Pirates had raided the city. A truce that had stood for nearly four decades had been broken. Warehouses burned. The city watch and the pirates slew each other in the streets and numerous civilans were caught in the middle of bloody running battles. But, the pirates had been forced to retreat and the city began to heal. Fires were fought, the dead were found and identified and the wounded were tended.
The city council decided to raise a posse to bring the pirates who had taken part in the raid to justice. Some pirates who had been captured before they could escape confessed that they had come from Alphar Isle, a small island about twenty miles from the mainland on the Sea of Fallen Stars.
Adventurers and a crew were hired to man the one pirate ship that had been seized during the battle. The ship set out at once. Notable adventurers aboard the dingy pirate vessel were the elven warrior, Raven; a human minstrel named Morn and a dwarven deathpriest known as Kuna.
The ship sailed for a full day and night, chasing the pirates back to their lair. The captain guided the vessel directly onto the gravel beach and the adventurers and marines swarmed ashore. In less than a minute, close to a score of pirates lay dead or wounded as Raven and Morn fought their way up the path toward the main settlement. Kuna boarded one of the nearby pirate vessels which was also beached. She fought her way up the gangplank and across the quarterdeck. Warhammer whirling expertly in her hands, she dispatched any foe who dared to get near as she made her way toward her objective.
Kuna drew ever closer to the large firespout mounted on the foc’sle of the ship and immediately stove in the side of the fuel resevoir, spilling viscous oil onto the deck. When the volitale substance mixed with the air, it iginted and quickly spread. Kuna chuckled as she rolled over the railing to the water below as panicked sailors ran back and forth with buckets of sand and water trying to put out the flames.
A horn sounded from the village overlooking the beach and a man on a white horse rode through the pirates, ordering them to fall back. The pirates beat a hast retreat and the melee finally slowed to a stop.
The rider introduced himself as Selshin Toshant and he demanded to know why an unprovoked attack had been launched against his island. Confused somewhat by the “unprovoked” part, the party began to question the pirate leader who claimed to be negotiating pardons for all of his men with several of the larger kingdoms along the coast.
Eventually, the group and Selshin came to the conclusion that Vurgrom “the Mighty” and uncrowned Pirate King had manipulated the two groups into fighting, thus weakening both of his enemies while he arranged his take-over bid. Vurgrom, not known for being overly-bright, seemed incapable of devising such tactics but he had recently hired a new mage who did most of his thinking for him.
(end part one)
After several minutes of awkward apologies, the adventurer’s vessel was once again underway and racing south along the west side of Alphar Isle. The ship reached open waters and Thognia Grim, a hired priestess from the temple of the sea goddess Umberlee, conjured an air elemental to help speed the ship along.
Her efforts were for naught for as the captured ship was passing near one of the many small islands that dot the inner sea’s surface, three pirate ships came sailing from a hidden cove and opened fire with large artillery pieces. The captain of the adventurers’ ship tried to lose his pursuers by cutting in even closer to the island but struck bottom on a rocky shoal. As the pirate ship closed in the hired priest decided that this was not what she had signed up for and teleported away. Forced to abandon ship, the adventurers led the sailors ashore and into a long tunnel that ran deep into the island.
Emerging in a jungle far larger than it had any right to be, the party looked up a saw a flock of massive, flying lizards cruising in the sky. The entire jungle seemed to be enclosed by high canyon walls, which made the entire area resemble nothing more than an old, deep crater. Palm trees and ferns were proliferate and a voice was calling to them from up above.
A large area in the side of the cliff face above had been excavated and several generations of shipwreck victims had built a village into the very wall of the crater. After climbing up to meet the villagers, the party explained what had happened and asked where they were. One of the “village elders” told them that had arrived on Lurath which Morn recognized from a wizards’ debate he had been witness to once. The wizards had speculated that the island’s tunnels were actually a gateway to the Age of Dragons, some 30,000 years in the past.
The villagers warned of “two-legged lizards” that could swallow a man whole, giant serpents, vicious tribes of fanged apes and of course, a massive dragon that ruled over everything within the crater.
Suspecting that they would need wood to make repairs to their ship (or rafts in the event that the pursuing pirates destroyed the grounded vessel), Morn thought it would be best to seek out the dragon and explain their intentions so as not to provoke its wrath by taking trees from its domain. Raven claimed that he could kill the dragon if that would make everyone feel better but it was decided that diplomacy would be given a chance.
The group, having been given a rough map by the villagers headed north through the jungle. Raven led the way, hewing a path for Kuna, Morn and a swordsman named Chronosaj to follow. Disaster nearly struck when Morn jokingly asked if Kuna was going to attempt to beat down trees with her warhammer. She turned and told him “Watch this” and hurled the weapon at a nearby tree. The enchated weapon struck the tree so hard that it split nearly five feet from the impact. She extended her hand and waited for the hammer to return when a massive tawny cat bearing foot long fangs leapt from the foliage close to the sundered tree and pounced upon her.
Kuna’s hammer returned to her while she fended off the sabre-toothed cat with her shield and she struck back. Everything seemed well in hand until the rest of the pack burst from hiding. Raven sidestepped and cleanly beheaded a charging tiger while Morn was buried beneath slashing claws and gnashing fangs. Chronsaj backpedaled to keep himself from being flanked by the last two members of the pride.
Raven rushed to aid Chronsaj, slaying one of his attackers and helping surround the remaining one. Kuna felled her beast and turned to aid Morn. Her actions drew the attention of the big cat before he could be dragged off and she was attacked.
Hammer blow after hammer blow rained down upon the tiger while Raven and Chronsaj finished off thier opponent. Once it was down, Raven turned and hurled his sword end over end, taking the life from Kuna’s second foe. The battle over, Kuna healed both Morn and Chronsaj and the group continued on its way.
The group found the dragon sunning itself a short while later. Morn explained that they wanted to leave his island and needed to harvest wood to repair their ship. Little did they know that the dragon had been trying to escape for the last several centuries so it could travel to the future and see how the world had changed. However, being too large to fit through the tunnels and having exhausted all of the magical options it had available to it, the dragon had finally come up with a plan.
The dragon granted the adventurers permission to harvest wood from his forest and gave them a scale as a token of proof. Motioning for the party to be off (and secretly casting a spell), the dragon lowered itself into a resting position and pretended to go to sleep. Morn stiffened momentarily as the dragon’s soul left its powerful body behind and forced its way into his. The minstrel fought to retain control but was overwhelmed by the dragon’s mental prowess and magic and became little more than a passenger in his own body.
Knowing that time was short and the spell would eventually expire, the dragon in Morn’s body pushed for everyone to make haste. By evening the adventurers had returned to the village and after the crew worked well into the night, had what they hoped would be enough wood.
The dragon led the party into the tunnels. However, he had not counted on how his spell would interact with the tunnel’s time travelling properties and was expelled from the adventurer’s body. With nowhere to go (since his body was now 30,000 years in the past), he remained attached to Morn with a strand of pyshic energy. Morn quickly announced that the dragon had possessed him but that he was currently in control of their now-shared body. The dragon demanded to be let back in but Morn quickly made some points that he was better suited for this time (knowledge of geography, local customs, talking to people, etc) than the dragon was and that for now he should remain in control. The dragon grudingly acknowledged the minstrel’s point and settled in to quietly wait for his chance.
Looking out at the shoreline, the group gratefully realized that once the pirates had driven them ashore they had lost interest and except for some vandalism, the ship had been left more or less intact. Repairs were soon in progress.
(end part two)