On May 22nd, Year 12, the adventurers who ventured to Wetshore the week before resolve to return to the south to explore more of the ruined West South Kingdom settlements. They bring with them two more thieves: Stephen drawn by curiosity after hearing they have delivered mysterious scrolls to Rovert’s tower, and Maui a satyr newly drawn to Citadel House after witnessing their aide with the plague in the Satyr Capitol.
- Stephen (EnS): Level 11 Human Thief
- Gorg (HuS): Level 7 Orc Thief
- Victor (TrS): Level 5 Elf Thief
- Harold (MiM): Level 4 Halfling Thief
- Maui (QuS): Level 1 Satyr Thief
Once again, they pay fares to take the Midnight Queen and set out past Bareport, which they now see signs of out in the sea. They pass by and make their way to the forest before nightfall on the 23rd. In the morning, they press on through the marsh without incident, ignoring ruins as they go, and head up the rising coastal cliff out of the woods to Highport.
The see birds flying over the walled town on the cliff and suspect they are the birdfolk mentioned on the map, especially when they see several break off from the town and fly toward them below the line of the cliff (ostensibly to take them by surprise). When the osprytes arrive, they are soon convinced that a better translator is needed to relay the tale of new elves in the land and an alliance of folk in the Vale to their chief. They invite them to speak to the chief.
In the discussion and negotiations that follow, they promise to ask Hope to allow ospyrtes to visit the shrine the elves built for them, which now stands there. Apparently pilgrims to that site were an important boon to the occupants of High Port. They also offer to send a Clouded Citadel to open up trade with the fishing community (they also mentioned treasures brought up from the depths of the cliff city, though they have become too dangerous to keep taking from). These negotiations also introduce certain elvish idioms to the osprytes:
- “Last one there is a rotten egg” which they build on upon beating Gorg in the race by adding “you were never hatched because your mother didn’t love you enough to sit on your egg.”
- “Hi, we exist” as a formal declaration of diplomatic recognition and intention to open relations.
Showing the osprytes the map, they learn that ospryte tribes occupy the ruins of the forts Open Hill and Press Guard, but that lizardfolk dragon worshippers live in the flooded ruins of Flatshore.
The party stays the night before setting out on the 25th to see the size of the dragon at Flatshore. They see that the spires of the ancient city are far out beyond a long tidal plain and decide to wait until midnight to follow the tide out and approach as near as they can under cover of night.
Though it is a full moon, as they head out into the tidal plain the moon starts to darken. Gorg paddles out on a piece of drift wood to reach the submerged wall showed by low tide. He climbs the wall and is ambushed by two lizardfolk, at least one with wings. They manage to kill the winged one as he retreats, but the other dives into the water and swims safely away. Gorg decides to withdraw and rejoins the others. As they hike back out of the flood plain, the purple dragon emerges from the water and they estimate it is 70 feet long, with several winged lizardfolk attending it. It doesn’t follow.
As they return to their camp, the darkening moon turns blood red and rays of light beam toward the lands in the north and northwest. (At this point I found it necessary to pause before winding down and assure TrS and HuS that this was NOT the arrival of the Nephil they have been preparing for since Verdis and Rovert received warnings from Victor, who immediately thought this was exactly that. I promised a post-session brief of what their sages have learned about this potential coming.)
After a brief rest at their camp, they hurry back past Highport and through the marshes surrounding Wetshore on the 26th. On the 27th, Saturday, they arrive in Hope again after the Midnight Queen has headed back to the Vale. They could spend the weekend in Hope, hike back and get home by Tuesday, or wait for the Midnight Queen again and be back Thursday.
I’m eager to make real world celestial events appear in this campaign, since the lunar phases, seasons, and such are all real time. With the eclipse coming so late in the game week, I wasn’t sure if play would go late enough to see it at the table depending on the mission. I can’t believe how good the timing was that they were performing a night operation during it.