Session One Hundred and Twenty-Nine (Graveyard of Empires Summary)
Session 129 November 2, 2016
Early evening, 12th of Tanrilden, main deck of the Jolly Gorgon in the Midmark harbor
AD Clock reads 00.00.05.03
Ironhand’s new crew is slightly weirded out about the night’s happenings. Leaving port, keeping station overnight just out of the harbor then returning to directly to a berth crowded by the Keepers isn’t the typical fare for this merchant crew. Our self-selected moniker of Keepers of the Council isn’t official yet but unless Jardin proclaims otherwise, Axel, Chuq, Edan, Ronin and Thorfus will answer by that name. Captain Thorfus mostly disregards the Jolly Gorgon crews concerns by directing them to their duties. We set off with little delay.
Shortly after leaving the harbor proper, all but Chuq feel the mental buzz of a Devil Fish. Drayz has sought us via his human lackeys all night and is relieved we are alive and in possession of the Sword of Dagon. Thorfus agrees to hand over the Sword to Drayz’ Merman allies. They agree on a code phrase to vet the merman’s authenticity (curious that Drayz chooses to be away during the exchange). The code phrase is “Starchie flies to the moon”.
Serithas notes to Chuq that Drayz is assiduously avoiding mental contact with Chuq and the Night Court. Though curious to know why and engage Drayz directly, he doesn’t want Chuq to press an encounter with Drayz at this time. Perhaps Arraquiel could explain the youth’s reticence, so they will pursue the matter further when the Keepers seek after Arraquiel in Vargen.
Another hour into our sail to Hughe’s island village, we are met by a school of Mermen. The apparent spokesmerman of the school announces the code phrase correctly then introduces Gharspa former secondary advisor to the late Merman King and current primary advisor to Prince Narusth. The night court confirms the Mermen’s sincerity then Chuq tries to coerce Thorfus into further negotiations for recompense or sanctions from the Merman. He goes so far as to remark to Gharspa that the instrument of peace that his Prince needs is actually our instrument of peace so all the factions (Devilfish, Locathoth, Mermen and Suahagin) should likely come to Midmark’s table to negotiate.
Thorfus takes the honorable and conciliatory path and simply asks for a bonus of water breathing corals to be delivered the day hence. His concession to the monk is asking Edan to disable the controls to the Sword but not alerting Gharspa that he now has a dud. Fortunately, Edan has learned how to control the Sword of Dagon after studying the records we recovered.
Before Gharspa and his school leave, it is suggested that the Keepers are travelling to Vargen soon and could seek out Gronsk who then could invite Prince Mascalus to a summit. Gharspa sees merit in the suggestion. If his liege agrees, there might be a missive with the water breating corals tomorrow. Being land dwellers, we suggest a fee could accompany the missive, he scoffs at the materialism.
The sail is uneventful until the next morning. Chuq assess Bellisentes natural hand to hand ability and is surprised at her aptitude. She is taught basic forms to practice, perhaps the physical activity could fill out her gangly frame….
AD Clock ready 00.00.05.02
Without incident, the Jolly Gorgon arrives at Hughe’s home fishing village. We lay anchor and board a skiff with Hughe and the henchmen after Appleby has scanned the locals for Inquisitors. Hughe had already sighted his mother washing laundry by the river. Surprisingly, he asked after his father. Somehow, no one seemed to not notice his confusion….
Our slip is meet by Olef and Kenny, two fisherman, at the pier. They are obviously nervous about our arrival and murmur to each other in response to our statements and questions. Chuq’s assurances are shrugged aside by the two as every other reply is an encouragement to leave. In contrast, Thorfus is buried under a buxom embrace from Hughe’s mother Annabelle when he presents the lad to her. Noticing that the crowd is missing young ladies or children, Bellisente enquirers after them amongst the women watching by the river. They are as tight lipped as the fishermen.
Smelling worse than rotten fish, we press Olef and Kenny about the lack of young women and children. Eventually they break down and explain we are all being watched from the old imperial fort above the village about an hour through the jungle from the village. The occupants are holding the children and young woman hostage. Fearing for the hostages, we agree to leave the way we came and promise to return under cover of night to mount a rescue. The plan meets with their approval and we are escorted by the crowd to the docks after Thorfus hands over a small fortune of 100 gp to Annabelle for Hughe’s care and education.
Hughe’s only regret is saying good bye to Meow our newest mascot. When asked Meow likes the idea of living near so much fish so he leaps off Chuq’s shoulder and orbits about Hughe’s ankles in anticipation. The boy is happier than we have ever seen him.
Once the Jolly Gorgon sets off, we collect in the aft cabin so the Chuq can shadow ferry the party to the verge of the jungle beyond the village. A path to the imperial fort, Kurlumen is nearby. It takes less than hour to walk there. The drawbridge over a deep gorge is down. Edan casts an invisibility circle that allows us all to enter unnoticed. At the bailey there are two guards posted on either side of a double door. The night cap tells us the two are imperial agents wondered by instructions to allow unknown guests free entrance and access to the fort’s guest, someone who makes them uncomfortable and repulsed.
These two are very disciplined. They heed Chuq’s mental instructions to open the double doors and one agrees to escort the invisible guests after telling us the guest is at the top of the tower and that the hostages are held in the near tower. He leads us down then up and through hallways until he is challenged by a Dervish. The Dervish warns him that the guest is at it again and that he’d likely want to keep clear. Mentally, the guide is told to follow the Dervishes advice. The guide describes the rest of the journey before departing.
Up more flights and through several trap doors leads to the peak of this tower. It is joined to its companion by a decaying bridge which is occupied by Alain Grell and several victims. He is spied through the key hole of the door between us and the bridge. Waiting until turns his back to the door, Chuq slips out, slinks across the bridge then stuns Alain from behind using the Marlin bursts from the surf. “Bet you never thought to see me again” claims Throfus as he trusses up the agape villain. Ronan emerges from Edan’s circle to help Grell’s young victims.
Looting Grell’s sleeping chamber yields a chest containing some armor and clothing as well as numerous correspondences between he and Jardin detailing their machinations to steal the Wrath of the Waves plans and Grell’s eventual return to Midmark society implicating the Starchie Boyz as the perpetrators of all of Grell’s crimes. The most recent letter admonishes Grells’ excesses and suggests Hughe’s island might have to be cleansed to cover up his behavior.
With Grell in custody and everyone but Edan visible, we collect the hostages here and descend below to rescue the others. The imperial guards and Dervishes all follow Jardins instructions and do not interfere with us in any way. A young Dervish’s motivations and actions are challenged by Chuq. His discipline, composure and sense of purpose gives the Superior Master pause. However, it doesn’t stop him joining Thorfus in obliquely ridiculing their treatment and lack of morality in their treatment of the hostages. Too our dismay, we learn that Grell had shoved two of his young women hostages off the bridge to their deaths. When called for, Flamemaster Beneyt, the leader of the perhaps as many as 20 Dervishes in the fort, does not answer.
Our return to the village with the survivors is met with surprise and celebrations. We are given a hut to keep Grell as we wait for the return of the Jolly Gorgon. Axel unloads his weeks of frustration in the underdark and loathing for the loss of Spite into Grell. Thorfus has little time to interrogate Grell between Ronan’s scalping and Axel’s burning and chopping. Alain is defiant through most of it, confident Jardin will ensure his return to Midmark. Eventually he realizes these are his last minutes. But not before he boasts of stealing the wrath’s schematics from the Admirilty’s summer home then trying to pawn them off to the Silver Throne. He lasts long enough for us to return the Jolly Gorgon with him.
There, Em is allowed to face her tormentor. Our gift to her is for her to deliver the slaying slice to his neck with his own sword. The crew have no quarrel with his fate since they are well familiar with Grells’s infamy on the waves. With enough sunlit remaining in the day, we prepare for the return trip to Midmark. Em decides to stay with us for now.