Into the Pirate Hideout

Led by Ta’kel, the group files down the steep, treacherous path. After several minutes, they reach the bottom and are immediately confronted with a large cave opening into the bluff-side on their left. No more pirates have been spotted, so Ta’kel removes La’saan and looks about the cave entrance. The sand at their feet continues deep into the cave and the sunlight penetrates for some ways before failing towards the back. Many footprints can still be seen in the sand, left by the passage of many feet, to and from the cave. About 100 to 150 feet into the cave, the space is divided by a branch to the left and one to the right. On the left-hand side, there is a small body of water, perhaps a tide pool, but the exact depth or nature of it cannot be determined from this distance.

Despite the seemingly imminent danger of what may be waiting for them within the cave, the group feels exposed on the beach and there is an urge to disappear quickly into its depths, to avoid detection by pirates from the boat.

Ta’kel retrieves what arrows of his own he can and takes 7 arrows from the pirates quivers passing the rest to the other two archers. He stands in front of the two tunnels and communicates with Mayuun asking if she smells fear (from the hostages) coming from either tunnel.

He nudges Torgosh, “Which one smells like fear?”

Ta’kel advances into the cave, stumbling a bit on the uneven and unfamiliar sandy footing. He finds that the water to the left is a shallow tide pool which must be crossed (it’s easy enough to wade through) in order to progress into the left branch. Furthermore, it seems that there are two ways out of the tide pool, one to the extreme left and one more or less straight ahead, in the center of the cave. There is also the sandy passage to the far right.

Mayuun seems uncertain and looks up at Ta’kel with confusion in her eyes. There are many new smells around here… She sniffs about at the sand and looking down, Ta’kel notes that foot prints progress in both directions, towards the tide pool as well as the right side of the cave.

Ta’kel looks at the tunnels. One wet. One dry. He suddenly snaps his fingers and blurts, “Feet!”

He points to the pool, “They come from that way, their feet are wet.” Gesturing to Torgosh to follow, Ta’kel starts jogging back out of the cave, “Come. We check. Look for keys, too.” As they come upon the rest of the group Ta’kel asks Aramas and Rhomack to stay with the others while they check the pirates.

Ta’kel checks for activity from the beach or Spirit before going back up the path to the nearest pirate and checking his lower legs to see if they are wet or not. He also looks for keys in case the prisoners are manacled. If there are no keys and no sign of alarm from the rest of the pirates, he checks the next pirate on up for keys and so on.

“Feet! Great idea Ta’kel. But I think we have been lucky if not spotted so far. Perhaps we can find wet tracks exiting the water instead.”
Rhomack inspects for obvious tracks. He also slings his bow on his back and draws his sword in one hand and pulls out a torch. His shield will be on his back. When the light gets low, he will light the torch.

Rhomack beckons the others, “Let us go further inside to avoid the eyes on the ship. We can regroup on the sandy side. It’s quieter and dry there.”

Frustrated, Ta’kel moves forward to investigate the area around the pool for wet tracks with Rhomack and moves further into the cave out of sight of the entrance. If there’s nothing obvious, he shrugs, suggesting, “Check the dry tunnel first?”

Torgosh nods in agreement. “Maybe we be lucky and not have to get wet.”

The group approaches the edge of the pool to investigate. Having arrived, they can see clearly that it is about 50 feet across and quite shallow. There are tracks leading from the pool on this side as well as the side directly across from the group. The pool also leads to a small chamber to the left which seems to contain a sandy bank and then another tide pool against the far wall. The tracks leading from the opposite side curve to the right and the chamber extends in that direction. Looking behind them, the group realizes that even in this spot, they are still exposed to the shore and possibly the Spirit.

Darius kneels down and stares intently at the tracks, then feels the wetness of the sand, seeking, probing for some hidden history that his keen senses may reveal.

Darius’ senses suddenly focus, his peripheral vision blurring while his immediate surroundings jump into sharp detail. The sounds of the waves seem to fade into the distance, but his own breathing screams like a lions roar in his ears. Darius recognizes this state; it’s happened a few times before. He takes it as a blessing from the forces of nature, maybe related to his feral and instinctual connection to the alert gold streaked hawk.

He kneels down and is almost instantly able to determine, despite the jumble of footprints, that a group of several bound prisoners were dragged towards the tide pool, accompanied by at least three captors.

Levna keeps an eye on the entrance to the cave, just in case somebody comes up. She stays with the group, trying to keep out of view of the ship.

Re: mend, Levna will use her spare time to research the spell mend, DM’s discretion on whether there are ever adequate facilities to perform research. Levna does expect fees for the use of good quality libraries, but will also try to take advantage of offers from generous patrons, etc.

Darius stand and points towards the tide pool. "This way, this is where they were taken, the captives were bound and dragged, they may be injured. There were 3….3 captors maybe more. "

Darius moves to the lead following the tracks.

Torgosh sighs. “In water we go.”

Ta’kel is pleased and looks at Darius, “Good.” He follows Darius moving up to take position behind and to the right of him.

The group takes all precaution while wading through the salty tide pool that nearly reaches the waist. Making sure all dried and metal goods remain above the water, they reach the other side without incident. Darius immediately picks up the trail of the captives that curves to the right along with the sandy passage. As the rocky walls turn away from the sunlight, the group finds themselves facing a wide, but dark tunnel. At the end, a flickering torch can be seen mounted to a rotting drift-wood door of rudimentary and crude craftsmanship. Ta’kel and Mayuun, of course, have no problem seeing in the dark sections of the passage, and it appears to be safe to traverse.

Ta’kel moves up to the door and listens holding a hand up for quiet. He’s listening for any pirate voices or other sounds indicating who’s behind the door. If nothing is heard, Ta’kel motions that he will open the door and does so, moving to the side as he enters preferably to the left.

Torgosh goes and listens at the door with the rusty padlock. He then proceeds to look for any traps on the lock and around the door frame. He’ll then attempt to pick the lock.

Rhomack gives Torgosh a good 10 feet of room and watches the tunnel heading back towards the water. He lights a torch.

Torgosh removes his cap and stands quietly by the door for a moment. Hearing nothing unusual, he then inspects the lock for a couple of minutes and determines that it is safe to attempt a picking. Busting out his toolkit, he sets to work. Despite his determined attempt, the concentration of which causes his tongue to loll about with spittle flying this way and that, he is unable to pop the rusty lock off after several minutes of hard work.

While waiting for the lock, Ta’kel quickly moves to the other door, motioning Aramas to follow, to check it for locks. Regardless of what he finds, he doesn’t open the door, but returns to the others with the news.

Probably having never seen a lock or key, Ta’kel looks over Torgosh’s shoulder, “What you need to open this?”

Rhomack will light his torch off the wall torch. Best to leave things undisturbed. Rhomach asks Torgosh if the lock is so rusted as to have not been used lately. If so, he will suggest going down the other path. Also, he asks Darius if he can track which way the captives were taken.

Rhomack stands outside the door with the rusty lock, torch held high, trying to peer through a crack or other opening. He stops and concentrates, casting Detect Evil. If he is unable to detect any, he will continue the attempt by looking down the other hallway. Lastly, he will look back the way they came.

Ta’kel finds no sign of the thing Torgosh was fiddling with on the other door.

Darius has lost the tracks. In fact, the group is no longer standing on sand as the passageway is cut from the rock of the bluff. There are traces of sand here and there, but no discernible tracks.

The lock is rusted and in poor condition, but it may have been used somewhat recently. It’s unclear.

Rhomack silently asks for Whaythrad’s guidance and focuses on the space past the locked door. Holding his torch before him, Rhomack detects nothing unusual, however, when he turns around and tries again in the opposite direction, towards the door down the corridor, a faint itchiness is felt in the center of his palms. This fades when he faces in the direction the group has already come.

Rhomach points down the long corridor and whispers to the others, “I sense evil down that way. I suggest we head that way quickly, but quietly. Time is not a luxury for the captives.”

Ta’kel trots back, pointing back down the other hall, “No lock that way.” He runs his hand on the wood of the door, “This door weak. Break it down.”

At Rhomach’s words, “You think guard with captives there? Take him first then do this. Noise would draw him, maybe more.” He nods, this is a good idea. “Two can stay, lookout. The rest go in?” If everyone is in agreement Ta’kel starts moving to the unlocked door. He listens at the door then opens it as quietly as possible and enters as before.

Torgosh growl in frustration and looks Ta’kel. “Good idea. We break this, they come running anyway.”

Drawing his sword he pads quietly after Ta’kel.

The party quietly gathers behind Ta’kel and Spradlock at the door. Just before pushing the barrier open, Ta’kel suddenly stops, having heard something. There are footsteps and the sound of voices in the room ahead, as well as the sound of sloshing water and the occasional clink of metal.

Darius grabs a torch from the sconce and readies his staff….

Ta’kel pauses and listens trying to determine the number of voices on the other side of the door. He relays the number to the others, then switches to his bow. If the door opens into the room, Ta’kel motions he is going in and kicks the door open, firing on the first pirate he sees. Otherwise he gestures for Spradlock to open the door out and heads in and does the same. As he fires he moves left to allow the others to enter.

Torgosh will follow Ta’kel in with his sword going right and making a beeline for the nearest gnoll (if any) or pirate.

Rhomack will step through the doorway, then move to the left to make way for others. If a foe is near, he will strike him with his sword.

Darius dosent actually plan to fight with torch in hand… He plans to throw it at the bad guys with hopes of causing some distraction that he can take advantage of with he staff…

Darius holds the torch, cocked back and ready to throw!

Ta’kel kicks the rotting door open with one savage blow, sending splinters of driftwood spiraling through the air, and immediately opens fire on the nearest target, which happens to be a large Direfrost gnoll in the center of the room. His arrow strikes the enemy in the thigh and the beast howls in pain.

Spradlock charges in, peeling to the right, where he finds himself face to face with a human and a ryncha pirate. He leaps at them, thrusting his harpoon but misses.

Mayuun dashes in the direction of Ta’kel’s targets and bears down on a small ryncha, which looks to be about the size of a squirrel in comparison to her, but the terrified, nimble creature manages to jump out of way just in time.

Torgosh follows, lunging at the injured gnoll and with a howl plunges his sword deep into the torso of his ancestral enemy, immediately slaying the foe and covering himself with a spurt of bright red blood.

Rhomack steps into the room, moving to left, and finding himself near the ryncha that Mayuun attacked, moves to assist her, swinging his longsword. Whaythrad guides his blade which finds its target, and the little creature staggers back, injured.

Darius, Levna and Aramas enter the room last. Levna stays close to Darius and Ta’kel, waiting to see what transpires, while the hawk-shifter throws his torch across the room at a pirate who looks about to draw arrows from his quiver. The torch misses its mark but does succeed in escalating the general confusion caused by the sudden appearance of the party.

Aramas rushes to aid Spradlock, swinging his mighty mornings star, which smashes a ryncha standing by a weapon rack into bloody oblivion.

The group can now make out the contents of the room: a few torches lining the walls, a weapon rack on the right side, and a pool of water in the center, at which some of the pirates were apparently cleaning some garments and rusty cutlery.

Reeling from the sudden onslaught, the two human pirates and the ryncha remaining begin shouting for help and draw their weapons…

Rhomack takes a step back from the rhyncha, then points at the pirate with the bow across the water. He Commands him, “Swim!” If the spell goes as planned, he will head toward the “swimming” pirate.

with a savage howl, Torgosh shakes his shaggy head sending blood flying as he stabs at the rhyncha next to him.

Ta’kel fires at the pirate with the bow, moving left as he does so.

Darius makes his way out of the room keeping watch in the corridor while the warriors finish off savages.

Darius cautiously backs into the corridor from whence the group came, followed by Levna, both of them trusting that their comrades can handle the situation in the room.

The ryncha by Torgosh, Mayuun and Rhomack backs up to the door on the opposite of the room while swinging it’s blade wildly in the air. The wolf and the gnoll leap after the creature, and Mayuun tears it to the ground. Clamping her powerful jaws about the ryncha’s neck, she shakes it violently back and forth, snapping the poor beasts spine.

Rhomack points at the archer, utters his command and advances to the side of the pool. The helpless opponent promptly flops down in the shallow pool of water and begins attempting to do the crawl. Ta’kel responds by putting an arrow into the enemy, though it doesn’t stop him from splashing about aimlessly in the water.

Aramas and Spradlock continue attacking the pirate by the weapon rack who is pierced by another jab from the captain’s harpoon. In return, he slashes with his cutlass, missing, and flees to the same door the ryncha fled to. He pushes the door open, revealing a long corridor, and calls out for help to two pirates who are patrolling the hall. Seconds later, Spradlock arrives and puts an end to his calling with one final blow.

Levna, robes dripping water, takes a torch from the hallway and enters the room after the fighting has subsided. She holds it in her left hand and has her knife ready in her right. She stays well away from the unopened door.

Ta’kel, calls to Darius, “Get back here!” He glances at the weapon rack to see what is there, then draws his sword and heads to the unopened door. He stands to side, opens it and looks around the edge, checking for enemies as well as which direction it curves if it is a hallway. If he finds nothing, he waits for Darius and joins the others at the doorway with the pirates.

Smelling prey, Torgosh charges in, stabbing furiously at the closest one while howling loudly.

Rhomack wonders if the swimming pirate’s soul is salvageable, but decides there’s no time for conversion as he attempts to slam the pommel of his sword against the back of the pirate’s skull.

A pirate from the hallway immediately bolts in the opposite directions, screaming and shouting for his comrades while Torgosh, Mayuun and Spradlock pounce on the pirate close at hand who is blocking the way. Spradlock again strikes true with his trusty harpoon, but the opponent is only injured.

Behind them, Rhomack strikes the pirate in the head but it doesn’t have the desired effect, and at the same time the spell from the previous round wears off. Confused, injured and angry, the pirate stands back up in the middle of the pool and swings his cutlass at Rhomack but thankfully misses.

Meanwhile, Aramas and Ta’kel open the third door and are immediately faced with a group of pirates charging down the hall towards them. Unable to move out of the way in time, both stalwart warriors receive the charge with grim determination. As they clash, Aramas manages to slam his attacker to the ground with his powerful morning star while Ta’kel is unable to ward of a well placed blow from his enemy and takes a solid slash to his left arm.

Ta’kel curses in Scharr and strikes back at his attacker with a yell. He calls Mayuun to him, then either finishes off his attacker or attacks the next target.

Visions of his father’s swordplay lessons flash before him as Rhomack swings his sword mightily at the pirate in the pool.

Darius holding back until now, see the gravity of the situation and moves into the fray. Taking a position near Ta’kel Darius brings his heavy oaken staff down upon the salty smelly pirate.

Levna stands near Rhomack, keeping an eye on the pirate in the pool. She stays slightly behind Rhomack, out of reach of the pirate’s swing. If the pirate seems to be getting the better of Rottenoak, she will blast him with magic missile.

While slowly backing down the hallway, the pirate near Spradlock lands a mighty blow on the captain with his cutlass, slicing through his leather armor like butter and deeply lacerating his chest. Baddelharrow cries out in agony and pursues his opponent, lunging with his harpoon, but misses. Torgosh sticks with his friend, and manages to jab the pirate with his shortsword, but it is only a flesh wound. Spradlock follows this up with one more harpoon thrust, this time skewering the opponent to the crumbling wall of dirt and rock.

The stunned and injured pirate fighting Rhomack in the pool strikes out with his blade, but it skims harmlessly off of the splint mail and the sound of metal on metal rings through the air, as if someone were sharpening a knife. Rhomack fights back valiantly but is unable to fell his opponent.

Aramas steps forward to fill the gap where his first enemy fell and meets a charging ryncha head on who drives a dagger into the holy warriors shin. At his side, Ta’kel cries in pain as he takes another vicious slash from his adversaries weapon, leaving him staggering on his feet and bleeding profusely. With the rage of a dying, feral beast, the wild elf savagely lashes out, hacking into the neck of the attacker and immediately drops him to the ground. As a new pirate steps forward to fill the fallen one’s place, Darius also arrives and greets the foe with a smashing blow to the jaw which resonates with a loud crack.

Suddenly, realizing that her beloved friend is in danger, the giant Reithpol Mountain wolf leaps across the room. Unable to get access to the attackers, she latches onto Ta’kel’s garments and tugs him backwards several paces towards the hallway they entered through and out of the fray.

Ta’kel checks his surroundings and hugs Mayuun close, then stands, gritting his teeth through the pain. He staggers back to the doorway and draws his bow, firing on any clear targets. Starting with the pirate in the pool.

Panting, Torgosh chortles and prepares to meet the expected onrush. He begins softly chanting “the Dirge.”

Rhomack continues to try to cut down the pirate in the pool while slightly shifting his position to triangulate the pirate with Ta’kel.

In addition to aiming for the pirate, Ta’kel mutters, “Darius, your aid.”

Levna throws her knife at the pirate in the pool figuring she’ll have a chance to retrieve it once that pirate is killed.

Levna’s dagger spirals through the air within an inch of Rhomack’s face. The startled priest glances in the mage’s direction but sees that it was an accident. The first of Ta’kel’s shots strikes the pirate and remarkably the hardy adversary fights on, now having been forced to swim in the filthy pool of water, pierced by two arrows and bludgeoned in the back of the skull by Rhomack’s sword pommel. Rhomack continues to parry and thrust, locked in combat, but this time his attacks are deflected by the opponents buckler. Finally, Mayuun leaps forward and bears the pirate to the ground, rending him with her powerful jaws, just as a final shot from Ta’kel seals the pirate’s fate forever. At last, it seems he has succumbed to the rain of blows delivered by the party.

Meanwhile the spikes of Aramas’ morning star pierce through the decaying armor of the pirate Darius struck with his staff, further injuring him, but this one too seems to have remarkable fortitude and continues to fight. Again, Darius bludgeons his opponent, invoking Nature’s wrath, but the pirate shrugs off another blow, screaming with fury. Both the ryncha and the struck pirate attack their most heavily armored foe, Aramas, but are unable to penetrate the thick layer of chain he wears about him.

Exposed and alone in the hallway, with the sounds of advancing foes ahead of them, Torgosh and Spradlock fallback towards their comrades while preparing to meet the new onslaught.

The sound of the advancing opponents grows louder and at the last second, the first of the group appears around the corner at the far end of the hall Torgosh and Spradlock are facing.

Ta’kel moves in to the right hugging the wall and aims at the door opposite the entrance and attempts to pick off pirates as they enter. He glances at the weapons rack to see if there is anything useful and if there is a dagger near by he kicks or tosses it to Levna unless it negates a shot from his bow.

Rhomack sees the bloody wounds on Ta’kel and rushes to his side. Power courses through his body as he reaches out to touch Ta’kel with the healing light of Whaythrad. Casts Cure Light Wounds

Rounding the corner down the far hall, a fresh group of opponents, consisting of gnolls and humans, spots the party and rushes into the room to be met by Spradlock and Torgosh who leap into action with weapons flying. Mayuun jumps to their aid and both Spradlock and Mayuun land blows on the two Direfrosts who are towering over them. Cursing like a sailor, Spradlock plunges his harpoon into the gnoll yet again, but the beast only howls and bears it’s significant set of canines, drooling with rage.

Meanwhile, the first pirate who entered the room is cut down by a swift arrow from Ta’kel’s bow. Taking careful aim, the elf releases another shot into the melee and sends it deep into the thick hide of the gnoll Mayuun has engaged. He can feel the gratitude emanating from his wild friend who saved his life just moments ago; the two make a good team.

Both Rhomack and Levna fallback to Ta’kel’s side in the righthand corner of the room by the weapons rack. The priest presses his hands to the elf’s wounds which begin to heal and close up somewhat, though they remain fairly severe and will need further tending later.

At the other door, a second ryncha pushes up next to the first and slips his dagger perfectly between a gap in Aramas’ chain, sending the holy warrior’s blood spouting through the air. Sensing his opportunity, as the paladin is about to fall, the human pirate swings his cutlass, but the chain armor just barely deflects this strike, which would have otherwise been a fatal blow. Both Aramas and Darius fight back, but are unable to fell their persistent attackers.

Snarling, “You see your death, Direfrost!” torgosh swings wildly at the closest gnoll and concentrates his attacks on the two gnolls until they are down.

Rhomack rushes to the side of Darius and Aramus and attacks the closest rychna with his long sword.

The devilish ryncha withdraws it’s dagger and plunges it once more into the brave paladin. Aramas drops to his knees with a cry, gazing upwards, and then topples to the ground. The three ryncha push past Darius as the pirate tries in vain to slash him with his wicked blade.

Meanwhile the badly injured gnoll strikes back at the giant wolf Mayuun, delivering a shallow cut to her haunch. At the same time Spradlock takes a solid blow, grimacing in agony as his opponent bears down on him. Torgosh too is jabbed in the ribs, and he lets out a howl of pain, alerting everyone in the room to the ‘dire’ situation developing. Surprising everyone, the final pirate steps around the outskirts of the melee and holding out a hand surrounding by a flashing, swirling energy like that of the Strage, attempts to grasp Mayuun, but she jumps backwards, snarling, and dodges the attack.

With rabid fury the party fights back. Mayuun and Spradlock team up but are unable to land another blow on a gnoll, but Torgosh, further enraged by his fresh wound, plunges his blade into the side of the nearest Direfrost, dropping him to the floor. Ta’kel sends an arrow into the skull of one of the rynchas who just entered the room while Rhomack charges forth, who despite his bravery, misses his target with a wild swing. Miraculously, Darius, normally eschewing combat, brings one more crushing blow down upon the human pirates head and puts him out of the fight for good. Finally, aware of the presence of another spellcaster, Levna unleashes her trademark flaming, purple skull, which unerringly strikes the pirate who attacked Mayuun with the strange electrical energy. The foe slumps back against the wall, dead.

Darius Moves in to assist Mayuun and Spradlock with the gnoll hoping friendly numbers will quickly be able to overwhelm him.

Rhomack triangulates the two ryncha, attacking the one on the right with his long sword.

Levna looks at the weapons rack. If there is a pole arm, she will wield it (with her melee penalty of -6 or whatever the DM rules). She knows she’ll be clumsy with it, but she’s seen them used before and understands the basic concept of thrusting the sharp end at enemies. The idea is to help out without getting into melee range of the pirates. If there is no pole arm, she casts chill touch and grimly prepares to engage.

Ta’kel takes a deep breath as the pain subsides a little. He gives a nod to Rhomack with a firm grip on his shoulder, “Better.” He draws his sword and helps take down the remaining ryncha before aiding Mayuun and the others.

Ta’kel flinches imperceptibly at the sight of Aramus’ body. That could have been his body lying there had Mayuun not pulled him away. Aramus will be remembered.

Astonishing everyone with his sheer bloodlust, Torgosh leaps upon the last Direfrost, bearing him to the ground and drives his short blade straight through the leather breastplate into the heart. The gnoll gives one last gasp for breath as it stretches it’s long claw in vain towards the throat of it’s killer.

While Rhomack and the rynchas continue to trade swings, Ta’kel draws La’saan and with Mayuun bounding over to assist, hurries over to aid the valiant priest of Whaythrad. Bearing his flashing canines, Ta’kel cuts through the nearest ryncha pirate with a savage slash.

Spradlock jabs the last human pirate with his harpoon and at the same time Levna snatches a spear from the weapon rack. Rushing over to assist the captain, she finishes off the foe with an unskilled, but nonetheless deadly thrust from her newfound weapon.

Suddenly, the last remaining foe, a lone ryncha who is almost completely surrounded, throws down it’s dagger and falls to the floor cowering and shaking.

“Plis, don’ kill… don’ kill… mercy… plis…” it croaks in an attempt at common Athara.

At last, the party can breath easily for a moment. There are no sounds of approaching adversaries and it seems the adventurers have emerged from the bloody fight victorious, though the loss of Aramas weighs heavily on the hearts of all.

Rhomack says a brief battle prayer for those who have fallen for Aramus. He suggests we check the other two rooms quickly. There are still pirates on the boat even if we have cleared the cave. He states, “I would check the passage from which the Mage came first. Perhaps he was guarding the prisoners. I will grab a spear and probe this pool for chests or other clues.”

Ta’kel mentally instructs Mayuun to tower over the ryncha and growl menacingly. He steps up slowly and asks quietly, “Where are hostages? Why you take them? How many on ship?”

The ryncha doesn’t hesitate to indicate the hallway where the mage came from but is generally unresponsive to the other questions, trembling in fear. It mumbles something about the captain’s orders and ‘many’ pirates on the ship.

After talking to the ryncha (allowing others to ask questions first), and hearing his pleas for mercy, Ta’kel shakes his head and says, “Sorry,” he points to Aramus’ body, “Ask him to save you.” Ta’kel then plunges La’saan into the ryncha’s chest.

Ta’kel uses the info from the ryncha to find the hostages, which he suspects are where Rhomack suggests. He follows Rhomack’s plan to search the rooms and the locked room, giving Torgosh another attempt at the lock before breaking it down.

Ta’kel pulls Aramus out of the tunnel he was in and into a clear spot in the room. He puts a hand on his chest and closes his eye, muttering silently, then stands ready to move on.

He finds Levna’s dagger and returns it to her, then gestures to the speared pirate, “Good move! Strong for a wizard!” He gives her a gentle pat on the back.

Ta’kel takes a finger trophy from the pirate in the pool, giving a nod in silent recognition to how strong he was.

Torgosh pants exhausted and looks around at the carnage, ginning. “It was good fight.” He rapidly collects the braids but also the heads of the gnolls stuffing them in a sack from his backpack. Noticing the fallen paladin, Torgosh picks up a cutlass from one the fallen and places it across the paladin’s chest, wrapping his hands over it.

At Ta’kel suggestion, Torgosh makes another go at the lock ((probably fruitless, I know)).

While the others search the rooms, if he can a bit of time to do so without being noticed, Torgosh will slip back and quickly remove the liver from the last gnoll to fall and wrap it a rag and put in his pack.

As Ta’kel and Torgosh arrange Aramas in a somewhat funereal posture, his prized chain mail twinkles ever so slightly in the dim light of the torches.
Rhomack grabs Torgosh’s rations and wineskin.

Rhomack checks Aramus for signs of life and if none, checks the shiny spot on the armor.

Rhomack will provide binding and treat wounds as he can, but is against spending much time doing so. He’d prefer to get I and get out without delay. (healing and herbalism proficient)

Ta’kel looks at his scarred leather armor and at the glinting chain mail of his fallen comrade, then decides it would be too heavy for him to wear. Ta’kel moves quickly with Rhomack and the others through the tunnel to the hostages. He keeps his eye peeled for a shield among the fallen pirates or in the rooms.

Ta’kel states a brief plan to Rhomack and the rest, “Get people, search rooms, break lock outside, up and out?”

Rhomack agrees with Ta’kel, making sure the mage’s papers are retrieved.

Levna searches the mage for any papers. If anyone else finds them she says, “Leave them with me. I am trained to understand any spells they might contain. If there is any other useful information, all who can read should have a look.” Levna stares a moment in silence at Aramas’s body thinking of her haunted past. She continues, “We can’t leave Aramas’s body like this. There are … still things that can be done to it that would dishonor his memory and curse his soul for eternity. Ideally, we should destroy all of these bodies lest they fall into the wrong hands.” Eying the weapons rack, the torches, and anything else flammable, Levna asks, “Does anyone have oil? We should burn Aramas’s body. I doubt there’s enough wood or time to burn all of the bodies, but at least we can do right by Aramas. His weapons and equipment, they should be returned to his order. I would carry them myself, but they are too heavy for me.” Levna takes Aramas’s coin purse (14.8 gp). She says, “These I can carry, and will return to the next temple of Sabanis we find.”

Indeed, the scroll contains arcane diagrams that only Levna can begin to make sense of, but she will need to sit down with it in peace and quiet to decipher the exact nature of the contents. Levna also becomes the custodian of Aramas’ purse. Undoubtedly, she will incur the favor of the Order of Sabanis by returning the contents to the nearest temple. As Levna takes the scroll from the fallen mage she also discovers a set of rusty, iron keys.

Rhomack was not able to tend to wounds in time in order to prevent most of the damage. He applies some superficial bandaging but the wounds will have to be properly tended to once the party returns to Saltbur. Aramas sadly shows no signs of life. There was no particular shiny spot, just a random glint from his prized and well kept mail. The pool is a shallow, dirty puddle of water and doesn’t appear to contain anything of use.

Following the passage indicated by the ryncha, the group proceeds down a hallway that turns to the left after a short distance. At the end of this passage lies a door, slightly ajar, which opens in to a small room where the last group of pirates apparently came from. There is a table in the center, with several unfinished mugs of ale resting on top, along with a scattered deck of cards. For some strange reason, there is the corpse of a seabird lying on top of the table as well. In the far corner is a small, unlocked wooden chest.

Just outside the room in the hallway are two locked doors constructed of driftwood. Through the bars in the tops, the group can make out two male captives in one small cell and a female captive in the other. Realizing their rescuers are at hand, the captives stand quickly to their feet and cry out for help.

Ta’kel listens to Levna and nods his head, “Should be last thing. Don’t want to signal ship.”

In the prisoner’s room, Ta’kel examines the bird on the table, then opens the chest. He walks up to the doors and says, “Get you out soon. Stand back.” Since he’s still unclear about keys, unless someone stops him, Ta’kel begins to kick in the doors starting with the one containing the woman.

Ta’kel easily kicks open the first door, releasing the two male captives, who kneel before their liberators in a moment of prayer asking Whaythrad to bless the heroes. The second door proves to be a bit tricky, but Levna approaches with the set of keys and quickly opens the portal, releasing the captive woman who rushes out and embraces the dark haired girl, weeping.

Ta’kel is impressed; he kicked that door with all his might, but Levna opened it with a flick of her wrist!

The chest is unlocked, and opening it reveals a sack of small, unpolished blue quartz stones (7 lbs), 107 schinns, and two small glass vials, one containing a golden liquid, and the other a cloudy, light blue substance.

Listening to Levna, Torgosh realizes that Aramas must be a holy person of some sort.

“Is right. We can no leave him. Power will be stolen by the Direfrost. {growls} Not good.”

Torgosh gets out his winter blanket. “We put him on here, carry him. We can use poles to make…bed?..for him to travel. Easier for two carry. But we must hurry.”

Ta’kel sees Levna open the lock and raises his eyebrows, “These magic, too? What are they?”

Ta’kel drops his rations and takes the bag of stones, “Beautiful.” He takes the schinns (to divvy up later), and gives the vials to Levna, “You know better.”

Ta’kel likes taking Aramas with them better than burning him, plus less of a signal for the ship. He points to Rhomack and Torgosh, “You two carry,” he taps his bicep, “Bigger.” He shakes his quiver, “I cover.”

On the way out, Ta’kel finds the pirate with the bow and relieves him of his arrows. When they get back to the room with the pool, Ta’kel takes Mayuun and investigates the other tunnel. After which he suggests they move. If there is no movement from the ship, Ta’kel suggests checking the dry tunnel near the cave entrance and lastly using the “magic” keys on the locked door as well.

There is nothing unusual about the dead bird, other than it’s presence in the hideout at all. Investigating the other passage from the room with the pool leads Ta’kel and Mayuun to a room with several cots and piles of filthy garments and some personal effects or little of no value. Ta’kel takes seven more arrows from the slain pirate archer.

The group cautiously returns to the entrance of the cave, deciding to check first for signs of activity from the ship before dealing with the locked door. To the surprise of all, they find that the Spirit has vanished completely from sight for reasons that are open to conjecture. The sandy passage leads only to a small area apparently used as a guard post, with several wooden stools scattered about.

The group rigs up a stretcher from the spear, Spradlock’s harpoon, and some pieces of cloth torn from pirate garments, on which Rhomack and Torgosh carry Aramas’ body from the cave.

“Any secret worth keeping is one worth hiding…Or locking up behind closed doors, We should investigate further while we have a chance…”

Levna smiles gratefully at Torgosh and Ta’kel, “Thank you both, we … friends must take care of each other in life, as well as death. Yes, Ta’kel, I suppose these “keys” have their own kind of magic.” Levna stashes to two vials and the scroll. She continues, “Yes, we are here, let’s see what is behind the last door.” Levna readies her knife.



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