Isles of Thunder

2.4 Flight of the Dragon Lord

As the adventurers exit the stronghold they are greeted by Drakis in full dragon form. The blue dragon towers over the stronghold, his mighty wings folded back, smoke rising from his nostrils.
The dragon smiles as he sees the group emerge from the stronghold. “I see you’re all still alive.”
“Mostly,” responds Delver.
“Good,” The dragon bellows. “I have one more favor to ask of you. We must defeat the sky serpent. We have rooted out most of the Broken Shard from the islands, but I fear they may still make a move using the serpent as a weapon. We must not allow that to happen.”
“And how are we supposed to help?” Zeek asks.
The dragon lets out a roar. From above him descend four smaller blue drakes. “They will serve as your mounts.” One by one, the party climbs onto the backs of the drakes. Once everyone was situated Drakis lets out a terrifying roar and launches himself into the sky. There is a resounding beat of leathery wings as the smaller drakes take flight in the wake of the giant dragon. The clouds rushed past as the dragons streamed through the sky. A dark mass of clouds hovers ahead of the dragon’s flight path. The clouds are illuminated by the constant white blue flash of lightning followed by a sizzling crack of thunder.
“There it is,” Drakis shouts back at the adventures. “Prepare yourselves.”
With a mighty beat of his wings the dragon launched straight up in the air. The drakes followed suit, the adventures clinging desperately to hold on to the beasts. They soon found themselves hovering directly over the dark gray clouds.
Drakis turned to him companions. Nothing needed to be said, everyone knew exactly what was to follow. The great dragon folded his wings and dropped straight down into crackling mass of clouds. The smaller drakes waited for a minute longer and then followed.
Delver’s hairs stood on end. Half out of the static electricity that riffled through the air, half from fear. He could see his companions’ drakes hovering nearby, but there was no sign of the sky serpent or of Drakis. He turned to Zeek, who, from the looks, shared his same puzzlement.
The clouds to their left ripped apart and the sky dragon emerged, teeth bared, ready to devour its prey. The giant serpent was halted as Drakis emerged from above, ramming into the serpent and dragging him down. The great dragon’s claws and teeth sunk into the serpent as he tried to hold onto his prey. The drakes followed their master downward, launching blasts of fire at the exposed areas of the serpent. The serpent let out a terrifying shriek. The static electricity seemed to increase all around the party. A malevolent storm of lighting began crackling through the sky, striking the dragon and drakes alike.
The aerial death dance lasted no more than 30 seconds as the serpent thrashed and clawed at the dragon and the drakes. But it ended soon enough as Drakis’s powerful maw clamped down on the serpents neck. With a snap the serpent’s body hung lifeless from the great dragon’s mouth. Drakis opened his mouth sending the lifeless body of the sky serpent falling downward. As the clouds parted the party could hear the loud splash as the serpents body crashed into the water, sinking to the depths below.
“Food for the deep dwellers,” Drakis smiled, licking the blood from his lips.

The crew celebrated their victory all night. Rum was had and stories were shared between the pirates and their new comrades. As morning broke Drakis summoned the adventurer’s to his cabin.
“Once again, I would like to thank you for all the help you provided.” He began. “I do have one more task to ask of you.”
The adventurers let out a resounding sigh.
“My crew found this missive in one of the strongholds. It reveals locations of other Broken Shard strongholds and locations they are targeting. I would like you to deliver this to my sister, Alestraza, in Thunor and warn her of the Broken Shard’s plans in the Dragon Lands.”
“A chance to go home? I’ll take it!” Delver exclaims.
“My sister will see that you are rewarded for your help. Captain Boomer has offered to take you to Thunor. He’s ready to depart whenever you are.”
The party says their final good byes to the crew and board Boomer’s ship.
“So I guess we’re stuck together.” Gauthak says.
“Yep, get used to it,” Delver responds. “It looks like we’re in it for the long haul.”
The sails unfurled and Boomer sends the crew in motion preparing for their journey north to the Dragon Lands.

View
2.3 Attack on the Broken Shard

They could see the sky serpent off in the distance as Drakis examined the missive. His crew had been successful in tracking down the creature, so far it had not come close to shore and has posed no threat the people of the southern islands. The party informs Drakis of Madhuri, the Broken Shard, and the missive.
“This could explain it,” Drakis states turning to Boomer. “I have felt a wane in my power recently. I am unable to change out of this form. I’m sure the Broken Shard knew of my presence down here. They must be casting a ritual across the islands to prevent me from interfering with their plans.” He turns to the party, “This gives us a perfect opportunity to strike them all at once. You have proven yourself useful allies. I wish that you accompany Boomer and his crew to attack one of the strongholds.”
“As long as there’s a reward at the end of it, I’m in. Otherwise, we’ve done our part.” Delver explains.
“Not all of us share that sentiment,” Gauthak cuts in. “I would like to see this to the finish, reward or no. I do not back down from a fight.” Zeek and Ivan nod in agreement.
Delver pouts, “I guess I don’t really have a choice do I then?”
“Good, now that that’s settled,” Drakis flashes a bloodthirsty grin. “Prepare yourselves. We attack at dawn.”

As the sun broke above the fort, the guards were greeted by an early surprise. Thunderous cannons woke the occupants of the fort as Boomer’s crew, comprised of no more than 30 men along with the half giant, half elf, monk, and bird man, stormed their way to the fort’s front gates. Gauthak was first into battle, charging at one of the ogres that is serving to guard the fort’s entrance. His war hammer strikes home, but the ogre seems to shrug off the attack. Before the ogre can retaliate, Delver launches a massive fireball from the back lines. The explosion leaves the gate as nothing but a burning pile of ashes and flames lick at the ogres. Zeek follows up Delver’s attack with a missile of his own. A shimmering swirl of radiant light launches from the cleric’s talons and strikes the ogre engaged with Gauthak. The ogre topples over, dead.
The other ogre, seeing his companion felled by the tiny bird man, let’s out a howl of rage and charges at the bird. Zeek dodges the incoming attack. A fearsome roar comes from behind the smoking gate as a meaner, larger, far uglier ogre charges through the smoke, clubs swinging in both of its hands. It charges straight into Ivan. Even with his amazing reflexes, Ivan is no match for the brute force of the ogre and is sent sprawling as both clubs connect with him. Zeek, seeing his companion nearly killed outright begins to run to his aid. As Zeek turns, the remaining ogre sees his chance to finish off the bird man, but as his club comes careening towards the bird it is met by Gauthak’s war hammer. Gauthak parries the blow, throwing the ogre off balance and leaving itself exposed to the devastating blow as Gauthak retaliates and lands a killing blow to the ogre.
Ivan, barely clutching to life, tries to fend off the attacks of the larger ogre. As the ogre’s club comes crashing down on Ivan, Zeek is able to deflect the attack, engulfing Ivan in a shield of holy light. Delver, seeing an opening to attack the large ogre, launches two eldritch blasts at the ogre. They explode as they make contact and the ogre’s lifeless body crashes to the ground.
Ivan shoots a smile over to Zeek as he wipes the blood from his mouth, “Just in the nick of time. Thanks.”
Gauthak charges through the smoking gate into the court yard of the fort and is greeted by four cultists and their boss. They begin to overwhelm Gauthak with their attacks, forcing the half giant on the defensive. Ivan, recovered with the help of Zeek, launches himself into the battle. He lands a flying kick on of the cultist’s attacking Gauthak, sending him flying and freeing up some space for Gauthak to swing his war hammer. The cultist’s continue their assault on Gauthak and Ivan as Delver and Zeek join the fray. Emerging from the smoke, Delver launches two eldritch blasts at one of the cultists, who is disintegrated by the warlock’s blasts. The remaining cultist’s are quickly dispatched by the overwhelming force of the party.
As the smoke finally clears, most of the remaining cultists have either fled or surrendered to Boomer’s crew. The party searches out the remaining fort, finding a secret staircase in one of the back rooms.
“I sense dark magic down there,” Delver states. “I wonder if that’s where the ritual Drakis spoke of is taking place.”
“Only one way to find out,” Gauthak exclaims as he charges down the stairwell.

The stairwell opens into a dark, stone hallway. Red light flashes along the walls, its source yet to be revealed. The hallway spills into a cavern. The dank room is filled by the red glow. A set of stairs lead onto a stone ledge, on which a staff sits upright, dark energies swirling around it. Two hooded figures step forward.
“I see he have been found,” One mutters.
“Yes, but not to worry. They will be gone soon enough,” The other robed figure responds. Both wave their hands in the air. The ground in front of the ledge begins to open and two undead ogres wrench themselves from the earth. “Kill them.” The robed men commanded.
“Not so fast,” shouts Delver. He steps forward and before the robed men can react, Delver launches a fireball through the air. As the fireball hurtles towards the robed men it explodes in a flash of red and orange. The blast sends the robed figures tumbling backwards and engulfs one of the ogres in its flames. From behind Delver Zeek launches his own radiant bolt towards the now flaming zombie ogre. As the holy energy connects with the ogre it lets out a pitiful wail as it bursts into ashes, consumed by the warlock’s fire and cleric’s holy energy. One of the robed figures regains his feet, swatting at the flames singing his robes. He turns in time to see Gauthak charging up the stairs. With a quick incantation from the robed man, Gauthak is halted in his tracks.
“I can’t move!” He yells as the remaining zombie ogre shambles towards him. The room is lit by flashes of different colored lights as the spell casters hurl spells at one another.
Ivan rushes to the aid of his half giant friend, intercepting the ogre before it can reach Gauthak. He engages the undead creature, darting back and forth to avoid the ogre’s uncoordinated swings and trying to find a weak point on the creature with his strikes. His martial training proves to not be as useful against the zombie. With no critical points to strike, the ogre soon has Ivan on the defensive. Gauthak, seeing the monk in danger, summons all his mental will to break the invisible chains that are preventing him from moving. He leaps from the stairs, war hammer swinging above his head, and comes crashing down on the zombie. As Gauthak gets up to turn his attention to the spell casters, he sees one final bolt of holy light from Zeek strike down the last standing enemy.
The party examines the staff, which seems central to the dark energy swirling around the room.
“It’s plugging a hole, sealing the dark energies. If we remove it the energy will probably dissipate.” Zeek suggests.
“Stand back,” commands Delver. From below the ledge, Delver clasps his hand together like he would to remove the staff. Using his magical power he begins to lift the staff from its pedestal the ledge. As the staff breaks free the room is engulfed in a torrent of dark energy pouring out of the pedestal. Dark bolts are launched in every direction and as they make contact with the stone floors they burst into dark skeletal figures. With a shriek, one of the skeletons charges at Delver.
“Skeletons!” He shouts, as he blasts the charging skeleton into a pile of bones. “It’s a good thing we have this cleric!”
“I don’t really deal with the dead,” Zeek rebuts as he smashes his mace into another of the skeletons.
“But you’re a cleric!” Delver continues as he dodges the next skeleton’s swing, “That’s kind of your thing!”
“It doesn’t matter at this point,” Gauthak yells as he charges up the stairs, laying waste to a group of skeletons in front of him. “Just more for me to crush!”
Dark energy continues to pour from the pedestal, summoning a continual stream of skeletal figures. As the group continues to fend off the skeleton’s attacks, the dark energy begins to coalesce into a single, shadowy form. The shadow glides across the ledge, directing its attention toward Ivan. As Ivan stares into the glowing red eyes of the shadowy figure he begins to recall his days as a soldier and their attack on the peaceful village. He can feel all the pain and fright that the people felt as his troop torched their livelihood. Ivan stood there, petrified by the events.
“Ivan!” Gauthak screams at the paralyzed monk. “Ivan, what are you doing? I need your help!” The skeleton’s sword slashed across Gauthak’s chest, opening a fierce wound. The shadowy figure, seeing it’s opening on the half giant, turned and dug it’s long, sharp claws into Gauthak’s back. The half giant let out a howl of pain as the skeleton plunged his sword though Gauthak’s stomach. The half giant topples over on the ledge, his life slowly bleeding out of him.
Ivan watches in horror as his companion is felled by the skeletons. The shambling bones turn their attention to Ivan, raising their swords to strike him down just as they had Gauthak. As the swords swing down to strike the monk down, a blast of energy sores over his shoulder and blasts the skeletons apart.
“Don’t just stand there!” Delver yells at him, hands smoking from the eldritch blasts he just let loose. “Do something!”
Ivan, finally wrapping his head around what was happening, break free of his daze and turns his attention to the shadowy figure.
“Never again…” He mutters to himself as he launches toward the shadowy figure. As Ivan swings his quarter staff through the shadowy figure it lets out a ghastly scream of pain. Ivan follows up with a relentless assault of kicks and punches. By the end of Ivan’s attack the shadowy figure is no more. The torrent calms and the dark energy seems to dissipate along with the figure.
Zeek rushes up the stairs to where Gauthak lies. Exhausted from the battle through the stronghold, Zeek uses the last of his holy energy to heal Gauthak’s wounds.
“That was a close one,” Zeek says to the half giant as he helps him to his feet.
Ivan stumbles over to Gauthak, hanging his head in shame. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened. I should have been able to help you. That thing…whatever it was…it got in my head. I froze in fear.”
Gauthak clasps the monk on his shoulder, “It happens to the best of us. Plus it’ll take more than that to kill me.” The half giant grinned. Their work done in the ritual room, the group makes its way back upstairs to see what Boomer and his crew have been up to.

View
2.2 The Isle of Sha'nae

Boomer’s galleon rolls into the port city shortly after dawn. The party makes quick work of questioning the workers on the docks the where about of the cave Madhuri referred too. It proved to be useless. Too many ships left and arrived daily for the workers to notice anything suspicious. One of the dock workers, however, is able to point Delver to Ishimu Kaiba, one of the port’s clerks who often handles black market deals.
“Ahh…you’re Maxamillion’s errand boy,” The dark skinned man smiled as Delver introduced himself. “Well, you are friend of Ishimu now. What can he do for you?”
“I’m looking for information on anyone suspicious around here. I figured a prominent figure such as yourself must know all the coming and goings around here.”
Ishimu smiled, “Ah, you know how to stroke a man’s ego. Yes, I know of all the ships the dock here and their cargo. But that information isn’t for public viewing.” The man raised his hand and rubbed his thumb against his two fingers. Delver got the hint and tossed the man a gold coin. Ishimu slid a leather bound book across the counter to Delver, who quickly began reading the entries.
“Damn, nothing here. I thought for sure they would have docked here.” Delver exclaimed.
“Not all boats dock here. It’s not uncommon for pirates to drop anchor in coves along the coast.” Ishimu responds.
“You know many of the pirates and their ships, right? Has there been any that you or your men haven’t recognized.”
“Now that you mention,” Ishimu says, “my men did report seeing an unmarked ship in a cove along the north east shore of the island. It didn’t strike me as strange at the time. But not many unmarked ships around here. All of the usually belong to some merchant or some pirate warlord.”
Delver tosses the man another coin, “Thanks for the help. I have one more favor to ask of you,” he pulls out a piece of parchment with some notes scribbled on it. “I’m sure there is some merchant ship headed to the Dragon Lands. Can you see that this makes its way to Lord Galric Wellington? It’s important he knows the whereabouts of his employees.”
“I will see to it,” the man grins, rolling the coin along his fingers. With that Delver returns to the crew with news about the cove.

The galleon skims the eastern coast in search of the unmarked vessel that Delver relayed to them. Eventually, one of the crew members sites a small ship anchored in a cove. Along the coast of the cove is a rocky outcrop forming the mouth of a cave.
“What’s the best course of action here?” Zeek asks.
“Investigate, don’t engage unless forced to,” Boomer states. “My men and I will hold out here for your return. Signal us if you need help. Otherwise we’ll wait for your word.”
The party sets out on a row boat, rowing slightly away from the cove and approaching the cave by land. The cave is dimly lit as they enter
“You two stay behind us,” Delver points to Gauthak and Zeek. “Ivan and I will scout ahead.” Both are trained in the ways of moving silently. They slowly creep down the tunnels, investigating every turn with Gauthak and Zeek following a ways behind. Eventually Ivan catches some faint murmurs coming from one of the tunnels. He slowly creeps forward, trying to get a better listen at the ongoing conversation.
“Suuhebi has been released. But there hasn’t been any word yet from Madhuri. He was supposed to have the serpent under control by now.” The voice ranted.
As Ivan crept closer and closer, craning his neck to try to see who the voice is coming from, he fails to notice the pebbles on the cave floor. One step closer and Ivan sends a pebble bouncing along the stone floor.
“What was that?” The voice exclaims, “You two, go check it out!” Before Ivan can react, two masked men armored in plate mail, scimitars drawn, turn the corner.
“Intruders!” One of them yells behind him. Ivan narrowly dodges the swings from their scimitars. As Ivan regains his composure he feels a gust of wind roll past him along with a blood curdling roar. Before the cultists had time to ready themselves from their previous attack, Gauthak was already on them. His Warhammer comes crashing down on one of the cultists. Even the plate armor they wear can’t stop a half giant’s massive swing. Ivan retaliates against the remaining guard, but his strikes glace of the plate mail. Three more guards round the corner to confront the intruders. One wears a tabard decorated with a yellow diamond on a red field with a crack down the middle of the diamond.
They engage the remaining party members. Two guards put Delver back on his heels as he is forced to dodge their incoming attacks. He smiles and the guards realize all too late that they have fallen into his trap as they hear him mutter a swift incantation. Their plate mail is worthless as flames spring from Delver’s hands, engulfing the guards and cooking them in their own suits of armor. The charred remains fall to the floor with a clank.
Meanwhile Ivan is engaged with the remaining guard. The guard takes several swings at Ivan, eventually his scimitar finds an opening in Ivan’s martial defenses. Ivan is barely able to turn the blade aside with his palm in what would have inevitably been a mortal wound. Instead the blade cuts into his shoulder.
Gauthak sees an opening in the guard’s formation and charges at their leader. Summoning all his strength Gauthak swings his war hammer through the air. The guard captain, unable to parry the incoming onslaught, is caught directly in the chest. As the war hammer makes contact with the captain there is a resounding thud as his plate mail buckles under Gauthak’s mighty swing followed by the inevitable cracking of bones and the man’s rib cage shatters. The captains reels and falls to his knees. He lifts his head in time to look the half giant directly in the eyes as Gauthak utters, “This is where you die.” The war hammer comes crushing down, leaving nothing but a pile of goo that used to be the captain’s brains.
The last guard looks on in horror, seeing his captain’s head explode in one mighty swing from the half giant’s hammer. Ivan takes quick advantage of this distraction and finally finds an opening in the guard’s armor. With a swing of his quarterstaff and a flash of his hand, Ivan snaps the neck of the last guard.
Delver walks over to a table that the cultists had been gathered around.
“Anything?” Zeek asks. Delver responds by tossing Zeek a missive. Zeek opens it and begins to exam it, nodding with approval.
The group returns to Captain Boomer’s ship. “What happened in there?” Boomer asks, seeing the bloodied monk helped aboard by his comrades.
“Just ran into a couple of dead bodies,” Gauthak grinned.
“We found this,” Delver tosses the missive to Boomer. “It tells of other Broken Shard strongholds scattered throughout the southern islands.”
Boomer shoves the missive in his coat pocket and turns to the party, “Excellent. We should rendezvous with Drakis at once and determine what we want to do about these remaining strongholds.” The party agrees and they set sail to meet up with the dragon lord.

View
2.1 The Dragon Lord's Fleet

Anchored in the water was a fleet comprised of several ships. The largest ship of the fleet, an ornate Man O War, featured a dragon figurehead. The rig moved up beside this ship and the crew disembarked, dragging Ivan, Gauthak, and Delver with them. The crew was comprised of men and creatures from all different parts of the world. They snarled and jeered as the strangers were brought onto the deck. Tears streamed from the cabin boy’s face at the sight of the crew, but he stifled any urge to scream or wail. Amidst the jeers from the crew members Delver noticed a familiar face, an Aarakocra Cleric by the name of Zeekqueeehk Rikihik.
“That fucking bird!” Cries Delver upon seeing the Aarakocra.
“I thought we were friends,” Zeek responds.
“I would have been rich, this goddamn bird…” Hate burned in Delver’s eyes as he stared the bird man down.
“You know him?” The puzzled crewman escorting Delver asked.
“He cost me a fortune. Did a job with him and he just gave away our findings.” Delver huffed.
“Bring them to my cabin!” The dragonborn roared as he stepped foot onto the ship.
“The bird too?” The crewmen asked.
“Fine, bring the bird too!”
The four adventurers were brought into the captain’s cabin. The dragonborn stands eight feet tall behind his desk. His mouth curls into a snarl which is even more exaggerated by the scar that runs from an eye patch across the dragonborn’s face. Gold jewelry decorates a beard, formed by various tendrils extending from the dragonborn’s chin. He wears a black knee length coat decorated with gold pins securing a red cloak. “You have 30 seconds to explain to me what happened on that island before I feed you to the deep dwellers. Go.”

“So it started with a kraken…” Ivan began. The party summarizes the events that took place on the mountain for the dragonborn as he patiently waits and listens.
“So as you see, the ritual was already in place and we tried to stop it. It was really his fault for trying to sell us out.” Delver motions to the still whimpering cabin boy. At this the boy bursts into tear, apologizing profusely to the party and the dragon.
“He’s nothing but a boy,” Ivan defends the cabin boy. “If any of us were his age and in his shoes we would have done the same.”
At this the dragonborn grins, “I believe you.” The grin widens exposing hundreds of sharp teeth. “You’re too big of idiots to have pulled anything that impressive off.”
Delver responds to the dragon, “Now that you know who we are, could we perchance learn who our captors are?”
“Captors? You really don’t know who I am?” The dragonborn was greeted with blank stares from the group. “I am Drakis Fellfyre, second of the dragon lords. Brother to Alestraza and Celestia. I command the largest pirate fleet in the south with 40 captains serving under me.”
“What is the sky dragon’s concern to a pirate?” Gauthak asks.
“I may be a pirate, but I am still a dragon lord. Our sworn duty is to protect this world and the free people in it,” Drakis states. “When a creature that old and that powerful escapes after thousands of years of being sealed away, it sparks questions. Who released it and for what purpose?”
“We don’t know. The only thing the man performing the ritual said was something about changing the world,” Ivan answers.
“We need to investigate this more. I’m asking for your help with this. You were at the top of that mountain and spoke, albeit little, with the man performing this ritual. I am tasking you to investigate who he is, where he came from, what was his purpose. In the meantime I will follow the sky dragon and destroy it if it poses any significate danger,” Drakis says.
“How are you supposed to defeat that dragon? Even with a fleet your size can you stand against a dragon that large?” Delver asks.
Drakis’s lips unfurl into a wicked smile, “This isn’t my true form. We dragon lords take humanoid form to walk among you mortals, but our true forms are that of large winged dragons. I would prefer not to resort to that just yet. I am curious to see where this sky dragon goes and what its purpose is supposed to be. Maybe it will lead us to the answer. In the meantime I am putting you under my third in command, Captain Boomer. You are dismissed.”
As the group exits the captain’s cabin Zeek turns to the group, “I would like to accompany you on this journey. Out paths have crossed for a reason and I wish to assist in answering the questions surrounding these same circumstances.”
“Are you going to betray me again?” Delver asks.
“I still don’t understand what is provoking your anger,” Zeek responds. “Those gems belonged in a museum thus that is where they were returned to.”
Delver just shook his head, “There’s no getting through to you is there. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to have a cleric accompany us, as long as you don’t get in the way.” Thus the group climbed aboard the dingy to be taken to their next ship.

As the group sets foot on the Galleon they are greeted by a gnome sporting a large pirate hat with a blue plume smoking a cigar. In a puff of smoke the gnome says, “I’m Captain Boomer. Drakis tells me that I’m to take you to find out what this thing was up to,” he kicks the familiar dead body of the priest that Gauthak carried down the mountain. “I’ll warn you now…this is my ship, my crew, my responsibility. I won’t hesitate to abandon you or kill you myself if you try anything funny,” the gnome pats the hilt of the large great sword strapped across his back. “Got it?”
“What are we going to do with this?” Zeek asks, turning his beak from the corpse.
“How else are we supposed to figure out what we need to know?” Boomer responds.
“Zeek, why don’t you perform an autopsy? See if it reveals anything interesting.” Ivan suggests.
“The mere thought about opening that body is sickening,” Zeke answers.
Boomer steps in, “Now before we go about dismantling this here body I have a better idea. There’s a witch, name of Abiyomi. She lives in a small hut on an island off the coast of Zabaalu. She’s been known to be able to talk to the dead. Don’t know if it’s true, that old woman claims to be able to do a lot of hocus pocus gibberish. Might be our best place to start though.”
“What if I just ask it instead,” Zeke utters. “I am a cleric after all.”
“What do you mean?” Boomer asks.
“I can cast a spell to talk to the dead. It will answer five questions before the soul recedes back to the underworld.” Zeke replies.
“And you didn’t think to mention this before?” Delver shouts.
“No one asked me until now…” The bird continued about preparing the body for the ritual. “We only have five questions. Corpses aren’t known for giving the most straight forwarded answers though.”
As Zeke utters an incantation the body seems to become more alert and rigid. The faded eyes become a milky white color as the soul returns to the body.
“Why did you go about summoning this dragon?” Zeke asks.
To which the corpse replies, “To serve as a vessel.”
“A vessel for what?”
“A vessel to pave the way.”
Fearing that they are getting nowhere with the current questions, the group decides to pursue a different set of questions. “Who are you?”
“Madhuri Sarula, priest of the order of the broken shard.” The corpse answers.
“The Order of the Broken Shard. I know of them,” Zeke turns to the other adventurers. “The Order of the Broken Shard is a cult with no religious ties. As far as I know they are trying to restore the world back to the time before the splitting of the rift, before the dragon lords became the rulers of the free world. The time of giants. Suuhebi, the sky serpent, they must be using it a weapon to release other creatures that were sealed away from that time.”
“We need to find out what their other plans are,” Boomer states. “There were much worse things that Suuhebi from the time of the giants. Darker, far more dangerous old ones that now sleep beneath the earth…”
Zeke continued with his questioning, “Where is your base at?”
The corpse responds, “A cave on the island of Sha’nae.”
And finally, “Where is the dragon going?”
“I do not know.” As the corpse answers the final question its eyes fade and the body drops, lifeless, to the deck again.
“What now?” Gauthak asks.
“I have a contact on Sha’nae,” Delver begins. “I can ask him if he has seen any unusual suspects resembling Madhuri. Also we can send word to Lord Galric about our whereabouts.”
“Are we sure we want to do that?” Gauthak asks.
“Sure,” Delver responds, “He is paying us a fairly hefty sum of money for a quest that I’m not even sure we can complete. He deserves to know what’s going on.”
“I don’t know. This whole Broken Shard thing has got me thinking. Galric likes old stuff. He sent us to find a tablet from the age of giants, the age the the Broken Shard is obsessed with. I don’t know if I trust him anymore,” Gauthak explains.
“You’re acting crazy,” Ivan responds. “A mere coincidence. If we were seeking out the tablet in a prominent location of the age of giants, of course we’d run into fanatics.”
“Very well,” Gauthak concedes. “Onward to Sha’nae then.” Boomer puts the crew in motion to set sail to island.

View
1.4 - Battle at the Lighting Peak

The party finally finds themselves at the peak of the mountain. The air is brimming with electricity as the lightning continues to rain down. Across the peak is what appears to be an altar where the lighting is focused. A man stands in front of it with outstretched arms.

“Friend or foe?” Paxador asks.

“Whatever he is, I don’t trust that we should let him know we’re here.” Ivan says. With a nod of agreement the party slowly makes its way to the altar. As they reach the base, the man turns around. 180px-Thousand_Bones.jpg

“Ah, you’re just in time.” He smiles wickedly. “I’ve been in need of a sacrifice. One strong enough to break the chains of this portal.”

“Who are you and what are you summoning?” Paxador yells over the roar of thunder.

“Who I am is none of your concern, just a man who wants to change the world. I will release upon this world a beast who’s power is unrivaled that has been sealed away for far too long.” With a maniacal laugh the man hurls a fireball where the party stands. Paxador is quick to react, dispelling the magic before it reaches them and launching his own blasts back at the man, narrowly missing him. A shout and a crash come from the nearby trees as a tribesman and a large ogre emerge to help their master.

Gauthak lets out a battlecry and launches himself at the priest in front of the altar. The priest disappears in a puff of smoke as Gauthak’s maul comes crashing down, reappearing behind him. Ivan makes quick work of the tribesman with a blow to his skull and turns his attention to the ogre. The two exchange blows. The priest launches successions of magical lightning at the party, hitting home with several strikes. Gauthak, realizing his companion has been left weakened from fighting the ogre and the priest, turns his attention to aiding Ivan. With a mighty roar Gauthak’s maul comes crashing down on the ogre, leaving him nothing more than a bloodied pile of flesh and bones. Ivan turns his attention to the priest, and with a flurry of jabs, manages to finally strike the final blow to the priest.

Blood dripping down his chin, the priest smiles. “I never thought I would be the one to make the sacrifice.” With one last, weak laugh, the priest topples over.

A terrifying roar comes from the altar as the lightning intensifies.

halflife_gordon_freeman_lightning_1680x1050_wallpaper_www.wallmay.com_13.jpg

“Run for it!” Paxador shouts. Gauthak scoops up the body of the dead priest and the three companions sprint their way down the mountain. As they pass their previous camp site they grab the cabin boy and make their way to the beach. As they turn around they see a giant flying serpent emerge from the peak of the mountain, larger than the mountain itself. Lightning cracks around it and it lets out a bellowing roar that shakes the bones of the party.

“What is it?” Paxador asks.

Suuhebi,” Gauthak mutters.

“The lightning serpent from the Fall of Sammsisu?” Ivan questions. The party watches the giant serpent fly off into the distance, quivering at the sheer power of it.

The party did not notice the approaching ships until it what too late.

“You there!” They heard a shout, as they turned they were greeted by five boats full of pirates. The largest of them, a grizzled, blue scaled dragon born with an eye patch, stepped forward. “Surrender your arms and get on the boats now.”

“And who are you?” Paxador puffed up his chest and demanded.

“I am the one who is going to save your sorry asses.” The dragonborn’s breath was hot as he barked, inches from Paxador’s face. “Now, shut your damn mouth and do as I say if you want to survive this.”

The party, with little hesitation, obeyed the dragonborn and climbed into one of the boats.

“We’ll sort this out aboard my ship.” The dragonborn stated. “Now, men, MOVE!” With that the boats pushed off from the island, leaving whatever other mysteries were on it far behind.

View
1.3 - The Tribesmen and the Cabin Boy

Midway up the mountain the party runs across a group of tribesman surrounded by a fire. They recognize among them the cabin boy from The Wavehammer, Cyrus. Savage.jpg

“What do you think they’re doing with him?” Gauthak asks.

“I’m not sure, I’m going to cast a spell to communicate with him though.” Paxador slowly creeps forward until he is within range of the cabin boy. Moving his hands to form archaic symbols and whispering the incantation under his breath Paxador sends a message to Cyrus. “Are you in trouble?”

Startled by the incoming message, not realizing where it was coming from, the cabin boy stands up and shouts, “Who’s that?” The tribesmen around him stand up with spears in hand.

Paxador comes out from the bushes. “It’s me, Paxador, from The Windhammer.”

Cyrus looks him over, “You were one of Lord Galric’s men, right? The warlock?” Paxador nods in agreement. “These men here found me washed up on the shore, I thought I was the only survivor from the ship. Is there anyone else with you?”

“No, I woke up by myself on the beach. I saw the lightning coming from the mountain and I thought I would go see what was happening up there and try to gain a better vantage point of the entire island,” Paxador responds.

Cyrus leans over to one of the tribesmen, “He has demon blood. Do you think he’ll do?” The tribesman nods and points at Paxador.

“Hey what are you doing? Let go of me!” Paxador shouts as two of the tribesmen seize him by the arms. Ivan and Gauthak, sensing the hostility of the tribesmen, burst through the bushes, weapons in hand.

“Let him go!” Gauthak shouts. The three remaining tribesmen, spears in hand, charge at Gauthak and Ivan. One of the spearmen land a cut along Gauthak’s shoulder. The half giant lets out a houl, swinging his maul around and catching the tribesman in the gut. Blood flies from his mouth as the tribesman falls to the ground dead. Ivan reacts quickly to the other two tribesmen, catching one square between the eyes with his quarterstaff and spinning to land a quick kick on the other one’s temple. As the other two tribesmen try to drag Paxador away he mutters an incantation under his breath. Mist forms around him and with a ‘poof’ Paxdor reappears across the camp ground. Quickly uttering another incantation he launches a fireball at the two remaining tribesmen. The tribesmen try to jump out of the way, but the explosion from the fireball was too great and they are quickly engulfed in orange and yellow flames.

As the final tribesman falls to the ground Paxador shouts, “Where did that damn cabin boy go?”

Ivan searches the battlefield and sees a rustle in the nearby bushes, “There!” Paxador leaps over to the bushes and pulls out the quivering boy.

“Please, please don’t hurt me!” He cries.

“And why shouldn’t we? What was that all about?” Paxador shouts as his open hand slaps the boy across the face.

“Please. I was only trying to live. They said they needed a sacrifice for whatever is going on up there. They found me, but I wouldn’t do. They needed someone stronger. Someone worthy of a sacrifice. I’m sorry…I didn’t want to die.” Cyrus continued to wail.

“A sacrifice for what?” Gauthak roars.

“I don’t know. They’re trying to summon something up there. That’s all I know.” Cyrus answers.

“A sky Kraken!” Paxador shouts at the boy.

“Please, I don’t know. I just didn’t want to die.” Cyrus responds.

“We should continue and find out what’s going on up there.” Ivan states. “What should we do with the boy?”

“Feed him to those ogres,” Gauthak let out an evil grin. The cabin boy began wailing again.

“No, follow the path we took up.” Paxador says to the boy. “There’s food and water there, and it’s safe. We’ll come find you on our way down. I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.” The boy finally stops his crying and takes off down the mountain.

View
1.2 - Lightning on the Mountain

Ivan feels the cool waves rush around him as he opens his eyes. His travelling companions lay around him, surrounded by wreckage from the ship. He finds his footing and slowly rises. The waves have washed them ashore to some remote island. As the other two members of the party come to they begin searching the wreckage for supplies. They empty one of the crates that has washed up on shore to find a couple of potions that the captain had stored away in case of emergency.

“We should probably find shelter,” Paxador says, “and fresh water.”

Ivan responds, “I will go scout ahead and see what I can find if the two of you look for water and shelter for us to rest.”

The party parts ways on the beach. Gauthak and Paxador make their way through the jungle in search of a fresh water source. Gauthak’s tracking quickly leads them to a small spring at the base of a mountain. The two set up shelter for the rest of the day to recover from their battle with the Kraken.

In the meantime, Ivan scouts through the woods to see what lies ahead of them. He soon finds himself stumbling through an opening in the trees into the midst of two ogres making camp. Ivan launches himself at the ogres, landing a flurry of kicks and punches on one of them. One of the ogres retaliates, sending Ivan sprawling with a swing of his club. Realizing he is outmatched, Ivan uses his ki to summon a cloud of darkness over the ogres and darts off into the nearby bushes. As the ogres emerge from the cloud of darkness they begin searching for the monk, but cannot find any trace of him. Ogre.jpg

Ivan finds his way to the camp Gauthak and Paxador have established.

“What happened to you?” Gauthak questions, noting the fresh blood on Ivan’s clothes.

“Nothing. Just a run in with some ogres.” Ivan responds. “We should be careful in this jungle. There’s some dangerous things out there.”

The party decides they need a rest to recover their full strength before exploring any more of the island. Gauthak sets up some hunting traps around the camp site to warn them of any approaching dangers. During the night the party is awakened by the roar of thunder. They notice that lightning is continuing to hit the peak of the mountain.

“This must be the lightning we saw from the ship,” Paxador exclaimed. After some discussion the party decides that they should investigate the source of the lightning. As dawn breaks they pack up their supplies and begin climbing the mountain.

View
1.1 - Journey of The Wavehammer

The captain greeted Lord Galric’s passengers three days after the feast at the dock in Merryweather Port. Only three of the party’s guest had turned out to accept Galric’s quest. A half elf explorer named Paxador, a gaunt half giant named Gauthak, and a wandering monk by the name of Ivan.

“Is this all Lord Galric could muster?” The captain asked.
“Two too many then what is needed,” the half giant grumbled.

“Well, we are finishing the final preparations to leave,” the captain continued. “We’ll have cabins prepared for you immediately. Cyrus!” The cabin boy came running at the call of his captain. “Take these men to their cabins and see that they get some breakfast.”

The cabin boy escorted the travelers to their accommodations and set about obeying the captain’s orders. The Wavehammer set sail later that morning. Everyone on board was in good spirits. The winds were good and the crew was well prepared for the journey ahead. 76214.png

A couple days later The Wavehammer ran into her first obstacle. A sea storm had settled right in their course. The waves swelled and tossed the ship back and forth. Paxador had yet to become accommodated with the sea and quickly found himself face first on the deck. The crew worked hurriedly to tie down the rigging and secure the sails. A wave swept over the deck, throwing some men from their feet. Ivan was quick to grab one man that was nearly tossed overboard. Gauthak saw to helping the men set the rigging. As Paxador regained his footing he could hear the splintering of wood as the forward mast began to sway back and forth.

“Secure the front mast!” He shouted at the crew. Gauthak was first to reach the mast and using his enormous strength helped to secure the mast.

As Ivan tried to fix some damage to the hull of the ship he quickly identified a swell of fresh wind. “Captain, 15 degrees to port!” He shouted, “The winds are more favorable, we’ll be out of this storm in no time!”

After several grueling minutes of securing the ship, the storm finally calmed. Peace had returned to the ship. Very little damage was sustained and all the crew was accounted for.

A couple days after the storm The Wavehammer crossed paths with a wrecked ship.

“Strange…” Paxador muttered.

“What is it?” The crew questioned.

“This ship looks like it was burned, but not set to fire. You can see the scorch marks in certain areas of the wood.”

“Pirates?” Ivan asked.

“Likely not, they would have held onto a ship like this, not put it to the torch.” Paxador answered.

“Captain. Get me a boat.” Gauthak demanded. “I want to go see what we can find in that wreckage, if there are any clue to what happened to the ship and her crew.” Paxador and Ivan nodded in agreement.
They retrieved a crate from the wreckage and upon opening it discovered fairly fresh fruit.

“This looks fairly new,” Ivan said. “This ship wasn’t destroyed too long ago.”

“Best we not tarry then.” The captain exclaimed.

That night the crew was awakened by shouts from the crow’s nest, “Captain! Another storm is coming in!” Off in the distance the crew could see bolts of lightning flashing.
“It’s not a storm. At least not a natural one.” Paxador exclaimed after some time of observation. “The lightning seems concentrated on one spot. No storm I have seen is that focused. Captain, it best be we put distance between us and whatever that is.” The captain agreed, sending the crew into motion to get the ship moving at full speed. Before the crew could ready the sails and jolt sent most of them flying. Tentacles emerged from around the ship.

“KRAKEN!!!” The crew shouted.

The three travelers quickly went into motion. As a tentacle slammed onto the deck Paxador teleported himself out of harm’s way into the crow’s nest and quickly launched two blasts at the tentacles. Gauthak and Ivan were not as lucky. A tentacle found its way to Ivan and latched on. Ivan, quarterstaff in hand, was quick to lay a three blows on the attacking tentacle, severing it from the creature below the waves. Guathak found himself fighting to hold off being squeezed to death by one of the tentacles. The remaining tentacles went to work laying waste to The Wavehammer. The forward mast was first to go as a tentacle wrapped around it and pulled it off the ship and tossed it into the ocean. Another tentacle found the main mast. As it swung into it Paxador was thrown off his feet. Ivan was quick to react, darting across the ship and severing the tentacle attacking the main mast with his quarterstaff.

Gauthak finally frees himself from the tentacle. With a yell of rage he lifts his maul and mashes the tentacle until nothing was left but jelly. With another blast from Paxador the last tentacle attacking the ship explodes. Before the party even has a chance to recover the Kraken emerges from the depths, capsizing the ship. Paxador and Ivan launch a quick attack on the Kraken, but it proves to do nothing more than make the creature angrier. With a bellow the Kraken summons a mighty lightning storm. As Gauthak opens his eyes, he sees both his travelling companions floating unconscious in the sea. As he dives into the inky black water one of the creatures remaining tentacles snatches him up. The creature snarls at Gauthak. Gauthak snarls back, but too little effect as the Kraken tosses the half giant through the air. The world goes black as Gauthak comes crashing down into the water.

le_kra11.jpg

View
Prelude - Feast At Wellington

The dining hall is buzzing at Wellington castle. Lord Galric Meriam sits at the high table accompanied by his wife and his closest attendants. The serving staff darts about serving roast duck and refilling empty wine cups. The room is filled with a variety of personalities, from grizzled veterans to bright eyed squires. Murmurs abound about the summons,

“What has Lord Galric found?”

“Galric is a fool. I’m only here to hear what the coot thinks he’s onto this time.”

The feast continues until everyone has had their fill and the last plate is cleared. Lord Galric stands up and clears his throat,

“My friends, I thank you for coming. I have summoned you here for a matter of upmost importance. I believe that I have found the lost island of Sammsisu! Our recorded history begins when the first dragon lords took flight and founded the great city of Thunor. Little is known about where our people came from or what the world was like before the dragon lords took flight. The island is said to hold an ancient gold tablet forged for King Nazuu to record what we know as the Time of Giants. This piece of history is the missing key to discovering the history of our world!”

Several of the attendees laugh at the ridiculous notion. “That island is nothing but a fairy tale!” some shout.

“Yes, but even in fairy tales there is some truth,” Galric continued. “I have acquired many different rendition of The Fall of Sammsisu. Mapping the constellations and islands mentioned in the story I have determined where I believe the island sank beneath the sea. I am funding an expedition to retrieve the tablet. The location of the island is in The Shattered Sea.”

More cries of “You’re insane. That sea is filled with pirates, savages, and the deep dwellers! Any man to take on that mission is crazy!”

Once the outrage had died down Galric continued, “My offer still stands of 10,000 gold pieces to those who wish to serve the excavation and protection of my ship. Those of you who wish to join the expedition; my ship departs from Merryweather Port in 3 days from the southernmost dock.”

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.