May 28, 2010

Blackwater Keep: The King (part 5)

As the party listened to the offer put forth by the jarak-sinn shaman, Jesswin asked the question everyone was thinking.

"Why do you want this?"

"His pride threatens all the 'folk. I want our tribe to live, Shukak only wants power for himself," the shaman confessed.

Jesswin talked quietly with the other party members before speaking again.

"We may be able to make a deal, but we need one other thing from you?"

"What do you need 'soft-skin'?"

"You must leave the area and never return."

After some time mulling it over, the shaman replied, "We will leave."

As the party moved to free the prisoners in this room, they could see no female, let alone a wizard among them. The shaman added, "Shukak keeps the female in his chamber."

The party continued to tend the prisoners in this room as as Jesswin continued speaking with the jarak-sinn.

"Where is his chambers?"

"Just down this hall," the shaman indicated. "He has several guards in there too."

The party made their way down to hall as quietly as they could. Looking inside, they could see Marzena tied up in a corner while the massive form of Shukak talked with one of his warriors. In addition to the shining bracers and amulet the king wore, parts of his body were covered in mottled patches of black scales.

Everyone rushed into the room and were able to surprise the guards (the one they saw and another unseen one in a far corner of the room) along with king and the other jarak-sinn.

Fanning out, the party split up to engage all the jarak-sinn at the same time in an effort to prevent them from organizing a counter attack.

The guards proved to be the easiest opponents and quickly fell to a combination of blade and bow, while the king and the other warrior held out longer--the warrior using his bare hands while Shukak effectively wielding his trident.

As the party rained their attacks on the two jarak-sinn, it was apparent they had no plans to surrender as the increased their ferocity against the party. Eventually the both fell to the unrelenting attacks.

Afterward the party was able to rescue Marzena, and leave the lair with the rest of the rescued prisoners. The two day trek back to Blackwater Keep was uneventful. Once inside the keep, the prisoners were tended to by healers and the party got to enjoy cooked meals and dry, warm beds for the first time in days.

May 24, 2010

Blackwater Keep: Deals with Devils (part 4)

As the jarak-sinn made his threat, the party watched the sleeping, helpless form of Adow prone under the large sharp claws of this brutish leader.

"You move; he dies!" the lizardman repeated. The blood from his earlier wounds covered his body in an inky sheen and left the creature weakened.

Unsure if they could subdue the jarak-sinn before he attacked the mage, they kept talking; stalling.

"What do you want?"

"Leave here," the lizardman rasped. As he spoke, the party could see Adow had awakened but was unable to move from under the claws of the beast looming above him.

"Ok... let us just take our friend and we'll leave..."

After a few tense moments, the hulking jarak-sinn took a tentative step back. The party, in response, relaxed and began to sheath their weapons. Soon the jarak-sinn had retreated and the party was able to help Adow up. They quickly made for the exit and out for the lizard folk lair.

Once outside, they retreated to a safe spot in the swamp and tried resting for the night. While the most injured in the party slept, the others took watch. The night passed by without any major incident and after a brief meal, they set off to return to the liar of the lizard folk. The party had one goal, to rescue as many captives as possible, hopefully including the wizard Marzena.

As they returned to the lair, the party scouted the area for a while and after seeing no activity in or around the lair, they ventured inside again. The first few areas they went to were empty. Many seemed to be communal living spaces for smaller groups of jarak-sinn, perhaps based on some tribal pecking order. Gear and valuables were easy to find, but the inhabitants were gone.

As the party moved through the complex, there were no signs of the abducted soldiers or mage from Blackwater Keep. Moving down a main hallway, they heard noise coming from around the corner and soon found themselves face to face with jarak-sinn warriors waiting for these intruders.

The battle was swift and brutal, with the lizard folk fighting to their last breath. In the end the party was victorious and continued down into the bowels of this lair.

The next clearing revealed a smaller group of lizardmen warriors, including a smaller one clad in robes instead of armor and wielding no weapon. The party could see, at the far side of the room, a few prisoners, but the lack of light made it hard to see if Marzena, the wizard, was among those still alive.

The party raced into the room fanning out to take on different attackers. This way, it was figured, no one jarak-sinn would be able to threaten the lives of helpless prisoners. After taking down several of the warriors, the jarak-sinn shaman spoke up.

"Truce!," it called out in a fair approximation of the common tongue. "We can bar-gain."

Everyone halted a moment as Jesswin spoke for the group, "We only want the prisoners."

"I can give you them, but you do me a boon."

"What do you want?"

"I am but servant to Shukak, king of this tribe. If you want to leave the swamp alive, you must kill Shukak. Otherwise, he will hunt you before you reach dry lands."