Sea of Madness

Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP #3
Just knock on the gate.

Depending on who you talk to, Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP went to Alderman Ritter’s either to advise him of occult activity in Ashenport or to break in and steal the coins Wittishens had sent them for.

What followed was a comedy of errors: Bonaventure slipped in the mud while climbing the iron fence surround the Alderman’s manse, only to pick himself up out of the mud and vault over it in a single bound, for example. Or take as another incident: Valens being seen and captured by the house guards, only to serve as a distraction for the rest to sneak into the Alderman’s garden.

Eventually, all parties soaked & bloody, the guards lay in the thick mud unconscious or dying while our “heroes” looted the Alderman’s vacated home. As they trudged back to the Smooth Sailing Inn & Tavern a horrible sound echoed out over the depths. It was the same wretched keening they’d heard the night before, made no less terrible by the flimsy light of day.

Poor Bonaventure was the only one present to succumb to the siren call this time, but Tusk made short work of the trance with a staggering kick to Bonaventure’s chest. They noticed some other traders had fallen prey to the call and rushed to their aid. Their efforts were stopped short when a hideous stench preempted the appearance of several grotesque fish men, whose fish-belly white flesh dripped with ichor. The creatures moved right past the suicidal travelers to assault Legitimate Business Enterprises with their rusty blades. Two ghosted out of the rain and ran Rick & Jin through with salt-tarnished blades, poisoning their bodies and tearing through their guts in one. Another appeared on a roof above and hurled a driftwood javelin at Tusk as two more came charging out of the rain and stabbed at Valens and the previously injured Bonaventure.

The men tried to make for the safety for the inn, but Rick warned them away as he saw several shapes engaged in melee in that same direction. They stood their ground and fought, and finally dispatched the sole (sorry, couldn’t help myself) surviving fish man before they ventured towards the inn and destroyed more of the creatures.

Terza (lead emissary of the Gold Leaf Trading Consortium) shrieked in panic when she inspected one of the vile creatures’ bodies to discover that it had the mark of a Gold Leaf upon its shoulder, just as her friend Surien had, before he met a watery death during the first call, that is. Valens carried her into the inn and they all sat to discuss what they discovered when Jin sensed someone creeping around in the kitchen. He silently indicated as much t the others and Tusk rushed over to kick the door in.

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Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP #2
It smells like fish.

The next day Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP awoke sore & damp. A salty mist was hovering around everything.

“The storms going to hit soon, and hard.” Rick said as he wiggled his eyebrows and examined the leaves of the oak they’d slept under in the enemy’s camp. The company packed up and headed on towards Ashenport.

Two rain-soaked miserable days later, after braving the worst storm in centuries (so I’m told…) the group got a dismal first look at their destination through the steady flashes of lightning. They picked their way over the rocky Cliffside for another couple hours before they finally arrived at their destination.

The town before Legitimate Business Enterprises bustled: gruff fisherman went this way and that despite the terrible weather. The company made their way to the Smooth Sailing Tavern & Inn,

“Not just the nicest inn in town, but also the only one!” a less-gruff local informed Jin.

Once their good were securely locked away and everyone had had a hot bath (except Tusk), the real work started. Jin, in one of his numerous forms, scoped out the other travelers and chatted up some folks from the Gold Leaf Trading Consortium, out of Avalide. Tusk sat across the room and observed Jin’s failed attempt at spreading the brand whilst collecting info, laughing to himself all the while.

Meanwhile Rick, who was at this point still more used to talking to trees than people, had an awkward exchange with Jandal Phen. He informed Rick that the trade faire had been postponed until the storm let up. Phen, a jeweler out of Raltz, also mentioned that all the salvaged treasures were being collectively traded by the town, not individually.

What followed was, as I’ve heard it, a series of plans to “collect” the coins, each more ingenious than the next. All plans were abandoned in the long run in favor of a warm bed and a good night’s sleep.

Something had other ideas, though. Legitimate Business Enterprises were nudged from sleep by a dread call from out over the sea. Most of the group, at any rate. Jin peered out his window to see several of the traders he had met earlier making their way steadily down the street, towards the ocean. Tusk, one room over, heard Bonaventure leave his room across the hall. A minute later Tusk, Jin & Valens met in the hall. Rick & Bonaventure’s doors were left wide. The three ran downstairs and out into the blinding rain to find their companions walking to the sea with the others. Neither man responded and when confronted simply kept walking without recognition. Tusk decided to solve this problem like all others and delivered two quick jabs to Rick’s rib cage, knocking him to the ground with the force of the blows. Rick didn’t even seem to feel it, but just got up and kept walking. Valens & Jin attempted to subdue Bonaventure, but he proved far too determined to reveal the source of the mourning call of the ocean. Becoming frustrated, Jin decided to stop dicking around and unleashed a blast of psychic energy at both his companions, which finally broke them from the siren song of the deep. A few of the strangers were saved in similar fashion, but ultimately they could naught but watch as men walked into the sea to be claimed by the waves.

The survivors returned to the Smooth Sailing to find a trader from Ishtar (whose name had been forgotten as he shortly met his end) arguing with Phen about what their next course of action should be. Bonaventure pointed out that only out-of-towners seemed to be affected and, in fact, no one else was around at all. The inn proved to be empty of anyone else so a decision was made to break into teams and search the town.

As Legitimate Business Enterprises moved through the pre-dawn town Rick pondered aloud:

“Do elves grow pubic hair?” A question which was met with stunned silence.

After seeing a candle hastily snuffed in a small house near a large grove of Ash trees at the town center, the company confronted the houses occupant. He informed them the reason no one else was out was that everyone was hiding from the call they heard the night prior.

They left the man frightened and with a broken door. Tusk pointed out that there were several forms nearby, and all saw the mad eyes that stared from behind the constant curtain of rain. The unknown assailants charged, so Tusk and the others rushed through the mud to meet them in battle. After a brutal fight Legitimate Business Enterprises managed to defeat and question their attackers.

Other than all giving the same name (they all referred to themselves as Murphy), Jin and the gang were able to scare and trick out of them that the men were Meloran cultists. They sought to protect a ritual being held under the church that night that was meant to protect the town from Melora’s wrath by offering the out-of-towners as sacrifices.

Once they had everything useful from their assailants the group turned their attentions towards Elderman Ritter’s (basically the town mayor) home, where it was rumored all the salvaged goods could be found.

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Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP #1
Bandits? Pfff...
I met the men of Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP in a tavern in Lurd one hot summer’s night. After a few rounds of drinks, they delved into many tales espousing their “glory and awesomeness” (a direct quote). One particular story they told me stuck in my mind, and I still tell it to this day, as you are about to hear:

It all started, as these things often do, with a job. Witishen Muprhy, a local fence and dealer of goods of questionable origin stopped by the head quarters of Legitimate Business Enterprises one evening. He explained to the company that he had a job opportunity for them that entailed guarding some trade goods while traveling far north to Ashenport. Upon arrival they were to persuade some yokels that they wanted his trade goods more than any others and then return to Lurd with ancient coins of a forgotten empire, salvaged from the depths of the ocean.
Sounds easy, no? Witishen warned that bandits were plentiful on the road to Ashenport, at which the company scoffed.

“Bandits? Pfff.” exclaimed Valens, a half-elf who was notably tight-lipped about his years spent in the realms prior to meeting up with Legitimate Business Enterprises.

“Just as long as you understand,” said Bonaventure (who at the time looked like a dead necromancer. He was a changeling and well, that’s another story…) “that if you screw us over, we will murder you.”

Taking his cue, Tusk the half-orc, smashed a hanging lantern with his bare fist (which from what I hear is something he did often enough to necessitate a box of lanterns be kept in the head quarters).
Jin, the other changeling in the company, negotiated terms and the deal was done. A courier arrived the next morning with a document from Witishen describing the coins and some of their history, along with a donkey team pulling a wagon loaded with crates of raw materials.
For more than a week Legitimate Business Enterprises traveled the King’s Road north peacefully. Rick, a stereotypical elf who was handy in the woods, would tell stories about being back home and how much he loved his parents while Valens would silently weep to himself at the mention of family.
Of course, things can’t go smooth forever. A day after they left the King’s Road Rick noted a tang of salt in the air and deduced that a storm was sure to follow before a day or so passed. The company decided to press on through part of the night, to ensure their arrival in Ashenport as unmoist as possible. Suddenly, out from the trees leapt a horde of bandits. Men so skilled and at home in the woods it was a wonder to see that they weren’t all elves!
The bandits got the drop on Legitimate Business Enterprises, LLP, and despite some intense fighting on their part made off with the raw goods.
No lives were lost, thanks to some skill and lots of luck. The company regrouped and tracked the bandits to their temporary hide-out in the woods. Avandra herself must have been present then, because Tusk found their only sentry asleep at his post and quickly smashed his head in with a thunderous assault. The rest of the bandits in the camp, knowing that a storm was close at hand, assumed that Tusk’s murderous attack was nothing but a precursor for the inclement weather to follow. They found that a storm was coming for them, but it was one of death and pain rather than thunder and lightning.
Turning the tables on the bandits, Legitimate Business Enterprises made quick work of them. I’m sure this was embellished but I share it nonetheless: at one point during the melee, Tusk leapt into a group of attackers and, moving like no man could, smashed one in the throat with his fist, swept ones legs out from under him and axe kicked him while snapping the neck of a third. Then from thin air he produced a throwing star and lodged it into the throat of yet a fourth man, several steps away.
Needless to say, Legitimate Business Enterprises reclaimed Witishen’s goods, and a good deal more loot extra. After questioning the one surviving member of the bandit camp, they let him flee with his life, as the bandits had done for them just hours before, and made camp for what remained of the night… Legitimate Business Enterprises

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Ithyk: Musings of a Murderous Mind pt. 5

I fell. It hurt.

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The Tales and Caperings of Erondor Quinn - Chapter Three

I have decided that I should leave the rest of the group briefly to visit all the taverns and bars in the various areas of the city where the poor and lower class live and work. After suitably disguising myself, I will spend some time in each tavern talking with people and learning of the world I have suddenly been let loose upon. Then, right before leaving, I will take to the stage and perform a poem I have composed that glorifies our group, especially Ithyk. If the poor and lower class people of the city view us as folk heroes of a sort, then I am hoping that should we need to hide from whatever trouble we get ourselves into, then these people will help us.

Now, in order to avoid any entanglements that might ensue when I tell the tale of our dramatic escape. I am changing my disguise between each bar and then leaving immediately after performing. Let’s hope that this book has a fourth chapter.

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The Tales and Caperings of Erondor Quinn - Chapter Two

We traveled from our new-found sanctuary across the city in search of a halfling named Berino, whom we were to kidnap. We were interrupted in our endeavor by an attack from the undead! We handily dispatched them, and were quite confused as to why they would be in the city.

Free of that nasty distraction, we were able to again focus our attention on our goal. We were after this halfling because he is a slaver. Passing as slavers ourselves, Skyrp and I convinced one of the halfling’s goons to lead us to him. It’s always about who you know.

We then met with a bugbear who seemed to be high in Berino’s esteem. It took a good deal of well-spun lies and fake sincerity, but we were able to convince him to let us meet with his master.

It did not take me long to realize that Berino was completely mad. I was able to easily fake a rapport with him. You get quite good at that sort of thing when you spend your youth pretending to get along with drunk louts in bars just so you’ll get an extra silver for bringing them their drink. In the end we were able to get an advance from him for the delivery of a ship full of slaves that we claimed we had. He also spoke of other things that were quite disturbing.

He mentioned The Red Hand. From what little I know, a group dedicated to dragon worship. It seems Berino wants to become a dragon and The Red Hand promised him the opportunity should he fulfill whatever role they need him for. I wanted to stay and learn more of what he was trying to do, but Skyrp was quite uncomfortable. I must say, I think Skyrp was quite unnerved by the little halfling. It was a side of Skyrp I did not think existed. We left at Skyrp’s insistence.

We returned to Berino’s well guarded, and quite large, warehouse when night had fallen. After being ambushed by spirits in the water, we climbed to the roof where we took down the guards and entered the building. We were greeted by perhaps the most horrific sight we had seen, and that’s saying a lot from former pit gladiators. Berino’s white dragon was in a rage and was ready to chomp us to bits. We decided it was in our best interest to avoid that outcome, and so, the beast is dead.

Finally we located Berino, he was with members of The Red Hand of course. They had some traits and abilities from their dragon patrons that made them quite a nuisance. After a pitched battle we beat Berino into submission. We then delivered his bruised and battered form to Rowena.

Now as a slave I have endured what I would call torture, but I can tell you now. Rowena has endured horrific torture. That experience has given her a keen insight into torture and how it can be most effectively applied. Berino, the mad little fool of a halfling, was tortured in ways I dare not imagine. Maybe I should, but I feel no pity for a slaver. Not after what I have been through these past several years.

As we rest here in Rowena’s, I have been struck with an idea. I think I will have to take a brief respite from working with my comrades in order to learn more of the city, and perhaps give us an extra means to look for sanctuary should Rowena’s temple no longer be viable.

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Ithyk: Musings of a Murderous Mind pt 4
gnoll, fighter, journal, dnd,

We fight good. Good together. We can do anything. I don’t know why Bard didn’t come with us into sewers, but he came back telling us he wrote a song about me. I think it’s good. I made a song too.

Crack, Crack, Crack Split your skull, break your back. Crunch, Crunch, Crunch Now you’re dead, now you’re lunch.

It’s good. I think we have to fight a dragon now. I haven’t eaten dragon before.

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Vistin's Chronicle, Page Three

It turns out that adventuring beneath the city is far less alluring than adventuring above it.

Our quest to slay this dread necromancer took a turn for the unpleasant when we learned we would have to track him through the sewers. The actual sewers, gentle reader. The sewers beneath Ishar are rife with peril and excitement, it’s true, but they are also rife with other, far less pleasant things.

We followed the trail of other, less fortunate and less talented adventurers who had gone before. How long before, I could not say, but while I was crossing a rope bridge they had left, the rope snapped, so I would guess it has been some weeks at least. Luckily, two of our party are huge brutes, who use their brawn to our great advantage. One of them was able to snatch the rope as it broke, saving me from an extremely unpleasant plunge into the deeper pits of the sewer, a plunge that would have likely ended in my death (although, gentle reader, considering the location, it might not have been an entirely unwelcome death).

At the end of the trail, we confronted the necromancer who, in the fashion of evil men everywhere, refused to surrender. The battle was long and hard-fought, but in the end Ithyk tore his heart from his chest and feasted upon it. It was quite grisly, but I believe the two had some history together, so perhaps it was something of an old joke between them. Either way, we have succeeded in another quest, and I find myself, despite my better judgment, eager for another.

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Ithyk: Musings of a Murderous Mind pt 3

I have eaten his strength, my master’s strength. I am now my master. But, it is not good, I have taken his power, but he has still taken from me. He is a bastard. He eats and eats, but I keep him from eating. My hands still have his stains. I think about his ribs and how they burst like squeezed fruit. I hated it. He didn’t think I could do it. I did. I drank his blood and it sang to me. It told me It would keep me, hold me till it crushed me, but I think it will not. It lied, I’ve never met it that it would lie. I know that’s why my Master is a bastard.

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Vistin's Chronicle, Page Two

The slave taker is taken, his operations disrupted, his flesh rent, his spirit departed.

Following an ambush by some zombies which was too unexpected, gentle reader, and too quickly resolved to discuss any further at this time, the party engaged in some light espionage (having some experience in that area, I explained that some rather more surreptitious skulduggery would have have worked as well, and with less risk, but I digress). They did this (against my advice) to arrange a meeting with our target, during which certain Intelligence was Gathered regarding the lay and disposition of our late halfling friend’s lair.

Our pretense was that we were fellow slave-takers, preparing the way to market for our vile wares. I played the role of Niggardly Financeer with great aplomb, while Erandor and Skyrp were the managers hired to make sure my notional money was not wasted. Our meat, of course, played the meat.

They gained his confidence and explored some of his hideaway, learning nothing useful and wasting an entire day for little gain, since we simply attacked him outright that very evening. Still, if it pleases my companions or brings them any comforting illusion of agency to dress up a stab in the dark as the culmination of a Great Scheme then it is worth the small cost of a leisurely day about the city to me.

The attack itself was a series of escalating adventures: a struggle against dread spirits by the waterside, a rooftop battle, a face-off with a dragon, gentle reader, and actual dragon, and the final confrontation between our party and the slaver’s entourage. This sort of swashbuckling, with all the the attendant slinging of spells, shouting of challenges, ringing of blade upon blade, and so on, is quite outside my usual métier, gentle reader, but I must confess that I found it quite… invigorating. There is a certain romance to this sort of life. To have killed a dragon is no small accomplishment; it is a task worthy of a great boast!

In the course of all this, we learned some trifle about a cult devoted to becoming more dragon-like, or perhaps becoming actual dragons. I suspect that these cultists are fools, being played as pawns in some scheme. Dragons, as you, gentle reader, will doubtless be aware, are subtle, alien creatures, not easily understood or manipulated by other races.

We heard from an information-gatherer, a Drow that Rowena has dealings with, that there might actually be some legitimacy to this group. The Colosseum itself, it seems, is a great summoning circle or dark altar, built to power some fell rite. The Dark Elves normally strike me as dour, acerbic, inconstant nuisances, best watched carefully and rarely trusted, but this one has a certain spark to her.

Either way, of course, it is another influential body in a city already well over-provided with influential bodies, and so it is another potential market for an individual with my particular set of abilities, should I choose to strike out on my own again while still in Ishar.

Our favor to Rowena is fulfilled, but we have been presented with the matter of a necromancer who may be at large in the city. For myself, I care nothing for the fate of Ishar or its people, but the matter of the necromancer also seems to pique the interest of my present compaions, and the prospect of further adventure is, I confess, quite tempting.

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