Oathday, 30th of Gozrin, 4715 (continued)
Shamus rushes up and uses Agrit’s wand through the crack in the door. He then disappears (having shifted through the door into the room beyond). He shouts back the location of the saboteur.
The saboteur whips around, surprised. It’s a relatively civilized-sized human woman with a longbow! Melira fires her bow three times into Shamus. He falls unconscious from the wounds.
A giant snake leaps out of the bilge and slithers up my breastplate, biting my neck. It then wraps around me. Beauxie jumps on the snake and bites it; Beauxie’s bite saps the beasty’s strength, and its grip on me looses slightly.
Sif rages and charges the door. She bounces back a bit, having shaken the door on its hinges, but not broken it.
Tova steps around me and then attacks the snake with her ancestry chain. She misses.
Tira starts chanting, and the ancient dwarven legionnaires manifest with their shields and hammers. The dwarven legionnaires fail in their assault on the snake.
I step down into the bilge, overbalanced by the snake and Beauxie. When I step on the ballast stones, everything solidifies and I am routed. With an extra surge of strength, I just manage to flex and pull the beasty off, throwing it away. I then smack down on it with my armour spikes. It rebounds from the water surface and bites me in the face! And once again I am grappled. Beauxie tries to bite the snake, but can’t seem to penetrate its hide.
Tiva attacks the snake. Her dwarven great sword cuts through the snake and rebounds off my armour. The head falls away and the rest of the body slowly uncoils and falls into the water.
Sif raises her axe, to attack the door again, but there are two arrows in her breastplate. She stumbles back. Sif attacks the door, and it collapses under the impact.
Tova moves up behind Sif, and fires off her ancestor’s chain over Sif’s shoulder to strike at Melira. But the tip of her hammer glances off the edge of the shattered door.
Melira clambers over Shamus, ducks down and continues firing her bow. Sif is hit again by 2 more arrows. Beauxie swims up to the door, then dashes through the legs of the ladies and towards the Melira
Sif steps to the side and drinks a potion to heal herself while growling at the arrows in her breastplate.
Tova casts a quick blessing on herself, and throws her chain overhand. The tip penetrates Melira’s defences and it strikes her in the chest with a resounding crack! Melira falls on Shamus, but quickly gets herself back up. She coughs hard and tries to breath.
I step back up on the walkway and slam my lucern hammer forward, with my full weight behind Melira, pushing her off her feet, and onto Shamus. Melira steps backwards, aiming on her knees, at me. The first arrow slams into my neck, the second across my cheek and the third shatters against my armour.
Beauxie hisses and lunges at Melira, but she deftly dodges him. Sif steps to the side, and aims her bow at Melira. It misses and strikes the back bulkhead.
Another prayer and Tova’s form seems to shift. She steps beyond me into the foot of the stairwell and swings her ancestor chain at the saboteur. It rebounds oddly in the stairwell and strikes Melira in the crotch.
Tira races up the stairs and swings wildly at Melira. She misses as do her legionnaires. I stay behind and heal myself twice.
Through gritted teeth, Melira hisses out “To the hells with you dwarves!” She curses us, but I and Tova stand strong. She hits Tira with her first and third arrow and Tira falls unconscious.
Beauxie pursues the attack, but misses. Sif takes a shot and misses.
Tova tries to hit her and misses. I step into the corner, reach around, and heal Shamus. He wakes up. He throws his force missles at her. He then gets up and shifts behind Tova.
One arrow penetrates Tova’s shield, but shatters against her breastplate. The second arrow strikes home, but the third one careens off the shield.
Beauxie tries to help Tova by distracting Melira as best he can. Sif takes a shot and misses.
Dropping my lucern-hammer, I rush up to stand over Tira and strike at Melira with my Warhammer. I feint slamming it up towards her before shifting my weight and slam the hammer down on her foot. She squeals and falls ass over teakettle, unconscious.
Beyond the stairs is a small crawl-space for contraband.
Mileara has half of a little gold locket. She was firing our stolen arrows at us. At Shamus’ request, I stabilize her and Tira, Tova, and Shamus go through Mileara’s equipment.
Once she wakes, we bring Mileara back through the bilge. The crew helps us hall her up through the trapdoor, and we talk to the Captain. He questions if there were more invisible people on board his barge. We’re pretty sure there are not, but I respect his paranoia.
Tira tells him that she suspects the saboteur came on-board invisibly and then committed the sabotage probably as an act against us for having recently killed her friend. Mileara is involved as one of the traitors of Trunau.
The Captain offers to put the prisoner under chains and we slink off to recover. The ship sets to rowing out of sight of Castle Everstand.
Tova cranks the pump to clean out the bilge. Mileara had some rations with her, but they seem untouched. Instead, Tova finds a plate of food from the galley.
About mid-day, Bloodtusk calls out to some knights along the edge of the river, on the grasslands.They briefly exchange local news.
As the day draws on, it starts to get a bit chilly. Without a wind, the crew rows for most of the day. The Captain pushes the crew and the ship a little bit harder than usual towards the end of the day. We should manage to get to the Knight of Ozam’s port after the sun sets.
There’s a bit of a buzz on the foredeck when we arrived.
The keep is a 2 1/2 story stone tower. It’s removed from the riverfront, and there’s a small pier. But the pier has been smashed apart and burnt. After a brief discussion, the crew decides to re-position the boat against the current. We keep it quiet, everyone rows, and the barge starts to reverse course.
It takes the better part of an hour to row back 1/2 a mile. The ship anchors near shore on the Lastwall side, some 40’ from shore. The Captain wants at least 3 people on deck at all times and the ballista ready.
During the night, a drizzle starts.
Fireday, 1st of Desnus, 4715
Shamus, 2 of the 1/2 orc crew, and Beauxie go ashore.
As they draw closer to the tower, Beauxie gets anxious. He smells something rotting. Shamus warns the 1/2 orc crewmen. As they draw closer, Shamus takes the lead and uses the Invisibility wand to hide himself. He sees a dead orc body floating in the water, and a dead dire wolf, an orcish body and two dead horses litter the ground. There’s nothing moving except the flies.
To get inside the building, there’s a ladder leading to a platform where you have to cross a removable drawbridge. The building is up on stone pillars. The drawbridge is down, and there’s blood dripping from the ladder. The door on top is ajar. There are a fair number of wolf tracks around the place.
Shamus climbs up the blood-soaked ladder. There’s more blood splatter inside. There’s a dead human male with his head missing. He’s been stripped. The room is completely ransacked. The ashes in the fireplace are still smouldering, but there’s nothing of the fire left.
The crewmen identify the symbol on the dead orcs as the Tusk-cutter tribe.
Shamus comes back and reports to the Captain. The Captain orders the anchor raised, and all hands are on deck. They take some security precautions, then use the Jolley to set up a make-shift pier.
A few crewmen take station, watching around. Shamus dissects the dire wolf carcase. Tira starts searching for the book she needs. Anything of obvious value from the room is gone. Tira and Tova manage to find a few scraps of paper, and eventually they find the book. It’s been trod upon several times. The book is damaged, but the missing folios all seem to be scattered about nearby. The title of the book is “Belksan’s Borders Vol 2: The rise and fall of Carcasse’s Blockade”.
The book is a series of accounts, lacking embellishments. But it has several maps looking to show skirmishes and the troupe placements. Most of the battles are armoured platoons of Lastwall Soldiers against orcs. In the book there’s a description of Red Lake Fort as well as a general floorplan.
Sif thinks there were 3 wolves (two others besides the one that is dead). She thinks the one in the water was killed by flaming arrows, and up to 5 orcs attacked the keep. The tracks of two of the orcs that survived the attack left bearing a heavy weight, while the other was not. Sif looses sight of the tracks at the edge of the river. There’s no signs of a moored boat nor one dragged onshore.
There are people missing from the keep. Probably taken as slaves and carried across the river. The Tusk-cutter tribe would pay tribute in Urgir, probably including the slaves they’ve taken. We concur with the Captain’s decision to press on to Castle Firrine, upriver.
As we turn onto the River Esk, we unload the horses and they pull the barge slowly up river. The sail and the oars both help, but we’re going about 1/2 as fast as before. The route the horses walk is neither straight nor well maintained. They often have to go into the river to avoid mangrove trees and large outgrowths and outcroppings. Often they are walking in the water and struggling to pull themsleves out of the muck just to walk forward.
At days end we dock at Castle Firrine. The castle is a quarter mile removed from the river.
Tira questions Melira. She knew Griffon/Ackrin as Skreed. That’s the name we saw on the Plague Church. They were looking for a way into Trunau. Tira tries to get more information out of Melira, but Melira quickly turns sour and tries to intimidate us. We take her up on deck, and as Sif starts the process of beheading her, she makes a last dash for freedom. Sif grabs her hair, beheads her, Tira skewers her, and then we throw her body in the river, unshriven.
As Tira is trying to get the blood off her weapon, she sees a creature climbing up over the gunwale. It’s got green scaled skin, webbed hands and feet. It’s a savage humanoid, standing almost 12 feet tall. Shamus recognizes it as a marrow (an aquatic ogre). It’s a brigand, but they often work in groups.
Shamus races up at our cry of alarm and throws snowballs at the beast.
Tova gets clear of the mast, quickly blesses herself with iron skin and strikes at it with her ancestor chain. His head smacks back, and his claws only briefly try to keep hold. He lets go of the gunwale and falls back into the water.
A second one climbs up and tries to grab me! He recoils in pain as he encounters my armour’s spikes. I hit him with my lucern-hammer squarely in the chest. The third one climbs up and throws a javelin. The javelin bounces off my armour, but the 8’ long shaft staggers me back.
Tira starts chanting, and moves away from the second marrow.
Sif rages and charges the second marrow. He takes a swipe at her and grapples her. Pinning her axe as he lifts her off the ground. She headbutts him. The beast drops her and reals backwards, slumps against the rail, but he looses his footing and slumps to the ground. Sif looks at the third one, and smiles.
Shamus moves to the upper deck and fires missiles of force at the last marrow, striking him thrice.
Tova starts running towards the aft deck. The marrow has another javelin out, and seems undecided, but he quickly dives overboard rather than face us all.
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