Twilit Seas

Chapter 2

A Rapid Downriver Journey

In the absence of external stress and pursuit, the survivors of the fall were able to get to know each other better as they rested, waiting out the aurorastorm. After the skies cleared, they proceeded to use wind-felled mushroom stalks and some of their camp supplies to construct a large raft. On their voyage downstream, they ran afoul of the native wildlife that habitually preys on game leaving the tainted lands – luckily, Vimak, the Goliath Warden, was sharp-eyed enough to give warning as three crocodiles swam to the attack. Both he and Carambys, Hobgoblin Paladin, were eventually dragged into the water by crocodiles, while the remaining three members battled the last crocodile and some opportunistic blood hawks. Quick Ben, the Human Wizard, was grabbed by the last crocodile (which was perhaps offended by his piratical garb), but Empty Mind, Half-Orc Monk, beat the crocodile away with bare hands and feet. Digger, Revenant Cleric, used skillful prayer to keep even the most injured alive.

The group eventually came to a set of rapids too rocky to take the raft through and resolved to lighten the raft and attempt to pull it over and around the obstacles. Unfortunately, this waterline course took them through the domain of a wolf pack lead by a Krenshar, a common type of devil-blooded beast. Though they were savaged quite severely by the jaws of the wolves (particularly Carambys and Ben), the paladin shouted for his god’s aid and was answered, scoring a telling blow on the devilish beast that nearly cleft it in two with one swing. The remainder of the wolves, their unnatural leader destroyed, proceeded to flee at their best speed.

Once the band of survivors was able to return to the river, they made good progress, sighting a fleet of fishing boats at roughly the same time as they saw a smudge of smoke on the horizon. The fishing boats fled from the rafting strangers, and in a few miles a trio of armored knights riding Phororhacos (a sharp-beaked riding bird standing four feet at the shoulder) rode from the town to meet them. Though there was an absence of common language, gifts of crocodile meat and the display of the krenshar skull to the wolf totem-displaying soldiers made a favorable enough impression that the party was escorted to the nearby town peaceably rather than under arrest, though their weapons were temporarily confiscated.

In a meeting with the town council, the party was introduced to five important townsfolk: Kail, the shifter soldier who had brought them in; Bertram, a portly human merchant; Emmeri, an aged gnomish priestess; Tannah, a reticient elven diplomat; and lastly a dark-skinned halfling short an eye and a leg by name of Omar, who spoke Salt, the pirate tongue, and was able to translate to Argot. After some brief speech and introductions, when the conversation got too difficult the priestess Emmeri asked her goddess Amranté, the local lady of the grain, to translate, using the large blue-wooded table as a focus. With the magical assistance the band was able to speak with the town council freely and slowly won over each individual member to at least a grudging tolerance and acceptance that they did not serve Gryfe willingly. The last to be convinced was the merchant Bertram, who acquiesced only when Empty Mind was able to communicate with him via an improptu sign language common to many northern thieves, and in return demanded that Empty Mind see him to work out some sort of deal.

The meeting was interrupted by a rumbling in the earth that heralded the arrival of three scarred and sunburned Skrael, the mole-people that the party had fought immediately after their descent. With the translation of Kail, it was understood that these Skrael demanded the surrender of the party for their crimes against their god, He-Who-Burrows. The council refused their demand and sent them away, then offered to escort the party around town and bed them down in the church basement.

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