Wheelday, the 29th of Gozrin, 4715
The crew and party help scrape off most of the acid and the goo, freeing me and the stuck horses. All the horses are now panicking. The crew is desperately trying to save the injured horses while avoiding the flying hooves of panicked horses.
Tova and I heal two of the horses, while the crew starts throwing water and sand on the horses to soak up the acid. The two that we heal eventually climb to their feet. The captain warns us that he can ill afford to loose even one horse.
The barge turns and heads towards the rocky outcrop upon which the giant river drake landed. As one of the tiny drakes wheels around, Shamus is pretty sure that its screaming the word “enemy” over and over again in draconic.
At the rocky outcropping, they manoeuvre the Jolly row boat between the barge and the shore, then lay railings down between the barge and the row boat and then the row boat and the shore. As we get onto the land, the little one keeps circling and screaming overhead.
We take two fish nets with us.
We disembark on the left side of the river onto a sandbar. Tova casts bless upon the party. Tiva casts silent image to help us hide among the foliage. Shamus casts mirror image to make 2 images of himself.
As Sif approaches the corner, there’s some bleach-white bones, half embedded in the sand. There’s a large curving spine and a giant serpantine skull.
Sif peaks around and sees one of the smaller river drakes perched atop the fallen horse at the far end of a shallow cave. Shamus casts magic missile at it, startling it off its perch. A second smaller river drake pounces from a nearby shallow shelf. It hits one of the images of Shamus, and that image disappears.
The first small river drake flies up and spits out acid in Shamus’ direction. The spew hits both Shamus and Sif. And they are both entangled.
Sif fires her bow at the second small drake, the arrow takes him just below the wing, causing it to screech in pain. Sif frees herself from the entanglement.
Tova moves up towards the second small drake and whips out her chain. Its tip strikes the beast.
I step up and around Shamus, and as the second drake tries to lift itself up on its wings, my hammer cracks into its spine and ribcage, driving the beast into the sand.
Beaxite runs up to the first drake and, while he can’t reach, hisses at the beastie.
Shamus shifts out of the goop, takes out a handful of ground quartz crystal and throws it into the air. His chanting turns into a wisp of wind and it catches the dust and shoots it up and above the small drake where it explodes and covers the drake and the surrounding cavern surfaces.
The first small drake beats its wings furiously, trying to go more vertical, but it crashes into a nearby wall. It recovers, but keeps circling and climbing.
Sif fires her bow at it, shooting it out of the air. It crashes nose first into the rockface. Bounces, hits the rockface again, and then comes sliding down the last 20 or so feet to the beach. She then rushes into the cave. Brittle and dry bones crunch beneath her feet.
We all go into the cave. As Tira turns the corner she’s hit with a waft of rotting fish entrails. There’s a giant fetid pile of reeds and carcases. The mound rises 2-3’ above floor level, and it floats atop a pool of stagnant water.
Shamus and Tira get hit with a burst of sticky acid from the large drake.
Sif gets round the corner but can’t figure out where the larger drake is; so she waits for it to move. Tova goes around the corner and wades into the crap, looking for the beast. I barely make it to the corner.
Shamus gets to the edge of the pool and casts glitterdust on where he knows the large drake lies hiding in the goo.
The creature surges up towards Shamus. Sif fires at the larger drake with her bow, hitting it.
The large drake bites Shamus. It grabs him and drags him into the goo. Shamus’ struggles grow weaker and weaker.
Tira starts moving through the goo to get to the large drake.
I step forward, after dropping my hammer, take out my bow and fire at the drake, hitting it.
Beauxie runs by me and into the the pool to attack the drake. The drake drops Shamus and grabs Beauxie only to tosses him aside. Beaxuie turns and bites the drake over and over again! There’s a lot of hissing. With Beauxie so small, I can’t tell who’s winning between them, but I’m sure they’re cursing each other out.
Tira moves into the pool and starts a spiteful tirade at the drake! The muck around it and its scales start to smoke and within seconds small licks of flame take alight. The drake actually catches fire from the scolding Tira gave it. Maybe Beauxie should take a few lessons.
Sif wades into the pool and fires her bow at the drake, nailing it through the shoulder. It spits acid at Sif and Tira; Tira is stuck. The larger drake then crashes down into the reeds and below the surface of the pool.
Beauxie grabs Shamus and tries to pull him free of the reeds. Tova asks Torag’s blessing on Shamus once he gets close enough to grab.
Tira and Tova extinguish the drake and drag it out of the reeds. We heal Shamus and the horse, Beauxie, and Sif.
Tova goes to the mouth of the cave and calls for some help. Orza and Uluk come from the barge, to deal with the horse.
Once he’s up and around, Shamus performs a necropsy on the drakes.
We pull the following out of the pool:
- a buckler
- 3 flasks
- a clay tablet (divine, spear of purity)
- 11pp, 40gp, 70sp
Shamus manages to collect 400gp of draconic talismantic components (acid, ac = hide, blood = magic elixir) as well as 150gp from the bones of the giant crocodile (anything martial or strength based).
We head back to the barge with our spoils and return their nets. In short order, they gather up the gang plank and way anchor. Within an hour or two of settling down the horses and making minor repairs, we’re back underway.
We continue sailing for most of the day. On the horizon we see Castle Everstand, a few hundred feet from the river.
We’ve crossed the frontier.
We way anchor at Castle Everstand for the night. It’s a garrison community with a modest fort. It’s mostly a military encampment.
As we pull in, Beauxite brings Shamus from his rowing to a locked door below decks. Beauxite communicates via smells; but we are oblivious to the subtlety of his scents. At Shamus’ recommendation, Beauxite goes to get Tira.
Tira comes down, but before they can do more than examine the locked iron door on the aft hold, and listen to something large snoring; he’s shooed away from the door and told to help us unload the cargo at Castle Everstand.
We go to the local tavern for a few hours. Most of the patrons are off-duty soldiers. Once they figure out where we’re from, they ask for news. Tira spreads the tale of the siege of Trunau. In return, they buy us drinks.
After a few tankards, a small group comes in wearing the crest of Lastwall (black shields on a white field). A human man asks if he can join us. He has a braided tassel on his shoulder to denote his rank. Tira invites him. Some soldiers that were with us make room and one finds the newcomer a seat. The newcomer names himself Captain Gauntwood. A second soldier takes notes on a collapsible writing desk. The Captain asks us questions about the sabotage.
Captain Gauntwood is the captain of the local garrison. He invites the party into the castle. I offer to stay on-board with the stock. The Captain tells Tira to ask Lieutenant Blix to borrow “Harkuses blockade” for more information about the RedLake fort. The book is about the campaigns in Belksan. He lent it to a Lieutenant Blix who is serving further upriver, stationed near the confluence of the rivers; it’s where we’re delivering the stock. He gives the party a letter of introduction.
I return the barge to check over the inventory and try to cross-check the order against the inventory. And during this process, I find that we’re missing a bundle of arrow. I go get the coxswain; she finds nothing of the ship’s supplies is missing. She says I should talk to the Captain. I do, seems she said she would talk to the Captain. We come to some form of agreement, but I gain a better understanding of the conversation that the river drake had with Beaxie, previously. The Captain will take this issue up with the crew. Bauxite and I stand guard over our inventory during the night.
Oathday, 30th of Gozrin, 4715
Early in the morning, supplies are loaded and a bit of the ship’s stock is unloaded. The Captain is above decks, overseeing the operations. When the party returns to the barge, I tell them about the missing arrows. Tira goes to the Captain to discuss the matter.
The Captain says that strange things have been happening since we came on-board – the broken gun-wail, now the missing arrows.
Tova goes through the ship, casting detect magic. The coxswain has 2 auras, one on her leather jerkin and one in a pouch on her belt. The Captain has a magic ring and something at his belt. And there’s a strong magic aura in the Captain’s quarters. And 4 auras of magic from the forward hold (where our cargo is): 2 transmutation, 1 conjuration, and 1 illusion. It’s at one spot beneath the deck; about 6 or 7 feet beneath the deck – in the keel. The auras move – Tova declares that we have a stowaway.
We hear a muffled roaring sound. We open the door down into the rowing docks and look around. The sound comes from the opposite end of the gangway. There’s some metallic banging and then it shifts to a wooden thump.
The Captain tells Tira that, on the other side of the iron door is a Giralon from the Malangy Expanse. He asks that we not kill it as it represents a large capital investment. A few seconds later a four-armed giant ape breaks free of the aft hold.
Shamus gathers a handful of sand and throws it at the Giralon. The beast continues to pound on the upper hatchway.
Tira, Sif, Tova and I races up to it. Shamus throws missiles of force at the ape. They explode on impact, making the ape roar in pain.
Tira rounds the corner and sees that it’s down on its belly, mashed between ceiling and deck. It snarls at Tira and she touches it on the nose while whispering at it.
The ape tries to bite Tira’s hand. It slams her twice with its arm, while the other two miss. It then tries to rend her into several pieces. He is much more clumsy than before, but still a single blow from this beast is one too many.
Sif strikes at it with her axe, but the blow bounces off its thick hide.
I rush up and take a giant swing, striking the ape in the ass with the blunt side of my hammer. It drops Tira at least, but seems more surprised by the strike than hurt.
Tova rushes up and from her hands burst an odd ball of light and shimmering. It streaks to strike the ape behind the head. Shamus slams it with another 2 missiles of force,
Tira takes out her sword and takes a swing. She hits the beast with the blunt side.
The ape swings its arms around, smashing into the bulkheads. It seems to be aiming mostly at Sif and Tira, but misses. Its eyes are wide and sightless, but its nose is twitching like it’s about to sneeze.
Sif strikes at it with the blunt side of her axe. The axe slams down on the beasty’s head and the ape slumps back on the deck.
The Captain comes down and examines the damage. He finds a leak near the destroyed starboard bulkhead. He unlocks the iron doors.
Inside the room is an armoury and a large metal cage. The Captain opens a trap door into the bilges. Tira suspects our saboteur is Meliran. At least one of the auras should be the half of a lover’s locket that we know is in her possession.
We move the Giralon back inside its cage. Someone unlocked the cage’s door.
We go through the trap down down into the bilges. Just before Tira opens the door from a distance with her magic. She spots a string running in front of the door. Shamus takes a closer look. The string is attached to a bundle of tools and nails above in the rafters. If the door opens, this will make noise.
Shamus gets the string out of the way and Tira opens the door remotely. The keel is at the level of the bilge. Water sloshes over it, making the whole thing slippery. We brace ourselves on the ceiling and head along the length of the barge. At the far end of the passage we see the tell-tail lines of light coming through the door and opposite wall. Someone has lit a candle.
As we walk along, Sif spots another trap. Shamus identifies this one as a snare. Shamus sets it off harmlessly, then takes the lead, looking for more traps.As we walk forward, I think I hear a woman’s voice, very soft from up ahead. I can’t quite make out what she’s saying.
Shamus finds another little string across the keel. He sets the snare off harmlessly. Unfortunately, the next trap snares Shamus. He’s stuck in place. He shifts out of it, but the bilge is suddenly illuminated.