Castle Crashing

Session 9
Return to Knight

The night is filled with laughter and beer and whoring, the group left without energy. All but El Cid, who would rather win a woman over with his wit than with a stranger’s coin. He spends the time enjoying himself, but has plans to check out this burned ship. Waiting until just before sunrise, he sneaks into the dry dock and examines the damage to La Femme Fierté, “The Lady’s Pride.” He discerns where fire splashed against her hull, mostly from a single side. He boards the ship and has a look around, though cannot seem to pick the lock to the captain’s private chambers. With the sun about to peak over the horizon in an hour or so, he decides to make his leave. Unfortunately, the repair foreman and some of his employees are there to get an early start on the day. He tries to talk his way out of a fight, but the crude islanders don’t enjoy his articulation and set upon him with club and hammer. A few blows exchange with El Cid the victor, sending all but the foreman into flight or slumber. The foreman surrenders, though all El Cid requests is information about the damage. The foreman tells the story of El Incendio, a pirate known for attacking with fire.

That morning, Cap’n Red returns to the ship with two teenage girls he introduces as Dawn and Eve – hands of Lorraine Bouchard. Red announces that after hearing of the terrible attack upon Catpain Bouchard, he has decided to help her track down a stolen item. The heroes, distracted by whether El Incendio uses alchemist’s fire or true El Fuego Adentro, didn’t hear Cap’n Red mention what the item was. They make sail for L’eau Noir.

When they arrive, they split into groups to find information on this El Incendo character. After pressing the port master and some guards, it seem El Incendo is attacking Montaigne ships specifically. Cap’n Red sends Marco off to get a flag so they can pretend to be a Montaigne merchant vessel and draw out their target. They also hear of a museum in town, the Don Hernando Museum, is reopening under Montaigne orders with a special exhibit. Seems part of the Heart of El Fuego is housed under guard and glass as the central draw. El Cid decides to go check it out.

While there, he crosses eyes with a beautiful young woman also interested in the jewel. He approaches her with his infamous introduction. She tells him her name is Daphnie and that she is in town to visit the museum – Seems they share a fondness for artifacts. He spends the afternoon infatuated with her as they walk and talk, eventually finding their way to a cramped book store where he finds a book about Sidhe, the Avalon fae creatures. Our blushing hero seems to be short on pocket cash, but Daphnie offers to pay for him.

At the same time, Cloe and Yuri hunt down the Montaigne commander of this area, and find him talking with Wandering Andre as they walk hurriedly down the road. Andre is worried about the safety of the museum after hearing a rumor that Rochelle is back in town. The commander dismisses his concern and continues on while Andre is approached by our heroes. He urges them to help him stand vigil this night to watch the museum, to which Cloe agrees.

Everyone seems to meet up at the museum just an hour or so before closing.

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Session 8
A Growing Crew

Having braved the depths of a mysterious cave, slaying the beasts within, and then fending off the blood-thirsty ghouls, our heroes finally find themselves back aboard the Salty Dog. Cap’n Red looks over the new recruits. Having expected the crew to return with treasures, he’s a bit dissapointed in instead having more mouths to feed. Cloe and Yuri vouch for the strangers, but Cap’n Red is more impressed by their willingness to work the ship on the week-long voyage back to La Bucca.

Mosca spends his time during the voyage learning the ways of sailing. Thadeus, Xavier’s protege, shows Mosca around and teaches him about knotwork, tar, etc. Charles adjusts to sharing his space with brutes. El Cid, when not doing his part to help the crew, spends his time in his books. With the help of Marco, figures out that the monocle they have been using can show fate strands – something only the Fate Witches of Vodacce normally are able to see.

Pulling in to the bay of La Bucca, the crew makes note of a ship being pulled into a dry dock that looks like it was badly burned. Charles offers to pay Cap’n Red the docking fee so they don’t have to drop anchor in the bay and row to shore. The Cap’n gives Marco command and heads off in a set direction, but something is amiss. Marco is busy making sure the crew resupplies and repairs before they get leave.

Our heroes take some time to unwind, mostly by visiting The Captain’s Daughter, a pub and whorehouse with a featured game – Two men at a time may fight for a chance to climb the rope hanging in the middle of the room. At the top of the rope sits a busty girl in her late teens, holding a pint of ale. Those who make it to the top may get a kiss from the girl and a free drink, as well as the praise of the patrons watching. After a bit of gambling and drinking, Yuri decides to try his hand at the feat. A well muscled Castillian approaches as his opponent, and after a moment when Yuri looks to have failed, the man is brought down with a well placed tackle and body-slammed into submission. Yuri climbs the rope and takes his prize. He descends just as Charles walks in with five of the most high class Jennys the crew has seen and everyone enjoys the evening.

Cloe, not one for drinking or whoring, spends this time trying to find out what is bothering her captain. She makes her way to the docks where she uses her spyglass to look a the burned hull of the ship they saw earlier. A strange feeling causes her to turn where she sees a young lady in leathers and lace watching her openly. The girl introduces herself as Eve and informs Cloe that she will be seeing her again the following day. Cloe presses Eve as the girl walks away and finds the girl works for Lorraine Bouchard, the only female pirate captain known. There is some connection between Lorraine and Cap’n Red, it seems.

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Session 7
Escape from Monkey Island

Having banded together by the defeat of a common enemy, our heroes exchange names and stories, each explaining how they arrived in such an odd location. Having already searched upstairs, the team decides to brave the dark hallway leading sideways from the room with the corpses – A hallway that turned out to be a deadly trap.

Yuri, in his wolf form, leads the group down the hall with minimum damage. Once they cross, their progress is stopped by a floor to ceiling stone set of doors carved with graven images. El Cid breaks out his books tries to unpuzzle this new riddle. Cloe, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the door, feeling the coldness of the void on the other side in a size she’s never experienced before.

The group traverses the trapped hallway once more as they leave the insidious door behind them. Once again the damage is minimal, but compounded. El Cid, with his inquisitive nature, believes he can understand the console with the buttons strewn across it and begins reading again. The others try the hallway again, but the damage from the traps adds up to the point of knocking out their wolf friend who feints back into human form. Cloe drags him out of the hall just as El Cid decides he has figured out the device. With a touch of a finger to a jewel on the console, the island jerks to a stop.

With the console not responding anymore, the group is finally satisfied they have discovered all there is in the forsaken “cave”. They trek back upward to the light of day where they find themselves surrounded by the island natives. A large man, presumed earlier to be their leader, steps forward and throws the group’s gear on the ground. Displeased that his island is not moving anymore, he tells the trespassers to leave the island immediately, pointing toward the ship just off the beach line. The party agrees and makes for the shore.

However, as they make their way through the jungle to the beach, a group of ghouls block their path. These pale masses of muscle and fur smell the two crippled party members and close in, hoping for an easy meal. A bloody fight ensues as two team members are on the brink of death. Just as they are surrounded, Cloe lights and tosses her hand grenade and runs. Bits of ghoul shower the jungle and the few remaining flee in terror. Our heroes make it to the shore where a longboat awaits.

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Session 6
A Collision of Inconvenience

Cloe and Yuri are escorted to the ancient cave where the “evil spirits” that need taming are supposedly haunting. Making their way into the depths, they come across a Castillian scholar who has been staying here a few days, having washed ashore after an unfortunate accident with his exploration vessel. He introduces himself as El Cid and offers to show our heroes around. At the bottom most level they come to a square room with a sealed door and some sort of control panel. Moans and banging echo from the door. With Yuri’s monocle and El Cid’s experience with ruins and artifacts, the team preps and then press a switch that slowly opens the double doors, evil waiting for them on the other size in the form of two undead walking toward them.

Meanwhile, on an empty Montaigne road during a warm day, Charles d’Éon and Mosca are riding horses and tossing rocks at each other, forgetting their troubles for a time. A black hound suddenly manifests, taking the small group by surprise. Mosca boldly throws himself between the demon mutt and his patron and all three disappear, leaving the humble servant Humphrey bewildered and alone.

They pop back into the world, with a horse, and slam into the backs of two people as they screech to a halt in a dim room. Cloe, Yuri, and El Cid pause at the unexpected company. The living seem to agree that the monsters should be the first order of business and set forth attacking the black wolf and zombies alike.

One of the said zombies grabs the confused horse and starts choking it as the other grabs d’Éon. After inserting it’s tendrils into the nobleman’s neck, it lets go and looks for another victim. The tendrils are cut before control can take over, but the horse is not so lucky and ends up a pawn for the now growing zombie population. The heroes eventually fend off the monsters, though without killing the teleporting black wolf, and assess their damage before introductions are made.

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Session 5
Island Hopping

Rocks crash into the sea sending the Salty Dog rocking as it raises anchor. The crew give Cap’n Red a brief description of what happened and pass over all the jewels they found. The Cap’n assures our heroes the loot will go toward provisions, funding the next adventure. One stone, a shattered ruby, feels almost hot to the touch, and is thus given back to Cloe as it seems to be more than a mere stone. The crew looks over their takings, toying with the monocle and letting Marco try to translate Felisci’s diary. Wondering where to pawn these artifacts, the Cap’n responds saying he knows a member of the Invisible College named Dr. Svenson who is currently in Avalon. That, and nobles are always known for their love of trinkets, so perhaps one of the Vodacce princes would be interested, perhaps the current head of the Felisci family?

Marco, muttering a few random facts from the diary, mentions something about a moving island. As the party unanimously decides this should be their next stop, that look of worry washes over his face and he curses himself for the inevitable trouble he just steered himself into. He does also mention the beast in the tower, which it turns out was Carlos Felisci’s son Anthony, or at least was until he was given Sidhe blood. Ren connects the dots and now understands why the iron broadsword cut through the creature with such ease. Of course Marco can not persuade the group to reconsider Avalon or Vodacce, and the crew sets sail back to Kalivinyard to restock.

Cloe and Ren decide to find someone to help look over the strange items they’ve found and come across Dibbler selling “BEER” to those with an adventurous spirit. Meanwhile, Yuri decides to help with the ship and is put in charge of restocking the alcohol for their next voyage. Marco ends up having to go back and renegotiate. Then, off to the island!

Or at least where the island should be. However, there is something off the port side. Heading in that direction, the crew’s suspicions are confirmed. They have found an island that does not stay put. As they move to pass the mile-wide mystery, cut wood is spotted sticking out of the water just off shore behind the island, leaving lacing ripples behind. When they pass the island, our heroes slip off in a side boat and hit shore. After exploring only a few minutes they are captured by men in wooden masks and brought before a large boiling pot in the center of a small village. A robust native comes out of an opulent stilted hut with two women behind him and speaks Avalonian. Yuri tries negotiation while Cloe attempts to use her pocket magic to pull out a knife and escape. This brings attention to her and a death sentence as she is labeled “witch” by the natives. The rest of the group is told they may leave, but the witch must stay so that her sacrifice may please their gods. Yuri pleads with the elder, and negotiates all of their freedom on the grounds the “witch” Cloe can rid their temple of evil spirits.

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Session 4
A Castle, Crashing

Having recovered, the group sets sail to Castille, to a small port town called Kalivinyard. From there, they follow the rutter for four days before spotting any land. Being a large, plateaued island, and hoping Marco knows his navigation well enough, they decide this must be their destination. Also, there is a decent sized castle sticking out of the side, and someone remembered the name of the campaign.

But how to reach the keep? At an impressive two hundred yards above sea level, climbing straight up did not seem like the best option. Instead, a row boat was sent off to search a cave found around another side of the island where a set of stairs were found, carved out of the island itself. The stairs lead to the surface of the island, but no sign of any passage to the keep that intrigued the party. Everyone then split up to search, but all that could be found were long caved-in dig sites, or at least that’s what they appeared to be. With not enough rope, our heroes decide to brave the cliff face and climbed the 50 yards down to the upper most window of the derelict construct. The climb was rough for Cloe and Yuri, both of whom fell on their way down. Thankfully, Xavier was able to grab Cloe from his window perch before she fell to her death, but Yuri had no help and was assumed to be lost, though no tears were shed.

Now inside, and guided by the glowing necklaces gifted to them by the Knight, our group begins to explore. The first room they come across is home to a dead man with his sword and keys still on him. The sword looks to be pure iron, an expensive choice, and the two blacksmiths agree without adding carbon the iron would be much more prone to chipping or breaking. They take it anyway and use the keys to open the next door, putting them in front of several closed jail cells. Something moves. A man, or what may have been a man, slowly stands and turns to face our heroes. His skin is pale and leathery, and his fingers long and sharp. His moan sends shivers down spines and he lashes out through the cell bars. Wanting nothing to do with such an abomination, our heroes would leave but a goshawk who flew into the keep with them dives into the cell and attempts to grab at a golden chalice in the back of the creature’s prison.

The creature does not like this and bats the bird against the stone wall. The group decides this evil must die, not in the name of the Lord but for the promise of treasure! Ren fires arrow after arrow, and despite attacking a man-sized creature only a few feet away as it’s trapped in a small cell, can’t seem to connect. Must be the poor lighting. Xavier uses the pure iron sword and manages to separate the creature from one of it’s hands in a clean stroke. The monstrosity reacts with intense pain and wailing, falling back into the cell and curling up into a ball. The goshawk, after making some strange faces and dropping some feces in a corner, somehow transforms into their comrade Yuri and tosses lantern oil on the poor, defenseless monster. Not being fazed by the impossibility of shape shifting, Xavier sets torch to the fluid and the group watches the tormented creature burn in a slow and painful death. Yuri snatches the chalice as his prize and together they search the rest of the building.

Room by room, the party searches for anything of value, the castle shaking around them. A brush, a comb, a few bits of jewelry, an ivory scroll case and more, they take whatever isn’t decaying and wonder how long this place has been abandoned. Once again the crowbar comes in handy to pry open a set of double doors that seem barred from the other side. Once open, a wave of foul odor washes over the group causing Ren to vomit. The group steps into a ballroom littered with corpses. Somewhere around twenty skeletons, bits of rotten meat still resting on their bones. With no other exits from the grand room, it seems these people barred themselves in, but why? What would make them stay here to die? Unable to answer these questions, the group moves on.

They next come across what must be Carlos Felisci’s laboratory. Tubes with unlabeled chemicals give an acrid stench to the air. While some of the group examine the dead man sitting at the large oak desk near the back of the room, Yuri looks over a large glass globe with clockwork innards. It seems all of Theah is represented in gold sheets spanning around the globe, the clear glass representing the seas. However he turns the sphere, the lands seem to stay in the same place. Enamored by the object, he gently slips it into his backpack. The corpse behind the desk seems to be that of Felisci himself, wearing his signet ring (which Chloe pockets). After rifling through the drawers, it seems the only paperwork not gone to dust is a leather-bound book, perhaps a diary, though examining causes some of the pages to fall apart. Not able to read Vodacce, they take this for translation from Marco.

A few more rooms and some more valuables later, the group descend to the basement. The scarab brooch, which Xavier found earlier, vibrates as they reach the bottom of the stairs. Hearing movement, they open the door only to find Rochelle and Heinrich sorting through some items in a large sack. They turn as the group enters but our heroes are already upon them! A scuffle, some blood drawn, and Ren still hasn’t hit anything with his arrows. With no orders from Rochelle, Heinrich hurls one of Yuri’s throwing axes at a pulley system which drops the floor out from the center. Rochelle curses as she and Heinrich immediately fall. Chloe is fast enough to grab the sack of goods before it too falls. Looking down, Rochelle and Heinrich have literally disappeared in a puff of smoke. Xavier’s brooch begins vibrating again, although this time it’s not stopping. The castle shakes as well, perhaps jostled by the large stone trap door suddenly swinging open after who knows how many dormant years, and the crew decides their only way out is down. They leap, hoping to survive, and when they hit the water they discover this area around the island was dug out, probably to allow ships under the keep to hoist goods up or down. Marco is already near by in the rowboat and helps everyone aboard where they can dry off, check their booty, and return to their ship.

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Session 3
Recovery

Banged up and badly bruised, the group limps back to their ship. They spend the next eight to ten hours sleeping, only to wake up in more pain. The following morning, or more likely afternoon, our heroes explain to Captain Red how they retrieved their stolen rutter from Rochelle after defeating a small group of Eisens and somehow blowing up an estate, which they insist wasn’t their doing. Being that Rochelle also has a copy of the rutter’s coordinates, they decide to set sail that day.

Before they are ready to leave, the ship is approached by a group of Montaigne riffle men and Wandering Andre. The captain of the guard reads aloud a declaration of exoneration which he hands to Xavier. Marco translates. But that is not all. Wandering Andre, thankful for the help, has a gift for the crew. Two Syrneth artifacts, the first the crew has seen in person. Tear-drop shaped stones just small enough to fit into a fist, each on a length of leather to be worn as necklaces. The group thanks him, then turns to leave. Thankfully the Knight has a good heart and stops them so he can explain what they do before they try throwing them at someone. Must be the medication Ren is cooking up that causes their disorientation.

A few short hours later and the ship departs for eastern Castille, the starting point of the rutter. With a good distance between, Cap’n Red decides to stop for supplies at the Island of Bucca where the group can stretch their legs. Soon, the group should be feeling better, and then the hunt is on!

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Session 2
In Which a House Explodes

Debating whether to take Wandering Andre’s offer or simply flee, the wanted men return to their ship under cover of darkness. They explain their plight to some of the other crew members who suggest staying since the captain isn’t back yet anyway. This seems a bit odd, as Captain Red never sleeps ashore if at all possible. But our heroes are tired and pass the notion, deciding to sleep the day off. Not content with that answer, Cloe and Yuri head into town looking for the captain. They find a few taverns where he had been, but the trail ends cold.

The next day, Captain Red strolls back aboard whistling a jaunty tune. The crew decides not to tell their captain what happened, and instead set off to meet Wandering Andre. Cloe puts her skills to use and makes some quick disguises, though by the time she gets to Marco she only has dresses left. Even with his mustache, Marco turns out better than the rest.

Having made it through town unnoticed, the adventurers feel they are in the clear. That is until one of the guards on the outskirts of town recognizes Xavier and grabs his spear to take in the murderer! A quick scuffle puts the guards down, but not without another death. Jose took it upon himself to kill both guards before the rest of the crew knows what’s happened. They decide to hide the bodies and move on, but it will be hard to forget such a grievance.

Finally they meet up with the Knight of the Rose and Cross who has some crude drawings of Rochelle’s estate. He has not yet made it inside, so he does not know the layout, but does know a bit about her guards. They are Eisen, the best money can buy, but the group out numbers them. He needs the heroes to distract the guards so that he may enter unnoticed and secure a book, but he does not tell them what the book is. Xavier is suspicious.

With half a plan and double the moxie, the group approaches Rochelle’s estate. A two-story building with a stable in front and a small quarter out back, the heroes try to enter from multiple angles by scaling the five foot wall surrounding their target. Jose crosses first, ducking behind the stable. Ren approaches from the other side of the front wall, peeking over and readying his bow. Cloe follows Wandering Andre around back, hoping to discover what book he’s seeking. Xavier hops the front wall after hearing Jose in battle with a guard and starts swinging his massive hammer. None seemed to notice the absence of Yuri, who, with his Pyeryem magic, had turned into a goshawk to find the best vantage point. Swords clash, guard dogs attack, arrows fly. Yuri lands with the plan of turning into a wolf, but his luck runs out and he is instead attacked by one of the dogs. Now stuck in bird form, he tries to pick up a torch from the stable but cannot get close enough to the flame. Jose holds his own, impressive for a bookworm. Ren takes down a guard with his arrows, but cannot hold his own in hand-to-hand combat. Between Ren and Xavier, they take another guard down, though not without serious injury to themselves. They enter the house, following Jose who is already upstairs holding a smoking pistol. Before him is the head guard Heinrich, with two bullet holes in his breastplate. Rochelle is copying something feverishly from one book to another while her Eisen holds off the heroes. A few blows shared between Jose and Heinrich until the burly Eisen gives and lowers his guard. The pay wasn’t that good, it seems. Rochelle curses the frailty of men and takes off with her book.

All the while Cloe was following Wandering Andre. They enter through a back window and search the ground floor. In the kitchen they come across a dumbwaiter which Andre squeezes into and asks Cloe to help him up. She does, and when the dumbwaiter returns it is empty. She follows suite, climbing into the wooden box and hoisting herself up to the top floor, only to find an empty bedroom. She searches about, manages to find some items worth taking, and heads out the door. She arrives in the library just after Rochelle has left through the opposite door. She picks up the book left on the table, but isn’t able to read it. Thankfully Ren is right there and recognizes the book as their missing rutter! Content with collecting their missing item, the group heads out the front door and into the night, leaving the Knight to attend to Rochelle on his own. Not ten yards past the gate, there is flash of light as brilliant as the sun and the sound of a huge explosion. They turn to see Rochelle’s manor in flames, the back half of the building blown out by Theus knows what. The sound wakes the city and men come running up to put out the fire, the confusion allowing our group to pass back to their ship unnoticed.

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Session 1
To Gain and Lose a Rutter

Our story begins in the port town of L’eau Noir where Cap’n Red has just docked his boat, the Salty Dog. Ren, Xavier, and Marco set out immediately for a fresh drink of grog. Wandering into the first tavern they spy, they sit down with drinks and plan how to spend their few days ashore. Fenald decides to find a more suitable environment and wanders inland a few more blocks to find a posh tavern to order wine.

After a few rounds, a man approaches Ren and Xavier offering to sell them an item he promises is of extreme interest. He presents a book of numbers that stumps Xavier but piques the interest of Ren. Thirty guilder later, Ren is the proud owner of what he’s been told is a lost rutter of famed Rig Hval. Fenald finds them moments later (on his way back to the ship) and looks over the new item. He’s pretty sure this rutter is in fact that of Rig Hval, and determines the starting location off the coast of Castille and an ending location somewhere east, possibly on a small Vodacce isle. They decide it would be better to sleep on land and get rooms at the tavern.

The next morning, as the party is leaving, they are greeted by a group of musketeers and their captain. Ordered to surrender for the murder of a man named Tanner, the group decides going with these men would be more productive than running. After all, they are innocent… right?

In jail, they find that Tanner was the man who sold them the rutter, and was found dead during the night. They are scheduled to appear in court in three day’s time. A woman dressed in rags in the cell across from them says her name is Rochelle, and that she has managed to slip a key from a guard. With her key and the heroes’ strength, they can bust free! The party agrees to this plan, and also end up freeing three other prisoners. After a brief melee, the party follows Rochelle upstairs just in time to see her stealing the rutter and making her escape via rooftop.

Unable to find their gear, the party leaps out the window in pursuit. With rifle fire from behind and the threat of plunging to possible death below, the heroes pursue Rochelle on slanted roof. Cursing, Rochelle suddenly drops between buildings. Ren follows blindly, only to land in large bale of hay, and the chase is still on! Finally off the roofs, Fenald gains the lead and leaps toward Rochelle in one large bound. Right before he topples her to the ground, the mysterious woman drinks something from a vial she had hidden, and blinks out of sight. With no trace of where the culprit may be, the party decides to return to the ship.

On the way back, they are approached by a man in a white cloak who tells them he can clear their names. He introduces himself as Wandering Andre, a Knight of the Rose and Cross. He tells the players that they were in fact set up by Rochelle, the real killer of Tanner, in order to find the rutter he carried. Andre is willing to speak on behalf of the party if they help him retrieve the rutter as proof. He mentions a small house east of the city where the group can meet with him if they choose to seek his help.

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