Evening ofthe 21st of Trical, 1331 Avard.
With the sun recently set and the party well-camouflaged back away from the tree line, their only real information came from Hadarai's familiar, a falcon that seemed to appear and disappear at his whims. Search parties of 15 to 20 pirates occasionall scouted through the brush with torches held high, but the majority of the pirates clustered around a huge bonfire in the midst of the village. Several guards maintained watch over the longboats.
Despite a clear night's stars seen through the canopy, a storm front began to move in from the sea.
Killik the tomanth was still in something of a torpor, and lying unmoving and hidden on the cold ground was not helping. Making use of a covering cloak, Johannes pulled forth his Divinities book and, with the help of a tiny bit of light, began a ritual to protect all of them save Kat from the elements.
Kat had told the group she would not be following them aboard the ships. Her people and her lands were there, on the shore – and she held them somewhat accountable for the loss of the village of Ihorangi, for leading the pirates to the villagers. Though the villagers weren't a part of her personal jurisdiction, she still felt somewhat responsible, and was not going to lead any such trouble back to her own peoples. The party would be on their own. Kat would do what she could, by way of making a wide trail even a storm could follow, but she was leaving.
Johannes' ritual spread out from his holy symbol like a warm, soothing balm. The cold of the ground lessoned, and the chill of the late autumn air fell away. The ritual would protect them with Arpelos' blessings for a full day, until sunset the next night. During that time, no winter cold and no desert heat could harm them. And it would allow them to swim in the cold ocean waters without fear of freezing to death.
The group of them said their goodbyes, and then Kat left them for her homelands. The rest of the party moved back and away, easily avoiding the few pirate search parties, and headed well down the beach. From there, they slipped across the beach and into the water. Johannes shifted into the form of a shark, and led the first of them out to the largest of the pirate ships, a galleon that was a giant in the water.
They congregated at the rear of the bigger ship, holding onto the rudder and rudder chains while they whispered with one another, plotting their next move. The storm winds had begun to pick up, and they knew time was running out. The game plan was simple: they broke two of Horbes' tokens, in the hopes of gathering his attention. They would infiltrate the bigger ship or hang on, and once all of the fleet had been teleported near to Mad Dog Island, then the party could begin boarding and killing pirates. With so many pirates ashore, there was simply too much risk in boarding the ships too soon.
The party had a chamber pot dumped on them while they were waiting. The big ship had a wide spread of windows along its backside – and apparently a meeting was taking place in the room. Lantern light showed shifting shadows, and one voice in particular was so deep that it was hard to hear. Another voice was inhuman and uncomfortable. Other voices were more audible over the waves lapping at the ship.
The deep-voiced individual wanted the shield found, to hell with the costs in men or time. He seemed to think the shaman ashore, an Amaran follower of Elinthar – God of the Hunt – would find the party and the shield, no matter what.
Dolon pulled out his climbing pitons, and offered two to Killik and two to Johannes. If the pitons were inserted into the rudder chains, then that would lock the ships in one direction – and make it that much harder for those other two ships to give chase, or maneuver in the storm. The five of them were familiar enough with sailing to crew the Dellistar themselves, but it would be more of a limp, and the bigger ships with full crews would run them down and board them – unless their rudders could be disabled, if only for awhile.
Realizing that the Amaran shaman would be returning to the big pirate ship, Johannes set out to capsize the longboat with him in it. The battle did not go well, with Johannes alone agains the four rowmen and the shaman, who used voodoo dolls and a bone club and other powers against him. The Prior of Arpelos garnered support from Killik, and the two returned to try and stop the shaman before he returned with word of the attack.
The second attack faired somewhat better than the first, with Killik killing one of the pirates rowing. The shaman forced them to retreat, again, even as the alarm bell began to rang on the big pirate ship – the cries of the rowers had been heard.
The party changed their mind; hanging around the big pirate ship was foolhardy. Instead, they moved out for the Dellistar, with the intent of taking it just as the storm hit. They were spotted as soon as they began to clamber aboard, but the pirates proved no match against the five of them. Grania was a whirling scythe of death among the pirates, while Dolon and Johannes focused primarlily on the pirate captain of the ship. Hadarai slew nine of them in one blast of thunder. The pirate captain and the remaining pirates were forced below decks, defensively. Eighteen pirate bodies lay on the deck, bleeding into the rain, when the fight was finished. Dolon dogged the hatches, locking them down below, as they surveyed the deck of the Dellistar.
Lightning flashed, showing a deck full of bodies and body parts, searing a scene of horror into them that they would forever be haunted by. And then they undogged the hatches and dropped down below, ready to kill the remaining pirates and add to the carnage. The pirates had holed themselves up in the petty mess, where the party usually stayed when aboard the Dellistar.
Rather than break the door down, Johannes tried diplomacy, guaranteeing his word as a Prior of Arpelos that they would be allowed to jump off the ship and swim for shore or another ship.
The pirate captain made sure his men got up and out of the hold, and over the side. He was the last to go, and paused only long enough to answer Hadarai's question about where the crew of the Dellistar and the Alahandra were. The pirate gave a partial answer, in that half of them were aboard the galleon Cries of Gulls – and then he went overboard.
The party watched the pirates swimming through rough storm waters filled with sharks, before the darkness took them. The pirates had seen for themselves – the sea was less a danger than the shield-bearers.
They began to make fast the ship against the storm.
Midnight of the 21st of Trical, 1331 Avard.
Each player received 1500 experience points for playing. Hadarai and Dolon now have 12500 experience points each (7th level), and Johannes has 12055 points (7th level). Grania has 12005 experience points (7th level).
The following notes represent the 'behind the scenes' and 'post op' actions of the players and the Dungeon Master.
We met on the 8th of August, 2009 – incidentally my three year anniversary of leaving the Army. Didn't catch that until just now. Well, we played at my place, and John treated us to dinner: Chinese food! Woohoo! Jalinda brought her son Simon with her, and we managed to hook Simon up with a few games to keep him occupied. I just have to see if he'll like C&C Generals! As for the session, things moved along well enough after I nudged things a bit. I'm learning that Indecision leads to Inaction, but they're not the same thing – especially when you can lure players into using their character's abilities. (innocent whistle) John was especially funny, and had us laughing pretty well about things, so double kudos to John for the evening. If I see him put his elbow in front of his face again while he bobs his head, I'm going to lose it. As for Kat… Sommer's put together a bard that she wants to play, and the character of Kat was never really cut out for staying with the party for long – but she was a great way for Sommer to get introduced to things, and to begin to like the game for what it was.