Chapter 4

The Land Shark, Part II

June 22, 2019

The party had just made a pact with Elionea the druid to hunt down the land shark together when another adventurer, a ranger calling himself Mernpool: Monster Hunter, arrived after a day’s travel from Qarlim. He had been tracking the land shark and when he heard about Gazande and the heroes of Saddoon he came looking for them and joined their ranks then and there.

The next day, the fellowship headed down the road toward Omosa until midday, when they went off into the surrounding scrub-land so Elionea could use her Songstone to lure the monster. It lured a pair of giant scorpions which kept the party busy – and slightly distracted – when the land shark showed up moments later. Its massive jaws tore Elionea in half before it made an incredible 30-foot leap at Mernpool, nearly killing him, while Gazande and Zeex were nearly overwhelmed by the scorpions. With Rhodedendron’s inspiring words urging them ever onward, the heroes managed to defeat both sets of enemies and the land shark was finally dead.

Mernpool takes aim at the land shark while Gazande, Zeex and Seran fight giant scorpions
Battling the land shark and giant scorpions

The adventurers loaded the dead land shark onto their wagon to take to Omosa. They also decided to take the head of Elionea for Duke Alcibes since she was no longer alive to arrest as the person responsible for unleashing the land shark to begin with. By sunset they were at the city gates and their arrival with the prominent carcass of the monster that had terrified the countryside was met with city-wide jubilation.

While the party enjoyed basking in the city’s affection that night, Gazande and his spokesperson Rhodedendron were invited to the castle where they gave Duke Alcibes a full account of the hunt. When presented with Elionea’s head, he simply said it would be better given to Lord Charan since it was his disagreement with the druid that started this. He told them to rest up and be prepared for a festival of celebration the day after tomorrow where he would officially announce Gazande as Lord of Tazir. He later took Gazande aside and offered him an enchanted longsword instead of the 2,000 gp bounty for the beast and the newly minted Lord of Tazir accepted.

The other adventurers were less than pleased with Gazande’s decision to take a personal gift over payment in coin they could all share, but they were still fairly wealthy from their previous adventure and coasting on the generosity of a loving public. Everyone got fine clothes for tomorrow’s festival and Gazande learned that he was now on the hook for Lord Biram’s back-taxes, on the order of 6,000 gp. Duke Alcibes gave him a year to start paying it off, and even loaned Gazande a little more money to have a heraldic symbol designed and made into 2 silk banners.

Gazande met with the duke’s royal sage, Draminster, to ask him to appraise the mysterious chess set they found among the Yuant-Ti, but he was completely in the dark about it, having never seen or heard of anything like it. They decided to play a game with it which Gazande lost, leaving him in a considerable depression for days after. To Rhodedendron, who watched them play, it was clearly some kind of magical effect of the game itself.

The next day was the big celebration, with the heroes assembled in the city square to be honoured alongside Gazande, who was ceremonially recognized as the official Lord of Tazir. Despite the official royal assent and the adulation of the crowd, the paladin was in the worst funk of his life, unable to enjoy the moment. Losing the chess game had robbed him of his joy and made him anxious.

The morning after the celebrations, Gazande’s heraldic banners were delivered along with a letter from Draminster. Written in a very buoyant mood, the sage suggested looking for Beelomarj, a blue dragonborn sorcerer who wanders the desert and is known to have special knowledge of obscure artifacts. On the road, Gazande mustered the energy to play a round of magic chess with Seran and won this time, which totally reversed his mood and returned him to equilibrium, but left Seran feeling mopey. The monk tried playing again with Raz this time but lost again and felt even worse, slipping into a deep depression while Raz felt like she could take on the world.

Arriving at Karbad by sunset, the party got rooms at the Red Rose Inn while Gazande went with Rhodedendron to see Lord Charan, who snobbily accepted the paladin was now Lord of Tazir. He reluctantly offered Lord Gazande a room in the castle, as is customary. His mood warmed slightly when Rhodedendron presented the head of Elionea and persuaded him to pay a little bounty money of 100 gp.

The next day, they set off for Saddoon, reaching it by sunset and getting a very warm reception from Tarik Saddoon, son of Lord Daxyl, along with the rest of the villagers. Tarik was very friendly and interested in everything his neighbouring noble had to tell about the adventure hunting the land shark. The two agreed to go desert camping some time.

Finally, after one more day of travel, the adventuring party reached Tazir, where Gazande took up official residence as the new lord. Devin the acolyte, left to supervise the tower and the village in Gazande’s absence, delivered a full census to his master. Gazande told him he would be staying on as steward, a decision already blessed by High Priest Tisibi.

While the village was celebrating the return of Gazande, the Old Barn at the Tova family farm exploded and three Flameskulls began to drift among the cornfield. The adventurers engaged the enemy, which launched attacks by blasts of fire, magic missiles and even a fireball spell which nearly decimated them. However, the heroes prevailed and, investigating the ruined barn, found an underground vault containing an enchanted scimitar and shield, a small magic carpet and a chest of gold and gems also containing a gold amulet in the shape of a coiled serpent. Raz surmised this was Lord Biram’s secret vault, warded by the Flameskulls which must have become restless and got out.

The next morning, three days after the onset of his black mood, Seran awoke feeling back to normal. Likewise, Raz was also no longer on top of the world. At least one property of the magic chess set seems to have been identified.

Chapter Five: Anti-Paladin and Dragon