The Wizard's Reach
The Wizard’s Reach
Act II – Off the Beaten Path
The 1479th Year of Dalereckoning – 13th Day of Marpenoth: The Month of Leaffall
He opened his eyes.
The first thing he noticed was the heat. It was sweltering. He could feel each bead of sweat as it dripped down the length of his forehead, falling to the jungle floor far below.
No. That’s wrong.
The reflective beads ran not ‘down’ his forehead but ‘up’, towards his matted hair. He was suspended upside down, hanging by his bound legs. He could feel rope, rubbing against his blistered wrists, which were wrapped securely behind his back. It hurt to move, it hurt to breathe. He tried to speak. His throat was painfully dry and his voice echoed off the surrounding jungle, sounding raspy and hollow in his ears.
He tried his bonds and grunted in pain, not able to make any progress. All he could do was fall into a quiet, desperate prayer to his God.
Kirranos was trapped.
Four Weeks Previous – 11th Day of Elient: The Fading Month
Keira, Virgil, Erik, Kirranos, and Roland all woke up refreshed. The Captain’s Sextant had offered them a hearty nights rest and they were each respectively ready to sail out of the port city of Calimport and start making progress towards their fated destination: The Arnrock.
The five adventurers gathered their things and walked downstairs to the tavern’s main room. It was far too quiet. The space that had been buzzing with activity and chatter the night before was almost entirely empty, save one half-elf in the far corner sipping from a rusted tankard. The man rose as the group made their way into the room and held his hand up to slow their advance. Virgil, ever the diplomat, stepped forward and questioned the man’s intent.
“Roland,” the half-elf said in a brusk Calimshite accent.
Two haflings, a brute of a man, and a slender elf stepped out from a side room adjacent to the bar.
Virgil and Roland both attempted to diffuse the situation, but to no avail. After a few rounds of conversation it was clear that these were men from Guild Zahir; evidently Roland had stolen something from them at some point (though he had trouble remembering exactly what) and they were now here to pay him back the favor.
One of the haflings raised a short-bow and fired off an arrow at the party. In response: Erik fell into casting, Keira raised her crossbow, Roland drew his blade, and Kirranos charged forward with his earthern hammer to meet the group.
Virgil, of course, fled backwards and tripped, falling flat on his back.
The battle had begun.
Steel clashed, arrows and bolts alike flew back and forth, a huge column of blistering flame appeared in the midst of the fray; this was not going to be a fight won easily. After a brutal skirmish of trading wound for wound, the party was victorious. Not without a cost though: Rolan was just barely clinging to life, stabilized after a garish great-sword wound had scarred a diagonal \ along his back. Heaving Rolan to his feet, the group decided it best to leave the city as soon as possible.
They made their way to the dock they had arranged to meet a captain the previous night. Arriving, they caught sight of a fifty-something grizzled human with a garish scar along the left side of his mouth. He waved them over and cracked a crooked grin—its sincerity questionable.
After settling niceties and payment, the grizzled man introduced himself as Captain Belmont and led the group to their small, one-room quarters aboard his ship, Serpent o’ the Sea. Soon, the ship would set sail for its first destination: the southern continent of Tashalar. Here it would drop off a spice shipment before sailing to its final destination of Yallasch, one of The Border Kingdoms that surround the Lake of Steam—wherein the dormant Volcanic isle of Arnrock lies.
Several hours later the ship set sail and, just as dusk was falling over The Shining Sea, Kirranos, Virgil, Erik, Keira, and a recovered Roland all watched as Calimport faded from view, leaving only a navy-blue expanse as far as the eye could see. The first night aboard ‘Bessy’, as the ship was affectionately named, was filled with drinking, crude humor, singing, and traded tales.
With a colorful cast ranging from an Orcish bar-maid to a Tiefling sailor, the party began to feel at home aboard Bessy in the following first few days of the journey. Most of the group pulled their weight, and although not everyone saw eye-to-eye on every issue, the trip went as smoothly as could be expected.
However, roughly a week into the voyage, the discovery of two stowaways, June and her young daughter Emelia, caused a damper in this smooth sailing. The group elected to save the two at the expense of their rations (Virgil’s specifically) and the good favor of the crew, whom desired to see the stowaways punished.
The rest of the journey was largely uneventful, providing time for the party to get to know one another and to wrap their heads around the task that awaited them at the end of their voyage.
12th Day of Marpenoth: The Month of Leaffall
The Tashalar Coast is characterized by its extremes. Deep, verdant jungle hangs precariously on to the edge of sheer cliff-face, which tumbles down two-hundred feet to meet the edge of The Shining Sea. Only at one point does this line of cliffs break to reveal two massive wooden docks and, behind them, stairs angled at a steep ascent leading deep into the Black Jungles.
This geological wonder marks the entrance to New Riveron.
A small trading settlement, New Riveron would easily fit two or three times into one of Calimport‘s massive districts. What it lacks in size however, it makes up in pure awe. The town is suspended nearly fifty feet above the jungle’s floor, and is surrounded on all sides by the dangerous and beautiful—in equal parts—Black Jungles.
On this day however, the normally bustling docks of New Riveron were silent. The only sounds that could be heard were the creaking and moaning of the three merchant galleons already docked. The ships, just like the docks, were entirely empty.
Not a soul could be seen.
As soon as they made port, Kirranos—concerned that they would get into town safely—led June and her daughter Emelia off the ship and up the set of two-hundred or so stairs that led up the cliff-side and into the jungle. Having never been to New Riveron before, he had no reason to suspect anything was amiss.
The rest of the group collected what gear they might need, and ten or so minutes after, followed Captain Belmont and two of his men as they disembarked the ship and moved towards the stairs.
“Captain, it’s too qui——”
Captain Belmont interrupted his first mate with a raised hand and turned to reply when a single high-pitched scream pierced the methodical crashing of the waves against the cliff-side.
It was June.