The group had spent many days resting and pursuing their own interests in Wartle after returning Turra home safely. The celebration was long lived, and the down time welcome. But as always, there were other interests to be da, and more adventure to be found. Wanderlust called…
Several members of the group sailed to Nybor, north of Wartle to stretch their legs. While there, they learned that the owlbear threat was indeed real, and the fabled menace Featherclaw was quite real. After an offer of bounty was made, the heroes decided that other matters called to them, and left this matter to itself for the time being.
On their return to Wartle, they learned that Turra has set off in search of answers to his dilemma of this “Fellnight Queen” and likewise so had their companion Enril. Both left to follow their own paths as their faith had dictated, so the party had decided to move on without them. But with every loss, a gain is to be found. In this case, a wanderer. A odd fellow named Gage sought out the group, Dorian in particular, and explained his travels to them. Gage was what was known as an oracle; a seer of what is to come, and his destiny had guided him to Dorian and his companions. Seeking only to walk the path of his visions, Gage pledged to accompany the group as one of them.
Valgoth had acquired an old map, believed to be of dwarven make, from Breeg the smith. A deal was struck, and plans were drawn; the expedition would begin immediately. The course of action decided on was to travel far east to the citadel city of Janderhoff, where the group was hopeful more information concerning the map could be found.
Pattson and young Ruppert yet again assisted the party with passage on their river barge upstream towards Whistledown. Whistledown was a small yet thriving town on the west shore of Lake Syrantula, a massive freshwater lake of unknown depths. The bounty of fish the lake provides, and its connection between major Varisian cities have made it well travelled and home to several settlements.
On the third day of travel, the danger of the Mushfens reached out one last time, as if to remind the heroes the bog would not suffer them to pass. The barbaric boggards of the fens, cruel frog men, swarmed the barge as it passed a narrow in the river. The beast men assaulted the barge on all sides, with the aid of two large crabs holding the vessel fast in the river.
The fight was fierce with both Pattson and Ruppert being gravely wounded during the initial raid. The boggards swarmed Cyrus as he attempted to rescue Pattson, and almost overtook him. With aid from his archon guide Michael, and his fellow Fydon, Cyrus was able to fend off the creatures.
Valgoth took to the stern of the ship, engaging the boggards head on while Dorian and Gage unleashed spell after spell to safeguard the vessels from the swarming savages. And through steadfast determination, the tide came to favor the party, sending what few enemies remaining diving back into the murky depths of the river.
Whistledown was not Wartle, this much was clear. Whereas Wartle was a quiet town, and generally civil, Whistledown, or at least the docks and their locale, were rowdy and unwelcoming. The tavern of “The Mad Bunyip” was full of gruff, seaworthy fellows that drank swill by the gallon. A quick trading of words with the barkeep, and a few dropped coins, left the group with the scantest of information regarding where they were going, but did somewhat reaffirm a vision their new companion Gage has foretold.
Cyrus, as always, sought out to use his cordial ways to book a new vessel, seaworthy enough to cross the great expanse of Lake Syrantula. However, Cyrus was not prepared for Captain Lyssa. A breathtakingly beautiful half elven woman was the last thing he expected; and a sharp and stern captain too boot no less. She did agree to terms with the paladin, and once the rest of the companions arrived, Captain Lyssa found herself in the middle of a discussion of barter.
Despite Fydon’s best efforts to impress her, captain Lyssa was steadfast in her price and how far she would go. She eventually agreed to take the party to the desolate stretch of beach along the shores of the Fenwall mountains, but gave warning that only one days time was all she would wait. Anchoring in a stormy cove, believed to be haunted and curse, was not something she was willing to risk for too long.
The storm that surrounded the beach was like no storm any of the heroes had ever seen. The howl of the wind was lifelike, and the purple hue of the lightning strikes bathed the shore in an eerie shroud. The rocky beach was slick, and gave way to sheer cliffs of the Fenwall mountains. The stink in the air was foul, and seemed to pour from the cavern opening beneath the statue ruins that was their destination.
It was here that the rumors of this cove became truths. Scampering out of the rocks and fetid tidal pools came the undead. Ghouls, scavengers of the dead, blocked their way, only parting for their foul champion. An armor clad warrior of darkness, brandishing a massive horsemans axe, strode from the cavern ruins atop a feral giant boar. Both rider and mount sent chills down the spine of all who dared look. And with a gesture, his pack raced forward, tongues hanging from their vicious maws, as the fog grew dense around the beach, lending a foul energy to the undead.
The two groups collided in a blitz of fury. Fydon unleashed flame and lightning from his magic arrows, one after another into the creatures as Valgoth stalked into their midst shield high, his hammer pulverizing the bloated flesh of the ghouls with each swing.
Gage and Dorian fell back, recognizing the fog for the evil spell it was, calling on their own magic to aid their allies. Spell after spell was hurled at the undead champion, but the creature shrugged off the brunt of their magical assault.
The battle raged on, with Cyrus, however outmatched, holding his ground under the brutal attacks of this ungodly warrior. With dark power guiding its strikes, the ghoul knight struck down the paladin, and wheeled his fiendish mount next towards Valgoth. The dwarf and the ghoul traded blows, while the new companion Gage rushed to aid the fallen paladin Cyrus. Valgoth did his job of holding the line, until the brave dwarf succumbed to the unholy magi empowering the ghoul knight.
Dorian and Fydon continued to harass the ghoul knight, and finally felled the fiendish boar, dropping the anti-paladin to the stony ground. And as the undead creature began to rise, Cyrus, healed through divine magic of Gage, struck down the creature with holy power. The battle was over…
Yet now the question loomed… what lay before them inside the ruins of the sea cave?