Separately and collectively, The party had fallen into the hands of pirate slavers.
Waking up in the belly of a galley ship, chained to bunks, and in the midst of a great storm.
The ship was grounded and in the crash, split apart. The rear stayed wedged in the rocks near a beach cove, the front half floated off with the storm.
As Klembsy, the human druid, pushed on the bunk post his chains were attached to he was somewhat surprised to find that it gave quite easily. Feeling under the water, near the floor base, the post appeared to have split in the crash. Klembsy was able to loop his chains off the post, grab the keys, remove his shackles, and release the other prisoners.
The group decided to go up deck and search the crash remains for gear. Leaving the ship they noticed one of the slavers had also survived the crash.
“It looks like Harkris, (a half orc slaver they recognized as part of the ship’s crew) he keeps pulling on a wineskin. He looks piss drunk and armed, I can see he’s got a sword on him.”
“If it’s only Hafkris and he is drunk, we can take him out”, said Klembsy. “Someone good in hiding must get a closer look. Meanwhile, search for a hook, a harpoon or something we can fight with”.
Maltron the human mage saw the situation differently. “Aye a drunk Harkris we could probably kill, but I’d like to try a different approach. He’s a bit far off and we have time to search the ship for weapons which I suggest we do. But, I will attempt to charm him and make a friend from a foe. We could certainly use an ally right now. So, lets go up top and grab what we need. If he doesn’t approach, great. If he does approach, I can attempt to charm him from a distance before he gets here. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. If it doesn’t work, we can attack him with whatever we find. Perhaps he is so drunk he won’t notice us or care.”
Kistol the elven thief nodded at Maltron’s words, “Yeah, to hell with Harkris. I just wanna find my gear, he’ll get what’s coming to him after I get my stuff back. It better be there, too. Now can we just move?! Drowning is not something I’m fond of.”
The group was able to stealthily make their way up deck and search for gear. In the intact ship’s stern hold they found Four broken barrels which have spilled wine and ale everywhere; Dozens of sacks of grain, soaked with wine, ale, and water, all useless; Fifty quarrels for the heavy crossbow; A heavy crossbow; and A chest.
Ein The dwarven ranger whispers as he takes the crossbow and quarrels, “I’m pretty good with a bow, anyone else here a decent shot?”
Opening the chest they found a captain’s journal. Also inside are navigational charts and another small book that when flipped through appeared to be a spell book.
Kistol nodded to the dwarf, then quietly, “Short bow, though. That thing’s too bulky for my…line of work. What’s your name anyway?”
The dwarf replies as he loads the crossbow, “I’m Einbon, but you can call me Ein.”
Sensing *Max*’s worried look, Maltron wanted to give him something to do to keep his mind off his worries. Maybe he is in shock? He thought.
“That sail will come in useful for shelter or blankets later. Max grab that sail and bring it with us if you don’t see any weapons lying about.”
Max, grateful for something to do, climbs the wreckage to retrieve the sail and some rope.
The group then picked up boards, and pieces of wreckage to use as clubs.
“You know, my first instinct is to take the half-orc out right now, but he may know more about what’s going on. Maltron, you said you could charm him, right? Maybe Ein can cover you while you try it. If it doesn’t work, we still have the crossbow and the distance advantage. Can you do it from here?” says Kistol.
“Yes, I can charm him from here, much farther if I had too. You know, I think we are ready to try. Ready yourselves. I have another trick or two up my sleeve, but I hope this works.”
Maltron began to chant and contort his body in a manner to harness the magical energy from the space surrounding him, ending it by pointing his finger at Harkris and shouting “Friend!” As quickly as he began, the Charm spell had been cast. ‘This usually always works on drunks, he remembers the many times he used this in bars for not so benevolent activities. If not, the pressure will be on with that slobbering half-orc charging over here with that hard steel blade.’
Like popping a bubble, Harkris stops in place. He turns and looks directly at the group. Wiping the wine from his mouth with the back of his hand, he corks the skin and tosses it into the weeds beside him over his shoulder. Drawing his sword he moves towards the party. He wades about knee deep in the tide, waving/crisscrossing his sword over his head and jumping up and down, he starts shouting.
“Hey HEY!! IT’S ME, HARKY! COME IN, GET OFF THAT WRECK, COME HAVE A DRINK!!! WE’RE RETIRED NOW!! COME ON IN LET’S CELEBRATE!!! HEY GUYS HEYYYYY GUYYYYS!!!
Ein levels the crossbow on Harkris, leaning in and drawing a tight bead on the slaver, he speaks, “Did your spell work? or should I drop him?”
Still in the hull of the ship, Klembsy speaks to the girl survivor, “My name is Klembsy. What is your name and how the hell did you find yourself here?”.
The girl seems reluctant to talk. It’s obvious she’s very cold and afraid. Shivering she says, “I’m not sh-sh-sure, I w-was on my w-w-way to visit my father when I was jumped. Next th-th-th-thing I knew I woke up in th-th-the hold of this sh-sh-sh-ship.”
Klembsy climbs down again to reassure the girl and tries to warm her with his body heat giving her a gentle hug.
As Klembsy tries to move in and give the girl a hug, her eyes go wide and she raises her club as if to hit him. Backing away and holding her arm out, she says “What are you doing?! Get away from me!”
Kistol replies to* Ein*, with a slightly surprised look on his face, “Well, I think calling himself “Harky” might be a clue that it worked, but I’m no wizard. You might lower that a touch. Don’t wanna spook him.”
At the ruckus below decks, Kistol pops his head down, and speaks in a whisper, “Klembsy! Leave her alone! You’re gonna spook Harkris! Sorry, girl. He’s only trying to help. We’ll be out of here soon.”
“Maybe.” Ein says lowering the crossbow.
“Well,” Looking to the rest of the group with smirk, “Should we go have a drink with good ole’ Harky?”
Klembsy backed off and left the girl. He then popped his head out to see how the others were progressing with Harky.
Maltron smiles and whispers, “Aye, it worked. It may break anytime, but can last as long as a month or more. We will have to watch him closely.”
Then shouting to Harkris, “Harky! Thank the Gods you are alive. I thought you had drown. So good to see another big strong warrior to get us safely back to civilization. We have so much to talk about, but first how are you?”
After Maltron shouts to Harkris, Ein barks to Klembsy and the girl. “We can head out now, the mage’s trick looks like it worked. We’re going to wade to shore. But be wary.”
The group climbed down off the boat and Klembsy and the girl exited the wreckage, everyone then moved through the shallow tide onto the beach.
Max carries a club and what’s left of the sail wrapped up in a large bundle, Maltron brings in the chest pulled from the hold, Ein has a pair of manacles, chain, the quarrel quiver over his shoulder and the crossbow in hand, lowered but still pointed in Harkris’ direction. Klembsy has the manacle’s keyring and a club, and Kistol and the human female also carry a club each.
Harkris backs out of the water and sheathes his sword as the group approaches. He moves over to retrieve the wineskin from the weeds where he tossed it earlier. Uncorking it he takes a pull before handing it to Maltron. “How am I? I’m fantastic! I don’t work for that horse-shit captain anymore, I’m shtill alive after that storm and the crash, and I’m piss drunk! So aside from being mmmmarooned here, I can’t complain! At least I’m stuck here with my pal….” Slapping Maltron on the shoulder and drooling slightly, “….i’m really blotto, i can’t remember yer name pally. Tell me againsh?”
“My name is Malton E’altur, Harky. These are also my, our, friends.”
“We have to search for our belonging. Any idea where they might be? I had a very special book before I boarded the ship. What was the name of the ship and where we’re we headed? I seem to have forgotten everything.”
Klembsy asks Harky “Do you know where we are?”.
Kistol says, “Glad you made it, Harky. What do ya got there? Mind if I have a swig? Man, it’s cold. You have any idea where some clothes are? Where was that kept on the ship again?”
“Maltron! of course, I knnnnew that.” Slurs Harkris.
The half orc acknowledges each member of the group as Maltron introduces them, when he turns to the female human she coldly replies, “*Melisana of Ventris*.”
Laughingily Harkris introduces himself, “Harkris the slaver,” he says with wobbly and dramatic bow.
“But you all already knew that, right?” He snorts, clearly very amused with himself.
“That’s all done now we’re retired! wwater…or should i say ‘wine’ under the bussssted bridge.”
Staring daggers of hate at Harkris, Melisana’s knuckles become white as she tightens the grip on her club.
The Wineskin is passed, each taking a healthly glug (except Melisana), until it reaches Max.
Harkris speaks, “Leemmmmme bring you up to speed eh? We’re all that’s left. The captain was a complete loooon, sailing so far from laaand in the shtormy season; We were done, full cargo, ready to go. Heeee wash the last to go, after all the others had been washed overboard, after all the stock I brrrought up to man the oars were wasshed overboard. I had enough so I tossed his dummash overboard. All your gear, all the ‘mechandeeses’ gear was in the hold in an the front of the ship. That floated away….bye bye, just like my gold.” He trails off waving goodbye at the ocean.
At this point he appears as though he may slump down, but his droopy eyes snap open and he straightens up pointing towards the sea. “Hey wash that?”
Turning to look you see a thoroughly soaked male half elf, still bound in manacles and dressed in the same slave tunic, emerge gasping for breath from the tide. He slumps to his knees then face down in the sand trying to catch his breath. A few moments pass and he lifts his head up to look, very surprised, at the group.
Looking back from the half drowned half elf you see Harkris on his back, out cold, with a small trickle of blood from his forehead. Standing over him is Melisana with a broken club. She mutters a curse and spits on the slaver’s face. Dropping what’s left of her club in the sand, she turns back to all eyes of the group on her.
“What?” She says with a small shrug. “We owed him that.”
Kistol shouts, “Hey! I was gonna do that! Nice shot, by the way. Ein, you wanna put those manacles on him? Behind the back might be good.”
He strips Harkris of his sword and sword belt and searches him, looking for a dagger or anything else useful. He takes the sword and walks over to Max. “Hey, big guy! Max, was it? Here, you look like you could make use of this. Can I borrow some of your rope?”
Kistol takes the rope and with help, ties Harkis’ arms to his sides and ties his feet as well, all the while stewing, You gotta be kidding me! My gear!? Lost at sea!? Might have to get some payback from ol’ Harky here.
“Come on Klembsy, let’s help the other one. You got the keys, right? Smart bringing them along.” Kistol approaches carefully and introduces himself and explains the situation. “What about you? What’s your story?”
Ein rolls the now snoring slaver onto his belly and manacles his arms behind his back. “Toss me the keys Klembsy, I’ll play warden to Harky here.”
The Group strips Harkris of his sword, dagger, boots and breeches.
Max gives the broadsword a few test swings. It’s too small and too large at the same time, but Max knows well enough what the pointy end is for. He straps the scabbard to his waist and sheathes the sword. He holds on to the wineskin unless somebody asks for it. It’s not a real potion, but it provides courage of a sort.
Kistol keeps the dagger and breeches.
Kistol speaks again to the newly washed up half-elf, “Still out of it, huh?” He talks slowly and a little louder, “YOU WERE DRUGGED AND KIDNAPPED. THE SLAVE SHIP CRASHED AND SANK.” He points to the remnants of the ship. “So were the rest of us. Well, except Harky there. We’ve got him subdued. Sounds like we’re marooned here.” Kistol lightens up and relaxes, “Come on! Say hi to the rest of the group!” He jogs back to the rest and makes introductions. He finishes with the existing people and the comes back to the half-elf, “And you are?”
“Oh, my name’s Yohn, Yohn Gogh.” He bows, keeping his eyes on the group to make sure no one pulls a fast one on him. “Sorry for the outburst,” He brushes off his manacles off of his wrists. “This is all shocking news. Anyway, we should go find our stuff, then find some kind of place of civilization, I’m starved.” He says, holding his stomach.
After introductions, Ein unlocks Yohns manacles and keeps them. “You and me both kid.”
Ein surveys the area, “We’ve got to find some shelter soon. Otherwise when night falls out here, with this rain, wind, and what we’re wearing, we’ll freeze to death. I’ll try to find a way up the cliffs, anyone else here a decent climber?”
Maltron rolls his eyes.
“You may have just broken the charm with your rash actions. Now we might be dealing with an angry drunk half-Orc instead of one that would lay his life down for us. If we are lucky, he will still view us as friends. Otherwise we will have to kill him. Without my spellbook, I won’t be able to cast that again.”
Melisana replies to Maltron, “I have no regrets. If he comes around and your spell is broken we can leave him here. Manacled and alone, he’ll die of exposure before the sun rises.”
Maltron hands off the journal and spellbook to Max. “Keep this safe for me, I’m going to check out the wreckage once more. You can have my share of the wine.”
“Can anyone make a fire? See if there are any caves in the cliff face.”
Maltron swims back to the boat and searches the wreckage. He is unable to find anything else other than what has previously been discovered. Studying the new spell for about 10 mins, Maltron is able to determine it is (and subsequently memorize) ‘magic missle’. The other book is the captain’s log and the rest of the papers are navigational charts. One of the charts indicates the galley’s destination as an isle in the Pirate Isles in the Sea of Fallen Stars.
Kistol and Ein survey the cliffs and with after a brief exploration Kistol finds a rough path the group can use to move up the cliffs. Reaching the top Kistol and Ein get a look at the island. It’s certainly not a good look-dim from the overcast skies and blurred by the rain – but they can make out some details. The island is very, very hilly. Looking across the island, the characters can see that the highest and most forbidding hills are westward, running the entire length of the island from south to north. Northward is broken terrain, passable but not easy going, while eastward the terrain seems to flatten out a little bit. However, since it’s still hilly and broken even in that direction, they can’t see any sign of shelter or a community in any direction. There’s not much green to be seen. Except for some common, practically indestructible scrub growth, the island seems to be totally lifeless.
The duo descends back to the group on the beach and relays their findings.
Ein speaks, “Not much out there, but we can’t stay here. Going east seems the best bet. What are we going to do with Harkris?”
Kistol replies, “East works for me. As for the slaver, I say kill him. He’s of no more use to us and the charm’s probably broken thanks to the girl. Even if it’s not it probably will once he wakes up and finds out he’s bound. We’d get more use out of the rope and shackles on him. Plus,” Kistol pauses, anger filling up from his kidnapping and lost gear, “He’s got it coming.”
Max stands with the chest (books inside) under one arm and the bundled up sail and rope under the other. He has tied the wineskin to Harkris’s scabbard belt so it hangs from his waist. He ventures no opinion on Harkris.
Ein speaks, “Let’s wake his ugly ass up then.” With several kicks to the ribs, slaps and shouts to the face, Ein is able to wake Harkris who groggily comes around.
“Wash the big deal?….i’m up, i’m up. Ugh my head ish killing me, wah happened? Why are the chains on me? Ha ha Mally, funny joke. Take these offa me and hand me my shkin, my buzz is wearing down.”
Quietly to the others Maltron says, “Let’s keep him around for cannon fodder. Hells, he probably won’t attack even if the charm breaks. He needs us more than we need him. After we are safe, we can go so far as kill him of you all want, but we aren’t safe now an he might have some skills that will help us, like navigation or seamanship. I vote we let him loose.”
Then to Harkris, “Ah my friend Harky, the others here were still a little sore on you about the whole enslavement ordeal an with the crash and the weather and all, their nerves got to them. They didn’t realize you were just doing your job with no personal feelings about it. So, I hope you don’t mind us keeping your sword and weapons safe until they an gain a little trust. You’ll be nice I we take them off right? Any ideas on how we can get back home?”
One other thing, Maltron will grab two of the ruined sacks of grain from the aft. “This stuff may be ruined, but the sacks might be useful and I once knew a holy man who could purify spoiled food. No one here by chance has that ability do they? I’m already hungry.”
Ein warily unlocks Harkris’ manacles and keeps them.
Harkris, slowly standing up, rubs his head where Melisana hit him and groans, “If youra gonna take my shword and dagger, at leash gimme ma breechess and boots back then….I’m freeshing my prune pouch off out here.”
Melisana replies to Harkris, “The only way I’m giving you back your boots is planting one in your face and the other up your ass.”
Kistol interjects trying to keep the peace a bit, “Ha! Ha! We’re most of us barefoot and the lady has sore feet, right, Melisana? Breeches can go back, though. No need to get attacked by that monster, right?” He gives Melisana a look conveying, Easy. Half-orc on the loose that could turn on us any moment.
Kistol goes with the flow and suggests they head east, “Let’s walk and talk. Harky, maybe you lead the way being the most experienced and all.” As he walks he looks for anything that could be a subtle marking for a cache of supplies. Since pirates sail along this route, maybe they use this island to stash stuff. He stays behind Harkris and never turns his back on him.
The group makes its way up the cliff via the found path and begins the painfully cold, and wet trek east. Not long after you’ve set out you’re walking along a depression between two large hills. After a few minutes of walking, you become aware of a noise – a very faint noise, like grunting voices and steel clanging on steel, barely audible over the noise of the rain and the wind. It seems to be coming from your left, beyond the hill to your left.
Kistol stops, “Hold on. Let me go up and check it out. Ein, you wanna come with me?” Kistol makes his way up the hill crouching and crawling as he reaches the top as not to leave a silhouette. He peers over the top.
Max sets down the chest and sails. He readies the wineskin in his left hand and draws the broadsword in his right
Maltron sighs. “What? No grandmother baking us cookies and a warm fire in a cottage to warm our feet? Nay, more deathly peril awaits us.”
“It may be orcs by the sound of the grunting. I speak orcish, but let us watch this fight until the end. Whoever wins will be exhausted and weak and perhaps wounded. We can then overwhelm them and help ourselves to the goods. I hope they have food and clothing that will fit m… us. If it’s an overwhelming force, then we should remain hidden. Maybe there will be a clear side to take. I’m not adverse to rescuing a damsel in distress.”
“Harky, pick up a rock if you can find one. We must protect each other.”
Maltron sets the chest down for now. He adjusts his tunic, trying to look as regal as one possibly can in such garments. He may have to try to negotiate his way out of this.
“It may not even be a fight. Could be a smithy or something else? Let’s wait till Kistol tells us what he sees”, says Klembsy guarding the rear.
Maltron responds to Klembsy, “Aye, let’s hope it isn’t a fight, rather a nice warm forge with shelter.”
Yohn speaks up, his anxiety is alleviated a bit in finding this new group of friendly characters, despite their current situation. “Hey, we should go find our gear back in the wreckage. It’s pretty cold and it would be nice to have some kind of cloak or blanket to keep us warm.” Yohn huddles up in his arms, shivering. “We can find at least those, I’m sure. Hey, maybe we can even find something we can make some kind of a meal out of. I don’t mean to brag, but I make a pretty decent cook.”
Harky picks up a fist sized stone and looks around for another, “Kid, we ain’t going back to the wreck. There ain’t nothing there, I told these guys earlier, any gear we kept off the ‘cargo’ we sold or stashed in the front hull. That part of the ship floated away. As far as food goes, you see anything we can eat besides dirt and rocks you let me know.” Shaking his head.
“Yohn, we searched for our gear thoroughly and found only a crossbow, bolts, a chest with another mage’s spellbook, navigational charts and a journal. There were some ruined sacks of grain that I brought along in case anyone can do something with. Maybe you could purify them somehow or a holy man could purify them with a spell. I hardly know any of you, nor your professions at this point. It should be quite obvious that I’m a Mage by now.”
Whispering to Yohn, “I charmed old Harky here before you washed up on shore. He’s our friend until it break, or maybe for life if he ends up liking us. The only stuff back at the boat is broken wood for clubs or tinder and grain sacks for carrying stuff. The rest of the boat, with our gear seems to have floated away. We might find some washed up on the coastline if we are lucky.” “we have the ships sail for blankets or whatever use it might be.”
Kistol and Ein make their way up the hill, and as they reach the top they creep down on to their bellies and crawl the rest of the way to overlook to the other side.
Below, there’s a ravine separating this line of hills from the next ridge. And there’s a battle going on down there. It looks like a dozen goblins and half a dozen orcs going at it pretty fiercely. The goblins are fighting with bows and spears; the orcs have axes and spears, and one of them appears to have armor, too. Most of the fighters don’t have any sort of armor, but all of them have cloaks. About 50 feet behind the line of orcs there’s someone lying in the ravine. It looks like a human man, a white-bearded old man wearing tattered robes. He’s lying down, twisted over to watch the fight; his arms are behind his back and look as though they’ve been tied. A line of three orcs is fighting the line of five goblins. Three goblins are standing back behind their line. The goblins have stationed archers on the ravine slopes, two a few feet up on each slope. Two orcs are hanging back, throwing rocks and knives at the goblin archers. One orc stands directly behind the front line, grunting what sounds like orders to the rest. The goblins on and behind the line are carrying spears and have daggers at their belts. The goblins on the slopes have bows, quivers of arrows, and daggers at their belts.
The orcs on the line have battle axes. The orcs on the flanks have spears, but have leaned them across boulders and are fighting with thrown daggers and rocks. The orc giving orders has padded armor and a spear.
“I can provide fresh and clear water for us to drink and perhaps carry if we find a container but not food – at least not today. Let’s see how today passes and tomorrow I’ll try for that”, says Klembsy. And continues, “sshh Kistol says something about a battle!!”.
To Ein, “We should definitely let them fight it out. No way we could take on even one side of this with as little gear as we have. Stay up here and keep an eye out. I’ll go tell the rest.”
Kistol comes down carefully and relays everything, “I might be able to reach the old man. Looks like they’re fighting over him. Could be useful. Better yet, might have a boat. Don’t think we can take them as we are. Even with the big guy here. Yohn, you any good in a fight?”
“Ah, so it is a battle,” exclaims Maltron. “Again, I see no reason to take sides with either. Let’s wait until they kill each other and then charge what’s left of the victors. There is some gear for you Yohn. Then we can rescue that human. He might know something.”
“Beware not to push any boulders or they will know we are here!”, says Klembsy. Re-thinking that, he wonders, “or perhaps we should push them downside??”.
Kistol will go back up and observe the battle
“Kistol, take someone with you”, advises Klembsy. “Don’t go alone!”
“Yeah, Ein’s up there with me with the crossbow. He can pick some off after the fight or if they notice us.”
The party decides to creep up the hill together except for Melisana and Klembsy. Before they head up Klembsy casts ‘Bless.’ He then sits to pray for ‘Purify food and water.’
Max gets increasingly nervous at the prospect of a battle. He chugs the rest of the wine. Finding it too little to settle his nerves, he creeps up next to Maltron and whispers, “I… I can’t fight. I mean.. I’m a coward, I’ll run! I used to fight for Walgold the Dwarf in the fighting pits. He made me potions of bravery so I wouldn’t run. You’re a wizard, do you have any potions or maybe a bravery spell? Please don’t tell the others.” Max is clearly distraught, seeming on the verge of tears. Maltron can surely smell the alcohol on Max’s breath.
“Know anything about what these guys are doing here, Harky?”
Harky snorts lightly “Hmph, your guess is as good as mine on this one. I’ve never seen these louts before, thems do look ta be pirates to me tho’.”
Matron eyes Max with concern. First he likes the big guy, but is concerned that this big burly fighter can’t protect him like he thought. After a long pause, he concocts a quick plan.
Maltron lies, “Yes Max I have just the thing for you. You are suffering from severe potion withdrawal. I studied this extensively. After frequent consumption of potions, when they wear off, you get the opposite effect. In your case cowardice. The effect can be so strong as to make you think that you have been a coward your whole life.”
“You are in luck though. I have two spells that will help you. The first will remove the withdrawal effect.” Maltron begins to flourish his hands and chant made up words. After stopping he says, “Now for the bravery spell. This spell starts slowly. You will feel a burning in your belly, flushing of your face and a warm sensation in your head. Your balance might be off a bit, but you will be very brave! Besides, I’m going to put those goblins and orcs to sleep and you can cut their throats.”
Max fails his INT check. He believes Maltron’s spell was cast on him successfully
As Ein, Kistol, Harkris, Maltron, Max, and Yohn hide in wait on the hill overlooking the battle. In the Ravine, Melisana paces nervously nereby Klembsy who sits, silent in prayer.
The group watches as an Orc on right flank is hit by 2 arrows, both in the upper chest. He pitches back and falls to the ground not moving. His compatriot seeing him fall heaves a dagger at one of the goblin archers on left flank, striking him heavy in the chest with a thud. The Goblin is flung back by the impact and rolls down the side of the ravine dead. One goblin on line takes an orcs axe blow into the collar, letting out a brief shriek as he falls to the ground spilling his blood. One of the Goblins behind him steps over him to take his place on the line.
Kistol says, “You know, I’m thinking whoever wins will eventually go back for the old man. It might be a good idea to get him now while they’re distracted. I can go if you’ll cover me, Ein.” If there are no objections, Kistol makes his way back down the hill and around the side.
Maltron Whispering, “Harky I hope you are right about them being pirates. That could mean a ship and booty.”
Max does the math, 10 goblins, 5 orcs, 8 of us. Yohn’s right, the party is in no shape for a clean victory. They could arm themselves with the weapons of the fallen, but would surely take casualties if they joined the fray now. It would be even worse if the goblins and orcs set aside their differences to address the new threat together. Max keeps his thoughts to himself. He feels better now that he has been cured. The cold steel of the blade in his hand is now reassuring, not alarming. He feels his old military discipline coming back to him and stays alert for any material change in the battle playing out before him or for any signal from Maltron on what to do.
Yohn turns around and notices the shaved bear of a man standing beside him. He was the biggest man he’d seen in his life, bigger than his own father, the strongest man in his hometown. A feeling of astonishment swept over Yohn, and then a feeling of inferiority.
He remembers days where he thought his own father could rule the world if he wanted to, and now here he stands at the foot of the unknown, doubting his own intrinsic competency in the world of adventuring.
Feelings of nostalgia towards his former life reminds Yohn of his heather grey cap, a present his mom nit for him when he was just a wee lad. He feels incomplete without it. He grumbles to himself, “We need to find our stuff, I need to find my hat.”
Max commiserates with the slim half-elf. He replies to Yohn’s grumbling with genuine sadness, “I need to find my helm too, but we need to all stick together. The unit’s strength comes from cohesion. Maltron will know what to do and we each will do our part.”
The battle in the ravine continues. The orc on the left flank is hit by arrows, one in the leg, he roars in pain. 2 more arrows strike him in the gut then chest dead center, mouth open in silent scream still clutching the arrow in his knee, he falls dead. The second goblin archer on left flank takes two daggers in the ribs, the impact sends his body into the slope of the ravine and he lifelessly rolls down the slope. The brawling orc in the center of line gasps as a goblin runs him through with his spear, shouting in victory the goblin withdraws the weapon and gore spews, the orc falls. The orc in the middle, in the padded armor shouting commands is hit through the elbow with arrow. He hunkers over moaning, pulling at the arrow only to look up in time to catch a fatal arrow in the face. Like a rag doll his arms fling up and he falls on his back, dead. Enraged, the remaining orcs hail a fury of blows and drop two goblins on line. Replacements step over their comrades and engage, screaming in anger.
Kistol swiftly dodges through the boulders and reaches the old man unseen.
The elf rolls the man over, he looks at his rescuer in utter shock. Kistol, placing a finger to his lips mouths ‘shhhhhh’, draws his dagger and cuts his bonds.
“Follow me if you want to live.” Kistol whispers.
The old man rubbing his wrists, silently nods his head and follows Kistol back through the rocks to the hill.
Kistol turns to the old man once they’re hidden, “Hi, I’m Kistol. Nice day, huh? Mind telling us what this is all about?”
He comments on the action, “Looks like the goblins are winning. Hey, Ein, when the time comes you might pick off the archers first. I like Klembsy’s idea about the boulders, too. Hey, Maltron, got any tricks up your sleeve for goblins? Maybe a dragon army or storm of fire?” Kistol makes his sarcasm obvious, but his basic question is sincere.
Klembsy finishes his prayers with a warm feeling in his heart and a sweet feeling in his tongue. Pleased by the granted power(I assume it was granted) he approaches Melisana “Thanks for keeping me company. I appreciate it very much”. And turning to Max and Ein he exclaims sarcastically “Who’s winning big guys? Anyone would like some pop-corns – or to be accurate – pop-grain with the view?”.
Maltron feels its time to stick his toes in the water.
“Ah Klembsy, Melisana just in time. I fear the goblins are having a rather one sided victory. We should tilt the balance some without drawing attention to us.”
“Ein, can you hit the two goblin archers in the back with that crossbow? The ones in the melee will not even notice if one falls and the orcs are too busy fighting for their short lives.”
“We could avoid combat altogether, but when they notice the old man gone, they will be looking for us, plus they might have a ship or food. Best to take the small advantage we have now.”
Kistol nods, “Take out the one in back first . Once those are done, we should take out one of the orcs. I’d rather fight goblins than orcs.”
He looks at the two downed archers closest to them and calculates if he can get to them unseen and grab their gear, at least a bow.
Ein fires at one of the goblin archers and strikes him in the chest. In mid draw with his bow, the goblin’s arrow goes high and wide as he falls back dead. The remaining Goblin archer stunned seeing his companion fall, looks to the source of the arrow and turns his bow on the group on the hill.
“He’s spotted us.” Says Ein as he reloads his crossbow.
The Goblin lets fly an arrow that flies a few feet over your heads, over the hill.
In the ravine another orc on line is speared and falls and a goblin is cleaved by an axe blow and drops.
Klembsy asks the rescued old man if he is somehow wounded or hit. He continues to watch, wondering what Maltron’s plan is.
Kistol curses to himself, Damnit! So much for sneaking in. “Really!? Quick get him before he warns the others!” He directs everyone to get as low as possible.
“Let’s stay hidden and see what they do with the orcs first!”, says Klembsy.
The Goblin archer fires again at the group, this time the arrow thunks into the hill a few feet away.
The two orcs are finally cut down by the 4 remaining Goblins but not before they manage to take one of them with them.
Ein finishes reloading the heavy crossbow and levels on the archer. Firing, he hits the goblin in the stomach. The goblin drops his bow and clutches the arrow as he falls to his knees, wailing but still alive. Ein goes to reload again.
“Good”, says Klembsy, “they killed each other. Just as I expected. Max, Maltron, Kistol let them come to us. We are on higher ground. Ein, leave the archer – he is badly wounded – and aim at another one. And eventually, we may be able to send some rocks downside”.
One of the goblins rushes over to his wounded companion and you can see them talk briefly until the wounded archer points in the groups direction. The goblin barks something to the other two, (which Maltron can understand as “sniper on the hill, let’s get him.”) and all three rush up towards the hill spears in hand.
Kistol moves, “Wish me luck, guys.”
Kistol Makes his way down the back of the hill and around through the rocks toward the ravine where the orc-goblin skirmish occurred. Yohn and Melisana hold fast, clubs ready at the rear of the group. Klembsy seeing the goblins rushing up the hill spears in hand, realizing he can’t get to the boulder in time, leaps forward and dodges to the side of the goblin on the left flank, hoping to distract his charge. Max hefts the sail bundle and flings it at the center goblin. (18) The soaked mass of wet cloth thuds into the goblin’s face with a load smack! He tumbles back, dropping his spear, rolling back down the hill landing in the ravine, unconscious. Maltron stands up aside Max raises his hand and with a flick of the wrist and a few gestures shouts “SLEEP!”. The eyes of both goblins roll back in their head as they drop their spears and fall forward onto the hill. Their unconscious bodies and weapons slowly sliding down the wet slope.
Ein and Harky leap up, crossbow finally loaded, and Harky rock in hand shouting “AAAaaaah…..” trailing off as they take in the scene.
Turning to Max and Maltron Harky says, “Well didn’t you two take care of those gobbys nice and tidy. Leave some fun fer the rest o’ us why dontcha.”
The group advances over the hill towards the ravine.
Harky and Ein loot the unconscious goblins and pile their equipment. They then manacle two of them and Ein ties the third in his chain.
The group begins to sift and strip the belonging of the dead bodies.
After everyone is settled and the group distributes equipment, Kistol turns to the old man again, “So, you never answered my question. Who are you and what’s with all the formerly alive gobs and orcs? You important or just unlucky?”
The old man, he appears to be a scarecrow of a man — balding, with a matted dirty beard that would be white if washed, a sallow complexion, wide eyes. He speaks, “My name — haven’t needed it in a long time — is Keestake, and you’re the first human faces I’ve seen in more years than I can remember. It’s true. You have my thanks for the rescue. I can help you, yes, lead you to shelter, tell you about the island, tell you about the orcs and goblins, anything you want. But we must move before any other patrols spot us. Come follow me, quickly.”
Maltron takes in the old mans words.
“Kill two of the goblins. We are still in danger. Max grab the live goblin and lets follow the old man.”
Kistol goes over and nonchalantly slits the throats of the two unconscious goblins, leaving the shackled one alive. He talks while he works, “Good teamwork, all. Things are looking up. Though we’re still marooned, freezing and have no idea where we are.”
Yohn picks up what he can scrounge up from the aftermath of the battle, feeling a bit guilty for hiding like a coward, even though he knew he would’ve been seriously injured otherwise. He takes the padded armor and cloaks, feeling a bit more secure about being out in the wilderness. With a short bow and arrows in hand, he feels fond memories of hunting for small vermin and birds back home with his father. He is now somewhat in his domain.
With some regret and his eyebrows down, he looks up at the rest of the group, “I’m sorry for running away and hiding like a coward back there. I was just so scared.”
The surviving Goblin comes around and looks about terrified, wide eyed, and silent.
Kistol walks over to interrogate.
“Heeey, sleepy head! Surprise! You’re in a bit of a pickle. You see, you’re the last of your buddies to wake up. They were all really tight lipped and well, that also makes you the last one still breathing. See the scary looking, albeit handsome, dwarf over there with the big-ass crossbow. He wants to kill you. Me, I’m on the fence. Tell you what might help, though. You tell me about the operation you’ve got going on here, how many of you there are, where’s your ship, all that stuff and I might let you walk. For some reason, this guy listens to me. What do you say?”
the goblin pisses himself and begins blubbering in goblin.
Keestake pipes up, “I know probably as much as he does, we don’t have time for this. Kill him and let’s be off!”
Feeling bad for the lone goblin, Yohn speaks up. “C’mon guys, do we really have to kill him? I’m sure it wouldn’t make much of a difference if we just let one of them go.”
“Difference? Well, um, this piece of shit, who would just as soon eat your guts out as look at you, knows this island 100 times better than any of us. All due respect, Yohn, but how long do you think it will take for this bugger to hightail back to his camp or ship or whatever and send the whole horde after us? Keestake and Mal are right. We gotta be done with it.” Kistol pulls a dagger. “I’d take a walk if this bothers you.”
Kistol makes quick painless work of the goblin, packs up and gets ready to leave.
Yohn takes into consideration Kistol’s reasoning, he has to admit that it is a valid point. “Okay..” Yohn utters hesitantly. After all, the goblins life isn’t worth risking the rest of the party’s lives.
He turns to the Keestake. “So, if this goblin knew this island well, and you know as much as this goblin, maybe you can lead us to some shelter or something, that’d be nice.”
“Indeed young one, follow me.” Says The old man Keestake.
The group gathers their belongings and follows the old man.
Keestake speaks as you travel.
“You wouldn’t know it to look at me now, but in my day, in my day, I was personal groom to himself — to Viledel, the Sea King. Yes, this is the Island of Viledel — you didn’t know that? But himself died when the pirates crushed the island, years and years ago, when my hair was still black and my face unlined. I didn’t fight on the day the pirates came, just hid in an overturned, ruined boat no one looked under, while the murdering and the burning went on day after day. And finally the pirates were all gone, and I’ve been here alone since then. Living in the house of the Sea King, protecting the treasure left behind — for the pirates never found the real goods of Viledel, just some of the trinkets and baubles kept in the manor—and becoming tired and gray. How long has it been? The orcs came a few days ago. They captured me, and said the stories said that the treasure of the Sea King had never been found, which was true enough, I guess. And they said I knew where it was, which was true, too, but I never told them so. The goblins came two days ago. The orc chief and the goblin chief talked, and the goblin chief said they were there to claim the island as their new stronghold, but the orc said they were there for the treasure too, and as soon as he said it the goblins wanted the goods, and there’s been war ever since. The orcs are all set up in the old soldiers’ barracks, and the goblins are all in the old stables, and the manor in the middle is where they hunt around for treasure and fight one another most of the time. But there’s another place, where they went once but leave alone now — the temple of the goddess. It’s on the far side of the hill overlooking the manor, and if you and your friends want to take shelter there, no one will bother with you.”
He gladly follows the old man since shelter was promised, but the talk of a King’s treasure hoard has made it to the front of his mind.
Maltron asks, “How many orcs and goblins do you estimate Keestake?”
Keestake replies with a snort, “Hmph, tough to tell two ships worth? Total maybe 100? Maybe more.”
Yohn shudders at the thought of being in an area so infested with people who want to kill them. “We need to find a way off this island, fast. Are there any small boats we can take?”
Keestake replies, “the only boats on this island is the ones the Orcs and Goblins used to get here.”
“If he’s willing and able to, maybe Kistol can hijack a couple of lifeboats, as sly and quick witted as he is. What do you think?”
To Yohn’s suggestion, “I could probably manage it, but why steal a lifeboat when you can steal the whole ship. Plus, I’m betting we’ll need more than a lifeboat to get off this rock and home. I bet Harky can handle it, too. Teach us land lubbers the ways of the sea. Right?”
On the way to the temple Kistol walks along with Klembsy for awhile, “So, you a priest or something? I saw you praying back there, plus you did some stuff that gave me a real confidence boost. Who’s your god?”
Turning to Kistol, “thanks for your interest. Yes, I pray to Mielikki and to the balance of nature. I want to become a real mountian druid of the north”.
Keestake leads the group down backtrails and across rough terrain. Eventually the group arrives at a hillside, below you can see a building silhouetted against the dimming sky, indicating that it’s almost nighttime. When the group is within a hundred yards of the temple, you see the unimpressive sight of the building. The building before you was doubtless a beautiful temple in its day two stories in height, crafted from well-fitted planks of dark hardwoods brought from the mainland. The windows were spacious and cheerful, closed against the wind with brightly-painted shutters; a gate of wellcrafted wrought iron once stood before the large front door, and a trellis for well tended ivy once leaned against the right half of the front face of the temple. Today, after 60 years of neglect, the temple is a wreck. The expensive wood is old and pitted, cracked and decayed. The windows are still spacious, but most of the shutters are gone; the few that remain bang open and closed in the wind, or hang crookedly from a single hinge. The wrought iron gate is as intricate as ever, but rusted over, rusted clear through in places. The ivy once planted as decoration now covers the entire right side of the front wall, and continues around the whole right side of the temple. It’s a spectacle of gloom and disrepair. There are, however, no lights within, no sign of habitation, and the walls may be sound enough to keep out the worst of the weather. Keestake leads the group clear up to the gate at the entrance, pulls it open a little, it makes a squeak, alarming but really not too loud – and steps through the still working doors of heavy oak into the temple itself.
Once everyone enters, you find that the main hall where you stand is thoroughly shielded against the wind, for it has no windows, and the front doors are sound. After a few minutes, your shakes are subsiding, fingers and toes becoming less numb, etc.
The first room beyond the gate and doors is a small and thoroughly dark chamber. Keestake moves through it, and whispers direction, helping guide the rest of you through it, as it is very dark and there is no light source. Ein, Yohn, and Kistol have little difficulty seeing when their infravision adjusts to the darkness. There is no furniture in the room, only wind-blown rubbish. There are two sets of double doors in the room, one leading outside and the other, further into the temple.
As he opens the set of double doors leading further into the temple and strides in “This,” Keestake announces, is the hall of the goddess."
Once again, it’s almost utterly black, but the echoes of Keestake’s words convince you that it’s quite large. The floor, you can feel, is tiled; there are pieces of wood, which feel like broken furniture, all over the floor.
Maltron takes Kistol aside and whispers, “He said there was a king’s treasure here. Hell, he’s nearly dead from old age. His king is dead. He’s indebted to us for saving his life. That treasure belongs to us and he probably will agree to that if we finesse this just right. Let’s hold off leaving this island until the treasure is ours. I know Harky is with me on this and Max too. The others will probably go along with the plan. I don’t feel like I know them well enough to call it. Besides, we can give the old man his cut, he made it sound like a lot.”
Kistol grins at Maltron’s words, “Mal, you had me at treasure. I’ll keep an eye out and we can butter the old man up. Shouldn’t be too hard, he’s getting his cut after all and a trip off this poor excuse for an island. When time comes we’ll have to create some kind of diversion to get both the gobs and orcs out away from the ships. Maybe inciting some kind of battle between them or something. We’ll worry about that later. Just a thought.”
Maltron walks back and talks to Keestake, “Thank you for bringing us here. I know these years alone have been hard on you. It’s as if the Gods have brought us together. With friends like each other, we can make it off this island if that is what you want. Right now we need food and water, fire and gear. Can you help us with that Keestake? We are a team now.”
“One other thing, why are the orcs and goblins afraid to come here?”
Keestake tells Kistol “There ain’t no fireplace in here, closest is in the kitchen. I’ve just been setting up a campfire on the tile here. Makes it nice and toasty to sleep on nearby.”
Looking to Maltron, “I want off too son, the orcs and gobbys seem to be the only solution I’ve run into in a long time. Don’t know if you’ve noticed but there ain’t a lot of trees around to con-struct anything of use. As far as food and water, I can snuff down some rats and rainwater for the time being unless you got any better ideas? There ain’t much game here but seabirds and some wild ass goats. I’ve spent my last 60 years here on a steady easy diet of wild onions and wild rats, I don’t complain. (although his breath might offer an argument otherwise). The greenskins and sharptooths afraid? HA! dumb green gobby snotnoseses. I’ve never been no priest myself, but I have always had veneration for this here temple. The orcs sacked it three days ago, looking for treasures, but they got spooked when thunder sounded. The thunder that signaled the arrival of the storm that still rages this here island. They left pisspants scared and won’t be back. When I was their prisoner, I learnt the orcs are struck dumb afraid of the place. But noble youths such as yourself,” he says, “seeking only shelter, won’t gain the wrath of the goddess.”
Kistol helps gather some wood for Keestakes fire, then takes a look around the room. He’ll see what vibes he can get from the walls as to any secret doors, but won’t search too intensely as to arouse suspicion. Man, I wish I had my picks. Got a feeling I’m gonna need them.
“So, Keestake, when you were talking before you mentioned Himself, Vaza something, started with a V. Who’s that? You worked for him?”
“Perhaps the storm is really the wrath of the goddess. Deities usually move in mysterious ways”, comments Klembsy. Turning to Kistol, “thanks for your interest. Yes, I pray to Mielikki and to the balance of nature. I want to become a real mountian druid of the north”.
“Did someone mention something about food?”.
“Hey, if you find something for me to cook, I can make a pretty tasty meal, even with minimal ingredients.” Yohn says, trying to shed some light on their situation.
“Klembsy purified this grain sometime during the goblin battle. He can fill this wineskin with water too. I bet you haven’t had grain in decades Keepstake. If you throw in some wild onions and rat meat, we’d have a fine meal. The King didn’t have any exotic spices laid away did he? I hear those keep forever and Yohn here could blend them into a culinary masterpiece.”
“Dear Maltron, don’t be so hasty”, clarifies Klembsy. "Back there at the hill, I prayed for the power to purify but I didn’t use that power yet. Since I’m dying of hunger too let’s do it now.”
Maltron agrees to collect the water. He asks/tells Harky to come with him in case orcs or goblins are about.
Max is somewhat surprised that Maltron chose Harky to be his guard. Maltron seems pretty confident that Harky’s under control, but Max is not so sure. Without intruding, he lingers near the door, keeping an ear out for any trouble and ready to come to Maltron’s aid should Harky try anything.
Yohn, feeling a bit more confident with arms in hand, offers another proposal, “Hey, Max, do you know anything about hunting? Maybe we can find something to eat while Maltron and Hark get water.”
Max replies, “I don’t know how to hunt, and I’m not particularly good with a bow. However, I’ll go with you. None of us should wander around alone with all the goblins and orcs about.”
“Well, Max, I’m not so good at hunting, either, but I do know how to use a bow. I’m sure we can find something.”
Maltron and Harky head out front to collect rainwater run off in the empty wineskin. Max uses his firebuilding skills with some to the broken furniture around to build a fire. The room is illuminated.
This chamber is very large, and two stories in height. There is broken furniture all over the tiled floors-it looks like the remains of chairs, tables, and perhaps low couches. Most of the wood looks aged, but you can see that the breaks are all fresh. Everything has been smashed recently. On the east wall, in the middle, is a set of double doors, closed. On the south wall is the set of double doors by which you entered the chamber. On the north wall, at the east corner, is a very small and inconspicuous door. All the doors in the chamber are still hanging on their hinges. The west wall is actually a flight of three shallow steps leading up to a line of pillars. Between the pillars, you can see that cloths or tapestries, now ratty and sagging, have been hung, blocking off your view of the chamber beyond. The walls of the hall of the goddess were once plastered smooth and painted with frescoes of the goddess in all her aspects. Now the paint is curling, the plaster is broken and peeling, and there are large cracks in the plaster-probably from the foundation of the temple settling over the years. Additionally, someone has taken a club to the walls here and there, evidenced by deep gouges and tears in the plaster, and places on the wall have been smeared with filth.
Keestake replies to Max and Yohn “Good luck hunting, like I said before not much out there but goats, birds, and rats. Prolly not going to be able find any of those out in the rain and dark. I’m going to sniff around here a bit. I’ve been pretty lucky scrounging rats in this place. Be careful about wandering around in here, place is huge and it’d be easy to get lost.
Here lemme help draw a map up.”
Using charcoal and a palm leaf, Keestake draws up a rough map of the temple from memory. He hands it to Ein who looks it over and passes it to the group.
The old man Keestake then leaves through the North door.
After gathering more wood, Kistol, Klembsy, Ein, Yohn and Melisana warm themselves by the fire.
Max waits by the door for Mal and Harky to return
Kistol sits next to Melisana, “You got quite an arm for a girl, no offense. I sure liked how you clocked ol’ Harky in the noggin’. You from River Tree? That’s where I got nabbed. Celebrating a successful job. Bought a whole new rig and everything. I laid it on a little thick that night at the inn. Last thing I remember before the ship was buying a round for the tavern and giving a roaring toast. Guess that’s what pride gets you.”
Melisana looks to Kistol, “Thanks, that swine isn’t the first pirate I’ve run into, definitely the first slaver though. I grew up a sailor, I’m originally from Ventris. My father, Melkeras, a merchant and guildmaster there recently established a trade house in Rivertree. I’ve been apprenticing to take it over until this happened. My father would certainly be ‘very grateful’ for my safe return to the Family trade house in Rivertree.”
She leans in, “Between you and me, I’m going to make sure that half orc kidnapper doesn’t have long to live.”
Maltron and Harkris head out front. Maltron uncorks the empty skin and begins to fill it with a slow stream of rainwater runoff from the roof. Harkris, axe over his shoulder, leans against the door and yawns, “Yaaaaaaaaawn. I tell you wot Mally, I could use a drink.”
Maltron replies, “Aye, we will drink like Kings when we find the treasure and get off this island. Can you navigate a ship at all? I’m going to check out those charts with Keepstake when we are done here. Between the three of us and the others, we should be able to figure out how to get back to the mainland. First thing we need to do is secure a ship and thats going to mean killing lots of orcs and goblins. We’ll both need to be sober for that. The boat comes first because otherwise, they could pick up and leave us here stranded. Unless of course Keepstake just comes out and tells us where the treasure is before then.”
“Aye, I can sail. No worries there, just got to get to a ship alive is all.” He says with a toothy grin.
Turning to head inside Harky sighs, “aaahhhhh treasure. I might get my money after all.”
He pauses and squints into the darkness. Looking towards the front gate, he whispers “Who’s that?”
Hefting his axe as the front gate squeaks open, he says “Someone’s coming up.”
Maltron taps Harky’s shoulder and silently signals for the two of them to head inside. Once inside he warns the others of someone approaching.
Kistol replies to Melasina, “A sailor, too, huh? Well, we might not need ol’ Harky as long as we thought. Can you sail one of those ships? Maybe with the rest of us we can get it going an pointed in the right direction.”
In response to the mention of Harkris’ demise, with a smile he says, “Not if I get to him first. I’ve done a lot of things, but slaving isn’t something I’ll stand for, especially if it’s me…or my friends. I’m with you on that, girl, but we might need him a little longer. Must be nice to have a father waiting for you. Never knew my parents. When I was a kid, I used to imagine they were heroes and slain in battle after I was born, or that I was stolen from nobility and they’ve searched for me my whole life. But now I realize, they probably just didn’t care. Didn’t wanna deal with the hassle.” Kistol falls into silence and stares into the fire for a moment. Then perks up suddenly, “But! The past is the past. Excuse me.” Kistol gets up and walks off seeing Maltron wave him over.
At Maltron’s words, Kistol hides near the door they entered dagger drawn behind his back and waits for the newcomer. Ein readies his crossbow, aiming at the door straight on. Melisana ducks to the side, crouching behind and peering over some broken furniture. Harkris stands on the other side of the door, axe ready to swing on anyone walking through.
Klembsy stays put in front of the fire so that he can be seen clearly in order to draw the attention of the newcomer when he/she appears. He kneels and pretends that he is praying
Trist cautiosly approaches the delapidated temple and askes “if she may come in? If I can share your fire I would be greatful. I barely managed to make it to the island alive. If anyone can remove these manacles I would appreciate it.”
“I am Trist Silverhawk of the Frontier Rangers. I lost everything I had when I was captured. I am cold and hungry and I hope you killed those ORCs and Goblins back there. Were they are captors?”
Klembsy shouts as to be heard, “Come in my child, come by the fire. It’s very wet and cold outside”
Ein perks up when he hears the rangers mentioned. " come into the room, move into the light so we can see you…slowly.". As Trist enters the light, Ein lowers his bow, " I know you, I saw you complete the rangers challenge last year, silver-something right? It’s ok everyone, she’s legit. Come in, come over here, I still have the keys to those shackles.". Unlocking her broken cuffs Ein asks, “I’m guessing you were in the front half of the ship. Whaddyou do, track us here from the beach?”
Trist joins the others near the fire and begins to warm up. “If anyone has an extra set of leather armor, I could use a set. I found a bow at the battle site which I can use if it would have had a string on it and some arrows. I am also skilled in swords and daggers. Are we safe here for the night? I hope everyone is uninjured as I am. I am hungry and tired. Does anyone know why we are here or what happened? Is there a way to get back home? I apologized if I am talking to much.”
Kistol walks out of the shadows and sits down across the fire from Trist, “You were in the front?! Is it still intact somewhere? Any gear there? I guess maybe not since you don’t have any, but did it wash up somewhere?”Well, my guess is you were nabbed and put in the ship to be sold as a slave like the rest of us. Somewhere along the line we were all drugged and taken.” Kistol tries to remember if there was anyone specific he remembers seeing that night. He’d like to find that person and have a . . . conversation. You saw that battlefield, huh? Yeah, we had a hand in it. Rescued an inhabitant of the island who brought us here. Should be back in a minute. He’s out looking for dinner. We’re working on the return trip. Right now we’re just trying to regroup and rest. You’re out of luck with armor, but here.”
Kistol separates his 2 cloaks and hands her one, along with 2 daggers and a string for her bow and 5 of his arrows. “I grabbed the strings from the extra bows before we left. Here’s some arrows. Yohn, you wanna giver her 5 or 6 of yours, too? Your a ranger, huh? Always handy to have one of those around. Aren’t you a ranger, Ein?”
Klembsy turns to Trist, “well it seems that deities work in mysterious ways and saved you. Welcome, my child, let your clothes dry next to the fire”.
Turning to Yohn “Where do you plan to cook into? Do we have a pot or a pan?”.
Trist settles in next to the fire rubbing her now free wrists. Yohn and Kistol each give her 5 arrows (total 10) and a bowstring. Maltron and Harky return with a bursting waterskin and Klembsy casts purify food and water on the 2 sacks of grain and water. The dirty and soaked grain dry and whiten, becoming fresh and cleansed as Klembsy murmurs his spell over it. Klembsy offers the wineskin with the water to everyone who is thirsty. As Yohn is searching for something to cook into, Klembsy goes a bit farther to pray to Mielikki and ask the Log of Everburning.
Trist takes the cloaks, arrows, and bow string from Kistol and says “Thanks, I am glad you killed those goblins and especially those Orcs.” “I was trapped in the front half of the boat and it was floating out to see when I managed to get free and swim to shore. I didn’t have time to look for anything.” Trist move over to Ein as he works to free her manacles. “Once I made it to shore I picked up your tracks easy enough and worked my way to the temple.” “It sure feels good to be out of those manacles thanking Ein and your right it’s Silverhawk.” Trist nods at Maltron, Yohn, Harky, Klembsy as she meets them. Trist takes a swig of water and drinks to replenish her body but won’t hog it or take more than her fair share. If food can be made she eats her portion. “Are you guys planning to post guards for the night in shifts are we ok for the night?” “If so I can take a watch also, otherwise I will rest for the night.”
After his praying, Klembsy returns by the fire. Hearing about sleeping and night watches, he reminds the party of Keestake. "The old man hasn’t returned yet. Do we consider he is ok or we will have to search for him? Either way, we cannot sleep without his return, he will bring a basic ingredient for Yohn to cook: meat! "
Some time passes as the group talks and warms themselves by the fire. Maltron studies another sleep spell and then examines the captain’s journal. (Mal’s current spells, sleep, 2x magic missle, color spray.) The journal details a kidnapping operation in Rivertree. It appears once the ‘cargo’ was gathered, it was transported via river barge to the moonsea. There it was transferred to a galley where the captain was to then rendezvous with the buyer at the small port of ‘Westhaven’ on Pandira island (in the pirate isles). It doesn’t list the buyer’s name and only refers to him as ‘The Thaytian’. Also listed in the operation are the names Harkris, Tain, Kargan, and someone called ‘The Zhentish Ghoul’.
Keestake returns holding a bundle of 10 dead rats. Grinning, he proudly exclaims “Good haul tonight.”
Seeing Trist he says, “Ah, more babes for the party! I take it you washed up on shore same as the rest of this rag tag group?”
The old man introduces himself, “I’m Keestake, I’ve been living on this island for almost 60 years now and you all have managed to get shipwrecked just in time to enjoy the worst storm I’ve seen my entire time on this island. It’s ramping up, looks like it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.”
Klembsy does not cast the spell immediately but asks for help to gather the necessary quantity. “Let’s gather these broken furniture in one place. I want to make an incantation to the wood to burn better”.
If they gather more wood than required, Klembsy puts it in a second pile for another casting tomorrow. “It seems we will be using this temple as a refuge for a while”, he states.
Maltron asks Harkris if Tain, Kargan or the Zentsih Ghoul were on the boat when it crashed. He relays the information gleamed from the journal, not mentioning Harkris again.
“Keepstake, did your King have any gear stashed? We will fare better against our foes with proper gear, not this goblin craftsmanship. Also, I’m a Mage without my spellbook. Was there a library or perhaps a spellbook around?”
Harkris replies to Maltron, “Tain and Kargan wers some roundups I worked with in Rivertree. When we left, they didn’t come. Who knows where they are now. N’ver heard of the ‘Ghouly’ before, sorry Mally.”
Keestake levels his eyes at Maltron’s Inquiry. “Everything was looted long back in the original attack. Ain’t no library neither. And if it wasn’t found then, the goblins and orcs are looking for it now. Viledel had him a son who died, and the Sea King buried him with weapons and armor and sacks of gold and a few servants and a little boat to sail ’em all over the seas. You know what grave-goods are?”
Shaking his head, “Where Viledel was from, they like to bury their noble dead with presents. When the dead wake up, in the time that the gods decree, they still have their favorite play-pretties with them. We can drag that boat down the catacombs to this place you can get at from the inside, but not the outside. But gettin’ at the goods is going to be hard. To get into the burial catacombs, you have to get into the manor where all them inhuman monsters is killing one another. We can figure out how to do that when we’re all warm and rested.”
“Not a bad idea, Trist. There’s enough of us, we can hold watches. Now, let’s eat! Mmmm, rat.” Kistol is actually starving and doesn’t care what the food is as long as it’s edible. Reacting to Keestake’s mention of the manor and the treasure there, “Might be doable. Need to do some scouting first. There a back way to the manor? What direction is the manor from here”
Ein replies to Kistol, “I am a ranger indeed. Same as Trist here, a Ranger of Frontier.”
After munching on some bbq’d rat, Kistol slips away and investigates the tattered curtains. Drawing them back to see beyond, revealing a chamber. This chamber is raised about a foot and a half above the floor of the hall of the goddess. Kistol can tell, as he did so, that these ratty cloths were once fine velvet, purple embroidered upon in gold, but they’ve aged now into a uniform, revolting brown and he cannot tell now what the embroidery represented. There are only two items in the chamber. One is a statue of the goddess. She is sitting on a throne, looking down into the hall of the goddess; her expression is thoughtful, with the faintest trace of a smile on her lips. The sculptor must have been a tremendous talent, for the statue is posed in a very natural manner, head slightly bowed, left hand extended in a gesture of blessing. right hand gripping the arm of the throne. But it, too, is a ruin now. The nose has been broken off, the left hand likewise, a great crack runs across the torso, and the face and torso are smeared with filth. The other object in the room is a low table, obviously an altar, set down before the statue of the goddess. Since it bears no trace of bloodstains, new or old, it must have been an altar for offerings instead of sacrifices. Both statue and altar are sculpted out of fine marble. The walls of this chamber are white and unadorned.
After eating his share, Maltron asks Keepstake about any secret doors in the temple.
Keestake replies, “yer welcome to sniff around. There’s prolly some bowls or pots in the kitchen. The garden’s overgrown with nothing edible but there’s a well out there that’s still got good water. Upstairs you’ll only find busted up furniture, mebbe some old cloth, nothing of value cept’ rats to eat. Plenty of those. I never found anything, take that map I drew out if yer really hard up about it. I’m bushed."
The old man pulls his cloaks around him and lies down next to the fire.
Trist speaks. “I will help search the temple before heading to bed. I always rest better knowing I have made sure my resting place is safe. I will take 2 hours to search with the other then take a 2 hour watch. “IF anyone else wants I will wake them when I go to bed so they can stand watch for a few hours.”
Kistol searches the goddess statue, looking for switches, joints that look like they work, areas that have been scraped repeatedly. He also searches the alter and the floor around it.
Since Trist is interested in searching, Kistol will accompany her and look around also. He still wants to go up on the roof and look around and see what he can from there.
“So, Trist, how long you been a ranger? I don’t think I could handle that. Can’t be out of the city for too long. I’m actually itching for it a bit right now.”
Klembsy gathers the required quantity of wood in one pile and casts Log of Everburning. After casting, he notifies the others about the use of the enchanted wood and how to use it with economy throughout the night. He makes sure everybody has eaten and proposes that since they are enough in numbers, they can keep watch in pairs. Klembsy divides the watches as follows:
1st watch: Maltron with Harkris
2nd watch: Max with Ein
3rd watch: Klembsy with Yohn
4th watch: Kistol with Trist (as they are currently exploring the temple)
All are asked to agree or state their disagreement. If Melisana insists on keeping watch too, Klembsy suggests she joins him and Yohn.
Trist nods at Klembsy in agreement with her portion of the watch. On their way to search the temple Trist tells Kistol, “I have been a ranger for a while but just recently passed my Frontier Ranger test.”
Kistol and Trist search the entire temple
During his watch, Max tends to his gear. He hasn’t taken a turn at watch in years. His mind wanders to his earlier life before fighting for Walgold, back when he was with his unit.
Maltron is happy with the watch schedule. He asks Harky about the other kidnappers in Rivertree and if he can identify them. He tells him to keep it between the two of them.
While on the upper floor, Kistol finds a window that opens and climbs to the roof, “I’m going up. See you in a few.” Kistol takes a look around and looks toward the direction of the manor. The roof is slippery and cold. The storm is picking up and the wind and rain are freezing. It’s difficult to see much in this weather or the dark. In fact, Kistol’s infravision isn’t picking up anything
Harky responds to Maltron, “Yeah sure, I’ve worked with them plenty o’ times. No prob Mally. Why? You got some work fer em? Or you lookin’ to get sumthin’ offa yer chest? They see you coming they mays not be too friendly on accounting o’ past incidents.”
The night passes uneventfully until 4th watch, Kistol and Trist. Kistol leaves Trist briefly to investigate the paneling in the East wing at Maltron’s suggestion. While sniffing around and pulling up a couple boards, Kistol finds nothing. Disappointed, he begins to head back to Trist and the others when he catches the faint sound of a bell tolling. In between the ghostly hollow dongs of the distant bell, a woman’s voice calls his name.
“Kistol, Kistol, Kistol….”
It’s low, longing, and ethereal, and it’s coming from the room where the party is camped.
Kistol leans his spear against the wall and pulls his bow. He moves silently down the hall using alertness and trying to determine if it is one of the women of the group. He’ll proceed downstairs and stop just before the point the lower floor comes into view. He’ll peek around the wall and take a look at the scene.
The bell sounds distant and outside the temple, the voice sound like it’s from within. He’s not completely sure but it doesn’t sound like Trist or Melisana’s voice.
Heading downstairs, Kistol opens the door into the room a crack, just enough to see. The room appears to be exactly how he left it. The campfire burns and crackles and everyone looks to be sleeping. Even Trist leaning on her spear, appears to have nodded off.
Kistol opens the door slowly and stays in the doorway, “Hey, everybody! Wakey, wakey! Something’s up!” He keeps his bow drawn and scans the room again, looking for odd shadows or extra foot prints. Trist shouldn’t have gone down standing up.
No one stirs, they don’t wake up.
The voice continues to call Kistol’s name from within the room, but it seems to be coming from behind the curtain.
Kistol’s shoulders tense up a bit, and he mumbles to himself, “Great. The Goddess wants to have a chat. Oh, well, nice meeting ya’ll.”
With his bow at the ready, Kistol carefully enters the room and moves to the goddess platform. He parts the cloth and steps past the pillars to face the statue.
As Kistol moves past the curtain into the Goddess’ chamber he can see the statue is outlined in a faint glow. The statue begins to change subtlety: the filth disappears, the broken nose and arm float up and attach themselves, the crack in the torso repairs itself.
The statue then moves and stands addressing Kistol, “Mortal, why have you and your companions come to my temple?”
Kistol stands slack jawed for a moment, he’s never spoken to a Goddess before. He realizes he’s not responded and snaps to and gives a hesitant bow. He puts away his useless bow and speaks, “Well, uh, your honor, uh, god, Goddess- . . . ness? We, uh, we, a slight correction. We were brought here. Forcibly. Well, not to the temple, but to the island. You see, my friends and I were drugged and captured to be sold as slaves. With a stroke of, I guess you could call it luck, the ship crashed on the shores here and we are what survived. We came upon Keestake, who I’m guessing you know, and saved him from some nasties. He brought us here for shelter and rest. We aim to . . . liberate a ship from the gobs or the orcs and make our way home.” Kistol carefully leaves out searching for the treasure in the temple for now.
One by one, the rest of the party wakes up at the sound of Kistol speaking to the Goddess, and to the sight of him addressing this beautiful, moving statue.
“huh whats going on?”, Trist asks as she wakes up not realizing she dozed off. Did I really fall asleep she wonders
Klembsy pokes his head out of his cloaks and rubs his eyes. With a hoarse voice he asks, “What is going on Kistol? What’s the fuss?”.
Max wakes, hand reaching for the hilt of his sword. He rises slowly so as not to alarm anyone, or anything. He doesn’t draw his weapon, but stands with his hand ready to draw.
Having heard Kistol’s story, the Goddess speaks,
“You see about you the results of the raid of the Hak-kubra, the pirate orcs. They have defiled my sanctuary. When men came hither three generations ago, they slew the men of this island, but let my temple be, as is proper. Since then, my sanctuary has been subject to wind and storm, age and rot, but I was not offended, for that is nature’s right, to beat down what men have raised. But the acts of debasement you see about you have offended me I choose to destroy this island, and all living upon it: a proper cleansing of the stain made by the Hak-kubra. I see no reason for you to die for another’s offense, however. So I will not cleanse this island this night, as I had planned, but will stay my hand another day, and lay waste to this place at nightfall tomorrow. If you are fled by then, I will adjudge you fit to survive, and the storm which destroys this place will do no harm to your craft. It is a difficult test. I see you have not chosen your adventuresome paths willingly. So this aid will I give you: there are items of power to be found on this island. For the time you remain here, I will allow you to use any as if you were trained in their use. Should you find an object of magical power, use it wisely; perhaps it will help you toward your goal.”
The Goddess surveys the now fully awake party before stating, “Have you anything to ask?”
Kistol takes in the news, then looks around at the rest of the group, “Wow. Uh, thanks for not destroying us and all. And thanks for the gifts, should we find them.” Another hesitant bow. He’s not used to this sort of thing. “Can you give us any clues as to where they might be? They here, maybe? Or somewhere else. Keestake mentioned a crypt in the manor. Oh, uh, can you point us in the right direction for Rivertree? For when we leave, that is. Oh, and can I ask your name?”
Kistol backs away and rejoins the group, “Questions? Questions anyone?”
Kistol interjects between the others’ questions, “Sorry, one more thing. Got any clothes laying around? We’re freezing.”
Trist approaches the goddess and bows. “Goddess I am young an know not the ways but I would like to petition to serve you.” I am a young Frontier Ranger and I loathe Orcs and with your anger intent on destroying them I am proud of that thought." “If you will let me serve you I will do as you command and be an extension of your will.”
Maltron watches in amazement. Thinking, “one day! That isn’t enough time to defeat orcs and goblins, get a ship and the treasure!”
Maltron approaches the Goddess, “We are your humble servants. We wish to destroy the evil on the island, but not destroy the whole island and more importantly, your temple. Rather we wish to cleanse the island of evil and restore the temple to its former glory. Never have I been in the presence of a goddess and I am truly awed. I ask that you grant of more time so that we may be the instruments of your vengeance.”
“To better serve you though, our belongings were washed to sea. Do you know the location of these items or could you scribe a useful spell in my spellbook? My real one was lost into the sea.”
The Goddess replies, “Kistol, there is no treasure to be found here save for the sanctity, protection, rewards for my faithful and purposeful followers. Seek the manor of the once king of this isle, there you will find what you seek. If you make it off the island, sail north for it is there that Rivertree lies.”
Dismissively, she says, “I have no clothing to offer.”
“Trist, you are a brave and courageous warrior. I am known by many names, but you may call me Freya. I am the goddess of love, fertility, gold, war, and death. I lead the Valkyries into battle and rule over the field of Fólkvangr. Serve me and honor and glory will be your laurels, the hall of heroes will be your resting place, step forward.”
Trist steps forward and the statue leans over and touches her on the neck. A marking resembling a feather appears.
“My life is yours Freya!” I shall do as you command and I will strive to honor you.
Kistol looks at Trist surprised, “Wow, that’s uh, quite a commitment there, Trist. But, hey, what do I know. We just met.”
Freya turns to Maltron, “The storm was put in place before you arrived young mage. 1 day is all I will give to delay my vengeance. This island is now stained by the orc and goblinkin filth, there will be no salvage, no mercy for the insults visited upon me.
I will cleanse this island. The complete destruction of it will serve as testament to those who challenge Freya. Your worldly possessions drift in the sea as we speak. Find them and you will find greater treasure accompanies them.”
Max is awestruck by the divine presence. He gets to his knees and remains penitent and respectful at the terrible power of the goddess.
Maltron approaches the Goddess and kneels down. “Thank you for your kindness in sparing our lives. Is there a way to honor you when we make it back to the mainland?”
Rubbing the tiredness from his eyes, Yohn approaches the others in the room of the statue, “Hey guys, what’s going on? Some people here are trying to sleep…”
He turns to Yohn, “Seriously? You didn’t notice the glowing, Goddess statue talking to us and telling us we have one day to live before the island is destroyed? Basically, pack up. We’re leaving ‘cause the sand is flying through the hourglass and we’ve got to find some gear and steal a ship so we can hightail it outta here and get back home. Preferably without being torn apart by a raging, Goddess fueled mega-storm.” He turns to Freya, smiles and bows (with respect), “Your Goddess-ness.”
Klembsy pays his respects to the goddess. And after a bit hesitation, decides to speak. “Divine Freya, thanks for your loving and the time you have granted to us. We will try to use it wisely. I pray to Mielikki, also a god for brave acts and glorious deeds. But due to the enslavement, I have lost my holy symbol and I humbly ask for a favor from you”. Bowing once again he continues, “Would you be so kind to present me with an eagle’s feather? That way, my acts for leaving will become easier. If this is too much that I ask, your blessing will be enough”.
Klembsy stays bowed until the goddess replies.
Trist replies to Kistol, “Kistol, I have not found a diety to follow and not many followers of a diety actually get to see them.” “I believe this is my destiny.” “Once everyone has a chance to have an audience with the goddess we should make haste to the kings manor and pursue the best course to get off this island.”
The goddess addresses Maltron, “Your actions over the next 24 bells will determine that young mage. We shall see.”
Freya looks to Klembsy and raises her hand, an eagle feather manifests in the air floating above her palm. She blows on it softly and it slowly sails through the air into Klembsy’s hands.
The statue then sits, assuming its original pose. The glow fades off, the arm and nose fall, and the crack in the torso returns.
A few silent moments pass, the fire pops and crackles, Keestake speaks,
“The Sea King had many treasures from his years of adventuring before settling down here. The pirates ran off with most of them, but they didn’t recognize all of them. Nor would I. But one of them that he gave the queen was this little stick of wood that would throb in your hand when it was near the Sea King’s funny treasures. That might help us find those items of power the goddess was talkin’ about. I never bothered with it, these 60 years. Not my place to be meddlin’ with the treasures of the family. Nor yours either, if it weren’t life and- death. I’ll show you where it is, if you want. We’ve got a few hours til dawn, at first light I’ll take you to the manor.”
To Trist regarding Freya, Kistol replies seriously, “Good point. You’ll find no argument here. Let’s let the others get some sleep.”
Kistol finds Maltron, “I say we get to the manor, find what gear we can, then lure the crew of the smallest ship out and grab it. Harky and Melasina can sail, so between them and us, we should be able to get it going. Or we can throw Harky to the wolves as a distraction and do it that way. That might work best with the goblin ship, since he’s half orc and all. Hey, maybe on the way out, we can even find our original stuff floating around like the Goddess said.”
Trist and Kistol return to their watch posts and the group settles back to sleep for the few hours of night remaining.
Some time passes.
Softly, the east door to the room slowly creaks open. Trist and Kistol both notice and turn to look.
They watch as a figure slowly pushes their head into the room and surveys the scene.
Trist tells the party, “Everyone get up we have company.” Trist gets her bow ready but does not raise it just yet. Speaking to the person at the door. “Who are you and why are you here?” Kistol, “be ready my friend.”
As the door opens, Kistol raises his bow and says, “Peek-a-boo. Step out, hands raised.”
At Trist’s and Kistol’s words, the door is flung open and two screaming, gibbering figures rush towards the party, they look undead.
Just to drive Trist’s warning home, Kistol yells, “Wake up!” and lets arrows fly, taking the one on his side.
Kistol fires an arrow at the lead ghoul who ducks, dodging the arrow.
Trist’s arrow thunks into the ribs of the 2nd ghoul but fails to drop it, it keeps coming.
Keestake leaps back with his spear holding it defensively. 1 of the ghouls leaps onto Max, while the other tackles Yohn to the ground. Melisana screams in fear. Ein pulls his dagger and goes for Max, while Harkris sits up apparently surprised and stunned at the situation.
Klembsy wakes up grabbing his spear. After the first hits, he goes to defend Yohn, giving a soft touch to Freya’s feather.
Maltron seeing the ghoul on the big man Max, immediately hurls a Magic Missile on the same ghoul. He then yells, “Harkis, help Max!”
Max starts pounding the undead snot out of the ghoul with his fists. If he’s able, he’ll draw his broad sword to put some distance between him and the foul creature.
Horrified by their attackers and unarmed, Yohn yells to the rest of the group “SOMEONE HELP!”
The Ghoul on Yohn bites down on his chest (-5 HP). Yohn yells in pain, he feels his body begin to stiffen but he fights through it, wrestling with Undead. The ghoul on Max digs his claws into Max’s arm (-3 HP). Max grabs the beast by the neck and belts it on the side of the head. It doesn’t seem to faze the creature who won’t let go of him.
Maltron releases a magic missle at the ghoul on Max. In a flash of light it streaks across the room and strikes the undead in the back, knocking it off of Max and onto the floor. A blackened scorch mark is visible as the creature strains to get up. Klembsy stands to engage the ghoul on Yohn, as he moves in with his spear Maltron’s missle goes off and he is taken aback by the flash of light (AT roll 1, DEX roll successful = distracted). Trist slides a spear to Yohn and draws 2 daggers. “Glory be to Freya.”
Kistol draws his bow on the ghoul grappling with Yohn. He sees a shot and takes it, the arrow strikes home in the back ribs of the slobbering attacker. It roars in pain clawing at the arrow but unable to reach it. Letting go of Yohn it scrambles toward Kistol, Klembsy, Trist, and Harkris’ direction.
With some quick thinking, Yohn fights through the pain and attempts to throw the spear Trist gave him at the ghoul chasing after the four.
Max takes advantage of the relief to draw his broad sword and begin hacking at the ghoul on the floor. He hopes he’s not infected with anything, but that’s something to worry about later.
The ghoul clatters across the floor, Kistol draws back and fires again, striking the ghoul in the chest. It drops in mid stride and fades a gurgle as it dies. Max draws his sword and swings down on the wounded ghoul. Back arched and on all fours fighting to stand and recover from Maltron’s missle, Max fully cleaves it into two halves at the torso. Gore spills on to the tile floor and save for the storm, some heavy breathing and the fire, the room is quiet again.
Ein breaks the silence, “Where the shit did they come from?”
Sheathing his dagger, he hefts his axe, “I’ll check to see if there’s any more. Harky! Wipe that dumb look off your face. Get into the game and come with me.”
Harkris shakes off the surprise and grabs his axe to follow Ein. The two cautiously enter the east door.
After a few moments, Ein and Harkris return. Ein speaks, “Tracks from these two come from the chimney in the kitchen. They must’ve been hiding out in there.” Turning to Kistol and Trist, “You two are lucky you didn’t stick your head up there to take a look. Harky and I will sweep the rest of the house. It’s still a bell or two before dawn, but I vote we head out sooner than later. Might be easier creeping up on the manor in twilight and I don’t think there’s any reason to hang around here.”
Maltron says, “Tracks from the chimney? Want to check the chimney out for secret doors? They may have been hiding up in it or may have come from a hidden entrance. I’ll go look with Harky and anyone else that will come. I’d like Maxx to come along too. We can all look. They may even have some valuables up there.”
Kistol will help check the chimney, actively checking for secret doors, checking bricks that could be switches.
No one is able to find any secret doors or panels within or on the chimney.
Disappointed in the fact that he couldn’t be of more help to fend off their attackers, Yohn picks himself up from the floor in shame, grasping the wound inflicted by the ghoul’s bite. Willing to prove his worth he asks “Is there any way I can be of assistance? I would really like to help us get out of this mess as quickly as possible.”
Kistol relaxes his bow and prods the ghoul he helped bring down, he rolls it over to see if it has any kind of possessions or usable clothing, “Ok, so that was interesting. Everybody all right? Yohn, don’t worry about it. They caught us all off guard. Hell, Trist and I searched this whole place and missed them. You just rest for now, I think you took the brunt of the attack. Maybe you can do something for him, Klembsy. You got your magic feather back, right? Keestake, know anything about this?”
Kistol paces around the room and checks the other ghoul, “You ok, Max? Nice swing. I agree with Ein. We need to get a move on and some cover would be nice when approaching the manor. I think everybody’s probably awake enough.”
Trist tells everyone,“Anyone hurt should clean their wounds and get healed if possible before we go.” Trist grabs the arrow she shot at the ghoul. “The rest of you that shot arrows might want to get yours too,”Trist said. Trist tells the group,“I can scout ahead of the group if you want to minimize any surprises, if Keestake gives me a general direction for the kings manor.” Trist asks,“Keestake about how far is the manor? I prefer no light so I can use my infravision.” Trist says,“If it’s not too far we can eat morning meal there if that is ok with everyone.”
Keestake replies to Kistol, “YOu think I’d sleep heres if I knew thems buggers was here too?!”
Obviously worked up, he turns to Trist, “It’s not far but it’s not like we can just stroll up to the front door and have a picnic in the garden. That place is swarming with both Gobbys and Orcs. Likes I said before, they’re searching for the treasure there and each one is trying to beat the other to it. When dawn comes up, we can prolly get a good look at the manor from the temple roof.”
Trist looking over at Keestake asks, “Do you know any other entrances that are less obvious that the Goblins and Orcs don’t know about? It might be that we can get in and get what we need and out before they know anything. It could be that one side has won leaving their ship minimally defended that we can capture on our way out. As we get closer we will know more though.”
Kistol reclaims his arrows, cleaning as best he can. He groans internally, This is entirely too much work. I swear, I will never drink again.
Kistol volunteers to go with Trist, “Probably shouldn’t scout alone, I’ll head out with you.” He gathers what little possessions he has and leaves his bow free.
“Hey, Keestake, where did you say that stick was? The one that points to the family treasure?”
Keestake, “Aye, I know of side entrance on the manor. We’ll have to creep up to it so we don’t get detected. It’s the inside that’s got me worried. Both them baddies will be tearing up the joint looking for the treasure, and we’re gonna sneak into the middle of that. The Gobbys and Orc’s ships are on different beaches. Ain’t got a good look at whose got who guarding what.”
Keestake turns to Kistol leveling a stare, “Don’tcha worry none about where it is, I’ll show ya, I’m coming into the manor too. You ain’t leaving me outside.”
Trist wants one more look at the ghoul Tracks. Trist follows the tracks And tries to determines whether The tracks start outside the base of the Chimney or from inside the chimney Maybe it slides out of the way or The flooring below open.
Kistol raises his hands in a conciliatory gesture, “Hey, don’t worry about us. Nobody’s leaving anybody. Just getting my facts straight. But don’t forget who pulled you away from those beasties who wanted your head. If I wanted to leave you, I would have done it then.” Kistol walks away, not wanting to get into it with the old man.
He finds Maltron, “We going now, or waiting ‘til dawn? I think everyone’s getting antsy.” He’s ready to go if that’s the call, but will wait for dawn and climb to the roof for a view of the manor if that’s what’s decided.
Yohn will clean his wounds if there is any available water. He also asks Klembsy if he can heal his wounds.
Klembsy shocked by the incident and trying to recover from the magic missile that erupted in front of him, goes to Yohn to tend his wounds. Seeing him injured, he casts Cure Light Wounds once and then visits Max. He casts his second Cure Light Wounds and asks permission from the party to leave him pray for 20 min in order to regain his powers before getting out. He also suggests they organise a scouting team first instead of getting out altogether. “12 people are almost a crowd”, he comments.
Ein follows Trist into the kitchen and watches her examine the tracks, “As a fellow frontier ranger, and a senior one at that, I’m surprised you question my tracking ability. Trust me, they come from inside the chimney and there isn’t any other panels or entrances in there. They must’ve hid there when they heard us come in last night.”
Maltron quietly studies for magic missle while Klembsy prays for 2 more CLWs. The rest of the group prepares to leave the temple. Harkris refills the waterskin full with more rainwater and Melisana cuts some of the sailcloth for makeshift pouches for each of the party. She splits the grain into equal portions and distributes it in the makeshift pouches to all. (2 days worth of rations each.)
When everyone is ready, the group congregates once more. Outside, the rain, wind, and storm continue. Lightning flashes and thunder become more frequent.
Keestake speaks, “We could send out a scouting party but that just might give the orcs and gobbys extra opportunity to spot us coming and going. The Manor is a single story large mansion, sorta in the shape of an ‘H’. The north west side is where ever’body usedta live back in the day. The ‘little stick that throbs’ should be in the queen’s suite, or usedta be. But that wing is where the orcs normally enter from, they’ll definitely be’a prowling round. The south west wing was fer servants n’ such. Lotta quarters and bedrooms, that’s where I had my room. Not much treasure over there so’s dem greenskins prolly ain’t sniffing around too much there. Also, that’s were my sneaky entrance is. I gots a spot to get in dey ain’t found yet. The ‘bar’, the middle part of the manor inbetween the two wings used ta be a beautiful display. The king had his libraries and galleries there long time ago. All that got stripped away. Might be sumfin there, but if there’s ‘sumfin’ there’s prolly orcs n’ gobbys sniffin around for it. North east side wing was fer admin so there’s alotta offices, records rooms there. South east was stores and workshops.”
Looking towards the statue of Freya, he continues, “we only got 24 bells to get offa this island before the Goddess smashes it into the sea, with or without us on it.”
Turning back to the group, “How doya wanna handle this?”
Klembsy is giving much thought about the way they must handle their double enemy considering the fact they are probably vastly outnumbered. “I know that these are warrior’s stuff but I think that we have a big dilemma here”, he initiates battle planning. “If we haste too much, we may provoke all enemies against us. On the other hand, time is running. I think we should go in the manor through Keestake’s secret entrance and establish a ‘safe room’. Then try to win the manor, room by room, keeping in mind one thing. It is better to manage to get a ship out of here even empty handed than finding the treasure too late”.
After sharing his first thoughts, Klembsy retires once more and prays for Magical Stone. When they get outside, he will gather three small pebbles to have ready for the spell.
“Ein no disrespect meant, says Trist. I just wanted to make sure. Something about that just didn’t seem right. When I checked it the first time and when you checked it. Even the best trackers can miss something.” Trist sets about getting ready to get the party moved to the manor. Once we are all together Trist says,“However we decide to go lets make up our minds and get moving. Just keeping the scouting group 15-20 feat ahead instead of just scouting it first might work? Everyone should keep the chatter and sounds to a minimum when we decide to go though. Ein has more experience tracking so I will follow him.”
Kistol responds to Klembsy, “We won’t surviving trying to clear the whole mansion. Let’s get in through Keestake’s entrance, then go from there. Once we get there we can plan how to move. Depending on the layout, I can climb to the roof and make it across to the family chambers. I doubt they’ll have too many guards posted up top.”
“Scouting a few feet ahead works, we can check out any turns or blocked vision before proceeding. Now let’s get out of here.”
Ein shrugs at Trist, “No problem, that’s valid. We probably overlooked the tracks into the chimney the first time around. Picking up on the trail out of the chimney was easier on account of the soot. When we head to the manor, I’ll need the old man close since he knows the way and has a special entrance. Kistol, you’re pretty quiet and would do well with us in the first group. Trist, since you have some tracking skill you should probably stay with the second group in case the groups get separated for some reason. Everybody ok with that? Anyone else want to come in the first wave?”
Klembsy agrees with Kistol and Ein about the action plan and adds, “Let’s establish a marching order then. I would suggest Ein, Kistol and Keestake in front as scouting party and the rest as a second group. For the second group, Trist in front, Max guarding the rear and me and Harky the two sides. Maltron, Melisana and Yohn will stay in the center”.
Maltron states, “I want to be in the first group. I have a plan for dealing with any lookouts if there are any. We wouldn’t want the full force coming down on us.”