NicksCF

Treasure Island, session #2, 27th August 2010
From the Runes of Skagharin

The fire burned low in the great temple room, casting strange flickering shadows into the darkness around. Skagharin‘s eyes were dark pools as he sat quietly watching over the room and his slumbering companions. As he watched he carved and whittled an old table leg and listened with half an ear to Dintari, who kept watch with him, chattering to crazy old Keestake. It was only when the old fool muttered about a hidden treasure, an old prince and a boat beneath the manor that Skagharin paid full attention. It seemed the old man had valuable information after all, perhaps explaining why he’d been captured by the Lizard Men. Definitely a matter to investigate on the morrow. Time passed, the fire burned to embers. The old man finally fell silent. Skagharin was tired from the events of the day. He and Dintari woke Parius and Brutarl for their watch and, hungry but warm, drifted quickly to sleep.

HeraIn his dreams, Skagharin heard a silvery, unearthly voice. He awoke, alert with his hand on his daggers. Though the fire had been allowed to die down a strange glow filled the room. Skagharin hissed between his teeth when he saw the lean outline of Brutarl silhouetted against the source of the light — the now whole statue of the Goddess Lassa (Parius stood slightly further away). Worse, the goddess’ statue was speaking to the warrior with the silvery voice from the dwarf’s dreams. What thrice-cursed supernatural forces had the headstrong barbarian awakened? Skagharin crept closer, to hear the silvery voice of Lassa uttering these chilling words:
“…these actions have displeased me and so I shall destroy this island at sundown.”

In spite of this dire foretelling, the goddess seemed to hold no malice towards Brutarl and his companions. Skagharin even prompted the Lady of the Winds to state that fair breezes would be theirs who escaped from the island before its doom. As to how to do that, Lassa offered no information. The glow faded and the goddess was gone forever from her former temple. Her statue was once more seated upon its throne, though now repaired and intact. The fading presence of the deity made Skagharin feel rested and refreshed, and he saw that his new companions had been similarly affected. With the island destined for destruction at the hands of a vengeful god in just a few hours, the time for sleep was over in any case.

The group decided to search the temple for anything of use before departing. Impatient Brutarl could not see the point of this and he paced outside in the rain like a caged animal, muttering futile entreaties to Lassa. The temple was mostly empty. Moonshadow and Keestake, Parius, Melisana, Skagharin and Dintari peered into empty room after empty room, with the old man giving a rambling commentary. Servants quarters, empty store-rooms, the great dark kitchen with its cavernous fireplace. After leaving the last, trailing the party with Dintari, Skagharin heard a noise behind. He turned and saw a ghastly corpse-like creature with sharp talons rushing at speed towards Dintari. The thing gave a dreadful shriek and Moonshadow seemed frozen with fear. Skagharin and Dintari kept their heads as the thing ripped into Dintari’s neck with its vile claws and fangs. Dintari pulled out his sword and slashed at its arms as it grappled him, though now his chest was red with his own blood. Skagharin stabbed at it somewhat ineffectively with his dagger, but Dintari, although bloodied, was soon victorious over the corpse thing. Looking at its slashed, corrupted body on the ground, Skagharin quizzed Keestake about it, but the old man claimed he knew nothing. Parius laid his hands on Dintari’s wound and it was healed. Brutarl came running at the sound of the shriek, then strode off to explore the temple’s upper level. There was little else to be found except for some cloth from which they fashioned some crude clothes. Dawn was coming; it was time to leave.

In the grey light of dawn it was clear that the supposedly treasure-filled manor was not far away at all from the temple building. It was also clear that a small force of Lizard men crept up on the manor from the left, while a band of Goblins approached from the right. The two groups had not yet spied each other, but Skagarin guessed that when they did they would not be happy. Not far from the temple, a shallow ditch led to the side of the manor, perhaps enough to conceal the group from the goblins and lizard men as they approached. The old servant of Lassa piped up, saying that there was a loose bar on the window at the end of the ditch. The group was decided and they made their way forward as quietly as they could. But the dwarf cursed as he tripped on a rotten root, which snapped loudly. One of the nearby goblins leaned over the ditch — and was slashed once, twice by the deadly blade of Lorien Moonshadow. The goblin toppled into the ditch, and Skagharin took some sort of food from its pouch. Fortunately, neither the nearby goblins nor lizard men were alerted by this commotion.

Climbing up to the window at the end of the ditch, Brutarl easily removed the bar and clambered inside, followed by the rest of the party. Keestake resumed his rambling commentary, telling of the nearby Queen’s chamber and how she possessed a magical stick which could find treasure. With cautious haste, and stopping for a look at Keestake’s room (“Oh, they’ve wrecked everything!”, he moaned when he saw it), the group made their way to the Queen’s chamber. Skagharin listened at the door and heard conversation. Quietly they entered the antechamber and, spying goblins within the main room, prepared to fight them.

Brutarl, Dintari and Moonshadow surged into the room and the battle commenced with Brutarl’s mighty war-cry, and more of Moonshadow’s sleep-magics. At first Skagharin hung back, to guard the rear and pick off any gobins who escaped from the bed-chamber. But soon he realised that this was a dangerous fight and that his help was needed. He left Melisana, dagger in hand, to guard the old man, and leapt into the fray. Blades flashed and clanked, there were cries and yells. The goblins fought hard but they were eventually overcome and slain. Once again Brutarl and Moonshadow wreaked much carnage, and Dintari and Skagharin fought bravely. After the battle, Skagharin and Moonshadow stabbed the sleepers without remorse, glancing at one another; one thing at least which the elder races had in common. The goblins had found the supposed treasure-finding stick and Skagharin handed it distastefully to Parius. More sorcery, he thought, and most likely useless. Time was a-wasting, and he had no wish to die here. They needed to find that boat, and quickly.

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Treasure Island, session #1, 23rd July 2010
From the Runes of Skagharin

Ossidiana wood carving leavesTaken by reavers! His ship sunk days ago, Skagharin hung chained in the bowels of the slavers’ ship, along with hundreds of others. The stink below decks was terrible. Each day the ugly slave master would shove a bucket of gruel to the slaves and as often as not crack his whip across some poor fool’s back. The key to their chains hung on a beam tantalisingly out of reach as the ship rocked and swayed across unfamiliar seas.

Skagharin observed his nearby companions in bondage, though he spoke little to them. Three humans: a meek woman; a capable-looking fellow, probably a southerner; a lean and menacing barbarian with mad eyes named Brutarl. Then there was Parius the half-elf man with sad dreamers’ eyes and, gagged always, a tall elf of unearthly beauty and uncertain gender, with a moon tattoo. Moon Man, Skagharin called him.

After many days, a wild storm rocked the boat. Shouts and screams could be heard above decks as the ship pitched and rolled and the wind howled. Most of the other prisoners were herded up on deck to help row. They never returned. After some time the decks above were silent. Then with a lurching crash, the ship ran aground, jerking Skagharin and his companions violently about in their chains. The ship split apart; cold rain, wind and water rushed in through a gaping hole.

Dintari the Southerner’s chains had come loose and he managed to wrench himself free. He reached for the key which still dangled from the beam above and unlocked the chains of his fellow prisoners. The girl, Melisana, thanked him. Shivering and blinking in the cold air, they considered their situation. The hatch was blocked. Skagharin and Brutarl peered out into the rainy gloom. There they saw a desolate beach with high cliffs on one side, empty except for..the slave master wandering drunkenly up and down, armed with a sword and a rum bottle.

Skagharin realised that they would need to get whatever they could from the ship. He and Brutarl attempted to climb up to the top deck. Brutarl shimmied up the wet timbers, but Skagharin slipped and fell into the cold water, twisting his ankle. He was joined on the shore by Parius and the Moon Man, who had now removed his gag and stood silent and strange beside them. The slave-master shouted and ran towards them with his sword raised. Parius uttered some words and suddenly the slave-master became compliant and almost polite. Parius invited him to drop his bottle and his sword (which Skagharin and Moonshadow—for such was really his name—picked up).

While the slave-master’s attitude to Parius had altered he still seemed leery of the other ‘cargo’ and he rudely demanded they return to the ship. At this point Brutarl and Dintari (who had quietly found an easier way up) returned from the upper deck. Dintari held a small chest under one arm, and Brutal sported a crossbow. Taking umbrage, Brutarl lunged at his former tormentor with an almighty roar which seemed to come from deep within. Stunned, the slave-master fumbled for dagger at his belt but he did not see Moonshadow behind him. The tall elf chopped the sword into the side of the slaver’s neck with a fluid motion, and then again. He staggered sideways and his blood stained the grey sand. Skagharin grabbed the dagger almost before the corpse hit the ground. Brutarl and Moonshadow begain to strip the body immediately.

Disgusted by this violence and coarse behaviour, Dintari and Melisana wandered away, looking for shelter from the rain and cold wind. Parius followed, and Skagharin, cursing and hobbling. Taking pity on his new companion, Parius laid his hands on the dwarf and healed his ankle. Skagharin was amazed, though mistrustful of the magic.

In the dunes with Melisana, Dintari halted at the sound of battle beyond a ridge. When the others had caught up, it was agreed that Brutarl and Moonshadow would scout ahead. Brutarl returned shortly and reported that a battle was indeed in progress. Several Goblins were fighting Lizard Men. Barbed spears, darts and arrows flew through the air. Brutarl wanted to see how the fight would end; Dintari, Melisana and Skagharin wanted to find shelter. Brutarl returned to Moonshadow, ostensibly to report the group decision.

After several minutes, Brutarl did not return. Skagharin clambered up a small hillock and peeked over it at the melee. The last Lizard Men had been been vanquished and the Goblins were heading up the rift towards an old man lying bound on the ground. Suddenly, the old man’s bonds fell away. As the lead Goblins neared him two of them collapsed to the ground. Then the Elf Lorien Moonshadow was there with his slaver’s cloak and brandishing the slaver’s long sword. More magic, sighed Skagharin to himself. The goblins charged, and the dwarf caught sight of Brutarl charging out to their flank. Skagharin backed down and quickly explained the situation to Dintari, who suggested they throw rocks at the goblins to unsettle and confuse them. Dintari turned out to be a crack shot too, hitting one goblin square in the head and bringing him down (Skagharin’s rocks all hit their targets, but with less force). Meanwhile Brutarl and Moonshadow were laying into the goblins down below. Moonshadow’s long sword slashed with murderous efficiency and soon the goblins were all dead.

The old man (whose name was Keestake) seemed to be some sort of bumbling servant, though he didn’t really explain how he had come to be in such a disagreeable position. He agreed to take the adventurers to a nearby temple to rest. Soon enough they arrived at an abandoned and ransacked, but intact structure, an old Temple of Lassa. It was good to get out of the rain, and Skagharin soon started a fire from broken furniture in the main temple room not far from the broken statue of the goddess. The old man told of the war between goblins and lizard men on the island over treasure, and how Lassa had sent a terrible storm in anger over the recent ransacking of her temple. The old man also spoke of an abandoned manor which the goblins thought contained treasure. The chest which Dintari had carried from the beach carried maps and charts, and Skagharin looked forward to poring over them on the morrow. There was mystery about this island. Lizard men, far from their natural clime at war with goblins? Skagharin wondered if this old man was what he seemed, and whether he could trust his new companions, and whether this temple was as empty as it seemed. But mystery was better than slavery, he decided.

Next: Treasure Island, session 2

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