Captain Paelias, the Eladrin captain of the Brethren of the Coast, took charge though the ship was not his stewardship. The hired captained retreated below deck with his men to aim the cannons in case an acceptable shot presented itself. Trel and Therin targeted the massive arms of the creature before it reached the side of the ship. In a demonic flurry of power, Therin struck the creature with a blast from his scepter. The blow assaulted the will and fortitude of the creature and the entire aberrant mass was lifted from the sea to float in the air above the water. The creature was nearly the size of the ship with a gaping horrific mouth. Dekran quickly issued an order to Trel to steer the ship towards the Kraken.
Simultaneously as the ship was pulled back to the port side and Captain Paelias took the helm, Trel also telekinetically moved the entire Kraken above the hull of the ship, intentionally slamming the massive creature into the diamond-infused titanium plated mast. The creature collapsed onto the deck, nearly crushing Nobby the Halfling who was in the way. With the smell of slimy sea water, and writhing tentacles lashing the deck, the heroes set to work destroying the monster while it was out of it’s element. Blow after blow began to pierce it’s flesh and oozy purple liquid squirted all over the deck.
The kraken wrapped its massive tentacles around the hull of the ship and brought it to a halt. He then began grabbing heroes and hurling across the boat at each other and trying to squeeze the life out of them. More than once Dekran was used as an object of attack as the kraken through his large dragonborn body into his comrades. The kraken’s life was short lived and was unable to escape before the heroes slaughtered it where it lay. But before it went, both Trel and Therin heard a psychic communication from the creature relaying that someone or something known as “Dagon” had issued the attack and that by his hand they would fall.
As the tentacles stopped writing, the massive body was pushed back into the water and the ship returned to its full buoyancy.
Nobby set to work doing repairs on the ship, even crafting himself a hidden chamber in his new repairs. The sailors were ordered to clean the ship and prepare to dock at the port of Feliwyth later that evening.
The arrival at Feliwyth was beautiful. The trees of the shoreline were deceiving in their size. The bases of the trees were the size of trebuchet’s, as large as a dwelling in circumference. It gave the illusion the shoreline was much closer than it actually was. The thick vines and growth grew up into a peaking archway that led into the covered port of Feliwyth. Ships of all sorts and sizes were there. They paid their fees to dock the boat and headed to find some good ale. The city of Weylyn surrounded the port. After finding a reasonable tavern, Nobby set off to find some female entertainment for the good work the sailors had put in. He quickly located an entire brothel willing to come to the tavern.
At first the tavern keeper was put back by the arrival of the scantily clad elves, humans, Halflings, and even a few gnomish women. But as Nobby persuaded the man with coin, and the assurance of heavy alcohol consumption, he allowed it and locked the tavern door. The party raged through the night. As the sailors drank, and many of the heroes celebrated their victory over the kraken (all while Trel began asking intensely personal questions to Dekran with the help of his liquid courage) Nobby was influenced by the mask on his face to draw one of the beautiful women away for himself. He obeyed quickly.
The elven woman followed Nobby out the front door quietly into the dead of night in Weylyn. An silent mannor was down a dirt lane in the midst of the trees. Nobby picked the locks and took the woman into the living area. He raided the houses for more alcohol and money and then began to celebrate with this woman. Several minutes into their engagement, a soothing voice entered the mind of Nobby.
“Nobby, it is time to show your true power. WE must cast down all beauty before us in this world. Remove your blade and disfigure the face of this woman.” For the first time, Nobby began to realize that he did in fact have morals. The idea that the mask wanted him to disfigure a purely innocent person affected him negatively. He pulled away from the stripper, and began speaking audibly to the mask.
“What say you? She has done nothing. What good will that do us?”
“It is a test to show your true allegiance. There will come a time when nothing will be more beautiful and powerful than you, and you must show you are willing to destroy all that which may threaten that position.”
“But what of my family in Vandromar. If there came a time, would they also be expendable?” The Halfling pressed, while the woman looked terrified at this crazed behavior. Again, the soothing voice,
“Yes, if they interfered in the future. They are not the issue now.” Nobby was finally persuaded to scar the woman, but though no specific instructions were given on the severity, he lightly cut her while blood was drawn. She was horrified and began to scream. He ordered her silence. The mask was unsatisfied. As the mask demanded he perform more, Nobby resisted and told the mask he would rise to power with or without it, and that if the mask wanted HIS help, then it would obey Nobby’s wishes. The mask remained silent for the rest of the evening.
Nobby escorted the woman home, and gave her a great amount of money to help feed her family. He then retired for the evening with much on his mind.
The next day the party regrouped in the lobby of the tavern. Several sailors were being roused by the bartender to have them and the women on their way, for he had to open soon. Nobby said, contemplating the mask in the corner. Nobby pulled his powerful magical dagger from his pocket and spoke audibly to the mask. “If you’ll have me destroy that which is beautiful, I have agreed to destroy one beautiful thing in this world.” With that bold statement he pressed the cold blade of the dagger to the edge of his metallic face and attempted to carve a massive scar into the face of the dagger.
In an instant the magical properties exploded, and the dagger shattered in Nobby’s hand, but the mask remained silent to Nobby’s mind. Infuriated, the Halfling sat at the bar and asked the bartender to hand him a knife for a moment. The bartender did so kindly, knowing Nobby was responsible for all his income the previous evening. Nobby then spoke opening to the mask on his face, and terrified the bartender all the same,
“You will summon gold for me right this instance. No more of this silence. Lay the gold before me on the counter or I will cut you permanently.” The bartender terrified at the apparently sudden turn of events dropped to the floor begging for his life. The mask had a moment of tension with Nobby, even bending its will slightly, realizing the ambition of the rogue. A small pile of gold coins appeared on the counter. Nobby began stacking them just as Dekran turned the corner to see Nobby at the bar counting money with a knife in his hands, while the bartender cowered behind the counter.
After a small confrontation, Nobby oblivious to what his actions appeared like, the group reformed and made plans to set out. After some inquiries around Weylyn, they heard of one Kallen Dryleaf. He was the elf who had purchased the skull of Sandek Kiroset and headed this way to the east, bragging of the old artifact he had recovered from Vandromar. Apparently sickness followed in his wake, affecting the small village of Narellan, east about ten miles. The party decided that was the first place to head. But not before Captain Paelias approached them and offered the permanent services of the Brethren of the Coast to be the crew for the Flying Arken and be the loyal servants of the heroes. They worked out a term of wages, and then departed.
The village of Narellan was a beautiful place. It was beneath the canopy of trees several hundred feet above the village. The small village lay between two hills, with smaller rolling hills bounding through the village. Most of the structures were appendages of the massive trees, built in and around their trunks. A beautiful stream ran through the center. The flora glowed with fluorescent light, and pixies and fairies danced from bush to bush. However, there was a melancholy feeling over the small village. People seemed on edge and frantic. A group of 8 sprites was found in a large tree near the center of town, known as the Coven of Sprites. They were tending to several sick elves, gnomes, and humans of their village. After some investigation the party heard of something called the Spirit Vine. It was a structure of vines at the south end of town that the villagers believed fed life into the surrounding environment. They thought it had somehow begun infecting the villagers with this grey plague. The Spirit Vine was a large structure of growth that had a somewhat womanlike figure within its tangles.
The party was soon convinced that the passing through of Kallen Dryleaf, and a heart of Tharizdun in his possession is what caused this sickness. They tried to tend to the wounded at the Coven of the Sprites with no success. Suddenly, a man transformed before them, sprouting massive demonic wings, grey skin, and defined muscles. With a ferocious scream he ran out of the hospice and flew into the night. The heroes began questioning the sick. The closest to turning was a small ten year old elven boy who looked about to transform. He was writhing in agony. While Therin was questioning the boy, Nobby fell into an insane debate with himself.
The Mask spoke, “Nobby, we can rise. I can cure these people. But my powers are limited at this time. If you would allow me to consume the entirety of your face, my full powers could be unleashed. Think of the influence we could have on this small village obviously in need of direction. Their icon, the Spirit Vine has fallen prey to darkness and has destroyed their beliefs in spiritual power. Let us show ours together.”
Nobby argued back, accusing the mask of betraying anything that got in its way. “But what of my family? I can’t ever turn my back on my family.” And with an uncharacteristic, and moral epitome of Nobby’s life, he finished, “Some things in this life are worth more than money.”
With that Nobby the Halfling Rogue had found his allegiance. He had finally realized where his heart lay. After the maureth’s of adventuring, he knew he belonged in Vandromar, with The Family, as a Lord of Daemar. With that realization, he stabbed his dagger into his own face, and attempted to pry the mask from his face. His comrades ran to his side to help him. The mask fought back, trying to consume Nobby’s skull, but failed. With a horrendous ripping sound, full of disintegrating bone and flesh, the mask rent itself from Nobby’s skull and landed with a clank on the ground. The scene of gore unfolded with the heroes surrounding their halfling friend, as he fell unconscious on the floor.
The Mask of the Unforeseen Suitor vaporized into the air, sizzling the ground it laid upon. It was off to consume its next victim, in trying to rise to superior power. Unsure of the vital status of their friend, the party surrounded the Halfling and immediately began tending to his wounds. He was a horrific sight. His skull was now half a head, blood and flesh quickly pouring out. Health potions were administered and the bone and flesh began to restore itself, but in a permanent concave pattern. He remained unconscious for sometime.
When he finally awoke, Nobby had come to several great realizations. He was meant to be in Vandromar, with The Family. He had aspired from grotesque appearance, to an almost immortal beauty and status of power, only to return to a more grotesque appearance but with his values in the right place. He realized that while most things were worth money, a few were invaluable. He wished the party the best of luck, and ushered them onwards towards Talthuathin while he made his recovery among the Coven of the Sprites.
With the closing of the rogue, adventure still awaited. For as The Shadow Slayers, and the Acolytes of Arken made their way through the village of Narellan towards the great road leading to the high Felwythian city of Talthuathin, something appeared on the cliff above them. There standing was the transformed elven man from the grove before. His greylike wings, red-plagued eyes, and muscular form stood heaving in breaths several hundred feet above them. He was a terrible demon to behold. In a moment were several more just like him, flanking him on either side. With a terrifying screech, they flew off the hill towards the heroes…
XP Each: 1000 XP
-Defeated the Kraken – 2500 XP
-Arrived at The Port of Feliwyth – 500 XP
-Found rumors of Kallen Dryleaf – 300 XP
-Discovered problem in Narellan – 200 XP
-Confronted Mask of the Unforeseen Suitor – 500 XP
Total XP: 4000 XP