As the Sea Word sailed back to Filbiklink they took this opportunity to question the captured pirates of the Tempest Swarm. They did their best to resist coercion, but Harruq can be very persuasive when his sinks his razor-sharp shark teeth into flesh. One of them shouted out, Kaithor Blacksail will have your heads!
It was learned that the Tempest Swarm boasts seven ships in the Styrc Isles, and they either sail around or have hideouts near Ao’s Well, the north side of Prewth, Jagged Isle, and Razor Spine Island.
Next they finally had some time to sit down and talk to Elza Crinkletoes to learn more of what happened to the United Pride. She worked with them a great deal, especially Captain Ravenclaw and Quartermaster Yi. They were in the Styrc Isles only a short time. They helped Engineer Glinwhiz with a small sample of trees and plants from some of the other islands, and most notable were the cottonwood trees of Prewth. When she was asked about Prewth, she said it is a volcanic island that hasn’t erupted in hundreds of years and there is one notable settlement on the southeastern corner of it, a small town called Oallhelm that is mostly human but does have a handful of elves, dwarves, and gnomes.
Elza said she mostly worked with them on mapping the islands since she had done a good deal of research on each of them. One stop that stood out was on the rocky island of Ston Cay in the town of Hillford. A elf wizard named Glynxidor fell in love with a local there and finally the captain agreed to let him go off the ship. Apparently this upset some of the crew members, but as Elza pointed out, what could the captain do?
As the Sea Word pulled into the docks on Geargrind Island they were witnessed to a troubling sight. Glimbek Sparkfizzle, who was unsuccessful in persuading the crew to hunt down the Great White Shark for him, was seen talking to the crew of a whaling ship. Harruq stormed over to them and put a swift end to the negotiations. Glimbeck was going to give the whalers 100 gp to hunt it down but instead, he will give them 20 gps for their troubles and Harruq will take 80 to retrieve the item.
It was going to take three days to make repairs to the Sea Word so the captain arraigned so shore leave for the crew. They also spoke to Engineer Glinwhiz and said they would soon depart for Prewth Island in search of the cottonwood trees. He told them to seek out Gnorbert Tallhat in Oallhelm who could provide assistance in their search. The Master Tinker also rewarded them with a swivel blaster for the front end of their ship, and reminded them of her promise of a second blaster if and when the Tempest Swarm pirates were dealt with.
Smoke rose into the sky as the Sea Word pulled into the docks of Oallhelm and a handful of villagers swarmed the area as they were run out of town during an attack. The Vice Constable was able to tell them that a band of goblins attack the town and that they captured Constable James and hauled him off to the stockade. He offered a bounty for each goblin head and wolf tail they brought back.
The guard captain informed them that the goblins were led by a brute of a hobgoblin and warned of goblins that bite as well as goblin sorcerers.
Last they met Gnorbert Tallhat, owner of Tallhat Alchemy. He was concerned for his daughter, Gnipper, who has gone missing since the attack.
The leaders of the Sea Word stormed into town to eradicate the goblin presence. They helped a senile old lady get reunited with her cat, cleared out the market square full of wolf-riding goblins.
They foiled an ambush plot inside the town hall by barging in the main door. And broke up a second ambush attack when they shot a ceramic jar full of a swarm of insects out of the hands of another goblin, highlighted by Captain Jaffe standing atop a barrel to attack through the window.
They set off a trapped trunk the goblins left in place, and they found and rescued Gnipper Tallhat, who was hiding at the Grinning Troll Inn.
Gnipper thanked them for their rescue and pleaded with them to save her father’s alchemy shop, whose fire was clearly started by the goblins and not an accident on her part. They returned to Tallhat Alchemy and put out the fire.
Next they found the remains of the hobgoblin that led the initial attack on Oallhelm, dead and cut to pieces by goblins. A carrion crawler had invaded this room and had to be killed before the group could continue.
From here the group headed over to the stockade, after a side trek to find the key to the portcullis, the broken inside and found the new leader, a goblin named Urp, and handful of goblins, and a giant rat.
Constable James was locked up in one of the cells, but shouted out instructions to the crew to assist them in this fight. Once it was over, and Urp was defeated, the Constable rewarded the Sea Word. Order was restored and the crew had saved the day in Oallhelm.
Gnorbert Tallhat was now able to help the Sea Word with the Cottonwood trees. They happily handed over the ones they had in town and he informed them that they grow near the three rivers in Prewth and that he knows that there are a few that grow on the northern side of the island.
The cottonwoods trees were found, on either side of an epic waterfall. The bottom row of cottonwood trees had already been cut by the United Pride years ago. Now, Captain Jaffe and the senior officers of the Sea Word had to give commands to the crew on how best to cut down the remaining ones. Things went well, and the Captain called it a day when a couple of the senior officers persuaded him to continue. One of the crewman nearly fell to his death at which point the Captain said enough.
The Sea Word sailed around Prewth to the last river and found a interesting sight about halfway up Mount Vraalt. A narrow island in the center of the river stood out because it had a couple of pieces of a long lost ruin, and nestle between them were two cottonwood trees. And as the group cut them down, they found a half-covered trapdoor that led deep below the river.
Logically the followed it, climbed the ladder down, and onto a huge pillar of stone, its based was surrounded by an underground lake on all sides.
Carefully the group descended down the pillar and quickly came under attack. Kuo-Toa from all sides launched javelins at them. They hustled down the pillar only to come face to face with some human cultists. Harruq swam to one of the little islands to deal with the Kuo-Toa there while the others went after the cultists. Once they were dealt with and the Kuo Toa Cave was cleared out, they could cut down the remainder of the trees that Engineer Glinwhiz needed. Also, they found an underwater treasure chest that contained a good deal of gold and silver.
The crew sailed back to Geargrind Island to turn in the trees when a Tempest Swarm ship attacked.
This ship-to-ship battle was much tougher than the first, the Sea Word was victorious but suffered much more damage (210/365) than the first battle.
The Sea Word reached Geargrind Island, delivered the trees, got paid, handed out some shore leave, and began repairs on this ship.
The story continues in The Styrc Isles pt 2