Day 76 9AM Virna in the crow’s nest gave word of smoke rising out from the Squibworks. Captain Damiano gave word to sail closer towards the inlet for a closer look and found that Rikety’s settlement was burnt to the ground. Signs of dead men and women littered the shore and the dry dock where the Lash was being refitted, was empty!
Temujin sent Raven out for a look, and a cutter was seen on the opposing side of the inlet, at anchor. With no quick way getting to the watchtower, Captain Damiano gave Haiyan word to sail in and set to the docks – they would take the risk of being bottled up in the river and shoot their way out if it came to that. Nico summoned air elementals to scan the settlement but no movement was spotted.
Dwag took a closer look with his eyeglass and saw the flitting movement passing between buildings – a furtive halfing male, drew his attention.
Once the Barracuda was settled at the dock, Dwag led the brute squad and a half dozen sailors to check out the scene before them. The larger buildings floors and ceilings were caved in, but the walls were still standing. All the smaller buildings were destroyed. Dwag found the halfling, who introduced himself as one of Rikety’s workers, Kauthus Wyk. Kauthus mentioned that the attack took place four days ago – he felt that all were dead, but Chelish soldiers still came through from time to time, perhaps to keep the docks secure as one of Chelish cutters, the King Crimson, was upriver, potentially in talks with the Naga that nested upstream.
While the town was a ruin, some outbuildings nestled in the jungle’s tree-line held some valuables – barrels of tar, nails and rope. The sailors set about gathering these items out of the storage sheds with the brute squad keeping a defensive eye out with Dwag when they took crossbow fire from the surrounding jungle. Dwag ordered the sailors to stay under cover as he and the brute squad returned fire in the attempts to beat back the Chelish attackers. It was apparent that a mage was hiding deeper in the undergrowth as Dwag took magic missile fire.
The clamor of combat was heard on the Barracuda. Damiano, Nico and Pyrlig headed down the gangplank into town to join up and assist Dwag and the crew. Temujin became aware that a red signal flare was shot from the watchtower.
As Captain Damiano ventured through the ruined warehouse, he was struck by the spear, wielded by an ogre in Chelish livery – this ogre appeared out of nowhere as if by magic. Nico summoned elementals to engage and assist Damiano and Pyrlig channeled healing power to Damaino as he arrived at the combat.
As Dwag and the brute squad continued engaging the Chelish marines, Dwag decided to retreat – he gave the order for the sailors to leave the swag and beat feet back to the ship. Ducking and running the sailors, followed by the Dwag and the brute squad hauled off towards the Barracuda. As they arrived at the warehouse, a fireball descended upon them, killing the sailors and singing Dwag and the brute squad.
The elementals and Damiano slew the ogre and seeing Dwag and his fellows nearby, they decided to attack the Chelish marines en mass, so the group charged back towards the out buildings.
Mittens and Temujin were on the deck of the Barracuda when they were aware of two vulture-like humanoids with devilish faces, and wielding spears flying out of the jungle toward their position. Temujin gave word to Haiyan to prepare to haul off the dock and head to sea – leaving a jolly boat at the dock for the remainder of the away team.
As the devilish beasts engaged Mittens, Temujin, Sandara and some defending sailors, it was noted that the beasts were resistant to standard sword strokes – but Mittens’ lighting seemed to work against them quite effectively.
As the away team continued to break down the ranks of the Chelish marines, the mage took to flight as Nico’s elementals attempted to engage him. His last effort was to strike the party with a lighting bolt before being felled by the elementals. The elementals picked up his corpse and the party headed back to the Barracuda.
As the party returned to the Barracuda, the ship was just pulling away from the dock, and Mittens and Temujin slew their opponents, the fell Gaav devils. Dwag noted movement in the water and barrels floating low, just at the surface as if they were in the process of being strung along. Dwag shot one barrel and it exploded and two grown nagas appeared, one at fore and one at aft of the ship, and they attacked the party.
Nico sent his elementals to engage the nagas as Dwag, Pyrlig and Damiano took shots at the barrels – to cause them to explode before the Barracuda could bump into them. Cog came up on the fore deck and pointed out to Mittens and Temujin that there was a flash of light up at the watch tower and it appears to be signaling back to the Barracuda!
As Captain Damiano swapped out crossbows with Ringo, a sailor who was reloading for the captain, he noted that Gravis, Haiyan’s bodyguard was not at his post. He ordered the brute squad to make a perimeter to keep Haiyan safe.
With the barrels all exploded, the elementals slew the fore naga, the one at aft fled underwater. As the Barracuda made for open sea, Knuckles yelled out, ‘Man overboard!’ It was Gravis, swimming to shore. Nico’s elementals pulled him from the sea, flailing about, and deposited him upon the deck. Nico sent his elementals to the watchtower to kill any lookout they encountered.
Day 76 10AM Much as the sailor, Ginger Red had surmised was true, that Gravis was a loyal Chelish marine and he attempted to communicate with the watch tower. Damiano had Gravis chained in the hold and four sailors kept watch upon him.
Dwag climbed into the crow’s nest to look about with his eyeglass and Temujin’s Raven took to the air for a look about – they confirmed that two Chelish cutters, The Hades Boatman and The Dancer, were on course heading for the Barracuda, from the south, some three miles away. A third cutter, the King Crimson, was coming from the southeast, but was five miles out. With clear skies overhead, the party could hear boom of distant thunder.
Upon hearing the report from Temujin and Dwag, and that the King Crimson was behind the Barracuda, and not upriver from Rikety Squibs – Damiano gave word to talk to the halfing, Kauthus Wyk. Kauthus was not to be found. The captain ordered every man jack of the crew to find the missing halfling!
Temujin’s Raven noted an eagle circling the ship, so Raven took cover, returning to the ship. As the eagle followed, Temujin successfully pierced the eagle through its wing with an arrow – despite having magical protective wards about it. The eagle landed upon the main deck, and transformed into a man – his arms outstretched as if to offer no harm.
The human male introduced himself as Izar, the ship mage to Tavion Axmis of the Sultana. The party recently, and cordially, met with Captain Tavion, as the Lachesis was due north towards the Storm Caves. Izar added that Captain Tavion was allied with Captain Van Marin, of the Destiny, which was now in battle with the Chelish man-o’-war, the Dominator. Captain Tavion was east of the Barracuda and had spied the Chelish sloop, the Lash in its vicinity – Captain Tavion wanted to know how Captain Damiano wanted to proceed.
Captain Damiano expressed to Izar that he wanted to close the distance with the Lash and the Sultana, in the effort to trap the Lash between the islands along the Slithering Coast and between the Barracuda and the Sultana. And at the same time, try to keep distance enough to bring down the Lash, before the three Chelish cutters became close enough to engage the Barracuda. At this time, Izar had enough information to report back, and used a scroll to transform into an eagle and fly eastward towards the Sultana.
As Izar flew away, there was a grand ‘huzzah’ below decks. Old Sawney, had got down into the filthy bilge, found Kauthus Wyk and dragged him out onto the deck, but not before bouncing the poor halfling off the deck and braces a few times, before dropping him before Captain Damiano and the party.
The party put Kauthus to the question, with Temujin, wielding the liecaller to determine the halfling’s truthiness. Kauthus was indeed a Chelish officer and could offer that the party had killed off the marines and mage, named Arjen Thrax, from the Hades Boatman. Kauthus did know of another Chelish outpost – a port called Senara, commanded by a hellknight named Jezana Melant. However he did not know anyone with the initials, “D.” when queried by Temujin. Temujin then asked the name of a Chelish agent in Port Peril, Kauthus Wyk offered the name: Zarskia Galembar. Captain Damiano asked who commanded the Lash – Kauthus answered, that Louisa Scott was the captain, until Captain Lucilla could be recovered! Nico had Kauthus stripped down and checked – when Old Sawney found picks in the halfling’s ponytail, the old half-orc gave Kauthus an impromptu haircut, shackled him and locked him down in the bilge.
Day 76 11AM With clear skies, the Barracuda sailed with best possible speed to trap the Lash between the islets and the Sultana, before the three Chelish cutters could close for combat.
[end of session 26]