G’yest is dead and drained by the shambling mound. After the remaining members of the party finished off the mound, the markings on the ground faded. Noor investigates the runes and ascertains that they were related to dark magics and the undead. The party also figures out that the runes have more to do with religion than the arcane. Hmm.
Merville is drawn out of the lighthouse by these phantom wraiths of his dead wife and child! Tkar recalls that ghosts of those who passed from traumatic deaths can return as corrupted souls with more malevolence. We battle the phantoms and they disappear.
Taking a moment to make a plan, the party decides to attempt to complete the mission and then immediately rush G’yest back to the ship so that he can be resurrected.
Merville seems as if he was enchanted. He recalls that the hag fed them apples which could have had something to do with his enchantment and loss of memory. He doesn’t remember our party- we find that the bodies are in the side room of the lighthouse are those of his wife and child.
The party investigates the lighthouse more- up in the tower there has been recent fire! We realize this could have be the cause of the missing ships. Torinn restarts the flame.
Torinn brings in G’yest’s body. That night, while the party rests, there is a mysterious scratching at the door. Tkar casts a light spell out into the light but can’t see anything through the window. In the morning, Merville buries the bodies of his family- Torinn plays a song on his flute, the other members of the party say prayers and express their condolences.
When asked, Merville hazily remembers a crashing ship. Tkar, casting a ritual spell, summons a steel disc for G’yest’s body to float on while the party attempts to complete the objective of their mission. Descending stairs behind the lighthouse down the Lizard’s Claw, we find a rocky cove with the wreckage of several ships!
There are two smaller and two larger ships. Using a combination of skills, the party successfully helps Noor make it to the ship. Tkar uses his nature skills to analyze the water currents for the best way across. Torinn uses his strength, and also beseeches Melora, sister goddess to his deity, for guidance, and she reveals a burst of light and a glorious rainbow, and a way across! Noor uses her agility and martial studies to swim and deftly leap to the Crow’s Beak. The rest of the party joins her, aided by rope, and go below deck.
In the gut of the now rickety ship, we look through crates and find two sets of markings that repeatedly come up, as well as several reinforced strong boxes. One of the markings is for the House of Eir, a longstanding merchant house of Gadrain. Inside the Eir boxes we discover the gleam of silver! There are five or six crates of these. Realizing it would be technically difficult and extremely dangerous to take much of the silver, Torinn takes one of the bars to bring back to Olaramus.
We also find an area secured with iron, just beyond some treacherous holes in the floor. The boxes in this section are marked with the Margrave’s seal. Noor, the lightest and most deft of the crew, makes her way over to it. Unable to pick the lock, she cleverly dislodges the whole iron gate and slips in. In these boxes are exciting treasure:
• One box of scrolls, though they are not magical.
• A crossbow with intricate carvings that resonates with magics.
• A finely woven set of clothes that is also resonant with magical power.
• An ornate rapier that does not have magic (this was discovered on a body).
Having acquired evidence of the silver and some promising booty, the party leaves the Crow’s Beak and makes our way over to a place on shore where the currents likely carried some more goods. There we find several wooden crates that yield:
• 100 gold pieces.
• A piece of aquamarine.
• A soggy ritual scroll for the Knock ritual.
We then say our goodbyes to Merville and hurriedly return to our own ship. However, on our way through the swamp, we are assaulted by panthers! The party kills them, guts them, and keeps their hides. We get back on the ship and return to Shorehold. The trip takes a few days, and Noor ascertains more specifics of the magical properties of our items:
• The crossbow is quite powerful. It is called the Targeting Crossbow +2. When it gets a crit, there is a 1D6 bonus & combat advantage. Additionally, as a daily power, when it hits an opponent, until the end of the next turn, other members of the party can roll twice on attack rolls on that opponent and choose which roll to use. It has a ~3000 gp value.
• The clothing is Repulsion Cloth Armor +1. As a daily minor action, if an enemy moves to an adjacent square, the wearer can push them back as an immediate interrupt- this lasts until the end of the encounter.
We also read the documents, which are addressed to the Duke of Huirg and signed by the Margrave of Gadrain. They appear to indicate some secret political alliance and portray antipathy toward Northern nobility and the Crown itself. This secret alliance seems to include Gadrain, Huirg, and Samia.
Back in Shorehold, we immediately meet up with Olaramus, who is pleased with our success and upset that G’yest fell in battle. He immediately dispatches fast ship to get the silver, and we also hand over the scrolls to him. Olaramus takes us to the ritual caster affiliated with the Bolt, and the old man says he can, indeed, bring our dear comrade back- though at a cost. The ritual requires 500 gp and some rare components, and we agree to help him in replacing these components after G’yest is returned to the land of the living.
Just as we are to leave, Noor remembers to ask the ritual caster to take a look at the runes she copied from the ground near the lighthouse on the Claw. The old man is immediately troubled- he explains that the runes are connected to the Cult of Vecna- the god of secrets and the undead. Years ago this cult troubled the Southern Kingdoms and brought dark days upon the land. If the followers of Vecna are indeed rising again, it would spell trouble for all of us…