Justin (Valdymir Stuhr) is in absentia today, so he is considered to be residing on the Storm Seed.
As the group of rag-tag adventurers begin to catalog the ship, known as The Storm Seed, they hear noises coming from the brig. Within are the previous crew and captain, eager to return to their duties and set off to find their stolen cargo. They describe the nature of the attack- pirates overcame their ship and locked them in the brig, sending their most precious cargo- the King’s own nephew- back to their vile fortress.
They agree to help find the King’s Nephew and also to help rig the previously ashen sails. In the morning, they depart- only to be quickly stopped. Rumbles emanate from the depths, a massive black shadow developing below the waves. The Captain swears and sends his men to grab armaments while Vale and Ausk take to the skies. Marcellus asks what the is, though the Captain remains enigmatic, saying that it’s bad news.
The sea parts as massive tentacle-like appendages wrap around the ship in many places, often around the whole ship. As they begin to squeeze, breaking the rails and causing the ship to groan, a massive three-eyed draconic head appears at the bow. Its mouth opens, revealing a sargassum man bearing a staff. The man gestures upward, uttering a word, causing the sky to darken and rain to fall. Sparrow-kin sinks his glaive into the beasts flesh, but finds it resistant- if not completely immune to such hits. It is quickly decided.
Throw the halfling.
Tying a rope around Brahmin’s waist, they heave the halfing at the open maw- and Sargassum man- with vigor. Landing with a soft thud on the creatures tongue, Brahmin looks up only to have teeth crash down upon his midden. The life is drained from him and he falls from the creatures mouth with an unceremonious plop, grey and gutted. The rest turn white as a sheet, Vale and Ausk dive-bombing the creature. Ausk lashes out at the beasts head, but recoils as its very hide cracks his fangs. Sparrow-kin reels in Brahmin, and he and Marcellus mourn his corpse.
Then a brilliant cyan light sprouts forth from the deck, causing the beast to recoil back into the ocean. From this hole steps forth a man with a mask, inscribed with symbols of every god and dressed in loose brown and black clothes. He looks over the group, then rests his gaze on Brahmin’s corpse. With a piercing shriek his hand emerges from a sleeve and turns to a blade, and he darts for it. Sparrow-kin shifts Brahmin behind him, and Marcellus prepares to flank. Vale, from the sky, shouts down at the masked figure.
“Samesh, you bastard! Don’t you touch him!”
With little but a shrieking laugh, he continues forward past piercing blows and comes to a rest over Brahmin’s corpse. Sparrow-kin and Marcellus’ blades drip with a strange black icor, seemingly appearing from Samesh’s body. For mere seconds, his hands hover over Brahmin’s body, and a similar cyan light appears. Sputtering to life, he wrenches a small rod from Brahmin’s waist- literally exploding his trousers- and leaps into the ocean. A chorus of howls erupt from the party as, one-by-one, they leap into the ocean after him to no avail. The waves turn up nothing, and they all return to the ship to converse about the strange character- restoring to Brahmin his exploded trousers. Vale apologizes to Brahmin, downtrodden as she recites the knowledge of her former party member.
Known to my party only as “The Samesh”, he was in it for the power… his own gain. We never got to know him- or trust him- very well. In Surayeshin, his name means ‘The Lord of Equality’. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him live up to that name, however…
After swearing to return his seal, the Party returns to sailing, fixing the ship and making it to the island without much drama. As Blacktorn Island appears on the horizon, the Captain of The Storm Seed stands at the bow, eye at his spyglass and hand at his waist. At the crown of the island sits a massive stone Fortress, the sounds of which dragons and festivities echo from. Ships of all makes are beached or anchored, men wandering the shore with smiles and mugs of grog. At least five mid-sized dragons fly into the main part of the Fortress as they watch, some viewing their ship with interest as it beaches itself.
“I hope one of you has a swift tongue…”
Brahmin dusts off his shirt and puts on his best scowl, urging the rest to follow his lead. As they begin to disembark, a dragon flits over to the part from the Fortress, questioning Ausk in Draconic.
“Well, what sort of goods did you bring? What have you got for tribute?”
“Er, Samrit?” He looks with a tilt of his head to the halfling, at a loss.
“Well?! What does he say?”
The other dragon lets out a snort, regarding Ausk with a critical eye before winging back to the Citadel.
“You let your humans talk to you like that? Some Captain you are…”
Ausk blinks, then matter-of-factually tells the group that the Captains here are Dragons. As tribute, they unload every cask of ale they carry, then urge the men to haul it up. As the pirates notice the hauling, they cheer and begin to come in hoards to carry it up. Men are swept away in the crowd. Samrit, still determined to take the lead, sets off toward the hall’s doors. There stands a rugged looking pirate, dressed in an old but well kept crimson Captain’s coat. He stares them all down before speaking.
You’re not fooling anyone. You smell like blood, but not months old blood. Mind your manners.
A collective nervous swallow rounds the group, but they enter after him. The first room is a long hallway, lined with portraits and pedestals. Each wear the Crimson jacket of the Captain, and each pedestal holds an artifact of power. They walk in silence to the end of the hall, noting the half-finished portrait of the Captain whom with they had just spoken to. His pedestal lies empty.
The next room holds the casks of ale, as well as many more festivities. Comfortable, if not worn, couches are strewn about the room, tables holding more pirates then could possibly fit around them, roasting pigs, and a full bar. Brahmin, Sparrow-kin, and Marcellus make themselves at home around the bar, attempting to blend in for a while. Vale passes through a set of double doors to the massive courtyard.
In the Bar, Marcellus and Brahmin enjoy blending in, sipping at a mug of ale whilst listening to the surrounding conversation. They hear whispers about the latest prize, a boy that will likely fetch them a fortune, and whispers wondering who supplied all of the ale. Sparrow-kin, unused to this sort of gathering, finds Marcellus in the crowd.
”Shouldn’t we be looking for the boy.”
Marcellus pulls Sparrow-kin close, and asks him to blend in with a growling whisper. Sparrow-kin back away, grunts, and repeats the question. Marcellus attempts to pull him in close again to dissuade his voice. Sparrow-kin pushes him back, with a strength known only to a Barbarian. Marcellus goes stumbling back into a group of pirates, who immediately curse and begin brawling with each-other.
A good ol’ fashion tavern-fight erupts, sowing chaos in the room. Samrit sneaks back into an area near the bar, eager to avoid the conflict, while Sparrow-kin throws a chair at the Barkeep. He grunts, hefts his club, and starts forward. Sparrow-kin darts over the bar, pushing back the Keep, and throws open the trap-door. The Barkeep stares at him, wide-eyed, and rings a small bell. The entire room goes silent, stopping their brawls as the Captain enters to see Sparrow-kin descending the hole. His eyes go wide with madness, and he turns to Marcellus and Samrit.
“YOU! YOU WILL PAY FOR HIS CRIMES!”
The Crimson-swathed pirate draws his thick-bladed scimitar and affixes Marcellus. He starts forward, and a quick dance to steel begins. Brahmin skirts around the fight to flank, but in a quick flash of steel, two deep-red gashes tear through Marcellus’ armor, felling him. As Brahmin backs away from the crazed Captain, the double-doors between the Courtyard and Bar swing open, revealing the stern gaze of a massive Black Dragon. The Captain sinks, sheathing his sword and returning to the large dragon without a word.
Brahmin blinks. Vale peeks from around the door, throwing a thumbs up.
“H-how did you do that? Do I even want to know?”
“Let’s just say I owe someone. So, what happened?”
Minutes earlier, in the Courtyard
Dragons of all shapes, sizes, and coloration line the walls, lounging on carved outcroppings from the stone walls. At least fifty can be seen, preening and sunning. One wall has a massive opening where dragons look out across the island, occasionally flying in to an outcropping. At the center of the room is a massive stone dais, atop which sits a curled Black Dragon, easily Ancient. Beside him is seated the Captain in Crimson, engaged in quiet talks.
Ausk peers down from his place on an outcropping, proclaiming that they are heated. Vale chuckled, marveling in the sheer number of Dragons that surround her. She walks a circuit of the room, cataloging in a small book the colors and features of several. The sounds of fighting begin to echo from the other room, and she wanders back toward the door.
Then, a small bell rings, and the Captain stands and enters the other room. All the dragons begin to chitter amongst themselves in Draconic. Vale looks up to the nearest dragon, tilting her head.
“What’s going on in there?”
“A fight, of course.” The Jade colored dragon, nods her head, then presses an ear back to the wall. “Seems to be with the new-comers.”
“Really… well, that’s not good.”
“Guess I have to do something about that- after all, I came with them. Who can I get to stop this?”
“Lord-Captain Tulley will only listen to Coraxis. I’d speak with him.” The Jade bowed her head again, a gesture that pointed to the large Black Dragon. Vale bowed her head in return, addressing Coraxis now.
“Sir… can I get you to stop Tulley?”
The massive dragon snorted, mulling over the words.
“You will owe me a favor.”
“Done,” She reached out, pressing her hand against his muzzle. With long strides, she made it over to the door, heaving it open…
Meanwhile, In the Prison-Pit
After falling nearly fourty feet, Sparrow-kin hauls himself up from the dusty stone floor and immediately starts down the hall. The layout is similar to a maze, but he quickly finds a bed and wardrobe, which are near a cell of some sort. In a cage within the cell is a blind-folded woman, who calls out at Sparrow-kin’s arrival.
“Is anyone there? I’d appreciate it if you could let me out- you don’t smell like a pirate. You smell like the Breath…”
Sparrow-kin jerks at this, agreeing to help the woman, and wrenches the barred door off its hinges with his glaive. She removes her blindfold after exiting the cage, revealing that her face is covered in tiny bloody cuts and her eyes are milky white. She thanks Sparrow-kin and introduces herself as Sucella asks why he’s in such a horrible place. He replies that he’s looking for a boy. She makes an affirming noise, saying that she heard them take a boy down the hall.
They venture toward the vauge direction to find another cell, this time locking the nephew away. He whimpers, smelling of blood, urine, and feces. With another grunt and leveraging of his glaive, Sparrow-kin frees the boy. He thanks them, but otherwise is silent and whimpering. Sparrow-kin hands him his kukri, though the boy is confused as how to wield it.
They continue to search through the underground passageways, turning to find a heavy locked door. With a similar glaive-lifting tactic, Sparrow-kin find himself unable to break down the door. Sucella sighs and sends a small piece of paper beyond the door, which explodes. Unceremoniously, they swing it open to find an unsettling sight.
A massive human skull sits at the center of a circle. To say that it is simply a circle is an understatement; two carved spears cross over the center of the circle, though which a sword is also carved. To the sides of the circle are two massive carved fists, holding chains that lead to the skull. It turns to stare at the group, eye-sockets flickering with an orange, then red light. It stares for a moment before saying,
“Oh…eh, what do you want?”
The group guffaws, staring at the floating skull with a fearful but questioning look.
“If you could just… leave, that’d be nice.”
“I’m alright with that.” With that Sparrow-kin turns and closes the door, trying as best as he can to lock it behind him. They start back the other way, looking for an exit…
Brahmin and Vale combine forces to revive Marcellus, who simply asks them what is going on. They determine to climb down the hole after Sparrow-kin, dropping down Vale’s rope. As they reach the bottom, they set out to search for Sparrow-kin… only to find him moments later.
The reunion includes introductions, and quickly Sparrow-kin urges the group to wander, interested in exploring. Vale protests, eagerly wanting to leave the island lest they incur the wrath of the Lord-Captain once more. He explores nevertheless, finding a lone chest down a hallway. Inside resides a Spyglass, ornate and intricate beyond anything he has ever seen. Curious, he peers down its length to find strange things waiting for him on the other side. While looking through the spyglass, you see the true-nature of the objects and people beyond.
In Samrit’s place, you see a shadowy mass with a rose and seal emblazoned on the forehead.
In Lucius’ place, you see a a man bearing his description, but transformed. Another pair of eyes sits over his own, and three pairs of wings sprout from his back. Behind him, the seal of Aeomanric rotates slowly. His lantern archon looks much the same, though the figure of a crouched young girl in light appears to be holding it.
In Indie’s place, you see a strange obsidian golemn roughly his size with a sigil glowing where a face would be. This symbol is of a fist gripping a lightning-bolt.
In Astora’s place, you see a vaguely humanoid shape, made of white energy. At the crown, a trail of white light streams out like mist.
As Astora recieves the spyglass, she clutches it tight. Sparrow-kin has expressed his desire to take the Spyglass for his people, but taking it may anger the Lord-Captain. She expresses her desire to leave it. Tensions rise as voices do, and eventually all but Sparrow-kin decide that it is best to leave it. His face flushes, and he goes to tackle Vale, urging how important it could be for his people. A nonlethal engagement follows until, as Brahmin is almost to the rope leading out, Sparrow-kin whispers that he will no longer pursue the issue. They lock the Spyglass back up and return to the surface, where everyone returns to the ship.
Vale takes a quick moment to ask of Coraxis what his favor is, but he shakes his head and says that he will ask of it later.
With Sucella and the King’s Nephew on-board, the leave the Island, setting off towards Westwatch and King’s County…