Having discovered the Dread Isle’s mystical appearance just after sunset, the Heroes 4 Hire aboard the Sea Wyvern sailed south, moving a fair distance out from the coast to avoid anymore near cataclysmic oceanic events. Lt. Norixius drew new weapons from the ship’s armory, along with a set of leather armor. For two full days they sailed, out of sight of the island but shadowing the contours of it’s coastline, until the dusk of the second day when they halted, 2 miles from where the village of Panitube should be. They waited through the sunset, sitting pointed towards expected landfall, until the island again popped into existence and braced as they rode the Sea Wyvern through the giant wave formed from the island’s displacement. The brutal pitching of the Wyvern knocked a few from their feet, but other than a bump or bruise, all came through it uneventfully. The crew moved the ship to within a few hundred yards of shore and dropped anchor.
A conference with the party and the officers was held, a plan was formed, and a longboat was readied and loaded with gear, supplies and trade goods, all the while being spectated by a growing crowd of excited villagers with torches from the canoe-riddled beach. And so, the Heroes 4 Hire went ashore and met for the first time the People of Tanaroa, exactly as described in RB’s journal, as the Sea Wyvern sailed off to a planned stand-off distance of about 12 miles offshore. The dark-skinned islanders were a tad primitive compared to their mainland visitors, being dressed mostly in animal skins, feathers and grass skirts, but spoke a rather simplistic dialect of Common and were plenty friendly.
The team spent the first few hours exploring the village and meeting the People, making friends and inroads with the chief, Yupan, and Virak, the religious ‘ancestor master’. They found out that they were not the first outsiders to have visited the People, that Yupan recalled a visitor named “Rory” visiting Tanaroa many decades ago when he was a child. The two elderly village leaders offered the team hospitality and shelter for the night, and most of the party found a place in the huts to rest.
Dajjal, Illyia and Thia arose early the next morning to watch the sunrise, with the intent of observing and surmising the nature of the disappearing-island phenomenon. The sky lightened, the stars disappeared and dawn was upon them, but nothing out of the ordinary occurred as they sat in the sand watching the waves beneath a beautiful blue sky. Perplexed by the absence of any significant event, they began to investigate the surrounds of the beach and the village, and it eventually dawned (!!) on them that the sun was also curiously absent. The three checked the shadows under trees and huts and people, and found they were diffused and straight down, as if somehow, the sky was simply always bright as if it were high noon.
Clem began that task of ‘feeling out’ which of the trade goods they brought were popular with the villagers and which weren’t, Dajjal continued to investigate the island’s phenomenon by talking with Virak, and Thia, Ryoun and Beeblebrox assisted around the village with chores and farming and animal husbandry. Calyx and Diplo spent their morning at prayer like good paladins should, and Illyia decided to explore the surrounding jungle around the village… off the beaten paths… out to a half mile… alone.
One Wandering Monster encounter roll later, and Illyia walked unbeknownst underneath a web-lair in the jungle canopy, and 5 giant spiders pounced on their unsuspecting prey. By sheer dumb luck, the surprise web-shot attack of the first spider missed the elf, but a crap initiative roll gave the other 4 a shot at glory as well. The second web-shot struck true, restraining the rogue in gooey web and 5 arachnids the size of horses descended for brunch.
Prayerful meditation pays off. Lt. Norixius received a vision of an elderly man in sandals and worn traveling robes, blue edged in silver, who spoke to him saying, “Run northeast immediately. Your elf friend is in trouble.” Diplo sprinted from the hut screaming for assistance, and Thia and Ryoun heard him and followed. The three dashed through the jungle until they came upon the grisly site of 5 giant spiders cocooning a paralyzed, unconscious and dying elf. Arrows, handaxes, a harpoon and a lightning breath weapon flew in anger as rapiers and warhammers and spells followed in a grand melee, and the spiders were crushed. The three released Illyia from his webbed restraint, stabilized his injuries, and returned him to the village where Calyx, Thia and Diplo could administer to his wounds, cure the poison and rouse him from his coma.
A valuable lesson was learned today.
Will the Heroes ever figure out the mystery of the disappearing island? Will the team successfully broker new trade relations for their employers? Will anyone go out in the jungle by themselves ever again?
Find out next week!! on TGC: Heroes 4 Hire!