Fireday, 16 Lamashan, 4743
The four adventurers Udrexa the tiefling monk, Lucia the halfling witch, Gwenllian the human druid, and Victoria the human wizard have set sail for Magnimar aboard the ship Tyalee’s Whim, traveling with their friend Audrahni the morose elf. Lucia and Gwen can’t shake the feeling that they are missing someone, but everyone is accounted for.
The captain, Sursha Antefalle, has invited all the passengers to join her for dinner that evening. After settling into their rooms, the adventurers enjoy a leisurely day of travel. Victoria stays cooped up in her room most of the day, immersed in her studies and overtaken by paranoia that someone might steal the Sword of Pride, Baraket, from its hiding place on her person.
Udrexa, meanwhile, adapts her monk training routines to the deck of the ship, though she has to avoid the crew as they go about their duties. Sursha complements her on her routine, and wonders about instituting something similar for the crew. Udrexa warns that they might hurt themselves mimicking her training.
At the appointed hour, the adventurers join the other passengers at the captain’s table. Audrahni takes the seat to the left of Sursha, while the actress Viralane Barivisai is given the seat of honor to her right. A place is set for Viralane’s maidservant, the halfling Corla, but she prefers to stand attentively beside her mistress. Beckwood Roos, the pale, dour man in black whose mysterious crate is stowed below, arrive last to the diner.
As appetizers are served, Sursha explains that she’d like everyone to introduce themselves and maybe share a little with the other guests, so they can all get to know one another as they go around the table. The captain begins by sharing a little about herself. She was born on the ship and has spent her life sailing the Varisian Gulf, first with her father and now on her own.
Victoria asks her about the ship’s name, which proves to be a faux pas. Sursha falls silent for a moment and Audrahni puts a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Best we not speak of lost loves,” the captain answers after a moment. “Certainly, more cheerful conversation is proper for our table.”
Sursha asks Victoria to introduce herself, and the young wizard spins a tale of growing up in Absalom and serving as a courtier in Korvosa and Magnimar before traveling to the Lands of the Linnorm Kings to study languages. Viralane inquires what district in Absalom Victoria is from. Upon learning it is the Foreign Quarter, Viralane waxes nostalgic about her time there.
Since she is being so chatty, Sursha invites Viralane to introduce herself next. The actress describes how she came from humble beginnings to gain renown as a performer in the major cities of southern and western Avistan. She expresses disdain for the Chelish Opera that is currently all the rage and tells some salacious stories from her early career, including the time that a Druman kalistocrat tried to woo her with jewels while promising to dispatch his current wife. Naturally, she declined his advances and alerted the other woman.
Beckwood Roos interjects that he’d heard about an incident in Egorian where Viralane was the instigator of adultery. She denounces him for his foul manners and immediately stops talking, a dark expression on her face.
To keep the conversation going, Sursha turns to Udrexa to know more about her. The tiefling is rather guarded, saying that she grew up as a street urchin and was a petty criminal working for the likes of Clegg Zincher. Eventually she was taken in at the monastery by two women named Reri and Belawara. She is trying to put her past behind her, and warns that the less others know about it, the better. Udrexa also admits she’s finding it easier to turn a new leaf thanks to all the violence the party has been indulging in of late.
The halfling crewman Gyles comes in at this point to serve the main course, lemon-braised lingcod and fried potatoes.
Sursha invites Beckwood Roos to introduce himself. He is very terse, explaining that he came from an insignificant village in the nation of Ustalav, studied at the Sincomakti School of Sciences, and left his studies to travel. He refuses to discuss what he studied, calling it “esoteric matters of little interest” to the other passengers. Victoria notices something strange about his accent that she can’t quite place.
Lucia is the next guest that Sursha invites to speak. She explains that she is a healer and is traveling with her friends on business to Magnimar. She admits that it is her first sea voyage and she is still getting used to the swaying of the ship. Sursha suggests she talk to the halfling crewman Gyles for pointers on getting her sea legs. Viralane tries to be friendly, but avoids eye contact with the old woman.
Sursha invites Corla to share something about herself. The halfling woman has little to say. She’s used to traveling with Viralane and has no issue on the ship. She thanks Sursha for the food.
Gwen is the next person Sursha invites to speak. The druid describes her journey out of the mountains to Roderic’s Cove to learn about live in the human world. Apparently money is a thing.
Audrahni is the last passenger Sursha asks to speak. She awkwardly explains she is a graveyard keeper in Roderic’s Cove, traveling with her friends to Magnimar. She’s known Sursha for years. Rather than talk about herself, she instead shares a fable from Varisian history. She tells the legend of Saint Sazzleru, a priestess of the empyreal lord Ashava, and how she defeated a powerful three-eyed demon known as the Misbegotten Prince who had subjugated the Varisians of the Lost Coast during the Age of Anguish.
Over a dessert of herbed cheese and sweet wine, Victoria asks Viralane about her current project. The actress says she has taken time off from performing to work on an original opera, The Rise and Fall of Thassilon, in which she would play the lead role as Runelord Sorshen. Victoria plays dumb and asks Viralane to tell her about Sorshen. The actress gives her the abbreviated version of the Runelord’s history, nothing beyond common knowledge.
Sursha then persuades Viralane to entertain the crew with a song from one of her previous performances. The red headed woman leads them out onto the main deck, where she launches into the final aria of the tragic opera Daughter of Orlos. As she sings, she climbs up the rigging of the main mast. Vitoria and Udrexa both realize that Viralane is about to jump from the crow’s nest, but the tiefling can’t act fast enough and the wizard decides to watch what happens.
There is a gasp as Viralane hurls herself from the mast. But rather than plummeting, she drifts gently downwards, completing the aria. When she lands on the deck, spools of crimson fabric unfurl from her dress to depict her character’s gruesome demise. Beckwood Roos and Lucia are the first to start clapping and soon the whole crew is joining in.
Victoria is curious about the special effect and wonders if Corla is involved, but can’t find the halfling among the crowd of crew members. Gwen determines that Viralane used a ring of feather fall to slow her descent.
After this performance, Victoria calls a private meeting with the party. She is deeply suspicious of Beckwood, and is paranoid in general about the crew. Audrahni vouches for Sursha and Lucia says her opinion carries a great deal of weight, which causes the elf to blush.
That night, Victoria deploys various protective spells on her room and uses the keep watch spell to stay awake all night. The rocking of the ship leaves her slightly queasy. Udrexa sleeps for a couple of hours and stealthily scouts the ship. She learns that there are typically only three crew members on night duty.
Starday, 17 Lamashan, 4743
The next morning is colder than the last few days, with moderate winds helping Tyalee’s Whim make good time. When the adventurers come onto the deck, the mist-shrouded peaks of the Fogscar Mountains can be seen off the port side.
That morning, three sailors sit about the deck repairing a torn sail. As they do so, they talk among themselves and occasionally break into a sea shanty. Lucia seeks out the halfling sailor Gyles, but he asks her to keep her distance. He doesn’t want his good luck to be affected by her “jinx.” Lucia agrees to stay away, but feels quietly resentful given that she can cast the fortune hex that literally gives good luck.
That afternoon, the Tyalee’s Whim sails through a small patch of debris: broken spars, pieces of decking and a sodden mass of sail floats seemingly serenely on the gentle swell. What caused the other ship to sink is a mystery.
Sunday, 18 Lamashan, 4743
That morning, Tyalee’s Whim leaves the Fogscar Mountains behind and begins sailing along coastlines of cliffs and sea stacks. It is a perfect fall day, with clear skies and strong winds bearing the ship ever southward.
To travel between the passenger cabins and the main deck, the adventurers have to pass through the ship’s hold, which contains both cargo crates and livestock, including four cows and the party’s two horses. Gwen notices that something is causing the creatures to become agitated, and she goes to alert the captain that the “moo-beasts” are being disturbed by something. Sursha asks Gwen and her friends to take a look in the hold.
While Gwen calms down the animals, Udrexa investigates the cargo crates. She is startled when Beckwood’s reinforced crate suddenly bursts open. A quivering pile of tumorous flesh spills out, leaving behind a trail of slime. Pseudopods lash out from its amorphous body, but Udrexa ducks out of the way.
Lucia stays back and casts a fortune hex on Udrexa. Gwen turns her quarterstaff into a shillelagh. After blasting the ooze with a scorching ray, Victoria uses create pit to try to trap the creature, but several other crates fall into the pit and it slithers up them to get back onto the deck.
Udrexa and Gwen hammer it with their bludgeoning weapons, while the ooze flails ineffectually with its pseudopods. As it slithers around the room, it leaves behind a greasy trail that makes the terrain difficult to cross. Lucia keeps her distance, but sends Rita to deliver a bestow curse spell. The ooze grabs hold of the bat, which releases the spell.
Victoria unleashes a flurry of snowballs, which she converts to balls of fire.to harm the ooze. Rita is caught in the blast and is badly wounded. The curse leaves the ooze unable to act, and the adventurers bash it to the ground. It starts to regenerate, and Victoria blasts it with fire again.
The adventurers notify Captain Sursha, who has Beckwood Roos hauled up onto the deck. He is appalled at this event, apologizing for his negligence which endangered everyone aboard the ship. He explains that he was transporting the ooze to his lab in Nisroch, where he hoped to distill its regenerative qualities into a fleshwarping elixir he could present to the leaders of Nidal. Sursha has him confined to quarters until they arrive in Magnimar, where he will be handed over to the authorities.
Beckwood thanks the party for killing the “hungry flesh” before it killed anyone. He gives them several potions, including three doses of “oozeclot unguent.”
Lucia, meanwhile, is very concerned that Rita has been afflicted with a tumor infestation. This disease could kill the bat and turn it into another hungry flesh. She does her best to treat Rita, but only manages to keep the disease at bay. Rita, meanwhile, is in a very bad mood.
Moonday, 19 Lamashan, 4743
It is another perfect fall day, with clear skies and strong winds. That morning, a few off-duty members of the crew sit by the rail idly fishing and chatting. They are doing quite well—they have already half filled their bucket with fish destined for the galley.
That afternoon, Tyalee’s Whim approaches a notable coastal landmark: Windsong Abbey. As the ship passes through a deep channel between the mainland and a small island, the arches and tall towers of the still-abandoned abbey itself are in full view, sunlight dancing on the stained glass of its windows. The sound of the wind blowing along the cliffs here is eerie and mournful. Viralane takes the opportunity to recite a famous Varisian poem praising Windsong Abbey’s architecture.
About an hour before sunset, Audrahni gathers the party together for a private conversation. To the west, storm clouds gather on the horizon. The elf says she feels a need to share information about her past, but is worried they may think differently about her when she is done.
She explains how she lost her parents when she was a little elfling and spent some years living in the Mushfens before finding her way to the new settlement of Magnimar. She grew up with the community, as it expanded from a village into a city. But like all forlorn elves, she very quickly realized that her human friends would be in her life about as long as a beloved cat or dog would be in a human’s life. This left her depressed as she attended funeral after funeral.
She eventually fell in with a mystery cult to Ashava, an empyreal lord who is the patron of dancers, lost souls, and moonlight. Through the cult, she felt she could use her long life to help shorter-lived people on their passage through the cycle of life. After a few decades, she ended up as the cult’s leader and decided to pursue a major project: creating a monument to one of the cult’s greatest heroine’s, Saint Sazzleru.
Audrahni hired a fellow forlorn elf, a talented sculptor named Ilsynor, to craft the monument. But Ilsynor belonged to a different cult, the Brotherhood of the Seven, who worshiped Norgorber, the god of thievery, murder, and poison. When Audrahni discovered this, she took her evidence to the authorities to have Ilsynor arrested.
Unfortunately, she brought her evidence to Justice Ironbriar, who she later learned was the secret leader of the cult. He shielded Ilsynor from prosecution, and that night the Brotherhood sent assassins who murdered Audrahni’s followers. She escaped as the lone survivor.
Resentful that Ashava had failed to protect her friends and disgusted with the Magnamarian justice system, Audrahni decided to take revenge. She sabotaged the scaffolding around the half-complete monument so that it collapsed on Ilsynor in his sleep. This consigned him to an unblessed grave, a grievous sin in the eyes of Ashava. Audrahni fled the city to escape the Brotherhood and avoid prosecution for her sabotage.
She wandered the Lost Cost for several years, helping those she could, but never able to rekindle her father or escape her sorrow. Even learning that the Sihedron Heroes had exposed Ironbriar and destroyed the Brotherhood was a bitter victory that came too late to save her friends. She was also disturbed by rumors that Ilsynor’s ghost haunted the site of his murder.
Audrahni says that the party’s success at laying Sir Roderic’s spirit to rest and the friendship they’ve shown her has inspired her to confront her path. She asks for their help in a ritual to bless the site, as well as assistance in quieting Ilsynor’s troubled soul. She is worried that the adventurers will think less of her knowing she is a murderer and a faithless priest.
Instead, the three adventurers — Victoria, Udrexa, and Lucia — embrace her and promise to help out. Victoria argues that Ashava didn’t deserve her devotion, but Audrahni still holds out hope that she can reconcile with her divine patron.
Captain Sursha interrupts the gathering to let everyone know that there’s a storm on it’s way and when it hits later that night, she may need all hands on deck to help the ship get through it.
Toilday, 20 Lamashan, 4743
An hour after midnight, the storm envelopes Tyalee’s Whim and the bell is rung to summon all hands. Topside, Captain Sursha is at the wheel, steering Tyalee’s Whim as best she can. “Elbows” Eddi directs the crew to tasks, immediately including the party in his orders as they appear on deck. The storm’s fury is frightening, with the ship listing and climbing dangerously with each white-capped swell, while torrents of rain driven sideways by blasts of wind make visibility a challenge.
Eddi orders the adventurers to help deploy the sea anchor to help stabilize the ship. Several sailors are already struggling with the anchor and it takes the entire party plus Audrahni to get it deployed. Lucia summons three unseen servants and sends them off to help with other mundane tasks on the deck.
Next, the group is asked to trip the mainsail. Victoria uses her dimensional slide ability to teleport up to an advantageous point in the rigging, while Udrexa works on it from below. Together they are able to trim the sail to better handle the gusts of wind from the storm.
A particularly powerful swell crashes over the ship’s deck. Victoria and a sailor named Ghera are washed overboard, but Lucia grabs hold of the wizard with her unseen servants and Udrexa’s tail snags onto the sailor. Bother are hauled back up onto the deck.
Fortunately, the storm is short-lived, and at dawn the sun rises to a clear day. Yet evidence of the storm’s swift violence is everywhere, including significant damage to Tyalee’s Whim. Sursha calls the adventurers over to the aft and explains the rudder may be damaged. She asks Udrexa to swim down and inspect it. The waters are calm, but she warns that she spotted several sharks earlier. They seem to have lost interest in the ship for now, making this a good window of opportunity to dive underwater and inspect the rudder.
Udrexa dives off the back of the ship and begins to investigate the rudder, but her inspection is interrupted by a dark shape moving quickly through the water. A 25-foot-long predatory fish called a dunkleosteus is rushing forward. Lucia tries to use her magic to seal the creature’s lips shut, but to no avail. The primeval fish seizes the tiefling in its mouth and deals a grievous wound to her.
Scrambling for a way to help the beleaguered monk, Victoria hits on a unique idea. She uses the spell mad monkeys to summon a swarm of monkeys to harass the shark under water. These sea monkeys jab their simian fingers in the shark’s eyes and gills, distracting it into releasing Udrexa.
The monk then hits the creature with her stunning fist, further immobilizing it. The crew start to shoot at it with longbows while Udrexa pounds it with her three-section staff. Soon the great fish is no more. Victoria has it hauled up so it can be harvested for meat and teeth. Udrexa is fished out of the water and healed. With the monster dead, the crew is able to make temporary repairs.
The crippled ship limps towards the nearest port, and an hour before sunset arrives in the town of Sandpoint. Captain Sursha pays for overnight repairs and gives everyone shore leave, except for Beckwood and the two sailors guarding him.
Viralane invites the party to join her at her favorite Sandpoint tavern, Cracktooth’s, but Victoria declines the offer. Instead, the wizard makes her way to the Rusty Dragon Inn.