Anchored just outside of the Decius Islands, the senior officers of the Sea Word sat down to discuss a plan of action. The ship is badly in need of repair. Progress, albeit slowly, could be made while the ship is at sea, but with no friendly harbors nearby it might be their only choice. Tetsu-ko brought up the idea of sailing all the way back to Geargrind Island (2 weeks) and making repairs there. Some scoffed at his idea, saying by the time they reach the gnomish island the ship would be nearly repaired.
But Tetsu-ko had another idea. The Blacksail was recovered from the Sea Word’s victory at the Battle of Geargrind Island months ago. The lead ship of Kaithor Blacksail was commandeered by the Sea Word and given to the gnomes of Filbiklink. We could see about acquiring the former Tempest Swarm ship and double the size of out fleet.
During this time, Captain Ravenclaw, seeing the Jaffe was back to his normal self, returned command of the Sea Word back to the halfling bard. Before doing so, Ravenclaw also brought up something that had been bothering him, the missing arcane researcher named Tinesia, that still needs to be found.
Quinvalur spoke up and mentioned the progress he has made on the side. The elf wizard, in his free time, had been working on a Ring of Sending, which he used to make contact with Dark Phoenix of the Arisen. They were trying to reach out to The Righteous in a great time of need. They had come across the knowledge that the Galerius Brotherhood had discovered an ancient artifact known as the Crown of Shadows, rumored to allow the wearer complete control over the undead. The Crown has been taken to The Citadel where it was going to be studied before turning it over to the Emperor himself.
Further complicating matters was the fact that Un’Goro experienced a spirit flight and found the location of the Vine Lord that eluded him before. A bearfolk, later to be learned to be a member of the Kavaard Bearfolk Clan, was captured by the Vine Lord.
Lastly, Ravenclaw read from the personal journal of Chancellor Cassius and fear grew that the entire Brotherhood might be on the lookout for them.
Captain Jaffe had a tough decision; the ship was in dire need to repair, and the best bet was to return to Geargrind Island to get the ship fixed and possibly take control of the Blacksail. But some of the matters here in Decius (Vine Lord and the Crown of Shadows) seemed to be time sensitive issues. Captain Jaffe decided that since Basti and Triton’s new armor was so close, he could duck over there and pick it up really quick.
It did not go well. There was a strong Brotherhood presence in the small island town, and Kel Keniz had been replaced as the town blacksmith. Wanted posters for the traitor blacksmith were seen all over town. Jaffe did witness two guards talking to a captain about the search: There were no signs of Kel in the forest clearing with the anvil, all we found was this. The captain threw the armor scraps they found in the garbage and told them to start interrogating down at the docks again, before the Chancellor returns.
Jaffe correctly believed that he had to work on this armor project in secret, away from the Brotherhood. Either something happened to him in the forest clearing or he fled before he could get captured by the Brotherhood. Jaffe swiped the armor pieces and darted back to the Sea Word and soon they were on their way to Geargrind Island, despite protests from Triton with fears of the blacksmith’s safety.
Along the way back to Geargrind, the crew was able to make progress on repairs, getting up to about 75% of maximum. When they got here, the captain ordered three days of shore leave for the entire crew, while he and the other senior officers talked to the Master Tinker about the Blacksail. She was delighted to see them again and was happy to gift the galleon back to them. They had made full repairs to the ship and it will soon be loaded with supplies.
Next up, both Captain Jaffe and Captain Ravenclaw, who would be taking over the Blacksail, went on a recruiting mission around Filbiklink for sailors. Between here, Ston Cay, and Nightrock, they would find enough to set sail with a full compliment on both ships.
Tetsu-ko approached the bronze dragon, Kimerth and asked if she would like to relocate here in the Styrc Isles, and she agreed. She will take all of the metallic eggs with here to Prewth Island, while the chromatic eggs will say with the ships. The Dragonborn kids, however, will remain on the ships splitting time between their two dads, Triton and Un’Goro.
Quinvalur once again contacted Dark Phoenix who wondered where they were. The Arisen had learned that research had begun on the Crown and it wouldn’t be long before it was turned over to the Emperor.
With affairs settled in the Styrc Isles, the Sea Word and the Blacksail made way for the small town of Mevatay. All told, this detour back to Geargrind Island took 33 days.
The ships landed just outside the small town of Mevatay and met with Mayor Nik Netherford, who according to Dark Phoenix, is sympathetic to the cause of The Arisen.
The heroes spoke the key phrase and Netherford escorted them up to the balcony of the local tavern where they could talk in private. There is a way in to the Citadel that they wouldn’t notice. During low tides a sea cave appear just west of the main docks at The Citadel. Inside this cave is a passageway to an area where they have clumsily covered up a hole into the heart of the fortress. Mayor Netherford suggests you get to that area and quickly unplug the hole and get into the Citadel undetected. The Crown should be close by, but be careful, there are thousands of Brotherhood guards in there.
When asked about a way out, Mayor Netherford shook his head. Not that I know of. I doubt that your way in will still be a viable option whenever you are ready to leave. By Ao’s will, hopefully a path will be found.
After Quinvalur retrieved some stolen Brotherhood uniforms, the mayor took the heroes in a small boat to the sea cave as the tide receded later that night. Through the sea cave about thirty-feet back the heroes found the plugged up hole in the ceiling they needed to get through. Triton and Ravenclaw got to work on the hole as the sea water began to rush back into the cave. Un’Goro eased their fears with a readied water breathing spell.
Finally they broke through and entered the Citadel. Quickly they patched up the hole as best they could but a fair amount of sea water had splashed in and it was going to become noticeable shortly.
After a short excursion by Jaffe, Ravenclaw led the heroes out of the room and past two guards on the dock on one side, and a mess hall full of guards on the other. Beyond two locked doors and a bone-chilling cold corridor, laid a room they were looking for.
A set of strong double-doors were opened and the heroes found two guards on the ground floor and an Aqium Wizard on the top floor. He was examining a corpse on a table. We are not to be disturbed, leave immediately! The wizard shouted without looking up. Seconds later, the heroes had killed all three.
The heroes ascended the platform to retrieve what they came here for. But the crown was more than just a magical item, it was an artifact with a sense of self preservation. It reanimated the corpse that once wielded it and soon the heroes were faced with a Masked Wight.
The undead creature let out a wail that dealt thunder damage and deafened Tetsu-ko, Quinvalur, and Un’Goro, and nearly killed the wizard outright. It next rose the three humans in here as ghouls to help defend itself. Tetsu-ko was knocked down to 1 HP, and Triton was dropped completely. The Masked Wight hit both Tetsu-ko and Triton with the Khopesh of Oblivion that dealt a fair amount of slashing damage, along with some other effect.
It would be years later before they discovered what happened when they encountered that Mask Wight that day. When Tetsu-ko went back to Brind-Amor and returned to her monastery, she sought out her personal room where she would first discover to hone her Ki powers. It was on the top floor on the monastery and closed to other students. But when she returned, there was no room on the top of the monastery. It was just gone as if it never existed, no one else had even heard about it. Tetsu-ko was the only person to know of it.
Triton’s was similar but on a larger scale. When the warforged returned after the encounter with The Scourge, he went back to the Holy City of Southwatch, the Temple of Ao was still the center of the religious community but the massive, 100-foot tall statue of Ao was gone. Again, just like Tetsu-ko, no one in the community ever had an knowledge of its existence. A frightening prospect for Triton as people who he personally worked on the statue with, had no idea what he was talking about.
But thanks to his relentless radiant attacks, Triton slew the Masked Wight and retrieved the Crown of Shadows. They crew quickly bound wounds and began to prepare an escape from this fortress.
A knock at the door, Commander Graves? Are you in there? The heroes quickly hid the bodies just before the person at the door unlocked it and entered.
A young clerk with glasses and a pile of papers entered and walked straight to Tetsu-ko. Commander Graves, I have some papers for you to sig-. The Clerk Amiel stopped as he looked up and saw what he thought was Commander Graves. You look…remarkable. Er, I mean, your disguise looks great, everyone does. Sorry.
Tetsu-ko played along with it.
The ship is stocked with winter gear as you asked, if I could just get you to sign here, and then the Quiet Fury will be ready to depart.
Tetsu-ko took the documents and scribbled a signature.
And when do you want to depart, Commander?
Tetsu-ko replied, Right away.
Clerk Amiel led the group back to Commander Graves quarters and unlocked them for his superior. Tetsu-ko gathered up some paperwork from the desk, including a map of Northern Decius and a layout of the Brotherhood ships currently deployed in the north.
She also noted that the clothes here would fit her perfectly. Clerk Amiel asked if she had decided on which captain should be in charge of the Brotherhood soldiers on this mission. Tetsu-ko asked him to run down here options again.
Captain Addack is a season veteran of many campaigns, well respected, but tends to rush into battle. Captain Grellian has more sailing experience they anyone here, has traveled all over the known world, but lacks combat experience. Captain Novius is very young, he came up through the Emperor’s network of spies, excels at covert operations, but crew are somewhat nervous working with him.
Tetsu-ko gave it some thought and selected Captain Novius. Soon Clerk Amiel had ushered everyone past the guards and laborers fixing the hole they made upon entry, and to docking berth number six, where the Quiet Fury was stationed. Amiel found accomidations for Commander Grave’s assistents, except for the ‘boy’ named Jaffe. And before you know it, the Quiet Fury, under the command of Commander Graves, set sail from the Citadel.
Tetsu-ko informed the Quiet Fury that, as part of their secret mission, they were going to rendez-vous with two other merchant ships just outside of Mevatay before proceeding towards the Arethrion town of Falanore.
When she was finally able to reunited with the other heroes, Tetsu-ko hatched a brilliant plan to get rid of Captain Novius and his 20 Brotherhood soldiers.
A new course was set for the northern shores of Decius. Captain Novius and his men were tasked with ridding the forest of an evil corruption that plagued the land and threatened the Empire. They were dropped off from Quiet Fury and given directions to where this abomination resided.
And the heroes planned to be there when it happened.
The Brotherhood soldier found the location of the Vine Lord and fought against tendril puppets, vine troll skeleton, and two treants. And when the time was right, the heroes entered the fray from the opposite side. Brotherhood solider began to drop left and right and four of them fled combat, but Captain Novius and the remainder of his men pushed on.
As one of the treants was thrashing away at the attackers, Captain Ravenclaw swooped in behind Captain Novius and “missed” his target of the treant. The arrow pierced the throat of former spy master, killing him instantly.
Further up on the ridge, what you came for finally appeared. The Vine Lord moved in on Un’Goro. The evil fey creature tried to sink his tendrils into the orc druid, but Un’Goro fought him off, eventually slaying him for good.
After the fight the group was able to rescue Ulrik, a bearfolk that Un’Goro saw in his vision weeks ago. He explained that he was from the Kavaard Bearfolk Clan. They were a part of a much larger clan that followed the Bear King, but they were ostracized from the group. They sailed here to Decius and settled down. The Vine Lord tried to force them to join him but they refused. Since they, the two sides have been at war with the Vine Lord gaining the upper hand.
A few days later, Un’Goro would meet with the rest of the Kavaard Clan and ask them to join them. All eight bearfolk join the crew.
As they headed back to their ships, only two members of the Galerius Brotherhood remained, Broban and Hilno. Tetsu-ko ordered them to chase after the four deserters from the battle, but they came up emptyhanded. Commander Graves incorporated them into the rest of the crew and she seems to have their complete compliance, thanks to a most effective intimidate check from Jaffe.
The fleet next sailed for the town of Basti on the southern side of Decius. They followed up on the news that the blacksmith Kel Keniz went missing after the Brotherhood was on the look for him.
They began their search in the forest and quickly found the outdoor anvil the guard mentioned. They did find a few more pieces of the armor he was modifying for Triton but the trail had long gone cold. With the storm building overhead they managed to find where Kel died, on a small island a few hundred yards from shore.
They found that Kel died at the hands of an Ala, who used him in an evil fey sacrifice.
With the overhead storm at its height, the Ala and her fey minions ambushed the heroes. Lightning attacks from the fey dealt serious amounts of damage, but the heroes prevailed and recovered the final cuirass piece of armor for Triton.
From here the fleet followed up on the strange compass they’ve had in their possession for some time. When it was first discovered in Brind-Amor during the 2nd Era, it pointed north and no one thought anything of it. When the United Pride and Sea Word finally reached Decius, the compass then pointed west. Pointing to something specific and not a direction.
As the ships approached the island the compass was pointing to, they found warning buoys. The message read: The Island known as The Rage is strictly off limits by order of Emperor Katus. Underneath that someone had scrawled, Death Awaits!.
Paying little heed to the warning, the heroes set foot on the lush, tropical island. They climbed onto a ridge to get a good view of the entire valley. Birds flew overhead, a herd of antelopes were seen in the distance, and rocky mountains lay in the center of the island.
Then everyone heard a pop from behind them, and a slightly older William the Bloody appeared, and frantically yelled at everyone:
No! You are making a horrible mistake! The new Wil the Bloody frantically waves everyone back to the boat, shaking his head, We tried this once already, it wiped nearly all of us out. I managed to escape and it took me years to find the Chronomancer again so I could come back here and stop us now. Quickly, back in the ship!
Before he disappeared, William told Triton to look at page 77 in the Field Journal. Just about at that point the heroes heard a tremor from across the island. Followed by another, and another.
The heroes caught a quick glance of the Tarrasque that was charging their way. An enormous beast that would certainly mean the end of all of their lives. Around it’s neck it wore a wooden chest, tied down with strong leather straps. Trition correctly believed that the compass was pointing to something specific within that chest.
The heroes sailed back to Decius and gave more thought about what to do about the Crown of Shadows. It is known that a high level cleric and paladin would be needed to destroy it but Triton was no where near that level. The only high level paladin he knew of was himself, Raveroth of Decius. Perhaps with some help from the Chronomancer, they could all go back in time to have Raverorth and his friend, Eldrick Brightblade, destroy it once and for all.
At the end of this session, decisions were made as far as the breakdown of this ships. For the sole purpose of ship drills, it was decided that the six players would essentially roll for all three ships, using this format:
Captain Rolls – Caleb/Captain Jaffe
Quartermaster – Lou/Un’Goro
Helmsmen – Jordan/Triton 714
Master Gunner- Brick/Wil the Bloody or Quinvalur/MF
Boatswain – Blaine/Tetsu-ko
Medic – Wil/Ravenclaw
As far as who is on what ship during ship battles, here are the rosters:
Captain – Talsion Jaffe
Quartermaster – Un’Goro
Helmsman – Junior Officer Abai
Master Gunner – Junior Officer Xanzin
Boatswain – Random sailor
Medic – Junior Officer Rurik
Other – (8) Bearfolk
Crewmen – (20) Able
Captain – Ravenclaw
Quartermaster – Random sailor
Helmsman – Triton 714
Master Gunner – Wil the Bloody
Boatswain – Random sailor
Medic – Junior Officer Skolk
Other – (3) Dragonborn kids
Crewmen – (20) able
Captain – Tetsu-ko
Quartermaster – Junior Officer Grildur
Helmsman – Junior Officer Quozaren
Master Gunner – Quinvalur
Boatswain – Junior Officer Carl
Medic – Clerk Amiel
Other – (2) Ex-Brotherhood Fighters
Crewmen – (20) Able
The saga continues in Northern Decius.