A Gathering Storm

Session 4, Trading and Demons

Upon returning to Alazar, an establishment selling alcohol was finally located to great rejoicing. While enjoying their libations, one of the players at a card table slammed an enormous sapphire onto the table that quickly drew the attention of the heroes. When Ashcar approached the man, he was able to determine that the man had gotten the gem from an island far to the east in exchange for weapons. In fact, he was looking for a ship to take him back to the island on another trading excursion. The man had four crates of goods for trade but in his haste to leave, there would be little time for the Scarlet Drake to be fully loaded with additional goods for the journey. To prevent his leaving, Ashcar knocked him unconscious and shanghaied him aboard the Scarlet Drake.

With the local stocks of available weapons already bought up by the trader, word was sent to nearby towns of the heroes interest in purchasing large quantities of weapons but it would take some time for the supplies to arrive. While waiting in town, and assessing their gains from their last expedition, it was determined that the current contract with the crew was dangerously impeding their finances so Ashcar took it upon himself to attempt to fleece the crew into accepting a new deal for a promotion with a pay cut that almost turned them against the officers.

In need of funds, they set out to collect the other bounty that was currently available, to track down and capture a pirate known as Goldtalon. Tracking him to an island, his ship was spotted and shots were traded at range as the Scarlet Drake closed with his ship. Drawing alongside, Ashcar and Ann rushed aboard the enemy vessel and attacked the crew. When the captain of the ship was dispatched, the remaining crew quickly surrendered allowing their ship to be captured and towed back to Alazar.

Upon reaching port, the officers again attempted to renegotiate a new contract with the crew. An offer of a percentage of the take was quickly accepted by the crew, and would also protect the officers from taking a loss on any expedition that did not yield large amounts of revenue. After dealing with the contract, additional weapons were purchased to fill out the cargo and the Scarlet Drake set sail for Starstone Island.

When they were close to the island, they discovered that it would be very difficult to navigate the reefs to reach the port without prior knowledge of the route. To achieve this goal, Ashcar leaped to the water and transformed into a sting-ray to chart the route before returning and guiding the ship in to the dock. From the decks of the ship, they could see that the structures that would have comprised the small town had been ruined but not weathered. Disembarking from the ship, Ashcar climbed a tree to get a lay of the land. Off in the distance a large fort could be seen as well as smoke rising from another part of the jungle in the distance.

Setting off into the dense growth, the heroes made their way towards the source of the smoke. Emerging from the trees, they stood at the edge of a ruined temple complex with a glowing fire in the middle of the clearing surrounded by four suits of armour, one man, and a strange twisted looking creature. Ashcar snuck into the ruined temples main building to strike at the twisted creature from behind the cover of its walls while Belim circled around behind the building to also reach it. Brandt and Kazen-kai began working on the human from out in the open only to have the suits of armour come alive and also move to engage them. Ashcar and Belim worked together to quickly eliminate the strange creature before moving to help the others finish off the armour.

Returning to the ship after leaving the temple, they waited until morning before approaching the fortress. They were denied entrance by the guards there who mentioned the surrounding jungle had had a strange effect on some of their soldiers. Undeterred, they once again returned to the ship and bade the trader take them to the tribe he had dealt with on his last visit to the island.

When the man finally located his trail marker, they quickly hurried after him only to come to a clearing bearing many prints and signs of habitation, but everything was gone. Letting Ashcar take the lead they followed the most prominent trail further into the woods. Eventually they found a small tribe of the indigenous people. Theses were the same people the man had traded with before and they were happy to trade sapphires for the weapons and also to hire the heroes to deal with those in the fort, people they said sought to disturb the island’s temples. It turned out that this island had been home to a cult worshipping demons in times past and now those in the fort were attempting to uncover the cult’s secrets. The heroes agreed to look into the matter for the tribe.

Returning to the fort, Ashcar scaled the wall while the others prepared to assault the main gate. Belim gave Ashcar a few moments to get into position before raising the portcullis for Brandt and Kazen-kai. When the engaged the guards in the lower chambers, Ashcar was taking on his own foes in the barracks above. He managed to quickly take out two of the sleeping men but the third awoke and called for help. Using a pot containing firedrake blood, Ashcar immolated the reinforcements as they stepped through the doorway to the barracks. Downstairs, the guards were fleeing before the others and when pursuit was given, a chamber containing a demon was revealed. The demon was trapped inside a magical cage but the guards were attempting to free it and let it loose on the heroes. Three of the four posts were deactivated before the heroes manages to slay the remaining guards. Kazen-kai quickly reactivated the posts before they joined back up with Ashcar.

Moving further into the fort/temple, they came to a room containing magical boxes and with more of the animated armour they had encountered out in the ruins. Further back in the room there were also a number of men dressed as scholars who as the heroes entered, began hexing them. In a violent and bloody battle, all of the defenders were slain and the room beyond revealed a raised dais upon which rested a large altar.

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