Back on the Sea of Sword, the Crying Daughter made excellent headway towards Waterdeep. Their luck sadly did not last. Still a week at best from their destination, the skies darkened and storm clouds rolled in on an otherwise pleasant day at sea. The crew grew nervous at the sudden and unnatural change in the weather and Captain Barnabus’ face went pale and grim. A few hundred yards off a massive dark bulk could be seen just below the surface, approaching the fleet at great speed. A few moments later a cry went up as a massive tentacle slithered over the gunnel and snatched up a nearby sailor. Horrified, Cain Sundersword slashed the slimy thing away and freed the terrified man…only to see more tentacles emerge from the dark water and find more sailors!
“Fight! Fight for your lives! The Kraken has found us!” wailed First Mate Keelwright as she desperately tried to fend off another tentacle.
Bravery (or madness) overtook Ossendar Osterius and he slammed back a water breathing potion and leaped from the crows nest down into the black water. Plunging into the darkness the monk was confronted with a horrible sight. A pair of massive eyes and a maw with a seemingly endless field of sword-like teeth peered up at him from the blackness. Steeling himself for his probable demise, the monk found an inner peace, focused his ki into his fists and swam towards one of the giant eyes.
Back on deck, Rowen Evenwood did her best to inspire her allies as they fended off the probing tentacles of the Kraken. Cain ran below deck to find harpoons to drive off the beast (cleverly stored in the harpoon closet of course).
Ossendar delivered a flurry of blows to the giant eye and the great beast grunted in brief irritation, then it reached out and easily grasped the impish monk with one of it’s many tentacles, crushing the heroic fool. Struggling futilely against the Kraken’s inevitable victory, the monk was swallowed whole. Once inside the foul maw, Ossendar was able to crack one of the many teeth of his death prison and hope was kindled. But the Kraken’s acidic saliva was overpowering, and the monk’s skin began to bubble and melt away as death took him.
The remaining heroes looked on helplessly from the deck of the Daughter in dismay as their companion was consumed. Oddly, Jarrus Stormrider‘s Primal Awareness tingled, and he could feel the presence of a dragon of incredible power. Scanning the skies above he could see no dragons. Suddenly, a flash of brilliant scales like a massive fish sped between the onlooking crew and the writhing Kraken. The waters churned and bubbled with acidic fumes and flashes of lightning lit up the darkness. The skies cleared. The water lightened. The Kraken was gone. Ossendar’s body floated to the surface.
After a long night of healing potions and all the rejuvenating chants Rowen could recite, the foolish monk pulled through, though his skin would be forever horribly scarred. He now resembled the unwanted child of an avocado that had sex with a older, uglier avocado.
Several days later Ossendar the Hideous was awoken by the sound of hushed whispers in the cargo hold down the hall. Remembering their mission to track the movements of the Cult of the Dragon and their stolen treasure, Ossendar woke his companions to observe a secret cultist meeting. They overheard references to ‘Naerytar’, a ‘Mere of Dead Men’ and someone named ‘Spattergoo’. As the monk looked on stealthily from the shadows, a blue crab conspicuously skittered across his feet and zipped out a nearby port hole. Weird.
Jarrus Stormrider crept up behind the monk to get a better view, knocking an arrow tentatively… just in case. His distraction cost him though and his foot fell onto a particularly creaky board. The sound alerted the sentries to the interlopers and they attacked! Ossendar cried out that a mutiny was afoot and fought fiercely with the cultists, Jarrus’ arrows whizzed past his pointy ears and found their marks deep in the chests of the two nearest foes. Cain, seeing no easy path into the fray, channeled his divine powers and teleported in the midst of the group while Rowen traded spells with a mysterious masked magician hidden by the hold’s depths. She moved back to cover the ladder to the upper deck when the magician disappeared from view. She stroked her Lyre and summoned a hypnotic pattern in the midst of the melee, stupefying Cain and several of the remaining villains. Above her, the magician appeared between the heroes and the quickly assembling crew and captain. Captain Barnabus tolerates no brawling on his vessel, but by some magical contrivance he was persuaded by the hooded magician to confine only the heroes to their quarters and the brig.
A few days later they arrived in Waterdeep, the City of Splendors and Jewel of the Sword Coast. They were unceremoniously handed off to the city guard to be judged by the Dock Ward magistrate in a weeks time. As it stood, their journey north with the fleet was at a end.
Sitting in their cell, the familiar soft patter of small gnomish feet approached them. Jamna Gleamsilver appeared before them, smug as ever.
“Quite the predicament you four have landed yourselves in. Lucky for you, The Black Network might just be able to help…” she said with a mischievous gleam in her eye.
Jamna secured their pardon by the magistrate in exchange for a solid, ‘you owe us…BIGTIME.’ from the heroes to the Zhentarim. On their way out into the Dock Ward Jamna mentioned that their crew was at the Yawning Portal, a nearby tavern of good repute. She then disappeared into the bustling streets. Waterdeep is a busy and well organized city, and the Watch keeps a sentinel’s eye on the normally peaceful streets.They arrived at the Yawning Portal a short time later, ready to party! In the bar they found a raucous but merry gathering of sailors from around Toril and showed Captain Barnabus their pardon papers (much to the captain’s relief). The heroes got about celebrating their freedom with vigor! Before long a stranger approached them, a stranger that that looked vaguely… familiar? It was their friend, Leosin Erlanthar, in a clever disguise! He was happy to see they’d been released and had some updates from the Harper spy network.
“The Cult of the Dragon has been raiding settlements all up and down the Sword Coast. While you’ve been at sea they’ve become bolder and bolder, hitting larger settlements with greater frequency. The pattern has remained the same. They raid settlements and move the stolen goods to the coast where it is loaded on ships, never to be seen again. None of our agents have reported in once they’ve left port…except you.”
He warned them to watch their backs and snuck off before he attracted too much attention. As he left, the heroes noticed a group of swarthy sailor’s looking threateningly their way across the bar, several of them from the group they’d brawled with in the hold only a few days past. Their leader was a hulking half-orc guard from the Feasting Father who stood at least seven and a half feet tall! The brute strode over confidently to Cain, looming over the ginger paladin and doing his best to be intimidating.
“You! The a curse of the 9 Hells on you and may Tiamat feast on your souls. I know you are to blame for Clabrack’s death on the Crying Daughter. Vengeance will be mine and you will pay! Raise your sword, scum!”
Cain took up the challenge and the two (along with their assorted companions and many bar patrons) funneled out into the street. Not wanting to end up in jail another night and miss their voyage in the morning, Rowen sauntered over to the nearby members of the Watch and ‘distracted’ them. An expert in diversion and performance, she easily kept their attention firmly off the dual. As Cain readied himself for the combat, Ossendar and Jarrus worked the crowd, taking bets and sowing rumors about the offending sailor cultists.
Cain and the half-orc traded blows, but first blood went to the Brute when his warhammer found its mark. Divine Might flowed through Cain and he countered with smite after smite with his longsword. It wasn’t long before the half-orc buckled before the assault and with a final bash with his pommel, Cain knocked out the foolish cultist. Once revived, the bitter thug looked at Cain and said dumbly,
“We see how you do when you meet Spattergoo. Not so well me thinks.”
The night was full of victory songs and merry-making as the heroes celebrated Cain’s victory, their release from prison and their miraculous escape from the Kraken. Cain had the time of his life, winning round after round of cards, dice and darts. Alas, Ossendar pissed off the bartender and made an enemy of the staff with his poor tipping. Good thing there are hundreds of other bars in Waterdeep!
The next morning the fleet embarked on the (hopefully) final leg of their journey to the city of Neverwinter. Spirits were high, the weather was fair and Captain Barnabus was skillfully making his way up the coast. There was little sign of the mysterious magician above decks and a dozen or so of the crew now gave the heroes a wide berth. A week passed with little eventful happenings, but on the 8th night out from Waterdeep a squall fell upon the fleet and scattered the ships.
The Crying Daughter managed the storm well and was underway again in no time. Early that morning as they sailed on they found a man adrift, clinging to some debris and barely alive. Upon questioning, they learned the man had fallen off the Feasting Father during the storm. After rejuvenating the man with healing magic, Rowen discovered the man wore a Harper pendant. She revealed that she was a member of the Harpers as well, and the man revealed his true tale. He was accused of foul play by members of the crew he suspected were members of the Cult of the Dragon and tossed from the ship by it’s shrewd captain. A seagull suspiciously was caught eavesdropping, but flew off before it could be captured.
A few days later the winds died down and a dense, chilly fog fell on the Daughter . Bodies of drowned sailors drifted by as they moved forward through the mist and eventually they came upon The Wretched Hag. The ship appeared abandoned and Captain Barnabus asked the proven heroes to cross to the Hag and determine what the status of the ship was. They found on deck a truly horrific sight. From a pile of seaweed two sea hags slithered out, their horrific appearance struck terror into all who gazed on them. The two screamed in unison,
“You’ve come to take our pretty new ship away hm? Gaze into the eyes of Mirbella and Girbella the beautiful and think again!”
Scared shitless by the Hags’ otherworldly and ghastly appearance, the heroes jumped back into their boat and began to flee. Before they got far though, two Merrow harpoons burst out from the dark water, and Jarrus was dragged into the icy waves by the abyssal monsters. Overcoming their fear, Ossendar and Rowen climbed back on board to deal with the hags. Rowen delivered a powerful hypnotic spell on the pair, taking them effectively out of the fight. However, no sooner had she cast her spell but from the depths of the ship the corpses of sailors shambled into view. The zombies were cut down one by one while Jarrus and Cain (astride his sweet new Killer Whale mount) made short work of the monstrous Merrow. Eventually, with the zombie sailors properly disassembled, Cain and Ossendar made short work of one of the hags. Before the other Hag (Girbella) could be slain too it escaped over the side and disappeared beneath the waves.