Legends and Lore

The East Wind (Episode 45)

Later that night the companions made their way towards The East Wind Temple. Outside two dragonborn guards could be seen flanking the stairway leading inside the temple. The group feeling that a full frontal assault might be too dangerous ultimately decided to fade back into the surrounding woods, and then quickly moved toward the eastern side of the temple. There they quickly had Robyn scale the side of the the temple in order to reach the roof. From there Robyn moved towards the sky-light to get a better look at what the companions might be up against. Surrounding the reflecting pool, far below, Robyn spotted another four dragonborn guards. Two other dragonborn were also spotted on the northern side of the Temple guarding the second stairway entering the building. Finally the group decided on a surprise attack from the temple roof, the sky-light serving as one attack point, while several others moved to other locations in order to jump down upon any other unsuspecting guards surrounding the buildings perimeter.

When the surprise attack was finally sprung the groups fears were in fact confirmed as countless more dragonborn guards of the Queen’s Army rushed out from the temple’s interior, several of which wielded a strange dark magic. It was becoming obvious that the companions down below were quickly becoming overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies, and soon the others on the roof were forced to come to their aid. Bodies began to litter the temple grounds when a general in the Queen’s army suddenly appeared from the quarters below The East Wind. This menacing dragonborn stood nearly 6’6" and made for an imposing figure, his beautifully crafted plate armor with a shield bearing the Queen’s insignia. He stood at the top of the stairway observing for a few short seconds before spotting the Paladin of Bahamut, Fin LaVie, amongst the chaos. Then he moved through the melee to close on “The Chosen One”. Fin noticed the imposing enemies approach and braced himself for the attack. There in the west wing of the temple the two forces of good and evil met as they locked swords and began looking for a hole in the defenses of their opponent. Then as suddenly as the encounter began the evil knight, General Gathus, bashed Fin in the face with his shield staggering the good paladin, and then followed with two quick slashes of the dragonborn’s longsword. Fin collapsed in a pool of blood, quickly losing consciousness. Mongo noticing the plight of his comrade, fought his way through the surrounding combatants in an attempt to assist the fallen paladin. There he stood over Fin as he staved off one assault after another, all the while speaking above the surrounding chaos with an uplifting and emotional tone in his voice. The dwarf’s words seemed powerful, and pushed his companions to greater heights upon the battlefield, but it was the effect upon Fin that surprised many – as the Paladin of Bahamut somehow managed to lift himself from the surrounding pool of blood before once again entering the fray! The inspiring words seemed powerful and uplifting to them all, and with Fin once again fighting alongside his companions the group of heroes managed to finally overcome their evil counterparts.

The blood soaked stonework of The East Wind was a disturbing sight following the battle, but each of the companions also knew it was a necessary outcome of these dark times. The group quickly scoured the temple for any other enemies, or other important information that might be lying about. In the west wing a page of parchment was discovered on a nearby desk. It was some sort of correspondence with the Queen’s forces, which now occupyied the nearby town of Timbervale, and it was signed by a Captain Valanth. Inside the letter Captain Valanth reported that the executions of rebel forces inside Timbervale had now been carried out!

It was shortly after discovering this valuable piece of correspondence that the group suddenly remembered that they had left the sage Tordarich Nem somewhere out in the woods south of the temple. Hoping the sage was still waiting for their return the group began scouring the nearby woods, and thankfully found the concerned sage within the hour. Soon the companions returned to the The Temple of the East Wind were they began considering what to do next. Several suggestions were made, but which should take priority proved less certain. Some suggested entering Timbervale in the hopes of contacting rebel forces to assist the resistance. Others hoped to contact the Dwarves to the north in Hammerfast, with the hopes of convincing them to assist in the liberation of Timbervale. Hard decisions needed to be made, and quickly, there was little time to lose!

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The Occupied North (Episode 44)

As the Queen’s guard began to board the Raven Queen the Paladin of Bahamut, Fin LaVie, knew he needed to act quickly. Carefully he quietly threw himself overboard, tucking his arms to his sides in an attempt to enter the water as quietly as possible. It wasn’t a moment too soon, as the guards flooded the deck and began questioning the entire crew, before scouring the entire vessel for any hidden passengers.

It became very obvious that the captain of the Queen’s Guard was suspicious, but no evidence was found upon any of the crew, or the ship. Finally the guard departed, but not before posting two guards on the docks near the Raven Queen. A nervous tension seemed palpable as the remaining companions made their way ashore, all the while attempting to appear as though nothing was amiss.

Meanwhile Fin carefully made his was to the shoreline, underneath the nearby docks. There he remained until it seemed safe to make his way towards the shoreline just outside of Edgewood Hollow. Several times the paladin thought he had been spotted, but somehow he managed to elude the posted guards detection.

Finally the companions made their way south of the town of Edgewood Hollow in an attempt to make contact with the missing paladin. It was little less that a mile out of town that Fin managed to spot the party making their way through the woods, and finally rejoined his companions. But as this reunion played out Robyn carefully pointed out to the others that the group was being followed! Stealthily the Rogue broke away in an attempt to flank the mysterious individual while pondering the possibility that it might be his nemisis – the dreaded assassin?! But as the crafty rogue moved into position the mysterious individual suddenly turned, departing back to town. With little time to consider an alternative plan, Robyn made a move to cut off the darkly cloaked individual, and eventually knocked the man unconscious. Quickly the companions tied the mysterious man up, and patiently waited for him to regain consciousness.

When the dark figure finally regained consciousness the companions set about questioning the man. He had apparently been told to trail the group in an attempt to discover whether the “Chosen One” was in fact with the party or not. He was then to report back to the officials in Edgewood Hollow. Satisfied with the man’s answers the group set him fee, with orders to continue south away from town, and not to return. The man thankfully obliged, and quickly disappeared from sight. Robyn seemed at ease with the decision, as the man bore no resemblance to the mysterious assassin he had once laid eyes on.

From there the group turned to the east, and began to skirt the northern border of the Feywood Forest as they made their way north to the city of Hommlet. It was there that the group once again, under the cover of darkness, made their way into the enemy occupied town before contacting the sage Todariche Nem. Then convincing the friendly sage to follow them north of town. They were now headed for Timbervale, where Fin LaVie hoped to protect Todariche Nem by hiding him in the Temple of the East Wind.

Finally after many days crossing the occupied lands of the north the companions finally reached the outskirts of Timbervale, but what they soon discovered was not what they had hoped. Timbervale was now occupied by the Queen’s Army! Disheartened by this discovery Fin LaVie began to wonder about the status of the newly built Temple of the East Wind. Quickly the companions pressed onward in the hopes of discovering the temple’s fate. The news wasn’t good, the East Wind was occupied as well. Fin’s heart sank, and then an angry fire began to rage in the paladin’s gut. Fin vowed that the East Wind would soon be liberated, and that the fine folks of Timbervale would soon enjoy their freedom once again as well. A plan was already developing in the Paladin of Bahamut’s mind, and failure was not an option!…

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An Unexpected Welcome (Episode 43)

Seconds after Altain struck the unsuspecting kobold from behind the swordmage knew he had put himself in a dangerous situation. Thoughts of the huge dragon flying away with him trapped upon the beasts back sent shivers down the seasoned warrior’s spine. There would be no escape then, just the enemy and the vast open sea, both providing little chance for survival. His mind made up Altain suddenly vanished from the dragon’s back, leaving the wounded kobold rider trying to make sense of what had just taken place. A short time later Altain suddenly appeared on the ship’s crows nest, where he continued his attack with his enchanted blade, Moonfire. The battle continued to rage, many of the companions now taking specific aim at the kobold rider in an attempt to drive the powerful dragon away. Then several powerful blasts finally hit their mark, and the kobold rider began to slump forward upon the green dragons back. The huge dragon swooped down for one final assault upon the ship’s deck, before banking to the right and flying off into the distant horizon. But Robyn, standing high above in the crows nest refused to let the little rider escape, and quickly released one final toss of his dagger. The throw proved true and the small kobold yelped in pain and frustration. Then the kobold began reaching for the small blade embedded in his back but to no avail, the enchanted dagger, Trifflik’s Blade, was once again safely in the rogue’s hands.

The companions began tending to their wounds shortly after the unexpected conflict. The next several hours passed peacefully as the sun set and darkness set in. A warm summer breeze blew out of the west as the Raven Queen calmly passed over the dark waters, while Captain Burgoyne and his girlfriend, Jahieda, decided to turn in for the night. But the dwarf, Mongo, was uncomfortable leaving the captain alone, and asked to stand watch outside the captain’s quarters. Robyn, apparently entertained by the surprising offer simply smiled, and with a shake of his head once again took his place in the safe and familiar surroundings of the crows nest high above.

It was late-night when the pilot of the Raven Queen loudly announced that land had been spotted ahead in the full moon-lit night. Below the ship’s deck Mongo’s candle provided just enough illumination for the dwarf’s low-light vision to function. However the dwarf was exhausted, and he soon fell asleep in front of the captain’s door. It was nearing midnight when Mongo was suddenly awakened as something slammed into him! Pain filled the unsuspecting dwarf’s body as he lay prone, while defensively covering his head as he attempted to make out whatever it was that had suddenly attacked him. It was then that he noticed a shadowy figure standing over him, the flickering candle light reflecting in it’s dark eyes. Thoughts of the assassin flooded the dwarf’s mind as he prepared to rise up to meet his enemy. It was then that his heart seemed to flutter and the cold grip of death began to flow through Mongo’s body, as fear enveloped him as never before. Then as quickly as it began darkness overcame him, and Mongo suddenly collapsed unconscious!

Meanwhile, above on the deck of the Raven Queen, those still awake began preparing to dock in the coastal town of Edgewood Hollow. The pilot now needed to speak to Captain Burgoyne, and asked if someone would be so kind as to go retrieve him from his restful sleep below. Altain proved willing and disappeared through the hatch. In the distance the swordmage spotted the dwarf resting near the small flickering candle-light outside the captain’s quarters. But as Altain neared he began to recognize that something was amiss! The dwarf appeared pale, and there was no movement to speak of. Then from the surrounding darkness something slammed Altain across the face nearly knocking the swordmage to the ground. Quickly Altain screamed for help as he wielded around to confront his attacker. It was then that he realized that this was no man, but a creature of shadow – the dreaded bodak! Fin, hearing the desperate scream, dashed across the ship’s deck and descended below. Seeing this commotion from above Robyn leaped from the crows nest, displaying a feat of acrobatics that astonished the Raven Queen’s crew, and landing awkwardly thirty-feet below before spring up and rushing through the ship’s hatch near the bow. Once below the rogue stealthily made his way through the numerous barrels stored in the cargo hold in an attempt to gain the advantage. Fin, seeing the dwarf now lying motionless, moved in quickly, and then fell into prayer calling upon Bahamut to revive his dying companion. It was there in the faint candle lit hull of the Raven Queen that the companions somehow managed to fight off the strange creature of shadow once again. A sense of relief becoming evident on each of the companion’s faces as the mysterious being slowly faded from sight.

Once again the battered group tended to their wounds while discussing recent events. Many spoke of the being of shadow, and openly wondered if this mysterious creature was perhaps their elusive stowaway and assassin? But none could be sure, and slowly the groups attention turned towards the docks of Edgewood Hollow. It was then that the crew began to notice armed town guards standing in formation, and many onboard began wondering what was going on? Upon docking the group sent Altain to see what was up? There on the docks the Eladrin swordmage began negotiating the Raven Queens safe harbor. Apparently the guards were searching for a group of supposed thugs, and murderers, and simply wanted to search the ship for any of the suspected criminals. Then as the boarding party began making their way aboard Altain heard one individual mention something about “choosing someone”, but unfortunately he couldn’t quite make out the whole conversation. Then the captain of the guard gave the orders to be on the lookout for “the Chosen One”! The companions suddenly felt their hair stand on end, and panic began to take hold of their every thought. What should they do now? Although the Raven Queen was fast at full sail, any attempted at an unexpected departure would surely be a slow endeavor, and with little crew remaining to hoist the sails, and a warm breeze blowing inland, there seemed little hope for escape.

Robyn, still perched high above in the crows nest, looked down upon the ship and the surrounding harbor. From there the rogue had a birds-eye view of the group’s surroundings, and it was from there that a bad feeling began to take hold in the half-orc’s gut. Edgewood Hollow was now occupied!

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A World of Shadow (Episode 42)

Time was of the essence, and Fin LaVie knew it, so without further discussion the paladin began to shimmy his way across the rope now linking the ghost ship to the Raven Queen nearly forty-feet away. The fog covered waters of the shadowfell made for an unnerving climate since one never knew what might lurk only a short distance away. So with the ghost ship aflame Fin had few options as he quickly made his way across the fog shrouded rope. Then as he grabbed for the deck rail of the Raven Queen the featureless figure of the bodak once again appeared, violently striking the unsuspecting paladin! Quickly hearing the distant commotion Altain and Mongo soon followed, coming to the aid of their unseen companion.

It was during this commotion that the Raven Queen’s pilot decided to inspect the sudden ruckus and suddenly vanished into the thick wall of fog. Then a blood curdling scream once again pierced the silence. A short time later, in an amazing twist of good fortune, Robyn suddenly came stumbling from the foggy curtain! Unfortunately however, the pilot of the ship did not return.

Over the next several minutes the battle continued to rage upon the Raven Queen’s fog shrouded deck until the featureless bodak mysteriously vanished, and the vampire’s undead essence was violently extinguished by one final blow from Mongo’s enchanted battle axe.

With the eerie and bloody battle finally concluded the crew of the Raven Queen began attending to the wounded. Fortunately the pilot was also discovered, and although unconscious, Fin soon attended to his grievous wounds and managed to revive the poor soul. For nearly ten hours afterwards the companions ship continued to float through the dense fog with little or no breeze to speak of. Many aboard the Raven Queen began to wonder whether they would ever see the sun again, or if they might drift aimlessly for eternity in the unwelcoming gray world of shadow? Finally after nearly ten hours the mysterious fog began to lift! Within a few short minutes the sun began to appear high above and the winds began to increase, and the Raven Queen was once again able to set sail for Edgewood Hollow.

Reflecting on the groups recent experiences many wondered how exactly they had found themselves in such a place as the shadowfell? None had the answers however, and what little explanation Altain could provide from his extensive studies seemed to revolve on just simple bad luck or chance.

The next day the Raven Queen continued its voyage north, enjoying the rush of the sea beneath their bow due to the full set of sails above. It was that afternoon as the voyage neared its end that Robyn spotted something in the distant sky ahead. At first the distant object appeared to be nothing more than a dark speck, but Robyn expected the worst. From the crows nest the eagle eyed Rogue immediately sounded the alarm – dragon! Robyn was soon proved correct as the shimmering green scales of the winged beast became clearly evident in the warm afternoon sun. Then the huge dragon began to dive! Two bolts were quickly released from the ships catapults, but soon proved off the mark as the beast quickly closed. It was then that a small rider was spotted upon the massive creatures back. It appeared to be a dog-like humanoid many believed to be a kobold, with a high pitched laugh that was audible to the ships crew as the dragon released an acidic chlorine-like liquid upon the deck below. Screams of agony filled the air as men dove towards cover, the burning smell of chlorine assaulting the companions lungs, and burning exposed flesh. It was at this moment that many realized exactly how much danger they were really in, as the dragon swooped past before banking to the right and making yet another pass, releasing another blast of acidic chlorine down upon the deck! Each companion knew that they stood little chance of victory over the flying beast, but held out hope that they could drive the creature away. Mongo had another idea – aim for the rider upon the dragon’s back! It seemed a long shot to strike the rider down, but if successful many hoped the green dragon might relent? None could be sure, but some agreed the idea was worth a try.

Finally after several passes the dragon stopped swooping from the sky and began hovering near the ships central mast. Robyn, positioned in the crows nest nearly thirty-feet above the deck, was quick to realize his precarious position. Defending himself while moving behind the mast, the rogue hoped to find cover before quickly making his way towards the ladder in order to descend from the dangerous location above. But the dragon seemed unalarmed by the fleeing half-orc, and simply repositioned its long neck in order to get a better view of the hapless rogue. It was at that moment that Robyn’s eyes noticed the green dragon’s frightening stare. Immediately Robyn stopped his descent, and found himself suddenly climbing back up to the crows nest! Robyn’s companions looked on in shock from below, horrified that their rogue companion now stood only five-feet away from the terrifying beast! Then the green dragon suddenly struck with the bite of it’s razor sharp teeth and claws, ripping into the unsuspecting rogue with a savage bloodthirstiness. Robyn, suddenly regaining his senses, suddenly recognized an immense pain as his flesh ripped open with each successive attack. Staggering, he managed to take cover once again behind the ships mast, while contemplating an escape route through pain clouded thoughts.

Blood rained down from above, and Fin quickly realized Robyn’s dire situation. The paladin bolted up the mast in an attempt to assist the rogue. Altain, also recognized the dire situation, and suddenly vanished from the Raven Queen’s deck before suddenly reappearing on the dragons back, and then striking the beast’s unsuspecting kobold rider! Blood once again showered down upon the deck below, but this time it was that of the enemies…

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Ghost Ship (Episode 41)

Again the undead zombie lunged towards Altain and Fin, as each desperately attempted to avoid the creature’s dangerously sharp claws. A thick fog still eerily clinging about the deck of the mysterious gray ship as a level of discomfort continued to seep into each companion’s psyche. Hearing the commotion Mongo soon made a running jump to the mysterious ghost ship in order to check up on his companions. It was then that all three companions began to make out the sounds of shuffling feet through the thick fog. Soon two more zombies lunged from the surrounding veil of gray. The group was now beginning to doubt whether these three undead would be the only ones to pay them a visit. Then one of the zombies was struck down, and collapsed in a heap upon the ship’s deck. The companions felt a rush of hope believing they were equipped to handle the unexpected undead. But this was merely a fools hope, as the creature suddenly arose from death once again and began slashing wildly at each member of the group! Fear began to course through each of the companions, and strangely some began to feel lethargic, while others confused, angry, and mad. Each companion sensed the changes taking place inside them, but seemed ill equipped to deal with the confusing emotions that were taking hold. Finally the group dropped several of the undead and the zombies failed to rise again. Altain’s sword Moonfire also proved helpful due to it’s enchanted blade wreathed in flame, which apparently destroyed the unholy creature’s ability to rise again. Fin too found success with his ability to channel the radiant holy powers of Bahamut. Despite this sudden success however the unholy and rotting zombies continued to assault the group as they one by one slowly appeared from the ubiquitous gray fog. Then as Fin moved toward the ships mast a large hand suddenly burst though the deck from the cargo hold below in an attempt to tear at the paladin’s legs! Luckily the quick reaction of the paladin avoided the creatures massive claw. Then with a quick look below Fin suddenly jumped through the hole! Standing amongst the oppressive darkness Fin began to feel the creature’s gaze upon him but feared the fact that he couldn’t see his enemy, so he quickly sheathed his enchanted sword Moonbane. It was in those final seconds of light that Fin thought he saw a human sized shadow to his right, but then passed it off on an over active imagination. With the soft glow of his blade sheathed the paladin hoped the large green creature he had seen below was as blind as he, and if the creature was a troll, as he had anticipated, he believed the playing field had now been balanced. This was a miscalculation however, as a large clawed hand suddenly swiped through the darkness nearly raking Fin across the face! The paladin quickly drew Moonbane bathing the immediate area in a soft white light. But what he now saw standing before him was not what the holy fighter had expected. Instead it was a ten-foot tall zombie of rotting flesh that appeared to be more ogre-like than troll, and its next strike sent Fin prone upon the ships wooden floor. The paladin of Bahamut quickly realized his mistake, and his mind began to race in an attempt to figure out how he might survive a battle alone with such a powerful creature? Then another massive swing narrowly missed, smashing a nearby barrel instead, and spilling its contents upon the wooden floor. It was filled with what appeared to be black soil?

Above, Mongo and Altain continued their struggle with four zombies, while Robyn jumped over the rail to assist his companions on the ghost ship’s deck. It was during this desperate fight that the companions suddenly heard a blood curdling scream from the Raven Queen’s decks. Whatever it was none could be certain, but one thing was sure – it wasn’t good. Then a short time later another scream echoed into the lightless gray sky. Robyn feeling the need to react quickly made his way back to the Raven Queen, and then called out for all hands on deck to make their way towards his voice. Captain Burgoyne and his crew were quick to answer, but three members were now missing. Two of the deck hands and the captain’s girlfriend were nowhere to be found. It was an ominous sign, and each crew member now began to fear for their lives.

Back on the deck of the ghost ship the dwarf Mongo and his eladrin counterpart Altain continued their struggle with several zombies. Then a wolf suddenly appeared, leaping through the mysterious mist! It’s canines ripping into the unsuspecting Altain. But the wolf quickly disappeared into the fog as quickly as it had appeared.

Meanwhile, below the deck of the ghost ship Fin continued his struggle with the ten-foot tall zombie, and the situation was beginning to appear hopeless. The towering undead creature’s strength was immense, and the paladin was beginning to wonder how much longer he might be able to withstand the brutal beating? But his mind had little time to contemplate as another crushing blow landed knocking the Fin to the floor, but not before something else struck the paladin from behind! Quickly Fin turned to look up in order to see his assailant. In the soft white glow of his enchanted blade what he saw he could not be sure? The strange humanoid creature seemed to be nothing more than a non-descript, featureless form with a elongated face and deep dark penetrating eyes. It was then that Fin began to tremble, and his heart began to race as the paladin’s strength began to waver. Then before he was able to understand the magnitude of the situation Fin suddenly lost consciousness, and fell into darkness…

Up above, Mongo and Altain had now gained the upper hand as the continuous assault of the undead finally began to lessen. Looking through the hole to the cargo hold below Altain spotted Fin’s motionless body laying in the soft glow of his blade, and two strange creatures flanking him. Quickly Altain lept to the paladins aid, with Mongo close behind. Desperately the two companions flailed away at their enemies in the hopes of saving their hapless friend. It was then that the strange humanoid creature known as a Bodak suddenly turned and began walking away, and then vanished into the darkness beyond. But the towering zombie remained, knocking the companions to the floor more than once before finally falling in battle. Nervously the companions scoured their dark surroundings hoping to catch sight of any trouble that might be lurking nearby. Meanwhile Mongo began working on Fin, who lay nearby, and began attempting to revive the paladin. The dwarf’s words of inspiration soon proved effective as Fin began to stir, but then the unexpected occured as the large zombie suddenly rose! Quickly the companions brought their weapons to bare, and desperately fought off the brutally tough zombie once again. Finally the unholy creature was put down, and the three exhausted companions began to inspect the dark recesses of the huge cargo hold.

It was during these tense minutes that Robyn continued to scour the deck of the Raven Queen in an attempt to discover any of the missing crew. Those that had been located now closely followed the rogue towards the stern of the ship, all the while fearful of becoming lost in the thick fog. It was then that the group discovered the badly mangled body of one of the missing crew. His body had been torn to shreds, and now lay in a pool of blood. Robyn continued to lead the group towards the stern of the ship where they soon discovered the unharmed pilot still at the wheel. Robyn then asked the captain where his girlfriend might be found. He explained that she was most likely right below them in his captain’s quarters. Robyn quickly disappeared, and soon returned with the frightened woman. But Robyn apparently felt a need to continue his inspection of the fog covered deck, as he told the group to remain where they stood, as he promised to return soon. Shortly thereafter the half-orc screamed suddenly, and a short struggle could be heard from the thick fog before all fell silent. Then a half-hearted scream ended with what sounded like a gurgle, and something began to thrash violently about the fog covered deck. The crew was too terrified to inspect whatever the commotion was, and instead stood in fear where the rogue Robyn had told them to remain.

Over on the decks of the ghost ship the remaining three companions continued to explore the second deck. There they discovered at the ships stern several chambers elegantly decorated with numerous candles burning brightly. A desk was found containing serveral writings, and bookshelves lined two of the walls. It was then that Altain began to read a few random pages about the Shadowfell, and then it suddenly hit him. The varying degrees of grayness, the dark shadows, the mysterious fog – their ship had somehow found a rift on the high seas, they were all in the Shadowfell! Somehow Altain had missed the subtle clues, but now it all made sense. But there was little time to ponder their current circumstances, and soon the group moved to a nearby door that led to yet another chamber. Inside several chairs and armoirs where discovered along with a rectangular wooden box. Suddenly each of the companions blood ran cold as each of their fears came to fruition – the box was in fact a coffin! Unnerved, yet still curious, the group continued to scour the room for anything important or valuable. The dwarf Mongo spotted a chest sitting on one of the nearby armoirs, and moved in to take a better look. Suddenly the chest suddenly attacked! Quickly Mongo gathered his wits about him, and began bashing the thing to pieces with his axe. The dwarf had suffered a nasty bite from the strange creature, but soon proved the better. Altain and Fin then moved towards the casket. The inside was lined with silk, and was padded beautifully, an unexpected sight if one were to judge the simple wooden frame of the box from its exterior. It all seemed to confirm the groups suspicions – there was a vampire amongst them! It was then that the group spotted a crimson colored animal hide hidden under the casket’s interior. Further inspection revealed the tanned animal skin to actually be an elegantly fashioned set of hide armor. Thankfully the group had noticed the armor, since shortly after the discovery Altain threw a flask of oil into the coffin’s lavish interior before Fin added one of the nearby candelabras. The casket was soon enveloped in flames. Mongo excitedly claimed the crimson colored armor perhaps believing he knew something of its make. Then suddenly the three companions heard numerous screams peircing the foggy silence above deck! Quickly Fin, Altain, and Mongo raced above deck to see what the commotion was all about. But to their surprise when the arrived at the ghost ship’s rail the Raven Queen was nowhere to be found!!!

Below deck the casket fire had now begun to spread thoughout the lower quarters of the ghost ship. The three companions could hardly believe their luck, and began to respect the resourcefulness, and intelligence, of their advessary. But there was little time for reflection as each of the three began to realize that time was of the essance. Fin then spotted the grappling hook that had tied the two ships together hanging from the ghost ship’s rail, the rope hanging down to the dark water below. The rope had been cut. Desperately the group took out another fifty-foot rope and began knotting the remaining twenty-feet to it. Then they quickly heaved the grappling hook into the distant fog in the hopes of catching a hold of missing Raven Queen, but only the splash of the heavy metal hook could be heard at the end of several desperate attempts. Things were beginning to look bleak when one throw finally resounded with a heavy thud. Hope began to take hold amongst the companions, and they slowly began to gather up the rope’s slack. Then the rope suddenly went taut, as the grappling hook thankfully grabbed hold! By the groups estimates the Raven Queen was nearly fourty-feet in the distance, and with little time to delay Fin began to prepare to make his way across the tightly drawn line. But before taking to the rope his companions began shouting an alternative plan – perhaps pulling the ship toward them if all three joined their collective strength?

The flames were now licking through the deck from below, and there was little time to waste. A decision needed to be made quickly, for not only was the ghost ship being quickly engulfed in flames, but others aboard the Raven Queen were apparently in desperate need. Not to mention the groups missing companion Robyn, who had earlier gone off to protect the Raven Queen’s crew. The group now realized that the rogue might very well be up against a dreaded creature of the night, a vampire!…

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The Fog (Episode 40)

With the wounded tended to, and the ship thoroughly searched for a suspected assassin, the Raven Queen once again set sail upon the open sea. No assassin had been discovered on board the vessel but there remained an uneasiness amongst the crew.

Several days into the voyage things seemed to be going very well, and with the winds filling the sails significant time was being made. But all good things must come to an end, and when the Raven Queen suddenly struck something below the waters surface all on board knew nothing good was sure to come of it. The ship had lost nearly three-quarters of its top speed and the crew now peered over the ship’s rail in an attempt to spot whatever it was the ship had struck. Suddenly a gyser of water erupted at the ship’s bow, and a huge five-headed hydra exploded from the depths of the sea! This mythical creature proved much larger than the hydra the crew had encountered near Vor Rukoth, and the group soon discovered that fire seemed to have little effect towards cauterizing the creatures severed heads! Soon the hydra had sprouted eight heads, and many thought the situation was near hopeless – until the massive creature began to show signs of significant wounds. It was with this renewed hope that the companions finally felled the beast, before watching its bloody carcass slowly descend back to the bottom of the sea.

Days later the Raven Queen once again passed the island clusters near the cape of the mainland, before once again breaking into the open ocean waters. The islands were nearly a full day behind them when the strong ocean breezes began to calm later that evening, and as morning broke a thick fog began moving in. The sails now rarely showed signs of air flow, and the crew began wondering if any sort of movement might be possible in the coming days? All the while the mysterious fog continued to thicken until visibility had been cut to a mere ten to fifteen feet. Then out of nowhere the mysterious silhouette of a sail ship suddenly appeared off the bow of the Raven Queen! Evasive manuevers where quickly taken and a collision was narrowly avoided. The dwarf, Mongo, stood near the rail quietly uttering the words “a ghost ship”, but few responded. Everyone aboard the Raven Queen seemed leary of the ships sudden appearance, and the mysterious fog coupled with the unnerving calm of the open ocean waters, seemed to have all on edge. Then the order came down from Captain Burgoyne to throw the grappling hooks over, and the two vessels were soon parallel.

The mysterious vessel seemed abandoned, and soon a boarding pary was assembled. Fin LaVie and Altain Moonfire would be the first to board. The two companions soon set foot upon the old vessel, the wooden decks faded and gray, and it’s wooden masts disappearing into the thick fog above with no sails in sight. Soon both spotted a body lying nearby, but as they moved closer it’s level of decay became obvious. Both moved closer still in an attempt to get a better look, and it was then that a foot appeared to twitch. Then the creature suddenly lunged at the companions with a vicious swipe of it’s sharp fingernails. Quickly the companions reacted, and somehow managed to avoid the zombies attack. Nearby those on the Raven Queen stood amazed at the sudden rising of the dead corpse. It was during this sudden attack that some noticed the distant roar of what sounded like a raging river? But the thick blanket of fog provided little evidence to what was making the terrifying and unexpected noise. There was little time to contemplate however, as the animated zombie continued to make violent swipes with its clawed hands at Fin and Altain. Thankfully the two heroes were now battle hardened warriors, and each began to take in their surroundings as they planned out their strategy. It was then that both noticed shadows beginning to darken as light seemingly drained from the area. The companions blinked in an attempt to clear their vision, but to no avail. Then an oppressive feeling began to overtake them both, as an unfamiliar desperation began to take hold. It was an uncomfortable feeling like neither had ever experienced before, and as the two companions surveyed their colorless surroundings it sent shivers down their spine. Black melted into gray, and gray into darkness, a monotone cascade of confusion that put both on edge.

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Dark Waters (Episode 39)

As the heroes attempted to escape the sunken ruins of Vor Rukoth they were continually harassed by the mysterious beholder of shadow. Many began to wonder if escape from the ruins was even possible, as the creature showed an innate ability to vanish into thin air, only to reappear somewhere else in the distance. The situation was proving to be a frustrating one, and made worse by the groups inablitity to move quickly in their small rowboats. But as time passed the group finally began to injure the strange creature when it engaged the group for an extended period of time. The momentum failed to last however as the mysterious orb of eye stalks became a bloodied mess, and then once again faded into the shadows, and then vanished. At this point each companion had begun to grow weary of this routine, and a concerted effort was being made to remain ever vigilant of the next attack. The next attack never came.

Soon the group found themselves at the edge of the ruins, and paddling quickly into the open waters. Thankfully Captain Burgoyne’s ship still remained, and the two small rowboats quickly made their way towards the harbinger of safty. All the while an attack from the depths below seeming a real possibility. But the tentacled beast was nowhere to be found.

Finally the group reached the safty of the vessel, and Robyn skillfully made his way up the wooden side to secure a rope for the others. It was then that the half-orc rogue discovered the crew lined up along the rail of the ship, and Captain Burgoyne quickly filled Robyn in on recent events while the others waited below. Apparently another crew member had been found below deck, his throat slit and nearly decapitated. A grisly murder carried out with percision and skill. The Captain seemed certain that the assassin stood amongst them now, and seemed determined to root out the killer.

Meanwhile the remaining companions were assisted onto the Raven Queen’s decks. It was then that a plan was devised by Fin. The paladin then began to go through the crews lineup, carefully inspecting each individuals facial features and hair with the feel of his hands. But nothing seemed amiss and Fin turned to suggest a second plan of action, a careful walk-through using a search line through every one of the ships decks and living quarters. It was during this walk-through that the kraken struck!

Suddenly the ship rocked violently, and the loud cracking of wood split the nervous silence below deck. As the companions quickly made their way above deck what they witnessed was enough to send fear through the most seasoned of sailors. Four of the gargantuan kraken’s tentacles had curled themselves around the entire ship and it’s central mast. Four other massive tentacles thrashed about in the salty air, grabbing hold of anything available. An attack upon the four tentacles coiled around the vessel immediately commenced, but to little effect as the kraken’s powerful arms seemed immovable. Two crew members were then soon plucked violently from the deck and disappeared below the dark waters of the Midnight Sea. The situations seemed to grow more dire by the second as the kraken began violently shaking the ship causing the decks to roll. The pilot of the ship then gave desperate order to raise the sails, as he stumbled his way towards the wheel in an attempt to steady the vessel and somehow escape. Then the captains girlfriend was thrown off balance and thrown overboard. Shortly after, Mongo and Fin suddenly found themselves in the deathly grips of two of the massive tentacles! Unable to break free both soon vanished over the rail, seemingly doomed to drowned under the bloodied waters of the sea. Then the kraken suddenly loosened its death grip upon the vessel, and many began to hope that the creature’s end might be near. But these hopes were soon dashed as the creature regripped the vessel and once again violently slammed the vessel into the water. Wood splintered and cracked, and the ship’s hull began to sink deeper into the dark waters, the deck barely above water level. Desperate, the crew and heroes continued the fight while all hope seemed to be slowly slipping away. Then Altain landed a brutal slice deep into the kraken’s massive tentacled arm, and the beast suddenly released its grip. Upon this release the ship rebounded from the dark water as blood gushed from beneath. Those on board scrambled towards the ship’s rail, and there below Mongo and Fin could both be seen attempting to swim on the blood slicked surface of the sea.

The two companions, Fin and Mongo, were soon hoisted onto the deck before the search for other crew members continued. Of the four missing crew only two were spotted, and one happened to be Burgoyne’s girlfriend. Quickly, they too were fetched from the bloody waters, but neither was breathing. They were near death and only the healing powers of Bahamut, brought to bear through the hands of the paladin Fin LaVie, proved able to save them both.

Some how, some way, most of the crew and heroes had managed to survive. To a man each also knew how truly fortunate they really were. It was under these fortunate circumstances that each individual began to care for the wounded while repairs upon the damaged vessel commenced. The Raven Queen was badly damaged, but somehow she had managed to stay afloat, and the Captain couldn’t have been more proud.

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Eyes of Shadow (Episode 38)

As the evening set in the companions decided to take refuge under the flooded roof of the first large building inspected earlier that day. The hope was to sleep in the small rowboats under cover without being disturbed. Little was known of what might lurk in the dark and flooded ruins of the night, but to a man each knew it probably wouldn’t be good, and this location seemed as safe as any.

It was during this rest, and as the early morning hours approached, that the group came under sudden attack. The first signs of trouble came from an unexpected direction, below the groups small rowboats. Not only was an attack from inside the building unexpected, by the sight of a large lobster-like creature seemed more the story of a childhood nightmare. But things continued to grow more dire as the group began to realize that this strange creature (known as a Chuul) was apparently not alone. As explosions of fire suddenly erupted amongst the confused companions. Soon more creatures began to surface around the small boats, and it quickly became apparent that this was yet another ambush of the strange frog-men known by sailors as bullywugs. But some of these attackers seemed different than those encountered a day earlier as some of them seemed capable of casting spells! The battle was hard fought, and at times the groups doom seemed nearly inevitable. Yet they fought on, and somehow turned the tide, finally winning out but at a cost. Many in the group were badly bloodied, and it was evident that the evenings rest would continue into the morning hours in an attempt to recover.

Later that morning the group appeared ready to push ahead. The long shadows of the morning stretched across the flooded ruins of Vor Rukoth, and an eerie silence seemed to fill the cool moist air. Slowly the group began making their way towards the open sea and the large sailing ship that hopefully still awaited their return. Each companion knew that the group was most vulnerable crowded into the two small rowboats, but there were no other options, so the heroes made the best of an uncomfortable situation. Suddenly a dark ray shot out from the shadows of a nearby street, and then another black ray quickly followed! The group weilded about in an attempt to distinguish the origin of the attack, and spotted behind them a shadowy orb at the far end of the street. Fin took to the nearby roof tops, and began running towards the location the strange creature had been spotted. But when he arrived there was nothing to be seen?! Fin then turned to the group several blocks away, and the shadowy orb suddenly appeared in front of the groups rowboats! Two more rays quickly followed, one of gray shadowy matter, the other a dark and cloudy blue that crackled and thundered like an intense storm. Fin turned, and once again began running towards his unsuspecting comrads. Then the situation grew worse, as the heroes paddled their way toward the nearby corner of a building. Suddenly two tentacles exploded from the dark waters! Mongo soon found himself lifted from the small boat, as his companions attempted to strike out at the creature’s arm in an attempt to release the tentacle’s grip on the dwarf. Two more rays then shot from the shadowy orb’s eyestalks before the large orb began fading into the nearby shadows, and then vanished from sight once again. Thankfully at that point the companions had managed to free Mongo from the tentacles grip, and the dark waters once again fell still, as an eerie silence once again descended across the area. Each of the companions could sense that things were far from over, but none were sure from where the next attack might strike…

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The Lost Library (Episode 37)

Finally after some quick preparation the companions began to climb down into the rowboats, and began making their way towards the sunken ruins of Vor Rukoth. But as they neared the city an immense commotion began to emanate from the location of the Raven Queen. The ship had come under attack from the long and powerful tentacles of what many in the crew had believed to be the legendary sea creature known as the kraken. Desperate cries could be heard through the still night air, as the crew of the Raven Queen scrambled to fight off the powerful tentacles now threatening to pull the ship to the depths of the Midnight Sea. Then finally after a short struggle the beast unexpectedly released its deadly grip upon the vessel and vanished below the dark surface of the sea.

Relieved that the vessel seemed safe for the time being, the heroes continued to row towards the ruins, when they too suddenly came under the same attack! Thankfully however quick action seemed to spare the group as they lashed out with their blades, slashing the beast’s tentacled arms many times over, and sending the creature into retreat. Once again the dark waters of the Midnight Sea fell still, and the night air became eerily quiet.

Once the rowboats reached the flooded ruins the distinct sounds of croaking could be heard emanating in the distance, and more than one hero recalled children stories of a frog-like people called bullywugs. None could be certain if these sounds had any connection to such stories, but none would be surprised if they were in fact true, after all having witnessed what they had already over the past year nothing seemed impossible. The two small rowboats continued into the ruin’s flooded streets in the hopes of spotting a larger building that resembled a library when they heard several splashes in the distance. It wasn’t long before the frogmen known as bullywugs appeared not only from the dark waters, but over the rooftops of several of the surrounding buildings. A number of the heroes jumped to the nearby rooftops, while others chose to remain in the boats. It was during this conflict with the bullywugs that a women’s voice was suddenly heard singing in the distance. The melody proved enchanting as more that one individual found themselves drawn towards its hidden origin. Others meanwhile continued to struggle against the assault of the numerous frogmen now surrounding the group. Finally Robyn, now straying from the immediate conflict, discovered the origin of the beautiful song – a bird-like woman with clawed feet and wings, a harpy! Thankfully, as Robyn neared, he finally managed to break from the trans-like state of the enchanting song, and began to defend himself from the sudden attack of the bird woman. Meanwhile the other companions had begun to get the upper hand against their bullywug attackers. While several others began assaulting the harpy, until it finally fell lifeless upon a nearby rooftop.

Blood now ran freely from several of the rooftops, as well as in the waters of the flooded ruins, and once again an eerie silence began to descend upon the area. Then several rays of light suddenly shot from a nearby flooded street corner. Something was apparently still amiss. Then one of the companions pointed out what appeared to be a large ball of shadow that seemed to be writhing with snakes! Some amongst the group moved in closer to investigate, hoping to get a better look at the mysterious sight. Some feared that the creature was perhaps a gorgon, otherwise known as a medusa, with the ability to turn a man to stone with just one look. But what they found was shocking, a large eyeball of shadow with many smaller eyestalks at its top, all wreathed in shadow and darkness! The sight of the strange creature was nothing short of bone chilling, and none knew for certain what it was that they had just laid eyes upon? But with little time to reflect upon the sudden turn of events many of the companions move in to battle the enemy of shadow. Eyes rays of paralyzing effect, as well as those that blinded, quickly began to scour the battlefield as the companions attempted to close on their newfound enemy. But the strange eyeball seemed impossible to outmaneuver. Then the creature sank back into the shadows and mysteriously disappeared from sight! The heroes quickly began to scour the area, but to no avail, the enemy of shadow was nowhere to be found. But each of the companions couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t being watched from afar? Suddenly each dark corner, and alleyway, within the sunken ruins seemed ominous, and danger seemed to lurk all about.

It was under these tense circumstances that the heroes continued their search for the “Lost Scrolls”, and their ancient knowledge of a mysterious prophecy. The task at hand seemed nearly impossible, but after an extensive search the flooded library was finally discovered. The library was in a smaller building than expected but a quick swim beneath the waters confirmed its past use, its interior walls were still lined with shelves. From there the group planned to make several dives inside hoping to discover a stairway deep below. Bahamut proved to be with them on this day, as the divers soon discovered a lower level, and a stash of scroll cases too numerous to count. A careful search eventually revealed two scroll cases that still remained tightly sealed, and seemed of greater value than many of the others. These two were soon returned to the surface along with several other scrolls of interest. In the two most significant scroll cases, upon sheets of brittle and ancient parchment, an ancient prophecy was discovered as well as an ancient Ritual of Quenching. Each read as follows:

The Prophecy:
Nightmares of death rise on black wing
as blue Skies darken over sands covering,
Winter white Sleet falls upon a northern Wall
as Emerald forests of dead rise to the call,
Fiery red Flame pours from deaths wing
the Queen rises again as darkness comes calling.

Ritual of Quenching:
-Five elder chromatic dragons have awakened, but must now be destroyed.
-Weapons of the victor must then be quenched within the origin of the savage beasts killing breath.
-Only this will allow one to harm the Dark Queen and banish evil from the land.

Although cryptic in parts Fin LaVie and Altain Moonfire painstakingly poured of each and every word, and slowly they began to decipher what they believed to be the ancient prophecy. They knew Nightmare to be the name of the black dragon that guarded the Queen’s Stone, so began to comb the scroll for other obvious names that were capitalized, and settled on the following: Nightmare, Skie, Sleet, Emerald, and Flame. Each name correlated with a chromatic dragon of a particular hugh, and each was to rise from a deep slumber as an unexplainable darkness began to spread. Then finally culminating with the return of the Queen of Darkness!

In the second scroll of ancient parchment a mysterious ritual was contained, apparently explaining how to banish the Dark Queen. The other scrolls recovered contained various pieces of history from the region, and some specifically on the ancient city of Vor Rukoth, but nothing relating to mysterious prophecy.

It was then time to settle in and rest for the remainder of the evening, so the group returned to the first building they had searched earlier that evening, and began tearing off a small section of the roof. There they took up residence under the remaining cover of the roof, and settled into their rowboats for an uncomfortable, yet much needed rest. An uneasy silence once again fell across the flooded ruins of Vor Rukoth…

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The Sunken City (Episode 36)

The following day the Raven Queen’s sails were once again fully set, and the ship was making good time as it completed its trek around the cape. The crew was now sailing westward in the waters of the South Sea when dusk began to fall. It was only an hour later when a lookout spotted a mysterious form in the nearby waters, and a quiet word quickly spread that it appeared to be some sort of sea serpent? Tensions continued to mount as the minutes passed, until a long necked serpent suddenly exploded from the water! The crew quickly began to scramble to the defense of the ship. But the companions seemed determine to deal with the threat themselves as the dwarf Mongo insisted that the crew take cover below deck, but the crew either failed to listen or failed to hear the dwarf over all of the commotion. Then Altain approached the sailor who appeared to be in charge, and explained the need for the crew to remain unharmed in order to sail the ship. The explanation seemed to take hold, as the man turned and directed the others to take cover below. At that poinst many of the heroes had already begun to engage the large serpentine creature as it lunged at the group scattered along the ships decks, the creature’s long neck allowing its jaws to snap down upon men up to ten feet away from the ship’s rail. But the true danger had not yet been realized until four additional heads suddenly burst from the surrounding waters!! Audible gasps could be heard on deck, as each of the companions suddenly came to realize that this beast was no serpent at all, but instead a five headed hydra! But the brave heroes refused to back down, and after finally collecting themselves fought valiantly until two of the creature’s heads had been severed. Then something incredible took place, as each stump began to regenerate two heads! Suddenly the group of heroes now faced a six headed hydra!! It was under the stress of this sudden revelation that the paladin Fin was bitten by several of the heads and fell unconscious to the deck. The dwarf Mongo, seeing his companion’s blood mixing with the sea water that continued to splash over the ships deck, began to shout loudly above the chaos. His words inspired those around him to fight for their fallen companion, and to the groups amazement Fin began to stir! The paladin fought against the rolling sea, and began rising up. Somehow with Mongo’s words of defiance and hope Fin had regained consciousness, and now stood preparing to call upon Bahamut in the hope that his god might give him the strength to carry on. The battle continued to rage for several long minutes as the companions struggled to avoid the sharp teeth of the hydra’s many heads, but many found it nearly impossible to avoid the assault. The watery deck was now stained with the blood of not only the enemy, but the companions as well. But finally after an exhausting battle only one head remained, and the group had begun to realize that Altain’s sword, “Moonfire”, was the key. Apparently the enchanted swords ability to summon fire seemed able to cauterize the wounds of the hydra, preventing the creature from regenerating additional heads. The tactic had proved successful thus far, and with one head remaining Altain charged forward to prevent the creature from regenerating yet again. But the eladrin swordmage was unaware that the beast had seen the charge coming from his peripheral vision, and the serpent-like head suddenly wielded around, striking Altain and knocking him unconscious! To the groups horror the hydra had already begun to regenerate two more heads from the stub of the previously severed neck. The sea creature now writhed about with three heads that now snapped down upon the hapless heroes, and many of the companions were nearing their ends. Nearby, one of the crew looked on helplessly as he watched the heroes nearly slay the beast, only to suddenly witness two additional heads join the epic battle. The situation was getting more dire by the second, and finally three crew members jumped up from below to join the fray. One quickly manned the ballista nearby, while the others stepped forward towards the ships rail to engage the large sea creature. Meanwhile, Fin carefully made his way towards Altain and recited a quick prayer, healing some of the swordmage’s more severe wounds and helping him to regain consciousness. Finally after what seemed like hours rather than minutes, and with the assistance of the crew, the heroes finally felled the beast – its dead carcass staining the surrounding sea water crimson, as the creature slowly sank into the murky blue depths of the South Sea.

Many in the group were now near death themselves, and each was in desperate need of medical attention. Fin moved about the group assisting those he could, while fully realizing that if not for Bahamut’s gift of healing that the entire crew would have surely perished. Soon Captain Burgoyne could be seen inspecting the damages to the ship, but thankfully the damage was slight and the crew immediately began making the necessary repairs. Captain Burgoyne had asked to see the paladin Fin LaVie in his quarters, and the two men disappeared below the ships deck shortly after. The Captain had noted the paladin’s holy symbols, and witnessed the divine healing only heard of in legends and stories of a bygone era. He seemed curious of what had transpired in Fin’s past, and how he came to possess such power. Apparently the captain was familiar with the legend of “The Chosen One”, but seemed a nonbeliever before now. Burgoyne now seemed unsure in what to believe? Fin confirmed that the Captain had witnessed true healing, and Burgoyne would need time to process the new information. He thanked Fin for his time and the two parted ways.

As the meeting between the paladin and captain ended a sudden flurry of activity had just begun above deck. Apparently some bloody clothing of a crew member had been discovered hidden behind some crates down below in the cargo hold. A lineup was now being held on deck, and all of the crew was accounted for, but who the clothing belonged to had yet to be discovered. After some questioning one man finally stepped forward, and although appearing very nervous, took the blame for hiding the blood stained clothes. Robyn was doubtful of the story however, and later explained to Burgoyne his suspicion that a stow away was amongst them. The half-orc then explained that an assassin had been trailing the group for quite some time, and that he feared that the assassin was now hidden amongst the crew, or at the very least onboard the Raven Queen.

Several days later the ship finally entered dark waters of the Midnight Sea. It was late in the evening and many had heard stories of the strange going ons in these mysterious waters. Then suddenly the calm surface of the water exploded with writhing arms of a beast from the depths! Minds raced as the crew desperately scrambled to seal the hatches. During the sudden chaos on deck Captain Burgoyne could be heard yelling something about a “kraken”, but none could be sure exactly what was said. Quickly several in the group moved to slash the massive tentacled arms of the unseen creature. Soon Robyn and Mongo found themselves grabbed by the large tentacled arms, and hoisted above the deck. Others scrambled to strike the arms now attempting to abduct their fellow companions. But after a few short seconds of terror the arms suddenly released their stranglehold on the two heroes, dropping them to the deck, before disappearing below the surface of Midnight Sea. As suddenly as it had begun the attack had ended, but a deep rooted fear of the unknown had also been realized. Captain Burgoyne explained a legend amongst sailors called “the kraken”, but also told the group how it was believed to be a seaman’s myth used to explain the mysterious disappearances of ships gone missing on the high seas. It was the only explanation the Captain could offer, and one the Captain obviously hoped was inaccurate, since legend said the beast was capable of dragging a full sized ship to the dark depths of the sea!

The next evening the Raven Queen lookout finally bellowed the much awaited words “land ho!”, and much of the crew scrambled towards the ships rail to catch a glimpse of the fabled city. There in the distant fog the ruins of the Sunken City could be seen protruding from the dark waters of the Midnight Sea. But there was also an unexpected sight, that of dark ruins positioned out of the water which made their way inland between two large cliffs that stood near the waters edge on either side. The ruins of Vor Rukoth were massive, much larger than any of the civilizations now known to exist upon Sarsis! Then the still air was pierced by the sudden order to drop anchor, and a large splash soon followed. With a smile Captain Burgoyne appeared from the stern castle and wished the group luck, explaining that his crews voyage ended there. The crew was then given orders to drop the rowboats to water level. Captain Burgoyne thanked the group for performing bravely on the long voyage, but explained that he was unwilling to risk his ship by closing any further towards the dark ruins. It was then that Ridick suddenly appeared from below, apparently excited for the sighting of land. Ridick had been ill for much of the voyage, but now seemed rejuvenated by the prospect of solid soil beneath his feet. Robyn, fully understanding that the captain had no intentions of moving the vessel any closer, prepared to climb down the Raven Queen’s flank (mumbling all the while about his dislike for the looks of the so called Sunken City). The others crowded around, looking down on the small boats below. Each boat seemed so insignificant in the much larger waters of the Midnight Sea. But the group knew that it was only in such rowboats that they would be able to successfully navigate the streets of the old sunken market. Smiling the Captain once again thanked the heroes one final time, when the halfling Cal suddenly leaned towards Burgoyne’s ear and whispered words apparently of a more serious note. It was only then that Captain Burgoyne expression suddenly grew serious, and he began telling the group of an ancient tale of “the beast” of the old market…

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