Serpent's Skull

All Aboard!
And So It Begins...

Our companions’ journey begins normal enough…none of the members necessarily aware that they will become a band of adventurers, if not friends, in the days, months, and years to come.

It was a bright and clear day when three strangers boarded the Jenivere in the city of Cheliax. One an armored man of few words, another robed man with a more open face, and finally a young woman clothed in brown and green with an adolescent axe-beak in tow. With the other passengers of the ship not exactly offering up conversation or camaraderie the three unknowingly band together and soon get to know one another somewhat as the voyage gets underway.

A few days out to sea and on a clear night events on the ship known as Jenivere took a turn for the worst. All the passengers aboard the ship entered the mess room as normal, grudgingly accepting their bowl of watery, anemic soup served up by the cook, and sat down on the worn benches to eat. All were used to the sight of one of the sailors leaving the room with a portion of the night’s meal rationed out for the prisoner Jask, but still all eyes seemed to linger on and follow the sailor as he left the room, the door abruptly closing out the nighttime smell of the sea. This was the last that any of Jenivere’s known passengers remember of that eventful night.

Awakened by blinding sunlight and coarse sand choking his throat and nose, Martigan the dragoon finds himself somewhat in the middle of an unusual situation, or at least unusual in the sense that he last thought he was safe on board a ship out to sea. Feeling a sharp pinch to his right arm Martigan instinctively punches out and into a disturbingly large crab-like creature, noticing at the same time that a stranger is sitting next to him enveloped in a tattered robe and seemingly screaming with no sound emitting from her mouth. Martigan slowly rises at the same time as the new stranger, a look of quizzical curiosity coming across his face as he notices the stranger has a green tinge to her skin, thus further cementing in his mind that he had not seen this woman on board the Jenivere. At this same moment Enid the druid finds that a crab-like creature of her own is also pinching and pulling at her arm. Without wasting a moment to even think about it she quickly swats the creature away and stand up to survey the situation. Laying in various positions around her are the other passengers of the Jenivere, all save one, the scholarly woman, and with a new addition, a green-skinned woman wearing robes. Having little time to let her suspicions grow concerning the passengers, Enid turns to see what exactly it was that pinched her awake. Relaxing slightly she is relieved to find that the creatures are actually Eurypterids, well known vermin of the sea that act as scavengers.

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With Cecil now fully awake and moving as well the three companions (Cecil, Martigan, and Enid) all reach the pile of gear laying at the far end of the still prone bodies of the other passengers. Upon reaching the pile however, the three travelers are somewhat taken aback when they see that someone else is already at the pile and rifling through it rather hurriedly. Before anyone can question the stranger though the encroaching eurypterids make their move! Between the four of them the group is able to easily cut down the three smaller creatures(due in no small part to the heroics of Martigan![edited by Martigan]), leaving just the larger specimen to be dealt with. Moving to within striking distance Cecil raises his weapon and is about to land a blow when yet another stranger seemingly appears from nowhere and fells the beast with an impressive bolt of light shot from his hands! With the vermin now dealt with the strangely small and cloaked stranger moves to the now slowly rising other passengers of the ship ensuring that they are alive and mostly well, once content with the state of the other passengers he turns back to the four standing behind him and introduces himself as well as explaining how he came to find them.

“My name is Iss, I was camped out not far from here last night when a resounding crash drew my attention. I came out onto the beach in time to see a figure, the 1st mate of your vessel, dragging bodies up to the shore. I was able to question the 1st mate about how it came to be that your vessel had crashed upon the rocks. In the brief amount time we were able to talk he informed me that himself and the Captain had come to some sort of disagreement that then turned into a struggle culminating with the wreckage.”

Throughout all of Iss’ explanation Enid could not help but watch the other stranger suspiciously as she continued to rummage around in the pile of gear. Finally no longer content with the stranger’s apparent lack of words Enid bluntly asks for her name. Caught somewhat by surprise the stranger begrudgingly states that her name is “Lul Agon-Ob, or just Lul.” Silence grows between Enid and Lul as the two simply watch one another untrustingly. Deciding that there really isn’t much for it, but to accept the recent additions to the group, Cecil and Martigan move into the remaining passengers of the vessel, stopping in front of the prisoner who still surprisingly has his manacles on.

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Cecil immediately moves to break the man’s bonds, but Martigan holds out a hand and suggests that learning a bit more about why this man is in shackles would be wise. Nodding in agreement everyone gathered awaits patiently to hear Jask’s tale. In short order Jask explains he was once employed by the Sargavan government, but when he uncovered corruption involving illicit deals with the Free Captains of the Shackles, and confronted his superior he was betrayed and framed and subsequently faced with imprisonment.

Watching and listening to the man carefully the companions decide that his story is believable and decide to try to remove the man’s bonds. Unfortunately they are crafted from mithril and much beyond the scope of the companions’ current ability to break. Jask does remember however that the key was kept in the Captain’s quarters on the ship; deciding that if luck is indeed in their favor they could very well find the key in the Captain’s quarters the companions decide to set out for the wreckage of the ship. Iss insists that everyone come and start making themselves at home at his small campsite before leaving for the ship though.

Upon reaching the small man’s campsite Enid is a little surprised to see very few signs of actual habitation. Instead there are only small indents in the vegetation where the man must have sat or laid…and nothing else aside from his meager belongings. Looking at her fellow companions she is relieved to notice that she is not the only one to have taken notice of this small detail. Not wanting to interrogate the man quite yet, Cecil, Martigan, Enid, and Lul all follow Iss out of the campsite and toward the ship, leaving the other passengers to set up camp. As they make their way down the beach most of the companions can’t help but notice that the weather is getting exceptionally hot and humid. Martigan however continues to trudge on refusing to give in to the heat while Iss remains completely and fully cloaked. Enid adds this suspicious behavior to her list of others forming up in her head, most especially since even Lul had since removed her hooded cloak, her shining green skin glaringly out in the open now. Slipping and sliding out across the rocks (a rather embarrassing venture for both Martigan and Lul) the companions finally find themselves at the ship wreckage. The companions enter the remains of the ship, pausing briefly to glance at one another as a horrendous crashing and clacking noise rises from the bowels of the ship.

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“There is most likely a very large eurypterid down there…” Iss states quietly to everyone. Deciding to take their chances the companions begin to explore further into the ship wreckage.

Entering the Captain’s quarters all that can initially be discerned are some useful supplies and a desk. Searching through the desk the companions find several keys and the Captain’s Log which Enid pockets for later reading. Cecil finds one last drawer locked and after a small amount of effort and time is able to open the drawer, finding a variety of potions and a rather curious key that could very well be for Jask’s manacles. Before leaving for another room however, the companions locate what appears to be Jask’s gear piled in one corner. Deciding to pack that up as well the companions head into the next available room.

This room proves to have been the larder of the ship, and while initially only taking in the provisions present in the room the companions are aghast to see the dead body of the cook lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Looking a little closer Enid points out that there is a large snake bite wound on the man. Looking around Lul nervously offers up that she thinks she might know who or what did this. The night of the wreck and the Captain’s fight with the 1st mate she thinks that she saw a snake woman moving about the quarters, but that it could have been a trick of the light. Iss offers up that there is in fact a race of serpent people native to this area and that they are poisonous and master of disguise. A little bit more on edge the group moves into the next and last room available for exploration, the supply room.

This room has blood all over the floor, and Iss explains that this is where he an the 1st mate holed themselves up against the eurypterid. With nothing much else in the room of interest the companions gather up various supplies necessary to make-up camp and then head back out to Iss’ campsite. Making their way across the beach they notice that it is even hotter out than before, as if that were possible. All the companions are unhooded and uncloaked save for Iss, which both Enid and Lul note as an oddity.

Finally reaching the campsite Cecil immediately unlocks Jask’s manacles and returns his gear to him, much to the gratitude of the cleric. After much thanking Jask mentions that one of the incriminating papers he had found indicated that one of his superior’s contacts in the Shackles was a man known as Avret Kinkarian and that the man’s ship the “Brine Demon” was reputedly wrecked on Smuggler’s Shiv. Knowing its a long shot Jask requests that the companions keep an eye out for the ship in hopes of tracking down more information. Ensuring him that they will definitely keep it on the radar the companions bend to the task of finishing up camp.

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