Continuing to Explore the area below decks on The Plundering Madness, Sir Bruce and Octavius had come upon a large room filled with hammocks strung up for the sleeping chip’s crew. There were 5 grimlocks sleeping quietly with a door on the opposite side of the room. Sir Bruce tried to creep quietly into the crew’s quarters but tripped on a footlocker and bumped into one of the sleeping grimlocks. The creature roused and yelled ‘Kern! Kern!’. The other grimlocks awoke, got up, and joined the chant of ‘Kern! Kern!’.
The the large double doors on the opposite side of the room burst open and standing in the doorway was a huge minotaur. He was wearing a blood stained apron and carrying a huge butcher’s cleaver. Seeing the two knights, the mighty minotaur yelled ‘I am Kern of Clan Gerr, galleymaster of The Plundering Madness. You dare to disrespect me and this crew by sneaking aboard the ship? I will tear your arms off and feed them to the fishes!’ And with that Kern of Clan Gerr charged past the Grimlocks and lowered his horns into Sir Bruce. Bruce managed to get his shield up but was driven back into the other room and smashed against the wall through a weapon rack.
Sir Bruce could smell the hot breath of Kern in his face. He shoved forward with his shield but could not dislodge the huge creature as it brought the big meat cleaver down to cut through Sir Bruce’s armor and into his shoulder. The Grimlocks followed in the wake of Kern’s charge to swarm out and surround Octavius. With flanking one or two of the spiked clubs got in a lucky hit and managed to wound Octavius. Octavius spun around and landed two deft bows with his axe lopping the head off one of the Grimlocks and cutting off the leg of another. Both fell to the ground and bled out. Sir Bruce finally regained some of his composure and managed to twist free of Kern.
The two exchanged some brutal blows with Octavius finally coming in and cutting down the Minotaur with some viscous swings of TitanCleaver – The Green Scythe. With the battle won, the two knights healed each other as best they could and continued exploring the ship. Beyond the sleeping quarters they found a large galley where the ships meals were prepared by the galleymaster, Kern of Clan Gerr. In a side chamber there was a footlocker with a huge suit of minotaur sized ceremonial armor. The two knights took the chest of armor.
One level below in the lowest level, the knights found the ship’s hold filled with trade goods. There were 3 crates filled with Tommen Pink Salt, 4 barrels of red wine bearing the seal of ‘Krest Farms Vineyard’ which Sir Bruce recognized as being near The Village of Tommen, and 4 sacks of flour. It seemed that all of these trade goods had come from The Village of Tommen. There were other trade goods from strange places. Six crates were filled with strange underdark mushrooms gathered from the fungi forests. Three crates were filled with bolts of spidersilk cloth. Some crates held large pieces of strange leather from some sort of unknown cattle. Others contained an odd cheese that was similar to cows milk but much danker in smell. There were two huge barrels of fresh water and some other barrels with strange markings on them in a language that the knights were unable to understand.
Sir Bruce opened one of the barrels and found a green slimy substance inside that suddenly surged out of the barrel and all over him. The green slime was acidic and corrosive to his armor and his skin. The only way he could get the slime off of himself was to swing his enchanted sword Talon and hit the slime and hit himself at the same time. He hurt himself but in so doing managed to scrape the green slime off his person. Sir Bruce tossed the remains of the slime and the barrel down a hatch in the floor that led to the water below the ship. He also threw the remaining barrels with similar markings down the hatch.
The next set of barrels contained ocher jellies which attacked the two knights. Every time Sir Bruce or Octavius would strike at them with their slashing weapons, the jellies would divide into two smaller creatures and continue to attack. Pseudo-pods emitted from the ocher jellies smashed into the knights for bludgeoning and acid damage. But eventually the jellies were destroyed.
Searching the rest of the below decks area revealed an area that seemed to be the room of Mica Granitegrinder. There were two large blocks of stone – one marble and the other granite. Another large piece of granite had been sculptured down into the form of a large burly and bald human man wrestling with a lion. The statue was beautifully done and the artist clearly gifted.
With The Plundering Madness secured, the two knights discussed what to do next. There was talk of setting sail using the navigational charts that were found and exploring the underdark sea. It was obvious that this ship needed a crew to sail and neither of the two knights had any boating experience. There were a number of small row boats topside on the ship that could be deployed and would have been usable by the knights. But they did not think rowing across vast distances in an underground sea was safe. Sir Bruce wanted to be sure that the boat was cuttled so that it could no longer be used for slaving by Captain Flense Shagath should he return for his boat.
So the two knights took one of the row boats and dragged it all the way up to the magical portal and brought it back through to the salt mine of Tommen. Then they went back through the portal with some barrels of oil. They spilled the oil all over the below decks and lit the ship ablaze. They watched as the entire ship burnt down to an empty black husk. Satisfied they returned to the salt mines of Tommen and asked Jarik Goth to build a wall with two sturdy doors sealing off the dead end tunnel which contained the portal to the Underdark. It took the dwarf and his men several hours of work but they constructed a very solid 5 foot thick wall of stone with two locked solid iron doors on either side.
The two knights asked the dwarf to set two men on watch on the doors and to tell them immediately if anything came through them. They then went with Felicity Briarpatch back to her grove to take their rest in the forest. They had been badly wounded and needed to rest, heal, and pray for guidance. After spending some hours studying the magic items found on The Plundering Madness, they identified them as follows:
Heward’s Haversack – Octavius
Inferno – The Spear of Immolation – Sir Bruce
Scroll of Protection from Undead – Octavius
Spell Scrolls: dispel magic, lightning bolt, identify, magic missile, invisibility, detect magic – Octavius
Potions: Fire Resistance, Electricity Resistance, Fire Giant Strength – Sir Bruce
Pearl of Power – Octavius
Ring of Water Walking – Sir Bruce
The Master Treasure List was updated.
Later the next morning Sir Bruce and Octavius breakfasted with Bressard Montaine at the observatory. They filled him in on their further investigations and asked if he might be able to try and read some of the documents they had found in the quarters of Captain Flense Shagath. He was not able to do so without aid, but let Sir Bruce borrow an enchanted monocle he owned that would allow the wearer to read any language. Sir Bruce thanked Bressard Montaine and the scholar invited them back to his observatory this evening so that he could finally show Sir Bruce his telescope that he had remarked he wanted to see.
Later that day they inspected the work of Jarik Goth’s wall building in the salt mines and then retreated to the The Standing Stones to check on Felicity Briarpatch. She had made two potions of greater healing – one for each of them and sold them for 100 GP each. Sir Bruce used his Monocle of Read Languages to look over the documents recovered from the desk of Captain Flense Shagath. He was able to find the captain’s log and learned that it was Skarloch who had reached out to Captain Flense Shagath. The two had met 20 years ago when Skarloch was summoned by a drow wizard and was bound to a task that included the help of Captain Flense Shagath and the crew of The Plundering Madness. Skarloch apparently had a new human master now and contacted Captain Flense 3 weeks ago through a magical sending to broker a deal for his help. The Plundering Madness sailed to a secret cove known by both Skarloch and Flense that they had used together during their previous work with the drow. There they found Skarloch and a magical teleportation circle he had crafted that led to the salt mines of Tommen. Skarloch negotiated a contract with Captain Flense. The ten grimlocks and 3 trolls were used by Skarloch to secure the salt mines and capture 9 humans. Captain Flense had 6 of them and Skarloch took 3 of them away to some other location. From the journal writings it appears that Captain Flense Shagath was planning to harvest the brains of the humans and use the blocks of solid Tommen Pink Salt in a special process that turned them into salted brains. Apparently this is an exquisite delicacy for mind flayers. Captain Flense was planning on making huge profits selling the salted brains in Oryndoll. He had also collected some trade goods from Mzfelt that he was planning on selling as well.
Later that evening the two Knights of Tethyr once again called on Bressard Montaine at his observatory to finally see his telescope. On the way upstairs the two ran into Bressard’s daughter Persephone Montaine who was very happy to be home thanks to Sir Bruce.
Bressard went on about the telescope at great length and allowed both Sir Bruce and Octavius to gaze at the stars through it. They were both amazed and fascinated by how close the stars looked.
He then dismissed his guard and both knights noticed that the guard locked the door behind him. Bressard Montaine then began to smile. He said the following.
This little ruse has gone on long enough. I have sent you again and again to your deaths but you refuse to die. It really is vexing. I am incredibly vexed. I have no choice but to make sure the deed is done myself. I cannot have you interfering in my plans any longer. It simply will not do. Please enjoy the company of my telescope for I myself have other matters to attend to. I think you will find it even more fascinating than you have so far. Good bye.
Bressard Montaine then suddenly vanished and his telescope began to move. It twisted with gears and steam into a monstrosity of metal. A huge hulking thing with bronze plates of armor, metal pincers and claws, strange glowing fiery orb like eyes, and nasty looking spikes moved menacingly towards Sir Bruce and Octavius.