Developing a plan of pillaging proved to be little challenge to Aldrick and his crew. Leaving Ro’ak, Bob, and Tavey on board the seized cog, they had it go out into the bay where they believed that nobody would dare steal their newly-stolen ship from them.
The locals seemed intimidated and fearful of everyone. The village of Farshore, it seems, had overnight turned from a peaceful outpost into a terrorized town where everyone knew who to be afraid of, but knew they couldn’t hope to defeat. While Meravanchi had been a bit of a blowhard and insufferable at times, he was unquestionably loyal to Farshore and always had its best interests at heart… so far as those who lived there were concerned.
So when Aldrick and his crew moved to the Meravanchi manorhouse, intent on looting it, nobody dared to confront them. Moving through a second-story window, Aldrick opened up the main, barricaded door, and the group went to work looking for anything of value that wasn’t nailed down.
But in every room, it seems, someone had beaten them to it. While there was unquestionably valuable furniture and artwork, most small, valuables had already been taken during the night.
Coming up to the second story, two little girls’ rooms were discovered, and then a third, locked door was unlocked, but apparently being held from the other side. With one powerful shove, Sahrthin forced his way through the door, revealing Ayala and an unknown brown-haired woman, both now sprawled across the floor in front of them.
When Aldrick demanded that they be civil to him, the brunette cursed him, whereupon with a single thrust, his rapier ended her life. Ayala immediately closed her eyes and prayed to Pelor for deliverance.
Leaving her be, the group continued examining the manor, with the only item of real interest being a bag holding approximately 40 pounds of unrefined gold ore sitting next to what was presumed to be Meravanchi’s desk.
With no way to get the heavier items back to the boat, the group left the manorhouse, intent on seeking out the carpenter’s shop and picking up wood and supplies for repairing their other boat, the Dawn’s Fury.
Arriving at the carpentry shop, they discovered that it had been abandoned, with many of the tools taken, but most of the lumber left behind. Seizing whatever wood, glue, rope, and tools they could, they made their way back towards the pier. Malificious left 25 gold behind to pay for what they had taken.
Before getting back to the pier, Aldrick decided it would be wise to spread some fear throughout the town. Announcing that he and his crew had murdered Meravanchi because of a misunderstanding, he offered anyone who might be interested a way out of Farshore before it was overrun by the Crimson Fleet.
This did not go over well. (Even without a low persuasion roll, this would not have gone over well.)
There was apparently at least one who was willing to speak out against him from a distance, where he could not easily be found. Nobody took him up on his offer.
As things were being loaded onto the cog, the other cog, under the command of the female captain, was very busy loading goods and doing their best to give the group a wide berth. A handful of crossbowmen lurked just out of sight, should anything go awry. By the time Aldrick and the others called for their seized cog to return to the pier, the other cog had taken off, perhaps never to be seen again. Perhaps to spread the word of the horrible halfling pirate Aldrick the Blacksail.
After everything had been loaded onto their cog, Bargathungar declared that he wished to remain behind in Farshore while the rest of the group went to repair their caravel and bring it back to Farshore, which had the only decent repair facility within hundred of miles. The caravel rested about three days northeast of Farshore, so getting there, conducting some simple repairs, and getting back would take a week or so.
Logan opted to stay with Bargathungar because, well, he wasn’t going to let this story get away from him. If Bargathungar was going to go out in a blaze of violent mayhem, that would be amazing! He could always rely on his magic to escape some rabble.
As the cog sailed off, Bargathungar made a line back towards the temple of Pelor. Logan followed closely, not knowing exactly how Bargathungar was going to explode and launch the attack on these people, but getting rid of their cleric(s) seemed like the best start to him.
So, when Bargathungar went in and spoke with Lomaran Wainwright, the half elven priest, Logan couldn’t figure it out. Bargathungar was apparently seeking some sort of forgiveness or atonement from the priest for what the group had done… an interesting angle, but hardly necessary to lull this marginally competent priest out of his suspicion. As the conversation continued, Barga’s words seemed to be sincere, which came as quite a shock to Logan. Interesting, but shocking. Lomaran told them that there was nothing he could do to cleanse their spirits or the like; all he could manage was a few simple healing spells. For something that powerful, perhaps Noltus could help, but he only rarely came to Farshore and had just been there a few months ago, so he would likely not be back for perhaps a year.
Another dead end. Until Logan reminded Barga that he could cast sending, which he might be able to do to contact Noltus, if he really wanted to. Barga did. So, Logan cast the spell, reaching out through the connection between Lomaran, the temple, and Pelor to find this Noltus and send him a request to return back to Farshore, for things had recently gone terribly wrong there.
Shortly afterward, appearing within a glowing magical circle of light near the altar of Pelor, a man appeared, along with an impossibly-huge mastiff. Over the next few minutes, Lomaran and Bargathungar explained what had happened, and perhaps it was all due to the horrible influence of the nefarious Aldrick the Blacksail.
Noltus walked around Farshore with Bargathungar, and as he did so, Barga couldn’t help but notice that everyone in Farshore knew him and everyone respected him. As they approached the spot where Meravanchi’s charred corpse rested, Noltus seemed saddened for a moment, but he continued to walk along with Bargathungar around the town, where he noted that everyone in the village was either afraid of or outright hated the blood hunter.
Returning back to the temple, Noltus asked for Lomaran to bring the bodies back to the temple and prepare them for resurrection; he would do so once he returned with the diamonds he had stored on the big island. He would return the next day and then proceed to undo some of the damage that had been done. As best he could.
The following evening, Noltus returned through the same means he had used to arrive the day before. He laid out the prepared garments over the burned body of Mandalay and began the casting. Over the next hour, bones and flesh reknit as blood and life once again began to flow throughout the body of the man who had only been destroyed a few days earlier.
As Lord Meravanchi began to grow excited and angry with what had happened, Noltus was able to push him to sleep. Noltus, now exhausted, prepared his components for the resurrection of Lady Meravanchi, which would have to wait until the following day. Even Pelor’s blessings of life could only be brought into being under specific circumstances.
Throughout this time, Bargathungar continually expressed his interest in Pelor and an interest becoming a worshiper of the Lord of the Sun Above and Earth Below. While Lomaran seemed mildly skeptical, Noltus was sincerely intrigued. He’d only been to Sasserine once in his life, and his interaction with the Witchwardens had been less-than-pleasant, and now here was one of their cast-off experiments, out of control and seeking atonement. His openmindedness and forgiving nature had gotten him into trouble in civilized lands, which is why he’d sought out a land where he’d thought everything would be black and white… only to discover that while it was less “civilized” it was no less troublesome.
Besides, he’d cast a few protective and divinatory spells prior to arriving at Farshore and he knew he could easily subdue one and then the other of these two visitors… He’d long since learned to not be too-trusting in this uncivilized place.
The following day, he resurrected the Lady Meravanchi, who had a similar reaction as her husband, and she, too, was subdued. Mandalay was tasked with bringing his wife back to their home, which he only did because Noltus continued to remind him of his bond. Later Noltus would explain that Meravanchi and Noltus had voluntarily entered into a sacred Pelorian bond regarding defending Farshore. Meravanchi defends the village proper while Noltus “defends” its faith and does his best to maintain a positive relationship with the natives, ensuring that they don’t unite against the outpost. Noltus also explores the inner parts of the island, searching for items and potential converts to Pelor (he doesn’t try to convert the Olmecans of the seven villages, but those in smaller, isolated villages in the interior are “fair game” to him).
With the resurrections complete, Barga once again asked Noltus about forgiveness and atonement, which Noltus suggested they discuss over prayers the following dawn. Barga agreed; Logan volunteered to stay behind in the temple.
Meanwhile, the others arrived at the caravel and began repair operations.
The following morning, Noltus walked with Barga towards a secret ladder along the eastern escarpment, leading up to the eastern cliff face. As they walked and climbed, Noltus talked about many things, including the importance of friends and family and understanding and striving to be good. Barga reminded Noltus that he had been the victim of an experiment of the Witchwardens, to which Noltus seemed to blow it off. So? We have all suffered. We have all had unpleasantness in our lives. We must do our best to move on and do good in the world while we are able. Suffering is everywhere, is it not?
Together they spoke about many things, with Noltus doing far more of the talking. All the while the sun rose above the horizon in all its blinding majesty.
For several days, until the group returned to Farshore, the only news was that Logan had sent a sending to Aldrick informing him that Meravanchi had been resurrected and everything was okay. Great news?
The stolen ship arrived back in Farshore, and things had slowly gotten back to normal, though it seemed that Lord and Lady Meravanchi were not making many public appearances, so Noltus had, in effect, become the person to whom people would come with their problems. Noltus had enjoyed speaking with them.
A sending spell was cast to Drevoraz, informing him that all the group wanted was Darlon’s head (or somesuch), and asking him to work with the group to tell them where he was. The response was annoyed, but different: “I don’t know where we are wandering around in these mountains, but if I could tell you I would. I can’t stand this any longer.”
Now that Aldrick the Blackest of Blacksails had returned, however, things could not help but go wrong. Upon meeting him, Noltus made it very clear that he had to leave Farshore; his presence here was a stain upon this place. Aldrick and his crew of pirates moved to leave, though not before inquiring about what could be found on the interior of the big island.
The group of rogues had apparently brought with them a bunch of feet (including that of the nephew of Lord Mandalay), and they had wished for one of their companions to be resurrected. Noltus eyed the group carefully, and while they were in the temple listened to their small talk and tried to make sense of who these people were. They were, apparently, desperate and frustrated by their own incompetence making continually bad decisions, including forgetting their original intent for coming to Farshore, seeking healing for their stonecursed warrior, Sahrthin.
Noltus, sensing an opportunity to get them away quickly, painted a picture of danger, including a frighteningly dangerous place that they must not go to in the center of the island, a forbidden city known as Thanaclan. There were other small villages here and there, including some that were inhabited by creatures unlike those seen anywhere else in the world. Since they were looking for the Vanderborens (as Barga had told him earlier), and they were somewhere on the big island, then it would be in their best interest to go there and hunt them down and do it now. In other words, get lost.
Noltus, no fool, might be able to take on three or four of these dangerous people, but without Meravanchi’s support, it would likely go badly for him. Besides, perhaps Bargathungar was sincere; he certainly seemed to be. Let him go and perhaps he could do some good in the world… maybe even rid it of a vicious halfling menace whose name he was sure he had heard before, but couldn’t quite place from where.
As the group was ushered back towards, what they learned was Meravanchi’s personal cog, an effort had been put underway to transfer goods from the cog to the caravel. Leaving Meravanchi’s boat seemed to be a wise decision.
Leaving the port of Farshore, with their ship still in somewhat subpar condition (though better than it had been), it was eventually decided upon to being the caravel just east of where the wall meets the sea, leave it off the coast, and head to Tanaroa and then move westward and hunt Darlon and the Vanderborens until they are all dead.
Next: It’s All So Simple!