Black Sails over Leudendorf
Crystal Lake Island
The Sea Lion plunges onto the sea beyond Hell’s Triangle. The moon here is full and white; there is no sign of the Eye of Bane in the heavens. On the horizon lie the shapes of four islands. Just four. There is no sign of fabled Yarashad. But Old Man Carthy’s last words give the adventurers direction, and possibly a modicum of hope. Face the remaining four members of the Full Fathom Five. Win back that artifacts Yarash entrusted to each of them. And use those artifacts to reach the mythic isle and plunder its riches!
Human Druid Barbarian
October 10, 740
Act II, Scene I: Arrival
The adventurers arrive on the sea beyond Hell’s Triangle. A clear white moon shines down, and stars twinkle in the skies amid faint wisps of cloud. The sea is very calm. Four islands spread out before the adventurers, and there’s no sign of Hell’s Triangle—and no way of knowing how they will ever return home.
For now, though, they have other concerns to address, starting with raising the sails to catch the gentle wind behind them.
As the Sea Lion begins to make the journey towards the four islands, Lucien remains preoccupied with the missing fifth isle, Yarashad itself. He clutches the urn holding Flint’s ashes and eyes the empty sea. The others seem less perplexed, though. They sense that they will need to reunite the sextant with Harrimast’s four remaining artifacts, and use them in some way to reach Yarashad, and its fabled sands of gold.
They also have not forgotten the sight of the Kraken’s Claw emerging from Hell’s Triangle in the Sea Lion’s wake. On the way to the first island, the one marked on the map with a spyglass, Ketham suggests that Old Griz, the Sea Lion’s sailmaster, make a sail marked with a white bird, which should provoke a definite reaction in Morgan Baumann. Ketham’s white birds, first left in the Smoking Dragon and then on Baumann’s own bunk aboard the Kraken’s Claw, are sure to enrage the pirate captain.
The spyglass isle draws nearer. The Sea Lion circumnavigates the jungle island, which rises to rocky heights to the north. During the journey, a plume of smoke can be seen rising from a volcano to the north.
The adventurers crave better intelligence. Orlan investigates the island in the form of a sea bird, scanning the 100-foot trees, clearings of six-foot mushrooms, and ring-like formations of steadily rising rock to the north. He also spots a lake at the island’s center, and a human settlement built on its north shore. Orlan identifies the best spot to approach the lake village with a minimum of jungle exploration. Then he returns to the Sea Lion and reports his findings.
Act II, Scene II: Landfall on a Polluted Island
The adventurers climb aboard the small boat they took from Libertyville. As they near the shore, they are attacked by a quartet of humanoid fish creatures. The battle is short, lasting only a couple minutes, but the adventurers have enough time to realize that they are not fighting some new breed of monster. These things were once men, and some transformation has given them gills, sucker-like growths, and mouths with rows of sharks’ teeth.
The creatures attempt to drag the adventurers overboard, and the adventurers defend themselves with all the force they can muster. Two of the fishman mutants are killed. The other two retreat, darting off through the water as little more than streaking dark shapes beneath the waves.
At shore, Orlan and Rook take the lead. They cut the way to the interior, hewing the brush with the enchanted saber and Orlan’s hornsaw blade. The journey is hard-going until they make their way within the tall growths of trees. There, the grass grows merely knee high. These reaches are easier to travel but no less ominous. Coconuts fall with alarming regularity from the hundred-foot heights, exploding on the ground like artillery.
Moreover, the adventurers are concerned by what they see of the natural flora. Like the fishman mutants, the plants and their fruit appear polluted.
Kari performs the first examination. She determines that the plants here are off-colored, not poisonous, but certainly unhealthful. Over time, eating what grows from the soil here would change a person.
Hearing this, Orlan points out that the creatures in the sea were once human. His druid senses help him to confirm Kari’s findings.
Ketham says this is the influence of Yarash, though he is cautious not to name the demigod.
The adventurers rethink their plan to use this island to restock and repair the Sea Lion. Captain Caladon has supplies aboard, but he will need to make landfall soon to repair the damage to the ship and also to find provisions. Between the mutants and the poisoned flora, this isle seems like a poor choice.
Act II, Scene III: Native Fauna
The adventurers continue along their route to the lake village. Rook and Orlan continue to take the lead, and so they are the first to be grasped when a creature not unlike a hillock suddenly produces tentacles and opens a yawning, cavernous mouth. The thing—later identified as a “tendriculos,” rises up with starved savagery. It nearly devours Rook and Orlan before the others can leap to action.
Ketham shoots it with multiple arrows while most of the others close to melee range. Draya, the “Blind Potter,” finishes it with a single strike of his quarterstaff, crying out to his ancestors as the blow is delivered.
When the creature lies still, once again resembling nothing so much as a grassy hillock with a lopsided cave mouth on the near side, the adventurers bind their wounds. They also consider that the creature might have devoured some valuable treasure along with its meals over the years. This notion sticks with Romany, who offers to clamber into the thing’s gullet in the name of taking home something memorable—or possibly coming across something that could aid the adventurers in overcoming the horrors of this island.
Rook, seeing his sister prepared to enter the creature’s mouth, declares that he cannot allow her to go in alone. Rook stands at the mouth, holding it open while Romany climbs inside. The gypsy’s progress triggers lingering nervous responses; the entire hillock ripples while she is inside. Rook stands his ground, though, and Romany finds something lodged in the wall of the creature’s throat.
She pulls it free, wipes off the slime and gunk, and finds that she is holding a tulip-shaped, rock-crystal flagon. She returns to her companions holding her prize before her.
“Cool, we could drink out of this.”
Eager to leave the dead hill-creature behind, the adventurers continue along their route to the lake village. After a few hours they make their way to the opposite side of the forest. Here, the jungle trees let out on a field of tall grass waving on a plain that stretches towards the lake Orlan spied during his reconnaissance. To the north, rocky ledges rise a hundred feet into the sky, gradually lowering in plateaus that step westward.
Orlan indicates the village, visible in the distance. It is walled on the three sides that do not touch the lake, with a gate on at least the eastern face.
The druid continues to lead the way.
Nearer the lakeside, the adventurers spot a strange sight. Five archers chase a humanoid creature. It runs on all fours, hunched and clearly terrified by the arrows raining down on it. Several arrows protrude from its body already, though they seem to do little to slow it. Then the creature turns its face in the adventurers’ direction, and they clearly see that it has the mutated features of another human changed by the island’s pollution.
Ketham does not hesitate, and he does not ask the others their opinion. He raises his bow and begins raining arrows of his own upon the huntsmen.
The archers are stunned. Before they can return fire, the adventurers back Ketham’s decision to attack. The archers prove very skilled, however, able to sustain the attack and even begin to return fire as Orlan, Draya and the others close to melee range. Orlan, in particular, endures a barrage of missiles that would have killed a half dozen lesser men.
Seeing this display of prowess in their enemies, Kari utters a potent spell of the third circle to slow three of the five huntsmen. The dweomer shifts the odds from dangerously close to even to much more in the adventurers’ favor. Soon after, the melee fighters join the fray, while Ketham and Rook continue to provide missile support.
Draya wades into the heart of the enemy as he is wont to do, hoping to deflect his enemies’ attacks into one another. When he uses his quarterstaff to knock aside one of the archers’ arrows, the huntsman who fired it cries out, “By Moab!”
Instantly, the adventurers know which of the Full Fathom Five they face, and details of the island begin to slide into place in their minds. They have studied Carthy’s words of Moab Cys’Varion, and they have considered the possible import of the spyglass.
When one of the archers makes a break for the small boat that carried the hunting party out of the lake village, Rook shouts after him to stop. He cries, “I could fill you or the boat full of holes before you make it five feet. Just stop and we can talk.”
The man is panicked, slowed, and injured…He keeps running.
“Do we need the boat?”
-Jonathan (Johnny) “Rook” Grey
“Yes…just kill him…”
The archers break ranks and attempt to flee, but the adventurers are faster, resilient, and not slowed by Kari’s magic. Orlan’s mountain lion, Malikier, tears one fleeing man to pieces. The last archer runs into the lake, but Orlan chases him in a frothing rage.
The man reverses course, fleeing Draya, begging to be spared from the “beast man.”
Orlan comes up behind, breathing heavily but coming out of his rage.
The other four archers are all dead. Draya accepts the fifth’s surrender.
“We’re going to need to talk to you in a second.
You’re going to have a headache, but you’re going to be safe.”
- Dragomir “Draya” Vanev to the last hunter.
Draya knocks the man unconscious.
Despite the gunshots, lion’s roars and screams of terror, the adventurers see no indication that the people walking along the piers in the lake village have noticed anything unusual where they stand. This seems unlikely, but nonetheless true. All the same, the adventurers do not want to press their luck. They set about emptying the men’s pouches and taking whatever items they can find. Ketham takes one of the archer’s well-crafted composite bows, and so does Orlan. The search turns up 100 odd shell coins, as well. Though the adventurers do not recognize the coins, they assume they represent local currency and drop them into a pouch.
The last items of interest are medallions worn by each of the huntsmen. Each medallion bears the same device: an anchor and a serrated leaf on a stony field. Gabriella and Draya use their knowledge of heraldry, but religion is at least as useful in determining their import. These are holy symbols. Drawing on the name “Moab,” the adventurers determine that the symbols follow the drow elf’s life, from his childhood beneath the eastern reaches of Darkon to his elfin nature to his adulthood at sea as a pirate and member of the Full Fathom Five.
Draya determines that, back home, one could be sold to the right buyer for 25 gold coins or so.
Ultimately, the adventurers turn their attention to the gorilla man. Throughout the battle, Gabriella had sheltered the mutant with her own body and kite shield. The creature hugged her leg like a frightened child, though his arms were powerful enough to tear the limb from her torso. Child-like in his fear, Gabriella stood over him, comforting him and attempting to assure him that no harm would come to him now that she and her companions were here. At the same time, Gabriella and Kari worked to calm the mutant and apply healing herbs to soothe his many wounds.
Now, with the mutant’s trust assured, they communicate with him in gestures and single-word sentences. The gorilla man indicates that his home lies to the south. He beckons for the adventurers to follow him. Considering the nature of the men out of the lake village, the decision to follow the mutant south is a relatively easy one, if not one made without caution.
Act II, Scene IV: A Mutant Village
Rook and Orlan bring the boat from the spot where the huntsmen left it, carrying it overland as the adventurers make their way south, towards the jungle wall. They leave the boat hidden a short distance into the jungle. Ketham stows several quivers of the huntsmen’s arrows beneath the boat.
Unencumbered by the boat, the adventurers are better able to follow the gorilla man into the jungle. Late in the afternoon, they reach the village. The village appeared like more forest when Orlan gave his flyover of the island. With an ally to point out its presence, though, it is easily spotted. The trees surrounding the village have been cropped lower than the surrounding jungle. At the center rises a cluster of trees to a full hundred-foot height. Rope bridges among these boughs connect series of platforms and cleverly roofed homes.
The gorilla man cries out from the base of a massive tree, and a rope ladder tumbles down to meet him.
Gabriella follows ahead of the others. She is concerned about climbing in her armor, but her connection to the gorilla man is the strongest of all the adventurers’. In a real way, he has become her charge, and the child-like creature seems eager for her to join him at his home.
The others give Gabriella some distance, then follow.
On the lowest platform of the village of mutants, the adventurers find themselves confronted by armed guards and dozens of mutated civilians. When they state that they have come in peace, the mutants respond with derision. They state that they have heard similar stories from Moab’s treacherous minions before. They seek proof. The return of one mutant in exchange for the entire village would be a fair trade in Moab’s eyes—the villagers cannot open their doors to the adventurers on such thin evidence.
The adventurers offer that they have a prisoner; thereby hoping to prove their allegiance.
The leader of the mutants states that he accepts the offering of the prisoner. He nods, and mutants scurry down the jungle tree using just their hands and feet, with no need for the rope ladder. The adventurers can only watch as the village guards expose the poorly concealed, still unconscious prisoner. The man comes to as the mutants rend him limb from limb; his cries echoing through the jungle.
“Well, I lied to him. He’s not going to be okay.”
- Dragomir “Draya” Vanev to the last hunter.
Mollified, the leader of the mutants, “The Chief,” agrees to speak with the adventurers in private.
Before leaving the villagers, Rook turns to the elderly woman who claimed the child-like gorilla man. He asks the woman for the mutant’s name, since the creature could not provide even that basic information. “Aragos,” says the woman. She explains that the gorilla man is her grandson. “Thank you for bringing him back,” she says. Then, referring to the dismembered huntsman bleeding into the jungle floor, “And for the gift. Blessed be you.”
The adventurers climb to the highest platform. They find that the Chief is inclined to help them, but Moab’s many attempts to deceive and destroy the mutants have left him untrusting. Before he will reveal what he knows of Moab’s lair, he insists they do something more for him. There is another mutant currently in the “lake people village.” His name is Garros.
The Chief wants Garros returned.
And he wants the head of High Priestess Gabriella.
Though the utterance of this name nearly brings a choking sound from the Gabriella Fidanza, the Chief explains that Gabriella is the name of the High Priestess of the lake people’s church, which is now devoted to Moab Cys’Varion. They revere the drow as a deity. While Moab is certainly not a god, Gabriella’s prayers are answered by some dark power; she is a cunning and evil woman. And she is someone whom Moab could not easily replace. If the adventurers slay the priestess, they will prove to the Chief that they are forthright in their dealings. He will help them find Moab.
The adventurers agree to these terms. They will rescue Garros and they will kill High Priestess Gabriella.
The Chief indicates the late hour. He tells the adventurers, “You may sleep at the foot of the Great Tree.”
When the adventurers press for more information from the Chief, Draya leaves ahead of the others, hoping to meditate through the evening and rise rested before the others. Instead, he falls into a deep sleep.
The adventurers ask the Chief about the grassy hillock beast, and the Chief provides a name for the creature: Tendriculos. Worse, he warns that there are several more on the island, and that the terrible beasts are voracious predators.
Gabriella asks the Chief whether anything can reverse the mutations that are so widespread across the island.
The Chief seems dubious at the prospect, but he admits that—perhaps—the artifact that caused the changes could reverse them: the spyglass of Yarash.
Act II, Scene V: Night in the Jungle
The adventurers join Draya at the foot of the Great Tree. Rest does not come easily, though.
Gabriella voices her concern about the bloodthirsty nature of bringing back the head of the priestess. She is uncomfortable with being sent to assassinate the high priestess of the village people, despite her evil. She also mentions that, if they had gone to the village first, they might well have heard similar horror stories about the mutants from the human villagers. The humans might have offered a similar bargain to hunt down the Chief, or someone else within the village of mutants.
Ketham, Kari and Romany do not understand her hesitation. Ketham, in particular argues Gabriella’s points, indicating that most anchorites root out evil where they find it and destroy it.
“Isn’t that kind of what you do?”
Gabriella attempts to explain to Ketham that the difference that troubles her is that of an anchorite who finds evil and destroys it, and an anchorite who is told of evil and is dispatched to assassinate it. Ketham remains unconvinced.
“Know that my job is to save that child. If it means going toe to toe with the priest, then I will chop off her head. But that is different from sneaking into her room and killing her.”
Orlan also looks at it from a slightly distanced point of view, “There is a severe imbalance of power on this island,” he says.
The conversation returns after a moment to Gabriella’s concerns.
Rook intervenes, seeking to negotiate a compromise among his companions.
“Intention is important. To her. To us. As humans. Let her have it.”
-Jonathan (Johnny) “Rook” Grey
Rook indicates that the adventurers came here with no expectation of help from the Chief and his people. If they don’t get it, then they have not lost anything.
Resigning from the argument, Ketham tests some of the paralytic venom that Kari harvested from the tendriculos on himself. He wants to see how long it takes to incapacitate him, and then how long the poison takes to subside. The material is raw, and rapidly losing its efficacy. Kari has warned that it will be useless if it is allowed to sit much longer. Ketham hopes to use it in the battle against the village high priestess.
About four minutes pass before he falls unconscious, and ten minutes later he begins to move again.
October 11, 740
Act II, Scene VI: Another Gift for Grandma
In the morning, the childlike gorilla-man Aragos is sent by the Chief. He comes with his grandmother.
With Aragos’ grandmother’s permission, Kari speaks to him using a dweomer that transcends language barriers. Aragos is revealed to be painfully simple-minded. When they discuss the village, Aragos’ offerings are limited to, “Garros inside,” “men,” and “Gabriella.”
The adventurers glean what they can from Aragos.
They realize that his grandmother is awed. Hesitantly, she asks Kari, “Can you ask him if he understands me?”
Aragos responds in words that only Kari can understands, “Grandma, grandma, grandma…”
The woman withdraws a bit, teary eyed, overawed. This is the first time she has ever actually communicated with her grandson.
As the conversation winds down, Rook draws a temple. Aragos stamps on it.
The adventurers are convinced that they have learned all they can from the child-like mutant. Aragos scales the ladder to his jungle platform home. His grandmother stops to touch Kari before making her own way up the Great Tree.
Act II, Scene VII: The Temple of Moab
The adventurers are most of a day from the village of the lake people. The trackless jungle stretching before them is a daunting obstacle, despite the relatively small space of the island. The must return along their day-old trail by means of Malikier’s ability to scent their path from the previous day, and also Rook’s navigation skill.
Towards nightfall they reach the area of the lake.
When they recognize the terrain before them, Ketham scouts ahead, hoping to determine whether anyone is investigating the missing hunters. Rather, he spots a pair of hunched shapes in the tall grass where the bodies were left in the sun. Whip-like tentacles rise from the growth. A pair of tendriculi feed on the remains.
Ketham returns to his companions to report what he found.
“One credo of the sea is, if it has tentacles leave it alone.”
The adventurers readily agree with Rook’s summation. They decide to row along the lake, avoiding the battle site.
Orlan and Malikier make their temporary farewells. They return to the Sea Lion to report to Captain Caladon what is on the isle. The adventurers have some concern that the captain might grow desperate for supplies and attempt a landing through the treacherous waters onto the shores of the polluted isle.
Ketham uses his infravision to lead the way to the pier connecting the temple to the sacrificial platform. Since the moon is full, they move towards the town, but then veer off to the pier.
Two guards with bows are posted on the pier.
The adventurers put their heads together. They do not want to go to war with the entire human village, but the temple is a central location, and certainly something that the villagers would come running to defend. They concoct a plan to approach the temple without sounding an alarm. Gabriella casts a prayer to allow her companions to walk on the water of the lake. Kari and Romany walk towards the guards on the water, wearing holy symbols of Moab, distracting the guards while the rest of the adventurers walk towards the pier from the opposite direction. Kari uses her witch’s seductive dance to enthrall the guards.
Draya offers the use of his potion of rainbow hues to better enhance the goddess impression of the two women, but Kari declines, stating that the potion is “too pretty” for these men.
Ketham, however, takes the potion, realizing that he could use it to turn his flesh black and hair white—he could become the very image of Moab before the villagers.
Slipping past the ensorcelled guards, Ketham, Draya, Rook and Gabriella make their way to the sanctuary doors.
Draya knocks one unconscious. He throws the man in the back room, then dons the priest’s robe then cowers on the floor before the altar. Ketham quaffs the potion and changes his skin and hair to appear to be a drow elf. He snuffs most of the lights within the sanctuary and stands in the shadows, furthering his disguise. With Draya prostrate on floor before him, the stage is set for the first men to enter and find them.
“Get ready. This is going to go badly.”
Through cleverness and subterfuge, Ketham manipulates the priests of the temple of Moab. He sends some to the pier, where they are ensorcelled like their comrades by Kari’s dance. Others are sent to bring Garros and the high priestess. All who come before Moab follow Draya’s example and prostrate themselves before what could only be their deity. Between the shadows, the potion, and a commanding performance, the lake people are helpless before what seems to be divine visitation.
When Garros is brought to the sanctuary, he is given to Gabriella Fidanza. The anchorite takes the mutant—a “dog boy”—and ushers him across the water to the nearby shore. The others stay behind for the bloody work still ahead.
Romany and Rook stand ready at the inner sanctuary doors while Kari continues her dance, most of the temple’s defenders standing on the pier, enthralled by her performance.
When High Priestess Gabriella arrives, she averts her eyes. So do the men with her.
At Ketham’s order, his companions strike. Rook fires his flintlock, Draya lunges forward. Gabriella is slain and her body removed. The temple defenders experience the sound of a thunderclap, and then their priestess is gone. They are left with the voice of Moab Cys’Varion, telling them that Gabriella displeased him, and so she is being taken to face his wrath. Then the adventurers are gone, dashing into the night, no one in the lake town aware of their intrusion.
October 12, 740
Act II, Scene VIII: The Chief’s Tales
The adventurers return to the village of mutants with Garros and the body of High Priestess Gabriella, thereby earning the Chief’s trust. As a reward, they are permitted to sleep at the foot of the Great Tree—a reward that Gabriella Fidanza notes mirrors the same accommodations the adventurers were given when the Chief didn’t trust them.
They meet with the Chief. They learn about Moab’s abilities, his background on the island, and his lieutenants.
The Tale of Moab
When Moab and his crew were hurled into the whirlpool by Carthy’s betrayal, their ships were badly damaged. They wandered for many days in the strange areas beyond the maelstrom. To survive, his men turned to cannibalism, as the strong preyed upon the weak. The fleet of twelve ships was reduced to only five.
Eventually, they stumbled upon an island that would be their salvation. They quickly moored their ships and rowed ashore on small boats. After drinking their fill of fresh water and eating the fruits and berries from the trees near the shoreline, they began to explore.
Moab felt a strong magical aura coming from the center of the island. Using his magical spyglass, he located the source of the aura beneath the waters of a pristine lake in the interior of the island. His head throbbed from the energy emanating from it. Quickly, he cast spells on himself to turn invisible and fly, and he rushed out to get a firsthand look.
Hovering over the island, he spotted the large, inland lake. He knew at once that this was what he had seen through the spyglass. As he came in closer, he saw a small stone platform at one end of the waterline. Figures were on the platform performing some sort of ritual. A crowd watched them intently. The figures hurled an animal sacrifice into the lake, and the people cheered.
Moab knew his few men could not conquer these people, but he thought he could wield the magic hidden in the lake to his advantage. Under the cover of darkness, he journeyed to the lake and discovered a fortress deep under the water. A magical aura surrounded the mostly intact fortress. He entered the fortress using his spell of water breathing, and found a strange black stone, the source of the magical energy he felt.
Upon touching the Stone of the Heavens, Moab knew that it contained powerful alteration magic. The power coursed through his mind, nearly overwhelming him. Using the stone, Moab created an incredibly powerful sphere of force around the fortress, pushing back the lake’s waters. Then, he quickly moved all his men into the fortress, whereupon, he hatched a clever plan.
He observed the lake people for many days, and using his spyglass and spells he learned what they worshipped n the lake: the spirit of their ancestors from a long-destroyed civilization. The next time the island people came to perform their ritual, Moab appeared with a small group of his men from beneath the waters. He proclaimed himself an avatar of their ancestors, and he demanded their worship. As they bowed before him, he told them that the spirits of the old ones were awakening. They had returned to the People of the Lake, the chosen people, to create an army to take over the world. If they proved themselves worthy, they could join the spiritual host’s army. This overjoyed the lake people, and they have done his bidding ever since.
Moab worked long and hard to learn the secrets of the Stone of the Heavens. Using his magical spyglass as a focus, he channeled the magic and mutated living things. Not all the mutations proved to be beneficial. Some even killed the unfortunate subjects. The stone’s enhanced power also caused strange mutations to occur on the island. This didn’t concern Moab, however. He thought it a small price to pay for an army of super soldiers altered to perfection, an army that he would lead back to Leudendorf to exact his revenge.
* Jhondal: Half-Elf pirate lieutenant who took charge of boarding actions against enemy vessels.
* Marissa: Human cleric of Yarash.
* Ragnar: Human barbarian from the jungles of Sri Raji who joined up with Moab years before the fleet fell into the whirpool.
* General Hani Barakas: Drow warrior wizard who had been at Moab’s side longer than any of his human companions. He is the general of the growing mutant army, and he has been feverishly preparing for the attack on Leudendorf.
* Rooster Tumblefoot: Halfing rogue and longtime companion of Moab.
* Gaspar: Human conjurer.
The Chief’s Tale
The Chief was once a pirate in Moab’s fleet, but since his transformation he remembers little of those days. When he escaped the dungeons under the sunken fortress, he found his way to the mutant village and quickly rose to lead them. Changed not only in body, but also in spirit, by the Stone of the Heavens, the Chief created a fair and just society of tolerance that has allowed the mutant to live with one another in peace.
He blames all of the mutants’ hardships on Moab’s manic drive to create an army of mutants to do his bidding.
The Chief escaped the Sunken Fortress when he learned of Moab’s plans. Escaping was not easy. He tunneled his way out from the dungeons, only to find himself in the lair of a terrible, many-headed creature of fiery breath. The Chief fled from the creature and climbed a small shaft, one hundred feet straight up, to freedom.
Now that he believes the heroes can be trusted, he gives them directions to this cave.
October 13, 740
Act II, Scene IX: The Flying Skull
With the Chief’s directions in mind, the adventurers set out for the back entrance into the sunken fortress of Moab Cys’Varion.
The strange islands are not done with their revelations, though. As the adventurers make their way along the western side of the lake, they spot a large object floating through the air on a course for the lake village. As the object draws nearer two facts become clearer. It is the size of a small keep. And it is in the shape of a massive skull.
The flying skull settles within the walls of the lake people’s village. As it descends it bellows a pair of syllables that might well be the name, “Moab!”
When the skull rises into view again, its mouth is apparently full of captured lake people. Some tumble from the skull’s mouth, plummeting into the streets of their home village or the unyielding waters of the lake far, far below.
The skull leaves as it came, flying due east.
Not long after, the adventurers locate the cave mouth that the Chief described. Beyond lies the entrance to the sunken fortress. But first is a many-headed, fire-breathing beast.