Back in the caves, the party set about heading back to Sasserine. Captain Javell filled the party in on a few more details about what had happened in the cove. Vanthus had tried to steal an unusual item from the pirate – a fist-sized black pearl. In his escape, the pearl was dropped, and broke open – somehow releasing the effect that had warped all the creatures and the pirates in the area. Jardek swam down and collected the remains of the pearl from the bottom of the sea floor in the cove – noticing that all plant life in a 30 foot radius around the remnants of the pearl had vanished. The pearl itself was found to radiate a fading strong evil transmutation magic, but trying to reassemble the pearl had no effect.
Captain Javell went her own way, after getting very suspicious and agitated at the PC’s questioning of the strange red steel and ore they had found.
Two of the party went to collect Captain Amella Venkalie and the cabin boy Tavey from along the coast and, after reassuring them that they weren’t infected with the plague, managed to bring the captain back to the cove, and the new ship that lay waiting for them there – the Sea Wyvern. Amella drew in the party to help her pilot the ship back to the city, and dealt with an officious member of the guard that tried to waylay the party for bringing a known pirate vessel to the docks, whilst the party made their way to rescue Lavinia.
The city was in the throes of the festival, celebrating liberation and becoming an independent city-state a year ago. It was a struggle battling through the crowds enjoying the music, food and entertainment, with Kathryn and Mendel having the calm an agitated gnome and his tortle friend. Before they could reach the manor, however, they were attacked by a troupe of stiltwalkers and a gymnast assassin – later found to be hired by the Kellani family as a revenge attack for the death of their daughter, Rowyn – the head of the Lotus Dragons.
Breaking into the manor, the party found it occupied by strange frog-like creatures, which had spread muck and slime in their attempts to ransack the house. In the master bedroom at the top of the mansion, the lupin Drevoraz waited for the party; Lavinia bound at his feet and unconscious adventurers lying about the floor. The dead body of the Halfling housekeeper, Kora, lay broken on the bearskin rug. A fat bloated humanoid toad sat on the bed, wrapped in damp sheets. Drevoraz struck down Jardek with a flurry of blows, and snarled at Anthony – “Bring me Vanthus!”
Crisis was averted as the rest of the party arrived, and managed to convince Drevoraz to call the attack off at the behest of Captain Javell. The toad was having none of it, and demanded ‘Blood for Dagon!’ as he attacked. He was eventually defeated, after nearly bringing several party members low, and Lavinia was rescued. She explained that they had been caught by surprise by the creatures, who were awaiting the return of Vanthus to exact their revenge. The unconscious adventurers were her Jade Ravens, whom the party helped revive – yet more were elsewhere in the manor.
Further battles encountered a rust monster, which stripped Stephanie of her armour, and other amphibian warriors, but eventually the mansion was cleared. A distraught Lavinia helped the party arrange to be healed and restored, and rewarded them for their efforts.
Over the next day, the party recovered, and helped nurse the Jade Ravens back to health. Lavinia was determined to leave the horrors of the mansion and Vanthus’ treachery behind her, and announced she was preparing an expedition, to leave Sasserine. The party had a month to themselves to do what they wanted.
The alchemist filled them in on the strange red metal they had found. Apparently it was unknown in this region – but found only in lands far far to the west, where it was fashioned into protective amulets to ward off a curse that afflicted those living in the lands. Without the metal, victims would succumb to a foul, corrupting, debilitating affliction, that could also grant strange powers. The ore was not natural – a magical creation – that had the ability to slowly replenish when buried in clay deposits. The alchemist warned about openly discussing the metal, for fear of people wanting to keep its existence secret – especially found so far from its native lands.
The party resolved to spend the next month following up a lead to track the wanted criminal Bargle the Infamous – and set about making preparations.
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