Torak (Cleric 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 1), with henchman Mervix the Victorious (Dwarf 1) and familiar, Hermes
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with henchman Alister Pembroke the Monster Hunter (Musketeer 1), familiar Dirty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
It took some fast talking, but Chaff was able to convince
|Cha'nrk War Galley "Immolator"|
Joined by Torak, the party settled down under the overturned boat for a nights rest before marching across the island. Kwinsea took the opportunity to summon a familiar, and after a few hours, the aquamancer was joined by a large hermit crab she called "Hermes". The three (plus dog, bird and crab) set out at first light, reaching the anchorage about an hour later. There, hiding under the trees and out of sight of the ships in the cove, they found a dwarf and a man. These, it seemed, were the deserters from the "Savage Sisters" Azimer had encountered on their last visit. That ship was back in port, so the two were hiding from the wrath of the captain and her ogre-ish first mate. They were getting quite tired of camping out on this island, however, and so Alister Pembroke the Monster Hunter, and Mervix the Victorious pledged their loyalty to Chaff and Kwinsea respectively, and joined the party.
Turning now to the anchorage, they could see the beach was pretty much empty. Torgus Traveling Tavern was gone, and the shantytown at the far end looked laregly deserted. At anchor were four ships: the aforementioned "Savage Sisters", their old comrade Thorgrim in the "Serpents Revenge", the merchant Dravos in the "Barbaric Wind", and a fourth vessel of outlandish style. The galley was no where in sight. Chaff sent Dirty Bird out to summon a boat from Dravos' ship, and the party was soon aboard doing some shopping (including an oversize waterskin for Hermes to use as a self-watering shell) and get the news. He confirmed Torak's story about the Chan'rk galley, as well as their suspicion about Thorgrim going back to slaving. The party wasn't keen on sticking around in case the galley returned, and Alister and Mervix kept making nervous sideways glances at the "Savage Sisters". So when business with Dravos was complete, they transshipped back to the beach, and hiked back to their boat at the other end of the island. There they kept out of sight until nightfall, when the "Loreman's Passage" returned and picked them up. After some grumbling about extra mouths to feed, Rold turned the ship about and headed back to the island of the crystal caves.
Several days sail found the newly enlarged party back at the illusionary cliff and the crystal caves. The repeated the climb up to the second entrance, and passed though the outer caves without event. They did note, however, that the signs of their previous visits (Abdul el Abdul's scratches on the walls, the remains of the brittle bones) had been removed. Entering the room where they'd battled the brittle bones, they found that the exit the creatures were guarding led into the chamber of large crystals. Following the rough path along the crystals, the party twisted and wound it's way through the maze. They encountered another crystal mantis, but unlike that last, this one was easily taken out. Alister and Mervix, in particular, proved their worth in the battle by standing fast in the front rank and landing most of the blows.
Moving on from their battle with the mantis, the party came to a point where two of the giant crystals met. There, suspended in mid air over the narrow gap, was a clear globe about 6 inches across, filled with a swirling greenish gas. Kwinsea approached carefully, and whipped a sack over the sphere. She found it behaved the same as the previously recovered planetary globe, and she was able to haul the floating sphere along behind her. Passing on from there, the next point of interest was a short crystal that jutted to the side. At it's end, a long set of grooves were scratched into the surface, as if some clawed beast had gone over the edge. Nothing was seen after a careful inspection into the abyss below, so the party moved on. They soon passed over a patch of dried blood, obviously not human. Assuming a connection with the scratch marks, they looked around for that last location, but it proved to be below them, and off to the side, rather than above them.
Continuing along the long straight crystal. they didn't get far before a squad of the brittle bones emerged from the darkness at the edge of their lamp light. Battle was joined, and once more the two new henchman Alister and Mervix formed the front rank. This time the battle did not go so well, The henchmen each took multiple blows, dropping dead after exchanging just a few blows with their foes. This left Chaff, Torak and Kwinsea in a fight for survival. Torak was able to splatter a few with a thrown flask of oil, which Kwinsea set alight. The aquamancer then stepped into the breach left by the deceased Alister, and proceeded to use her trident to hook into the skeletons, tip them over the edge of the crystal and into the darkness below. Chaff attempted to shoot one with his pistol, but missed, so he retreated to allow the more heavily armored Torak to step forward into the breach. In the end, it was another close fight with the brittle bones, but the party was victorious. The paused just long enough to bind their wounds and loot some useful items from the fallen henchmen (Torak in particular inherited a musket from Alister, while Chaff muttered something about how much money he'd been wasting on firearms for henchmen). Pressing on down the long, gently slopping crystal, they emerged at a familiar location, the entrance to the round tunnel and the circular gate. Entering, Chaff pulled out the pyramidal key, which he inserted into it's proper place in the door. They were again reward with a loud 'clunk' and sounds of gears or parts moving in the door. All that was left now was the find the cubic gear to (hopefully) open the gate and see if all the death and destruction was worth the quest. But that would wait for another day, and the once more depleted party retraced their steps, and arrived thankfully unmolested back at the cave entrance and thence back to the "Loreman's Passage".
5 Brittle Bones
1 Crystal Mantis
Mervix the Victorious
Alister Pembroke the Monster Hunter