At the end of last session, we left our heroes in turmoil. Sarif—judged guilty of murder—had been cast out of the group and exiled on the island.
Now, the party had to decide what to do next. With resources low, and the end of the day fast approaching, they decided rest was in order. But first Zainnis and Karelia needed to bathe their warped skin or suffer the pain brought on by its cracking. Thus, they decided to head to the ruined ziggurat at the top of the island and bathe in the sunken pools within, gambling that this was the safest place on the island at which to do so.
Sadly, they did not reach their goal.
As they approached the ziggurat, a womanly scream sounded from deep within. Moments later, a horribly mutated woman burst forth from the ruin pursued by three cloakers. Before the party could react, one engulfed the woman in its leathery folds. The other two, flew toward the party and screeched, but the brave heroes all managed to resist the strange sonic effects washing over them.
Unfortunately for the party, the battle took place between the outer walls surrounding the ziggurat and the structure itself. Thus, dim light filled the area and the cloakers were able to use the resultant shadows to cloak themselves with they aberrant protections. The fell shadows gathering around the creatures stymied many of the party’s attacks, although Grooble did manage to keep the woman alive by expending much of his healing as she was continually crushed within the first cloaker’s folds.
While he was doing this, Thaladan was also engulfed by one of the creatures, but Karelia’s clever application of a grease spell enabled the doughty warrior to slip free.
After the battle had raged for a minute or so, Zainnus realised that if the party could dispel the shadows surrounding the cloakers the battle would be much easier. He shouted a warning to this affect and Karelia bought forth dancing lights into the area. With their protections gone, two of the clockers fell swiftly but the third—still fixated on crushing the woman within to death—proved harder to slay. Every time the party injured the cloaker, the woman inside was injured and Grooble worried be did not have enough healing to keep her alive during the party’s coordinated assault.
In desperation, several of the party launched themselves at the cloaker determined to grapple the beast into submission and drag it off its victim. Zainnis achieved the most initial success and so the rest of the party aided him. In short order, the cloaker was pinned—and then tied up—beneath a pile of adventurers. It was such a close run thing that even Karelia joined in the scrum! Thus, subdued the cloaker was easily slain.
The party turned to the woman, who introduced herself as Sara; this was the woman they had initially volunteered to rescue. While the party were jubilant they had achieved their initial goal, they realised they also had to rescue the other villagers—for clearly they were here against their will! Sara had some useful intelligence about the island—she had escaped her captors and been hiding for several days before the cloakers spotted her. She spoke of skum moving about the island, of the alchemist Gerlach and of the other horrible things she has seen.
Sara wanted to flee the island as quickly as possible to find her husband and after a long talk with the heroes, they escorted her to the Wedding Rock beach and watched her swim easily swim away into the sea—the warping magics cloaking the island had clearly had a greater effect on her than the party—perhaps as a consequence of her heritage as a native of Blackcove.
In any event, the party rested—peacefully—overnight and the next day, they discussed their next move. They quickly decided to investigate the strange tower with a door seemingly comprising nothing but flowing muddy water as Sara had seen several skum in the area.
The heroes reached the tower without incident and after a brief pause to prepare themselves, Narfu and Zainnis plunged through the “door”. When they reported no ill-effects the rest of the party joined them. They discovered a large interior decorated with strange mosaics depicting fantastical sea creatures. A large ball of water hovered above a pool in the centre of the chamber. Beyond, lay the crushed and decomposing body of a skum. Theorising this might be the alchemist Gerlach, Narfu moved to investigate the body.
As he did so, several large, powerful tentacles burst forth from the bubble of water and quested toward the party…