Chaff (Vivimancer 1), with henchman/carrier Conch (Calmonari 1),
Gormus (Thief/Specialist 1), with henchman Villius Paticus (Cleric 1)
Azimer (Calmonari 1)
Thorgrim was quite pleased by the treasure haul, now finally seeing a return on his investment. He was a little less impressed by the condition of his exploration crew. All recovering from near fatal injuries, except for the midget vivimancer and his calmonari henchman. It was therefore rather easy for Chaff to convince Thorgrim to sail the "Serpents Revenge" back to the anchorage for rest and refit. The captain was made happier when the vivmancer indicated he and Conch would go back in to the now (hopefully) not to dangerous cave and recover the silver coins which had been left behind.
Before leaving the ship, Chaff had his henchman go down into the bilges with a sack to capture a few rats. The vivimancer and calmonari were then rowed over to the beach, and they made their way back to the room with the shaft. Luckily they made it there without incident, and equally lucky the rock was still lifted out of the shaft by their Rube Goldberg rope work. Before going down below for the treasure however, Chaff was determined to learn more about the gas-filled globes, one of which had killed the musketeer Fiona. The vivimancer pulled a rat out of the sack, tied it to the end of a 10' pole, and then proceeded to poke each globe in turn with his new research assistant. The pink gas had no apparent effect, while the mauve turned the rat a vibrant mauve hue. When exposed to the red gas, however, the rat went raving mad and clawed and bit itself until little was left but a bloody mauve scrap of fur. Well, that left two more rats, so another was tied to the pole and exposed to the brown gas. The rodent immediately went limp, but close examination proved that it was not dead, just sleeping. Chaff poked the snoozing rat at the mauve globe again, now being desirous of owning a pet mauve rat. He and Conch also breathed deeply of the pink gas, and found themselves much more resistant to the effects of other gas attacks.
|'Rat-on-a stick' courtesy of Gormus' player|
Captain Thorgrim locked the treasures in his cabin, entered the haul into his ledger for later payout, and then lifted anchor and raised sail to head back to the Anchorage. Progress was slow at first due to head winds, but a shift in the direction the next day brought them to the anchorage in record time. Conch tried to determine the exact direction and distance of travel for future reference, but the clouds obscured the sun and stars and allowed him to figure only that they had sailed roughly north. Swinging around the island and into the harbour, they found it much more crowded than when they'd left just over a week ago. Four ships rode at anchor. The single masted cog "Divine Providence"was still there. It was now joined by a pair of three mastered caravels (the "Valorous Star" and the "Savage Sisters") and a dilapidated, decaying old tub by the name of "Blue Wing". On shore, the beach was now occupied by a complex of tents from which sounds of laughter and music arose. The "Serpents Revenge" anchored close to the other vessels, and the crew swarmed over to the other ships to gather news. Which they shared with the party upon return.:
- The tent city was "Torgus' Traveling Tavern" shipped here by the "Valorous Star" to provide refreshment and entertainment for the visitors and regulars at the anchorage;
- The "Divine Providence" was still looking for an exploration crew, the captain having had no luck getting anyone to join him as of yet;
- The "Savage Sisters" was getting ready to sail with an exploration crew on board for parts unknown (but there were rumors of a pyramid topped with golden statues);
- The "Valorous Star" was a merchant vessel carrying a wide selection of fine elven wares;
- The "Blue Wing" was loaded with would be colonists who'd been duped into paying for passage to the fabled new islands where they could settle. The crew had taken their money and dumped them here, slipping away in a small boat in the dead of night.
Meanwhile, the rest of the (still recovering) party took their share of the treasures recovered and made their way to visit Lifjin on the "Valorous Star" to checkout the wares. The overly perfumed and overly touchy-feeling elf showed a wide selection of gear, including a full range of alchemical supplies. All of which was available from her at just a 10% markup, on account of the fine elven quality. Conch had no choice but to restock everything he'd left in the caves, and the others replaced depleted supplies and provisions. They then headed to shore to check out the tavern, and Gormus proceeded to buy drinks for the whole establishment and begin telling wild drunken tales of his prowess and adventures. He got a few hecklers, including Gustov, a stuttering, built like a bull cleric from the exploration crew on the "Savage Sisters". Though tempers flared and ale was spilled, no foul play erupted and the party managed to haul the inebriated specialist back to their ship.
The party also made a visit to the "Divine Providence, to speak with the skipper and see what adventures he had planned. The tall and stick thin captain, Yorgam of Tarsk , informed them he had a commission from the owners of a vessel that had recently gone missing in the Far Isles. He had some idea of where to search, and was looking for a good away crew to help. Sniffing down at the party, he agreed they could probably do the job. But after some discussion they decided to stick with the devil they knew and head back out with Thorgrim and the "Serpents Revenge". For he had revealed to the parry that his sailors had explored the ring of islets further and discovered more caves that may hold lost treasures.
Speaking of the devil they knew, Azimer pumped of the crew for information on their skipper. He seemed a little over interested in not getting back to civilization when asked about the possibility of sailing back to Xin. With some reluctance, the crewman revealed the "Serpents Revenge" was a slaver. On their last voyage, they were to deliver a load of slaves to the Black Theocrat for use in some obscene ritual. Thorgrim got a better offer and delivered them to a Zevestian Pasha instead, and the Black Theocrat's assassins have been after them ever since. Hence they were sailing around here in the middle of nowhere. And, thought Azimer, that explained the shackles lining the hold.
Taking their leave of the witch, the party marched back to the anchorage to rest and drink (Gormus restrained by only a lack of funds from going on a truly epic bender). The time soon came, however, to sail again. Several days later, the "Serpents Revenge" arrived back at the ring of rocky islets. This time Thorgrim headed for the northernmost isle, dropping anchor outside a small cove. A line of 100' tall sea stacks led across the cove and onto a sandy beach nestled below high black cliffs. As the party was rowed across the waters, they could see three caves leading off the beach. Once ashore, Azimer looked about the beach and noted signs of webbed humanoid footprints in the sand. The sand itself was black, mixed with a range of different coloured sand. When the party formed up and head into the first cave entrance, they noted the rough rock tunnel was a similar black rock shot throughout with veins and vugs of different coloured rock. They followed a winding corridor to a three way intersection.While discussing down which branch they should proceed, Villius observed 5 long snake-like creatures drop from the ceiling ahead and glide down onto the party. A fight ensued, and the creatures bit down on Chaff, Villius and Gormus. They hung on, continuing to suck blood as their victims tried desperately to knock them loose. Conch was able to trap one in his net, and luckily the others with dispatched before draining the blood completely from their victims.
5 Gliding Vampiric Lampreys killed.
1 mauve rat