The Tale of the Tezdonan Inscription

Dr. Brulee in Bandages

As evening falls Salas, Villi, and Gorga travel to Rixis to report back to Dr. Brulee on their recent encounter with the Theives' Guild. However when they the Artificer's Guild Hall, Dr. Brulee is not in his office. A passerby tells Villi that Dr. Brulee is in the infirmary as he tried actively used spells against himself. Villi, Salas, and Gorga go to visit a bandaged up Brulee in the infirmary. Apart from his self-inflicted wounds, Dr. Brulee seems to be his usual sweet, energetic and eccentric self. When Gorga asks why he would hurt himself Brulee replied, "You know, I don't know what came over me. It just suddenly seemed like a sensible thing to do… But really, I'm feeling fine now."

Salas pulls Villi aside to caution him against reporting to Dr. Brulee while he has clearly been affected by some outside force. Villi agrees, but says that is he bound to report his findings to the guild. Villi then speaks with Brulee and says, "I will report on our findings on the fox case when you're feeling better tomorrow." Dr. Brulee insists he is feeling fine, but understands Villi's reasoning and responds, "Would you mind going to my family and tell them I got hurt on the job? Please don't tell them that I hurt myself intentionally." The party agrees to Brulee's request.

The party first takes a detour to investigate Brulee's office for any answers to his strange behavior. When they arrive, they notice that several artificers are also looking around Brulee's also looking for clues to the situation. Gorga notes tapping into her nature sense that she can faintly smell an animal-like smell.

After exiting Dr. Brulee's office they decide to report their full fox encounter to Villi's Guild leader, Glixitt's. They go to Glixitt's office, only to be greeted by Stephen, Glixitt's human male secretary who says that Glixitt is busy. However almost immediately Glixitt emerges from her office and tells Stephen, "I'll take it from here." She invites the party into her office and she says, "Villi, I've actually been meaning to speak with you. I understand that you went to Yinix recently." Villi replies, "Yes, we initially went to investigate some trouble with foxes, but when we got there the situation seemed much worse than we imagined. We found abnormally large animals possessed of some necromantic power that we don't fully understand. Also there were representatives of the thieves guild who told us to go away. We did end up having to fight them."

Glixitt says, "I think you did the right thing, but please be careful. If I was on a stage in front of my peers I'd need to reprimand you. But here in my office, I will say you did your duty to the guild… Now as for Dr. Brulee, I've worked for him for over 150 years and I've never seen him act this way. I don't know if this was an attack from the thieves' guild, or- you mentioned necromancy- perhaps Brulee was fooling around with magic that he shouldn't be." Villi asks for her permission to investigate these strange occurrences, and hesitantly, Glixitt writes Villi a permission form to, "look into strange fox activity based on wildlife research." She notes that this permission form will only go so far, and should Villi get into too much trouble she would have to save face as Guild Leader. Villi says, "Ma'am you can count on us!"

Glixitt smiles and goes over to a drawer and pulls out three boxes. The first box she gives to Villi, which holds a ring of counterstones. Next she hands Salas a potion of bull's strength. Lastly she gives to Gorga a bead of force. Glixitt says, "Villi, let me know if you have any questions. Begin your investigation where you think best."

The party agrees to visit Dr. Brulee's family to fulfill his wish of seeing his family. Dr. Brulee's wife Tillte barely opens the door, and says, "Hello?" Villi says, "Hi Tillte. Dr. Brulee had a little accident so he wanted to let you know he'll be staying at the guild hall tonight." Tillte says, "I've been wondering where he's been. What happened?" The party assures her that Dr. Brulle is okay, but she seems increasingly flustered. "I have company right now, but if you come back later perhaps we could talk more about this?" 

As the party walks away from the door they comment on the strange nature of Tillte's demeanor. They decide to rest and regroup in the morning. 

* More to come

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Ataraxia: Devil's Dawn
Welcome to Rixis

The docks of Rixis bustle with activity as Vili waits impatiently for the Nessus to finish docking. The gnomish mechanomancer practically vibrates with excitement as he stands beside his stoic Merfolk friend, Salas. The two had been catching up as they waited together. Salas tells Vili that he has come to Rixis on a diplomatic mission and has brought his wife, Ariel. Vili tells Salas of his new laboratory at the guild and his magical research. 

Finally the small but sleek ship throws down its gangplank and the crew begin walking down. Before any of the crew can step on dry land Vili and Salas are surprised to see an older Dwarven woman come plowing down the narrow plank. More surprising still is the sight of their fearless and stalwart friend Derek hurrying after her with an exasperated expression. The First mate-made-captain of the Nessus, Derek was clearly frustrated. 

"Come on Derek, be good boy and bring Mama's bag, eh?" The Dwarven woman yelled over her shoulder. Apparently her son, Derek obliges and puts down her simple rucksack. When he looks up to see Vili and Salas his black expression a little brighter. "Ho, boys!" Derek smiles, "this is my mother, Gorga Bronsworn, who I warned, TOLD, told, you about in my letter." Gorga, Salas, and Vili exchange pleasantries as they walk through the busy streets of the white city of Nessus. Vili and Salas learn that Gorga is an ex-adventurer hoping to get "back in game" Vili assures her that if he hears of anything he'll let her know.  

At Vili's lab the young gnome excitedly shows the group his latest invention. A large 7' mechanical beast in the shape of a long-necked fish like creature. "I got the idea from the taxi-fish in Abysrem!" Vili exclaims in pride and excitement. "I took everything I learned from the Inscription and used it to build this." Gears softly whirr as the beast raises its head and looks around. A slight blue glow can be seen to emanate from behind the eyes of the metallic creature. "His name is Tulvert" Vili explains as the creature shuffles over to inspect the group on its strangely dexterous flipper-feet.

The group hear a timid knock on the door as a wrinkled, bespectacled gnome steps into the room. "Vili we have a favor to ask you and…" the gome stops his sentence short upon seeing the other people in the room. 'I am so sorry, Vili. I, I had no idea you had company. I'll just come back later. 

"No, no, no Dr. Brulii! These are my friends you don't have to go!" Vili exclaims quickly. The group soon learn that the guild has a heard of a possible disturbance in one of the villages to the northeast of city. "Apparently there is a problem with some aggressive wildlife, and as you know it would behoove the guild to protect the people. This could be a good time to test out that creature of yours!" Brulii (now whiter than his own lab coat) says as he leaves the room in a hurry. 

"A quest for a hero!" Vili yells with exuberance as the group gather and head out of the city. They pick their way though shops and stalls of the alabaster city as they head for the gates of Rixis. Before they leave Salas takes the opportunity to bring the group to his temporary home in the market district and introduce the party to his wife. While visiting, Salas lets his wife know where he is going and advises her to be careful, especially now that she is carrying a child. "You know where the weapons are, if you need them" Salas says seriously to her. He ducks into a darkened back room only to emerge a moment later carrying a beautiful and deadly looking trident. "Let's go." 

The group take the better part of and hour walking to the farming village of Yannicks in the countryside near Rixis. After the uneventful walk the party stops at the gate, surprised. This appears to be a peaceful village. Nothing is wrong. The people seem happy and carefree, the guards are relaxed. Salas, Vili, and Gorga question a Dwarven guard who tries to tell the party that nothing is wrong. He insists that they are wasting their time, and that he has seen nothing out of the ordinary. He mentions that some  of the locals say that some people have gone missing, but he can't find any evidence. Salas is unimpressed with his slovenly demeanor and seeks out the local tavern to find out more. 

Inside the dusty pub the party sit and eat lunch. They question the bartender about these missing people. He tells them about the supposed victims, but reveals nothing more. As the party gets up and leaves he pulls Vili to the side to speak alone. "Don't get ahead of the Thieves' Guild on this one, boy" he growls. Vili assures him that they aren't going anywhere until they get to the bottom of this mystery, and asks him to keep their visit a secret from the Thieve's Guild. A sly smile crosses the barman's face as he reveals his guild badge. He is a Thief! Vili quickly gets up to leave, but turns as he crosses the threshold to say "We're going to get to the bottom of this, and we're not leaving as long as these people need help." 

At Vili's sudden urging the party darts out of the village only to stop a few hundred yards later. They pull off into the woods. Vili tells the party of his encounter with the barman. He warns the party that the Theive's Guild is not to be trifled with. Just as Vili begins to explain the long-standing rivalry between the Thieves and Artificers a huge creature suddenly bursts from the forest. A giant goat lowers its horns and bears down on Gorga, pushing the doughty dwarf back against a tree. Salas deftly pulls his trident from its strap and brings two lightning-quick swipes against the beast, striking its hindquarters. Tulvert's first real field-test begins as he takes a bite out of the side of the creature. To the astonishment of everyone, the flesh Tulvert rips from his enemy begins to rot away immediately. The party realize that this is no normal foe. Vili frantically pulls on his heavily patched cloak until he finds a certain black shape in the pattern. He grabs this black circle and pulls until the patch rips free from the cloak. In one motion Vili tosses the shape and the ground beneath the goat as he mutters a magical incantation. The moment the patch touches the ground it expands in three dimensions. Where there once was a patch of grass, there now exists a pit large enough to contain the monster. The goat falls down to the bottom of the pit and with a sickening crunch stops moving. 

Gorga, Vili, and Salas look at one another in the sudden quiet. Witout words all three of them climb down into the pit to inspect the unnatural creature. Vili realizes that the beast has been deeply affected by some kind of necromantic magic. He is barely able to begin speaking before all that remains of the creature is its skeleton. When he reports his findings to the group Gorga explains how she has encountered a similar magic before. A former Artificer, she explained, used something like a combination of Vili's work and necromancy to save her husband's life. Years ago Gorga's husband died while hunting a vicious beast in the mountains. Gorga carried his broken body to the Artificer who was able to remove her husband's spirit from his body and put it into a metal golem. 

Salas on the other hand takes this time to confer with Eadro, his patron deity.  While in a meditative state his nostrils are filled with the stench of evil as Salas sees a vision of Yannicks with seven spirits in seven geometric shapes floating above the city. Salas' holy connection has revealed an evil presence in the area. As quickly as the goat hit Gorga, a force that Salas cannot see throws him to the ground. The others rush over to him to find out if he is okay. When they get to Salas he tells them of what he saw in his vision. They decide to return to the village and inspect the homes where people were supposed to have disappeared from. 

The party move as quietly as they can through the village and come to the homes they were looking for. They find the father of a missing boy in the first house, yet he insists that his son is just off playing with some friends in the woods. Despite questioning by Salas and Gorga, the father doesn't budge. It appears that even if he is wrong, he believes what he is saying. The group then moves to the second house. Here things are different. The house is apparently abandoned, suddenly and without struggle. Dinner is laid out on the table and the food is still warm, but no one is there to eat it. Vili takes a few minutes to cast an elaborate spell to help see if any magical objects are present in the house. There is only one. A blanket radiating with necromantic energy. Vili gingerly stuffs it into his bag of holding to investigate more thoroughly later. 

Gorga, Salas, and Vili decide that the next step is to go into the woods these missing people have been taken from. The group set off northward and soon stumble upon a group of men, apparently hunting. Vili recognizes the Barman from earlier that day among the group, but before he can warn the others Gorga challenges them. As her gruff voice rings out through the trees a huge stag speeds past both sets of hunters. Everyone rushes after it, Vili trying to capture it, but the others trying to bring it down. The deer escapes into the woods leaving the opposing groups to face one another. The Barman tries to intimidate Vili and the others into leaving. "You don't want to get the guilds involved" he warns. When Vili doesn't back down the Barman grabs him in a headlock and holds a knife to his throat. "LEAVE, or the gnome gets it!"

Salas acts quickly. Centering himself in prayer, Salas seems to disappear. In an instant, with the sound of rushing water, he has switched places with Vili! After the theives' aggression a piched battle breaks out between the two groups. Gorga releases her rage and draws her mighty two-handed axe 'Seventh Son.' Her ferocity cuts through her foes as she rains blow after blow down on the men. Vili's alchemical formulas fly from his hand burning and blasting at the enemy, as he commands Tulvert to pin the Barman to the ground. Salas's trident shines with an otherworldly light as he lashes out at his foes. As soon as the fighting started something in the woods changed. An unseen force has begun slamming into people on both sides of the conflict, sending them flying across the battle. Only Gorga is able to fully withstand the invisible attacker. 

Both Vili and Salas try to deescalate the fight once they realize that there is something else at work. As Vili and Gorga focus on containing the thieves, Salas draws on the power of Eadro. He uses the guidance of his god to find the unseen foe and with a powerful stab manages to strike the being. Salas' holy power reveals a red demon, that crumples dead as soon as it was hit. 

Salas, Gorga, and Vili stand victorious, but aren't sure of what they've accomplished. They know that some kind of demonic force is at work. The Barman refuses to tell them anything. The people are still missing, and a necromancer appears to be on the loose. At a loss the party decide to return to the Artificer's Guild and report on what they've found. Vili shares a misgiving that they might have stepped into something much bigger, and the guild might not be pleased with him. All the same the trio turn to Rixis. 

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The Return Home
The Tale of the Tezdonan Inscription: Epilogue

A year has passed since the Tezdonan Inscription was sealed and the Illysari were freed from death once more. The world continues on much  as it has since the great war; few people outside Abysrem and Illysar know of the three heroes who protected them. The heroes Alais of Illysar, Salas of Destra, and Vili the Artificer, have each one returned to their respective homes. 

Alais has returned to her people as a leader to shepherd them back to their former glory on the sacred island of Illysar. Despite ending the Sickness Alais' blindness remains. As always see draws strength from experiencing life in this unique way. 

Salas reported back to his king and ken in the underwater city of Destra. There he told the tale of his adventures on the surface world. The story of the Inscription has inspired the traditionally isolated kingdom of the Merefolk to reach out to the overlanders. Salas emerges onto dry land once again, but this time as an emissary of his people. 

Vilibitiribli too has returned to his home, to the Artificer's Guild in the city of Rixis. Vili reported to the Head Seeker on his findings and research concerning the Tezdonan Inscription. Despite the young gnome's enthusiasm, the results of Vili's first mission was met with mixed feelings. The Seeker Corps felt that Vili failed in his mission because he did not recover the relic as instructed. The EXAM (Experimental Automatic Magic) Researchers on the other had were ecstatic over the knowledge Vili unlocked. The guild leadership decided to move Vili in to the research wing of the organization. Since this decision Vili has been running his own experimental lab focusing on imbuing constructs with magic. 

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Sea Hags and Sifa
The Tale of the Tezdonan Inscription: Episode 02

Several days later on The Nessus, Captain Alais has adjusted to her new duties as Captain. The small crew now includes Villi, Salas, Derek, Ramas, and Stan. At Derek's suggestion, Alais decides to inform the Jade Bear Company of Yuldra's death, postponing their journey to Swindlandcoat. They make heading for Abysrem, an island which houses the nearest post of the company. 

As they sail toward their destination they are attacked by a hoard of Sea Hags- horrible slimy sea witches with seaweed hair. A long battle ensues as more Sea Hags appear on a crab-shell boat. The Nessus blasts the hag boat with cannon fire, but the Sea Hags remain powerful and attack with even more effort. Derek instructs Salas to swim beneath The Nessus and hang lanterns which signal to allies that they are in need of help. Eventually Naval vessels with purple flags appear in the distance, firing their cannons at the Sea Hags and demolishing their shell ships.

After this encounter one Sea Hag is left barely alive on the ship. Salas speaks to her and says they will spare her life if she allows The Nessus safe passage in Sea Hag territories, should they need to venture this way again. The Sea Hag says she will speak to "The Mother" about this, and swims away. 

After this the main naval ship puts down a plank, and a dashing female officer named Erin Wake boards The Nessus. She hugs Derek and says, "We haven't seen those lanterns in years! It's good to see you old friend!" She takes out a strange hourglass filled with gears and informs the crew that the city of Abysrem will arise out of the waters shortly. In front of the crew, a fully populated city does indeed rise up out of the water, sparkling in the sun. "The cleansing is finished and Abysrem rises again." Erin says.

The Nessus comes into the city's harbor, and the crew go to the Jade Bear Company. As they approach the outpost, they see a gnome getting thrown out of the door by a human male. The human male yells, "And STAY OUT THUNDERMASTER!" Derek notes that Thundermasters are the Jade Bear Company's primary treasure-hunting rival.

They enter the outpost and are greeted by a female with a faint, angelic glow to introduces herself as Cefrey Reign. She takes them back into her office where there is a very handsome human man named Sifa, the mayor of Abysrem.  Alais recounts to Cefrey and Sifa Captain Yuldra's deadly betrayal at the hands of Solgor, their narrow escape from Watford, and their instructions to head north for Swindlandcoat. Ceyfrey notes that they didn't expect Yuldra to last long as Capatin, but at the time she was the company's cheapest option. Mayor Sifa inquires about Ramas, asking how she is doing. Salas informs them that she is fiercely independent, but she is alive, strong, and doing well. 

Cefrey asks if Alais would like to continue as captain of The Nessus. Alais pulls Villi and Salas aside and asks what they think. They come to the conclusion that it is best to continue on as is, with Alais as acting captain. Alais formally enlists in the Jade Bear Company, signing a one year contract.

Sifa offers to show them around the town, and they agree. The crew notice how much the townspeople adore him, as he stops to small talk with the townsfolk. He explains that Abysrem's supports have become weaker and weaker over time, which is why the city is submerged underwater every three days when the tide is highest. Alias asks if there are any other high elves in the town, and Sifa points them to the marketplace. Villi asks if there is an Artificers Guild in the city, to which Sifa replies that 6 months ago their only Artificers Guild outpost was burned out. The artificer's seemed to cut their loses and leave. The crew members give each other looks of suspicion upon hearing this news.

The enter the market and enter a small shop. Behind the counter is an older female half elf, in which Alais can immediately sense Illysari blood. The woman insists that she does not even know who the Illysari are. Alais describes to her the plight of the The Sickness in the Illysari. She tells the crew to come to the back and puts up a "closed" sign in her shop. The woman introduces herself as Aelyn. says she has been looking to the answer to her heritage for a long time- that she was born in Abyrem and her mother, Ahshen, was full high-elf. Aelyn thanks Alais for solving the mystery of her bloodline, and as Alais touches her reassuringly, she senses that Aelyn's blood is untainted by The Sickness. Alais asks if she would come with them on their journey, but Aelyn declines.

Aelyn then takes out her hour glass, and says, "Look at my dial! I've never seen the gears and dials move so quickly- it seems the cleansing is coming in just a few hours! Do you have a place to stay?" The crew agrees to stay in her shop. Villi examines Aelyn's dial and determines there is something happening with barometric pressure.

As the last spec of dust falls from within Aelyn's dial, water begins to fill out oustide the shop's windows. Soon they are completely submerged under water. Aelyn goes to take a nap. Only ten minutes pass and the crew notice the water level is already starting to go back down. Outstide the shop now stand three guards pacing back and forth. The crew are all alarmed that the cleansing happened so quickly and ask the guards what has happened. The guards respond that all four of the crew (Derek included) are now under arrest. They come to find out that Derek's naval officer friend Erin Wake, has assassinated the Mayor and has taken over control of Abysrem.

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Darts and Detours
The Tale of the Tezdonan Inscription: Episode 01

On a black and stormy night, the of crew The Savage Treasure fought against crushing rains and howling winds. Below deck, several crew members still lay asleep; including Salas (a merfolk guardian), Alias (a blind she-elf), and Villi (a clever gnome). The three of them were awakened suddenly by a sturdy male dwarf who urged them to get up and help in any way. While they quickly gathered their weapons and prepared to help, they noticed a human female and a half-elf also below deck, still sleeping.

As they came upon the upper deck, the storm was raging. At the helm, their rugged female Captain was doing all she could to keep course. The dwarf who had woken them instructed Salas to take on ropes to hold the masts, while Captain Yuldra put Alais' hands on the helm. When asked what use a light-weight gnome could be in this scene, Villi magically produced a gust of wind from his hands, allowing the ship to navigate peacefully out of the storm.

Once in still but cloudy waters, the Villi, Alais, and Salas met formally, and introduced themselves to each other. Salas was a paladin and royal guard of the sea-city of Destra. Having taken an oath to defeat evil, Salas was seeking the Tezdonan inscription on behalf of his God Eadro, to ensure that it would not used by evil forces. Alais belonged to the Ilysari clan of elves, and had spent half her life blinded by a sickness that had overtaken her clan. She was eager to find the inscription as it may point to a possible cure for her people. And Villi… Villi was a member of The Artificers Guild, who purpose was to research and collect artifacts.

Seeing that introductions were happening, the sturdy dwarf approached approached the party of three. "I see why we keep you around after all, little one." He said, motioning to Villi. "My name is Darrick Dankhill- right hand dwarf to Captain Yuldra." Darrick's appearance was rough and callous, yet around his neck hung a large amulet. He smiled telling them, "We're all here working for the Jade Bear Company. Remember that we just need to follow orders… In the past we've had some incidents."  When the party inquired about these "incidents" Darrick seemed to redirect the conversation as Captain Yuldra walked up to greet them. It is clear however that for Darrick the Inscription belongs to the Jade Bear Company, and that any attempt to retain it will be met with deadly consequences.

"Well, what about the ship? Was any damage caused by the storm?" Asked Villi. Captain Yuldra confirmed that there seemed to be a hole punctured into the left section of the lower bow of the ship. Salas offered to investigate the extent of the damage and repair whatever he could. Yuldra happily agreed, and Salas plunged into the water. As he began his inspection however, he could see claw marks around the hole- outlined by three evenly-spaced gash marks. After he had rebuilt that section of the ship (with some help from Villi), he returned on board to report what he had seen. Upon hearing this, Yuldra seemed rather frazzled and left to investigate.

Having some free time now, the party began speaking with the ship's other crew members. Alais found the half-elf who had been asleep below deck during the storm. He introduced himself as Ginblossum, and bragged loudly about his skill at darts. Annoyed by his puffery and boasting, Alais challenged him to a game of darts later that night below deck. Thinking it funny that a blind elf challenge him, Ginblossum accepted her offer.

Meanwhile Salas introduced himself to a quiet human women  who was making a drawing while sitting on the deck. She offered him her name- Ramas. From her accent, Salas could tell that she was from the Eastern Port of Ataraxia.  Ramas begins discussing her belief that the war was not necessary for the safety and security of the world, something which interests Salas greatly as his people were neutral in the great conflagration of the surface dwellers. After a bit more small talk Ramas asked Salas if he respected the captain. "I respect her for her authoritative position on this ship," said Salas. "And I respect her for the time she gave, fighting in the war." Ramas continued to sketch, staring down at her drawing. "I don't trust the captain," Said Ramas bluntly. "Dark times are ahead. She is taking us on dangerous waters… Do you know why the Jade Bear Company hired her for this job? Because she was their cheapest option." At this, Ramas tore her drawing out of her book, handed it to Salas, and walked away. As he looks down Salas sees a strange and concerning sight, as Ramas has drawn Captain Yuldra standing over the Merfolk god, Eadro.

When night fell, all crew members gathered below deck for the greatly anticipated darts match between Alais and Ginblossum. Ginblossum was embarrassed and befuddled as Alais continued to aim with precision. Crew members began betting for and against the two players. Both Villi and Salas put their money on their new friend Alais. Eventually, Alais defeated the boastful Ginblossum, 18 to 10. Once her victory was secured the crew roared with cheers. The party was short-lived, however, when Captain Yuldra marched down the stairs in anger. "What is all this? Why is no one manning my ship?!" She exclaimed furiously. 

Then a noise disrupted everything. The sound of claws tearing through the wooded ship filled the room, followed by two Sahaguins appearing out of the darkness and grabbing the Captain. Immediately Salas, Villi, and Alais sprung into action, ultimately killing the two beasts and ensuring the safety of Yuldra. Yulda expressed her thanks but noted that the situation would have been easier had the crew been on deck when they were suppose to be. The Captain then turned to Darrick, and said, "We're taking a detour to Watferd. These waters are more dangerous than expected. I need to speak with someone there to get a lay of the land."

After some discussion, Villi, Alais, and Salas agreed that a rest would be beneficial before arriving at their new location. Villi and Salas slept, while Alais shut her eyes to meditate.

As the three came out of their rests, the boat approached Watferd- a small fort inside an icy glacier. Light signals welcomed The Savage Treasure inside, and the crew set anchor in the deep, frigid waters. Once on land, Salas, Alais, Villi, and several crew members followed Captain Yuldra to a small inn. Inside was a aged bar tender and about thirty men- all of them older vets who had fought in the war. Yuldra walked over to a man yelling, "Solgor!" The man smiled and opened his arms for a hug, "Yuldra!" The two then walked toward the back of the inn, to a small corner to talk privately.

Curious to know more about their present situation, the three party members sat down at the bar within earshot of Yuldra and Solgor. From the snippets of conversation, they could pick out that Solgor was the president of this island and that the two of them had fought in the war together. Although they seemed to share a bond, Alais could sense that Solgor was nervous about something. Wanting to know why, Alais leaned in closer to hear their conversation. "The men have low morale," Solgor said to Yuldra. "I'll need more payment than that; times have changed." Alais reported to Villi and Salas what she had just heard. Remembering the warning from Ramas, Salas went off to find her. Seeing her drawing in a corner, he inquired about their earlier conversation. Cryptically Ramas said, "He's nervous- Yuldra has something that threatens him…" Salas felt uneasy and returned to the bar.

The bartender came over to the three new patrons and asked if he could get them something. Everyone (including Villi) ordered a little something while they waited. After getting their drinks, the bartender introduced himself as Bedell. The three adventures ask him about he town and Yuldra's relationship with it, and are surprisingly told that she had not brought a crew there in ten years. Salas asked him if he had fought in the war, like most of his customers. Bedell said he had not, but that it had been a rough past few days here. Villi asked Bedell exactly what that meant… Bedell shared with them that the local theater (Watferd's pride) had been invaded by Sahaguins several days earlier, but nobody had seen them. Bedell pointed them to an older beared man, who introduced himself as Longpascher, the security guard of the theatre. He said he missed the Sahaguins by one shift, as Solgor had just given him a vacation. Again, a feeling of unease spread through the party concerning Solgor, and after studying him more intently it became clear to them that he prided himself on appearing tough and in charge, but that in fact he was in fact more a follower than a leader of men.

Finding this information uncomfortably strange, Villi, Salas, Alais reported to Yuldra. After some discussion, they departed from the tavern to inspect the theater for themselves. Once at the theater, they noticed that the door had not been broken into, but was instead locked and could not have been opened without a key. Inside the theater's office scattered coins, pieces of a broken pipe, and several wet Sahaguin footprints covered the ground. They went further inside to inspect the inner stage. Finding many Sahaguin footprints on the ground, the four of them inspected the stage at length. Strangely, everything in the theater seemed to indicate that no break-in had occurred, as the stage was in perfect condition except for the wet footprints of Sahaguin.

It was clear to all that something was not right with the story that they had been told concerning what had happened at the theater. Peering into the inky, black darkness of the night Salas caught a glimpse of something that froze his blood. Staring back at him from on top of the the amphitheater were 13-15 sets of piercing Sahaguin eyes. Calling out in alarm to the those with him, Salas drew his trident and told everyone to run for the tavern to raise the alarm. Eight Sahaguin jumped down to the stage and began to move quickly towards the party, attempting to prevent them from escaping. As the foul beasts spread out, one larger than the other eight stepped forward and sneered, one who Salas recognized bore the marks and scars of a Sahaguin Baron, the commanding officers of the Sahaguin forces, and beings known all to well among his people for their cruelty.  Knowing that they were greatly outnumbered, the four of them set foot to run back to the tavern. Furiously fighting and casting spells as they ran, they could see in the distance that the inn had been set on fire from the inside. As they burst inside, they found that Solgor and two Sahaguin had taken the entire crew captive. As the fire and smoke spreads, Vili, Alais, and Salas attempt to fight to save those inside the tavern with little success. Salas plants himself in the door frame, and yells for Vili and Alais to get as many out as they can, especially the Captain. As he challenges the Sahaguin, the Baron steps forward, pushing his underlings out of the way, and a fierce duel begins between the two children of the sea. The two creatures, whose races have sworn to see the other destroyed from the sea bed, faced off, and while each was able to land blows, in the end it was the Baron who felled Salas, smiled, and then stepped over his unconscious body and began to casually slaughter those who were in the tavern.  Seeing that their efforts were futile, Ramas and two other crew members ran back to the ship and prepared it for departure. Alais grabbed the captain, trying to save her by getting her back to the ship. Villi ran to Salas and cast a wind spell, blowing him safely onto the ship. Villi continued to run until he also was safe on the boat.

"It's too late for me, Alais." Captain Yuldra pleaded. "Just leave me here." Alais continued to carry the Captain, despite the rising flames and brutal Sahaguin beatings. Watching as the ship began to depart, Alais held the Captain and sobbed, knowing that if she continued her attempt to save the Captain they would both die here. "I'm- I'm so sorry." Alais said, slowly letting the Captain slide from her grip. "Take this." Said Yuldra, handing Alais a small piece of paper. Alais took the paper, and laid down the Captain and ran to the boat. As she stood on the ship Alais saw the burning town of Watferd, swarming with Sahaguin, while Solgor and the Sahaguin Baron simply stood and stared at the fleeing ship and those few who had managed to escape.

On the deck, Alais saw that only seven of the crew members had survived, including Villi, Salas, Ramas, and Darrick. She informed them that the Captain didn't make it. After a period of lament and reflection. Alais informed Villi, Salas, and Darrick of the note the Captain had given her. Feeing enough time had appropriately passed, Alais opened the piece of paper, which read, "Friend of Cefry-Reign, The Inn of Swindandcoat, North of here, and is not on the map… Speak retribution in my quarters." A bit confused, Alais wandered into Yuldra's quarters, and said to herself, "Retribution." Magical enegry pours out from everything in the cabin,  and in a moment Alais has been bound to The Savage Treasure as her new captain.

 

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