Skull and Shackles

Best party ever

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The Nightmare sailed out to intercept the Jester’s Grin, the slaver ship/trader vessel carrying the shipment of incredible rum Pierce had told Gork about. After a while of tracking the Nightmare was swiftly closing on the Grin. Dovahkiin sent out a fireball and blew up many sailors as Val carried Gork and Harghast out. Zon also flew in. Sailors tried in vain to bring down the dragon before he breathed fire and Zon fired arrows.

Gork leapt into the mix of fire, ice, and arrows and firmly planted his axe in a sailors head. After that Zon was paralyzed and fell into the ocean. Dovahkiin noticed that the captain was an illusion. Zon was shot by a catapult while unable to move before being saved by Gork. Valignant clawed at the captain and also realized it was fake. Hargast tried to find the real captain with his helmet but failed. Dovahkiiin also tried from the ship with Svingli’s Eye but failed as well.

Disappointed, Hargast cast Purge Invisibility from dragonback and revealed Fargo Vitterande, the wererat rogue wizard captain.

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Fargo fumbled a jump and soon had a dragon attacking him and a rider dressed in horrifying armor plunging a lance into him. Fargo managed to escape and fire some spells at the dragon before running into the ship where he took the form of a dire rat. Val and Hargast tried to go in after him but the door was locked. At that moment Val and Hargast heard a splash from the back of the ship. When they got there the captain was hanging from the back of the ship. Gork roared out at the crew of the Jester’s Grin to stop firing or he will rip their faces from their heads. Regardless, they kept loading the ballistas. Fargo fled up the side of the ship. Hargast cast a spell that sped up the dragon but Fargo escaped off the front of the ship. Fortunately Gork heard him and directed the dragon and Hargast to Fargo. Hargast and Valignant attacked the captain but missed him.

The party chased Fargo, but couldn’t see him for a long moment. Valignat went to the other side of the ship, where Harghast finally stunned the harried and wounded wererat. The spells Fargo had cast at the dragon had drained the magic item Val used for self control, and so Fargo was torn apart. Dovahkiin was able to use the remnants of the body to learn about Fargo with the Ring of the Iron Skull.

Once the party was back at the island they began getting the castle into shape by setting up defenses. They finished the dock, hired bards, and built a chapel and college for Hargast and Dovahkiin’s followers. Dovahkiin also made a painting and sculpture of Grok.

Meanwhile, Valignat took over the caves in the nearby Harpy Mountain and formed a lair of his own. Zon decided to live with Valignant in the humanless mountain. The party invited all the Free Captains including Captain Harrigan. The only pirates to decline were the Hurricane King and Arronax Endymion. They also invited Sefina the nereid. She said she would consider it.

The party plane shifted and bought food from heaven to serve at the feast. The party unanimously (except for Dovahkiin) said Gork should get to choose the name of the island. He decided to call it the Dark Island. Dovahkiin refused to call it that.

Soon three Free Captains arrived to judge the party. They were Mase Darimar the sea elf, Cerise Bloodmourne the human, and Avimar “Lobo” Sorrinash the secret werewolf.

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The Judges inspected the fort. Avimar asked about the defenses and told them to destroy a boat being towed behind a ship with the siege equipment. The party succeeded at destroying the boat, but failed to do it well enough and so failed the test. Next the party took the judges to the mess hall. The judges asked for rum and the party presented them with the fancy rum taken from the Jester’s Grin. The judges were impressed and Cerise asked the party about their adventurers so they brought out Paarthunax. The floating brain told a good story, but didn’t manage to impress Cerise. She then challenged the party to try to disarm her in a duel. The duel began and Gork immediately succeeded. Greataxe isn’t an official fencing style, but it is apparently effective. Cerise then gave the party a mystical sword cane.

The party still needed to impress Mase. They succeeded by introducing him to Sefina which Mase took as proof the party could get along with aquatic fey. As a result he gave them a powerful magic item known as a Horn of Triton.

Finally it was the day of the feast and all the pirates were arriving, including Captain Barnabas Harrigan. After catching up with old friends the feast began. Before the first course the party served the heavenly meal along with the strange fruit they found on the island. The pirates were impressed by this. The smells were driving Meeko insane with hunger. While the feast was going on Grok whispered to Dovahkiin that Audessa looked like something was wrong. Dovahkiin walked up to Audessa and she led him into the kitchen, where a swarm of rats was running about. Gork walked in and chopped the rats to pieces. Meeko could smell the rats so he walked up to the door to the kitchen. Harghast was guarding it to keep anyone from seeing the rats so Meeko had to be persuasive.

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As soon as Hargast opened the door a rat ran out. The warpriest loudly stomped it, drawing attention to himself. He covered by yelling out a toast.

“To the Hurricane King! Long may he live!”

The rat disappeared in a magical pop from nowhere and the chicken gave Harghast a “well played” look.

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Meeko ran into the kitchen to see a buffet of rat guts and brains. He then smelled something strange. He briefly tried to identify the scent but suddenly another rat ran through the kitchen and the serving girls screamed. Valignant asked Harghast what was going on. Harghast told him it was nothing to worry about. Meeko couldn’t stop the rat. It got through the door and was stomped by Dovahkiin and Harghast.

Tessa could see that something was very amiss during the banquet. She agreed to keep quiet, but refused to eat any of the food before Harghast told her that he could purify the food. Dovahkiin went and got Zon who also joined in on holding the line against many more rats and girlish screams. Meanwhile, Valignant, in human form was talking to Harrigan. This annoyed Old Harry who refused to eat any of the food.

Zon looked in the kitchen cellar to find 300 rats that swarmed around him. Zon called in Gork who swung his mighty axe. Zon was almost killed, but the rats were dead. After the rats were dispersed Dovahkiin figured out that the weird smell in the kitchen was an alchemical lure for rats. Meeko took all of the 300+ rats and buried them. Harghast purified all the food to get rid of rat contamination. This turned out to be a very good idea. Zon got healed at the chapel. Lobo started harassing Audessa. The party was able to get him to stop without starting a fight. This was a politically sound move, but perhaps a missed opportunity for a memorable werewolf fight scene.

After the feast, one of the cooks told the party that Sefina told them to drug Lobo’s drink. The party then went to question Sefina. Zon decided to stay behind to guard the guests. Something big seemed at play because when they got to Sefina she sent a signal flare into the air. When they saw her all except the dragon were so fascinated they couldn’t move. The Dragon slapped Hargast into his senses and the warpriest then did the same to Gork. Valignant demanded an explanation from Sefina. She said she was sorry for what the ‘tiny man’ made her do. He had taken her shaw and was blackmailing her into doing what he said as some of her life essence was contained in the shawl and if it were destroyed she would probably die.

Sefina summoned a water elemental and Val woke Dovahkiin who teleported himself and Gork back to the castle. Harghast refused to leave the dragon by himself and declined the easy escape. Val and Harghast escaped as the dragon rocketed back to the fort at top speed. Back at the fort, Dovahkiin and Gork told the guards to look for a tiny stinky man. Dovahkiin asked Zon to help and Meeko also sniffed around. Besmara must have favored Meeko for he was able to smell a very faint smell from the tower they went in.

When they got in they found an invisible alchemy lab which Dovahkiin blew up. The present party members were luckily only slightly burned. Meeko found some footprints leading to a small crack in the wall when suddenly Dovahkiin remembered the shaw and frantically looked for its remnants in the lab’s ashes. Fortunately it was not there and had not been destroyed in the hasty explosion.

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There was an explosion from the bay. The party, sans the still absent dragon and Oread, ran to see what was happening. Zon put Meeko in his backpack figuring they might need him for more tracking. The ship known as the Blood Moon had a big hole in it and was sinking. Zon saw another bomb on the ship. He disarmed it and Meeko began barking happily. Out of nowhere two bombs were thrown at them. Meeko was at deaths door once again and Zon was badly wounded. Zon ripped a piece out of the bomb. Meeko was bleeding out and the healer was still minutes away. Fortunately that dog is seemingly indestructible and stopped bleeding on its own. Zon also guessed where the invisible enemy hobbit bomber was and wounded him with arrows. Then the strix flew away, got healed by Dovahkiins healing potions and returned the dog.

They went to Harghast’s chapel where Meeko and Zon were fully healed. The absent party members finally arrived and were hurriedly filled in on the situation. The party decided to go back to the harbor to track the saboteur. Right before they left Meeko walked up to Zon and jumped at his backpack. Pleased by this, Zon picked up Meeko and put him in the pack.

When they got to the harbor, Valignant drank a water breathing potion so he could track the halfing bomber’s scent through the water. He tracked the halfing to a bunch of rocks blocking a tunnel. The tunnel connected to the spot where the party found the alchemy lab. The halfing had gotten through it by drinking a potion that turn him into a fluid which allowed him to pass through the rocks. Gork waited at the exit as the rest of party caught up to the halfling. It was the mercenary known as The Eel.

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The party unleashed a salvo of attacks and the eel went back through the rocks and got a barbarian to the face. He then tried to run away. Unfortunately for him, Dovahkiin had summoned a shadow demon. It caught up to him and The Eel heard its telepathic laughter as he tried in vain to escape. It then used its telekinesis to carry/drag his corpse to the party. And so the Dark Island truly earned its name.

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The party recovered the shawl from The Eel and returned it to Sefina. Stories of the great feast spread throughout the land and the group all got seats on the pirate council. It really seemed like a Great Success.

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