Savage Tide

Chapter Seven: Part B – To Mantru and Taboo Island

26th Fireseek, CY 613: Central Plateau on the Isle of Dread

THE FIVE spent the night in what was left of the Pelorian camp with the only surviving lizardfolk, Rissashtak. During the evening Styvesandt spent time on spells for the first time in his adventuring career, for he felt he had some that might be useful in the current circumstances. Kaywen voiced concern about the number of demons they had and might encounter and wondered whether they were sufficiently prepared for the challenges ahead. There was some discussion as to why they were even here.

They reminded each other of the points of their mission. One, that they were looking for the lost cleric of Pelor, Noltus Innersol, who had come here and then been impersonated by shape shifters, skinwalkers, who had attacked them weeks before. By now they figured that Noltus was dead, but Vesserin Catherly had given them a pressing copy of the stone Noltus had given him, the one with the three ancient gods depicted on it. Two, Lavinia had come to suspect that whatever had laid claim to the City of Broken Idols, as Mantru was once known, is the source of the raw materials the korpus had been using to create the shadow pearls.

In the morning it was agreed to proceed here for now. Rissashtak led the way to the village of Mantru. There they found the village deserted with only one corpse still there, resting comfortably. AS they explored the village voices in their heads welcomed them and then two Couatls appeared and posed a riddle, a test of their intelligence to determine if they were the ones who had been expected. Solving the riddle, the group was rewarded with the appearance of the spirit of the dead body. In life he had been Umlat, the priest of Quetzalcoatl. Umlat’s spirit told of the village being slowly sapped by korpus of Taboo Island as they took the best warriors from the village. Finally the village was attacked by a band of fiendish savages who wore demonic lion skins, some of whom were his former warriors. He described their leader as a horrible watery demon with bulbous yellow-orange eyes. It observed the attack from the lake and killed Fano, the chieftain, with a lethal rune, a symbol of death. When he had finished, the couatls took his body, thanked the group and wished them well, then left!

It seemed that the next place to go was Taboo Island. . . . .

Using Kevrey’s scope, they surveyed the distant island for a suitable place to land. There was some sort of structure on the west side of the island, but Kaywen detected some sort of magical protections there, so it was decided to teleport to the more remote southern side and then walk towards the structure area. As they made their way north along the western cliffs they did encounter and deal with some skinwalkers. They approached the structure area and its warding with care. Aely used WAVE to look below and into the cave opening. Seeing no living beings in there, it was decided for most of the party to repel down, while Kaywen would fly and Byrker would levitate last. As Kawen took flight, Aely began her decent on the fixed rope, with Styvesandt next. Aely got about halfway before she fell, plummeting through the docks below and into the water. Byrker almost fell off the cliff with laughter, and Styvesandt held the rope in spite of his own laughter. So much for surprise!

While Aely stayed below the water, the others entered an inspected the cave. As they looked about they heard a resounding voice and soon saw the horrible water demon with the bulbous yellow-orange eyes that the spirit had told them off standing before them. It emitted some sort of noxious fumes. Meanwhile unbeknownst to them, Aely found herself under attack by a similar creature and giant crocodile!. As Byrker, Kevrey and Styvesandt engaged their creature, Bryker came to the realization that it might not be real. Hearing this Kaywen checked more thoroughly and realized it was some sort of projected image. The creatures below the water were not images however, and Aely soon found herself in the mouth of the crock as it rose up out of the water. Styvesandt and Byrker made mental notes as to how to best divide up the items in Aely’s bag of holding, only to see her dimension door her way out of the situation. While the demon inside might have been but an image, they now faced a real one. It took some time, and a self healed Aely to finally get the situation under some control. Just as the demon seemed about to escape, having removed the dimensional anchor Kaywen had bound it with, Aely dealt it a tremendous killing blow! For now the cave entrance was quiet.

It had been a long day. . . . .

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Chapter Seven: Part B – In Search of Noltus Innersol

Chapter Seven: Part B – In Search of Noltus Innersol

20th Fireseek, CY 613: Farshore

Heeding the summons, The Five attended a meeting at the local chapel. There were Vesserine Catherly, Lavinia Vanderboren, and Jakara, the native whom they had rescued from below the Isle of dread. Vesserin explained that Jakara was an Olman of the Tiger clan, but not of the seven Villages. He lived in the northern central area of the Isle of Dread, near the Central Plateau. Jakara told of two things. One, he related how his village had been overrun by the demons who dwell in the City of Broken Idols, the modern day name for the once glorious Olman city of Thanaclan. He called the attackers Skinwalkers. Two, he brought word, a letter actually, from Noltus Innersol, a zealous devotee of Pelor who Vesserine knew and who had been missing for some time. Both Vesserine and Lavinia asked The Five if they would travel to the Central Plateau and investigate. Vesserine wanted them to find Noltus; Lavinia feared that whatever had laid claim to the City of Broken Idols might be the source of the raw materials used in creation of shadow pearls. Vesserine gave them a stone disk on which he explained were the visages of Quetzalcoatl, god of the air; Tezcatlipoca, god of the moon; and Tonatiuh, god of the sun. It was his thesis that the three were depicted working together to create a bow of legendary power. But where it was he had no idea.

24th Fireseek, CY 613: The Isle of Dread

Aely teleported Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr to an area known to them, theJaguar Temple, on the Isle. There Kaywen conjured up some phantom steeds to aid their journey. Styvesandt led them west to the river which they then followed north, then east. From there they followed a small river until the met some friendly Lizard Folk led by Rissashtak, a cleric of Pelor and a friend of Noltus Innersol. Rissashtak told them that Noltus and six lizardfolk had left 5-6 days earlier to scout the ruins of Mantru but had not yet returned. THE FIVE spent the rest of this day resting and learning of what would be their likely enemies, the Skinwalkers. Rissashtak told them of these being who adorned themselves in lion’s skin. They had three arms and fourth with ancient weapons as well as claw and bite. He also mentioned that some of his clan had succumbed to the poison that these creatures used. THE FIVE decided to go in search of Noltus the next day.

25th Fireseek, CY 613: The Isle of Dread

After an uneventful night, THE FIVE prepared to try to find Noltus. They tried to secure the village as best they could Kaywen set alarm spells east and west so that the dozen or so remaining Lizardfolk would have some warning if any skinwalkers approached. As this was going on, one of the Lizardfolk became very excited. Apparently Noltus was returning. As he, his dog and a few lizardfolk approached he became wary at the sight of THE FIVE. He communicated with Rissashtak who assured him of their trustworthiness. Noltus relaxed a bit at this reassurance and thanked them for their presence. He asked about their adventures and decided to rest for a bit before planning strategy with them. Noltus’ dog, Bulgan, played with Whyspurr and Styvesandt while Noltus napped. Aely and Bryker marched the perimeter, while Kaywen contemplated what was happening.

After about an hour the ‘dog’ quickly transformed into a huge aberration with claws and fangs and attacked its playmates. It also caused feared to anyone near him. Just as suddenly some of the lizardfolk transformed into skinwalkers! Noltus screamed in dismay as all came under attack. One of the Skinwalkers had magical powers and attempted to feeblemind Kaywen. While he resisted this others ran in fear. Aely managed to calm some and eventually Kaywen strengthened everyone’s resolve. A battle of monumental proportion took place. The sorcerer used fireballs, magic missiles and other spells to keep everyone at bay. The skinwalkers proved to be formidable opponents as they resisted attempts at flanking them. Eventually the ‘Noltus’ turned out to be a demon of some sort who they did manage to drive off . . . for now. When the smoke finally cleared they had killed five skinwalkers but the spell caster did fly away. The ‘dog,’ really an aberration of some sort, had been slain. When the smoke had cleared the sole survivors were The Five and Rissashtak. The other lizardfolk had died.

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Chapter Seven: Part 1: Farshore and Sky Travels

2nd – 17th Fireseek, CY 613B/B>

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, Styvesandt and Whispurr returned to Farshore. For the next little bit, each went his own way. Byrker renewed his interest in Lavinia. Kevrey had come down with some illness and took to his bed to recover. Whyspurr, well, he just made himself scarce for a while. Styvesandt worked out, and did some hunting.

Kaywen went to the mine and checked with Otis Ochs as to its success and its supply of minor gems. Using some of these he summoned a demon, yes, summoned a demon, one Xzygii, and convinced it to take him to the Queen City of Greyhawk. There, he met with Ravel Dasinder, the head of the Temple of Wee Jas, and did some spell swapping. Aely got her acolytes to work on the establishment of a wayside chapel of Azure in Farshore. Hearing of the return of the mage Teldore, they made his acquaintance.

Finally, Aely, Byrker, Kaywen and Styvesandttraveled back to Looking Glass Deep with the Key of the Way to see how their ‘hideaway’ was doing. They found it much the way they had left it, scattered throughout with rotting dead from the creatures they had killed a year before. They made their way to the throne room with the floating throne and the starry sky ceiling. After studying the ceiling at length, Kaywen noted that the starscape changed or rotated. Eventually Kaywen dared to touch the key to one of the new starscapes. He found himself in a room identical to the one he had just been in, only his companions were not there. Searching this new building he found it to be clean. Venturing outside he found himself in what appeared to be a desert. He returned to the star room and waited until the sky was the one in the old building. Touching the key to it he returned to the original where his confused friends were waiting.

They decided to test this in another way. They watched the skyscape change until they noted eight distinct skies. Went the one previous to their own appeared they all took a trip this time. They found themselves in a ‘T’ hallway with symbol start of some sort on the wall in front of them. They took an uphill passage for a ways until they emerged outside in a scrub plain with hills before them and low mountains to their north. Returning to the original spot the too the other hallway until they came to a pair of huge double doors which were made of extremely thick wood and steel banded reinforced. No amount of banging on it could damage it, and there appeared no way to get it open. The Key of the Way proved to be on no use here either.

It was at about this time that Aely received a sending from Veserrin Catherly that he had some news about his missing cleric friend Noltus Innersol, and was anxious to share it with Aely. Since they had no place further to go here, and nothing better to do, they return to Farshore.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 12: Beneath the Isle of Dread [E]

Chapter Six (cont): Part 12: Beneath the Isle of Dread [E]

14th Sunsebb CY 612: Golismorga: Tlaloc’s Crater

So after another night in the ziggurat Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr decided to make their way on foot to that crater they had spotted on their first overview. Styvesandt explained that thanks to his newly acquired Periapt of Wisdom he had gained new spells one of which was Decoy Image. As they walked to the crater an image of them preceded them. Sure enough it encountered a party of koprus and troglodytes. It was easy to ambush them in return. As this fight ended, a calm voice complimented them on their resourcefulness. Turning, they saw what appeared to be a Devourer eyeing them. He introduced himself as Rakis-Ka, a scholarly sort, who proceeded to tell them of his study of the koprus, the aboleths, and the area. He pointed to the ziggurat and the crater as the main points of interest. The conversation was cut short and turned into a battle when Kaywen attempted to hold him with a dimensional anchor. Again the party survived.

Upon reaching the crater they took their time examining it. While the impact of whatever had created a depression some 100’ wide, it was the central 80’ or so that interested them most. It was a hole some 60’ deep with various molds and lichens decorating its side with some puss like liquids dripping down the sides. At the bottom they could see a ten foot wide stone head of a reptilian creature with bulging eyes, a forked tongue, and a headdress of feathers and spikes. The head was cracked and damaged, and as black sludge pooled around the stump of its neck it sizzled and evaporated into swirling blue-green wisps of vapor. Through the use of detect magic they found not only the head but an area near it to register! Aely cast invisibility purge and was only mildly surprised to see a huge creature, 7 of the actually, hovering near the head. The creature looked like a polyp with twelve insectoid legs. Its turbid mass writhed with stunted, whipping tentacles. It had a lipless mouth that was heavy with protruding rows of dagger-like teeth and a ridge of four bulging eyes. It rose up and breathed freezing cold upon Aely and Byrker. Kaywen would eventually identify it as some sort of brain collector. In the ensuing battle, Aely was almost felled and Byrker was dropped summarily into the hole. Only the continuing accuracy of the arrows of Whyspurr and Styvesandt seemed to consistently damage it. After a long battle, and once Aely had separated it from them through the creation of a blade barrier, did it decide to leave them in peace.

They descended to the floor of the crater, being careful to avoid the yellow mold and green slime and the acid pools. Once Byrker was brought back to consciousness, they had time to examine and consider the stone head. Kaywen identified it as a replica of Tlaloc, the Olman god of rain. While was in sorry shape, they knew from some legends that it had been placed here for the purpose of holding up the Cerulean Curtain. Since they felt that they had dealt with the creation of shadow pearls in Golismorga, there was no need to destroy Tlaloc’s Tear. Instead they dug drainage ditches to direct the acid away from it and used stone shape to create a protective home around it.

15th Sunsebb CY 612: Getting out from under

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr decided to leave Golismorga. First they headed up to where they had left Irgzid. He was still there waiting for them. They told him that they could not find Tlaloc’s Tear. He was disappointed and wanted to return to the Temple of the Ancient Ones to get another vision and decide what action he might take. They accompanied him to find out if the ancient elder knew what they had done to protect the Tear. Once again a ghostly image of an elder troglodyte appeared. He knew the Tear had not been destroyed and insisted once again that it must be destroyed in order to end the supply of shadow pearls. The FIVE did not believe him. Again, detect magic revealed that he was not a ghost, but a projected image of some sort. Byrker even suggested that this might be an aboleth. The vision got a bit angry and vanished.

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr brought Irgzid with them back to what was left of his village and then headed out to the Sea Wyvern with the intention of sailing back to Farshore with Jakara, the man they had rescued who claimed to have seen Noltus Innersol, the missing cleric, somewhere on the Isle of Dread.

Thus endeth Part Six of the Savage Tide adventure path.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 11: Beneath the Isle of Dread [D]

Chapter Six (cont): Part 11: Beneath the Isle of Dread [D]

11th Sunsebb CY 612: Golismorga

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt continued to study the domelike bulge until they got fed up and just started cutting into it en masse until an opening of sufficient proportions was made and in they all jumped. While it did heal over them, they were now inside Holasher’s Ziggurat.

The room they found themselves in had bruised purple walls which pulsed and quivered as if alive. There was an open chute in the floor which they used to go down to the next level. Here they encountered some more koprus behemoths and some dark nagas. While they did survive the fight, they were quite spent so it was decided to teleport out and return the next day. Rather than spend the night in the entry tunnel, they decided to return to the Sea Wyvern.

12th Sunsebb CY 612: Golismorga: Holasher’s Ziggurat

Rested and refreshed Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt teleported back to the last entered room with Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt now invisible. This time the encountered only some basic koprus which did not put up too much of a fight. Only Styvesandt remained invisible. There was a central block with an iron ring on the floor. Pulling it open they found an odd twisting ladder leading downward. Slowly and somewhat clumsily they made their way down to the next level. They found themselves in a room with half laid stonework that glistened amidst pools of water. To the east stood a huge bust of a demonic countenance with twin baboon like heads set in a fearsome roar. Across the ground lay hunks of black resin and near the statue grew a black tumor from the fleshy floor, its size and shape resembling a grotesque divan. Seated on the divan was an odd fish like creature with a many tentacle face and clutching a large spear. Byrker attempted to converse with the creature only to have it gesticulate and the room started to fill with water! In the ensuing fight the creature seemed capable of many faceted attacks. Fortunately Aely was able to use her control water ability to counteract the creature’s keeping the water at only about 9’. Styvesandt, who was still invisible, was able to get close to it, and eventually the party survived. The creature turned out to be Ulioth, a kopru cleric/Thrall of Demogorgon. In the room they found much treasure and a way down to a lower level.

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr continued down about 40’ to the next level which they figured was the bottom of the ziggurat. This large room had four pools of bile like liquid which broiled and in which appeared head size black orbs which resembled the orbs in which they knew the shadow pearls where kept. As they examined the pools they were surprised by a huge creature with four tentacles on its face, many legs and a pincer tails which proceed to breathe a mixture of acidic bile and fire on some of them. This first blast felled Byrker, hurt Styvesandt badly and barely missed Kaywen. Before they could react it went below the surface of this pool only to rise up from another one and grasp Kaywen in one of the tentacles. Aely was able to free Kaywen with a dimension door spell. Whyspurr fed Byrker a healing potion while Styvesandt was put own by the creature. In the ensuing battle both Aely and Byrker were able to melee effectively as they could not be grappled. Whyspurr maneuvered into position and got in some sneak attacks. Kaywen stayed as far away as possible while using spell attacks. The creature, the Bilewretch of Holashner, finally grabbed Whyspurr and was about to take him under the bile when one of Kaywen’s spells felled it. They spent some time contemplating what to do with both the creature and the shells in which the shadow pearls were being created.

13th Sunsebb CY 612: Golismorga: Holasher’s Ziggurat

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr spent the rest of the day and the night in this room. By morning they noted that the bile was no longer broiling. In fact, it was starting to harden, as if which the creature stirring the pot, the bile was no longer doing its job. Aely communed with her gods to get some guidance. It did seem they had ended this particular source of the shadow pearls, which were not being made by Demogorgon,but wherever else they might be was not known. The question then became what to do next? Should they just return to the Sea Wyvern or what? They recalled the meeting with the spirit of the ancient troglodyte god which told them of the Cerulean Curtain and its relationship to the tears of the Olman god of rain, Tlaloc. The spirit had suggested that destroying the curtain would be the way to stop the production of the shadow pearls. They now doubted that was true. They decided to investigate the only other area in Golismorga that seemed ‘normal’ and therefore out of place – the crater that they had seen from the vantage point of their entry tunnel. They planned to head there on foot the next day.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 10: Beneath the Isle of Dread [C]

Chapter Six (cont): Part 10: Beneath the Isle of Dread ©

9th Sunsebb CY 612: Barbas

After a few fun filled days and nights in the depressing village of Barbas, it come time to move on. Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt were led by Vertram to the Cavern of the Sleeping God, which turned out to be another large cavern through which that shimmering blue wall ran, where he showed them a stone shaped like a very large fish. Kaywen determined that this ‘shape’ was likely once an aboleth. Much to their surprise Aely also determined that it was somehow still alive in its hardened form. At Vertram’s urging they decided to open it up to study it, which, naturally caused it to die. Vertram thanked them and wished them well on their journey to Golismorga where the koprus/Lords of Dread who supplied the shadow pearls resided.

10th Sunsebb CY 612: Temple of the Ancient One

With Irgzid guiding them, another day’s journey, deeper beneath the surface of the earth brought them to the Temple of the Ancient Ones where he had met a spirit/ghost/vision of the troglodyte god. As they examined the watery room, this spirit appeared once more. It told how the korpus used this room to exchange the shadow pearls with surface dwellers. Irgzid confirmed this as being the place of exchange. The spirit also told them that the Curulean Curtain was generated from somewhere in Golismorga and that the only way to stop the production of shadow pearls was to destroy the curtain. It was Tlatoc’s Tear, the Olman god of rain, who had created the curtain in the first place.

11th Sunsebb CY 612: Golismorga

Another day and now 10,500’ below the earth’s surface they arrived on a ledge overlooking Golismorga a city of strange buildings intertwined with plant and other growth. Four pillars of violet light were the main points of interest. Careful watch from the safety of the ledge revealed a ziggurat and a crater as places of interest amidst the maze of this under city.

After some rest it was decided to try the ziggurat first. Irgzid said that he would stay behind, keeping watch form the ledge. First Kaywen set flight, invisibly towards the structure. He missed a tongue lashing from one of the buildings, got slightly scorched by the sudden appearance of a giant flame, and bounced off what appeared to be a lung coming out of a breathing structure. Once he landed atop the ziggurat, the signaled for the others who Aely teleported over. As they examined the roof and looked for ways in, they did find a stone staircase which led downward. Unfortunately it also led upward and coming up were three koprus behemoths. Eventually these three were defeated. An examination of the dead koprus revealed they all wore the symbol of Demogorgon. As they began to descend they saw a domelike bulge of constricted, bruised colored muscle. For some reason it seemed to be a possible entrance. When pushing on it failed to get them anywhere they tried slicing their way through. They were amazed to find that the muscle seemed to heal itself almost as quickly as they cut into it! They were left pondering solutions to this dilemma.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 9: Beneath the Isle of Dread [B]
Barbas

BARBAS

5th Sunsebb CY 612: Below Laogroat

Irgzid offered to accompany them. First Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Styvesandt and Whyspurr took the rickety lift down into the darkness. They made their way through underground passages and caves, dealing with black puddings and a roper along the way until they came to a curtain of light, the Curulean Curtain. Why it was here was a mystery for now, but they were able to pass through it. Eventually they came to a fork in the tunnels. Irgzid said that the western one was the way they usually took to meet the Lords of Dread. However, he mentioned that there was a village to the south where they might get some information. Since that passage showed more foot traffic it was decided to head south. They found themselves wandering through a rocky maze infested with various dangerous molds until Styvesandt led them to the other side.

6th Sunsebb CY 612: Barbas

When they emerged from the maze they stood, some 100’ from a shanty town type village with stone walls protecting it. A strange clicking sound began within the village and soon the source of the sound emerged. A number of Hook Horrors came around as if to guard the entrance. Rather than blunder forward, Aely called forth, stating that they meant no harm. Gradually some heads, strange heads, appeared from behind the wall. They were all deformed in one way or another, but had enough in common for her to identify them as mongrelfolk.

Entering the village peacefully, they were greeted by one villager, an albino with red eyes, who identified himself as Vertram, confirmed that his people were mongrelfolk, and stated the name of this pathetic village as Barbas. He told the story of his people, how long ago his ancestors waged a war against the demon fish, how they drew that war to an end by casting down the tear of the god of rain and storms into the depths, how the tear burst and drove the waters away, and how the spirits of the fallen ancients now guard this region. He also told of how lately the deformed troglodytes had been besieging Barbas, how his dreams and whispers had told of coming dangers, how the Kopru of Golismorga, whom he claimed were indeed the Lords of Dread, were becoming more active. He told them that he could show them one of these demon fish if they so desired. When The FIVE noted that many of the subjects were packing belongings, he admitted that they were in getting ready to abandon this village and move to high levels of the underground.

The FIVE decided to stay in Barbas for a few days and then move on. Vertram agreed to take them to the Demon Fish when they did so.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 8: Lords of Dread [A]
Gallivant Cove & Emraag the Glutton

4th Sunsebb CY 612: Gallivant Cove

The Sea Wyvern, with Lefty at the helm, slowly made its way into the cove. It had already been decided that Aely, with no musical talent whatsoever, would be the one to play the sea skirl. There are times in the life off any great adventurer that she somehow rises to the challenge. This was to be Aely’s day. She played like she had never played before, because she had never played before. Yet, the tune not only attracted the great turtle, it seemed to move him in some way. Emraag the Glutton rose from the depths and asked politely why they had come. Aely explained that they had brought tribute and that they wished to make a deal with the monster that ships flying the Vanderboren’s colors would not become his lunch for the next year. Then Aely dared to play the pipes again . . . . and played even better this time. Not only did Emraag agree to safe passage for one year, he helped them with information about the way to enter the underground.

They anchored the Sea Wyvern some 100 yards off shore and took the skiff into a cove in Gallivant Bay. Upon arrival they disturbed a barking dinosaur of sorts which brought some trogs, oddly deformed trogs, out to greet them. When their bluff was called, as they were not Crimson Pirates, Kaywen unleashed a lightning bolt which took most of them out. From there they went underground into what seemed a sick village, Laogroat, of sick troglodytes. Many were just lying about in crude mud huts. Upon an altar, they found was a corrupted statute of Laogzed, the trog god. This statue which depicted a lizard like beast crouching against a wall now had a crudely carved fanged toad jutting from its stomach. Not wanting to risk contracting whatever disease the creatures might have, the FIVE left the village by another passage.

After walking for some time and some miles they came to another underground troglodyte village. But this one seemed in better shape. The FIVE were more diplomatic this time and no one had to die. They learned that these trogs had once interacted with the others, but once the other got sick, these ones cut off all communication. This tribe told of ways through their caves which would lead to the outside world where they themselves hunted. They knew nothing of Crimson Pirates nor Lords of Dread. The FIVE had little choice but to back track and revisit Laogroat.

Byrker reminded them that they had found a rickety lift of sort in that village so maybe that was the way they should go. Back in the village some heard a voice coming from one of the cages where they originally thought everyone was dead. It turned out there was a live trog in the cage; not just alive but healthy. He identified himself as one Irgzid Uzeye. He told an odd tale, how his people were effectively the middle-trogs in the Shadow Pearl pipeline. It was during the course of these many dealing that members of his tribe had started to become sickly, but for whatever reasons he was spared this plight. Since the tribal elders thought the sickness a blessing, they termed it ‘Laogzed’s Embrace,’ Irgzid had to conceal his good health from them. His tribe traveled down the lift and through the further underground to deal with the Lords of Dread whom he termed Koprus. It was during one of these journeys that he met N’glothnoru, a ghostly troglodyte priest who claimed that the Lords were holding him prisoner. This being threatened to expose Irgzid’s good health unless he got some together to free him. When Irgzid tried to enlist the aid of some of the stronger members of his tribe, they ratted him out and he was thrown in the cage to suffer in good health.

Irgzid was not the only prisoner. In another cage they found a rather emaciated Olman warrior who, once revived, identified himself as Jakara of one of the other Olman villages. He knew of them sort of and certainly of Farshore. His story was that he had been with Noltus Ingersol, the cleric for whom Vesseren Catherly had asked them to look. Jakara was on his way to Farshore when he had been taken by some skinwalkers and eventually traded to these trogs. The FIVE decided to take both of them out to the Sea Wyvern for the night and then take Irgzid’s offer to guide them into the darkness below on the morrow.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 7: Caer Garrion [C]
Returning to Fort Thunder

13- 20th Ready’reat CY 612: Return Trip to Fort Thunder

Before leaving they were given a message from the constable for Arn Galter. The constable told them of its contents, that he was concerned for the future of this settlement. He was convinced that unless Arn took a more direct interest in the settlement it was doomed.

They boarded Arn’s ship and set sail for Fort Thunder. They fixed the long galley to their boa and towed it along behind them. They left the other ship behind for the colony in case they decided to evacuate.

The trip back was rather uneventful, except for the odd storm that came out of nowhere and brought with it an attack by a gargantuan crab and a kraken. The crab proved to be delicious and the kraken left some of its arms behind. Afterwards, Aely was able to complete the first ritual in opening up the powers of the great trident Wave.

20th Ready’reat CY 612: Fort Thunder

Back in Fort Thunder they met with Arn Galter. They gave him the message from the constable of Caer Carrion and told of the threat from the Hold of the Sea Princes. Arn rewarded them for the two marine prisoners saying that they would be used in ‘negotiations’ with the Sea Princes. Upon hearing that the centaur apparently had something to do with the Scarlet Brotherhood, Arn did not seem surprised. He explained that some members of the Brotherhood were living here and that business was done with them. “I am a businessman after all,” was his motto. He also bought the galley from them. He said he would do some things to shore up Caer Garrion.

Arn Galter also reported that progress had been made in communications and trade with Farshore. The mage Ruben of Redgrove had taken the cleric Algernon Barnock with him to Farshore. Algernon had established a link of the messenger service, ‘Heaven Sent,’ there. In fact Arn had a missive for them from Lavinia. It seems she had made great progress in her research on the Lords of Dread and the source of the Shadow Pearls and hoped that the FIVE would return soon so they could take action. Aely established a sending link with Algernon before they left for Farshore.

24th Ready’reat CY 612: Farshore

The FIVE were back in Farshore. They distributed the magic breast plates and weapons to the militia. Then they met with Lavinia. First she told them that Lord Meravanchis was spreading the rumor to the colony that her family was cursed, using the strange form that Vanthus had taken to back up his claim. He also was adamantly opposed to the action she was about to propose to them, as he ‘refuses to negotiate with monsters.’ Lavinia explained that based on the exert from the journal of the Brine Harlot and other research she had come to believe that these Lords of dread were somewhere beneath the Isle of Dread accessible via Gallivant Cove on the north shore of the island. The only problem was that the cove was the area of a giant dragon turtle, Emraag the Glutton. It seems that the Crimson Fleet already had a deal with this Emraag for safe passage in his waters. She had plans for the FIVE to do the same. The Sea Wyvern was already outfitted for the journey, with Lefty as its captain, and she had amassed various valuables as a tribute to the Glutton to buy his compliance. AS well, she had an odd item, a sea skirl, pipes of some sort, the music from which was supposed to calm the beast and make him more pliable. Kaywen and Aely set about in the recently reopened mine to garner some gems and gold which they fashioned to the T-Rex head that they had from the Olman adventure as an added tribute. Once they placated the Glutton, they would head into the cove and under the isle in search of the source of the shadow pearls.

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Chapter Six (cont): Part 6: Caer Garrion [B]
To the Hilltop

9th Ready’reat CY 612: North Olman Isle

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt spent a rather uncomfortable night listening to the moaning of over 100 people who were shackled in the hold of the warship. When morning came Aely tried various forms of healing, none of which worked. Not only that about 30 of those in the hold had died overnight. Something had to be done, but what?

They decided to interrogate the two Sea Princes marines that had taken prisoner in the battle the previous day. Their story was that they were under command of Captain Sven Condursson, the one whom Aely had sent to another plain of existence, and his sister Inge, the now dead cleric of Procan. They made regular runs along these coasts looking for settlements such as this one from which they could, ahem, ‘borrow’ some settlers to press into service. When they arrived here some days ago, Sven made the acquaintance of a ‘horse man.’ A few evenings ago, following the ‘horse man’s’ instructions, they made their way along the high ground to a point just outside the village, but below the hill. Much to their amazement the villagers were zombie like making their way towards and then up the hill. It was merely a matter of convincing as many as possible, with the use of shackles and chains, to follow them to the ships where they became the new crew. In the morning they were moaning and writhing about but capable of rowing upon command. Sven ordered them to set off, saying that these people would calm down once they were out of range. By noon they were well away but the moaning continued and some were dying. They had little choice but to return to dispose of the dead and, as Sven said, settle the score with ‘Cyralane.’ That was yesterday.

Much discussion ensued as to what to do. Consensus was to go up the hill, but, what to do with these two? They were slavers after all. After much debate Kaywen decided to settle the matter by slitting their throats. He likely would have had not Styvesandt tackled him, insisting that they deserved some sort of just fate, maybe back in Fort Thunder. They were left in shackles as the FIVE headed towards the hill.

Kaywen had reconnoitered the hilltop the previous day, finding much dying vegetation and a stagnant pool along with some more verbeegs. This time they all walked up the winding path, with Byrker taking the lead. As they reached the top and the entrance to the hilltop, he set of some sort of log roll which knocked most of them down. Then the horse man – a centaur – started attacking them with ice storms and the like. When they finally got organized and into melee with him he opened a magical portal and left. They spent some time searching and examining the entire hilltop. In the pool they found an untold number of dead animals from squirrels to cows. Beyond that they snuck up on some verbeegs who were cooking over an open fire. After dispatching them, they proceeded around the other side were they found a stack of maybe 30 recently dead people. As they examined the corpses one of the seemingly dead trees began attacking them. Both Aely and Byrker came close to death, and the situation got worse when the centaur returned through another portal. After a lengthy battle the tree was felled and the centaur took his leave once again.

With nothing more to kill and finding nothing of any value or interest, they made their way back to the ship. They were almost overcome by the silence; the people in the hold had stopped moaning. The picture became clear – somehow the centaur and that tree had caused all this. This theory was confirmed by the arrival of Cadder Belton, the village cleric. He had been holed up in the old farm house on the point. He admitted watching them the day before, but unsure of their intentions decided to stay hidden. He told of hearing a song of sorts in the early evening two days before. He managed shake off its effects, but most of the villagers began a procession towards the hill. Unable to stop them he got as far away as he could until he could no longer hear the song. He hid in the farm house and watched helplessly as many of his friends and neighbors were taken prisoner. He and Aely set about freeing the villagers who were confused and bruised but able to make their way back to their homes. A small boy appeared from the beach area explaining that he had been out in a skiff fishing and came back to find the village deserted. He was reunited with his family.

10- 12th Ready’reat CY 612: North Olman Isle

Aely, Byrker, Kaywen, Kevrey, and Styvesandt spent a few days helping the villagers get back to some semblance of order. Aely used this time to scry on Cyralane the centaur. She found him walking a main street where most people were wearing red robes and had the blood dot on the arm that marked them as member of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Using that information Styvesandt suggested that he might be hiding out in the territory of the Brotherhood since it was not that far east of where they were. Before Aely could get more info, the centaur entered an unmarked building and the scry stopped. For now they would let him be. For now . . . . Plans were made to return to Fort Thunder on the morrow.

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