The Test of Reshk began in Elon, a special event with participants from all over Brind-Amor competing in feats of strength, intelligence, and wisdom. However, this years event was a bit overcast. Not in the weather, but the attitude. Everyone knew that the winners of this event would sail forth into the Great Sea into the unknown in search for the United Pride, which was two years late from returning.
Over the course of the now week-long event the tests came down to four contestants. William the Bloody (played by Brick) would have been the fourth, but he took ill shortly the day of the finals. The Sahuagin barbarian Harruq (played by Blaine) won the test of Strength, getting to the top of the hill first, with the Halfling bard Tallison Jaffe (played by Caleb) right behind him, followed by the Orc Druid Un’Goro (played by Lou), and finally the warforged paladin Triton 714 (played by Jordan). Calling in sick was the human fighter, William the Bloody (played by Brick).
The Test of Dexterity was won by Tallison, followed by Un’Goro, then Harruq, and then Triton 714.
The Tests of Constitution was kinda funny, as it really turned out to be a contest for 3rd place. Triton 714 easily won this since he doesn’t need to breathe and Harruq easily came in second since he can stay underwater for hours.
Some eyebrows were raised when Harruq the Sahuagin barbarian won the Test of Intelligence, with Tallison second, Un’goro third, and Triton fourth.
Triton showed his prowess in the fishing portion of the Tests of Wisdom, hitting on 5 of 6 casts with an average size of 13-inches. Un’goro came in second, Tallison third, and Harruq fourth.
The Tests of Charisma saw Tallison, a natural performer, come in first, Triton in second, Harruq third, and Un’Goro in fourth.
Captain – Tallison Jaffe
Quartermaster – Harruq
Helmsman – Triton 714
Boatswain – Un’Goro
Master Gunner – William the Bloody
Just a few days after the conclusion of the Tests of Reshk, the Sea Word bid farewell to Brind-Amor and began their mission of exploration and to try and find what happened to the United Pride. The Lord of Brind-Amor, Esbjorn Broske gave an inspiring speech before the ship set sail.
Captain Jaffe immediately began drills each day at sea that the situation presented itself and morale was high. On the fourth day of travel, Boatswain Un’Goro spotted a pod of whales as far as the eye could see.
On the 11th day, a massive sea creature was spotted underneath the Sea Word. Captain Jaffe ordered the ship to battle readiness but the leviathan dove deeper into the sea and never returned.
On the 14th Day, a small rocky island was spotted that would later become known as Skeleton Rock.
Captain Jaffe ordered a landing party, along with two deck hands to row the boat to it.
The explored the area and found very little on it. A handful of fruits (none of the captain’s favorite, oranges unfortunately).
A very old set of ruins were found near the center of the island and rising up from the dirt was a half-dozen skeletons.
The Sea Word officers fought them off easily and made a quick search of the area but outside of a handful of coins, nothing was to be found.
The next two days saw the Sea Word battle through a massive thunderstorm and made little progress during this time. But the ship held and the Sea Word sailed forth. The day after the storm passed, land was spotted.
It was a strange island. Later the crew would learn that it was shaped like the letter “C” but a strange canopy was rigged at the open end of the island with a mix of wood beams and steel encasements. Small creatures, similar in size to halflings, called out to the approaching Sea Word, asking if they be friend of foe. Blaster later learned to be called Swivel Blasters, were turned on the Sea Word in case they had bad intentions. Captain Jaffe appeased to them and shortly the canopy opened and the Sea Word sailed into the bay of Geargrind Island and into the gnomish city of Filbiklink.
The crew saw things they had never seen before; gnomes, swivel blasters, and the strangest of all was a few of these gnomes flying around the bay in small baskets suspended by large balloons. Later they would learn that this was not magical, like the floating Skyland, but rather a technological advancement known only to the gnomes. Also, the sounds. Constant and loud was the screeching of gears winding and whirling around all day long.
A troupe of gnomes came out with a sketchpad and these gnomes took to the task of drawing a picture of the Sea Word for their records. Shortly after that, Cogstrom Rumbltek, the ambassador welcomed the group to the city of Filbiklink. He had his recorders took record of the Sea Word’s arrival.
Collectively the jaws of the gnomes all dropped when Triton 714 debarked from the ship. Gasps, awes, and pointed fingers followed him with questions of, “What is that? What is he made out of?” Complete fascination.
Then Harruq the Sahuagin debarked and the wonderment quickly shifted to shock and fear. “Ahh! What is that!?!?”
After introductions were made, Cogstrom continued his questions and when he learned that the Sea Word was from Brind-Amor he nodded, and said, “Ah yes, it is rare that we get a visitor from there, but not the first.”
When pressed for information about this he flipped through his ledger, “Ah let’s see…almost seven years ago the United Pride passed through here.” When asked about details of their visit, Cogstrom said they would have to talk to Elza Crinkletoes about that as she had a relation with them.
Cogstrom wrapped up the interview and told them that the Master Tinker would like to meet them, and as he escorted them through the city of Filbiklink and waited for the elevator, another gnome came to visit.
Glimbek Sparkfizzle popped out form around a corner and asked if they were the ones from the ship, and if they could do him the favor of catching a Great White Shark that is know to inhabit these waters. Harruq immediately shook his head no, but pressed to see why. “Ah, well, it seems that the shark has swallowed something, that, um, I need back.”
Cogstrom shooed Glimbek off, saying, don’t mind him. He should have been shipped off to Mittlewin some time ago. When asked what Mittlewin was, Cogstrom said that It is a small town on the north side of Geargrind Island, where the crazies go.
The elevator arrived and took them up to meet Fillamad Spryblast, the Master Tinker and leader of the gnomes here on Geargrind Island.
Once it was made clear that Triton 714 was not for sale at any price, the Fillamad moved the subject to more pressing needs. She mentioned how they have had problems with pirates in these waters for some time. They are indeed organized and go by the name, Tempest Swarm. The Sea Word and the Master Tinker came to an agreement that the heroes from Brind-Amor would look into it in exchange for a swivel blaster to mount at the stern of the Sea Word.
The Master Tinker introduced them to Engineer Glinwhiz who was looking for help. The United Pride, years ago, had brought him back some sample of a cotton-like tree on a nearby island. Glinwhiz had run a number of experiments on them and found that they would be useful in manufacturing a lightweight, but sturdy canvas that he had hoped to use in the production of a large airship.
Engineer Glinwhiz mentioned that they could be found on the island of Prewth, about 20 miles to the north of Geargrind and that he would pay the negotiated price of 260 gold pieces for the branches off of 20 of these trees. He also warned that this island was inhabited by goblins and also an amphibious race of creature, similar to Harraq, but not the same.
Last, the Master Tinker and Glinwhiz were able to point them Sea Word in the right direction. Elza Crinkletoes had recently left on an expedition to an island about 15 miles to the northwest of Geargrind (later named Ao’s Well). Before they left, the Master Tinker gave Captain Jaffe a Letter of Marque to sail around the Styrc Isles in her name. The Sea Word sailed for it the following day.
Soon they found the mast of a ship sticking out of the water. Harruq and Triton 714 dove in to get a better look at it. It appeared to be a gnomish ship. A handful of bodies were found, gnomes, and one of the lifeboat was missing. The island was not far away and the Sea Word investigated.
On shore they found the lifeboat and a few more dead gnomes, evidence of a struggle and multiple sets of tracks leading off into the woods. Captain Jaffe gave one of the crewmen his flintlock and told him to fire it in case of an emergency.
The crew went forth, following the trail as best they could and finally saw a sliver of light down a narrow path in the dense woods, which after surviving a bear trap, led to a pirate camp.
The party ran across a handful of bandits, one of them a kenku spellcaster, in what was an ancient holy site dedicated to Ao the Warrior. After they dealt with them and discovered a secret compartment on one of the statues, the group explored the southern building. Inside, Harruq and one other were swayed by beautiful music. A harpy, defending her home, swooped down and attacked. Eventually Un’Goro was able to reason with her and learned that she begrudgingly had an agreement with the pirates. She said that if they got rid of the pirates and left the island, then she would be cool with that.
The next building explored the party found Elza, bounded and gaged. They freed her and learned that the boss was usually found in the northern building, that they had recently captured a brown bear, and that the bandits avoided the southern building where they would leave gems and coin but never venture inside.
The crew left her here for now and Un’Goro was able to pacify the brown bear and promised that together, they would seek revenge on the people who trapped him.
The crew headed for the northern building, but set off a trap on the stairs of hundred of greased ball bearings. The trap wasn’t debilitating, but it gave the pirates a round of surprise when the crew entered the ruins.
The pirates, led by their captain, Chaza, fought valiantly while they could, until the brown bear unleashed his furious anger on them and quickly destroyed them. The last two pirates tried to surrender, but Harruq and Triton 714 would have none of that, especially for a holy follower to see the treatment of this ancient holy site to Ao. Triton asked to name this island, Ao’s Well.
The crew rounded up Elza and headed back to the skiff. Elza mentioned how she was glad that they had already dealt with the pirate’s ship. As the Tallison was about to explain how they hadn’t even seen the pirate ship the flintlock the crew back at the skiff was fired.
The crew made double time to the skiff and off in the distance they saw the Sea Word preparing for battle. A Tempest Swarm pirate ship approaches!
Soon the two ships were involved in a ship-to-ship battle on the high seas. The Sea Word had the upper hand since they had killed their captain already (Chaza) and the Soaring Waves sailed at a distinct disadvantage. The Sea Word made quick work of them and closed in to board them.
Only seven crewmen were still on board, six after one tried to make a run for it in a skiff but was quickly devoured by Harruq. The prisoners were taken onboard and the Sea Word sailed back to Filbiklink as the Soaring Winds sank into the sea.
The story continues in The Styrc Isles