Wednesday– September 25th, 998 YK
As you prepare to set sail for Dreadwood, you are met by a small contigent of Seadragon militia, accompanied by a Khoravar Thunderguide. He approaches your ship confidently.
“My name is Halas. We were ordered by the High Prince to accompany you on your journey. I am quite familiar with the southern principalities and shall serve as a guide if required.”
“Welcome aboard.” Sejik replies. “We are thankful for Prince Rygar’s aid.”
Meanwhile, Kohl on his return from his daily preaching of Torval’s word, stumbles upon your old friend, and now fugitive, Cornnath. He tells Kohl he has been hiding in the backstreets and alleys of Regalport for days and desires to return aboard your ship. Kohl agrees and the two return to the Swiftwind. Kohl introduces Cornnath to Halas and the Seadragon’s as a newly obtained convert of Torval.
“Interesting tactic.” Sejik whispers to Kohl once alone. “The Traveler would be pleased by your sense of trickery Kohl. Perhaps you should reconsider your faith?”
“My faith is not for reconsideration, my friend.” Kohl stoicly replies, “The dark hand of Dha’ark looms over this world and it is my duty to shine Torval’s cleansing light upon it.”
“Very well. The Traveler can wait.” Sejik smiles.
The voyage to Dreadwood is seven uneventful and restless days at sea. You arrive in the morning. Mist-draped and shadowed by teeming rainforest that rises up only a few yards from the shoreline, Dreadwood is an unsettling sight. Mountains climb from the mist like dark sentinels above the island’s shadowed interior. An eerie pall emanates from the place, and the crew has grown strangely quiet. The wind seems to carry whispers here, as if the hollow voices of long-dead explorers were beckoning softly from their hidden graves.
You navigate the waters to the northeast side of the isle recalling the following passage from Eliam’s journal:
“Northeast of Dreadwood, where dragons sleep forever, their bones point the way to the island’s approach.”
You soon reach your destination. A monolith of black volcanic stone reaches skyward from the sea, its base shrouded in whitecapped waves. In one spot, the rock curves inward like a mouth drinking deep from the sea. Waves surge within this black bay, but beyond them, the bleached white of bone catches the light. Ribs of enormous size reach up like talons from the shallows below the black monolith. The spine of some tremendous creature lies embedded in the rock face. Its skull sits atop the rock, water coursing from hollow eye sockets as the sea pulses in and out.
The skeletons of two enormous dragons are scattered within the recess in the rock. As if gathered to pay homage to the fallen dragons, the bones of dozens of whales lie broken around the black maw of stone. Your captain informs you that the Swiftwind will be unable to get into the bay’s shallow waters. You set out in two rowboats towards the rock.
As you draw nearer, the immense size of the bones in the shallows beneath the black rock face becomes immediately apparent. To the left, the sea flows into a rocky cave bearing an uncanny resemblance to the head of a lion in full-throated roar. Like enormous fangs, two stalagmites rise from the sea at the cave mouth, while two stalactites descend from the ceiling above. Within the twisting chamber, piles of rubble rise from the swirling water that seems to flow back out of sight.
Again you recall the second passage of legend:
“To reach the island’s distant shore, enter the lion’s maw and brave his vicious roar.”
“I believe that cave is our destination” Miklos says warily.