Re: Standar

May 16th, Session One.

Day 1

Bast Sa-Darr is hunting for information regarding The Underbelly, a group of slavers who are responsible for the death of his family and forcing him to work as a slave for five years. As he enters the Greedy Worm, a tavern located in the abandoned district, he immediately spots a group of five dwarves that he has never seen before. Bast slips Grygaa five silver, and asks who the dwarves are.

Grygaa looks at the money and then back at the human sitting at his bar. “No idea, they just came in yesterday.” Not forthcoming with any more information Grygaa walks off to attend to other customers.

Cursing under his breath Bast glances back at the dwarves and sees an empty table nearby. Moving so as to not attract attention Bast slips down at the table and continues to drink his beer, trying to get a better look at the group and possibly overhear anything. While listening in Bast notices a couple of the city guards talking to two mysterious figures, both of them features and speaking in low tones, nothing out of place in the Greedy Worm. Returning his focus back to the dwarves Bast sees some kind of marking on the lead dwarf, but it is obscured by his shirt, it seems familiar but Bast can’t place what it is. Deciding to see if the dwarves go anywhere Bast orders another round and continues to wait.

Across town, near the docks, Thrandiul sits down at the Snuggly Duckling, the only establishment in all of Port Durst that can manage to cook up a meal that was more than just commoner slop, barely. After berating the staff for their audacity for having a brunch special on a Wednesday, when everyone knows brunch is Sunday, Thrandiul notices a commotion happening outside, a large crowd and several of the city guards are making a ruckus, interrupting his meal and blocking the view of the sea. Angry but not caring enough to investigate Thrandiul continues to eat his breakfast, contemplating how to combat the boredom that this city seems to specialize in.

Bex pulled herself up onto the dock, smiling broadly and giving thanks to Riternal for his wondrous ocean. Realizing that her morning swim went longer than planned, Bex began to head to the Greedy Worm where she was supposed to meet Bast Sa-Darr. While on her way she noticed a large commotion near the church of Riternal. Bex lumbered over to see what was going on, easily pushing herself through the crowd, not sure if it was because of her giant stature or the great axe on her back, but she soon found herself witnessing a couple city guards putting the priest of Riternal in chains. Recognizing her friend Ket Bran-Kel being arrested Bex casually walked over to the guards who eyed her with apprehension.
“Is there trouble here gentlemen? What transgressions could a priest of Riternal have done to deserve to be put in chains, and his chapel boarded up?”

Still wary of the sea giant glowering over them the first guard spoke “This man is being arrested for speaking against Lord Luhi Ali-Eba, which is to speak against Norvel.”
Bex shifts her eyes from the guards to Ket, seeing nothing but defiance in his eyes she smiles to herself. “Well if he’s a trouble maker why don’t you give him to me, I swear for this man and will make sure he causes no harm.” As she spoke, Bexs put her hand on her great axe and standing to her full height.

The guards glanced at each other nervously, “Fine, but he’s your problem now and if word gets back to us that he’s up to his old ways then you will be seeing us again.”
As the guards walked away Bex turned her attention back to Ket, “What was that about? Are you going to be ok?”

Ket glances back at the church being bordered up and then back at Bex, “Yes I shall be fine, I would be lying if I said I didn’t see this coming.”

Bex laughs, “So what they said is true then? You are causing problems?”
Surprised by her levity Ket can’t help but smile too, “Yes what they say is true, but it is because I care for Port Durst that I speak out. Luhi is leading this city to ruin, all he cares for is power and will stop at nothing to get it. His praise of Norvel is just an excuse to do as he wants. He used to be a cleric of Riternal, back when we were young, but changed when an opportunity of advancement came. Now he uses the order as his own army.”

Bex looks back at the guards considering, “Well if you need help again, don’t hesitate to call for aid. Only a fool would tempt Riternal’s wrath, and know that you do not stand alone.” Ket smiles at Bex and thanks her for her help.

Having finished his morning chores Innathia deciding to check up on his contacts and see if any new developments had turned up, and there was no better place to do this then the Greedy Worm. Upon entering the Worm, he immediately noticed several new faces, such as the group of dwarves talking in low voices, and the cloaked figures talking to a couple of the guards. Interesting, very interesting. As he was ordering his ale he continued to scan the room, immediately noticing Bast Sa-Darr, a human Innathia had talked to on a couple of occasions, Bast was sitting at a table by himself situated between both of the peculiar parties, in what he assumed was supposed to be in a stealthy manner. Seeing in opportunity Innathia thanked Grygaa, who gave his usual scowl back, and walked over to sit next to Bast.

“Evening Bast, how’s the morning treating you?” Surprised by his sudden company Bast glanced up from his beer.

“Hello Innathia,” After taking another drink from his beer Bast leans forward and speaks to Innathia in a low tone. “What can you tell me of the dwarves? Grygaa says they just got in yesterday.”

Knowing that Bast had been in town looking for information regarding The Underbelly for several months, it was an easy connection for Innathia to make that he suspected these dwarves of being part of the organization. “At the moment, nothing. But give me some time and I will get my contacts and network on it. Someone out there knows something. I’ll get back to you when I have more information.” Innathia finished his beer and left.

Deciding that he was tired of waiting, Bast decided to take a more upfront approach. He stood up and stumbled over to the dwarves acting drunker then he was.

“Evening gentlemen! Don’t see many dwarves in Port Durst, Hail and well met! What bring you to this corner of the world?” Slurring over his words and swaying as he spoke.

The dwarves glanced at each other and then back at the drunken human at their table. The dwarf who looked to be the leader of the group spoke back in common. “Were camel traders, and if you don’t mind this is a private party. So, we suggest you move on.” As he said this Bast noticed the other dwarves putting hands on their weapons.

“Ah well happy trading then.” Embarrassed and angry that he wasn’t able to find anything out Bast ordered another beer and sat back down.

While brooding over his beer, Bex sat down next to Bast.
Deciding not to chastise her for her lateness, knowing she would have a good explanation Bast welcomed her as she sat down. “Hail Bex, how has your day been?”

Bex noticed the tension in Bast’s voice, but wasn’t sure what had him on edge. “It’s been an interesting one but I can tell you later. How has your morning been?”

Instead of responding Bast gave a subtle nod to the Dwarves behind him. Bex looked over and raised her brown in understanding. “Anything new to tell?”

Bast shook his head. “Innathia is on it.”

Nodding again Bex left it at that, Innathia specialized on information so something should turn up sooner rather than later.

“What about you? How was your swim?” Bex then proceeded to tell Bast what had happened near the docks at the Church to Riternal.

“Do you think the guards are going to come back? We can go over and keep an eye on him?” Bast had met Ket a couple of times and he always seemed an honest man.

Bex glanced toward the door, concern clearly visible on her face. “He said he would be all right and that he had people who could hide him if things took a turn for the worse. But it couldn’t hurt to go look.” Glad to be away from the dwarves Bast and Bex began heading out towards where Ket was staying.

While on their way to Kets there was a large commotion, smoke was rising a from a couple of blocks away and screams could be heard. Bast and Bex immediately set off towards the noise, at the site of the commotion they found a giant sink hole. Several dead bodies were laying near hole but no sign of what had caused it. The first people Bast and Bex saw was Innathia, crossbow in hand stealthy approaching the site. He looked back and saw them coming up and nodded but motioned for caution.

“What is this infernal racket!” Glancing back, they saw a Nephilim Wizard striding brazenly down the street. At this provocation, a loud screech went up as four goblins climbed out of the sink hole brandishing shields and scimitars.

Bex let out a loud yell and rushed the creatures, taking a swing for the nearest one but missing as her axe smashed into the goblins shield. At this moment Innathia’s crossbow went off with a twang, impaling in a goblins mouth. The spoke arcane syllables and cold frost played across his hand as a ray of ice shot out killing another of the attackers.

Rushing at one of the remaining goblins Bast took a thrust with his spear, lighting playing across the blade. Unfortunately, missing as the goblin swung down and slashed at his legs.
Thrandiul spoke more arcane syllables and another blast shot out taking out another goblin. Bex screamed in triumph as her axe finally connected with the last goblin splitting it down the middle.

Panting from the skirmish Bast and Bex turned to their new allies, appraising the Nephilim in their midst. “Hail and well met friends, what is going on here?” Bast asked, looking between the rare sighting of a Seraphim and Nephilim together.

“No idea, I saw the smoke rising up and decided to investigate when you guys arrived.” Innathia quickly replied. “But I do know that more of these bastards are running around the town as we speak.”

Appraising his new companions and finding them wanting, Thrandiul introduced himself and bade the party on before he would have to sit and talk to these commoners. But keeping an eye on Innathia.

Following the sound of screams, the party quickly came upon another set of goblins laughing manically as they continued to stab the corpse of a dead dog. Innathia stepped up and shot out a blast of lighting from his mace, leaving only a pile of smoking corpses. Impressed the party moved on.

Continuing towards the sound of screams they found themselves witnessing a man trying to fight off four goblins defending what looked to be his home. Not waiting to ask questions Bex gave another roar and charged the goblins, eager to wet her axe again. Cleaving one goblin through the side, it let out a loud yell before being cut in half. As Bex distracted the goblins Innathia took another shot at the goblins, putting a bolt through the skull of a goblin who was still focused on the man by the door.

Bast leapt at a goblin near him, stabbing with his spear as lighting played along the weapon. Stabbing it through the throat the goblins cry was cut short as it gargled blood. The final goblin was casually blasted by a ray of frost by Thrandiul, looking thoroughly bored and angry at the goblins for wasting his time.

The man who was being assaulted rushed over to thank them for delivering him from the goblins, and that he and his three daughters were in their debt.

With the fighting done the group properly introduced themselves to each other and decided where to proceed from here. Bast, still slightly drunk from his stakeout of the tavern and needing to tend his wounds took Thrandiul up on his offer to rest at manor he was staying at, for a price. Bex and Innathia decided to go investigate the sinkhole and see if they could find the source of the goblins, and possibly find out why none of the city guards had come to aid the citizens.

At the sinkhole Innathia and Bex located several Tiefling corpses, and a strange black stone.

“Bast will want to hear about the slaves, he may be right that The Underbelly is here.”
Innathia continued to study the black stone but was unable to find anything out about it. Moving next to Bex he looked down at the corpses, “This is a day full of strange events. Notice that the tunnel where this hole originates from heads west? That means whoever is behind this attack is within the city already. We should continue west and see if we can locate the source.”

Figuring she could tell Bast about the slaves later Bex agreed. Together they headed out west eventually meeting with the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Bex climbed down the rocks, looking for any sign of a cave or tunnel. Finding none the two decided to call it a day and parted company.

Day 2.

The following day Bast continued his surveillance upon the dwarves, knowing that something was off about them. Not feeling like donating another five silver to Grygaa, Bast simply ordered a beer and tried to see if he could get a better look at the mark on the lead dwarf. The dwarf was talking to his subordinates, Bast hearing them talk of new product in dwarfish, as he shifted and finally Bast caught a look at the mark. The Underbelly. Bast had to take a second to calm himself and not rush the dwarves right there, knowing that he was outnumbered and could expect no help from any of the other patrons of the tavern. Bast finished his beer, and calmly got up and left in search for Innathia to see if he had gotten more information, but first he needed Bex.

Innathia was halfway through his chores when there was a bang on the door. Surprised at the intrusion Innathia cautiously opened the door to see Bast and Bex standing outside. “What in the nine hells are you guys doing here? How do you even know where I live?” Before either of them could answer Innathia held up his hand silencing them. “Make this quick and then get out.”

“We have found them; The Underbelly are in Port Durst. Have your informants found anything out yet? We can’t attack them at the tavern, we need to know where their hide out is.” Bast whispered to Innathia in a rushed tone, barely able to keep his anger in check. Six months of looking for any clue and now five Underbelly turn up all at once, an opportunity like this wouldn’t turn up again.

Innathia noted the tenseness in Bast’s posture, this human better not do anything foolish. “It has only been one day; the dwarves are careful and my people have not turned up anything yet. But the black-market won’t like the thought of slavers working in their turf. Give me more time, when we know more the Underbelly will have nowhere to hide.”
Bast was quite for a moment, “Two days, find out what you can in two days. If nothing turns up then I will march into the tavern and slay them, with or without your help.”
Innathia pondered this, knowing that two days was not enough time to play this out how he wanted. Nothing worse than a rushed plan, easy way to get us, and more importantly, me killed. Sighing Innathia replied, “Very well, but don’t do anything foolish until we know more.”
Bast nodded halfheartedly, clearly still considering simply going off to fight. “Fine, two days.” At that Bast turned and left. Bex looked at Bast and then to Innathia and gave a small frown shrugging apologetically and followed Bast.

As Bex caught up to Bast she asked, “Isn’t there a spell or something you can use to find the dwarves? I’ve heard talk of scrying spells and the such. Maybe the can, I don’t know, find their hide out or where they are stealing people.”
“You know it doesn’t work that way, the spells I have are only for combat and I lack the arcane knowledge to learn anything else.” Bast stopped walking. “But, that wizard Thrandiul might be convinced to help us.”

Thrandiul wasn’t at the town house he was renting but while they were searching for him they saw a scuffle between several of the guards. Breaking it up, they met a guard named Hank Ma-Ebba, who was upset because of the missing guards. Seemingly vanishing out of nowhere like clockwork. One of the missing guards was his sister. Agreeing to help them if they were able to turn up any news on his sisters’ whereabouts. Unable to find out anything regarding the Underbelly or Hank’s sister, the two decided to call it a night and returned to their camp outside the city.

Day 3

Despite his best effort, he couldn’t forget Bat and Bex’s intrusion the day before. Who did they think they were? There were rules, albeit loose, easily bended rules, to how you conduct business in the black market, and rule number one was that you don’t jeopardize your contacts cover! Never mind them, first he needed to check in on his operatives and then he would figure out what kind of bill they would get. Some of the best informants the city had to offer was the street urchins off the street, easily overlooked and forgotten, their loyalty could be easily bought with the promise of food for day. Innathia was heading towards a back alley in the abandoned district that he knew was a favored gathering place of the street urchins who generally stayed together for safety. As he turned the corner he saw a boy sitting in the alley. “Hail Haishi, what news today?” Noticing Innathia the boy smiled and give out a sharp whistle, seemingly coming out of the woodworks children appeared in the alley swarming Innathia. He smiled and joked with the kids, handing them the sack he had brought with him that contained supplies for them. When the majority of the kids ran off with their prize he turned back to Haishi.
“What news young friend?”
Haishi looked hesitant to speak. “Nothing yet sir, but…. I don’t know if we can continue.”
Innathia frowned and knelt down in front of Haishi. “We have a deal Haishi, you’ve never shirked a job before, what changed?”
At this Haishi almost broke down. “It’s Hamil, he hasn’t come home. He was tailing the dwarves the night before.”
Innathia sighed and put his hand on Haishi’s shoulder. “Say no more, I will look into it. Don’t try and tail the dwarves again, but look into other matters. People have gone missing the last several months, if you find anything come to me. And don’t worry about Hamil, I will find him.” Haishi gave a nod, appreciating his words but know the cruel reality of their lot.

A couple of hours later Innathia stood in a dark alley not too far from the Greedy Worm, young Hamils body abandoned, eyes staring into the distance, a large gash cut into his chest. Innathia gave a prayer to the gods and closed the boy’s eyes. Standing back up Innathia headed out to look for Bast and Bex.

While this was going on, Bex was approached by Hansu, the man they had saved during the goblins attack. He told her that one of his daughters had gone missing, and that neither of her sisters knew where she had gone. This wasn’t the first time she had heard of people disappearing in the city, Bex vowed to help in any way she could.

The full party was assembled before the Greedy Worm, intent on staking out the tavern and trail the dwarves. When he was contacted by Innathia, Bast immediately noted his changed demeanor, something had occurred but he wasn’t sure what. Either way he finally had the allies he needed to get to the bottom of this. Either the dwarves would lead them to their lair, or they kill them in the streets, or hopefully both.
As the evening wore on they saw the two guards head out first, a false alarm. But it had drawn out Bast enough that he was out of position as one of the dwarves walked out and froze, looked around and went back in. A few moments later the same dwarf left the in and headed North.
“Bex and I will tail the dwarf, the rest of you see if any others head out. This could be a decoy, because of my blunder they are probably on to us.” Bast and Bex set off tailing the first dwarf.

As Innathia and Thrandiul waited another dwarf came out and headed South. The two ignored him, figuring that the true catch would be the last dwarf to leave. A few more minutes went by and another dwarf left, heading West. And then another East. Figuring that this would be the last to leave Innathia set out to follow him. Thrandiul simply leaned against the wall in plain sight smoking his pipe.

As Innathia left, Thrandiul contemplated simply heading home. How did he always get dragged along on these fool errands? Just as he was thinking this the dwarf that was clearly the leader of the group stepped out and looked directly at Thrandiul. Taking another drag from his pipe, Thrandiul nodded in greeting to the dwarf. Caught off guard by a Nephilim standing outside the tavern, the dwarf nodded back and then went South. Looks like this may be worth my time after all Thrandiul thought.

The dwarf that went north didn’t take long into turning into a corner, as Bast and Bex followed him the dwarf was waiting for them in an alley, great axe ready.
“We going to do this?” He asked brandishing his axe.
Bex rushed the dwarf taking a swing at him, ready for such an attack the dwarf blocked her first strike with his axe. Immediately following up with an attack of his own. Unable to dodge Bex took a blow to her side. As Bex went in, Bast also brought forth his hand, shooting eldritch power at the dwarf wounding him. Before the dwarf could react Bex kneed the dwarf in the face knocking him to the ground, followed by a downward cleave that nearly took of the dwarf’s arm.
“Wait!” Bast shouted as Bex prepared for the killing blow. “Tie him up, he may have answers.”
Luckily Bex hadn’t entered the frenzy state she normally went into during combat and pulled her last blow. They tied up the dwarf and carried him back towards the Tavern.

Innathia followed the dwarf to the docks, where he took out his pipe and proceeded to smoke. Cursing for being lead on a fool’s errand Innathia quickly doubled back to the Tavern.

The lead dwarf continued heading south, eventually stopping outside the residence where their fight had ended with the goblins. As he sat watching him in the shadow, the dwarf pulled out a set of pipes and started to play a haunting toon. Soon the window opened and two girls came through the window, seemingly in a trance they scaled down and proceeded to follow the dwarf. Not a development he expected, Thrandiul continued following until the dwarf came upon a derelict building in the abandoned district. When the dwarf and the two girls went inside, Thrandiul set out back towards the tavern.

As Thrandiul returned Bast and Bex were already there with an unconscious bound dwarf, the giant showing signs of battle. They were in a heated debate with Innathia, trying to determine what to do next. Taking out his pipe, Thrandiul proceeded to smoke some more, waiting for them to finish.

“I doubled back as fast as I could, so that means that other dwarf is probably still at the dock. If we act fast they will be down a man.”
“We won’t know anything until the dwarf wakes up, until then we must simply wait.” Bast kicked the unconscious dwarf, seeing if it would wake him up. “Considering Bex’s strength that may be a while.”
“If any one bothered to ask me, I could tell you exactly where their base is.” Every one stopped to look at the Nephilim, seeming to have forgotten he was there. Smirking, know he had their attention now, “The dwarfs are in a building in the abandoned district. That lead dwarf who wears too much cologne went back to where he fought the last of the goblins and somehow lured two girls out. In a zombie like state they followed him to the building. If we go now they are surely still there.”
“Should we still wait and see what this dwarf knows? He may know a secret way in.” As Bast asked the question, Innathia bent down and slit the dwarfs throat.
“Well shall we be off?”

The group stood outside the building trying to scope it out, from what they could tell there was only one way in. Pressed for time the party forsook stealth and burst through the door. Seeing no one immediately inside the party fanned out, noting stairs leading up and another set leading down to a closed door. Deciding to investigate the cellar first. Walking down the grouped looked at each other, each giving a nod of readiness. Bex gripped the handle and opened up the door….

View
May 23rd, Session Two.

Session 2

There was a loud twang as Bex opened up the door, looking down she noticed the bolt protruding from her chest. Going into a rage she rushed into the room. The first thing she noticed was the lead dwarf reloading his crossbow, along with two of the dwarves from his party holding two girls as hostage, blades to their throats. A loud muffled cry rang out from behind them, even more girls were in the room, the missing girls!

After seeing Bex take the bolt to the chest Innathia immediately let out a healing touch, trying to staunch the bleeding before the barbarian bleed out. Seeing that this fight was going to be up close and personal he drew his saber and shield and rushed the lead dwarf, putting himself in the mix of all three dwarfs.

Following Bex and Innathia into the room Bast entered just in time to see the dwarves cut down their captives, he noticed that the one on the left was Hansu’s middle daughter. Letting out a yell, Bast shrouded himself in the cold powers of his patron, fortifying himself for the fight to come.

Bringing up the rear Thrandiul saw the dead human girls at the feet of their dwarven captives, having seen the cruelty the world has to offer he was not surprised, nonetheless a cold fury lit up inside him. Vowing a silent curse at his stunted foes, Thrandiul raised his staff and electric power shot out arcing over the head of his allies towards the dwarves.
The lead dwarf took another shot at the Seraphim rushing at him but the shot stuck fast into his shield, cursing in dwarvish he drew his battle axe and braced himself. Seeing the girl’s bodies hit the ground and the dwarves all around him, Innathia took a swing at the lead dwarf, a loud clang rang out as his sword scrapped against the armored dwarf, failing to penetrate. The dwarf to his right took a swing as he saw the assault upon his leader slicing into the meat of Innathia leg.

Bex took a large swing at the dwarf to her left, nearly frothing with her rage, the dwarf brought up his axe parrying her first wild swing and jabbed the pommel into her gut, knocking the wind from her. Not deterred by the dwarves’ attack Bex took another swing, but failed to connect again. Letting out a blood curdling roar Bex went into a true rage, foam and spittle flying from her mouth as she sent her boot out connecting with the dwarfs’ face knocking him prone. Following up with a downward arc that cleaved into his chest, but in her frenzied state she continued to hack into the body, delimbing the corpse and splattering blood all across the room and the captive girls. Seeing the giants brutal assault, the girls saw their saviors possibly turn to a worse fate.

Ducking another swing from the lead dwarf, Innathia changed his focus to the dwarf to his right, finding purchase with his sword as it bloodied his foe. But in doing this he left himself open for a wide cleaving attack that caught him in the shoulder. Letting out a yell his shield arm drooped, giving the other dwarf time to turn and swing his axe putting into Innathia’s leg again. Cursing his rash decision, Innathia could do nothing else but try to survive and hope his allies worked fast.

The room strobing with the electric beam coming from Thrandiul attack, Bast rushed in and thrust his spear at the dwarf, all the while lamenting their rash actions, leading to the deaths of the two girls. As his spear connected a loud boom emanated from his spear and lighting began circling around the dwarf. The dwarf was splitting blood as his wounds were starting to take its toll on him. But unable to get his full attention, the dwarf was intent on ending the threat to his master. As Bast prepared for another thrust, he saw the axe connect with Innathia chest, his leg and shield arm already bloodied. With this final attack, he slumped to the ground in a growing pool of blood.

Despite the Seraphim going down, the odds seemed too great for the lead Dwarf. He watched as the Sea Giant brutally hacked apart, Heiok, his third cousins husband and best damn fiddler player in his troupe, and the constant assault from the cursed spell slinger, he decided it would be most prudent to protect his most important asset, himself. Turning tail and running, he ran straight towards the wall behind him towards the flag of the Underbelly. Plowing through the tapestry it revealed a tunnel and he continued to run into the darkness.

With the lead dwarf going out of range of his witch bolt, Thrandiul turned his attention to the last dwarf, blasting him with a ray of frost that finished off the dwarf. With that the battle was over, but what to do now? One ally down, a room full of captives, and an enraged Sea Giant intent setting a new record for how many hacks it took to get to the center. Probably best for the human to deal with his friend, Thrandiul decided to stay back and see how things played out, trying to figure out if this was really something he wanted to get caught up in, these dwarfs seem to be no more than petty criminals, hardly the type who would lead him to true power.

Bast took a deep breath and took in the situation in the room, torn between following the dwarf and helping his allies. Seeing Bex in one of the worst frenzies he had ever seen decided for him, rushing over to calm her down. “Bex! It’s done, it’s done.” Reaching out he put his arm on his shoulder, confident that his friend wouldn’t lash out at him. As he did so Bex brought up her axe again, glaring at Bast, as recognition flashed in her eyes, her breathing started to calm and she lowered her weapon.

Looking around at what she had done, she breathed in deep and seemed to reconcile the fact, she knew there was a deep anger in her, but this was unlike the other episodes. Finally, close to calm, her hands still shaking, she looked back down at Bast. “Thank you.” Bast meet her eyes and nodded.

Rushing to the fallen Innathia, Bast set to stabilizing him, seeing the severity of his wounds the most he could do was bandage him up temporarily, he would need a healer before he would be good again. Regaining conciseness Innathia opened his eyes and looked at Bast, giving a nod and laying his head back to rest.

With Bex calmed, and Innathia stable, Bast intended to free the girls and see if any information could be found out. But as he began to search for a key he heard familiar loud twang followed by a scream.

Caught off guard in his contemplation, Thrandiul luckily took the bolt in the shoulder and it didn’t hit anything vital. Angry at himself for his lack of concentration Thrandiul turned and looked at his attacker. The dwarf dropped his crossbow and took out his great axe, letting out a yell as he charged the Nephilim. Thrandiul raised his hand and let out another ray of frost at the dwarf, impacting in his chest it slowed the dwarf but didn’t take it down.

Following the sound of the cry Bast entered the hallway were the skirmish was going on, seeing the dwarf charging at Thrandiul, he raised his arm knowing that he didn’t have time to make it into melee range and cast. A dark beam shot out connecting with the dwarf’s face, a loud rang out and the dwarfs head was thrown back, broken by the impact.

Slumping to the ground as the final dwarf fell, Bast sat down and rested for a second. So many foolish decisions, he let his desire for vengeance overcome his better judgement and the group almost died, along with the two girls. Next time would be different he vowed. Standing him he started releasing the girls, most still hysterical because of Bex’s demonstration. He saw two of the girls who he recognized as Hansu’s daughters rush to their fallen sister, cradling her body in their arms and sobbing. He gave them a few minutes to grieve for their fallen sister before kneeling down beside them.

“I am sorry for your loss, we failed you, and for that I vow the people responsible for this will pay.” Looking up from their sister the two nodded at Bast before speaking. “You guys did what you could, it is better we died then seen what they had planned for us.” The one who looked to be the eldest said.

“Is there, is there anything you know that could help us? Did you hear or see anything?” In between sobs the girls replied, “No, for the most part they left us here chained up, only coming in the evening when they brought in new girls and to feed us. And when they were here they spoke in dwarvish.” Bast simply nodded at this before replying “Thank you, we will help you make it home to your father.”

Agreeing to come back and search the house when everyone was fully rested, Bex took Innathia to a healer to have his wounds seen to. Meanwhile Bast escorted Hanus’s daughter home, carrying their fallen sister back to her father. Promising to come back when he knew more, Bast left them to grieve.

Refusing to be taken to a healer Innathia had Bex take him back to where he was staying, claiming that he could treat himself. Exhausted Bex agreed to no healers, but didn’t trust the Seraphim to not die on them if left alone, and took his slumbering form back to their camp. As Innathia continued to rest she sat near the fire waiting for Bast to return. A couple hours later a weary Bast arrived, sitting near the fire with a glazed look in his eyes. We were all tested tonight thought Bex, and she wasn’t sure if they had passed.

Day 4

The next day the group met up again at the slavers hideout. As they entered they noticed that everything had been left undisturbed, no one had entered since they were last here. Entering the tunnel with Innathia leading the way, Bast realized something was, odd. There was no light in the tunnel that he could see and yet he had perfect vision, he could clearly see Innathia stealthily scouting out the tunnel. While they waited for Innathia to return, he contemplated these changes, clearly the voice was responsible for the changes, but still it did not speak.

As Innathia crept along the tunnel, there was no discernable tracks. While no expert it was apparent that this tunnel was relatively new, and this was proven when he stumbled upon a new tunnel which was more developed and lead in either direction, one path leading east, the other west. After spending several minutes further investigating the cavern he doubled back to his team. This was getting more interesting by the day.

Bex was looking into the darkness that was the tunnel when Innathia’s form emerged out of the darkness. “What did you find?”

“The tunnel is new, it connects to a much older tunnel further in, but it splits in two heading east and west. The dwarf could have gone either way.” After speaking Innathia went up to the manacles along the wall inspecting them, that curious gleam in his eye as he appraised them. “We should investigate but go cautiously, there’s no way of knowing what’s down there.” He concluded off handedly.

The team took this in as they thought of what to do next. “I agree.” The group turned to look at Thrandiul, surprised at the elf’s words. Seeing the surprised looks Thrandiul glared back defensively, “What? I want these bastards to pay for what they’ve done, there is enough cruelty in the world without these slaving bastards making it worse.”

Nodding in agreement the group prepared to set out. But before they could Innathia asked out, “Wait, with our heritage we can see down there without a light source,” Nodding towards Thrandiul, “But what of you two? I’d like to keep from having to light a torch, further alerting whatever is down there.”

“I will be fine, and Bex can hold onto me. If anything comes up then we can make a light.” Bast said, not offering an explanation more than that.

“Fair enough” Innathia said looking at Bast curiously, “Let’s get started then. And this time lets to it a tad more quitter, eh?” At that he stealthily set out down the tunnel.

Following Innathia down the tunnel, the group decided to go west, discerning that it would lead further into the city. Not far from where they set out they noticed a second tunnel branch out but this time it led to what appeared to be a cave in.

“This must be where the goblins came from, so the dwarves were behind the Tiefling slaves.” Bast said.

Continuing heading west they came upon some stairs that lead up. Innathia motioned for quit as he walked up them until he came upon a bared grate that was lock. Picking the lock, he opened it and tried to see if he could notice anything. To his surprise he heard what was distinctly the bells going off at the cathedral to Norvel. Shocked by this revelation he slipped the grate back down and doubled back to his party.

“Were at the cathedral!” He whispered to the group. “The bloody cathedral!”
The group was quit as they considered this new revelation until Bast spoke up. “We should continue back the other way and see where that tunnel leads. If the Underbelly is working with Luhi we need to gather more information before hastily proceeding.”

Doubling back the group eventually found another set of stairs leading up, this time a bright was leaking through. Opening the grate and finding it unlocked they found themselves beyond the city walls, surrounded by stones that cleverly hid the gate.

“This must be how the goblins got in.” Thrandiul stated as he looked around. Perhaps he was wrong, there was obviously something bigger going on with the Underbelly and possibly the church of Norvel then he originally thought. Turning back to his party, “Well what next? An assault upon the most heavily armed church in the city?”

“I think we should first re asses our funds, see if we can get any better bear for this endeavor. Also, tonight is supposedly the night a guard goes missing. We promised Hank that we would look for his sister.” Innathia stated. “Not to mention I have a certain, delivery, I am waiting for.”

Bast and Bex considered this, noting the ragged state their gear was in they found themselves in agreement. “Very well, let’s be about it.”

For the next several hours the group set about fencing the items they had confiscated from their fights. Innathia leading them from one shady dealer to the next. Clearly his ties went deeper then both of them thought.

As the day neared its end the group decided to split up and watch the main guard patrols, remembering that Hank had said one of the guards would disappear and the other would wake up with no memory of what had happened. They split into two groups, Bex and Bast taking the Northern patrol, while Thrandiul and Innathia headed south.

Clinging to the shadows Bex and Bast were following two guards on their patrol. “Damn place gives me the chills.” Bex whispered to Bast.

Bast motioned for silence before whispering back. “These guys are on high alert, so try to keep it down because I don’t want to be accidently run through.” Chagrined at his reprimand Bex continued to mutter under her breath as the patrol continued along. Soon they made a turn and went out of sight, forced to move from their position Bast and Bex darted to the next building to catch up. Bast easily melded with the shadows, his time as a hunter in the desert giving him the skills to move stealthily. Bex unfortunately wasn’t as skilled, her lumbering form doing her best to keep low and stealthily. As she was rushing across the street a yell came out “Halt!”

The guards came rushing at her swords drawn. “What are you doing out at this time, were you tailing us?” the first guard responded brandishing his sword. He was clearly on edge and not happy with catching this giant foe stalking them in the middle of the night.

Caught at a crossroad Bex knew there was two ways she could handle this, easily take out the guards, or comply. But due to the nature of their mission she wasn’t sure if a fight was the best course. Breathing deeply to calm herself she addressed the guards. “Look, we are trying to help. We have heard that guards are going missing and we thought we could help. Do you know Hank? He sent us here to look for his sister.”

The guards continued to glare at her, and looked at each other and nodded. One put her sword away and brought out a pair of manacles. “If what you say is true, then you have nothing to hide and will come with us to be put in holding until we can determine the truth from lies.”

Bex felt the call of her axe, but sighed and lowered her arms. “Very well, but you are making a mistake.” She allowed herself to be manacled and let them lead her towards the prison. Still in the shadows Bast let out a long string of curses, but at least this way it narrowed down which guards to watch. They could free Bex in the morning. Decided he set out to catch up with Innathia and Thrandiul.

The pair sat on top of a rooftop, patiently watching the guards make their rounds. As they were watching they felt a presence coming upon them, “Hail Bast, where is Bex?” Not surprised that the pair had noticed him Bast settled down next to them. “She was arrested by the watch. We will have to retrieve her tomorrow, but now we know which set of guards to watch.”

“Well so far there’s been nothing exciting, this is a wasted evening.” Innathia said, “We could have had one of my people on this while we did something more productive.”

Just as he said this they heard something, someone was speaking in what was clearly magic, and with it both guards slumped to the ground. As soon as they hit the ground four hooded figures scampered over to them. Two picked up one of the sleeping guards while the other two stood guard.

“Well damn, this is why the other guard never remembers anything. We have to follow them.” Thrandiul said.

In agreement, the party stealthily followed the group. The hooded figures lead them to the wall to the zero district and seemingly walked right through the wall. “What? No one goes to the zero district!” Thrandiul whispered, “It must be a glamour, give me a second to divine what kind of magic is at work here.”

As he started casting, Bast was feeling along the wall and nearly fell onto his face as his hand passed through what seemed like a solid wall. “I think I found it.”
“Well that works too,” muttered Thrandiul.

“Wait!” whispered Innathia, “Should we continue without Bex? This could go bad really quick.”

“We have no choice, we must proceed. Whatever is happening to the guards they are never seen again. And it won’t be for another week that whoever is responsible will be out again.” Bast said, “We can handle this.”

“Very well,” said Thrandiul. With that the group slipped through the magical wall. On the other side what they saw shocked and appalled them…

View
May 30th Session 3

The first thing the party noticed was voices chanting, not too far from the wall there were several figures in a circle, arms upraised and chanting strange syllables. It was apparent that some form of dark ritual was taking place. On the ground dark runes, and symbols were glowing menacingly and in the center, was a pile of corpses with a bound guard squirming on top, eyes wide in panic as his soul was being offered up to some dark entity.

The party looked at each other, words unable to convey their disgust at what they were witnessing. Innathia made a hand gesture for them to spread out and attack from different angles. Moving together Bast and Innathia skirted up as close as they dared, the cultist so intent on their ritual they failed to take notice. Giving the signal to attack Innathia let out with his crossbow, taking a cultist in the back of the neck, dropping him instantly. At the same time Bast let out an eldritch blast, dark energy shooting out hitting another cultist in the chest, cracking ribs and making him cough up blood. As Bast and Innathia rushed forward to close the distance Thrandiul cast a spell of sleep over the cultist, all of them instantly dropped to the ground under the enchantment. As this was going on the other two quickly dispatched the lead cultist and the other remaining cultist, leaving the wounded one alive for questioning.

While this was going on the guard had managed to roll off the pile of corpses and was struggling to break free. Innathia knelt down next to him, “Calm friend, we are here to help.” He took the gag out of the guard’s mouth and began to untie him.

“Thank you, I thought I was a goner!” The guard was visibly shaken by his ordeal, and at the sight of his fallen comrades he quickly stepped aside to vomit. Shrugging Innathia took the rope and gag and used it to bind the remaining cultist.

“I can see why they walled this district off,” Bast said to Thrandiul, his gaze taking in all the zero-district had to offer. It was essentially a wasteland, almost leveled flat from the war with the demons, with his budding powers he could tell that something was off about this land.

“The presence of the demons has scarred this land, it is unknown if it will ever truly heal.” Thrandiul remarked, “This is the fate of the world if Mer-Jin isn’t opposed.” His memories taking him back to Sahar and the corruption he had witnessed there as Mer-Jin’s influence seemed into this realm.

Bast merely nodded at his words, the talk of Mer-Jin unsettling him as he thought of dark patron. Turning he walked back towards were Innathia was finishing up binding the cultist, “Shall we see what he knows?” Turning to nod at Thrandiul who broke the spell with a disinterested gesture.

Immediately the cultist woke up and began to thrash, confusion and anger flashing in his eyes as he took in how his fortunes had turned. Kneeling down and looking into the cultists eyes Innathia addressed the him, “Clearly your night has taken a wrong turn, now you have some options, you can answer our questions, or you can die. And after what we have seen tonight, I am leaning more towards the latter.” As he said this he took the gag out of the cultists mouth.

The cultist started speaking in a vile language that Innathia didn’t know, he put the gag back on and looked back at his party, “Well, any one catch that?”

Thrandiul shook his head, “It sounds like nothing I have heard before, we may be better off simply killing this fellow. Whatever language that was I doubt we will be able to find a translator any time soon.”

“It is infernal, the language of demons.” Thrandiul gave a curious look at Bast, there was more to this human then is apparent at first glance.

Noticing the looks he was getting Bast explained, “Learned it from the Tieflings who worked in the mines, they suffer more than others in this world because of their demonic heritage, as social pariahs it makes them easy prey for the Underbelly.” Kneeling down he took out the gag once more and addressed the cultist in infernal. “Tell us what we want to know, who do you work for and what were you doing in the city.” As he spoke his eyes lit up with the dark powers of his patron, caught off guard the cultist nodded and complied.

“It is only us, we were doing the glorious work of Mer-Jin, who shall take your soul. Our ritual was meant to bring his followers to our realm.” Bast relayed this to his team who took the news grimly. “I doubt he is going to give us anything else.”

Having emptied the contents of his stomach the guard returned. Innathia looked back at him, “He’s all yours. But do us a favor and make sure he is kept by the guards and not the monks.”

At the mention of the monks the guard grimaced, “I appreciate it, and believe me there’s no love lost there. The monks consider guard work below their station anyways.”
Nodding towards the pile of corpses, Bast asked, “We were sent to investigate the disappearances by one of your colleagues, Hank, he sent us to look for his sister. Is she…” He trailed off.

The guard sighed, “Yes I know Hank and his sister, and yes she is here.” He nodded towards one of the corpses, “I will tell Hank that you guys helped and that there was nothing you could have done to save her. Also, I will leave you guys out of the official report, despite your help Luhi and his thugs take the closer of the zero-district serious and won’t be pleased to hear that people had been here. But know that if you guys ever need anything I will help in any way I can, you guys saved my life and that is a debt that will not be forgotten.”

“One last thing,” Said Bast, “One of our friends, a sea giant, was arrested tonight by the guards. They thought she was responsible for the disappearances. Would it be possible for you to release her?”

“I can see why they wouldn’t take too kindly to a sea giant stalking their steps.” He almost chuckles at the thought, but then his somber mood returned, “But yes, I will have her released as soon as I get this guy back to the guard house.” With that he set off with the bound cultist.

The group acknowledged the guards statement and thanked him for his help, but before heading out Bast inspects the cultist leader looking for clues. On him he finds the symbol of Mer-Jin, he almost throws it away but stops and reconsiders before pocketing it. “I think we have found all we can for tonight, I am going to go get Bex.”

Day 5

“It was so boring! Next time I would rather fight my way out of twenty enemies rather than be subject to that kind of torture again.” Bex still worked up about her night’s stay at the guard house said, “And those cowards thought I was hell bent on murdering them that they were too afraid to play dice with me.” Bast chuckled at Bex’s energy, happy that his friend was not harmed by the guards. They were making their way from their camp back towards the city to check in on Ket Bran-Kel. When they had entered the city, they were approached by Hank who thanked them for what they had done, and reminded them that if they needed anything to ask. As they continued their way, their initial enthusiasm tempered by Hanks grief at his sister’s fate, they saw a crowd gathering in the town square. Curious what was causing such a spectacle the pair quickly pushed their way to the front. They arrived just in time to see Gail put into chains by several monks.

Bex strode towards him, “In what right is this man being arrested?” The monks turned to look at the sea giant striding towards them, with Bast bringing up the rear.

“This man is under arrest for his attempts to spread sedition and mayhem. He will answer to Luhi and his fate will be determined.” As if hearing his name Luhi himself arrived on the scene, not bothering to speak he looked at the monk who had spoken, and gestured for him to move. All around the people were kneeling in supplication. As they took Gail away,
Luhi stopped for a moment to appraise Bex and Bast, before continuing on.

Their mood now thoroughly dour the two finally arrived at where Bran-Kel was staying. He seemed surprised, yet happy to see them, “Hello, what brings you two here today? I can assure you while I’ve still been up to my old ways I have kept my nose, relatively clean so to speak.”

That brought a smile back to their faces, “We are actually just stopping by before heading to investigate the island where the light house is. The other day it seems the guards had gotten a glimpse of the demon who lives there.” Said Bex.

At the mention of the island the grin left Ket’s face. “The demon, did they kill it?”
Surprised by his sudden change Bast replied, “Were not sure, we didn’t see anything. But they did destroy the other building on the island”

Ket had a deeply worried face, “Ok, I am going to tell you guys a secret.” Bast and Bex glanced at each other. “There is no demon, rather it is a sea giant who lives on the island. He protects Port Durst from the merrow, and has done so for as long as I can remember.”

Bex seemed to perk up at the thought at the prospect of meeting another Sea Giant. “If he helps this city why does he hide on the island? Wouldn’t the city be happy to help this ally?”

“He is a reclusive fellow, his wife and child died during the war against the demons, and the only people who knew he was here left with the Dixie Wick. It is his hatred for the merrow that keeps him at his thankless task.” Ket has started pacing, the news troubling him as he recalls the tale before turning back to Bex, “Listen, I need you to go help him, he might be wounded but he is a friend and ally. Take my boat, the guards wont trouble you if you tell them I lent you it.”

Bast and Bex took this all in. Eventually Bast spoke, “There was something else, on our way here we saw Gail being arrested for supposedly spreading sedition and mayhem. Luhi oversaw the arrest.”

This stopped Ket in his tracks, “This gets worse and worse.” He said as he put his head in his hands. “Gail doesn’t deserve this, he is a hero. He fought valiantly against the demons, and lost a lot. He was part of the Dixie Wick crew, but was unable to go with them due to his injuries. Although he comes off as crazy sometimes he is still very respected and loved by the people. The fact that Luhi feels confident enough to actually arrest Gail bodes ill for this city.

“We’ll let us deal with the Sea Giant first. Whatever is going on with Gail seems to be out of our power at the moment.” Bast replied.

Ket nodded solemnly, “Thank you, I shall go make an offering to Riternal so that he may bless your journey, and for Gail. And…” He said as he opened up a cabinet, “Have a drink.”
As the two began to head out they heard Ket speak out, “Wait, one more thing.” As he took out a glass and began to pour himself a drink. He gestured to Bast and Bex who both shook their heads. Shrugging he capped the bottle and put it back in the drawer and then sat down in a chair. “There has been talks, I can’t give you anything concrete but there is talk that someone is going to make a move on the Prince.” He sits back and sips from his drink, appraising them.

Bast and Bex are so shocked they have nothing to say. Eventually they gather themselves and Bast asks, “Do you have any idea who would be behind it?”

“Some Nephilim have been spotted in town, and no not that one you have been seen with. These two have been working to keep their presence unknown but my sources have spotted them as two hooded figures in the Greedy Worm.” At the mention of the worm Bast remembers the two figures he had seen talking to the monks. But so, intent on his hunt for the Underbelly he had over looked it, and mentioned as much to Bex and Ket.

“That is them, that they are talking to the monks is most worrying. Like I stated, I don’t have anything concrete on who they are working with but my sources are pretty confident that the Nephilim mean to make an attempt on the Prince’s life.”

“Thank you for the information,” Bast says as he moves towards the door. “But I think we should focus on one thing at a time, we will look into the Giants welfare and then see what we can do about the Nephilim.” With that Bast and Bex headed out to round up their party.

As they made their way to where Innathia was staying, the two expected some other calamity to fall upon them. They soon arrived and proceeded to knock on the door. After about the six knock they decided to just enter, the door surprisingly unlocked. They entered an empty foray, not sure how to proceed Bex let out a loud yell calling Innathia’s name. They soon heard the stamping off feet as Innathia rushed down the stairs, his normal calm composure temporarily slipping as agitation and anger showed on his face. “What in the blazes do you are doing!” He said through clenched teeth. “I specifically told you not to bother come here, and if for some damned reason you disobey me that you at least show me the courtesy of not shouting that name!”

“Believe me, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important. And if you don’t want to call you Innathia, at least fill us in on what it is you do wish to be called upon.”

Innathia continued to glare at the pair. “Malce, if you call upon me here again, it is Malce.” He sighed into his hands and took a second to compose himself before continuing. “Now, pray tell what is so important.”

Having brought Innathia up to speed, aside from the plot on the princess life, the group were making their way to the piers when Hansu hailed them. With tears in his eyes he thanked them for their help in saving his daughters, and that he understands that there was nothing they could have done to save the one who died at the hands of the underbelly. In a display of his gratitude he gave them a camel as a reward.

Next, they finally made it to where Ket’s boat was docked. But before they could shove off they were hailed by one of the guards.

“Hail friends,” It was none other than the guard they had saved the night before.

Bast smiled before replying, “Don’t they give you days off? I would think some leave time was warranted after nearly becoming a sacrifice.”

This brought a sad grin to the guard’s face, “You speak true, but with the Prince’s arrival only two days away everyone is pulling their weight to get ready.” He took a look behind them at the boat, “I see Ket Bran-Kel has lent you his boat, I ah, see nothing here. Ill be on my way.”
Before he could leave Bast took a hold of his arm, “Will you meet me tonight? I may need to call in that favor sooner than rather than later.” The guard looked into Bast’s eyes and noted the seriousness of it.

“The Dixie Wick, after my shift is over. You can buy the first round.” With that he set out.

The group rowed out, Bex taking any opportunity to go for a dip swam alongside them. Taking Ket’s advice and circling around the island so as to not attract unwanted attention the party landed in a small cove. Bex was the first out of the water. Asking that the others to let her go first, a wounded Sea Giant could be as dangerous to friends as much as foes in a hurt stage. She went to explore where the building that had collapse was first, and noted a trail of dried blood that led up to the old keep. Heading back to gather her companions, but reminding them to let her go first they made their way to the keep.

Following the dried blood, they made their way to the keep. It was clear that the keep had been abandoned, damage from the war with the demons left unrepaired. They made their way through the gates into the main floor. There Bex noticed a shrine dedicated to Riternal, it was a mourning shrine to remember his lost children.

Not too far from the shrine they saw the prone body of a massive sea giant, easily reaching fifteen feet in length. Bex motioned for the others to keep back as she approached. But upon closer inspection the sea giant was unconscious and still bleeding from his wounds,” Innathia! He’s still hurt, quick, can you heal him?”

Innathia knelt down and harnessed the power of Fyet through him as he laid his hand along the wounds, channeling his divine magic to heal the fallen sea giant. The giant’s wounds eventually close and his breathing becomes less labored. But he still doesn’t wake up. Bex has an anxious look on her face as she watches Innathia work. “Did it work? Why does he not wake?”

Innathia stands up, and looks back at Bex, “His wounds were really severe, I am surprised he lasted this long with those wounds untreated.” Innathia walks back to where he set his pack down and takes out a water skin. “Now all we can do is wait until he wakes up.” He says as he takes a swig from the skin and then starts heading up a nearby staircase to explore the rest of the keep.

Three hours later the giant opens his eyes, startled at first until he sees another sea giant looking down upon him with concern. “Hail kin, you are safe and amongst friends.” He looks past her and sees a human in the local garb, and a hooded seraphim, standing a few feet away.

In giant he answers back, “Thank you for your kindness, may Riternal grant you his strength.”
Bex, nods and then asks, “What is your name, and how did you come to be here?”

“My name is Raoul, I arrived in these lands about 80 years ago. I protect Port Durst from the merrow, daily the merrow attempt to assault the city in various strength. I fear what is brewing out there with my absence these last couple of days.” With that the giant tries to stand but is still too weak. “I am sorry, I am still too weak. I have not eaten since my injuries.”

Innathia brings forth some supplies he had wisely thought to bring. The sea giant nods his head at him and thanks him in sea giant, while not understanding the words Innathia is able to comprehend the gesture and nods his head in acknowledgement.

“We heard what happened to your family during the war, I am sorry for your loss.” Once again Raoul is caught off guard, it has nearly been a lifetime since he has seen another sea giant, let alone heard the tongue of his people. “With your family gone, why do you stay in a city that doesn’t know you exist, let alone appreciate the sacrifice you make for them daily?”

“Thank you, I offer them tribute by slaying the merrow. And that is the only reason I stay here. The merrow are a plague and if they are not kept in check more than Port Durst would be in peril. I care not for the town, nor do I hold any particular love for the people here. Rather it is for humanity that I keep fighting.” As he talks Raoul has a faraway look in his eyes, his fight with the merrow the source of his strength and pain. “But there is something else, I have been fighting here for 80 years and have seen no decline in their numbers nor aggression. It has led me to believe that the Leviathan is stirring.”

Bex gave out a gasp, surprised by his announcement. “But the Leviathan is a legend.”

“No young one, with time the foul beast has slipped into the thing of legend. But I can tell you this, the destruction of our people, and the sirens call the Leviathan sent out to call those of weak heart to her will still rings out. I fear for our world if such a horror returns.”

Seeing such a heated exchange Bast asks what Raoul is saying, but Bex says that she will explain later. Healing some more of Raoul’s wounds, and giving him some more supplies the party begins to head out. Before they leave Raoul says, “If you need me young one, you know where to find me. With healing my wounds and the food, I will be back in the waters killing the merrow before dawn. If you need anything you know where to find me.”

As the party rowed back to the city they each sat quietly, mulling over what they had heard. It was Bast who broke the silence, “This is getting worse and worse. Slavers I know how to fight, but now we have to watch for a threat from the sea that could devour the entire continent?”

“Dark times indeed.” Was all Innathia gave.

After reaching shore, Innathia bade the party farewell and returned home to finish his chores. Bast and Bex began to head to the Dixie Wick Tavern to meet up with the guard. But before that they stopped by to see if Thrandiul had any more information that could prove useful. And also, to get his help dealing with the Nephilim. But when they reached where Thrandiul where they were staying they came upon an empty house. Looking into the window it was apparent that the house had been vacated. Thrandiul had left the city. Saddened by the loss of a powerful ally the two continued on their way.

At the Dixie Wick, they met with the guard but didn’t exactly hear what they wanted. While they don’t support Luhi the are still bound to serve and that he would help anyway he could, but that they were essentially powerless to stop them. Thanking him for the information the two went to the Greedy Worm to see if the Nephilim agents were still there.

Upon entering the Worm, they noted the Innathia was there sitting at a table by himself. And in the corner in their usual spot was the two agents. “Have they made any move.” Bast asked sitting next to Innathia.

Innathia ignores him for a second before sighing and turning to him, “Can you be any more obvious? But to answer your question no.”

Ignoring his first comment, Bast nods before replying, “Good, we stay here tonight and keep watch. They move to go to the bathroom and we go with them.”

“Very well.” Innathia said. Seeing a long night ahead of them Bex ordered three rounds of beers for herself and a round for her friends, and proceeded to take out her gambling dice with a wide grin on her face. Innathia checked his coin purse and gave another sigh before motioning for Bex to roll.

It’s an uneventful night as the Nephilim make no move. Frustrated by the lack of movement, Bast calls it a night and the party head in for the night. Bex smiling the whole way home.

Day 6

The next day the party goes about their various activities. Bex went off to check on Raoul, who was well enough to continue his grim work. Surprisingly Innathia has no chores this day so steps by some of his favorite shops before checking up on filled in sinkhole. Bast wanders the northern district, still frustrated from the fruitless vigil the night before. As they are going about their business they hear bells ringing from the cathedral, a crowd has formed in the bazaar and one of Luhi’s monks stands on some crates yelling an announcement to the ground.

“Today at sunset, the traitor Gail will be executed for his crimes against Luhi. This man means to work the evils of Mer-Jin by spreading sedition and mayhem throughout the city, in order to aid his nefarious allies.”

View
June 5th Session 4

After hearing the proclamation, the party met up back up at the Greedy Wurm. They sat at their favorite table and conspired on how to deal with the situation regarding Gail.

“With the tunnel, we can easily sneak in and bust Gail out!” Bast said emotionally, struggling to keep his voice down. “We would be in and out before they could mount a real fight.”

“Listen to yourself. You want us to break into the citadel and sneak in? And how pray tell you, do we hide her?” Said Innathia, gesturing towards Bex, “No offense but I highly doubt a sea giant could tread those halls and not make a scene! At the very least we should have Bex hang back.”

Bex looked at Bast and gave a shrug, acknowledging the truth of the statement.

“If shit hits the fan, I want someone there who I know can handle their own, and won’t leave me stranded. No offense, you’ve shown yourself a capable warrior when necessary but it is your resolve to see things through that has me doubting.” Bast said.

Innathia sighed and rubbed his temples in frustration. “We can’t fight the entire monastery. What we need is guile, not brute force! Which seems to be the only tool you know how to wield!”

The tavern door swung open and light shone into the murky tavern. Through the doorway in walked a female dwarf, her dour face scanning the room as if searching for something. The sight immediately stopped Bast in his tracks, his first thought was that the Underbelly had returned. He gave a curt nod to Bex to look behind her. At seeing the dwarf walk up to the bar and order an ale, Bex gave Bast a look that she understood. Innathia also deduced what the new trouble was and gave another sigh, expecting to be dragged into another dire situation by this impatient human.

The dwarf sits down in a corner table and broods over her beer, taking in the room. It seems that she didn’t find what she was looking for because as soon as she finished her beer she dipped back outside. Bast immediately stood up, “I’ll be right back.” And followed the dwarf onto the streets.

Bex watched him head out, trouble, but eventually shrugged and ordered another round.
A couple of hours go by, and several beers later the dwarf returned without Bast. Bex was several ales in by this time, but for good or ill, her giant constitution meant she was as damn near sober as birds could get, the fact that Grygaa watered his beer down helped as well. Surprisingly the dwarf sat down next to her.

“Have you seen any dwarfs around here?” Asked the strange dwarf.

“Uh, yes? You.” Bex answered earnestly, what a strange question.

The dwarf stared hard at the giant as if gauging if she was being mocked, “Besides me. Have you seen any dwarfs around here, besides me?”

Bex took another sip of her beer, before replying. “There was a small party of dwarves here recently, but they are gone now.” Bex decided it would be best to not advertise that they had killed the dwarves.

The dwarf grumbled something about this damn town and got back up, “Thank you for your time.”

Eldeth stood up, cursing her luck. If she hadn’t lost their trail, she wouldn’t be walking around town chasing her own tail. Her inquiring around town had turned up little other than that a party of dwarfs had been in town, but hadn’t been seen in several days. And to make it even better, it seemed they used to haunt the Dirty Wurm. But the only thing at the Wurm seemed to be a sea giant who took everything literal. Sighing Eldeth decided to try her luck around town again.

As she was making her way to the doorway a dark-skinned human walked in, as Eldeth went to move around him the human also stepped aside to block her path. Glaring up at him she said simply, “Move.”

Bast was near the end of his already low patience. Tailing the dwarf proved a bust, she didn’t lead him to the leader of the Underbelly like he had hoped. But it did seem that she was looking for them, a dwarf turning up at the Greedy Wurm and then heading around town questioning people spoke would be too big of a coincidence. But now the dwarf had lead him back to the Greedy Wurm.

He entered the tavern the same time the dwarf got up from the table Bex and Innathia were sitting at. She began to make her way towards the door. Tired and frustrated from the previous night’s stake out and the cooling trail of the Underbelly, Bast decided to forgo subtly and handle this head on. As the dwarf tried to make her exit Bast blocked the exit, glaring down at her.

The dwarf glared right back, “Move.”

“What were you talking to the giant about?” Bast said unmoving,

“None of your damn business, now move.”

Bast had to fight the urge to kick the dwarf in the face. Taking a moment to compose himself he instead said, “You’re not going to find them.”

“Find who?” Despite herself the comment caught her interest.

“Your Underbelly friends, they are either dead or have fled.” The dwarf started cursing repeatedly in dwarvish. The list of curses caught Bast off guard, of all the reactions this wasn’t what he had expected.

Finishing her tirade, Eldeth pointed a finger at the human, “I was hunting those bastards, now tell me everything you know.” The human appraised her for a second, Eldeth finally noticed the odd glint they had, as if something cat like was appraising her. He took a second before he spoke, “I think we can help each other, and I think it will be better told with an ale.”

The two-ordered a round of beers and began discussing about the Underbelly.

As the standoff was occurring a human of middling years saw the two blocking the doorway and decided it probably better to sell his wares to a less intense looking pair. As he stepped into the Wurm his enthusiasm waned a little, the bars patrons didn’t look promising. At one table sat a sea giant and a hooded figure, some possibility there maybe, and at a different table was two cloaked figures. His merchant instincts ringing he approached the two cloaked figures.

“Hello friends, you look like some folks in need of fine trinkets, baubles and other more…exotic items, for the right price of course.” The pair didn’t seem impressed, both dipped their heads to further hide their features and waved the peddler on. Taking the hint, he decided to check with the giant and her friend. “Very well, if you change your mind you can find me at the bazaar from sun up till noon.”

With that he sat grabbed a chair from a nearby table and dragged in next to the pair. “Why hello friends, in need of any trinkets, baubles, and for the right price some more esoteric services.”

The giant stared at him blankly, Innathia glared pointedly at him before replying, “The seats taken.”

“Well it’s a good thing I took it from that table friend. Now about my wares, go ahead make me an offer.” He had them right where he wanted them.
Just then a dark skinned human and a dwarf walked up to the table.

As Bast approached the table he noticed the strange human sitting at the table, he had the look about him of a nomad.

“And who are you?”

The man looked up at him with a broad smile, “Hello friend, I am just here offering my services.” And he gave Bast a wink.

He frowned, “If that is what you are about, the brothels are down the street.” The man stared at him dumbfounded.

“What? No, wares, im selling my wares. Trinkets and baubles from the desert.” With that he opened up his robe where had several items. Bast appraised them the items and then dismissed them.

“This is a private party. You will take your leave now.” Bast glanced at his companions and nodded towards Eldeth, “This is Eldeth, it seems her path aligns with ours.”

Eldeth merely nodded to the party, still not sure if she was making the right choice by trusting this human. Although for the most part a dwarven organization, she wouldn’t put it past the Underbelly to use human operatives. But sea giants were rumored to be trust worthy people.

“She has been hunting the Underbelly as well. While the trail has gone relatively cold, I think she can bring a fresh perspective on how to hunt them down. And having someone skilled in tracking could be useful.”

Innathia regarded the dwarf coolly, “I hope you didn’t feed her on the notion that the Underbelly and Luhi are working together, because we have no proof of that.”

“Nor do we have proof that they aren’t working together. Luhi rules by any means necessary, I wouldn’t put it past him to make deals with slavers.”

At this point Bex spoke up, “I think we should focus on one thing at a time. Gail doesn’t have much time.”

“You guys are going to help Gail?”

The party looked back at the human, it was apparent that they had forgotten he was there. “What is your name?”

At this the human smiled and replied, “My apologies I thought I had started out with that, my name is Mael Du Dama. And not only am I peddler of fine wares, but I also happen to be a powerful druid. And if your planning on helping Gail, count me in.”

The party looked at each other, and then back at the druid. “Well enough, I seem to be in a trusting mood today so why not. Yes, we are planning on breaking Gail out of jail before his execution.” Bast said, “Gail is a hero, and doesn’t deserve to die for only speaking the truth.”

“Perfect, so tell me what’s the plan?”

Innathia considered what was unfolding before him, “That is what we were discussing. Our friend here,” He gave a nod towards Bast, “Would have us sneak into the citadel, and attempt to sneak in and free Gail. And if it turns into a blood bath then so be it.”

“I would probably phrase it differently, but that’s pretty much as far as we have got.” Bast said.

“Ok, and stop me if I am over reaching, but what if we wait until the guards bring him out to the execution block. I will turn into a snake and sneak up and stun the guards. Before they know what is going on we break Gail out and flee.”

The group considered this plan, “It has…. merit.” Innathia said. “I could talk to some of my contacts, we have men who are skilled in inciting a crowed. Luhi isn’t well loved, it wouldn’t take much to incite the crowd against him.”

“I could see if Ket could pull some strings to get support from the other priests. Luhi has been harsh on the other churches, if you mess with people’s faith it makes a lot of enemies.” Bex said.

Bast reluctantly acknowledged that the plan seemed sound. “Very well if this is the path we are taking, I can talk to the owner of the Dixie Whick, her husband served with Gail.”
Innathia gave a sigh of relief, glad that the raid had been cancelled, for now.

As the group started hashing out the details for the escape. Eldeth sat there taking it all in, trying to decide if she had made the right decision by aligning herself with these people. A salesman, a sea giant barbarian, a secretive Seraphim, and a human who wants to solve all his problems by killing something. If it got her closer to the Underbelly then so be it.

Later that day a large crowd gathered in front of the citadel. The mood was very somber as the party moved through the crowd, despite his reputation Gail was a popular figure in the city. A line of monks barred the crowd from getting closer to where a stockade was set up on a raised platform. The citadel gates opened up, and out walked two monks with large glaives, between them they half carried-dragged Gail. From the looks of it the monks lived up to their reputation as bad hosts. They brought Gail onto the platform and locked him in the stockades and then took up positions on either side of him.

When the crowd saw Gail, a collective gasp went out, the shock then turned to angry mutters. Maen nodded to Bast and Innathia and then slipped away to get into position, Bex and Eldeth began moving towards the edge of the crowd. Next Luhi came out, his presence subduing the crowd for the moment.

Luhi’s gaze appraised Gail, and then back to the crowd.

“The man before you is a traitor to the crown. He seeks to undermine the law and order of our beloved Ryll, in order to help his dastardly allies who, want nothing more than to see this realm burn.” His gaze went back to Gail, a look of contempt crossing his face. “He would have us in chains, bowed before his unholy masters and gleefully spits in Norvell’s face. For these crimes, and blasphemes his punishment is death.”

The crowds murmuring began to grow again. This entire thing was a charade for Luhi to punish those who spoke out against him.

Innathia moved through the crowd effortlessly. Amongst the people he noticed the agents of his organization and gave a short nod to several of them as he passed. The crowd was almost ready, it wouldn’t take much to turn them against the monks. He stood next to Bast, and said, “It looks like everyone Is in position, it’s now or never.” And with that he began to make his way towards the front of the crowd.

As Innathia walked away Bast steeled himself for what was to come. Not sure why how he got the roll of initiator, Bast began to also make his way to the front. Taking down his shemagh, Bast yelled out, “The only crime this man has done is talk against you!”

Those nearest to him stopped and turned, at the front Luhi glared out looking for where the voice had come from. The crowd at first moved away from Bast surprised by his actions. No one had spoken out against Luhi before, and he wasn’t done. Continuing to make his way forward Bast continued, “Since Luhi has taken over Port Durst has seen nothing but pain and strife. The abandoned district is still a lawless cesspit berefts of even the basic amenities that are needed to live in this city. Trade has dried up, the only people who make their way to this city is because they know the blind eye the leaders take towards their dealings. And now Luhi has the gall to accuse Gail of these heinous crimes!”

Nearly to the front of the crowd now Bast raised his fist, “The time to retake our city is now! Down with Luhi! Free Gail!”

A loud roar rang out as the crowd took up the cry. Down with Luhi, Down with Luhi!

Innathia smiled as the crowd began pushing against the monks trying to restrain them. Slipping closer he shoved his dagger into the nearest guard’s stomach. It took a moment for even the guard to realize what had happened as he raised his bloody hand from his stomach before dropping. Seeing their comrade fall the nearest monks began cracking out with fists and clubs. Luhi seeing the crowd turning violent and his monks engaging with the populace glared at them before motioning for the nearest monks to leave, heading back into the citadel. The doors ranging with a loud thud as they closed.

The monks on the platform looked at each other and one raised his glaive to take off Gails head. Before he could a loud thunderclap rang out, stunning the guards and Gail. Maen sprang onto the platform before turning into a monstrous dire wolf, immediately lunging for the nearest monk. At the same time Bex and Eldeth broke from the crowd and charged towards the platform as well, Eldeth letting off an arrow from her longbow, hitting the other monk in the abdomen.

Staggering from the vicious bite wound of the dire wolf the monk didn’t even notice the sea giant stride onto the platform and taking her great axe easily cleaving his head off. With an arrow in his gut and seeing his ally’s head taken off, the second monk tried to stagger off. But before he could take a step off the platform Maen clamped down on his leg and dragged him down before shaking him like a rag doll.

By this point the other monks were subdued by the people, breaking Gail out of the stockade Bex easily carried him off. Seeing Gail free the crowd took up the chant, Gail! Gail! Gail!

Not waiting around, the party broke off from the rest of the group and began making their way with Gail to the Dixie Whick.

The party celebrated Gail’s rescue with a couple of ales at the Dixie Whick, it being the first day in a long time the city had much to celebrate. The party didn’t tarry too long because preparations had to be made for the prince’s arrival the following day.

Day 7

With a threat on the prince’s life, the group went back to the Dixie Whick to meet up with Gail. They are lead down to the cellars where Gail is currently hiding. Sitting on a barrel sit’s Gail, he looks up at the opening of the door but relaxes when he recognizes his rescuers.
“Hail friends, it is good to see you again.” He stands to greet them, “I didn’t get to thank you properly last night.”

“We have come to you because we need help.” Said Bast. He looks back at his party, “It has come to our attention that there is a plot to assassinate the Prince. But two Nephilim have been spotted hanging around the Greedy Wurm. We tried to see what they were up to but nothing turned up.”

An expression of deep worry crosses Gails face. “Listen to me, you must track down those Nephilim’s. The princes must be protected.”

“What about Luhi? We believe he is involved in the plot. A monk was seen talking to them.”

“Luhi must be brought down. If he is involved in this we will find out. But first we must follow the leads we know we can deal with first. I will try and meet the prince before he goes into the citadel, I might be able to persuade him to use caution around Luhi.”

“Thank you, Gail, we will do our part” The party begins to head out but Innathia hangs back.
He takes out a robe from his pack, “If you are going to be meeting the prince then may I recommended some proper attire.” Gail takes the robe and thanks him for the gift.

“Ok, no more games. When we go in we subdue the spies and make them talk.” The group gave a nod and entered the tavern. The spies wernt there.

“Are we too late?” Bast said back outside the tavern. “The prince is going to be here any moment. I don’t even know where to start looking.”

“Maybe I can help.” Offered Eldeth, “I am a skilled tracker. I may be able to find a clue or something.”

Eventually able to find a pair of tracks that matches, they followed them to the docks. Innathia went up to one of the dock workers nearby, “Excuse me sir, but have you seen any cloaked figures about these parts today?”

The worker looked at him for a second before replying, “Well…a pair did take a boat out a couple of hours ago. Headed out past the breakers. Never came back.”

Cursing the party thanked him for his time and began to decide on what to do. From across the city they heard the startup of trumpets announcing the arrival of the prince. They were out of time.

View
June 19th Session 5 prt 1

“We are too late,” Bast looks out at sea, torn between following the Nephilim out to sea and saving the prince.

Innathia put his hand on Bast’s shoulder, “We should deal with the things we can deal with first. The Nephilim have a head start and there is no knowing where they are headed. Bex and I checked the entire coast and could find no secret passage ways. For all we know they have journeyed out to sea.”
Bast gave a nod, “Very well.”

“I agree,” Mael said, “All we know is that an attack is planned on the prince, we need to hurry back and keep watch. If Luhi is behind it, this is when he will make his move.”

With an agreement struck the party set out to shadow the prince. By the time they had caught up to the procession it had already made it to the bazaar. Surrounded by his royal guard the prince was carried along on a palanquin, a smile on his face as he waved to the grateful people of Port Durst.

Expecting the worst, the party kept ahead and behind the procession, eyes alert for anything out of the ordinary. Surprisingly nothing happened, the procession made its way towards the citadel.

When the group realized this panic set in, “We can’t let the prince into the citadel!” Bast said.

“How do you propose we do that? We can hardly go up to the him and tell him we believe Luhi may or may not have a plan to murder him?” Innathia asked, “The most we can do is be prepared to break in, if the prince goes in we go in.”

Bast smiled at that, finally, a use for the tunnel.

The party watched on edge, as the prince made it closer and closer to the citadel. The great double doors opened up, and out walked Luhi flanked by two of his monks. The prince got off the palanquin and embraced the prince in a hug. Then the pair started walking back towards the procession, “I would like to welcome your highness to our city,” addressing the people Luhi said, “Let us show him the hospitality that Port Durst is known for.” The crowd let out a cheer, their love for the prince overshadowing their disdain for Luhi.

“Well… I guess we were worried for nothing.” Bex said, turning towards her companions,

“Now what? More shadowing?”

“I will have my contacts help out, we will cover more ground that way.” Innathia said, “Now if you will excuse me I will be right back.” Taking off his mask, Innathia began walking towards the prince and said something in his ear. The prince looked taken aback at first but regained his composure and smiled back at him.

The rest of the day the party kept close to the procession but unsure of how to further proceed. As night approached the royal procession once again made its way to the citadel, it was here that Gail was supposed to talk with the prince. The group made their way towards, would Luhi dare to move against Gail after yesterday’s show of support, and with the prince right there?

A large crowd was formed in front of the citadel, the platform that would have served as Gail’s execution platform was now set up for the royal party. The prince walked up onto the platform, and raised a hand to his people. A loud cheer went out, the people throwing their adoration for their beloved prince.

Smiling the Prince raised his hand for quit before speaking, “People of Port Durst, I want to thank you for such a warm welcoming. It always brings warmth to my soul to know the love the people have for my family. With Norvell’s backing our purpose is to serve you.”

This was met by cheers again, the prince smiled again before his face became more somber, “I know hard times have fallen on you, the last war against the demons has left deep scars, scars that can’t be seen but we know are there. Our people are not strangers to hardship, who but the people of Ryll can could forge a realm in the most brutal desert of Sandar!? Who but the hardiest of people could stand under our sun and its unforgiving rays!? The people of Ryll! The people of Port Durst!”

The cheers got even louder, people stamping their feat, drums beating. Energy seemed to infuse the people that had been missing for years. Even the party were getting caught up in the collective energy of the crowd.

When the crowd quieted down the prince began to speak again, “I make you this promise! Port Durst has not been forgotten! I plan to institute- “

The prince was interrupted by the ringing the lighthouse bell, its loud ringing heard throughout the city. It stopped the crowd in their tracks, the last time the bell rung was when the Dixie Whick had set out. The prince looked around in confusion, and bent over to talk to Luhi to see what was going on.

“Is this it? Are they making their move?” Bast asked, the earlier elation at the prince’s words draining from him.

A cry went up, “It’s the Dixie Whick! She has returned!”

With that proclamation, a loud cheer went out, many had loved ones and family that served on the Dixie Whick. A large portion of the people and guards rushed towards the docks to see her arrival.

The group looked at each other, torn between seeing what was going on and keeping an eye on the prince. All of them had a deep feeling of dread that they couldn’t explain.
Bex broke the silence, “I am going to the docks, if something is going on all those people could be walking into a trap.” Bast nodded at her, signaling that he would follow her.

Innathia looked back up at the prince standing next to Luhi, “I will stay here, if Luhi is going to make a move this would be the time.” Eldeth seemed torn, did she follow the blood thirsty human or the secretive Seraphim?

“I’ll stay here and keep an eye on the prince as well.” Eldeth finally decided.
Mael nodded in agreement, “Same, whatever is going on down at the docks sounds like a diversion.”

Bast and Bex set out towards the docks, where a large crowd was already formed by the docks. Drifting into port was the Dixie Whick, the crowd was cheering at its arrival.

At the back of the crowd, the two looked on.

“Do you think it’s really them?” Asked Bex.

“I don’t know, it looks like the people recognize it.” Replied Bast, his face pensive, Bex noted once again the changes that were happening to her friend. The strange glimmer his eyes had at times when they caught the light just right. Bast spoke again breaking Bex’s inspection, “But something is odd.” He said pointing.

“I am no sailor, but shouldn’t the crew be active on deck?”

Bex looked back at the ship, noting that Bast was right. There seemed to be no one on the deck, the crowd appeared oblivious to this. “Be ready.” Bex said drawing her great axe. Bast looked at his friend and smiled, drawing his shemagh back over his face.

As the Dixie Whick got close enough to dock there was finally movement on its deck. Dark shapes jumped over the rails, or took off on wings. The crowd’s cheers turned to cries of terror as kobolds landed amongst them, hissing and swinging their scimitars. Cutting down any they came upon. Following them came ambush drakes and draconian creatures. All of them wearing the symbol of Sahar on their ragged uniforms. Stepping to look over the railing stood a powerful looking red half dragon, his uniform in better shape than the kobolds he was leading, a great sword strapped to his back.

Bast and Bex took it all in, it was Bex who broke the silence, “What about Raoul? Did they kill him?”

A loud splash drew their attention to the bay, crawling out of the bay were two warrior merrow, a hungry gleam in their eyes as they crawled onto land. Before they could move a giant fist reached out and broke ones next, followed by a massive club that brained the other. Raoul rose halfway out the water and let out a loud roar in sea giant. A swarm of merrow writhing around him, making the bubble seem to boil.

Bex raised her axe in salute to her kin and let out a yell of her own. Her blood stirring at the promise of combat. She looked down at Bast, the wild gleam in her eye again. Bast smiled back under his shemagh and drew his spear.

Innathia kept looking towards the docks, trying to decide if he had made the right decision. Something was off, the arrival of the Dixie Whick should have been known to the city officials.

Eldeth stood next to Innathia, “Do you hear that?”

Innathia realized he had been lost in his own thoughts. He focused on what Eldeth was talking about and began to hear the screams coming from the docks. It seemed that the monks had heard too because the citadel bells started going off, but these were the warning bells. The palace guards formed around the prince, and Luhi ushered them towards the citadel.

Is this it? He began to make his way towards the prince. But before he got far Mael caught his arm. Innathia looked back at him, anger crossing his face. “What is it?”

“The prince is out of reach, we need to make our way to the docks and help those we can.”
Innathia looked back at the prince to see the citadel doors close behind them. Sighing he shook off Mael’s hand, and put on his mask. “Very well, let’s not delay then.”

As Bast and Bex prepared to charge in they heard hails behind them. Turning they saw Eldeth, Mael and Innathia running up to them.

Bex let out a loud laugh, “Glad you guys could join us!”

“Yes, yes. Let us not tarry. The prince is in the citadel with Luhi. We must wrap this up quickly.” Innathia said.

Before anyone could reply a hissing yell sounded behind them. Turning they noticed a party of kobolds heading towards them with an ambush drake.

Eldeth took a shot at the nearest one, catching it in the shoulder, spinning it around before it fell on the ground. Mael let out the inner beast again and took on the form of a dire wolf, squaring up against the ambush drake, in a flurry of teeth and claws they grappled with each other.

Bex took a swing at kobold, who had just spread his wings, before it could get away she cleaved it in half, showering her in its blood. Stepping over its corpse she took a swing at the next kobold. But this one managed to get into the air before it connected. Behind her Bast let out a dark blast from his spear that took the kobold in the chest, the kinetic force crushing its chest into a bloody pulp.

As Mael and the ambush drake continued to fight, Innathia took a shot at the remaining kobold, clipping it in the wing it crashed to the ground. As soon as it hit the ground, Bex swung down and severed its spine. At the same time Mael got ahold of the ambush drake’s throat and ripped it out in a welter of blood.

After the brief skirmish, the party took assessment of their situation. The red half dragon remained on the ship surrounded by several men. “If we take off the head, the body will die.” Bast said.

“True, but it looks like their main goal is the city. Most of their forces simply ran past. And I doubt we have the numbers to take down his guard, and the red half dragon.” Innathia said.
From the city smoke rose, and screams could be heard. “We can’t leave the people, or the prince. We must head back.” Eldeth said.

Rushing back to the citadel the party didn’t encounter any Saharan forces. Hank and a cohort of the city guards had formed a defensive line, dead kobolds at their feet.

“Am I glad to see you guys, “Hank wiped blood out of his eyes coming from a cut on his head. “Were stretched thin. Any help you can give us would be appreciated.”

“Where are the monks? Shouldn’t they be helping repel the invaders?” Innathia asked.

“They have locked themselves in the citadel,” Hank gestured to the double doors where several guards were banging on it and yelling up to the ramparts for them to open up. “Unfortunately, the citadel is where the town is supposed to fall back to when it’s under attack. But they have locked the gates and ignore our pleas. Instead we have been moving civilians to the lighthouse. That’s why we need you, my men are stretched thin guarding the lighthouse and forming a defensive line here.”

“What about Gail? Has there been any word from him?” Asked Bast.

“No, I haven’t seen him. But if even half the stories are true then we need him now.” Hank looked around, “Listen, find Gail, we need a leader the people can rally behind. Save any civilians you can find along the way.”

Innathia appraised Mael, “We should split up. Mael and I can get Gail, we will meet back here. You guys go help the civilians. If the monks won’t help the citizens then we have to.”
Bex looked down at Bast and nodded. “We can handle ourselves until you get back.”

“Just do it quickly, the assault seems to be lacking direction. I haven’t spotted anyone that looks like an officer yet.” Hank said.

“I think we saw the leader, it was a red half-dragon, but he was still on the boat when we left the docks.” Bast said, “What is he waiting for? Without the monks, the city couldn’t mount a proper defense even if we wanted to.”

Hank stares back towards the docks, “A half dragon, may Norvell guide us.” He looks back at the party, “Go now, we will hold them off as long as we can.”

Innathia mounted Mael and they took off racing down the battle torn streets.

Bex, Eldeth and Bast headed further into the city to look for civilians.

Mael and Innathia ran past packs of kobolds as they terrorized the city. It was a test of will to not stop and fight, but the pair knew their success depended on finding Gail. After dodging past another band of kobolds it struck Innathia as odd the lack of coordination the Saharan forces showed, the kobolds seemed more intent on harassing the people rather than taking any tactical objectives.

Arriving at the Dixie Whick the streets were relatively quit in the northern part of town, Innathia dismounted and motioned for Mael to wait. Innathia steps up to the door and removed his mask, fist raised to knock before he thinks better of it. Instead he reaches out and opens the door, surprised to find that the door was unlocked, Innathia poked his head in, wary. Peering into the gloom, Innathia pushed the door open a little wider and prepared to step in just as a spear lunged for his stomach. Barely managing to parry the spearhead just before it connected, he took a step back and assessed the threat. A shocked woman holding a spear looked back at him, Innathia recognized her as the owner of the Dixie Whick.

“I nearly killed you! What are you doing skulking around at a time like this? Come to loot my inn have you!” She hissed at him, raising her spear menacingly. As the daylight crossed Innathia’s face, recognition flashed across her face. “You’re here for Gail I take it?”

Surprised by how fast all this happened Innathia takes a second to compose himself, “My apologies mam, I wasn’t expecting the door to be unlocked and considering what’s taking place outside I didn’t feel like announcing myself.”

She pushes Innathia in and looks outside, noting the giant dire wolf outside, “Well hurry up, Gail is down in the basement,” She says walking away from the door, “And tell your friend to come inside. He stands out worse than a goblin at a birthday party.”

Mael having heard her lets out what sounds as close to a chuckle that a wolf can make. Squeezing his massive from through the door, Innathia closes the door behind him.

Making their way down to the basement they see Gail adorning himself in armor, a great sword strapped to his back. He looks up at them as they approach, giving them a curt nod of recognition, “Hail friends. It seems things have progressed faster than we wanted. Tell me, how fares the city?”

“Saharan forces have invaded Port Durst. They arrived on the Dixie Whick and started slaughtering the civilians and guards who went to see their arrival. The guards are doing what they can to protect the citizens but the monks have shut the citadel and are deaf to the pleas to open the gates.” He takes a deep breath before continuing, “And the prince is with him.”

Gail stares hard at him as he considered his words. “Our first priority must be the prince. Port Durst has no strategic value, if Sahar is brave enough to send this kind of force the prince is their target.”

The owner of the inn clutches Innathia’s arm, “Is it the real Dixie Whick?” Concern etched her face. Innathia looks down at her, “I never laid eyes upon the ship before, but it seems to be the real deal. I am sorry.” In elvish Innathia offers her the condolences of his gods. Not understanding his words, the gesture was apparent, she thanks him and wipes the tears from her eyes. Fierce determination crossing her face.

Gail places a hand on her shoulder, “My biggest regret in life will be that I was not amongst my comrade, we will atone for these sins with the blood of those responsible.” Turning back to Innathia and Mael, Gail asks, “Do you have a plan? We need to get inside the keep and rescue the prince. I know of a secret way into the citadel, but it will take some time to get there.” He said as if reluctant to divulge the information.

Equally as reluctant Innathia replies, “If you’re talking about the tunnel that leads from the desert to the citadel, I know of a…shortcut.” This entire venture was going to cost him a fortune, he just made a deal for a mahogany table for the dining room.

Gail looks at him again, as if appraising him with a warier regard to his abilities. “Very well, where is this secret entrance?”

“It’s near that sinkhole that appeared a couple of days ago. About a street up, last house on the right.”

Gail donned a stylized helm, and drew his sword, “Very well, meet me there.” Eldritch runes lit up along his sword, and a mist seemed to form around Gail before he disappeared from sight.

Mael and Innathia looked at each other in mild shock, Innathia broke the silence, “Well. Let’s not keep the old man waiting.”

Bast, Bex and Eldeth set out from the citadel. Not sure what they would encounter the pair rushed across the street into a nearby ally. Not spying any foes the group continued on, dashing across another street, sounds of the cackle that passed for a kobold laugh coming from up ahead. Just as they were about to make it across the street, Bex tripped and busted her elbow through a window. The laughing stopped at a pack of kobolds turned away from the citizen they were harassing to look at the cause of the sound.

Angry at cutting her elbow Bex let out a roar and rushed the Kobolds, taking a swing at the nearest one and cleaving it nearly in half. Laughing in joy, Bex stomped onto the skull, crushing it beneath her feet as blood and brain matter splattered the street. Seeing their ally so brutally murdered the nearest kobold hissed at her and took to the air. The rest of the kobolds followed suit, each carrying a large rock. A hail of rocks landed on Bex, bludgeoning her and knocking her unconscious. As the kobolds swarmed her Eldeth and Bast lashed out at the kobolds in an attempt to help their friend. Arrows and dark cat headed energy shot out, picking the kobolds from the sky.

With their payload dropped, the remaining kobolds swooped down at the pair, Bast dodged a dagger aimed for his eyes and followed up with a thrust from his spear, catching the kobold in the wing. With a shriek, it dropped to the ground, Bast didn’t wait and pierced the kobold in the back as it lay prone.

Seeing the giant go down so easily shocked Eldeth, the skirmish had escalated so quickly. Steeling her resolve she prepared for the kobold flying at her, drawing swords and easily dispatched the winging vermin.

Bast rushed to Bex’s side, and checked her wounds. She had a cut on her head, where a rock had grazed her skull. Seeing that while she was out, she seemed to be relatively stable. Turning the to the group of huddled civilians, Bast said “Fear not, we are here to help. Make way to the citadel. The guards will protect you.” He looked down at Bex, and then back at the group. “We need your help though, help us carry her to the keep.”

The crowd looked among themselves and back at the gore spattered barbarian, eventually deciding that anything as brutal was the sea giant they would rather have on their side then against them. Between the group of them they managed to lift Bex up and the party made their way back to the citadel. Bast and Eldeth keeping watch as the they moved through the battle scared streets.

As they arrived at the keep Hank ushered the people past the barricade they had formed,
“Quick, inside! Make your way to the lighthouse.”

Bast stood next to Hank, “Bex was hurt, do you have a healer?”

Hank looked at the prone sea giant, startled that such a mighty warrior could fall. “Here, give her this.” Handing Bast a healing potion. Bast thanked him and rushed to Bex, forcing the potion down her throat.

Bex regained conscious instantly, startling forward as she awoke. Looking around she realized that she wasn’t where she had dropped. “Did we save them?”

Bast smiled down at her, “We did Bex. Rest now, Mael and Innathia should be here soon. Until them Hank and the guards can hold the line.”

Looking about to argue, Bex seemed to reconsider as she felt the lump on her head. Nodding she leaned against the wall and dozed off.

View
June 19th Session 5 prt 2

Mael and Innathia made good time to his house, when they arrived they noted what looked to be a full patrol of kobolds dead in the street. Gail walked out from a nearby alley, “What took you guys so long.”

Cleaning the blood from his blade Gail gestured at the nearby houses, “Which one is it?”
Innathia dismounted, “This one, follow.” The trio went into the house and down to the basement, Mael dropped his dire wolf form as they entered the tunnel.

“Should we go back and get the rest of our party first?” Mael whispered.

“If what you say is true, all we need to do is open the gate and the result would be the same. If we doubled back it would take too much time.” Gail said. Mael acknowledged this statement with a nod.

Moving along in the darkness with Innathia leading the way, they came upon the same grate the party had come upon earlier in the week. It appeared that it had not been discovered as the gate was still unlocked.

Shifting the grate gently, so as not to knock over the barrel sitting on top of it, Gail entered first followed by the cleric and druid. Finding themselves in a storage closet. Opening the only door out, they found themselves where the ale was stored, a giant keg taking up half the room.

“Ok, you know the layout Gail, where to from here?” Asked Innathia.
“If we go north, it’ll lead to the main keep, which is my guess where they are holding the prince. To the south leads to the gate. If we plan on storming the main keep, I say we let your friends in first.”

Innathia considered the options, “Fair enough, let me go first. I will clear a path to the gatehouse.” Gently opening the door, Innathia slipped out. It lead to a corridor lit by torches lined along the wall. Heading south Innathia stopped at a corner, looking around he noted a monk leaning against the wall, book in hand. Praising Fyet for easy marks, Innathia put his sword to the monk’s throat, “Make a sound, and you’ll never know how it ends.” Innathia lead the monk back to the ale room where they bound and knocked out the monk for safe keeping.

Continuing back along corridor Innathia came upon another door, easing this one open he came upon a monk on the other side, thankfully looking the other way, making quick work of capturing this monk he opened the last door and looked out upon the courtyard. Seeing four monks standing guard in front of the double doors leading out of the keep. Completing his task of scouting out the gate Innathia made his way back to where Gail and Mael waited.

“Four monks guard the gate, you can still hear the guards banging on the door to be let in.” Innathia said with a scowl.

Gail looked furious, “If they are not allied with Sahar, then they still damn themselves by not acting. This kind of weakness is not becoming of servants of Norvell.” He draws his sword, “I will cause a distraction and take down those monks. You two open the gates and let your friends in.”

With that Gail headed up the northern path as Innathia and Mael made their way to the gate.

Along with the guards Bast and Eldeth repelled several attempts from the kobolds to breach the line, but for the most part their effort was still on harassing the city. More groups of civilians had made their way to the lighthouse. And still there was no sign from the monks. Nor the rest of their party.

Bast was beginning to worry that the others had been waylaid. After repelling another assault by kobolds, the sound of the gates opening caught his attention.

He rushed over to wake up Bex, who had amazingly been able to sleep through all the commotion.

“Bex, wake up. The gate is opening.” Bex rubbed her eyes sleepily as she stood and hefted her axe over her shoulder.

Rushing towards the gate the group viewed a man fighting two monks in the courtyard, two dead at his feet. Innathia and Mael stood by the gate as they opened it wider to allow everyone in.

Looking questioningly at them but holding his tongue for now Bast shot out an eldritch blast hitting one of the monks. Innathia followed up and shot the other monk with his crossbow. It became apparent that their assistance was not required as Gail took down the remaining monks in a flurry of blows.

“Come, we must secure the keep and find the prince.” He said walking up towards the door to the inner keep. The party looked stunned at Gail, who a day before had seemed a slightly crazy old man, but now was fighting better than men in their prime.

To the guards Gail addressed, “Until we secure the keep, hold on moving the civilians in.” Hank nodded and rushed back out to his men. Turning back towards the party he looked them over, “I would love to see nothing more than Luhi dead at my feet, and by the action of his men it incriminates him in treason against the crown. But until we have definitive proof, no one is to lay a hand on him, there are still laws to uphold.” He took the measure of the group once more before nodding and pushed open the gates to the keep.

In the keep, Luhi and two of his monks stood in the middle, and an unconscious and bound prince was on the ground in front of Luhi. His honor guard lay dead and stripped around him. Gail took in the scene in an instant, anger crossing his face at this treason.

“Luhi! You dare assault the royal family! This is treason of the highest order and the only punishment is death!” Sword raised high Gail rushed in with the party behind him.

Luhi smirked down at Gail, “I should have killed you long ago old man.” He motioned for the two monks to move in.

Gail was the first into combat, squaring up against Luhi. Mael instantly turned into a dire wolf again and launched himself at one of the monks to the left, with Bast rushing the monk on the right followed by Bex. From the rear Eldeth and Innathia took shots at Luhi in between the combatants.

Mael’s claw slashed across the monk’s chest, leaving deep gashes as blood began to pool along the floor. Keeping his focus, the monk got two quick jabs in with his fist, connecting with his muzzle. In anger Mael took a snap at the monk’s neck catching the shoulder, still not uttering a cry the monk followed up with a knee to the shoulder and an elbow to the eye, trying to dislodge the dire wolf. Seeing the struggling monk Innathia took a quick shot at the trapped monk and caught him in the throat, bleeding out in Mael’s mouth.

Showing a high level of skill for a supposed wounded sailor, Gail was able to go toe to toe with Luhi, blade against fist as the two moved around each other with the precise movement of veterans. Bex took a swing at Luhi’s back and manage to graze his side, not breaking focus Luhi let out with a backhand that Bex easily blocked with the haft of her axe. Not wasting a moment Eldeth let out a shot from her bow that caught Luhi in the shoulder, the impact nearly spinning him around.

Bast took a stab at the monk to the right and mange to clip him in the thigh, ignoring the wound the monk took a punch at Bast that he was able to deflect with his shield.

“You shall all die here today!” Luhi yelled, “The might of Sahar cannot be stopped.” The strains of his wounds starting to show Luhi looked at Gail, “And you, you won’t live to regret not being there to die alongside your comrades.” Taking another hit at Gail, Luhi clipped him alongside his helmet that left a ringing in his ears.

Grim determination on his face, Gail smashed the pommel of his sword into Luhi’s face, a splash of blood shooting from the smashed mess that was his nose. As he staggered back from the blow Gail let out a yell and scored a long gash across Luhi’s chest. His constitution finally giving out Luhi dropped to the floor.

Not even seeing his friend mauled by a wolf, and his leader brought low could shake the remaining monks resolve. Bex ran up behind him and cleaved him out of the air as he made a jumping kick against Bast’s shield. The first sound to escape his mouth was a small yelp of shock as his parts plopped to the ground. Bex follows up and smashes the monk’s skull, its crunch making a satisfying crunch under her foot.

Gail stood over Luhi’s crumpled body, sword raised for the death blow. Breathing deep he lowered his sword. Looking back to the party he said, “This man deserves death, but if I do it I know it will be because of the hatred I have for him. I will leave his fate to you.” With that he walked next to the prone prince and checked his wounds.

Bast walked over to Luhi, spear poised to strike. Innathia stepped in front of him, “Stop, we can’t kill this man. His crimes are many but he still deserves a trial.”

Bast appraised Innathia before speaking, “We are a state at war. We can’t allow this man to live, and his crimes lay before you.” Innathia looked around at the party and saw that all were in agreement with Bast.

“Very well, I see that I am out voted on this one.” And he stepped away. Bast nodded to him and stepped up to Luhi, spear raised.

With the deed done Bast stood up and looked back at Mael treating the prince, laying his hands upon him healing energy running through him, into the prince. Waking with a start the prince looked up at Mael with confusion in his eyes, “You will pay for this! My father will hunt you across the realm!”

Mael stood back in shock, not expecting that kind of reaction, “Woah, we just saved your life. I was just healing you.”

The prince looked around, noting Luhi’s corpse and the people around him until his eyes set upon Gail. “The Wolf of Ryll, by Norvell it is good to see your old friend.” Standing up he took Gail’s hand in a warriors embrace.

Gail laughed at that, “And you my prince.” Looking around Gail’s face took a more somber expression, “It is unfortunate that we meet in these circumstances. I had hoped our reunion would be more joyous.”

The prince nodded, Fin Gab-Ryll, appraised the party, “Your comrades have proven to be most helpful. I and Ryll owe them a debt.”

Bex walked over to Gail, “Its done,” She said looking back at Luhi’s corpse, “What is our next move?”

Gail sighed, “Thank you, although I wished his death, I wish we had time to go through the proper channels. But Luhi was too dangerous a threat to keep alive. We still have to deal with the Saharan invaders.”

After finishing off Luhi, Bast began searching the remaining rooms in the keep. Opening one that seemed to lead into a guest bedroom he heard a noise. Whirling around, spear drawn he noticed a monk walking out of the shadows, hands raised.

“Peace, I mean you know harm. I am not one of Luhi’s ilk. I am loyal to Ryll.” The monk said.
Wary Bast kept his spear raised, “And why would I believe you.” The monk went down on his knees hands still raised.

“I don’t blame you for your caution. But Luhi has betrayed us both. He killed those who wouldn’t follow him towards damnation.” His words rang true with Bast, “I hid here, it was cowardly I know but there was nothing we could do against Luhi. If you wish to end me, then so be it.”

Bast lowered his spear, “Today has seen enough bloodshed, and I believe you. Follow me, but stay back. I am not sure how my party will react.”

Gail was kneeling in front of the symbol of Norvell, deep in prayer when Bast and the monk walked into the room. Upon noticing the monk Gail stood, sword drawn. “Betrayer!”

“Wait!” Bast said stepping in between them. “This man is on our side, he was part of the faction that refused to bend the knee to Luhi and his cronies. Many of his friends have been slain.”

Gail stood glaring at the priest. Taking a deep breath, he lowered his sword, “Very well, but we must still bound this man before we can be sure.”

The monk bowed his head in acknowledgement. After shackling the monk, Gail continued his prayers until the Fin returned, armed and ready for war. “We will secure the rest of the citadel.” He said nodding towards Gail before returning his gaze to the party. “I need you guys to return outside and make sure the citizens are secured. Once the citadel is safe we can begin moving them here. “

Gail gave them a salute and then set off with the prince.

Heading outside the group was met by Hank, “Is it done? Has Luhi been defeated?”

Innathia nodded, “Yes, for good or ill Luhi has been killed. The prince and Gail are securing the citadel, when it is safe move the citizens into the main keep.”

Hank looked past them at the keep and then back outside where his men continued to hold the blockade. “Very well.” With that he set off to inform his men.

As the group was considering what to do next they heard a familiar voice, Hansu came running up to them. “Oh, it is good to see you guys again. Quick! There is a party of kobolds attacking the granary. If the city’s food is destroyed it won’t matter if we repel the invaders, the city will starve before winter is over.”

Before they could decide what to do, they were met by Ket, “By Riternal’s grace, you must come quickly! There are people trapped at the church of Riternal that need your help.”

The party looked at each other, torn between what to do first. “Do we split up again?” Bex thought of the kobolds dropping rocks on her again, “I don’t think that is such a good idea. We don’t know what we will face out there. And we expended a lot of our power against Luhi.”

“We should go to the granary. If it falls, everything we have done here is for naught. Port Durst, has been seeing hard times before this, it lacks the resources to import its food from afar.” Bast said.

Innathia nodded in agreement, “I find myself in agreement with Bast. We can always double back and save the people at the temple after.”

Bex looked longingly towards the temple. Bast put a hand on her arm, “We must pray the Riternal gives them strength until we can arrive. At this point we must think of the greater good.” Bex nodded in understanding.

“It still doesn’t sit well with me but you are right.”

Eldeth spoke up, “I am sorry but I can’t follow you. There is something I need to check out before the night is over.” With that the ranger ran off into the city.

Passing the barricade, the party set out towards the granary. Luckily, they didn’t run into enemy along the way. Upon approaching the granary, they noted a group of kobolds standing in front of the building. Their attempts to set the granary on fire seemed to be meeting some difficulties.

A little hesitant that before, Bex ran up and hurled a javelin at the nearest kobold. It pierced it through the back as it let out a shriek. Looking at the javelin poking out of their ally the pack let out a cry, and turned to their attackers. Bast and Mael walked forward past Bex, channeling his dark power through his spear Bast shot out a dark bolt of energy at one of the kobolds, grazing it on the side.

The pack took flight, swooping past Bast as they dropped a series of rocks at him. Deflecting several off his shield he still took a couple of hits that stunned him. Staggering back towards his ally, blood pooling down his head.

Mael was not as lucky as several rocks grazed his head, knocking him unconscious. With their payload dropped they started swarming down trying to stab them with daggers and clubs. Now in range Bex set out against the kobolds with brutal efficiency, cleaving two down as they swooped by.

Innathia dodged the dagger of one and put a bolt through its eye. Shrieking the kobold crashed in a crumpled pile at his feet.

Holding his wounded side Bast walked over to the downed druid, “Innathia, can you heal him?” Innathia knelt down next to him.

“Unfortunately, no, I used the last of my energy fighting Luhi.” Checking his vitals, he was able to see that his wounds were not life threatening, “He’s stable enough, we must carry him back to the citadel and find a healer.”

“He may not be the only one,” Bast said with a grimace. “At least the granary is secure, we should make sure that its properly barricaded in case another attack is made.”

As he began to walk to the granary, the door burst open and out jumped a Nephilim, sword raised, she was followed by four lackeys. As they exited the granary they spread out, trying to surround the party.

Angry at the ambush, Bast’s eyes turned black as he let his powers course through him. Raising his spear at the leader he let out a yell. A dark bolt shot out from his spear, the face of a fierce cat forming at its head, yellow and black energy coursing around it. The Nephilim stood in shock looking at their commander, a fist sized hole was now were her heart had been before. It took a moment before recognition crossed her face and she crumpled to the ground. Keeping his spear raised Bast looked at the remaining ambushers before speaking, “Run now” Not hesitating the survivors took off into the night.

Sagging with relief Bast knelt down on one knee, breathing heavy after the taxing encounter.

Innathia appraised the party, one wounded and another unconscious, “We should retire to the citadel, to stay out here will be suicide.”

Bex picked up Mael, and slung him over her shoulder. “We are not abandoning those at the temple.” With that she began to make her way towards the temple of Riternal. Bast looked at Innathia, shrugging before following her. Innathia sighed and followed suite.

Making quick time to the temple they were surprised to see that no one assaulted the temple. Fearing they were too late they rushed to the temple.

“Hello?” Whispered Bex, opening the door she was greeted by a group of citizens huddled together in fear. “It is ok! Riternal has delivered you. Follow us to the keep, we will keep you safe.” She said motioning to her party.

With two in the front, and two guarding the rear, the party began moving to the citadel. At the last corner, they rushed to a stop. Innathia motioned for quite as he took a look. Gathered in front of the citadel doors it seemed all the Saharan forces had gathered. Among them stood the red half dragon, arms crossed as he stood on the platform that earlier the prince had spoken from.

“We can’t get in this way, “Innathia said as the rest of the party made it to the front.
Bast kneeled down next to him, “Even with an army at the gates, that’s still the safest place for the citizens. We need to find a way in.”

“Well I don’t see ourselves sneaking past that,” Innathia said motioning towards the rabble in front of them. Bast considered their options.

“We use the tunnel.” Innathia glared at him, it was bad enough having to show Gail but this many witnesses was unthinkable!

Hiding his frustration, he replied, “Very well.”

Bex looked ahead of them, “I hope the people at the lighthouse made it inside in time.” Bast put a hand on her shoulder. “We must trust that Hank made it in time.”
With that, they doubled back towards Innathia’s house and the secret entrance.

Entering the inner keep seemed to catch Gail and Prince Fin by surprise, “We really should set a guard on that tunnel.” He said with a smile. “We are glad to see you have returned, were you successful?”

“Yes, the granary is secured, we also saved the people trapped in the temple.” Said Innathia,

“We were surprised to see the Saharan host at the gates.”

“It seems with Luhi’s plan foiled, the commander has seen it fit to take the field himself to finish the job.” Said Gail, “Unfortunately we lack the resources to properly repel a concentrated attack. But at the very least the citadel is secured, for the moment.” He said, gesturing to several monks chained near the wall.

Prince Fin said, “These are the ones who surrendered. Hopefully some loyalist remains amongst their numbers but for now we don’t have time to interrogate them properly.”
Bex walked up and set down the still form of Mael, “Are there any healers? He is stable but unconscious.”

“I can help.” Ket said walking up, “I want to thank you for saving the people trapped in the temple, I shudder to think what would happen if a Saharan patrol had stumbled upon them.” Kneeling down he placed both his hands on Mael’s chest, and channeled Riternal’s power through him.

Mael woke up coughing before speaking, “Next time you go first.” He said to Bex.
The grouped grinned at that. With Mael secured Bex turned to Ket, “What about the people in the lighthouse? Were they able to make it into the citadel in time?”

“Yes, because of Hanks swift actions we were able to securely get every on in before the Sahar arrived at the gate.” Ket replied. Bex smiled, one less thing to worry about.

“What’s our next move?” Bast asked, addressing Prince Fin and Gail.

Gail rubbed his temples, “All I know is the prince must be protected. We could sneak him out of the city. Take the secret tunnel out and escape into the desert?”

“I won’t abandon my people. Not when I am their main goal.” Prince Fin said.

At that moment Hank burst into the keep, “Your highness, you must come.”

Looking at each other the group followed Hank out of the keep and onto the citadels walls. Looking over the battlements the Saharan forces stood outside in ranks. The half dragon stepped forward, appraising the defenders on the wall, obviously not impressed.

“People of Port Durst, your tenacity today has earned my respect,” His voice projected clearly across the night. “I will offer you a deal. We are only here for the prince, if you hand him over I will spare your town. Continue to fight and you will all die this night.” His proclamation was met by harassment by the defenders. He smiled at their defiance. “Not good enough for you? How about this, send out your strongest warriors to fight me. If you win my forces will leave this squalid shack of a city. But if you lose, the prince is mine.”

Prince Fin looked at the half dragon with intense eyes, turning to Gail he spoke, “You must give me up. My life is not worth a city full of people.”

“I am sorry your highness, but I am not giving you up to this bastard.” Gail spoke vehemently.

“You have fifteen minutes to make your decision. After that I shall bring the full force of Sahar against you.” With that the red half dragon walked back into his ranks.

As the Prince and Gail got into a heated argument Bast looked around at his party, “We will fight him.” Their conversation halted Gail and the Prince turned to regard the party.

“Together we can defeat him, he is one lone fighter. We have taken down many foes this past week. What is one more?”

Gail appraised them, “You have proved your mettle in the fight against Luhi.” Turning to the prince he said, “It has merit your highness.”

Sighing, Prince Fin nodded his head, “Very well,” Turning to Gail he said, “Outfit these adventurers with some healing potions. And heal any prior wounds, they are going to need to be at top strength.” Gail nodded and motioned for a guard to fetch Ket, and grab healing potions. “I want you to go with them as well Gail.”

At this Gail turned, “With all due respect your highness, I won’t allow it. I am not leaving your side.” The two glared at each other, eventually it was the prince who sighed and averted his gaze. “Very well.”

“I will fight with them your highness, “Turning the prince appraised Hank, “You are the city guard who has been leading these men? That is very admirable of you. You have shown yourself to be a true son of Ryll.” Hank kneeled, humbled by the prince’s words.

Ket arrived not long after, healing the minor wounds the party had, but there was nothing he could do to restore their fatigue.

The party assembled in front the gate, preparing themselves for what was to come. Bast looked over at Bex, “Let Riternal’s fury guide you friend.”

Bex looked down at her friend and smiled, “You as well friend.”

Donning his mask Innathia spoke a phrase in elvish under his breath, beseeching his god in private. Mael conjured up a club, taking several test swings loosening himself up. With his ability to shape shift exhausted he knew this was going to be a trying battle.

Bast put his hand onto Hanks shoulder, “We appreciate you being here with us, you are truly a son of Ryll.” Hank smiled at that, and he nodded thanks to him before returning his gaze to the gate, fierce focus crossing his face.

With a loud groan the gates opened up, the party moved out, the forces of Sahar arrayed before them. In front stood the half dragon, hands on the pommel of his sword, resting in the ground. “Only five of you? Let’s hope you make this worth my time.” Raising his sword to his shoulder the half dragon began walking forward, “Let me introduce myself, I am Langdregosa. Now, prepare to die.”

Langdregosa strode casually forward towards the party, wide smile on his face. Mael was the first to charge, taking a swing at him. The blow grazed his shoulder, repelled by his armor. Ignoring Mael he took a couple of more steps forward Langdregosa came to a halt, taking in a deep breath in and exhaled a giant storm of fire. The party scattered as the fire washed over them, evading the worst of it but not being able to avoid being burned.

Bex was the first to recover and rushed at him, great axe taking swings at him in giant arcs, still grinning the half dragon easily parried her attacks. Seeing an opportunity Bast flanked him and took a thrust with his spear, barely piercing the plate armor and finding flesh underneath. Turning towards Bast, Langdregosa threw an elbow aimed at his face which. Bast barely had time to raise his shield in time.

Keeping several steps back Innathia proceeded to take several shots at him with his crossbow, placing precise shots in between his allies to find purchase in the half dragon.
Mael rushed in from behind and took several more swings, one connected and attracted Langdregosa’s attention. Whirling around he took two quick slashes at Mael, cutting him across the chest and stabbing into his thigh. Wounded Mael reeled back, then strengthened his resolve and attacked with new vigor.

Standing side by side with Bex, Hank scored several quick attacks against the half dragon. Failing to pierce the plate armor, Langdregosa smashed his tail into Hank as reprisal, followed up back an overhead slash. The blow landed with enough power to split Hank’s shield and sending the guard staggering back.

“If this is the best you can offer you should have sent the cripple out to fight me. I’ve heard he at least has some fight in him.”

Ignoring his remarks, Bex kept up her brutal assault, finally getting past his guard, the axe connected in his side, forcing out a roar of pain. Smoke curled out his mouth as he snarled in Bex’s face. Seeing him distracted Bast scored another hit from the rear, spear piercing the thick plate armor in the back. Still bleeding, Mael took another swing, smashing into the back of the half dragons leg, nearly taking it out from under him. Snarling, Langdregosa smashed the pommel of his sword into Mael’s face, knocking him unconscious on the ground. He followed that attack by slashing down at Hank again, who failed to parry it in time, the blade pierced Hank in the chest, eyes wide Hank slid off the blade onto the ground.

“No!!” Bex bellowed at seeing her allies fall. A bolt whizzed past her head as Innathia let loose another round from his crossbow. Piercing the side of the half dragons neck gave Bex all the distraction she needed. Eyes glazing over in fury she brought axe down and nearly cleaved Langdregosa in half from sternum to hip. Gasping for breath, the half dragon’s corpse fell to the ground, a large pool quickly forming around him.

A hushed silence fell over the Saharan forces after witnessing their leaders fall. Bloody and weary Bast shot a blast of eldritch power into the sky, and addressed the horde before him, “Your leader is dead! Now leave Port Durst, into the sands you must now march, and any found remaining will find only death awaiting them.”

After a short moment, the Saharan’s threw down their weapons, and began to make their way towards the eastern gate. Seeing them make their leave Bast nearly collapsed with exhaustion, but then he saw Hank’s prone form and rushed over, potion in hand. Kneeling down next to him he saw that he was too late, Hank’s glazed eyes were looking up into the sky. Bast closed his eyes, “Sleep well friend, know that Port Durst survives because of your heroism tonight.”

View
The Execution

As the Saharan forces marched out, Bast laid down Hanks prone form and walked over to the half dragon and began to go through his pockets. Pulling out what appeared to be a diary, he turned to the last page. After close examination, it appeared to be the diary of the captain of the Dixie Whick. The last entry troubled Bast’s thoughts, it implied the betrayal of Faer Don Kyll-Ebba. The implications were too dire for Bast to speculate on, he needed to get this to Gail.

Walking back towards Bex, he gave his friend a weary smile. “Good work today Bex. There is no one I would rather have by my side.” Bex smiled down at him, but she then turned her gaze back towards the Saharan forces.

Nodding towards them she said, “This doesn’t sit well with me. We have won today sure, but what about the people who are now at the mercy of those bastards?”

Bast followed her gaze and sighed, “It doesn’t sit well with me either, but what choice do we have? We lack the forces to defeat all of them and we won this day by the skin of our teeth.” Laying his hand on her shoulder he said, “All we can hope is that the Prince gets word out fast and a force is mobilized before they can do much damage.” Turning away Bast began to head towards the keep.

“Come, there are still loose ends we need to finish up.” Bex gave the retreating army another glare and then turned and followed Bast.

In the keep Gail and the Prince stood in front of a group of bound monks. Upon their approach, he looked up at the returning party. “Well met friends, we have some unsavory business to finish up. These,” gesturing at the bound monks, “are all the remaining monks of Luhi, they are reluctant to talk.”

Mask still down Innathia walked up next to Gail. “We can be really persuasive when we want to be.” Gail appraised Innathia.

Giving a nod Gail said, “Do what you must.” Looking down at the monk in front of him Gail said, “You should have talked to me first.” In reply, the monk spat at Gail.

Innathia began to make his way towards the monk when a large hand laid on his shoulder, turning he looked into Bex’s face, “Let me handle this.” Bowing Innathia stepped back as Bex made her way to the monk. At the sea giants approach, some of the resistance died in his eyes.

“I am going to make this simple for you.” Said Bex laying a hand on each shoulder, almost cupping his head in her hands. “I will ask you a question, and you will answer me. It has been a trying day, and what little patience I have for traitors is already thin. Do you understand me?”

A full range of emotions crossed the monks face as he tried to come up with an answer, eventually the fight left him and he replied, “What do you want to know?”
Unblinking, staring into his eyes Bex asked, “What was your goal here? Why turn on your people and allow the enemy into your home?”

Feeling the weight on his shoulders and the giants piercing glare he spoke in rushed jumble. “Why else? We work towards the glory of Mer-Jin! The Gods are dead! Only through him can we reach a new enlightenment.”

Bex gave him a quizzical stare, “Mer-Jin? So you have forsaken your oaths to Norvel?”
The monk smiled, “Norvel and his teaching are no more, he is dead along with the rest of the Gods, and his teaching are nothing but dogma pushed on us to keep the tyrants of Ryll in power.”

“So those cultists in the zero district, they were working for you?”

The monk spat on the ground again, “They were nothing more then pawns, as long as they served our purpose we allowed them their petty parlor magic. At best, they succeeded in summoning a demon of Mer-Jin and worst-case scenario they gave the guards a minor distraction. Either way they were expendable. “

From behind Bast spoke up, “And the Underbelly? What part did they play in your plans?”

Looking over to who had addressed him the monk said, “A necessary evil. In exchange for, turning a blind eye, the Underbelly supplied us with the slaves we needed. There is a dark stone under Port Durst of incredible value, with the slaves we were mining out and making a fortune to continue our work for Mer-Jin. The goblin attack was an accident. It seems we stumbled upon the Underdark, and a band of goblins rushed our slaves before we could blow the tunnel.”

Standing behind Bex now Bast asked, “And their leader? He escaped us earlier this week. Are you harboring him somewhere?”

Chuckling the monk answered, “If anyone had answers it would have been him.” He said nodding towards Luhi’s corpse.

Sighing Bast turned and walked away. Bex looked around at her allies, “Any other questions?” Contemplating all they had heard no one had much more to ask.
Seeming to regain some of his confidence the monk spoke up, “It matters not what you do to me, Mer-Jins reach is far and powerful! You will all suffer horrible deaths before you realize the error of your ways!”

“Yea, yea.” Said Bex and punched the monk in the face knocking him out. Tossing his slumped form towards the guards, she walked away.

Gail turned towards the Prince, “We need to talk to your father. This is above our heads.”

Nodding the prince replied, “You are right. I will contact him immediately. If all goes well he can be here by tomorrow.” Motioning to the guards to take away the prisoners he then turned to the party. “We have much to discuss.” Sitting in Luhi’s throne the Prince continued, “We need to make an example of them, we will have a public execution when my father arrives.”

Gail addressed the party, “I know it has been a trying day and you more than anyone deserves some rest but I would appreciate it if you could meet me at the Dixie Whick tonight. We have much to discuss.”
Agreeing the party went off to get what rest they could before meeting up at the Dixie Whick.

Bast knocked on the door to the Dixie Whick Tavern. The owner opened up and let them in with a smile. The news of the Dixie Whick hung over her, particularly the fate of her husband. But she still greeted the party with a smile, “Welcome and thank you for your efforts today. Please, anything you want it is on the house. Ale, food and lodging, it is the least I can do. Now sit, Gail is waiting for you.”

Sitting alone at table was Gail, the day’s events clearly showing on his face he looked like he was about to fall asleep where he sat. He was idly looking at his helmet, deep in thought when the party arrived. Smiling he stood to address them, “Hail and well met friends. I know you desire nothing more than to eat and sleep but please indulge me for a little. The prince should be here soon. Until then Selene can get you whatever you want.”

The group sat down and Selene brought out a plethora of food, and ale for the party who gratefully ate their fill. Not long after Prince Fin showed up, looking just as weary as Gail.

“Hello friends, my apologies for my tardiness.” He sat down at the table, smiling up in thanks to Selene as she put a plate in front of him.

Innathia spoke first, “It is no trouble your liege, it gave us time to recover ourselves. What is our next step?”

The prince sampled some of his food before continuing. Piercing eyes apprising the party, “First off, I plan on making Port Durst a military port again. Left as it is, its only a matter of time before some petty tyrant is able to take advantage of the people here. And they have shown their merit, I don’t like to speak ill of my father but I think he made a mistake when he pulled the navy out and left Port Durst to its own devices.” Seeing the surprised look on the party’s faces he chuckled, “Don’t get me wrong my father is a wise man, but Ryll is a large land and mistakes are made from time to time.”

Fin took a sip from his ale before continuing, “With that in mind, the next question is who do we leave in charge. I must confess I don’t know a lot of what has been going on here and I am not sure of all the influential players in Port Durst. So I am open to your suggestions.”

The group fell into contemplative silence as they considered this. Innathia spoke first, “Well I would nominate Gail, not only has he proven his worth in the last couple of days. But the people love him, his name is always followed by nothing but praise.” Gail seemed to blush at the praise.

“It is not my intent to lead, but if that duty falls on me it would be my honor.” Said Gail, although there was a look of reluctance on his face.

“He is right Gail, when the people opposed Luhi, it was your name they were chanting.” Said Bast.

“So, Gail? Any objections?” Asked the Prince.

“I do,” Said Bex, she looked almost embarrassed with the attention on her but continued, becoming more confident as she spoke, “No offence Gail, but I think Ket would make a great leader. He cares for this city and has dedicated himself to its welfare. Even risking Luhi’s wrath.”

The Prince looked around the table, “And who is this Ket?”

It was Gail who spoke, “Ket Bran-Kel, he is the main priest to Riternal in the city. A good man, he is always doing charitable work for the those in need.” He said, respect in his tone.

“A priest of Riternal? As a ruler of Port Durst, that is certainly unconventional.” Said Prince Fin, “But, maybe that is what this city needs. The peoples trust in the monks of Norvell has been shaken, maybe this Ket can restore hope to the people.” He glanced around the table, “What is your guys thoughts?”

“Ket is a friend and has served this city well. I would follow him.” Said Bast.

Innathia looked less certain, “As a military post the city needs a strong military leader. Don’t mistake my intent, Ket is a good man, but the city needs Gail’s expertise.”

The prince smiled at the words, “My thoughts exactly, very well.” He said standing, “From this day forward Ket shall be mayor of Port Durst, and Gail shall serve as Admiral of the southern fleet. Congratulations old friend.”

Gail looked stunned by the prince’s words, “As you wish my lord.”

Smiling the prince embraced Gail, and then turned to address the party. “I must retire for now; my father shall be here tomorrow for the execution. I look forward to seeing you guys at noon tomorrow.” With that the prince thanked Selene for her hospitality and left.

Gail sat back down at the table, stunned. The moment seemed to pass and a new zeal seemed to infuse Gail, “Very well.” He said looking around at the party, “This makes the next part easier. I know you have already done a lot for the Ryll but I would ask for more. I found some interesting information in that journal you gave me. It gave the location of the last stand of the Dixie Whick. I would have you go there and see what you can find.”

The group took this in, each considering their own plans and wishes. Seeing their looks Gail continued, “Like I said, you have already done more than your share. For this reason, I will give each of you a reward of your choosing, whether you do this for me or not.”

“Can we hear what you have planned first?” Asked Bast.

“Of course, based off the journal the Dixie Whick made their last stand on an abandoned island that used to serve as a prison. I would have you make your way to the island and investigate what happened, and if possible find any survivors. I already have a ship chartered, it will be ready the day after the execution.”

Seeing the groups hesitation, he continued, “Like I said, give it some time and consider my words. Also, when you have thought of a reward, if it is in my power I will grant it to you.” Standing Gail said, “Now, I am off to bed. Selene has been gracious enough to offer you all rooms here tonight. I will see you tomorrow at the execution. Good night.”

The next day the group met at the cathedral, in front of the cathedral was a raised platform, similar to the one that would have seen Gail killed was set up and the traitorous monks were assembled on it. Given a place of honor the group stood next to Gail and the prince.
Before the execution Bast went up to Gail, “I need to talk to you.” Gail turned to look at him quizzically. “In private.”

“Very well.” Moving a little further from the group Bast took out the journal he had found on the half dragon.

“I found this on the half dragon, it is the journal to the captain of the Dixie Whick and it has grave implications.” Relaying what he had found Gails face grew graver by the second.

“Speak of this to no one, after the execution I want you all to meet me at the Dixie Whick. We have much to discuss.” Gail put the book under his shirt and made his way back to the prince.

Innathia was getting antsy being near so many people, this was all too public for him but at the same time he had a hard time refusing the prince. The past week’s events had spiraled out of control and he wasn’t sure how they had gotten into this position. To make things better, first the dwarf had gone off on her own, and now the druid was missing, if they didn’t have to be here, why did he?

As these thoughts crossed his mind there was a loud bang, eldritch lightning played across the ground and the faint smell of ozone in the air. Seemingly out of nowhere a full retinue of armored guards stood, in the middle of them stood the Grand Sultan Han Gab-Ryll. Maybe this would be worth his time after all.

Bex leaned down next to Bast and whispered, “Well that was a dramatic entrance.” Bast held back a chuckle at Bex’s candor. For himself he was in awe to see the Grand Sultan himself! To save the prince was one this but the ruler of Ryll was before him.

After appraising the area and making sure it was secure the guards reformed formation giving the Grand Sultan a path to his son. Smile on both their faces the embraced, relief clearly written on the Grand Sultans face as he hugged his son.

“Greetings father, it is good to see you.” The prince said after they released their embrace.

“I feared the worse when I heard. Norvell truly smiles upon us by seeing you delivered safely through your ordeals. Now, show me these brave souls who saved you and Port Durst!” Smiling Fin lead his father to the party.

“You already know Gail of course,” He said gesturing towards Gail who gave a humbled bow to his Sultan.

“The Wolf of Ryll returns!” The Grand Sultan acknowledged Gail as an old friend, “Your dedication to Ryll and my family is truly inspiring old friend.”

“I simply do as any servent of Ryll would do my liege.”

“Too humble by far! Never the less, thank you for your work Gail.” Moving on the Sultan turned his gaze on the rest of the party.

“And these are the brave souls who risked life and limb for Ryll.” Fin said gesturing to them.
“This is Bex, a ferocious and loyal sea giant who has bested the mightiest of foes.” Bex gave the Sultan a large smile and bowed.

“It as an honor to meet you your highness.” Hans placed both hands on Bex and replied.

“It is I who an honored, you are a prime example of your people. Thank you for your help tonight, Ryll will not forget it.”

Gesturing to Bast next Fin said, “And this is Bast Sa-Darr, a true son of Ryll.” Bast bowed deeply to the Grand Sultan.

Once again placing both hands on Bast the Sultan said, “Rise friend! Rise! A member of the trading clans putting the Ebba’s to shame!” Laughing he continued, “Thank Norvell he has blessed Ryll with a true warrior spirit in its people.”

“You honor me your highness, I simply do what any son of Ryll would do.” Releasing his hands, the Sultan said, “Trying days are ahead of us son. We will need that kind of sentiment to get through them.”

“Lastly, we have Innathia of the Seraphim, his cunning has served well today. Showing how help can come from even the most surprising areas.” Said Fin.

Innathia bowed deeply to the Sultan, greeting him in the classic elvish greeting. Surprisingly the Grand Sultan replied in kind.

“Always erstwhile allies the Seraphim. How is your brother?” Asked the Grand Sultan.

Caught off guard, Innathia replied. “He is well, thank you for asking.”

“Of course, and I am glad to hear it.”

Introductions over with the Grand Sultan and the Prince moved to address the crowd.

At their appearance, the crowd gathered in front of the cathedral went wild with cheers and applause. Smiling and waving to the crowd, father and son took in the love of their people.

“People of Port Durst! Loyal Servants of Ryll! How it warms my heart to see you!” At this the cheers of the crowd rose louder. Raising his hands for silence the Grand Sultan continued, his tone more somber, “If any one represents the spirit of Ryll it is truly the people of Port Durst. The trials you have faced shame me, while it would be easy to lay all the cities woes on Luhi and his schemes, the true fault lies with me.” At this proclamation denials came from the crowd. Raising his arms for quit again the Grand Sultan continued, “You are kind but it is true. As ruler of these lands the welfare of the people is my single goal. And you people of Port Durst, I have failed.” Tears were running down the Grands Sultans face as he spoke. He wiped them off before continue, his voice firmer and filled with conviction.

“But despite my failings, you, the people of Port Durst have shown me your strength! That no matter what faces you nothing can truly crush the spirit of Ryll in you. I couldn’t ask for more loyal and devout servants, Norvell has smiled upon me, humbling me with the conviction of my people. And it is for this reason that I am reinstating Port Durst as the main naval base of Ryll once again!” At this the crowd let out a loud cheer.

“This town is filled with proud sailors and warriors who have been oppressed and forced to sit idle for far too long! Never again will Port Durst be a footnote in the annals of history! No! From this day forward its name will be spoken with pride! Dark days lay before us friends, but with you walking besides me into the darkness we shall know no fear!” Gesturing to the captive monks the Grand Sultan continued, “Foul servants of Mer-Jin will seek to oppose us but they lack the conviction and strength to win the day!” Arms raised high, voice seemingly to resonate throughout the crowd, Grand Sultan Hans Gab-Ryll continued, “People of Port Durst! Will you ride out with me to see this threat vanquished! To show the world that Ryll is still strong and that Norvell smiles upon us!”

Even louder than before cheers rang out through the crowd. The entire population of Port Durst was gathered before them and their chant rang out with a force that everyone in attendance could feel. The chant was hard to hear at first but eventually the entire crowd was screaming it at the top of their lungs, “Ryll! Ryll! Ryll!” Beaming broadly at the people the Grand Sultan motioned for the executioner. Nodding he pulled the lever, and the bodies dropped. Feet kicking and dangling until finally the stopped.

“And thus, is the fate to all traitors! And all who oppose Ryll!” Yelled the Prince, and the crowd cheered even louder.

With the deed done, the Grand Sultan and the Prince walked off the stage and made their way to the honor guards. They form up around them, the prince waves to Gail and the adventurous before a loud boom takes place and they are gone. The smell of ozone once again on the air.

View
Sea Voyage

After the Sultan and Prince’s departure, the group gathered around Gail.

“I hope you guys realize the honor given to you. Few in Ryll can claim to have met the Sultan, let alone earning his direct praise.” Said Gail.

It was Innathia who spoke first, “It is not lost upon me, nor will it be forgotten.”

Bast still looked stunned to have been in his ruler’s presence, while Bex just smiled at Gail and nodded.

“Now, have you given my offer more thought? All is prepared and the ship will leave first thing tomorrow, but I would feel better knowing capable adventurers like you were going with it.” Said Gail.

Without hesitation Bast said, “I will go, the Sultans visit here shows the gravity of the situation. If Sahar means to make further attacks on Ryll then I must do my part.” Gail placed his hand on Bast’s shoulder in thanks. Bast continued, “As for my reward, I have not forgotten my quest against the Underbelly. After I do this I would ask for your help in tracking them down.”

Gail pondered this, “Yes that is possible. I don’t know a lot about them but I can go through my contacts and see what can be turned up. You said the leader escaped, yes?” Bast nodded, “Then someone must have seen something. By the time you have returned I will have the information to at least point you in the right direction.”

“Thank you, that is all I can ask.” Said Bast, bowing to Gail.

“And the rest of you?” Gail asked turning to Innathia and Bex.

“I will withhold my request for a later time.” Said Innathia. Gail gave him a nod and turned to Bex inquisitively.

“Well,” Said Bex pondering the question. “A falcon! Can I have a falcon?”

Gail smiled at her enthusiasm. “I think that is within my capabilities. I will have it ready for you when you return. And if your other companions turn up again tell them my offer is there as long as they need. Oh, I almost forgot. There is a manor in the northern district, it is now yours. Hanks family has already moved in.”

Smiling Bast said, “Thank you.”

“Now, met me tomorrow at the docks, the ship is set to leave first thing in the morning. Look or the Givers Mark.” With that Gail began to make his way into the citadel.

Early the next morning the group was met at the docks and caught their first sight of the Giver’s Mark, Bast was barely able to contain himself with excitement. As a young boy, he always dreamed of becoming a sailor. As the young boy, he once visited the Port Wajadat with his uncle and was able to take a short jaunt out on a trade ship. Ever since then all he could think about was becoming a sailor and eventually owning his own boat.

In drydock crews were already at work to patch up the Dixie Whick, laborers climbing around it like spiders busy working on the repairs. The Givers Mark was equally as busy, crewmen going up and down the gang ramp loading supplies and performing last minute checks. Gail was standing in front of the ship talking to another man who Bast assumed was the captain of the ship. Surprisingly he also sees Reoul nearby, looking out towards the bay.

Innathia and Eldeth stand by as well, looking packed and ready to go.

Turning at their approach Gail greets Bast and Bex as they arrive. “Ah perfect, everyone is here now. Let me introduce you to Captain Linn, he is one of Ryll’s most accomplished pilots.”

Bowing in greeting Captain Linn says, “Your efforts in the city are on every one lips these past days. I make me feel better having you aboard. There are a few more things I need to look into so we can talk more on the ship, were shoving off in five minutes so don’t be late.” With that Linn began making his way to the ship.

Gail turned to the party, “You are in good hands, I look forward to your return.” With that Gail began to oversee the work on the Dixie Whick.

Bex walked over to Reoul, “It is good to see you! What are you doing away from the Island?”

Reoul smiles down at Bex, “Likewise little giant. Because of you guys I am able to have a more visible presence in the city. I am here to guide the ship and ward off any merrow. I need to warn you, the last several days the merrow seem to be worked up. Careful on your journey out there.”

Bex thanked him and gave him a hug. Then made her way back to her friend as they began to make their way onto the ship.

The first thing they were greeted with was a shouting match between Captain Linn and another older bearded man.

“It’s my ship quartermaster and my orders will be followed or you can find yourself back on land sitting on your thumbs. Now, give me that bottle!” yelled Captain Linn.

The older man glared daggers at the captain, before shoving a bottle into his arms and storming off, “See if you can find my other bottles, you green eared bastard.” He said muttering to himself as he walked past Bast and the group.

Realizing he had a crowd Captain Linn turned towards the group and apologized, “I am sorry you had to see that. Quartermaster Achin Uz-Ebba is one of the best but he’s also the saltiest bastard in Port Durst. I recommend keeping away from him for the journey. My first mate Kent will show you guys to your berthing.”

Before the captain could leave Bast asked, “Sorry to interrupt captain, but I was wondering if I could help. I have always wanted to learn to sail, and I hate to be merely cargo.”

Captain Linn appraised him for a second before saying, “Very well,” Turning to Kent, “After you show them to their berthing, go over the basics with the kid.”

Kent smiled and gave a nod before gesturing for everyone to follow.

It took five days to reach their destination. As the island came into view the Captain gathered the party on the deck.

“Mar here will take you guys the rest of the way in the dingy. The ship is going to drop anchor a little way off the from the island. If you guys encounter any trouble there is little we can do, so be careful out there.”

As the boat made its way closer to the island the party could pick out better details. There was a long strip of beach that lead up to an imposing wall. But the closer they got they were able to see large holes and been opened up in the wall. Behind the wall a tall central keep could be seen.

“What’s that on the shore?” Whispered Eldeth.

The beach was littered with what appeared to be corpses. But from where they were at they couldn’t tell of what exactly.

“We must tread with caution.” Said Innathia, “Whatever did this may still be around.” The boat was close enough now that they could jump out and Innathia did so. Landing in knee high water he stealthily made his way up the beach, crossbow ready.

Bex who had been swimming along the boat surfaced silently, always more at ease in water than on land. She drew her great axe and began to follow Innathia. Hanging back, Eldeth waited until the boat made it a little closer but mistimed her jump and fell splashing into the water. Sputtering she surfaced and glared around at every one, daring them to laugh. To hide his amusement Bast dropped behind the dingy and helped Mar push it onto the beach, and then began making his way over to the nearest corpse.

Innathia made it up to the wall and took out a grapple. After securing it to the wall he effortless made it up the wall. He was greeted with a view of the inner courtyard where even more bodies littered the ground. In the center, there was a central keep. There was no movement, from what he could see the prison looked abandoned.

Bast caught up to Bex as she was looking down at a corpse on the ground. As Bast approached she looked up, “More Nephilim, but look.” Gesturing to the wounds that had killed the Saharan, “It looks like claws. If these are the ones that attacked the Dixie Whick something else returned the favor.”

Bast examined the body closer and saw that she was right. Looking up he motioned to another corpse further up, “I don’t think we have to guess anymore. That’s a Ryll uniform.”
Soaking wet Eldeth nodded, “I don’t like this. Look at the bodies. Some are fresher than others. The Dixie Whick would have been killed a while ago but these Saharans look fresher than others. Less than a week ago I would say.”

“We should keep moving. I feel too exposed out here.” Said Bast, nodding in agreement the group began moving towards one of the holes in the wall. Innathia slipped back down to their level. “The inner courtyard is full of more corpses. There doesn’t appear to be any outer buildings, everything must be in the inner keep.”

“I say we scout out the keep, maybe even the island a little more. There are too many variables that we don’t know.” Said Bast.

By the time they had finished, night had fallen. The island appeared to be abandoned, with only the prison being on the island.

“Something isn’t right about this place. This prison is built like a fortress.” Said Innathia.

“I don’t have much experience with prisons but I would think this isn’t too different than other ones.” Said Bast.

“It looks like the only thing to do is go in.” Said Innathia. The group skirted around the keep and then made their way to the main gate. “Ok, let me check for locks.” At the same time
Bex pushed on the door and it swung open, creaking as it opened up. “Or not.”

“Sorry.” Said Bex looking embarrassed.

Inside the keep it was dark, they could see more slain Nephilim. “Is this all we are going to find? Not that I am upset about it but it is getting kind of creepy.” Said Bast.

Innathia motioned him for silence before replying, “We don’t know what is in here, a little more caution would be appreciated.” Moving into the central keep they saw to passages, the right one lead up and potentially further the higher levels, and the path to the left descended down into presumably the dungeon.

Eldeth motioned to the right, “We are here looking for a potential prisoner. Maybe the Nephilim locked the crew down below before whatever killed them showed up.”

“As good a choice as any.” Said Innathia as he began to make his way down. The party began to descend down the stairs, at the end of the stairs they could see a light at the end of a pathway were an iron gate blocked their path. Innathia stealthily made his way down the tunnel, glancing back at the party to see that they were ready, he then attempted to open the door but it was locked. Taking out his tools he began to work on the lock.

The party waited expectantly behind him, when a telling pang announced the pick had broken. Sighing Innathia stood up, “Would anyone else want to give it a go?”

“Ok said Bex,” Taking a step forward and kicking the door as hard as she could. The hallway echoed with a loud clang but the door remained un budged. Looking back at the party Bex smiled and shrugged, “I thought that would work.”

From the other side of the gate they heard movement, going silent the party waited expectantly. Through the door a voice came out in a language Bast didn’t understand. Bast looked back at the group questioningly. “Any one?”

Innathia nodded, “He asked, Friend or Foe?”

“This could either way then, get ready.” Said Bast.

Innathia walked over to the door and spoke in the same language as before saying, “We serve Ryll.”

There was a loud clang as the door was unlocked from the inside, it swung open and revealed a one-armed Nephilim inside addressing Innathia he spoke, “Hail cousin, what brings you our new home?” He asked with a smile.

Scowling Innathia said, “We are here looking for the crew of the Dixie Whick. Perhaps you know something about their whereabouts?”

“Ah yes, well we did chase them to this sad excuse of an island. Alas they all died in a foolish last stand. Our leader took their ship and left us here to secure the island.”

“That’s not the full story. Those bodies are fresh, less than a week old and we know that the Dixie Whick had to have been taken closer to three weeks. So I will ask again, what has been going on here.”

The Nephilim chuckled, “Very good cousin, it heartens me to see that our kin haven’t are not all fools. After securing the island we were attacked by merrow. They have been overly aggressive in these waters lately. We repelled their first couple of assaults but they outnumbered us ten to one. When we could no longer hold the outer wall, we retreated to the keep. When the keep fell we locked ourselves in here.” He said motioning to the dungeon as he walked. As they made their way further down they saw that they had finally made it to the dungeon proper. Strewn throughout the room where wounded and prone Nephilim, all showing signs of brutal fighting.

“As you can see, we chose a slow death over a quick one. That is unless you’re willing to make a deal.”

Innathia looked at him appraisingly, “And what could you offer us?”

Still smiling the Nephilim replied, “It is foolish to show all your cards at once, for guarantee of safe passage off this island for my men and myself, I will tell you the rest of my tale.”

Innathia turned to his companions and relayed what he had just heard, “Well, I don’t see that we have much choice.” He motioned around to the wounded men, “I doubt these men will pose much of a threat.”

Bast glared around the room, “I don’t like it, I am not helping the people who killed the crew of the Dixie Whick.” Bex nodded in agreement.

Eldeth looked around before replying, “We don’t have to kill them, but neither do we have to help them. We haven’t explored the rest of the keep, maybe the survivors are upstairs. We should look at that avenue before we agree to any terms with them.”

Innathia sighed and turned back to the one-armed Nephilim, “We can’t make any deals yet, give us some time to consider your offer.”

The Nephilim’s smile dropped a little, “Very well. I will show you the way out. But remember, the merrow are still around. Best of luck finding your lost crew.”

With that the group made it out of the dungeon, the sound of the gate being locked behind them echoing through the chamber. Bast looked back at them, “Let’s explore the rest of the keep and see what we can find, I don’t trust these cut throats to be telling us the full truth.”

The rest of the keep showed further signs of violence, blood pooled on the walls and floor, but no bodies had been found yet, Nephilim, merrow or even of the Dixie Whick.

Bex opened up a door and was greeted with a horrifying sight of a pile of human corpses. Letting out a sigh she went in to see what she could find. Most of the wounds on the bodies were deep slashes from what she has been able to recognize as wounds caused by merrow. As she was about to leave she noticed something odd about one of the corpses. One of the bodies had a wound that looked too clean, and the coloration around the flesh showed that the wound was made when he was already dead. Intrigued Bex walked up and examined it closer, seeing something protruding from the wound she stuck her hand into the wound and felt around.

Bex pulled her hand out and examined what she had found, upon examining it she determined it was written in code. Giving the room one more glance around she closed the door and left.

Bast found the wardens room, where five sailors in officer’s uniform seemingly made a last stand. From the look of them he could tell it was not merrow, but the Nephilim who had killed them. Grinding his teeth in anger, Bast continued to explore to the room searching for any clue of what happened to the rest of the crew, the captain was still missing which, he might still be holed up somewhere.

Eldeth stood before a strange door, there didn’t seem to be any handle or even a lock and yet it wouldn’t open. Even when she knocked on it no sound emanated from it. She examined the strange runes written along the door, but they were in a language she didn’t understand. Not the first time she considered how she had ended up in this situation, every day those bastards in the Underbelly moved her friends further away from her. She just hoped she had made the right decision in recruiting the help of Gail and that her party would be capable of helping her with her quest.

Innathia made his way back to the ground floor of the keep and looked around, he had little hope of finding anything in the rooms upstairs, knowing that the Nephilim would have been thorough in the clearing of the keep before the merrow attacked. But something still wasn’t right with this prison and that intrigued him. As he explored the room he found what he was looking for, some of the bricks didn’t match the rest of wall. He began to look for a trigger or passphrase but the way to open the door eluded him. Cursing Innathia left to go find the sea giant, when subtlety fails strength may prevail.

The party was gathered in front of the hidden door as Innathia explained what he had found. “The secret to opening the door eludes me, I was hoping the sea giant would be more successful.”

Bex looked at him questioningly before understanding grossed her face. Shouldering her great axe, Bex walked up to where the hidden door was and felt around for a second before taking a step back and gave the stones a solid kick. Her foot instantly pierced the stone, knocking in stones. Several kicks later a doorway was revealed to them. Covered in dust and rubble Bex turned and smiled at her companions, enjoying the destruction she had wrought.

Innathia walked in past her, “Good job Bex.”

The room looked like it hadn’t been disturbed in a while, and was lined with shelves covered in scrolls.

“What is this room? Why hide a library?” Said Bast as he examined the shelves.

“It’s obviously information they didn’t want found.” Said Innathia as he examined a scroll,

“This one here looks like a detailed map of Ryll, albeit a little out dated, it still has Port Durst as the main naval base.” He said as he put the scroll back up.
Bex looked up and noticed a chain that was attached to some form of platform. Hauling herself up the chain, Bex found the mechanism to lower the table. With a loud clang, it slammed on the ground making every one jump. “This looks important,” Said Bex with a large grin.

Eldeth looked over the table, and saw the seal of Ryll on the table, “Well at least now we know this was endorsed by the kingdom and not some shady hole of knowledge. But why wouldn’t they say anything to us?”

Innathia barely heard her as he saw something behind the shelves. Pulling it out it appeared to be a bag. “I think I found something,” He said holding it up, “Bex, let me see that torch.”

Handing it over Innathia proceeded to drop it into the bag, where the torch disappeared into, after waiting for a couple of minutes Innathia reached in and pulled out the torch that was now unlit. “I have heard of these, magical bags that store things in a different plane.” He looked around at the scrolls, “We can use it to bring these with us.”

Bast examined a cluster of scrolls and found that each was a detailed map of several major cities of Ryll. Looking around he put them into his bag for his own keeping, Bex noticed him and he signaled her for silence. Shrugging she continued helping Innathia put the remaining scrolls into the bag.

When they were all done packing up the scrolls they took a final stock of the room.

“That looks like everything, I feel that we have found all we are going to find.” Said Innathia.

Bast turned to him, “We still have not finished our main mission, and that was to find survivors or at least what happened to them. I think we should talk to those Nephilim again, they were holding back on us. And it doesn’t sit right with me to leave the people responsible for the death of the Dixie Whick behind.”

“If anything, we should help them, leaving them is as good as killing them.” Said Innathia.

“And what is wrong with that?” Asked Bast, “These are Saharan soldiers, these are the people responsible for the attack on Port Durst, for killing the crew of the Dixie Whick, and if they hadn’t been in such dire straits they would have tried the same to us.”

“They were just following orders, and at this time they are no real threat to us. I have no qualms about fighting armed combatants but I will not kill wounded soldiers that have done is no wrong.”

“Are you mad?” Said Bast getting more worked up, “The evil of Mer-Jin has warped your kinsmen, at this point any that have no explicitly forsaken the dark god are our enemies. If Thrandiul was here he would tell you the same. These may not be the same troops who attacked Port Durst but they were involved in the plot. Because of their actions they made what should have been a joyous reunion into blood bath. Wounded or not we can’t leave Saharan forces in Ryll territory. We already had to let their army march through an undefended country side, I won’t make that mistake again.”

The whole time Bex and Eldeth just stared at the two, neither wanting to jump in the argument. It was Eldeth who spoke up first, “Before we continue we should make it back to the Giver’s Mark, and inform the captain what we found. It is his ship so even if we wanted to take one of the Nephilim we would need his permission.”

Innathia and Bast glared at each other before finally agreeing. The group made quick time to the skiff and began to head back to the ship. As they got closer they saw that something was awry with the ship. There was no one standing watch, and blood was in the waters near the ship.

Bex rose out of the water and signaled that it was clear in the waters, “If there was an attack either they succeeded and everyone is dead or they repelled the attackers. We should move with caution.”

Rising effortlessly out of the water, Bex began to climb up the ship and was greeted with voices. Peering over the side she saw the first mate arguing with the quartermaster. The first mate was of the mind that they should set sail and get away from the island as soon as possible, while the quartermaster was arguing for them to remain and finish out their mission. Nearby the captain stood pondering his options.

As Bex pulled herself up and over the rail, the captain jumped and began drawing his cutlass. “By Norvell, you scared the hell out of me.”

“What has happened here?” Asked Bex looking around the deck which showed signs of recent combat.

“Merrow. We were hit pretty hard but we were able to repel them.” He gestured to the two arguing officers, “When we hadn’t heard back from you we were stuck with what choice to make. Stay and find out what happened to you or head out. I am glad we remained, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if we had condemned you to the mercies of the merrow.”

As they spoke the rest of the party made their way up. Relaying what they had found on the island. The captain took it all in before asking, “And these Nephilim? You believe they are holding something back?”

“He did give off the impression that he was with holding something. A last bargaining chip I would surmise.” Said Innathia, “But they are wounded and no threat. If we offer them passage off this island I am sure they will cooperate with us.”

Bast scoffed at the notion, “We can’t trust them, how do we know they don’t have some means to signal their allies when they recover a little more? And who are we going to commission to send them where they want to go? Would this be a duty you want to take up Captain?”

“No, I would not. As per the prince’s word and that of Gail, although Ryll has not made a public declaration Sahar has. We are at war with them and I will not leave behind nor carry a force of Saharans in my waters.” Turning to the party, “I want you to return and take them out, whatever way you deem. And if they are hiding something find out that too. You said you never found the captain’s corpse, perhaps they know where he fell or what has befallen him. I will give you one day to perform the deed but we need to get heading out, I doubt we can keep repelling the merrow if they attack with the same numbers as before.”
Innathia’s posture straightened at the order, and he slid his owl mask down. “Yes sir, it will be over soon then.” Bast looked over at Innathia in surprise at his sudden change demeanor.

“Very well, let’s get on with this then.” Said Bex.

Once again, the party stood before the gate, Innathia knocked. After a while a response came in elvish.

“You change your mind?” asked the one-armed Nephilim through the door.

“We are still undecided on that part. It will depend on what further information you can give us. We know the captain didn’t die upstairs, do you know his whereabouts?” Asked Innathia.

“We figured that would be your answer, so I will tell you. Either you help my men and I off this island, or we kill your captain.”

Innathia sighed, “How do we know you even have him?”

“I will let you in to see that I speak the truth. But only you and no weapons.”

“Very well, let me convene with my companions.” Said Innathia turning back to the party.

After hearing what Innathia had to say Bast cursed, “I told you these bastards couldn’t be trusted. Innocent my ass.”

“That is beside the point, how are we going to handle this?” said Innathia.

“We will do what they say, you will go in unarmed but not alone. I will make myself invisible and go with you. When we get eyes on the captain, and are able to ensure his safety we will strike.” Said Bast.

Eldeth shrugged, “Sounds good to me, not much else we can really do.”

Bex looked concerned, “I don’t like you guys going in alone. How do we know if they are telling the truth about their numbers, this could be a trap?”

“We don’t have much choice, we can handle this.” Said Bast.

Innathia returned to the door seemingly alone and knocked on the door. “I accept your deal, let me in.”

The door cracked a little and the Nephilim peaked through the crack to make sure Innathia was alone. “I am glad you’ve come to your senses cousin. Come inside quickly.”

The one-armed Nephilim lead Innathia past the cots where the wounded lay into a cell further in the back that Innathia didn’t see before. Inside was an older human male who Innathia knew fit the description of the captain, behind him stood another Nephilim only a little better off than the others.

“As you can see I spoke true. Now, do we have a deal?” asked the Nephilim with a smug smile on his face.

Bast stood behind the Nephilim with the knife, and plunged his dagger into his neck while at the same time restraining the hand with the blade to the captain’s throat. Gurgling in surprise the Nephilim went immediately limp as blood gushed from his wound. Yelling in surprise the one-armed Nephilim began to raise his fist as Innathia wiped out the dagger he had hidden in his sleeve and plunged it into his heart. His face as lifeless and cold as the owl mask he normally wears.

Standing over the fallen Nephilim, Innathia turned to Bast and the Captain, “Get him to the others, I will take care of the survivors.” Lowering his mask Innathia strode into the chamber.

As Bast examined the captain he noticed the bandages around his eyes. “Can you hear me? You’re going to be ok, Gail has sent us.”

The captain turned his head towards the sound, “Gail? Good to hear the Wolf of Ryll is still around. But how did you know I was here?”

“Sahar attacked Port Durst, they used your ship to set up an ambush and were working with Luhi to attempt an assassination on the prince.” Said Bast, as he untied and began to administer to the captain’s wounds.

“What? My wife, is she okay? She owns an inn in Port Durst?”

“Your wife is ok, and she is going to be happy to see you back.” Said Bast, as he helped the captain make his way out of the room he noticed Innathia standing at the far end of the chamber, bloodied knife in hand. Turning towards Bast he said, “How is he?”

Bast looked around at Innathia’s quick work and nodded, “Relatively ok, the bastards took his eyes.”

Innathia walked up to the captain and put his hands on his chest, divine energy crackled around his hand and poured into the captain who stood straighter as his wounds healed.

“Unfortunately, your eyes will need to be looked at by some one more powerful then I.”

A smile came to the captain’s face, “Thank you, I feel better all ready. Now get me off this Norvell forsaken island.”

As they made their way back to the skiff, the captain relayed his tale to them.

“We knew something was off when we got our orders. The Sultan had ordered us to this island, which was odd because this place has been abandoned for decades. In fact, it’s not even really a prison, rather it was a fortress meant to hold secret knowledge as well as protect the door you found. Legends say that within holds a scale of the Leviathan. But that the door can only be opened by a sea giant of the same lineage as those who locked it up.”

At this Bex remembers the book she had found and told the captain about it.

“Ah good, it was a code book. I hid it when we knew we were going to be over run. That potentially has the key to unlocking the door, if legends are true then that scale could be used against the Leviathan.”

In the skiff, they finished up the tale of the attack on Port Durst, and the killing of the half-dragon.

“That bastard is the son from the dragon queen herself they say. Sahar is mobilizing forces to unleash a new stage of the war. If what you say is true than they are in league with the dragons now. Ryll can no longer stand by while others fight.”

At last they made it to the ship and helped the captain up, as he reached the top he smiled towards the companions, “It feels good to have a ship below my feet again. Thank you for your efforts, although I made it out alive the fate of my crew will always stay with me. But I will not rest until I have revenge against Sahar and the Sultan for betraying us.”

Linn made his way and greeted the captain warmly, “It is truly a blessing to see you again friend.”

The captain returned the embrace, “I already feel better knowing our journey home is in your hands.” Further down the ship raised voices could be heard arguing and he turned his face towards it questioningly. “Is that the quartermaster?”

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Leaving Port Durst

Bast stood next to the camels alongside Eldeth and Innathia as they waited for Bex’s return. A part of him wasn’t sure if she would return or not, her duty to family and race Bast understood. But if he was honest with himself he didn’t want to see Bex leave.

“Did she say anything to you this morning?” Asked Innathia as he stood petting the camel absentmindedly. Bast turned towards him, “Just that she had a decision to make and went off to seek Riternal’s guidance.” Innathia nodded at this as that explained everything.

Following the attack on Port Durst, the amount of traffic heading out, already small, was nonexistent today as the party stood outside the gate. That being said, a new sense of energy seemed to permeate the city, with the Sultans proclamations and under the new leadership of Ket and Gail, it had revitalized the city. A part of Bast was sad that he wouldn’t be here to take part in the transformation but was excited to see what had changed upon his return. Whenever that would be. At that thought the magnitude of their task darkened his thoughts. The journey to Elmaluk couldn’t end quick enough, as he was eager to continue his hunt for the Underbelly. He glanced over at Eldeth who sat mounted on a camel seeming to get the feel for it.

It was Eldeth who noticed Bex’s approach first, “Well it looks like she had made her decision.” Eldeth said nodding in greeting to Bex.

Bex smiled but it didn’t quiet reach her eyes, “Hail and well met. Sorry to keep you guys waiting.” Innathia mounted up before replying, “It is no worry, we can easily make up the time on the road.”

Bast walked over next to Bex, “You don’t need to talk about it if you don’t want to. Just know that I support whatever decision you made, and that eventually your family will as well.” Bex turned and nodded at Bast, holding back tears in her eyes. “Thank you. Let’s just focus on our task at hand first.”

Bast nodded in acknowledgement and then mounted up, drawing his shemagh up over his face and looked over at the open desert. As Port Durst started to recede into the horizon, Bast realized that the headaches that normally plagued him when he went too far were gone. It seemed their wishes aligned for the moment. Bast smiled, taking this as a good sign.

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