Part III: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Chapter 12: Along the Coast
Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue
Jericho “Striker” Moonscar (Seth) Demon-Blooded Human Duskblade
Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman
Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric
Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elven Ranger
Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler
Saturday, August 7th, 1234 AY
Jericho decided to converse with the cabin boy, Tavey, since he was always so quiet.
“How are you doing?” Jericho said, trying to look non-threatening.
“Al-alright…” Tavey said cautiously.
“You’re afraid of me aren’t you?” Jericho asked.
“Just a little bit,” Tavey answered.
“Here’s some gold,” Jericho said, handing the boy two coins.
“Thank you, sir.” Tavey said politely. “Thank you very much. That’s very nice of you!”
Jericho then asked if he wanted to practice his swordsmanship. Tavey answered with an enthusiastic yes.
The two sparred with wooden swords, honing their skills and softening up Tavey to Jericho’s company.
“So, why did you come on this ship?” Tavey asked inquisitively, in the middle of a parry.
“Oh, I got stuck with those idiots,” Jericho said sarcastically, pointing towards his companions.
Poddle happened to walk by, and responded with a: “Hey!”
The two began to argue, and then eventually Jericho called it quits and went back to the wheel.
When the duskblade reached it, he decided to have a little fun. He took a hard right.
Nimlar managed to keep his balance (and so did Daelis, but he was below deck), but Poddle wasn’t so lucky.
He fell off the ship.
Poddle was thrashing about in the water and cursing the name of Jericho. Nimlar threw him a rope and brought the kobold back on board, but he was in a foul mood the rest of the day.
Poddle began to berate Jericho for his actions, stating they were against the contract he had signed, but Jericho maintained that it was an accident. They got into a fight, and Jericho said that he hated kobolds, which counted as excessive verbal abuse in the contract, so the duskblade had to hand over his five jars of poisonous herbs to Poddle.
Later, Jericho told the rest of the party why he had such a bone to pick with Poddle.
When he was traveling in the Amedio, working as a mercenary to pay the bills, he was captured by a group of kobold slavers, and was held prisoner for several months.
Poddle and Jericho got into another fight, threatening each other and pulling out weapons. Nimlar got between them and tried to break up the fight, telling them to stop.
Poddle walked away, and Jericho went back to the wheel, though there was still contempt between them.
Poddle went down to the brig to talk to Conrad, offering to break him out for a thousand gold pieces.
“I don’t have it on me,” said Conrad, looking around to make sure no one was listening. “But I can get it for you.”
“A thousand gold?”
“I can get it.”
“It doesn’t work that way boy,” Poddle said. “You get me the money and then I’ll get you out.”
“The ship has a messenger hawk, right?”
“Get me some paper, pen and ink, and I’ll write a message to my benefactor in Fort Blackwell. He’ll get you a thousand gold with ease.”
Poddle got him his utensils and let him write the message, but read it before he sent it. On the surface it seemed like a regular message asking the benefactor for a thousand gold, but Poddle wanted to make sure it wasn’t coded. Reluctantly, he asked Jericho to help him decipher the message and check for hidden codes.
It was coded.
The coded message told the benefactor about the Isle of Dread and Farshore. That they were both “ripe for the picking”. It would be a very good location to confiscate, because of all the exotic resources.
Poddle had Jericho write a new letter (forging the signature of Conrad), using the same coded system, except this time with a different message: send his worker Poddle five thousand gold.
Sunday, August 8th, 1234 AY
The next day, Urol approached Jericho and asked him a question.
“So I was wondering, what’s your story?” Urol said, curious as always.
“I was raised in a very decent home and I loved geography,” Jericho said. “I was probably one of the smartest people in my village. But one day it all came crashing down, and I found myself here. Oh, and one time I was taken prisoner by a bunch of kobolds…But eventually I escaped and ever since then I found myself on the path to kill every assassin in the world!”
“Interesting…” Said Urol, confused a little.
“Are you an assassin?” Jericho said seriously.
“No… I’m a druid.”
Jericho was wary, however, and pressed further, infuriating Urol.
“I’m an old gnome druid!” He said indignantly. “Miss Crazzle, peck out his eyes!”
Jericho readied to defend himself.
“I was kidding…” Urol said, already tired of the conversation.
“So, you’re not an assassin?”
“No, I am not an assassin!”
“Lift up your sleeves!” Jericho demanded.
“Whoa there,” Poddle broke in, seeing the situation. “You don’t need to do that!”
Urol lifted up his sleeves, anyway, and Jericho found there was nothing.
“I’m sorry,” Jericho apologized. “I’m a tad bit antsy; since I’ve already killed three assassins so far.”
“So what’s your story, Mr. Gnome?” Jericho said after a silence.
“Well… a long time ago, I was a little gnome!”
“Never mind. I’m out of here!” Jericho said, leaving. “Goodbye!”
Poddle asked Urol to tell his story anyways, and he obliged. A long boring story ensued, about Urol’s life as a young gnome, growing up in Celion Forest living with a group of fellow wood gnomes, and how he became a druid.
Jericho went to the captain to apologize for being too forward. Amella accepted the apology, and then Jericho asked her a question.
“What’s your story, ma’am?”
Amella told Jericho how she had grown up in a slum, but became a sailor at a young age, falling in love with the open sea. Later, she married the love of her life (also a sailor), Heldram Venkalie. They smuggled goods past the barbaric Dragon Armada, but one time while making a deal with a group of gnomes, they turned on the pair and killed Heldram. Amella also revealed that she has been searching for the killer, a treacherous gnome named Shortstone Badgewell, since.
Nimlar also checked the supplies to make sure everything was in order. It was.
Avner, haughty as usual, began to order Tavey around, which Amella did not like.
“Tavey!” Avner said, elitist in all his glory. “Get me a nice cool drink!”
Poddle and Jericho, seeing this, decided to put a stop to it.
“Hey, Tavey,” Poddle said, grabbing the cabin boy. “You don’t have to do that.”
Jericho tapped Avner’s shoulder.
“What do you want, Jericho?” Said Avner, looking at him with disdain.
“I want you stop bossing my friend around.”
“Don’t stick your nose in other people’s business!”
The two pestered the noble until he relented.
“Fine, I’ll leave him alone! It’s his job anyways, sheesh!”
“If you do it again,” Jericho said threateningly. “I’ll pay you a little visit while you sleep.”
Avner walked away.
Later, the heroes saw Urol trying to converse with Amella. Amella didn’t seem to like this.
Poddle went up to the old gnome, and attempted to diffuse the situation by asking Urol to show him his sketches.
“Oh yes I can!” Urol said excitedly, fumbling around in his pack for his sketchbook. He finally found it, and flipped to a page with a drawing of one of the redcaps they had found near Fort Blackwell.
“This is one of those redcaps,” Urol told Poddle, showing him the sketch.
“Oh yes!” Poddle said, remembering the creatures. “I almost caught one of those…”
“And here’s the big snake!”
Urol went through numerous sketches of his, showing them all to Poddle, and left Amella alone. The captain was grateful.
Monday, August 9th, 1234 AY
The weather took a turn for the worse, becoming cloudy overnight. As the hour neared noon, rain began to fall, first as a light drizzle, then as a heavy pour, then finally settling into something in between.
One of Avner’s servants, a meek man named Quenge Asper, was standing about near the railing of the Sea Wyvern, when he saw something move in the water. He leaned over the rail and peered at the spot, wondering if it was just the rain on the water or something more.
Poddle, seeing the man close to the edge, went to warn him.
“You really shouldn’t be standing so close to the edge there,” the kobold said.
“Well, I just saw something in the water,” Quenge started to say, but he was cut off in mid-sentence when he was suddenly grabbed and pulled into the ocean.
A giant aquatic reptile, called an Icthyasaurus (in proper Old Toru terminology), had eaten the poor man and dove down back into the depths.
The crew and passengers immediately went into an uproar, with Amella trying to calm them all down. Avner stomped up to Skald, going into a tirade about how he should have been paying attention to the rail, blaming him for the death of Asper.
Nimlar came to the defense of his colleague, arguing that he couldn’t have seen it, that it came from underneath.
Daelis argued with Avner, pointing him out and saying that he didn’t do anything either, he was just as guilty as all the rest of them.
Avner just swore at him.
The heroes later attempted to get Avner kicked off the boat, but Lavinia wouldn’t condone it.
After this, Daelis was on the way to his quarters, when he spotted Avner in his room, sobbing.
“I’m sorry Quenge,” he heard Avner whisper. “I should have been there.”
Daelis told the rest of the party to lay off Avner for a bit, telling them what he had seen.
Avner had recovered by then, and he went over to Skald and apologized.
Tuesday, August 10th, 1234 AY
Nimlar and Daelis sparred with their swords, while Jericho went to talk with the cabin boy, Tavey.
“How would you say your temperament is?” Jericho said to Tavey.
“My temperament? I would say it’s… good,” Tavey answered.
“I was worried that you might get pretty frazzled with Avner bossing you around like that.”
“Well, just wondering!” Jericho said, taking his leave.
Poddle decided to boost everyone’s spirits by inviting them to a card game. Well, just his spirits I guess. It was an old trick game he had used back in his days in Ahato. He never lost.
He invited everyone who wanted to to join him; Avner, Lirith, Skald, Tovin, Kurgol and Shefton accepted.
Poddle didn’t want to scam Kurgol out of his money, so he lied and said that there were too many people at the game already.
“That’s fine,” Kurgol said, smiling a toothy grin. “I’m not one for card games much anyway.”
The game began… and Poddle won, collecting all of his opponents gold.
“Oh, I win. That’s too bad…” Poddle said, faking pity. “Would anyone like to play again? I’ll put two-hundred and fifty this time!”
“No…” Was the response.
Except for Avner, who was determined to win.
“One more round?” Poddle asked.
“No that’s alright,” Avner said, getting ready to leave. “I think I’m done. I have nothing left anyways…”
Poddle shook his hand, and in the process pick-pocketed five more gold.
That’s all I have! Poddle thought sarcastically.
“You know what?” Poddle said enthusiastically. “That was a really good game, I want to give you a hug!”
Twenty more gold for Poddle.
Wednesday, August 11th, 1234 AY
The next day, the party neared the mouth of the Havekihu River, where they would refill their water.
While the crew loaded up barrels with water (with which Daelis, Daegoth and Nimlar helped), the other members of the party went off and did their own thing.
Poddle was fishing, and he called Tavey over.
“Stay away from Avner,” the kobold advised Tavey. “Don’t do anything he says. Oh, I got something on the line! Do you want to pull it in?”
“Sure,” the cabin boy said, grabbing the pole and pulling up a common freshwater fish. “I caught something! Thanks! Can I keep it?”
“No,” Poddle said in all seriousness. “I’m just kidding, go ahead.”
“I can’t wait to show Miss Venkalie!” Tavey said as he ran off towards the captain.
Poddle watched as Tavey showed the catch to Amella, and how she acted. She was beginning to become a mother figure to the young boy. Poddle smiled.
Jericho, meanwhile, was practicing parkour, jumping from trees in the nearby jungle and training.
Later, Poddle asked Tavey if he would like to pet WAR. He said yes.
“What are you doing?” Said WAR, confused.
“Just got with it man,” Poddle said. “He’s a little kid!”
“So how can he talk?” Tavey asked, interested as always. “I’ve never heard of an animal talking before.”
Poddle told him about the magic of the druids, and how they can awaken animals.
Jericho returned from his training at this time, and had an idea. He wanted to train Tavey in the ways of the duskblade.
He asked Tavey if he wanted to, and the cabin boy answer was an enthusiastic yes (after checking with Amella, of course).
While they were training, Poddle kept fishing, catching a total of ten fish that day.
Tavey was already skilled at climbing and the various athletic requirements of the duskblade, but was lack of magic. Jericho began to train him.
Near the evening, less than half-an-hour after the expedition got underway again after resupplying with water, a thick fog sprung up.
Jericho remembered that fog banks like this often occur along the coast in the region, but the thickness of it was nevertheless oppressive.
Passengers headed below deck, and the crew grew silent as all ears strained to the starboard side, marking the distant sound of breakers on the shore as the only trustworthy method of ensuring the expedition didn’t draw too close to the shallows while still staying parallel to the coast. The fog grows thicker, and soon even the Blue Nixie, only a few hundred feet ahead, was lost to vision.
At this point, Lavinia ordered the ships to anchor for the night until the fog burns off in the morning. The voice of one of her crew calling out from the fog to the Sea Wyvern announcing the short stoppage is curiously muted by the fog, but nonetheless easily understood. Amella anchored the Sea Wyvern and everyone prepared for a long night.
The heroes took shifts watching the ship in case of anything foul occurring during the night. Nimlar took first watch.
Of course, the fog was far from uninhabited. Near midnight, when Nimlar was on duty, the entire ship lurched as if striking a reef, causing the elven ranger to almost fall from the crow’s nest, where he was keeping watch.
The heroes woke up at the lurch, and scrambled to get their weapons and find the enemy.
Nimlar, from his position in the crow’s nest, saw what they had hit. It appeared to be a huge pile of flotsam clinging to the hull, surrounded by transparent jelly. The elf took out his bow and shot an arrow into the thing, but it seemed to just sink into the gelatinous mass, not appearing to cause any damage. Nimlar was weary to order his harpy eagle to attack, in case the ooze was dangerous, and stayed his hand.
Poddle, frightened out of his sleep, quickly rushed away from the rail and grabbed his crossbow, firing it at the flotsam.
Nimlar pulled two more arrows from his quiver and fired them at the ooze, but the fog was thick and the arrows failed to hit their target. He fired another arrow rapidly, but once again he missed the gelatinous mass.
Jericho woke as well, pulling out his wand and firing acid at the ooze, which seemed to wound the creature considerably. The duskblade called out to his companions, telling them that acid had an effect on it, and readied his wand for another blast.
Daelis, who had been sleeping near the ballista in order to use it quickly in case of an attack, fired it off now, but missed horribly.
The ooze reached out and grabbed Jericho, pulling him overboard and beginning to suck him into itself. The duskblade shot his wand point-blank at the creature as he was grabbed, blasting acid into the creature.
Poddle moved away from the ooze, going to help Daelis reload the ballista, while Nimlar went out on a limb.
The elven ranger attached silk rope to the end of his arrow and shot it into the flotsam, trying to get Jericho out from its clutches. Jericho saw the arrow and immediately recognized what Nimlar was doing. He grabbed the arrow and Nimlar pulled with all his might.
The gelatinous mass made a sucking sound as Jericho was ripped from its body, crashing onto the deck of the ship, but relatively okay.
Daelis and Poddle had finished reloading the ballista, so Daelis fired it off at the great ooze, but he missed once again.
WAR came up on deck then, and proceeded to help Daelis with the ballista, freeing up Poddle to help fight the ooze.
The kobold loaded and fired his crossbow, hitting the ooze.
Jericho shot his wand off again, damaging the ooze as well.
Daelis fired off his ballista once again, but this time he hit the flotsam, damaging it further.
Since the heroes were just firing ranged weapons at it from afar, the ooze focused its attacks on the ship itself, attempting to sink it by dissolving the wood.
Nimlar fired off more arrows, wounded it further, but it was still not close to dying.
Jericho used his wand and shot acid at the ooze again, doing more damage.
Daelis missed with the ballista, meanwhile the ooze kept eating up the hull of the Sea Wyvern.
Poddle fired his crossbow at the flotsam, but he missed.
Nimlar shot off more arrows from his perch in the crow’s nest, slightly damaging the gelatinous creature.
Jericho shot more acid from his wand and wounded once again the ooze.
It was getting tedious.
Nimlar fired more arrows, seeming to seriously injure the creature. It was almost dead.
The ship was beginning to sink, as the ooze dissolved the wood of the ship, creating a hole. The passengers and other crew of the Sea Wyvern were trying to patch up the breach, but one of them got pulled into the gelatinous mass and was killed (luckily just a random colonist).
Nimlar wasted more arrows, missing the ooze with his attacks.
Jericho also shot off his wand, but he was more successful, further wounding the ooze and almost killing it.
Daelis missed once again with the ballista.
Poddle shot another crossbow bolt off and did some minor damage, but then Nimlar drew an arrow, determined to kill the thing.
“I summon the power of the Sea and Air!” He cried as he let loose his arrow, slaying the creature.
It was dead.
The flotsam ooze floated, the driftwood and debris that once coated it slowly sinking or drifting away.
Nimlar jumped into the water, sifting through the wreckage and looking for valuables. Among the debris there were the bodies of no less than six sailors. It is unclear if they were merchants or pirates, as they are little more than bone now, but one of the bodies wore a ring that was strangely unacidified. Another wore gauntlets.
Jericho identified the items (since they were obviously magical) as a ring of mind shielding and gauntlets of ogre power.
Nimlar took the ring and the heroes gave the gauntlets to Daegoth, further enhancing his strength.
Thursday, August 12th, 1234 AY
The next day was Jericho’s birthday, which he mostly kept to himself, except for Tavey (with whom he had formed a close bond with), Nimlar and Daelis (who he had also come to trust)… oh, and Poddle.
Lavinia however, had known his birthday long before this, and decided to throw a suprise birthday party for him! Soon everyone was giving Jericho presents. Nimlar gave him the magical ring he had claimed the night previous, hoping it would help the Duskblade better control his inner demon. Daelis gave him some magical boots he had picked up a while back and Daegoth gave him five gold, while Poddle gave him a drink of his Firebelly ale.
Lavinia gave him a magical suit of chain mail, which Jericho took with a big smile and thanks.
The many other crew members and colonists didn’t get Jericho anything, since they hadn’t planned on it and they didn’t have much to give, but they celebrated with the rest of them, gathering on both the ships to congratulate Jericho. Even Avner gave him a hearty “Happy Birthday”!
At one point during the party, Lirith got into a heated discussion with Kurgol, which turned into a free-for-all name calling session. She berated Kurgol for his heritage and called him an “ignorant halfbreed” and other titles such as that.
“Hey there,” Poddle said to Lirith, walking up to the pair. “We’re not being racist now are we?”
“Yes!” Lirith proclaimed. “Yes I am! Who let this half-orc on here!”
WAR walked up behind her.
“We’re not being racist now are we?” WAR said, emphasizing heavily.
“Are you threatening me?” Lirith said haughtily.
“Of course not,” Metallica said, joining in. “He’s just giving you friendly advice.”
The heroes circled around her, giving her death stares.
“Get out of my way!” Lirith demanded.
“Sit down,” said Daelis.
Meanwhile, Jericho was complaining to Amella about this, and the captain quickly broke up the fight and sent Lirith on her way, but not after scolding her and demanding she pay gold to Kurgol to reconcile.
Jericho, in a flourish of emotion, stood up on a crate and started to give a speech. The crowd cheered, thinking he was going to give a birthday speech. Instead, he called up Daelis.
He whispered into Daelis’ ear what he wanted him to say (since Jericho was not a good public speaker), and Daelis went into one of the most moving monologues he would ever give.
“My friends!” He began, eying each individual person there. “My companion Jericho has something that pains him very much to speak of, and he wants me to share it with you. I relate to him, in many ways. He wants me to talk about hate. We all have differences, different backgrounds, different personalities, different professions, and most especially different races. Why is it so difficult to look past them? Too long have I watched people, good people, be persecuted for that what they look like. Who they are. They can’t change it. It’s not theirs to decide. The one thing there is to decide is how we will treat this people. And the answer is simple: as living, breathing, thinking beings. Not as animals, not as inferiors, but as people. People, who go through the same trials and tribulations all of us go through. My friend, Jericho, he urges you, on his birthday, to put this… racism, aside. For one night at least, let’s let just be people.”
The crowd was deeply moved. Everyone stood up and applauded. It was a night to remember.
Later on in the night, Kurgol and Urol became friends. The speech was very effective.
Apparently, though, the captain wasn’t impressed. She began to express her disapproval about Jericho teaching Tavey. She forbade it.
“What if I paid you to teach him?” Jericho asked.
“It’s not about money!” Amella replied, angry. “I don’t trust you. Unless you prove yourself, you can’t teach him anything!”
“How do I prove myself?”
“Maybe don’t randomly punch your own friends!”
“I have protected everyone on this ship numerous times from threats! I have more than proven myself!”
“Fine!” Amella said, giving in. “I’ll let you continue. But a word of warning: If you do anything, anything at all to hurt him, I will kill you.”
Afterward, Jericho began to talk with Urol about geography. The subject eventually ended up on the ruins that Urol was planning on exploring, the lost Olman city of Tamoachan.
Urol’s desire to explore Tamochan arose only a week before the expedition left, when he came into possession of a tattered map. He purchased the map from a one-legged sailor who claimed to have been given it by a dying elf fished from the sea. This nameless elf claimed to have been part of an expedition to the ruins and to have found a previously unexplored section of the city. Unfortunately, his party was attacked by a strange eight-legged lizard with glowing eyes who turned those who saw it to stone. Alas, on the voyage back to Sasserine to recruit a new party to explore the ruin, his ship sank in a storm. Having no need to explore a dangerous ruin, the sailor sold the map to Urol for a pretty penny.
The heroes began to formulate plans on how to defeat this eight-legged lizard (which Jericho identified as a basilisk).
All in all, it was a pretty good birthday party…
Saturday, August 14th, 1234 AY
A day passed with nothing eventful, but when the sun rose on the next day, the heroes were met with an odd sight.
For several miles along the coast, enormous spider-webs cling to the boughs of the great jungle trees, while huge black shapes move about within the webs.
The heroes discussed combating the monsters, but Lavinia pressed them to continue on, so they complied.
Jericho continued his training with Tavey, who was coming along nicely, picking up the magic side of it easier now, even casting his first spell that day.
Amella watched from the sidelines, still wary but knowing that it meant a lot to Tavey.
“The hawk should have been back by now,” Amella mused, talking to Poddle (referring to the messenger hawk Poddle had sent out earlier that week). “I don’t understand it.”
Poddle agreed, thinking it was strange.
The rain still pattered on, as it had since Monday.
Jericho, after finishing his training with Tavey, talked to Lavinia, asking her about getting a priest to talk to him about his issues. She complied, having the cleric she had on her vessel to help him with this.
It seemed to make everyone more at ease.
It was seen that Kurgol and Shefton had become friends as well, and the half-orc seemed to be much more respected than he was, thanks to Daelis’ speech.
Poddle went down to the hold to speak with Conrad about the letter, which should have arrived by now. He suspected him of some sort of trickery, but couldn’t be sure until he talked to him.
“I sent that message a long time ago.” Poddle, said to Conrad. “And the messenger hawk should have been back by now. Why isn’t it?”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Conrad shrugged.
Poddle slammed the brig door shut and began to walk away, but stopped when he reached the doorway.
“You’re not telling the truth!” Poddle exclaimed, turning around. “You know what happened to that letter!”
“Yes I do,” Conrad said slyly, thinking he had tricked Poddle. “And your little Isle of Dread? Well, right now, a fleet of Dragon Armada ships are on their way to take it.”
“Oh, really know?” Poddle asked, knowing he was talking about the coded letter he had tried to send, but that he had already foiled. “Is this your letter?”
He held out the letter.
“What? What did you do to the letter?! Did you even send it?” Conrad said, shocked.
“No,” Poddle said. “I didn’t. I sent a different letter saying: ‘Give me ten thousand gold!’”
“Well, he’s not going to send you it!” Conrad argued.
“I know right…” Poddle said, sighing. But then he snapped out of it. “Wait… Why?!”
“Because,” Conrad said. “There’s no reason to! I’m just a lackey, I’m done for. I know that.”
“Oh, you are?” Poddle said, grabbing out his warmace. “So I guess I can kill you right?”
“You don’t want to do that.”
“Well… Because maybe the captain of the ship… would kill you!!!”
“And she would know that it was me?”
“Yes… Because right now, I’m going to yell. Help! Help!”
Poddle moved to close the door to the brig, but just then Daegoth appeared. The kobold made some excuse and left, in a foul mood.
Poddle approached the captain with the news of Conrad, telling her the events that transpired (but conveniently leaving out the parts about wanting to kill him).
“I knew that cleric guy was planning something!” Poddle vented, pacing back and forth as the sun finally vanished into the western horizon. “I told him to—”
Suddenly, a voice cut off Poddle.
“The prisoner, the prisoner has escaped!”
The heroes rushed to the brig to find that Conrad had indeed escaped.
Daegoth, meanwhile, had been fishing, and saw a cloaked figure run towards one of the rowboats and start to lower it. The lizardfolk went over to the boat and held on to the rope pulley, stopping the boat from lowering any farther. The figure looked up and let out a shout, then dove into the water.
He started to swim to shore, but then started drowning, since he obviously couldn’t swim.
“I can’t swim!” He cried, floundering about in the ocean.
Daegoth jumped in behind him and managed to get the man back to the ship, dragging him up on deck.
It was Conrad.
He began to cough and sputter, but Daegoth looked on him with disapproval.
“What do you think you were you doing?” Daegoth asked.
“Going for a swim,” Conrad joked between coughs. He managed to smile weakly, but when Daegoth didn’t think it was funny, quickly grew sober. “All right, I was…trying to escape…”
The other heroes came then, and Poddle began to get red with anger.
“That’s it! I’m sick of this!” He said, grabbing out his weapon.
He knocked out Conrad with a well placed blow to the head.
“WAR, go put him down in the brig, now!”
After the priest came to, the heroes brought Rapton in to cast a truth spell on him, then began to interrogate him.
“How did you get out?!” Poddle demanded.
“Someone let me out,” Conrad replied, his eyes cold.
“Who?” Jericho said quietly, walking over to the bars of the brig.
“Someone…” Conrad said, trying to avoid the subject, as he knew he was under the effects of a spell.
“Someone… What’s his name?!” Poddle asked, quickly losing patience.
“Well…” Conrad stalled. “It wasn’t Bob! I know it wasn’t him!”
“Tell us the truth!” Poddle yelled.
“Shefton!” Conrad said, finally giving in.
The heroes (and Poddle), confronted Shefton, demanding why he did it.
“I knew there was something messed up with you!” Poddle screamed. “Hiding under the bodies of my companions and all that!”
“I’m sorry…” Shefton said, not looking up. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“You’re sorry?” Poddle reiterated. “You shouldn’t have done it!?”
“He offered me a new life!” Shefton confessed. “As much money as I could ever want!”
“Money is not the source of all happiness.” Daegoth said quietly, but no one listened.
“He offered me money too!” Poddle said, partially to himself. “But he didn’t give it to me, did he now!?”
“He said that his benefactor could hook me up for life,” Shefton said.
“I believed him,” he said under his breath.
“He said that if I helped him escape, that he would bring me to his benefactor,” Shefton said again, looking up at them for the first time. “But when I saw Daegoth on deck, I hid, and let Conrad go on alone.”
The heroes argued about what do with him for a while, before Shefton finally came forward and interrupted them.
“Put me in the brig,” Shefton said downheartedly. “I know what I did was wrong. Do what you will with me…”
The captain came then, and agreed that until they could decide what could be done with the pair, the brig was the best place for them. Amella also decreed that Shefton would take over Tavey’s cleaning jobs until further notice.
Wednesday, August 18th, 1234 AY
On the coast, the heroes caught sight of a collection of immense ziggurat temples, ruins from the ancient Olman civilization of bygone ages.
The heroes jumped at the chance to explore it, and Lavinia complied. They found a cache of treasure including eight hundred gold pieces (which they split) and a carved harp of exotic wood with ivory inlay and zircon gems (which Daelis took), but no traps or dangerous creatures threatened their passage, it was a fairly easy exploration with a nice payoff.
Urol (who had come with them), identified the harp as a valuable instrument that the ancient Olman used to play, and encouraged him to learn to play it.
When the heroes set off again, Daelis sat down and began to try to teach himself to play the harp. It was going good.
Jericho gave seven gold pieces to Tavey (because he had an uneven number), which the cabin boy delighted in.
Things were going good.
Thursday, August 19th, 1234 AY
The next day, the heroes spotted something splashing in the water.
It was a juvenile bronze dragon.
The dragon had a ribbed and fluted crest sweeping back from its cheeks and eyes, the ribs in its crest ended in curving horns. The dragon also had small horns on its lower jaw and chin, it had a beak-like snout and a small head frill, as well as a tail-neck frill. The smell of the sea surrounded the dragon and its scales had a golden-brown cast.
Daegoth stood in awe.
This was a bronze dragon, his totem dragon, his idol in life. Slowly and stuttering, Daegoth asked the dragon what his name was.
“What is the name of the great being that has chosen to pass by?” Daegoth said, in the flowing Draconic language.
“Hail lizardfolk!” The dragon replied in the same tongue. “My name is Kameri, but in Common I am known as Fang.”
“I am Daegoth,” said Daegoth, bowing low. “I apologize for not introducing myself beforehand, it was rude of me.”
“Think nothing of it,” Fang responded. “I can tell that you are a dragon shaman, I can feel your aura.”
“My totem dragon is your own species,” Daegoth confirmed.
“I am honored to be in the presence of a dragon shaman of my totem,” Fang said, still floating atop the azure waters.
“As am I,” said Daegoth, bowing again. “To be in yours.”
Fang flew up onto the deck of the Sea Wyvern, landing next to Daegoth and shaking off the water that still clung to his hide.
“Do you mind if I sit and chat with you a while?” Fang asked, sprawling his bulk across the deck of the ship.
“I don’t mind,” Daegoth said. “But I will have to explain it to my friends, they aren’t accustomed to seeing dragons.”
Avner walked out on to the deck, took one look at Fang, and screamed, running across the ship and eventually falling into the ocean below.
Nimlar threw his rope over the side, and Avner clung to it, still shaken.
Daegoth talked to Amella about having the dragon aboard, and she was wary at first, but she trusted Daegoth and allowed him it.
Daegoth went back to Fang and continued his conversation (and Daelis and Nimlar went with him, fascinated, and both able to speak Draconic).
“What are you doing in this part of the ocean?” Daegoth asked, fascinated.
“Oh, my lair’s not too far off,” Fang replied. “I left my brood and went off on my own a while back and I found this place. There are a lot of sharks in the area, and I love a good shark!”
“How long has it been since you left?”
“About… Five months by your reckoning. I’m about twenty-five years old in human years. Dragons usually leave the brood at about that time.”
After a little more chit-chat, Daegoth asked Fang a question.
“Would you like to stay wit us? To come with us on our adventure?” Daegoth asked, telling him the story of their adventure so far and their plans to come.
“You’re going to the Isle of Dread? I have heard many legends about that place…”
Fang scratched his brow, thinking, and then looked up.
“You know,” Fang said. “If you’ll have me, I think I will! Sounds like quite an adventure, and I love a good adventure! It also sounds like you’ll have a lot of battles, and I love a good battle!”
“As do I,” Daegoth said, smiling.
Just then, Poddle walked in.
“Hello, O dragon friend!” Poddle said fancily. “I—”
“A kobold!” Fang yelled, unfurling his wings in preparation for combat. “Watch out everyone its a kobold! How did it get on the boat?”
“This is my friend,” Daegoth objected. “Poddle Flip-flop.”
“I am your humble servant,” Poddle said, really hamming it up. “I give you twenty-five gold.”
“Twenty-five gold?” Fang said disbelievingly. “That’s an insult!”
“Oh sorry!” Poddle said. “How about seventy-five?”
“That’s a little better than an insult… Thank you kobold for your service.”
Just then, Fang remembered something.
“I almost forgot,” he said, eyes lighting up. “I have amassed a small, humble hoard, I would like to take that with me if I am to join you.”
“I’ll help you put it on the ship.”
The expedition went a mile out of their way so Daegoth and Fang could gather the latter’s hoard, but it took relatively little time and soon the dragon’s treasure was aboard and they were underway again.
Jericho, while helping the pair load the treasure aboard, was given a strange look by Fang.
Later, Fang approached Daegoth on this matter.
“He’s not any danger,” Daegoth replied. “But I would be wary, just in case.”
“Why do you travel with someone as… foul as him?” Fang snorted.
“He is skilled in battle,” Daegoth answered. “And he has unique talents that no one else does.”
“Do you trust him?”
“No,” Daegoth admitted. “But all I suggest doing is being wary, nothing more.”
“Alright,” Fang said. “If you say so, I’ll give him a chance.”
Jericho, sensing that the dragon didn’t like him, put together an offering for it. A ring of mind shielding.
“I thank you for your gift,” Fang said courteously, he was still wary however.
The heroes sailed on…
Saturday, August 21st, 1234 AY
The next day, it began to rain. The rain cleared up by Saturday, but it had made the air muggy and it was getting almost unbearably hot.
So the party decided to go swimming.
As the other heroes enjoyed themselves, Daegoth and Fang went hunting along the sea floor and managed to kill a shark, providing a good meal for everyone.
All in all, a relaxing, fun day.
Wednesday, August 25th, 1234 AY
Several days passed, and the coastal journey continued, until the party came in sight of the lost city of Tamoachan.
Urol began to almost salivate in anticipation of the trip into the ruins, and the heroes readied themselves for the battle with the basilisk, since Lavinia had asked them to join Urol in his exploration, to protect him from such things.
Urol showed the map to the heroes, telling them that the section of ruins marked on his map were only an hours’ brisk walk through into the jungle from the coast, and they shouldn’t have any difficulty along the way. The entrance into his section of the ruins was supposed to be hidden in the lee of a partially collapsed ziggurat, which they should be able to find with ease.
“I believe the strange reptile the elf’s party fought was a basilisk,” Urol said, which Jericho confirmed, as he had done before. “A creature whose gaze petrifies its prey.”
The heroes shifted uneasily, still wary about fighting this thing, but Urol assured them they could defeat it easily.
“If by some chance one or two of you is turned to stone,” Urol said. “I have plenty of doses of stone salve to undo it.”
After discussing countless ideas on how to kill basilisks, the heroes finally set out, their full party consisting of the following: Daegoth, Poddle, Daelis, Nimlar, Jericho, Urol and Fang (who wanted to come to observe their group tactics in battle, and to give advice to Daegoth).
Through the jungle they hiked, until finally reaching the entrance.
The jungle parted to reveal the ruins of a large chamber, once held within the root of the ziggurat above but now open to the elements. Images of pouncing and stalking cats graced what was left of the vine-strangled walls. Dozens of moldering stuffed jungle cats laid scattered around the edge of the exposed chamber, along with several strangely unweathered statues of men dressed in armor. Of the five passageways that once led further into the ziggurat’s depths, only two remained uncollapsed.
Suddenly, a large eight-legged lizard crawled out from inside one of the collapsed tunnels to hiss at the party.
The heroes went into action, with Daelis firing off a crossbow bolt, but barely missing the great beast.
Jericho brought out his wand and shot off a charge, burning the hide and causing the basilisk and hissing in pain.
The basilisk moved towards Jericho and hissed again, this time in anger. Then its eyes glowed up.
Jericho could feel the eyes boring into his brain, trying to petrify him, but he managed to resist it, though he was a bit shaken.
Then, another basilisk slithered from the same tunnel. There were two.
Poddle ran towards the second basilisk, trying to get behind the beast before it attacked. It didn’t work.
The beast’s eyes glowed and it aimed the gaze at [[:poddle-flip-flop | Poddle], but the kobold managed to resist it as well.
Daegoth attacked the first basilisk with his waraxe, cutting into its foreleg and damaging it considerably.
Nimlar pulled out his bow and fired off a shot and hit the second basilisk in the leg, drawing blood. His second shot hit its side, and the beast turned towards the elf and snarled.
Yeris swooped in to claw at the beast, digging into its face and wounding it further.
Daelis moved in to attack the first basilisk, slashing it with his rapier and cutting a gaping wound into its ribcage.
Jericho rushed forward, discarding his wand and stabbing into the first basilisk with his swords, drawing fresh blood in the fight.
The basilisk’s eyes glowed, catching Jericho in its gaze once again. But the duskblade resisted it. Again.
But then the basilisk did something Jericho couldn’t just “resist”. It opened its jaws and bit into his thigh, scoring a hit against the duskblade.
Poddle swung at the second basilisk with his warmace, hitting it between the eyes, almost killing it, but not quite. The basilisk retaliated with another gaze attack, but Poddle resisted once more. The beast hissed and moved towards Poddle, trying to bite him, but the kobold managed to dodge out of the way.
Daegoth brought forth his axe upon the first basilisk, smiting it where it stood. His attack cleaved through the first of the beasts and hit the second as well, cutting off one its forelegs.
Nimlar rushed forward, drawing an arrow as he did, and firing it in the remaining basilisk’s eye.
Yeris clawed at the basilisk as it entered its final death throes, thrashing about in rage, but not falling.
Daelis finished off the great beast with a well placed crossbow bolt.
They had done it.
Meanwhile, Fang had been watching from a nearby overhang, analyzing their tactics.
Jericho asked the dragon what he thought of their teamwork skills after the battle. He was impressed.
Searching the area for treasure, the party found a somewhat damaged marble statuette of a reclining humanoid figure with head turned and legs drawn up and a small silver pyramid in the rubble-choked passageway the basilisk’s had turned into a nest.
There were two passageways that remained uncollapsed, which led deeper into the complex. Here, the party split up.
Daelis, Jericho, and Rapton opted to go to the right, and the other three (Daegoth, Nimlar, and Poddle) went straight.
They left Fang to relax on the outskirts of the ruins, and he decided to go hunting until they returned.
The first three entered the passage, which went in several yards before coming to a large chamber. It was dark at first, but Jericho cast a spell which revealed the whole of the chamber.
A huge statue of a lumbering man outfitted in decayed skin and cracking skulls—Its gaping and tusked mouth wide enough to swallow a halfling whole—stood to the north. A battered but once intricately carved well sat to the south. The whole area was littered with skulls and tangled vines. The vines seemed to be gathered around a large hunk of plant mass clinging to the well—which suddenly started to move and turned around to attack the trio.
Jericho rushed to attack the shambling mound, but his attacks were deflected by the tough hide of the creature.
The duskblade flinched.
Daelis rushed forward as well, stabbing with his rapier and seeming to cause some damage to the thing.
Daeis smirked at Jericho. The duskblade glared at him.
Rapton came towards the plant creature too, laying his hand upon it… and bursting it into flames. The creature flailed around in pain.
Rapton looked at the other two with a sly face.
The shambling mound slammed its appendages into Daelis, going into a rage (as it was on fire). Daelis was blasted back, stunned for a moment by the strength of the thing.
Jericho swung his swords once again at the shambling mound, but once again his weapons could not penetrate the armor of the plant creature.
Daelis recovered quickly, and charged at the shambling mound, cutting into the hide with his weapon and doing more damage to the wounded plant.
But the plant creature retaliated, slamming the swashbuckler upside the head and knocking him to the ground.
Well, that smarts, thought Daelis.
Rapton shot the shambling mound again with flame, wearing the tough beast down with fiery attacks.
Jericho withdrew for a moment and cut himself to power his swords with magical energy, then attacked the plant again, beheading it with two swift slashes.
The shambling mound fell, its body still licked by flame, writhing and withering into a dried husk.
The trio regained their health by drinking potions, then searched the well for anything useful.
The well was filled with bones, but the three picked through them (it took about a half-an-hour) and found six turquoise gems (two for each of them), a magical dagger (which Jericho took), what appeared to be an ivory wand at first (but was actually an fan made of ivory slats), a platinum bracelet and one-hundred and twenty-four gold.
Meanwhile, the other four (Daegoth, Poddle and Nimlar + Urol) of the party were going straight.
After walking down the long corridor, the four came to a ten-foot wide, fifty-foot long landing overlooking a chamber to the north, accessible by a short flight of downward, sloping stairs. The entrance to the larger room was framed by dozens of skeletons carved into the fifty-foot wide arch, their bones intertwined with hundreds of carved snakes. Unnerving ripples of black smoke slithered and danced among the carvings.
The four passed through the arch to get to the other chamber, but sensed a dark presence, and they suddenly all felt nauseated. It passed quickly, but it was just…odd.
They looked into the room…
The floor of the large chamber once contained a breathtaking carving of an ancient city, yet time had taken its toll on the map-like carving, reducing it to a tangled mess that, ironically, almost seemed to reflect ruined Tamoachan above. The walls were decorated with brightly colored frescoes depicting a royal court in ceremonial garb and a king arrayed with magnificent armies. Pathways wound through the ruins, affording a twisting route through the rubble. In the center of the room was a wide plaza, in the middle of which rested a low stone table.
The quartet started to search around the room, looking for anything valuable, while Urol studied the carving in the floor.
Suddenly, a wall of flame appeared along the southern wall, advancing northward towards the heroes….
“Run!” Poddle shouted, spotting it and scrambling away.
The heroes rushed towards the eastern wall, where a small passageway led deeper into the complex (and more importantly, away from the gigantic wall of fire).
They all managed to get in the small alcove leading into the passage, cut off from the main room and away from range of the trap.
The wall passed by, and they were safe.
They decided to continue going down the tunnel, and come back to that room later, exploring the rest of the ruins first.
Several moments later, they heard another flaming wall appear in the same room, and looked back to see fire passing over the entrance. They waited a bit longer, but the fire didn’t appear again, so they continued.
They reached the end of the tunnel, which was more like a natural vent through the stone rather than a constructed passage, and came to a new chamber.
The walls of the room were covered with eroded glyphs and hieroglyphic images depicting what appeared to be bat-like creatures feasting on humanoids. The eastern wall beyond a low archway in the room consisted of a strangely out of place sheet of iron.
The four were confounded by the strange metal wall, especially Urol. It was weird for two reasons: One, where there seemed to be an entryway to another room, the metal sheet was blocking it. Two, the Olmans didn’t even use metal, extensively at least (as confirmed by Urol).
The characters poked around for a bit, before Daegoth decided to try to break it down with his waraxe.
Him and Nimlar (with his longsword) slowly wore down the metal sheet, before eventually breaking through about thirty minutes later, right as the other three party members caught up to to them.
The party was reunited and they continued on through the metal wall.
The next chamber bore a strange resemblance to the previous one, in that the floor consists of stone scale model of an ancient city. Yet whereas the previous model was terribly damaged, this chamber seemed relatively well preserved. The layout and style of the city was quite different, with four wide canals converging upon a large lake in the center, from which rose a great stone pyramid. Mighty temples rose from the low angular buildings, while the stone walls depicted lifelike depictions of leering bats, lizards, and snakes.
Jericho recognized the model as a section of ruined Tamoachan that once served as a necropolis for the city’s dead.
Urol immediately freaked out at the perfect condition of the model, but Poddle wanted to make sure that the area was safe first… so he threw Jimmy Do out.
“Aahhh!” Jimmy Do yelled as he flew through the air, then landed with a thud.
After a few moments, the shrunken head cried out: “This is kind of uncomfortable!”
Several more moments passed, and then Jimmy Do said: “Can you get me now? I don’t think there’s anything dangerous!”
Poddle rushed forward and grabbed Jimmy Do, ready to dodge a trap at a moment’s notice… but nothing happened.
The heroes relaxed, and then they started to explore the chamber.
Urol ran into the room and started to study and sketch the model.
“This is amazing! Absolutely amazing!” The gnome exclaimed, exhilarated at such a historic find.
Jericho, as he searched the room, discovered that the top of the pyramid in the center of the chamber could be pushed aside.
Poddle inspected the removable top, but he thought it looked trappish, so instead of just opening it, Nimlar used a rope to pull of the top from a distance. Sure enough, a thick cloud of noxious gas floated out of the pyramid, but the heroes weren’t affected.
After the dust settled, the heroes looked inside the pyramid, revealing a hollow within occupied by a mummified Olman priest, bound in a fetal position by lengths of brittle leather cords. The priest was quite dead, but the golden ceremonial necklace around its neck looked valuable…
The party grabbed the necklace, inspecting it more closely. It was carved to resemble a string of bat and lizard heads (which were in reality beads).
The heroes continued to search the room, when suddenly…
A giant bat creature flew into the room, roaring in anger. It had smoldering eyes, large leathery wings, and a long spiked tail, as well as terrific claws.
Jericho’s eyes narrowed. It was a demon.
Daelis reacted quickly bringing out his crossbow and firing a bolt at the bat demon. The missile sunk into its shoulder, and a cry of pain let loose from the guttural throat of the demonic creature. It grabbed the bolt with its jaws and yanked it from its own flesh, then spit it upon the ground.
Then it roared.
A high-pitched whirring responded to the bellow, and suddenly a glowing wisp appeared out of nowhere.
But it didn’t attack them. It attacked the demon.
It sent a bolt of electricity arcing towards the abyssal bat, burning into its hide and causing pieces of singed skin to fall off of the creature.
Jericho, determined to kill the demon, ran up the wall and flipped off of it, attacking the bat in mid-air with his dual swords. At the same time, Nimlar drew an arrow and fired it towards the abyssal creature.
One demon head, an arrow embedded between its eyes, fell to the floor and a duskblade landed on the ground, a smile on his face. He glanced at Nimlar and nodded his thanks.
The heroes turned to the will-o’-wisp, about to thank it, when it turned and attacked them as well.
Jericho’s smile turned into a grimace of pain as the will-o’-wisp’s lightning bolt tore through his body. He fell to the ground, smoke drifting off of his body.
The duskblade recovered quickly though, and gave a battle-cry as he charged the wisp and brought down his swords. But the will-o’-wisp was too quick, and dodged his clumsy attack with ease.
“Nimlar!” Jericho cried out, withdrawing from the wisp. “Shoot it!”
He drew three arrows in a row, firing them off, but the first two missed, even though masterfully aimed. The third seemed more like a lucky shot than anything, but hit it all the same, and causing a shriek to come from the small orb.
Daegoth tried an attack against the wisp, but it was much too fast.
Rapton began to chant, and suddenly a sword made out of pure force materialized from thin air.
The sword floated towards the will-o’-wisp and then attacked it, swinging itself at the orb.
It did nothing.
The heroes were getting frustrated by now.
Daelis swung at the wisp with his rapier, but once again his attack was foiled.
The will-o’-wisp sent a bolt of electricity at Daegoth, but the lizardfolk managed to dodge out of the way. He wasn’t so slow after all.
Jericho swung at the will-o’-wisp with his swords, and missed with the first one. The second, however, hit home.
But…it wasn’t dead.
Daelis and Jericho both attacked with their swords, but (of course) missed again.
Nimlar, determined to kill this gosh-darn thing, fired a single arrow.
And it was dead.
The heroes recovered, then started to continue on to the next chamber to the south, when they noticed Urol was still sketching the model.
“Alright Urol,” Poddle said. “We’re going to go on now.”
“What?” Urol said, eyes wide. “I- I haven’t finished sketching the model of the city yet!”
The heroes decided to let Urol stay and sketch while they continued on into the last chambers.
A huge circular disk of stone dominated the floor of the next chamber, its face carved with dozens of concentric rings of hieroglyphs and shapes. A filthy nest of bones and rubble sat atop it, which the heroes assumed was the bat demon’s, since he had come from this room.
The heroes searched the room haphazardly, but found nothing, so they continued on to the next.
Twin statues of men dressed in strange, ancient armor and wearing towering headdresses made of coiled snakes, and bat wings stood at either side of the arched doorway that led to the next chamber. Beyond the archway beckoned a circular room, its walls adorned with dozens of niches in which rested the dessicated bodies of long-dead men and women.
The heroes continued on through the archway and suddenly saw a yawning shaft, set in the center of the room, which descended into the gloom. The walls of the shaft were fitted with more niches, upon which laid the dusty bones of heroes, priests, kings, queens, and warriors of a bygone age. Resting upon the topmost niche, cradled in the arms of a skeleton, was a glittering golden statuette of a bat.
Jericho climbed up the niches and grabbed the statuette, bringing it back down for the others to see. The idol was a fantastic work of art, with rubies for eyes and tiny slivers of pearl for fangs and claws. The duskblade recognized it as a representation of Camazotz, an ancient Olman god bats and the night. He also realized that the statuette radiated faint transmutation magic.
When the heroes came back to the room where Urol was, the gnome looked on the idol with eagerness.
Then he asked if he could have it.
“This is a very rare artifact of archaelogical value,” Urol explained. “Only a real collector would actually recognize the worth of this thing!”
The heroes argued whether to do this, but eventually they agreed to give it to the gnome as a gift.
Urol was delighted.
The heroes made their way back to the Sea Wyvern, and met up with Fang along the way (he had been out hunting).
When they arrived at the ship, Jericho went off to work with Tavey in his duskblade training, and Daegoth began to be trained by Fang, who was teaching him how to breathe lightning. Daelis practiced with his harp, and then, suddenly, he used magic. He had unlocked the powers of the bard.
The heroes left Tamoachan behind…
Friday, August 27th, 1234 AY
Another day passed with nothing interesting happening, but on Thursday, the heroes spotted eight dolphins frolicking alongside the Sea Wyvern.
Urol sketched the porpoises, but other than that, the heroes left them alone.
Sunday, August 29th, 1234 AY
The next day, it began to rain again. On Sunday, as the expedition approached the tip of the Tamoachan peninsula, Lavinia drew the Blue Nixie up alongside the Sea Wyvern to speak with the heroes. She informed them that the next several miles would be among the most dangerous of the journey, as they must now thread the needle and sail through a Dragon Armada blockade. For many years, the Armada had maintained a strong presence on South Olman Isle, particularly the city of Teshan. Although their navy had grown lax in their once strict patrols of the region, Armada ships were still common in the sound between the peninsula and South Olman Isle.
Lavinia suggested that, in order to minimize the chances of their expedition being spotted, the Blue Nixie and the Sea Wyvern should sail through the sound seperately, about a half hour apart, to meet up again on the southern side.
The heroes (most of them anyway), rejected this idea, wanting to fight Dragon Armada ships (they had a bone to pick with them). Amella agreed with Lavinia, though, and so it turned into a big brouhaha.
Eventually, Lavinia deferred to the heroes, and the two ships went together through the sound.
As the two ships sailed through the choke point, the heavy rain obscured their vision, adding to the already anxious atmosphere. Suddenly, on the horizon, the heroes spotted two ships, coming towards them.
Dragon Armada ships.
Luckily, the heroes were prepared for a situation such as this. Daelis, WAR, and Metallica manned the ballista, ready to fire at any moment, while Urol took Jericho’s place as navigator as the duskblade took position in the crow’s nest, ready to cast a new spell he had been dying to try out.
was on deck, as well as Poddle
, all preparing for the skirmish to come.
One ship broke off and headed towards the Blue Nixie, which had went first, while the other came straight for the Sea Wyvern.
The heroes said a quick prayer, and then the battle commenced.
Daelis attacked first, shooting a bolt from his already-loaded ballista at the ship. It slammed into the mast, and the creak of wood was followed by a battle-cry from the sailors of Purity’s Prow (the name of the pirate ship, as evident by the name plate hanging from the hull).
Jericho, stretching out his hand, sent a ray of lightning blasting into one of the opposing ship’s own ballistas. The wood caught on fire, but the siege weapon wasn’t destroyed… yet.
“Yeah!” Jericho yelled, thrilled at the power of his new ability. “That’s what I’m talking about!”
Nimlar fired off a number of arrows, almost simultaneously, at a pirate that was manning one of the ballistas.
The elf killed him.
Yeris flew at top speed towards Purity’s Prow, which was coming steadily closer to the Sea Wyvern (it was about forty feet away now).
Daegoth and Fang dove into the water, then the dragon swam full speed towards the opposing ship (with Daegoth hitching a ride). When they got near the front of the vessel, the lizardfolk let go, swimming on to the back of the ship, while Fang stayed at the front.
Then they got ready to do some damage.
Daegoth used to his waraxe to sunder the rudder, so the ship was now on a collision course with the Sea Wyvern, though it was slowing down, since Fang was attacking it from the front as well.
WAR and Metallica loaded up the ballista, and then Daelis fired it, aiming for the captain of the ship.
Instead, he hit the ship.
Rapton cast a spell, causing entangling roots to spring from the deck of Purity’s Prow. Only two pirates and the captain didn’t get stuck in these.
Poddle shot a crossbow bolt, hitting the captain in the arm. It didn’t do much damage, but it got his attention.
Purity’s Prow began to sink, because of the holes put in the front by Fang, and slow down as well. It was still coming closer to the Sea Wyvern however, and still had a chance to ram it (not good for the ship).
The pirates of Purity’s Prow, however, didn’t want to attack the Sea Wyvern anymore. They were more interested in not getting entangled by the vines summoned by Rapton and then pulled to a watery doom when the boat sank.
So they jumped. Well, at least two of them (and the captain) did. The others were still stuck in the vines.
Nimlar fired arrows at the captain, floundering about in the water, and hit home. The pirate struggled for to stay afloat as two arrows embedded themselves in his chest.
Yeris flew down and tore at the man’s face, but somehow the captain stayed alive.
But not for long.
An explosion ripped apart Purity’s Prow as Daegoth and Fang both used their lightning breath at either end of the ship, utterly destroying it and sending pieces of wreckage flying into the rain-filled air.
The pirates who still remained on Purity’s Prow, died in the explosion.
A cry of victory came from the Blue Nixie, the other pirate ship was in full retreat.
They had won.
Monday, August 30th, 1234 AY
The party sailed on, and the next day, it was Poddle’s birthday!!!
The party gave him presents, including four-hundred gold from Daelis and a buckler from Nimlar. Then they danced!
Wednesday, September 1st, 1234 AY
Daegoth was fishing one night, two days after they had broke through the blockade, when suddenly in front of him was a giant eye. It was the size of a tower shield, and stared intently at the lizardfolk before the shape sank back into the depths of the ocean.
It didn’t show itself again, but it kept the party on edge for a couple of days afterward.
Friday, September 3rd, 1234 AY
On Friday, the heroes spotted strange things along the coast. For ten miles on the jungle coastline, vast Kapok trees grew. Hundreds of tribal ornaments were in the trees, as well as numerous dessicated corpses of lizardfolk hanging from the boughs.
Daegoth was determined to find out what happened to his kin, set to avenge them if necessary. The rest of the party followed.
They took rowboats and landed on the coast, then entered the ominous jungle, searching for where the lizardfolk could have come from.
They inspected the various corpses, hanging from the boughs, and found seven platinum pieces, two aquamarine gems, an agate, and a moonstone, but no sign of anyone (or anything) living.
Suddenly, a small lizardfolk child wandered out from the brush.
“Do you know where my mommy is?” She said in Draconic, walking up to Daegoth and putting her hand on his arm.
Then maggots squirmed out from her eyes, and her body fell to the ground, infested with worms.
Daegoth tried to investigate the corpse, but it disintegrated at his touch.
Then the heroes knew something was horribly wrong.
They saw things slithering around their feet, writhing about on the ground. Suddenly, a giant snake appeared in front of them and hissed. It opened its jaws and lunged at Nimlar—but dissipated into the darkness as quickly as it came.
A spider the size of a man’s fist dropped on to Daelis’ face, and the swasbuckler screamed and flung it away. It crawled… towards the bodies of his wife and child. A whole swarm of spiders was eating their flesh—but then it was gone.
Out from the shadows, walking with his head in his hands, was Nimlar’s father, Arsul. He whispered something unintelligible, and than dropped his head to the ground. It rolled, coming to a rest at Nimlar’s feet.
“Nimlar! Avenge me!” He yelled, before crumbling to dust.
The backdrop of the forest dropped away from Jericho’s vision, and suddenly he saw before him an empty village, bodies strewn everywhere. Kazgar.
“You killed us…” A voice said.
Poddle screamed, seeing a clown before him, holding a butcher knife and an unbreakable grin.
Daegoth saw his tribe, all dead. And Krazog stabbing a small lizardfolk child, over and over and over…
Rapton saw Lavinia… kissing Tolin Kientai.
The heroes eventually realized that it wasn’t real, and recovered from their traumatic experiences, and trudged through the jungle, trying to find their way back to shore, as they had lost their sense of direction because of the hallucinations.
Daegoth led the way, hacking and slashing his way through the underbrush, before finally coming to a clearing. The hallucinations eventually faded away, and before them, in the center of the clearing, stood a lizardfolk shaman, dressed in tiger skins and carrying a wooden staff with many ornaments hanging from it.
“Why have you come to our forest, Daegoth, son of Vaerok?” The shaman said in a coarse voice speaking Draconic.
“How do you know my name?” Daegoth said, his eyes narrowing.
“Our tribes have stayed in contact,” the shaman replied. “We are the Tiger-Claw, you know of us…”
Daegoth nodded. He knew of a tribe of lizardfolk that lived in this area, though he had not remembered until now. What he definitely didn’t remember was that they hung dessicated corpses from their trees. That part was new.
“I remember our alliance,” Daegoth said. “I do not, however, remember that the Tiger-Claw defiled their dead in such a way. Why do you forsake our customs?”
“They are corrupt,” the shaman spat. “A disease has spread through our tribe. Many people have died, going crazy with the filth before finally… they just stop breathing. A thick crust of skin slowly spreading over their body… and then, they die.”
“Were those hallucinations caused by you or are we effected by the disease?” Daegoth asked.
“The forest. It has become cursed,” the shaman said, looking around at the trees.
“Do you know the source of this curse?” Daegoth asked. “Maybe we could help.”
“It started when a new shaman came into the village,” the shaman said. “He gathered followers for a ‘new religion’. The first to be infected were these followers. It just got worse from there.”
The heroes planned on going and finding this “shaman”. The lizardfolk shaman told them that the other shaman lived in a great Kapok tree a couple miles away from the village.
They set out.
An hour or so later, they reached the giant tree, which had a door in the trunk. They walked up to this and Jericho knocked. A small slot in the door opened and a lizardfolk head appeared.
“Who’s there?” It said.
“We’ve come to investigate the plague that has been going on!” Daegoth said.
“There is no plague here,” the voice said. “Only the truth.”
“The truth that sets you free!”
“The truth that sets you free how?”
“You must accept the embrace of Laog.”
“Can we come in?”
“Unless you submit yourself to Laog, you cannot enter the holy ground.”
The heroes kicked the door in.
The shaman was crushed under the weight of the door, and the heroes rushed in the hut to find two recently killed lizardfolk, infected by the disease, but obviously killed by having their throat slit, as well as a large number of herbs and potions on various shelves.
An altar sat in the north of the room, with pieces of diseased skin laying atop it.
There was nothing else in the room, so the heroes lifted up the door to find that the lizardfolk they had crushed was indeed the shaman they were searching for.
They had killed him with a door.
The party returned to the lizardfolk village, and told the good shaman about their victory.
The lizardfolk healers of the village had suddenly been able to treat the disease, thanks to the heroes’ relief of the foul presence in the area.
The disease was defeated.
In thanks, the lizardfolk tribe gave the heroes a large supply of food.
The heroes went back to the Sea Wyvern, and sailed on…
Saturday, September 4th, 1234 AY
Lavinia approached Rapton the next day, and shockingly, called off their engagement. She seemed to have considerably changed her mind about the whole thing.
Rapton stalked off, confused.
Tuesday, September 7th, 1234 AY
The next two days were uneventful, but on the fourth day since leaving the lizardfolk village, they came to Fort Greenrock.
Although Lavinia had hoped to be able to resupply the food stores at Fort Greenrock, it became obvious as soon as the expedition rounded the last coastal bend before this remote colony of monks and druids that something terrible had happened. The wooden palisade surrounding the fort had been torn apart, and the fort itself had burned to the ground. It appeared that whatever grim fate visited the place occurred several months ago, for no sign of life or activity could be seen from shore.
The heroes went ashore and investigating the ruins of the fort, finding further evidence of a great battle. Dried blood stained the timbers of collapsed buildings here and there, broken weapons laid in the sand, and hundreds of black-feathered arrows decorated the sides of the ruins that faced the jungle.
Rapton recognized the arrows, saying that the workmanship on the arrows had come from lizardfolk. Meanwhile, Nimlar took said arrows to resupply his quiver.
The heroes wondered if they should search out these lizardfolk, but Lavinia urged them to press on, saying that they’ll have one final opportunity to restock supplies at the village of Renkrue on the Axuxal Isles in about ten days.
They sailed forth…
Saturday, September 11th, 1234 AY
As with the Havekihu River and Xatalati River before, the expedition stopped at the mouth of the Atikula River to refresh the supplies of fresh water. Unlike the previous two rivers, the point where the Atikula reaches the sea is marked by a magnificent nine-hundred-foot-wide waterfall that cascaded two hundred feet over a cliff into the ocean below. With no beach nearby to speak of, it was easy enough for a ship to sail in fairly close and then send out a rowboat with barrels to fill.
There was only room in the narrow harbor for one ship at a time, and Lavinia graciously offered to let the Sea Wyvern go first.
She was totally unaware of the danger therein.
The crew of the Sea Wyvern went to work, filling up various barrels of fresh water, which, all in all, took about a half-an-hour to complete. As they were nearing the last of the barrels, the heroes noticed something moving in the water.
Suddenly, a seven-headed hydra surged out from the depths below, exploding with a tremendous spray of water as it attacked.
Nimlar reacted quickly, firing off multiple arrows at one of the hydra’s heads. The head reeled back as they connected, the hydra roaring in pain.
The battle had begun.
Jericho rushed forward, launching off the railing off the Sea Wyvern and grabbing one of the various heads of the beast, holding on for dear life while trying to get into a position to do damage to the creature.
Unfortunately, he failed.
Jericho was flung into the air, landing in the water below, unable to attack the hydra, but luckily out of the hydra’s range as well.
Another of the hydra’s heads attacked the ballista, damaging the siege weapon to the point of not being able to use it to shoot.
Daelis was ticked.
Nimlar fired off more arrows, but missed his shots, since the flailing heads of the hydra easily dodged the flying missiles.
Jericho managed to keep himself afloat while he cast a spell which elongated his weapon, allowing him to make a slash at one of the hydra’s heads. He missed however, and now floated atop the water like a sitting— well, like a floating duck.
Daelis fled from the ruined ballista and attacked the same head with his rapier, cutting halfway through but not totally sundering it.
Then it healed completely. All their work was for naught.
The head of the hydra reached down to the awkwardly positioned Jericho, biting into his arm and pulling him out of the water, then dropping him back into the ocean, where he floundered some more.
Three other heads lunged at Daelis, all three scoring hits on his body and wounding him.
The remaining heads further destroyed the ballista, damaging it to the point of ruin.
Now Daelis was really ticked.
Rapton cast a spell, drawing mystical energies to conjure a sword of pure force, as he had done in Tamoachan, and slicing at one of the hydra’s heads.
It did some damage.
Nimlar drew more arrows, firing them at the second head and hitting home. The head shrieked and then fell limp, but the heroes didn’t celebrate at this apparent victory, for they knew that the beast would heal, and they had little time to finish off the head.
Jericho plopped back to the surface of the water, and then said a quick word in some spidery language.
…And reappeared on the deck of the Sea Wyvern, readying his swords to slash into the first hydra head.
The decapitated head fell into the bay.
Daelis swung his rapier and cut off the second head, but the problem of burning the heads to make sure they didn’t regenerate still remained.
I could really use a torch right now, Daelis thought.
Suddenly, a torch appeared in his hand, burning brightly.
Daelis’ bardic magic was starting to reveal itself!
Rapton shot another burst of flame from his hand, successfully burning one of the hydra’s head stumps.
That’s one head that wouldn’t be regenerating.
Nimlar fired an arrow at the dangerous hydra, but missed by a hair… or a scale I guess.
His second shot was luckier. A head fell limp, arrow lodged in its brain.
His third shot also scored, wounding another of the hydra’s heads, but not to the point of killing it.
Yeris continued to attack the hydra, but the beast was quick and managed to dodge the eagle’s blows.
Daelis used his newly-created torch to burn another one of the hydra’s bloody stumps, preventing it from regrowing, but also breaking his torch in the process (apparently the creations were fragile at best).
The swashbuckler shrugged and then took a swing at another of the heads, severing it as well.
At this time, Poddle returned from the hold with a barrel of Firebelly ale, then he promptly chucked it.
The fire already burning on the hydra’s flesh ignited into a fireball, consuming the other severed stumps in the explosion.
Only three heads remained.
The hydra screeched in pain as the fire burned through its hide, retaliating with an attack on Daelis. Only one head hit home, but it tore through the Daelis’ flesh, sending waves of pain through the swashbuckler.
Rapton shot off another blast, the fiery… well, fire burning through one of the heads and killing it. It didn’t regenerate as well, since the fire effectively stumped the head.
Nimlar fired off more arrows, felling the sixth head, but not stumping it.
That left only one head.
Daelis rectified that situation with two quick slashes.
He then burned the two heads with another conjured torch.
The battle was over.
The heroes finished refilling their water with no trouble, and then continued on…
Sunday, September 12th, 1234 AY
The next day, the expedition passed a blackened valley along the jungle shore. Closer inspection revealed that it was a vast sacrificial pit into which what looked like hundreds of humanoid apes were thrown.
They passed it by…
Wednesday, September 15th, 1234 AY
After two non-eventful days, the heroes spotted something in the sky. A flock of six wyverns swooped down to fly alongside the _Sea Wyvern, cavorting in the skies above and occasionally swooping down to skip their talons or wing tips across the ocean’s surface. A few came close to the ship and looked curiously at her wyvern-shaped figurehead before flying away.
This went on for about ten minutes before the flock continued on.
Friday, September 17th, 1234 AY
On Friday, the heroes reached the Olman village of Renkrue, where they planned to stop and get supplies, since Fort Greenrock had been abandoned.
The party proceeded to sell all of their various treasures and items to an Olman merchant who paid good coin for their baubles. Lavinia also purchased supplies for the expedition, including food, feed for the horses, and various tools needed.
Lavinia gave the heroes, the Jade Ravens, and the crews of both the Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie a day of shore leave, which they all used differently.
Amella wanted to stay on board the ship during the shore leave, but the heroes insisted that she hung out with them, so she obliged.
Conrad Horst, a trouble-maker from the very start of the journey, was being left in Renkrue, and he had to pay for his voyage here, leaving him broke.
Avner had been busy already. While the heroes had been shopping, the nobleman had been perusing “other wares”.
Initially charmed by the quaint village, Avner quickly became obsessed with one of the village daughters. His attempts to purchase her from her parents, insulted the islanders to such an extent that they refuse to continue trading with the expedition.
The heroes were extremely anger at Avner for this, and immediately handed him over to the village authorities, letting them do justice as they would. They demanded a public apology from the noble, and he gave them it, whimpering with fear.
Then they publicly flogged him.
During this, Poddle came up to Avner and looked him in the eyes.
“I hate your guts,” he said grimly, spitting in his face.
After this, Avner spent the rest of shore leave on the Sea Wyvern, embarrassed and humiliated (not to mention in great pain from the flogging).
Nimlar saw Skald go off by himself into the jungle of the island, so he followed him, trying to not be noticed.
Skald seemed to just be exploring the relatively safe interior of the island, and Nimlar was about to head back when Skald turned around.
“I know you’re there,” he said, looking exactly at the place Nimlar was hiding. “Why are you following me?”
“Well,” Nimlar said, coming out of his hiding place. “You’re a ranger, I’m a ranger, I wanted to see what you were doing. I was hoping I might learn something from you out here.”
The two rangers explored.
Urol couldn’t have cared less about the village of Renkrue, but he quickly became obsessed with the wide variety of life to be found in the extensive tide-pools that line the nearby shore. He spent hours exploring these pools, scribbling in his notes and squealing with delight at each new discovery.
Tavey Nesk, as cabin boy, was expected to stay on board the ship, and he took his duty seriously, so he did so, passing the time by playing marbles on the deck with a local Olman boy.
Lirith enjoyed her time with the people of Renkrue, heading to the village tavern to grab a drink and mingle with the locals.
The heroes did the same, heading for the tavern, when Jericho decided to try to pick pocket an old man.
“Ahhh!” The old man yelled as he realized he was being stolen from. He then proceeded to beat Jericho over the head with his cane.
“You whippersnapper trying to steal my stuff!” The old man continued as he whacked the duskblade.
Jericho kicked him in the shin.
“Ahh!” The man yelled. “My leg! My leg!”
At this point, guards came on to the scene.
Jericho promptly teleported to a nearby roof, then jumped off and eventually lost the guards.
He put his cloak on to conceal his identity, then met up with the rest of the heroes (Daelis, Poddle, and Nimlar, who had come back from exploring with Skald) at the tavern.
The heroes entered.
Daelis went over to a man who seemed to have had too much to drink already, and offered to buy him a drink if he could beat him in a fight.
Meanwhile, Poddle talked to WAR.
“WAR, we’re going to go start a bar fight!” Poddle said enthusiastically.
“No,” WAR said indignantly. “I will not take part in this violent enterprise!”
“Yes you will!” Poddle replied. “Or else you aren’t getting any bananas tomorrow!”
They argued, and eventually WAR won out. He would not be fighting today.
But Poddle would be.
After stealing some money from a nearby patron, Poddle went up to the bartender and calmly ordered a drink, paying with the money he had just lifted off the unsuspecting customer.
Jericho approached a patron in the tavern and bet him a hundred gold pieces that he couldn’t best him in a fight.
“I-I’ll take you on… bud!” The man slurred, his speech impeded by the heavy amount of alcohol flowing through his veins.
That’s when the fight began.
So, all at the same time, Daelis was starting a friendly hand-to-hand combat with a patron, Jericho was starting a fight with a drunkard, and Nimlar was having another friendly contest with a slightly-tipsy customer.
At that moment, the largest bar-fight this tavern had ever known erupted.
Daelis slammed his fist into the side his attacker, striking the first blow of the night.
The man recovered quickly however, and swung back, barely giving the half-elf enough time to dodge out of the way.
“You’re good competition!” The man laughed heartily.
Poddle sipped his drink, witnessing the beginning of the fight and contemplating when he should join in.
Jericho punched his combatant in the face, knocking him off his feet.
The drunkard punched back, but Jericho grabbed the man’s fist and stopped the blow in mid-air, twisting the slurring attacker’s arm and sending a wave of pain up his body.
The tipsy man fighting Nimlar took a swing, but the elf easily dodged the blow, hitting back with a quick strike of his own. The man stumbled back, stunned.
A high-pitched cry rang through the air, followed by a man’s drunken laughter.
Lirith held her face, looking fearfully at the man who had just punched her. Then her fear turned to anger, and she gave him an uppercut which knocked him off his feet.
He wasn’t laughing anymore.
Jericho punched his drunkard in the face again, then shoved him to the ground. The drunkard yelled loudly and then came back at him, tackling the duskblade to the ground.
Daelis punched his attacker in the stomach, then followed it with a kick, but the man dodged the second blow and came back with a hammer fist, slamming the half-elf to the ground.
Poddle walked up to Lirith and her harasser, telling them to break it up. Suddenly, a man came at him from behind, trying to grab Poddle, but the kobold rolled away, too quick for a clumsy attack like that to work.
At that moment, the entire bar went into an uproar.
A dwarf rushed at a human, head-butting the poor man into a table, crushing it and him into the floor.
Numerous other patrons punched and kicked each other, threw each other out of windows, and more or less got the crud beat out of them.
Nimlar dodged another blow made by the patron attacking him, using his agility to great effect. The ranger came back and slammed his fist into the patron’s jaw, sending him crashing out the window.
Lirith attempted to kick her harasser in the groin, but the man rolled away, retaining enough sense to save himself from that kind of pain.
Jericho grappled the drunkard, lifting him and slamming him on the ground. The man managed to avoid being hurt by this though, rolling out of it and coming back up, clumsily, to his feet.
Poddle rushed at the man, trying to grapple him, but he was greeted by a kick to the stomach, sending him sprawling.
Lirith and her harasser went back and forth, trying to punch each other, but they were too drunk to effectively fight. The battle between them was nothing but a number of consecutive misses.
Nimlar, since he had taken out his previous attacker, walked to another customer and asked him to fight.
“No,” the man said simply. “No thank you.”
Then he walked out.
Nimlar shrugged and rushed to help his companions.
Now, I could go on to talk about how the drunkards swung and missed, and the heroes swung and hit, but we all know how this is going to end. So suffice to say, the heroes won the bar fight.
Lirith had passed out during the fight, because of being drunk and being punched, so Jericho kindly brought her back to the Sea Wyvern, since the duskblade felt bad for her. He brought her to her quarters and let her rest, and then he left.
Jericho went up on deck and looked out over the horizon. They were on the last stage of their journey. Only the open sea lay before them and their goal. It was in sight now, their destination.
The Isle of Dread.