After cleansing the Salt Mines of The Village of Tommen, Sir Bruce and Octavius had found a strange red glowing circle of runes that Felicity Briarpatch had explained was a magical portal – a teleportation circle leading to another place. Bruce and Octavius bravely transported through the magic circle to the other side. They found themselves deep below the earth in a natural tunnel of solid rock with a sandy ground. They followed the tunnel to a larger cave filled with fresh water and a boardwalk made from wooden planks. It was dark save for strategically placed urns of burning charcoal on the boardwalk. Between that light and the light of Talon, the huge hulking form of a giant ship was seen moored in the cove. Talon’s light illuminated the name of the boat on the ship’s prow – The Plundering Madness.
Bruce spotted 2 grimlocks guarding on end of the boardwalk and 2 others guarding the other end. The two paladins moved swiftly towards them. Octavius fired his heavy crossbow from distance and landed a bolt in the shoulder of a grimlock. Bruce cut down the other grimlock with two sift slashes of Talon while Octavius hurled two javelins. Both found their mark the first in a grimlocks hip and the second in his chest. The first two grimlocks were dead, but the other two were soon upon them. After a quick melee, the second two grimlocks were also dispatched.
Sir Bruce moved down the boardwalk towards the entrance gangplank leading to The Plundering Madness. Suddenly a boulder came hurtling out of the darkness to the south just past Sir Bruce’s head to smash into the cave wall into tiny pieces that splashed into the water below.
A deep voice rang out through the cavern. ‘All right. That’s enough. Those Grimlocks belonged to Captain Flense. Who are you and what are you doing here?’
Sir Bruce answered telling the mysterious hidden figure his name and that they were investigating trouble in The Village of Tommen. All the while Bruce moved closer and closer towards a campfire on the southern sandy beach. Finally the light of Talon revealed a huge giant with skin of stone. There were 3 different stone sculptures littered about the campfire. A drow, a spider, and a giant mushroom all carved out of solid rock. He leaned into the light and began to parlay with Sir Bruce. Octavius asked the giant if his master was Skarloch. The voice rumbled with laughter briefly and replied no. His master was Captain Flense Shagath of The Plundering Madness and he would want to have a word or two with them both. He introduced himself as Mica Granitegrinder and revealed that he knew Skarloch who was a business associate of his master Captain Flense.
But before Sir Bruce could get any additional information from parlay, Octavius finally drew close enough that he too came into the light next to Sir Bruce. Mica Granitegrinder seemed to snap to attention as he stared at Octavius in seeming disbelief. The huge stone giant’s gaze lingered on the huge axe that Octavius carried. Micah’s tone turned dark indeed as he spoke hatred filled his voice, ‘I know that axe. It is TitanCleaver – The Green Scythe – slayer of my people! Deceiver! You will pay dearly for wielding such a weapon.I will tear you apart.’
The huge stone giant stormed towards the pair of humans. But did not have quite enough speed to close the gap. Octavius sprang forward and closed the distance. He cast a spell to grant himself advantage on attacks and began to swing TitanCleaver in huge arcs. Each swing sliced deep into Mica Granitegrinder’s stone body. Sir Bruce moved into a flanking position and Talon found its mark as well. But the giant had eyes only for Octavius and his cursed giant slaying weapon. He gripped his huge stone hammer tightly in his hands, lifted it over his head, and brought it crashing down with all his might onto Octavius. The mighty blow staggered the paladin, but he kept his feet. Then Micah spun around aiming his hammer at Octavius’s head. The paladin ducked just at the last second as the huge stone head of the hammer whistled over him missing its mark.
The two knights pressed the attack. Sir Bruce and Octavius both landed powerful strikes against Mica Granitegrinder who struggled and was even knocked prone by the magic of TitanCleaver – The Green Scythe. The giant struggled to his feet, obviously mortally wounded, but fighting on. Every attack was focused on Octavius but Sir Bruce was able to intercede protecting him with his shield. But some of the attacks made it through. Blood trickled down the split lip of Octavius, but he fought on finally delivering the killing blow that smashed the stone giant to pieces.
Sir Bruce called upon Tyr to heal Octavius wounds and they walked up the gangplank and finally set foot on The Plundering Madness. They saw a set of double doors leading into a room in both the aft and forecastle sections of the ship. The aft set of doors suddenly opened and out strode a short 4 foot tall humanoid in black plate armor beautifully etched with purple filigree, pentagrams, and goat heads. He had smooth dark blue skin contrasted by a shock of white hair and a long braided mustache. A deadly looking black spear etched in purple flames was gripped loosely in his small hand and his pale white pupiless eyes seemed to stare in quite an unsettling manner.
The small knight like creature began to speak in a condescending and mocking tone, ‘So holy men have come aboard The Plundering Madness.’ The knight gave a little bow and a formal salute. ‘My name is Dodrak Darkwhisper.’ Dodrak paused looking Sir Bruce and Octavius up an down before continuing in an even harsher tone, ‘Tyr the Just God? Just Queer more like… And Hoar the Doombringer? Son of a Whore I say. ’ Dodrak Darkwhisper jeered at the two knights as he began to shake and his eyes widened with the look of madness. ’The Black Goat of the Woods is the only true god!Renounce your false idols or be sacrificed to His Holy Shadow.’
Sir Bruce shouted his reply, ‘Never!’ But Dodrak Darkwhisper glanced over the side of the ship to look down at the body of Mica Granitegrinder. The small derro knight began to shake throughout his little body but spoke clearly and calmly, ‘Micah will be avenged.’ The derro whistled and ran forward. With a wave of his left hand everything went silent and everything went black. Surrounded by darkness and silence spell effects, Octavius went total defense, hoping to ward off any incoming attacks. Sir Bruce was not deterred. He called upon the power of his fey sword Talon and called forth 60 feet radius of bright light. The magical light pierced the darkness and illuminated the deck. Sir Bruce saw the two knights were surrounded by 4 grimlocks who were clearly not affected by the darkness since they were blind. He moved to be back to back with Octavius.
Dodrak Darkwhisper pointed his black spear at the two knights and spoke a word. A flash of light streaked out from the tip to strike the deck of the ship and explode into a bright flash of a fireball. Octavius and Sir Bruce grimaced and opened their mouths in pain but no sound was produced by either the fireball or them as the silence was still in place. After the fireball went off, the 4 grimlocks swept in to attack. But the two knights were ready. They staved off the attacks and struck back with precise and deadly blows to the grimlocks. The creatures did not last long as they fell before the two human paladin’s viscous sword and axe attacks. But then Dodrak moved and and began to wield his spear with swift acumen. His deadly spear cut deep into flesh but also into the soul doing additional necrotic damage. Octavius hit the derro shadow antipaladin only to be hellishly rebuked by flames which engulfed him in retribution. A shield of faith protected the derro from all attacks. But Octavius managed to land a few on the derro. The dark knight responded by hitting back hard and unleashing a wrathful smite upon Octavius for psychic damage and a frightened effect. But the fear melted away before the steadfastness of the paladin who was immune to it. The horrific melee continued in macabre utter silence with Sir Bruce and Octavius surrounding Dodrak Darkwhisper and him trying to move to a less vulnerable position. He fought hard but eventually was laid low by the teamwork of the two knights and their enchanted weaponry.
Sir Bruce entered the aft double doors and found a bunkhouse of sorts with strung hammocks and footlockers. There were also two side rooms filled with chests. The chests were filled with copper and silver coins and a strange finely crafted leather backpacks. Sir Bruce cast detect magic and found Dodrak’s spear and the backpack to be enchanted. After some experimentation, Octavius found the backpack could hold much more than it seemed. He wound up pouring 705 copper coins and 4,000 silver coins into the backpack and seemed to weigh as light as it had empty. Octavius dragged the body of Dodrak Darkwhisper and the grimlocks into the aft section and closed the double doors to keep them out of view.
Sir Bruce then opened the double doors to the forecastle section of the ship and saw a beautifully decorated room – clearly the captain’s quarters. And sitting at his desk was Captain Flense Shagath himself. The mind flayer turned and rose from his seat. His mauve skin glistened from the light of Talon. He wore a hat with a large white plume of a feather and black eyepatch over one eye. The slimy tentacles on the front of his face quivered as he spoke directly inside the minds of each of the knights. ‘Who are you and what are you doing here?’ Captain Flense demanded.
Throwing parlay to the wind Sir Bruce charged forward to attack the evil creature but it was faster. A sharp white pain erupted inside the heads of both Sir Bruce and Octavius as the mind blast rocked them both backwards. Blood began to spill from both of their ears as the throbbing pressure exploded behind their eyes. Octavius lurched backwards and began to froth at the mouth being stunned and completely overcome by the mind blast. Sir Bruce somehow managed to shake it off and pressed the attack. Talon sliced into the illithid.
But the creature floated around to get next to the stunned Octavius. Captain Flense suddenly lurched forward and latched onto Octavius head with his tentacles. The suction cups began fastened hard onto the man’s skull and a terrible sucking sound foretold of the horrific brain extraction that was to come. But before the illithid captain could remove Octavius’ brain for consumption, Sir Bruce rushed forward with his shield and pushed the mind flayer backwards breaking the grasp of its tentacles on Octavius.
The illithid stared intently at Sir Bruce and the knight felt him inside his mind. He tried to resist but suddenly lost all control of his body. He was charmed and completely dominated by Captain Flense Shagath. Sir Bruce felt himself shut away into a tiny corner of his mind while the rest of his brain and body seemed completely out of his control. Octavius finally shook off the stunned effect of the mind blast and saw Sir Bruce standing in front of the illithid captain explaining who they were and why they had come. Clearly the mind flayer had some sort of control over the knight because his posture was one of friend and not foe towards the captain. Octavius knew he had to break that control somehow. He spun around and brought his axe down hard on the mind flayer calling on Hroar to add a powerful smite to the swing. The blow cut deep into Captain Flense and it was hard enough that it broke his concentration on controlling Sir Bruce’s mind.
Sir Bruce attacked and got a nice hit in on the illithid captain as well before it once again unleashed a devastating mind blast that stunned both men and caused Octavius to fall unconscious from the damage to his mind. The poor knight had tried to ready a potion of psychic protection but had been unable to drink it before all of the psychic damage. Now the two men were completely at the mercy of Captain Flense Shagath. The mind flayer once again grasped Octavius head in his tenatcles and began to extract his brain when out of the shadows jumped Max who sunk his teeth into the hip of the illithid captain.
Sir Bruce then once again managed to shake off the stunning effects of the mind blast and managed to shield rush the mind flayer and push him away from Octavius once more. Then he thrust Talon deep into the midsection of the creature. Captain Flense Shagath looked at Sir Bruce and then at Max and hesitated it was clear the mind flayer was gravely wounded. Sir Bruce heard a voice speak directly in his mind, ‘You are powerful foes but I shall return.’ And with that he suddenly vanished. Sir Bruce rushed forward to the space he had occupied but he was truly gone. He must have teleported or some other form of travel. Sir Bruce quickly called upon the power of Tyr to heal Octavius wounds. Likewise once he was back up, Octavius called on the power of Hroar to heal Sir Bruce’s wounds.
The two knights began to investigate the captain’s quarters. They found chests filled with coins (4,390 sp, 2,700 gp, and 80 pp). A carved bone statue of a naked drow woman (25 GP) was resting on top of a large map table. Maps and charts depicting a vast underground sea with many ports of call was stretched out on the desk. In a footlocker was a black velvet mask stitched with silver string (25 GP), A silver ewer (25 gp) was sitting on a table and filled with water. Another footlocker held fine golden robes (25 GP). A silver mirror set in a wooden frame hung on the wall (50 GP). A chest filled with 50 emeralds worth 10 GP each was also in one of the side rooms. Sir Bruce cast detect magic and found the following items radiated magic: 7 scrolls from the bookcase, a pearl in a small box, 3 potions in a velvet lined box, and a ring in a string leather pouch made from the hide of a very unusual animal.
A wooden desk had mostly documents written in a language that was not known by either of the knights. But 2 slips of paper were in fact written in the common tongue. The first was clearly a contract of some kind. It was dated three weeks ago and laid out a 66 day term. The contract spelled out 10 grimlocks, 3 Trolls, 4 Beholder Eyestalks, and a ritual scroll of spectator summoning was to be supplied to Skarloch by Captain Flense Shagath in exchange for a chest of 50 emeralds and 2/3 of the human prisoners captured from the Tommen Salt Mines. The other document in common was a list of the human prisoners from the attack on the Tommen Salt Mine. Six of the names were under the heading of belonging to Captain Flense Shagath. Four of these names Sir Bruce and Octavius recognized as belonging to the four human men they freed from the prison in the salt mine. The other two names listed under Captain Flense were not known to them. The document listed 3 names under the heading of belonging to Skarloch. Two of these names were not known. But one of them was. It was none other than Sir Bentley Dunlavey, the cousin of Duchess Fiona Falconhand. Sir Bruce had been given a hand written message to deliver to Sir Bentley Dunlavey on behalf of his cousin Lady Falconhand. Sir Bruce still has this message on his person as he has yet to meet Sir Bentley who was supposed to be living in The Village of Tommen.
The two knights decided to press on and explore the rest of The Plundering Madness. They descended down the stairs to the next level of below decks. There they found 6 grimlocks sleeping in a bunkhouse on stretched hammocks.