The town was a beautiful, tropical setting full of older gnomes laughing and talking to each other, some tinkering on small projects while others teaching younger gnomes on the finer points of how gears work. One older gnome stood out, his name was Wilhik Rovelcast and he was the foremost authority of Pillar technology in the Styrc Isles. Seeing travelers from another land, he asked them if they had ever seen a pillar before.
The group replied yes, but not exactly as Wilhik had drawn out. His was red in color and they have never seen anything but blue pillars in Brind-Amor. Triton 714 flipped through the field journal and presented Wilhik a picture of a red and a blue pillar next to each other in a drawing. Wilhik shook his head, as he has never even heard of them being a color other that red.
The two sides traded questions back and forth; Wilhik learned that they have been inside of the pillars as well as he, they both had knowledge of the Jewel of the Pillar and the strange phenomenon of the Pillar Artifacts and how they are attached to them. Wilhik mentioned how he has knowledge of about a dozen pillars located in the Decius Empire and he and Triton both shared what symbols they have seen inside their respective pillars, including the Triton symbol on Triton 714.
The only one they both recognized was the symbol called “Helios”
And in both the Blue Pillars and Red, Helios is listed only followed by the number 1., and it appears to be the only one that appears in both pillar types.
Talked turned back to where Wilhik had come into the field of study and where he saw these pillars. He said he used to work for the Decius Empire as a researcher for some time until he retired here. When asked to elaborate on Pillar Artifacts he has seen, he said that the Decius Empire is ruled by one of these artifacts. A longsword called Last Rites, black and red in color with a white skull on the handle with mystic runes along the blade. It is wielded by Emperor Gavenius. This is also depicted in the Field Journal.
Before leaving, Wilhik provided them with a rough map of the Decius Empire.
Next they visited the town of Mittlewin, which was a stark contrast to Binable. This town was more rundown, less scenic and filled with gnomes of all ages and all levels of craziness. One in particular was a gnome named Scatterbrain who shouted out about the Scourge, no life after death, how they Scourge will come for us all, and that Ao is the Scourge. At this point the guards had enough of his ramblings and told him to shut up, to which he did as he scurried off.
The officers returned to Filbiklink and following morning found the Sea Word ready to set sail again. They collected their reward from Engineer Glinwhiz for the Cottonwood Trees and then the following morning, on a fog-filled day, alarms all around Filbiklink went off.
The canopy quickly closed, swivel cannons atop it were manned, and the blaring sounds of the alarm continued to go off. Shouts of Tempest Swarm resounded around the gnomish city.
The officers rushed to the docks and Un’Goro spotted a little bit of damage to the pirate ship as it sailed from east to west just south of the city in a developing fog. Captain Jaffe made the call to pursue it. They chased it for the good part of a day as the Pillage slipped in and out of view in the fog. While the Sea Word lost the ship they came across Jagged Isle, a noted Tempest Swarm base.
On the north side of Jagged Isle they spotted lights from the base. The Sea Word was parked behind a couple of small islands while Harruq swam up to get a better look at the pirate base.
He spotted two decks; one was smaller and higher with one guard, and the other was lower and bigger with 1-2 guards at all times. The captain organized an away team and they assaulted the lower deck. Jaffe quickly put the two guards to sleep and they secured the deck.
The captain then poked his head into the next room. There, four pirates (one of them an orc) played cards at a table. Un’Goro flew his hawk into the room as a distraction and the crew busted in and slew the pirates before any of them could get to their whistles to alert the others.
However, the orc died in an area that the central tower had line of site to. Rumblings could be heard from that area as those pirates were now on alert. Harruq circled around to swim into the bay where the Pillage was to cause a distraction. Here he found a hunter shark that would be of great help in the upcoming battle. On deck of the Pillage, Harruq took out two pirates on board who work on repairing the pirate ship. However, since the guard tower was already on alert, they spotted the sahuagin barbarian and unleashed the hounds.
Sensing the element of surprise was over, the other officers began to assault on the other side. Harruq began a system of throwing guards and dogs (and a death dog) into the water where the hunter shark would take a bite out of each one.
On the other side, a bearfolk rushed the officers along side a veteran fighter. The bearfolk was a formidable fighter, but a near-death Triton was able to knock him down 30+ points in one round of attacks.
Until Triton’s big attack, and Un’Goro’s fire finishing off the Bearfolk, the Pirates had the upper hand. They would later regain it for a moment as other pirates from other side rooms entered the fray, but the crew of the Sea Word was able to overcome and head deeper into the secret base. Here Triton was able to remember seeing the base before, from the Field Journal he keeps with him.
They pressed into the dinning room and started to enter the private room of the Quartermaster as he and a gnoll havoc runner burst out and attacked.
Once they were dealt with the base was clear of pirates which gave the crew some time to explore the place thoroughly. In the Sergeant’s room they found three things of interest:
- A ransom note address to Farmers that demands 100gp for the release of Miles the Farmer
- A note that reads: Look into rumors about a great white shark. Could be something valuable inside it.
- Last was a list of Tempest Swarm ships in the Styrc Isles, dated about a week ago:
One of the last rooms they explored was the private quarters of Kaithor Blacksail, and they found some interesting things on his desk:
- A note that reads: All things considered, be on the lookout for any other ships bearing the hawk symbol on blue background (the Brind-Amor logo). You would be looked upon very favorably if you were to capture them.
- A hand written note that reads: Lots of buzz in Nightrock about a wizad named Glynxidor. We should sail over to Razor Spine and look into this.
- Last was a strange note written in an unknown language. Triton was able to consult the Field Journal and learned that it was written in Dethek, and was able to translate the letter:
This would be the first time the crew had heard about the Galerius Brotherhood.
The last room they look into was the prison and there they found three people chained up. First was a young man with a Tempest Swarm tattoo was shouted, “Oi! Them pirates captured me too!” He was quickly killed.
Last was Miles the Farmer, who was very thankful for his rescue. He and a handful of others are farmers on Ao’s Well and they ran into a rat problem which they had to turn to the pirates for help. Instead they kidnapped him and were in the process of ransoming him back to the others. The crew agreed to help him.
They loaded up Gwendoline, Miles, and a bunch of ship repair supplies on board the Sea Word and set sail for Ao’s Well. Where Miles was relieved to be reunited with his people. The others pointed to an old well in the back of the farms where the rats seems to be coming from. Captain Jaffe determined that this would be a good exercise for the Junior Officers and set and handful of them on this task. Partaking in this task were the following Junior Officers:
They fought through a couple of caverns of rats, swarms of rats, dire rats, and ratfolk.
When they reached the final room, they saw the body of a human male, slumped against the far wall. The Junior Officers fought through the final wave of rats to reach him. It was the spitting image of Miles. He introduced himself as Mason, the twin brother of Miles who tried to fight off the rats himself but failed. He was bitten by a dire rat and asked someone to fetch his wife Gemma before something awful happened. Two of the Junior officers left to bring her back.
By the time those officers reached the farm they discovered a terrible truth. Miles didn’t have a twin brother. Meanwhile back in the rat caves, the darakhul revealed his true form, and rose from the rubble. He spoke in a raspy voice;
Now you will serve the Ghoul Emperor! Rise my minions!
Then two other ghouls emerged from the rubble and attacked, and the others raced back just in time to finish him off. Orugash the Gallent would suffer from darakhul fever for the next three days, but he would pull through eventually. Inside the final room they found a small amount a treasure, including a lifelike beetle statue that they brought back on board.
The farmers didn’t have a lot as far as a reward, but they were able to give the Sea Word a basket full of Kilela Fruit as well as some more ship repair material before they left.
Now it was the Junior Officer’s turn to regale the crew of their exploits in the rats caves of Ao’s Well, and as the story finished, they showed off their treasure when suddenly the beetle came to life and flew over to Triton.
The beetle landed on his left hip and stabbed at him with a tiny appendage at a miniscule hold and a compartment opened up, similar to the one of his right hip that holds his double blade. The clockwork beetle climbed inside and closed the hatch. Then Trition 714 shut down.
While the rest of the crew tried their best to revive him, Triton experienced his first flashback in a series of brief glimpses:
- He was in an enormous, round rood
- He could barely see the domed ceiling above
- He was among others like him
- The closest one to him had a designation similar to him
- He didn’t know the first emblem but the numbers read 952
- Trition’s weapon was in hand, ready to strike, as were the others
- He could hear voices, bits of a conversation
- A voice says, “Yes Master” and you gasp
- One by one you all shut down
- He shouted: Virmire 952! before he shut down himself
After a few minutes, as the crew frantically tried to revive Triton, he finally started back up and retold his flashback story to everyone.
Next up for the Sea Word was an encounter with the elusive Great White Shark. Harruq slipped into the water and spoke to the shark, asking if he had maybe eaten something that was still stuck inside him. Carcharodon said he hadn’t but he did have something stuck in his teeth for some time and asked Harruq to remove it. This was a difficult task since a shark must constantly be moving. Harruq could see a necklace wedged along a back row of teeth and cut himself several times before he was able to remove it.
It was a necklace with a locket. Inside was a portrait of a young gnomish woman and opposite that was an inscription that read, Beatrice, I’ll never forget you.
The Sea Word returned to Filbiklink and handed the locket over to a very excited Glimbek Sparkfizzle who gladly paid the 80gp he promised. But Un’Goro just happened to watch the strange gnome as he left and saw him stop and remove the picture from the locket and appear to read something off the back. Un’Goro informed the others and they decided to take to the Master Tinker about this.
She has no idea what this could mean and that he has always been a strange gnome, adding that, “he is not even one of us, he is from Decius.”
Having learned of the connection between the Tempest Swarm and Decius, they decided to follow the gnome.
Glimbek returned to his house and quickly locked the door behind him. It was a two-story residence with the top floor dedicated to his laboratory. The officers surrounded the house, preventing an escape while they busted down the front door. There was Glimbek standing in front of a fireplace staring at the note, almost as if he was trying to memorize it. The heroes sprinted across the room, as Captain Jaffe attempted to cast sleep on him, only to see Glimbek toss the note into the fire. Upstairs in the lab they saw his failed attempts at airship technology and an address to a location in Geargrind Island.
Just to be safe the crew apprehended him and informed the Master Tinker about what transpired. She had no idea what Glimbek was up to, and when she was shown the address they found in his lab, she recognized it as being the lab of Engineer Glinwhiz, who had great success in airships. They interviewed Glinwhiz and he said that Glimbek offered to buy his work but he turned him turned down. Later he added that his laboratory had a complex code needed to gain entrance to it. Fearing that Glimbek intended to steal or possibly sabotage Glinwhiz’s work, they had him formally arrested, and the code to his lab would be changed.
No one on Geargrind Island had ever known Glimbek to be married.
The Sea Word returned to sea and began the search for the sunken ship, the Aluredes which they learned after deciphering the message written in Dethek on the desk of Kaithor Blacksail. It took some time for Harruq and Triton to search the large area but eventually they found it. They began to explore the wreckage for the crescent moon-shaped box. They found it and began their return to the ship.
Meanwhile on board a commotion could be heard from below decks. It started off like some boxes got knocked over, but it grew louder. Those on deck could hear shouts and weapons being drawn. Finally, a shiver went down the spine of everyone below when a shout came from below deck:
The story continues in Scourge Ambush