Elminster the Sage

The Company of the Silver Coin
Amber the Ranger
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Book 2
Chapter 7 - Into the Vilhon Reach (1359DR, 19th Eleasias - 13th Eleint)

Journey continues... Expected Route to Nimpeth

The wheels of my mind began spinning for a course of action; from our previous (and disastrous) battle with these creatures I knew that their speed was so great that only a skilled warrior like Amber stood a chance of hitting one. Even if I got in a lucky swing, they could only be harmed by enchanted weapons and the only one I owned was in Faergil's Portable Hole. They were highly resistant to magic and completely immune to fire, even if I could employ flame without the risk of burning down The Undying Gaze. My options were limited to say the least.

Amber showed no such hesitation. In a flash her swords were in her hands and she was calling out to the Fiends to face her. One seemed to be far more interested in tearing up the deck in an attempt to get to the sleeping crew below but one turned it's nightmarish head in our direction. In an instant it had closed the distance between itself and Amber and lashed out with both of it's huge, hook clawed hands and feet and made a plunging thrust with its razor sharp beak. Even as it left behind the rendered remains of the sailor it had killed a third Fiend dropped down from the rigging to take it's place.

Luckily it seemed more interested in satisfying it's bloody appetite then joining the fight. Somehow Amber was able to dodge on of the feet but the rest tore into her. Blooded but unbroken she countered with two swift strikes with one of her swords, forcing the creature to fall back a few inches. I had fallen in behind Amber and calling upon Silvanus's power over the flow of time imbedded her with the divine, if short-lived, gift to nudge future events to her benefit.

The second Fiend had been slowed long enough by it's attempts to get through the hatch to the lower decks for my friends below to prepare themselves. Colatto renewed the Stone Skin spell upon himself while Faergil used his mirror image spell to create magical decoys. Bazil and Primrose began to clamber up to the deck in an attempt to reinforce Amber and myself and Baldric called upon Tymora to imbue him with her divine energies. By now the sailors were beginning to react and grab for their weapons to battle the creatures. Amber and Baldric both called out to them to keep back, that they would only be throwing their lives away.

The Fiend on Amber renewed its attack but aided by Silvanus she was able dodge a foot and one hand and parry its second hand. Still the beak and one clawed foot hit her. Before she could counter attack the Varok employed one of Faergil's favourite tricks and created three illusionary decoys of itself. Two of the decoys were dispelled in quick succession as Amber slashed at them with two mighty blows. She made a thrust at one of the two remaining Varok (one the real thing, the other an illusion) but it slipped past her. I quickly took the opportunity to renew the blessing on Amber.

The third Fiend had noticed Bazil's arrival on deck and lunged towards him,. By calling on the power of his magical short-sword "Kithral" Bazil was able to strike at a speed which rivalled the Varok. Both combatants were frustrated as the halfling's blow was turned aside and the Fiend only managed to make two successful slashes with it's feet. A second latter Primrose was on deck beside Bazil and delivered a double-handed blow on the Fiend with her enchanted blade.

The second V'rock was now through the hatch and dropped like a stone onto Baldric, driving him to the ground with it's raking feet and piercing him with it's beak before engulfing the lower decks in darkness. Quickly Colatto pulled one of Faergil's Light Stones from his pocket, dispelling the darkness. The Fiend now visible Faergil targeted it with a spell of weakness but to no effect. A few seconds latter the silver handled knife of Cpt. Tannor imbedded itself into the Fiend's flank. Seeing this some of the braver sailors attempted to attack the beast but were driven back. Baldric called upon The Lady again and bestowed upon Colatto a Battle Bless.

Up on deck the Fiends had renewed their attack; Amber took slashes from both of the feet of her foe and it's beak and Bazil, despite a spirited defence, suffered three slashes. The valiant halfling was beginning to suffer. Bazil counter attacked but his skill with a sword was no match for the Fiend's agility. Once more Primrose proved the luckier and her blade bit deep into the V'rock. Amber hit and disrupted her opponent's last magical duplicate leaving only the real Fiend. In a flash she had brought the sword around and thrust it deep into the V'rock.

Even with the combined protection of The Art and Tymora Colatto, down in the hold, attempted one of the bravest things I had ever heard of and grappled with the Fiend. Incredibly he was able to pin it up against the side of the hull and hold it there long enough for Baldric to call upon Tymora to drain away the Fiend's resilience to magic. Then Baldric placed his hand on the V'rock; unleashing the divine power he had been storing inside of himself and Dispelling the Fiend from this plane. Now without a target to attack below decks Faergil turned his attention to the hatch through which the Fiend had gained entry. Looking up he could just about see the Varock that was attacking Bazil and chanced his arm with another spell. This time luck was with Faergil as a flurry of five magical darts raked the Fiend. Snatching up his fallen dagger (it had remained behind when the Varock had been banished) Tannor headed up on deck to continue the defence of his ship.

Amber's wounds (wounds which I had no doubt would have killed me) were starting to tell on her so I let the "time shaping" power subside and instead channelled the life giving energies of Silvanus as best I could in an attempt to cure the worst of her wounds. It was well that I did because no more then a second latter Amber's foe found the opening it needed to renew it's attack scoring three more savage blows on the rangeress. Wearily she swung back at it. Once, twice she swang but both missed and she took a more defensive posture. Quickly I moved in again to heal these new wounds.

Below decks Baldric was healing the worst of his own injuries while Colatto and Faergil began to make their way up on deck after Tannor.

Bazil continued to be the target of the third V'rock's attacks taking one more clawed slash and one more jab from its beak before Primrose was finally able to deliver a killing blow on the Fiend. Then the two mages arrived. Seeing Amber in danger Colatto charged in making a double handed chop with Sarth that struck home. Faergil conjured a blue orb of magical energy, which he threw at the Fiend. Luckly Faergil missed by a mile since both Amber and Colatto were in close combat with the Fiend and I was no more then arms length away; in the confusion the chances that one of us would have been hit instead must have been fairly high!

The last V'rock must have been feeling the pinch now. Amber had seriously wounded it and now it faced two warriors with magical blades. Tannor and Baldric had also arrived. Unleashing a terrible cry, which we endured through gritted teeth, the Fiend simply disappeared. Quickly I headed over to Bazil and used the power of Silvanus to heal him. As I did I heard moaning coming from below, moans of pain rather then fear. Heading down to look I found that some of the sailors were bleeding from the ears as a result of the Varock's scream. I did what I could for their injuries and called down Baldric to help.

By the time we were finished and had gone back up onto the deck Captain Tannor was demanding a few answers. We confessed that the Varock had indeed come after us and I explained to him about the drow and their unholy alliances. Amber clearly didn't appreciate me telling Tannor as much as I did but I have often found that the world has a way of rewarding trust. As it did in this time when the captain asked if our reason for heading for Nimpeth was to see the famous library of it's ruler Lord Woren. We took the opportunity to speculate why the Varock had attacked that night and not any other night since the battle in Deependale; if they could track us unerringly via some form of magic it seemed strange that they would have taken so long to catch up. Perhaps some event had occurred that we were unaware of which had given away our position. Another theory, my personal preference, was they had tracked us to Suzail but then had to catch up with and investigate every ship that left port on the same day as us until they found the correct one.

The danger past most of us returned to sleep. Amber had become grim since the battle and instead of going to sleep took up watch on the stern of the ship, scanning the horizon for any more signs of pursuit. A post she maintained every night for the rest of the voyage whenever she was able. Colatto paid a late night visit on Tannor and asked him about Abar, learning that he was an ex-slave from Nimpeth who had managed to buy his own freedom.

Over the next few days Baldric and I worked to erase the physical scars of the battle with the V'rock. The sea was an azure blue and we had a nice breeze though it was getting hotter. Bazil wanted a few magical trinkets he had picked up over his adventures examined. Faergil had a spell which did just that but usually didn't cast it due to the period of weakness it caused him and the fact it required a valuable pearl. Bazil had purchased such a pearl off of Cpt. Tannor so Faergil agreed. Wisely, considering recent happenings, Colatto asked if his cloak could be examined too. The first item to be tested was an amulet Bazil had taken from a sorceress he had battled. Under Faergil's power it was revealed to protect the owner from attempts at possession and that, if he were slain, his soul would reside in the amulet rather then depart this plane. The second was a magical circulate that a lich which "lived" beneath Stringfellow's Keep had given him. Unfortunately the spell revealed nothing new, which was the same result when Faergil tried the amulet that Bazil had found at the sight of the drow's death in Immersea. Colatto's cloak gave some surprising results. We knew it gave the wearer the power to change his form. It also had undefined but potent protective abilities against both magic and mundane attacks and more importantly it contained memories and a soul. Some other magics were cast during this time; Baldric and Faergil stocked up on their "light stones", Faergil cast a long lasting protection spell on himself and Colatto cast a Stoneskin on Bazil.

In the afternoon of the second day after the battle with the Fiends the lookout called "Look-ahead". Going to the prow with many of the other sailors for a look I saw the shape of large predatory fish, sharks, gilding about just below the surface. Their attention had been drawn by a collection of human remains floating on the surface. The sailors considered the sharks an ill omen but I found them fascinating creatures and I watched them until we had passed beyond visual range. No more then half and hour later we saw a pillar of smoke coming from the coast, from what Tannor estimated was the village of Cheam. Speculation onboard was that they had been subject to pirate raiders and, with a little encouragement from Amber, Tannor gave the order to change course and offer aid. Most of The Company of the Silver Coin, myself included, were eager to join the rescue party and once The Undying Gaze was anchored off the coast we went ashore in it's two rowing boats.

Cheam had clearly been the site of a battle but not a massacre. There were plenty of battle weary villagers trying to make a start at rebuilding their burnt homes. Initially they though we were more attackers but when they learnt there were priests in the party they welcomed us. We quickly discovered that they had been attacked not by pirates but by Sea Devils! I'm afraid to say that my enthusiasm got the best of my tact as the village spokesman took us to see the one of their attackers that had been killed. Luckily Amber was there to remind me of the gravity of the situation. Even dead the Sea Devil was a striking being to behold. It had long limbs, ending in webbed hands and feet, and a flat, frog-like face with nasty fangs. It's slick skin was a blackish-green on the back and it's belly was more pinkish. A ridge of spines ran down its back. It clearly had a sense of modesty as it wore a loincloth but the garment struck me a inappropriate for life under the sea. Even dead the villagers were still a little nervous of the Sea Devil and it still lay were it had been slain in battle on the beach. Once again it was time for Baldric and myself to bring the divine power of Silvanus and Tymora to the injured. While I worked I asked the villagers about the attack; the Sea Devils had simply risen out of the water without warning and come ashore. They had attacked with spears, tridents and nets and grabbed burning brands from cooking fires to set fire to buildings. They had killed and wounded many and taken a few with them as prisoners; perhaps the origin of the body parts we had seen earlier that day. However I though it seemed a waste of effort to take prisoners if all you were going to do was slaughter them so quickly, unless they were some kind of sacrifice. I also learnt that some of the Sea Devils were bigger then the other and had an extra set of arms.

Once we had done all we could we returned to The Undying Gaze. We were now in an area of sea full of reefs and navigating them by night would be next to impossible so, for now, we would not travel during darkness.

The next day the temperature rose dramatically. About noon there was another call from the lookout. This time "Ship Ahoy!" From his position with Nimth in the crows-nest Bazil called down that he could see a caravel, like The Undying Gaze, armed with a ballista and flying a white skull on a black flag. Furthermore the ship was coming about to face us. The crew of The Undying Gaze went to battle stations; weapons were brought out of storage and our ballista was readied. Tannor told us that the white skull was the emblem of Taldar "Pirate King of the Pirate Isles" and said to be an arch-mage. Amber began to tell the captain that after the brutality of our last encounter with pirates she had no desire to participate in another similar battle. But if any of us thought that this fight was going to be like the last we were very much mistaken.

With the two ships heading for each other there was not the long wait as there had been previously. Like most of the crew I was at the front of the ship. I wanted to reduce the enemy's ability to hurt us and without enough time to summon another plague of insects I had decided to disable the enemy's ballista by calling on the power of Silvanus to warp the wood it was made of. I could do this over a little more then three hundred yards range which, I had learnt, was the range of a ballista. I would use that as my benchmark, as soon as either ballista fired I would call upon Silvanus. As it happened both fired almost simultaneously, the Undying Gaze's going wide of the mark and the enemy's punching a whole in our hull worryingly close to the water line. The First Mate, Nathan, sent a repair team below decks to see to the damage. I invoked Silvanus and a couple of moments latter Bazil called down that the pirates were having trouble reloading their weapon.

Baldric had taken the time to invoke the Battle Bless again and then used a miracle common to both of our faiths "Barkskin" to turn his skin into living, wooden armour. The mages, Colatto up on the foredeck with the rest of us and Faergil somewhere at the back of the ship, waited until the two ships were at little closer before using The Art. Colatto unleashing a storm of magical darts at one of the enemy pirates, who was wearing a red bandanna. Faergil induced a temporary madness in a handful of the pirates.

The pirate's counter attack took us all off guard; the Undying Gaze's foredeck was suddenly engulfed in flame, someone had fireballed us! Luckily I had inherited an immunity to flame from my father while Colatto had Sarth drawn and was therefore shielded from flame. Everyone else wasn't so lucky. My companions, with the exception of Baldric, and Tannor managed to avoid the worst of the flame but the rest suffered badly as the foredeck caught alight. Concerned about losing the ship I began to intone a prayer to Silvanus. Before I could finish a wave of arrows from the pirate ship rained down on us. Several more of the Undying Gaze's crew fell but of The Company only Baldric was hit. I managed to finish the miracle, creating a "Fireward" on the foredeck inside of which no flame could exist, therefore putting out the fires created by the fireball. A second volley of enemy arrows came down a second later. This time I was not so lucky, as was Amber but neither of us took serious injuries.

Someone (Amber I think) shouted over to me if there was anything I could do about the hole in the hull so I raced off below decks after the repair team. I was barely below decks when there was a tremendous crashing from the wooden ceiling above my head. The enemy mage had unleashed an Ice Storm that pelted the foredeck of the ship with hailstones the size of an ogre's fist. After shouting down the helpful if a little late advice "don't stand so close together" Bazil fired off two shots from his short bow into two sailors, one being Colatto's bandanna wearing target from earlier.

A few seconds latter the two vessels came along side each other. The pirates were ready to board us but Faergil, safe from fire and ice at the far end of the ship, used a Web spell to entangle most of the enemy crew. By now Tannor, many of his crew injured or dead, had given up on capturing the pirate ship and gave my companions leave to destroy it. Quickly Amber produced her magical crossbow and, loading a makeshift flaming-arrow, fired it into the web. Colatto and Faergil tore into the ship with fire and ice of their own; a Wall of Fire the length of the deck from Colatto and an Ice Storm from Faergil. Baldric badly injured by fire, hail and arrow had retreated below decks to heal his injuries. On advice from Amber via Colatto Bazil had been checking the masts of the enemy ship for a place where a mage could be launching his spells and spotted a man lashed to the main mast ten feet below the crow's nest. The halfling signalled his discovery and then put two arrows into the man who retaliated by hurling a bolt of lightning at Bazil. Bazil leapt from the crow's nest at the last moment but Nimth was incinerated. The halfling deftly grabbed hold of the rigging and swung out of the way of as the top ten feet of the mast began to slowly shear-off and fall. Seeing the danger posed by the falling mast Amber executed a brilliant plan; dashing over to the main sail she slashed effortlessly through the ropes holding the boom in place. Caught by the wind and with nothing to hold it in place the boom and sail swung across, deflecting the falling section of mast away from the main deck and out to sea with only minor damage to the gunwale. Faergil and Colatto finished of the mage with a Lightning Bolt of our own (Faergil) and a volley of magical darts (Colatto). Baldric had finished healing himself and headed back topside to find the fight was over. By now I had caught up with the repair crew and it was a simple matter to call upon the Oak Father to reshape the damaged hull and plug the hole.

Solemnly Baldric and I went to work tending the to the injured, which included almost everyone who was still alive. Once our divine prayers were spent Baldric continued to employ the healing arts he had learnt as a novice. Primrose was had suffered both injuries of the body and heart during the fierce fighting, I was able to tend to the former and I encouraged Bazil to see to the latter. Amber, Bazil and Colatto helped out resetting the rigging. The bosun, Devon, was among the casualties and a man called Corm took the role. Amber and Baldric saw to the final arrangements for the dead. I steered clear of this task; as a priest of Silvanus my beliefs on the treatment of the dead are considered by some to be heartless and I did not want to cause the crew anymore grief. The dead numbered 23; the loss that seemed to strike the crew the deepest was that of Nimth. Captain Tannor took us aside and explained that with his crew diminished we would have to take a more active part in the running of the ship. Now Baldric revealed that his grace with The Lady was such that he could now raise the dead but only if they were still relatively intact and less then a ten-day dead. This meant that Tannor had to choose which of his crew he wanted back. I made my displeasure of tampering with the Divine Cycle of Life clear, as I always had in the past, and Amber objected to Baldric putting such a harsh choice on Tannor. In the end the captain decided to turn down Baldric's offer. His men had known the risks and died as warriors.

Faergil, who was starting to go a little twitchy after such a long time without wine, suggested that a wake be thrown for the dead but the captain turned that down too. In three days, he told us, the Undying Gaze would reach Alaghôn and the men would have a night's shore leave.

The next three days were very hard as The Company went to work. Bazil and Colatto already knew what they were doing and Amber, with her great strength and stamina, not to mention skill with rope, took to the task admirably. I will simply say the rest of us did our best.

Over that period Colatto took what had always seemed to be the obvious course of action about Abar and talked to him. Something about Colatto seemed familiar to the sailor and he wanted to know why he was travelling to the "City of Slaves"; apparently Nimpeth was notable for far more then fine wines and a good library. Abar warned Colatto that it was a dangerous city but, having seen him in battle, he could probably look after himself.

A column of smoke heralded our approach to the city of Alaghôn, the capital of Turmish. The city was a sprawling affair of red, sun backed brick (it was very hot by day) spread out along the coast between two hills. As we approached it was possible to see the old city walls in the middle of the metropolis but the city had escaped their hold years ago. The only city I had seen at that point which was bigger was Waterdeep. On our final approach to the bustling harbour, which was deep enough for a ship of our size to pull up to the gangplanks, we saw a disturbing sight. A large vessel with its sail dyed red was coming under fire from flaming missiles hurled from catapults on two military-looking vessels. I could just about make out the crew of the stricken vessel, few seemed to making an attempt to resist and those that did seemed to be tied down. I asked one of the Undying Gaze's crew what we were seeing and was told that the red sail denoted a plague ship. There was much speculation that they had sailed too close a cursed, plague-ridden island somewhere nearby.

Once we had docked all but a skeleton crew went ashore looking for alcohol and the comfort of a good (or at least lice free) woman. Before going ashore a small jar containing a blue paste was handed around. I was prepared for this from my conversations with the crew. One's level of education in Turmish was indicated by a number of dots painted on the forehead, from one for basic literacy up to three for knowledge of The Art. Most of our crew (including myself) was illiterate but to have no dots meant enduring constant patronising so a little deceit was in order. None of The Company left the ship without at least one dot to our name.

I expressed a desire to see The Assembly Building after hearing the descriptions of it from the crew over our voyage; the halflings offered to come with me. The streets of the metropolis were narrow, winding and crowded, often opening up unexpectedly on market places. The buildings looked like they had been built on top of each other and archways supporting other roads frequently crossed the streets we walked down. Luckily the Assembly wasn't easy to miss. It was a massive, fortified structure of white marble inlaid in many places; particularly it's many towers, with gold. It was guarded by stern-faced soldiers in domed helmets surmounted with spikes and with chain-mail falling down the back to protect the neck. Unfortunately we couldn't get in and no one would spare us the time, such is often the way with mercantile folk, to explain the finer points of the building. So instead the three of use enjoyed the local food, a hot but sweet meat dish, and then saw what secrets the markets and bizarre held. All three of us picked up clothing better suited for hotter climes. Bazil purchased rugs and statuettes to decorate his castle with and we found several sellers of rare herbs. Both of us were interested in acquiring sleeping venom, the supply which Bazil had liberated from the drow was running out. Both of us knew our herbs (Bazil having learnt at his mother's knee) and between us we selected ingredients to create a similar, if not as potent, replacement. I also took to opportunity to see if I could find a few more exotic plants.

Returning to the ship we found that the rest of The Company had had similar ideas about up-dating their wardrobe in the markets. Before nightfall Nathan approached me. He had heard how I had miraculously repaired the hull and wanted to know if I could do the same with the gunwale and the main mast. The gunwale was no problem but the mast was another matter. The section of mast that had been blasted off had been reclaimed from the sea after the battle. Faergil levitated it up to the top of the broken mast where sailors lashed it in place. Now all I had to do was be pulled up there and then fuse the two parts together. From sixty feet up the ship looked very small and every small pitch and roll it made was exaggerated a hundred-fold. To say the least, by the time it was over I had a new respect for the efforts of Bazil and the late Nimth.

We left Alaghôn early the next day. Overnight Colatto had learnt from the crew that Tannor had once succumb to the demons of drink, which was the cause of his insistence on a dry ship.

Five more days of sailing brought us within sight of Ilighôn, one of the Eyes of Silvanus and the centre of the Emerald Enclave's power. As we drew closer I could make out more detail; the island was covered in thick forestation with a mountain range at its heart. Thousands of exotically coloured birds flew over the island and a distinct barrier reef surrounded it like a castle wall. As we drew closer still Amber and I set to work trying to get a message across to Lady Shadowmoon, between us we wrote a letter, outlining our mission and asking for aid. I then asked, in Silvanus's name, for one of the many gulls that were flying around the ship to take the message across to Ilighôn and give it to the first human or elf it saw. In an attempt to add weight to the message I again invoked the power of Silvanus as Shaper of Life to temporary imbue the gull with the gift of speech so it could ask for the message to be given to Lady Shadowmoon. More specifically it gained the power to speak the sacred tongue of my order, the Druids' Cant.

I watched as the gull went on its mission and then waited. True to his word Tannor was not prepared to stop his ship in the waters. As the daylight dwindled we rounded the island and two smaller ones came into view, about ten miles away. It was Tannor's intention to pass between then in one go the coming day. The next day the waters were rough and the ship was carried along its course like it had been fired from a gigantic bow. By evening, after days at sea, we were finally into the Vilhon Reach.

Over the next few days we followed a mountainous coastline. Three days past the Eyes of Silvanus we passed a lighthouse perched at the end of a long spur of land which jutted out into the sea at right angles to the coast. There was no sign of a response from Lady Shadowmoon or the Emerald Enclave and I came to the conclusion that we had failed to arouse their interest, I wasn't surprised but a little disappointed. Luckily we had Lord Woren's Library ahead of us.

From his conversations with Abar Colatto had learnt a few worrying facts about Lord Woren. He was a powerful mage who had been the Magician Royal to the last king of Nimpeth. Woren had overthrown and killed the royal bloodline, the Carifier family, himself and taken control of the city. To further blacken his character Woren did not approve of slaves buying their own freedom. One fact that struck home was that when the King had been slain, his blood spilt on the marble floors of his own palace, his white cloak had turned red. It was this image that had drawn Abar to Colatto and his red cloak. Coincidence? I doubted it but only time would tell.

Five days after the lighthouse we reached the city of Hlondeth where we would put into port but Tannor discouraged anyone going ashore. Between my waiting for a possible reply from Lady Shadowmoon and helping to crew the ship I had forgotten to ask about the city and as we arrived that evening I was in for a shock. The city seemed to be made of a hundred types a jade, all a different shade of green, and was illuminated by hundreds of lights, some magical others natural but all green. The effect was as if the city was made of emerald. There were several strange architectural conceits used by the city designers one of which was a complete lack of steps. Where another city would have a single step or a flight of stairs there was instead a ramp, some no more then a foot long, others like green ribbons. In the centre of the city was a tall, cathedral-like building decorated, like much of the city was, with snakes. I discovered the reason for the snake-insignia and the ramps when I saw the city's inhabitance. Many were human, the same as humans that you could see in Arabel, Suzail or Waterdeep but many were a fusion of man and snake in many different, jarring combinations including having serpent's bodies and no legs. The crew told me that the natives of the city were called Yaun-ti, and I could detect disgust in their voices when they said it.

The air over and around the city seemed particularly hot, even at night, and still and was full of large, lazy insects. A strange, hypnotic music permitted the air spreading a heavy lethargy over the ship and its crew like a shroud but still sleep was a long time coming for us.

In the still of night Colatto awoke to what he initially thought was another dream. He sensed a presence near him in the darkness, a soft hissing and the rhythmic flicking of a tongue. Then the hiss became a soft voice, no more then a whisper but close enough that he could feel the speaker's breath on his face;

"So, the sighs are true. You dare return. The Extaminos will finish what Woren could not!"

Next Chapter

DM's Notes

I used the following references:
Pirates of the Fallen Stars: General information on ships, Useful glossary of maritime terms.
Sea of Fallen Stars: Information on Freesails, maritime customs.
Vilhon Reach. Lots of relevant information on Turmish, Eyes of Silvanus, Hlondeth and the Vilhon Reach in general

This was a busy evening and Nick's long write-up reflects this. We overan though - sorry guys...
The fight with the V'rock went much better for the PCs this time. The biggest problem with these demons is the sheer amount of damage they deal out. Amber, Bazil and Baldric all suffered at the claws of them. There's this player joke that my DM's dice are loaded as they all suffer in my games. All I can say that if this is the case then they failed me big time this evening. I can't remember the number of low-single To-Hit rolls I made. Baldric did well with his spells. He cast a lower resistance on the V'rock he was fighting and, after Collato managed to pin the creature, finished it off with a Dispel Evil. There was a cheer when that thing was banished.
Amber suffered with hers and it was only Thorns constant healing spells that saved her.
After the fight Edd said that Bazil and Primrose made a great team. He diverted the demon (it kept attacking him!) whilst she killed it!
The game moved on pretty quickly after that, with a small diversion with the aftermath of a Sahuagin attack on a village.
The encounter with the pirates was a different kind of battle than the first (see chapter 7 for details). It was definitely a chance for the mages (both PC and NPC) to flex their muscles and the barrage of spells back and forth was quite horrible.
At the beginning of the fight Roy (Collato) asked if any of the pirates 'stood out', I assume he was looking for a possible Captain candidate. I pointed out that there were no uniforms amongst the other crew and they all looked pretty individual. I did describe one with a Red Bandana, and he became the subject of Collato's Magic Missile spell. A couple of rounds later Bazil fired a couple of arrows into the poor pirate (no others were being individually attacked at the time). It became a bit of joke, though I think the pirate survived longer than the PCs were expecting him to.
I made a classic boob at the end of the encounter. Faergil Lightning Bolted the opposing mage and I described him as being burnt to a cinder, commenting that it was unfortunate that I'd rolled a 20 on the save. Darrell of course pointed out that a 20 was an auto-save. Oops! Rewinding my description, the Mage lasted just long enough for Collato to Magic Missile him...
The arrival at the Turmish capital of Alaghon gave me an opportunity evoke a bit of local colour, though I will say that there wasn't much to go on in the Sourcebooks. I believe Polyhedron did some articles on Turmish years ago, not that I could find my copies.
I finished the evening with the arrival at Hlondeth and a surprise encounter for Collato...


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