Tantalus

After a long winter

Corby relaxed by the fire, drying off and warming up. He had just finished another day of working on the palisade that was being put up around the village of Kilm and was enjoying a pipe before his wife came back. His kits were roughhousing in the main room of the cozy cabin, one of many that had been quickly built last fall to provide winter shelter for the influx of catfolk that had come to make the little village their new home.

He was amazed by the titles he had gained over the past year, an Iron Wolf, Thane, Ship’s Eyes, a Protector of the Tribe, husband, father. Not bad for a boy from the slums of New Baronage. There was no way the gang he grew up with would recognize him now.

It all started by helping a group of adventures deliver a message. He joined up with them in spite of being magically harassed by the group’s cleric, Willhelm.

He found out that the group was sent on a mission by an old man in their village named Uncle Benton. They were told that magic was resurfacing in the world and that a great evil was trying to get control of it. As a result of this evil coming around, one of the village girls was hurt in some way and was put in some kind of suspension by Benton until the group could find a cure for her. Something involving four elements and a cook.

While in New Baronage, they disrupted the plans of a coup to depose the current Baron, where Corby got the title Thane, a generally meaningless title, but it opened some doors in the merchant town of Flatrock.

The group also foiled the plans of holding the emissary from Flatrock who was bringing a trade agreement to be signed between the two countries. That won the group the gratitude of the Royal Merchant family of Flatrock.

After they had killed all of the men guarding the ambassador, a violent storm came up and for some reason, one of the group decided to walk out onto a pier over the water and got ate by a sea lion. The party wasn’t too disappointed when that this happened because the guy was a loose cannon looking to be worshipped as a hero all of the time.

Willhelm betrayed the group and began running with an evil group behind the coup. The group swore vengeance.

The barbarian of the group got married to a barmaid and decided to retire and become a tavern owner.

Sam, one of the original people from Kilm joined the group again and brought the cleric Stepton and the warmage/cleric Gavin.

When they brought the emissary back to his city, they found that a plague had started to appear in the city. With some investigation, the group tracked down the source to the sewers under the city. They trekked into that smelly hell and found out that a group of smugglers had gotten caught in a cave in which caused a series of events which resulted in the plague.

A magical device called Pipes of the Sewers fell down near a crack in a wall where periodically wind would blow across them, making them play and calling swarms of rats. The rats would mill about until they found a crate that had broken open and ate some kind of green glowing poison. Then they would carry the plague into the city. They had just destroyed the poison, picked up the pipes when the ground trembled, the tunnel caving in. Surprisingly they weren’t dead when it stopped, but deposited deep underground, far below Flatrock.

They moved from natural caves into well hewn corridors, some kind of underground city. Their exploring for a way out revealed that the builders were a squat, bearded folk, but no one had ever heard of a race like that before. After negotiating with a race of fungus people, fighting a demon that had been captured, and several mechanical statue/figures, they came across a tomb of a great king.

When Stepton put the king’s helmet on, a great change came over him. He became one of the short stocky bearded race. As an added benefit, the helmet allowed him to understand written and spoken languages.

They reached a dead end of the tunnels and Corby used a ring he had found in the tunnels to change into an earth creature that could burn through rock to create a tunnel back to the surface.

When the Royal family found out that the plague was ended, there was much rejoicing. Yeh!!!!

One of the items that was found was a necklace from the neck of the King’s neck. When they were back safe in Flatrock, Stepton put it on and went into a coma. Gavin kept watch over him, but after 24 hours the cleric woke up with almost a split personality. He had all of the memories of the Dwarven (the race of stocky humanoids who made the underground city) King and the last days when magic was present in the world. He had sent a Dwarven expedition to the islands to the south to ensure that magic would not be totally lost. Stepton also got the ability to speak dwarven and several of the party started to learn the language.

The next step of finding the cure was that the last element was going to be found on an island in the Tartan Isles. They found out that the only captain who would have the balls to take us there was down in the harbor. After meeting with Artimis Rake, everyone in the group but Corby with a lot of slight of hand dumping the rot gut, getting blindingly drunk with the man he told a story about seeing a silver ship that he lusted after.

The deal was that if we helped him get the ship, he would take us to the island we wanted to go to. We got a bunch of supplies and horses and headed down the coast to the fort where this ship was anchored. The trip was relatively quiet until they got closer to the fort. The land was overcast and vision was cut down greatly. They ran into roving bands of monstrous humanoids, dressed in archaic armor and having weapons that had seen many years of honing and sharpening.

The group found a missing farmer and decided to take him to the nearest town, Shadowcliff and leave him in the care of the fishermen there. He killed himself during the first night in town, the group wasn’t sure if it was because he had lost his wife or his prized cow to the roaming undead.

They then headed up the coast to the fort and reached the southern wall of it easily. Corby climbed up the wall and was sneaking around when he was seen by a large group of the undead humanoids. He was chased over the walls and the undead followed him onto the beach. In a running battle, they killed off the undead and they camped out on a hill until the clerics could turn again.

The fort was cleared in one large battle and then the last room was entered. A lich was in charge of the fort and in a damaging battle, it was defeated, not before it sounded a large horn, notifying something or someone, and an artifact that was to be used in the ritual to cure the woman was shattered in a massive explosion. Seems a powerful spirit had been trapped in there and was released.

The ship, The Valkyrie, was loaded up with all of the ill gotten booty and the group sailed to Shadowcliff to provision with supplies for the long trip ahead. On the way there, they came across a pirate ship that had come onto the scene recently and had been ravaging the coastline.

The Valkyrie had better wind and was faster, so they were able to get away. As they escaped, a shark came up alongside and seemed to be checking them out. They put a couple of arrows in it, which didn’t really seem to hurt it that much, but they chased it off.

The group decided to warn the villages on the coast and came across a flotilla of rickety fishing boats filled with villagers that had run away because the pirate ship had been spotted. They pulled everyone onto the Valkyrie and sailed up the east coast of the continent to drop the people off at the nearest large town. It worked out for the group because several of the fishermen signed on to be extra crewmen.

They cautiously headed down to the island and the ship threaded through some very nasty reefs. It was a dual island, one side had a smoking volcano and the other was a jungle. They had to land on the jungle island side because that was where the only beach was. They landed, then moved up into the trees. They came across a half crazy marooned sailor who said he was dropped off here by the pirate ship.

The group questioned the man and he told a strange tale of men who could shift shapes, into wolves, bears, and even a tiger! There was also strange man who was constantly covered in a dark cloak. He admitted that he was a were-swan, but didn’t change for the group so they didn’t take him too seriously. He wouldn’t go with us up the hill saying that when the crew was in their animal shapes hunting their prey, they wouldn’t go up very high in the hills. He also pointed out that there was a natural bridge over to the volcano side of the mountain.

The party moved up the hill and before getting to the bridge, they noticed that they were surrounded by cat people. They surrendered, but when the cat people saw Stepton as a dwarf, they were excited, joyous that one of the masters had returned.

They were taken to the village and explained to the chieftain what they were there for. They were told that there was a sacred place on the other island created by the masters. They held rituals there, but every two weeks, there were horrible noises and anyone over on that island was never seen from again. Dun, dun DUN!

They were given a guide and headed over, ending up at an amphitheater that had been built by the dwarves. There were many statues of animals around the outside and three massive statues of dwarven mythic personalities. Inside the theater was a forge that was powered by the earth’s blood and a massive anvil. Along the walls was a recipe of how to make weapons of fire or armor that was imbued with the power of the earth. The armor recipe was damaged, but earth rumblings, but with the were-swan’s help, Gavin decided to make a flaming longsword for Sam and a flaming kukri for Corby.

While this was happening, they got a message from the Captain of the Valkyrie that the reefs had moved around the ship and it couldn’t move. The group had the Captain use one of the ship’s abilities to submerge for 90 days until the weapons were completed.

Every two weeks an elemental would attack the group, that was the source of the howling and killing of the people on the island. After the pattern of elements was figured out, it was very easy to prepare for them and they were quickly overcome. At the end of the 90 days, Gavin proudly displayed the weapons he had created, the Valkyrie surfaced and the pirate ship appeared.

Also, it came time for a sacred ritual that the cat ranger told the group about. With the great magic from the Dwarven Masters, one of the group could become a cat folk. With very little hesitation Corby volunteered to change from being a human to become a cat. The ritual was not that long and a bit uncomfortable, but at the end, Corby had been irrevocably changed.

Luckily the pirate ship didn’t notice the Valkyrie because she was so low to the water. Unluckily, the volcano island started to show signs that it was going to blow up.

The were-swan said that he could take the silver that wasn’t used for the weapons and make a power that would debilitate the crew of the pirate ship. He whipped it up and the group came up with a plan to get it into the breakfast of the crew. Gavin was changed into a cat and the shaman of the cat folk changed into an owl to fly Corby and him over to the ship.

There were two were-wolves at the back of the ship and a cook in the kitchen. Gavin suggested making a trail of gold pieces away from the kitchen towards the bow and knock on the door. Corby did this and the cook took the bait, collecting the ill gotten booty. Corby slipped into the kitchen, put the power in each of the cook pots and got out just as the cook came back in.

This completed, Corby went into the ammo magazine and set up a trap to go off in the early morning, after all of the crew had eaten. He wasn’t 100% sure it would go off, but there was nothing more he could do. He called to the druid to pick them up and then they left.

They stationed themselves at the top of a ridge overlooking the beach waiting for the ship’s company to land. A couple minutes past the time Corby set the timer for everyone was getting nervous. But with an explosion that stunned everyone, the front of the ship erupted into a fireball and started to sink. The group saw a small boat launch and head towards the beach.

When it reached the beach, Gavin hit them with a fireball, destroying the lifeboat and some of the were-wolves. In a rather easy battle with the enemies slowed down in the sand. Gavin went toe to toe with the figure in the black robes and finally took him down.

There was a figure that ran very fast and turned invisible. It disappeared in the trees, then started to attack the mages. The group couldn’t stop him, so they made a deal with him, that they would take him off the island, drop him off and give him 24 hours to run. They made the deal with a bunch of assurances and then looted the bodies.

That is when they found out that the figure in the robe was Wilhelm and he was the one who set up the whole pirate scheme. Corby kicked the body several times and cut the head off, throwing it into the sea.

The captain of the pirate ship, the one they made the deal with, said that the only way to have the reefs moved is to deal with the undersea folk. And the only thing that they will ask for, want is salted pork. All of the supply of went down with the pirate ship.

The group decided to talk to the fish folk and see what they could do to get them to move the reefs so they could get out before the volcano blew. They made a deal that they would rescue the fish’s princess who was captured by another race of fish folk. The captain of the pirate ship had a bunch of items that allowed people to function underwater, so the group headed out, deep into the ocean’s depths. While this happened, the cat folk were ferried to the Valkyrie.

Eventually, they came across what looked like another Dwarven ruin and upon entering, started clearing it out room by room. These fish folk were very dangerous as they could control people’s minds and in most of the battles, someone was controlled.

They got to where the princess was kept and found that she was being kept in the room by a flow of fresh water. They took apart the wall and found a jug that would constantly produce fresh water. When capped, the princess was freed and reunited with her people.

The Valkyrie was loaded up, the pirate captain put into a stateroom and they sailed off. About a day away from the island, it blew and a dark cloud overcame the ship. Rake shouted out to hold on and a huge wave overtook them. They weathered that one and the several others that came. From then on, it was smooth sailing back to Flatrock.

Several of the cat folk stayed with Artimus, but most followed the group back to Kilm to set up a new village. The group took the were-swan and the elemental items they had gathered to Uncle Benton who greeted them all as friends he had known for a very long time.

The ritual was performed and all of the items with the exception of the helm of languages were consumed. Adrianna was cured and was a changed woman from what the original group members said. She was more focused, more serious. Sam, who had a crush on the beauty was dismayed, he thought that his heroic efforts to restore her would cause her to be enamored of him. This seemed not to be. All she would talk about is the plans for battling the upcoming evil after winter had passed.

The group spent the time building housing for the new additions to the area and had almost completed a palisade around the town. Negotiations with the White Bone Tribe had strengthened the two groups and they joined the cat people patrolling the area, keeping things safe.

As he finished his pipe, Corby realized that this relaxing time would not last, he would leave his wife and kits to go out into the world with their leader Adrianna and the rest to fight this evil.

He shrugged, life could be worse.

Comments

Looking forward to this campaign.

After a long winter
godofbiscuits

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