The Dracholt party continues their investigation into the note left on Alpharius’ flyer.
Cast of Characters
Goliath Paladin – Red’s Husband
Lawful Neutral Paladin of Devotion tied strongly to Goliath’s tendencies for meritocracy. Thinks magic is cheating, and has a personality loosely based on Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.
Human (Silver Draconic) Sorcerer – Anndelle
Human Druid – Anndelle’s sister, who made a new character when she could not find Nefertiri again
Half-Elf Rogue – new player Red’s friends knew
Kildrak Dankil of the Silver Flame
Dwarven Cleric – new but experienced player McFadin knew
During the next six days the party waited for Alpharius to finish enchanting, they wandered about aimlessly, eventually running into Krisa Silverkin and her new friend Cerian Cadigan before going to speak with Count Habsberg’s carpenter. The aged man had told them, in between bouts of yelling at his rambunctious young sons, that the strange wood had floated even before he had touched it. It had even been hand-delivered directly to him by one of Habsberg Shipping’s staff, some of which worked in Dracholt but most of which were in Eastborne, 60 miles southeast along the River Kabyss.
As the group then wandered down to the docks to find what members of Habsberg Shipping were in Dracholt, they were confronted with the sight of a creature made wholly of water rising from the river and capsizing a number of boats, throwing plenty of cargo and sailors into the water in a furious fit. Screams of surprise and fright filled the air, but as Cerian, Kildrak, Krisa, and McFadin rushed forward, Aldin hesitated, his hands grasping the hilt of his greatsword firmly but not pulling it free. Eyes locked on the creature before him, he watched as the others blasted away at it.
Flakes of frost sprung from Krisa’s fingers as she thrust her hands toward the thing and froze one of its arms. Kildrak spoke a word, and a large swathe of the creature’s form simply disappeared in a puff of steam. Cerian lashed at it with a whip of thorned vine that magically appeared in her hand.
The thing roared back at them, what would have been its face contorted in unfathomable rage, and Aldin finally stepped forward, greatsword swinging down in a burst of white light that sent the thing reeling. Another blast of frost caught it before it could round on them again, and the force set off its trajectory, its flailing arms ensnaring McFadin instead of their intended target before dragging the rogue back into the water. Struggling to free himself, McFadin had barely a moment to wonder what would happen next before Kildrak spoke another word, and the creature disappeared.
“It was just some water that some wizard must have enchanted,” Krisa stated matter-of-factly as McFadin hauled himself from the river and Aldin watched the water, seemingly waiting for the thing to come back. He seemed unconvinced where the others meerly nodded in acceptance, but what would convince him was not apparent.
Eventually, he turned and led them off to find the Habsberg Shipping workers, two of whom were loading a large raft with cargo. As with the carpenter, the sailors did not know exactly where the wood had come from, although they asserted that the fellow who ran Habsberg Shipping for the count – one Ernest Haverford – had hand-delivered the material to the carpenter himself. It was obviously exceedingly valueable, but since neither of them had really wanted to bother Ernest, they did not know much more. That information clearly lay in Eastborne, where Ernest and the rest of the shipping company was.
Still, upon McFadin speaking with them of their work as dockhands, the two eventually offered to give the group a ride to Eastborne free of charge. The river passed through a mountainous area, and the adventurers would be of use in guarding the raft from the thugs that often sought to rob them. Although Aldin and Kildrak were hesitant to travel via water, the group agreed to meet the dockhands again just before they set off, and after they had gotten their enchanted items from Alpharius, they were floating down the river in no time.
As the sun began to disappear behind the mountains, the sailors cracked open a barrel of ale and passed tankards around, McFadin and the two drinking themselves into a nostalgic stupor as they spoke of the sea and sailing. Unfortunately, just as the three were beginning to stumble about, five arrows came out of the trees to thud into the raft, the ropes tied to each bolt drawing taught in a moment.
With a startled noise, Krisa drew a dagger and sliced through one of the ropes, although before she could lunge at another, five bodies came out of the trees, four of them landing safely on the raft as one fell with a splash into the river. The largest of the five let out a loud howl after his momentum carried him into one of the sailors, which got body-checked into the river. Another, swung a furry elbow backward and knocked Krisa over the side; while a third threw himself into Aldin, although the clang of armor announced that the goliath barely budged.
Magic leapt from Cerian’s hands, a bolt of lightning frying one of the smaller dog-like creatures; while Kildrak and Aldin drew weapons, blood splattering across the deck as the steel caught flesh. Krisa and the one dog-creature that had ended up in the river clambered aboard the raft, the sorceress rounding on her aggressor and blasting him with a furious flame that roasted not only the one, but two others.
“Bad doggy!” McFadin shouted, his rapier clattering off armor for the first few lunges before its point buried into the largest creature’s eye, causing it to collapse into a heap.
The last one left, chunks of fur torn off its carcass and bits of metal shorn from its armor, launched itself off the raft and swam for shore, a bolt from Aldin’s crossbow following it but only slowing its flight.
“Darn gnolls,” one of the sailors swore as McFadin helped him back into the raft. “It’s good we had you here.”