|Gark the Goblin|
My campaign journal was previously posted on another forum, but since that forum's been down for over a month I think it's time to port it over here. Unfortunately, the Web Archive did not have the latest version of the thread, so some posts are missing. I pasted in the backups I had, but it's clearly incomplete :(
WARNING TO PLAYERS: Don't read any other threads in this section! They're pretty much guaranteed to have spoilers.
I figure this is a little outside this forum's normal purview, but four of my friends are playing a Pathfinder game online and we've decided to start up a campaign journal (basically, summaries of each session). We all have accounts on MSPAF so this seemed like the best place to put the journal for everyone to post on easily.
The adventure path I'm running is Serpent's Skull. Players/characters are Loather/Chester A. Arthur, a cleric of Keltheald who stowed aboard in Magnimar, Morhek/Athelstan Twice-Dropped, a bard from the Five Kings Mountains who boarded in Cheliax, genteelGunslinger/Notmerlen Wyvernmane, a fighter also from the Five Kings Mountains contracted as Athelstan's bodyguard, and goblinDroll/Thornton Poer, a sorcerer from Thuvia who's been on the ship's crew for several years now. Sessions are weekly, and the first one was on Saturday!
In the year 4710 AR, on 19 Arodus, an Oathday, the passengers and crew (minus First Mate Alton Devers, Captain Alizandru Kovack, and a passenger named Ieana) of the Jenivere sat down to eat in the spacious messdeck. As usual, Cook Bergen had made a simple, blandish stew of salt pork, onions, and potatoes, but something about it must have been off, for everyone's memories shortly thereafter jumbled into sensations of nausea, panic, and drowning.
Some time later, Notmerlen Wyvernmane awoke in an oppressive darkness, feeling wet sand beneath him and hearing the rushing sound of waves close-by. He gradually noticed a heavy weight pressing down on his legs, and then suddenly a sharp pain in his foot jolted him fully awake. Above were low-hanging, swirling grey clouds, and from the light it seemed to be another warm tropical morning (20 Arodus). An ochre, crustacean-like creature with a long stinger at the end of its tail was at his feet, and had its pincers around his ankle. Shouting in confusion, the warrior tucked his feet away from the monster and slammed his gauntleted fist down towards its mandibles. As he swung, however, he was overcome with a sensation of sickness, and the dog-sized crustacean managed to skitter out of the way.
Looking around, Notmerlen saw two more of the lobster-like monsters coming out of the surf. About ten feet away from where Notmerlen lay on the sand was a haphhazard pile of weapons, backpacks, and other gear, and up and down the beach on both sides were Athelstan Twice-Dropped (his charge) and most of the other passengers - Thornton Poer, Chester A. Arthur, Ishirou, Gelik Aberwhinge, Sasha Nevah, Aerys Mavato, and the manacled prisoner, Jask Derindi. Notmerlen saw one of the lobsters moving toward Chester, then, and before he could stop it it had pinched painfully into her leg, jolting her awake as well. The monster further down the shore nipped Athelstan awake, too.
Both dwarves seemed just as nauseous as Notmerlen, if not worse, but they managed to get to their feet and scramble away from the unusual lobsters. Athelstan moved back very carefully, fearing to open himself to attacks. Chester ran up the beach and shook Thornton (who had been muttering something about second breakfast) awake, and the halfling was then able to get up and run down towards the melee with Notmerlen. Notmerlen swung his spiked, gauntleted fist again, this time bashing open the lobster's shell and nearly dropping it, then stood up and stepped back towards the pile of weapons, catching the glint of his four-foot greatsword at the bottom.
The lobster Notmerlen just struck reared back and stung him with its stinger, piercing a soft spot in his armor. It pumped a painful toxin into his blood, but with his hearty dwarven constitution he was able to shake it off. Then, seeming to wobble, it fell into the surf, unconscious. Somehow sensing that its ally was wounded, the other lobster went into a frenzy on Notmerlen, grabbing for him with its claws and trying to stab him with its tail, as well. However, he was growing used to the sensation of oily unease in his stomach, and easily dodged each strike.
Down the beach, the last lobster skittered up to the insensate Ishirou and gave him a tentative nip with its claws. He seemed not to wake, immediately, so Chester went to grab her halberd from the gear pile with the intent of protecting him. Thornton, meanwhile, stepped into the waves near the other still-standing lobster and grasped its shell briefly, pulling some of its life force into himself. The monster wobbled, but jabbed Thornton with its pincers and stinger. As the stinger pierced his flesh, the halfling felt a burning pain, and his limbs began to feel slightly heavier and slower.
Athelstan picked up a bit of sand and blew it towards the monster that'd engaged Thornton and Notmerlen, beginning to weave a bit of dwarven magic. The monster nipped Thornton again, but before it could do any more harm, Notmerlen and Chester picked up their weapons and swung down at it, quickly knocking it unconscious. Chester then ran down the shore towards Ishirou and his carapaced assailant, holding her halberd in front of her. Ishirou was crawling away from the lobster, which decided to abandon him and instead charged to meet Chester, who it failed to hit when she dodged out of its way. Athelstan's sleep spell went off without effect, so he picked up his bow and fired an arrow at the lobster. Notmerlen ran after Chester and cleaved through the lobster before she could strike, defeating the last of the strange creatures.
In the aftermath, Athelstan realized that the strange creatures were "ochre eurypterids," a sort of scorpion of the sea with a nasty venom in their stingers. Looking to the faint brightness in the clouds that signified where the sun was, and remembering the route the Jenivere had been sailing before the group's sickening meal, Chester was able to determine that the group was shipwrecked on Smuggler's Shiv, an island about 30 miles northwest of Eleder that is renowned for its shipwrecks. The island's coastline is rocky and its interior is choked with thick rainforest, but there are reports that the island has been host to a number of failed colonisation efforts. Unfortunately, there are also numerous rumors of ghosts and ghouls haunting the waters around the island, clinging to undeath after they perished on the jagged rocks and reefs surrounding the island. The dwarves exchanged this information with the others, who had just spotted the wreck of the Jenivere about fifteen minutes up the coast, below a steep cliff. Thornton hoped to check the wreck for supplies, but it seemed the tide was too high to safely walk out to it, so the group stayed on the beach with the other groggy castaways.
After a minute or so, Gelik, Aerys, Jask, and Sasha began to groggily stir. The last four, along with Ishirou, seemed very disoriented, but Gelik hopped up and came over to talk to the party. He asked what happened - but the group was just as mystified as he. Thornton's stomach was growling, so he sent Notmerlen into the jungle behind the beach to find firewood, and began the task of hauling the eurypterids out of the surf and cleaning out their edible parts. Chester considered using the hollow shells for a raft, but didn't know a lot about crustaceans, and thought the creatures could be naturally buoyant. She tried floating a few of them to no success.
Twenty minutes later, Notmerlen returned from the forest's edge with a heavy armful of dead, mostly dry wood. Athelstan lit a fire with his flint and steel, and lent Thornton his cooking pot to boil the eurypterids in. The halfling made an unremarkable breakfast - about as good as Cook Bergen's, but with considerably less salt. Smelling the food, the other castaways came over to eat, and it seemed everyone had overcome their nausea. Aerys, Ishirou, Jask, and Sasha still seemed numb, however - they ate quietly, huddling around the fire for warmth. Gelik had a bright shine in his eyes, however, and Athelstan went over to ask him to help set up a camp.
After a brief exchange, which mostly revolved assuring Gelik would be kept safe from any more monsters like the eurypterids, Athelstan won the gnome over, and Gelik agreed. Unfortunately, he was really quite terrible at camp-building, despite his time as a Pathfinder, and Thornton, Notmerlen, and Chester took over. Thanks in part to Chester's wealth of experience travelling and surviving in the wilds, and Notmerlen's wealth of camp-making tools, the group finished the three wooden lean-tos in about six hours. The noonday heat beat down through the clouds, making the air sticky and warm, but in the time since the group began their labor, the tide had slowly receded, exposing a rocky causeway out to the Jenivere that they could see even from camp.
Shouldering their packs and leaving the other castaways on the beach, Athelstan, Chester, Notmerlen, and Thornton walked down the shore towards the Jenivere. As they approached, they heard a relentless clattering noise coming from inside the ship, which looked to have lost both its bow and much of its lower decks. Seeing as the lower decks were where the crew slept, it was unlikely that any of them still survived in the wreck.
Tied to a timber protruding from the shattered ship's ruin, the group saw a piece of wood tumbling around in the surf just below - this piece of wood, Thornton realized, was the bow of the Jenivere's only lifeboat. It must have washed up between the ship and the cliff and was crushed by the action of the waves.
Cautiously climbing through a hole in the hull, the party found themselves in the brig. The single cell was empty, with its door hanging ajar - this was where Jask had been held since he was ushered aboard in Corentyn. Seeing nothing else of note in the room, the group opened the door. Athelstan and Notmerlen wanted to go to the captain's cabin, but Thornton had other ideas - he made a beeline for the larder, and the others followed.
Unfortunately, just outside the larder was another carapaced crustacean creature. About twice as large as the dog-shaped ochre eurypterids, and with a bluish shell instead of brown, the common eurypterid was much deadlier. It abandoned the larder door - which, Thornton noticed, had been gouged significantly by the monster's claws - and raised its stinger. Chester charged forward, swinging her halberd, but the creature skittered away from the blow, and she struck only wood. Notmerlen, however, was able to run around her and split open the top of the monster's carapace, dropping it instantly. Looking down at the creature, Chester remarked, "Looks like we've got our next meal!"
Thornton turned the knob and stepped inside, and was shocked to see the body of Cook Bergen lying on the floor of the small storeroom. He was elated, however, to see barrels of salted meat, jars of pickled fish and vegetables, several wheels of farmer's cheese from Corentyn, and a small sack of pepper from Senghor. Thornton set to organizing the food for transport while Chester examined the cook's body.
Chester determined the cause of death almost on first glance. A pair of large fang marks in Cook Bergen's pallid neck could only have come from a venemous snake - but a venemous snake larger than any she had ever before seen. Cook Bergen's body was very stiff, as if he'd been killed before sunset last night - but as far as Chester could remember, supper had been served several hours after darkness. She stood up and faced the others. "There's snakes on this boat. Time-travelling snakes."
Posted by genteelGUnslinger at 03-17-2015, 01:59 AM
Name: Notmerlen Wyvernmane
Appearance: Long, dark brown hair and beard tied carefully to prevent snagging on his armour. A number of small facial scars line his cheeks and one larger scar runs up the bridge of his nose. Clothes are practical and comfortable for wear in warm climates, and for wearing under the burden of mail, though he might switch out to lighter armour if the jungle climate proves too difficult for heavier armour.
Notmerlen has spent much of his life doing one thing. Protecting wealthy people. Protecting powerful people. Protecting the people in general. Where he found his skill with a blade and with an axe in need, he served diligently and without fault. If there was one thing that could describe Notmerlen's professional life, it was that he was loyal to a fault. Even when he joined the great merchant drives of Highhelm, he faced every danger with a cold indifference, something which even among dwarves is considered...unusual. But such talent made him quite popular among merchants and councillors needing personal protectors and guards. Particularly a guard who had a reputation for unbending loyalty.
But such a unbending loyalty and will had a purpose. A plan years in formulation. Garnering such a considerable reputation and recommendations from many of the most notable merchant groups would bring him closer to revenge. For years, he had resented the owner of the Half-beard Mining Company for forcing his father out of business and leaving his family to fall into poverty. It was only through years of dedicated work that Notmerlen was able to scrape his way out of poverty through training with militia and mercenary groups. Even then, he was not able to prevent his parent's deaths before sickness overcame them, and his sister died trying to follow in his path, being crushed to death by an Ogre's club on a caravan drive. Alone, angry and without any other purpose, Notmerlen saw his opportunity when he was approached by a Half-beard recruiter. Apparently, Halfbeard's nephew and apprentice was travelling to a Sargarvan mine, where he would negotiate and organize a merger that would see both parties profit heavily. 6 months in Sargarva. Enough time to get revenge. However that might come about. He'd find a way. But Notmerlen could not find it in himself to extend that same hatred towards his charge. Athelstan Twice-Dropped, though expressing all the attitudes that come with a life of privilege, had the strange effect of making people around him like him. He hated Half-Beard, but he could get used to Twice-Dropped. Even if what he intends to do will certainly ruin him as well. But maybe he would be a valuable asset in his revenge. Time will tell how useful he will be.
1 Sarenith 4715 AR:
Mother, Father, dear sister Kelma. I swore on our family, our ancestors and all the stone of the Five Kings that I will see my duty fulfilled. I swore that I would ruin Half-Beard and leave him as destitute as he left us. Today is the first day on that journey. I will avenge you.
A contract organized by one of Half-Beards cronies got me in as the bodyguard of his adoptive son, Athelstan Twice-Dropped. Athelstan is...well, if it not for his adoptive father, he certainly would make for interesting company. Unfortunately, he reminds me too much of that beard-stunted bastard for me to get all that attached to him. Too pompous and clearly hasn't seen a day of action in his life. Things are going to become a lot more exciting for him soon enough. He suspects nothing. Believing me to be nothing more than another hired muscle, guiding him to his important business deal.
Poor bastard. He seems to mean well enough, and I hear he's a genuinely good businessman. Unlike his father. But things have a price, and Half-Beard cared not when he threw my father and all of our family into the streets to die like rabid dogs. He gets no special treatment.
The ocean...the ocean is vast. I had not seen the ocean from more than a great distance away, atop the outer ridge of the mountains. Now, I stand at the waters edge, looking out toward the moving sea. I'm not sure how I'll feel on the boat.
3 Sarenith 4715 AR
It's rocking. All the time. I am rather glad I have a strong stomach, because I'm handling it better than Athelstan. Two days in, and he has had a bucket with him wherever he goes. This will be a long journey. Dwarves aren't meant to be on boats.
19 Arodus 4715 AR:
Blast everything, and particularly, blast that damn cook. I am as groggy on the details as I am physically, but seemingly, the entire crew of the Jenivere had been drugged. Apparently, it was potent enough to have rendered all of us unconscious, and strong enough to keep us in that state as the ship dashed itself against the rocks. Unless someone threw us all overboard, I think being alive at all is a miracle. I can see the boat from here, impaled on the sharp, wet stones. It's lower deck and bow torn from the rest of the ship. The water lashing at her remains. How did we survive...
And so many of us. Only one member of the actual crew is among us, but almost all passengers save for one, Ieana I believe her name was, has washed ashore. The captain is absent. Most likely rolling at the bottom of the ocean right now, or wedge between those razor sharp rocks. Whatever the case, we have been stranded on a island known as Smuggler's Shiv. Notorious for being used by smuggler ships in throwing off pursuit by making dangerously close voyages to the island. Any boat unlucky in navigating it's surrounding waters winds up much like the Jenivere.
Among the passengers, only a few catch my eye. My charge is alive. Shaken by the event and combat, but alive. His great business deal will have to be put on hold. Actually, considering this will most certainly
disrupt the merger between Half-Beard Mining Company and the Sargavan mining company, maybe this is a boon after all. If I wasn't stuck here as well. I guess I'll take my blessings as they are. I just have to bide my time.
The halfling, Thorton, apparently cares for little more than when he's next eating. He was a part of the crew, but he has an airs about him that reminds me far too much of the gentry of the Five Kings. Always nose first up their arse. And frankly, he smells like it too. Probably putting it on and has forgotten about the 'shower twice a week' habit of the rich. He does, however, have magical powers. I saw him try and...do something to one of the oversized lobsters that attempted to eat us during our sleep. The air around his hand seemed to...condense. Like breath high up in the mountain. Did he try to freeze the monster? Is he a hedge wizard? What is he doing living as a sailor?
He also has a chicken that somehow survived the event. For what purpose, I cannot ascertain. He is certainly an odd duck.
But an even odder duck is the third dwarf in our company. Chester something. Sounds lowland dwarf for sure. She is just weird. Seemingly, she is a cleric. Her trappings give away her devotion to presumably one of the deities of the sun. Most sun-worshippers tend to act like as though they've spent too long standing under it, but this one is just beyond me. And a dwarf at that! She wears a featureless bronze mask on her face, and refuses to take it off. I'm not even sure I remember her wandering the ship much on our journey. This is possibly the first good look I've had since I first spotted her aboard the Jenivere. She seems capable with her halberd, I'll give her that, but a dwarf worshipping the sun? Not right....clearly she has lost her stonesense, along with any other sense with it.
We will set off to the wreck of the Jenivere soon. Hopefully, we don't run into any more of those large lobster creatures. As much as they were tasty, I wouldn't like to meet any more. And maybe, I'll be able to retrieve some gear to construct a raft. The cleric apparently does have a few bright ideas after all. We might also be able to retrieve something from the captains belongings. He's sure to have gold or treasure lying around, and I wouldn't imagine a dead man minding too much if we take some for ourselves. To the living go the spoils, as they say.
19 Arodus 4715 AR:
We located quite a number of supplies and useful tools within the wreck of the Jenivere
I'll list an entire itinerary here:
From the Storage Room:
block and tackle, three large canvas sheets, two fishing nets, a grappling hook, two bullseye lanterns, 12 flasks of lantern oil, 150 feet of hemp rope, and five shovels
Alton Devers' equipment: Masterwork studded leather armor and masterwork short sword
From the kitchen:
Dried beans from Magnimar
jars of honey from Magnimar
1 cask of wine from Pezzack
2 casks of water from Senghor
Oranges, limes, and lemons from Senghor
Crates of hardtack from Magnimar
2 casks of rum from Quent
Millet flour from Senghor
Jars of sauerkraut from Nisroch
Olive oil from Corentyn
Wheels of farmer's cheese from Corentyn
Barrels of salt pork from Corentyn
Barrels of salt fish from Port Peril
Black pepper from Senghor
From the Captain's drawers:
Several sea charts and maps
Alizandru Kovack's captain's log
Bottle of fine brandy
Darkwood model of ship in a bottle
From the Coffer:
350 gold pieces
From the Footlocker in the Captain's Room:
Leather satchel with 12 potions (10 conjuration, 2 transmutation)
Masterwork dagger, suit of leather armor, two potions with conjuration auras, a holy symbol, and a spell component pouch
All above belong to Jask. We have returned his armour and his holy symbol along with his component pouch, but have withheld his weapons for now.
1 eurypterid body
The supplies withheld, we have made other discoveries since our journey to the Jenivere. Namely, we discovered the body of Alton Dever. The First Mate aboard the Jenivere. I was able to determine that the man was killed by repeated stab wounds from a slim weapon, too large and too deep to be a knife, and most likely a rapier given the locations of the wounds being consistent with the rapier techniques I know myself. The man has also seemingly been attacked by one of the Eurypterids, if not the one we ourselves dealth with. He had on him a number of useful tools, so I relieved him of his belongings. Dead men have not much use for armour or weapons, particularly if they did him no good in life either.
We also came across the journal of the Captain of the ship, and my charge, Athelstan, has discovered a number of very concerning things within. Apparently, as the ship reached near the end of it's journey, the Captain's sanity began to clearly deteriorate. He became infatuated with Ieana, the scholar who was missing from the other passengers. He wrote numerous and very sloppy love poems to the woman, and began to grow suspicious of the intentions of the other crew members and passengers, believing them to be scheming to steal her away from him. Namely, he believed his First Mate most responsible for such a scheme. The captain was one of the only people wielding a rapier.
What troubles me more is the fact that it was apparently on Ieana's request that the ship be steered closer to this forsaken island. The crew began to grow suspicious about our course, and so the captain orchestrated a means to make sure they would not get in the way. He poisoned us. All of us. And so now we are here.
This does answer a number of questions, but raises new ones. Who is this Ieana. She was supposedly a scholar of ancient ruins, but no. I do not believe that. She is something more than what she first seemed, and even though Athelstan believes the cause of our shipwreck to be circumstantial, I think it holds the answer this situation. This woman is clearly something unusual. The death of the cook, the oversized bite marks, the strange behaviour of the captain. This is something...supernatural. It has to be. But I cannot possibly think of what would be the cause of this. What is this woman?
Regardless....she must be somewhere on this island. We must find her and bring her down. And take whatever she aimed to use to get off the island for ourselves.
What's more, we have other problems. Apparently there once was a Chelixian army force that attempted to invade Sargava at some point in time. Whatever the case, they wound up shipwrecked upon this very island. Rumors abound that they have since degenerated into a group of savage cannibals that prey upon those stranded upon the island and on each other. This will more than likely hinder our progress should we discover them to be real.
We have delegated tasks to the passengers. Sasha is tasked with hunting. Gelik has taken to sharing stories and trying to maintain the others spirits. Clearly, these people are more accustomed to an easier life than this. They've never had to live without a bed for more than 24 hours. Jask we have discovered is a cleric of Nethyrs. I know of these lot. They are as unpredictable as their god. He is not getting his knife back until we are certain he is going to work with us. Ishirou, the silent one with the katana, has not said anything or done anything. Useless git. The half-elf, Aerys, has agreed to help guard the camp so long as she's boozed up. I like her style. Furthermore, inspecting the way she moves about and her stance on guard indicates probably a background in martial techniques. I expect her to be a capable warrior much like myself. If she isn't drunk that is. We'll see what happens in the morning.
20 Arodus 4715 AR:
Trying to get that idiot Ishirou to do something failed miserably. Athelstan and Thorton attempted to reason with the man, but apparently a screw came loose up stairs and he began to shout about dueling Athelstan to the death. I immediately stepped in and reminded him that a challenge upon my charge's life is a challenge I will step in to take. This has always been the Dwarven way.
A dwarf is sworn to protect their charge and to put their life on the line to fulfill that duty. It was what my father repeated to me and my sister every day of our early training. It was what the world demanded of me. Back home, weaker dwarves could vie for power by force. Such things result in a duel between the challenger and a champion. Those who choose this route believe themselves to be able to overcome any obstacle so long as they have the will to achieve it. What they fail to account for is that martial skill surpasses any ridiculous notion of dwarven spirit and strength. The dwarves have long since had that indomitable will crushed out of them, but I still have the might of my skill. That is all the force of will I need.
I asked him the terms of our duel. I stated that he must choose whether this was to first blood, or to death. As dwarven custom, the challenger must choose the terms, and those terms must be respected by both parties. A duel in dwarven culture is one of extreme seriousness. There are no loopholes. Your word is your word. He chose to the death.
I allowed him first blow. His footwork was sloppy. This man might be used to his weapon, but he was no trained warrior. I could see it in the way he shifted his feet that he had no proper martial training, and was not taught on how to defend yourself against a much larger weapon. The untrained are usually oblivious to the fact that a great weapon is not, in fact, a slow weapon in the hands of a trained warrior. I have spent my life handling blades twice my size. I was able to bring my blade around faster than he could even adjust his body to avoid the blow. My sword cleaved straight through his neck, decapitating him and ending our fight faster than it started. His head fell to the ground. Etched with shock, marking his last thoughts.
I have taken his weapon. A final sign of respect to the dead, and a trophy of honour for myself. At the end of my service, typically, I must relinquish such a trophy over to my charge, as it was in his name that I accomplished this task. Athelstan might not get the chance to see that happen.
This day has started poorly. The rest of the passengers now look at me with fear. They should know better now. They should understand how dwarves do.
Posted by Morhek at 03-17-2015, 04:04 AM
Name: Athelstan Twice-Dropped
Appearance: Light red hair and beard trimmed to a respectable length, braided and looped to keep out of the way. Red cheeks and nose, from a naturally ruddy complexion or perhaps the Sargavan heat. Wears respectable, though not obtrusive, travellers clothes on top of a chain shirt for protection, though the chain shirt is more often kept in his luggage in the tropical heat unless trouble is expected.
(Courtesy of Fish)
Tolskeinn always loved Athelstan best. The youngest son, he was only a few decades older than the child of Thormar and Scinna, and treated the boy like a younger brother. When Athelstan was still toddling around the mine-keep, scarcely past ten years, Tolskeinn showed him how to use a dagger, and showed him how to find veins of ore with only a few taps of the knife.
Unfortunately, this love did not extend to Tolskeinn's brothers. Thormar the Many-Horned, brash and violent, was gone from the keep every few years, joining crusades into the Darklands below Highhelm. Thormar and Scinna were warriors, and had little time for Athelstan once he was weaned. Vendel Glitterfinger, the eldest, left Tolskeinn to manage the mine's expenses while he spent away its profits, casting gaudy, amateurish works of gold and silver to decorate his tower enclave and his unusually long fingers. Vendel was softened first by the death of his father, then of his husband, and as the years wore on he became a blubbering mess. Tolskeinn begrudged their free lifestyles, which would surely doom his family to poverty, but the resolution to their slow-brewing conflict seemed far more grisly than he ever could have wanted.
When Athelstan was about fifteen, Thormar returned home in a great rage. The funding for his Angradd-blessed fight against the orcs had been suddenly cut short by what purported to be Vendel's order. Yes, the border dispute would go on without him, and yes, his warriors could last a while with the stores of rations already purchased, but Thormar himself left as soon as he heard, intent on getting answers. He left Scinna, Athelstan's thick-armed and quick-witted mother, in command of the platoon.
All Athelstan remembers is a great argument up at the top of Vendel's tower, and the sound of crying. Uncle Tolskeinn took him into the mines, then, further than he had ever been before. Uncle Tolskeinn told him the story of the first dwarves and the Quest for Sky. Long ago, the dwarves lived in darkness, very, very far below the surface. They were beset on all sides - by orcs, and creatures worse, and even by their own kin. It was only by the strength of one leader, a general who united the race towards one purpose, that dwarves could ever make it to the surface. The general used diplomacy, trickery, and even violence to force disparate clans and subcultures together, and fulfill the Quest. It was unfortunate, but some clans were too vicious and evil to make it to the surface, and the general expunged them without hesitation.
Before Uncle Tolskeinn could complete his tale, a mineguard came running down the tunnel. Athelstan remembers Uncle Tolskeinn's hands on his beard going white as the messenger said that Glitterfinger and the Many-Horned were dead - apparently, Vendel ordered everyone out of the tower so the brothers could speak alone, but Thormar took it as a cue to try to kill his brother and assume control of the family holdings. There was a brief struggle, but a retired jewelrist is no match for a seasoned delver, and Thormar's cold-forged battleaxe was found in Vendel's head. Then, in what must have been a fit of guilt, Thormar smashed through a window and jumped from the top of the tower, landing on his head in the dried-up fountain Grandfather Orgrim built when he founded the mine three centuries earlier. The mineguards rushed upstairs, but only found Vendel and his blood slowly sinking into the cracks in the slate-tiled floors. So, the messenger said, she had come to proclaim Tolskeinn the new owner of the Orgrim Mining Company.
Uncle Tolskeinn's knuckles only grew whiter. "Do you think I care? Gods, I just lost half my family!" In a flash, he whipped out a small blade of mithral and sliced his beard in two. "It is no longer the Orgrim Mining Company. It is Halfbeard, for my father's sons - my kin, my older brothers - have perished, and the Company can never be the same." He heaved Athelstan onto his shoulders, saying, "Stay close, nephew. Only you, Scinna, and I remain."
The aftermath of those two deaths is a blur in Athelstan's memory. Tolskeinn gave the child his father's battleaxe in a slight break of tradition - normally, such weapons are interred when the bearer dies, but Tolskeinn reasoned that Athelstan had little else of Thormar to remember by, and anyways Thormar had died in disgrace. Scinna brought the platoon to the surface for the funerals, but seemed to have contracted some sort of disease in Nar-Voth, and was bedridden soon after. "Uncle Halfbeard," as Athelstan took to calling him, contracted an expert chirurgeon from Thuvia, but even her ministrations proved unable to break Scinna's deadly fever. The warrior held on longer than a normal dwarf, but she seemed to burn up from the inside-out. Athelstan visited her three times before the end, but at each she was unconscious, and Uncle Halfbeard dared not let him into the tower more for fear of contagion. After some weeks of sickness, Scinna passed, and was quietly laid out in the mausoleum where Grandfather Orgrim and all the rest had been taken.
The least personally momentous event, but certainly a topic of relentless economic gossip in Highhelm, was the rapid expansion of the new Halfbeard Mining Company. In just three years, Halfbeard's assets doubled. Dozens of smaller mines, smelters, and smithies around Orgrim's were soon bought out by a man some described as Torag-blessed (though Uncle Halfbeard would explain to Athelstan, there were no gods involved - you simply had to cut out frivolous expenses and focus on efficiency). Athelstan, meanwhile, learned letters and axe-fighting and proper management ettiquette. In his thirtieth year, he began handling some minor contracts for his uncle. Slowly, over decades, he built up a considerable reputation among his adopted father's advisors - his legal writings were ironclad, and his instincts for investment were akin to those of the young Tolskeinn.
All was not golden for the adolescent Athelstan, however. His curiosity and excitement to learn the family traditions waned as he grew, and he grew cold, emotionless in all but the direst of circumstances. Part of him always wondered if Uncle Halfbeard hadn't arranged for Thormar to return home, hadn't intended for him to kill Vendel - and part of him wondered why he didn't seem to care. But he kept quiet, and fulfilled his obligation to the only family he had left. Besides, Uncle Halfbeard was a better parent than Thormar and Scinna combined, and Athelstan could not bear to disappoint such a great man.
In his late 40s, Athelstan figured himself an adult, and went to Uncle Halfbeard's home, a three-room building with high ceilings and comfortable chairs but little else to connote the man's success and power. Athelstan found his uncle talking with a Chelish human who was curiously devoid of hair, garbed in flowing purple robes. The two seemed to be arguing heatedly, but broke off immediately when they noticed Athelstan.
Quelling his irrational nervousness, Athelstan explained to Uncle Halfbeard that he felt ready to become a real partner in the Company. Uncle Halfbeard paused a moment, then looked over at his human houseguest. "I think, friend, I will be needing you no longer." Turning his head back to his nephew, he said, "How would you like to go to Sargava? I've had the maps ready for Gihellent here for nearly a week, but he keeps trying to squeeze me out of a little more comission." He straightened a sheaf of papers and motioned for Athelstan to sit down. "If you accept, you'll go down to Farsouth Mine and oversee a merger between our companies. I know a few of the managers down there - they're looking to retire about now, so you'll have to act as head management for six months before I send down some of our own overseers. It's dangerous country, with demon-worshippers and worse in every little valley, so I'll send a bodyguard along with you."
Athelstan was surprised by how readily his uncle agreed, but never one to lose his wits when an opportunity presented itself. Before Gihellent could cut in, Athelstan nodded once, and the deal was done. The spurned Chelaxian rose. "Halfbeard, you'll regret not sending a native. I know that country as well as anyone, and the Farsouthers don't take kindly to other dwarves." He whisked out of Uncle Halfbeard's home, leaving the dwarves to plan.
In another week, Athelstan was ready. His companion was one Notmerlun Wyvernmane, a veteran of the Darkmoon Vale caravans and a warrior of some skill (so Uncle Halfbeard said, at least). After a cursory evaluation of this particularly taciturn dwarf, Athelstan decided he liked him, and the two set off for Highhelm.
From the Journal of Athelstan Twice-Dropped
19th of Arodus, 4170
I have never put stock into the concept of diaries. Repositories of secret knowledge are to be distrusted, unless intended for scholastic distribution. A mage who keeps a log of his work uncoded is as much an idiot as a merchant who records all his transactions without obscuring names, dates and figures.
Nevertheless, I fear that I am not long for this world. My companions consist of a dwarf woman who appears to worship the sun to a garish, possibly grotesque extent, and seems mildly insane; my dwarf escort who, while certainly competent, his only loyalty to me is financial; and a Halfling sailor around whom hangs the stench of death and poultry. That isn’t to mention the human woman who hasn’t said a word to anyone since one of the sailors tried to get lucky with her to his injury; the self-important gnome who loves to hear the sound of his own voice, but cannot even set up a camp; the assorted other survivors who washed ashore with us; and the giant eurypterids that have harassed us this morn. If you find this, I hope that you are kind enough to have it delivered to my uncle, Tolskeinn Halfbeard of the Halfbeard Mining Company, offices in Highhelm, Five Kings Mountains. With luck, my family will learn of my fate, instead of endlessly waiting for news. I promise that you will be well rewarded for your efforts, if not in wealth then
in some other debt. If you find this and decide NOT to return it, may you be forever cursed by Abadar.
Today has been…eventful.
I had been travelling to Sargova. I have business to attend to, business that is vital to the interests of myself and my family. Again, I tell the hypothetical reader that he will be well rewarded if he returns this to my uncle. I set sail from Cheliax with my bodyguard, where I spent my time learning of my destination. I had hoped to conduct my business negotiations with a variety of people – the natives tribes of the Mwangi Expanse, and whatever humans, elves and dwarves I could find of interest. I cannot say that I approve of Cheliax, or its patron deity, though they did not seem quite as repressive or miserable as tales had led me to believe. That isn’t to say that I approve, but I suspect exaggeration. From Cheliax I learned enough of the Mwangi trade language, and my elvish is serviceable. I doubt my skald will come into play this far south. I stocked up with rations for the journey once we disembark. I also purchased a map of Sargava, which I expected would be useful.
The ship wrecked. I know not why or how yet, only that it has since washed up, and we awoke upon the beach. My last memory is of the worst meal I have ever suffered through in my life. I suspect food poisoning, though if deliberate or through ineptitude I cannot say. I roused to find a sea scorpion nipping at my toes, and soon joined the fray. Knowing that rations were scarce, I suggested that we supplement them with sea scorpion meat to make them last. I then convinced the gnome – Gelik Aberwhinge, as much a whinger as his name suggests – to help organise the camp, while my party set out to scavenge what we could from the wreck, despite my better judgement. As I told uncle Halfbeard, it’s not right for a dwarf not to have solid earth under him, even if it’s through a few layers of wood or stone. We have have not set out yet.
Given the calibre of my companions, I feel obliged to go. None of them possess what could be called leadership material, so it is up to me to organise this band of assorted characters and see that we make it back to civilisation, or at the very least shelter. I heard tales of this island during my time in Cheliax. Smuggler’s Shiv they called it. Supposedly haunted. I wish I could dismiss their tales as fantasies, but one hears tales. I know little of the wildlife beyond the fact that I expect them to differ from what I am familiar with. I only remembered the sea scorpions by chance from the books I read as a child, of the fossils occasionally dug up from a time soon after Torag forged the world. I cannot expect this luck to hold out, no matter how well read I am. I must learn more of this place, of its secret places and its hidden threats, if I am to make it home.
We made it aboard the ship, lowering ourselves from the cliff to the deck of the wreck. My suggestion that we scrounge the captain’s quarters, where no doubt he stored anything we could navigate with, was summarily ignored by the Halfling nitwit who made a beeline to the galleys and ran into another of the wretched sea scorpions which was summarily dispatched, as well as the body of the ship’s cook, who seems to have been bitten by some sort of snake and perished long before our eventful meal. Chester thinks it was time travelling snakes. She’s quite mad of course, but something odd clearly did happen. By this time, though, the heat had begun to set in. Chester, the mad one, was looking in a bad way.
We continued our search, managing to find a few potions, some maps, the captain’s journal, and a footlocker containing a significant amount of gold, as well as the body of Alton Devers, the first mate, and a few members of the crew. Devers had been run through with a rapier. The crew had been on the unfortunate end of a eurypterid stinger. We reclaimed some rations from the ship’s supplies, some fishing nets, a length of rope and a grappling hook, and the sea scorpion. Meanwhile, we appropriated the captain’s keys and his bed, dumping our haul upon it and dragging it all back with us to the camp. Notmerlen ran off into the underbrush screaming on the way back, and attacked a snake that seemed to be minding its own business. I drew my axe and aided in dispatching it, though not without a bite. I still feel woozy as I write, but I have since had some healing and should be fine.
Upon return to the camp, I read through the captain’s journal. It started out well enough – mundane facts and events, such as buying the ship, paying the crew, and passenger manifests and transactions. Over time, though, the entries became less legible and more erratic. The captain had become obsessed with out of our fellow passengers, a Varisian woman who said she was a scholar, interested in ancient ruins. It was for her he diverted the ship from its set course. He believed the first mate was seeing her in secret. There was more – something about a sea serpent myth. Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? At any rate, he believed the crew was getting suspicious of his actions, and plotted to be rid of them. Which explains the poison.
I realise that I have yet to meet a sane person on this entire venture. I worry over this fact.
We also confirmed the identity of one of our fellow survivors, Jask Derindi – a former employee of the Sargavan government, who began pocketing money from the Free Captains of the Shackles before eloping. Evidently, he was recaptured many years later, and was being returned to Sargava to be brought to justice. He's also a devotee of Nethys, which makes me apprehensive. I don’t approve of giving him free reign, but he’s a competent healer and hunter, so we agreed to free him from his shackles. Under such desperate circumstances, we cannot afford not to. We're sorting out night watch shifts.
I hope we don't run into more snakes.
20th of Arodus, 4170
We agreed to split shifts for night watch. The half-elf, Aerys Mavato, agreed to take a watch. Thornton, Notmerlen and I took shifts too. Seeing the sea stretch out in the glimmering light of my dancing lights in the dark was a haunting sight. I will be glad never to see it again. I took the last shift, so I was already awake when dawn came.
As if being stranded on this island is not bad enough, we’re turning on each other. The night was peaceful enough, but Ishirou took exception to being asked to help the rest of us survive, and challenged me to a duel – at which point Notmerlen stepped up, and declared that no one lays a hand upon his master. Under normal circumstances, I would have accepted the duel. I am not eager to die by any means, but I have my honour. But the duelling rules allow the challenger to accept a change of duelist, and Ishirou decided my bodyguard would make a better target. He also decided that it would be a fight to the death. More fool him. The two fought on the edge of the camp. It was a quick fight. Ishirou’s head fell clean from his shoulders.
Thornton wasn’t happy about it at all, but frankly, if you’re stupid enough to challenge a dwarf you get what you deserve. He tried to convince Jask to heal whoever lost, unable to accept the idea of a duel to the death. I suggested that if Ishirou was in any mood to reconcile, he would have done it before challenging a dwarven warrior to a mortal combat. Nevertheless, not wanting to seem petulant, I helped Thornton to dig the grave. None of us had much to say, but we did get Jask to say a few words. He’s the closest thing we have to a priest on hand. It seemed the right thing to do.
Now the other members of our camp are giving Notmerlen and I dark glances. I doubt anyone else will gives us such trouble, but I wanted to convince them to help, not make them feel forced into compliance creating resentment. This is going to have repercussions, and I doubt they will be pleasant.
We are debating over who shall gather food, who shall guard and continue setting up camp, and who shall set out to explore the island interior. We suspect there will be all sorts of threats – more animals, cannibals who inhabit the island, and ancient ruins. Not to mention Ieanna is still unaccounted for. We are hopeful that, if she planned to come here, she would have some way to get back to civilisation. We intend to take it for ourselves in our escape.
I am hopeful that we can avoid further bloodshed among the party, but I doubt we can avoid shedding others’ blood. This is a violent place, savage and wild. I am not accustomed to it.
We set out southward into the island’s interior, climbing up a ridge looking down over the inland bay that occupies the centre of the island. We could see the distant shoreline, but not much beyond it. On the ridge, we saw a dimorphodon nest. We were talking about their eggs, and the similarity to Ostriches, and Chester opined that they were a ward against poison, and Thornton decided he wanted an omelette breakfast, so up we climbed. Unfortunately, the mother was keeping watch nearby, and swooped down onto Thornton. I’ll tell you, dangling on a rope from a cliff face and shooting a bow is not easy, but I somehow managed it. We eventually reached the nest, but one of the eggs had already hatched and the rest were presumably not far. We decided that while an egg big enough to make half a dozen omelettes is a valuable commodity, ones filled with stillborn Dimorphodon embryos are simply not worth it. We did, however, decide to keep the chick. I’m hopeful that I can train it, and keep it – some of my books have claimed that Dimorphodons can speak, parrot-like. I’d like to find out.
Thornton thinks he’s keeping it to eat. I will allow him his delusion for the moment.
Tying the chick with a length of rope as a leash, we decided to leave it on a makeshift nest out of the way of predators until we returned. Heading south-east into the island, we found a fresh water spring where we could drink out fill. Regrettably, we think it’s infested with snakes. More bloody snakes. We hadn’t brought much in the way of carrying tools, and Thornton wasted half his day’s rations trying to absorb some in a futile gesture. Chester decided to name the Bergen Memorial Spring. Dejected, we tramped back to camp, only to be met with a heavy downpour that relieved the heat but replaced it with humidity. Notmerlen graciously leant me his leather armour – a chain shirt in this heat is a ridiculous idea, and I regret ever having it. At least the rain allowed our campmates to replenish some of our freshwater.
The half-elf, Aerys appears to be an alcoholic, and had gone through a bottle in one day. On top of that, I was joking with Thornton, about hypothetical worlds without elves, and said something along the lines of “some would say they were better worlds.” Aerys heard me, I fear, and I didn’t get the chance to apologise or explain that it was merely a bad joke, before Chester stunned us by dumping water over her head, and then making a pun before fleeing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so stunned and horrified before. Chester eventually returned, and we managed to convince Aerys not to kill her – she can make fresh water, a valuable skill until we can find a source that isn’t infested with serpents.
Sitting around the camp with Gelik, Jask and Sasha, we started talking about our reasons for coming to Sargava. I explained that I was on my way to Sargava to negotiate the buy-out of one of their prominent mining companies for my uncle back in the Five Kings Mountains. Gelik explained that he was in the Pathfinder Society’s bad graces at the moment, and had been hoping to find the wreck of a Pathfinder-owned ship, the Night Voice, and recover something of value aboard it to get back into their good graces. On the subject of my stay in Cheliax, Jask started talking about his home in Corantyn, and went on to insist that he is innocent of the crimes he has been accused of, and in fact is a scapegoat for the corruption of his former employers. While I’m still suspicious – a guilty man would say the same – given the level of corruption among Sargavan officials I heard about in Cheliax, it sounds plausible. He also claims that proof of his innocence exists aboard a shipwreck, the Brine Demon, lost a few years after he fled Sargava to Cheliax. Sasha said nothing, and I didn’t press her. Aeryn I left alone, lest I end up with another Ishirou on my hands.
Chester just returned to camp. Together, the rest of the camp managed to convince Aerys not to tear her limb from limb. Thornton blamed it on her being a dwarf, and I declared that she’s crazy even by Dwarf standards. Which is entirely true, and I hope she isn’t the death of us all. Between us, and with Thornton’s “generous” offer of more rum, she decided to leave well enough alone.
We’re planning to explore the south west tomorrow.
Feel sick, probably food poisoning. Bugger.
21st of Arodus, 4170
I convinced Thornton to share his rum hoard with Aerys – intimating that if he didn’t capitalise on his “generosity,” I would, and he would not like it. He wasn’t left with much choice, but as long as it keeps the party calm and reasonably amiable, then it improves our chances of survival. Aerys seems considerably less hostile to us than she did last night, and as a whole, the party seems to be coming together. I hope it lasts. While discussing whether to move the camp or to leave it where it is, Chester suggested todays itinerary:
• Find researcher
• Kill snakes
• Befriend cannibals
• Monetise water
I don’t know about the “monetise water” part, but the rest of it seems perfectly sensible (for once), and I especially seconded the killing of snakes. Do not like them.
We decided to explore to the west of the island, and were almost immediately ambushed by another dimorphodon. The island seems infested with them, though I’d rather face one of them than the snakes that keep cropping up. I landed the killing blow as it dived for Thornton, and ended up toppling backwards under a crumpled ball of leather and fur, thrashing to get it off me. Not harmed, but quite alarmed. Thornton then decided to go crashing through the undergrowth after an animal. It looked to my eyes to be a fox, but Thornton swears it was a goat. Notmerlen and I fired our bows at the animal, expecting them to miss and Thornton to return empty handed. To my surprise, one of the arrows landed, slowing it down for Thornton to catch it. So now we had a goat to haul with us, as well as the dimorphodon. Had to heal Thornton of his heatstroke. No use letting one member slow the whole party down, I suppose.
Later in the day, we discovered a shipwreck. Thornton and Chester decided to explore it, suggesting that it belonged to the time travelling snakes. While I still believe they are both insane, I agreed to allow them the use of my grapple to rappel down. They tried to be stealthy, in their own ways – Thornton utterly failing, flailing and thrashing around as he descended, and somehow the sun caught Chester’s face mask (face?) turning her into practically a glowing beacon. If there had been anyone aboard the ship, I doubt we could have gotten the drop on them, even literally. Notmerlen and I descended after them, far less ostentatiously. Fortunately, there appeared to be nobody aboard. Unfortunately, there was nothing much of worth aboard the ship. I found the name – the Tattooed Lady, a Shackles pirate/smuggler ship I read was lost at sea about 50 years ago while in Cheliax. Other than that, the only thing we managed to find was copious amounts of seaweed, which Thornton and Chester immediately stuffed their pockets with. Thornton doesn’t even like the taste of seaweed, which didn’t stop him for some reason. Chester, of course, loves it.
Getting back to camp, we discovered the huts in disarray, the tent burnt down, and Gelik and Jask cowering in terror. Aerys has run off, Sasha has been grabbed by an apparent cannibal raiding party bearing the pentagram tattoos of Asmodeus, and our camp is now decidedly unsafe. Thornton advocated getting a meal in us, a good night’s sleep, and then finding the missing members of the party in the morning. I disagreed, trying to convince the others to set out immediately, without success. Possibly for the best – Aerys was the best tracker, and she’s somewhere else. At the mention of a meal, Chester started handing out the tainted seaweed. We debated goats for a while (are there Seagoats? Spacegoats?) as Thornton and I somehow scraped together a decent goat and seaweed soup, with Chester and Thornton eating the goat tongue and Chester particularly relishing it. I didn’t touch it, and gingerly removed as much of the seaweed as I could.
We set a watch for the night, but it passed uneventfully. When the sun had risen, we set out – Notmerlen, Thornton and Chester tracking the cannibals south-west, and myself leading Gelik and Jask south-east to track down Aerys, agreeing to meet up at the dimorphodon nest from the other day if both groups accomplished their tasks. I thought I could hear some sort of ruckus at one point, carried across the jungle, but couldn’t make out what it was. Presumably, the other team had gotten into some sort of bother.
My own group found Aerys fairly quickly. Both Gelik and Jask seemed angry at her, but I believe I managed to smooth the situation. Aerys herself seems suitably contrite at fleeing the attack last night, but I reassured her that the past cannot be helped, and that she should try to make up for it by helping to get her back. She seemed to take heart from it. We are heading west now, to link up with the others – I know not whether they have had much luck finding Sasha, but we are following their trail south. Aerys seemed interested in some bushes, but we haven’t the time to gather food now. We did, however, pass another decapitated snake – this island is infested with sea scorpions, dimorphodons and cannibals, and yet it is the snakes above all else that I loathe. If I never return to this place, it will still be too soon.
This entry will be spare. Have had a rough day.
Pressing on, we found an abandoned settlement. Thornton explored, discovering another plant zombie. I don’t know what the problem is, but Thornton tried to back away as fast as he could before we agreed to attack. Gellik shouted racist Gnome jokes to bolster our morale as we attacked. I dare say it didn’t work, succeeding only in filling us with mild contempt for the man. While Normelen, Chester and I closed to engage it, Thornton, in his infinite wisdom, decided to throw a Molotov cocktail, splashing on us too. It seemed to work, drawing its exclusive attention to Thornton, and allowing me to catch it with my battleaxe as it passed, showering me in gore. Chester was kind enough to use a water spell to give me a shower. I accepted it graciously. Note to self – when we get to civilisation, find the nearest public bathhouse and buy the most expensive pachage I can to cleanse my body if this filth.
The zombie was about three years dead, and the shelter is about that old. The zombie was a woman, dressed in ragged clothes. Nothing else to identify her. We briefly discussed leaving Gellik and Aerys behind to set up our new base, but decided against it and set out to track the cannibals. Barely setting foot outside of the camp, Notmerlen was hauled up into the air by a snare, but managed to free himself, falling back down. Thornton made an abominable pun about it. “We’re getting close, so there’s some good noose.” We agree that Thornton goes first. I managed to find the cannibals’ trail, and Thornton was immediately hauled up by ANOTHER trap, with Chester tossing her halberd and me throwing a dagger to try to cut him down. We both missed. Aerys was concerned at this, but not concerned enough to say anything, or help. I tried to climb the tree but was unsuccessful. Chester made it up there, as I swung my grappling hook for Thornton and Chester to climb down when he was freed. We continued down the trail, with myself taking the lead this time, watching out for more traps, but even so I nearly stumbled into one, barely managing to escape being flung into the air. Notmerlen tracked the cannibals southward.
Food poisoning caught up with me, and I immediately regretted eating the seaweed. We tracked them to a vertical cliff, with a wooden structure at the top, and started to climb – Chester found and dodged a trap, and then we were accosted by a quadruplet of barbarians at the top who injured Thornton and Chester with javelins. Thornton started lighting and tossing molotovs. Jask heals the two, looks up nervously at the cannibals. I missed twice with my bow, before managing to hit one in the shoulder, and the Cannibals sank two spears into poor Jask. One of the cannibals hurled a spear with a rope, and Notmerlen grabbed on, hoping they would haul him up where he could take them on at close quarters. Gellik and Aerys droped, prone, Gellik managing to stabilise Jask. I helped light one of Thornton’s molotovs, which sailed up and set fire to the cannibals’ structure. With their structure on fire, the barbarians started climbing down, fighting Notmerlen as he was still on the rope. Notmerlen managed to knock one off, unconscious; another fell, dead; I managed to hit another Barbarian with an arrow, while Notmerlen dealt with the last two; I managed to pierce one of the last Barbarians through the heart – he fell, crashing onto Thornton, who somehow shrugged it off. We focussed on the last one, images of Asmodeus and hellfire swimming across our visions in weariness, Jask trying to climb up to heal Notmerlen but thinking better of it. I missed with yet ANOTHER arrow. In desperation, Chester wrapped a Red Pearl Amulet around a rock and tossed it. It failed to hit. Finally we managed to get the last barbarian to plummet off.
It was at this point we discovered that Sasha was INSIDE the structure we had succeeded in setting on fire. Notmerlen managed to rescue her from it with only light burns which Jask easily healed.
I hate this island.
I hate it so much.