The Razor Coast: Islands and Pirates

Session 16: The Black Spot
Saving Captain Riggs

Searching for Riggs, Ono jumped through the portal and found the column of gas. Jana and Orie took one look at the fleshy walls of the new chamber and climbed back to the surface. Keahilani, having secured the Sealord’s Blessing, followed after his friends. Pulsating, strangely biological walls surrounded them. Brass tubing ran through it like veins. The grey gas billowed from the column and the party began to choke. Keahilani immediately felt clouded and almost lost consciousness. Ono, Ozzy and Aleister began beating down the locked circular door and freed themselves from the trap.

They explored one room and found body parts hang on meat hooks, including a dwarf, dolphins and Tulita fishermen. In others, the seabed floor seemed to have grown through the strange structure as if welded to it. The large, cobbled together zombies animated in another room. Jade spikes in their heads glowed and a grating voice spoke through one of them, pleading for them to leave while the creature repaired its “craft.” It promised to leave as soon as it made repairs. The party ignored it and moved towards another room. The voice promised an agonizing death as it tore them apart slowly and made them power its greatest creation. The “tattered reavers” attacked. It was a near thing. Their claws sliced through Bertram, nearly killing him. Only Aleister’s willpower kept him alive. Keahilani immediately began to heal, barely keeping up with the carnage around him. Bertram recovered and spider climbed up a wall to safety where he attacked with a longbow. Ono managed to say on his feet as he pummeled the reavers and Keahilani healed him. Ozzy summoned a pack of wolves and sent in Crikey to battle. Aleister used spells to attempt to slow the creatures down. The last zombie fell and the party moved onward.

In another chamber, a narrow path traversed a stagnant pool of water. A robed figure materialized at the far end of the chamber and began casting. Aleister obscured him with a cloud of fog. Ono and Bertram crossed the pathway to do battle with the mage. At that moment the bridge collapsed beneath them. While Bertram jumped to safety, Ono fell into the water. Black leech swarms began filling his mouth and ears and latching onto exposed areas. Losing strength, Ono managed to pull himself from the pool. At the same time, Captain Riggs became visible and thrust a rapier into Aleister’s back, mumbling that he was sorry. He began to feint and parry, first attacking Aleister, then Keahilani. The mage seemed to teleport out of the fog cloud and Ono rushed to engage. With one swipe, he realized that the mage was simply an illusion and warned his companions. Though Aleister’s sleep hex didn’t work against Captain Riggs due to a Protection spell, the rest of the party beat him into submission.

Removing Riggs’ ubiquitous gloves, they found an undulating black spot on one hand. Keahilani believed a creature was under his skin; lacking Remove Curse, he began a delicate operation and removed a large, engorged leech. Healing Riggs, they found that the hold on the captain was gone. He explained that the leech’s allowed the “engineer” to control him and he had led many people to their doom and witnessed horrible things. The Engineer performed surgeries on creatures, most often when they were still conscious and alive, using their bodies for some strange purpose. He described it as a tentacled monstrosity with many eyes and brain sacs. Aleister surmised that it was a neh-thalggu, a creature from the black spaces between the stars and often associated with the Great Old Ones. Riggs wanted to leave and seemed traumatized, but the party pressured him into helping them rid the world of the evil. He agreed and said it was the least he could do.

Opening another chamber, they encountered eight zombies with scythes grafted to one arm. They made quick work of the creatures. Aleister and Ozzy helped the party cross the leech pool using Water Walk and other spells, first placing blood in one corner of the pool to distract the vermin. Opening another door, Riggs began to tremble, saying, “No, not here. We must leave! It’s the Vivisectionist!” The room contained metal tables, surgical instruments and machinery of an unknown nature. A strange, elongated instrument with a head full of razors and claws sat on a tripod. It animated and swiveled towards the party. The Vivisectionist attacked…

Session 15: The Black Spot
Exploring Fortune's Folly

Leaving Falken Drango behind, the party returned to Port Shaw. After completing various sundry tasks, a messenger boy approached Bertram with a note. Their patron, Lavinia Vanderboren, requested an audience. Once at Lavinia’s estate, they found repairs from the bullywug invasion progressing well. Servants were hired and Lavinia seemed in good spirits. Surrounded by paperwork, she commented that she was settling accounts with Mayor Hargrove and others in Port Shaw and felt her finances were in much better shape. With her was a middle-aged human man, Captain Colthyn Riggs.

Lavinia noted that Riggs had done many favors for her parents in the past and now needed a favor himself: Escorting his merchant ship to Freeport. Riggs explained that the biggest dangers were likely pirates or slavers from Carcass, but the possibility always existed for monster attacks. With a promise of 500 gp each from Lavinia upon return, the party agreed. To fill out Captain Riggs’ crew and protection, they hired a gladiator warrior named Jana (after they sobered her up) and a wandering priest of Bowbe named Orie.

They showed up at Riggs’ ship, the Sealord’s Blessing, the next morning. Riggs himself seemed to be holed up in the cabin, but first mate Handerly greeted them warmly. He introduced them to the crew which included Gloomy Gus (a sailor full or bad omens), “Preach” (a soft-spoken apparent priest of Quell who oddly seemed to dabble in poisons) and an odd blue-skinned Tulita man with bulging round eyes named Pawanai (a Tulita blessed/tainted as an undine). The party integrated into the crew and, within an hour, were at sea.

Winds were favorable and Handerly seemed an expert at guiding the craft. He instructed them in various tasks and nautical terms. At midday, Captain Riggs emerged and began barking orders. In all, he seemed a moody leader who frequently yelled at the crew one minute and went completely silent the next. He smelled of rum and appeared not to have slept the night before.

That night, the lookout in the crow’s nest noticed a flickering flame. Riggs was interested in investigating and the party caught glimpses of a wrecked ship a few hundred yards away, illuminated by flickering flame. Looking for volunteers, the captain’s eyes settled on the party. The captain promised one share each (which, since he was captain, seemed overly-generous). Keahilani, Shea and Ozzy stayed aboard while Jana and Orie joined the party in the dinghies. Ono jumped into the open ocean and swam. In moments, they found the shipwreck and realized that a coral reef was pierced by a “trident” of stone pillars. The ship seem to have grounded on one of the trident “tines.” Ono jumped out of the water after seeing the silhouette of a tremendous fish and a school of tiny snappers that Bertram identified as Blood Snapper. They clambered aboard.

On deck, Aleister levitated to the intact crow’s nest to get a better look. Immediately, six filthy four-foot long birds with six legs each jumped from the nest and attacked. Bertram and Aleister recognized them as gryphs, with the ability to implant eggs in hosts. Bertram began firing while Ono and Jana did battle with the things on the deck below. Aleister was quickly grappled and implanted with offspring from the creature’s ovipositor. Orie avoided combat to heal. Oddly, Captain Riggs danced in and out of combat but didn’t engage one foe for long. Once the vile creatures were dead, Orie performed surgery on Aleister and removed three blue, squishy eggs.

They explored the upper cabins, finding evidence of a bloody battle but no corpses. All belongings seemed to have been smashed. Whoever did the damage, they didn’t appear interested in gold since coins were found in abundance. Oddly, Bertram located a belaying pin with sigils similar to the SeaLord’s Blessing as well as handkerchiefs with the initials C.R.

Walking back across the deck, the rotten wood gave away and the party plummeted through the floor and then through the amidsheps deck as well, into the lower cargo hold. Aleister’s Feather Fall spell saved them injury. Once there, they found more evidence of combat, dried blood and wreckage. They looted what they could, until Ono discovered a treasure chest half-submerged in water. The chest came alive and revealed itself to be an aquatic mimic. It attempted to drag Ono into the depths, but the party destroyed it and let it sink into oblivion.

Bertram again located a smuggler’s hold, opened by a disguised button. Pushing it, they located the skeleton of a human man, a tattered journal, old candle and dried ink next to him. The journal told of a young man named Titus who, escaping something he referred to as “tattered reavers”, hid in the secret hold. Too late, he realized it could not be opened from the inside. He penned his last request to return his ring and journal to his mother and noted he would likely die of thirst. He also noted that Captain Riggs was not to blame.

Whirling around, the party saw Riggs descend into a smooth, rock tube that seemed to go below the ship. Ono promised him death and the party pursued. A swirling green mist was seen inside the tube. Ready with feather fall, they began to descend, finding that the mist almost floated them to the bottom. Half way down, the tube widened and the walls were covered with a strange seaweed. The plants came alive and began strangling Aleister and Ono. A few blasts from Bertram’s weapon and hits from Jana and Ono made quick work of the creatures.

At the bottom, they found a jade-colored porthole. After examining it, the porthole slowly swung open. Ono jumped in first, finding himself in an alien environment. Fleshy, almost alive walls seemed to pulse. Strange equipment hummed and pulsated against one wall. A large column swirled with gases. As the rest of the party followed, grey gas erupted from the column covering them all.

Session 14: Exploring the Nightslink
Harpies, Pirates and Weresharks

With Falken Drango aboard, the party fell under the infamous pirate’s command. He noted their lack of crew and general preparedness, but seemed ecstatic to be free. They managed to pilot the Sea Wyvern north of Port Shaw. Ono, worried about Zalen Trafalgar’s diagnosis after fighting the wereshark in Toe’s Reach, went into town with Keahilani. After discussing prices with Sagacious Samuel, they determined the best course of action would be to hire the wizard to teleport them to Freeport.

They woke the magical merchant in the middle of the night. After hearing their willingness to pay a premium, Samuel woke up and made preparations. Successful with his Teleport spell, Samuel, Ono and Keahilani found themselves in the bustling pirate city. Negotiating with the high priest of Quell for a powerful Heal spell seemed cost prohibitive. Instead, they went to the market and located a merchant with wolfsbane. Buying several doses, Ono promptly made tea with one dose. Keahilani felt confident his friend was cured.

Once back in Port Shaw, they bid Samuel farewell and made their way back to the hidden Sea Wyvern. The party had hired a dozen Tulita men and women to crew the ship. With Drango captaining the vessel, they made their way to the Witch’s Teeth where his ship, the Nightslink, had run aground. The wind was at their sails and they made good time. On day one, they fished bodies from a floating fishing net and identified them as villagers from Toe’s Reach. They said quick funeral rites and gave the bodies back to Quell.

Day two proved deadly. Four harpies swept from the skies, two with bows. They quickly charmed most of the crew. Two Tulita were instantly lost as they attempted to help Bertram fired the ballista. Bertram, Alistair and Drango all leapt overboard in an attempt to reach the flying sirens. Keahilani kept his wits and began healing the party. At last, the harpies were injured enough that they flew back towards the Witch’s Teeth.

By the next morning they located the damaged ship, Nightslink. They carefully boarded and made their way to the hold. Within, a ragged and skinny human man exclaimed in surprise, “Cap’n Drango! Blessed be Quell!” He explained that he was the sole survivor and had come back to look for anything useful to find his way back to the main island. Once questioned by Drango and the party, he grew visibly agitated before transforming into a wereshark. Two others burst from a cabin and the fight was on. Bertram bullets blasted holes while Ono, Ozzy and Crikey began slashing foes apart. Drango himself used a boarding pike to attack his former crew while Aleister had some success with Sleep hexes. Keahilani healed the party. At last, three dead weresharks lay at their feet. After an examination, Keahilani recommended that Bertram, Ono and Ozzy all drink wolfsbane tea.

Drango seemed shaken by the cursed nature of his crew and the necessity to put them down. He told the party it was time to part ways. With a few people to help he could repair the Nightslink and search for the remainder of his crew. Four of the remaining eight Tulita joined Drango with his assurances that he would take them home. Parting ways, the party decided to search out the spire where the harpies nested.

Using wax as a defense against their song, Bertram spider climbed up the spire and tied off a knotted rope for others to follow. The harpies noticed him and quickly dropped Bertram with multiple arrows and maces as he fell under their charm. Ono began the long climb up while Aleister levitated. Others attempted to back up on the small island to gain line of sight. One of the harpy archers rained arrows down on Ono. The dajobasu almost fell of the rope, but made it to the top. Aleister took several arrows in the chest while Bertram blasted at the harpies above and Keahilani threw fireballs. As his fireball exploded, nearly killing Ono, it also dropped several harpies. Ono stumbled to his feet to do battle with the last archer. Together, he and Bertram slew the last creature.

They looted the nest, finding several magical items and piles of coins. With the Tulita crew gathered, they pointed the Sea Wyvern back towards Port Shaw.

Session 13: The Jawbone Found
Bloody mysteries and strange goings on in Port Shaw

Cleaning the remnants of the brain ooze from their clothing, Keahilani restored as much of Zuka Zuka’s thoughts as possible. Turning a corner, they encountered a briny, black pool of sludge in which floated 15 gelatinous sacks the size of a large animal. They started as several of the sacks bulged against human-like hands and screaming faces. As the dajobasu brothers entered the frothy mixture, a hulking skum erupted from the water. Vestigial tadpoles squirmed on its face and a thick stream of drool streamed from its fanged mouth. As it attacked with a harpoon, six of the “cocoons” burst open and newly-formed skum joined the fight.

The mutant leader was formidable. His harpoon lanced in and out of melee, felling both dajobasu brothers and Keahilani before he could be contained. After reviving Keahilani, Aleister attempted to put the brute to sleep, but focused on the lesser spawn after his hexes failed. Both Aleister and Bertram had flash backs of the Leviathan as they fought, Bertram gaining insight into how to best attack while Aleister couldn’t breath and was overwhelmed briefly. Bertram spider climbed to the ceiling and rained down musket fire as Keahilani channeled the power of Pele to keep the barbarian brothers alive. With many wounds, the mutant slumped into the water and the remainder of the force were dealt with.

Among various jewelry and other valuables, they at last located the Jawbone of Mokoli Ali’i. Though non-magical, after cleaning it they saw its quality and age and carefully wrapped it in cloth. Eight of the cocoons held humans from Port Shaw in various stages of transformation. They found Lester Farrows, ported the rafts to the dockside entry to the sewers and rescued the poor souls.

In Port Shaw again, they took the catatonic townsfolk to Zalen Trafalgar of the Chapterhouse of Quell. The young priest examined them but could only promise to do his best. “With time, they may recover.” Suddenly, he looked in shock at the tentacle “brand” many of them wore on their chest. He hinted that he may have seen this before and asked that they report additional sightings to him. Conferring with Keahilani, he warned that it likely was a sign of Demogorgon’s blessing. He also asked that they look into the plight of Harrok McFayn, a man from the small village of Toe’s Reach just north of Port Shaw. The man was accused of murdering his fellow villagers and Harrok’s daughter, Jessica could not be found. Zalen spoke to many townsfolk and few people believed Harrok capable of such a heinous crime. He asked that the party, specifically Bertram, look into this and fulfill his dedication to Quell.

After leaving the chapterhouse, Zuka Zuka bid his companions farewell, stating he had fulfilled his commitment to the Tulita and now wanted to start his own tribe deep in the jungle. Ono said his goodbyes and the party watched Zuka Zuka disappear into the milling crowd.

On the way to return the Jawbone to Milliauka in the outskirts, the party saw a commotion near the docks. As they pushed through the crowd, they learned that the legendary pirate, Falken Drango, had been captured. Indeed, dragoons escorted a beaten and tattooed man down the gangplank. Some jeered and booed while others were clearly upset and thought of Drango as a people’s hero. He was led to Darenar, the sergeant with the magic hammer, who looked to the crowd for confirmation of his great deed and noted the punishments Drango would face. “Now we can add the murder of his own crew to his list of misdeeds. Any last words, filth?” he asked. Drango spit a bit of blood and looked Darenar in the eyes. "Just one thing you ought to know, ye lordship…these manacles are a bit loose.” At that, the pirate swung the manacles into Darenar’s face, cracking the sergeant’s teeth and spilling him into the filthy waters of the Tide District. Drango ran into the crowd. Aleister hesitated only a moment before putting the pirate to sleep with a hex. As the dragoons closed, Keahilani helped Darenar and slightly healed his smashed face. Darenar promised to put in a good word for them with Gregory Bonedeuce, the commandant.

They met with Milliauka the shaman in the outskirts. The small, independent Tulita settlement was destitute and surviving almost solely on taro and small fish farmed from the tiny ponds near the plantations. Milliauka insisted on a feast and the party presented the Jawbone. The gathered Tulita praised the party as heroes of their tribe and Milliaukau looked at Ono and told him that he was well on his way to removing the taint of Dajobas. The old shaman also introduced them to Kaho Ali’i, who he prophesied would be the next great Ali’i (chieftain) to reunite the Tulita people, using the Jawbone as a banner. Kaho did not seem to trust the party, especially Ono, but followed Milliauka’s lead. Ono, seeing the abject poverty around him, gave Kaho 200 gold pieces to help; the young future chieftain seemed pleased. Milliauka asked two things of the party: 1) of Keahilani, he asked that the priest of Pele locate the missing menehune, the favored servants of Pele and bring them back to the isle. Without them, Pele’s power would never be complete. 2) Begin restoring the blessing of Whale, Turtle and Dolphin by removing the temptation of dragonsmoke and destroying its source. Finally, before leaving, they were joined by Ono’s cousin, Ozzy, a shaman who had learned from Tulita farther inland and wanted to help restore the old ways.

After resting in town and cleaning the sewers from their bodies, they climbed uphill to Fort Stormshield, the garrison of the dragoons. The spoke to the blue coats at the gate and Gregory Bonedeuce himself escorted them inside. His uniform was immaculate, his mustache trimmed to perfection and his words were smooth. The commandant bid them to stay and drink wine with him. After relaxing, he thanked them profusely for stopping Falken Drango and indicated there might be more work in the future. Indeed, he said, they could do a great favor to Port Shaw by finding and destroying the dragonsmoke scourge.

Bonedeuce consented to let them speak to Harrok, though he warned it would do little good since he was a raving mad man. They were escorted to the dungeons. As the rest of the party followed the escorts, Keahilani stopped at Drango’s cell. The pirate had been beaten and spit a wad of blood at Keahilani’s feet. After questioning him for a moment, the priest of Pele heard that Drango didn’t murder his own crew, but that they had run their ship into a reef and had to make repairs. He snuck back to Port Shaw and stole a schooner but was spotted by the dragoons. They chased him back to his ship, the Nightslink, with Falken narrowly beating them to the wreck. There, he found blood and body party strewn everywhere. His hope for assistance dashed, he attempted to flee, but the dragoons eventually caught him. Keahilani healed the man, blessed him and was on his way.

Harrok mumbled and sputtered about his daughter singing lullabies to the “poor injured sailor” and kept repeating something about blood and pieces everywhere. The only coherent sentiment they received was that of rescuing his daugher, Jessica. They left Stormshield and headed up the coast. Signs of carnage were everywhere. Dried blood. Fly-covered entrails. They found blood trails leading form the water to several huts. They went to the only hut that did not have a blood trail and found a man cowering under a bed, half drunk. At last, they found that he was named Relgin McFayn, cousin of Harrok. The man blubbered about his cowardice and how he didn’t save Jessica or the other townsfolk and that a “black shark man” told another shark man to take Jessica and hold her safe until “the basking” occurred. He then saw that the “black shark” talked to Grymmer Reefstead, a rival of Harrok’s.

They raced north of Toe’s Reach and at last found a hovel smeared with blood and decorated with bones still covered in strips of flesh. Someone could be heard inside pacing. Ono decided to knock. At first, a shaky voice asked them to leave. When they wouldn’t, it turned throaty and dropped an octave. The door burst open and a shark man rushed at them, tearing into Ono. Ozzy sent his pet crocodile to entangle and death roll the beast while he himself used a scimitar. Ono cut and slashed. Aleister’s hexes failed him and he realized that silver weapons were likely required to do much damage. Keahilani provided healing to Ono and Ozzy. At last, Bertram stepped up and blew a gaping hole into the wereshark’s torso. Grymmer fell and transformed into a somewhat normal-looking human…with a hole in his chest. On a cot inside was a nine-year old girl. She seemed not the least disturbed by events and asked to see her father. They hauled Grymmer’s corpse, Jessica and Relgin back to Port Shaw. After seeing that Relgin had refused to clean Toe’s Reach and had instead found a bottle, Keahilani promised that redemption would be difficult indeed.

Jessica and Relgin they left with Zalen Trafalgar. They priest took pity upon them both and promised to remove Relgin’s guilt and thirst with excruciating labor. Presenting the corpse, their findings and the testimony of Relgin and Jessica to Bonedeuce, the commandant seemed genuinely concerned but indicated that he couldn’t possibly let Harrok go yet. He promised to send an inquisitor to Toe’s Reach and to ensure the truth would come out. Later, asking to speak to Harrok again, Bonedeuce allowed it and Keahilani was able to slip potions of Invisibility and Blink to Falken Drango with instructions to meet them at the Sea Wyvern. Keahilani noted that they found evidence of a similar attack in Toe’s Reach as the one against the Nightslink.

They readied the Sea Wyvern for a voyage and waited. And waited. Dragoons raced through the streets looking for an escaped Falken Drango. At last, as the sun set and they feared they had been duped, Drango slipped over the side of the ship, looked at his surroundings and asked, " Let’s be off, boyos, and sail into the dark. We have a crew to avenge." Falken Drango seemed a natural captain and began barking orders.

Session 12: Under Port Shaw
The Sewers Part 2

As the port holes slammed shut and the room filled with water, Shea and Crush leaped into the room to help their friends. Under the sewage-tainted water were six fish men: skum. Keahilani perched on the ledge above the water while Bertram used his Boots of Spider Climbing to adhere to the wall. Aleister fumbled around in the sloshing sewage for a moment before clambering to the ledge. The brothers, Ono and Zuka Zuka, stayed in the water and battled the skum warriors.

The fish men used tridents to inflict heavy wounds. As the party began to drown, Zuka Zuka and Ono cut the skum to ribbons. Bertram fired where he could. The pool filling with blood and water, all of the heroes bent their will to opening a secret under-water portal. With one last heave of strength, the metal portal cracked open to let the water gush into a room beyond.

Torrents of water pushed most of the party into this new area, with the others swimming behind. There, more skum ambushed them, a rogue warlord leading them. The warlord downed several in the party, faster than Keahilani could revive them. As Bertram filled the creature with lead, Aleister put his minions to sleep or otherwise held them from combat. Crush, Zuka Zuka and Ono all surrounded the rogue while Shea ran from the skum warriors and eventually dropped from the many trident wounds. At last, the chieftain fell under their combined might. They looted what they could and fled to find Lester Farrows waiting for them.

On the way out, carnivorous roach swarms attacked the sewer rafts. Keahilani used the power of Pele to ignite one raft while everyone in the part quickly dropped alchemist fire on the raft itself to ignite the swarms. One raft destroyed and the roach swarms scattered, the party clung to the edges of the remaining raft and waded through the sewage. Lester the sewer pirate grumbled and muttered under his breath but led them safely to the docks. With his 100 gold pieces in hand and a hefty bonus to buy a new raft, Lester seemed fine and made his way to the nearest bath house and tavern.

The party picked up gear they had ordered and shopped for a few items to make them more effective in the sewers. Finally, they hired Lester once again and found their way to the skum-infested tunnels. They looked carefully for the Jawbone, but before they could locate anything of value, a brain-shaped ooze attacked them with psionics and domination abilities. Many in the party were staggered or stunned as the creature lashed out to control and drain them of intelligence. At last, they hacked and shot it to slimy bits. The only remaining sound was that of the incessant dripping from the tunnel beyond.

Session 11: Port Shaw
Into the Sewers

Taking their leave of Lavinia and the Jade Ravens, the party spent an entire day exploring Port Shaw and shopping for equipment, bidding farewell to Shea who decided to remain with Crush and clean up the bullywug disaster.

In the Jade District, they were first stopped by a group of dragoons that demanded an “entry fee.” Keahilani managed to avoid bloodshed and talked their way out of the situation. They then spent time at Old Fish’s shop, wading through junk and clutter, before Keahilani struck a deal to locate a suit of mithril breastplate. The old shopkeeper also showed them his “select” goods which seemed to consist of concealed weaponry and other…“subtle” tools of “detective work,” as Old Fish dubbed it. Taking their leave, they next visited Sagacious Samuel’s Magic Emporium to buy a few trinkets and restock. Samuel’s prices were stiff but he did have what they needed. Before retiring for the night, the party met a beautiful woman dressed in a fine green outfit who seemed to flirt with Bertram. As they talked, a beggar girl approached Bertram. When he threw her a coin, she turned and ran into an alley. The party then noticed that the lady was no longer there…and neither were 30 gold pieces from Bertram’s pouch. A search of the alley turned up nothing.

The Kraken’s Gullet was the finest establishment in the Jade District. Using Lavinia’s account, the party purchased finer clothing, temporarily losing Keahilani’s loin cloth. Lavinia’s account also purchased the finest food and drink the establishment could provide. Before leaving, they were snubbed by the elven ambassador Alistair Crimmeran and scolded by mayor Barrison Hargrove, the same Hargrove from whom Lavinia was attempting to collect debts. Their rooms for the night provided almost holy comfort after months of sea travel and dangerous adventures.

Tide District provided more insight into the workings of Port Shaw. Young Tulita men seemed to either perform back-breaking manual labor that had the appearance of slavery or to sit listlessly in the streets due to Dragonsmoke. Ono purchased another dose of dragonsmoke from Crazy John and the party briefly considered chasing down the drug scourge. At that moment, the party heard a commotion from the docks. Investigating, they found an old Tulita chieftain dressed in rags and feathers preaching about the coming of Dajobas and the hunger that would consume all. Dragoons approached and commanded that he desist. Instead, the old chief looked at the commander and proclaimed, “I see it! You’ve been kissed by Dajobas. I will save you!” He pulled a scrimshaw knife and attacked the sergeant.

The party interceded and restrained the old Tulita man while Keahilani spoke to him and flattered the sergeant (introduced as Darenar) about his skill and wonderful hammer. As Darenar proclaimed the potency of his magic hammer and told a story of how he won it in a dice game against old “Shakes” Montgomery, the rest of the party led the chief away. Darenar demonstrated his hammer’s powers by throwing it at an old can, which promptly exploded with sparks and returned miraculously to his hand. Bidding farewell to Darenar, they party spoke to the chief. Ono and Zuka Zuka recognized him as Milliauka, chief of a neighboring tribe to theirs. Milliauka also recognized them. “You must retrieve the Jawbone of Mokoli Ali’i to both save our people and redeem yourselves!” He also lamented the effects of dragonsmoke on the young Tulita.

Gaining a sketch of the jawbone from Milliauka, they returned to Sagacious Samuel. After some conversation, 600 gold pieces were exchanged in return for a Locate Object spell. The wizard cast the spell and seemed puzzled that, while there were several large pieces of scrimshaw around town, the oddest one seemed to be under Port Shaw and to the west. Possibly, something was in the sewers.

Rushing back to Old Fish for advice, he recommended they take the “sewer pirate,” Lester Farrows with them. The halfling told them he could guide them in the sewers better than anyone…for a price. They agreed to his 100 gp fee. That night, they followed Lester into the sewers in order to board his two small rafts. As Lester poled them through the slime and muck, they were set upon by lacedon ghouls. The undead swarmed the rafts and inflicted filthy bites and paralysis on party. Bertram’s musket echoed in the tight chambers while Aleister used his hook to rip gashes into the ghouls. As Zuka Zuka, Ono and Lester attempted to hack apart the creatures, most everyone fell to the paralytic touch of the cannibalistic undead. Finally, Keahilani called upon his goddess and burned them in holy fire. Lester scolded the party for the noise they were making and warned of more ghouls, something called “necroworms” and a mysterious “worse” that might consume them all.

Rather than go deeper into the sewers, the party asked Lester to let them off at a drier structure, something remaining from the rumored lair of a lich or necromancer. As they crept through the slimy portholes and passages, they found the bloated corpse of a human floating in a pool. Dragging the inflated bag of flesh to them, they inadvertently unleashed a swarm of centipedes. After using most of their alchemist fire and fire spells, the party recovered and moved further into the complex. Ono’s sense of smell narrowly avoided a methane gas pocket, set off by Aleister’s Spark spell.

They reached a flooded chamber with a narrow ledge all around it. Ono and Zuka Zuka dove into the pool to explore while Bertram climbed to the ceiling using his Boots of Spider Climbing. Keahilani tied himself to Bertram and crept onto the ledge while Aleister stayed behind. At that moment both of the portholes into and out of the room closed. Aleister barely recovered his wits in order to dive into the pool of water before he was cut off from his friends. At the bottom of the sewage-tainted muck, six fish men swam, attacking the party with barbed spears…while water began to sluice rapidly into the flooded chamber.

Session 10: The Bullywug Gambit
Lavinia in Peril

In the chaos of Founder’s Day, the party found itself amid a throng of drunken commoners near the Bawd District. At a makeshift open-air tavern, a group of tumblers broke away and suddenly attacked. A lithe woman in a full-body skeleton leotard tumbled by Ono and began to punch and kick the dajobasu, whispering to him, “This is for Rowyn Kellani.” Eight of her comrades were on 10-foot stilts and nimbly maneuvered through the crowd, throwing flasks of alchemists fire. At the same time, someone release a dragon-shaped float and set it on fire. The float careened downhill straight towards the tavern and the party.

Aleister cast web and deftly stopped the flaming float which burned through the webbing but drifted to a slow crash. Ono and Zuka Zuka chased the assassin woman as she tumbled about the crowd, finally beating her into submission. Shea and Crush concentrated on the stilt walkers while Aleister, Keahilani and Bertram dodged the alchemist’s fire and put out flames on buildings. As panic erupted in the square, the dajobasu and Crush knocked down several stilt walkers. Aleister put them to sleep or caused misfortune while Bertram stood back and blew holes into the clownish assassins. Keahilani drew his magic dagger and did battle with those on the ground. After the last one was subdued, the party heard someone cry, “The dragoons are coming!” They raced north to the plantation estates to rescue Lavinia.

They left the noise and laughter of the celebration behind and scouted the estate. Dim lights were seen on the upper floor and two figures paced back and forth. Choosing the straight-forward approach, they walked up to the front door. Keahilani knocked and loudly called for Lavinia. No answer. They walked inside and began heading towards the top floor, only to be ambushed by mucky frog humanoids (bullywugs). Several of the despicable creatures were slain before they made it to to the top floor. Evidence of a struggle were apparent as many of the Vanderboren artifacts were destroyed or otherwise in disarray. Leaving dead bullywugs behind them, the party reached the top floor.

They explored unused bed chambers. Opening a closet door, Zuka Zuka was surprised by three tall alligator humanoids. Ono and Zuka Zuka recognized them as the cursed karikanti, worshippers of Dajobas. The gatormen cut into the party with claws, tooth and tail. Things began to look dire. Bertram blasted holes with his boomstick and Keahilani spent every moment healing injured members. Crush, Ono and Zuka Zuka all fell before the the thick-skinned creatures only to be brought back by Keahilani’s holy power. At that moment, bursting in through another door, a half orc pirate wielding a cutlass attacked them while a drooling bullywug shaman stood back and summoned an ape. Keahilani and others attempted to convince Drevoraz that the pirate queen Harliss Jarvell had sent them, but he wouldn’t listen.

Two karikanti fell, but the shaman continued to cast healing spells while Drevoraz slashed with his cutlass. Ono fell again. Zuka Zuka fell. Bertram’s weapon jammed and the merchant’s son was clawed and stabbed. Keahilani frantically healed party members while Aleister switched from offense to healing as well. In a desperate move, Shea moved in to flank a karikanti with Ono. The beast cut her to shreds, though somehow her clothing saved her from death. The summoned ape proved little challenge and Drevoraz and the bullywug quickly fell without the gatormen.

In another bedroom they found a conscious Lavinia who was gagged and tied up. With her was a dead servant girl and two of the Jade Ravens: Tolin Kientai the ranger and Zan Oldavin the half-elf rogue. Ensuring they were still alive, the party pledged to Lavinia that they would clear the mansion of the remaining invaders and attempt to locate the last two Jade Ravens.

They found a grotesque female bullywug wielding dual handaxes and her bodyguards feasting in the dining hall and smoking cigars. Dispatching the huntress, they finally located the Jade Raven dwarf Kaskus Kiel, a druid, unconscious in a secrete room and clutching a potion. Reviving him, they heard that Kaskus had fled to the secret treasure room in order to find healing potions but had forgot about the magic missile trap. They sent him upstairs to join his comrades.

In the basement, they found the source of the invasion: a split iron grate through which ran a natural stream. Mud covered everything. To the east they heard gurgling laughter and a faint jingling. They found the bullywug chief and his hunters watching the last Jade Raven, Liamae Teslikaria (a sorceress), dance with nothing but a filthy sheet wrapped around her, through which were tied various pieces of silverware. An odd lobster-like bug bit and clawed her; Shea identified it as a Rust Monster. The chief ordered the rust monster and his hunters to attack. Within moments, all of the invaders were dead and the rust monster crushed under heel. Liamae gave her thanks and they returned upstairs.

Lavinia thanked the party and rewarded them generously. Keahilani dismissed the Jade Ravens and told them they could begin cleaning up the mess downstairs. Glares and grumbling were are their backs as the party retreated into the night for a well-deserved drink.

Session 9: The Gambit
Madness in Anchor Bay

The wooden stairwell cracked and shattered under the impact of the flaming ship. Aleister fell face first into the smoky surf below. Ono swung on the rope and clambered down the cliffside. Finding Aleister unconscious, Keahilani stabilized the witch and hid his unconscious form within the coastal grasses. Flames and smoke permeated everything. Wreckage and smuggled cargo were strewn about the beach. While scavenging the few valuables left, the party stepped into a mass of corpses, many of which showed signs of being devoured by other creatures. Cracked bones and puddles of gore led to a tidal cave system.

Scouting within the debris and corpses, several deformed pirates howled and attacked with cutlasses. Some of the creatures sported vestigial twins, others the familiar bone spurs and writhing tentacles. Bertram and Crush were bitten. Ono and Zuka Zuka bashed the diseased creatures while Bertram blew holes in their festering flesh. Keahilani joined the battle with his magic dagger as did Shea’s eidolon, Crush. Keahilani, Bertram, Shea and Crush began to suffer mentally due to the disease they carried. Knowing that time was limited they entered the cave system.

More signs of cannibal feasting were found everywhere. In one chamber, the pirates’ cook happily butchered fellow crewmen. In another, diseased krenshars feasted on their fellow guard dogs. They destroyed these creatures and found themselves in a cave covered in once-beautiful silken tapestries. As he examined the east wall, Bertram was suprised by a lurking diseased deinonychus. The dinosaur erupted from its hiding spot and tore into Bertram, before others in the party could do battle. The reptile proved fearsome and difficult to kill, inflicting gory, diseased wounds. A raccoon-squirrel humanoid glided from the cavern ceiling and attempted to sneak attack Ono. Bertram recognized it as a phanaton, likely a former crew member. Keahilani did battle with his dagger while the other slew the reptile. At last, the beast fell and the diseased phanaton was easily destroyed. In another chamber, a shattered woman greeted them, “Vanthus? Is that you? It’s Brissa? Come here my love?” The diseased woman attempted to bite Ono at which point the party slew her. They found a locket containing a portrait of Vanthus inside it.

They followed the sounds of mad cackling and a female’s cursing, which led them through a maze of stalagmites and to a makeshift bedroom where a gruesome feast had finished. A pirate had made his last stand, killing six former crew members before the others tore him apart and feasted. The cackling continued and they rounded a corner to see a dark-haired pirate captain cursing as she whirled her blades about her,dispatching many of the cannibal pirates. “Who ye be? Join the battle or away with ye!” The party joined the fray, only to realize she needed little help. At last, corpses covering the floor, she introduced herself as Harlis Jarvell, a commandeer of the Crimson Fleet and formerly reporting to Captain Kilgante (Kilgante, she informed them, was the devoured corpse they just passed).

When asked, the party provided their story and the fact that they searched for Vanthus Vanderboren. A stream of profanity left Jarvell’s mouth at the mention of Vanthus. “That scurvy, vomitous pig caused all ye see!” She explained that Vanthus had introduced himself as a trader wishing to buy contraband. Left on his own, Harliss later caught Vanthus setting the bay on fire and attempting to steal a large black pearl she had intended to sell for a weighty price. In anger, she stabbed him with her rapier. As the wretch bled, blood touched the pearl and green smoke and sparks erupted. Vanthus fled overboard and swam for shore. Jarvell had grabbed the pearl and threw it overboard where it exploded upon impact with the water. Green tendrils of smoke infected most of the crew members and animals aboard the ship. The rest, the party had already witnessed. The worst news, however, was delivered by captain Harliss herself.

“I’ll learn that cur what it is t’foul my business! I know who he is! Th’Vanderboren name’s no secret to me. I know he’s got family’n holdings in Port Shaw! I sent me right hand Drevoraz t’deal with yer friend, I did. He’ll do for Vanthus’ sister, his mum and pop, and any other family or friends the bastard has in that dunghill city. Cross the Crimson Fleet and we take everything in your life from ye. Best not forget that, boyo.” The party explained that Lavinia was actually working against Vanthus and wanted him brought down. Harliss seemed skeptical but explained they best hurry since Drevoraz was sent inland to gather “allies” before attacking the manor. With that, she left the party and headed northwest.

The party paused to search the refuse in the tidepool, finding the shattered remains of the pearl and putting it in a large chest. One undamaged ship remained moored in the bay and they swam towards it. The Sea Wyvern boasted a beautiful wyvern figurehead and sails bearing the emblem of a wyvern in flight. The new “pirates” expertly navigated the bay and made towards Port Shaw. Docking in the Tide District, they were stopped by the Dragoons who recognized the shift as belonging to the dread pirate Kilgante. Bertram stepped up and explained they had dispatched said pirate and displayed Kilgante’s unique rapier. With a sigh, the Dragoons left.

A festival was taking place in Port Shaw. They learned it was “Founders Day,” celebrating the colonization of the island by mainlanders and the departure of the elves many years ago. Fighting their way through the crowds and drunken revelers, they found the small chapel of Quell in the Tide District. There they met their friend, Jimmy, as well as the young priest of Quell, Zalen Trafalgar. The trident-wielding blond man healed them of the disease and seemed concerned about the nature of the supernatural taint. He offered to take the pearl into custody, but the party opted to leave it aboard their new ship. Bertram dedicated himself to Quell and Zalen advised that he might need to work for the temple at some point the future.

Keahilani urged speed in order to save Lavinia. The party pushed through the crowd, only to see a float in the shape of a sea serpent careen out of control towards them and the crowd. Street performers on stilts surrounded them while a woman in a skin-tight black skeleton suit tumbled past Ono and whispered, “This is for Rowyn Kellani and the Lotus Dragons.”

Session 8: The Razor Coast
Leaving the Leviathan and the Journey to Port Shaw

Bertram, Ono, Zuka Zuka and Jimmy began to panic as Leviathan island picked up speed and headed west, away from Freeport. The Book of Vael Turog warned them, “Soon it will submerge and won’t be stopped. You must eat the god flesh found inside the beast.” The book counseled Bertram to read page 69 to call upon the deep magic and summon his friends to him. Doing so, Bertram summoned Keahilani, Aleister and Shay. The situation explained, they began to explore.

Aleister identified massive, viny flowers as moonflowers, carnivorous plants that appeared to be in a dormant stage. They avoided these and marveled at the footprints Bertram discovered in the moist soil, part humanoid and part something else. Seemingly the only man-made structures were a series of towers in the middle of the island. Most were ruins, but one tower sported a font of perpetual clean drink water. While exploring the fountain, a series of amoeba swarms and a gelatinous cube attacked. The eidolon, Crush, was engulfed by the cube, but the creatures were quickly destroyed once Bertram realized the swarms were harmed by the pure water.

Another tower seemed empty but intact, with a series of bubble-like windows. They found a trap door and descended into the dank, dripping depths of the Leviathan. The walls pulsated as they entered a veritable maze of soil-like flesh. They discovered the source of the footprints above: a tribe of fish-like mongrelmen who threatened them with spears and told them they weren’t welcome. Ono apparently had enough and attacked. Aleister’s web spell entangled most of the creatures and they didn’t stand a chance against the might of the party. The remaining mongrelmen surrendered, warning the party that when their chief discovered their presence, they would all die horribly. They led the party to the chamber of the god flesh. Blue nodes grew from all walls.

Bertram ate the juicy pod and began to have visions. Eons of travel, the depths of the ocean, other planes of existence and the endless search for…something else. He recovered, babbling, but could not control the beast. Aleister took a turn, eating three pods of god flesh. The visions came and went, but he gained an understanding of what motivated the massive creature. He directed all mental energy to steering the miles-long beast towards the east. As he did so, they felt it accelerate and Aleister knew with certainty that the entire “island” would dive beneath the waves. Aleister also grew one enormous lobster claw and a tentacled foot (later removed with a Remove Curse spell).

They raced to the surface and located the bubble tower. Suspecting that it provided refuge during long dives, the party closed the door and waited. Thankfully, the magic of the tower surrounded them and fresh breezes provided air. After several mind-numbing days of underwater travel, they arrived a half mile from Freeport and ascended. As the island emerged, panic ensued in Freeport and legions of looters and adventurers came to explore. The party sneaked away on a makeshift raft, watching several hours later as beast slowly submerged again, causing yet another wave of hysteria throughout the city.

Regrouping with Lavinia Vanderboren, they reviewed Vanthus’ letters and assisted Lavinia with preparing for the long voyage to the Razor Coast. As Lavinia’s hirelings prepared the Blue Nixie, the adventurers equipped themselves and spent gold freely. Three days later they watched Freeport receded into the distance. The voyage was mostly uneventful, though Lavinia took the time to educate them on the unlawful nature of Port Shaw, the subjugation of the Tulita natives and her need to collect debts from Barrison Hargrove, the mayor and leader of Port Shaw. Her family had a small estate on the outskirts of the city and she urged the party to find Vanthus and explore Anchor Bay while she finished business. She mentioned that she had sent her mercenaries, the Jade Ravens, ahead of the party and that they would keep her safe. Jimmy, priest of Quell, also bid his farewell, saying he must visit a young Zalen Trafalgar, the priest of Quell sent to reopen their small temple.

Docking the Blue Nixie, Lavinia went on her way while the party explored the docks. They witnessed destitute Tulita natives addicted to dragonsmoke and begging in the streets as well as filthy dock workers with glassy-eyed stares. Children attempted to sell fish; Zuka Zuka bought a greyish, smelling snapper and used it to beat away the peddlers who were too aggressive. Whale carcasses could be see on the far side of the harbor and everything stank of rot and decay. Mobs of people attempted to sell Garr Bloodbane’s treasure map, each one slightly different. They pushed their way through the filth and found the “Broken Skull” tavern in the middle of the Bawd district. They quickly learned that the ‘Skull’ was locally famous for it’s unarmed fighting bouts, with a warrior named Jin currently at the top. If they aspired to be the champions, they would need to win two bouts without cheating or compensation. They spent a day talking to the locals and gathering information – see Whispers and Rumors – and witnessed some fiery fiddling by one sea dog who happily kicked in the face of one patron while the crowd continued to dance and laugh. That night, they were visited by the local dragoons, dressed in their blue uniforms, who searched them for Dragonsmoke. With foresight, Ono hid the sample he obtained from a drug pusher inside the floorboards. The dragoons left, seemingly disappointed.

Finally, they hiked towards Anchor Bay, first exploring the village of Thumb’s Reach due to the rumors of its destruction. They found dragoons their who warned them away; bloody swathes painted the sand and gore was spread up one side of a shack. The dragoons told them it was none of their business and to move along. They walked up a cliff side and looked down onto an inferno inside Anchor Bay. Vanthus’ promise in his letters appeared to be fulfilled. Several ships were aflame while figures writhed in the obscuring smoke below. As they pondered this, a group of fanged monkeys attacked. Though they were easily killed, the party looked with disgust on their sore and pus-ridden bodies and unnatural fangs and jags. A rickety staircase led down the cliff. They tied off on a tree and went down in pairs. Lastly, Ono and Aleister descended. But at that moment, one of the flaming ships unmoored and crashed into the staircase. Ono and Aleister tumbled to the water below…

Session 7: To the Edge of the World
Of lich queens, talking books and living islands

Freeport was downright peaceful. Until Simez Rothgazzi’s awakened ape butler appeared. The remainder of the party assisting Lavinia, Bertram, Ono and Zuka Zuka decided to talk to Simez. Though the geomancer reminded them that they were now quite late, he admitted that there had been no other takers. He was also able to secure another ship: the Speedwell.

The mission, he said, was simple. “Travel to the distant isle of Karn’lothra, the abode of the bloodless queen. Retrieve the Book of Vael Turog from inside the Tomb of Qoraz, the minotaur king.” He admitted some danger, given the nature of the undead island and the Queen’s aggressive policy of protection and expansion. But surely the party had gathered exotic animals or other gifts? He provided the Key of Veles, a large green metal key which would open the tomb. In addition, a powerful magic item in the form of a red stick. “Break this and you will be protected from most undead for many minutes. And – don’t read the book!”

Bertram and the brothers agreed, given that Lavinia would not be ready to leave for many weeks. They took stock of their menagerie: six tropical birds of various sorts and four beaver-like rodents. Clearly this wasn’t enough. They traveled to the merchant district and purchased a hairless cat (“she is undead after all”), a flesh-eating iguana (“uh, she’s still undead”) and a toy poodle (“she is a woman after all”). Still, something was missing. To the jungle!

Zuka Zuka’s hunting skills turned up a placid, grey gecko sitting on a rock. It put up little resistance as Ono thumped it on the head and stuffed it into a bag. Several hours later their tracking went awry. A large spotted cat leaped from a tree, tearing into Zuka Zuka. It was quickly subdued and they added a limp jaguar to their collection. For a long sea voyage, they realized they were unprepared to take care of all the animals. With a bit of gold, they convinced their young hired animal tenders to take the voyage with them. Irvingh and Jack clearly thought they’d become rich and helped the party gather food and supplies, especially the 20 pounds of raw meat and extra cages.

They met Simez at the designated dock the next day. He introduced them to the priest of Quell, Jimmy (Swagger). Jimmy seemed very comfortable at sea. The captain of the Speedwell, a lizard man named Captain Gullnipper, was fine with the priest of the sea. However, he had few kind words for the party. “Stay out of my way and that of my crew! Stick to your cabins! If there are pirates, you do all of the fighting!” And so the journey began.

Amid Gullnipper’s insults and Jimmy’s cheery outlook, the journey might have been interesting. However, what ensued was 3 weeks of misery. Each became seasick in turn while most of the animals retched uncontrollably in the hold. Irvingh turned green immediately and the ship soon reeked of vomit and sweat. The jaguar howled and whined day and night which only escalated Gullnipper’s bad temper. The hold would never be cleansed of the smell of cat urine.

He was a good captain, however, and managed to steer them true. One morning, an unnatural fog beset the ship; the perfect cover for a goblin pirate raiding party. The goblins swarmed the ship, led by two abominations: goblin sharks. The goblin sharks vicious bites caused serious bleeding while the goblins howled with joy as they lit fire lances at the crew. As promised, the party did all of the fighting and took out the goblins in quick order. They found the dilapidated ship, looted it and burned its leaking hulk into the ocean. The next day, a small greenish sea dragon approached them. In rough common it asked for gold in exchange for directions. Being a bit lost, the captain told the party they might need help. Ono handed over a sack of 500 gold pieces and the dragon led them to Karn’lothra. They arrived intact, minus 2 birds and one rodent which had perished on the way.

Tombs and crypts littered the hillside of the island, possibly numbering in the thousands. Broken or damaged ships flying a black sail were in the harbor. Nervous, Gullnipper told the party to complete their business and be off. Noticing figures aboard some ships, Bertram hailed them, but most looked away. One whispered, "Best to wait until night. You will not find an audience with her until then. He indicated that they were all slaves of the undead.

At sunset, a ghostly apparition in the form of a nobleman approached them saying, “Welcome to the Queen’s Island and the Harbor of Last Hopes. Why are you here?” They explained they brought gifts on behalf of Simez Rothgazzi and wished to explore only one of the many tombs. The ghost led them into the ruined city at the top of the hill where they surrendered their weapons and wands to a pair of water-logged draugr. Inside, the audience chamber was vast and ice cold. Four draugr stood in front of what would have been a beautiful zombie captain…except for the large rent in her chest where her heart would have been. Behind them, seven feet tall, was the alabaster form of the Bloodless Queen. Her eyes shone like black diamonds and her skin was a white that was almost blue. Otherwise, she showed no sign of decay.

“Welcome to my island. I understand you have brought tribute from the geomancer Simez Rothgazzi. It is about time he paid his respects.” Jimmy stepped up and put on his best smile. They introduced the animals one by one, explaining their merits. There might have been the hint of a smile on the queen’s lips. Finally, she said they were free to explore for one day and one day only and dismissed them.

The party waited until morning to avoid the worst of the undead and climbed the hill. They followed Simez’ directions and looked for the tomb with the correct Ankeshellian runes and the signs of the horns on the door. After several hours, they found it. Touching the Key of Veles to the door, it flashed and opened wide. Tapping at the floor saved them from falling into a deep pit trap. But did not save them from the two vampiric mists. Though deadly, the creatures were destroyed and they moved further into the tomb.

Light was sucked from the chamber as six shadows descended from the ceiling. An open chest glowed in one corner. On the other side of the circular chamber, on a tripod was a sphere of supreme darkness. The sphere levitated off its stand and slowly floated towards them. Bertram told Jimmy to break the stick – warm light infused the party, keeping all but one shadow at bay. The undead drained the strength from Zuka Zuka until he was no stronger than Bertram. Passing around their magical dagger, the brothers finally destroyed it. Bertram and Jimmy attempted a contest of wills with the black sphere. They mentally pushed it to the other side of the room. Reaching the chest, careful to maintain the spell effect from the stick, they found a large tome within. They gathered the Book of Vael Torog and fled the way they came. The black sphere did not follow. When they came to the pit trap, a voice seemed to come from the book, “Stick with me. You’re not exactly my types, but we’ll do great things together until I find someone else.”

The sun was setting outside. After crossing the pit trap and descending about 100 yards, a rotting figure emerged from behind a tree. “Geeve me the booook…it is the queen’s…now.” When refused, the wight attacked with bite and nail. Bertram blew it to bits with his firearm and they fled towards the harbor. There they saw undead spewing from the city as the Speedwell left the harbor. No doubt Gullnipper would attempt to save ship and crew first. Hopefully, Jack and Irvingh were aboard.

The book spoke again, “Quickly. Read page 111.” Remembering Simez’s warning, they hesitated. “Do it now, fools! Or I’ll spend an eternity on this wretched rock.” Bertram flipped to page 111 and struggled through the incantation. Another protection from undead spell went off. “Now, take me to the water and read the last page.” Again, they hesitated but, at the book’s prompting, Bertram read that page as well. The ocean bubbled and an entire island burst forth, slowly drifting towards shore. Realizing they looked on a miles-long leviathan, complete with trees and an ecology on its surface, they swam to the island and “climbed aboard.”

Leaving the undead swarms behind, the book said, “Now you just need to eat the godflesh and steer it.” They watched as the Speedwell drifted far away to the east while the living island swam to the west, away from Freeport.


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