- an audience with Thuron is granted, he is warned of an impending attack
- the companions help to defend the Temple of Knowledge
- Hollister, Nicola Cage, Eagel, Thuron, Lando, and Magus Mike die during the battle
- Thuron’s body transforms into that of a serpent person
- the amulets of Yg sustain Thuron, Lando and Magus Mike
- Sil is summoned, he identifies Thuron as K’Stallo, recommends that the companions seek assistance from Besmara
- the Pirate Goddess provides Freight a choice – the lives of her allies can be saved, but it will result in increased difficulty on her Voyage
- the Holy Grog is used to save Thuron, Lando and Magus Mike
- Thuron introduces himself as K’Stallo, last priest of Yg
- he translates a missive from the Master to Milton Drac, linking Drac to the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign
- a snake person text is found on the cultists
With the sun cresting the horizon, the Shadow Swift exits the time portal on the outskirts of Freeport. It is a short trip into port and the companions are on land not long thereafter. Of note, the altar is left in the care of J-Todd for further study.
With plans to meet back at the war room mid-afternoon, the companions go their separate ways to run errands, mend armor, sell gear, catch up on local gossip etc. Lando heads to the market to purchase materials and heads back to the tavern to spend the morning and early afternoon crafting. Despite the early hour, the city is already bustling, energy building in anticipation of the Sealord’s Feast and parade this very night.
The morning flies by and the companions are soon together again. As the time loop seems to be centered on Thuron, the group heads to the Temple of Knowledge, which is also home to the Sword of the Edict headquarters. The main gate leads to a large open courtyard that is ringed by cells for prayer, workshops etc. There are two towers in the back that house the quarters of the high priest, Thuron, as well as his right hand man, Eagel. The radiant arch dominates the background, leading to the chapel area.
The Temple is relatively empty this afternoon as many of the priests and clerics are preparing for the evening’s festivities. The page, Eagel, soon appears to greet the companions, who in turn request an audience with Thuron post-haste. Eagel returns shortly thereafter with Master Thuron, head of the order of the Sword of the Edict.
The companions update Thuron advising that the Edict is in danger, that the cultists were, at this very moment, readying an attack on the Temple. Thuron accepts the news calmly, “I had feared this day was near. Since I first heard rumor that the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign had returned to Freeport, I knew it would result in a confrontation, that it would hinder our efforts here. Should we survive this night, I have more to tell you. But we must focus on the present, on the battle to come. We will make our stand here, and god protect us, we will live to see tomorrow.” Taking Eagel by the shoulders, “Gather the clerics, we must prepare the protection wards.” Turning again to the companions, “You have assisted greatly in our time of need. But please forgive me, I would ask more. I may be a man of faith, but I also understand the power of the sword. Would you stay and fight in the battle to come?” The companions nod their assent and Thuron appears visibly bolstered. And with that, both Thuron and Eagel head to the tower to muster the troops.
Surveying the courtyard, the companions decide it best to focus their attention on the three entrances to the Temple – Freight heads to the main gate, Romica to a side gate, Anton and Magus to the other side gate, and Lando in the centre of the yard. The doors are locked and barred.
Soon thereafter, a knock sounds at the main gate. Freight looks through the eye-hole to see a handful of bloodied clerics who request entry. They were set upon by a roguish crew on their way to the parade and fear further attack. Freight permits them entry. Sensing that the battle is soon to start, Lando messages Thuron that his attention is required. A separate knock is heard from one of the side gates. Romica peers through the eye-hole to see another group of clerics, who also request entry. The burly dwarf directs them to the main gate, where they too are allowed inside.
While this occurs, the other side gate opens and closes quickly. Anton, who is able to see invisible creatures, notes three cowled figures sneak inside. One appears to be a large warrior, another a smaller thief type, and the last a tall slim character. Anton shouts to the rest of the group to notify them that the Temple walls have been infiltrated.
A coordinated attack soon unfolds, resulting in mass warfare in the courtyard. The attack is led by the three cowled figures – who are revealed as Hollister, Nicola Cage, and a grey-skinned caster. Further, several of the clerics the main gate transform into grey-skinned casters, who are able to influence the clerics to attack the now outnumbered companions. Thuron and Eagel soon join the fray, bringing some balance to the ensuing battle. The mind-affected clerics focus their efforts on the companions, while Hollister and Nicola attempt to assassinate Thuron. Heavy losses are taken on both sides.
With the companions beginning to make headway, a fireball is unleashed into the contested centre of the courtyard, damaging friend and foe alike. One of the grey-skinned casters succumbs to the attack, resulting in a secondary blast that sends many of the clerics, as well as Lando and Eagel, to the ground. The number of combatants significantly reduced, the companions are able to concentrate their efforts on one of the other grey-skinned caster, invoking another fiery blast that spells the end for Nicola, Thuron and Magus Mike. Romica and Freight skewer a near-death Hollister before sprinting for cover as Anton runs through the last of the grey-skinned caster. The halfling is somehow able to survive the ensuing blast and a sudden calm descends over the courtyard.
Although the battle was won, it came at a high cost – Lando, Magus Mike, Eagel and Thuron were all cut down during the fight. In death, Thuron’s corpse has transformed into the body of a snake person. Freight investigates the body and notes that he wears an amulet around his neck, one similar to those that the companions wear, that pulses weakly. Checking the body’s vitals reveals a weak heartbeat, a similar situation unfolds for Lando and Magus.
Unsure of how to proceed, Anton casts one of Sil’s coins into the air, summoning the wily pirate. A crash of lightning is followed by a descending flag, and the incorporeal figure of Sil is soon present. He notes that this must be important, as that was the last of the companion’s coins. Anton quickly updates him on the situation – that Thuron, head of the order of the Sword of the Edict, was a snake person, that he died in an attack by the Brotherhood of the Yellow sign, that several of the group perished in the battle as well, and that the amulets of Yg appear to be keeping them alive. Despite the melancholy backdrop, Sil appears somewhat excited as he looks at the body of Thuron. “Why I’ll be, I should have known it was him. Earlier, when I told you I was seeking the one, it was he – K’Stallo, one of the few serpent folk not tainted with the degradation that affected the others – that I was looking for. His healing is beyond my ability at this time, but he must live. Much depends on this. The amulet will not keep him alive indefinitely. You need to restore his life and soon.” Sil begins to fade. “I can smell the taint of Besmara on you. If you have received her blessing, I suggest that you call on her favour. Besides, you can let her know, from one god to another, that I’ll owe her one. I’m sure she’ll appreciate the gesture.” He winks as he fades from view.
Her companions lives hanging in the balance, Freight enacts a ritual to Besmara, beseeching her guidance. The Pirate Goddess graces the group with her presence, although she seems somewhat disappointed. “Freight, I find it strange that you would summon me far from the sea to a temple sanctified to another god.” Freight advises that she would not call upon her unless it was a serious predicament – the lives of two of her close companions, as well as that of K’Stallo, who she believes is important to the plight of Sil, the Shadow Swift, and possibly all of pirate kind, are on the line. As such, she seeks guidance on how to rectify the situation. “My dear Freight, you carry upon you the means to cure the lives of those you hold dear – the holy grog. That said, I will warn you – I had other designs for you. As you know, I am not known to be a benevolent god – so you will have a choice to make: you can use my blessing to heal your companions here now, but this will have repercussions when you pursue your Voyage.”
As much as Freight is devoted to Besmara, her companions play an integral role in her quest going forward. Her decision is made. “Today, you have had the opportunity to choose. In the future, you will not.” Freight thanks Besmara for her guidance, and confirms that Sil, on his word, owes her one, which brings a grin to her face. “So he calls himself a god now. I hope he does not share the fate of my first mate, Yarrash.” And with that, the goddess departs the temple. Freight uses the holy grog to return Thuron, Lando, and Magus Mike to the land of the living.
A grateful Thuron, weak and still in snake form, addresses the group. “I have a confession to make – I lied to you, I purposefully led you astray. Although I had nothing to do with what happened here today, I know of the Brotherhood. They are not the only ones that survived the fall of Thassalonia. Evil seems to survive better than passive worship through the millennia.” A tired glance to the scattered remains of Eagel. The eyes refocus, a decision is made. “As you have ascertained, I am not Thuron. My name is K’Stallo, I am the last priest of Yg. Your friend Carson found us far to the north. He was able to locate us through his knowledge of the worship of Yg. I followed him home, to Freeport. Visiting the Temple of Knowledge, I found Thuron dead at his desk. His heart had given way to the onslaught of time. I made a hasty decision, it is true, but one that I do not regret. I took his place among the Order, devoted my time to the pursuit of Knowledge. I should have spotted Milos, but so enamoured was I with the study of ancient scrolls I am embarrassed to admit I did not notice his undermining of my position. When you advised me of his death, of his true colors, I could of, no, should have walked away from this charade. From the dangers that the Brotherhood posed to me. But I was close to a breakthrough, close to finding answers. My study was too important. It almost cost me my life.” Another pause, further contemplation. “I owe you my life, and for that, I am grateful. My services are at your command. I hope that my continued study can aid you in some way.”
The companions thank Thuron for his kind words. They quickly search the dead cultists and lifeless forms of Hollister and Nicola and find valuable weapons as well as several packages, including:
- The evidence that Hollister had collected to link the companions to the cultist uprising
- A letter from the Master addressed to Milton Drac, his name is depicted with the mark of the Yellow Sign. It contains a speech that Milton is to provide at the Sealord’s Feast, blaming the companions for the death of Thuron and the attack on the Swords of the Edict, and linking Hollister to the cultists.
- Lastly, a missive written in the snake person language. Although damaged, Thuron is able to translate the following – “…many a man can find the caves but they’ll never find my….and the lads and I were carried away by the rapids. Old Sven lost his balance and fell clear out of the boat. We never say him again. At last, we were on the beach. There was a huge stone doorway at least half a mast tall and 20 planks wide. All kinds of drawings of snakes were on the surface, big carvings of a snake and weird writing were on its front…the head was the worst part of it. I told Tom not to touch the damn thing but he wouldn’t listen…he will never be the same. Finally, we all gave up and rowed our way back. I told the men to forget about that passage, and we boarded it up so as none of us would go down in a drunken fit.”
Exhaustion setting in, the companions bid adieu to Thuron and head back to the tavern.