The Dracholt party is in for a nasty surprise as they are rowing from the anchored Trumpeter to the Everwinter docks.
Cast of Characters
Goliath Paladin – Red’s Husband
Lawful Neutral Paladin of Devotion tied strongly to Goliath’s tendencies for meritocracy. Thinks magic is cheating, and has a personality loosely based on Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.
Nick “Pyro” / “Gandra Nox”
Human (Gold Draconic) Sorcerer – Tyrone (older teen girl)
Vigilante-type that masquerades as a Dragonborn-esque creature “Gandra Nox” in order to keep himself safe.
Kobold Warlock – Mort/Blackwold (new DM candidate)
Peddler of fallacies and miracle cures that found a dragon’s scale while helping dig out sewers under Dracholt. Now proclaims the wisdom of the Blood Dragons in loud, Born-again Evangelical style.
Half-Elf Rogue – new player Red’s friends knew
Kildrak Dankil of the Silver Flame
Dwarven Cleric – new but experienced player McFadin knew
Elven Ranger – new player Red and husband knew from Warhammer 40k
“What do you think they’re lookin’ at?” McFadin points to a trio of fishermen, armed with nets and harpoons, staring down into the depths of the bay.
Nick looks over the edge of the rowboat himself, the oars Aldin is operating splashing water so far he muses that the droplets are hitting both Trumpeter and the Everwinter dock, and maybe even the side of Captain Aber’s smaller rowboat. “I can find out,” the young mage muses, conjuring a quartet of glowing balls of light that he sends plummetting into the depths.
“Those are some big fish down there,” McFadin whispers, eyes locked on five shadows that swim this way and that, a few lashing out with what appear to be clawed arms at the orbs before beginning to rocket upward through the water. The rogue scowled and drew his rapier, the motion prompting Erevan to ready his bow and Crux to vanish with barely a word.
Giant, scaley body erupted from the water, snarling faces caught partway between that of a person and that of a shark hissing at them from both sides of the rowboat. Erevan’s arrow bounced off one’s abdomen, an angry welt beginning to form in protest beneath the hardened scales, and McFadin lashed out with his rapier at another.
Nick, thrust his hands forward, a gout of fire singeing one of the monsters, although it bit into his arm in response and plunged a harpoon into his shoulder before diving back into the water, the rope attached to the weapon in Nick easily dragging the sorcerer overboard. The splash drew Kildrak’s attention more, and realizing that Nick’s fire had shifted the boat, he yelled to Aldin to keep rowing before producing a gout of flame of his own, this one directed out the back of the boat to propel them forward at disturbing speeds.
Fire biting at their skin as the boat sped away, the Merrow hissed before diving back underwater and attacking the nearby fishermen. The smaller rowboat overturned easily, and in moment, the seawater was red with blood. Nick looked on in horror, a motion allowing his magic to form gills and a thought propelling him through the water so fast as to break the rope tied to the end of the harpoon stuck in him. As he swam toward the fishermen, he realized it was too late. One of the strange sea monsters had grabbed three lifeless bodies and was headed back into the depths; while, the others turned on Nick.
Above the water, the rowboat collided with the sandy shore, the jarring hit sending Crux tumbling into the sand although Erevan and McFadin gracefully leapt away and landed ready to face the waterborne threat. Aldin and Kildrak, rattled but still in the boat, quickly flipped it up to create a barrier and readied themselves as well, although what answered them immediately was not the monsters.
Out of nowhere, a gush of mist filled the air and dumped Nick onto the sand, the cleric and paladin howling obscenities in surprise before the fish things erupted from the water near the shore and stole their attention.
Arrows and crossbow bolts dug into the monsters, but they answered with harpoons, one clanging off Aldin’s armor while two found purchase in Kildrak’s and McFadin’s flesh. The fierce tugs on the ropes dragged the half-elf forward although the cleric simply dug in his heels, and as McFadin struggled and failed to stay back from the water, Nick rushed forward, confident he could save the day.
A giant blast of fire erupted from the sorcerer’s hands, but the fish-thing that still had a harpoon lunged forward at him, biting down firmly on an arm and plunging the hooked weapon through a gut. Nick went limp as the creature threw itself backward into the water. As the sorcerer plunged into the sea, Kildrak pulled at the rope attached to the harpoon embedded in his skin, dragging one of the monsters onto shore where the others quickly cut it to ribbons. An arrow from Erevan downed one still in the water, and realizing where this would end, the two remaining grabbed one of their fallen comrades and dove back into the sea.
Cutting the rope attached to his harpoon before he could be dragged down, McFadin scrambled back onto the sandy shore; flinching as Crux appeared out of nowhere and crashed into the sea. The little kobold had a determined look on his face that McFadin had not seen him wear before, and as the small warlock conjured a glass bowl and stuffed it over his head, the water closed in around him.
“Are you alright?” Aldin asked, helping the rogue to his feet.
“Barely,” McFadin answered, “but how do we get Nick back?”
“Maybe tie a rock to the end of a rope and throw it?” Kildrak shrugged. “The thing might float…”
“If they come up again…” Erevan ventured.
The group stared at the water, only a bubble breaking the surface here or there over the waves gently cresting and breaking against the sand. The murmur of the water was mirrored by the muttering of the gathering peasants nearby; tens of them were crowding at the very ends of the piers, leaning over cargo crates and each other to get a decent look at the water where the dark shapes of the fish monsters were disappearing into.
Through the background noise, a quiet chatter of struggle interrupted. McFadin pointed out a small fruit bat – the one they had seen gracing Crux’s shoulder on many an occassion – trying desperately to lift the length of rope that had been cut free from a harpoon. The little thing was barely making any progress, the rope inching forward at the pace of a snail despite the furiously flapping wings, and as the rogue went to pick up the rope, the little creature paused momentarily before dropping the thing and setting out over the water. It came to a stop, fluttering a few feet above the water’s surface almost forty feet out from shore, but it began to audibly chatter, making agitated movements.
McFadin gathered the rope, and Erevan tied a wooden cup to the end of it, knowing it would make the end easier to throw but unlikely to sink. The other end, McFadin tied a large knot in before handing it to Aldin and Kildrak, instructing them to stand as close to the water as they dared before he and the ranger launched the cup.
The rope looping behind it, the cup skittered on the surface before coming to a stop immediately below the little bat, and the water erupted. A glass bowl bobbed away, and Crux’s scaley hands wrapped themselves in the rope, holding tightly as Aldin and Kildrak gave a great heave that brought the kobold and his cargo skidding up onto the sand. Aldin grabbed both Crux and his cargo, hauling them up away from the water as Kildrak said a quiet prayer and touched Nick’s forehead. The sorcerer sputtered to life, coughing saltwater and spluttering.
The group breathed a collective sigh of relief.