Tempest Rising

Out of the jungle, and into the dark
Or, Entering and Breaking

Ted_Nasmith_-_The_Spiders_of_Mirkwood.jpg Our heroes interrogated their orcish captive, but learned little more than the jungle is filled with death. They left him tied at the edge of camp to serve as early warning of other attackers, and freed him in the morning to find his own way out.

They set out early, continuing their way up-river. After an hour or so, an eery silence descended on the jungle. They moved to the side of the river and slowly scouted the shoreline. Dremahl and Kallius heard a splash from within the underbrush, but nothing more. Boomah was fairly certain he saw a humanoid shape climb over something, and then sink back into the muck, but also quickly lost it.

After a few minutes of this, Kallius was stunned as a large jungle rat burst out of the brush, landing on the front of their canoe and diving back into the river to escape. They tried to stabilize the boat as the panicked creature swam for the far bank and disappeared in the undergrowth. Following its lead (and the screaming of the scared goblin), both boats made for the far bank and paddled swift upriver.

Staring backward, Boomah watched as a black sheen slid down from the river bank and spread over the surface of the river like an oil slick. He threw his torch at the spreading ooze, and it landed on the surface, only to sputter out as the thick fluid flowed over it. He was certain that he saw an orcish shape rise out of the muck briefly and then sink back down, as the others tried to escape the place as quickly as possible.

After a few more hours picking their way upstream, they saw a thin shape rising above the canopy — a tower. They paddled toward it for most of the afternoon, and beached their canoes at the base of the hill it rose up from. Dremahl stumbled on a crumbling mooring several yards from the current river bank, and they hid their boats under brush near it.

Saerin and Boomah scouted a few paces ahead as they made their way up the hill through thick brush and many layers of thick, ropey webs. There was little surprise as two of Omaro’s orphans descended from the canopy and dropped on the ringer, turning at the last moment from Boomah’s flaming brand. One bit hard and the other stumbled to the forest floor. Boomah drank hi mutagen and tried to get away from the monsters, while Saerin swung his sword. Luix and Kallius rushed up to join in the battle. Boomah shouted that there were more shadowy shaped in the canopy, but no spiders dropped on the group. The two large spiders were no match for the three warriors, and were soon crushed.

Seeing the quick rout, the other shapes disappeared into the shadows leaving our heroes alone again. They quickly came to the edge of the forest, and noted a rubble-choked clearing around a tall, slender tower. There were no windows until the very top, one barred door and large crumbling crack up the side of the building. Large colorful birds (or drakes) fluttered about the top of the ruined tower.

dedUWaDTNTY.jpgThe waited under the canopy until nightfall before approaching the structure. In darkness, they quickly crossed the field and made their way through the gap into the tower. Inside the rubble-filled chamber they noted that the gap must be far from recent as jungle creepers have made their way inside and had taken root. Looking closer, Boomah noted some of them had been recently cut, and there were several other signs of recent fight inside the room. There were broken weapons that looked like they showed great age, but only recent breaking. What he did not find was any real signs of blood.

Boomah moved on and through a door at the far side of the room, into the center of the tower. There were several doors, including a large double-set to the south. When he stepped in to scout closer, a web by noose dropped from the ceiling and caught his neck, yanking him off the ground. He quickly lobbed a fiery bomb at the ceiling, and came down with a crash in a heap of webs, rubble and other debris. In the flames, they could see no other dangers in the small room.

Moving through, they next forced the door across the chamber. Inside the found an old weapons store, of similar age to the broken weapons in the entry. Several rats scurried out from small holes in the wall, but posed no threat. Kallius scoured the area for magic auras, but seeing none they moved on.

They next decided to go through the double doors. Luix forced the old timbers open, and they found an entry chamber that led to the outside doors, with aging Omaro-themed tapestries hanging from the high rafters. Boomah tried to leap across the room toward on the hangings, but fell short. This set off another trap, which opened the ceiling and sent furniture, rocks, logs and other debris down on the center of the room. He escaped most of the wreckage, but lay limp against the wall when the dust cleared.

When Luix and Kallius clambered in to save the goblin, his eyes popped open with a cry of “You do care!!” as he revealed his largely unscathed condition.

Checking behind the tapestries, they found narrow arrow slits set into wall behind. One side reeked of the death, so they went to check it out. Forcing the door, Luix nearly collapsed at the stench of several forest animals hanging in broken cocoons and left to rot, with their entrails ripped open and dangling toward the floor.

They quickly reset the door and fled the rot-filled chamber. On the far side, Luix again forced the door and stood before a darkened chamber. Suddenly, there were signs of motion and a dark shape lunged out of the darkness. Saerin stepped up to protect his comrade, and we called it a night.

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The River Wild
Or Rock the Boat, Baby

archer_dude_killing_some_orcs_by_forrestimel-d5luqf9.png After being dropped by the reefclaw fishermen, our heroes loaded up their canoes and headed up-river, determined to reach the old coast road before resting. While the heat rose, they paddled through the deepening jungle until they came upon a bridge spanning the river. It was obvious that there had been repair work down on the bridge since their last visit, and the beginnings of a foundation were stacked up on the Wytchport side of the slow-moving river.

They chose to camp off the road within scouting sight of the bridge, spending the remaining afternoon and night at rest. Beyond insects and normal jungle sounds, nothing disturbed their rest.

They set out in the morning, and it wasn’t long before Boomah smelled something delicious on the wind. They set him on shore and allowed the goblin to scout out the scent. Not far from the river he came upon a fallen tapir being torn to pieces by a number of small brightly-colored flying lizards. Excited about the free buffet, he rushed back to his comrades.

lr_dimorphodon.jpgCeleste recognized his descriptions of the beast as small dragonkin called burgees, but said they were not commonly known away from a small island off the north shore of Malabar. She added that she had never heard of them taking down anything as large as a tapir, but that they were social creatures. They decided not to get in the lizards’ path, and continued up the river. Dremalh was left with an uncomfortable feeling of being watched, but nothing accosted them for the remainder of the day.

As the setting sun was dropping the jungle into gloom, Saerin scouted out a new place for them to camp. A dry, place with some cover roughly 50 yards from the river bank. Night fell and Saerin and Celeste were left on watch.

A couple hours into the watch, they heard a crashing noise from the far side of the clearing. Celeste quietly woke Kallius and they waited. There was another large crash, as if something was quickly moving throughout the brush, and Saering also picked up a splashing noise from behind on the river bank.

He drew his bow, and Kallius cast a light spell on his arrow and he fired it toward the river, brightly lighting a number of humanoid figures huddled around their canoes. Kallius lit up another arrow and Saerin sent this one straight into the river, but not before they could see that the newcomers were orcs, and that the orcs had seen them as well. Boomah drank an leixer to increase his speed and then his mutagen, as our heroes moved to the attack.

Battle was joined, as crossbow bolts and roughly carved javelins tried to slow the party’s charge. Several of the orcs broke ranks and met the charge on the shore. Two had huge spiked hammers swung his great force, sending Kallius crushed to the ground.

A female orc on the far end started screaming in orcish for everyone to fall back to the canoes to escape, but only two joined her. Boomah took advantage of the grouping to repeatedly fire flaming bombs at them, forcing them to slow and and put out the spreading flames.

Meanwhile, our heroes were trading blows with the orcs, and the healers were once again hard-pressed to keep their comrades alive. Luix was dropped by a hammer blow, but quickly staggered up to continue the fight. Kallius cleared his brain as his allies has dispatched the orc standing over him, and took out two more orcs from the ground (as well as a summoned eagle) with his color spray.

Soon it was a chase to stop the fleeing trio on the stolen canoe. Boomah drank another elixir and swam after them at great speed, harrying them with bombs. Luix and Kallius fired from the shore, and Saerin took up an orc’s crossbow to join as well. Celeste summoned dolphins to slam the bottom of the small craft, knocking one into the river. Their leader succumbed to fire and missile fire, leaving only one. He tried to reach the far side of the river to escape, but Boomah beat him there.

Enraged that after all this he was challenged by a mere goblin, he charged. Boomah fled from the larger creature, and his allies on the far shore cut him down.

While the chase went on, Dremahl had tied up one of the unconscious orcs. When he awoke, he cringed in the presence of so many enemies, and told them he would serve them as well as his old masters. Boomah baited the brute, and soon the two were arguing, with Boomah threatening to eat his chin. The two were separated, and the group set to interrogate the orc.

They learned that this group had escaped an Aerinorn mine in the Gilt range and had stumbled down into the forest. He claimed that the area was filled with the restless spirits of the dead, and that he would have been safer as a slave. Our heroes were considering new lines of questioning and we called it a night.

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The Deadliest Catch
or Reef Wrestlemania

claw.jpg The scene opened along a coastal reef with the surf spraying foam in the morning light. The chum line on the one of our heroes’ small boats was suddenly pulled steeply downward. It went nearly vertical and the pulled under the small craft, sending it listing steeply. Those aboard were scrambling for a safe perch, and Boomah pulled out his mutagen to boost his physical powers. As the boat leaned precipitously, two large reefclaws lunged up from beneath the waves and attacked.

As people turned to defend themselves against the new threat, the chum line went slack, sending the boat rolling. Dremahl and Even lost their footing and fell into the surf. The creatures on the side of the boat submerged and went after the castaways.

Boomah dove in to assist and smashed a bomb against the side of one of the creatures. The second boat cleared itself from the reef and tried to maneuver closer to the fray. Luix dove off and grappled the beast that held Boomah tight. Dremahl made it back aboard and worked at healing those already wounded.

The three-way grapple continued and Boomah was quickly losing unconsciousness. Luix managed to manhandle the reefclaw to the surface, giving others the chance to attack. Even managed to get back on board, with Kallius and Saerin firing at the creatures pulling him down.

Focused on the enemies in front, no one saw as a gigantic reefclaw crashed up on the stern of the boat. Odd turned his pike on the beast, who cast it aside and tore him in two. Kallius turned and rushed the monster, sword charged with magical energy. His blow landed with a crackle and dug deep into the huge reefclaw. Saerin followed with a charge and also struck deep. Even moved in to avenge his brother, flailing futilely with a pike.

In the rolling surf, Luix was still battling. The lobster-like creatures dug in with their claws and tried to drag him below. Fearing for the northerners life, Dremahl jumped in to provide healing, only to become the victim of still another beast.

Reeling from the combined attacks, the monstrous beast pinioned the ranger and dove off the ship. It did not get far, however, before it was brought down — its death throes nearly taking Saerin with it.

Luix, Dremahl and Boomah joined forces in the surf to try and take down the two remaining reefclaws. After killing one, the other takes Dremahl in its claws and flees to the oceans floor. Kallius dives down to the reef, and fires color spray at them both — knocking both the creature and the priest unconscious. Luix and Boommah helped bring them to the surface, where the stunned creatures claws are removed and it was tossed back into the surf.

The creatures dispatched the remaining fishermen harvest claws and turn to the party to aid their fallen comrade. Celeste explains there is nothing they can do, and administers last rites. The send the bulky fisherman out to sea on a make shift boat, and set it aflame.

It was a somber crew that sailed another three hours up the coast to the river mouth, and drop the party and their canoes off on the shore.

After a brief discussion, the group decides to move up close to the old coast road before settling in to rest.

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Gone fishing
or, "It wasn't a rock..."

monsReefclaw.jpg Rising back to the surface in the pre-dawn hours, our heroes went to the shrine of Methys to scrub off the remainder of the filth and parasites from themselves. They were clean and treated by early morning, and set off toward Ebn bar-Zuul’s workshop to report back to the arcanist.

Boomah interrupted a meeting with his crafters, but the goblin’s excitement was overwhelming. He told the wizard about the rats, the worms and the false priest of Aerin found in the sewer. Ebn was not too shocked by the revelations, and hoped that the thief was just another of the newcomers preying on his own kind. He took the vial of ink to test it and sent Boomah back to the workshop and his waiting tasks.

Kallius left to copy spells, and the remainder of the group wen off in search of the seraschal Telline. They found her sparring with tow your Aerinorn warriors and easily holding her own. After another half hour the tow quit, claiming it was too hot in the sun for the lady. She spit on the ground, and left them to their chilled wine.

Celeste reported her story, and learned that the acrid smoke from the sewer blaze spread up and out the privies, cellars and drains all over the high city. Telline added that she had been summoned to the Oxenhold for dinner that evening, and she would be giving Celeste ‘credit’ for purging the threat from the sewers. She suggested that Celeste be elsewhere after tat announcement, especially since the lady of Lyss also planned to burn the plagued ship to the waterline that evening. It was not going to be a good day to a part of the Serachle.

The group spent the rest of the afternoon resting and healing, waiting for the fishermen to return on the evening tide. When they crossed town they could not help noticing the increased attention they were getting as their notoriety spread.

Back at the shore, they met a group of new fishermen beached on the edge of the pilings toasting a successful voyage. Saerin recognized an old dock haunt called Kelpy and asked for introductions. Apparently these men had heard tales of the party from Kelpy already. They agreed to take the group and their canoes to the Erarohn shore, but the one called Even had an idea. He offered to carry the party for free if they could use their adventurer powers to help them secure reefclaws to sell in town. Celeste negotiated a sliding scale and they all agreed to meet at two bells.

Our heroes spent the remaining time gathering supplies and resting. Boomah returned to Ebn and learned that the ink was made from the blood of a phase spider and could be used to craft spell-scrolls that reached across to other planes. He added that certain cults in his own country used inks like this for ritual use, hoping the power of the spider strengthened the writings. Ebn told the goblin that very few people in town would know of the use of such an ink, and none of them would be good people. He suggested they keep it very well guarded. So Boomah gave it to Kallius as quickly as he could.

When they returned, they found their crew had spent the intervening period drinking and were well into their cups. Nearly grounding the small vessel in the bay, the drunken fishermen slowly led our heroes toward the reefclaw feeding grounds.

It was dawn by the time they reached their destination, and only Boomah’s gift of Alchemist’s Kindness kept their sailors seaworthy. The crews set a chopped up lamb carcass on lines and sent them over the side. They slowly moved up the reef line towing their chum, waiting for the predators to appear. The shifting currents proved tricky for the sailors, and Cord caught his boat on a reef, temporarily grounding himself along with Celeste, Saerin and Boomer.

Meanwhile, Even’s ship lurched when something grabbed onto their bait line. All they could see was rope being dragged downward as the tip of an ell-like tail dropped below the surf.

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

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Fire in the Hole
or Plumbing for Dummies

Rotting_Rats_by_DaveAllsop.jpg Our heroes — bloodied but unbowed from their previous encounter — continued deeper into the sewers of Wytchport. Luix’s bulk snapped a board that covered some kind of gap in the tunnel, and the group had to improvise a way around a filthy pit of undetermined depth. While they did so, Saerin could not escape the feeling that they were far from alone in the darkness.

Even deeper in, they began to hear the echoes of sloshing sewage ahead. Naturally, the sent the goblin ahead to scout. He quickly found himself facing a chamber where several smaller sewers come together. The ceiling vanished in the darkness above, and there was a pedestal in the center of the room. He called the ranger forward and they tested the depth of the filth in the room. He was taken aback that the effluent was nearly as deep as he was tall, and they decided that the Luix would carry him across to the central high spot. As they approached the ledge, they could see several rats in the far tunnels pulling back from the chamber.

When they slid into the muck, they were leaped on from behind by two diseased rats that had been clinging to the walls. A third overshot and splashed into the filth beyond. Luix let go of the goblin and turned to crush the creatures. Boomer tried to leap up to the pedestal and found himself hanging on the lip. Unfortunately for him, there were two more rats atop the pedestal who tore at his exposed arms.

Ignoring the danger, he lobbed a bomb in front of himself, setting himself and all the creatures above aflame. But they in turn dug deep into his flesh, and the infesting worms started coursing through his bloodstream.

Luix smashed away at the huge ship rats, and Kallius and Saerin came to the ledge to assist. Other rats were drawn by the noise and scent of blood, and soon the sewer was covered in rat swarms as well as the few oversized menaces. Celeste tossed a flask of oil on the nearest, and stepped back to provide support.

Boomer was addled by the infection, and could not mount a solid defense against the combined rats. After suffering a series of attacks, he managed to jump free, trying to land on the ranger but splashing into the filth in front of him.

He eventually swam to the exit tunnel and gained the presence to drop another bomb on the trailing rats. Celeste and Dremahl drained their divine power keeping the trio of warriors in the fray, and slowly but surely the rats were crushed.

With the immediate enemy vanquished, Boomer and Kallius climbed the central pedestal. There they found a crushed table, a rat-chewed human corpse and a well-made chest. The goblin’s fire had damaged much of what was up there, but there was a grapnel on the end of a charred rope that seemed to be the human’s means of approach. They also noted that he was wearing robes very similar to a priest of Aerin, but without the dans-blue lining that mark true vestments. He also carried partially charred silken rope, sealing wax and a bell.

Turning to the chest, Boomer looked for traps. He found one the hard way, and a puff of flashing blue fungus rattled them. Kallius lashed out in a panic and stabbed the alchemist. Later, he would claim it was done on purpose.

Inside the chest they found a Potion of Shatter {2nd/3rd), Potion of Animate rope {1st/1st} , Potion of Sanctuary {1st/1st}, a rose quartz Vial of phase spider ink, and gp: 20, sp: 80 and cp: 200.

They used the potion of animate rope to return the grapple to a hook above. Climbing up, they soon found a series of handhold built into the shaft, giving access to a portal above. But before they left, they poured the remainder of the oil on the worm-infested pool of filth and set it alight. Hopefully burning the brain worms and removing the major cause of contagion to thew village.

On the way out, they noticed side tunnels that had been carved into the shaft, giving proof to the rumor that Saerin had heard of hidden passages allowing secret access to the high city. It was nearly dawn by the time they raised the hatch and found themselves on the ridge above the low city. The made their way to the shrine of Methys to purge themselves of any remaining infection before reporting back to their superiors.

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Blight at the End of the Tunnel
Or Enter the Verminators

20120606dishonored_e3_05RatSwarm.jpg With their reputations safe, our heroes set about their tasks in Wytchport. Kallius copied spells and Boomah began crafting a flask of acid. Meanwhile, the others spent their day down by the docks looking for boats and a means of transporting them to the edge of the Erarohn. They successfully purchased two canoes, but could not find any ships willing to take them, as the demands of the new arrivals are keeping the local fishermen busy.

On day two they continued their pursuit, with Celeste ministering to the locals while Saerin and Luix look for a ship to charter. In the afternoon, Saerin spotted a strange man lurking in an alley who then lunged out at him violently. The man tried to bite at the ranger, who quickly beat him into unconsciousness with the flat of his blade.

The two priests looked closer at the fallen man, and realized that he was ravaged by parasites. They took him to the shrine of Methys and tried to treat his affliction. They discovered that he had brain worms, and that it had progressed to the point that he would most certainly not survive. They left him in the care of a lay-priest of Dendera and went to alert the authorities.

They had learned that a old world ship had been quarantined by the harbormaster, so they went first to him. They told him that rats could easily reach the shore from where the ship was moored, and convinced him to move it further out into the bay.

Then they went to Church of Aerin to try and get Meliwass to manage a ‘rat hunt’ among the populace. He was unmoved by the oracle’s pleas, and told her that she could manage her own pagan rat contest. They ended up having Ebn hold the prizes for the contest.

That evening, they went back to the docks to follow up on tales of huge rats lurking in the sewage drains from the high city. In the seedy district built near the swage outlets, they came across a couple working girls that seemed addled. One turned out to be a drug user, but the other was showing signs of brain worm affliction. She vomited Celeste’s ‘cure’ immediately, so the oracle was forced to bind the foul fluid onto the prostitute in a bandage.

pzo1127_rat_king_by_critical_dean-d6t11af.jpgMoving into the effluent surf, Luix spotted a pair of large shapes in the entry to one tunnel. The moved into it, with the ranger in the lead. Just a few steps in, he was attacked by two large rats that dropped from shafts above. They bit deep into his flesh and waves of nausea passed over hm, but he shook off any immediate danger.

Another rat dropped down, and Kallius, Luix and Saerin were in the thick of it. The battle was complicated by the steep walls of the tunnel, forcing out heroes to scramble up the incline to reach the creatures.

Luix’s flail crushed rats to pulp, but the parasite-ridden vermin only fell when their bodies were completely destroyed. Celeste summoned a rat of heir own t provide flanking opportunities for the warriors.

Even with two more worm-addled rats joining the fray, soon our heroes were victorious. Only Saerin had suffered the bites of the creatures, and his immediate wounds were superficial. So, undaunted, our heroes continued into the foul sewage tunnels.

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Don't know much about history
or how Celeste got crabs

Naviga2.jpgFollowing the advice of their patron, our heroes went off in search of ‘Nana’ Derilaine to find out more about the Omaro family heirlooms they discovered.

On their way toward her shop, they were stopped on the edge of the high market by a procession of Aerinorn nobles, led by the worldwyrm banner of the crown prince. Choosing to wait it out, they watched as the group passed by. The procession was ended by the entourage of Bucas the Benighted, the tall, fully-veiled Valessan advisor (and creditor) to the young prince.

When they reached Nana’s normally quiet shop, they were surprised to see a frenzy of activity, with Nana presiding over a swarm of scribes preparing patents and proofs for the local nobility. Following a young page into the shop, they got the attention of its matronly proprietor.

When sage questioned their presence, Celeste mentioned the their findings and that got her attention. She directed them to a loft in the back of her shop for closer scrutiny.

Away for the hubbub, she told them that very few items from Omaro estate had appeared in town for a generation. The destruction by flooding was nearly complete, and few items from the family have been found abroad since them. As she pulled out reference material on the family, she noted a small portrait of Lady Synelle Omaro bore a striking resemblance to Celeste herself. And after explaining that some heraldic items have greater power to members (or sworn followers) of a family, they tested the shield on Celeste. A good feeling passed through the party when she bore it, and that feeling was not shared by Nana.

She told them that the only remaining member of the family in the region is Ardent Meliwass Omaro for the church of Aerin, but that few truly believed the claim. The keys to the estate, and the rights to the land, have not been claimed since the disaster of 60 years ago. But if items are coming to light, perhaps there are things afoot at Bar Amaro.

In the end, she purchased their family items outright, and the group left with substantially heavier purses. Saerin went to see the elven leatherworker Delduin Arithel, who deals with local fletchers, and purchased a compound bow from her. The others went back to see Ebn and Kallius purchased a couple spells from him.

omaro-shield.jpgCeleste showed the shield to him, which had no effect, and asked about the newcomer Bucas. He explained that his countryman believes in the ‘old faith’ of his people, and that is power it connected to the roots of the world. He added that he was going to do everything in his power to steer clear of the Valessan.

A the end of the day they retired to the Three Keys Inn for dinner, drinks and a good scrubbing. Patr gave them all the hospitality he could, and several part members joined his family sleeping in the loft above the stables. Celeste returned to her shrine and Dremahl slept in the workshop above the shrine to Nox.

The next morning they were called to the Oxenhold. Baron Eryse held court, with many newcomers (including Bucas) nearby the proceedings. After hearing their tale, and checking it against the testimony of Patr and two animal messengers sent from Bar Acero, Eryse cleared them of any culpability and sent a message to the Acero family in Cyr Regus (if they lived) that the party had dispatched a bandit group that had invaded their land.

Making a quick exit from that scene, they returned to the village. They decided that they were going to explore Bar Omaro. Their plan is to bring small river boats on a fishing vessel and travel upriver to the flooded estate. Celeste and Saerin went down to the dockside to find a ship to carry them, while Kallius works to copy the new spells into his spell book.

Meanwhile, Phaed is nowhere to be seen.

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Knight's Errands
Or Wheelin' and Dealin'

659972-bigthumbnail.jpg With their enemies defeated, our heroes took stock of their situation. They disarmed their three prisoners and took a quick inventory of the material they had retrieved from the bandits. Lord Patch was carrying a number of magical potions and was wearing an enchanted chain shirt under his motley. Most of the other items recovered were obviously from the Acero household, and the group decided it was the wisest course to return the bulk of it.

They turned the boat around and poled it — along with the floating circus wagon — back to Bar Acero. This process was slowed by large cat that had taken a fondness to the cart, and seemed reluctant to share. After kind words failed, Boomah tossed several small chunks of bear flesh toward the rear of the cart until the creature allowed the goblin to share the ride.

They made it back to the plantation by mid-afternoon. The gatehouse and most of the other buildings had been burned to the ground, and the fields beyond were blazing. The group decided to unload the cargo and leave it under a canvas near the docks.

They went to the well to get water to put out small remaining fires, and noted a crumpled shape at its bottom. Celest lowered down into the shaft and found an unconscious young woman have submerged in the murky water. She addressed the young maid’s major injuries and brought her back up.

Seeing her atop the well, Boomah shouted “pretty lady!!”, as he recognized her from his earlier visit to the bandit camp. When she awoke she was stunned to discover the goblin and slowly it dawned on her that she had been rescued. Her next concern was the safety Patr ren Acero and then any other members of the household.

Meanwhile, Saerin had taken up a post near the broken gate awaiting the Aerinorn noble party. It was not long after before two banner men came to a halt before him. He hailed them, and told the what had befallen the household. One returned to the main party to gather their leaders. Burke Bellik (nephew of Wytchport lord Eryse Bellikan) and a large shaven-headed warrior named Torvil Garra who acted like he was born in charge.

Once appraised of this situation, they rode down to the estate to ‘get to the bottom of this’. The groups were quickly separated and a contingent of nobleman (including a local Aerin priest named Borrt that Celest had dealt with before) interrogated them. Satisfied, and noting the returned valuables on the dock, they allowed the group to leave, but demanded they report to the Oxenhold for final judgement.

They traded some of the rescued rum for two weary donkeys, and made tracks back to town.

Two days of travel brought them back to Wytchport. Celest checked in with Telline and Boomah went to see Ebn. Their first stop was at the Three Keys Inn, to tell Patr that they had defeated the bard and left the estate in Aerinorn hands. He was very pleased, and when Celest passed him a token from the maid Anala, he was even more pleased — passing them a sizable garnet in gratitude. Then they f]]ocused on the important tasks of selling their loot and equipping themselves for the future.

Dremahl led a group to Brann Hall, where they exchanged their captured weapons and a few gemstones for items that better suited their purpose. Brann himself handled the weapons dealing, and parted with a few fine weapons for out heroes.

When they asked Ebn where best to sell some of the strange, old noble trapping they had recovered from the ettercaps in the dragon skull, he suggested local historian ‘Nana’ Bethel Darilaine. The group decided that she would their next appointment.

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Smokin' the Bear
or Rock the boat, baby

bear.jpg At first light our heroes struck out toward shore. Boomer asked Mina to summon a dolphin to give him a lift to shore, as the boat could not get closer than a 50 feet from the marshy coast. The Acero trio was going to drop off Kunola near the Aerinorn group before returning to Wytchport.

Soon after they made landfall, they noticed a thick line of smoke coming up from the direction of the Acero estate. They worried that this meant that the bandits had destroyed the place, but move on undeterred.

After an hour, they spotted two objects moving together up the estuary. Saerin scouted out a decent spot for an ambush and they lied in wait. As they approached, our heroes could make out a long boat and what looked to be a circus cart poling through the shallow water. Both vessels were overloaded with furniture and other large cargo.

Moving within range of attack, the group was startled by the growl of what could only be a bear from down the path. Boomer rushed off after, followed by Phaed, while the others moved in on the boats. Luix charged the lead boat with Saerin and Kallius supporting with missile fire. Celest summoned a dolphin and sent it against the floating cart, ramming the clumsy vessel and forcing those upon to drop their crossbows and hold on.

Boomer and Phaed were hiding in the marsh when the bear — along with a couple bandit and Lord Patch — charged and stumbled right on them. The sorceress ran for cover and sent rays of enfeeblement at the bear. Too close to escape, the goblin smashed boms against the raging creatures hide, setting both himself and his enemies ablaze.

Luix had gotten aboard the long boat and was cutting his way through its crewmen, and Dremahl had climbed up on his heels. Some of those from the cart had jumped off and moved toward the shore, but were intercepted by Kallius and a rain of arrows from Saerin.

Rolling in the muddy road to put out the fire, the bandit leader in gaudy motley vanished from site. He reappeared the next round behind the goblin, stabbing him deeply. Celest had moved up to the fray and channeled Methys’ grace to keep her allies in the fight.

One by one the bandits on the boats were being chopped down. One final bomb from Boomer stopped the bear from tearing through the party, allowing them to focus their attacks on the bard. Saerin dropped his bow and charged the enemy, bringing his greataxe down on the former freedom-fighter. After spells, bombs and flames, the man t=could not withstand the hit and dropped lifeless to the mud.

Celest called out to the three remaining bandits to surrender, and they immediately did so — tossing their weapons into the shallow water.

The group went into action gathering up the bodies and securing the two craft for a return trip to Bar Acero.

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From furry bedfellows to feathered boats
or Fun in the Fog

crypt-rats.png Evening settled on the ruined ferry station and our heroes set about making camp. The night came in hot and damp, with mists swirling about the marshy coast.

Late during the second watch, Boomer noted that the mists were thickening inside the building. He went to the others on guard, and Dremahl heard the sounds of footsteps in the marsh outside. Before the could react, the floors and walls of burned-out building started bubbling forth rats from every crevice.

Kallius, Phaed, and Saerin were caught off guard by the sudden onslaught and were overwhelmed by the beasts. Those that were close began to bash away at the swarming critters, and soon they were scattering back into the night.

Our heroes looked around for the source of these obviously magical attacks, and Kallius noted more unnatural mists down the shoreine. He moved toward them, and Saerin followed on the shore side. As the approached the strange fog, suddenly a ship appeared from out of nowhere.

51N9nWWahsL._SX300_.jpgThey closed through the fog, and tried to hail the figures on-board. They were rebuffed by the mysterious trio, and Kallius went back to gather the others while Saerin continued trying to get them to stop. A human woman seemed to be filling the sails by magical power, and two others menaced them with crossbows from behind the wales.

Meanwhile, Boomer had skirted around the fog and had decided to swim out toward the slow-moving vessel.

When Celest arrive she hailed the strangers in the name of Methys, and asked for help to defeat the bandits upstream. This slowed the vessel, and soon she had convinced them to stop. When told that they had fought those who held the manor, they asked if anyone was still alive. Boomer popped over the rail and said there was a pretty lady. After a brief shock, they hauled him aboard. Soon the entire party was on the swan-shaped ship.

The trio on board was Patr ren Acero (gatekeeper of the estate), his wife Mina and their cook Barlo. They had beach and his men into the estate under the guise of a traveling comedy troupe, and then the group turned on them. They beseeched the party to return to the estate and take down the bandits.

The group agreed, and they set to planning. They decided to land on the far side of the estate and try to sneak in from the landward side. They tried to rest in advance of a busy day tomorrow.

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