The following morning the company left for Taygle’s End. Osric spent most of the journey discussing future possibilities in Taygle’s End with Lady Ostryd. The company agreed that they could utilize the Monastery as a stronghold for the forces of The Tarchoony Brotherhood. Furthermore, as a reward for freeing her from the Frog Cult Dungeon Osric, Zelik and Zephyros were each awarded a land grant that should each yield 25gp per month. Lady Ostryd also left open the possibility for Osric to administrate the church and study within the town of Taygle’s End. Many more details were left to work out and time will tell what will come of these opportunities. Soon the town was on the horizon and Zephyros stated, “Men!” addressing his retinue. “Please accompany me to Thane Garnier’s residence so we may return his wand and thank him for his assistance.” While his men waited in the courtyard Zephyros requested admission and greeted Thane Garnier with a smile, “We were successful thanks to your help.”
“Ah, found the items useful?” Thane Garnier replied.
“Indeed, the potion of heroism and the scroll of minor globe of invulnerability helped turn the final battle our way. The wand also helped decide a pitched battle with a well-timed lightning bolt,” replied Zephyros. With that he handed the wand back to Thane Garnier, who smiled back at Zephyros.
“I had a feeling you would be victorious. Tell me more about the Frog Cult,” Thane Garnier requested. The two went into details describing everything from the creatures encountered to the layout of the labyrinth.
“What do you make of these?” Zephyros asked as he pulled out the three frog-shaped electrum amulets with three eyes of blue spinels and translucent topaz.
“Hrmmmm,” Thane Garnier uttered as he eyed the amulets warily. “I would like to study these if you do not mind, could I have them for a week.”
Zephyros answered, “Sure, just be careful they radiate evil. Also, we came across some spells during our adventure and I was wondering if you would like to trade with each other so we may improve our repertoires.”
Thane Garnier replied, “On a two for one basis, I’ll agree. We can perform the exchange here in my library.”
Zephyros began reviewing Thane Garnier’s spell book, “A very nice collection sir!” He took mental note of the spells including:
First Level: Burning Hands, Unseen Servant, Detect Magic, Chameleon, Magic Mouth and Ventriloquism
Second Level: Alter Self, Hypnotic Pattern, Necromantic Potence, Knock, Web and Detect Invisible
Third Level: Dispel Magic, Enervate, Gaseous Form and Skinchange
“Please begin your study of the amulets. Our company will be departing for Hewflore in a week, I’ll check back with you before we depart. Upon our return we’ll complete our exchange. Thank you for the opportunity, I am in your service,” Zephyros stated. Later that week Zephyros would meet back up with Thane who explained to him that the amulets were evil and appeared to the souls of the fallen. These souls appeared to charge the amulets to what end he did not know. Certainly the amulets are evil and could be destroyed with a Dispel Magic spell, that way the precious materials that made up the amulets could be sold without harm to the recipient.
The remaining time the company spent in Taygle’s End was administrative in nature. Zephyros paid and released Fionnbharr having taken an interest in Cenwulf’s intellect and potential for the craft. Fionnbharr requested to accompany The Tarchoony Brotherhood back to Hewflore, a decision he would later regret. The remaining henchmen of Zephyros were squared up with and all were eager to make it back to Hewflore to spend some of their hard earned cash. Zephyros asked Dudda, “Would you mind keeping an eye on the lad?” referring to Wilmar the abused lad discovered on the upper level of the Cultist Dungeon.
“Sure thing boss!” Dudda replied.
Zephyros went on to explain, “I can tell he looks up to you and he seems to show some potential in your line of work. Perhaps he’ll want to depart once we reach Hewflore, but considering he doesn’t have any parents and where we found him, he may just decide to accompany us. I’m ok with that assuming you don’t mind keeping him out of trouble.”
Dudda answered, “I know what you mean boss. I’ll keep an eye on the lad. He’s had a rough go thus far, it’s a shame. I think we’re as close to family has he’s got, so I’d hate to abandon him unless that’s what he wants to do.”
Zephyros sighed, “Very well.”
Zephyros also met with Nore of the Master Boater’s guild. Apparently trade has been abysmal considering both the cultists and the pirate menace. Both men agreed to discuss ways to open trade further in the area upon the company’s return to Taygle’s End.
After spending a week in Taygle’s End The Tarchoony Brotherhood loaded up their flotilla of fishing boats and canoes and started making their way to Hewflore. They followed the shoreline as recommended by both Athelwine and Zephyros. Camp was made the first evening along the shoreline. After starting a fire and cooking supper the company turned in. During the third watch Dudda heard something that alerted him; the snapping of a twig followed by a muffled curse. He nudged Henryk and pointed to the shore as he yelled, “To Arms!” Henryk grabbed a burning log out of the fire and threw it as hard as he could towards the approaching brigands, but alas the fire did not carry with it.
“We’ve been made!” exclaimed one of the pirates as they charged towards the party. Within moments a mad melee ensued. Henryk, Ansger, Fionnbharr, Haakon, Osric, Zelik and Altan attempted to make a line. But it was apparent the brotherhood was severely outnumbered; the line would not prevent all of the pirates from breaking through. The next rank consisted of Athelwine, Emyr, Gizim, Zephyros, Xenocrates, Dudda and six crossbowmen. Cenwulf, Wilburg, Godric and Wilmar were in the rear attempting to stay out of the fight entirely.
Fionnbharr let loose with a Weallack battle cry and charged forth deep into their ranks, impaling two of the pirates before he was lost in the sea of bandits. “Hold the line!” yelled Zelik. The first wave of enemies washed upon the front line of the champions, no more fell but Henryk and Osric were both injured. The front line of the Tarchoony Brotherhood gave better then they received, but they were being overwhelmed and pirates were getting through.
Godric and Gizim finished their light spells which illuminated the battlefield. The grim news was now apparent; the company was outnumbered three to one. As the archers let loose their arrows, Xenocrates finished his Summon Berserkers spell; three of them were destroyed before they could swing an axe. Zephyros was slashed with a sword causing him to lose his concentration, “Kill this one!” Zephyros exclaimed pointing to the pirate who had just slashed his arm.
A moment later a sword erupted through the pirate’s chest as Dudda emerged from behind the pirate, “I got you covered boss, don’t you worry!”
“Thanks Dudda!” Zephyros chuckled as he began casting again. Clearly The Tarchoony Brotherhood was in peril of being overrun, had The Maker forsaken them? Not yet, as the momentum shifted as the initiative was seized by the brotherhood.
The front line and archers erupted in quick succession creating a wave of pirate death the likes of which the poor raiders had never seen before. They went from outnumbering the company threefold to being less than even in mere moments. To add to their exposure Zephyros put a few under a Sleep spell and Xenocrates finished summoning more berserkers. The call to retreat came from the pirate leader only to be met with Osric’s booming voice, “Charge!” The pirate leader and sergeant ran down the shoreline as the remainder dropped their weapons and surrendered. Full pursuit was given with the Berserkers leading the way.
After closing the gap the pirate Captain was met in melee with the Berserkers who hewed into him like cord wood. As the company neared the skirmish the Captain disappeared into a fog like mist that we have seen before, his belongings fell to the earth and in the darkness the mist could not be tracked.
“He’ll leave this world the way he came into it, naked and crying!” Athelwine snorted as Dudda went through his belongings.
“Grab his belongings and we’ll burn what we don’t want, he’ll not make it out of here alive naked as a jaybird,” Osric added.
Upon returning to the camp Godric was beside the body of Fionnbharr who had a massive wound that had damaged his heart and lungs. He was cleaning the wound and stopping the bleeding. “He’s going to need some healing prayers from The Maker Osric,” stated Godric. “He’s very close to death and if he does pull through I’m afraid he’ll never be quite the same.”
“Aye, his fighting days are over from the looks of it,” Osric replied as he knelt down and started praying for Fionnbharr.
Zephyros yelled, “Gather up all the useful items, strip the bodies and burn what we don’t need. Tie up the prisoners they are going to Hewflore with us. How many boats did they have? Anyone know?”
Dudda replied, “Six boss, nice ones too! Not those leaky fishing boats we got.”
Zephyros smiled, “Excellent, a Captain needs a ship, or at least so they say. Let’s get them ready to sail, we’re sitting ducks out here.” Within an hour The Tarchoony Brotherhood was on the water bound for Hewflore.