The Tale of the Tezdonan Inscription

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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