A Gathering Storm

Session 3, Bounties

After taking a rest in town, the heroes collected their newly repaired ship from the docks and set out after the remaining pirates from the Storm Crows. When their ship finally caught sight of the two storm crow ships they were riding low in the water and making for a nearby atoll.

As they gave chase more volcanic gasses began escaping from the nearby water caused by aftershocks from the volcanic eruption at the pirate base. Before long, a gout of lava burst from the water directly through one of the pirate ships, destroying it instantly.

Before they could catch up to the fleeing ship, it reached the atoll and dropped anchor. With the ship moored, the majority of its crew headed for shore in one of the smaller landing boats. As the Scarlet Drake pulled alongside, grappling nets were thrown across and the ship was quickly boarded. With only four pirates left on board; Ashcar, Belim, and Ann made short work of them only for Ann to fly after the landing boat. Seeing Ann leaving, Ashcar was quick to jump over the side and give chase as well.

Seconds after Ashcar hit the water, another gout of ash and steam rose from the water along with a Volcanic Dragon bursting into sight in the distance. As Ashcar and Ann chased down and dispatched the fleeing pirates, Belim, Kazen-kai, Brandt, and the crew fought with the Dragon. While the crew worked to shoot it down with the ballistas mounted on the Scarlet Drake, Brandt and Kazen-kai began exchanging blows with the beast. As the dragon flew in low over the pirate ship, it let out a breath of fire and set the forecastle ablaze. One of the crew threw Belim a bucket while four others moved to join him in working frantically to put out the fire. As the dragon continued to beat on Brandt and Kazen-kai, all the while setting everything around it ablaze, the fire began to get out of control on the pirate ship. Seeing Brandt and Kazen-kai hard pressed, Belim rushed through the flames to the rail of the ship and leaped to the back of the creature before snapping one of its wings and dropping it into the sea below. As the water began to harden the creatures blood, it tried to lash out at Kazen-kai one last time, only to open its defences for Belim to bury his axe in the creatures back ending its fight.

With only the flames left to battle, the fire had spread to most of the ship. In a last effort to prevent the ship from sinking, with the mooring line now burnt through, Belim grabbed the wheel and steered the ship straight for the beech. With the vessel now grounded, the fire was finally extinguished after the ship sustained extensive damage. After assessing their losses, the crew had only lost one member to the fire.

While the worked to repair the damaged ship enough to allow it to be towed back to Alazar, Ashcar noticed that three of the dwarves had gone missing. When he went to investigate, he too wandered off into the centre of the island, only to be followed not long after by Belim and the remaining dwarves. From atop the crow’s nest, Kazen-kait spotted an oasis where the dwarves, Belim, and Ashcar were now along with a number of women. Brandt and Kazen-kai soon headed for the oasis to see what had happened to the crew only to be assailed by strange singing, Sirens!

Brandt first woke Belim from his trance and the battle was joined. The members of the crew that were still under the spell moved to protect the sirens with their bodies as those free of the spell worked to free the others as well as fighting the sirens. Again, they managed to escape without losing any crew members and actually managed to free two others from the sirens that joined them as well.

Returning to the beach, they quickly got the pirate vessel seaworthy enough to tow and made for Alazar. Once they reached the city, they reported the defeat of the remaining Storm Crows and collected the rest of their reward. With their coin insufficient to repair the damaged ship, they made a down payment on the repairs and looked for a bounty to pursue in an effort to raise the remaining funds. It was decided to pursue a pirate who was last seen in a great seaweed field far out to sea.

When their ship reached the edge of the field, Ashcar spotted shapes moving beneath the surface and moved to investigate. The strange fish-like creatures quickly spotted him and moved directly for him and attacked. As the rest of the crew began to fire upon the creatures from the deck, they were shocked to see some of them rise out of the water and fly up to the deck to attack there as well. The fighting was quick and bloody and as the heroes gained an advantage over the creatures on the deck, strange shambling creatures also swarmed over the side and onto the deck as well. With the concerted effort of the crew, even these foul creatures were soon dispatched and the ship continued on into the endless fields of seaweed.

After pushing on for many hours, what appeared to be a mass of broken ships was spotted with a red vessel moored nearby, the Scarlet Drake was nearing its destination. First, they moved to investigate the ship to discover it deserted and held in place by a strange magical symbol which Kazen-kai was unable to dispel. With no way to commandeer the vessel they were after, they attempted to quietly approach the “island”.

Rowing to small vessels around to the far side of the mass, they entered through a hole in the outer wall where Ashcar quickly silenced a dark elf, but not before the creature managed to call out. As the others moved to cover the door, Ashcar got into position and quietly opened it to reveal a large group of skeletons as well as someone wearing full black plate armour who seemed to be performing a ritual to open a portal to one of the lower planes. Thinking quickly, Ashcar lobbed three grenades of Drake’s Blood into the room to burst into flame and disrupt the ritual while dropping a number of the skeletons.

The blackgaurd quickly extinguished two of the fires before once again turning back to the portal and resumed his work before the skeletons began trying to reach the heroes through the one remaining fire but found it to be quite difficult. With Belim holding the doorway, the other began trying to pick off the skeletons before Ashcar jumped into the water and swam around to come in from another direction to get to the armoured warrior. Even with Ashcar closing to close combat, the warrior completed his ritual and opened the portal allowing a demon to enter the chamber. Not long after the demon managed to climb up out of the portal, the warrior was down and another fire had been started across the portal from the room the heroes had entered through. Ashcar forced the demon back through the portal which Kazen-kai made impervious, but when he attempted to close the portal completely, he lost control of the magic and the Demon was able to return. Belim and Brandt quickly rushed onto the dais to help Ashcar battle the demon though in short order the creature had knocked both Brandt and Ashcar out and into the spreading flames. Belim then forced the demon’s attention to him before rushing to revive both Ashcar and Brandt and get them back into the fight. With the three heroes once again focusing their attacks on the creature, it was soon defeated to be banished back to the plane from whence it came and the heroes quickly fled the fire and back to the red ship. Upon reaching the vessel they discovered that with the death of its master, they were now able to easily dispel the ritual holding it in place and return with the prize to Alazar.

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