Chapter 10

Good Versus Evil

November 16, 2019

In the immediate aftermath of their battle with knights of the realm, the adventurers came to grips with what they had just done. Mernpool and Rhodedendron were especially guilt-ridden because of their Good natures, while Evil Boralin felt absolutely no remorse. The rest of them were more concerned about having prices on their heads and living life on the run.

As they made to move on and leave the city, a rich man exited the Perfumed Pearl and addressed Boralin personally, despite being glamoured to appear as a human vagabond like his companions. Jackerel was his name, a wizard by ambition whom Boralin recognized as one of Charna Khan’s most esteemed associates. He had been looking for Boralin and his party when he saw the fight inside the Perfumed Pearl, which he took as proof of their capabilities. Asking what it was all about, Rhodedendron recited the entire history of Lord Gazande and the adventuring party. The bard was so morose over the recent fight that she told Jackerel about everything, including the chess set. Impressed by the epic tale, the esteemed wizard told them about the job he needed them to do.

Three thousand miles to the west, in the Kingdom of Virzan, there is an island in the middle of Lake Tamoa where an interdimensional gateway between the planes may be found. The gate is locked and watched over by a spirit guardian whom the party would have to kill in order to use its horn to unlock the gate. Superstitious locals send boats filled with tributes to the island which the party can use to leave with and they would be welcome to any treasure they find.

Considering the portal away from Bendajee to the island as a kind of payment, the adventurers accepted the mission and stepped through into a misty, wooded environment. Mernpool the ranger was able to navigate the night-time jungle and guide his fellows to the shoreline where they camped. Taking first watch, he noticed he was being watched by elves. In talking to them, he counted three, plus at least a sprite or two flitting through the air. The fey creatures confirmed Mernpool’s suspicions that the guardian was actually a unicorn and that the island was forbidden territory. The ranger promised to leave the next morning by boat, after they told him where to find them.

Turning the watch over to Rhode, Mernpool told her about the elves and that the party would have to leave. Hours into her watch, the gnome was visited by the same elves and sprites who seemed most sympathetic and concerned for a fellow fey in the company of such rude companions. The gnome was overcome with homesickness and accepted their invitation to return to Elfland with them come the dawn, even waking Mernpool at the hour to extend it to him. Though tempted, the ranger ultimately decided to remain in his own realm and Rhodedendron the Flamboyant departed for hers.

Over breakfast, Mernpool explained everything to the party and there was much debate over what to do. Boralin was only too eager to proceed with killing the unicorn and eating it, but Mernpool steadfastly opposed the death of such a noble, Good creature. Sargael wanted to negotiate with the unicorn but the elves would not allow it and insisted they leave, so the adventurers found a serviceable sailboat and pushed off into the morning fog on the water.

Sargael’s familiarity with boating gave him the skill to navigate blindly and after a few hours the boat left the mist and headed for shore two dozen miles away. Behind them they could see the steep valleys of the Central Mountains filled with mist that seemed to roll down into the lake basin, totally obscuring any islands and the entire western shore.

It was close to sunset by the time the boat creaked into port in a lakeside town of considerable size with a pyramid at its center. The harbor-master welcomed the party, disguised by illusion to look like human sailors, and urged them to accompany him to the temple for the weekly ceremony. There they witnessed the swaggering High Priest Kerulmek give a fire-and-brimstone speech about sacrifices to the avatar of the gods which Mernpool spotted flying far overhead – a Wyvern!

When Kerulmek pointed to the crowd for two sacrifices, his priests pushed through and grabbed two children, dragging them kicking and screaming toward the pyramid. As the young boy and girl were carried up the steep steps and tied to stakes at the top, Mernpool’s Good conscience compelled him to intervene, but Evil Boralin stopped him and called two guards over. The wyvern landed atop the pyramid and wrenched the boy from his bonds to bite his head off, at which point Gloucester launched an attack of Scorching Rays on the monster.

Confusion and panic set in as the wyvern turned its attention to the crowd, looking for its attacker, but Gloucester had been teleported sixty feet away by a surge of wild magic and the monster blindly attacked anyone where the rays had come from. Meanwhile, Mernpool turned on Boralin, locked into mortal combat, while the High Priest and two cultists descended the pyramid steps to join the fight from behind the wyvern by the time it made its way to the duelists. Raz came to the rescue with a devastating sneak attack, killing the beast and adding a second dragon-kin to her list of slayings.

By this point, reinforcements were arriving in the form of more cultists and some twenty guardsmen, most of them archers. High Priest Kerulmek was brought down but then Mernpool hit the ground and was finished off by Boralin and that was the signal for the party to run for the docks. The Evil dragonborn fighter, still disguised as a human sailor, led a boat of men paddling madly after the slow-moving sailboat while it came under a barrage of arrows from the archers.

Despite losing manpower and speed, Boralin’s pursuit craft made it just close enough for him to reach for the sailboat, grabbing on tight and being dragged through the water. Sargael would not let the villain climb aboard and Raz full-on attacked him, knocking him out. The four remaining party members dragged their unconscious former team-mate on deck just long enough to ransack his body for treasure and then toss him overboard to drown, despite Sargael’s protestations.

Raz, Feti, Gloucester and Sargael are all that remain of the group, drifting on the surface of a lake three thousand miles away from anywhere they’ve ever been as the night fog draws in around them.

Chapter 11: Lost in the Fog