DM We last left our heroes on the Thunderer, the ship entombed at the dark heart of Journey’s End. What awaits our brave adventurers in its depths? Read on, True Believers, and find out!
Heinrick Even as the last of the monsters falls, Heinrick continues his sword’s arc, cutting a path through the western wall.
DM His blade cuts through the rotten boards with ease, opening up a hole to the ship’s prow.
The room’s stench is nauseating, but Katrina notices some of the floorboards are newer, and don’t fit quite right.
Katrina “Sneaky bitch…” she points to the newer floorboards. “Those are new, you can see they don’t fit quite right with the rest.”
Mari Mari nods. “Yep. Heiny, take that club of yours and smash them up, would you?”
Heinrick “It all looks like slime-covered gunk to me. Where do you want me to cut through?”
Katrina “A sword that doubles as a club. I won’t comment on how absurd that is…” Kat rolls her eyes and points to the newer boards. “There.”
Mari “Just chop, big guy, and then hop down so that us ladies don’t have to get our boots dirty.”
Heinrick Heinrick gives Mari a look that speaks volumes of skepticism about her being a ‘lady’, but chops where Katrina indicates.
DM A few swift strikes and the floor is reduced to soggy, vine covered kindling. Darkness lurks in the hold below.
Katrina Kat picks up a few pieces of splintered wood and calls light to them, tossing them down into the darkness.
Heinrick Heinrick hops down the hole after Kat’s lights.
Katrina Kat waits above for the all clear from Heinrick.
DM The hold is dank and reeks of mildew. A soggy skeleton lies slumped against the doors.
Mari “Well, Heiny?”
Heinrick “Nothing’s moving.”
Mari Mari rolls her eyes at Kat and grins. “All right, catch me!” She jumps down onto Heinrick.
Heinrick Heinrick arrests her fall with his free hand, and sets her lightly on her feet.
Mari “Show off.”
Heinrick “At every opportunity, Mari.”
Katrina Kat slips down more carefully, catching herself with one hand on the lip of the hole and landing gracefully on her feet.
Heinrick Heinrick steps a bit to the south, and peers around the corner.
Katrina Kat looks at the skeleton, then around the hold for anything moving or of interest.
Heinrick Then, seeing it was just a trick of the light, he approaches the doors in the middle of the wall.
DM Other than the two doors that lean on rusted hinges, there is nothing of interest here. The skeleton is propped against the doors.
Heinrick He pokes the skeleton gently, making sure it won’t get back up of its own accord.
DM The skeleton’s water logged bones squish like a sponge as the half elf pokes them.
Heinrick “Damn… wonder how long he’s been here?” He moves the old bones to one side, clearing the doors, then opens them.
Katrina “I doubt we’ll ever know Heinrick. Even the wood on this ship is rotted, any paper – the ship’s log for instance – is likely long gone.”
DM The main cargo hold seems to be in relatively secure order…chests remain behind, still loaded with cargo.
Heinrick “Check the chests; there may be something useful in one of them.”
Katrina “After you.”
Mari Mari laughs as she pops one of the chests open. “Useful like money, maybe?” She spills a handful of coins on the floor.
Heinrick Heinrick approaches one of the chests, flipping it open.
Katrina Kat opens another chest.
Heinrick “Yep… exactly like money. Well, if we survive, anyway.”
DM The Thunder’s Hold still contains much of her valuable cargo. A quick search of the chests kept herein uncovers quite a lot of booty, including 1200 gp, 462 pp, four fine scrimshaw carvings, (each depicting one of the seasons and worth 250 gp if cleaned), a quartet of golden goblets worth 100 gp each, a silver church candelabrum worth 350 gp, an enormous barnacle covered shield depicting sharks devouring men (+1 animated tower shield) and a water tight bone scroll tube containing an arcane scroll of cone of cold, wall of stone, and permanency.
Mari “You got room in that magic purse of your, Heiny?”
Katrina Kats eyes light up at the scroll tube. “I’ve got a bit of room still in my pack. Take the platinum first, we’ll see what else we have room for.”
Heinrick Heinrick picks up the shield. “This might be useful if I’m ever on the wrong side of a fight. And yeah, it’s got plenty of unspace, or whatever it’s called.”
Mari “When are you NOT on the wrong side of a fight, Heiny?”
Heinrick “Good question. I’ll get back to you on that.”
Katrina “Whatever, he likes it. Load what you can, Heinrick, I’ll grab the rest if I can, we’ll split it up if we ever make it back to the Sea Wyvern.”
DM The adventurers quickly fill up their packs with the Thunder’s Cargo.
Katrina “Hum, well, shall we see what’s behind door number two?”
Heinrick Heinrick puts the shield and artwork in his enchanted backpack, then shovels in gold. Once the chests are empty, he proceeds down the room.
DM A huge section of the hull has rotted away here, leaving a stinking pit with walls of writhing green and brown vegetation. These walls shift with horrible half-formed life, semi-human shapes twisting and spasming from thick tumescent stalks like anthropomorphic fruits ready for harvest. The pit drops away into a noisome, unseen depth, certainly far deeper than sea level, into an unknown hell below.
Heinrick “Okay, see… this is more what I was expecting.”
Katrina “Why do things inevitably have to be at the end of dungeons or at the bottom of deep dark pits covered in monster plants.”
Mari “What sort of ‘things’, Kat? You think there is something down there?”
Heinrick “Because anything easier to get to has already been killed or taken?”
Mari “Killed by those thousands of swarming plant men that are out side, in case you’ve forgotten.”
Katrina “The heart of this thing if I had to guess Mari. And yes, probably Heinrick. I wonder how it would react to fire…” She tosses a fireball as far down the pit as she can.
Heinrick “You’ll probably wish you hadn’t done that, next time we have to fight.”
Katrina Kat shrugs, “There are a lot of things I wish.”
DM The fireball detonates below, probably a hundred feet down. A scream of pain and rage echoes up the maw to the heroes.
Katrina “I don’t think it liked that.”
Mari “Uh-oh… looks like you pissed it off, Kat.” Mari moves backwards, her cutlass ready and lightning growing in her eyes.
Heinrick Heinrick tightens his grip on his sword, and steps right to the edge of the pit, ready to slash the thing as it emerges.
Katrina Kat takes a few steps back and quickly casts haste, granting them all supernatural speed for the coming battle.
DM Rising from the center of the Maw, you lay your eyes upon the Mother of All.
This dislocated sack of vile smelling vegetation is wreathed in screaming humanoid forms that struggle to free themselves from the foul flesh. A vast distended belly bathed in nauseating green mucus hangs from the vaguely humanoid form. Infantile cries echo from the hideous passengers that slowly pull themselves from their mother. Twenty feet tall, this grotesque hybrid of woman and plant is a nightmare of mucoid arms and clustered eyes. It is a deviant thing of rot, a pyramidal bulk that rises to a head of red orbs and barbed thorny teeth.
Heinrick Choking down his reflexive fear and revulsion, Heinrick chops at the arm pulling the Mother up from her disgusting lair.
DM The blade bites in deep, but the Mother’s thorny exterior seems to resist the full force of the cut. Still, half formed growths scream all the louder as they are splattered by the weapon.
Mother of All The Mother’s sudden appearance at the mouth of the maw does little to shock the hardened adventurers, but her ferocious attack catches Heinrick somewhat off guard. A tentacle slams into him, knocking him back, but he resists, only to have a second forcefully send him stumbling away. (25 damage and moved back 10 ft.) Another tentacle lashes out towards Katrina, striking her as well, flinging her back. (14 damage) A final tentacle lashes Mari, sending the priestess flying away.
Mari “Burn!” Mari screams, lightning lancing down to strike the monstrous Mother. She moves back farther, out of the monster’s reach.
DM The lightning is ineffective.
Heinrick Heinrick rolls back towards the obscene plant-thing, and rises up with another heavy chop, putting all his weight behind it.
DM All his weight whiffs.
Katrina Kat takes a further step back and calls up the power in her robe to again bring celestial beings to her aid.
DM The ape comes forth into the Mortal Coil, beating its chest.
Ape It swiftly turns its chest beating into a monster beating, pounding at the Mother of All with its ham-sized fists and biting with its teeth.
DM The ape’s mighty fists appear to do no actual harm to the massive Mother.
Mother “Mmmmrrrrrdddddrrrrrrssssss!” the Mother screams.
Horrors Her half formed children echo her scream, and reach out to batter Heinrick and the ape who are standing so close to her. Heinrick bats them away, but the ape isn’t so fortunate. (11 damage)
Mother The Mother then strikes out with her tentacles, lashing Heinrick and the ape. (14 damage Heinrick, 15 and 14 damage to the ape.) Heinrick is once again flung back ten feet, while the ape is hurled five feet away. The Mother shifts towards the open cargo hold.
Mari Mari rushes towards the monster, avoiding its lashing tentacle to slice at it with her dessicating blade.
DM However, she suffers a devastatingly bad run of luck, and her blade gets lodged in the wall next to the creature.
Heinrick Heinrick steps towards the creature again, and launches a flurry of slashes, the likes of which have reduced many a lesser foe to shreds.
DM Heinrick’s flurry of slashes bore deep into the creature, despite its resistance. Massive gouts of blood and sap run over his hands, sizzling a bit as they land. The creature continues to shriek however, even as its tentacles sag limply.
Katrina Kat calls out to the others, “Don’t bother with electrical or cold-based attacks.”
Mari Mari gives a mirthless chuckle. “You can see that my bolt did jack piss squat to this bastard.”
DM The mental buzzing in their heads grows to a roar, as the Mother cries out to her endless army of children.
Katrina Katrina fires two thin beams of flame at the creature, trying to concentrate enough to get the spell off and wary of the monster’s reach.
The flames lance out and the Mother lets out a horrific shriek, echoed by a hundred thousand voices from across the sargasso. Her body degenerates into a writhing mass of rotting vegetation, screaming until it finally lies still. A moment later, the sargasso itself wakens, as the countless seaweed horrors that live within feel the true death of their Mother. Without her to hold their forms, they rapidly fall apart into sludge. Seconds later, the sargasso shudders and shakes as it begins to unravel from the center. The first to collapse is the maw itself, filling rapidly with sea water.
Katrina “I think we should get out of here!” Kat shouts over the roar of the rushing water.
Mari “Yeah, good idea, genius lady!” Mari yells back. “Let’s move!”
DM The ship begins breaking up.
Heinrick “Ya think?!” Heinrick rushes for the stairs that lead above the waterline.
Katrina “I try,” Kat shoots back, as she rushes toward the exit to the hold.
DM The Thunderer collapses into ruin as the kelp forest breaks apart, sending driftwood floating throughout the area. The churning water of the sea makes it difficult to stay afloat. The heroes are left floating in a rapidly expanding ocean, even as the kelp crumbles away to rot.
Katrina Kat swims toward the largest piece of driftwood she can find.
DM Grasping a hold of it, she manages to float with relatively little effort.
Heinrick Heinrick treads water for a moment. “Good a time to use these as any…” He pulls a potion off his belt and drinks it, then climbs up onto the surface of the water, standing as if it were dry land.
Katrina “Maybe you’d like to take advantage of your water walking powers to gather up enough driftwood to make a raft?”
Heinrick He sees Kat floating relatively safely, then looks around for Mari. “Sure. I’d share, but they don’t last long enough for all of us to get back to the Wyvern.”
Katrina “Let’s hope the Wyvern comes for us – I don’t even remember which direction it was in, but once it gets dark I’ll send up a flare or something, hopefully it’ll help them find us.”
Mari Mari is treading water next to Kat’s driftwood. “Never let go, Kat…. never let go.”
Katrina “Show off,” Kat says to Mari.
Heinrick He hands Kat and Mari each one of the potions. “On the other hand, won’t do us any good to drown in the next hour, either.” He then starts pushing some of the larger chunks together.
Katrina “Save the potion for now, I’m content to sit here and watch you put together a raft. You could probably dig some rope out of my pack if you need it.”
Mari Mari laughs. “It’s twilight, I can pray to Besmara for her blessings… we can contact the cap’n and have her come pick us up. Assuming His Nobleness doesn’t take over and sail away.”
Heinrick “Don’t even joke about that. I’d swim to Farshore just to get back at him.”
Mari Mari paddles around a bit, doing a lazy backstroke.
Katrina “If His Nobleness tries I’ll put together a raft out of this mess and chase him to the end of the world if I have to. I’ll make myself an Avner skin rug so I can walk all over him like he walks all over everyone else.”
Mari “Ugh, having that hideous face looking at you all day? I’d have nightmares.” Mari swims a ways away and begins praying.
Katrina “Priests and priestesses,” Kat bemoans. “She can pray while floating in the middle of the ocean and get new spells. If only it were that easy for me…”
Heinrick Heinrick lashes the chunks together with rope from his and Kat’s backpacks to form a jury-rigged raft. “This isn’t gonna be pretty, but it should keep us afloat.”
DM The work takes much longer than Heinrick expects, and he has barely managed to get something that will support Kat’s weight properly when the Sea Wyvern comes into view, three hours later.
Katrina “Convenient timing.”
Heinrick Heinrick grits his teeth, then shakes his head and starts laughing at the absurdity of the scene.
Katrina “I applaud your attempt at least, Heinrick.”
Amella “Ahoy there! Tavey, get them ropes down t’ th’ girls on th’ double!”
Tavey “Er… but… Mister Heinrick is a man, Cap’n…” Tavey cuts himself off at a glare from the captain. A rope ladder is lowered into the water.
Amella “Git up ‘ere, y’ loafers!” Amella yells with a grin.
Katrina Kat waits patiently for the rope before climbing aboard.
Heinrick Heinrick gallantly gestures for the ladies to go up first, still chuckling.
Mari Mari clambers up the ladder after Kat.
Katrina “One plant monster killed.”
Amella Amella sneers good naturedly. “Yeah? Well we killed about two dozen afore they collapsed.”
Katrina “Mine was bigger.”
Heinrick “Actually, I’d say we killed a couple thousand, since the mother’s death took out all the rest. But who’s counting?”
Katrina “That too.”
Mari “I didn’t even think you knew how to count, Heiny,” Mari chimes in.
Tavey Tavey looks at Kat with wide eyes. “How much bigger, Lady Islaran?”
Katrina “Eh… what would you say, Heinrick, you got a, shall we say, more up close and personal look. Twenty feet?”
Heinrick “At least.”
Tavey “How… how did you kill it? That… must have been as big as the mast!” Tavey is incredulous.
Mari “Heiny’s breath did the trick, Taves,” Mari answers the young cabin boy.
Heinrick “Well, much as I’d like to claim it, kid, Kat deserves most of the credit. I couldn’t hardly have scratched it without her magic helping me, and she dealt it the final blow, to boot.”
Tavey “Wow, Lady Islaran… you must be amazing…” Tavey’s eyes are shining with puppy love directed at Katrina.
Katrina Katrina spares Heinrick a scowl only because Tavey is still present. “Don’t let him fool you, that weight he calls a sword did more than its fair share. And now I’m going to go get something that isn’t soaking wet.” She heads below to get some dry clothes.
Heinrick Heinrick smothers a grin, glad to see Kat coming out of her shell. He turns to the captain. “You say you got about a dozen, Cap? Anyone hurt?”
Amella Amella shakes her head. “Naw, th’ non-combatants holed up in th’ passenger room, while th’ rest o’ us fought them off, takin’ a breather as we needed. Folks are a bit bruised, but no one’ll not make it t’ th’ next day.”
Heinrick “So the tar worked then. Good.” He nods approvingly.
Amella “Yep… but there’s some magic on tha’ room too. Not sure what did it, but y’ can’t fight in it.”
Avner “Hmph. I see you’ve managed to solve our little problem then, Katrina?” Avner is coming up the stairs as Kat is going down them. His left arm is in a sling.
Katrina “It was a group effort, Avner. If anything Heinrick deserves more praise for meeting the monster up close and keeping it far enough away for me to work my magic. If you’ll excuse me I’d like to get into some dry cloths before I catch a chill.”
Avner Avner bows and steps out of Katrina’s way, a tired expression on his face.
Katrina She slips past him and heads below to change, thoroughly tired of soggy clothing.
Heinrick Heinrick sees Avner coming up on deck. “I believe I’ll go and change, as well. Nothing worse than saltwater socks.” He looks at the noble’s bandaged arm, and gives him a brief nod as he passes, heading down.
Avner Avner stalks past Heinrick without a word, heading towards Amella.
Katrina Kat heads back to the deck before long.
Heinrick Heinrick soon emerges as well, no longer wearing his armor, dressed only in a new pair of pants and a shirt.
DM The stars twinkle in the sky.
Katrina She heads for Amella if she is still on the deck.
Amella “What’re y’ still doin’ up, Nav?” the captain asks, standing at the wheel.
Katrina “Side effect I suspect of having slept through half the day.”
Amella “Well, y’ best rest up, ‘cause tomorrow we’re back t’ business as usual.” Amella looks at Kat hard. “O’ is somethin’ on yer mind, Nav?”
Katrina “Not much of consequence, Captain. Wondering what the origin of that monster was, how many souls it swallowed up, and how lucky we were to not lose a single one.”
Amella “Well, I can’t help y’ wi’ th’ first two, but we’re damn lucky not t’ve lost a single man t’ this.” Amella’s face grows unusually thoughtful. “Damn lucky.”
Heinrick “Except a couple of pirate scum. No great loss there.”
Katrina “Maybe a couple. Fargus might have escaped yet.”
Amella “Then y’ didn’t find tha’ bastard? S’too bad, tha’ bounty would’ve set us all fer life.”
Katrina “Assuming it paid out and he didn’t wiggle free at some point and cut half our throats in the night,” Kat replies.
Heinrick “And I’ve been thinking about that; I’m suspecting that Aurion’s visit wasn’t as much by chance as he claimed. Not that I’m condoning his treatment of you, Captain, but without him we’d still be struggling against tonight’s batch of horrors instead of sailing free.”
Katrina “We already know that dark powers have meddled in our lives, maybe it was time the ones of light decided it was time to balance the scales. Optimistic, I know, but I can hope.”
Amella “Ha! What do y’ think I keep you two around for?” Amella laughs, fingering a tattoo of an anchor and wave on her forearm. “Tha’ scum needs t’ be brought t’ public justice… too many souls lie dead cause o’ ’im.”
Heinrick Heinrick shrugs. “That would be nice. And if Fargus did survive, Cap, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again.”
Katrina “Seems like the type to hold a grudge.”
Jerard “Did I hear my name called?” Jerard walks up.
Katrina “Not by name, Jerard.”
Jerard The hollow laughs. “Could have SWORN I heard it.”
Katrina “You’re mistaken.”
Heinrick “Sorry, Jerard, no. You doing all right, considering… everything?”
Jerard Jerard’s eyes shift back and forth at Katrina’s remarks and he chuckles to himself. As Heinrick speaks, his head snaps back up. “Oh… yes. Considering everything, I’m doing FANTASTIC. But I was thinking… I don’t think I ought to be called Jerard. I’m not him, and if he ever comes back, it’ll cause all kinds of confusion. I think I need a new name.”
Katrina “Then pick one that suits you.”
Heinrick “A fine idea. You are your own person, should have your own name. I’m sorry I didn’t think of it sooner.”
Jerard “That’s the crazy thing, Lady Katrina Islaran, I can’t. I can’t actually rename myself. See watch, call me T..t..t..t….” the hollow pants from the effort.
Katrina “You want us to give you a name?”
Jerard “Well, I don’t want to be called Jerard forever. And I don’t seem to be able to do it myself, probably because I’m a horrible mockery of real life in a fleshy shell.”
Katrina “Are there any that hold any interest to you?”
Jerard “T.t.t.t.t.t…. or H.h.h.h.h.h.h.h,” the hollow scrunches up his face frustratedly.
Katrina “Thomas? Thain Thorn?”
Jerard “Last one sounds good?” the hollow rushes the words out.
Katrina “Thorn. Whatever makes you happy.”
Jerard “Um… is there some sort of magic you have to do to rename?”
Heinrick Heinrick looks at the hollow’s struggles with a bleak expression, his heart nearly breaking for the creature so like and yet unlike his old friend. “A good name. Tain Thorn you’ll be, then.”
Tainthorn “So different up here. So… so now I’m Tainthorn?” the hollow mispronounces the name slightly, but speaks it freely. “Heh! I like it. Tainthorn! Look out, world, the fighting blacksmith from Home is headed your way! That’s right… Tainthorn is here!”
Heinrick Heinrick nods. “That’s great, T.”
Katrina “Congratulations.” Katrina is polite, if not as enthusiastic as the hollow. “I wonder what we could do to channel Tavey’s energies toward something more productive.”
Amella “Th’ boy? What’s wrong wi’ ’im?” Amella asks.
Katrina “Nothing is wrong with him, but I don’t need him following me around with those puppy dog eyes.” Kat is careful to keep her voice low.
Amella Amella laughs. “E’s young, Nav, e’ll grow out o’ it. Yer a pretty lady, ‘n not as hard on th’ heart as perhaps th’ other pretty girl on th’ ship.”
Katrina “Like there is only one other.” Kat rolls her eyes.
Amella Amella scrunches her face up. “You n’ Number One, Nav. By my count, unless y’ count His Highnessness’s doll.”
Katrina “Dance my puppet, dance.” Kat shivers. “Because that’s not creepy.”
Heinrick “Tell me about it. He tried to put on a show for me, when I was still pretending to be nice to him.”
Amella “Nobles,” Amella spits off the ship. “Present company excepted, o’ course.”
Katrina “Two out of three isn’t bad.”
Amella “Fer this voyage, maybe. But I got no use fer someone who taxes my goods, declares all manner o’ wares t’ be ‘contraband’, and generally meddles in my affairs. You n’ the Vanderboren lass are good souls, no doubt, but ferm what I’ve seen, it’s more inspite of yer upbringin’ than because o’. N’ the Meravanchis have a special place in th’ fires o’ Hell fer them. Sick creeps.”
Heinrick “I was kind of hoping it was just Avner. The whole family’s really like that?”
Katrina “Probably,” Kat agrees about the Meravanchis, though she skirts the earlier comments. “They have a reputation, Heinrick.”
Amella “There’s exceptions, but most o’ them are depraved… honestly, Avner’s just a snot…‘is father is a real piece o’ work.”
Katrina “I was hoping he was different, but if even a quarter of the stories about them are true… disgusting.”
Heinrick “Great. Meaning he’s going to go crying to daddy as soon as we make landfall…”
Amella “His daddy’s in Sasserine, Heinrick.”
Katrina “Sasserine’s three months in the other direction. His uncle perhaps if he landed in Farshore with the initial expedition as planned…” She pauses. “Have Brother Quintal or our unconscious guest stirred yet?”
Tainthorn “Neither of the men have arisen, Katrina Islaran,” Tainthorn answers her question.
Katrina “Well, I guess I’m going to turn in for the night.”
Amella “All right. Up n’ at ‘em bright n’ early, Nav. I’ll give th’ boy a tongue lashin’ if y’ think ’e needs one.”
Heinrick “Yeah, I should hit the sack, too. See you in the morning Cap, Kat. ’Night, Mari.”
Katrina “He doesn’t need a lecture, he needs somewhere else to spin all that energy. A hobby or something. Don’t suppose you want to teach him how to use a blade, Heinrick?”
Heinrick “Couldn’t hurt. I’ll talk to him in the morning.”
Katrina “If not a blade, find something that interests him.”
Amella Amella laughs. “Sure. Talk a teenaged boy out o’ being infatuated wi’ a pretty girl. Best y’ could do is get ’im to leave ’er alone.”
Heinrick “Or at least tire him out so bad he doesn’t have the energy to chase her. Not that it’s easy at that age, let me tell you.”
Katrina “You’d probably know better then I would. Night.” Kat heads below decks with a parting smile.
Heinrick “Thorn, keep a good watch.” He claps the hollow on the shoulder. Heinrick follows Kat, heading for his bunk.
Heinrick The next day, Heinrick looks for Mari after she’s woken up.
DM And he finds her.
Heinrick “Hey, Mari. Did you ever cast that speaking spell to find the Nixie?”
Mari “No, I didn’t. All the excitement… I’ll cast it right now… I was going to use it to contact Amella, but she found us first last night…”
Heinrick “Great. I’ll wait.” He leans up against a wall or rail near her.
Mari “Lavinia, this is Mari. Please send word that the Nixie survived the storm. The Sea Wyvern is just fine. Also, Heinrick loves you very much.”
Heinrick He nods and smiles slightly in thanks.
Mari Mari’s eyes glow momentarily. “They’re ok. Liamae was struck by lightning, but survived. Tolin’s still down. And….” Mari trails off, looking sort of disturbed.
Heinrick “What? And what?”
Heinrick “What is it?!”
Mari “She loves you too.” Mari grins mercilessly. “Which is GROSS.”
Heinrick “You are a cruel woman, Maribesana.”
Mari “Just think how lucky you are to be my friend, Heinrick. Anyways, they got blown off course and are headed around the Isle on the western side.”
Heinrick Impulsively, he hugs her quickly. “I know.” He lets her go, and steps back. “Thanks, Mari.”
Mari Mari brushes her shoulders off in mock exaggeration. “Whatever, you big lug.”
Heinrick Heinrick takes a deep breath, as a tension he hadn’t realized he’d felt for the past few days evaporates. “I need to get back to work. I’ll spread the word around.”
The next time he has a break in his duties, Heinrick climbs the crow’s nest. “How’s the air up here, Tavey?”
Tavey “Fresh, Sir Heinrick! Wow! I can’t believe you’re up here!”
Heinrick “I thought I should check out the view at least once.”
Tavey “Well it is your ship, right? Er, at least, I thought I heard that it was.”
Heinrick “Technically. And you can drop the sir, I’m no knight or anything.” He looks around at the open waters for a moment before speaking again. “What have you thought about the voyage, Tavey? This your first time at sea?”
Tavey “Oh no, sir, er… Heinrick. I’ve been t’ sea a bunch. This’s probably my fifth time on the open ocean,” he says, puffing out his chest a bit.
Heinrick “Well, you’re an old salt, then. Only my second long voyage. Were all your trips as exciting as this one?”
Tavey Tavey gives Heinrick an incredulous look. “You must be kidding, sir, this voyage has been absolutely crazy. I’ve seen pirates before, and a giant octopus, but nothing like this! Journey’s End! A dragon! That’s storybook stuff, sir!”
Heinrick Heinrick grins slightly. “That’s about what I thought. Otherwise, I don’t know if anybody would take up sailing as a career. Still, there’s a fair amount of danger in any voyage, am I right?”
Tavey “Well, you probably know as much about sailing as I do, sir….” Tavey trails off. “I mean, with storms, and pirates and giant sea creatures… it can be pretty exciting, but that’s dangerous too, I s’pose.”
Heinrick He nods. “Yeah. Now, there’s not much I can do about storms, but I was wondering, Tavey, if you might like to be a little better prepared for the pirates and beasts you might meet on your next voyage.”
Tavey Tavey slumps a little bit. “Don’t think I’m good enough to fight off pirates yet? Neither does the cap’n.”
Heinrick “No need to look down about it, Tavey. If you’ve never had a proper teacher, well, nobody can rightly expect you to be able to fight a seasoned warrior, can they? That’s where I come in. How’d you like me to give you some lessons in swordplay before we make landfall?”
Tavey “Woah, seriously, sir? That would be AWESOME! I saw you teaching Miss Lirith, and she’s pretty cool herself…”
Heinrick “Yes she is; she gave me a pretty good match. Now if you’re serious, we’ll start the next time you’re relieved from watch, and then a lesson at dawn every day left in the voyage.”
Tavey “Oh I’m serious, Mister Heinrick sir, you bet I am!”
Heinrick “All right. I’ll help you find a weapon sized for you, then we’ll get started.”
Katrina If asked about procuring a weapon, Kat offers up her old masterwork rapier.
Amella As Heinrick climbs down, Amella calls him over. “If yer gonna train th’ boy, ‘e can ’ave one ’o th’ magic blades tha’ we took offa th’ scum I’ve got in my room. Make sure y’ teach ‘im not t’ lose it, o’ cut ’is own ’ead off.”
Heinrick “I’m sure he’ll be grateful for it, Cap’n.”
Amella “T’ you, maybe. You give it to ‘im and don’t say a word tha’ I ‘ad anything t’ do with it.”
Heinrick When Tavey comes down, Heinrick gives him the blade, and starts showing him the bare basics of how to hold it and move with it. He uses the first lesson to get an idea of the kid’s skill and strength as they stand; he does indeed not mention that Amella was the source of the weapon.
He warns Tavey against relying too much on a weapon’s magic, in place of his own skill, and stresses the importance of daily practice and exercise, no matter how good he ever gets.
Tavey Tavey is an enthusiastic student and takes Heinrick’s lessons very seriously.
DM A week passes after the ship has left Journey’s End. As the sun dawns, the day is overcast and grim.
Katrina notices something off the starboard bow: land. The ragged, jungle-choked peaks of the Isle of Dread loom on the horizon.
Katrina Up on the deck Katrina remarks to whoever happens to be on hand, “Land off the starboard bow!”
DM The sight of land brings a cheer from the crew and passengers. Consultation with the sea charts and Skald confirms it – the Sea Wyvern has nearly reached her goal. All that remains is to sail down the eastern coast to Farshore.
Unfortunately, you know that shit ain’t going to happen. By the time morning becomes noon, fate has unleashed something else in store for the journey. The rain begins pouring down in sheets, and within a few hours, a second storm is in full force. This one is much more powerful than the original, not quite a hurricane but close.
Amella Amella struggles at the helm as the waves crash one after another over the ship.
DM A bolt of lightning strikes the crow’s nest, sending a large piece of rigging crashing down onto Amella, knocking her forcefully to the deck. The wheel spins freely, without any hand to steady her.
Heinrick Heinrick stares at her, then up at the rigging, praying she’s all right, and Tavey wasn’t there when it happened. He struggles against the wind to reach the wheel…
Katrina Katrina likewise makes for the wheel as best she can in the driving rain, howling wind, and crashing waves. She virtually screams to Heinrick over the sound of the sea, “Get Amella! I’ll grab the wheel.”
Heinrick He nods, and alters direction for the captain.
DM While Katrina manages to struggle against the wind up to the wheel, Heinrick is blown off his feet by the gale, tumbling towards the rail. He manages to catch himself by the barest of margins, preventing himself from being flung bodily off the entire vessel.
Heinrick He continues to struggle towards the fallen Amella.
Lirith Lirith screams, as she is similarly blown off her feet, flying back.
Katrina Kat digs out her wand of web as she fights to control the ship.
DM Kat struggles with the wheel, as the wind whips the ship around… she knows that there is no way they can maintain their course without Amella at the helm, but hopes that she can prevent the ship from washing or rolling.
Lirith Lirith screams one final time as she flies off the ship, disappearing into the storm.
Katrina “LIRITH!” Katrina yells.
Heinrick Heinrick looks after her in disbelief. He then grits his teeth and tries to move to help the captain.
DM Heinrick slips once again on the wet boards, stumbling backwards.
Blumpkin Blumpkin catches him and steadies him. “Blumper help little friend!”
Heinrick “Thanks, Blumper! We gotta get to the captain!” He shouts over the wind, and points to the fallen Amella.
DM Blumpkin and Heinrick struggle once more against the wind.
Mari Mari rushes up the stairs. “What in the fuck’s going on!?”
Heinrick Heinrick ignores her, and struggles across the deck.
DM With Blumpkin’s help, Heinrick manages to make it over to Amella.
Katrina “Captain’s down, Lirith’s gone!” Kat yells as she tries to keep the ship from washing or rolling.
Mari Mari rushes over to Katrina. “What do you mean, Lirith’s gone?” she shouts.
Katrina “She was blown off the ship when the captain went down before I could get to the wheel!” Kat yells back into her ear.
Mari Mari’s eyes fly open. “Which side!?” she screams at Kat.
Katrina Kat nods her head in the appropriate direction.
Mari “I love you, Katrina.” Mari flings her arms around Kat’s neck, kisses her cheek and rushes towards the port, diving off the side.
Katrina “Wha… WAIT!” Kat yells in disbelief as the priestess dives off the ship.
Heinrick Heinrick tries to free Amella from the debris.
DM Heinrick is unable to shift the debris off Amella at first, but redoubling his efforts, he pulls the captain free.
Blumpkin “What we do with her?” Blumpkin asks.
Heinrick “Get her belowdecks!” He points to the stairs down.
Blumpkin Blumpkin picks Amella up in his powerful arms and strides easily across the windy deck to take Amella below.
Heinrick Heinrick watches a moment to make sure he’s all right, then goes to help Kat with the wheel.
Tainthorn Tainthorn struggles up the steps, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. “Skald’s on the way!”
Skald Several minutes later, Skald struggles up himself. He lashes himself to the deck and begins taking the sail down.
DM A gust of wind blows Heinrick from the deck, but Kat manages to grasp his wrist, slowing him, but the big man is too much for her to hold. He grabs at the rails one last time and then plunges over the rails himself, into the roiling waters. Heinrick splashes into the water, unable to stay afloat, drifting ten feet away from the Sea Wyvern as she moves through the storm.
Heinrick He tries to struggle towards the surface…
DM And does so, swimming with powerful strokes towards the ship.
Katrina Kat does her best to keep the ship from pulling away from Heinrick any further.
DM Between Heinrick’s and Kat’s efforts, Heinrick manages to reach the ship. He does not however, manage to climb up the sheer side of the ship. Kat suspects that lowering a rope might aid his efforts.
Katrina She calls out to Skald to do so as she fights to keep the ship under control at the wheel.
Skald Skald unfortunately cannot move against the wind.
Tainthorn Tainthorn tries to aid him, but is flung back against the rail, catching himself just in time.
DM Heinrick still cannot climb the ship’s hull without aid. His head dips under the water with his struggles. Skald and Tainthorn are helpless to get to the ship’s side and lower a rope for Heinrick.
Katrina Katrina concentrates for a moment as she holds the wheel and a massive snake appears by the edge of the ship, its tail dipping into the water near Heinrick while it wraps its upper body around the railing.
Heinrick Heinrick barely has time to think ‘what the hell,’ before instinctively grabbing it.
DM In a few powerful movements, he manages to climb back onto the ship using the strange ladder.
Heinrick He stares at the snake confusedly, then pats it on the head before heading for the wheel.
DM The hours pass by, and as the sun sets, a tremendous lurch strikes the ship and the sound of splintering wood fills the air. The ship comes to a sudden stop.
Masher Suddenly a huge eel-like fish explodes from the water, landing on the deck. It lashes out, looking for a meal.
This wormlike fish measures nearly thirty feet from tip to tail. Its face is a terrible circular maw of grinding teeth, with two beady eyes peering out from the crown of its head. Large spines rise from its sinuous back, shuddering and rattling with menace.
Katrina “Watch out, it’s poisonous and its spines can stab you!”
Heinrick Heinrick draws his sword, and climbs up the tilted deck towards the stairs, and moves down them towards the creature, stopping at what he hopes is out of its reach.
Tainthorn The newly-named Tainthorn, however, bellows and charges it, sword high.
Masher The creature snaps at Tainthorn, missing him with its maw, but the man is stuck with a spine in his chest as he swings his blade down on the eel-like beast. (10 damage) Poison flares, but he shrugs it off.
Katrina Katrina fires two blasts of flame at the monster.
DM The flames lance out, causing the creature’s flesh to sizzle.
Skald Skald produces his bow and fires a shot of his own.
DM Skald’s shot is lost in the dark.
Masher The creature roars and bites at Heinrick, who manages to avoid the creature’s massive teeth by the most slender of margins, despite his high ground.
Heinrick Heinrick makes a controlled slide down the deck, and slashes the fish as he comes to a stop.
DM His blade glances off the powerful eel’s scaly hide, even as its spines glance off his armor.
Tainthorn The husk strikes at the creature as Heinrick draws its attention.
DM His blade stabs into the roasting flesh of the creature, drawing thick red blood.
Masher The creature’s spines stab into Tainthorn’s chest again, this time discoloring the wound terribly. (11 damage, 2 Con)
Katrina & Skald Kat sends a second pair of rays at the monster while Skald fires two arrows.
DM The mage’s flame roars and Skald’s arrow strikes the creature in the head. It roars, bleeding terribly and retreats, smashing its massive tail against the ship as it does.
Heinrick tears a bloody gash in the creature as it tries to escape, but catches a spine underneath his armpit as he does so. (10 damage) The fish shudders to a halt on the reef below.
Amella “What’s all this racket?” Amella has her traditional scowl on her face, although it is tempered by pain, as she limps up the steps to the deck. “Nav, you ran my ship into a reef?”
Heinrick “And killed a masher.”
Katrina Katrina’s shoulders slump. “There wasn’t anyone else…”
Heinrick “Mari jumped overboard to get Lirith, and we haven’t seen either one since.”
Amella “None o’ tha’, Nav, y’ done good. Now if someone could help me up t’ th’ wheel, maybe I can dislodge ‘er afore we run into another one o’ those things? Unless y’ want t’ keep at it, Nav.”
Katrina “It’s all yours.”
Heinrick Heinrick heads back towards the wheel with Amella.
Amella Amella takes the wheel with a wince.
Heinrick “You okay, Captain?”
DM Even as Heinrick speaks, a lightning bolt lances down from the heavens, striking him in the hilt of his gigantic sword. (13 elec damage)
Amella Amella’s eyes fly open. “Number Two!”
Heinrick He weaves for a moment, then shakes himself. “I’m okay, I’m okay.” Except for a twitching of an eyebrow and one hand, he does seem fine.
Amella “What do they feed you at tha’ home o’ yours, Number Two?”
Katrina “You were just struck by lightning…”
Heinrick “If Liamae can take it, so can I.”
Katrina Kat wait for Mari’s snide comment that never comes.
DM Amella finally manages to free the ship from the reef, and her skill at the wheel is apparent, as the wounded vessel avoids any washes or rolls. However, the Wyvern is holed in several places.
Amella “Git everyone bailing! Now!” Amella yells.
Katrina Kat heads below. “Everyone grab a bucket or this tub’s going down with all of us in it!”
Passengers The passengers, bruised and battered from the rolling of the ship, groan, but head to do as Kat asks.
Avner “Thunderstrike!” Avner exclaims. “She can’t be kept in the hold, she’ll drown!”
DM Lightning continues to flash overhead.
Heinrick “If we don’t bail the ship, we’ll all drown, Avner,” Heinrick muttered to himself, hearing the conversation below. Heinrick grabs a bucket and heads down to help bail.
Avner Avner rushes panicked, to try and save his horse. The water is already three feet deep in the hold.
Urol Urol moves to help the noble, while the other passengers begin bailing.
Avner Once the horse is safely on the middle deck, Avner returns to help bail, sullenly working a bucket.
Heinrick Heinrick bails.
DM The night grows darker as the Sea Wyvern limps along, crippled. It is obvious that it will not reach Farshore… you will be lucky to reach any shore. The closest stretch of land beckons 25 miles away… a narrow strip of beach along a thick wall of jungle might afford somewhere safe to land.
The storm continues throughout the night, although the winds abate a bit. Still, the tattered ship seems in danger of sinking at any second. The lightning periodically lights up the primeval vista before you. Suddenly, the ship lurches again, throwing everyone to the deck. The Wyvern tilts crazily to the side, lurches one last time and rolls. The cold dark sea rushes up to meet you and in a cacophonous roar of wave and ruin, all goes dark…
Shipwrecked! What will become of our party, True Believers? Find out next week, same Bat-Time, same Bat Channel!