At the end of last session, we left the party in Marner plotting their next move.
Some of the group wanted to return to the Crow piling to comprehensively loot the place while others preferred to immediately set out to locate the third shard, which lay far to the south in (or under) the Lady’s Light. Eventually, the group decided to continue their quest and after final preparations made their way south. Shel Heidmarch had already anticipated their travel and had arranged passage aboard the Mermaid’s Mistress. Shel trusted the captain, although she cautioned the party that the captain, the beautiful and skilled Markessa, did not know the whole truth of their quest.
In any event, they made good progress on their southern journey. Hugging the coast, after a week or so at sea the party left Ratik’s waters and passed the once formidable pirate stronghold of Dekspoint. It seemed the rumours concerning the pirate stronghold were true; the once mighty pirates had been laid low by the actions of the Heroes of the Loftwood and no ships set sail to challenge their passage. Still, the town seemed occupied—smoke rising above its shattered skyline—but no (afloat) pirate ships were present in the harbour, although several sunken wrecks were clearly present (as confirmed by a handful of masts poking forlornly above the harbour’s stone breakwater).
The party continued south into waters claimed by North Province. Still, their passage was not interdicted and a brief overnight stop in Bellport to offload cargo went without incident. However, bad luck eventually caught up with the party. As they approached Kaport Bay—otherwise known as Carrion Hill—a great storm suddenly blew up. Coming in quickly from the east, dark clouds hung low over the sea and the wind rapidly strengthened. As heavy rain began to fall, Markessa decided to weather the storm in Kaport Bay and so put into the city’s harbour.
The party quickly realised something was wrong. The harbour seemed practically deserted and huge flocks of crows wheeled and cawed in the air above. A guard ran through the rain to the ship and called out that the city was in desperate need of heroes to help save it from a terrible, unstoppable monstrosity. Of course, the party—led by Aq and Tristham—immediately offered their assistance and the guard led them through the deserted, rain-lashed streets to Crown Manor wherein waited Mayor Vanton Heggry.
It transpired, Kaport Bay was in desperate need of aid. This very morning, something huge and incredibly strong partially destroyed a house near Slipper Market and killed several people (including a small patrol of guards sent to deal with the situation). Since then, the beast had emerged twice more from underground and destroyed houses and slain the folk within. The populace were terrified and Mayor Vanton was at his wits end. He offered the party 4,500 gp to discover the beast’s identity and to slay it.
Of course, the party agreed to help and without asking any more questions rushed off to Slipper Market to investigate the site of the first attack. There they discovered terrified guards, a partially collapsed building and several bodies smashed, torn and twisted by something with immense strength. After talking with a witness they decided to investigate the remains of the building.
A terrible stench lingered inside and various body parts—all drained of blood—lay scattered about. The house was in a terrible state. Part of the ceiling had collapsed, doors were torn from their hinges and most of the furniture was destroyed. After a brief search, the party discovered a set of stairs leading downward. Foul-smelling, black sludge coated the steps, which descended quite some distance.
As the stairs descended the character of the architecture changed—becoming obviously much older. Eventually, the stairway gave out into an ancient crypt. A trail of black sludge led to another set of stairs leading further downwards. Before heading down again, the party investigated the various sarcophagi in the chamber and forced open the only door in the chamber. Someone had piled rubble behind the door and the party only managed to open it with great difficulty. Beyond stood a room, which had obviously been used as a campsite. Another door stood at the other end of the room. Also blockaded with rubble, the party forced this second door open to reveal a small, partially collapsed chamber. As the party took in the scene, all their lights abruptly went out. Through the darkness, Narfu and Nok saw three small rag-cloaked humanoids creeping towards them…