Frontier Dreams

Session 11
In Which Danger Lurks

As the oars beat the ocean pulling the longboat towards the shore, the party engaged in nervous chatter to offset the eerie feeling once again upon them. Iument paddled slowly behind. As the sailors made haste to return their longboat to the ship, the party set about exploring the sandy island they had been led to. As before, no sounds save the waves were heard. This perfectly round island had rings of sand like a giant tree stump. The closer they got to the center of the island, the more the ocean waves followed them. At the epicenter of the circles, surrounded on all sides by encroaching water, the party once again shifted through the rock downward into the abyss.

They found themselves in a winding tunnel opening to a labyrinth of caves encrusted with barnacles and stagnant sea life. Milvin, clearly unaccustomed to the experience was more affected by the transition than the others. They spread out to explore the dripping caverns amid a growing sense of unease. Calder spied a dark pool of water down a side tunnel and moved to investigate. A dark tentacle shot out of the water and wrapped around him, as a gigantic octopus pulled itself out of the water to attack. The party rushed to his aide, but a second octopus appeared from behind, surrounding them. The ruined creatures black bodies glowed with strange light when they grabbed a victim. Milvin’s lucky javelin throw caused him to get a jet of ink to the eyes, but they were able to quickly free Calder from the tentacles .

Upon the ruined monsters demise, a familiar magical tether woound itself from the corpse to a nearby archway, dispelling the arcane energies within. The pressed further inwards, this time with Waeslyn leading the way. The sight of a familiar figure retreating into the darkness kept them on their toes, but as they chased it, the stange nightmares sprung a trap, encircling the party and pressing them back to back. Milvin was quite unprepared for the attack, and could only put himself between the foes and Calder. Woomera and Maarus dealt out serious wounds, and Calder’s summoned companion evened the odds. After a vicious melee, they fended off the assault, noting with serious concern that the previously wispy forms were now quite solidly real.

Emboldened by the second victory, Calder set out to find treasure he was convinced was nearby. The party followed him to find a skeleton, clearly sat here for some time resting against a treasure chest. After repeated failed attempts to open the chest using conventional means, Woomera in frustration hurled it againts the wall, breaking it open and spewing coins about the cave floor. Calder retrieved the box, placed some of his own treasure inside, and replaced it alongside the skeletal guard. The magical shield was too small for Maarus, but Calder was quite interested in the ring. Before anyone could stop him, Calder placed the ring on his finger and vanished. In his place another skeleton appeared and collapsed to the ground

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Session 10
In Which Sail is Set

The party met that evening at the dockside tavern, the Singing Waves. Nylah Elminsel spoke with the party and offered the services of her crew for their endeavor. She made it plainly clear she was not an official vessel of any organization, and instead operated independently. However, concerns about her character prevented the party from seriously considering her offer.

The group returned to their respective lodgings for the night to weigh the options. The three who slept in the Rentyllian manor agreed that the Naval Reserve’s H.A.V Hugo II was the safer choice. Calder chose to once again spent the night at a local inn and sent a messenger indicating he would prefer the private vessel. After a startling appearance by Woomera, he was recalled to defend his choice. But in the end numbers won out and the Hugo was selected as the vessel of choice.

The captain was extremely surprised to see two horses and a giant lizard attempting to board his ship, as Calder had conveniently omitted their involvement in the holy quest the captain believed he was aiding. With some hasty shifting of cargo, space was made and the beasts loaded into the hold. Aside the lack of dietary variety by a thrifty quartermaster, the voyage north was largely uneventful. As the Hugo II moored off the coast of the Three Kings, the party boarded a rowboat and made their way to shallow waters.

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To the Waves

From the Journal of Waeslyn the Widestepper, entry undated

Well we’ve spent a couple days at the Cape Hope manor house after a trying few days in the Fork Tongue village that I can’t spell. Kohaughty-Tengah, I think? I might see if Woomera can give me some language lessons in the native tongue. We once again couldn’t save everyone in their village, but at least killed a Manticore for them. Milvan sure came through in that fight, and dealt the death-blow to the creature that nearly ripped my guts out. I’ll see about putting some funds toward getting him something to commemorate the event. I sure will be keeping one of those claws to make a necklace, and we kept a few Manitcore spines that could be fashioned into spears, or perhaps bayonets? I’ve run the idea by Uncle, but he’s not overly interested. I’ll keep a spine and try my hand at working it myself along the way. In fact, the idea of a non-metal firearm to craft an entire firearm could be a fun project along the way…

Roughly a half dozen pages of potential creature parts to use and ways to sculpt them follow. It is clear this idea is filling Waeslyn’s mind to a significant degree

Oh, we also are booking passage to the islands finally. We’re figuring out a few potential ships, but it looks like an Alliance military vessel will be carrying us. It’s a lucky break, and I’ll hopefully get a chance to talk to the crew to hear what’s new on the homeward front. Regardless, I need a chance to move away from town, family is always such a grating process. I wonder if Dilliak is travelling with Father or not, I’d like to hear how he is lately. I hope our friend the physician is able to find peace in a smaller village. We’ve been back just a short time, and already the lace has begun to chafe.

I wonder what the tensile strength of Bullette bone is… Shorthand calculations fill several charts on the next page, with a frustrated few inkblots after a supposition that it is severely weaker than steel, and likely too fragile for a gun barrel.

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Session 9
In Which Passage is Booked

The party returned triumphant to Kowiringa, with the head of the Manticore as a trophy. Chief Rango thanked them for their efforts in service to the Mahi-Tahi. In their absence, the decision had been made to cleanse the healer’s hut of greenrot with fire, and the survivors watched from the sidelines, recovering from their illness. Before the party departed, they once again urged the necessity of diplomacy over force when attempting to locate the nearby hidden village and its stores of special plants. And the party also learned that the Mahi-Tahi quite enjoy the new and rare taste of bacon.

Upon their return to the city, Waeslyn made it plainly clear that returning to the Rentyllian estate was not his utmost desire. They spoke with an elder whistler about the developments in Kowiringa, and laid the foundation for regular contact between the groups. They stopped by the clinic where they had delivered the medicine to learn that the disease had run its course, with patients either being released or deceased without any further cases appearing. Many of them were unaccustomed to the sheer density of people that lived in Cape Hope, a stark difference from the peace and quiet of the open road.

Exhausting their list of distractions, they finally made their way to the Rentyllian estate, where they were eagerly welcomed. Dinner was had with Waeslyn’s uncle who was amused by Waeslyn’s native companion, and impressed by Maarus’ expertly crafted revolver. Rooms were arranged for their guests, with Woomera being guaranteed an eastern room. Calder, recalling his woes last time he spent time in the mansion, elected to sneak out and stay at a local inn instead.

The next morning the part set off towards the docks to find passage towards the island their cryptic vision had pointed towards. Three vessels appeared to have what they needed to complete the journey, and they concluded each should be investigated in turn.

First was the Chimera, a cutter with extensive modifications. The captain wanted to meet all her potential passengers before committing to the venture, and organized a meeting later that evening at a dockside dive. Maarus especially expressed concern regarding this vessel suspecting them of piracy.

Second was the Hugo II, a stout fishing vessel captained by a salty dwarf. They were clearly preparing for a large haul, and stated in no uncertain terms their price. The party quickly agreed that what they were asking was unseasonably high, and decided to look elsewhere.

Third was the H.A.V. Indomitable. This well armed galleon was crewed by Horizon Alliance reserves in defense of the nation. Initially unwilling to donate his services to the party’s venture with a large oceanic event on the calendar, the captain was swayed by Calder’s silver tongue. Calder had convinced the captain that they were on a church sanctioned holy mission to eradicate a great evil. Believing that his ship was obligated to serve such an endeavor, he quickly settled a steeply discounted price and ordered his crew to make ready to sail.

Unless the mysterious captain of the Chimera made them a better offer that evening, they planned to sail at first light north towards the isles they dreamt of.

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Session 8
In Which Reunions are Eventful

Calder and Waeslyn moved south from Cape Hope with great haste. Before too long, they came upon the unmistakable tracks left by their companions and the wagon, making track very simple. Aside from some rainy patches, they were able to follow the tracks towards Kowiringa. They were getting close to where they guessed the village might be when a roving scout made contact and guided them the rest of the way to the village.

Calder was able to speak with the chieftain and was directed to the quarantined cabin while Waeslyn made for the wagon to check on their supplies and Milvin. Milvin had been making attempts at communicating with the locals, having only minimal success not speaking the language. He did deduce that the Mahi-Tahi quite enjoy the taste of pig meat.

Calder arrived at the shaman’s hut and was ushered inside wearing a hastily constructed isolation garment. The shaman was slowly regaining his mobility, but his students had taken a steep decline in health. After preparation, Calder did his best to ease their condition without any more of the specialized medicine.

They met with the village chief once again who had informed them there was to be no official punishment for the killing of the expedition, in light of recent events. That said, he did not think that they would be truly welcome in town for some time. The adventurers offered to attempt to locate the hidden village that produced the root, but had no idea how long that would take. The village chief offered an alternative task that could be accomplished more quickly, and asked that they trust them to locate the village on their own and make the proper decision.

They learned of a nearby evacuation system of caves the town fled to in times of flooding. Recently a mighty beast had taken up lairing there and needed to be driven out. Significant wildlands expertise determined that the beast in question was most likely a manticore. They planned to strike at dawn when it would hopefully be asleep.

Waeslyn and Calder entered the cave to scout for the beast. They were greeted by an arrogant roaring voice from the darkness, which Calder conversed with while Waeslyn snuck further inside. Calder convinced the monster he would return shortly with food and exited the cave. He told his companions to wait for the signal, which would be Waeslyn’s opening shot. Soon enough Waeslyn spied the beast and let loose with his rifle. As the manticore took flight, the rest rushed into the cave. It whipped spikes from its tail and made to circle the grounded opponents. But Calder’s summoning of a giant spider created a web that entangled its wings and brought it crashing down. As the group surrounded the beast it fought savagely but could not fend off the onslaught. Taking advantage of the distraction offered by the boom of gunfire, Milvin was able to get behind the beast with his borrowed longspear to deliver the blow that incapacitated it.

They searched the cave and found the remains of an adventurer who had not fared so well. Woomera saw to it that he was cremated honorably. Reunited, and flush with victory, the party returned to Kowiringa with a trophy of their hunt.

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Session 7.2
In Which the Old and Young are at Odds

Maarus and Woomera departed the next morning headed straight south with the wagon and most of their supplies. Rain briefly hampered their progress, but the trail was open and game was plentiful. Milvin tok his share of watch duty in this unfamiliar land at night so neither of them was overly exhausted during travel in the morning. After more than a week of hard travel, they slowly began to realize they were not alone. Woomera made contact with a roving scout party from the village who escorted them the rest of the way to their destination.

At the entrance to the marsh village, the group was met by the elderly chief Rango, whom they quickly explained the situation to. Woomera made no secret of the fact that she had killed the warriors sent to retrieve the medicine, but also made it clear she had accomplished their mission, if only in part. Judgement was forestalled for the moment in favor of getting the medicine to the sick. Woomera and Maarus were escorted to a quarantined cabin on the outskirts of the village, while Milvin was left to tend to the cart.

Inside the cabin, they were assaulted by the smell of flesh left to rot for days. The village shaman lay on the brink of death from greenrot, both his apprentices trying and failing to treat him. Having received timely instructions from Calder, they determined that they had not enough medicine to treat all three of them. The students argued that the medicine should be spent entirely upon the shaman, and that he could always take on new students. Although they did confess that were he conscious he would have vehemently argued for the opposite.

Maarus and Woomera chose to use the medicine on Koka, the shaman. Maarus made for an excellent physician between his training and divine immunity to disease. He did determine that even were the disease to be cured, the wings were too far gone and had to be amputated. While they treated him, the pair learned that one of the apprentices was the mate to the lizardfolk who had led the expedition north.

They did what they could with what they had, and spent their time mostly contained inside the cabin until the arrive of their friends, some days later.

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Haunting

From the journal of Waeslyn the Widestepper, entry undated. Handwriting is uncharacteristically sloppy, revealing a haste in the hand.

Getting back on the road tomorrow morning, fast as possible. Uncle Hovvin and Aunt Lidania were at the summer home, so there was plenty of reason to get supplied and geared up. Auntie was in a bad sort, but she’s bought into Gradmammie’s paranoia about cosmic retribution and all that. But what Dr. Julius Merienstar said it was because she though Cousin Boldarnum was ill with the Limepox outbreak. I’m glad Papa wasn’t there, as that could have gotten thornier. Dr. Merienstar seems to be villainized for the fact that he hasn’t been able to save everyone; a situation I don’t envy. We delivered the medicine only to find out that there was enough to save five of the ten ill children in the one vial. At his request, we assisted in the process of selecting which children would have the best chance of survival. Pressure like that reminded me why I turned down the command position. He ultimately seemed to take my advice, and to give the medicine to those most likely to pull through, while making the others as comfortable as possible. I don’t envy his position. That plague-ridden quarantine zone, the angry mobs being held back by guards, the suffering children… those images will haunt me for a long time. Luckily Dr. Merienstar provided us some invaluable information about how to dilute and apply the medicine, as well as the name of the root it comes from. Sadly, it is cultivated by some nomads who prefer to go unnamed and unnoticed in this whole process, so while we can’t help the Mahi-Tahi find the root, they can at least know what to do with it when they get it.

Calder did the oddest thing in all this; to my knowledge he had no medical training. He was a temple-minder’s son. Yet after showering for… far longer than a shower should take, he seemed like a totally different person. There was a calculation, precision, even coldness in his voice. It unsettled me, to be honest. We purchased an extra horse to speed the process of the return trip, and I resupplied what the help could offer. We also took the papers and materials from Craughon’s wagon back to the Whistlers. They let us keep the boots and haversack in thanks, and helped us secure a means of transmitting the message about the preparation and application of the drug to Woomera and Maarus.

Dr. Merienstar mentioned that the outbreak happened with some tainted goods that were deliv-

Here the handwriting speeds up rapidly, becoming near illegible at points. Gnomish glyphs are interwoven with dwarven runes for figures and a crude attempt at a map with markers for distances estimated

Weren’t the Forktongues infected by a delivery of goods that they mentioned? Remember to check with Woomera. If the disease onset is roughly equivalent and I have the numbers from Dr. Merienstar’s notes in my mind properly, then I can perhaps figure out where the supplies were coming from. By the Eight, hopefully this is a freak accident and there aren’t more tainted supplies being spread across Dawn Haven.

Several days pass without a written entry after this. The next five pages, front and back, contain the sketched faces of smiling children, one human, two dwarves, two gnomes, four half-elves, and one elf. Five of them have the phrase “Find Peace in the Eight” scratched on the corner in a trembling hand. The elven child is one such marked figure.

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Session 7.1
In Which Monsters are Unmasked

Calder and Waeslyn made haste to Cape Hope, planning to deliver their portion of the medicine with the utmost haste to the patients who had originally requested it. Riding hard, they made good time until powerful rain delayed their journey. They arrived into Cape Hope after four days of exhausting travel under heavy rain. They explained their urgency and situation to the guards, and were quickly ushered into the city.

Waeslyn’s status secured them comfortable lodgings, and they learned more about the sickness, its victims, and the physician who was in charge of treating them. He had developed a heavily negative image in the public eye according to their hosts. They resolved to see him first thing in the morning, and recovered from their long journey in luxurious beds, although Calder slept fitfully at best.

That morning as the clouds parted they ate quickly and went straight to the clinic. It had been cordoned off and armed guards were restraining angry citizens shouting at the walls. Presenting their case, they were quickly escorted inside and into the office of Julius Merienstar. The man had clearly been under heavy stress as a result of his posting and was not overly polite or reserved in his displeasure to see the reduced portion of medicine the duo had brought.

After tense conversation, the duo joined him on a tour of the infected patient’s tents. They debated back and forth who should receive what medicine they had and under guidance and reasoning, they believed they had chosen the 5 most viable patients. Calder sought time to himself to prepare to assist the doctor in administration of the medicine. He stated he would send word to them of the developments of the ones treated, and clearly expected to only further sully his reputation as a result of his choices.

The duo then journeyed to the Whistler’s dispatch in town to formally make note of Cragaughn’s fate. The elder interviewed them thoroughly about the events of the assault but seemed to be satisfied with the answers given. He collected Cragaugh’s papers, but allowed them to keep the boots and haversack as rewards for their efforts. Notably, Calder did not mention or return Cragaugh’s personal journal.

Taking advantage of the abundant resources available in the city, the pair next visited the market to restock on supplies, not knowing when next they would have the opportunity to do so. Calder purchased a trio of messenger tokens, one of which was immediately dispatched to Maarus and Woomera with instructions for the safe application of the medicine. Also purchased was a second horse of calm disposition to increase their return South.

Having had an exhausting day both physically and emotionally they returned to the manor for a second night of rest before hitting the road the next day. As they approached the manor, they passed a procession of monks praying and burning varieties of incense. Pleasantries were exchanged with his family, but Waeslyn was easily reminded why he had not chosen this life. Refreshed and reinvigorated, they informed their hosts that if things went according to plan, they would soon return to spend a more significant time in their company. They rushed south, hoping their companions had received the message in time.

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Divisive Choices

From the journal of Waeslyn the Widestepper, dated 22 Mure

It’s been several days on the road now, and we’ve come to a problem. Milvin, the innkeeper’s boy, has traveled with us, and Woomera’s taken him on as a sort of squire. Regardless, we had smooth travels for quite some time, up until we got to a lake south of the intersection with the settlement of Seventeen where we found a dead Whistler. Craughan was his name, and he was attacked by a cohort of Mahi-Tahi. We fended off the bandits, only to learn from the survivor that the reason for the attack was for medicine for what sounds like a Forktongue version of Limepox. We weren’t willing to sacrifice either the Scalyfolk who don’t know how to make medicine, or risk denying the Alliance their due property. It was decided, since we had two vials of the medicine, that we would split up to bring one portion to each. Caldor and I will be riding north at dawn, to Cape Hope. I’ll carry with us the papers from Craughan’s trip and attempt to determine where the medicine was due. Woomera and Maarus will be trekking south to the Forktongue settlement so she can cure their healers. In all likelihood, we will be able to make good enough time to meet back up with Woomera and Maarus before they reach the settlement or not long after. While we are in Cape Hope, I will be attempting to learn what root is distilled to create the cure, to help enlighten the natives so they can better protect themselves. I can only hope that they will see these gifts as proof of the benevolence of the Alliance, but Woomera’s concept of justice for the captured bandit leaves me uncertain they will be as willing to accept us as Woomera has. She is certainly a credit to her people, that she has shown such wisdom and progressive acceptance of our ways.

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Session 6
In Which Choices are Difficult

After tending to their wounds, the party made camp for the night. They had taken a single prisoner from the band of Mahi-Tahi, who lay unconscious and tied to a tree. Examination of the late whistler’s journal revealed that he had been carrying medicine north to Cape Hope, the party’s original destination before the skirmish.

Wanting to know more about what happened, they revived the prisoner, and Woomera interrogated him wearing the ceremonial war paint she carried with her. She learned that he had come from a village far to the south suffering from a disease that had been contracted from Horizon Alliance traders. They had never encountered this disease before, and were desperate to get the medicine by any means. After a brief whispered conversation, Woomera executed the prisoner for his transgressions.

As the party discussed their options, many arguments were presented. Could they condemn the Mahi-Tahi to death, even though they had gone to such violent lengths to acquire the medicine? Could they accept denying the medicine to the children of Cape Hope relying upon its delivery? In the end, they resolved to attempt to save as many as they could. They would divide their group, and the medicine, between the two destinations.

Waeslyn would join Calder on his horse as they made for Cape Hope with all haste to take their half of the medicine to the Horizon Alliance. Once their business there was concluded, they would depart and attempt to meet up with Woomera and Maarus.

Woomera and Maarus would take the wagon and majority of the trail rations and begin the journey south to Kowiringa, the outpost village of the Mahi-Tahi in the wetlands near the Great Eastern Forest.

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