Dark Presence Rising

A Leader is Born
Play Session 1

In ages long past, the land of Faerûn was once a peaceful land. The goodly beings far outnumbered the likes of the evil ones. But something, a dark presence perhaps, has been ever so subtly dominating the land. Giants, demons, and monsters of the likes which have not been seen before have begun to plague the land and assault the settlements of the goodly beings. In the city of Baldur’s Gate, one being has taken it upon himself to rid the land of this plague. His name is Chen Lenarv and he is the magistrate of Baldur’s Gate. Baldur’s Gate is a medium sized city located on the western side of Faerûn along the sword coast. It is a largely income separated city with a sprawling populace of poor to common folks and an elite group of the richer inhabitants. One such person shines above them all and that is the magistrate himself.

Chen Lenarv is a fat, short, pasty, balding man who sees himself as above all others. He alone rules Baldur’s Gate and his word is law. Recently, he has taken it upon himself to seek out, or rather bring to him, capable adventurers to investigate and stop the threat that has been rising. All across the land he has posted the call for adventurers in every city, town, tavern, inn, and major establishment. It reads, “To all adventurers! Be it that you seek gold, fame, or adventure; the city of Baldur’s Gate requests your help. When arriving in Baldur’s Gate, seek out the Magistrate at his mansion for further details and be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams!” Hundreds of adventurers have responded to the summons but it is unclear if any have returned or fulfilled this quest.

Six remarkable adventurers have arrived in Baldur’s Gate and find themselves in one of the local taverns, The Drowning Wench. A cursory inspection would immediately determine that this tavern is one of the less reputable ones and just as dirty. It is filled with stale smoke, sweat, raucous laughter and the normal din to be heard in a tavern. Seated at the bar is Zanhorn, a half-elf warlord. Zanhorn is of medium build and above average height due to his human and elven heritage. It is plain to see that he has inherited more of the favorable features from both lines of lineage. His hair is average in length but is neither blonde nor brown as is common in elves and humans. Instead, his hair is more of a hazelnut complexion, something that most half-elves cannot boast about, including the short beard he wears. Zanhorn is quietly enjoying his ale and is calmly absorbing all of his surroundings without outwardly appearing to be wary of anything in particular. He gives off the impression that he is battle seasoned and is not one to be taken unaware.

Seated at the table by himself directly behind Zanhorn is Variel, a human born paladin of Bahamut. He is massively tall for a human and, as is Zanhorn, just reaching the prime of his adult years. Variel stands at just over two meters and it is plain to see that, compared to Zanhorn, he is quite a bit taller; more like two hands to be exact. He has short cropped blonde hair, blue eyes, and a vacant stare as if mentally absent. Variel is also quietly sitting at the bar with a pitcher of ale clutched in one fist but not a drop has been consumed. Pooling around the base of the pitcher is a ring of moisture from the condensation of the ale sitting out for as long as it has. He is deeply aware of everything but he is not as nonchalant as Zanhorn. Variel is almost paranoid of the situation and every patron has given him a wide berth.

Auris, a female human cleric of Pelor, is seated in the corner of the tavern at a table by herself keeping a wary eye on the patrons of the tavern. She is of average height for a female, busty, raven-haired, approaching her prime adult years, and fair of skin. She is clad in chain mail with a two handed mace normally strapped to her back but it is resting against the chair she occupies. It is easy to tell that she is intelligent yet something about her gives off an air of naiveté. The look in her eyes belies a wisdom granted by her god that one of her years should not have. It is at this moment that she notices another of her kind enter the tavern through the front door. Entering the tavern is a human male invoker by the name Kael. Kael is a divine spell-caster who calls upon the fury and might of his god, Avandra, to strike fear into his enemies. Kael is (enter description). Almost immediately, he makes his way toward the bar where Zanhorn is seated as if they know each other already.

As Kael is making his way toward the bar, an eladrin wizard enters the bar in a flurry of robes. Alas, it is Arkamydies, the eccentric wizard! As Arkamydies screams through the tavern, he bumps Kael to the side and he gives her this look of consternation as if to say, “Hey, I was walking here!” While Arkamydies is hurrying to the bar, a dragonborn ranger by the name of Castiel enters the tavern and quietly sits down at the table closest to the door. As he enters, the patrons all stop what they are doing to give him a once over. The people of this region are generally distrustful of non-human races and Castiel’s blue tinge gives them something out of the ordinary to stare at. The interesting thing about dragonborn is that the properties of their breath attack can be determined by the color of their skin. He quietly takes his seat and orders an ale when the serving girl approaches him.

As Arkamydies approaches the bar, Auris decides that now is the time for her to approach Variel, another divine warrior such as herself. She feels this pull from him as if she can’t help but be drawn to his presence. It is at this point that Arkamydies reaches the bar when Zanhorn shows his concern for his plight and asks, “What seems to be the matter wizard? The name is Zanhorn, maybe we can help you?” Arkamydies quickly exclaims, “I’ve lost my owl! Please help me find it?” Zanhorn can tell that this is going to be a long day. Variel and Auris approach the crowd forming at the bar around Zanhorn and Arkamydies. Variel notices that there is bird dung dribbled down the side of Arkamydies’ face but does not say anything yet. At a second glance, there seems to be something off about Arkamydies and Variel surreptitiously tries to assess what it could be. Arkamydies’ robes are extremely tattered but were once a deep, rich red and the gold scrollwork along the hems and sleeves is still richly embroidered. What could have happened to this wizard that is reflected by the clothing? Could it have been the result of long travel or something more dire?

Meanwhile, the adventurers are trying to figure out where Arkamydies’ familiar Vladmir has disappeared to when Variel calmly approaches the wizard and removes his hat. “Here is your owl” Variel intones lifelessly and without expression on his face. Arkamydies is clearly surprised that Vladmir could have hidden in his hat without his notice and lets out a surprised, “Oh!” Zanhorn realizes that if he doesn’t pull this group together now, then he may never find such a well-balanced group of adventurers and it is at this point that a true leader is born. Zanhorn raises his voice over the voices of the group and recommends that they make their way toward Castiel who appears to be a very capable adventurer. He leads the group over to Castiel’s table and introduces himself and the others. Castiel merely nods neither giving indication that he is interested or not. Zanhorn asks Castiel what brings him to Baldur’s Gate and Castiel replies curtly, “The same that brought you and the others”. Zanhorn can tell that Castiel is reserved in nature and may be untrusting of newcomers given the reaction that he usually receives this far north.

Castiel does warm up enough to Zanhorn and the others and agrees to accompany them to the Magistrate’s mansion but Auris decides to speak up at this point and tell them all, “Pelor has foreseen this fortuitous meeting and we were destined to meet; each and every one of us. We should band together for surely we will fare better together. I suggest we name our company so that foes may fear our name and allies rally to our cause.” The company decides to call themselves Vladmir’s Vanguard after Arkamydies familiar that was so effortlessly rescued by Variel.

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Vladmir's Vanguard
Play Session 2

He companions have decided to leave the tavern in search of the magistrate’s mansion before the remaining daylight fades. As they exit the tavern, they can’t help but notice the squalor that the inhabitants of Baldur’s Gate are forced to live in while the magistrate’s mansion is so clearly different. It is almost as if the magistrate has orchestrated his mansion to be a shining beacon of hope or stand as a symbol of might against rebellion.

As the companions make their way up the hill upon which the mansion was built, they cannot help but be awed by the wealth that was put into building the mansion and take note of the obvious distance between lower and elite class structures in Baldur’s Gate. Castiel comments, “Let’s hope this magistrate does not mistreat his people. It would be a shame to see him fall beneath the weight of their bonds.” The adventurers agree that there is much information to be gleaned from this meeting and that they should keep the magistrate at arm’s length lest they be manipulated by him into serving his will blindly.

They enter the main gates and are surrounded by a lush veranda of exotic flora and fauna. It is plain to see that no expense has been spared to display the wealth of the magistrate and they all assume that whatever it is that is requested of them will surely be well rewarded. They enter the main double doors of expensive and rare marble into a wide ballroom antechamber meant to serve as a reception area for guest wishing to see the magistrate. To their left they notice guards quarters conveniently placed in the front of the building to serve as a shield between the magistrate and harm. To their right, they can see a room furnished with tables, chairs, and other furnishings designed to serve as the guest dining quarters. Directly in front of them, is a wide marble staircase with gold and silver balustrades that lead upward to two heavy mahogany doors carved with intricate designs that must have taken many weeks to complete. The guards at the front door lead them upward and announce their presence to the magistrate within. He grants them leave to enter his office and greets them warmly.

“Welcome to my humble home good adventurers! I trust that you are here in response to the summons I have posted abroad?” Zanhorn respectfully replies, “Yes your greatness”. He can tell from the opulence they have seen that deference may be the key to gleaning as much information and gold from the magistrate as possible. He is correct in his assumptions as the first glance they get of the magistrate is one of a short, fat, balding, pasty skinned man who fits the persona of one who thinks too highly of himself and has probably not seen the sun in many days. Zanhorn removes from his pocket the flyer indicating the magistrates summons and asks, “What is it we can do to serve you, your majesty?” The magistrate replies with, “For too long my lands have been plagued with ever increasing troubles. Plagues, famine, monsters, even those secretive masked lords of Waterdeep have given me no end to my troubles. Hmmp!”

Zanhorn assures him that Vladmir’s Vanguard is here to help and assures him that whatever the task is, they will complete this quest. While all of this is happening, Castiel is casually picking through the food on the magistrates personal serving table eating what he can. The magistrate notices this but seems to care little, what is food to him that is paid for by his subjects; especially if it means securing the help of this able bodied group of companions? Throughout the conversation, the woes of the magistrate seem to be vague but at the mention of potential danger and conquering their foes, Variel immediately stands more erect and seems to be more interested. “Bahamut will guide my axe and lend might to arms. We will see these monsters vanquished and bring judgment to the wicked.” Zanhorn calmly takes note of Variel’s interest in combat and stores the thought away for future need.

Zanhorn, being the natural leader of the vanguard decides it is prudent to garner more information about previous adventurers. “A few, maybe more, I’m not sure. They come and they go and none have returned to me yet” replies the magistrate. Castiel seizes this opportunity to try to intimidate the magistrate and determine why adventurers have not returned and that they should be paid more if the mission is that “dangerous”. The magistrate immediately rebuffs Castiel and calls his guards to escort him to the antechamber with orders to “Make sure he doesn’t steal the finery from the guest’s dining room!” Kael quickly tries to defuse the situation by assuring the magistrate that Castiel was merely concerned for the safety of the group and that surely one such as benevolent and wise as himself could see it in his heart to forgive this minor infraction. “If you must, but make sure that he does not do that again! How dare he threaten ME in my own house?” Zanhorn lends his soothing words to Kael’s and together they get the magistrate to agree to forget that this happened. Feeling like he is in control and able to maneuver the magistrate, Zanhorn tries his luck with diplomacy and successfully petitions the magistrate to pay them extra for their services. He agrees to pay each of them 200 gold pieces upon their successful return believing that they won’t return like the others and betting against the odds that he’ll have to actually pay them.

The conversation then turns to how they are to get to Waterdeep to investigate the distance the lords of Waterdeep have widened between his and their kingdoms. “What do I care how you get there?” replies the magistrate. “It is not up to me to determine the path you take but the destination. Figure it out for yourselves.” Zanhorn, realizing that they have pushed his generosity to his limits, should take their leave and ask the commoners what way to Waterdeep would be best. They exit the magistrate’s office and relay all that has happened to Castiel who seems indignant that he should be treated the way he was but makes no mention of his true feelings. The group discusses their options and decides that, due to expediency and cost, they may be better served by joining up with a merchant ship bound for Waterdeep. They easily find the docks and use Zanhorn’s and Kael’s diplomacy to secure passage to Waterdeep on a merchant’s barge in return for protection from notorious pirates along the sword coast. The captain of the barge calls down to them, “Get yer flea ridden carcasses on deck and secure yerselves below in the crews quarters. I’m fer fearing that we may need yer help yet if we’re to make to Waterdeep with our hides intact. Savvy?”

The companions make their way up the gangplank with ease and settle in to the crew’s quarters below deck. The ship is laden with supplies, goods for sale and trade, and precious treasures sure to fetch a good price at the markets in Waterdeep. Shortly after, the ship leaves port and begins its three day journey north-west along the sword coast to Waterdeep. On the second day at sea, the ship is making slow progress and tensions run high. Zanhorn and Arkamydies decide that now is a good time for a nap while Auris and Kael are feeling the sickness of the sea and are below decks having difficulty keeping their lunch from making an appearance. This leaves Variel who is fastidiously praying to his god in the corner with his great axe in hand. He lovingly caresses the holy symbol on the axe head and mutters fervent prayers to Bahamut. Castiel, being as wary and distrustful as he is, decides to position himself on a stool by the stairway to the upper deck with everyone in sight. It is in his nature to be wary of everything that takes place and is good that he is.

From his position, Castiel can barely make out the sound of metal on wood; something that strikes him as odd as a sound to be heard on a ship. It strikes him as odd mainly because he noticed earlier that none of the crew members carried weapons and therefore metal on board should be scarce and no sound above decks should come from metal. Alerted that something may be amiss, he climbs the stairs and, as he crests the top of the stairs, notices the last grappling hook get pulled into place. He rushes up the last few stairs to be assaulted with the sight of a fast looking pirate vessel securing itself to the side of the merchant’s ship. He mumbles to himself, “Dire straits indeed.”

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Dire Straits
Play Session 3

As Castiel is discovering the pirate ship and the imminent threat to the companions and crew, he just barely notices the last grappling hook being pulled securely into place. He knows that he needs to sound the alarm but his hunger for battle and the thrill of the fight takes control. He wages an epic battle of wills pitting his sense of danger for the companions and his dragonborn heritage’s lust for battle. Ultimately, his good sense of empathy for others wins over and he sounds the alarm down into the berth of the ship. Meanwhile, he knows it is up to him to hold the pirates at bay or they will quickly overwhelm his companions below decks.

Variel being the most alert at the time springs into action with his great axe already in hand and sprints toward the stairs. As he makes his way to the stairs, he calls out to Arkamydies and Auris, “Kael, Auris, get upstairs. We have work to do.” He also raps on the door to the cabin where Arkamydies and Zanhorn are sleeping and shouts for them to hurry upstairs. Meanwhile Castiel is barely managing to hold things together. Three human rabble have crossed the ropes onto the merchant’s vessel and are attempting to surround him and bring him down. His armor is not quite suited to stopping blades but, being a master dual wielding swordsman, he does not seem concerned with these minor foes. It’s the wizard and the burly looking guard on the pirate vessel that concern him.
As Variel reaches the top of the stairs he is able to see what a master Castiel is when fighting with two swords. He whirls and darts back and forth always seeming to stay just out of reach of the flimsy looking daggers that human rabble are wielding. He spins to block one blade while the other is sent out behind him to block the attack from behind. All the while, he is dodging crossbow quarrels from the guard across the water and magic missiles being projected from the wizard’s hands. Variel’s presence is a relief but it is enough of a distraction to allow a single crossbow quarrel through his defenses. Luckily his leather armor is able to stop the bolt from sinking to deep, but still, the wound to his side pains him.

Zanhorn sees all of this happen in an instant and knows that both he and Variel need to start crossing the ropes to eliminate the threat that the mage and guard pose to their group. He shouts to the others, “Variel and I will cross, everyone else focus on the subduing the rabble here. Castiel can join us to deal with the wizard and guard if he’s capable enough!” Castiel fires back a retort and continues to whirl and dance with his blades. As Zanhorn and Variel are crossing, Kael shouts for Castiel to roll to the side. At precisely the right moment, Castiel dodges to the side. He could feel the divine energy building in the area and escapes at just the right moment. There is a huge explosion of energy that Kael unleashed and two of the rabbles are projected over the side of the railing and into the ocean. One is left remaining and Arkamydies seizes the moment to bury magic missile after magic missile into the distracted remaining rabble. The last one goes down in a heap.

Auris feeling left out runs to the railing and takes cover. She peeks over the side and uses the guard’s distraction to blast him in the midsection with a lance of faith. A radiant lance of divine energy is projected forward from her outstretched hand to strike the guard. He stumbles slightly but is otherwise unaffected by this attack. Seeing such a brilliant attack, Zanhorn, Variel, and Castiel are bolstered by Auris’ faithful attack. At this point, Castiel has begun to cross the ropes behind Variel and Zanhorn. Variel lands on the deck with a loud thud and issues a challenge to the guard. This seems to get his attention as finally a worthy opponent has stepped forward. Kael and Arkamydies seize the opportunity to blast both the human mage and the guard with magical energy but their attacks seem to barely graze each of their targets. Variel, now toe to toe with the human guard is trading blows in order to enrage him and draw his attention away from the others. Variel’s matte grey plate armor allows him to withstand a lot of punishment in battle. It is scored, scratched, and notched but it is not poorly taken care of. Taking a glancing blow to the thigh, from the guard, Variel takes the opportunity to sidestep behind him and quickly bring down the human mage.

The frail mage instantly knows that this holy warrior will be big trouble for him and digs deep into his magical reservoir to issue a blinding bolt of lightning. He targets Variel knowing that his iron armor will conduct it and project it onward to affect the others. Variel locks eyes with the mage and stalks forward as this is happening and realizes too late that he’s been goaded into taking the full blast of the lightning bolt. It strikes him dead center in the chest and crackles up and down his body leaving him breathless with the force of it. The lightning, with a mind of its own now, dances from Variel to Castiel and on to Zanhorn. Luckily, the bolt lost most of its energy when it struck Variel and stayed primarily attached to the iron plate armor he was wearing. Castiel, in mid leap to land next to the guard takes the glancing effects of the lightning and quickly shakes it off. However, the moment was all the guard needed and a precisely timed swing of his hand axe bites into Castiel’s thigh. Meanwhile Zanhorn, who is still balanced precariously on the ropes between the ships, loses his footing from the lightning bolt and slips off. He barely manages to grab the ropes as he falls and begins to swing his legs up onto the railing of the ship all the while yelling, “Do not stop to worry for me. I will make it. Just focus on distracting them so I can make it aboard without interference!”

Castiel, knowing that things are becoming dire, readies himself after the hit to unleash all of his innate fury upon the guard. The guard seeing the battle fury in the dragonborn’s eyes knows his end is near. Castiel pivots with the blow he received and uses the momentum of the pivot to execute a spinning backhanded blow with the pommel of his left sword to the guards face. He then brings his right handed blade to bear swinging his left back around in a tornado of death the leaves the guard completely cut to ribbons. Trails of blood fly to and fro instantly soaking his leather armor with blood and splattering his face and arms. Seeing that the biggest threat to them has been dispatched, Variel continues to wade into combat with the mage and cleaves him in two with a vicious swipe of his enormous great axe.

The battle is won and Auris rushes aboard to tend to Castiel’s wounds praying to Pelor to grant this valiant warrior another day to fight that his will might be felt surreptitiously through Castiel. Castiel mutters to Auris, “Many thanks Auris. Your healing skills have saved my life this day and you have my gratitude.” Auris replies, “Your thanks are heard, but it is Pelor who you should thank. It is through him that these powers flow. I am but the instrument of his will and it would appear that he has taken note of your prowess. Perhaps you might consider worshiping him someday?” “I worship no gods for a reason” replies Castiel, “but you still have my gratitude. Both you and Pelor do.” Seeing that everyone is safe and the wounded are tended, the party begins to rummage through the personal effects of the pirates and relinquish them of their gold and treasures. And, once the noise of battle has subsided, the group can hear noises from below like the sound of scuffling boots and furniture being shifted into position to hamper their descent down the stairs. Variel looks at Zanhorn and with grim determination and says, “Well, they attacked us so we must punish them. The wicked deserve their fate and these shall get what they have earned in this life” and begins to stalk toward the stairs into the belly of the pirate’s ship.

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The Belly of the Beast
Play Session 4

The heat of battle subsided, the party begins to clean their weapons, check their gear and armor, and loot the corpses of the pirates they have vanquished. Auris, ever the perceptive one, hears scuffling down below. She quickly motions to others to come closer and quietly tells them that she’s sure she heard something below deck that did not sound like normal ship noises. Zanhorn orders the group to form up with Castiel, Variel, and himself in the lead with Castiel taking up point position as the stealthiest of them all.

Castiel quietly moves down the stairwell below the ship’s deck into a gloomy, dank, and cluttered hold. He quickly makes an assessment of his surroundings and doubles back to let the rest of the group know that there are small cabins that appear to be able to fit one or two pirates in hammock bunks. He cautiously whispers to Zanhorn, “I’m going to sneak past these cabins and see if I can take out some of the deckhands before they alert the ship’s captain.” Zanhorn thinks this is a good idea and quietly tells the others to be ready to spring into action should Castiel need their help.

As Castiel creeps forward, he sees a larger cabin at the back with two large oak double doors that can be nothing but the treasury and captain’s quarters. What they thought was furniture shuffling was actually the captain and the remaining crew shuffling in their bunks after a long night of drinking and enjoying the spoils of their last raid. Castiel thinks that if he can dispatch the remaining crew, they should be able to quickly subdue the captain, forcing him to surrender.

Sneaking to the left of the ships hold, he comes across the first cabin and quietly nudges the door open a crack. Inside is a dirty pirate asleep in a hammock that smells as if he hasn’t washed in weeks. The smell is enough to make even this dragonborn want to wretch. Castiel quietly draws his knife, steals into the cabin, and dispatches the pirate with a quick slice to the neck cutting his vocal cords in the process and drowning him in his own blood. Smiling to himself, he decides to finish what he started and proceeds to saw off the pirate’s head as a gruesome trophy.

Meanwhile, Variel, thinking he can contribute to dispatching the other slumbering pirate, tries to sneak into the next cabin. Being the giant that he is and lacking any kind of grace, instead of nudging the door open, he kicks it open almost full force. The rucous jolts the pirate out of his slumber and he charges at Variel. Variel grunts to himself in exasperation and begins to grapple with the pirate in an attempt to subdue him. Knowing that he has probably set motions into event earlier than he wanted to, he furiously tries to snap the pirates neck but is unsuccessful in doing so and the pirate yells out.

The pirate’s warning rouses the captain and his guard who both scramble out of the captain’s quarters and right into sight of Zanhorn, Auris, Kael, and Arkamydies. Zanhorn, quick on his feet and a fearless leader gives the command to attack and rushes forward to confront the two. He decides that his first objective is to disable the human guard before turning to the captain and demanding surrender. To his surprise, the guard is more agile than Zanhorn anticipated and before he can pivot, Zanhorn has taken a wound to the shoulder where the guards sword is poking through his armor. This normally wouldn’t have been enough to bring him down, but the captain slams him over the head with the butt of his axe. The companions were caught flat footed and cringe as they see their leader cut down so quickly.

Auris immediately begins to pray to Pelor for healing energy to wash over Zanhorn and bring him back into the fight, Kael begins chanting the incantation to a spell, and Arkamydies begins chanting the incantations to a spell as well. Variel, seeing his companions in trouble calls for all of the strength he can muster and breaks the pirate’s neck by bending his head completely backwards. The sickening crunch leaves him feeling satisfied as the pirate’s blood begins to run down his hands but also throws him into a battle frenzy because, and he mumbles under his breath, “This is going to take hours to get the stains out of my armor.”

At that exact moment, Kael’s spell chanting completes and he looses a wave of magical energy that engulfs the human guard and slow’s his movements while Arkamydies releases a magical bolt of energy that strikes the same guard directly in the chest. They can smell the charred flesh of the guard as it begins to sizzle with the heat of the magical energy. Castiel, emerging from the side cabin, sees that Zanhorn is in trouble and lobs the severed pirate head at the ship’s captain. The head arcs over the rest of the group and solidly thumps into the captain’s chest. This act of debauchery terrifies the captain and allows Auris to finish her prayer releasing healing waves of energy into Zanhorn’s failing body. Zanhorn, returning to consciousness flutters his eyes open at the exact moment that Variel interposes himself between himself and the sword falling towards him to deliver the killing blow.

Variel, in a frenzy, blocks the sword blow that surely would have ended Zanhorn’s life. He quickly reverses the grip on his great axe and, muttering a prayer to himself to “deliver the wicked unto justice” jabs the butt of his great axe into the face of the guard temporarily stunning him. Reversing the grip again, Variel sweeps the legs from beneath the guard tripping him to the floor and follows with a bone shattering overhead chop that cleaves right through the guard’s entire upper body and face.

Seeing this, the captain works himself into a frenzy as well and begins to stalk toward Auris and Kael. He manages to get one solid blow at Auris who deflects most of the damage with chain mail but is sent spinning to the deck. Kael begins to furiously retreat and Castiel, through acrobatic prowess, flies through the air and lands between Kael and the captain. Draw both swords, Castiel executes three expert sword maneuvers. The first one deftly blocks the axe aimed for his face, the second takes the captain’s leg off at the knee, and as he falls the third blow, a graceful spinning slash tears out the throat of the captain.

Wiping his blades on the captain’s tunic, Castiel turns to Zanhorn, “Are you all right?” Zanhorn, not knowing exactly what has happened but feeling well enough to stand rises and groggily replies to Castiel, “Yes, I believe I will make thanks again Auris.” Hearing her name, Auris approaches and tells both of them that “Pelor guides us and watches over those who would do his will whether they worship him or not” as she casts a side glance at Castiel. The party collects themselves after looting the captain’s cabin and finding gold, gems, and weapons. They are faced with a difficult decision. Do they tow the ship to Waterdeep to ransom or sell at port or do they sink the ship so that no more harm can be done using the ship.

Auris, ever the pious one, argues that Pelor would want this ship disabled so that no more wicked acts can be done from aboard its decks. Zahnor, the pragmatic warlord thathe is, agrees solely for the fact that it could cause them harm in the future if they do not sink it and let this occurrence disappear from thought. Castiel, argues that such a ship could serve them well in the future as a means of transportation and income while Variel nonchalantly shrugs the entire situation off. Arkamydies wants to keep it in his pocket as a toy though not one of the others is sure how he plans to accomplish this (could he really be that powerful or is he deluded?). Kael is indifferent to the situation as was Variel. In the end, the pragmatic arguments win out and they party decides to sink the ship in a brilliant display of fire, thanks to Arkamydies. The board the merchant ship, and after conversation with the captain about the day’s events, resume the rest of the journey to Waterdeep without incident.

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