Arr, me hearties! Last session, our intrepid heroes found themselves with a quandry; help the pirates who intend to sell them off as slaves, or aid the unknown critters that seem to be attacking them. Hoping to get the pirate folk onside, our forthinking adventurers chose the former, and started making blue goo out of the misshapen attackers. It was about this time that they were joined by a pair of fellow slav…er… passengers. A stout dwarf named Thoradin and a whimsical human named Nic. Thoradin waged headfirst into the battle. He was blissfully unaware about the motivations of the pirates, thinking they’re merely shipping people to the free lands of Caldera, and wanted to save them from this alien menace. Nic, on the otherhand, identified the attacking creatures as Void Crawlers; chaotic beings that liked to slip into the material plane through rifts left from unstable teleportations. He helped for a little while, before deciding it was more entertaining to sit back and watch the show… and quite a show it was! The pirates were all but decimated by the sudden appearance of the Crawlers, leaving the party to (not unskillfully) mop up the mess.
Meanwhile, back in the captains quarters, Ell was busy trying not to get diced by a couple of ghosts she’d managed to unintentionally free from a bottle she was attempting to steal. Her quick, tiefling reflexes kept her in good stead, however, and she managed to dispatch both before they’d done any lasting damage. Still, spooked by the enounter, she ran back to the rest of the party. By the time she’d reached them, they’d polished off the last Crawler and were now standing in a room of damaged furniture, boxes and things, wounded or dead pirates and various puddles of blue goo. She recognised Nic as an old friend, and Thoradin made himself known to the group, hoping to get to the bottom of what they’d just been through.
Keridwen, the Deva Invoker, led the group forward. A blue glow emanating from a door up ahead piqued her interest, and when investigated, she correctly identified the circle of teleportation that generated it. It was a strange thing to find on a ship at sea, being that this particular kind was a short-ranged circle, but they guessed it was linked to one of the other ships in the fleet. Also in the room was Grothic, the large blackscale first-mate of the ship. He was lying on the floor covered in much of his own blood. It seemed the Crawlers overcame him. Thoraden did what he could to heal him, but it wasn’t enough. Grothic hissed angrily at the dwarf as his soul passed toward oblivion. There was no sign of the ships captain, Grimscale.
As the group studied the glowing circle, Ell had Keridwen look at the maps she’d ‘borrowed’ from said captain’s quarters. Things were worse than they thought – they only had a day before they reached the Umbra Isles and the many hundreds of pirates who inhabited them. Determined not to become the playthings of scurvy ravaged sea-dogs, they activated the teleportation circle and stepped through (though Ell stayed behind a moment to make sure there was no immediate danger on the other side).
What they found was a hairy, loin-cloth wearing, dishevelled human who made no attempt to enter into conversation with Nic, who had happily attempted to provide it. Instead he attacked; against the six of them, however, he stood little chance. He was tied up and unconcious before long. This gave the group a chance to look over the room. On one wall was a small shrine dedicated, it seemed, to the red-skinned demon they’d seen in their dream! Knowing nothing good ever came from evil altars, Nic wasted no time in trying to defile it. Ell and Oranna, meanwhile, had roused the hairy cultist from his unconciousness and were doing their best (or perhaps worst) at interrogating him. When he merely laughed and them, telling them that his master would see them burn in the abyss, Ell began to use her dagger to do the talking for her.
Back at the altar, Calitris and Kerdiwen were doing their best to subdue Nic when the former noticed a closed doorway hidden behind the curtain beaing the visage of the red-skinned demon. Determined to have the party focussed on this new find, she sauntered over to their captive and put the man out of his misery with one swipe of her feline-like claws. Ell’s attention now focussed on the secret door, she decided to put her rogue-ish skills to use. She picked the lock, but had to withstand some kind of necrotic feedback after doing so. The door swung open and there, locked in a circle of binding, was the woman from the communal dream. She looked weak and bent over. She spoke to them, pleading with them to help her escape. Keridwen and Calitris weren’t completely won over by the situation, and Thoraden’s natural suspicion of humans served to alienate himself from the prisoner.
Bored with the woman’s cries for aid, Ell and Nic decided to investigate the ship. Ell peeked through the door near where they found the first hairy human; there were two more guarding this door. Deciding to utilise the element of surprise, Ell leapt out, delivering a mighty blow to one of them, seperating a large chunk of flesh from his arm. They immediately returned fire, so to speak, and battle ensued. Back at the, now identified, circle of binding, Keridwen, Calitris and Thoraden were pressing the magically shackled woman with questions. She quickly became angry with them, promising them that they would all be killed by the others on the ship unless they freed her. Hearing the ruckus that Ell had started, Calitris and Oranna left to investigate, leaving Thoraden and Keridwen to watch over the woman. As they did so, the woman’s skin began to peel away; she wasn’t interested in maintaining the illusion any longer, and after a few moments a gaunt, an old crone with midnight blue skin stood woman once did; she smiled confidently to herself, despite still being caged, “You’ll need me soon enough.”
Calitris and Oranna weren’t the only folk to be drawn by the sound of battle nearby, a haggard, skittish man in the soiled garments of a warlock scampered down the stairs. He became enraged when he saw that his men were under attack, literally tearing out a large clump of hair in his rage. Afterwards, he unleashed a powerful black energy at Nic which burned the bard from the inside, exploding through his eyes and mouth. He and Ell had no choice but to turn their attention to this new entrant into the fray, lest his spells overcome them. Backed up by the rest of the group, they held their ground forcing the spellweaver back up the stairs, and not before Nic got a good swipe in with his blade.
Their respite was shot-lived, however, as in place of the dark cleric, two lizardmen joined the battle! Nic and Ell were surrounded. By this time the battle was joined by all! Nic cut one of the lizardmen in half as it charged for Ell, and also managed to cleave a cultist from cox to crown! Grimscale, the shamanistic lizardman who captained the Stormseye, the first ship our heroes inhabited, meandered down the stairs then. He looked with a distant disdain at the goings on; his easy demeanor offset the chaos around him. Lifting a hand, a great swirl of icy shards sliced through Keridwen’s immortal body. When it had cleared, a small, white-skinned draconic creature remained, snapping angrily at the Deva. The dark cleric could be heard on the upper levels of the ship summoning re-enforcements, whilst still in the circle of binding, the crooked crone smiled confidently…