Lavinia dragged the party out of the dinner held in their honour back to her manor house for liqueurs, and to unwind before the voyage the next day. Captain Amella Venkalie was present, to clarify the schedule for the trip – she had procured a small fishing vessel with funds from Lavinia, which should be able to ferry the party to a beach near Kraken’s Cove. It’d be a cramped 16 hour trip to get there. Before the party left, Lavinia mentioned that several groups had spoken to her at the banquet about contacting them for possible work in the future – the Temples of Ixion, Nyx, and the enigmatic Lady Silvermane of the Church of the Whirling Fury. Also Zelkarune’s Horns, who runs the gladiatorial bouts in the arena and source monsters from the surrounding jungle to use in staged battles, were interested in their services. The Jade Raven’s (the adventuring party hired by Lavinia’s parents) was also due to return from their adventures to the south. Some opportunities for the party to mull over when they return…
Walking to the docks the next morning, the city was being prepared for the upcoming festival, the anniversary of Sasserine’s independence from Minrothad rule. The party found a skiff waiting for them at the docks and the cramped journey began, interrupted by violent rocking motions as Jardek struggled with the effects of the night before. Don’t take a drunk dwarf out to the deep.
Amella, aided by the cabin boy Tavey, took the ship along the shoreline to the east. Marshland and cobwebbed jungle filled the coastal view. Several other fishing vessels were about. A few hours out, a pair of devilfish were spotted, following the ship as it sped along the coast. Keeping a careful eye on these, the party decided not to act, and 2 hours later, the devilfish disappeared.
Dusk brought the party to Blood Bay, across which lay Kraken’s Cove. The water has a reddish brown colour – Amella explained the legends of a wounded kraken that lay bleeding somewhere in the depths of the bay. The party figured it was more likely some mineral rich sediment. Amella piloted the boat to a small beach about a mile north of the cove. As they drew near, the orange flicker of flames and the billowing smoke of a large fire came into view – somewhere in the shadows of the cove. The party hurried to shore and along the clifftops. It soon became clear that all was not right – there were no sounds of animals, and then twisted, warped bodies of small creatures were found littering the jungle floor. Examining the body of a dead dog, they found it warped, twisted, with a second vestigial head growing out of its neck, and tentacles writhing from its back. Suddenly, a pack of monkeys descended from the trees – each with the same twisted malformed bodies and second heads, screaming for flesh. The party fought them off, not before discovering that the dead creatures posed another threat by bursting into viscous pools of acid.
Pressing on to the cove, they found the waters ablaze with burning oil, and two ship wreathed in flame. A third vessel, the Sea Wyvern, was anchored further out and unharmed. Descending into the caves, the found the bodies of scores of pirates – being feasted upon by other pirates who seemed to have succumbed to whatever warped malady affected the animals in the area. Under the burning waters, a strange circular patch of barren seabed, clear of any form of plant life, was visible – with some dark fist-sized object at its centre. The party fought their way through the caves, encountering more twisted pirates, and other creatures they were smuggling, including a score of caged slaves, all screaming in their cages for the adventurers’ flesh.
Deep in the caves, they came across a surviving member of the pirate crew – Captain Harliss Javell – desperately fending off the attacks of the savage creatures. As the party thinned the pirate numbers, Harliss was able to help them defeat the remaining few. Warily, she thanked them for their help and explained that Vanthus was all to blame for this mess – but then explained that she’d sent her first mate Drevoraz to the Vanderboren manor in Sasserine to exact revenge. The party would have to hurry back to try and stop Lavinia becoming an accidental victim.
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