The ship had been at sea over six months. Riley had been lead to believe that they should have found something, anything by now. They hadn’t. They had lost sight of their sister ships following a rather bad storm, but had been able to remain in contact via the “magic boxes” that had been provided by the guild, but the constant cloud cover made it near to impossible for the ships to coordinate returning to each other’s side, and on top of that The Mermaids Tail had not been in contact with them for multiple days now.
As if things weren’t bad enough the quartermaster, had informed him that he had found mold growing in several barrels of beans and would have to dispose of them. He found the source of the contamination to be water leaked from the fresh supply, and he felt as if the barrells had been broken intentionally, also there was a suspicious amount of beans, rice, and water missing from the effected barrels. Riley’s first thought was that it was the assistant QM, the dwarf Bootjack he called himself, as if that were a name. Dwarves were known to have a large appetite, and this one was a known thief, even if he had given up those ways… allegedly. The QM assured him that the dwarf wasn’t his culprit that he was “hard working stout soul, and honest to BOOT” he remembered the stupid grin on the QM’s face as he made his pun… no doubt he’d been saving that one up for some time.
He would have to have Hannik launch an investigation, his Stone Thorns were tough and disciplined. That was a man you could depend on to get things done. Riley always enjoyed their meetings, he appreciated the firm grasp on reality Hennik took on things. Very different from the mages with which he was forced to deal with regularly.
Speaking of the mages that was another problem altogether, because there weren’t enough already. The executive or “first mage” as he liked to call himself, had been acting strangely lately. Strange for Grenul Margan was most definitely a relative term, but nonetheless he was off. Captain Riley had seen this before in men that weren’t sailors on long voyages. Margan had taken to staying in his cabin and only coming out when official duties mandated he do so. He had removed himself from the watch rotations, and this had made him very unpopular amongst the crew. He was going to have to set that man straight very soon, once the real problems were resolved.
The ships bell began to ring, and the navigators assistant burst through the door. He could never remember the young mans name, wulfy? Wulfhat… Wulf… something, fuck it he thought.
“Wulf, what is the situation”. Wulf hurriedly explained that a burning ship had been spotted on the horizon, and requested orders. Riley thought for a moment.
“Only one ship?”
“Bring us to within 200 yards, and drop a smallboat, Have captain Hannik take a small compliment of men, volunteers preferably, if not have Crag help them find their courage and volunteer for them, also I want a mage over there, so tell Griffin he is volunteered, since he’s the only one I can afford to lose”.
The man dashed out the door. Wulfhelm, it popped into his head, of course, after the kid was gone.
He sighed and rubbed his temples, it was just going to be one of those days.
The party boarded the smoldering ship. A light layer of char covered the entire external area of the ship. A man with his skin charred had been crucified on the mainmast A red flag with a black star flew over his head. Hannik recognized it as the flag of the smallest guild joining the voyage south, The Black Star. They were a group known for their readiness to do anything shady from smuggling and black market sales, to assassinations and human trafficking. They were shrewd customers though as any charges levied against them fell flat before the council. Some believed that several guilds on the council used their services from time to time.
They searched the ship over and found nothing but the remnants of combat, a few hams, and a barrel of onions. They went down into the below decks area and could hear two things talking to each other in the dark. They were very odd voices and not human. They inched forward and found that several boards had been nailed across an angle to make a small, jail cell of sorts. After some trepidation the party moved forward and found that there were two goblins locked inside. Goblins do not exist in the northern lands so this was akin to meeting the boogeyman for the party. The goblins were in wretched shape and were starving and needed water as well. They did not free them and sent Blake back to verify what the skipper wanted to do. Upon returning Blake informed the rest of the group that the captain wanted them freed and brought aboard. They would be bound to the mainmast and questioned. They got off the Mermaid’s Tail just as it began to sink.
The ship set sail and began heading south again. After about a week heading south, they were assaulted by a large storm. Thunder and lightning pounded and slashed through the blackness of the night. The rain hammered the deck, with only those on watch above decks. Wulfhelm noticed 5 large pillars of stone a few hundred yards away from the ship. The propulsion mage was able to slow the ship enough that they did not slam into the stones. They started to celebrate their good fortune for not having been skewered on the rocks. Then it attacked them.
Multiple gigantic, black. slime covered tentacles gripped the ship, followed by an octopus like black head with a singular yellow eye. The ship shuddered, and Wulfhelm rushed to the ships bell and began ringing it. The crew awakened from their slumber rushed to the deck to find they had been accosted by this creature. The captain drew his cutlass and began hacking at one of the tentacles of the creature. The party stormed the deck, and immediately began manning the harpoon guns. The creature is skewered by several of the harpoons but the party was unable to retrieve the harpoons from the creatures body. The creature smashed down onto Captain Riley and then grappled him, drawing the good Captain into his mouth and devouring him. The creature smashed down on Wulfhelm, nearly killing him, however Wulf avoided the grasp of the creature. The creature sprayed vomit over the deck and in it were small parasites. These paralyzed Slash. Wulfhelm was able to slide Slash into one of the longboats, and clambered in behind him. Everyone knows what happened next, and to this day Slash still loves Wulf. Each sailor the creature ate, it would vomit up more small parasites onto the deck which would sting and paralyze more sailors throwing them towards the creatures ring toothed maw. The party continued to fire harpoons into the tentacles of the creature until it let go of the ship. The creature changed positions so that it was grappled onto the front of the ship and began to crush and tip the ship. The party and crew frantically began trying to finish the creature off. Eventually after removing several tentacles Blake Griffin found the ordinance mage and they fired the front cannon directly into the creatures head. The creature burning and mortally wounded slipped off of the ship and into the frothing storm churned water. 15 members of the crew, including the captain. The ship was severely damaged and was taking on water. The executive officer was nowhere to be found.