Skull and Shackles

The Battle of Dark Island

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Over the next few days the party searched for information on Scags Rotgram, dealt with buying and selling equipment, and raised Rosie from the dead. Valignat bought a pair of Deathwatch Eyes that would let him see, among other things, if creatures were undead or constructs. Ultimately, the party found an old sailor who said that Scags and his ship, the Devilish Duchess, had last been seen entering the place known as Dagon’s Jaws. The Nightmare headed out to Dagon’s Jaws. That morning Dovahkiin attempted to scry on Caulky and received nothing but static.

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The party began by having Valignat, Gork and Harghast scout the tiny outlying islands. There was nothing unusual beyond normal jungle life on those two islands. Dolphins and a manta ray were seen in the water. On the way to the farther set of islands, they saw smoke rising from the trees near the sea at A3 and giant wooden head carvings at A4. The party moved in on the smoke. Dovahkiin and Zon turned invisible and scouted out the smoke. They found a castaway camp and a woman watching the skies from hiding.

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Dovahkiin and a triggerhappy Zon argued quietly about what do until Dovahkiin decided to just introduce himself. He demanded that the woman state her name and business. She said she was Alise and turned the question back on Dovahkiin. When he said that the party was looking for Scags to get information against Harrigan, Alise declared that any enemy of Harrigan was a friend of hers. She asked Dovahkiin to reveal himself and he complied. Alise responded by bringing eight of other survivors out of hiding. She explained that they were castaways. At night, bestial ghouls called brykolakas would attack the survivors of the Devilish Duchess.

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Alise and her 8 companions were the only survivors. Among the ghouls victims was Scrags Rotgram. Alise still thought the information the party needed would be in his cabin in the shipwreck. The castaways were eager to leave and the party took them along on the Nightmare, transporting them over on dragonback.

Back on the Nightmare, Dovahkiin helped Kroop cook for the survivors. In the kitchen the Chicken approached Dovahkiin and sat on his shoulder. Dovahkiin walked away and tried to get a blood sample, but it disappeared. When it came back, Dovahkiin picked it up in an attempt to find out if it was male or female. It pooped on his face and vanished until later.

The party sailed 5 miles back on Alise’s insistence to avoid the ghouls when resting. That night, Harghast finally left Neutrality behind and became officially Lawful Good.

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Meanwhile, Dovahkiin teleported to Port Peril to buy a scroll of Share Memory for later use in proving his allegations against the Chicken.

The targets on the island were the large wooden totem heads, the wreck of the Duchess, and a clearing in the middle of the island. The party chose to start with the wreck. On arrival the partyspotted six corpses bobbing in the water. Val saw that they were really ghouls and Dovahkiin blew all but one away in a single fireball. The last survivor was shot down moments later by Zon. Unbeknownst to anyone, that last one was Scags. Valignat flew out to loot with Harghast on his back. Harghast detected more evil in the direction of nearby dolphins. Moments later the dolphins turned into brykolakas and attacked.

The three monsters wounded Harghast and Valignat. The party retaliated and the monsters were all killed. They seemed to take an unusual amount of punishment before finally dropping. The party scanned the river for signs of the missing wreck and found only a bent, rusty Ring of improved swimming.

Next up was the clearing. In the clearing was a magic spring marked with the symbol of the Neutral death deity Pharasma. Dovahkiin and Val tried the water and it was a one use per day healing effect. The party then spent a while searching the whole area for some treasure, or perhaps a monster to fight. Harghast had an exposition vision of the ancient and forgotten culture who put the shrine there. Slightly surprised at the lack of adventure in the clearing, the party moved on to the head carvings.

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Strangely, the heads were in perfect condition and didn’t seem to have aged or eroded at all. They were called the Dusk Watchers. As Dovahkiin stepped forward a booming voice called out “Stay back outlanders, or be judged!” The party complied. Dovahkiin decided to use a spell he had been saving and turn his dog into a medium-sized black dragon.

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Meeko then hopped forward to be the first to attempt to pass whatever test of purity and spirit would be required. It then turned out that “judging” meant getting punched to death by a invisible magic robot from the plane of Law.

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Harghast revealed the robot with a Purge Invisibility spell right after it killed Meeko. It was an Inevitable, an extra-planar enforcer of Law. Valignat prepared to charge, but the party still wanted to negotiate. The dragon calmed down and assumed his diplomatic persona. After some discussion the party found out he was called Lakorian-Kriss and he had been bound to watch the Dusk Watchers for thousands of years. The party befriended him and Lakorian admitted he was sick of guarding the heads and could be freed by anointing them with water from the fountain up the hill. Harghast was eagerly hoping to have Lakorian join the crew and the party quickly freed him. The Dusk Watchers and the fountain crumbled to dust and Lakorian was incredibly grateful. He promised to reward the party sometime in the future and disappeared.

The party collected Meeko’s remains and carried them back to the ship to raise later. Dovahkiin entered his cabin with the body. Standing there was the Chicken. It walked forward and with a few pecks brought the dog back to life and fully restored. Dovahkiin was alarmed about the show of power and rushed to tell the largely skeptical party about it. The party scouted the lower of Dagon’s Jaws and saw an inlet in the coast. The party rested and the next day Dovahkiin convinced Gork by showing the memory to him. In the morning the party flew out to the inlet. At the back of the inlet was four dilapidated sailing ships shoved together and wrecks in the water.

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After exploring the area and seeing no threats the party began towing the ships out to make a squadron. The party was working to extract the ships when four brykolakas attacked. Two of the ghouls almost killed Gork with their disease inducing claws. The others came out of the water from under Valignat and failed to do much to him. Val charged Gork’s attackers and Harghast began stabbing at them with his War Lance. Zon and Dovahkiin opened fire with arrows and lightning. Soon the last ghoul fell, and the party won the day. The ships were towed out and brought back to Dark Island for repairs. Many pirates were impressed with the accomplishment and signed on to the new squadron. The ships were repaired and the ships of Fargo Vitterande and Barracuda added to the group. Dovahkiin’s wife Grok was made commodore of the new squadron and she named it Dovahkiin’s Heart.

Dovahkiin lured Kroop into his college on Dark Island and took him captive in an attempt to learn more about the Chicken.

Meanwhile, Harghast was contacted by Sefina the Nereid. She said that in the course of her patrolling the coast as promised, she had spotted strangers spying on the island and planning an attack. Kroop was returned to the Nightmare and told Harghast what Dovahkiin had done before taking up drinking again. The Warpriest called the party together. The group was extremely angry with Dovahkiin for attacking Kroop. The party sincerely tried to make it up to Kroop.

However, these events were overshadowed by the imminent arrival of Harrigan’s fleet.

The party quickly rallied together for the battle the next day.

The Wormwood appeared on the horizon and the fleets faced off. The Nightmare’s squadrons consisted of Madshank’s five warships, Pegsworthy’s three sailing ships, Pierce Jerrel’s six longships, Sandara’s five warships, and Grok’s six sailing ships. On the side of the Wormwood were the six warships of the Duskwyrm Squadron, seven sailing ships in the Zura’s Kiss, and five galleys in the Reef Spiders.

The battle opened as Madshanks and Grok ganged up on and destroyed the Reef Spiders. The Wormwood fleet responded in kind by sinking Pegsworthy’s underpowered group. Over the rest of the battle, Pierce, Madshanks, Sandara and the Duskwyrm Squadron were all forced to pull back. The battle came down to Zura’s Kiss vs Grok’s Dovahkiin’s Heart squadron. In a savage battle, all of Zura’s Kiss were destroyed and Commodore Grok emerged with a triumphant toothy grin and two functional ships left.

Steadily approaching through the destruction, the Nightmare prepared to board the Wormwood. Finally.

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