The Fourth Voyage of the Shadowcaster (part two)
Continuing further into the temple, we found a cell littered with the remains of a dozen nearly intact corpses, a pile of skulls, and a few ghouls, one of which had been trapped inside an iron maiden for centuries.
Nearby, we found a bronze statue depicting a pile of human skulls, which confirmed our suspicion that this shadowed condition was brought about on purpose. I was not sure how much the people of the first age knew about necromancy, but this was evidence that their knowledge was more sophisticated than some scholars have led us to believe.
In a chamber below we spied on an undead torturer (a wight I presume) taking pleasure in the only subject that could survive his ministrations so long, an emaciated troll. I can only imagine how much rage the beast must feel after enduring for such an extended period.
We continued further into the underworld and came upon a golden skeleton laid on a table. Fresh looking entrails were strewn about the floor. I should have been more curious about their nature, because it should have been obvious how unlikely they were, but our voyages have not been as profitable as I hoped (greatly due to the somewhat prudish and un-bold natures of my fellow adventurers who have been known to jump at shadows and enter into dungeons and lairs with the ferocity of a pack of rabbits at times). Anyway, with funds lacking and gold laying before my own eyes, I had no time for their he-hawing ways about retrieving it.
I could have waited for the inevitable debate regarding recovery of the precious metal which no doubt probably would have devolved into making Pyre do it, but the longer we were there, the more likely my companions were to be spooked by a cobweb or an errant moth, so I stepped forward and began sacking the treasure.
The remains of some old experiment took offense at my removal of the golden bones, and the entrails pulled themselves together into something which in describing, my poor vocabulary can do no justice, I can say that as a member of the Order of Thule, fifth rank, even I have never read a description of such a beast. It was made only of flesh, and with none of the skin, eyes, or even mouth one would expect. It was more like a a knotted pile of ropes and strings manipulated by an invisible puppeteer.
With great strength and fury it attacked our band. Amalia was thrown to the floor, and she was so addled by it that she willingly crawled into the darkness of the tomb to flee it. Our party defended itself, but we were only barely able to overcome it with our combined might. When the fight had ended we found that our wounds were great, and that Amalia had disappeared entirely.
Logic dictated that if she was crawling about in the darkness, the most likely direction to flee would be the one from which we came, which was a good thing because I suspect it was the only direction we had the strength to travel ourselves. So we reversed our path through the temple and by luck we heard her screaming. She had been located and bound by the wight-torturer who was preparing for his first fresh victim in many years.
Luckily our company still had enough fighting spirit remaining to overcome the wight and to rescue Amalia.
We returned to the Shadowcaster, where we knew that we would spend a few days resting. Not wishing for another incident like the one at Wyvern Isle, (where we were attacked by angry spirits for disturbing their tomb), we instructed the crew to sail the ship about the tribal islands we were near.
When our strength returned, we paid a visit to the village of Nox, which was said to be populated by cannibals. We confirmed that they were indeed headhunters by the ornaments they kept, and we exchanged in a dialog with them where we learned that our adventures have had several wide ranging effects on the native peoples.
Firstly, we learned that "The Boar," a wereboar mage whose compound we had raided previously, was seeking out our party for retribution. He had sent an envoy to Deimos because of rumors that we might be found there or that the inhabitants would know more about us.
Secondly, the dwarf-keep northeast of Deimos had certainly been affected by my leaving of the Scepter of Strife. The magic had attracting two dragons, one of which was presumably the red dragon rumored to have lived on the western side of Collosi Island. The surviving wyrm destroyed what was left of the dwarfs and apparently settled in since it was also known that it set a ship ablaze in the sea nearby.
Thirdly, dwarf refugees had made their way to Deimos. We can only assume that our party would not be welcomed with open arms into that village at present.
The village elder, a matriarch, asked about the destruction of the dwarf hold. Eamon the bard related the tale to the audience, but his telling was quite flat. I decided that it was imperative we impress these people, considering they were cannibals and that they could betray us to The Boar, so I used a bit of magic to immobilize a number of their warriors in pain (a spell developed especially by myself), and shouted for Revloth, my dragon, to come to me.
Before releasing them, I told the matriarch that I chose not to hurt them but that it was quite within the power of the spell to do so if I had wished it. (I exaggerated the effect of my spell which may only cause pain, but which may not truly harm.)
Upon releasing them, I took command of the negotiations, and there is something intoxicating about power, which I admit goes a bit to my head. I told them that we had selected them because they were obviously the strongest village, and that we could make them even stronger. They were a poor people, but what they wanted most was metal. We could supply them with arms enough for their entire tribe.
What we will do with them, I don't know. We allowed two of them to accompany us back to Tam in order to impress them with the wealth of our own culture.
Sparrow, a former assassin, seemed fine with this turn of events, but the rest of the party is a little uncomfortable with an alliance with the cannibal tribe.
Upon arrival in Tam, we learned that it would be quite difficult to gather all the weapons we need for the tribe in a short period, so our next voyage is to the Imperial City, where we can purchase the remainder quick enough.
- Excerpt, Field Notes of Corwyn Mor, Volume II