Note: I made a few edits while my memory was fresh. Please feel free to continue editing as you remember stuff. Thank you David for doing the bulk of the work on this.
After restocking and resting, the party found themselves contemplating the future as they lounged in The Minstrel and Tankard. They noticed a strange figure walk into the tavern and approach the barkeep, who after a brief conversation pointed to our now famous (and infamous) band of adventurers.
The hardy looking old fellow, with what appeared to be a wooden peg-leg and an articulated carved wooden hand, approached the group while they drank silently. He asked if they were the group he had heard about in his travels, the group who defeated a Naga. Our heroes, surprised to have been spoken of in a positive light for a change, affirmed the old veteran’s question. The war weathered gentleman proceeded to tell the party of a lost battle standard from one of the Imperial regiments lost in a far off land. This lost expedition stretched the Empire’s resources and contributed to the current troubles. The party is asked if they, known to be a formidable force, would be willing to help retrieve the beloved banner. A group of former officers was prepared to reward the party 100,000 GP for the successful return of the banner (or proof of its destruction).
The party discussed their options and decided that they would accept the job, and are escorted to the Capitol of the empire. Along the way, Tallulah and Carrach did manage to maneuver the group into contact with a group of hobgoblins. It was a quick fight (handled out of character).
Upon reaching the capitol, the party is shown to a temple of Heracles (known as Nauda to the party), a god of War. The priests there offer the group the option to accept bonded items, special headbands that provide specific bonuses useful to the wearer, but also bind the wearer to a contractual obligation to complete the task of finding the Standard or indisputable proof that the Standard was destroyed. Tallulah’s new acquaintance, the bow Carrach, had informed the group that the land they are destined to visit was a free land with a well-established rule of law. Carrach called the land The Kingdom of Tellatium, Tarwell and the Seven Duchies. Corowa, feeling that she wanted to keep her options open, declined the headband. Tallulah followed suit for her own reasons (DM note: I decided Tallulah would decline unless everyone else took one, in which case I would ask Nate to select a special power). Firaccas, Cainrin, and Crom each take one and seem satisfied with the trade-off (DM note: hee hee, ha ha, wha ha haaaaa!).
In taking the binding headbands, the three magic users are granted a portion of their payment in advance to help bolster their supplies for the trip. Scrolls and bows are purchased, potions crafted, and the group was ready to go. A young lad approached the group wearing very simple clothes and the telltale signs of someone who is no stranger to hard work in the out-of-doors. The lad introduced himself as Tavey, a cabin-boy on the vessel they are to take on the first leg of their journey. The group politely acknowledged and followed the boy toward the port. After a brief moment when Tavey chased a previously unseen amphibian and returned it to some sort of improvised pocked on his canvas pants, and a healthy walk, the group reached the port. Tavey warned the group to not stray, as there are crimps who are known to attack unsuspecting able-bodied folks so they can be unwillingly entered into indentured servitude. Finally, Tavey points out the ship Blue Nixie laying quayside, which was contracted to bear them forth.
Before boarding the ship, a rather pleasant-looking, but grouchy, officer approached the group, asking their identity and purpose. Documents were verified and permission was granted to board the ship. Amella, the ship’s first mate, explained that no one sees the captain for any reason without her giving the say-so. The group, not used to sea travel, was advised on certain precautions and customs regarding their stay on board the vessel.
The travelers awaited an audience with the captain as the ship set sail. Calm seas became wavy, and wavy seas became more intense as some in the group of landlubbers struggled with seasickness. Finally, after five days of travel, everyone was getting used to the constant motion, and an audience with the captain, Henricus Reibeck, was planned for the evening meal. During the meal, Captain Reibeck explains that the group cannot simply approach the Seven Duchies by the most direct route because his ship is of an obvious Imperial fashion and would be attacked immediately. Instead, they would have to go to the pirate island-city of Freeport to procure further transport. Extra precautions were taken even for Freeport. The group would approach from the backside of the island and make an arduous overland journey to avoid making an obvious entry by ship into Freeport. They were promised the help of two pre-paid rakasta guides to help with the overland journey.
While navigating to the island, the ship’s sails went slack as the wind became calm during the night, and a dense fog descended onto them. They awoke to the sight of Crom being cloaked in a seemingly unending swirl of mist as the heat had risen to an oppressive level. Tallulah attempted to gain some relief from this rather alien climate by standing ever so closely to Crom. As the sun rose and burned off the mist, the group noticed far in the distance a green ship slowly moving in their direction. Observation led the captain to believe they had come upon the Green Lady, captained by Vascin, a fearsome and somewhat insane man obsessed with collecting strange and extraordinary creatures. Fearing that some of the more exotic members of the crew and party could become targets of this new threat, the group was helpless and forced to wait anxiously while the Green Lady slowly closed its distance. As it approached closer, the observers noticed goop and ooze dripping from the masts and beams that held the Green Lady’s now obviously tattered sails. They also noticed a sizable hole in the ship’s port side, and no creatures were seen piloting the vessel. Tallulah, in a flair of flamboyant confidence, proceeded to fire an arrow at the Green Lady when it was still over a third of a mile away. Her arrow struck home on one of the ship’s masts and nothing else happened.
Unable to explain how the ship could be moving and afloat given its condition, the group could do nothing but wait. There was a discussion of whether or not to try to intercept it, but in the end, it was decided that everyone would brace for the imminent impact of the seemingly unmanned vessel and proceed from there.
The bowsprit of the Green Lady was luckily higher than the hull of the Blue Nixie but the bow of the encroaching boat did some minor damage as the collision occurred. Tallulah was perched atop one of the crow’s nests with full view of the Green Lady’s deck. A boarding party consisting of Crom, Cainrin, and Corowa proceeded to climb up the ship’s abundant rigging now attached to the Blue Nixie, and struggled, but managed to stay standing on the bow. After beginning their on-board investigation, Firaccas decided to join them in the event they needed help. Firaccas wasn’t as graceful as the rest, and nearly fell into the ocean, in which sharks had been spotted. He was finally able to make it safely to the deck and observe Seal Team C leaving the forecastle. Cainrin found an ornate dwarven battleaxe that had cut through the anchor rope and embedded in the deck and pulled it free, then discovered a dagger that looked like someone had been trying to use to also cut the anchor free. The three made their way to the aftcastle where a door could be seen. Inside was the remains of an ornate mess room – now mostly destroyed. The party entered to investigate.
While opening a chest, Crom got slammed by a spell from a trap he couldn’t detect and drank a potion to heal himself. Cainrin then got zapped by an electric doorknob. Crom was able to open it by via his electrical resistance. This gained access to the aftmost room, the crazed wizard’s personal chamber. Inspecting the inside of the aftcastle, various loot was found including lots of gold and silver, some gems, and other items which may be of some use. Cainrin observed a dagger that began to move on its own if approached and warned Crom of this new hazard. Having checked everything else, Crom focused his attention on an armoire that appeared to be very dark inside. Trying to be careful not to touch the darkness, Crom attempted to probe it but instantly vanished. The group waited with bated breath for any sign of Crom’s return… meanwhile the party heard the distant sound of arrows striking hapless sharks…