A Safe Haven (22nd May 2013)
The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Hillson – Warlock (NPC’d)
Nazir al Khalid – Barbarian (NPC’d)
Solaran – Elementalist (NPC’d)
Karban Telos – Sorcerer
A Second Attack (Day 31 (111))
The wind picked up during the night and the cog made better time on its journey out of the Bay of Glissom. A sail was spotted on the horizon during the early daylight hours which appeared to the look-out to be following the stolen vessel.
As the day wore on, the sail on the horizon began to grow larger until it could be seen for what it was – a pirate galley under full oar power. By the estimation of the captain, the longship was due to catch the slower moving cog by the end of the day. The adventurers set to work on planning a defensive strategy for the inevitable boarding action which was to come.
Towards the end of the day, the sky slowly darkened to a deep blue hue, and the stars began to twinkle in the firmament. The pursuing vessel had moved to within a mile or so of the cog. All of the captain’s manoeuvres had proven to be in vain, but had bought the party some extra time to contemplate their fate. As they prepared for the boarding action, the flying figure they had seen the night before left the long boat and headed towards the cog. All hands were called upon the deck.
The beast with the skeletal, reptile-like horse’s head, scaled body and four-taloned feet headed directly for the cog on leathery wings. Its passenger, intent on casting some strange magic upon the party, made arcane movements from the saddle but was not put off by the arrows shot at it by Nazir. Suddenly, a shadowy, armoured figure appeared upon the deck of the ship; it was the Bloody Bitch herself. The adventurers and crew ran to combat her. Fully surrounded, she was unable to make any of her attacks find their mark, but this also affected the adventurers and crew as they seemed to get in each other’s way. After several moments of furious combat, a few blows eventually fell upon the pirate queen, but this did not deter her from renewing her attacks. A bolt of energy from Hillson, the Warlock, finally felled their assailant but as the body hit the deck it began to immediately fade and turn to smoke.
Failed Negotiations (Day 32)
No more attacks came during the night, so the captain and his crew attempted to use every subterfuge they could think of to evade pursuit under the cover of darkness. But this was to no avail as the long ship was still only a mile or so to their rear when the darkness was replaced by the rosy fingers of the oncoming dawn.
The reptilian beast took flight again as soon as the light was good enough. This time, Karban the sorcerer tried to parley with the Bloody Bitch from the crow’s nest of the cog. The negotiations went nowhere as the pirate queen said that the party did not have any means to bargain with. During the conversation she let slip that without this boat, her crew and the special map (which the party had decided not to steal for Antonio Guaires) she could not find an old Fomorian War Galley which would help her control all the seas. If they could help her with obtaining that vessel then she would forget the animosity between them, let them keep the cog they were on and let them go free. The sorcerer just laughed at her predicament which angered her and she began to cast a spell. Sir Erich, who was nearest, let fly an arrow at her flying mount, hitting its right wing. The beast screamed its rage and began to fly away from harm just as the Bloody Bitch let loose with a bolt of lightning at the ship which killed both the captain and one of his crewmen. Just before it got out of range, the sorcerer managed to shoot the beast with an arrow from his precarious platform in the rigging, and Hillson, the warlock, cast a flame onto his arrow that struck the beast for a third time.
A Secret Cove (Day 33 – late afternoon)
This turn of events seemed to rattle the pirate queen, because the following morning there was no sign of the pirate vessel that had been tailing them for the last few days. The crew had been up all night manoeuvring the cog towards land (after a swift sea burial for their captain and fellow crew member), and during the day they looked out for a safe haven. A few hours just after noon they espied a small cove and put in.
The tall rock walls hid the cog from view from the sea, and they weighed anchor just shy of the small, sandy beach contained within. A waterfall poured from the cliffs above into a small rock pool just off to one side. The crew began to repair the damage to the ship, sent out a party to collect water from the rock pool (it was fresh water) and any food they could lay their hands on within the immediate vicinity of the ship.
Sir Erich, Karban the sorcerer, and Aethelfrith jumped into the shallows and waded ashore, both to supervise the crewmen and to stretch their legs. Whilst they supervised the loading of the water butts, they noticed a set of human sized footprints leading away from the rock pool and up the single path that led up the cliffs. They told the crew that they were going to investigate the footprints and to not leave without them. They would also look for food on their trip to the top of the cliffs.
When they got to the top of the path they laid low as they surveyed a wide vista; undulating tundra and the occasional pine tree as far as the eye could see. Off to one side they saw a wide scree slope, towards which the footsteps led. They agreed amongst themselves that they would follow the trail as the person may either need rescuing or have information that could help them.
They left their vantage point and headed towards the slope, but the trail became lost amongst the loose stones and pebbles. After searching around for a few minutes Karban spotted a way into the hill under the scree. The path led into a small, dark tunnel. The sorcerer cast a quick spell upon himself that allowed him to see in the dark, but this did not help the two warriors, so they both lit a torch and followed the sorcerer’s lead.
After just a few paces, the tunnel turned a corner and the small party of adventurers found themselves before a pillared colonnade with steps leading up to a vestibule of some sort. The whole of a palace-like building (judging by these first impressions) had been covered by a rock-slide sometime in the distant past. In the space before the grand structure, they spotted a small cooking fire off to one side and a dishevelled, scraggly-bearded man tending it. Spotting the adventurers, he drew his sword and waved it at them in a menacing way whilst shouting at them in a strange language.
The sorcerer moved into the opening a little further and the man showed no hesitation in launching an attack on him, gibbering incoherently all the time. The two warriors moved in to attack the fellow with the butts of their weapons in order to subdue rather than kill him, and it only took a matter of moments to put him out of harm’s way.