Return to Caldera

Session 3: Better the devil you know?

Our heroes trade swords for words, but at what cost?

Standing on the bottom-most deck of the Ghostly Stallion, our intrepid heroes began the day with their backs to the wall, standing tall against a seeming endless flood of pirates and lizardmen, neither willing to give ground. The battle had also been joined by Grimscale, the lizardfolk captain of the Stormseye, the last ship our ladies and lads occupied. He was refusing jovial calls from the deck above to cease the fighting, and giving our heroes a lot of trouble with his power over biting cold.

...Grimscale, lizardfolk captain of the Stormseye...

Utilising some impressive moves and a little luck, however, the incursion force managed to gain the upper hand on the defenders! It was a combined effort from the group – Keridwen, the Deva Invoker, smited Grimscale’s spirit companion with the power of her God. Thoradin, meanwhile, brought Grimscale to his knees after cracking his upper leg with his mighty warhammer. Calitris pounced, lying the scaled shaman onto his back and Ell, ever the opportunist, flourished her sword high before driving it across his chest. Grimscale was dead.

Before they could gut the last remaining lizardman, however, a tall figure with a broad smile joined them, casually eating an apple. Though he was flanked by a couple of crewmen, he made no attempt to engage in battle. Instead, he talked. It didn’t take long for Oranna, the youngest member of the group, to recognise the man as Captain Carmine Blaggard; much chronicled pirate and adventurer! He was either a charming, swashbuckling hero or a foul-mouthed plundering pirate, depending on who you asked. Oranna was immediately besotted, forgetting that they’d just spent a good amount of time felling his crewmen. Blaggart didn’t seem too phased, however, and took the heroes aside so that he could talk with them more privately. He offered them a deal. Basically, they could return with him to the Umbra Isles where he would, indeed, sell off his human cargo, but cut them in on what was promising to be a great profit. They were then free to either continue their journey to Caldera, or stay on with him as high-ranking pirates – they’d certainly proven themselves in battle, after all!

...a charming, swashbuckling hero or a foul-mouthed plundering pirate...

Some were more interested in this deal than others. Oranna and Ell (the latter in a more roundabout way) ended up dining with the captain and a few other pirates in his quarters. There was good food and mead a-plenty. The others were more hesitant, and had convinced Blaggart that they’d like to stay on the bottom deck to consider their options. He tried to dissuade them, but didn’t press too hard, and relented. He did post a few guards on the bottom level. These, he said, were to help them if the hag in the back got up to any mischeif. After a time, the ship went to sleep, leaving only a skeleton crew awake. Ell walked back down to the bottom deck where Keridwen, Calitris and Thoraden had already begun putting their plan into action – they were going to release the hag! Ell fetched Oranna who maintained the portal that ran to the Stormseye, for a quick escape should they need it, whilst Keridwen turned her attentions to the seals holding the hag.

Breaking those seals meant noise, and the crew of the Ghostly Stallion were immediately alerted to Keridwen’s machinations. Thoradin, having previously positioned himself for just such a happenstance, hammered the first of the pirates who raced through the door, breaking the thug’s foot. He wasn’t quick enough to tag the others who flooded in, however, and Oranna joined the battle; her magic missiles tearing through the rabble. Ell, who returned to the group after a brief ‘reconnaissance’ through the portal to the Stormseye, joined in the battle as well. They had to hold off the enemy until Keridwen managed to free the hag. After that, their decision to free her would be shown as wise (meaning that she aides them in felling the pirates) or foolish (meaning that she kills everyone on board, including them).

...when they're either slaughtered or saved by the brooding creature...

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