The Scallywags of The Shackles

Mistcove Island

Mistcove Island

Our crew departs Quent with the intent to find a mysterious island, one previously uncharted and even unseen. Located near the Cannibal Isles, Octavius sends the crew to discover why this island has been hidden for so long while in plain sight.

The journey over is a simple route, cutting across the north passageways to avoid most of the notorious pirates, with extra attention spent as they near Shark Island. With the island supposedly on the horizon, the weather quickly turns for the worse. Heavy rain pelts the already tired crew as fierce winds blow the ship about. Soon, a thick foggy mist envelops the ship, forcing the enigmatic Captain One-Ear to make his decisions based on intuition rather than skill. They sailed for what seemed like hours in what should have been only an hour’s journey at most. Hoping that the weather would clear by morning, the captain drops the anchor for his crew to get much needed rest.

Violent dreams shake the captain all through the night. He dreams of his ship, caught in a wild storm, thrashing his crew and testing their prowess. Soon, the storm and waves come crashing down on the demoralized captain, and he never sees his crew again. Startled awake, he lays in bed thinking what such a dream could mean. Is it the future to come? A bad omen? Perhaps it’s just a dream after all. Feeling the crew has had enough rest, he rallies the away party and wakes them up one by one personally.

En route, he briefly encounters one of his crew and reminds Chuck Flannigan that open flames are not permitted below deck. Rather than to enforce this rule with the standard public lashing, he allows the young alchemist to finish the chapter he is reading, and is then ordered to extinguish the flame immediately thereafter. First he goes to wake Julian, who is awake and whittling away at a piece of wood. He intricately places the knife with very specific cuts, the formless block still holds no real shape. Very little conversation is had, and soon Julian is discussion provisions with Gildefro for the away party. As Karn knocks on Sear’s door, a shy Lila slinks out, blushing from the adventures had in the bedroom. Karn then proceeds to wake Sear, who without emotion rolls out of bed to prepare for the day ahead.

When Karn enters Dink’s room, rather than just inform him to ready up, he sits down at the foot of his bed. Rattled by his disturbing dreams, Karn discusses at length with what such a dream could mean. He explains in great detail the emotions felt in his slumber, as well as the visions seen. Dink reassures Karn that dreams could mean everything, or nothing at all. It may have been a deity of the vast pantheon simply wishing to communicate with him, or just something he ate from the night before. Still unsure, Karn leaves Dink to his preparations.

Standing in the rain above deck, the crew sees that lady luck had been working the ship’s helm, as the mist reveals enough to show that the ship has anchored into a cove. Rotli and Chuck are chosen to operate and safeguard the rowboat which will take Julian, Dink, Sear, and Karn ashore. The 6 of them piled into the boat, the soon descend into the still waters below and make for landfall.

With Rotli and Chuck left behind, the crew soon proceeds to walk along the shore, far from the reaches of the jungle nearby. Their path is soon interrupted by what appears to be a dug out nest, with a few large shell pieces left behind. From this pit, a set of talon like tracks leads directly into the jungle forest. Following the tracks, the crew soon finds themselves in an open clearing, artificially made. Tree stumps are left behind, crudely cut down with primitive axes of sorts. A shriek is heard in the forest, and a green, scaly body falls out of a tree. Beneath their feet, 6 armed skeletons rattle out of the ground and proceed to attack the crew. Julian snipes one from the tree line, an insignificant feat compared to the power of Iomadae, who through Dink quickly disintegrates 5 of the other skeletons. Moving to intercept a hostile Lizardfolk, Julian and Karn move to intercept the armored brute, while Dink and Sear quickly dispose of the vile Sea Hag who no doubt had some sort of influence on the current state of events. The armored Lizardfolk deftly dodged and parried all incoming blows, until Karn tripped him, allowing the fellow crew to quickly destroy the abomination.

Speaking Draconic, Sear speaks to another Lizardfolk named Chog, one untainted by the touch of death, and begins to translate the series of events that led to this moment. The child in his arms is Nala. The old Sea Hag had cast some sort of spell on her, one which even Dink could not identify. Saying a prayer and giving a blessing, there was little Dink could do. Another young Lizardfolk comes out of the forest. Quill is his name, and the dead Lizardfolk at his feet is his father, the war chief of the tribe. Stricken with grief, the child mourns and cries out for his fallen father. Chog grabs the child and quickly leaves such a dangerous place. Dink picks up the fallen chief, carrying the burden of a fallen hero, and our party follows Chog into the thick brush of the jungle.

Chog explains that recently an evil has come over the island, and that the skeletons have become a very dangerous threat. The clearing in the forest was the Lizardfolk trying to find a new nesting site, which was soon compromised by the hags and their minions. The war chief led a band of warriors to deal with the threat, however not a single one of them had returned alive. Except for the chief himself, which the crew had just met. Chog then explains that the tribe has taken refuge in an underwater cave, but if the noble warriors truly wish to help, they must ascend the mountain to find the village shaman, who stayed behind to keep tabs of the island and all that goes on.

The crew begins to ascend the steep mountain by way of switch backs. They stumble upon crudely made pit traps, home to the odd trapped skeleton. Julian raids these pits of any loot, but only comes up with 3 gold rings. They continue onward when they sneak up on a fox, who quickly bounds into the forest and out of sight. A little further up and the fox reappears, this time with a tiger companion. Sear determines that the fox is in fact under a very powerful spell, “Baleful Polymorph.” The crew assess that the both the tiger nor fox mean them any harm, and more specifically, want the crew to follow them. Some distance later, they stumble upon what appears to be a cave home. Inside, they find 2 long logs on either side of a fire pit, some crude rubbish in the corners, and a broom.

The fox motions to Karn to pick up the broom, who then proceeds to clean the bachelor’s pad. They quickly discover that the fox is self-aware, and more than that, he is actually a powerful shaman. By writing in the sand with the broom, the fox explains he is the great shaman of the tribe, and his name is Cheep Zuk. The tiger in tow is his faithful companion Neelix, and the tribe is in dire need of powerful help. Without any help, the tribe will starve as they have been forced to flee form the only home they know.

Agreeing to help, Karn steps outside to question what kind of a mess he has gotten his crew into. Julian steps outside behind him, and lights up a cigarette. Very few words are spoken, and more importantly, the crew is interrupted when they see Rotli and Chuck heading up the steep mountainside, eager to deliver a message of glory. Dink, hearing the commotion outside, quickly scuttles out to find Rotli yelling of praise of Iomadae. He tells them all of how the great goddess has chosen to come to him and wishes for them all to come to her. Dink questions Rotli’s story, and finds faults which Iomadae would not be known for. Rotli saw her wearing a thin dress, whereas Iomadae (a stalwart warrior) was hardly ever seen without her plate mail. This, compounded with other details leads Dink to believe that Rotli is under the influence of a powerful spell, one which legitimately make shim believe he has seen the glory of his goddess. Dink carefully chooses his words (through Julian’s rock throwing influence) so as not to give away that he doesn’t believe that Rotli saw the real Iomadae. The crew gears up and sets out deep into the forest to confront the hags who are responsible for all this mayhem. The crew carefully explains to Rotli he is to remain in the cave, and that he must do as the fox and tiger say, for the beasts are now in charge of himself and Chuck.

Following a crude path, the crew eventually stumble upon a chapel surrounded by 4 bonfires in the middle of the forest. Dink, angered that the hags would use Iomadae’s name to further their evil ways, sees right through this illusion, and yet chooses to kick in the door and to confront these false gods face to face. He sees the hag which Rotli described, standing behind the altar and senses 3 strong evil presences. He calmly walks up and successfully bluffs to the would-be goddess that he is her ever faithful servant, in a clever ploy to close the gap between the two of them before unleashing his righteous fury upon her. Just before he is within reach of her, Julian’s ill-timed heroic moment causes him to crash through the stained glass window, sustaining unnecessary cuts to his body. With the crew poised and ready to strike, the chapel melts away to reveal the crew is in a valley on the beach, surrounded by skeleton archers on either side. The fire pits burst and 4 burning skeletons erupt forth. The hag Iomadae quickly disappears and two hags take her place. A furious frenzy begins, with Dink quickly disposing of the burning skeletons. Julian, horrified by the sight of the hag, has difficulty landing any hits and fails to do any significant damage. Sear unleashes her wand of magic missile and quickly helps to kill the surrounding skeletons while Karn and Dink make short work of the 2 hags.

Panting, weakened, bleeding, and hurt, the crew look out to water and see that their boat has been moved, and that a skeleton crew has taken their entire crew prisoner. Sandara is being viciously whipped on the deck, with each whip her cries getting louder and louder. Sear, in some awkward act of mercy, casts a magic missile at Sandara’s assistant, causing the skeleton to crumble into a lifeless pile of bones. Julian convinced Dink to drink a potion of cure light wounds to help him regain some of his vigor. The crew bravely dives into the water to swim the short distance to get to the ship. Sear continues to magic missile the skeletons on board, while Karn and Dink soon begin to make quick work of the skeletons as well. Julian finds the skeletons overwhelming, and unable to get a good position in for a sneak attack, he opts to withdraw from combat. He soon rejoins the battle, but chooses instead to free the imprisoned crew members so that they could aid in the fight.

Meanwhile, aboard a nearby ship, the valiant Halfling Ranger Blackfoot is locked in a cage with a few other shipmates. They have spent so much time here, that they cannot even remember how long they’ve been imprisoned. A skeleton comes in with his daily ration of slop, and Blackfoot seizes the skeletons complacency and attacks him with the bucket. The other prisoners quickly jump in to help the brave Halfling, and they soon move through the ship detaining and destroying all evil in their way. Blackfoot manages to stealth past a skeletons chef stirring a pot of what could only be his former crew mates. Some of his crew are relatively free, but in a deep state of psychosis from the hardships they’ve just endured. One of them is skinning another crew member, preparing him for the pot of slop. Blackfoot manages to subdue a small female skeleton, destroying the small figure and stealing her bright sapphire eyes. He moves through the ship like a whispering blade, quietly cutting down all those who stand in his way of freedom. He soon finds his pet croc Ishmael. Reunited, he dons his tough leather armor and reequips his axe and bow.

Back on Besmara’s Bitch, the crew is wrapping up combat, when a small, hairy peg-legged pirate appears on the deck. Soaking wet, and without uttering a word, he assists the crew in combat. Sear repeatedly demands to know who he is. The small figure remains voiceless as the last of the skeletons disintegrates. Seeing this small man as a threat to his crew, Karn moves to intercept him. Little words are spoken, but the duel is immediate and fierce. In some misguided sense of assistance, Sear colour spray’s her captain, giving the Halfling the advantage he needed to overpower Karn. During the frenzy, the hag who was impersonating Iomadae reappears on the deck, in an attempt to kill the paladin who has ruined her plans for territory control. Through the power of teamwork, Julian heals up Dink, Blackfoot takes a snipers position, and Karn and Sear aid Dink in helping him deal the final blow to the wretched sea hag.

The crew rejoices in their rediscovered freedom, only to turn to the mysterious stranger and ask, “Who are you?”


MarkPydo MarkPydo

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