Seventeen Seas

Episode 56 - Carry A Tune
Faveen Proves Useful

Game Date: Clockways 84-85, Year 75
Starting Point: Ilisan Sea
Player Characters Present: Faveen Lone-Choir, Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

Confounded by the absence of an island, the crew’s dilemma was quickly resolved by the entrance of Faveen Lone-Choir. Stumbling erratically onto the deck in a great cacophony of noise, the crowfolk minstrel performed a tune for his “best friend” Korbin, only to have the ravenfolk first mate vanish and the island they were seeking to appear. After some investigation, involving Weed’s reconnoitering, Nasira’s gravely voice and the crew’s singing a shanty, our swashbuckling heroes discovered the nature of this strange island.

When someone starts to sing, it causes a 100-foot radius circle of the island to appear. Anything beyond that radius is returned to ordinary ocean, including the island’s flora and fauna. Should the song falter, the island’s reality starts to peel away, threatening to deposit any non-natives into the ocean below.

Assembling a landing party, the pirates prepared to explore the island, accompanied by Faveen Lone-Choir, ecstatic at the prospect of accompanying the crew and performing his music for them. Also accompanying them was “Bob”, an unfamiliar dwarven recruit with some very familiar habits. Together, this strange landing party followed a series of Ignan knots, burned into trees, stumps and boulders, leading them further and further up the island.

Crossing through beach, jungle, hills and eventually rocky gorges, Faveen Lone-Choir was weathering the arduous journey well, occasionally bolstered by singing by Weed or Nasira. Hakari, meanwhile, was consumed with suspicion about “Bob”, convinced he was some unknown spy. Before this suspicion could come to a head, however, our swashbuckling heroes were accosted by harpies, mesmerizing Faveen and Nasira and sweeping down to snatch the rest.

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As the harpies sang their enthralling tune, Faveen and Nasira marched forward, heading towards the loathsome creatures by whatever means possible. Furthermore, the harpy’s song threatened to throw Faveen off his own song, the island occasionally quivering and nearly blinking out of existence. Early in the battle, Hakari cut a rope bridge to prevent this and was eventually accosted by harpies, carried off the ground. “Bob”, meanwhile, displayed an incredible ability to cast clerical spells, including enlarge, which made him very difficult to carry off by the harpies. Nasira spent much of the engagement bewitched, emerging only to toss a critical javelin. Weed, also snatched by flapping harpies, fried several with lightning and transformed into a bubblefly in an attempt to rescue Hakari.

Once the harpies were defeated and Korbin’s disguise revealed, the landing party continued inland, climbing the towering waterfall the markings led them towards. As Faveen lagged with exhaustion, they eventually discovered a cave, shaped to be an echo chamber. Discovering musical carvings, massive wooden drums and an impenetrably sealed chest, they quickly began playing the music indicated on the carvings – the very song the harpies sang far below. With all but Hakari joining in, the half-orc bosun reluctantly kept time on his bag of ball-bearings, providing just enough accompaniment to pop open the chest. Inside, they discovered the next bone trinket, a small cache of gold and eventually, a secret stairway to the waterfall’s top.

Looking out across the incredible vista from the island’s summit, they were overawed by the bizarre spectacle of their strange bubble of reality, hovering hundreds of feet above the ocean. Sweeping a glance around the surround with her borrowed spyglass, Nasira spotted the silhouette of a tower, however fleetingly, against the setting sun in the west.

Traveling down the mountain proved to be more arduous and taxing than climbing up, considering Faveen’s condition. Bolstered by Korbin’s magic and accompaniment by Weed and Nasira, the crowfolk carnie had been playing non-stop for close on eight straight hours and was about ready to collapse. The moment they’d returned to the dinghy on the beach, he quite literally did, overcome with weariness and joy at how useful he’d proved to his friends.

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Episode 55 - The Edge of the Map
The Treasure Hunt Begins

Game Date: Widderways 96 – Clockways 84, Year 75
Starting Point: Leviathan Rest
Player Characters Present: Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

In the company of Latif, our swashbuckling heroes learned a great deal – how he was exiled from the Elemental Plane of Air, how he’d scooped this ship from the sea to make as his private palace, how Captain Ilisa tricked him into storing this strange trinket – a fragment of carved bone – and how lonely he was, in his exile. While Nasira and Weed sampled his strange wine and cuisine, Korbin and Hakari investigated below decks, discovering the skeletons of Latif’s former visitors, all of whom seemingly died of pleasure.

Rather than meet such a fate, however, our swashbuckling heroes managed to convince the genie that he ought to take up the pirating life. Rather than join their crew, however, he elected to become his own captain, commandeering another ship and hiring a crew with the substantial fortune he possessed. Ferrying the pirates back down to Bonesburg, the djinn strode away, musing about names for his new pirate vessel.

With the Dragon Turtle fully provisioned and the bone shard in hand, the pirates prepared to depart on the first leg of this voyage off the map. Bidding farewell to “civilized” waters, the pirate galley tacked away southwest, toward the next island on Ilisa’s map – “Carry A Tune”.

First order of business, once the Turtle was underway, was to elect a new quartermaster to replace Deadrick. The elven cutthroat citing “filth fever” as his reason for stepping down, Nasira saw an opening to plant herself at the officer’s table and hit the campaign trail. With Weed’s help, she swayed enough votes to her side – Korbin’s included – to clinch the election, despite the best efforts of Yasha and Nadia to contest her.

Weathering a brief storm, the Dragon Turtle next stumbled upon a strange sight – a Colonial derelict, drifting across the water, its sails in disarray. Once they’d boarded the vessel, they were even more distressed by what they found. The ship was empty, the ropes were gone and every square inch of wood aboard the ship was vandalized with crude graffiti, depicting a burning tower. Checking the logs, they too were vandalized all over with the repeated phrase – “The tower burns. The tower burns.” Unnerved, the captain ordered all the cargo loaded onto the Turtle and the pirates promptly sunk the vessel, eager to leave the eerie derelict behind them.

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On the fifth day out from Leviathan Rest, the Dragon Turtle arrived at the coordinates indicated by Ilisa’s treasure map. Once there, they discovered only open water – no island to speak of.

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Episode 54 - Seek the Peak
Into Greater Koboldia

Game Date: Widderways 96 – 97, Year 75
Starting Point: Leviathan Rest
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

At the Thrown Bones, in Bonesburg’s rowdy Shoulders district, our swashbuckling heroes assemble to meet Devraj Devil-May-Care, the dashing captain of the Manticore and his ancient and suspicious Mother. Through a combination of gambling, persuasion, artful embroidery of the truth and detect thoughts, they manage to convince the daring tigerfolk captain to purchase the forged treasure map, the one that claims Captain Ilisa hid her treasure far to the north, in the realm of Far Thanaz.

This done, Captain Inio set about the arduous task of supplying and preparing the ship for departure. Meanwhile, he tasked the crew with investigating Ilisa’s cryptic clue – “seek the peak”. Before that, however, it was imperative that the pirates visit the Jaws of Death, the local gladiatorial fighting ring. Entering Weed’s captive yeti – Fuzzy Wuzzy – into a scheme with the trade boss, they watched as the juvenile creature eviscerated the reigning champion, Gnish Humanfoe. Meanwhile, Nasira, on reconnaissance, spotted what was balanced atop the mountain peak – a shipwreck.

The next morning, accompanied by Meepo and the mysteriously resurrected Gnish Humanfoe, the pirates departed for the swamps, the nation of Koboldia and the mountain beyond. After his taller companions ignored the posted warning, Meepo stumbled into the alarm, alerting the kobolds to their presence. As they crossed the wetlands, they were beset by all manner of traps and hazards, from blood flies to poisonous gas, from quicksand to pit traps. Fortunately, they managed to cross the swamp without too much hue or cry.

Debating their next move in the wooded foothills, the pirates elected to send Weed on a scouting mission to reconnoiter the ship. Transforming into a bubblefly, Weed flew once around the ship, discovered the strange winds and the mysterious inhabitant and reported back to her comrades. Gathering their gear, they sent Meepo back to Koboldia to make way for their departure and went to scale the mountain. After a few harrowing close calls, they reached the Taranyar and, once aboard, quickly made the acquaintance of Latif’nazeem’nahal’yusafa’daqat, the djinn that made the ship his home.

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Episode 53 - Leviathan Rest
Scheming Begins Anew!

Game Date: Widderways 95, Year 75
Starting Point: Leviathan Rest
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

Arriving in Bonesburg, our swashbuckling heroes set to exploring the town. When Korbin and Weed retired to the Dragon Turtle, they discovered the ship almost empty, the crew drunk and Deadrick acting very suspicious. When Hakari explored the docks, looking for a pirate captain to offer his orcs to, he encountered a few swashbucklers from the Hurricane that wanted to introduce him to their Captain. When Nasira went to find a drink, she discovered the majority of the Turtle’s crew – frost giant and Captain included – at the local blind-tiger.

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While Inio and Nasira caught up, Hakari told tales to his orcish brethren and Korbin bought Weed a fried something, a strange dwarf – obese, strapped with potions and carrying a hefty blunderbuss – accused Inio of stealing his ship and opened fire. In the ensuing brawl, Nasira slew a few, Korbin called for parlay, Weed threw a thunderous tantrum and Hakari pretended to side with Captain Rotgut. When hostilities had calmed down, Hakari struck a bargain with Rotgut, offering him the orcs in exchange for a favor. Before the dwarf could go and crack Inio’s skull, however, Korbin trapped him within a blade barrier spell. Slipping away while the getting was good, they left the dwarf to steam.

As night descended, the crew once again split up. Nasira and Weed preceded to head on a shopping trip to the Skull. Hakari visited his orcs, collected fifteen volunteers for Rotgut’s crew and fifteen for his own and, in exchange for the northern barbarians, acquired the services of a very familiar spellsail. Korbin and Inio, meanwhile, discovered that his map was missing and, through the aid of the ravenfolk’s magic, deduced the culprit – Deadrick.

Once everyone was reassembled in the scheming room, Deadrick had the story out. He’d planned to make a copy of the map and sell it to another captain, making a little coin for himself. In order to make the map look legitimate, however, he’d need to steal it briefly. Under a zone of truth, he also confessed that he’d intended to bribe the officers into looking the other way, but their northern sojourn threw things into chaos.

An intense debate then ensued, with the officers attempting to find the right course. While Hakari argued strongly for leniency, Korbin wished to see him punished in the same fashion as he was, months earlier. Nasira made the point that, since none of the crew saw the offense, none need know about it, as it would only shake their morale. After deciding to quietly punish Deadrick and strip him of his rank, it was then decided to pursue his ploy anyway, selling to the map to a local captain with connections to Nasira – Devraj Devil-May-Care – that might take the bait.

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Episode 52 - The Frost Giant's Daughter
Return to Vorgheim

Game Date: Widderways 76 – 95, Year 75
Starting Location: Naznoto
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

When Ylva Vorgsdottir transforms back into her giant form, the pirates are dismayed to discover her trapped between life, death and undeath. With no way to heal her and with no way to bring her back from the dead without her vital organs, our swashbuckling heroes plan to return to Naznoto and recover the canopic jars that contain her brain, heart and lungs.

Sneaking back to the temple, Korbin, Nasira and Weed creep back into the secret entrance. Confronted by vampire spawn at the entrance, they were aided by the two orc warriors – Qaniq and Oogrooq One-Eye – to clear the path. While his allies collected the jars, Hakari and Massak hid from an approaching Far Thanazian dreadnaught. It was a close call, the ship dispatching a few dinghies full of undead to march up to the entrance of the temple. Drifting away, disguised as an ordinary iceberg, our swashbuckling heroes successfully escaped Far Thanaz.

Seven days later, they arrived at Vorgheim and were immediately hustled before Jarl Balvorg. As the jarl grieved her dead daughter, her consort Hrodbovi attempted to marshall the giants, counseling against allying with the smallfolk. Conferring with the jarl and the völva, the pirates agreed to attempt a complex ritual that would implore Skadi, the goddess of winter, to bring Ylva back from the dead.

To perform the ritual, Korbin chanted phrases in Giant, Weed drew designs on the ground, Hakari performed a ceremonial dance in walrus costume and Nasira ran between her companions, helping any who needed it. Sacred ice enshrouded Ylva, covering over her wounds and fetching back her soul from where it had been snatched by Far Thanaz. When she awoke, Jarl Balvorg was overcome with joy and offered the pirates anything they asked for – orcish warriors, a favor from the Jarlfather,

Once they’re rested, the pirates board a new iceberg and make the long voyage to Leviathan Rest. They’re accompanied by Vjergblin and Hakari’s forty orcish raiders and, wisely deciding not to roll into Bonesburg with a small army at his back, Hakari agreed to encamp his orcs some distance up the beach. As both parties approach Bonesburg, they’re eager to see what trouble their ship and their crew has gotten themselves into in the intervening weeks.

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Episode 51 - Death is Everlasting
Escape from Temple of Death

Game Date: Widderways 76, Year 75
Starting Point: Naznoto
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

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Confused by their presence, the vampire attempts to communicate with the pirates but, lacking a common language or a magical means to attain same, combat quickly ensues. While Korbin successfully turns his spawn, the vampire closes to melee with Nasira, Weed and Massak. In such close quarters, he nearly slays the orc outright, attempts to drink Weed’s blood but is ultimately defeated by Nasira, driving him into a corner with her glaive. Before our swashbuckling heroes can celebrate, a door opens, revealing another vampire and another pair of dragonborn spawn.

In short order, this second vampire had charmed Nasira and was attempting to convince her to bring Weed to him when Korbin, acting quickly, completed the constellation puzzle. Transformed suddenly into black smoke, the pirates were sucked downward, through the remainder of the temple and into a previously unknown lower chamber.

In this chamber, they discovered Ylva, maimed and tortured but still alive, chained to an altar and pumped full of necrotic magic. In order to resuce her, our swashbuckling heroes faced off against a deformed high priestess, her two acolytes, a pair of conjured flameskulls and two necrotic crystals that shot bolts of black lightning across the room. Weed dispatched the acolytes with ease, Hakari charged one of the dark crystals and went to work tearing it apart, Nasira cleaved the high priestess into multiple pieces and Korbin summoned a spirit guardian to hold the door. Once all the enemies were vanquished, Weed cast a polymorph spell on Ylva, transforming her into a crab for safe delivery.

Escaping out a secret exit, the pirates were chased by the remaining vampire. As they clambered back onto their ice floe, Nasira fell the tugs of the vampire’s lingering charm and attempted to rejoin the undead creature. Only the timely intervention of Korbin and his hold person spell managed to keep her from leaping off the ice floe and swimming back to the vampire’s clutches.

Speeding southward with all haste, the pirates fled Naznoto and Far Thanaz, ferrying the polymorphed form of Ylva Vorgsdottir southward, to rejoin her mother in Vorgheim.

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Episode 50 - Death is Dominion
Secret in the Stars

Game Date: Widderways 76
Starting Point: Naznoto
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

The next chamber our swashbuckling heroes sought to explore was the high priest’s quarters. Disgusted with the furnishings, the implements of torture and the viscera they found on display, Korbin angrily smashed everything he could find, accidentally letting loose some nasty vermin – a pair of mohrg worms and a swarm of skin scarabs – which were quickly dealt with.

Next the ravenfolk cleric set his mind to solving the bizarre puzzle in the center of the temple – by the rigorous process of trial-and-error. While Hakari, Nasira and Weed further explored the main floor, Korbin banged his head against the puzzle until finally his laborious methods produced results. When a constellation was drawn upon the various dots, the heroes were transformed into black smoke and transported to another level of the complex – this time, the observatory, a hundred feet above the ice.

Blasted and buffeted by the howling wind, the pirates explored the observatory, discovering five strange and unfamiliar constellations highlighted by great mirrors. In addition, Nasira discovered an impressive and haunting city, carven into the ice and previously invisible to the approaching heroes, that spans as far as the eye can see.

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Using their new coordinates, the Dragon Turtle’s officers transported themselves down into the temple’s catacombs, hoping to find the captive Ylva there. Instead, they found only mummies, arising from their stone slabs to harass them. In the ensuing battle, Scarskin the orc was brutally murdered, leaving only Massak left of Hakari’s raiders.

Taking a gamble on another set of coordinates, the swashbucklers transported themselves upward – instead of downward – and, quite to the surprise of both parties, came face-to-face with the temple’s vampiric inhabitants.

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Episode 49 - Death is God
The Edge of Two Worlds

Game Date: Widderways 70 – 76, Year 74
Starting Point: Vorgheim
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

Aboard a small ice floe, our swashbuckling heroes – plus a small party of orcs – sail north from Vorgheim, on the trail of the jarl’s kidnapped daughter. On the voyage, the sun disappears below the horizon and never returns, the cold grows nearly unbearable and there is a close call with a strange ship, black as night, that boards their ice floe but fails to discover them. All the while, Korbin uses scrying to spy on Ylva Vorgsdottir and witnesses the unnatural torments that are befalling her in the Far Thanazian clutches.

The guideposts on their journey are the monuments – horrifying columns made from the frozen dead. Six days later, a horizon appears – a wall of ice, a hundred feet tall, with a temple of black stone perched at its very top. Seeking to get a better view of the surround, our swashbuckling heroes climb their way atop a monument. On the way down, however, the monument activates. Bursting into black, necrotic flame, the monument kills one orc, cripple another and siphons off into the looming temple.

Climbing the decrepit stairway that – according to Korbin’s scrying – Ylva climbed a few days earlier, the pirates arrive at the foot of the temple. Made from sheer obsidian, the only entrance they can find is a circle of strange writing. Some experimentation reveals that a small amount of necrotic energy is required to open a portal and, this done, the characters can step inside.

The temple they discover is deathly quiet, without a trace of sound or motion. The hallways are covered in ghastly skeletal depictions that, when disturbed, come to life. There’s a strange chamber in the temple’s center, surrounded by jars of disgusting offal, to be put to some unknowable purpose. Strange acolytes, tattooed and pierced, hang from hooks in a dormitory. Raw meat is served in the temple’s kitchen and an emaciated acolyte is kept, shackled to an altar, awaiting the sweet release of death.

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As they explore the strange temple, they do battle with its skeletal guardians, Nasira too frightened to emerge from the doorway. They also encounter two acolytes – one preparing food, another shackled to the altar – and interrogating and slaying both, learn some vital intelligence. This temple is called Naznoto, one of many erected through Far Thanaz. The frost giantess is kept below and the only way to reach below is to head upward, to the observatory. What’s more, they learn that the Far Thanazians worship death as the one true god, the disciple they slay muttering the following shibboleth:

“Death is god. Death is dominion. Death is everlasting.”

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Episode 48 - Crumbling Hall of the Frost Giant Jarl
In the Halls of Jarl Balvorg

Game Date: Widderways 66 – 70, Year 75
Starting Point: Shamala Sea
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

The farther and farther north the iceberg sails, the colder and colder the world becomes. Our swashbuckling heroes huddle amid the ice, attempting to stave off a shivering death. Korbin amuses himself by playing games and telling stories to the frost giant hunters, while Hakari makes some keen observations about the way the giants treat their orcish slaves. Along the way, they encounter some wildlife, a war-burg and observe the shortening of the daylight in favor of longer and longer nights.

After four miserable days, the iceberg eventually arrives at the imposing palace of Vorgheim. Taken inside, the pirates follow their giant guides towards the throne room. Hakari, meanwhile, notes that the orcish slaves are diverted, drawn away to catacombs lower in the fortress and resolves to sneak away and rescue them. His companions, meanwhile, continue on their way to meet Jarl Balvorg.

In the throne room of Jarl Balvorg, the pirates were confronted with Skjuld the Sow, a berserker and champion of the jarl, who challenged them to holmgang. When the battle was joined, they made quick work of the giant, only to look on in horror as she transformed into a massive polar bear before their eyes. The fight beginning anew, she was eventually beaten down and defeated, transforming back into her giant form, amid a bout of laughter.

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Meanwhile, Hakari mounted a one-man expedition into the slave pens and attempted to free the orcish prisoners. While initially successful, he was inevitably discovered and lead his freed slaves on a long chase through the halls and corridors of Vorgheim, assisted in his attempts to escape by Vjergblin and divine intervention from Korbin. When he rejoined his companions in the throne room, Jarl Balvorg was impressed with his temerity and granted him the return of his “slaves”, claiming he had won them rightfully in battle.

From the jarl’s völva, they learned of the origins of Far Thanaz, how the undead nation stands between the giants and the northern pole and about how the dragonborn warship that captured her daughter was headed for their unholy waters. In exchange for gold and more “slaves”, the pirates agreed to mount an expedition to retrieve Ylva Vorgsdottir from Far Thanazian clutches.

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Episode 47 - Icebreaker
Iceberg Ambush!

Game Date: Widderways 65, Year 75
Starting Point: Shamala Sea
Player Characters Present: Hakari, Korbin “Pennyfeather” Quill, Nasira az-Yassin bin-Nurit, Weed

Farther and farther north does the Dragon Turtle sail, into waters frozen and speckled with ice. Wrapped in what blankets and furs they can scavenge, the pirates guide their mighty vessel through a forest of ice floes, narrowly avoiding running the ship aground at every turn.

As they round one particular bend, however, Hakari hears the ice overhead shift and collapse, spilling down onto the deck. Scrambling back, the pirates avoid the avalanche of ice and snow that descends onto their ship – but do not avoid the avalanche of orcish raiders that spill down onto the vessel, accompanied by a mighty frost giant warrior.

It is a long and bloody battle on the deck of the Dragon Turtle, between the outnumbered orcs and the ambushed pirates. Among the orcish ranks are great berserkers and shaman, evoking wintry powers to edge out the pirate’s advantage. The frost giant is a terrible foe, sweeping pirates aside with great swings of his axe. From a distant iceberg, more frost giant hurl great snowballs toward the ship, attempting to punch holes in its deck.

When our swashbuckling heroes arrive on the scene, however, they quickly turn the tide.

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Weed launches lightning, slaying the shaman and many orcs with her. Hakari climbs into the forward catapult, shoots himself across the deck and slams into the frost giant, tumbling the massive warrior to the deck. Nasira comes running from belowdecks and leaps into the fray, slaying both elite orcish warriors with her glaive. Korbin, with plenty of magical assistance, ultimates manages to cow the giant and his warriors, demanding they surrender or be slaughtered.

When the bloodletting is done, twenty orcs and twenty pirates each lie dead, among them Hugo, one of the last remaining member of the Kruthik’s crew. While Nasira chastises Weed for lying amid the slain, Hakari rallies the orcish survivors, boasting of his prowess until they accept him into the tribe. Korbin, meanwhile, makes the acquaintance of the frost giant, one Vjergblin, and learns of the many plights currently befalling his people – a missing jarl’s daughter, the dragonborn warship that may have stolen her and the presence of a massive undead sea monster, one that pulls war-bergs down like toys.

After much scheming, the heroes decide to accompany Vjergblin back to his hall to meet Jarl Balvorg. Before they depart, they send one of the frost giants, a suspicious giantess named Skalfadani, to accompany the Dragon Turtle on its way to Leviathan Rest, to ensure safe passage through the floes.

Climbing aboard a nearby iceberg, the pirates join Vjergblin on his odyssey north, back towards his frozen home and the heart of frost giant power in the region.
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