DM We left our heroes trapped in Journey’s End, under a deadly nighttime assault of strange seaweed monsters. Battered and beaten, the sunrise heralded relief. What fate lies in store for our brave adventurers? Will they be the first to escape the dreaded Journey’s End sargasso? Read on, True Believers, and find out!
Heinrick’s cursory search of the ship turns up 4 potions of cure moderate and 2 cure serious wounds. The hollow procures three more potions of cure moderate wounds for the pile. Selene already has added her salve.
Heinrick Heinrick distributes the potions to the most wounded, then collapses in a shady corner of the deck for a three-hour nap.
Katrina Katrina carries Mari to her room, puts her to bed, then finds a spot to sleep in the room herself.
Heinrick Upon waking, Heinrick tries to rouse Brother Quintal first, then speaks to the captain, letting the others rest while he does those.
DM Brother Quintal does not rouse. Amella looks haggard as Heinrick approaches.
Heinrick “You look about as bad as I feel, Captain.”
Amella “Goin’ on 24 hours up and at ‘em, Number Two. What’s the sitrep?”
Heinrick “All the injured are stable, and everyone’s closing in on as much shut-eye as we can afford to give them. Kat and Mari… Nav and Number One are below, resting to get their spells back. And we need to start sealing the cracks in the hull, so those things can’t get inside again.”
Amella Amella nods dully. “All right. I’m goin t’ get about four hours o’ rack. Get me up then. Get everyone working, and I want a plan o’ engagement fer when these fuckers come back fer us.”
Heinrick “Right. I’ll get the tar started boiling…” He moves to rouse the other non-casters, and begin the preparations for the siege.
Strange Man A strange man with blond hair stretches his arms, lets out a yawn and strolls up the stairs to the upper deck as Heinrick is about to head down.
Heinrick Heinrick stops and looks at the man. “It may just be that I haven’t slept, but… have you been on board since we set sail?”
Strange Man The man laughs loudly. “Just stopped by for the night, actually. Was going to be headed on this morning. You got any honest work a man can do for his breakfast around here?”
Heinrick “You stopped by… what the hell? Moving on to where? This entire place is infested with those plant monsters. Who are you?”
Aurion “I needed a rest and this seemed as good a place as any to bunk down. My name is Aurion. And yours, my good man?”
Heinrick Heinrick blinks and shakes his head in surprise. “Heinrick Gilantheril. At the moment, second mate of the Sea Wyvern. Where did you say you were coming from, Aurion?”
Aurion The man’s smile grows slightly. “I didn’t, actually, but I’m from the far north.” He looks around. “What passes for food in these parts?”
Heinrick “Hardtack and salt meat, mostly. And if you were serious about working, we could use a hand getting ready for nightfall. And after it.”
Aurion Aurion’s face screws up. “Ah, well, I suppose roast pig and bull would be too much to expect, eh? I was planning on heading off before sunset, actually. What do you need to get done before night? You are being… most mysterious, Heinrick Gilantheril. Is something the matter?”
Heinrick “You mean you honestly don’t know? The plant monsters, man. We need to seal up every crack on the ship, so they can’t squeeze inside, and then somehow fight them off. Which we just barely managed last night, at full strength.”
Aurion “I just woke up, good sir. I didn’t see any plant monsters before going to bed, I’m afraid. Sealing up cracks in the hull though? Sounds like fun.”
Heinrick “You… you slept through that entire battle? You have to be putting me on.”
Aurion Aurion grins. “You travel as much as I do, you learn to sleep through just about anything. You ever come by Himinborg, you’ll learn to sleep through a real battle, or you’ll learn to live tired.”
Heinrick “So, you’ve just been… walking across the weed, for how long?”
Aurion Aurion’s face grows puzzled. “Walking across the weed? No, no, my friend. I arrived here by other means.” His voice drops to a low whisper. “Magic.” He holds out a coin. “This right here is a key. Lets you use certain doors, if you know what to look for. But you did mention help, yes? Let’s get breakfast going and get to work, my good man! We can talk over a good meal. Who’s the cook around here?”
Heinrick Heinrick’s face closes up slightly at the description of the coin. “Hmm. The last person to come on this ship by magic wasn’t exactly friendly. Dropped out of the sky, and damn near killed me, in fact. And I don’t pretend to understand what you mean about doors; all I know about magic is what I’ve seen used on me. We’ll take your help, and gratefully, just… know this ship is on edge.” He gestures Aurion to follow him as he goes to wake Damri, and the others.
Aurion Aurion does so. Upon stepping down into the passenger quarters, with the bloody men and women, he lets out a gasp. “Gods, man, how can you carry on a conversation while people are down here in this state? Why… why have they not been attended to?” His eyes are wide.
Heinrick “This is after attending to them.”
Aurion “Have you no one to lay hands on them?”
Heinrick “We used up every last healing potion on the ship just to keep those who were slipping away stable, and our only priestess was one of them.”
Aurion Aurion blinks and looks closer at Heinrick. “You too, man… the sleep must have been in my eyes for me to miss it… you are as bad off as the rest of them!”
Heinrick “Yeah. Like I said, not a fun night. You see all that sargasso weed out there?”
Aurion Aurion shakes his head. “No, I’ve not yet looked off the ship.”
Heinrick “Well, take a peek. As soon as the sun goes down, parts of it come to life, climb aboard, and start killing everything they find. That’s why we need to seal the ship up; they actually slipped between the boards of the hull to get inside.”
Aurion Aurion holds his hand out to Heinrick. “Take my hand, man.”
Heinrick Heinrick looks at him oddly, then shrugs and does so.
Aurion The man’s grasp matches Heinrick’s own in power. Suddenly, Aurion’s hand turns warm and a soft light begins glowing from the men’s clasped hands. (6 hp healed the first round)
Heinrick Heinrick’s eyes go wide, and he is surprised enough to let it continue for a moment.
DM The glow continues, and Heinrick’s wounds begin to close slowly. (6 healing)
Heinrick Heinrick breaks off the handshake, and looks at his wounds wonderingly, then back at Aurion. “How much of that can you do?”
Aurion Aurion raises his eyebrows. “Much.”
Heinrick Heinrick puts a hand on the other man’s shoulder. “I take back anything suspicious I said about you. You are a godsend, and you’re about to become the most popular man on this ship, Aurion.”
Aurion Aurion chuckles. “No god sent me, Heinrick. I’m just passing through. But now I can see I’m needed for a bit more than patching your ship’s cracks. Who did you say was in charge of making breakfast?”
Heinrick “Don’t worry about me; do as much as you can for everyone else, first. Especially get the dwarf, Heldin, conscious. He may have some healing power himself. The cook is Damri, I’ll wake him. He’ll be glad to see you, too; his sister was hurt, and badly.” Heinrick begins waking the other crew and passengers who are capable of waking, explaining as much as he can of their strange visitor, and displaying his healed wounds as proof.
Aurion Aurion moves over towards Damri first. “One can only do so much on an empty stomach after all!” He lays hands on Damri, closing the man’s hurts before moving over to his unconscious sister. In short order, the entire passenger cabin is on their feet, most in good condition.
Aurion As Aurion moves to the crew, he pauses at the women’s cabin. Grinning at Heinrick, he pushes the door open. “My, what stunning women! Too beautiful to be covered in bruises!” Laying a hand on both of their chests, he channels his light and energy into their bodies.
Heinrick “You might not want to…” Heinrick tries to stop him before he takes the liberty with Mari, but is too slow.
Mari Mari rolls off her side of the bed and comes up in a crouch. A stream of icy cold water blasts Aurion right in the face, causing him to splutter. Catching sight of Heinrick, she scowls. “What the hell is going on, Heiny?”
Katrina Kat’s eyes open rather suddenly and her left hand snakes out from under her to grab the hand on her. “You know, that’s a good question, Mari.”
Heinrick “Kat, Mari, this is Aurion. He popped in by magic sometime in the night, and says he slept through the fight. Now, he’s earning his keep by going around healing everyone. And yes, I’m well aware of how insane that sounds. But, well… take a look at everyone outside.”
Mari Mari narrows her eyes.
Aurion Aurion smiles sheepishly, wiping the water out of his beard. “Ah… you are welcome, my dears?”
Katrina Kat lets his hand go and moves to sit up. “How long have we been out?”
Aurion Aurion grins. “I don’t know about you, Gorgeous, but I slept like a log. Probably eight, nine hours.”
Heinrick “A little over four hours. The captain just now went to bed. Figured I’d let her get some shut eye before I surprised her.”
Katrina “Four hours…” Kat mutters as she runs a hand across her scalp – and is noticeably surprised to find it lacking the lumps it had before she went to bed.
Heinrick “Aurion, meet Katrina Islaran, our navigator and wizard; and Maribesana, first mate and priestess.”
Katrina She looks over what other exposed skin she has and looks back up at Aurion. “Well. Um. Thank you, Aurion, even if your method was somewhat, uh, impolite.”
Aurion Aurion bows low. “Forgive me my presumptuous actions, fair ladies. I was overtaken by your beauty and couldn’t stand to let you go bruised another minute. If you’ll pardon me, for but a minute…” Aurion sticks his hand in the top bunk, causing Lirith to squeal.
Lirith “Oh my gawd, what is going on?!”
Katrina “Our guest Aurion is taking his life in his hands.”
Lirith Lirith hops down, looking better than when she went to bed. “He grabbed my ass!”
Katrina Kat glares. “Is that really necessary?”
Mari Mari snarls. “All right, Heiny, you and your pet pervert get the fuck out of here and let us ladies clean up. We’ll be out in a bit.” She clenches her fist, watery power flowing through it, begging to be released.
Aurion Aurion shrugs. “Terribly sorry, my dear, I couldn’t tell what I was touching from under the blankets.”
Heinrick “Yeah, I think we’d better leave before you do more damage than you cure…” Heinrick grabs Aurion’s shoulder and tugs him out of the room, closing it behind them.
Mari Mari turns to Kat. “Are you ok, Kat?”
Katrina “More ok then I was when I went to bed. He may be a pervert, but I can’t really deny that he did something unless you were healing me in your sleep.”
Mari Mari shakes her head. “Nope. Besmara gave me all she will until twilight. It must have been him. Bastard.”
Lirith Lirith smiles. “Was I the only one who thought he was kind of cute?”
Katrina Kat scowls. “Yes.”
Mari Mari laughs. “Unless Heiny did too, you’re all alone.”
Katrina “Looked like things got pretty nasty down here last night while Heinrick and I were busy up on deck,” Kat says to Mari.
Mari Mari grimaces. “It went real bad, Kat. The guys we picked up from the Widowmaker fought real good, but it was nearly a slaughter. Everyone did what they could, but I couldn’t be healing and killing the damn things at the same time.”
Katrina “Mostly the same on the deck…” Kat nods.
Mari “We need to get the passengers some place safe, where these things can’t come at them.”
Lirith Lirith speaks up. “What about the front hold where we’re holding the prisoners?”
Katrina Kat shakes her head. “No, they were able to get in there somehow. I didn’t check, but I believe both the prisoners are dead.” She doesn’t seem particularly bothered by the fact.
Mari “….we didn’t check?” Mari’s eyes go wide. “No one checked on them?”
Katrina “As soon as the sun chased those things off I headed down here to make sure everyone was all right. You were busy laying against the wall making this horrid gurgling sound. Everyone else was similarly badly off. I brought you in here, gave you my last potion, and at Heinrick’s suggestion hit the sack… I’m almost completely out of magic until I get a few more hours of rest and get a chance to look at my spellbook.”
Mari “What if they got away, Kat?” Mari’s voice is worried. “It isn’t just some random sailor here… it is Fargus Ironfoot!”
Katrina “They were bound. I have trouble imagining them getting free while being beaten to death by plant monsters – but you can check if you’d like…” She pauses for a moment. “Beaten to death while tied up… that’s something of a fitting end for Fargus if he is gone,” she adds thoughtfully.
Mari “I hope you’re right, Kat. It would be a fitting end to the little monster.”
Katrina “Hum. I guess I’ll get something to eat with the rest then come back and see if I can’t get a few more ours of shuteye. I don’t want to imagine going through another night of that without any magic…”
Mari Mari pauses and cocks her head. “Do… do you notice anything about that, Kat?”
Katrina “Well… it’s weird. Four hours shouldn’t be enough to prepare my mind or body to hold a new set of spells… but if I didn’t know better, I’d think I could right now.”
Mari Mari nods. “Same here. Once Besmara wakes her lazy ass up… I think I could get her blessings now, rather than needing to sleep more.”
Katrina Kat slips out of the bed and starts dressing. “Am I the only one who is thinking that guy is good to be true? We’re stuck in the middle of the ocean, worse then that, on this hell island, and a man magically shows up at dawn to heal our wounds?”
Mari Mari sets her jaw. “Not even a little, Kat. I wouldn’t trust him if he had been someone on the boat with us feeling me up in the morning. Shows up out of nowhere? Sounds like a trick. Makes me nervous.”
Katrina “Maybe he’ll share something about himself during breakfast.” Kat finishes dressing and heads for the door.
Aurion Aurion turns to Heinrick. “Well, that was fun! You didn’t mention you had such stunning women on board! Where to next?”
Heinrick “Next, food. Then, we need to get to work. I have to haul a couple of pots up from the hold to boil the tar to seal up the cracks.” Heinrick heads down for the hold, wincing slightly at his far-from-fully-healed wounds as he goes.
Aurion “Food! Bread and meat and ale! Let us recover our strength, my good man!” Aurion slaps Heinrick on the shoulder. (12 hp)
Heinrick “You go ahead, I’ll be right up. Want to get this started before I eat.”
DM Heinrick locates the desired pots in the hold.
Heinrick Heinrick carries the pots back up to deck, then heads hurryingly for what’s left of breakfast by that time.
Damri Eggs, bacon, sausages and toasted bread are all being served up by Damri who shrugs as Heinrick came up. “I guess I didn’t realize we had all this in the stores,” he says, apologetically.
Heinrick “No problem. We need a good meal after that night of hell.” He sits down and tucks in.
Damri “You want some milk?” Damri asks with a befuddled expression on his face.
Heinrick His mouth full, Heinrick nods eagerly. Swallowing half the bite, he mumbles, “I almost don’t care if it’s spoiled.”
Damri Damri shakes his head and pours Heinrick a cup. “It… it isn’t. It is practically fresh drawn.”
Heinrick Heinrick stops chewing for a moment, then consciously chooses not to think about that.
Aurion Aurion is busy chewing, but talks with his mouth full anyways. “So, Heinrick, are those women single? Or unhappily taken?”
Heinrick “That… is a complicated question. Lirith is single, I’m sure. Kat might have a bit of a thing for somebody on another ship we just got separated from. Mari… well. I won’t say you have NO chance at all, even with the unwelcome grab, but, I’ve only seen her take interest in other girls.”
Aurion Aurion lets out a low moan. “No! That’s for ugly wenches, not beautiful women!” He drains his mug and slams it down. “My good alfen, a full cup to toast the senseless waste of a beautiful woman!”
Damri Damri gives Heinrick a meaningful glance and fills Aurion’s cup.
Aurion Aurion lifts the mug, tears in his eyes and sniffles before drowning the entire mug in a single gulp. “Ah. So you said the other two were single, eh? How do you think they feel about polygamy?” His face is completely clear of the sadness that filled it only moments ago.
Heinrick Heinrick hides a smile behind his own mug, though not very well. “No idea. You’ll have to ask them. I’d ask Kat from a distance, were I you. I might have found out for you, but it’s no secret I’m kind of off the market myself. And like I said… I won’t say she’s exclusively into women. Just all that I know about for sure. And if she asks, you DID NOT hear that from me.”
Aurion Aurion wolfs down another omelet and nods. “So you’re saying there is a chance that I might be able to give them all babies before I have to move on? That’s good news.”
Heinrick “I said no such thing, friend. Won’t be time for it today, at the least.”
Aurion Aurion grins. “There’s always time for THAT, my good man.”
Katrina “Time for what?” Kat asks as she walks and collects a plate.
Heinrick Heinrick gives a tiny shake of his head to Aurion.
Aurion “Time for parenting, Lady Katrina,” Aurion responds to her. “One can never be too busy to be a parent.”
Heinrick Heinrick again hides a grin by devouring more food.
Katrina Kat looks thoughtful as she adds small piles of everything to her plate, commenting, “I didn’t realize we had all this,” seemingly off hand, before sitting down and responding, “I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate – if you have children certainly you should find time, but I can think of plenty of people who wouldn’t have the time to raise children.”
Aurion “That is true only until they have children, my stunning lady. Once one has children, one must devote themselves to the task.”
Katrina “Obviously I’m speaking to – of – people that haven’t or won’t have children. On principle I agree though that as a parent you have an obligation to devote yourself to your children.”
Heinrick That last comment brings Heinrick a grimace of pain, though he tries to suppress it.
Aurion “What is wrong, Heinrick? Something… amiss?” Aurion asks concernedly.
Heinrick “It’s… two long stories, and neither one wholly mine to tell.”
Aurion “Well, perhaps someday we’ll get a chance to sit down and swap tales. In Himinborg, if you ever make it up that far north.”
Katrina “I don’t think that’s entirely the same thing, Heinrick,” Kat adds somberly. “Himinborg… it hosts some contest for warriors, doesn’t it?”
Aurion “Oh yes, daily, my fair lady. It is truly magnificent… I do hope you get the chance to visit me there sometime.”
Katrina “Perhaps someday, Aurion – I’d like to travel more freely someday – preferably not by ship. I think this entire trip has been enough to sour me to sea travel.”
Heinrick “Hmmmm.” He nods at both of them, then shakes off the black mood. “Anyway, we should get started with that tar. I’m stuffed; best meal I’ve had in weeks, in fact. I think you’ve finally outdone the spider-steaks, Damri.”
Damri Damri scowls. “I only wish I could claim credit… something funny is going on here.”
Katrina “What do you mean, Damri?”
Damri “Milk, Lady Islaran. We have fresh milk. And eggs. And meats. We didn’t before, I’m sure of it, but there they were.”
Aurion Aurion plays a coin over his knuckles and smiles. “Well, I’m afraid it seems I have to be going sooner than I thought. Apologies, my new friends. If you ever are in Himinborg, do look me up, please?” He flips the coin to Katrina.
Katrina Kat sets down her fork and looks to be about to say something when he flips the coin to her. She closes her mouth and catches it instead. “Where are you going to go? We’re on a sargasso in the middle of the ocean…”
Heinrick “You’re leaving already? You’ve hardly gotten here.”
Aurion Aurion grins. “Where else, you luscious thing? On adventure. It’s the only place worth going.” He winks lewdly at Kat, pats Heinrick on the shoulder. “Afraid so, good man. You’ll find your passenger quarters a bit safer should the delectable Katrina scan it with her magic. Give my regards to Maribesana and Lirith, I apologize for not being able to give them the fullness I so wanted to.” He stands up on the rail.
Heinrick “See you in Himinborg, Aurion.” Heinrick nods and watches curiously for this door he talked about.
Aurion Aurion nods to Heinrick, pulls a second coin from his pouch and flips it into the air, where it catches the sun’s light, flashing once, twice, thrice, before falling back… and landing on the deck. Aurion has vanished.
Katrina Kat can’t seem to find words to respond to his response or departure. She watches the spot he departed from for a moment, and returns to her meal.
Damri “Syrup?” Damri asks with a flat look on his face.
Katrina “Yes please.”
Heinrick “Yep. I guess he did use magic. And yeah, hit me.”
Damri The elven chef pours syrup over a stack of pancakes and pushes them over to Katrina.
Katrina She tears into the fresh food, pausing only after several bites. “I don’t know who he was, or even what he was, and honestly right now I don’t care. Be he from Heaven or Hell, he may have just given us a chance to see through another night, and I don’t feel the need to question.”
Heinrick “Amen to that.”
Damri “What did he mean by the passenger quarters being safer, Lady Islaran?” Damri asks.
Katrina “I’ll check as soon as I finish eating.” She continues to tear into the food.
Heinrick Heinrick eats until his stomach aches, then heads back down to the hold to start bringing up the tar, and building a safe place to boil it on the deck.
Katrina A couple minutes later she’s finished. She heads below decks to examine the passenger cabin with detect magic.
DM Upon finishing their food, the two realize they are at full strength. Not only that, but they feel better than being at full strength.
Katrina Kat pockets the coin he gave her and heads below to check out the cabin. After checking out the wardings put in place in the passenger cabin, Kat goes to see if she really can prepare spells – then does so if possible.
DM Katrina’s spells prepare normally.
Heinrick Heinrick starts getting the stuffed crew to work instead of falling asleep. After two more hours, he’ll go and wake the captain.
Amella Well before even thirty minutes, let alone two hours, the captain bursts out of her door, fuming. “Who th’ hell did it?”
Heinrick “…Captain? Did what?”
Amella Amella thrusts a crumpled piece of paper at Heinrick. “Explain this to me, Number Two!”
Heinrick Heinrick looks at it for a moment, then sighs. Very deeply, preparing himself for a lambasting.
Amella “I’m not some godsdamned shrinking violet tha’ I can’t deal wi’ a few realities o’ th’ sea life, but if a girl can’t even go t’ sleep without some limpdicked peeping Tom comin’ after her… what th’ hell, Number Two?”
Heinrick “First of all, let me say I know this is going to sound crazy. But, you can ask Kat and Mari if you don’t believe me.”
Amella Amella sniffs. “Bacon? Who th’ hell is cooking bacon on my ship?”
Heinrick “We had a visitor, Captain. A helpful one, against all expectations. He says he showed up in the middle of the night and slept through the fight, but I never saw him until he seemed to show up out of nowhere this morning. Gave his name as Aurion, and said that he’d arrived by magic; that he left the same way backs him up.”
“I was going to show him to you when I woke you up, but he just left about half an hour ago. Before doing that, he healed everyone’s hurts from last night, conjured a feast that healed what he hadn’t already, put some kind of protection on the passenger quarters, and apparently left us a map. He was a bit reckless with the ladies, though; he healed Kat and Mari by grabbing their chests.”
“I’m a little surprised he survived that, but I’ll be honest. I wasn’t feeling good about our chances of surviving this night before Aurion showed up, and now I believe we can make it out. Pervert or not, I’d say anyone aboard who gets out of this place alive owes it to him.”
Amella Amella’s gaze could stab Heinrick’s heart out of his chest. “And this map? What do you think it implies, Number Two?” Her voice is very cold and quiet.
Heinrick Heinrick meets her gaze without flinching. “It implies he knew a lot more of this place than he was telling us, Captain. And it implies to me the direction we need to go to stab the heart of this murderous weed.” He waves a hand to show that ‘this place’ means Journey’s End, and nothing else but.
Amella Amella snarls, tears the map in half and hands Heinrick one piece. “Gimme the sitrep, Number Two. Minus all the fancy magic man shit.”
“What are we going t’ do when they come back? And if we’re all so fantastic, are we going t’ go out and find th’ Dark Heart today or wait until after t’night?”
Heinrick “I’ve gotten the tar started boiling, and everyone’s fed and rested, at full strength or better. We can keep the plants from sliding right through the hull this time. That alone, should mean we’ll have an easier time holding out than last night.”
Katrina Kat comes back up from below decks. She sees Amella awake and heads toward her and Heinrick. “I thought you were getting some shuteye, Captain.”
Amella Amella glares. “So’d I, until someone decided to check down south.”
Heinrick “As for going after the Heart… hard to say. We’ve lost near half the day already, but we won’t be this ready again.”
Katrina “Going after the heart now would be all well and good – we’re as strong as we’re ever going to be, but we still don’t know where it is. Wandering around until nightfall isn’t ideal. Down south, Captain?”
Amella Amella gives Katrina’s crotch a meaningful stare, still fuming.
Katrina Awareness dawns on Kat. “He didn’t…”
Heinrick “Yes, we do.” He leaves the ‘yes he did’ unspoken.
Katrina “Since when?”
Heinrick Heinrick shows her the map.
Katrina She looks at it for a moment. “We should go – now.”
Mari “Harriet’s dead. Ironfoot’s body isn’t in the hold.” Mari saunters up, finishing a slice of bacon. “He might have still bought the farm though, there was a huge blood smear leading over to the hull, where two of the boards have been kicked out.”
Heinrick “We’ll keep an eye out for a murderous-halfling-shaped lump of weed on our way, then. Are you ready to go, Mari? We’ve got a lead on the Heart now.”
Mari “And I found this,” she says, tossing a small wand to Kat. “Ready…? I’m out of actual magic until twilight, but I can channel. And I can fight.”
Katrina Kat examines the wand for a moment. “In the hold near where he was being held?”
Mari Mari nods. “Yep. That do what I think it does?”
Katrina “Potentially, if he was patient enough, yes he could have used it to escape his bounds.”
Mari “Ah. I was thinking he lit them on fire. Eh.”
Katrina “I don’t really want to know where he hid it.”
Mari Mari laughs. “Give it a sniff, Kat, you know you want to.” To Heinrick she replies, “I’ll grab my gear and then let’s get moving. Assuming… the ship can hold out for the night?”
Heinrick “Once we get the sides coated in tar, it will.”
Katrina “The passenger cabin was secured magically – a sanctuary effect. Not sure how long it will last. Hopefully it won’t have to.”
Mari Mari raises her eyebrows. “Courtesy of Private Perv? I’ll inform the men, so they don’t go in there to fight.”
Katrina “Yes, courtesy of Private Perv – who is apparently more of a perv then we knew. Regardless, if we go hopefully we can kill this things heart before it attacks the ship. Post a watch on deck until night fall, then fall back below decks if we aren’t back by then. If we don’t make it back by nightfall of tomorrow night… I think you’ll know what happened. And keep an eye out for Fargus – if he made it out odds are he won’t wander too far.”
Heinrick “Put the best fighters at the door, and rotate them out as they get weary of holding the weeds off. Anyone with a spear, get it ready.”
Katrina The three set off.
DM Hours go by as the three march across the sargasso, its strange surface reducing them to a slow yet steady pace. Suddenly, reaching the area marked on the map, a forest of kelp rises above the sargasso. Lodged within is the wreck of a caravel called the Thunderer. As you approach, a buzzing rumbles across your minds, not words so much as a mental beacon.
Katrina “This looks… feels.. like the place.”
Heinrick “Ya think?”
Katrina “Lead the way, Heinrick?”
Mari Mari looks back across the sargasso. “Besmara’s snatch… look at that.”
Katrina Kat looks back.
Heinrick “Do I want to look back?”
DM Looking back across the sargasso, you see the horrors rise up en mass, hundreds or thousands strong. Slowly they shamble towards you, moaning their incessant ‘outsiders’ the entire time.
Katrina “It doesn’t matter. We all knew that if we didn’t finish or work here, today, before nightfall there wouldn’t be a return trip.”
Heinrick “Yeah, well, I plan on returning anyway. Come on, make for that ship. We need to get the high ground.”
DM The kelp forest beckons, one could climb up onto the deck from there. The ship is sunk in the mire, only ten feet remain above the surface.
Katrina Kat starts to climb.
Heinrick Heinrick grabs hold of a vine, and boosts the women up.
DM He boosts them the fuck up. Unlike the other wrecks, the original skeletons of the crew remain aboard, soggy bones mingled with broken chests, weapons and rigging. The wreck itself is nearly sunken into the weed. The lower decks are accessible from above, but are located below the level of the weed surface. Along the walls, fronds and feelers of seaweed protrude and twitch.
Heinrick Once all three are aboard, Heinrick passes a bottle of red rum to each of the others. “Drink up, ladies.”
Mari Mari swigs hers down.
Katrina Kat does the same.
Mari “Drinking on the job just isn’t right, Heiny… did you bring us here to save everyone or have your way with us?”
Katrina "Both I think. Save the world – erm, ship – and then get the girls. That’s the fantasy, right?’
Heinrick “Like I’d have had to come all this way for that if I were really trying,” he fires back as he belts down his own bottle.
Katrina “Let’s go.”
Mari “Lead the way, big guy.”
Heinrick “Right. Kat, can you summon something to watch our backs?”
Katrina “Nothing that would last long enough to make a difference.”
Heinrick He heads for the stairs downward.
Katrina Kat follows.
Heinrick …and goes down them.
Mari Mari brings up the rear, cutlass ready. Down the stairs, the heroes find more of the same… rotting bodies, with fronds of seaweed everywhere, waving.
Katrina “Mari, you know more about ships then me, where do you think the entrance to the hold would be on a ship like this?”
Heinrick “You think something this ship was carrying became the heart? I was expecting it to be… I don’t know, natural.”
Mari “Honestly Kat, probably to the west of here… the captain’s room would be ahead, to the east, so the hold would be the other way. Although… this ship is old, Kat. Real old. Best I’ve heard, Heiny, Journey’s End grew from its first victim.”
Heinrick “West first, then. Quickly.”
Katrina “Possibly – it may have been something on board that captured the ship and created the sagasso – some far off monster. Or the ship might have been the first victim. This is at the heart of this thing according to the map, and sunken as it is it leads me to believe the bottom of the ship is probably rotted out – and holding this thing’s source.”
Heinrick Heinrick shoves open the door to the west.
DM The door leads to a passage that winds back into the room they came from.
Katrina “Because that design makes sense…” Kat shakes her head. “Maybe the north west door?”
Heinrick Heinrick opens the northwestern door.
DM The room is spacious, but grown over with seaweed. It may have once held bunks or a mess, but no furniture remains behind to tell the tale.
DM Two doors, one to the north and one to the south lie closed.
Heinrick He quickly steps over the gunk, and opens both doors.
Horrors As he opens the northern door, the sight of a green shambling monster greets him. “Outsiders….” it slurs as it punches him in the face. (9 damage) Its two mates wave their hands and the fronds within the room spring to terrible life.
Mari “What’s going on?” Mari tries to see around Kat.
Katrina “Plant monsters – what else?” Kat fills the monster she can see with magic missiles as it attacks Heinrick, and steps out of the way so Mari can join the fight.
Horror It punches her in the face as she casts. (7 damage) A tendril of seaweed whips around her leg from the massive plant creature as well. (11 damage and grappled) The missile fizzles as she’s yanked off balance.
Mari “Hey!” Mari leaps forward, hacking at the tendril that holds Kat tight. “Let her go!”
DM The blade cuts in, and the moisture evaporates out of the plant’s wound, but the vine does not release its prisoner.
Heinrick Heinrick draws his blade, and strikes at the monster that attacked him in the same motion.
DM He cuts the thing nearly in half, but its pieces continue swinging at him. Black plant blood leaks out onto the deck.
Horrors The monster shuffles to the side and waves its arms, causing another weed monster to animate. Its mate pushes against the ship’s wall, flowing through it and lurching towards Mari. The remaining one tries to strike Heinrick, but fails completely. Mari’s attacker stumbles and she manages to ward off its blow.
The weed monster next to her lashes out, trying to wrap around her neck, but she cuts through the tendrils. The one holding Katrina meanwhile sends out even more tendrils, wrapping her even tighter, crushing her ribs. (8 damage and pinned)
Katrina Kat gives up fighting the monster or casting a spell, pinned as she is, and instead taps into the robe she wears to call up the apes that have served her so well in the past.
DM Two noble animals answer her call.
Ape One tears into the apparent vine horror before her with its claws and teeth.
DM Black blood sprays in the air as the ape rends its prey.
Ape The second ape stands ready to attack the first of the plant monsters that comes within its reach – or to move to whichever space opens up in order to attack.
DM The ape sniffs and howls as it scents the evil in the creature’s blood.
Mari Mari hacks at the grappled creature, easily striking it. The creature shrivels up and collapses as her blade touches it, causing the plants that trap Katrina to fall inanimate as well. Mari’s second blow cuts into the mass of animated seaweed next to her, causing it to shrivel where her blade slices through.
Ape The ape steps past its master and over the decaying plants to claw at the mass of seaweed the priestess attacked, howling a challenge despite the blow it receives as it charges.
DM The creature’s tendrils lash at the ape, wounding it. (13 damage)
Ape Its fist smashes into the seaweed and it tears some of the vines apart, roaring its fury.
Heinrick Heinrick angles his blade between the wall and the monster in front of him to hit its brother, then strikes his assailant on the return swing.
DM Although his first slash cuts through the monster in front of him, the second ricochets off the door. Then, as if some fundamental rule of reality had been violated, the adamantine blade cuts through the doorway like a hot knife through butter, tearing the wounded seaweed monster apart.
Horrors The remaining creature pounds ineffectually on Heinrick’s armor, while its animated mass grapples ineffectually at Mari.
Apes Kat’s apes pound on the seaweed monster while she pulls herself free of the last of the inanimate seaweed strands.
DM The apes tear the seaweed mass completely apart, rending it asunder for their mistress.
Mari Mari summons a chilling blast of water that forms into an icicle which lashes out to impale the remaining creature.
DM It touches the frosty missile as if in confusion.
Horror “Outsiders…. outsiders….” it moans, while waiting for Heinrick to chop off its head.
Heinrick Heinrick obliges the creature.
DM The creature’s body comes apart in a mess of black blood and seaweed as Heinrick’s swing severs its head.
Mari “C’mon, those monkeys might stick around for a bit if we hurry, eh?” Mari calls as she heads up the northern passage towards the prow.
Katrina Kat orders the apes to take the lead in Celestial down the passage. “Let’s move – the apes will only be here for another thirty seconds.” she adds in common.
Apes The apes shove open the next set of doors with their meaty fists.
Heinrick Heinrick lets the apes lead, taking rearguard.
DM Another open room, full of rotting timbers and waving fronds.
Katrina She sends them on to the next set of doors with a few more words of Celestial
Mari “This doesn’t make any sense to me,” Mari remarks, frustrated. “We should be able to get to the prow from here…”
Katrina “Heinrick… that big shiny blade of yours cut through the door like butter. How about trying that wall.” She points to the western wall."
Heinrick “Could probably kick through it, it’s rotted so bad. But we don’t have time to test it.”
Horrors Even as Kat points, a vine creature flows through the wall in front of them, moaning. “Ouuuuttttssssiiiidddderrrrrrs….”
Apes The apes come roaring back into the room and claw at the vine horror even as Kat produces her rapier and stabs at it.
Horrors The creature’s seaweed nature makes it hard for Kat to get a solid strike on it, but one of the apes smashes it viciously across its ‘face’. It continues to moan, blood leaking from its head. As it strikes the fronds in the room, a low cry is heard from deep below and the entire ship seems to shift in response.
DM Katrina and Mari are knocked off of their feet by the shifting. Two more horrors emerge from the walls.
Heinrick “I think we might need some more backup, Kat!”
DM Predictably, the seaweed within the room animates and begins lashing towards the heroes. The original horror pounds at the ape that originally hurt it, but is unable to land a good hit on the beast.
Mari Mari climbs to her feet and lashes at the original monster with her blade. It cuts deep, the vines parting as the blade sucks them dry of their moisture.
Apes Kat’s apes turn their attention to the new vine horrors.
DM They batter the new arrivals, tearing into them with fist and maw.
Katrina Kat – instead of climbing to her feet surrounded – opts to fire a volley of magic missiles into the first vine horror.
DM Her magic missiles punch inside the creature with little noticeable effect. It then collapses in on itself, sending a spray of dusted seaweed across the floor.
Heinrick The half-elf strikes at the horror next to him, cleaving into it with a heavy, overhanded chop.
DM The blow cuts the creature entire in twain, the halves falling to either side. The ape hoots in appreciation.
Heinrick After cleaving the vine-thing, he tucks and rolls through the melee to reach the other one.
DM He nimbly evades even the possibility of a counter attack.
Mari Mari launches a flurry of slashes at the creature, blistering its hide where her blade slices through.
DM As the horror lurches clumsily at Heinrick, Katrina’s ape reaches out and plucks its head off, causing the creature to collapse entirely. He hoots in appreciation and tosses the head to his companion. The animated mass of seaweed collapses as its maker dies.
Katrina The other smiles and Kat murmurs a word of thanks as she climbs to her feet and the apes vanish back to their home plane.
DM The apes vanish, but our heroes are still surrounded by danger at every turn, True Believers! Will they triumph? Will they fail? Will they see Aurion again? Find out next week, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!