To Rest on an Unknown Isle
Abizar asked the priest of Set his name and was told the Stygian was called Khonsirdais. The sorcerer then asked why the Dagon’s Valour was attacked. Khonsirdais shook his head and said Captain Iufenamun acted against the priest’s wishes. The Captain had spoken of once serving on a vessel which was pirated by the Dagon’s Valour in the past which resulted in a major setback to his career. Sighting it again after all those long years had enraged the Captain and he had decided to sink the ship as some form of revenge. Abizar smiled and said the priest was better off sailing with them. He then asked Khonsirdais where the galley was headed. The priest spoke of having hired Captain Iufenamun’s ship to take him to a nameless isle. Khonsirdais showed Abizar a map he possessed and said he suspected great treasure to be found there. The Stygian sorcerer called Hollan to see the map the priest held. It took little convincing for the Aesir to decide to set a new course but Hollan demanded possession of the map. Seeing no other option the priest handed the scroll to Abizar.
Meanwhile, Cortos and Malleus were debating what to do with the remaining Stygians and their Kushite slaves on the Wrath of the Driving Seas. The Cimmerian told the Stygians they could serve on the Dagon’s Valour or take their chances on their sinking galley. Several of the soldiers decided in that instant to throw away their careers and become pirates. Cortos then turned his lockpicks to freeing the chained slaves. A few precise turns and the bolts were undone. Unable to speak in the Kushites tongue, the Cimmerian ordered one of the Stygians to translate what the barbarian said. Malleus offered freedom to live an ardent life of slaying and looting on the Dagon’s Valour to the Kushites. Used to endless rowing and a whip’s kiss on the Stygian galley the former slaves all cheered in agreement. Once the new crew were aboard the Dagon’s Valour, Hollan chose a Kushite named Hajaga to be the spokesman for the Kushites and the Aesir chose the Stygian called Kehpfa to translate Hollan’s orders. The sails were again unfurled and the damaged ship sped with the wind.
The ship traveled for several days and the new crewmen served reasonably well. But with bloodthirsty men of action violence is inevitable. A fight broke out on the deck among some of the Kushites over a gaudy necklace taken from Captain Iufenamun’s corpse. Abizar was annoyed his conversation with Khonsirdais regarding the mysteries of Set was interrupted. The Stygian threw powder from a pouch which gave off a brilliant flash of blue light, stunning the Kushites. Malleus then grabbed 2 of the dazed men and unceremoniously tossed them overboard. Hajaga and Kehpfa quickly ran to the Cimmerian’s side and the former Stygian soldier translated the Kushite’s words. Hajaga pleaded for Malleus to spare two of the Kushites who were tribesman. The Cimmerian said he would, but if there was another incident among them, Malleus would toss Hajaga overboard with them. The Cimerian’s point made, their was no further quarreling to be had.
Six days after the encounter with the Wrath of the Driving Seas the lookout called out at seeing jade cliffs and silver sands. Several islands could be seen in the distance, two of the islands were connected by a rope bridge several hundred feet above the water. Hollan called out to have the ship steered into the harbor between the islands, then gazed out upon the naked morning lands. Suddenly the surface of the water was broken in an explosive blast of brutality and violence. A creature, gray in color with a blunt head, covered in many gaping bloodless wounds which showed great bleached white bones, surged towards the ship in a charging strike. Many of the crew who witnessed the creature could not keep their wits about them and tore at their hair in the despair of the mad. Hollan shouted for all who could do so to change the ship’s bearing to meet the creature and brace for impact. But the ghost whale was too fast and the blasphemous creature rammed into the ship’s flank. The deafening impact caused the Dagon’s Valour to lurch in the water and all aboard lost their footing as ropes and debris tumbled several of the Barachan’s over the gunwale.
The ship leaned at a perilous angle when the undead colossus was seen charging again. As the beast struck the ship, the main mast was ripped from the planks of the deck, and several more pirates were knocked into the air. Khonsirdais was almost forcibly sent overboard as well but the Aesir managed to grab hold of him, bracing himself with his fingers dug into a hole in the deck. Malleus could hear the ramblings of the Kushites shouting frantically in their alien tongue. Abizar and Cortos regained their footing and fired their bows at the risen goliath as it circled. Both experienced archers hits were true, but the massive horror did not alter its course nor even seem to notice the bolts in its side. Hollan knew the ship was lost and simply yelled for everyone to brace themselves. The ghost whale struck the ship at the center of its port side. The deck buckled upward underneath the pirates feet. Planks snapped like toothpicks and the steel which held the timber together groaned. Water rushed thunderously and the rigging and mooring chains snapped and shredded as the masts toppled. Amidst the sounds of destruction were the screams of the Barachans and Kushites as they were thrown or smashed by the chaotic destruction.
Once again the undead terror charged, Hollan cried out for all to abandon ship as he leapt into the waters followed closely by his companions. The ghost whale rammed into the side of the ship with tremendous force, tearing the Dagon’s Valour in two. The adventurers swam as quickly as their thews could manage in the turbulent waters. Behind them the two halves of their ship sunk and the beast which sunk it opened its maw to swallow many of the pirates. The adventurers heard the screams of terror of the men who had served them as they disappeared down the behemoths’ gullet. The party doubled their efforts towards the closest shore, which was of the smaller island from Khonsirdais’ map. Finally they’d reached land and scrambled onto the beach, huffing as their strained lungs tried to fill themselves again. As they gained their feet they could hear more screams from the waters, though no sign of the gargantuan monstrosity was seen. Instead, fins cut along the water around a growing pool of crimson as men were dragged below. The adventurers had all seen sharks in the waters previous to this event and all knew there was no hope of anyone getting away from the creatures. Abizar sullenly voiced a prayer to Set for the soul of the fallen priest.
The Siren’s Call
Hollan shouted curses to the heavens for the ill fortune which had struck the party. Abizar and Malleus let the Aesir rant for a minute, then brought his attention to the map the Stygian carried. Though their ship and crew were lost they had arrived at their destination. As such the adventurers decided it best to survey the area and pantherishly stalked the length of the shore. Along the sandy strip of white beach a ship was found. It appeared to be a Stygian craft with the name Neferrenpet painted on its side. A massive fracture in the hull was found which dashed any hope of using the vessel to leave the islands without major repair first. Inside the ship were spoiled provisions as well as various tools but no sign of the crew. Cortos and Malleus took some of the tools and the adventurers left the wreckage to search the rest of the isle. As they traversed the island they saw several large rock spires which soared out of the water near the beach. Behind the white beach rose towering cliffs overgrown with tropical vines and plants, giving them a jade appearance. After an hour of walking the party arrived at the location on the map, but what the adventurers saw perched on a rocky outcropping where the ‘X’ indicated was not what they expected. There stood a beautiful woman, perfect in shape, voluptuous and pert.
The woman’s eyes gazed upon the party with a lascivious and mocking look upon them. Her pale blue skin was both alluring and wonderful; a realm of softness beckoning to be explored and pursued. When she spoke, her soft voice was vibrantly intense, a voice which poets might ascribe to a fresh rose or an alluring sunset. Only Cortos was mesmerized by the woman’s call and began walking towards her. To the Hyrkanian, it seemed as if the very wind which came out of the east beckoned him on to the alluring woman. Abizar, recognizing the danger, notched an arrow to his bow, pulled back the string and released. The bolt pierced the siren in the shoulder and the demon let out a furious screech which dislodged her hold on Cortos. As close as the Hyrkanian was he could see the creature for what she truly was, a scaled demon in female form. Both barbarians charged the siren, their greatswords shearing swaths of green ooze from the creature. The Stygian let fly another arrow but the siren vanished before it could land. Only empty air remained in the space where the demon had once stood. The Cimmerian swore, suspecting some trick, but after several minutes of searching the adventurers could find no sign of the creature who had tried to bewitch them.
With no enemy in sight, Abizar and Cortos decided to search the dark cave which loomed nearby. The Stygian and Hyrkanian plunged into the waters and swam to the entrance, but found it to be only a shallow outcropping of rock carved out by centuries of pounding tides. The only objects they found were piles of human remains among the seaweed and brine. Malleus looked on at the cave awaiting the return of his companions when he heard the enchanting voice again. Startled, the barbarian turned and he beheld the siren in all her terrible beauty. Her vibrant song ringing in his ears, Malleus lost the will to fight and dropped his sword. With a pixie smile the devil-woman promised any indiscretion the Cimmerian desired as the barbarian passionately embraced her. Hollan roared as he charged forth to dislodge the demon from his friend. But before the Aesir could reach them the siren fell back from the outcropping with Malleus in her arms to the clammy waters below. As they plunged into the depths the siren’s lips were locked onto the Cimmerian’s as she kissed his breath away. Malleus slipped into a peaceful slumber uncaring of the water filling his lungs.
Abizar and Cortos arrived to the outcropping to see Hollan dive and furiously swim towards the plummeting figures. The Hyrkanian wasted no time to appraise the situation and immediately followed the Aesir into the water. The witch kept her eyes cast up towards the rocks and saw her pursuers. The siren could naturally swim with great alacrity but holding onto the massive barbarian slowed her. The two adventurers closed with blades in hand and the demon narrowed her eyes with a rabid gaze. Once the Aesir and Hyrkanian were mere feet from the siren they poised their weapons to strike. The malignant spirit released the Cimmerian, let out a deranged bellow of savage loathing and once again vanished from the mortal realm. The waters were then calm and the Aesir grabbed hold of Malleus and rushed to the surface. Abizar and Cortos helped Hollan haul the Cimmerian out of the water and the Stygian forced the fluids out of Malleus. All were relieved when with a pained gasp the addled barbarian opened his bloodshot eyes.