18th of Kythorn of the year 1492
“You seemed to have lost something.”
Standing in front of Fogo was something that looked like ISAC dressed in only a tattered green cloak that emitted sickening smoke. ISAC was wearing nothing except the cloak. He stood there looking a bit more human in his inhuman body. He had an etching of a green dragon on his chest and some sort of runes on shoulder plates.
“Are you ISAC?”
“I think so.
And the reunion of ISAC and the party began. Fwoosh led the party into something he called a cinnamon roll hug while ISAC tried to answer the questions of the party and explained what had happened to him. Everyone was happy with his return except Dancer who kept a wide-eyed look and focus on ISAC the rest of the evening, occasionally poking him with a stick to make sure he was real. Unlike the rest, Dancer had never seen ISAC without his mask, or even knew that ISAC was not a human.
When daylight finally arrived, the group tried to go through their normal routines, but it was difficult for everyone since they had gotten used to the mornings without ISAC. A lot of the morning was spent discussion about what they should be doing next. The Earth Monastery was too well organized and probably too much for them, so with Fogo pushing for the possible pirate base, they packed up the camp and headed toward the river.
Following the river north, they could see a keep up ahead. Hiding in the forest nearby the keep they spied on what few inhabitants they could see. While the keep was not in perfect shape, but it had obviously been repaired sufficiently to make it functional. They could see guards walking the walls which were at least 25 feet tall. A large sailboat was docked on the eastern side.
Seeing that this was something in far better condition than they thought, and had vigilant guards on the walls, the party needed to come up with a firm plan. They vacillated between trying to make an upfront entry at the front door or do some reconnaissance in secret. Vladimir was holding out for a secret entrance but was talked out of those hopes. In the end they waited for dark to have Dancer do a sneak reconnaissance of the keep.
To possibly stack things in their favor, Vladimir asked his dagger for an Augury.
“What are the odds that we will find members of the Mirabar trade delegation in this castle?”
Once it was dark, Dancer began wandering around the edges of the keep identifying the guards on the walls that seemed to be humans carrying torches to see. Hoping for more noise, he was disappointed that those within the keep seemed to be somewhat disciplined and on guard. There were at least two guards on each of the walls. All the walls were about 25 feet in height with each floor of the buildings about 15 feet high.
Deciding that it might be better to get some elevation, he snuck over to one of the keep buildings and carefully climbed up to the roof to get a better vantage point. From there he could confirm the guards and some groups of bugbears that were wandering the grounds. He could clearly see the large ship docked into some sort of water break. There were a couple of guards on the wall there, again with torches for lights. He could see a couple of single-story internal buildings that had some lights but overall, it seemed quiet for the evening.
One of the buildings seemed to have more traffic with oddly dressed people. They did not look like the guards or even the bandits they have encountered. They had more stylized clothing in different colors of blue. Guards and others came and went from the large building that Dancer was on top of. Only low noises could be heard, the occasionally word, but no loud partying.
At one point while watching, he was able to see two people go from the big building to the boat and seem to settle down for the night there. The guards at the boat changed at least once while Dancer was watching.
With his spying complete, Dancer quickly made his way back to the party’s camp. He relayed what he found which only worried the group more since there were a fair number of opponents. When he described the two odd one’s going into the ship, Avery was able to identify the short man as a deep gnome, while the others suspected that the blue man was Genasi, but since they knew so little about them it was impossible to confirm.
It was then that their planning went forward with full force, although some of it seemed to involve launching people over the wall, to sneaking inside with the wagon, or maybe trying to have one person sneak in via the water entrance. They discussed where they might find the prisoners and if they could set the boat on fire as a distraction.
As a test ISAC decided to see how deep the river was. While murky at the edges, the water got deep within 15 feet of the shore. Given that the river was more than a mile wide at the narrowest point, this was expected. It might be a bit rough and slippery if ISAC attempted to walk along the inside edge of the river.
The end strategy seemed to be to approach from the water side and if possible, cause damage to the ship while making their attack. Fogo decided that a second spying mission was needed to see how easily the group could approach from the water side and to identify any obstacles they might encounter.
Turning into a giant frog and swimming his way to the port side of the keep. Swimming around to get an idea of what was there, he moved into the small acritical bay and found a gate in the cliff face that let further underground. Looking through it, he could see an underground river that went off into the darkness. Changing into a smaller frog he swam through the gate carefully. A bit further down the along the river he found a set of steps that led out of the water and a couple of board moored there. Two doors were visible on the landing.
Seeing that the river continued, Fogo decided to be following a long further. As he went further down the tunnel, the water started moving faster and he could hear some roaring and crashing of water further ahead. It was then that the water around him seemed to animate into some sort of giant serpent that was able to track exactly where he was even in his tiny form. Combat ensued with Fogo attempting to swim away to get somewhere safe.
Crawling out of the water and rushing to one of the doors Fogo thought he might have made it to safety, but instead had run into a prison area with guards. It did not take long for them to beat him unconscious, strip him of everything, and imprison him appropriately for being a magic caster of some sort.
Meanwhile the party kept waiting for Fogo, hours went by, and they realized that something bad had happened to their friend. Hoping that Fogo was just trapped somewhere and not killed or captured, there was not much they could do right now. Not having any way to contact him, they waited for the morning to have Angelica prepare the Sending spell to see if they could reach out to him. Moving camp to ensure their location was not revealed they settled in for the night, all of them feeling a bit sad and uncomfortable.
19th of Kythorn of the year 1492
Morning rolled around and Angelica sent her message via Sending:
“Are you ok? Where in the fuck are you?! What the hell happened?! Please respond as soon as possible! We are all worried!”
“Alive. Captured. One cellmate. Everything is dark. Underground river attached to cove with dangerous snake. Narrowly escaped, then attacked by guys, and lost. Help.”
And this is where the session ended.
They found the pirate keep, or at least they found something that looked like it should be a pirate keep. It was in the right location from what the Feathergale Knights told them. They successfully completed one reconnaissance, but failed miserably at the second when they just went a little too far along the underground river.
Fogo is captured, maybe tortured a little, and now the party needs to seriously consider a rescue mission into a fortified camp.