Having finally purified the Temple of Gardmore Abbey the companions now found themselves on the trek to Winterhaven, where Sir Oakley invited them in order to collect their reward. It was over these several days of travel that the group noticed numerous plumes of smoke over the northern horizon. More than one in the group feared the worst, the large fires of an approaching army?! It had been many months since the group had any sort of contact with the Queen’s Army, and if the groups suspicions proved true, it showed that the armies progress was now becoming a threat to much of the known world.
Winterhaven finally appeared on the horizon the next day. It was smaller than most expected, but seemed well protected with a large curtain wall skirting around it’s perimeter. The village was made up of approximately two-hundred people, many of which worked the lands outside the protective walls. It was at a small temple inside those same walls that Sir Oakley led the group of travelers. This was where the Paladin of Bahamut lived in a small and modest room. Once inside he pulled out a chest from under his bed, and revealed numerous bags supposedly filled with coin. Carefully the paladin then pulled out five sacks, each containing four-hundered golden coins. But Fin refused to accept the reward, deciding that Sir Oakley’s agreement to join his newly founded Order of the Platinum Crest was payment enough. Sir Oakley was Fin’s first recruit for the new organization.
During the groups stay in Winterhaven fear began to mount as the smoke over the horizon continued to edge ever closer. It was under these ominous signs that the companions urged Lord Dunmore of Winterhaven to evacuate the city and head westward. After much deliberation the Lord of Winterhaven finally agreed to evacuate.
Eight days later the village of refugees, led by the trusted companions, arrived at Edgewood Hollow. Edgewood Hollow was a small coastal town built on the fishing and lumber industry. Thankfully the refugees were allowed to camp on the outer limits of the town, and safely inside the city walls. The refugees would soon head south along the coast, but planned to spend several days resting before heading out. Unfortunately the heroes would not be joining them as they had pressing business farther south, and now hoped to procure travel upon a sailing ship if at all possible. Thankfully with no smoke forming on the northern horizon, the companions received word that a ship was due at the docks the next day. It seemed to be a small stroke of luck, as the ship apparently dropped off supplies only a handful of times throughout the year.
Later that day the group also learned of an unidentified individual looking for a group of travelers fitting the companions descriptions. This mysterious individual had apparently talked to one of the townsfolk in a dark corner of the local tavern, but strangely remained hooded for the duration of the conversation. He reportedly had a husky voice, and a broad nose, but little else was known of the strange individual. Hearing this news Robyn immediately became alarmed, fearing that the assassin from Hommlet was now attempting to track him.
The next day the so called merchant ship arrived on schedule. Later that day after unloading its supplies on the docks the group finally had the opportunity to meet with the ships master, Captain Burgoyne. Right from the start it quickly became apparent that the captain was a no nonsense type of guy, as he engaged in little small talk, and instead cut right to the chase. Initially Captain Burgoyne seemed disinterested in taking on a group of passengers, requesting an obscene carrying fee of 1500 gold pieces up front. But when the companions accepted, as well as offering to carry out any duties that might need covering during the trip, the shocked captain quickly warmed to the idea with a smile of satisfaction. Fin then settled the specifics of the agreement with the ship’s master, before agreeing to meet back at the docks at first light the next morning.
At first light the next morning the group boarded the large sailing ship, but it quickly became clear that they were boarding more than a mere merchant vessel. Captain Burgoyne appeared nicely dressed, but others amongst the crew seemed more of the seedy type with dark leathery skin, and sheathed sabers at their side. Many were undoubtedly the product of many tough years on the high seas. Then as the ship set sail the companions quickly observed that the captain and his crew were all business, as no introductions were made, and everyone quickly went about their job with little notice of the crews new additions.
Over the first six days the ocean voyage took its toll on many of the companions, and more than a few found themselves afflicted with sea sickness. Thankfully however, each individual eventually found their sea legs. On the sixth day sails were spotted over the horizon to the west, but nothing more came of the situation. It wasn’t until the ninth night that something went amiss. It all began under the moonlit night as the vessel passed through a cluster of islands along the bend of the southern coast. It was under this eerily quiet night that strange lizard-like creatures climbed over the ships rails and assaulted those on night watch. The creatures had large fanned out spines along their backs, and carried long tridents for weapons. But it was their unusual leader that caught many of the crews attention. The amphibious creature appeared the same in many respects as the others, except that he had four arms and stood nearly twelve feet tall! As the battle was engaged the strange sea creatures held the advantage early on, and quickly disposed of two of the ships crewman, before much of the crew were able to respond. From there, the battle changed momentum numerous times with victory hanging in the balance. Then the swordmage, Altain, and the dwarf, Mongo, were both struck unconscious, and things seemed bleak at best. But thankfully the paladin Fin LaVie once again proved his worth when his prayers to Bahamut once again healed the companions grevious wounds. Finally, after a lengthy drawn out battle, the group gained the upper hand and disposed of the sahuagin raiders.
Two crew members were reported dead, and many knew the death toll could have been much worse. The ships crew referred to the amphibious creatures as sahuagin, or more commonly known as sea devils. Apparently the vile creatures were infamous for their heartless raids on vessels of the high seas, and ocean side communities throughout the world. The crew also explained that this ships survival was noteworthy, as few ever live to tell the tale of such an attack. A fact that was not lost on Captain Burgoyne, as he openly thanked the companion for their large part in the ships survival. It seemed the heroes had earned their keep, and over the next several days many amongst the crew began to warm towards the one time strangers.
The next morning the ship began to change course, navigating eastward around the southern tip of the continent. They were now entering the South Sea, and if the weather held, would enter the mysteriously dark waters of the Midnight Sea within five days. It was from these legendary waters that the heroes hoped to discover the sunken city of Vor Rukoth, and the ancient “Lost Scrolls” hidden within…