All was quiet on the ship after Desira and Sindri Stribog had returned from their adventure into the cave beneath the ocean’s surface. Clothing was all they had uncovered, but it was enough of a lead to point to where the villagers had been somewhat recently.
The pair had decided to catch some rest before it was determined what would be done about exploring the guarded portion of the underwater cave that was guarded by a brine dragon.
The entire ship was awoken a few hours after the pair’s return to a loud crashing on the deck. Wondering if they were under attack by some new foe, the entire ship’s populace emerged on the deck to find an elf and a half-elf struggling with one another. Somewhat stumped by their sudden appearance, the adventurers watched as the human in impressive looking armor grappled with the elf who had what appeared to be a pair of panties on his head and a longsword at his hip.
Having seen enough, Captain Morgan forced the pair apart and demanded an explanation. Both of the intruders stood shocked. Though whether it was from the impressive form of the magnificent Captain Morgan’s nearly nude body or from their current location, nobody could be sure.
The half-elf in armor turned out to be a guard named Neo who was charged with protecting a location nowhere near the southern seas. The elf who refused to give his name turned out to be a thief who had been caught with the panties. The two had started to struggle when all of a sudden they had appeared here.
Sindri and Al’ev “Olive” Reldin were able to recognize the culprit of this set of events as a portal spell. It was likely caused by a trap that was triggered during Neo and the Elf’s struggles.
Frustrated that the elf wouldn’t give his name, Captain Morgan decided to give him one instead. He was pronounced Pan Ti, thief of female undergarments, bane of all under wire.
As amused as that made all of the adventurers, they still had to figure out what to do with these two new comers. They explained the situation to them both and it was decided that if the pair were to return back to land, they would have to assist in recovering the people of Crustakin Hold starting with defeating the brine dragon. Neo and Pan Ti didn’t show much hesitation even though they knew they’d be likely facing grave danger. When it was decided they’d be joining in the effort, the group began to plan their attack.
Several potential options presented themselves. The most promising in the minds of some of the group was one in which the dragon would be lured out of its cave and into the kelp forest outside where the group could ambush it. Al’ev elected himself as the bait knowing that he could keep pace with a dragon of this size in the cave for the duration of the time it took to run the length of the tunnel. The group agreed and everyone except Captain Kirk, his crew and the guards from Crustakin Hold, soon found themselves in the waters of the southern ocean again but only after having drank a fisherman’s potion each.
They made their way down to the edge of the kelp forest without incident. When there, each put a sea leaf on their backs and proceeded towards the direction of the mouth of the cave.
Crim made an interesting discovery upon reaching the cave. It was something that was missed all the previous instances the group had ventured into the cave. It appeared that this formation of coral was actually not natural, something that didn’t sit well in the minds of the adventurers.
After making some final preparations which included Pan Ti casting a few benificial spells on some companions and Desira healing a still ragged Al’ev, the half elven magus made his way into the cave to face the dragon.
About halfway through the cave he started preparing himself for what was to come. Casting a shield spell and a speed spell as well as an additional light spell on his sword, he continued on towards the room where the dragon had last been seen. He saw hints from some fish that he was on the right track but didn’t see anything in the room until he was just at the entrance.
Looking up, he figured out where his quarry was hiding. The brine dragon had been waiting for him, perched just above the entrance to the room. Luckily for Al’ev, he was faster than the dragon to react, and promptly began running back the way he came.
The dragon came swimming after, pacing Al’ev for the first 240 feet of the trek down the tunnel. It was during this distance that the Half-Elf began taunting his pursuer into a frenzy. At about 300 feet, Al’ev saw some dazzling light rays pass harmlessly beyond him and started laughing as he turned to shoot a salvo of magic missiles at a now extremely frustrated dragon. He then began cackling for the next 120 feet continuing to egg on the young dragon. The dragon decided now was a good time to let loose the acid that had devastated the intruding adventures the previous day, but Al’ev was prepared for it this time, easily dodging the majority of its shot. He all but verbally slapped the dragon in the face as he continued to flee down the passage doing all he could to ensure the dragon would keep after him.
When he finally reached the cave’s entrance, he quickly spotted several members of the group. They were fairly well hidden. All except Neo, who was twice his normal size, and Captain Morgan. Both stood ready just inside the edge of the kelp forest. Swimming quickly behind the pair he turned just as the dragon burst out of the cave with a piercing bellow. Smirking, he swam up to Neo’s shoulder and fired another salvo of magic missiles at the beast.
If the beast recognized the trap it had swam into, it didn’t seem to care. In its fury it surged up to the trio of adversaries and tried to take a bite out of Al’ev but instead connected with Captain Morgan’s arm.
The guard captain hardly flinched. He knew this beast was likely the last thing between himself and his people. He took a mighty swing with his halberd and managed to connect with a solid blow. The dragon’s blood began fill the water.
It was all fairly downhill for the mythical beast after that. It was humiliated by a half elven magus. Shrugged off by a human guard captain. And now it was being grappled by another human, this one in shining armor and was twice the size of the others. The rest of the group saw their oportunity to strike, Crim and Velius made their way towards the rear of the dragon. Pan Ti did the same. The dragon was unaware until all three struck solid blows. Garyuu Reddaile attempted to join in the fray but was frustrated to find that even a grappled dragon seemed to be able to wiggle like a snake around his blows. Sindri took a shot with a ray of frost which connected and made the dragon yet more furious. Desira had decided to remain within range of her companions and used the aura of her goddess to bring a bit of health to those who had been injured during the previous day’s fray and Al’ev, who had taken a few drops of acid to his side on his run from the cave.
For Al’ev’s part, he saw an opportunity. The dragon didn’t stand a chance and everyone there knew it. While it was still grappled he swam a bit away from the others and began to talk with it.
What he learned in the short discussion was more than he wanted to. It turned out that the dragon had used the Sahuagin as its servants. He had sent them to attack Crustakin Hold in order to kidnap the villagers. The villagers became “fuel.” For what he wouldn’t say exactly, but Al’ev and Sindri had a good idea as to where they were, now thinking back on the souls they had sensed in the wands they had found during The Battle for Crustakin Hold. The only other information Al’ev was able to get from the dragon was when it sniffed towards him and said that he should know why this was all happening.
Al’ev grew cold and after a final attempt to end the current conflict peacably, realized that this would only end with the beast’s demise. Crim was all too happy to oblige when, after the beast had gotten free from Neo’s grasp, he surprised the creature with a vicious serious of strikes that turned the once mighty creature to nothing more than ribbons.
With the fight over, the group decided to head into the cave and see what the creature had been guarding. They all feared what they would find and were not disappointed when they finally arrived in the large room once more.
There were no villagers to be seen.
The group spread out to search the room. Al’ev and Sindri used their sense magic spells and spun around in a circle back to back taking their time. What the pair discovered was not so bad in one direction, but absolutely awful in the direction of an archway. Upon closer inspection it was determined to be a portal that ran off some sort of strange fuel. Al’ev and Sindri were quick to figure out that the fuel was likely the souls of the villagers. This was the source of the disgusting feeling. Both nearly lost what little they had eaten the previous day when they sensed that particular part of the portal. They also discovered several runes arrayed around the portal’s arch. Protection, targeting, binding, and a few others. It appeared that this portal required some sort of material component to send someone to somewhere in the distant Larian Mountains.
While that was happening Neo found a strange looking crack off to one side of the room covered up by a stone.
Captain Morgan made his way to what Desira pointed out was likely what Sindri and herself had found during their previous entry into the room. He began sifting through the clothing seeming to be looking for something. Desira offered her condolences, and tried to assist the guard captain in whatever it was he was searching for.
Neo pushed aside the rock from in front of the crack and, calling Crim, Al’ev and Sindri over, pointed to a room that appeared to hold the dragon’s stockpile of treasure and items. Quickly looking through it all, they decided now wasn’t the time to divvy it out. With a strange portal at their backs and a distraught Captain Morgan now attempting to go through it, they had more pressing things to do.
Several group members attempted to stop the captain and only succeeded when he was already far enough to fall forward and end up halfway through the portal’s archway. Nothing happened, as Al’ev has suspected. The portal needed something more to be of use. Judging from the blood stains on several of the runes, he had a good idea what it was but didn’t say it out loud.
Explaining to the Captain where the portal lead and that they hadn’t given up hope yet, Captain Morgan set off back towards the ship, spouting out something about heading to the mountains to find his people and those responsible for their predicament.
After several attempts to disable the portal, the group decided it was time to follow the Guard Captain back to the ship. The Guild of Arbiters would need to hear all about what had happened here…and soon.