At the best of times, the climate of the Deadmere, just south of Tharakka Morass, is a hot, sticky swamp. The cool breeze that comes off the water gets caught in the trees of the Aelthindaar, so by the time a lost traveller like Asanya finds the slightly more hospitable weather of Uld Vroggen, they’re already hopelessly… damp.
Some might enjoy this, a change from the colds of the Crag or the Counai Heights, but most do not, and it’s the Night Hags that had taken her captive a day prior that count on the exhaustion of such people to keep their putrid bellies full. Such people like her and the little gnome in the light blue robes who was there when she arrived. He looked like he had fought hard at first, but the Hags were immune to his magical attacks, so he now sat in his pen, defeated.
By the second night, the Kalishtari woman had worked her bonds free enough to pry open the sticks and rope that held her in place, and after retrieving her favoured dagger from the Hag jailer she surprised and knocked unconscious she freed the little gnome and the two stole into the night, down the closest river and towards an uncertain freedom.
Stealthily travelling, keeping the Night Hag encampment to their backs and the river flowing ahead, the gnome introduced himself as Corrin, who was questing the area for hidden treasure when his party turned out more roguish than he had anticipated and left him to fend for himself. The pair swapped stories of their travels, and over the course of a week when they were clear of danger, they found themselves parting ways, Corrin heading back south, while Asanya took the roads to the next closest outpost: Endamos Keep.
The border fort of The Keep was the largest Asayna had seen in quite a while, her own quest having taken a turn and causing her to become hopelessly lost. Her shoes worn, her belly aching of hunger, and her gear in need of some repair, Asanya set up lodging in the Wandering Squirrel and broke immediately for the local smithy.
There, she met Elias I and his son, Elias II, and the two became fast friends. The young man was training to become a Ranger, and while he was all limbs and gawky presence, Asanya could see the goodness in him. Over the next few months, Asanya shared with him her dreams of creating traveller safe stations, places free of violence along the frontiers, and the two realized that Elias’ own hopes of how he could shape the Rangers aligned with her own. In return for her friendship, Elias was happy to pass along his Ranger training to Asanya, who until then had mastered the theory of survivalism, but lacked the practical training.
On the eve of his Ranger initiation, Elias took Asanya on his last tracking mission, and after a few hours the pair came face to face with an owlbear; 800 pounds of alchemaic fury that took all their cunning and resources to take down. Returning to The Keep late into the evening and wanting to celebrate their victory, Asanya and Elias both get matching tattoos. The following morning, confident she had learned enough to survive on her own, Asanya left The Keep and her friend Elias.
The cool, salty air whipped the sails of the Cry of the Hangman as it waited in Malkara’s harbor for its morning charges. On deck the captain, crew, and some early arriving passengers waited for the rest of their charges.
One passenger, a bookish Kalishtari woman, was lost in thought about her first sea voyage when she was suddenly grabbed from behind and lifted into the air. Yelping in surprise, her fear and confusion quickly turned to surprise when she saw it was Elias Bllackthorne, the young man she had not seen in over a year. They spoke briefly and as Elias introduced her to his companions, they were surprised to learn she already new his gnome companion Corrin from a previous adventure.
The captain, a Rilador orc named Diego welcomes his new charges and soon the ship makes way, passing an odd looking ship coming into the harbor that seems to be made of both wood and giant bones. Saena immediately requests to work the rigging in the sails, and having grown up on ships, Diego agrees. Elias offers to work in the galley ask thanks for the passage, and does so after stowing his gear. Meanwhile, the rest of the group finds their cots and settle in to their journey, Corrin opting to remain below decks due to becoming increasingly seasick.
Into the day Mara takes to exploring the ship, and comes across Gili Boomstick, the cannoneer. Pistols in hand, he leers her away from the back of the ship where the powder is stored, so she decides to spend most of the trip in the crows’ nest. Meanwhile, Corrin passes time with the other passengers and crew playing several games of Traveller below decks.
Late into the afternoon of the first day of their voyage, those on deck are startled when they hear an odd bzorp sound. The captain immediately calls everyone to arms, as he is a veteran of these waters and recognizes it as the teleportation shound of the Kuo-Toa, dangerous fish-men who attack boats to sink them for their treasures and snack on the unfortunate crews.
Saena swings down from the rigging, firing her first barrage of lightning bolts, but they seem to have no effect on the creatures. As she lands, Diego and draws his cutlass and leads the crew into the battle, while Mara unleashes her spiked chain and manages to ensnare one of the attackers.
The commotion from above brings the remaining fighters and crew above decks, and Elias slashes at one of the Kuo-Toa (to little effect) as a mystical arrow sails through the air and hits it in the chest, the flesh sizzling on impact. Soon, Ludo and Asanya are on their targets as well, while Bobba works his way through the chaos, healing his comrades.
Just as it appears they turn the tide, one of the Kuo-Toa teleports away, leaving the others to fight alone. Not a moment after, shots are heard from below deck, causing Diego and his men to fly back down the hatch to protect the passengers and the incredibly dangerous powder room.
Defeating one of the remaining fish-men on deck with a mighty slash of Asanya’s dagger, the other mutters something in its odd, gurgling language and jumps overboard. Elias calls the group to split up and help below while still guarding for new adversaries.
Below, Gimli is a whir of firing and reloading his pistols, the last defense of the door leading to the hold. He breaks for an instant at the sight of Diego and the rest, and is knocked out of view by a leaping Kuo-Toa. Mara uses her spike chain to trip another, while Corrin casts a spell to slow them down. Bobba smashes through the closest Kuo-Toa, killing it, and they all converge on Gimli.
The last Kuo-Toa, slowed by Corrin’s spell but still taking slathering, acid-filled bites out of the cannoneer, looks up at the group who burst in and suddenly disappears, teleporting away. For the moment, the ship is secure.