambers.

A huge circular disk of stone dominated the floor of the next chamber, its face carved with dozens of concentric rings of hieroglyphs and shapes. A filthy nest of bones and rubble sat atop it, which the heroes assumed was the bat demon’s, since he had come from this room.

The heroes searched the room haphazardly, but found nothing, so they continued on to the next.

Twin statues of men dressed in strange, ancient armor and wearing towering headdresses made of coiled snakes, and bat wings stood at either side of the arched doorway that led to the next chamber. Beyond the archway beckoned a circular room, its walls adorned with dozens of niches in which rested the dessicated bodies of long-dead men and women.

The heroes continued on through the archway and suddenly saw a yawning shaft, set in the center of the room, which descended into the gloom. The walls of the shaft were fitted with more niches, upon which laid the dusty bones of heroes, priests, kings, queens, and warriors of a bygone age. Resting upon the topmost niche, cradled in the arms of a skeleton, was a glittering golden statuette of a bat.

Jericho climbed up the niches and grabbed the statuette, bringing it back down for the others to see. The idol was a fantastic work of art, with rubies for eyes and tiny slivers of pearl for fangs and claws. The duskblade recognized it as a representation of Camazotz, an ancient Olman god bats and the night. He also realized that the statuette radiated faint transmutation magic.

When the heroes came back to the room where Urol was, the gnome looked on the idol with eagerness.

Then he asked if he could have it.

“This is a very rare artifact of archaelogical value,” Urol explained. “Only a real collector would actually recognize the worth of this thing!”

The heroes argued whether to do this, but eventually they agreed to give it to the gnome as a gift.

Urol was delighted.

The heroes made their way back to the Sea Wyvern, and met up with Fang along the way (he had been out hunting).

When they arrived at the ship, Jericho went off to work with Tavey in his duskblade training, and Daegoth began to be trained by Fang, who was teaching him how to breathe lightning. Daelis practiced with his harp, and then, suddenly, he used magic. He had unlocked the powers of the bard.

The heroes left Tamoachan behind…

Friday, August 27th, 1234 AY

Another day passed with nothing interesting happening, but on Thursday, the heroes spotted eight dolphins frolicking alongside the Sea Wyvern.

Urol sketched the porpoises, but other than that, the heroes left them alone.

Sunday, August 29th, 1234 AY

The next day, it began to rain again. On Sunday, as the expedition approached the tip of the Tamoachan peninsula, Lavinia drew the Blue Nixie up alongside the Sea Wyvern to speak with the heroes. She informed them that the next several miles would be among the most dangerous of the journey, as they must now thread the needle and sail through a Dragon Armada blockade. For many years, the Armada had maintained a strong presence on South Olman Isle, particularly the city of Teshan. Although their navy had grown lax in their once strict patrols of the region, Armada ships were still common in the sound between the peninsula and South Olman Isle.

Lavinia suggested that, in order to minimize the chances of their expedition being spotted, the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern should sail through the sound seperately, about a half hour apart, to meet up again on the southern side.

The heroes (most of them anyway), rejected this idea, wanting to fight Dragon Armada ships (they had a bone to pick with them). Amella agreed with Lavinia, though, and so it turned into a big brouhaha.

Eventually, Lavinia deferred to the heroes, and the two ships went together through the sound.

As the two ships sailed through the choke point, the heavy rain obscured their vision, adding to the already anxious atmosphere. Suddenly, on the horizon, the heroes spotted two ships, coming towards them.

Dragon Armada ships.

Luckily, the heroes were prepared for a situation such as this. Daelis, WAR, and Metallica manned the ballista, ready to fire at any moment, while Urol took Jericho’s place as navigator as the duskblade took position in the crow’s nest, ready to cast a new spell he had been dying to try out.

Nimlar was on deck, as well as Poddle, Rapton, Daegoth and Fang, all preparing for the skirmish to come.

One ship broke off and headed towards the Blue Nixie, which had went first, while the other came straight for the Sea Wyvern.

The heroes said a quick prayer, and then the battle commenced.

Daelis attacked first, shooting a bolt from his already-loaded ballista at the ship. It slammed into the mast, and the creak of wood was followed by a battle-cry from the sailors of Purity’s Prow (the name of the pirate ship, as evident by the name plate hanging from the hull).

Jericho, stretching out his hand, sent a ray of lightning blasting into one of the opposing ship’s own ballistas. The wood caught on fire, but the siege weapon wasn’t destroyed… yet.

“Yeah!” Jericho yelled, thrilled at the power of his new ability. “That’s what I’m talking about!”

Nimlar fired off a number of arrows, almost simultaneously, at a pirate that was manning one of the ballistas.

The elf killed him.

Yeris flew at top speed towards Purity’s Prow, which was coming steadily closer to the Sea Wyvern (it was about forty feet away now).

Daegoth and Fang dove into the water, then the dragon swam full speed towards the opposing ship (with Daegoth hitching a ride). When they got near the front of the vessel, the lizardfolk let go, swimming on to the back of the ship, while Fang stayed at the front.

Then they got ready to do some damage.

Daegoth used to his waraxe to sunder the rudder, so the ship was now on a collision course with the Sea Wyvern, though it was slowing down, since Fang was attacking it from the front as well.

WAR and Metallica loaded up the ballista, and then Daelis fired it, aiming for the captain of the ship.

He missed.

Instead, he hit the ship.

Rapton cast a spell, causing entangling roots to spring from the deck of Purity’s Prow. Only two pirates and the captain didn’t get stuck in these.

Poddle shot a crossbow bolt, hitting the captain in the arm. It didn’t do much damage, but it got his attention.

Purity’s Prow began to sink, because of the holes put in the front by Fang, and slow down as well. It was still coming closer to the Sea Wyvern however, and still had a chance to ram it (not good for the ship).

The pirates of Purity’s Prow, however, didn’t want to attack the Sea Wyvern anymore. They were more interested in not getting entangled by the vines summoned by Rapton and then pulled to a watery doom when the boat sank.

So they jumped. Well, at least two of them (and the captain) did. The others were still stuck in the vines.

Nimlar fired arrows at the captain, floundering about in the water, and hit home. The pirate struggled for to stay afloat as two arrows embedded themselves in his chest.

Yeris flew down and tore at the man’s face, but somehow the captain stayed alive.

But not for long.

An explosion ripped apart Purity’s Prow as Daegoth and Fang both used their lightning breath at either end of the ship, utterly destroying it and sending pieces of wreckage flying into the rain-filled air.

The pirates who still remained on Purity’s Prow, died in the explosion.

A cry of victory came from the Blue Nixie, the other pirate ship was in full retreat.

They had won.

Monday, August 30th, 1234 AY

The party sailed on, and the next day, it was Poddle’s birthday!!!

The party gave him presents, including four-hundred gold from Daelis and a buckler from Nimlar. Then they danced!

Wednesday, September 1st, 1234 AY

Daegoth was fishing one night, two days after they had broke through the blockade, when suddenly in front of him was a giant eye. It was the size of a tower shield, and stared intently at the lizardfolk before the shape sank back into the depths of the ocean.

It didn’t show itself again, but it kept the party on edge for a couple of days afterward.

Friday, September 3rd, 1234 AY

On Friday, the heroes spotted strange things along the coast. For ten miles on the jungle coastline, vast Kapok trees grew. Hundreds of tribal ornaments were in the trees, as well as numerous dessicated corpses of lizardfolk hanging from the boughs.

Daegoth was determined to find out what happened to his kin, set to avenge them if necessary. The rest of the party followed.

They took rowboats and landed on the coast, then entered the ominous jungle, searching for where the lizardfolk could have come from.

They inspected the various corpses, hanging from the boughs, and found seven platinum pieces, two aquamarine gems, an agate, and a moonstone, but no sign of anyone (or anything) living.

Suddenly, a small lizardfolk child wandered out from the brush.

“Do you know where my mommy is?” She said in Draconic, walking up to Daegoth and putting her hand on his arm.

Then maggots squirmed out from her eyes, and her body fell to the ground, infested with worms.

Daegoth tried to investigate the corpse, but it disintegrated at his touch.

Then the heroes knew something was horribly wrong.

They saw things slithering around their feet, writhing about on the ground. Suddenly, a giant snake appeared in front of them and hissed. It opened its jaws and lunged at Nimlar—but dissipated into the darkness as quickly as it came.

A spider the size of a man’s fist dropped on to Daelis’ face, and the swasbuckler screamed and flung it away. It crawled… towards the bodies of his wife and child. A whole swarm of spiders was eating their flesh—but then it was gone.

Out from the shadows, walking with his head in his hands, was Nimlar’s father, Arsul. He whispered something unintelligible, and than dropped his head to the ground. It rolled, coming to a rest at Nimlar’s feet.

“Nimlar! Avenge me!” He yelled, before crumbling to dust.

The backdrop of the forest dropped away from Jericho’s vision, and suddenly he saw before him an empty village, bodies strewn everywhere. Kazgar.

“You killed us…” A voice said.

Poddle screamed, seeing a clown before him, holding a butcher knife and an unbreakable grin.

Daegoth saw his tribe, all dead. And Krazog stabbing a small lizardfolk child, over and over and over…

Rapton saw Lavinia… kissing Tolin Kientai.

The heroes eventually realized that it wasn’t real, and recovered from their traumatic experiences, and trudged through the jungle, trying to find their way back to shore, as they had lost their sense of direction because of the hallucinations.

Daegoth led the way, hacking and slashing his way through the underbrush, before finally coming to a clearing. The hallucinations eventually faded away, and before them, in the center of the clearing, stood a lizardfolk shaman, dressed in tiger skins and carrying a wooden staff with many ornaments hanging from it.

“Why have you come to our forest, Daegoth, son of Vaerok?” The shaman said in a coarse voice speaking Draconic.
“How do you know my name?” Daegoth said, his eyes narrowing.
“Our tribes have stayed in contact,” the shaman replied. “We are the Tiger-Claw, you know of us…”

Daegoth nodded. He knew of a tribe of lizardfolk that lived in this area, though he had not remembered until now. What he definitely didn’t remember was that they hung dessicated corpses from their trees. That part was new.

“I remember our alliance,” Daegoth said. “I do not, however, remember that the Tiger-Claw defiled their dead in such a way. Why do you forsake our customs?”
“They are corrupt,” the shaman spat. “A disease has spread through our tribe. Many people have died, going crazy with the filth before finally… they just stop breathing. A thick crust of skin slowly spreading over their body… and then, they die.”
“Were those hallucinations caused by you or are we effected by the disease?” Daegoth asked.
“The forest. It has become cursed,” the shaman said, looking around at the trees.
“Do you know the source of this curse?” Daegoth asked. “Maybe we could help.”
“It started when a new shaman came into the village,” the shaman said. “He gathered followers for a ‘new religion’. The first to be infected were these followers. It just got worse from there.”

The heroes planned on going and finding this “shaman”. The lizardfolk shaman told them that the other shaman lived in a great Kapok tree a couple miles away from the village.

They set out.

An hour or so later, they reached the giant tree, which had a door in the trunk. They walked up to this and Jericho knocked. A small slot in the door opened and a lizardfolk head appeared.

“Who’s there?” It said.
“We’ve come to investigate the plague that has been going on!” Daegoth said.
“There is no plague here,” the voice said. “Only the truth.”
“What truth?”
“The truth that sets you free!”
“The truth that sets you free how?”
“You must accept the embrace of Laog.”

A silence

“Can we come in?”
“Unless you submit yourself to Laog, you cannot enter the holy ground.”

The heroes kicked the door in.

The shaman was crushed under the weight of the door, and the heroes rushed in the hut to find two recently killed lizardfolk, infected by the disease, but obviously killed by having their throat slit, as well as a large number of herbs and potions on various shelves.

An altar sat in the north of the room, with pieces of diseased skin laying atop it.

There was nothing else in the room, so the heroes lifted up the door to find that the lizardfolk they had crushed was indeed the shaman they were searching for.

They had killed him with a door.

The party returned to the lizardfolk village, and told the good shaman about their victory.

The lizardfolk healers of the village had suddenly been able to treat the disease, thanks to the heroes’ relief of the foul presence in the area.

The disease was defeated.

In thanks, the lizardfolk tribe gave the heroes a large supply of food.

The heroes went back to the Sea Wyvern, and sailed on…

Saturday, September 4th, 1234 AY

Lavinia approached Rapton the next day, and shockingly, called off their engagement. She seemed to have considerably changed her mind about the whole thing.

Rapton stalked off, confused.

Tuesday, September 7th, 1234 AY

The next two days were uneventful, but on the fourth day since leaving the lizardfolk village, they came to Fort Greenrock.

Although Lavinia had hoped to be able to resupply the food stores at Fort Greenrock, it became obvious as soon as the expedition rounded the last coastal bend before this remote colony of monks and druids that something terrible had happened. The wooden palisade surrounding the fort had been torn apart, and the fort itself had burned to the ground. It appeared that whatever grim fate visited the place occurred several months ago, for no sign of life or activity could be seen from shore.

The heroes went ashore and investigating the ruins of the fort, finding further evidence of a great battle. Dried blood stained the timbers of collapsed buildings here and there, broken weapons laid in the sand, and hundreds of black-feathered arrows decorated the sides of the ruins that faced the jungle.

Rapton recognized the arrows, saying that the workmanship on the arrows had come from lizardfolk. Meanwhile, Nimlar took said arrows to resupply his quiver.

The heroes wondered if they should search out these lizardfolk, but Lavinia urged them to press on, saying that they’ll have one final opportunity to restock supplies at the village of Renkrue on the Axuxal Isles in about ten days.

They sailed forth…

Saturday, September 11th, 1234 AY

As with the Havekihu River and Xatalati River before, the expedition stopped at the mouth of the Atikula River to refresh the supplies of fresh water. Unlike the previous two rivers, the point where the Atikula reaches the sea is marked by a magnificent nine-hundred-foot-wide waterfall that cascaded two hundred feet over a cliff into the ocean below. With no beach nearby to speak of, it was easy enough for a ship to sail in fairly close and then send out a rowboat with barrels to fill.

There was only room in the narrow harbor for one ship at a time, and Lavinia graciously offered to let the Sea Wyvern go first.

She was totally unaware of the danger therein.

The crew of the Sea Wyvern went to work, filling up various barrels of fresh water, which, all in all, took about a half-an-hour to complete. As they were nearing the last of the barrels, the heroes noticed something moving in the water.

Suddenly, a seven-headed hydra surged out from the depths below, exploding with a tremendous spray of water as it attacked.

Nimlar reacted quickly, firing off multiple arrows at one of the hydra’s heads. The head reeled back as they connected, the hydra roaring in pain.

The battle had begun.

Jericho rushed forward, launching off the railing off the Sea Wyvern and grabbing one of the various heads of the beast, holding on for dear life while trying to get into a position to do damage to the creature.

Unfortunately, he failed.

Jericho was flung into the air, landing in the water below, unable to attack the hydra, but luckily out of the hydra’s range as well.

Another of the hydra’s heads attacked the ballista, damaging the siege weapon to the point of not being able to use it to shoot.

Daelis was ticked.

Nimlar fired off more arrows, but missed his shots, since the flailing heads of the hydra easily dodged the flying missiles.

Jericho managed to keep himself afloat while he cast a spell which elongated his weapon, allowing him to make a slash at one of the hydra’s heads. He missed however, and now floated atop the water like a sitting— well, like a floating duck.

Daelis fled from the ruined ballista and attacked the same head with his rapier, cutting halfway through but not totally sundering it.

Then it healed completely. All their work was for naught.

The head of the hydra reached down to the awkwardly positioned Jericho, biting into his arm and pulling him out of the water, then dropping him back into the ocean, where he floundered some more.

Three other heads lunged at Daelis, all three scoring hits on his body and wounding him.

The remaining heads further destroyed the ballista, damaging it to the point of ruin.

Now Daelis was really ticked.

Rapton cast a spell, drawing mystical energies to conjure a sword of pure force, as he had done in Tamoachan, and slicing at one of the hydra’s heads.

It did some damage.

Nimlar drew more arrows, firing them at the second head and hitting home. The head shrieked and then fell limp, but the heroes didn’t celebrate at this apparent victory, for they knew that the beast would heal, and they had little time to finish off the head.

Jericho plopped back to the surface of the water, and then said a quick word in some spidery language.

He disappeared….

…And reappeared on the deck of the Sea Wyvern, readying his swords to slash into the first hydra head.

The decapitated head fell into the bay.

Daelis swung his rapier and cut off the second head, but the problem of burning the heads to make sure they didn’t regenerate still remained.

I could really use a torch right now, Daelis thought.

Suddenly, a torch appeared in his hand, burning brightly.

Daelis’ bardic magic was starting to reveal itself!

Rapton shot another burst of flame from his hand, successfully burning one of the hydra’s head stumps.

That’s one head that wouldn’t be regenerating.

Nimlar fired an arrow at the dangerous hydra, but missed by a hair… or a scale I guess.

His second shot was luckier. A head fell limp, arrow lodged in its brain.

His third shot also scored, wounding another of the hydra’s heads, but not to the point of killing it.

Yeris continued to attack the hydra, but the beast was quick and managed to dodge the eagle’s blows.

Daelis used his newly-created torch to burn another one of the hydra’s bloody stumps, preventing it from regrowing, but also breaking his torch in the process (apparently the creations were fragile at best).

The swashbuckler shrugged and then took a swing at another of the heads, severing it as well.

At this time, Poddle returned from the hold with a barrel of Firebelly ale, then he promptly chucked it.

The fire already burning on the hydra’s flesh ignited into a fireball, consuming the other severed stumps in the explosion.

Only three heads remained.

The hydra screeched in pain as the fire burned through its hide, retaliating with an attack on Daelis. Only one head hit home, but it tore through the Daelis’ flesh, sending waves of pain through the swashbuckler.

Rapton shot off another blast, the fiery… well, fire burning through one of the heads and killing it. It didn’t regenerate as well, since the fire effectively stumped the head.

Nimlar fired off more arrows, felling the sixth head, but not stumping it.

That left only one head.

Daelis rectified that situation with two quick slashes.

He then burned the two heads with another conjured torch.

The battle was over.

The heroes finished refilling their water with no trouble, and then continued on…

Sunday, September 12th, 1234 AY

The next day, the expedition passed a blackened valley along the jungle shore. Closer inspection revealed that it was a vast sacrificial pit into which what looked like hundreds of humanoid apes were thrown.

They passed it by…

Wednesday, September 15th, 1234 AY

After two non-eventful days, the heroes spotted something in the sky. A flock of six wyverns swooped down to fly alongside the _Sea Wyvern, cavorting in the skies above and occasionally swooping down to skip their talons or wing tips across the ocean’s surface. A few came close to the ship and looked curiously at her wyvern-shaped figurehead before flying away.

This went on for about ten minutes before the flock continued on.

Friday, September 17th, 1234 AY

On Friday, the heroes reached the Olman village of Renkrue, where they planned to stop and get supplies, since Fort Greenrock had been abandoned.

The party proceeded to sell all of their various treasures and items to an Olman merchant who paid good coin for their baubles. Lavinia also purchased supplies for the expedition, including food, feed for the horses, and various tools needed.

Lavinia gave the heroes, the Jade Ravens, and the crews of both the Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie a day of shore leave, which they all used differently.

Amella wanted to stay on board the ship during the shore leave, but the heroes insisted that she hung out with them, so she obliged.

Conrad Horst, a trouble-maker from the very start of the journey, was being left in Renkrue, and he had to pay for his voyage here, leaving him broke.

Avner had been busy already. While the heroes had been shopping, the nobleman had been perusing “other wares”.

Initially charmed by the quaint village, Avner quickly became obsessed with one of the village daughters. His attempts to purchase her from her parents, insulted the islanders to such an extent that they refuse to continue trading with the expedition.

The heroes were extremely anger at Avner for this, and immediately handed him over to the village authorities, letting them do justice as they would. They demanded a public apology from the noble, and he gave them it, whimpering with fear.

Then they publicly flogged him.

During this, Poddle came up to Avner and looked him in the eyes.

“I hate your guts,” he said grimly, spitting in his face.

After this, Avner spent the rest of shore leave on the Sea Wyvern, embarrassed and humiliated (not to mention in great pain from the flogging).

Nimlar saw Skald go off by himself into the jungle of the island, so he followed him, trying to not be noticed.

Skald seemed to just be exploring the relatively safe interior of the island, and Nimlar was about to head back when Skald turned around.

“I know you’re there,” he said, looking exactly at the place Nimlar was hiding. “Why are you following me?”
“Well,” Nimlar said, coming out of his hiding place. “You’re a ranger, I’m a ranger, I wanted to see what you were doing. I was hoping I might learn something from you out here.”

The two rangers explored.

Urol couldn’t have cared less about the village of Renkrue, but he quickly became obsessed with the wide variety of life to be found in the extensive tide-pools that line the nearby shore. He spent hours exploring these pools, scribbling in his notes and squealing with delight at each new discovery.

Tavey Nesk, as cabin boy, was expected to stay on board the ship, and he took his duty seriously, so he did so, passing the time by playing marbles on the deck with a local Olman boy.

Lirith enjoyed her time with the people of Renkrue, heading to the village tavern to grab a drink and mingle with the locals.

The heroes did the same, heading for the tavern, when Jericho decided to try to pick pocket an old man.

“Ahhh!” The old man yelled as he realized he was being stolen from. He then proceeded to beat Jericho over the head with his cane.

“You whippersnapper trying to steal my stuff!” The old man continued as he whacked the duskblade.

Jericho kicked him in the shin.

“Ahh!” The man yelled. “My leg! My leg!”

At this point, guards came on to the scene.

Jericho promptly teleported to a nearby roof, then jumped off and eventually lost the guards.

He put his cloak on to conceal his identity, then met up with the rest of the heroes (Daelis, Poddle, and Nimlar, who had come back from exploring with Skald) at the tavern.

The heroes entered.

Daelis went over to a man who seemed to have had too much to drink already, and offered to buy him a drink if he could beat him in a fight.

Meanwhile, Poddle talked to WAR.

WAR, we’re going to go start a bar fight!” Poddle said enthusiastically.
“No,” WAR said indignantly. “I will not take part in this violent enterprise!”
“Yes you will!” Poddle replied. “Or else you aren’t getting any bananas tomorrow!”

They argued, and eventually WAR won out. He would not be fighting today.

But Poddle would be.

After stealing some money from a nearby patron, Poddle went up to the bartender and calmly ordered a drink, paying with the money he had just lifted off the unsuspecting customer.

Jericho approached a patron in the tavern and bet him a hundred gold pieces that he couldn’t best him in a fight.

“I-I’ll take you on… bud!” The man slurred, his speech impeded by the heavy amount of alcohol flowing through his veins.

That’s when the fight began.

So, all at the same time, Daelis was starting a friendly hand-to-hand combat with a patron, Jericho was starting a fight with a drunkard, and Nimlar was having another friendly contest with a slightly-tipsy customer.

At that moment, the largest bar-fight this tavern had ever known erupted.

Daelis slammed his fist into the side his attacker, striking the first blow of the night.

The man recovered quickly however, and swung back, barely giving the half-elf enough time to dodge out of the way.

“You’re good competition!” The man laughed heartily.

Poddle sipped his drink, witnessing the beginning of the fight and contemplating when he should join in.

Jericho punched his combatant in the face, knocking him off his feet.

The drunkard punched back, but Jericho grabbed the man’s fist and stopped the blow in mid-air, twisting the slurring attacker’s arm and sending a wave of pain up his body.

The tipsy man fighting Nimlar took a swing, but the elf easily dodged the blow, hitting back with a quick strike of his own. The man stumbled back, stunned.

A high-pitched cry rang through the air, followed by a man’s drunken laughter.

Lirith held her face, looking fearfully at the man who had just punched her. Then her fear turned to anger, and she gave him an uppercut which knocked him off his feet.

He wasn’t laughing anymore.

Jericho punched his drunkard in the face again, then shoved him to the ground. The drunkard yelled loudly and then came back at him, tackling the duskblade to the ground.

Daelis punched his attacker in the stomach, then followed it with a kick, but the man dodged the second blow and came back with a hammer fist, slamming the half-elf to the ground.

Poddle walked up to Lirith and her harasser, telling them to break it up. Suddenly, a man came at him from behind, trying to grab Poddle, but the kobold rolled away, too quick for a clumsy attack like that to work.

At that moment, the entire bar went into an uproar.

A dwarf rushed at a human, head-butting the poor man into a table, crushing it and him into the floor.

Numerous other patrons punched and kicked each other, threw each other out of windows, and more or less got the crud beat out of them.

Nimlar dodged another blow made by the patron attacking him, using his agility to great effect. The ranger came back and slammed his fist into the patron’s jaw, sending him crashing out the window.

Lirith attempted to kick her harasser in the groin, but the man rolled away, retaining enough sense to save himself from that kind of pain.

Jericho grappled the drunkard, lifting him and slamming him on the ground. The man managed to avoid being hurt by this though, rolling out of it and coming back up, clumsily, to his feet.

Poddle rushed at the man, trying to grapple him, but he was greeted by a kick to the stomach, sending him sprawling.

Lirith and her harasser went back and forth, trying to punch each other, but they were too drunk to effectively fight. The battle between them was nothing but a number of consecutive misses.

Nimlar, since he had taken out his previous attacker, walked to another customer and asked him to fight.

“No,” the man said simply. “No thank you.”

Then he walked out.

Nimlar shrugged and rushed to help his companions.

Now, I could go on to talk about how the drunkards swung and missed, and the heroes swung and hit, but we all know how this is going to end. So suffice to say, the heroes won the bar fight.

Lirith had passed out during the fight, because of being drunk and being punched, so Jericho kindly brought her back to the Sea Wyvern, since the duskblade felt bad for her. He brought her to her quarters and let her rest, and then he left.

Jericho went up on deck and looked out over the horizon. They were on the last stage of their journey. Only the open sea lay before them and their goal. It was in sight now, their destination.

The Isle of Dread.

View
Chapter 11: The Hook
The heroes battle redcaps, snakes, and griffons on their journey around The Hook, the tip of the Amedio penunsila, and uncover Father Feres' true identity as well.

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 11: The Hook

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Saturday, July 31st, 1234 AY

A small settlement of approximately 2,000, Fort Blackwell was located near the northernmost tip of the peninsula known to sailors as “The Hook”. One of the few coastal Amedio forts not controlled by the Cabal of Shadows (its distance from the Amedio interior makes it not worth the effort for the Cabal to control), it remained an independently governed walled town perched on the edge of civilization.

Fort Blackwell was a cozy town with a tiny harbor protected by an immense sea gate hung between two squat towers. Before the Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie were allowed within the harbor, a troop of Blackwell guards had to search each of the ships and interview their captains. Fortunately, years of relative peace and being ignored by both the Cabal of Shadows and the Dragon Armada (who maintain larger ports of call in various forts elsewhere along the coast—forts wisely avoided by the expedition) had made them rather lackadaisical in their searches, and since there was nothing outwardly suspicious about either of the boats or their passengers, the guards allowed both ships entrance into the harbor after a mere 15-minute inspection.

The sky above had become rather menacing by now, though it was still early in the day, and a storm seemed to be brewing something fierce. Lavinia called the crew and passengers of each ship together for a meeting, informing everyone that because of the storm, they were to wait it out in Fort Blackwell, possibly for two to three days. She also pointed out the fact that it would be seven weeks until they reached their next friendly location where they could resupply, so she encouraged them to get all their shopping done here if they could.

A messenger hawk arrived in the fort that day with two letters of credit (250 gp worth) for Poddle and Rapton. Their first round of income from their new hotel.

Nimlar, asking around about this “Shadow Pearl” that Daelis had heard about from Urol, found a old seaman who told him a legend of Thanaclan and the ancient Olman empire, similar to the one the gnome had shared with them. The one new point: the Shadow Pearl was apparently given as a gift to the Olman, from strange creatures that are not detailed in the legends.

Daelis, Daegoth, and Nimlar went to the local Iron Brigade arena, and were commended for their defeat of ferocious sharks.

The various crew-members and passengers of the Sea Wyvern went their separate directions after reaching Fort Blackwell: Amella, Skald and Tavey stayed on the ship during the stay in the fort, Father Feres visited a shrine of Atarian, Avner and Lirith went to a tavern and partied, and Urol set out to explore a set of caves reported to be located nearby.

The heroes offered to go with Urol to the caves, to protect him from dangerous creatures and easing their own itch to explore.

“Well, I doubt there are any ravenous monsters out there,” Urol said sarcastically when the heroes asked to accompany him. “But you never known…so sure! I’d love the company!”

Only Rapton was excluded from this, since he had other plans with Lavinia. So the heroes, along with Urol and his trusty crow, Miss Crazzle, headed into the Amedio Jungle to explore.

The party followed a rough path along a swampy river heading southwest, deeper into the Amedio interior. When the heroes reached a small glade that opened up to the left of the road, opposite the river, which lay on the right, they were suddenly ambushed by three redcaps. Redcap

Now, redcaps are the most evil fey you’re ever likely to meet. They are mass-murdering psychotic killers who live on other creatures’ pain. A redcap stands 3 to 4 feet tall, weighs about 50 pounds, and looks like a tough old man with protruding teeth. On their heads redcaps wear bright red hats—kept fresh and moistly colored by dipping in their victims’ blood—and on their feet they wear boots of iron.

They should be stabbed on sight.

Anyways, three of these dangerous fey had set up an ambush in the small glade. Two of the redcaps hid behind large outcroppings of rock, sending sling-stones soaring towards the heads of the heroes, while the last jumped out from behind a large tree and charged forward with his wicked-looking scythe.

Their only warning was a stick snapping, the sound carrying through the air and reaching Nimlar’s keen elven ears just in time for him to react to the attack.

Jericho was scouting ahead unfortunately, and came into the battle much later.

A stone bounced off of Daegoth’s shield, thrown from a redcap’s sling at the huge lizardfolk, but hardly posing a threat. A second rock barely missed Poddle, the dexterous kobold dodging out of the way just in time.

The third redcap leaped into melee with Poddle, slashing down his scythe with a mindless ferocity. The kobold managed to bring up his greatsword in defense, blocking the strike.

Nimlar, whipping out his bow and drawing an arrow, struck the scythe-wielding redcap in the leg, but the psychotic fey seemed not to notice. Yeris screeched, and the eagle scratched at the same redcap, drawing blood, but barely nicking the tough little bugger.

Daelis drew his blade and stabbed the redcap engaging Poddle, causing it to screech in pain, but it recovered quickly and slavered even more intensely in its thirst for blood.

Daegoth charged up toward the rocks where a redcap slinger lay in hiding, and surprised the fey by bringing the butt of his axe down onto the creature’s face. The redcap recovered quickly, and started to bring its scythe up to engage the lizardfolk in melee, but Daegoth cut off its head. The body suddenly disintegrated, leaving only its equipment and a single tooth, which Daegoth took.

The second slinger shot out another stone at Poddle, but missed once again, as its companion was in a fight with the kobold and he couldn’t get a good shot in.

The scythe-redcap slashed at Daelis, but the adept duelist blocked the clumsy blow. The fey gnashed its teeth and dodged out of the way of Poddle, who stabbed at him with his greatsword.

Nimlar moved into a position to fire at the last slinger, and shot an arrow which hit the redcap in the shoulder.

The elf smiled.

Urol, grabbing out a wand and enchanted his quarterstaff, rushed to attack the scythe-wielding redcap, thrilled to be in battle once again.

He didn’t get a chance to attack, since Daelis ended the combat with a well placed stab, disintegrating the redcap and taking its tooth.

Daegoth and Daelis then both charged the remaining redcap slinger, that managed to fend off their initial attack by rolling away, but they were coming quickly behind it.

Just then, Jericho returned from scouting the area, joining the combat and drawing his bow. He shot off an arrow at the last redcap, but missed.

The redcap withdrew, scurrying away and climbing a nearby tree, screeching all the while.

Poddle reached the tree and attempted to reason with the creature. It just slavered and gibbered at him. So he shot it.

Urol, who had brought his sketchbook, sat down on a rock and began to sketch the redcap, fascinated by the fey.

Nimlar, who had his back to the swampy river, noticed something behind him. He turned and saw a enormous snake slithering towards him out of the swamp, hissing menacingly. Giant snake

Then it lunged.

It bit into Nimlar’s leg, knocking him to the ground and causing the elf to cry out in pain, alerting the others to the new threat.

Daelis, hearing Nimlar’s cry and sprinting towards the river, pulled out his crossbow and let loose a bolt, which tore into the snake’s hide. It hissed and let go of Nimlar, coiling back up for another strike.

Jericho wasn’t going to let it do that. He jumped on top of the huge serpent, barely able to hang on as the snake writhed.

Which was not a good idea, since the snake was a boa constrictor.

While the party was focused on the snake, the last redcap decided to make a run for it. He leaped off of the tree and sprinted further up the glade, towards the hills.

Poddle, seeing the redcap’s flight, pursued and stabbed the fey with his greatsword, killing and disintegrating it. Poddle took its tooth, as well.

Nimlar, using his attunement with nature, empathized with the great snake, stalling and entrancing it.

The other heroes noticed that the snake wasn’t attacking, so they all slowly backed up to a fallen log (except for Urol, he was sketching it), ready to shoot the serpent if it tried to attack again, but it didn’t and moments later it slithered back into the swamp.


Meanwhile, Rapton and Lavinia were having a pleasant evening on the Blue Nixie, drinking wine and talking.

Rapton decided to propose to Lavinia…and she accepted.

Lavinia and Rapton were getting married!


It was beginning to get dark, and the storm was in full force now, and sheets of rain began to fall down, in addition to the thunder and lightning. The heroes realized they would not be able to make it back to Fort Blackwell that night, so they (well, Nimlar) followed the trail made by the redcaps to a small cave. Jungle rain

The party lit a small fire and began to dry their clothes off, preparing to weather down for the night. The fire’s light revealed more than just a cave: there was treasure! As the heroes rifled through the loot and made camp, suddenly Rapton appeared. He had managed to catch up to them after his date with Lavinia, and used his skill with nature to find them.

It was at this time that Jericho decided to take out some of his anger. Since Poddle had apparently “questioned his loyalty” earlier on the voyage, he punched him in the face.

Or tried to, anyways.

Instead, Daegoth tackled Jericho.

Then Poddle knocked him out with the butt of his sword, and the two lizards dragged Jericho outside, stripped him of his clothes and equipment, and tied him to a tree…during the storm.

Daelis dragged Jericho back in, but he got considerably wet…and he was naked.

Meanwhile, Nimlar and Rapton took most of the treasure that was in the cave, but no one seemed to notice. Afterward, they split the remaining portion among each other.

They spent the rest of the night in the cave.

Sunday, August 1st, 1234 AY

The heroes headed back to Fort Blackwell the next morning, the sky still dark and ominous, but no longer storming.

Daegoth and Poddle, going to Captain Venkalie, wrote up a written contract that stated if Jericho harmed them physically (or extensive verbal abuse) he would have to give them one item of their choice from his inventory. After Jericho signed this, they gave him his stuff back.

The heroes decided to spend the rest of their time in Fort Blackwell at an inn, where they bought a suite and basically relaxed in luxury. They ended up staying another day after this, waiting for the storm to dissipate, but on Tuesday morning, set out again for the Isle of Dread (but not before Poddle sold his greatsword and had a replica of his old warmace made).

Two things that had happened during their stay in the fort: Avner and Lirith had broken up after a nasty fight the last night of the stay, leaving the two bitter (well mostly Lirith). Second, Kurgol converted to the worship of Atarian, under the guidance of Father Feres.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 1234 AY

The heroes said goodbye to Fort Blackwell, setting their sights on the horizon and preparing themselves for the second part of their voyage. Nimlar, feeling sick and feverish from the wound given to him by the great snake, spent a couple days in bed rest.

Jericho decided to try to woo Amella again, so he gave her his kukri, lying and saying it was magical.

“Thanks,” Amella said awkwardly. “I’m still not going out with you.”
“I’m the smartest person on this boat!” Jericho protested.
“Granted, that’s true,” Amella said. “But you are definitely not the wisest person on this boat.”

Afterward, Jericho decided to hinder the relationship between Lavinia and Rapton by telling Lavinia the “truth”.

“Rapton is only marrying you for your money you know,” Jericho said to Lavinia. “He’s going to kill you while you’re sleeping!”
“I know he is marrying me for my money, Jericho,” Lavinia said. “That’s obvious. But he’s not going to kill me in my sleep, I know him better than that.”

She didn’t believe him.

Avner, seeming to have already recovered from his break-up with Lirith, wanted to test his mettle. He challenged Daelis to a duel.

The two battled for a while, but Daelis was obviously the better, and the duel ended when the half-elf had a kill shot, but instead told Avner to surrender.

He did so.

Avner began to respect Daelis after that. His ego seemed to have deflated considerably.

Now Shefton, who had been relatively ignored since the beginning of the voyage, was finally engaged in conversation by Poddle.

“Hey man!” Poddle said cheerfully.
“Hi! Poddle, its nice to see you,” Shefton said. “Sorry for ignoring you, I didn’t want knowledge of me getting out.”
“How did you escape the tunnels?”
“By hiding under the bodies of your companions.”

Poddle then invited Shefton to go fishing with him and Daegoth.

Poddle caught a baby hammerhead shark…then used it for bait and caught a juvenile hammerhead shark. He ate that.

Wednesday, August 4th, 1234 AY

The day was boring, so when it turned evening, the heroes decided to have a dance party!

But it was just a distraction so Poddle could set yet another trap for Avner. A couple of fist-sized rocks in a net set to fall when the door opened.

When Avner retired for the night, he activated the trap. He got knocked unconscious, and was bed-ridden.

Captain Amella lined up the crew (and the party) and asked who did it. She was mad.

Daelis suspected Poddle, so he had Rapton use zone of truth on the kobold and reveal that he was the perpetrator.

Poddle was sentenced to one day in the brig and payment to Avner (500 gold).

Thursday, August 5th, 1234 AY

The next day, on the coast, the heroes spotted a huge fifty-foot high vine-clad statue, an Olman ruin from their ancient empire. A number of ruined buildings surrounded the statue, making some kind of temple around the great work, a man wearing a royal headdress and carrying a ceremonial washing bowl. Olman statue

The party asked Lavinia for permission to stop and explore these fascinating ruins, and their patron acquiesced. Poddle, Daelis, Jericho, and Rapton took a rowboat to the shore, while Daegoth walked on the bottom of the water, since he could breathe underwater.

When they arrived at the ruins, Poddle went about to searching the ruins for any secret doors or chambers he thought might be hidden there, while Daegoth gathered some fresh fruit from the nearby jungle.

Suddenly, a sound which was similar to the roar of thunder, but which was more steady and predictable, occurred. A great griffon soared through the air, landing inside the bowl of the great statue.

A griffon nest.

The heroes made a plan to get the griffon eggs: Poddle would begin to sneak up the side of the statue (using his magical slippers) while the others distracted the griffon and allowed Poddle to take its eggs.

Jericho shot a flare up into the bright sky, causing the griffon to screech and then start to go the edge of the nest, unfurling its wings.

It swooped down. Griffon

The griffon grabbed Daelis with its huge talons, lifting him into the air. The half-elf stabbed into the beast with his rapier, wounding its leg, but not loosing its grip.

Poddle, who had made it into the nest by now, found four eggs. He gathered them into his bag and started to head down the statue.

As the griffon lifted Daelis into the air, Daegoth lunged at the beast, slashing it in the flank with his waraxe. Rapton swung his mace as well, crushing its foot.

The griffon was wounded now, screeching in pain, while still holding Daelis in its talons.

Daegoth brought Jericho to him, grabbed him, jumped into the air (with the aid of his tail) and chucked the duskblade at the griffon. Jericho slashed the beast with his swords, wounding the griffon even more. Rapton cast a spell which caused roots to come from the ground and catch Jericho on the way down.

Daelis stabbed the griffon, trying to get loose from its tight grip. The beast shrieked in pain and seemed almost to drop him, but it regained its iron grip a moment later. Daelis tried to stab it again, but he couldn’t manage to get his weapon up.

Just then, another griffon appeared, soaring towards the great statue. There were two.

Poddle ran down the statue as fast as his little legs would carry him.

The griffon that was holding Daelis somehow managed to tumble and not injure himself on his dropped him, giving up and starting to fly away.

Daelis somehow managed to tumble and not injure himself on his fall, standing to his feet and exclaiming: “I’m okay!”

Daegoth jumped into the air, using his tail to launch himself from the ground. He brought a javelin up to throw at the first griffon…but missed horribly.

Rapton began to cast a spell, chanting incantations as a celestial hawk appeared, screeching and flying at the first griffon. Its claws scratched at the beast, doing some minor damage.

The griffon, however, had taken enough damage, and it crashed into the jungle with a screech, breaking its neck in the fall and killing it.

The second griffon, seeing its mate fall and Poddle making off with their eggs, roared out in anger and swooped down at the kobold, grabbing Poddle by the shoulders and lifting him into the air. The kobold managed to slip off the satchel that held the eggs though, and brought up his warmace in time to smash it against the griffon’s leg.

Jericho pulled out a wand and shot out an acidic arrow at the griffon, scalding the beast.

Rapton, casting another spell, caused the griffon to start to flee in fear, dropping Poddle.

Daegoth, rushing forward and holding out his arms to catch the kobold, managed only to break Poddle’s fall. He didn’t catch him very well.

The griffon fled, and the heroes, who had the eggs and had no desire to fight it anymore, returned to the Sea Wyvern with their reward.

Daelis cut off the first griffon’s head, and Daegoth severed the wings and talons, both preparing to present them as trophies at the next Iron Brigade arena they found.

Poddle, huffing and puffing as he was lifted onto the ship, began to brag.

“I just…killed…a griffon.”

The heroes began to relate their adventure to the crew and passengers, and Daegoth noticed that the cabin boy, Tavey Nesk, was especially interested in the account. He asked the lizardfolk to retell the story again and again.

The day passed…

Friday, August 6th, 1234 AY

During the night, Father Feres had awoken and puked his guts, becoming shaky and feverish within a couple minutes. The next morning, the heroes found him bedridden, with Kurgol kneeling beside him praying to Atarian.

Rapton decided to check the priest over, using his clerical abilities to see what was wrong with him.

He found it.

A strange pulsing growth was nestled in Father Feres’ belly. Rapton didn’t recognize the growth, but he knew it wasn’t good. So he performed surgery, cutting the pulsing orb from the priest.

Avner happened to walk in in the middle of this.

The nobleman screamed and ran out of the room, shouting that they were murdering the priest. Daegoth caught up to him, and attempted to reason with him.

“Avner, you just need to calm down.”
“You’re murdering him!”
“He was performing surgery on him.”

Avner just continued to shake involuntarily. Then he fainted.

After the surgery was complete, Rapton studied the growth in depth, and came to the conclusion that it was some kind of parasitic creature, possibly an egg sac. So he cut it open.

Inside, he saw the larvae form of an amphibian creature.

So the heroes put it in a jar.

They then asked Father Feres why exactly he had a growth in his belly.Father Feres started whimpering, and then he came clean.

He wasn’t a priest at all.

Kurgol looked shocked.

“You lied to me?” Kurgol said in a dark, grim voice.

The half-orc walked out of the room.

“Father Feres” then began to tell the real story…

His real name was Conrad Horst, a former scribe who had taken Lavinia in by convincing her that he was a clergyman. In fact, Conrad was a desperate criminal recently forced to flee a neighboring city when his scam of swindling old ladies out of valuable heirlooms came to light, and he spent several months hiding out in Sasserine.

Conrad had recently hired his services out as a mule to a sinister man whose name he didn’t know. In return for delivering a sealed box to a shrine of Atarian at Fort Blackwell, his benefactor had arranged for Conrad a new identity as a priest. Disguised as Father Feres, Conrad hoped to travel to Farshore not only to escape persecution from his enemies, but to establish his scams in a new location unaware of his talents.

The heroes asked him what that had to do with the growth in his stomach, and he told them that he first began to feel sick after he delivered the package to the shrine. The shrine (which was definitely not dedicated to Atarian) was apparently a cover-up for a more sinister organization, but Conrad knew nothing more on that front. The fake priests invited him to stay the night there, and he did, so his guess was that they were responsible.

Poddle feared the effect that this turn of events would have on Kurgol (who he had come to pity), so he did two things: he argued for a fair trial of Conrad Horst, not an execution, as to not fuel a desire for revenge in Kurgol, and he sincerely read through the Book of Atarian (the holy book of the deity) and thought about converting. He didn’t of course, but he looked into it.

Kurgol, however, recovered quickly from the revelation. He was initially shocked, but he came to realize (as he told Daegoth) that Conrad was just a false prophet, and that Atarian is still good. Just because there was one impostor didn’t mean that the entire religion was a sham. He still sincerely followed his deity and he seemed to be okay.

Poddle brought Conrad to the captain for justice. Slaad

Amella conferred that the impostor would be locked in the brig until the next stop, and then he would be let off (after paying for his voyage of course).

Poddle “Flip-Flop” thought this was going easy on the priest, and he didn’t like it one bit.

Later, the heroes asked around at what the amphibian larvae was, but no one knew…until they asked Urol.

“Destroy it now!” He yelled in horror. “Destroy it! That is a slaad!”

They gladly obliged.

Just another day in the lives of our heroes…

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Chapter 10: Come Sail Away
The heroes set sail on The Sea Wyvern for the Isle of Dread...

Savage Tide

Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 10: Come Sail Away

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

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

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

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

Sunday, July 18th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes relaxed. Lavinia had called them to a meeting that afternoon, so Daegoth spent the morning doing some shopping, while the others relaxed at the Vanderboren Manor.

Daegoth bought some heavy armor, which made him even more beastly.

About that time, Aniphastus Knowlern came to Rapton and Poddle with good news: the hotel (in its most basic form) was up and running! None of the more exotic renovations had been done yet, but the general layout was completed and guests had started to arrive.

Poddle also went to find a druid to cast a spell on his ape, WAR. He wanted WAR to be able to talk, and that was something the druid could do. Poddle’s ape was now awakened.

“Hello master!” WAR said, as the spell took effect. “My name is Walter Adolf Rasseldorf, how are you today?”
WAR!” Poddle shouted, engulfing his pet in a big hug. War

Poddle soon found, however, that WAR was a pacifist.

After this, Poddle bought two barrels of Firebelly ale and two spiked gauntlets for WAR, though the ape didn’t like the violence involved.

Nimlar also bought an improved quiver, which could hold up to fifty arrows.

Before the meeting started, Lavinia brought to their attention that Heldrath Kellani was having charges brought against her for the part she played in the Lotus Dragons business.

That afternoon, the characters met with Lavinia and she explained to them what their next “assignment” was. Journal lv

“Do you recall this journal we recovered from my family vault?” Lavinia asked, and when Poddle (who was the only one who had been there) nodded, she continued. “It turns out that it was my mother’s. My parents may the gods rest their souls, were brave—foolish and rash some would say, but I have never been one to criticize an adventurous spirit. On the contrary—” she cast a wry smile at them all. "I admire it. In any event, it would seem that about four years ago, my mother and father undertook a risky endeavor. They sailed the Blue Nixie, along with a ship full of colonists, down south to a place they refer to as the Isle of Dread.

“You may have heard of this place—if you haven’t, it seems apparent from reading my mother’s journals that the place is aptly named. A jungle-covered abyss infested with immense reptilian monsters, feral savages, and peril at every turn. Yet the southern peninsula remains relatively sheltered from the menaces on the isle mainland, and it was here, among the villages of several friendly locals, that my parents founded the colony of Farshore.

“The Isle of Dread represents an untapped trove of resources—exotic lumber, spices, animals, foods, and even minerals like silver and gold. Once Farshore was up and running, the influx of trade would have guaranteed my family a relatively uncontested flow of wealth. Yet before mother and father were able to return to Farshore with supplies and more colonists… my brother made his move and left me in the state you found me a month ago.

“Since we recovered this journal, I have not been idle. If Farshore fails, than my parents’ last legacy fails. I intend to carry on their work, and have planned for a journey south to the Isle of Dread to resupply and join the colonists at Farshore for the rest of year. I have the Blue Nixie readying in the harbor to take fresh supplies to the colony, but I find myself a vessel short.” Lavinia’s face breaks into a glowing grin as she continues, “You wouldn’t know of anyone with stout hearts who might happen to be interested in helping me mount this expedition, do you? I fear the journey itself might grow dangerous at times, and there’s no way of knowing what state or condition Farshore is currently in, but I suspect danger is a vice you have.”

Talking to Lavinia after she gave her presentation, the heroes quickly learned Lavinia had already hired an able crew to sail the Sea Wyvern and the passengers were already confirmed. Lavinia had been getting the ships ready since the heroes left for the ruined temple almost a week ago, so she was very well prepared. Also, she told the heroes that they could leave tomorrow, if the heroes were up to the challenge. Sea wyvern

The heroes got to work preparing the Sea Wyvern for the voyage.

The first order of business was the plotting of a course, but this was a short step, since Lavinia had already mapped out the voyage, and Jericho (who was to be the navigator for the Sea Wyvern) just looked them over to familiarize himself with them.

The second order of business was to secure a crew. Lavinia had already secured a crew and taken on passengers for the voyage, so the heroes didn’t have to do much here either. Three of them joined the crew (Striker [as the navigator], Daegoth and Nimlar [as run-of-the-mill crewmen]), while the rest stayed passengers, and they also brought some other passengers aboard as well; Derek, Metallica, and Jimmy Do (and WAR, who was proving to be an intelligent, capable gorilla). Zagon came as well, though he went on the Blue Nixie.

The heroes were introduced to the various crew and passengers, starting with their captain: Amella Venkalie. The heroes were slightly disbelieving that their captain was a woman, but they accepted Lavinia’s choice. Amella venkalie

“You’re a girl!” Poddle said to Amella, when she was introduced as their captain.
“You’re a lizard!” Amella responded.
“Touche.”

The other three crew members were Skald (the fey-touched ranger), Lirith Veldirose (the tom-boy warrior), and Tavey Nesk (the cabin boy).

The passengers of the ship were also introduced to the heroes.
Father Feres, a human priest of Atarian that was going to the Isle of Dread to do missionary work among the native tribes, was the first of these.
The second was Avner Meravanchi, the noble that Nimlar and Daelis met at the banquet. Skald

Next was Urol Furol, a gnome druid that was an expert on the Isle of Dread, and Tovin Domini, the archer that Nimlar talked with.
Also, Kurgol, the estranged half-orc that was beaten up by the heroes in Rumblegut’s tavern, was on the voyage, though he seemed very sad and dejected, not even noticing the heroes.

The last person was Shefton: the half-elf that led the heroes to Vanthus and then mysteriously disappeared when the party was massacred in the caves below Parrot Island. He seemed to not pay much attention to them, and Poddle, being the only one who had met him, decided he was going to talk to him later. Lirith veldirose

The third order of business: supplies. The Sea Wyvern had sixty tons of space for supplies, ten tons of the space was consumed by repair supplies for the ship itself, a further ten tons for food and miscellaneous supplies, leaving forty tons for the heroes to work with. Ten tons of this space was used on Duerak’s warhorse and its feed and supplies. Twenty tons were then used for additional supplies for Farshore and food for the voyage. The last ten tons were used for Avner Meravanchi’s purebred horse, Thunderstrike.

The last order of business: armaments. The heroes (especially Daelis), wanted to outfit the Sea Wyvern with a ballistae. They did so. They also bought forty-nine ballistae bolts. Avner meravanchi

With that, they were ready to set sail.

Monday, July 19th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes prepared to set off, loading onto the Sea Wyvern and saying goodbye to their friends in Sasserine. Lavinia, the Jade Ravens, and Churtle went onto the Blue Nixie_, getting ready to head off as well. !(media-item-align-right)http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/116100/FatherFeres.png(Father feres)!

Unfortunately, there were problems from the very beginning.

Avner Meravanchi, the last person to arrive (along with his servants, Banaby Chisk and Quenge Asper), came a half-an-hour late, and didn’t apologize. The servants immediately began loading on Avner’s horse Thunderstrike, as well as all of the animal’s numerous supplies and feed. It took another half-an-hour to get the horse in the jury-rigged pen that had been set up for in the Sea Wyvern’s hold, at which point Avner found out he was supposed to sleep with the “commoners”.

“I am not sleeping with the commoners!” Avner exploded at Amella, who was already losing patience with the stuck up nobleman. “Are you kidding me?! I demand my own quarters!”
“You’ll sleep with the rest of the passengers or you can stay in Sasserine,” Amella replied. “Your choice.” Kurgol

Father Feres, in a pathetic attempt to calm down the noble, asked him to calm down. Avner promptly commented on the priest’s extraordinarily long ear hair, and the holy man was sent away sulking.

Skald tried to stay out of the argument, busying himself with some rope, but Urol took an obnoxious interest in Thunderstrike’s pedigree.

Lirith seemed interested in Avner, in more ways than one. Tovin domini

“What seems to be the problem?” Said Daegoth, seeing the argument and trying to help.
“I don’t want to talk to you lizard! If you can’t help me get my own quarters, then I have nothing to say to you!”
“Why do you need your own quarters? Everyone sleeps in the same quarters, except for the captain of course.”
“I am a noble. I am not going to sleep with the commoners!”
“I’m the son of the chieftain of my tribe. Well, was.”
“Nobody gives a darn what you are!” Urol furol
“How dare you!” Poddle said threateningly.
“I demand he is taken off the ship,” Avner said hotly. “Take him off right now!”

At this point, WAR came up on deck.

“Is there a problem?” The gorilla said, scratching his chin.
“What?!” Avner said, wide-eyed. “How is the ape talking? How is it talking?” Tavey nesk

WAR looked at the noble with a deathly gaze.

“Okay! I’ll sleep with the commoners! I’ll be fine!”

Poddle went up to WAR, patting him appreciatively.

“Good boy.”
“Why thank you master.”

Avner was in a very bad mood that day.

After finishing up the preparations and getting Avner situated, the heroes set out for the Isle of Dread.

It was well into the afternoon when Poddle asked Jericho why he had mysteriously shown up when they began making preparations. Jericho admitted he had been in jail.

“What?! Then why are you on this ship? Go back in jail!”
“I don’t know how I got away…I just blacked out and woke up on the streets of Sasserine. I headed to Lavinia’s place and they pointed me down here.” Shefton

“Captain,” Poddle said later to Amella. “Jericho isn’t invited on this ship.”
“What do you mean? Of course he was.”
“He just told me that he was in jail earlier.”
“What? I don’t believe you, he’s a sixteen year-old kid for goodness sake’s!”

Amella wouldn’t listen to Poddle about the subject any further.

The heroes pressed Jericho for more information, and he confessed.

A week ago, before the heroes had headed out for the temple, Jericho had gone to a store to buy a new sword. The owner wouldn’t give him a good price, and then Jericho blacked out. The next thing he remembered was the body of the shop keeper on the floor and blood on his hands. He grabbed a lock-box and two fine swords and was about to leave when a young employee of the dead man walked in on the gruesome scene. Jericho attempted to kill him too. He failed, and the youngster managed to warn the guards. Jericho was chased by the guards, but managed to lose them in the sewers. He made it back to the Vanderboren Manor with his loot, but the lock-box only contained letters and business records, no money. The duskblade passed out in the basement of the manor and when he awoke, he was exhausted and felt even more tired than he had before. When he talked to Lavinia later that day, he found out disturbing news: the guards had found a shop-keeper, his apprentice, and two of their own dead in an alley. The heroes headed to the temple, but when Jericho returned to Sasserine, he was arrested and brought to jail.

The party then discussed what would be done with him.

While they did that, Poddle went up to Father Feres for help.

“My friend just told me that he broke out of prison, and he’s possessed by a demon.”
“And he’s on this ship?!”
“Well, I told the captain that he shouldn’t come, but…the captain doesn’t really listen to me, cause I’m a lizard.”
“My cleric training did not prepare me for this situation…I’m more of a heal-your-wounds kind of cleric.”
“So you don’t happen to have a magical ring that you made because you anticipated this exact situation?”
“No, no I do not. I don’t have a spell that could do that either, I’m not that powerful of a priest, sadly.”

The heroes finally decided to throw Jericho in the brig. Because of this, Urol Furol took over as navigator of the Sea Wyvern.

Later that day, Poddle talked with the captain.

“So, what’s up?”
“Nothing much. I’m kind of captaining the ship.”

Then they proceeded to talk about mundane things and the Isle of Dread and such, talking for most of the day.

Daegoth, seeing Kurgol in his dejected state, decided to introduce himself (he hadn’t met the half-orc yet anyway).

“Hello, I’m Daegoth.”
“Kurgol.” The half-orc sighed.
“I’ve noticed that you’re distraught, care to explain?”
“I don’t even know you.”

Silence.

“What are you on the ship for?” Daegoth said awkwardly.
“Eh, trying to make a new life for myself in Farshore. Just volunteered and they had me aboard.”
“I come from a tribe that lives on the Isle of Dread; I lived there myself most of my life…until my brother pushed over the side of our canoe…but that’s a long story. And now I’m here, finally going back.”
“You’re homeland is the Isle of Dread?”
“Yes.”
“Can you describe it to me? I’ve never been there.”

Daegoth described the Isle of Dread and all of its jungles, volcanoes, landscapes, terrifying creatures, man-eating plants, and horrible giant reptiles.

“Why am I going to this place?” Kurgol said after the horrifying description of the dangers therein.
“I don’t know…”

Jericho, during this time, managed to bribe Poddle, Daelis, and Duerak with his gold and weapons to allow him to get out of the brig. He then took back his job as the navigator from Urol.

Nimlar was sent to help Skald with the resetting of some rigging, and while doing this, got into a conversation. The two talked about the ship and Nimlar asked about the various parts and how they worked, admitting that he was not experienced with sailing in the slightest. Skald gave him a basic explanation of how the ship worked, what to do in given situations, etc.

As the day started to wind down into the evening, the heroes caught sight of an unidentifiable carcass being eaten by three sharks.

Nimlar, Daelis, and Daegoth decided to retrieve the carcass (possibly a humanoid) and kill the sharks, so they readied their weapons and the Sea Wyvern slowed down. Nimlar drew his bow and fired off two shots almost simultaneously, the arrows sinking into the flesh of one of the sharks. Yeris, flying in low, clawed at the sharks as well, barely missing being bitten in half by one of the bloodthirsty creatures. Daelis let loose a bolt from his crossbow at the second shark, drawing blood.

Daegoth, leaping off the deck of the ship, crashed into the first shark, axe cutting into the beast and almost felling it, but instead sending it into a rage.

The other two sharks, gathering around the now fresh meal of their dying companion, attempted to take the lizardfolk down as well, but Daegoth managed to beat them back. The first shark attempted to shake off the dragon shaman, thrashing about as it slowly bled out, but Daegoth finally ended its struggle with another chop of his axe.

Nimlar hit again with his bow, this time on the second shark, and almost took it down. Daelis fired off his crossbow and hit the second shark, though still not killing it.

Daegoth, crashing into another of the sharks, slashed with his axe, teared with his claws, and bit with his very sharp teeth. It died.

The last shark, in a frantic attempt to still get a meal, bit at Daegoth, but it failed.

Nimlar fired another shot and hit the third shark, while his eagle clawed at the same shark, tearing an eye out and causing the beast to thrash and start to turn away, attempting to flee.

Daelis got another bolt into the beast, but it wasn’t enough to bring it down, so Daegoth swam towards it and took it down with a blow to the head with his axe.

The heroes brought up the shark’s bodies and the other carcass and began examining them. The carcass the sharks had been eating was an aquatic beast that lived near the Isle of Dread (and not a humanoid as the heroes thought). They ate the sharks, but kept the teeth for an amulet (Duerak) and for proof to give to the Iron Brigade representatives in Fort Blackwell, the first stop on their way to the Isle of Dread, to give them more prestige (Daegoth, Nimlar, Duerak, and Daelis).

The sun set on day one of the heroes’ voyage to the Isle of Dread.

Tuesday, July 20th, 1234 AY

The second day of travel along the Amedio coast was non-eventful (except for a chat between Jericho and Amella), leaving the heroes to their thoughts. They were finally realizing what a long voyage this really was. It began to dawn on them that they weren’t going to see Sasserine (which had been their home for over a month) for at least eight more months, and that fact put a slight pall in the air the first few days of the journey.

That day, Jericho attempted to “woo” the captain.

“You have beautiful eyes,” Jericho said, in a pathetic attempt to flirt with Amella. The captain looked at him in disbelief.
“Aren’t young a little young?”
“Physically not mentally, dear.”

She just kept staring…

Wednesday, July 21st, 1234 AY

On the third day, Lavinia sent a message via a rowboat piloted by one of her crew. She wanted to invite the heroes, their crew, and Avner Meravanchi over to the Blue Nixie for dinner to celebrate the start of the expedition. As dusk fell, the two ships drew close and a line was thrown between the two, a pulley was attached, and a net seat was hoisted, allowing for safe crossing between the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern.

Lavinia looked very fine that evening, dressed in a silk shirt, jewelry and a dress. She led the heroes into the ship’s galley, where the feast was to be held. The Blue Nixie was a bit bigger than the Sea Wyvern, and even after a couple of days, the party and their crew were much more relieved to get a little more elbow room.

A fine spread was laid out on the table, including grouse, peacock, and elven wine imported from Azatharia. Lavinia, the Jade Ravens, the heroes, their crew, and Avner sat down to eat.

“I know this is really weird,” Amella said to Daelis, who happened to be sitting next to her during the feast. “But you remind me…of my dead husband.”
“Uhh…”
“I’m sorry…that was a little awkward I know. But really, the resemblance is so uncanny…”
“Who was he?”
“Heldram Venkalie. He was a sailor, and a darn good one. We used to smuggle goods past numerous Dragon Armada ships. Unfortunately, my husband was killed by a group of gnomes. Their leader was a treacherous cur named Shortstone Badgewell.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…what happened?”
“We were doing business with the group, smuggled goods and the like, when they betrayed us and killed him.”
“Is he still alive?”
“Yes, unfortunately I haven’t found him yet.”

After a long silence, they went back to eating.

Later that evening, Rapton gave Lavinia a poem he had worked on the previous day.

She loved it.

Unfortunately however, Avner had talked to Lavinia and had gotten himself his own quarters, whining until their patron granted his request. The nobleman was flaunted this fact the next couple of days, further establishing his jerk status.

Jericho went back to the boat almost directly after the meal, using the neat seat and pulley system that had been set up. As he began to swing to the other side, the rope suddenly jerked and Jericho was falling…and then he was in the water, struggling to stay afloat.

As he thrashed about in the water, he saw a large jar plop into the water. The lid opened up by itself, and out came a small, blue, horned creature with bat-like wings (a mephit), screeching and lunging for Jericho. Pickled mephit

A lump of acid flew from the creature’s fingertips, not hitting Jericho but instead clumsily landing in the dark water and throwing up a cloud of steam as it sizzled in the ocean. Jericho had managed to calm himself to keep from drowning, but reached for his swords and remembered that he had traded them for his freedom. Luckily, he did have a kukri, and drew the curved weapon and attacked the mephit, wounded it, if only slightly.

The mephit, in response, shot a cloud of poisonous gas at him, but Jericho resisted the effects of the cloud and struck out with his kukri again, slicing the creature’s throat and silencing it.

After being thrown a rope and drying off, Jericho relayed the event to the other party members and Lavinia. Clearly, this was no accident, and the heroes were determined to find out the one who was responsible.

Saturday, July 24th, 1234 AY

Over the next three days, Daegoth and Poddle went fishing, Daelis, Amella, Nimlar, and Jericho practiced their swordsmanship and sparred each other, Rapton wrote poems, and Duerak slept.

The heroes noticed in that time that Lirith and Avner were “involved”, but it was obvious that Lirith just liked him for his wealth.

Jericho, noticing this going on (and still wondering about the incident with the mephit), went over to talk to them.

“Hello,” Jericho said, waltzing up to the couple boldly.
“Hi Jericho,” Lirith said awkwardly.
“Did you guys see my stunt a couple nights ago?” Jericho asked. “That involved me falling off the boat?”
“No,” Avner replied. “But we heard about it.”

Jericho was suspicious of their motives, and as such he suspected Avner (and possibly Lirith) of being involved with the “accident”.

Later, Jericho talked with Nimlar and Daelis about what they had said and how he thought Avner was lying. The latter two asked Avner the same question, and they both thought he was hiding something as well.

Jericho, Daelis, and Nimlar brought in Daegoth and Poddle on this turn of events, and they asked the pair to do a little intimidating.

“Avner,” Daegoth said, pulling the noble off to the side. “Do you know anything about the net collapsing and the mephit in the water that almost killed Jericho?”
“No,” Avner replied. “I don’t know a thing about it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m very sure.”
“Well, just so you know, if you are holding something back…I’m gonna have to hurt you. Like really bad.”
“How dare you threaten me! I did not do anything to Jericho!”
“Threaten you? You want to see threatening?”

Daegoth grabbed Avner by the neck, shoved him against the wall, and put his axe to the noble’s throat.

“Seriously!” Avner said, terrified. “I don’t know anything about it, please don’t hurt me!”

Poddle judged the noble’s reaction and was convinced…that he was telling the truth.

“He’s telling the truth, Daegoth.” Poddle said, believing the noble.
“Well, thanks for this chat,” Daegoth said, dropping Avner and leaving. “Oh and by the way, if you’re lying, I’m gonna kill you.”

Avner sat on the deck, hyperventilating.

At this time, the entire party was brought in on what they were doing here, and they came up with a plan on how to find out who did it.

They would gather as many people as possible into an area and Rapton would cast a spell, which made everyone in a certain zone have to tell the truth. They would systematically do this until they had asked everyone on the Sea Wyvern.

Every single person knew nothing about the incident.

Sunday, July 25th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes proceeded to do the same thing to everyone on the Blue Nixie. Still the same result.

The party returned to their ship empty-handed.

That day, after their afternoon meal, Poddle began to feel extremely sick. He managed to shake it off at first, but then he took a turn for the worse.

Rapton, casting a spell, found that Poddle had been poisoned. He was bed-ridden, being tended to by WAR and Metallica, while the heroes looked for the culprit.

When the heroes investigated the poisoning of Poddle, a colonist spoke up and said that he had seen Tovin Domini around the pantry, acting strange.

Unfortunately, another zone of truth directed at Tovin revealed that he knew nothing about it, and that he hadn’t even been near the pantry.

Again, the heroes weren’t any closer to solving the mystery.

Monday, July 26th, 1234 AY

The next day, the heroes decided that to find the culprit, they needed to search every inch of the ship. Rowyn

In the hold of the Sea Wyvern, the heroes found Roywn Kellani, the guildmistress of the Lotus Dragons that escaped their grasp. She had stowed away in the cargo hold of their ship and was not the same calm, collected individual that they had met in the guildhouse. She was high-strung, emotional, and utterly crazy.

Rapton, who found her first, immediately cast a spell and shot a jet of flame from his hands, setting Roywn on fire. Duerak, hearing the commotion, drew his bow and headed down the stairs to the hold to find Rapton, Daegoth, Nimlar and Daelis attacking Rowyn.

Daelis charged the psychotic Rowyn, stabbing her in the arm and causing her to screech in pain, pouring out curses and death threats. She seemed to ignore the fire now engulfing her clothing, however.

Rowyn slashed Daelis with her own blade, and howled in glee, even though the wound was fairly minor and she was surrounded by her enemies.

Daegoth, lifting his great waraxe, cut Rowyn’s head off.

The heroes looted her numerous magical items and various other equipment, including scrolls, magical leather armor, potions, and her magical rapier. Then, they burned her body (though they kept her head for future purposes…)

Tuesday, July 27th, 1234 AY

The next day, the Sea Wyvern was attacked by a lone gargoyle, a water species called a kapoacinth.

During the following battle, Poddle got out of bed (he was still sick, but getting better) and went into Avner’s room, stole his clothes and his wine, and threw them overboard (well, the clothes anyway), all the while laughing maniacally. He then put Rowyn’s head in the empty chest that had once held Avner’s clothes.

Back on deck, the gargoyle swooped in on the ship, going for Jericho. The duskblade, who was navigating at the time, drew his swords, launched himself off of the wheel, and clipped the gargoyle’s wings, knocking it to the ground. Daelis, drawing his own blade and rushing towards the downed kapoacinth, delivered a killing blow to the head, finishing the monster.

Later Urol Furol the gnome introduced himself to Daelis and they had a conversation.

“So, why are you on the voyage?” Urol asked, his face showing extreme interest.
“Well, my companions and myself are accompanying Lavinia on her voyage to Farshore.”
“Oh right, you’re with the group of adventurers that work for her! Nice to meet you, I’m Urol Furol.”
“My name is Daelis Eagleheart, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
“No really, the pleasure is all mine! I was once an adventurer myself, but those days are long behind me…”
“Really? Do you have any good stories you’d like to share?”
“I could spin a tale or two…we have the time of course…”
“That we do,” Daelis laughed.
“I actually went to the Isle of Dread once…fascinating place. Sadly, my stay on the island was unfortunately short—due to events beyond my control, I might add! We’ve certainly nothing to fear this time around!”
“I’m glad we have someone with at least a little experience with our destination…Other than the natives I guess.”
“Ahh the natives! Fascinating culture…The Olmans, or as they call themselves, the Uliri’Olma-Ixlata, are a people that used to have a vast empire…but, according to their legends, their capital Thanaclan was destroyed by a giant black pearl, which dominoed across their empire and ultimately brought about their downfall…”

Daelis wasn’t expecting that one.

“That’s very interesting, we had a run-in with a similar pearl not so long ago…”
“Really?” The old gnome said. “Was it obsidian, about the size of your fist, and you could see things swirling around in it?”
“Yes that sounds correct. We found it shattered in a cove infested with savage creatures…men turned into monsters.”
“Hmmm…Very interesting…”
“It seems that the pearl exploded and released some kind of gas, which changed everyone in the cove.”
“That description is very similar to the legends of the downfall of Thanaclan…here read this.”

Urol left to get a dusty tome and read a passage aloud to Daelis.

“…Unleashed from the cruel heart of the fell seed known as the Shadow Pearl, the wave swept over an ancient city perched atop the crown of a remote island. The tide transformed beggar and noble, merchant and thief, resident and visitor into feral, ravenous fiends. The fruits of centuries of labor came crumbling down in a matter of days, and when the survivors tried to stem the tide by destroying the pearl, the resulting blast of power sunk the city into a boiling lake of death."
“….Wow that’s incredible.”
“Do you think the two could be related? If not, the coincidence would be incredible…”
“It seems they must be,” Daelis replied. “I hope we don’t encounter another…”

And with that ominous statement, the conversation ended.

Wednesday, July 28th, 1234 AY

On the coastline of the Amedio Jungle, there laid a teetering stone village. The heroes passed it.

That afternoon, Avner finally noticed that his items were missing (and saw Rowyn’s head), and came to the heroes to complain.

“Who stole my clothes?!” Avner said, huffing and puffing haughtily. “And my wine?!”
“Calm down,” Jericho said. “I don’t know who took your clothes, but I’ll investigate.”
“Alright…”
“Now just go to your room, and I’ll give you some of my clothes.”

Poddle, being his usual devious self, decided to further the web. He pulled Avner aside and blatantly lied to him.

“Who do you think stole your clothes? The demon-possessed kid. I saw him after the gargoyle attack, going downstairs to the quarters. His eyes were red, just like before.”
“What do you suppose we do?”
“Tell the captain and throw him overboard.”
“What are you talking about? We can’t kill him!”
“Who said we were going to kill him?”
“Then what?”
“We’ll let the ocean decide.”

Avner went up to Jericho and accused him of taking his wine. Jericho admitted to it, even though he didn’t do it.

“You took my wine and my clothes, didn’t you?!”
“I didn’t take your clothes. I don’t like your style.”
“Well…that is very insulting, but still! You did take my clothes! He said so!”

Avner pointed to Poddle.

After more arguing, Avner spoke up again.

“That was extremely expensive wine! I’m taking this up with the captain!”
“If you’re taking this up with the captain,” Jericho said. “You better find yourself a new navigator.”

When Avner insisted, Jericho made a sharp turn to the right, sending Avner flying off deck into the ocean.

Daegoth, always the honorable one, leaped into the water after him, and Nimlar threw a rope to help them on board. Avner, not getting the message, still complained to the captain.

Amella dealt out captain’s justice and decreed that Jericho had to spend a day in the brig and give Avner almost all his clothes and something from his inventory. Avner took one of Jericho’s favorite wands, so the duskblade punched him. Avner got his other wand as well.

Jericho was in a foul mood.

While this was going on, Poddle decided to play another little trick on Avner. He made a trap. A rope tied to the ceiling and then a noose on the ground, that when stepped on, launched the victim into the air and left him hanging.

Literally.

Meanwhile, Jericho talked Nimlar into going into Avner’s room and stealing the duskblade’s wands back. Nimlar, who had grown to trust Jericho, agreed.

That night, Nimlar sneaked into Avner’s room…and was caught in a rope, launched to the ceiling, and hung by one leg from it.

Avner drowsily came awake…

“What’s happening?”

The noble grabbed a candle and lit it, shocked to see someone hanging from his ceiling. Nimlar grabbed his bow, drew an arrow, knocked off the tip, and shot it, knocking the candle from his hand.

Avner screamed and ran forward, slamming into Nimlar and knocking himself to the ground.

And…the lit candle set Avner’s bed on fire.

It was about this time that Poddle entered the scene.

“Whoa! What’s happening?” Fire pillow

Poddle decided to attempt to put out the fire…with a pillow. The pillow went on fire as well. The kobold threw the flaming pillow, which narrowly missed Avner.

And then Rapton entered.

“What the heck?”

Rapton put out the fire with a spell, shooting forth water from his outstretched palm.

Daegoth, Daelis, and Amella also came running on to the scene.

“What happened here?” Amella said.
“Captain,” Poddle said. “I have no idea what happened. I heard some screaming in here, I ran in—”
“Shut up. Someone better tell me what happened here in the next five seconds or I’m going to be very, very mad.”
“What did I say?” Poddle said.
“I’m waiting,” Amella said impatiently. “Anyone want to explain this?”
“It was my fault,” Rapton said. “My candle dropped.”
“Well, what were you doing in this room?”
“Uhh…We were having a party!”
“Okay…What kind of a party?”
“I can’t exactly tell you what happened because I’m so drunk right now.”

It was at this point that Avner came to.

“Avner,” Amella said, really losing her patience now. “Do you know what happened here?”
“I just woke up…and I didn’t know what was going on…”
“Don’t you remember the party?” Rapton said, nudging the others to play along.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you remember?” Nimlar said, catching on. “We were having such a fun time that I accidentally hit your head with my mug?”
“What? I don’t remember this…LEAVE ME ALONE!”

The heroes and Amella argued some more, and then Avner whimpered something.

“Can I…go to sleep now?”
“Of course.”
“Oh, well I guess I can’t…my sheets are burned to a crisp.”
“And you’re pillow is burned to a crisp!”
“You can use my sheets and pillows,” Daegoth said kindly. “I don’t use them anyway, I sleep up on deck.”
“Alright…thank you.”

Avner whimpered and climbed into bed.

Nimlar, however, did manage to grab Jericho’s two wands in the confusion…

Thursday, July 29th, 1234 AY

Daegoth and Kurgol went fishing most of the day, getting to know each other even more. Daegoth finally understood why the half-orc was so sad when he told him this: the gnome friend he had (the person Poddle stole money from) committed suicide two weeks ago.

The party’s attitude towards Kurgol was a lot less hostile after that…

Friday, July 30th, 1234 AY

The day was non-eventful, except for a small chat between Daelis and Father Feres.

“So, what brings a priest to a perilous place like the Isle of Dread?” Daelis asked. Storm clouds
“Ehh, I just want to help the destitute people who live on the island, of course…”
“Well that is a noble cause. There isn’t any personal incentive?”
“No, of course not!”

After an awkward silence, Daelis ended the conversation.

“Well, its been good talking to you. We appreciate your selfless contribution to our journey.”

Father Feres excused himself and walked away.

Saturday, July 31st, 1234 AY

That Saturday, the heroes finally came in sight of their first resting stop: Fort Blackwell. The skies grew ever darker as they came in sight of the settlement, promising the first storm of the voyage.

View
Chapter 9: The Heads of the Hydra
The heroes head to the ruined temple of Axuzitocl, defeat its guardian, and are guests of honor at a banquet.

Savage Tide

Interlude I
Chapter 9: The Heads of the Hydra

Our Cast:

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Sunday, July 4th, 1234 AY

After the shocking revelation of the assassins’ disappearance, the heroes explained the situation to the rest of the clergy of Chayus, who, though skeptical at first, believed them and then put their poor brother to rest.

The party met up with the others (Daegoth, Nimlar, and Rapton), explained the events of the past few days to them, and then they started to prepare for their expedition to the temple of Axuzitocl.

While Nimlar had been away, he had befriended a native harpy eagle named Yeris. It had become his companion and seemed to follow him around everywhere.

Monday, July 5th, 1234 AY

The next day the party headed out, everyone in tow, to the ruined temple complex known as Beroarak’s Maw.

Tuesday, July 6th, 1234 AY

On the second day of the trip, the heroes were ambushed by a linnorm, a great wingless wyrm that came from the vine-choked trees of the jungle to come upon the unsuspecting expedition. Poddle, Daegoth, and Rapton were separated from the other four members (Daelis, Nimlar, Jericho, and Duerak) and were forced to split up.

The four decided in this case the best option was to continue on to Beroarak’s Maw and meet up with the others there.

Friday, July 9th, 1234 AY

The party reached the Hungry Fish River, a dangerous body of water said to contain man-eating fish. Across the banks of the river was Beroarak’s Maw.

Nimlar used his rope and masterfully threw it across the river, securing it to a branch on the other side with the grappling hook. The elf shimmied across the rope and landed gracefully on the other side, waiting for the others to do the same.

Daelis, Duerak, and Jericho followed, though their technique paled in comparison to Nimlar’s.

The four reached the temple in one piece, the entrance a 30-foot-tall, vine-choked sculpture of a gigantic crocodile or dragon’s head, and got ready to wait for the others.

Jericho and Duerak scouted the area, making sure no foul creatures lay nearby, but Daelis and Nimlar had another idea. They didn’t wait for the others and entered Beroarak’s Maw on their own, confident they could handle whatever the temple could throw at them.

They were wrong.

An owlbear mother had made its nest in the first chamber of the temple, and she did not want to be disturbed. She roared and charged as her babies screeched in alarm as they sat in the nest. Owlbear

Daelis met the charge of the owlbear and managed to get a slash in at its hide, but the deadly creature shrugged the attack off. Nimlar fired off two arrows, but only one hit and that one was also shrugged off by the beast.

The owlbear lifted one claw and laid into Daelis, who barely kept himself standing.

The fight continued, the heroes scoring minor hits on the owlbear, and the owlbear pummeling the two.

Finally, when Daelis was on the verge of falling and the owlbear seemed to be on its last legs as well, Nimlar had to make a fateful shot that would end the battle, and missed.

Daelis was mauled into unconsciousness.

The owlbear closed in on the ranger, who could not draw his sword in time and was able to get out only one other weapon, his keen dagger.

One stab made the beast about to fall…and Yeris finished off the wounded beast with a strike to the mortally wounded creature’s face.

Jericho and Duerak made it there just in time to see the owlbear fall.

The heroes, with the exclusion of Daelis, who was unconscious at the moment, captured the owlbear younglings, cut up the mother owlbear and fed it to them, and sent Duerak (while promising to avenge his comrades) back to Sasserine to give them to the Iron Brigade (the organization could make great use of guardian beasts such as these).

Sunday, July 11th, 1234 AY

Nimlar, Daelis, and Jericho rested in the first chamber of the temple for two days, regaining their strength and waiting for the other members of the party to arrive. When they didn’t come, the three decided to continue on alone, facing whatever dangers awaited them.

Nimlar went ahead, scouting the hallway that first went out of the chamber. At the end of said hallway, he found two doors, one on the left and one straight ahead.

They went straight.

They found a room with a large number of barrels and crates, some kind of storage chamber, which had a large well in the middle.

In the various barrels and crates, the heroes found many different basic supplies, including food, water, rope, tents, etc. They also found some gems (a bloodstone and three golden pearls) as well as a watertight scroll tube (with three scrolls inside) and a wand in the bottom of the well.

They passed by the room and went straight ahead once again, entering a large chamber that held many interesting features.

In the middle of the room was a large circular arcane symbol, its edges etched with runes and incantations written in Olman, which Jericho recognized. Huddled within the circle were three adventurers, their faces filled with despair and misery.

“Don’t come any closer!” They screamed. “It will kill you!”

To the left was the giant corpse of a large wyrm—the same type of creature that ambushed the heroes earlier.

At the back of the chamber lay a large platform led up to by a set of stairs with a flaming brazier on each side. On the platform was another symbol, this time a red snake. Standing on this symbol was the ghostly visage of a long-dead Olman priest. Ghost

“Why do you disturb my rest?” It rasped.
“Are you the one who has tormented these adventurers?” Nimlar asked of the spirit.
“Yes,” the priest coughed. “They also disturbed my rest and killed one of my guardians.”

When the heroes did not take the hint and leave, the spirit croaked a horrible cry.

“Leave now or face my wrath!”

All the while, the adventurers whimpered pitifully, their voices a reminder of what happened to the last group that crossed the ghost.

“We’re looking for a great beast that lives in this temple," Nimlar said, trying to reason with the priest. “Do you know where it is?”
“Yes I know the beast,” The spirit rasped quietly. "He is directly underneath you.”
“Do you know a way to get down there?”
“Yes I do.”

The stone on which the arcane circle was drawn then began to crumble, the adventurers falling to their doom in the pit below.

Out from the depths came the beast they had been looking for—the hydra.

Daelis, whipping out his crossbow, immediately got a shot off and hit the hydra in the shoulder…only to have it immediately heal.

“Crap.”

The hydra charged at the three companions, its five heads roaring furiously and twisting about. The heads struck simultaneously at the three, and though Daelis and Jericho managed to dodge the attacks, Nimlar was hit.

Nimlar, desperately firing arrows, tried to hit the heads, the only weak spots the beast seemed to have, while Yeris clawed at the hydra’s face. Hydra

Daelis cut off one of the heads, driving his rapier through the neck. Almost at once, two new heads began to form from the stump. Daelis, not even thinking about what he was doing, shoved the torch he carried in his other hand into the dead stump.

It became lifeless.

The heroes, though injured almost to the brink of death (Jericho going unconscious at one point), systematically cut off the hydra’s remaining heads and burned the stumps, killing the great beast.

“I give you credit for defeating my guardian,” The ghostly Olman priest said as the hydra fell. “I will allow you to leave in peace—if you offer a donation of treasure.”

The heroes agreed to these terms, and after giving the specter a thousand gold (and the specter giving them a blessing in the name of Axuzitocl), left with the five heads of the hydra and two barrels of hydra blood in tow.

Apparently, hydra blood is a healing agent.

After sending Jericho to find the other party members and to bring them to Sasserine (so they could pick up Daelis and Nimlar at Kraken’s Cove), the half-elf and the elf built a raft made out of the various barrels and crates found in the temple and set adrift on the Hungry Fish River, with plans to follow it to Blood Bay and then eventually Kraken’s Cove.

Thursday, July 15th, 1234 AY

On July 15th, the pair reached Kraken’s Cove, and found that all the savage creatures in the cove had been killed. All that was left to bear witness to the tragedy that took place here was numerous skeletons and barren jungle beyond.

Friday, July 16th, 1234 AY

The next day, the rest of the party arrived on the Hairless Bonobo. They headed out to Sasserine and reached it the next day.

Saturday, July 17th, 1234 AY

Daelis and Nimlar gave the hydra heads to the Iron Brigade, significantly increasing their status within the organization. They sold a large amount of the healing agent (made from hydra blood) to various merchants, and sold some to a researcher since hydra blood had not been used for healing before. The pair also participated in a battle at the Sasserine Arena, where they slew a great tiger.

Later that evening, the entire party attended a large banquet in their honor, held for their noble feat of defeating the Lotus Dragons (Nimlar wore his magical chain shirt, transforming them into amazing clothes). There was dancing, music (played by a popular band of gnomes) and lots of food.

Daegoth and Poddle came in first: Daegoth went straight for the food, but Poddle soaked in the attention, since everyone was clapping for the “honored guests”.

When Daelis and Nimlar entered, they saw a familiar face: Heldrath Kellani, the mother of Rowyn, and also the one who sent stilt-walking and dancing assassins after them. Heldrath kellani

They reported this to Lavinia, who said she would bring it before the council tomorrow, and promised to keep an eye on her during the banquet.

Daegoth, after eating a bunch, arm-wrestled Tolin Kientai while Poddle was off socializing. The kobold went up to a beautiful female noble and asked her to dance with his “friend” Daegoth. She declined and walked away.

Poddle came back and then Daegoth arm-wrestled him…and smashed his arm through the table.

Liamae Teslikaria, as soon as she saw Nimlar, walked up to him and asked him to dance. Politely, Nimlar accepted.

While this was happening, Daelis decided to go talk to the various Jade Ravens, starting with Kaskus. They talked about mundane things, but nothing interesting, so Daelis moved on to Zan Oldavin. Zan oldavin

They talked about normal things for a while, before Zan asked Daelis something.

“Why do you travel with an Azatharian elf?” He said, referring to Nimlar. “They are undeniably racist against half-elves, you must know by now.”
“Nimlar isn’t,” Daelis answered. “He was…raised differently. He doesn’t have the same bias that other Azatharians have. But trust me, I know what you are talking about. I grew up in Torius because my parents were forced to flee Azatharia to stop the persecution.”
“Sad. This happens to so many half-elves these days. I was raised here, because of the same situation.”

Nimlar was still dancing.

Rapton, in an attempt to impress Lavinia, went up to a buff bouncer and used a spell on him, causing him to run away in terror. Then he looked back at Lavinia and winked.

Daelis went to talk to Tolin Kientai, who seemed distracted.

“What’s wrong, Tolin?” Daelis asked.
“What? Oh, nothing. I was just distracted.” Daelis glanced over his shoulder to where he had been looking. He saw Rapton showing off for Lavinia, and understood.
“Look,” Tolin said, looking around to make sure no one was listening. “Could I tell you something?”
“Of course.”
“You won’t tell anyone, right?”
“I promise.”
“I kind of…like Lavinia, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh, yes I understand.”
“It just bugs me that Lavinia would go for a weird fey creature. Rapton just doesn’t seem her type.”
“Oh trust me, I don’t quite get it either.” Tolin kientai

Daegoth, going up to Lavinia, asked her if she had found anything about his brother, Krazog.

“We haven’t heard anything yet,” Lavinia said. “But you might see him soon.”
“See him?” Daegoth asked, confused. “How?”
“Don’t tell the others, but we’re planning a voyage to the Isle of Dread. We’re going to take the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern, your newly acquired ship, and sail to the isle to supply my parent’s colony, Farshore. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Anyway, you will see your brother soon enough, and I’m sure you’ll be able to rectify the situation there.”

It was about this time that Nimlar finished dancing.

Nimlar went over to the chef and asked him about the food, complimenting him on his kitchen skills. He then proceeded to ask him if he had heard any rumors about Azatharia lately. The chef said he hadn’t heard anything.

Nimlar went over to a corner, looking around the room, when Daelis met him. They stood their chatting, when Heldrath Kellani promptly interrupted their conversation.

“I just want to make this abundantly clear,” Heldrath said, staring at them coldly. “If you ever come near me or one of my daughters again, I will not hesitate to kill you myself.”
“Let me make THIS clear,” Nimlar replied, sticking an arrow into the wall next to her head. “If you ever threaten MY friends, I’ll kill YOU!”

Heldrath walked away.

Nimlar took the arrow out of the wall.

Nimlar, going to get some food, saw a random person and decided to talk to him.

“Good evening,” Nimlar said, bowing politely.
“Good evening,” the random person said. “My name is Tovin Domini, what’s yours?”
“Nimlar Sumel.”
“Oh, this banquet is about you right? You and the other adventurers?”
“Yes,” Nimlar said. “But it’s mostly for them, I’m just the one who sits back and shoot arrows.”
“You’re an archer?” Tovin asked, interested.
Nimlar nodded.
“I’ve picked up the bow myself.”
“Really? What kind of bow?” Tovin domini

And they went on to talk about bows in their various forms. After their discussion, Nimlar asked Tovin Domini if he had heard anything about his kingdom, Azatharia.

“Well, actually I just heard some really disturbing news,” Tovin said, looking concerned. “Azatharia went to war with Torius.”

Both Daelis and Nimlar were distressed at this news, so Nimlar asked him another question.

“Do you know why they’re fighting?”
“Trade disputes,” Tovin said, though he looked doubtful. “That’s what they say at least. I really think its because Azatharia is taking their racist prejudices to the next level, trying to wipe out their inferiors. They want to have some kind of ‘racial purification’.”
“So Azatharia is the one who started it all?”

Tovin nodded.

“How long has this war been going on?” Nimlar asked.
“They say it just started some time in early June.”

After this, Tovin excused himself to join a dance, so the pair got something to eat.

Meanwhile, the other heroes were having a drinking contest; except Duerak, he was randomly hugging people.

Daegoth won the drinking contest.

Later, a young noble with a handlebar mustache came up to Daelis and Nimlar and engaged them in conversation, though he was quite annoying.

“Hello!” The young man said, sizing them up. “I heard this banquet was held to commemorate your…services. My name is Avner Meravanchi, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you,” Daelis replied politely.
“You’re Daelis right? Daelis Eagleheart?” Avner said as Daelis nodded. “And Nimlar Sumel! I’ve heard about you, you’re the nephew to the king of Azatharia right?”
“Yes,” Nimlar confirmed, though the word had a bitter taste on his mouth.
“Oh, I heard about the news, a war going on between Azatharia and Torius?”
“I just learned recently as well.”
“Oh, shocking isn’t it?”
“Yes, I’m wondering if I should leave right now…”
“Well, I don’t know if there’s much you could do in that situation. Baeldeth is a powerful man.”
“Enough about me, what do you do?”
“I’m a noble, son to Zebulah Meravanchi, a very important noble in the city. We handle all sorts of affairs, like…” Avner meravanchi

And he went on and on about the accomplishments of the Meravanchi name. All the while, the pair was trying to remember anything they could about the Meravanchi’s…but the name didn’t ring a bell.

“Hmmm…I don’t recognize that name,” Daelis said, thinking intensely.
“What are you talking about? Of course you—How could you not recognize the name of the Meravanchi’s? How long have you been in Sasserine, like seriously?”
“About a month I guess,” Nimlar said. “But we are always out on adventures—”
“Oh you’re adventurers…” Avner said, barely hiding his disgust.
“You might know Rapton,” Daelis piped in.
“Oh…the green dude?” Avner said, still disgusted. “He is an abomination to society! I can’t believe they let him in—wait, you know him?”
“Yes,” Daelis said. “He’s our cleric.”
“Sorry, but…nevermind. I have nothing to say on THAT subject.”

The conversation deteriorated from them, so Avner excused himself.

After this, Daelis and Nimlar went out onto a balcony, contemplating their pitiful existences…when suddenly Nimlar collapsed.

Nimlar dropped to the balcony, memories flashing before his eyes. Then he was on a high hill overlooking Azatharia, when green waves of energy suddenly engulfed the countryside. Then he was falling…falling…and then, materializing from the darkness, a black pearl. It exploded, and then the men and women that surrounded him were deformed and hideous, transformed by the pearl.

Nimlar woke up.

He was sweating and convulsing on the balcony when Daelis’ voice finally became clear.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, shaking the downed elf.
“Cousin?” Nimlar said, somehow realizing the fact as he looked upon the face of Daelis.
“What? I’m not your cousin!” Daelis said.
“Yes, you are.”
“How do you know that?”
“What’s your mothers name?”
“Amena Eagleheart”
“What was her maiden name?”
“Amena Sumel.”
“That was the name of my father’s sister,” Nimlar said, trying to piece the puzzle together for Daelis. “She ran away because she married a human, and that was forbidden in my country. She left for Torius.”
“What? That is my mother!”
“Wait. How did you know that?”
“I don’t know.”

Nimlar then continued to tell Daelis the rest of his vision, and the half-elf immediately recognized the description of the pearl.

“The Shadow Pearl,” Daelis said to a confused Nimlar. “You weren’t there, but the pearl that we found shattered in Kraken’s Cove—it turned everyone there into monsters.”
“Also, there was this green energy,” Nimlar said. “I don’t know if that means anything, but I wanted to tell you.”
“That’s what Harliss said,” Daelis told him. “Oh my goodness. You had a vision…of the Shadow Pearl.”
“How do you know its name?” Nimlar asked.
“I don’t know, it just—came to me.” Shadowpearl

Silence.

Then Lavinia walked out onto the balcony.

“Is everything all right?” She said, wondering what just happened.
“Did you just have a vision like me?” Nimlar asked.
“No,” Lavinia said, confused. “What are you talking about?”
“I just had a vision of the Shadow Pearl.”
“You mean the pearl you found in Kraken’s Cove?”
“Yes.”
“Wasn’t it the thing that turned everyone there into monsters?”
“I saw it destroy my homeland.”
“Has this ever happened before?”
“No, I’m guessing its some kind of revelation from the gods.”
“You might want to go see the Arcanists,” Lavinia said. “They’re a group of wizards and other arcane experts that might be able to help you understand what that vision meant.”
“Do you believe him?” Lavinia said to Daelis. “Do you think he really had a vision?”
“Yes,” Daelis said.
“Well anyway,” Lavinia said, shaking off the weird event and getting down to business. “I came because they’re ending the ceremony now. Worrin Lidu is going to present you with the Medallion of Sasserine.”

The heroes headed to the ceremony.

The band of gnomes that were entertaining that evening played a tune while Worrin Lidu presented each of the heroes with a medallion.

“I’d like to present you with the Medallion of Sasserine,” he said to each of the heroes as he gave them their honorary medals.

The banquet hall burst into applause.

Afterward, the gnomes played a special song for the heroes…which happened to be less encouraging than they would have thought. It titled “Chosen One” and was all about how heroes are nothing new and that its bad luck to be one.

The banquet ended there, and the heroes headed back to the Vanderboren Manor to spend the night.

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Chapter 8: The Tattoo
The heroes go back to Kraken's Cove and claim the Sea Wyvern, get in a barfight, and are attacked by mysterious assassins.

Savage Tide

Interlude I
Chapter 8: The Tattoo

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Tainted Human Duskblade

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

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

Thursday, July 1st, 1234 AY

The party regrouped at the Vanderboren Manor to decide what to do next. Daelis, Nimlar, and Daegoth had heard rumors of a giant reptilian beast that made its lair in a ruined temple to the south, and so talked with the others of the possibility of heading there. As it turns out, Rapton and Poddle had talked with another Killoren village in the area and the settlement had agreed to open negotiations with Sasserine if the heroes could recover an artifact with great natural power found in the same ruined temple complex. Striker had also been given a mission from The Noseon Society which sent him to the same temple, where he would recover an Olman relic. The party decided to wait a couple of days, however, before venturing there, to do some shopping and minor exploring beforehand.

Nimlar and Daegoth decided to help out at the Iron Brigade, doing various chores and other menial tasks. Rapton reported to The Sanction of the success of his mission and of the possibility of another village joining, and then spent the rest of his time working out treaties and other official papers for his organization.

The other three, (Daelis, Poddle, and Striker) were wandering Sasserine when they were approached by a huge bronze-skinned man. Duerak gildas

“I am Duerak Gildas,” he said bowing. “It has come to my attention that you plan to head to a ruined temple complex…is this true?”
“Yes,” Daelis answered. “We are going there.”
“If I may, I would like to accompany you,” Duerak said quickly. “You see, I was recently part of an expedition sent by the Iron Brigade to explore the same complex, but the rest of my party was killed by some kind of giant reptile. I barely made it out alive. I would like to avenge my companions, and slay this foul beast that has caused me much grief.”
“We would be happy to have you,” Daelis said, smiling. “But we aren’t heading out for a couple of days yet. You could keep us company if you like until then.”
“It is agreed then,” Duerak said, reaching out his hand.

The two shook.

The current group, (Daelis, Poddle, Striker, and Duerak) decided to head back to Kraken’s Cove to claim the ship that survived there, as well as possibly doing a bit more exploring and killing some monsters.

They paid Crazy Pete to take them to the Cove once more, and hired a labor crew that would get the abandoned ship back to Sasserine. On the way there, Crazy Pete kept looking at Striker strangely…

Friday, July 2nd, 1234 AY

Reaching the cove, the heroes saw that the abandoned ship was still waiting for them, ready to be claimed. The nameplate titled the ship “The Sea Wyvern”.

While the labor crew hauled the Sea Wyvern off, the heroes decided to try to lure out anymore of the savage creatures that might be in the cove. They banged on their weapons and shields, making loud noises in an attempt to lure the creatures out of the caves.

Three savage pirates, two lackeys and what looked to once be a cook. He wore a chef’s hat and held in his hand a bloody cleaver.

The two lackeys immediately charged at Daelis and Striker, but the two warriors managed to fend off their clumsy swipes. Striker counter-attacked and took off a pirate’s head, the beheaded corpse falling limply to the ground.

Daelis wasn’t as lucky and barely managed to fend off his combatant, missing with his rapier as Duerak flanked the pirate, but the fighter missed with his mighty axe as well.

The cook, heading to Poddle, swiped with his cleaver, but the kobold dodged his blow and tried to bring his greatsword to bear against the creature. The cook deflected the strike with his cleaver and snarled.

Daelis, still locked in combat with a pirate, blocked another blow as Striker landed a hit on it, causing the creature to growl in fury. Daelis then finished off the savage pirate, stabbing it through the heart and letting it slide from his blade.

Duerak, going for the cook, swung his axe in a wide arc, slicing the chef’s stomach and spilling its innards. The cook, in a desperate last strike, hit Poddle with a backhand swipe with his cleaver, but the kobold soon finished off the dying pirate with a stab from his greatsword.

Poddle, who had noticed that in the battle with the pirates Striker had been acting strangely, was convinced that he had somehow become infected with the same thing that turned the pirates into mindless monsters.

He drop kicked him in the stomach.

“Why the heck did you do that?!” Daelis yelled, shocked.
“He’s turning into one of them!” Poddle said. “One of the monsters! He’s been acting strangely since we got to the cove!”

Poddle had Metallica tie the helpless Striker up and bring him into a nearby cave, one that seemed to have served as a meal hall before the Shadow Pearl had activated.

“What was that for?” Striker asked as he came back to consciousness.
“Because you’re…sick!” Poddle exclaimed, getting ready to interrogate his friend.

Metallica set him up against the wall of the cave, but Poddle objected.

“Metallica! What are you doing? Put him in a chair like a civilized person!”

Metallica hefted Striker into one of the many chairs that lay overturned around the chamber, but didn’t get far before Poddle interrupted.

“Now kick him off.”

Metallica complied.

Poddle grabbed his greatsword and put the tip against the soft skin of Striker’s neck.

“Why are you acting strange?!” Poddle questioned the Duskblade.

By this time, Duerak had excused himself, wondering what kind of companions he had that turned amongst themselves at the first sign of anything wrong. He thought this was all a little weird.

“I’ll tell you,” Striker surrendered. “I’ve been hiding it for too long already.”

“I was born in the Torusian town of Balus,” Striker said, and that news, Daelis was slightly shocked, since that was the town he grew up in. "When I was four years old, an elven assassin killed my parents. His name was Tahlavel Maran.

“For some reason, Tahlavel didn’t kill me. He brought me to the neighboring kingdom of Azatharia, where I grew up in the small elven village of Gilvanna. It’s not called Gilvanna now of course, but I’ll get to that.

“As I grew up among the elves, I noticed that weird things were happening inside me. I don’t know if it was hereditary or because of some foul magic, but I am part demon. Nobody liked me in Gilvanna, so I learned to get by on my own until a Duskblade decided to teach me what he knew. His other students hated me, but he persisted, and taught me everything I know today.

“When I was thirteen, something happened inside of me, something took control. I blacked out, and when I awoke, my entire village was destroyed, everyone dead. You may have heard of the village. Kazgar, its now called, the elven word for “grave”.

“I wandered for three years before coming to Sasserine, where I met all of you. I hope you can understand that I did not do those horrible things of my own free will. Its this thing…inside.

“My name, is Jericho Moonscar.”

The heroes accepted Striker’s story and as a result, everyone started to trust each other just a little better.

The party decided that they had done enough exploring and wanted to head back to Sasserine to take a load off and maybe head to a tavern to relax. With the labor crew getting the Sea Wyvern ready to go, the group sailed back to Sasserine on the Hairless Bonobo.

Saturday, July 3rd, 1234 AY

The heroes arrived in Sasserine in the evening on Saturday and went on the lookout for a good tavern. They headed to Rumblegut’s, not really because of its famous reputation, but because of its infamous reputation.

Hey, a good bar fight every once in a while is a vital part of the adventurer profession!

When the heroes arrived at the tavern (excluded Duerak, who decided to play it safe and wait outside), they saw a familiar face: Kurgol the half-orc, the friend of the gnome that Poddle had stolen from.

Poddle decided to have a little fun. He snuck up to the half-orc and attempted to use sleight of hand to lift his money pouch.

He failed.

Poddle fell to the ground, spilling gold in every direction. He looked sheepishly to his comrades, who were slapping their foreheads and preparing for a fight.

Daelis, always quick, blurted out: “Hey! Why’d you push my friend!”

“Are you serious?” Kurgol said, disgusted as he recognized the two. “I’m so sick of you guys!”
“Have you had too much to drink sir! I don’t know you!” Poddle said, catching on to Daelis’ idea and then glancing over to the bartender. “Bartender! How much beer did you give this guy?”
“He’s only had one shot, man!” The bartender said, confused.
“How big was that shot?” Poddle said, playing along as long as he could. “Do half-orcs use some kind of different measurement?”
“That’s it,” Kurgol said as he rolled up his sleeves. “I’m ending this—”

But that was as far as he got as Jericho’s fist connected with his face.

Everything started to go downhill from there, so Poddle gathered up the coins on the ground and booked it.

“Did you get me a pint?” Duerak said, as he saw Poddle exit the tavern.
“No, but I got you some gold!” Poddle answered as he and the half-dwarf high-tailed it out of there. “Let’s go!”

Back in the tavern, the fight was underway. Daelis grabbed out his sap and swung at Kurgol, coonnecting solidly. Jericho kicked at the half-orc’s head, but Kurgol ducked and then head-butted the badly positioned Duskblade, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Daelis swung with his sap, but Kurgol easily side-stepped it and dodged a blow from Jericho as well, coming in hard with a punch that dazed the human once again.

Jericho attempted a kick to the half-orc’s stomach, but the half-orc grabbed his foot and held him fast. The half-orc ducked as Daelis swung his sap, leaving the half-elf off guard.

Kurgol than unceremoniously dropped Jericho to the ground.

Daelis, recovering from his clumsy miss, took a strike at the half-orc’s legs, trying to trip him up, but Kurgol leaped atop a table and sneered. Jericho jumped atop the same table and tried to smash a wine bottle atop the half-orc’s head—and failed as the half-orc ducked and then jumped atop Daelis, punching rapidly.

Daelis returned the attack with a rap with his sap across Kurgol’s head. This dazed Kurgol just enough so Jericho could leap atop the half-orc, using both hilts of his swords to slam in from behind. Kurgol fell to the ground, whimpering.

“I give up,” he said.

The heroes left Rumblegut’s and headed back to the Vanderboren Manor, laughing and joking about their run in with Kurgol. They were walking over a bridge when Poddle and Duerak noticed something odd. Four fishermen, sitting on opposite sides of the canal, looked suspicous, and when the pair saw a concealed weapon on one of them, they immediately sprung into action. Elven assassin

Poddle turned around immediately, coming face to face with two assassins that were coming at them from behind. The kobold vaulted over the cloaked figure, drawing his greatsword in the same movement and slicing off the assassins arm. Crying out in pain, the assassin desperately lunged at Poddle, managing to get a glancing blow on the kobold’s arm.

Duerak, reacting quickly, drew his shortbow and fired off a spectacular shot, killing one of the disguised assassins posing as a fisherman with an arrow between the eyes.

“What did I do wrong?” Duerak yelled as he dodged an arrow from one of the assassins.
“You joined us!” Daelis replied as he too was almost hit with an arrow.

Jericho wasn’t so lucky, taking a nick from one of the arrows and wincing as the sharp iron cut through his exposed skin.

Poddle dodged an attack from both of the assassins he was engaging, rolling away and heading towards one of the archers, leaving the melee to the more adept fighters.

Two more assassins jumped out from behind the statues situated on the south side of the bridge, making the total number stand at eight. The two slashed Daelis and Duerak with their swords, but the skilled warriors deflected the blows.

Duerak, attempted to hit an assassin with his axe and shield in the same motion, completely and utterly failed, putting him in a very bad position and allowing for an archer to make a deadly shot against him. The arrows thudded into his torso, sending him staggering back.

Arrows clicked off of the stone bridge as Jericho charged toward an assassin, his swords circling in a deadly arc. The assassin tried to get in a low slash, but Jericho blocked the clumsy strike.

An arrow barely missed Duerak but hit Daelis head on, pounding into his shoulder like a sledgehammer…except, more like an arrow. Daelis slumped to the railing of the bridge, spitting out blood. Then he found some kind of strength within him and charged the assassin Jericho was attacking, getting in a deadly hit which almost downed the cloaked attacker.

Jericho finished him off with a well placed beheading.

“I’m coming for you next!” Jericho yelled at an archer, charging and jumping full speed off the bridge.

Poddle charged at the archer, rolling at the last second and ending up behind the assassin, close enough so he could see his ears: pointed ears. Poddle swung his sword at the elf, but he dodged at the last second.

Duerak retreated, refitting his bow with an arrow as he stumbled out of the range of the assassin. He pulled back the drawstring and let loose, but the elf was too quick and the arrow bounced harmlessly off of the stone blocks of the bridge as the assassin charged him and dealt a deadly blow to Duerak’s torso. The half-dwarf fell to the ground, blood spilling from his wound.

An arrow whizzed by Daelis’ head as he dodged yet another attack from the mystery assassins. He too had noticed by now that these were elves, and so did not underestimate them in the least. Seeing Duerak’s fall, the swashbuckler charged at the assassin, finishing off the elf with his rapier as he slid the blade through his enemy’s ribs.

Jericho ended his leap with a roll, and ended that roll with two swords puncturing an assassin’s heart. As he finished off the elf, he noticed a tattoo on the assassin’s arm. A black clenched fist. He immediately recognized it as the tattoo Tahlavel Maran had when the elf had killed his parents. The harbingers

Poddle missed another attack against the archer, who had pulled out his sword and tried to fend off the kobold as best as he could. From where he stood fighting, Poddle could see Duerak finishing off another assassin with his axe and shield, the half-dwarf seemingly recovered from his wound in the heat of the battle.

The assassin that remained fired off arrows, but was not scoring any hits as the party closed in around him. Daelis halfheartedly fired his crossbow at one of the archers, but it fell short. Suddenly, leaping across the canal in a adrenaline-fueled act of epicness, Jericho grabbed the ledge of the opposite canal bank, reaching up at one of the archers and grabbing his leg.

Poddle, surveying the battlefield and determining that they still needed a captive to tell them what they wanted to know, promptly hit the assassin he was fighting in the face with the hilt of his sword, knocking him unconscious.

Daelis tumbled off of the bridge onto the stone of the canal and ended the remaining assassin’s life with a well-placed blade, ending the battle. Jericho pulled himself up onto the edge of the canal as well, grumbling.

“What?” Daelis said, looking at him curiously.
“That one was mine!” Jericho said angrily, but then realized the foolishness of it all and began to laugh.

Poddle, after waking up the unconscious assassin they had captured, began to get ready to interrogate him.

“Who are you working for?” The kobold yelled, holding a dagger to the elf’s throat.

He wouldn’t talk, so Poddle cut his arm, which caused the elf to grimace but otherwise he was unaffected. Jericho, having an idea, began to cast a spell which would fire acid out of his fingertips. He used this spell on the place where no man should ever be splashed with acid.

The elf impaled himself on Poddle’s dagger.

The heroes found two elven assassins who were still barely alive, killed one and then took the other to the nearby temple of Chayus. The heroes paid a priest to heal the assassin, but did not tell him he had just tried to kill them. Instead, the priest was under the impression that this man was an ally of theirs; a comrade.

The heroes headed back to Lavinia’s to spend the night, satisfied that in the morning, they would have answers…

Sunday, July 4th, 1234 AY

The heroes came back to the temple of Chayus, only to find that the priest was dead and the assassin was gone…

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Chapter 7: Save Lavinia!
Fighting their way through the Vanderboren Manor, the heroes finally reach their employer...

Savage Tide

Part II: The Bullywug Gambit
Chapter 7: Save Lavinia!

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Striker (Seth) Tainted Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric of Nature

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Tuesday, June 29th, 1234 AY

Striker headed out with Zagon to track down the mysterious figure that captured Daegoth. They tracked him through the jungle for two hours before the captor took the lizardfolk on a boat heading upstream on the Emerald River. The two luckily found an old fishing boat that was still serviceable and managed to pole upstream, hot on the trail of Daegoth.

At 4:00 A.M., the heroes came to a wooden village that stood on stilts. Buildings in the tiny frontier town hung suspended over the water at various heights, from docks just inches above the water to well-to-do houses several stories high, all linked by ropes and ladders and narrow boardwalks. The village was completely empty except for some small animal nests, abandoned by their original builders and left to the wilderness. The two met Rapton and his Olman slave Derek there, who were investigating a disturbance in nature, which led them to the abandoned village. Within a small tree-house they found four people: Daegoth, the elven bounty hunter that captured him, and two of his thugs. Striker, Zagon, Derek, and Rapton managed to free the lizardfolk and kill the other three, unfortunately before they could find out more information from them. Daegoth knew one thing though: the bounty hunter worked for his brother.

The heroes took their fishing skiff and floated downstream back to Sasserine, arriving at about 10:30 A.M. at the city, which was still in full swing of the Festival of the Dead. The five managed to find a good pier to moor at, and made it the Vanderboren Manor with no trouble. They sneaked up to the manor and took the back entrance to the ballroom, then crossing over to the next room when they heard Poddle, Nimlar, and Daelis in the dining hall.

The party reunited, and set off to go upstairs to save Lavinia. The stairs led to the kitchen, a cramped chamber filled with stoves, basins, and preparation counters that were large enough to prepare a banquet.

Hiding in the corner was Churtle, the kobold cook/poison-maker that now worked for Lavinia. She hid in the kitchen when she heard the fight downstairs, and managed to escape notice, but was injured when she hit her head on a counter-top. She had managed to slow the bleeding but she was weak and delirious. Nimlar offered to stay behind and tend to the poor kobold’s wounds, and Kaskus and Liamae planned to hold down the fort here to, convinced that they were just in the way of the heroes saving Lavinia and their comrades. Striker had grabbed a piece of bread and began to munch on it, but dropped it immediately when five Bullywugs burst into the room, croaking thickly-accented war cries.

Poddle, always quick on his feet, charged the first Bullywug, slamming his club into the frog-man’s knee-cap and shattering bone. The frog croaked in pain, clutching his injured knee and leaving his defenses wide open.

Another of the Bullywugs charged Poddle, but the kobold dodged the clumsy blow. The Bullywug suddenly made a strange “Blourp” sound as a javelin wizzed by his head. Derek squinted, cursing himself silently for missing the attack.

Daelis charged another of the Bullywugs, but the frog barely managed to dodge out of the way in time. It didn’t matter though, since Liamae’s wand fried the poor frog-man only moments later.

Daegoth, heaving a javelin from his back, ran up and hurled the weapon across the room at a frog-man, seriously injuring the Bullywug.

Another Bullywug clumsily attacked Daelis, but the quick half-elf adeptly parried the blow, distracting the frog so that Poddle’s ape could rush in and sink his claws into the stunned creature.

Striker, rushing up to the front lines with his swords swinging, finished off the Bullywug with a quick strike from his longsword. The frog-man clutched his throat as he stumbled and then fell to the floor.

A Bullywug adjacent to the Duskblade made a lucky strike, crushing Striker’s arm and causing him to withdraw in pain, stunned. He stumbled right into another Bullywug, who luckily missed with his flimsy club.

Zagon, rushing forward with his spear held aloft and yelling out his tribal war cries, scored a glancing blow against a Bullywug, which just barely stunned the frog-man, not causing any serious damage.

Rapton, his lips chanting incantations, raised his hands and cast a spell which summoned a great hound. The dog materialized behind a Bullywug, who tried to croak in fear as the celestial canine bit out his throat.

Poddle, running and jumping onto his ape, rode the gorilla and hit a Bullywug with his club, killing the frog with a blow to the head.

Daelis missed with his rapier against the last Bullywug, but Daegoth, squeezing through his allies and scoring a hit with his waraxe, hit home, sending the frog-man to his knees.

The heroes finished off the downed Bullywugs and headed out, heading upstairs once more (and leaving Nimlar, Kaskus, Liamae, and Churtle to hole down in the kitchen).

Passing through the adjacent room (a training hall holding some mundane weapons), and then heading up the stairs, the heroes reached the second floor, where the bedrooms were located, and where the heroes hoped Lavinia was.

Hearing sounds from the master bedroom, the heroes prepared their weapons and then burst into the room.

The room was dark and cloying; the shutters were closed, and the air smelled of a rank combination of body odor and swamp mud. The desk, chairs, and most other furniture in this room had all been draped with white canvas dust covers, giving the place the eerie feeling of a tomb. Only the large four-poster bed in the northwest was uncovered, its dust covers lying in a heap to one side.

Four hostages were strapped to chairs in the center of the room: Lavinia, who regarded her captors silently with eyes narrowed in fury, Tolin Kientai and Zan Oldavin, the other Jade Ravens, who were unconscious, and Kora Whistlegap, whose throat was slit open.

Standing to the left was a Bullwug cleric, his lips already moving in spell-casting, and standing over Lavinia with a scimitar to her neck was a half-orc.

Drevoraz Kabran.

“Lay down your arms, or I’ll chop off you’re pretty little employer’s head!” The half-orc said, regarding the heroes with cold eyes. Drevoraz kabran

The party had other ideas.

Poddle jumped atop his ape and rode it charging at the Bullywug cleric, striking at the frog-man with his club and scoring a blow. The Bullywug cried out in terror as Poddle’s ape tore his claws through his saggy skin.

Lavinia, who had apparently released herself from her bonds, bolted for the safety of the heroes, though Drevoraz cried out in anger and attempted to strike at her. Lavinia dodged the clumsy strike and made it to the party, who protected her behind them.

Zagon, rushing with his spear and flanking the saggy cleric, scored a hit with his spear, tearing through the Bullywug’s flesh. Rapton as well rushed the cleric and scored a hit, his heavy mace crushing the frog’s knee.

This was just not the cleric’s day.

The Bullywug, finally finishing his spell, summoned two gigantic spiders, which immediately attacked the party with their fangs. Zagon was hit, his arm torn by the sharp fangs, but managed to shrug off any lasting effects of the venomous attack. The second spider attempted to attack the ape, but missed.

Daegoth, charging Drevoraz, attempted to grapple the half-orc…and got thoroughly owned. Kabran sidestepped the clumsy attempt and brought his own strength against the lizardfolk, the two now locked in combat. Bullywug shaman

“Stop this violence and try reasoning this out!” Striker yelled at the half-orc, trying to solve the situation peacefully “I will start by offering you 172 gold!”

Daelis, his crossbow loaded, hit one of the summoned arachnids with a bolt, causing it to screech in pain. Poddle and his ape were not so lucky, both missing all of their attacks against the cleric.

“I’ll take all of you down,” Drevoraz said in respond to Striker’s attempt at persuasion. “And then I’ll kill Vanthus”.

“See that’s the thing,” Striker said. “We both want that.”

The Duskblade then pulled out the letters the heroes had found in the Lotus Dragon guildhouse and explained that Vanthus was their enemy at once. Every else agreed with Striker, including Lavinia.

Drevoraz softened.

“I’ll give you a chance to convince me of that…” He started to say, but the cleric grew enraged.
“We were told that blood would be spilled for the Lord of the Depths! Achai will not be denied!!”

And with that, the cleric signed his death warrant.

The cleric, Poddle, and his ape fought it out, none scoring any hits, but keeping the other occupied. Zagon, taking that opportunity, scored a major it against the cleric, and the frog seemed about to fall.

Rapton finished off the cleric with a well placed blow to the head.

“I didn’t like him anyways,” Drevoraz remarked.

The heroes then proceeded to explain the situation, about Vanthus, what he had done, and how he was not going to be coming to the manor anytime soon.

“I believe you,” Drevoraz said, thoroughly convinced. “Please, just give me safe passage out of the city. I won’t bother you anymore.”

“What do you know about the Isle of Dread?” Daegoth asked, ignoring the plea.
“The name sounds familiar…I know that the Dragon Armada has interests there, but nothing else”
“Do you know anything about Tahlavel Maran?” Striker asked, still not knowing that the object of his revenge was buried in a grave just outside these walls.
“Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. He used to work for the Dragon Armada, and he was a quite infamous assassin, but he disappeared a few years ago, and no one has seen him since.”
“Tahlavel is dead,” Poddle remarked, talking to Striker.

Striker retreated, shocked and angry at this newfound relevation.

“Do you have a sister?” Rapton asked.

The room went silent.

“I used to,” the half-orc said through clenched teeth. “But she died a couple of years ago.”
“Okay fine!” Rapton said. “Just wondering…”

Drevoraz then turned the conversation back to his release.

“I will give you my scimitar and my belt, which are both magical, in exchange for my safe release”

After a VERY LONG argument about what to do with Drevoraz, the party finally asked for Lavinia’s opinion. She said that Drevoraz was a criminal, and needed to be turned in to face justice. The heroes did not want to be on the wrong side of the Dragon Armada, so they made sure Lavinia made it expressively clear that SHE was turning him in, not them.

After the events of the day, Lavinia awarded all of the heroes a thousand gold, as well as increasing their monthly stipend to two hundred gold.

The heroes then went on a shopping spree, selling all of the treasure they had gained over the course of their adventures and buying some new gear.

Poddle bought some potions of repairing, so that he would be able to heal Metallica when he was disabled again. He also replaced his destroyed warmace with a greatsword, making him a very odd kobold rogue.

Daegoth bought an improved dwarven waraxe and tower shield, making him near unstoppable. The lizardfolk also identified one of numerous rings the party had found as a ring of swimming, took it, and also claimed Drevoraz’s magical belt as his own.

He felt considerably stronger after that.

Rapton bought some scrolls to help round out his spell-casting, as well as helping with other party member’s bargaining.

Wednesday, June 30th, 1234 AY

The next day, using the free-time Lavinia had given them to go off on their own, the heroes went around Sasserine and did various things. Thesanction

Rapton joined The Sanction as a diplomat representing the Killoren, and was made an official citizen of Sasserine, and a respected one at that. Also, aspiring to the nobility, Rapton began to court Lavinia, who, though confused, was willing to give the cleric a chance to gain her approval.

Tolin Kientai, the leader of the Jade Ravens, made his dislike of the turn of events very clear. Ironbrigade

Daegoth and Daelis, going back to the Sasserine Arena, were offered a position in the Iron Brigade, since they were both skilled fighters and Urgor Warbeard (a prominent member of the Iron Brigade) was friends with Daegoth.

They gladly accepted. Noseonsociety

Striker, who was searching for a place to research a thing he had been wondering since learning of Tahlavel’s death, found the local Noseon lodge. The organization, The Noseon Society, was a group of explorers, researchers, and treasure-hunters that spanned the continent. Striker, who was very knowledgeable in the study of geography, asked to join the Society (offering the nautical charts found in Kraken’s Cove as a donation), and was accepted. He immediately began research on the mythical Assassin Training Grounds, where Tahlavel was rumored to have trained.

Later that day, Daelis and Daegoth were signed up for an arena fight against dangerous monsters. The pair was pitted against two huge apes.

They won.

Meanwhile, Rapton and Poddle planned on returning to the Lotus Dragon guildhouse and renovating it, but while they were gone, the Sunrise Watch had taken over the thieves’ guild and confiscated any treasure.

It turns out that the Lotus Dragons were on the verge of taking over Sasserine’s harbor when the heroes had ended their dominion with a timely raid. As such, all of the heroes were given invitations to attend a banquet in their honor a couple of days away.

Anyway, Rapton, using his new-found status as a valued citizen of Sasserine, managed to arrange an opportunity to buy the Lotus Dragon guildhouse back from the district watch. After legally gaining the late thieves’ guild, Rapton and Poddle planned to renovate the location into a hotel. Gaining the support of Aniphastus Knowlern (the district noble), they planned to do major renovations (with financial aid from Knowlern, who would then get 50% of all profits) and convert the guildhouse into a fully functional hotel and resort, complete with dinner theater, gambling, and the popular “Swimming with the Dolphins”. Aniphastus knowlern

Hiring laborers to start the construction and renovation, the two then decided to find out if there was anything they could do so Rapton could rise higher in the ranks of The Sanction. They were given a mission to open up trade relations and possible alliance opportunities with Rapton’s people, the Killoren, who had just recently appeared in the area.

Setting off to Katha (one of the most peaceful of the Killoren settlements), they were greeted with open arms by the leaders of the fey. Rapton did not come from this particular village, but his racial heritage alone earned him the respect necessary to be able to be diplomatic with the fey.

The village of Katha agreed to make an alliance with the city-state of Sasserine and open trade relations if Rapton and Poddle did something for them. A local creature was becoming increasingly aggressive and attacking creatures wantonly, disturbing the balance of the area. They were to kill the beast.

Thursday, July 1st, 1234 AY

Meanwhile, Daelis, Daegoth, and Nimlar headed off to capture a beast for use in the Sasserine Arena, which would help them rise in the ranks of the Iron Brigade.

They took the skiff that Striker and Zagon had found on the riverbank and headed on the Emerald River, looking for a creature. They brought nets.

It wasn’t long before a crocodile reared its ugly head from the algae-laden waters.

They captured it.


Rapton and Poddle (with Metallica in tow) managed to find the location of the beast’s lair, and the heroes sneaked up to the entrance to see a towering draconic menace sleeping in a large burrow-den. Bones littered the ground nearby, testament to the aggressive nature of the Dracotaur.

Poddle, using his amazing skill at stealth, managed to sneak around the creature without waking it up and attacked it from behind, severely injuring the beast. Then Metallica and Rapton finished it off.

Relations with the village of Katha were successfully opened.

The heroes then met at the Vanderboren Manor to decide what to do next…

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Chapter 6: Frogs In The House
The heroes rush to save Lavinia and end up being attacked by dancers, stiltwalkers, and frog men.

Savage Tide

Part II: The Bullywug Gambit
Chapter 6: Frogs In The House

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Monday, June 28th, 1234 AY

Directly after talking to Harliss Javell, the party headed out to save Lavinia from Captain Harliss’ first mate, the half-orc Drevoraz Kabran. The heroes left the rest of the savage beasts in the cove and traversed their way up the cliff path back to the Hairless Bonobo. After a quick argument, Crazy Pete agreed to go overnight once again to make it back to Sasserine in time.

That night, the heroes awoke to the sound of a struggle and Jimmy Do screaming, “HELP!” at the top of his lungs. By the time they got to the scene, Daegoth was gone, and so was one of the rowboats that hung on the side of the fishing vessel.

Someone had captured Daegoth.

Jimmy Do claimed that the figure that had captured Daegoth looked like an elf, but he wasn’t quite sure (and his account was highly exaggerated anyway).

Striker, being very familiar with the surrounding area, offered to go in pursuit of Daegoth and his mysterious captor while the rest of the party continued on to save Lavinia. Zagon decided to go with him, since he was skilled at tracking and could help the Duskblade, so the two headed off into the jungle, close on the trail.

Tuesday, June 29th, 1234 AY

When the rest of the party reached Sasserine the next morning, a distressing sight greeted them. The city was full swing in the middle of the Festival of the Dead, a celebration that honored the cleric Carnos Lightbringer and his triumph over the undead that plagued the city decades ago. The only mooring available was a couple of blocks away from the Vanderboren Manor, so Crazy Pete docked there and Daegoth’s equipment and Jimmy Do were left in his care.

The heroes made their way through the streets of Sasserine, en route to the Vanderboren Manor, but the going was slow due to the crowds lining the streets celebrating. Soon they ran into Nimlar, who was enjoying the festival as he waited for the rest of the party to return. Poddle and Daelis told him of the crisis and they all sprinted for the manor.

When the heroes were midway to the manor, a drunk gnome purposely “bumped” into Poddle, and then proceeded to roll up his sleeves and huff and puff, obviously looking for a fight.

“You bunch of rude, over-sized louts!” The gnome shouted at the party. “You want to go?”

Poddle ordered Metallica to pick up the gnome, who was held squirming and wriggling in a frantic attempt to get away.

A half-orc came up to the heroes and started to apologize to the heroes for the disturbance, trying to intervene and stop the belligerent gnome. Kurgol

“My friend here,” the half-orc said. “Becomes an unholy terror once he gets his third drink in him. Don’t pay him any attention.”

Poddle had Metallica shake the gnome down, and a small money purse fell out of his pocket, which Poddle scooped up.

“Hey!” the half-orc said. “That’s my friend’s money! Give it back to him!”

Poddle just handed the purse to Metallica for safekeeping, but the half-orc immediately called the guards over, so Poddle had the warforged throw the purse into the bay to get rid of the evidence. The guards came over to investigate the disturbance, and the half-orc told them about what had happened. Poddle claimed that he didn’t have any evidence, but there were plenty of witnesses around who vouched for the half-orc’s story.

Poddle was busted.

Nimlar and Daelis had walked away by now, leaving Poddle to his own consequences, so Poddle bolted, Metallica right behind him. They managed to elude the guards and were just about to meet up with Nimlar and Daelis Eagleheart when Nimlar noticed something.

A woman decked out in a macabre black bodysuit decorated with a white skeleton, accompanied by an entourage of six stilt walkers. The woman preceded the stilt walkers, dancing and performing an impressive array of acrobatic flips and leaps, while the stilt walkers themselves wowed the crowd by juggling daggers and flasks of oil with burning rags stuffed into them.

As the troupe neared where Poddle and Metallica stood waiting for Nimlar and Daelis, who were in the nearby alley, the elven ranger noticed that the woman dancer seemed to be headed straight for Poddle. Carnival

She was.

The dancer finished her last acrobatic maneuver with a spinning kick aimed at Poddle’s back. Poddle, not even noticing until the last second, was slammed to the ground, stunned.

The closest stilt walker, inching up towards the warforged and the kobold as well, sent a bottle of Alchemist’s Fire hurdling towards Metallica. The slave managed to dodge the blast, but the attack succeeded in sending the crowd into a panic. Terrified civilians rushed through the avenue, desperately trying to get away from the flame throwing stilt walkers.

The second stilt walker sent another bottle of Alchemist’s Fire flying into the crowd, creating more panic in the street.

Nimlar, seeing the danger and acting quickly, sent an arrow into the chest of the first stilt walker from his position in the alley, killing him. His next shot hit the second stilt walker in the stomach, causing him to fall from his stilts on to the hard stone of the avenue, cracking his head.

The third stilt walker sent a bottle of Alchemist’s Fire soaring at Metallica, and this time the warforged wasn’t so lucky. Hit squarely with the flaming bottle, the slave let out a cry of pain.

Two more stilt walkers created more panic in the streets by sending flaming bottles to hit against the side of a building, creating licks of flame hugging the side of the wall. Yet another of the stilt walkers threw a bottle of flame at both Metallica and Poddle, hurting both in the blast.

Daelis, finally realizing what was happening, came from behind the alley and shot a crossbow bolt at one of the stilt walkers and killed him.

Poddle, recovering from the initial shock of the kick to the back, grabbed out his warmace and attacked the dancer.

“Why are you attacking me ma’am?” He said, while he missed with his warmace.

The dancer answered with another kick, but Poddle managed to dodge out of the way. Suddenly, the dancer grunted and looked down to a see an arrow embedded in her side.

Nimlar smiled.

Nimlar second arrow hit a stilt walker, who fell off of his stilts, but seemed managed to avoid fatal injury from the fall.

Metallica, recovering from the blasts of the Alchemist’s Fire, attacked the dancer with a mace he had found in Kraken’s Cove, but the macabre-suited figure danced gracefully dodged it. Then the warforged grunted as a thrown dagger from a stilt walker caught him a blow across the face.

Another stilt walker threw a dagger at Nimlar as he fired off arrows, but the elven ranger managed to evade it.

Daelis, drawing his eagle-hilted rapier, attempted to break one of the stilt walkers stilts, but only did minimal damage, so the stilt walker managed to keep his balance

Poddle and the macabre dancer went back and forth, not scoring any hits on each other but keeping the other busy. Metallica however, rushed in and managed to knock the dancer off balance, doing some damage with his mace.

The stilt walker who had fell from his stilts was trampled by the panicking crowd, while Nimlar shot two arrows at another stilt walker, misses the first shot but dealing a glancing blow the second time.

Two stilt walkers, throwing daggers at Nimlar and Daelis, missed their attacks, the elf and half-elf dodging out of the way of the deadly projectiles. As the crowd finally cleared the avenue, Daelis returned the attack with an attack of his own, and almost completely destroyed a different stilt walker’s stilt, but the acrobat managed to balance on his damaged walking tool and stayed standing. When Daelis moved however, it gave the second stilt walker an opening, which he took. Daelis just managed to deflect the dagger with his rapier, sending the weapon flying away.

The dancer, still in battle with Poddle, managed to score another hit to the kobold’s face, sending him reeling back, but Nimlar scored a hit on the woman as well, causing her to cry out in pain. This gave Metallica enough time to make a clean hit with his mace, killing her with a blow to the head.

The stilt walkers, seeing their leader fall, immediately attempted to flee, but Daelis had other plans. With a swipe to the damaged stilt of the stilt walker he was fighting, he brought the rogue down, where the half-elf proceeded to knock out the acrobat with his sap. The second stilt walker almost made it to the alley when Poddle his stilt, causing him to lose balance for a second. Nimlar shot the acrobat and took him down, not killing him, but causing him to slip into unconsciousness.

The heroes grabbed the last two stilt walkers and brought them into an old abandoned warehouse that was nearby. Then they interrogated them.

The one Daelis had knocked out was awake by now, and Poddle proceeded to use his expert intimidation skills.

Nimlar made his armor look like on of the costumes the stilt walkers were wearing, and then Daelis pretended to beat him, making it look like the awake acrobat’s friend was being beaten.

“You see that man over there?” Poddle said to the acrobat. “What’s his name?”
“Teris,” the stilt walker gulped.
“Teris! I think he’s your friend…is he your friend?”
“Yeah, he’s my friend…”
“Daelis, is he talking?” Poddle said to the half-elf, who was doing a good job of pretending to beat Nimlar.
“Nope,” the half-elf said, looking grim.
“Why don’t you start breaking his fingers?”

The half-elf proceeded to act like he was breaking Nimlar’s fingers.

“I’ll tell you anything you need to know!” the frightened acrobat yelled. “Please just don’t hurt me like you’re hurting him!”
“Start talking boy, or I’ll break YOUR fingers.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Why did you and your friends try to hurt me and my lovely fellows over here?”
“Mistress Kellani! I remember…who’s that again?”
“You don’t know?” The acrobat said, looking confused. “Well for one she’s a noble and two you kind of ruined her daughter’s life.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about sonny.” Poddle said with a grim face. “How ‘bout I start breaking your fingers? Or you could tell me truth…”
“I am telling you the truth!” The acrobat said frantically.
“You’re fingers are so soft…” Poddle said, grabbing his fingers.
“Rowyn Kellani! The leader of the Lotus Dragons! You ruined her guild!” The acrobat said.
“Rowyn Kellani…” Poddle said, thinking about how to deal with that one. “So this is all you know right?”
“Yes! I wasn’t told much. Our leader, Diamondback, was the one who made the deal.”

After that they knocked the stilt walker out, looted Diamondback’s body, and prepared to leave. Nimlar took Diamondback’s jade earrings, Poddle took her magical ring (though they hadn’t figured out what it did yet), and Daelis took Diamondback’s macabre death suit.

Daelis, leaving first, saw the guards cleaning up the crime scene, and since Poddle was still technically wanted, the half-elf stealthily went back inside the warehouse.

They took the back door.

Exiting through the rear, the party headed to the Vanderboren Manor via a round-about way that did not attract the guards’ attention. As they approached the manor, they saw movement in a ground floor: someone was inside.

The heroes circled around the back way and climbed the wall surrounding the manor, using Poddle’s slippers and Nimlar’s grappling hook and rope. As they got around to the other side, they noticed the stream that runs out from the central courtyard. The grate that allows the water exit was rusted through, and thick mud was caked throughout the tunnel. The heroes concluded that this was the entrance that Harliss Javell’s first mate took to get in the manor.

They entered, set on saving Lavinia.

As the heroes walked through the tunnel, which led to the basement, they could hear sounds of deep slobbery laughter, a woman’s cries of distress, and a weird trilling chitter that echoed through the grate tunnel. When the party arrived in the basement, they were greeted by very muddy enemies.

Water from the central pool in the courtyard flowed through this room, cascading through a great in the south wall and then trough a second grate to the north. This second grate was nearly completely rusted through; only a few jagged shards of metal remained. Great swaths of mud stained the floor.

Directly across from where the heroes entered, there was a bloated frog-man, who sat atop a fancy chair (which was now stained with mud) that served as a make-shift throne. He wore armor made from animal hide and wielded a huge great club. His head was adorned with a wooden crown fitted with several moonstones. He sat laughing at a distressing sight. A woman, who Poddle recognized as one of the Jade Ravens (known as Liamae Teslikaria), dressed in nothing but rags (which had three spoons and a single fork weaved into them), was being played with by a huge brown insect (the source of the chittering noise). The monster was chasing Liamae around the mud-drenched floor, attempting to eat the pieces of silverware attached to her clothing. Liamae

In the western section of the basement, there sat two cages: one which stood open (and had until recently held Gut Tugger, Rowyn’s draconic pet) and had slumped beside it the body of a frog-man, and one which held Poddle’s pet, a gorilla, that howled and hooted as two more frog-men attempted to carry the cage toward the grate.

As the heroes entered, Liamae took the opportunity to cast a spell in a desperate attempt at escape. As she spoke the words of the enchantment, a change seemed to come over the frog-chief, and he looked as if his feelings toward his captive had changed. Bullywug

“Call your monster off!” Liamae yelled at the frog-chief, a command that he quickly obeyed.
“Stop it Chunkus!” The frog said, strangely mystified by his captive.

Poddle, hearing the hoots from his ape, squeezed through the other party members and out of the grate, into the mud of the floor.
“Put down my ape, boy!” He yelled at the two frog-men who were attempted to confiscate his pet.
He punctuated his threat with a bolt from his crossbow, but missed and only succeeded in warning the two humanoids of their new enemies.

The chieftain of the frog-men, misunderstanding this new intrusion by the heroes as an act of aggression against his newfound “friend”, immediately attacked Poddle.
“I will protect you!” He screamed as he charged at the kobold in a frenzied attempt to protect Liamae.

Poddle was barely able to dodge out of the way of the deadly club.

Nimlar, rushing into the fray, sent two arrows flying towards one of the frog-men holding the cage with the ape inside. The first hit, sending a yelp of pain from the lips of the frog, but the second embedded itself in the wooden cage, causing the now-panicking ape to bang against the bars of the bamboo cage in a frenzy.

Squeezing himself through the Nimlar and Metallica, Daelis managed to get a bolt from his crossbow off at one of the frog-men, but missed, sending his bolt bouncing off the stone wall.

Metallica, who had taken up the front, charged at the frog-chief, sending his heavy mace hurdling towards the chieftain’s head, but the frog brought up his club to block it, sneering all the while.

The great insect called “Chunkus”, seeing Daelis’ shiny (and tasty) sword, dropped his attention from Liamae and reached for the delicious blade with his antennae, but the swashbuckler managed to clear himself out of the way of the beast. Chunkus

“Call Chunkus off!” Liamae screamed again, this time more desperate. She seemed to be losing control of the chieftain, as her spell’s power was of little use if these “heroes” started to attack all of his men.

Poddle, seeing the insect monster as the biggest threat, leapt atop the great beast and managed to hold on, causing the insect to screech and start to shake in desperation.

The frog-men set down the cage containing the ape, and readied their weapons, preparing to do battle with these new enemies. The injured one charged Daelis in a fury, but the half-elf managed to fend off his attacks.

The chieftain, finally breaking free of his arcane bonds, ordered his men to attack these new enemies, and to capture the woman. He then brought his great club to bear against Metallica. The warforged was strong enough to hold his own, however, and managed to fend off the deadly blows.

Nimlar, in an amazing feat of marksmanship, let loose two arrows almost simultaneously, killing both of the lesser frog-men. It was just the chieftain and the insect monster now.

Daelis, bringing his blade against the chieftain, managed to score a hit, but it was short-lived, as Metallica’s next attack was blocked perfectly by the frog-chief, leaving the warforged in a very bad position.

The great insect, still trying to throw the kobold from his back, now focused on Poddle’s ceremonial warmace, attempting to grab the weapon, but the kobold managed to keep his ornate armament away from the fiend.

Liamae, seeing that trying her spell was finished, immediately went for her gear, which was piled at the foot of the frog-chief’s “throne”. She just hoped it wasn’t too late.

Poddle sent his warmace down against the insect, but his attack was just deflected by the beast’s powerful armor.

The frog-chief, now seeing Metallica’s weak point, took the opportunity to strike a deadly blow against the warforged, effectively disabling the slave. A grunt from the chieftain, however, affirmed Nimlar’s two arrows had struck home.

This fight wasn’t over yet.

Daelis, breaking off the fight against the chieftain after the frog had struck the deadly blow to Metallica, attacked the insect (which the heroes had by now figured out what it was: a Rust Monster), but his strike as well was deflected.

Chunkus, still wildly thrashing because of the unwanted rider, attempted to bite the kobold, but its jaws were kept at bay. Poddle wasn’t so lucky trying to stay on the beast, however.

He found himself flying through the air, and then he was on the ground.

Liamae had by now gathered up her gear and was ready to help, though she was still injured, and aimed her wand towards the chieftain…

Poddle, still dizzy from the bumpy ride, attempted to once again get on top of the Rust Monster, but the insect dodged his attempts at riding it again.

The frog-chief, leaving the disabled Metallica behind, sent his great club swinging towards Daelis’ head, but the half-elf was quicker. With a daring tumble, he managed to dodge the deadly blow.

Nimlar, heading over to the cage that Poddle’s ape was contained in, managed to calm the beast down and unlock the cage, letting the beast do as much damage as possible.

Daelis, with his tumble, had moved out of the chieftain’s range, so he quickly set a bolt in his crossbow and fired at the frog-chief’s head, but only succeeded in embedding the arrow within the frog’s weapon.

Chunkus, finally gaining his prize, managed to scoop up Poddle’s weapon, immediately starting to disintegrate it. He then took the mace and headed to a corner where he could safely chew his food.

Poddle had other ideas.

A backhand by the kobold’s spiked shield sent a shriek of pain from the insect’s writhing mouth.

Liamae sent a wave of electricity from her wand searing through the air towards the chieftain. He cried out as jolts of lightning surged through his body, stiffening his muscles and sending him to his knees. He quickly shook it off though, setting his sights on the half-elf once again.

Another hit with the spiked shield against the Rust Monster tore through the exoskeleton, exposing the beast’s insides. But Chunkus was too focused on its meal to realize it was dying.

With one hit, Daelis was on his knees. The chief had knocked him to the ground with a powerful hit with his great club. The swashbuckler couldn’t take much more.

Two more arrows protruded from the frog-chief, however, and the bloated monster seemed to slow.

Nimlar smiled.

Daelis, managing to crawl back from the wrath of the chieftain, slipped a potion from his belt and downed its contents, feeling the life flow through him again.

Poddle’s ape, drawn to his master, sent out a howl as it pounced atop the Rust Monster, protecting his kobold owner. Its claws tore through the insects flesh and sent waves of pain through the beast. With a shriek, it turned to face its new foe.

Desperately, the insect tried to throw the ape off, attack it, do anything to get the crazed animal off of him; but the gorilla wasn’t letting go.

Poddle, attempted to help his pet, tried to slam the insect with his shield again, but couldn’t get a hit because of the two writhing bodies.

The chieftain, seeing the ranger as his new foe, charged Nimlar, but the elf was too quick and managed to dodge out of the way just in time to miss being squished by a huge club. The frog-chief then swung around and blocked an attack from Daelis, who was shocked to see the quickness of the frog-man.

The fight between the Rust Monster and the ape continued, but neither scored any more hits. Poddle watched in amazement as the two viciously attacked each other. The insect once again tried to throw the ape off, but its attempts failed.

Liamae scored another hit with her wand, and the chieftain seemed to be severely injured now, barely able to hold up.

It was already over.

Poddle, giving up on helping his pet, used his magical slippers to climb atop the ceiling and get a vantage point directly above the chieftain.

Nimlar, firing two arrows point black, took the frog-man down, causing the chieftain to fall to his knees and then face-plant in the mud.

He was dead.

Daelis, seeing the chieftain’s final moment, turned his attention to their last enemy, but because he couldn’t get enough of an opening, his attack missed.

Poddle’s ape, finally coming out triumphant, tore the Rust Monster’s head from its shoulders, signifying his victory with a gleeful howl.

Poddle, just for good measure, still dropped on top of the chieftain’s body from his vantage point, officially killing the frog-man with a blow from his spiked shield.

The battle was done.

After the heroes finished off the downed frog-men and drank some potions to regain their strength, they gathered all of the bodies (and Metallica, since he was disabled and the heroes didn’t have any repairing potions with them) and loot that the frogs had on them and piled them in the southwest corner so they could come back for them later.

They then talked to Liamae and found out what had happened: a half-orc (Drevoraz Kabran) and a tribe of Bullywugs (the frog-men) had come up from the grate and attacked the manor, but the Jade Ravens and Lavinia were able to hold them off for a while. Eventually though, the five were either captured or forced to flee. Liamae saw Kaskus Kiel run off before the others were captured, but she didn’t know where anyone else was taken. Poddle and Nimlar managed to empathize with the kobold’s ape enough so that the gorilla would follow the rogue’s instructions, so they took the beast with them.

The heroes (with Liamae and Poddle’s ape in tow), headed up the stairs to the ground floor and entered the Vanderboren Trophy Room.

The exhibit hall displayed many hunting trophies, all well-preserved by taxidermy. Great saber-toothed cats, a crouching deinonychus, a bloated toad the size of a pony, and a strange badger-like creature with golden fur and eight legs rounded out a menagerie of more mundane leopards, wolves, and bears. The carpet in the room was terribly stained with mud, especially around a door in the northeast corner of the room.

The party started to look about the room, but they didn’t get far before a strange “Blourp!” alerted them to three Bullywugs that jumped out from behind the toad trophy to attack them.

The first one charged at Nimlar, scoring a hit on the stunned ranger. The second charged Poddle, and also managed to strike a blow.

Daelis, always quick on his feet, tumbled behind a Bullywug and managed to flank him, stabbing deep into the frog-man’s back.

Poddle’s ape, roaring with fury, snapped the second Bullywug neck in half, effectively killing it.

The third Bullywug charged at the furious ape (although slightly reluctant) and managed to score a hit with his club, but this only made the beast mad.

Liamae, pulling out her electric wand, killed the first Bullywug with a flick of her wrist as Nimlar wounded the third Bullywug with a well-placed arrow. Poddle then finished off the last Bullywug with his spiked shield, ending the battle.

The heroes thoroughly checked the room, and Poddle grabbed one of the fallen frog-men’s clubs to replace his warmace, but then the party continued. They entered a door in the northeast corner of the room, which ended up being a lavatory. The heroes were about to leave when Nimlar noticed something strange about the placing of the wall at the back of the room.

It was a secret door.

The walls of the stone-floored room were lined with weapon and armor racks, many of which were empty. Still remaining on the walls was a silvery half-sword, a light crossbow, a glowing dagger, a suit of studded leather armor, a light steel shield, and a small wooden coffer. The wooden coffer lay on its side, the lid open and its contents (several potions and vials and a pair of boots) strewn on the floor. Slumped on the ground nearby was what appears to be a recently slain dwarf.

Liamae recognized the dwarf as Kaskus, and was distraught for a moment, before checking his pulse and realizing that he was still alive. She begged the heroes to heal him, so the party grabbed one of the potions from the spilled coffer and gave it to the dwarf, whose eyes fluttered open and mouth sputtered with the liquid running down his throat.

Kaskus frantically recounted the battle for the manor (including a tearful account of the death of his animal companion Brunthus at the hands of that cursed half-orc. The heroes gave him another potion, which restored to him to his fighting strength, and he quickly gathered up his gear and joined with the party in their task of reclaiming the manor.

They gathered up the potions in the coffer, and Nimlar took the boots (and he suddenly felt much faster).

The heroes went to the next room over, and were suprised to find three Bullywugs standing nervously in the middle of the room while another (apparently the leader) sat lounging at a table smoking cigars.

The spacious room was filled with comfortable upholstered chairs, bookshelves, and a few tables. A window overlooked the manor’s central courtyard and the carpet was thick and soft. A large portrait hung on one wall, a fine work depicting a handsome young man with a short beard and a sneer on his face.

Liamae, in a spurt of quickness, whipped out her wand and targeted one of the standing Bullywugs, but the frog-man managed to dodge out of the way of the deadly blast of magic.

Nimlar whipped out his bow as well, launching two arrows at another of the Bullywugs. The first one missed, but the second hit home. The Bullywug slumped to the ground, an arrow through its brain.

Another of the standing Bullywugs charged Daelis, but the half-elf side-stepped the clumsy strike easily. Bullywug gambit

Poddle, heading straight for the cigar-smoking Bullywug, managed to close in and score a hit before the chieftainess sprung into action, swinging both of her handaxes at the kobold’s head. But Poddle was quick as well, and dodged the blows adeptly.

Poddle’s ape, rushing to help his master, lept atop the frog-chieftainess, rending her with his claws simultaneously.

Another Bullywug hurled his throwing axe at Nimlar almost point-blank, and the elf couldn’t dodge in time, catching the blow to the chest.

As Daelis side-stepped the frog-man’s clumsy charge, he came in with an attack of his own, slashing the Bullywug as he tumbled to the ground.

Kaskus, using his scimitar with precision, cut a fine line through a frog-man’s stomach, causing the Bullywug to clutch as his innards, not realizing he was already dead.

Liamae shot another bolt of electricity, but she missed again, cursing under her breath at her bad luck.

Nimlar, wounded after the axe hit him, withdrew quickly and drank a potion, regaining his strength.

Daelis dodged another clumsy strike by his combatant, and this time, the half-elf maneuvered the Bullywug so he had a perfect opening.

Poddle, trying to find an opening as his ape and the frog-chieftainess fought, swung his club and missed. The frog-woman finally managed to throw the ape off of her, swinging with her dual axes simultaneously. The ape howled in pain, grasping its arm as it bled profusely.

The ape stumbled back, leaving the chieftainess to fight with Poddle, and Nimlar poured a potion over the battered beast’s wounds, healing them enough so it could go on fighting.

Kaskus was locked in combat with the Bullywug, but neither could score a hit. The dwarf glanced over to the side, seeing Daelis finish off his Bullywug with a well placed stab. The druid came on with a fury.

Liamae missed once again with her wand, and started to wonder if she was off her game today. She saw Nimlar come next to her and fire off two arrows, the second one killing its target. She gazed admiringly at the ranger, then went back to her magic.

Poddle, now furiously trying to keep the Bullywug leader at bay, swung his club randomly and was rewarded with a grunt of pain from the chieftainess. The frog came in hard, and Poddle’s eyes widened as she roared in fury, swinging her axe so hard that when it hit the kobold’s club, the rogue could barely hold on to the weapon.

With a roar Poddle’s ape returned to the fight, managing to score a hit against the chieftainess. The chieftainess then grunted, and Poddle saw a crossbow bolt protruding from her shoulder. The kobold looked appreciatively at Daelis, who nodded.

Liamae, aiming her wand at the chieftainess now, yelled at Kaskus to duck. The druid dove to the ground as the sorcerer’s wand sent a bolt of lightning flying through the air at the Bullywug, causing the leader to let out a gurgling scream. For just a moment, it seemed as if the frog-woman was dead, but then she shrugged off the seemingly mortal wound and kept on fighting. Liamae cursed again.

Nimlar let off more arrows, but none seemed to connect. One made it home, but only nicked the raging Bullywug. The ranger wondered how much more of this the frog could take.

Poddle, still in combat with the chieftainess, managed to hit the Bullywug hard in her stomach, causing her to lurch in pain. Slowly, the frog-woman’s state dawned on her. The adrenaline began to wear off, and she looked frantically for an escape route. Not caring to fight anymore, she ran towards the door—but Poddle downed her with a blow to the back of the head.

The chieftainess slumped to the ground.

The heroes looted the bodies, taking a peculiar brownish potion found on the chieftainess’ body and her two handaxes (which Poddle claimed as his own, although he hadn’t the slightest clue how to use them).

Suddenly, a sound from upstairs alerted them to the fact that Lavinia was still in dire need of help, as well as the rest of the Jade Ravens.

They readied their weapons.

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Chapter 5: Kraken's Cove
The party follows Vanthus to Kraken's Cove, but what they find is unexpected.

Savage Tide

Part II: The Bullywug Gambit
Chapter 5: Kraken’s Cove

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Striker (Seth) Tainted Human Duskblade

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Sunday, June 27th, 1234 AY

After learning of Vanthus’ location, the heroes hurried to find how to get to Kraken’s Cove. They quickly carried their loot to the Vanderboren Manor, leaving the Lotus Dragons to infighting in the wake of the consequential disarray. Poddle had plans, however, to return and retake the Lotus Dragon guildhall. Jericho striker moonscar

The heroes began researching where Kraken’s Cove actually was, and word of their interest reached the ears of a loner named Striker. Striker approached the heroes with an offer:

He would show them the way to Kraken’s Cove in exchange for an equal share of any treasure they acquired. After a short discussion, the party accepted.

Kraken’s Cove was a small cove along the northeast side of Blood Bay, but access to the cove itself (by boat) could not be obtained unless one had specific sea charts. Instead, Striker suggested they hire a fishing boat to take them to a secluded shore a few miles away from the cove, then he would lead them on a trail to the cliffs overlooking the cove. Crazy pete

The party had a old fisherman fondly nicknamed “Crazy Pete” by the folk of the Azure District to take them to Kraken’s Cove on his ship, the Hairless Bonobo, for twelve gold pieces a person round-trip, plus an additional ten gold for each day it took them to finish their business there.

It was late in the night by now, but once the party informed Crazy Pete of the urgency of their business, the kind old fisherman and his crew decided to acquiesce their request of sailing through the night to reach the cove.

It took approximately sixteen hours to reach Kraken’s Cove, setting out at Ten O’clock on that Sunday night and reaching the cove by Two O’clock in the afternoon the next day. In that time the party slept, rested up, prepared spells, and fished a little (in the case of Daegoth and Poddle).

The party was as the following: Daegoth, Poddle, Daelis, Striker, and Metallica.

Verael had still not returned from wherever he was, Nimlar had been following a lead on an opportunity to gain a large amount of wealth (which he would use to help his country), Rapton was investigating a disturbance in the nearby jungle, the heroes left Gut Tugger in a cage at the Vanderboren Manor, and Churtle had been hired by Lavinia as a cook.

Monday, June 28th, 1234 AY

At Two O’clock in the afternoon the next day, the party reached Kraken’s Cove. The entrance to the secluded rift that was Kraken’s Cove in the coastal cliffs that line the eastern coast of Blood Bay was riddled with dangerous reefs and submerged threats. As a result, only sailors who knew the region or possessed sea charts of the waters dare approached the cliffs here—the ship the party was on had access to neither.

Striker suggested to put aground a few miles north of Kraken’s Cove at a secluded beach. From there, it was a fairly short hike to the cliff tops and then south along a narrow path that eventually led to the cove itself.

As soon as the party came in a few miles of Kraken’s Cove, they could see that something was wrong.

Plumes of smoke rose into the sky above the cove, visible even from several miles away. Worse, as the party carefully traversed the trail that led to Kraken’s Cove, they saw swaths of dead wildlife, from parrot to gull to monkey to snake, lying dead on the ground, their bodies horribly distorted and deformed. What few wild animals remained alive were shockingly aggressive, and the party witnessed numerous animals tearing each other apart.

At one point, a group of four spider monkeys attacked them, flopping and writhing down from the trees with shocking speed. Their jaws were filled with tiny fangs, and their bodies were covered with open sores from which hooked bone spurs protruded.

The first monkey, flinging itself from a palm tree above, landed on Striker, who was in the lead, and bit him fiercely in the arm, drawing blood. Striker managed to pry the savage creature off of him, but he felt dizzy and shaken. He managed to shrug off the effects, but still felt slightly dazed.

The second monkey similarly launched itself, this time at Daegoth, but could not penetrate the hard scales of the lizardfolk. Daegoth snapped at the beast with his powerful jaws and slashed at it with his axe, tearing the animal to shreds.

Poddle, whipping out his hand crossbow, fired off a bolt at the monkey attacking Striker, hitting it squarely in the side, but not killing it. The creature didn’t flinch.

Suddenly, a rock hit the same monkey directly in the head, killing it. Metallica stood nearby, his hands already searching for another rock.

Daelis, seeing an opportunity, grabbed out his crossbow as well, firing at a monkey who was rushing at him from the ground, striking it in the chest. The beast howled and came on with deadly endurance.

The last monkey, popping out from a nearby fern, dove at Poddle, its eyes showing its ferocious hunger. Before it got to the kobold, however, Striker struck it down with his dual swords, laying low the savage animal.

The remaining monkey, still intent on Daelis, latched on to the duelist’s leg, sinking it’s teeth into his exposed flesh. Daelis cried out in pain, but managed to shake off as well the effects of that bite. A hard blow from Daegoth’s axe brought the last creature down, its vital organs spilling out onto the jungle floor.

As the party tried to sort out the mystery of these strange occurrences, they continued on to Kraken’s Cove.

Once the party reached the cliffs overlooking the cove, they were greeted with a tragic and horrific sight.

In the sheltered cove below, an inferno raged atop the water. Several ships, including a two-masted caravel, a sizeable frigate, a long barge, and what might have once been a schooner were all ablaze. Further out, a three-masted caravel seemed to have escaped the fire—for now. A shiny slick on the water itself burned as well, creating a wall of wood and flame. The heat rose in searing sheets, and the roar of the flaming maelstrom mixed with the crashing surf masked any other sounds that might be issuing up from below.

Looking around for a way to get to down to the beach, the heroes found two routes: a climb down the cliffs themselves, or a more tempting path down a rickety walkway. After a quick discussion, Daegoth headed down the cliff, since he was a much better climber, and everyone else headed down the walkway.

Daelis went first, testing the walkway. The surface was slick and slippery, but Daelis, trained as he was, traversed it with ease, literally running down the walk. Striker and Poddle went down at a more careful crawl, not as adept at balancing themselves as was their duelist friend.

Metallica, since he had no need to breathe, dove into the cove and walked along the surface of the water, eventually coming to a strange patch of about forty feet where no vegetation was growing. In the center of this area, the warforged found the remnants of a black pearl the size of a man’s fist.

When everyone met on the beach below, Metallica told Poddle of the black pearl and the area of no vegetation. Poddle told the others and they wondered if the pearl had something to do with the chaos in the cove.

A fifty-foot wide beach separated the burning water’s of Kraken’s Cove from the cliffs to the north. A ten-foot wide cave opened up at the base of the cliff to the northwest, while to the northeast several planks provided a crude bridge across a tide pool to a second, smaller cave entrance. The swaths of blood and ragged body parts strewn across the beach testified to a terrible and recent battle upon the sands here. Broken crates and bamboo cages littered the area, blood and bits of bone sprayed across bolts of silk and cracked barrels of ambergris seeping into the coarse rocky sand. A number of mangled corpses, each stripped nearly clean of flesh and bones cracked open, laid strewn across the beach. The casualties were staggering, with a quick count putting the dead at nearly twenty.

The heroes quickly searched through the twisting wreckage, finding a few items that survived the chaos: a leather sack of saffron, a crate of fine dishware, and a case of potions, which, by the color, the heroes recognized as healing potions, but most likely of more potency than the ones they carried with them; only three of these remained intact.

The heroes went through the larger cave entrance, coming to a fork in the tunnel and taking the right corridor. They ended up in a chamber in which dozens of bolts of once-fie brocaded silk hung from lines of rope stretched across the ceiling of the chamber, making it difficult to accurately judge the size of the sandy-floored cavern.

Poddle, being knowledgeable in the value of items, appraised the worth of the silk. Most of it was badly water damaged, but he found three bolts of silk that were salvageable. Daegoth took these, and began looking around for other valuables.

A split second before the attack came, Daegoth sensed something, something that felt familiar…

A huge raptor, it’s back writhing with wriggling tentacles, several of which wept puss and left a disgusting trail of yellowish smears on the silk it just came from, pounced from behind the hanging silk onto the lizardfolk, it’s talons slashing at the dragon shaman. Ripclaw

Daegoth managed to get his shield up in time to block those deadly claws, but the raptor still had him pinned. Poddle, in a puny attempt at heroism, charged the dinosaur, but his mace just bounced off the raptor’s hard scales.

Striker said a quick incantation, and fire shot from his fingertips, but the blast did little if nothing to stop the giant beast. Daegoth, slashing the raptor with his axe from beneath it, scored a hit against the beast, digging deep into its flesh.

The raptor tried a quick bite at the lizardfolk, but he managed to fend off the attack with his shield. He wasn’t so lucky when the beast took a swipe with his great talon.

Daegoth screamed as the claw tore through his exposed flesh, rending skin and muscle alike. Daelis, charging with his rapier, took a swipe at the terrifying beast, but his light blade was blocked by the hard scales.

Metallica also charged the raptor, and attempted to push the beast off of Daegoth, but the warforged could not move the great raptor. Poddle tried to hit the raptor again, but his attack was deflected once again.

Striker attempted a flying-jump kick at the raptor, but failed miserably.

Daegoth, heaving with all his strength, managed to shove the horrible dinosaur off of him, and got in a quick swipe with his axe in the process, though he missed. The raptor, already disinterested in the tough lizardfolk, pounced on an unsuspecting Daelis.

Daelis, in a futile attempt to get the raptor off, tried to stab the beast, but failed. Metallica, in a moment of strength, pile-drived the raptor and crushed its back, causing the raptor to screech in pain. He held on fast.

Poddle attempted yet another puny strike, but missed once again. Striker, starting another incantation, seemed to weaken slightly as he drained a part of his life force away to power his spell. His blades glowed with arcane power, and he hit the raptor with a massive strike powered by arcane and martial might.

The raptor screeched in agony.

Daegoth, taking his opportunity to strike from the raptor’s moment of weakness, struck the raptor, digging into its arm. The raptor withdrew from his attackers, leaving Daelis prone on the ground and taking Metallica with him, holding on for dear life. A bite from the raptor’s powerful jaws tore through the metal of the warforged slave.

Daelis tried to hit the beast, but his attack was redirected by the scales of the raptor. Metallica dropped off the raptor’s back and managed to scramble out of the crazed beast’s path, withdrawing to the side of the battlefield to nurse his wounds.

Poddle, finally getting a successful attack, took down the great dinosaur with a blow to the head.

The raptor crumbled to the sandy floor.

After the battle with the raptor, the heroes continued their search of the hall of hanging silks, finding a collection of five tomes, with topics ranging from lizardfolk cuisine to naturalist studies of the Amedio. They were slightly water damaged, but Poddle still figured that they would be worth at least 200 gp as a lot.

After Daegoth took the books and stuffed them into his pack, a sound alerted the heroes to the presence of another being. Attached to ceiling of the cave was a creature that looked half-raccoon half monkey. Poddle and Daegoth recognized the creature as a phanaton, an arboreal sentient from their homeland. Unlike those creatures, however, who were rarely ever hostile, this savage being was twisted and deformed. His fur was matted with blood and bits of gory tissue. Sizzling drool dribbled from his fanged, misshapen mouth, and he slavered as he grunted and hooted before finally managed to snarl out in Common: “Come to me, meatbags! Just give me a mouthful of your tasty, pink flesh!”

The phanaton swooped down upon Daegoth, its kukri poised to stab, but Poddle, in an amazing feat of initiative and agility, jumped and intercepted the gliding creature with his mace, hitting it to the ground. Daegoth, without a word, adeptly beheaded the phanaton, ending the fight rather quickly.

On the phanaton was a red potion, a clear oil, a masterwork kukri, gold nose ring and chain piece, some interesting feet wrappings, and a ruby ring. Striker identified the feet wrappings as Slippers of Spider Climbing, so Poddle took them.

The heroes went beyond the cave through a tunnel going to the southeast. The bodies of three strange creatures laid in a mangled heap in the center of the cave, their bodies torn apart and gnawed down to the bone. It’s difficult to tell what manner of wolf-like of hyena-like creatures they once were. Spiked collars laid empty beside the decapitated bodies, chains running from each to iron hooks in the wall. Two of the same type creatures remain, their visages deformed and disfigured. At the approach of the heroes, they snarled and charged, but were unable to reach the tunnel, as their chains permitted them access to the entire chamber, but not beyond.

The heroes stood in the tunnel and shot them to death.

The heroes continued, going left and entering a sandy-floored cavern that seemed to be some sort of trophy hall. The centerpiece of the displays was an enormous reptilian skull, nearly six feet in length, mounted on a wooden display. Daegoth and Poddle both recognized this skull as belonging to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or “Thunder King” as it was called by the various tribes of the Isle of Dread. Other trophies lined the walls—nameplates from ships, battered sea chests, mounted heads of sea monsters, and weathered figureheads, each doubtless carrying a sordid history of theft and betrayal. On one stand sat a shrunken head… Jimmy do

As the party approached the strange shrunken head, it suddenly blinked.

“Son of a monkey!” Daelis exclaimed, while Poddle screamed aloud. After he recovered, Poddle ordered Metallica to grab it.

“I wouldn’t do that,” it said. “I have magical abilities!”
“Yeah, like talking when you are just a head,” said Daelis.

Daegoth reached out and grabbed the shrunken head by the hair, while it tried to bite him.

“What’s your name?” Poddle said as Daegoth held it, looking quizzically at the strange effigy.
“Jimmy Do!”
“That’s a strange name.”
“What’s yours?” The strange head said.
“Poddle.”
“Now THAT is a strange name.”

“Do you know where Vanthus is?” Poddle inquired, trying to get some useful information out of this strange head.
“He came through here a couple of hours ago,” Jimmy Do said. “And he made all the ships go BOOM!”

After a lengthy conversation with Jimmy Do, the heroes realized that Vanthus had attempted to steal the valuable cargo (the black pearl found by Metallica), but in the process had activated the magical object, causing everything that happened here. They also learned that a woman named Harliss Javell was in charge of the ships that were razed, as she was one of the captains. After getting all the information they could from the shrunken head, Daegoth made the head into a necklace (Jimmy Do apparently doesn’t feel pain), looted the room for treasure, and then the party headed out.

The heroes found some ancient nautical charts, which Striker said to be much more accurate than even most modern maps. Daegoth recognized the area (it was the Isle of Dread), and so did Jimmy Do (when he was alive he was an Olman warrior living on the Isle of Dread).

The heroes also found three locked sea chests (which Daegoth managed to bust open) with a sizable amount of gold, silver, and gems.

Next the heroes followed the screams they had been hearing since they had arrived to Kraken’s Cove to a prison.

Dozens of five-foot-wide iron cages were built into the walls of the large cavern. Some were empty, while others contained the partially eaten remains of men and women. Yet most horrible were those cages that contained thrashing, wailing figures. Each of them seemed more deformed than the last, twisting legs, writhing arms, vestigial heads, and jaws agape with too many teeth were all on display as the mad prisoners howled and slobbered and threw themselves against the walls of their cages in a cacophonous attempt to break free. One prisoner had retained his life and sanity, a lone lizardfolk who seemed to be in a sort of solitary confinement. This alone had saved him from the rest of his fellow prisoners. Zagon

“Daegoth?” He said, recognizing the lizardfolk.
“Zagon?” Daegoth said. “What are you doing here? We all thought you were dead!”

Zagon had been a member of Daegoth’s tribe, who had seemingly been killed in a hunt a couple years ago. Zagon explained that Krazog had sold him into slavery, and used that as a cover story. Apparently, Krazog had been secretly supplying the Dragon Armada with slaves.

The party released Zagon, gave him some weapons, and planned to head to explore a southern corridor.

Before they left, however, Daegoth put the screaming prisoners out of their misery with his javelin.

The heroes headed down the southern corridor that exited the room, and came to a barricaded door. Daegoth knocked it down, and they entered.

A fairly even layer of sand covered the floor of this musty-smelling cavern. Large pottery urns lined the walls of the cave, and within each grew a riot of strange mushrooms, fluted toadstools, phosphorescent molds, greasy-looking fronds of pale lichens, and all matter of strange fungi. Several large glass terrariums, their walls beaded with condensation, stood along the west wall. One of these was shattered, the loamy soil within spilling out onto the sandy floor near a long but low table heaped with flasks, jars, bottles, and tools. Protruding from under the table was a pair of small boots, perhaps those of a gnome. Fungus violet

The heroes, cautious as ever, took Jimmy Do and threw him in the room. They told him to sing if he needed help. Immediately, a large Violet Fungus showed itself and grabbed the shrunken head with its tendrils.

“DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’!” Jimmy Do sang frantically.

Poddle, acting quickly, used the magical slippers he had gotten from the phanaton to climb up the cave wall, onto the ceiling, and hang directly above the fungi. He then dropped and came in hard with his mace, sending the Violet Fungus rearing and sending Jimmy Do across the room to land in a large jar.

“Ow”, said Jimmy Do.

Daegoth rushed into the room and crushed the Violet Fungus in one strike, killing it.

The heroes found a large collection of various herbs, poisons, and medicines, which Striker identified. They put them away for now.

After retrieving Jimmy Do from the jar, the heroes continued along the southern corridor, eventually the reaching the first chamber they had started in. They retraced their steps back to a section of the caves they hadn’t explored yet, a collection of winding tunnels.

Within, they found a mutated pirate, apparently a Dragon Armada crew member. It attacked the party immediately, but was finished off quickly. Savpirate

Another savage pirate appeared from a different tunnel, but a thrown rock by Metallica took it down.

The tunnels eventually led to a cavern which had been outfitted with the finest in stolen furniture. Thick rugs covered the floor, and fine silk tapestries and masterful seascape paintings hung from the walls, giving the place an almost regal feel. A four-poster bed took up much of a large nook to the south, and nearby stood an oak desk with a matching armoire. Alas, much of the furniture was ruined, splattered and stained with gore and deeply scarred by swordplay. A skeletal body dressed in the ruins of a once-fine suit of studded leather lay in a red heap at the foot of the bed. Five more bodies lay about the room, horribly deformed men and women who seem to have perished on a rapier’s point.

The heroes searched the room, finding three silver bars in a lower drawer of the desk, as well as a vial of vermillion ink sitting atop it. A search of the skeletal body turned up a golden ring set with several aquamarine gemstones on his finger and a darkwood buckler strapped to his arm. Underneath the bed, Daelis found and claimed a fine rapier with a bronze hilt in the shape of an eagle for himself.

As the heroes were finishing up looting the room, a shout from down the corridor that led to the east caught the party’s attention, sending them down the tunnel towards the commotion.

The sounds of combat, the unmistakable slobbering cries of rage and hunger from several savage pirates, and a woman’s voice shouting profane threats and curses became more audible as the heroes came closer to the chamber.

The floor of the cavern sloped downward to the southeast, finally ending in a large tide pool. The waters seemed to be surging from a submerged passageway leading to the southwest. A hammock strung between two stalagmites swayed gently to the south, next to an overturned table and a broken chair.

Backed into the corner stood woman using the overturned table as cover to fend off a half-dozen savage pirates. She was a bold beauty with raven-black hair that flowed like the deepest shade of midnight against her deeply tanned skin. She wore tight leather armor studded with fire opals and pearls and wielded a curved rapier and dagger in a blinding display of swordplay.

Over a dozen more savage pirates lay on the ground, yet for all the woman’s seemingly impossible skill at swordplay, she seemed to be tiring.

“Oi! Get in the fight or stay outta me way, buckos!” The woman said when she caught sight of the heroes. These things are lookin’ to die, and I plan on obligin’!"

The heroes rushed into the fight, quickly cutting down the remaining pirates and saving the strange woman. Harliss javell

After the battle was over, the woman wiped her blade and re-sheathed it, then looked at the heroes with a cold gaze.

“What manner of driftwood do we have here?” She said, looking them up and down. “Your names, lubbers! If only so’s I can cut ‘em inta’ yer chests and save the undertaker some asking ’round!”

The heroes introduced themselves, and the woman reciprocated, introducing herself as Harliss Javell.

After the introductions, Harliss demanded to know their business in this “little piece o’hell”. The heroes told her that they were tracking down Vanthus—which immediately sent her into a tirade. After, she recovered, she turned the table upright and began to explain.

“All this ye see here,” the flamboyant woman said as she waved her hand at the slaughtered deformities, "and what nightmares ye must have fought through t’get t’me; t’was all Vanthus Vanderboren’s doing! That vomitous pig came t’me with his hussy’n asked t’see our wares; made like he were a black marketeer lookin’ fer some fur or scale t’move. Told him we had a ship coming in today what were full of exotica for him ta’ shop, so he stayed on a few nights. Seemed a fine enough chap, but then not an hour ago, he dumped a hold full of whale oil into the cove and lit it up. I was on th’Slippery Eel at the time, and that’s when I was caught the two of them on board, fixin t’rob me! Can ye imagine that? A pair of base curs tryin’t’rob Captain Harliss Javell? Anyway, I stuck the fool in the arm with me blade, he yelped, and then as he ducked aside he dropped what he were tryin’t’rob. Were a black pearl. One th’size o’a man’s fist, mind you! Was going to make some fair coin off that bauble, but as it fell, the thing cracked like an egg. Some o’Vanthus’s blood from my blade spattered the pearl, and it boiled and flashed with light. This foul, choking green gas started spewin’ from it, burning through the wood like it were acid. I grabbed th’thing, ran up topside, then threw it inta’ the water, but as it struck, the thing exploded!

“After that… things got a bit weird, mind ye. A green mist filled my vision, and I felt strange. Like someone else were in my head. Someone…someone hungry! And the rage! Rage like I never felt ‘afore! And then, just like that, it were gone. Vanthus were on deck too by then, but he and I were the only humans left. That pearl, it did something to me crew. Ta’ Vanthus’ little girly too! Turned them bad, like something ye might find in a net and throw back on account the sun got no purpose lookin’ upon it. These things!” She kicked one of the deformed pirates in distaste. “Whatever were in that pearl turned over three score men into… into man-eating freaks!”

“Vanthus, he seen what his friend and the rest turned into. He dove into th’water t’get away. I did the same, only I swam for shore. Found me first mate Drevoraz there. He’d resisted the change too, as had some others here and there, yet they were nothin’ but the banquet for those things. We fought our way into th’caves and managed to hole up there with Captain Kigante, the man who keeps these caves for us. Only, Kigante’s freak food now; he got jumped by a mob of them not twenty minutes ago. Tore him apart like they was sharks!

“And one more thing. I think they got the sick in their maws. The places they done bit me still burn, and it’s hard to think straight… But hey! You fought yer way in here! That means there ain’t much left of them out there, yeah?”

The heroes confirmed this fact, and after a short discussion in which they got no more information than they already had, they asked Harliss about Vanthus—which sent her into another tirade.

“I’ll learn that cur what it is t’foul my business! I know who he is! Th’Vanderboren name’s no secret to me. I know he’s got family’n holdings in Sasserine! I sent me right hand Drevoraz t’deal with yer friend, I did. Drevoraz is on his merry way to Sasserine as we speak. He’ll do for Vanthus’ sister, his mum and pop, and any other family or friends the cur has in that dunghill city. Cross the Dragon Armada and we take everything in your life from ye. Best not forget that, boyo.”

The heroes slowly realized that Harliss’ first mate, Drevoraz Kabran, was on his way to attack the Vanderboren Manor and take revenge on Vanthus…who wasn’t there. Lavinia was in danger!

The heroes immediately explained the situation to Harliss, who realized what she had done and apologized for any trouble that her first mate might bring to the Vanderborens. She encouraged the party to make haste back to Sasserine and the Vanderboren Manor if they wanted to get there in time to warn Lavinia about the coming assault.

The heroes set out to save Lavinia

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Chapter 4: The Lotus Dragons
The party tracks Vanthus down to the Lotus Dragons thieves guild.

Savage Tide

Part I: There Is No Honor
Chapter 4: The Lotus Dragons

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric of Obad-Hai

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elf Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Sunday, June 27th, 1234 AY

Our heroes return from their leave of duties refreshed, though Verael had still not returned, and had not been seen since the party returned from the tunnels underneath Parrot Island. Daelis Eagleheart, who was searching for the person that killed his family, was offered work in the employ of Lavinia, an offer that he accepted. Nimlar Sumel, as well, who was working slowly to gain enough money to go back and free his people from the tyranny of the nobles of his homeland, was offered a job and he accepted.

The party (now consisting of Poddle, Daegoth, Rapton, Daelis, Nimlar, and of course Derek and Metallica the slaves) set out straight away to tracking down Vanthus once again. From the note that Penkus wrote, they figured out that Vanthus could be found if they head to the Taxidermist’s Hall. So they did.

The heroes headed into the modest-looking Taxidermist’s Hall and were immediately confronted with dozens of expertly stuffed and preserved animals, ranging from parrots, monkeys, and bats to more exotic creatures like a monstrous centipede, a stirge, and even a black dragon wyrmling. A bell near the door bore a short sign—“Ring for Service”. Nemien

The party rang the bell, and a jolly looking man with a handlebar mustache and a feathered hat came out from a side door to meet them in the showroom.
“Hello there!” He said pleasantly, though the pleasure seemed to be partially faked. “I am Nemien Roblach, owner of this fine establishment and taxidermist of Sasserine. Would you be interested in anything here in the showroom? We have many curios available, as you can see, and the prices range from five to five-hundred gold pieces.”
Poddle was interested (of course) and asked a couple of questions about the various items, but it became obvious to Nemien soon enough that the heroes were not there to buy anything.
“I’m sorry, but I am a busy man, and have no time for solicitors!” He exclaimed rather loudly, and immediately changed his expression from pleasant to annoyed.
Poddle ordered Metallica to intimidate the taxidermist.

He talked.

Nemien lead them to a cluster of abandoned buildings called Dead Dog Plaza, which he claimed lead to the Lotus Dragons guild hall. He had apparently been their appointed eyes and ears, (as well as a portal to get back and forth from the city to the guild, but Nemien didn’t tell the heroes that, since he knew that this entrance was much more dangerous) and was paid by the guild for services rendered. He told the heroes that the Lotus Dragons were lead by a human woman who was called the Dragon Mistress or Lady Lotus (depending on her mood), and who had a dragon (or something) that he’d love to stuff. Nemien showed them a secret entrance to the guild hall through a well in the center of the plaza, which had a ladder running down into some sort of cavern.

The heroes volunteered Nemien to go first, followed by Derek and Metallica and then the rest of the party. They climbed down the ladder through a circular cavern which consisted of a large pool of brackish-looking water, its surface greasy with filth and rotting seaweed. Dripping lead pipes protruded from the walls of the twenty-foot-high cavern, including one that was nearly two feet in diameter to the east. To the west and south was a five-foot-wide beach of grit and gravel, and a narrow tunnel led up at a shallow angle to the west and out of sight.

At the bottom of the ladder was a small wooden platform and a small rowboat docked beside it. The heroes allowed Nemien to return to the surface, since they were done with him, and set about figuring out how many people they could fit in the boat. Extraordinarily, they managed to fit everyone but Daegoth into the boat at one time (Poddle, Daelis, Nimlar, Rapton, Metallica, and Derek), so Daegoth took off his armor and swam beside them through the water. Half-way through the pool, they started to see ripples in the water, and Daegoth started to feel uneasy about being so vulnerable and out in the open. Crocodile

Suddenly, a huge crocodile lunged out from the water and sent his enormous jaws snapping towards Daegoth’s head. Daegoth caught a glancing blow and managed to dodge most of it, though a slash down his shoulder was visible. The lizardfolk wrestled through the water with the great reptile, until finally Daegoth’s strength and Nimlar’s archery took the beast down (though Daegoth was injured).

They rowed much faster the rest of the way.

The party reached the shore, and headed down the narrow tunnel to the west, but it was a dead end and the party was forced to back track. They decided to go through the south exit, and took a left, which led them down a short winding corridor before reaching a door. They were cautious, so they listened at the door to make sure there was no one inside before entering. There wasn’t.

It was a small circular room with an exit to the north and a trapdoor leading up into the ceiling. The heroes decided to go up the trapdoor, but found that they just came back to where they started: the door led to an abandoned building in Dead Dog Plaza.

They decided to continue through the north exit, and went down another short corridor before coming to an entrance to the great cavern they just came through. They continued down the corridor and reached another door, which the approached with the same caution. It was exactly the same as the last one. It seemed that there were several circular rooms surrounding the great cavern which led to abandoned houses.

The heroes continued, this time through a west exit. On their left there was a door, but they ignored it and continued through the corridor, which led to another door. They opened it up, with less caution this time, and found themselves in another circular room. But this time, Nimlar felt a slight nagging feeling towards the western wall of the room, and went towards it. When he touched it, the wall slid open, revealing a passageway going to the west. It was a secret door.

The party went through it, and found another door at the end of the corridor (a secret door), and listened first. They heard screaming sounds, followed by machinery moving, which suggested that the room ahead was some sort of torture chamber.

It was.

The heroes entered the room and were confronted by a gruesome scene. The purpose of the macabre chamber was obvious. A stretching rack dominated the northwestern corner of the room, and an open iron maiden its southeast corner. A sizzling brazier of coals sputtered in the southwest corner, giving the chamber a hellish red cast. On the stretching rack was a man in torn, ragged clothes, screaming for mercy. Torturing this man was a tall male in black leather holding a branding iron. He seemed to be poking the ragged man atop the rack with a white hot metal bar. The man in black leather, a thief of the Lotus Dragons by the tattoo on the shoulder of his exposed arm, cried out as the heroes entered the room, and dropped the branding iron and pulled out a rapier. Then he charged.

The heroes slaughtered him.

They untied the man stuck to the rack, who was grateful to the highest extent, and were immediately bombarded with answers before they had asked the questions.

“Thank you so much for saving me!” The ragged man said, whimpering all the while. “I am just a humble silk merchant, I would not hurt anyone. They captured me from my room at the Bent Goblin Inn weeks ago, and having been torturing me…Oh the torture! Please! Bring me out of this terrible place!”

But Poddle wasn’t buying it. He was suspicious, as was his nature, and sent Metallica to intimidate the man. When the man wouldn’t cooperate, Poddle ordered his slave to use force. Metallica picked the man up by the neck and lifted him two feet off the ground, but the man (now not so ragged) kicked off of the warforged and back flipped, landing softly five feet away. His “rags” shimmered and faded away, revealing them for what they really were, magical chain mail that could change its form.

The man scooped up the fallen branding iron and charged, hitting Poddle with a white hot backhand. Poddle was knocked back and hit the floor, sprawling awkwardly across the flagstone. Nimlar whipped out his bow and started churning out arrows while Daelis charged the man and engaged him in a duel, rapier versus branding iron.

He won.

The heroes looted the corpses of the first thief and then the pretender, taking a blue colored potion, which Daegoth recognized as a potion of cure light wounds, ten gold pieces, thieves’ tools (which Poddle took), a sap (which Daelis claimed) and two vials of milky white liquid, which the heroes were puzzled by but then decided to put away and figure out later. Nimlar claimed the magical chain shirt, even though all of the characters were fighting over it, and was rather pleased with its comfort and ease of use.

The heroes exited the chamber via the south exit and headed down a long corridor. To their right were numerous cells where prisoners of the guild where likely kept. They passed them by and came to a door at the end of the hall, which the listened at. They heard a low growling sound, like a wolf, and prepared for a fight.

The floor of the room was cluttered with partially eaten bones and clumps of dark fur, giving the air the smell of wet dog. Worg

Daegoth kicked the door in with a resounding crash and charged at his foe, which was a huge wolf-like creature with pitch black fur and a cruel face (a worg). The worg charged the lizardfolk as well, so they collided in an epic clash. The heroes piled in the room and proceeded to take out the worg with not much difficulty.

After a long argument on whether or not to rest (in the middle of the guild), the party finally decided to continue, though Daegoth downed a potion.

There was only one exit from the room, and that was continuing south. The corridor winded a little and ended up going east before coming to a door. The heroes opened it and continued to where the corridor continued but a door was to the left. The heroes listened at the door, heard snoring, and then burst in.

The walls of the room were lined with dual bunks, eleven in all. The bunks sported sheets spotted with mildew, but appeared to be well slept in. In three of the bunks, two men and a woman (all humans) slept (or at least were sleeping). The thieves started awake, clumsily trying to fumble for their weapons, but the heroes took them down before they could do anything.

The heroes went out of the room via the eastern exit and headed down a corridor, passing numerous doors and side passages on their way down, but paying them no heed. The passage ended with a small chamber that held nothing but two doors, one on either side. The heroes went through the left door, listening first, but hearing nothing and entering, finding nothing as well. They continued through a door straight across the room, and entered another corridor which continued north. The heroes continued, passing by a side passage to the left and continuing straight, finally coming to a door. They listened, heard nothing, and entered.

The room contained a single long bench pushed up against the north wall. A door to the north was marked “Lavatory”. The heroes searched through the room very thoroughly, but found nothing of interest, so continued through a door to the east and down a corridor north and to another sea cavern.

The sound of lapping waves filled the chamber, a natural sea cave that incorporates a large sloshing tide pool. To the north, a low sandy beach seethed with brightly colored crabs. The beach the characters were on sloped up to a glistening wall. A short wooden pier protruded from this beach into the pool, and the cavern wound around the corner beyond. To the north, a large wooden door blocked the cave exit, although the waters flowed unimpeded through a large space under the door.

The heroes went on to the pier and scanned the waters of the huge cavern, looking to see if there were any creatures or hidden dangers in the murky depths. They saw glimpses of a huge manta ray creature poking through the dark waves, so decided to back track and come back here later.

The heroes back tracked through the corridor and the previous rooms back to a yet unopened door. Inside, the room felt a little drier than the others in the complex, and the air smelled slightly less musty. The room itself was furnished as a lounge, complete with a stuffed couch and a low table.

There was nothing of value in the room, so the heroes continued through another door to a similar room. This room contained two fairly comfortable-looking bunks. The sheets only sported a few spots of mildew.

When the heroes searched the room, Nimlar came upon a scrap of paper wedged between one of the bunks and the wall, on which a map of the Vanderboren vault was sketched along with row upon row of failed combinations. The heroes were puzzled by this, but Nimlar just put it in his pack and forgot about it.

The heroes backtracked more when they came to a dead end, and went through another door they had passed by. It was just a small room that looked like an empty guard room, but it had a door that led further towards their goal.

The door opened into a corridor that went south, then turned west, and had a door that led south on the side of the passage that continued west. The heroes kept going for now and the corridor ended in a large chamber.

A long banquet table filled the room leaving barely any clearance to the east and west. A large cage filled with listless tropical birds stood to the northwest. The birds started to sing as the heroes came into the room, their melodious tones filling the room.

Poddle, of course took the birds, numbering half a dozen, giving them to Metallica to carry, but nothing else of value was in the room. The heroes continued through a door to the south, with Daelis going first. The half-elf barely made it to the threshold of the door when a pot of boiling hot white liquid was catapulted out of the fire place it lay simmering in, barely missing Daelis, who managed to dodge out of the way in time, but hitting Daegoth squarely in the chest, burning the lizardfolk with the liquid.

The heroes realized that the milky liquid was the poison they had found on the Lotus Dragon members earlier, and they had no idea what it actually did. Daegoth seemed to not be too injured, aside from slight burns, and he managed to resist any effects the poison may have had, but the heroes had no idea how the pot shot at them.

A battered wooden table sat in the room, its surface covered with knives, pots, and other cooking implements. A fireplace to the south kept the room relatively dry, if smoky. The pot of white liquid came from this fireplace, and from the looks of it, someone rigged the cauldron to catapult at the door purposely.

Two doors in the room led to other rooms, the first to a pantry which held nothing of value, and the second to bedroom. A layer of sand and countless seashells covered the floor of the room, and a small hammock was hung from hooks driven into the wall to the southeast, just above a heap of blankets and cushions.

The heroes heard squirming and whimpering, seeming to come from behind the door, the checked behind it and sure enough a small figure was covered with a blanket as it hid behind the portal.

“Please don’t hurt me,” it said pleadingly. “I was just afraid, I did not mean to hurt you with the big pot. Don’t kill me!” Churtle

The heroes gave the figure, a female kobold named Churtle, mercy, and Churtle vowed to stay with them and help them as much as she could, though her pledge was little assurance to the heroes, who kept an eye on her.

The heroes moved on, with Metallica carrying Churtle, since Poddle had ordered him to, determined to get on the good side of the new ally. The party backtracked once again, reaching a door that went south after they retraced their steps down the corridor they came from.

The heroes listened at the door, as had become their routine before opening a door, and heard grunting and thudding. Daegoth decided to bash the door in yet again, and the six thieves that were training in the room were surprised to see the heroes charging at them.

The floor of the large room was covered with thick padded mats. Throughout the room stood all manner of target dummies made of clothes and armor and stuffed with straw, some of which wore bell-studded coats numerous pockets, and others which were draped with manacles and chains hung with cheap-looking padlocks. To the west, a wooden stage sat a foot off the floor, which held a padded throne flanked by potted plants upon it.

The heroes charged, with Daegoth leading the fray, Daelis valiantly charging with his rapier in hand, Poddle more cautiously heading towards his enemies, Rapton drawing his mace and attacking, and Nimlar staying behind and bombarding the thieves with arrows.

The heroes quickly finished them off and looted them, finding the same items that they had on all the thieves before them. It seemed like the items were all standard to the common scoundrels in the guild.

The heroes went through the only exit to the room, a door to the east, that led to a small room that held a single chair and a table. The chair sat in one corner of the room while the table, which held several target dummies which were heaped upon it, was in the southeast.

There was nothing of interest in the room, so the party headed through another door, which, after a small passageway, led to another room.

In this room however, was a huge beast, a gigantic spider, which Poddle recognized immediately as the same type of spider that they had found in the hold of the Blue Nixie. The spider leaped forward to attack, but was taken down in short order by the combined might of the heroes.

The next room, which lay just beyond this one, looked like a planning room of some sorts, sort of like…a war room.

A large hexagonal table made of oak took up the majority of the room, surrounded by six chairs. The north wall bore a huge map of Sasserine, on which dozens of tiny flags had been placed. To the south, a five-foot tall and ten-foot wide slate bore a scrambled mess of chalk scribblings. A winch handle protruded from the northwest corner. Lotus dragon map

With a closer inspection of the map of Sasserine, the heroes saw that the many different locations of Sasserine were marked with blue, red, and gold flags. Some of the places the heroes recognized, such as the Islaran estate, which held a red flag, the Kellani estate, which had a blue flag upon it, a few of the city garrisons, including the Sunrise garrison, had both blue and gold flags on them. The heroes were intrigued to see a gold flag flying from the Vanderboren estate, but the color system was unexplained and the heroes did not have the time to take a closer look, since they wanted to find Vanthus in a hurry.

The slate to the south was apparently used to keep notes and track records. The primary piece of information currently on the slate seems to track the comings and goings of the ships in the harbor, as well as notations of which ones have been (or are scheduled to be) “holed”. A note in the lower left hand corner was written in a script that no one could read, but a list in the center of the slate was easy enough to decipher.

The names “Daegoth”, “Verael”, “Poddle”, and “Rapton” were written on the list as well as a notation in bold letters: “VANTHUS, FIX THIS NOW!”.

After a cursory search through the room, which yielding nothing of value, the heroes exited through another door, which led to a long corridor going east. The heroes headed down and eventually reached another door, which the listened at, heard nothing, and entered.

Inside the large, bare room was a corpse of a bugbear. When the corpse rose to attack them, it was obvious that it was a guardian placed here to protect the room. The heroes took the undead creature down with no trouble, and headed out another door to another corridor, which led north, turned east, and then continued north, where it ended at another door. At the turn there was also a door, which the heroes entered first.

The opulence of the chamber’s decor was a bit jarring. The smooth plaster walls were painted violet. Delicately crafted silver lanterns flickered softly on the wall, lighting the room. A shelf to the north held several books, statuettes, stuffed animals, a crystal ball with a smoky red light at its core, and two coffers: one of darkwood and one of iron decorated with tiny jade bats. A five-foot wide landscape of the city of Sasserine hung on the eastern wall, yet all the ships in the harbor flew flags depicting a serpentine dragon coiled around a lotus. A pair of overstuffed chairs sat beside a low table heaped with fruits and bottles of wine. To the south stood a lone wooden cupboard. The floor itself was adorned with a thick, deep purple carpet. An open door to the south led to what appeared to be a bedroom. Rowyn kellani

Inside the room, relaxing on one of the chairs, was a red-haired woman wearing black leather and bearing a the Lotus Dragon tattoo on one shoulder. Standing to the side of the chair was a bright-eyed and hungry-looking monster, a dinosaur-like dragon with green scales and a bright yellow crest on its head.

The woman rose as the heroes entered the room, and regarded them with an appraising look.
“Ah, Lavinia’s flunkies,” she addressed them sarcastically, seemingly amused. “I am Rowyn, the guildmistress of the Lotus Dragons. Welcome to my humble abode.”

She then boldly offered them a job.

“You are obviously resourceful folk with strong skills in a fight,” she said, her attitude now one of seriousness. “Would you be interested in working for me instead of Lavinia?”

“How much money would you be willing to pay us?” Poddle said, stepping forward and slowly inching toward Rowyn.

Poddle and Rowyn bargained for a little while, but eventually the other heroes decided to just attack her, since the negotiations were going nowhere and they didn’t want to join Rowyn anyway.

Rowyn sighed and said, “Gut Tugger! Do your thing!”

The drake rushed forward and attacked, and the battle was underway.

After a tedious battle, the heroes had Rowyn surrounded. She desperately grabbed out a potion strapped to her belt and downed it, and to the frustration of the heroes, slowly became less solid and eventually turned into a smoky haze, which then slid up a nearby pipe.

Gut Tugger, now completely surrounded and over-matched, surrendered (well, after the heroes tackled him to the ground and Poddle turned the felldrake reluctantly over to his side).

The heroes searched the lounge and the nearby bedroom, and found some items of value, including jewelry, perfumes, and clothing. They took this and searched other nearby rooms, a bath chamber and a vault. The bath had nothing of value, but the vault, which was trapped, was tricky to get through. After dodging darts and spikes in the floor, the heroes got to the treasure. Inside they found a large number of chests, after breaking them open, they found a large amount of money and goods in most of the chests, but in one they found coins and gemstones in bags holding the Vanderboren emblem upon its surface.

It was the money Vanthus had stolen from the vault.

Searching Rowyn’s bedroom for a final time, Nimlar stumbled across a cache of letters from Vanthus to Rowyn.

They were love letters, but going through them, the party found some key pieces of information.

Excerpts from Vanthus’ Letters to Rowyn Kellani

Dated May 25th (Two days before the fire that slew the elder Vanderborens)

“…My parents have grown soft. I’m not worried in the slightest that they suspect anything my delicate flower. The funds you’ve trusted me with have been more than enough to pay off the locals guards, the harbor watch, and the ship’s crew to say nothing about the new cargo. Heck…they even offered to help load the barrels! Of course, I didn’t tell them what was inside—I’m sure they’d sing a different song if they knew just how much alchemist’s fire we loaded into the hold of my father’s new plaything. I’ll be following the ships’s progress for a few days to make sure the fire does the trick, so you’ll not be seeing me for at least half a week…”

Dated May 30th (Three days after the fire)

“…It’s unbelievable! Sure, she’s the eldest sibling, but she knows nothing of life! She spent the last half of her childhood in Thenalar learning how to fold napkins and play the violin! It just goes to show you how insane my parents really were…leaving everything in her care like that! Whatever. She’ll need the house to live off of, I suppose. Lavinia’s not a bad lass, really… I kind of miss our time together, to tell the truth. Think she’d be interested in joining the Lotus? I doubt it. And anyway, a second Vanderboren tragedy might get too many people curious. No, for now, whatever’s in the vault will have to do…”

Dated June 20th (Five days ago)

“…I really wish you could have been there, my little dragon, to see their faces before I closed the door! Lavinia’s never going to get anywhere hiring fools like them. I wonder if they’ve found Penkus yet? I hope they didn’t die too quickly.
“In any case, on to the purpose of this letter. Brissa’s in the other room, getting ready for a night out on town, so I’ll have to be quick. Remember that thing she hinted about to me? About the pirates who were supposedly using Kraken’s cove as a base for their smuggling operation? Turn’s out she wasn’t spinning tales—I’ve heard that they’ll be arriving within the week with a particularly rich cargo. I’ll bring her with me on the pretext of joining up with them, get their guard down, and when they’re not expecting it my men’ll get light the ships on fire! It’ll be a simple task to pluck the treasure from the water once all those fools are dead. Should be more than enough to make up for what we lost when Lavinia inherited rather than me.
“I tell you… burning people to death on their own boats? It’s the best way to make money yet. Wish I’d though of it years ago!”

Rowyn had escaped and Vanthus was never here.

The heroes decided to head out as quickly as possible to this Kraken’s Cove to intercept Vanthus.

They just hoped they could make it in time…

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Chapter 3: The Big City
The adventurers traverse Sasserine in their two days of free time...

Savage Tide

Part I: There Is No Honor
Chapter 3: The Big City

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric of Obad-Hai

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elf Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Friday, June 25th, 1234 AY

Our heroes, being given two days of leave from their duties at her estate, went on various different missions.

Verael, left the main group and went off on his own for his portion of leave, and wasn’t seen even after the time he had been given. No one was sure where he had gone until much later…

On the morning of the first day that the party had off, Poddle heading to a shady gambling house named Fishlip’s Games. As soon as the kobold walked into the establishment, he could tell that kobold’s were not common in Sasserine, as everyone in the gambling house stopped what they were doing and stared at him. After the initial shock, a charming young noble named Avner Meravanchi approached the kobold and challenged him to a card game. The two played, and Poddle ended up winning a total of forty gold.

Poddle then decided to contact the local black market and try to get a place in the local hierarchy. He asked around and found the black market pretty easily, and then met with a sly rogue named Maverick. After Poddle asked about setting him up with a black market operation, Maverick offered him a deal: if he could capture three dangerous exotic creatures from the surrounding Amedio Jungle, then he would set Poddle up with his own branch of the Sasserine Smuggling Circle, focused on smuggling animals.

Poddle headed out to the nearby coast and began to search through some of the various tide pools that lined the shores. He found a glowfish, a strange little fish that emitted a bright light when in danger to ward off predators. He brought it back to Maverick, but the black marketeer refused to take it. Apparently Poddle had misunderstood and thought that Maverick had just said “exotic” and not “dangerous”.

Poddle, determined to find a creature fitting of the description, bought a fishing net from a peddler in Sasserine and headed out to the coast again, searching in the shallows for a dangerous creature. He found an aquatic snake and managed to capture it, but when he brought it back, Maverick said it wasn’t dangerous enough, and would only count as half an animal. Poddle decided to call it a day.

Rapton, Daegoth, and Poddle (who was taking a break from his search for exotic animals) headed over to the Sasserine Arena to watch a tournament between gladiatorial teams. The heroes started to grin foolishly at each other. Then they headed to the sign-up booths.

They were still short two people, however, since Verael was gone and the tournament called for five in a team, so they headed out to search for candidates. Nimlar sumel2

They met up with two adventurers, Nimlar Sumel (an elven ranger from Azatharia) and Daelis Eagleheart (a half-elf who was a traveling duelist), who they found at the Six Swords Tavern. With almost no introduction, the two unsuspecting companions were dragged into the party, unaware of what they had just got themselves in to. Daelis

Our heroes then headed for the sign-up booths, signed their party up, and waited for their chance at the spotlight. While they waited, they practiced, Nimlar shooting targets with his longbow, Daelis dueling with another swashbuckler, Daegoth hitting a practice dummy, and Rapton praying and memorizing his spells. Poddle, however, wasn’t practicing his martial skill; he was practicing his commercial skill. He walked through the stadium, selling trinkets and illegal goods to unsuspecting customers. He amassed quite a profit, and brought a few ne’er do’ wells into the fold of the SSC (the Sasserine Smuggling Circle).

After an extensive wait, the heroes were finally ready for their chance in the spotlight. They were pitted against the one of groups sponsored by the Iron Brigade (the people who owned the Sasserine Arena), which was actually fairly rare, since the Iron Brigade’s group was the undeniable champion of the Sasserine Arena. The two parties sized each other up, checking for weaknesses. The opposite party was made up of a crude-looking gnome with a scarred face and a short sword, a haughty elf wearing a robe and holding a spell book, a savage human (an Olman) with bone armor and a bone sword, a muscular dwarf with heavy armor and a holy symbol hanging on his neck, and another human wearing earthen-style clothing and carrying a spear. Then the fight began. Ironbrigade

The rules were simple, use any means necessary to defeat the other team. You could not strike at a fallen combatant nor intentionally try to kill another combatant, but powerful healers were always on hand in case of an accident. Nothing else applied. It was all out war.

OOC: The following description is not exactly how the fight took place, because I really can’t remember the details. It is mostly made just for dramatic quality.

Poddle charged, rolling at the last second right next to the gnome and hammering in hard with his warmace. The gnome easily blocked it aside however and came in fast with his short sword, a sneer on his face. Poddle fell to the ground to avoid the fatal thrust and used the momentum of the gnomes’ strike to throw the now not sneering rogue up and over him, with the gnome crash landing about five feet away. Poddle quickly got up and readied his warmace. Then he charged.

Daelis drew his masterly crafted rapier, shaped into the likeness of an eagle by his own hand, and flew into the thick of the combat, his light sword whipping like the wind. He simultaneously fought off both of the humans in the enemy party, holding back the deadly tip of the druid’s spear and the bone carved sword of the barbarian.
“Nimlar! Now would be a good time to start firing some arrows,” the half-elf shouted to his elven companion, now sweating profusely.
A thud and then a grunt from the druid made him smile as he saw the wooden shaft of an arrow protruding from his enemies’ torso, making him fight on all the harder.

Nimlar worked furiously with his bow, often firing two with one shot, but was rarely rewarded with a hit. He seemed to be off his game today. With the shot to the druid his spirit’s lifted, and he got a nick on the barbarian as well, causing the elven ranger to shout in merry glee. A sharp pang caused him to flinch however, and he looked down at his torso to see a trickle of blood flowing from his stomach. A shouted “Huzzah” made him look up, and he saw the enemy wizard smirking haughtily. He would have to save an arrow for that one.

Rapton, his lips mouthing incantations and phrases that no common man could understand, raised his hand as he finished his spell, causing a glimmering object to appear at the rear of the enemy party’s formation, which then quickly shaped into a bird-like figure. The great hawk, twice the size of a normal one, swooped down onto the wizard who was in the back of the enemy party and clawed and bit at the elf ferociously, receiving a piercing scream from its enemy as his robes and flesh were torn to shreds. The hawk screeched and clawed more ferociously, but the wizard fired off a quick spell and then dove off to the side, moaning in pain. Rapton smiled.

And so did Daegoth, as the taste of battle came so easily to his lips once again. He sent his heavy mace crashing down onto the unsuspecting head of the enemy barbarian, who barely managed to get his own weapon up in time to block the attack. The barbarian sent his fist barreling into the stomach of the great lizardfolk, but the attack barely stunned the great creature, let alone wounded him. Daegoth kept pounding away at the enemy, his thoughts (what little he had) washed away as the adrenaline pumped through his veins.

Poddle smashed his warmace into the gnome’s chest, knocking the wind out of the rogue and sending him sprawling. Surprisingly, the small figure started to glow and then he leaped back at the shocked kobold. The dwarf cleric, who had been as of yet unnoticed, laughed a hearty laugh as only a dwarf could do and spit in his hands, chanting up another healing spell. Poddle’s face darkened as he continued combat with the now healed gnome. He was getting ticked.

Daelis was now pitted in combat against the druid, nicking the human once in a while, but rarely getting a good hit. Back and forth they fought their contest, a complex web of strikes and parries. It was a new challenge, since Daelis was unaccustomed to fighting against a spearman this adept at dueling. The druid seemed to know exactly where he was striking, and timed his fluid attacks effortlessly. Finally, amidst the endless routine of their battle, the druid did something unexpected. He sent a bolt of magical energy arcing towards Daelis, barely missing the stunned half-elf, but giving the druid enough time to make a strike with his spear. Daelis cursed his bad luck and grunted through the pain, now getting tired of this contest. He was determined to end it quickly.

Nimlar smirked when his wizard enemy was sent diving by the sudden appearance of the hawk Rapton had summoned. He fitted another arrow into his bow and pulled the string back, letting loose on the barbarian fighting with Daegoth, careful not to hit the lizardfolk. He was rewarded with his enemy’s cry of pain and his now not so effortless struggle to fend off the lizardfolk’s attacks. The elf kept shooting.

Rapton telepathically ordered his hawk to redirect its attack towards the cleric, who was now becoming a major problem. The dwarf was using his healing magic to make their attacks worth naught. Rapton started to chant a new incantation while his hawk started to rain down on the cleric, slowly wearing him out. He finished chant with a shout, when suddenly the ground began to shake. Great tendrils, roots in fact, shot out from the ground grabbing hold of the legs of Rapton’s enemies and holding them fast.

Daegoth was starting to win the battle, as he hammered down at the barbarian with everything he had. The great lizardfolk’s muscles bulged, stretched to their limit as Daegoth kept up his relentless attack. The barbarian cried out in shock as the tendrils that Rapton had unleashed grabbed his leg, causing him to slow and giving Daegoth the opening he had been waiting for. The dragon shaman hit in hard and fast, sending the barbarian tumbling into the waiting roots, which held him down fast.

Poddle was in trouble now, trying to block the quick gnome’s strikes while attempting to get his own attacks in. The gnome suddenly reversed his momentum right in the middle of a swing and sent his short sword slashing across Poddle’s torso, creating a deep gash. Poddle cried out in pain, but kept fighting, determined to beat this belligerent gnome. Then the gnome stopped coming on, held down by the magical tendrils of Rapton’s spell. The gnome cried out and tried to get clear of the roots, but for naught. Poddle smiled and attacked.

Daelis finished off the druid with a well placed backhand swing, sending a team of clerics to collect him. The half-elf then ran towards the next enemy, who happened to be the wizard, who had waited at the side of the battle (out of range of the tendrils) for a chance to strike. The wizard started to chant and pointed his fingers at the swashbuckler, sending darts of magical energy blasting towards the surprised duelist. Daelis took the hit, grimaced, but then tripped and went sprawling. He corrected himself with a roll and was quickly back on his feet, still coming on at the elf. The wizard grabbed out his puny dagger and tried to brace himself for combat, but Daelis hit the tiny blade aside and came in with a piercing stab, effectively taking the wizard out of the match.
“I always thought magic was overrated anyway,” the half-elf smirked.

Nimlar started raining in arrows at the enemy cleric, determined to take him out of the match. The missiles just bounced off the dwarf’s heavy armor, however, and he laughed heartily.
“Bah!” The dwarf said, as another arrow bounced off his armor. “Ye couldn’t hit a dragon with those shots elf!”
“We’ll see about that,” Nimlar said under his breath, drawing another arrow.
He let loose, and the arrow flew into the dwarf’s shoulder, causing the dwarf to be suddenly less sure of himself. To make things worse (for the dwarf, anyway) the magical roots grappled with the dwarf’s legs, seriously hindering his mobility. The cleric was in for a bad day.

Rapton was glad to see that his spell had done its work, as the cries and shouts of the combatants confirmed to him (if not the sight). His summoned hawk had disappeared by now, so he started to chant again, aiming his finger towards Poddle, and sent a wave of healing energy towards him, rejuvenating the Kobold.
“It’s about time, Rapton!” Poddle exclaimed who was still slightly grimacing from the pain of the wound.
Rapton shrugged and started to chant again.

Daegoth smashed his mace down on the barbarian, finishing him (and sending a team of clerics out). Daegoth stopped however, wary of going through the thick tendrils, and looked towards Rapton. He was in the middle of casting a spell however, and the lizardfolk still couldn’t be sure if he could safely tread through the magical roots. He grunted and plowed through the thick vines.

Poddle jumped atop his enemy, bringing his warmace down on the scarred gnome. The gnome sent one final curse his way before he went into unconsciousness. Poddle smiled and surveyed the battlefield. It looked like it was almost over. Poddle could just smell the rewards.

Daelis was also looking over the battlefield, taking in the cheering fans and the fading smell of battle. The only enemy left was the cleric.
“Why did we leave him for last?” Daelis said aloud, puzzled by his newfound companions’ strange strategy.
He shrugged and went in a run towards the dwarf.

Nimlar was almost out of arrows by now, so he waited for precise moments to fire his precious missiles. Seeing an opening as Daegoth and Daelis fought with the cleric, he loosed one of his last arrows, satisfied to see it hit the dwarf’s thigh. The ranger waited for another shot.

Rapton shot another wave of healing energy at Poddle, effectively healing him back to full strength, then drew his heavy mace and headed to help fight the cleric. His magical tendrils had disappeared by now, but he had a feeling the fight was already over.

Daegoth and Daelis made hit after hit against the dwarf, but it seemed like he wouldn’t go down. He kept healing himself and managed to fend off their more serious attacks with his warhammer. But finally, Daegoth got a hit in, right between the dwarf’s eyes, which took him down. The lizardfolk shouted a hearty laugh and a cry of victory. It was over. Metallica

Our heroes had just knocked off the first place champion of the Sasserine Arena, and as of such, they got many rewards. The Iron Brigade allowed each of the heroes to make a request of what they wanted. Poddle got a warforged slave named Metallica (since slavery was legal in the Amedio region), Rapton got a Olman slave named Derek, Daelis got five hundred gold, Nimlar got a magical longbow and one hundred gold, and Daegoth got training with the Dwarven Waraxe from an Iron Brigade member named Urgor Warbeard (he bought a Dwarven Waraxe with his own money however). Derek

After the battle at the Sasserine Arena, Poddle headed out to the Amedio Jungle to search for more exotic creatures. He found a nest of five fire beetles, snuggled in a hollow log, which he managed to capture without too much difficulty. Because Poddle wasn’t in shape (and he was small anyway), he could not drag the net in which was the captured fire beetles very fast, so he was caught in the jungle in the middle of the night. A huge centipede appeared from a nearby shrub and attacked Poddle, but he managed to kill it.

While he was dragging his prize through Shadowshore to give to Maverick, two gnomes attacked him, trying to steal his fire beetles (which were slightly valuable). Poddle managed to knock them both out, so he tied them up and left them in the street naked, laughing all the way back to Maverick’s base of operations. He was wounded however, with two crossbow bolts to the shoulder, so he took the fire beetles to Maverick and then retired to the Vanderboren Manor, getting bandages on his wound and some healing from Rapton.

Saturday, June 26th, 1234 AY

Early in the morning, Poddle got up and had an idea. He bought thirty nets, went through the streets and hired thirty laborers, and set out into the Amedio Jungle, looking for dangerous animals to capture with his helpers.

They found a huge toad, and managed to capture it with only minor injuries to the laborers. Five of the men dragged the creature back to Sasserine, while the rest kept on going through the jungle with their employer.

Next they found a gorilla, which Poddle wanted to keep for himself. The laborers captured without difficulty and dragged it back to the Vanderboren Manor.

After a while, they found a giant spider and some smaller monstrous spiders, which killed two of the men before they could seize them. But seize them they did, and the remaining laborers still headed out with Poddle. War

The last encounter of the day, one with a deinonychus, was disastrous. The dinosaur slaughtered all of the remaining men. Poddle managed to escape, and still had all the other animals in his custody, so he passed the slaughter off as business and went back to Maverick’s place.

He took all of the animals he had captured to Maverick (except for the gorilla, which he kept for himself) and got his go-ahead for starting his own smuggling branch. All he needed now was a base of operations…

Poddle took the gorilla back to the Vanderboren Manor, found a trainer that he could pay to domesticate his new pet, and placed the animal in the basement.

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