- the Hellhound Social Club vessel attacks the Shadow Swift
- the companions are overcome by Captain Dunbar and his crew
- a void appears in the mind’s eye, each companion is granted a unique vision
With the crew manning the sails and cannons, the companions brace themselves against the gunwale as the first line of defence against the attacking hoard. Freight and Lando cast several spells to aid the group in the coming encounter. From the other side, Dunbar can be heard rallying his troops, “Tally ho men, across the divide. Attack!”
The Kuru warriors are the first to cross. The chaotic warriors fight with an unmatched zeal. Despite the companions best efforts, the Kuru are able to successfully gain a toehold on the deck of the Shadow Swift. Other sailors from the Hellhound Social Club’s ship soon follow and the companions are quickly surrounded. Lando is split off from the group as he attempts to rally the crew.
The companions regroup and focus their attacks on the Kuru combatants. The strategy pays immediate dividends as one of the woad-tattooed warriors falls soon thereafter. This drives the other Kuru into a fiery-eyed frenzy. Working as a team, the companions manage to overcome a second Kuru. The other sailors take a step back, affording the group an opportunity to catch their breath.
Just as the tide seems to turn, Captain Dunbar jumps acrobatically across the divide, landing majestically on the deck of the Shadow Swift. His cloak billows dark tendrils resembling those that were seen in the Temple of the Unspeakable One. With a rallying cry, Dunbar joins the fray. The gambit proves successful, as the Kuru warriors and sailors renew their efforts against the companions. During the melee, Anton and Magus Mike are afflicted by the dark terror emanating from Dunbar’s cloak. Despite their valiant defence of the deck, the group is soon overcome by the superior numbers.
The ship tilts precariously before correcting itself, the gunwale coming close to touching the water. Sensing a massive presence behind him, Lando turns in time to see the hand of a gargantuan coral construct reach out and encircle him. Watching his companions succumb to the onslaught, the gnome is crushed into unconsciousness.
A void appears in the distance, a light on the horizon growing larger. A strange whirring sound escorts the companions as they travel through the emptiness. One by one, the consciousness of the companions awake’s to a strange vision, one that appears so life-like to the senses that it feels real. But different, as if it has already occurred, is happening at present, or will happen, all at the same time.
The sleeping form of Yig lies before Anton stretching out immensely in a void of grey nothingness. He can hear the belaboured rush in and out of breath and a deafening, slow heartbeat. On the ground in front of Anton lies a vial of glowing green liquid adorned with an insignia of a serpent with 3 heads – a man, bull, and a lion. A hissing voice barely manages to rasp the words “There is still time to change your fate." The scene then disappears instantly.
It is replaced by a vision of a flag flying the crest of Port Peril flapping gently above the end of the alley. The child of Sil is on Anton’s back – a large dark shard is protruding from his chest and it melds into his skin. In a blur of sudden unconsciousness, Anton finds himself being born into a prison complex as the fires of Hell’s lowest level blaze around him. He is ushered into a cell. Right away, Anton notices that his cellmate is shackled about the hands, feet and neck. “Ah, finally,” Captain Sil whispers, “Hey Anton, you ever wanted to be famous?” His eyes motion to his pants where Anton can see the form of a wheel of cheese protruding from his front left pocket. He says, “The child is they key to everything.”
Austri, the dwarven god, appears before Romica and addresses him directly, “Romica, you need to reconcile the sellsword soul within you. Too long have you pushed down your noble instinct, as deep down you feared the pull of good and order would get keep you from being brave and brash. Hear me, that repression left unabated, will ruin you. True to your nature, your means may always remain chaotic, but you must turn this nature towards bringing order. Accept your dual nature. Step forward and accept this weapon. Bearing Light-Bringer grants great power and ability. And as long as you and your companions are seeking to bring about order then that power will aid you greatly. If you and your party’s motives are chaotic or neutral then you must accept the consequences of that chaos as well – you will struggle to control her. I trust this will serve as a constant reminder to keep your sights on a noble end. When you prove your worthiness and I can trust you to represent my interests, this condition will be removed.”
Romica scrambles to his knees beside a crew member of the Shadow Swift, J-todd the bard. They are both floating atop a hastily made raft of tied together dead bodies. Romica can see that the body-raft is made of a mix of border combatants and allies from the ship. Sharks circle below. In the distance he can see a tall galley girded in dark, spiky, iron armor. The galley flies the flag of a black nail hammered into the ground, blood flowing from the breach. The ship has dozens and dozens of oars and is towing the Shadow Swift into the mouth of a hidden lagoon. In the distance, Romica see a handful of The Sea Lord’s Armada’s ships converging on the other side of the island.
Magus Mike’s eyes come into focus and he becomes aware that it is evening and it is foggy. He looks about and finds himself on the deck of a broad tall ship, which is armored by black spiky twisted bands. He looks down and sees he is wearing a dark breastplate with similar spikes protruding from the chest. He is positioned in front of an open air prison cell. Aside from the prisoners, he is alone on deck. Contained in the cell are adult men and women of similar red-haired, bronze-skinned be-freckled descent – they are wearing elaborately embossed hide armor with blue face paint, braided beards and hair. The captives are begging the magus to return them to their families, to their children. In the distance the magus can see the shoreline dotted with trees, their leaves brown and yellowing, a dark cloud is rolling over the forested coastline hills. A light snow begins to fall.
A prisoner pleads with the magus, “Please let us go.” Magus Mike feels a sudden pang of sympathy for the captives before him. It occurs to him, though he has no recollection of how he got here, that he has been tasked with guarding the captives… and that he may in fact have the ability to free them. He searches for a key but does not find one one on his person. Magus fastens one end of a rope to the ship and tosses the other end over the cell wall. He instructs the stronger captives to help the weaker ones over.
The ship has no lifeboats. The only way that the Magus can conceive of getting the captives to shore is to have them row the ship and so he instructs them down into the ship’s belly while he stands watch.
A menacing figure regaled in the same spiky black armor approaches the magus and demands to know what he’s done with the prisoners. Despite sensing his own demise the magus makes a valiant attempt to stall or bluff the armored warrior before being struck by a thick blade.
Fade to black.
Pharasma is revealed to the magus. As the guardian of death, she will return you to the land of the living, as an act of grace, but begs the magus to look deep inside to examine his path in the coming months. She warns him that a dark curse still lingers in his soul. He must seek to free others to free himself. Otherwise, his life will slowly fade once again.
She then vanishes leaving behind a vial of glowing green liquid that seems to swirl about on its own. The vial is emblazoned by a logo of a serpent with 3 heads – one man, one bull and one lion.
After seeing the devotion of her shipmates to the pirate goddess Besmara, Freight longed to worship more than the simple and dangerous ideals that she had followed for so long. The ideals left her empty and she hoped devotion to the goddess would buoy her soul.
In her search for meaning she discovered ‘the Voyage’, a ritual journey to the island in the Shackles known as Besmara’s Throne where supplicants dedicate themselves to the goddess.
Decided, Freight opens her soul up for the solitary journey only to find a dark force waiting for her.
She recalls little except for the name ‘Yarash’ and the flash of light and powder smoke that marked the arrival of Besmara as she came to her aid.
It is clear that Besmara expects much of Freight and that she will call upon her for service in the future. Until then, Freight is scarred from her truncated Voyage but vowing to embark once more to complete the task she started.
As the wizened gnome lays on the deck, a strange abstract vision of shapes and colours forms inside the mind’s eye. Somehow, somewhere, Lando knows that the snaking tubes before him, twisting, breaking, joining, are timelines swirling in an ethereal plane. Being a practical thinker, this foreign wave of imagination frightens him, but gains reassurance from a warm and familiar melodic, yet hoarse voice. “It is ok my dear. This is how the sight works for me too.” As his anxiety eases, Lando’s mind is drawn to one such gaseous thread-line. His consciousness, naive and curious, enters the thread. As his perspective shifts, his consciousness is left hovering above his own physical form below.
Lando notices immediately that he is no longer on the deck of the ship in the noonday sun. Instead, the vision shows him sitting quietly at a writing desk, his hair grey, his wrinkled and spotted hands leafing through the pages of ledgers, records and tomes. The surroundings are warm, comfortable and richly furnished, the view outside the window is one of a humble countryside setting. Lando is at peace.
The current document that he is working on details the make up and use of something called Vorpal Dust. Having researched these documents thoroughly in this possible timeline, he inherently understands that the formula allows for the distillation of a powdered substance called Vorpal Dust from a liquid known as Holy Grog. The Grog may be boiled down by simple means and the residue, when lit upon a map or navigation chart reveals highly valuable information regarding creatures, strongholds or vessels in the surrounding area. The records reveal that Vorpal Dust has been preciously coveted by pirates for ages as a means to gain advantage over potential threats or targets. The Dust is also seen as rightful reward for aligning oneself with piratetry, as it is the means by which the Pirate Goddess grants favour as well as a means to influence outcomes to her benefit and that of pirate-kind. Besmara only bestows the Holy Grog in simple clay flagons as a reward to her faithful devotees.
Lando’s academic reverie is soon cut short. A legion of human soldiers bearing the crest of Everstand (a dark iron anvil set against green and white checkers) descend on the house. The doors are quickly busted, his precious archives set aflame. His mother, the familiar voice heard earlier, is slain before his eyes. The Everstand Sargent speaks amid the smoke and flames, “It has taken us many years to find the thief of Our Lord in Iron’s altar, but we have at last found you Lando. The holy relic shall be returned to its rightful place in the north. With this icon back in its guardian’s possession, the Belkzen Orcs stand no chance against our holy conquest. And to think, our fates hung all this time with some pathetic gnomish bookworm. Now slit his throat and let’s be home to the keep.”
As his once peaceful home burns around him, Lando watches the crusaders carry the altar away. Knowing time on this plane is over, his thoughts return to his mother, once thought long lost.
Lando play’s over what he can remember of his mother – Annabelle Hingewhile Peppernick – the memories of her strength, resilience, and compassion bringing a tear to his eye. The death of her husband changed her. She would not speak of his final days, instead, the guilt she bore made her more powerful, but at the same time, more vulnerable. She was considered an adept at the time given her natural insight regarding future events. The loss of her husband pushed her to pursue these powerful abilities to discern the consequence of altering the course of time. This became supernatural when combined with narcotic substances. Through this exploration, she was introduced to the black goat’s curse. Annabelle became a powerful oracle able to manipulate her curse to divine potential unforeseen side effects of alternate realities. This was advantageous to her and her peers, and she learned to live with the side-effects. Over time, however, she could no longer ignore the long-term effects of the substance. And one day, she just disappeared. It was her disappearance that pushed Lando to excel in his studies and hope that one day, someday, he would find her.
But now she is gone. And for what? These are the last thoughts that run through Lando’s head as he is transported from the horrific vision. For some cold and coveted relic of an almost forgotten quest? Why! Why would he agree to keep that blasted altar?
As he awakes from this terrible vision Lando finds himself holding the recipe for Vorpal Dust and a small parchment wrapped sample of the powder, which seems to perpetually spark, sputter and give off the smell of gun smoke.
Aside from the these physical items, the vision grants the following powerful feat: [Future Memory: Once per day Lando may call upon the collective memories of his clan to grant a +3 circumstance bonus on a non-combat action.]