- the pier is secured and the treasure chest acquired – the chest yields a clay disc with magical runes and a warning message
- conferring with Sir William Carson reveals information about the disc and bound creature
- the disc is purposely broken, releasing the bound creature, an accuser devil – Anton receives a vision
- the accuser devil attempts to escape and is bested in combat
- the group leaves town to follow the vision and is visited by Captain Sil who wishes to strike an alliance – seems his compass has been misplaced in the Shadow Realm
With the Flaming Trunk thugs controlling the pier, the companions stay out of sight and scope out the area. There are two rowboats that appear seaworthy, a larger derelict ship, an auto-bait machine, and a taut chain attached to the end of Pier 23 leading into the water. The chain draws their attention, and Wanda, a mer-person by birth, is sent underwater on a reconnaissance mission. Able to stay in touch with the group magically, she relays information about the chain – it is attached to a chest, which is suspended well above the ocean floor. The chest has a lock that looks identical to those seen in Ironjack’s workshop. Following the chain to the water-line, she notes that there is a cylindrical tube covering the chain as it attaches to the dock that prevents the chain from being hauled up. Another locking mechanism can be seen that presumably detaches the tube.
As the companions debate their plan of action, the coins in Anton’s pocket begin to shift with an energy of their own. Viewing this as a call to action, and no other plausible option in sight, the companions charge at the two pirate officers. Freight and Anton lead the way and quickly dispose of the pirate captain, the very same from the tavern earlier. The sound of jingling coins can be heard when the pirate falls to the ground. Romica runs through the remaining officer, chopping him nearly in half with his war axe.
The efficiency and sheer gruesomeness of the companions charge intimidates the rest of the Flaming Trunk thugs, who drop their weapons and flee, with the exception of a hardy dwarf who runs at the group. His charge is unsuccessful and the companions, taking advantage of Barnicle Bill’s netting skills, quickly subdue him.
While Romica and Lando use their key to detach the cylinder and haul the chest to the surface, Freight, Anton and Wanda interrogate the dwarf. It seems that he has accepted his fate, and is not overly forthcoming with information. But the team does learn that Charlie, the recently deceased pirate captain, has a brother in the town guard named Chuck. This aligns with information received from the barkeep that the town guard and Flaming Trunks have some familial relationships. The dwarf lets out a loud whistle, before a sharp crack to the head quiets him for the time being.
The chest is finally pulled topside and the lock opened, the chain wrappings sliding away effortlessly. Inside is an immaculate, water-tight compartment. In the middle of a chamber sits a small object wrapped in parchment.
Believing the guard is likely on the way, the companions pocket the object and quickly clean up the scene. They find the 400 gold pieces lost earlier at the tavern and also take two sets of studded leather armour. They dispose of the bodies by dumping them into the bay, including the unconscious dwarf. Lando is visibly upset by the companions moral ambiguity, and advises that he is going into the water after him. Wanda, her moral compass pushing her to action, or perhaps because she was sickened by the thought of Lando disrobing, graciously volunteers and quickly returns the dwarf to the surface. The companions set him in one of the dories and with a strong shove, set the boat into the bay.
Donning their disguises once again, the group takes to the back streets in hopes of avoiding the town guard. Much later, as the sun begins to rise over the city and the sounds of the fishmongers announce the coming day, the companions, panting from their long run, locate a suitable alleyway to hide from prying eyes. The object is properly investigated – within the parchment is a clay disk adorned with chalk runes. The runes are identified as a mix of holy and arcane symbols. The parchment contains the following:
A devil’s eyes have shared my sight,
of a hiding place found by night.
Break the charm to see the plane,
but be wary of the devil’s claim.
The cleric Barnicle Bill and wizard Lando confer and attempt to read the magic runes. They are able to identify the language of several spells, including lesser planar binding, magic circle against evil, and dimensional anchor – the disc appears to be a device that can summon, control and contain an extraplanar creature. To the best of their knowledge, the creature being summoned is an accuser devil.
Knowledge in hand, the companions believe it best to discuss with Sir William Carson their next move. They travel to his humble abode without incident. Carson is encouraged by their progress. He is happy to provide further information on the accuser devil, a denizen of the seventh layer of hell ruled by archdevil Baalzebul, The Lord of Flies. Accuser devil’s are typically used as a communication device by someone higher up the food chain. They are compelled to communicate the given message, but are generally known to be very manipulative about it as they are not happy about being bound. Studying the disc, he comments that the runes are elaborate and very intentional in their binding. Those within the binding circle will be at risk, so he advises great caution. With that in mind, he provides Romica with a true silver great axe that he hopes will prove beneficial should the situation deteriorate. Discussing the rest of the night’s adventures yields little new information. He does mention that he has heard of some strange experiments being conducted at Gregory’s Brewery, an alchemical establishment. The companions take the opportunity to bed down as they have been adventuring all night.
Well rested, the group heads down to the supply rooms on the lower level, which have been cleared in preparation for the summoning. The companions arrange themselves around the room – Anton, Romica, Freight and Magus Mike within the confines of where they assume the binding circle to occur; Lando, Wanda and Barnical Bill on the outside. The disc is broken in half – the runes catch fire before disappearing, and the remains of the disc crumble to dust. Out of the smoke rises a fly-like creature with the face and arms of a child. It points at the group and begins to speak in a language not understood by those in the room. A vision appears:
Stone monoliths can be seen in the moonlight, the figure of a man walking north of the city. Thick copses of trees stand vigil in the countryside, outlying areas unrecognizable as they are now populated, providing an understanding that this vision is from an era before the Great Green Fire many years ago. Mountains in the distance, two trader tracks converge from the north. The figure pushes on into the forest. The remains of a small stone platform can be seen, the statue of an aristocratic elf sits in the middle of the dais. A shape steps from the shadows and walks with a strange gait towards the man, the unusual cadence of the motion bringing into question the origins of the creature. The man pulls a key from his cloak, a moon-sigil etched clear in the night, glowing with a soft bluish light. A keyhole appears by the moonlight, a doorway opening into deep shadows. The creature offers a burnished white skull, which the man accepts as he steps through the door, the vision fading from view.
The devil giggles with delight as the message is delivered, its mission now complete. It attempts to goad the team into coming into the circle as the runes begin to fade. The companions receive visions of lavish feasts and treasures beyond belief – promised in reward for assisting the devil in breaking its binding. Anton and the others, unsure if the creature has been released, step outside of the circle as the devil disappears from sight. Anton runs from the room to seek assistance from Carson, locking the door behind him. A cone of multi-colored dust leaps forth from the hands of Lando, falling haphazardly to the floor within the circle. It appears the devil has indeed escaped.
A shout from Carson can be heard from upstairs. Unsure of what events have befallen Carson and Anton, Romica hues the door from its hinges to allow the rest of the group to exit the supply room. A short flight of stairs leads to a larger room, where the accuser devil and Carson can be seen in conversation. Carson turns to the companions and attacks. Anton and Magic Mike step past the cleric and engage the small devil in melee. It attempts to cast a spell, providing the two with a suitable opening to smite the creature. Carson immediately comes to and realizes the gravity of the situation. He apologizes profusely and the companions tell him not to worry.
Calmer heads prevail, and the vision is discussed. With the general location known, and already late afternoon, the companions decide to push on. Exiting the city, they begin their journey north. Clouds begin to roll in unnaturally fast, the sky darkening. Red lightning coalesces across the horizon followed by a loud concussion. A dark object falls from the sky, striking the ground in close proximity. Dust is thrown into the air and when it settles, a tall, thin figure is revealed. His features – no nose or ears, tanned skin, utilitarian garb, detailed eye-patch – are eerily similar to those of the cabin boy from earlier in the day. A long conversation ensues:
- He introduces himself as Captain Sil, he alludes to meeting earlier under different circumstances
- The companions help is required, he would like to offer a proposition
- He has lost his compass and it is integral to the return of his ship, the Shadow Swift
- The compass is trapped in the Shadow Realm, the same place where the 4th key to unlocking the mighty men is located – with that in mind, interests are aligned even though different objects are sought
- He can offer much in reward, but for now, the group can keep the 3 coins which he forged for his crew – should guidance be required, spend the coin; if aid is needed, simply flip the coin
- When asked about who took the compass, he provides a cagey reply and requests that the group trust him for the time being
- Decide it best to discuss the vision – he identifies the statue as Lord Bonewrack, an elf lord and creator of the Shadow Realm. He was dedicated to finding a suitor for his sister, which proved a challenging pursuit. He wanted to do so even after her death, so he created the Shadow Realm so that suitors could continue to court her
- The Shadow Realm is in many ways a mirror to the earthly realm, except the dead live there as opposed to the living – it is primarily inhabited by undead and other creatures that live in the shadows
- The man in the vision is likely Ironjack – he spent time in the Shadow Realm and negotiated with Lord Bonewrack for a piece of its existence – a safe place for him to continue with his pursuits, as no one would think to look for him there
- Ironjack set up a series of challenges to test the mettle of those on his trail, Sil is unsure of his ultimate aims, but the mighty men represent the path