A Series of Unfortunate Rolls

ACT II, EPISODE 5 - THE TAIL THAT WAGS THE HAG

As the party took a moment to recollect themselves after defeating Charles the Werebear and removing his tail, Linny stood up and declared that as much as she wanted to get back to the matter of the missing children, she couldn’t in good conscious allow the cultists’ horrific experiments on people and animals to continue. Everyone agreed and decided to go back through the halls that led them to the current chamber and find the cult leader Ozymandias. In the force wall hallway, everyone made it through with relative ease except for Gaius, who insisted on trying to jump both walls at the same time while riding Francine. The spectral horse stumbled over the first barrier and dissipated, sending the paladin sprawling across the floor.

The party returned to the large chamber where Ye’Kan had put a spell on Ezekiel and found that their charmed friend had returned with three other guards. He was still friendly toward them, but one of the new guards named Jobe declared that he knew all of the inhabitants of the lair and knew for a fact that the adventurers were intruders. The group tried their best to persuade Jobe otherwise, but only Linny was able to fool the hostile cultists of her allegiance while the boys all failed. A scuffle broke out in which Linny was not initially attacked and instead contributed to the battle by “accidentally” standing in front of Ye’Kan and using her head to balance his Eldritch Blast shot. Osborne lashed out and did more damage in a single hit than the party had ever witnessed before, and after the cultists fell Ye’Kan took Ezekiel’s necklace of animal claws as a souvenir.

Moving through the door that Ezekiel had previously said was the path to Ozymandias, the group spied two holes in the wall next to them that were emitting a stream of smoke. They were preparing to check for traps when Gaius reached over and snatched Ye’Kan’s new necklace off and tossed it forward, activating the the wall traps and sending a fireball shooting out of each hole. They went one at a time past the trap, and even though Gaius’ attempt to bat the fireball back into the hole with his maul failed miserably, they eventually all made it to the other side. At the next door they could hear chanting along with some animal snarls, and when Osborne peeked in the room he saw a large robed man standing in a cursed blood symbol that took up nearly the entire floor and surrounded by a pack of wolves. Figuring this was the dastardly Ozymandias, they charged in and attacked.

The already-cursed Osborne and Gaius rushed over the symbol and straight up to him for melee combat, while the uncursed Linny and Ye’Kan hung back for spellcasting. The wolves jumped in the way of all the party’s attacks to protect their master, and as soon as one wolf fell another would enter through one of the seven doors all around the room and take its place in the circle. Figuring they had to break these doors to end the unlimited wolf supply, Ye’Kan, Linny, and Osborne took on that responsibility while Gaius continued to hammer away at the villain and his pets. When the doors were taken care of, Ozymandias shot a Lightning Bolt that knocked the young paladin unconscious and close to death. Linny quickly healed him, however, and Gaius was able to stand up and—albeit woozily—deliver the final killing blow to the cult leader. Once Ozymandias fell both Gaius and Osborne felt the blood curse being lifted, and the cultist’s body decayed and turned to ash almost instantly. Among his remains the party found another strange drawing like the one they had acquired back in the Mountains of Yule that seemed like a missing page from Leon’s journal.

With the island now cleared of evil the party was ready to return to the Icarus Two and fly back with Vincent, but they began to worry what he might do about the polar bear tail. Still irked by the fact that he did not accompany them onto the island, they began to wonder if they could trust him to actually take them back and allow them to leave with the tail that he also desired. At the same time they were not very eager to return to Camilla the hag and assist her with anything, so they debated as they healed and regrouped after the battle. Just then the frightening shadowy figure that spoke to them in the Mountains of Yule reappeared, freezing the group in fear. In a low raspy whisper, the shadow told them, “The path is clear. There is more than one answer to every riddle,” before quickly disappearing back into the ether. Thoroughly spooked once again, the adventurers tried to calm themselves and think about the shadow’s words. They remembered that there were sewers beyond the werebear’s chambers that they hadn’t checked out, and thinking there might be an alternate path or perhaps even another mode of transportation down there, they decided to head back and investigate.

The adventurers returned to the werebear cage and entered the sewers, which were very dark and smelled of copper. They walked for hours and hours without encountering anything until they saw a light up ahead. They realized it was an exit at the end of the tunnel, and when they emerged outside they were shocked to find that they were back in Almamoon. Putting the pieces together, they realized that the island cultists had been using this tunnel to travel from their lair to the town to abduct animals for their dark experiments, which helped explain why Almamoon had not seen an animal for a long time. This reminded Linny that she had left her fox familiar on board Vincent’s airship back on the island, and she began to panic. It had been hours since they stepped off the ship and it would be hours back to the island through the sewer tunnel, so they figured it was unlikely that Vincent was still there waiting for them. Unable to do anything in the short term, the party decided to find Trevor Belmont and check in with him about what they had discovered so far, and then decide what to do about the fox.

They went to Evermore Tavern and found Terra working the bar. She informed them that two more children had been abducted since they were last in town, then sent one of her employees to fetch Trevor. Once he arrived the party asked to speak to him in private, so the five of them went off to Lues’ Inn where they purchased rooms for the evening and had their meeting in one of Gaius’ three rooms. They told Trevor about all they had seen and done in the Mountains of Yule, where he was surprised to learn that the giant Logarth was real; in the Miasma Marshlands, where he seemed curious and concerned about the existence of Camilla the hag; and in Castaway Cove and the island, where he was very interested in learning about and meeting Vincent Dorrin. The group offered to bring Trevor along since they were leaving for Castaway Cove at dawn to retrieve Linny’s fox, and he agreed.

The next morning Gaius purchased a new red velvet chair for the back of his horse from Lues for 200 gold pieces, and off they went. When they arrived they found the Icarus Two in the port but with no sign of Vincent or the fox. They decided to try the tavern where they found him in the first place, and on the way they saw him walking down the road with the fox on a leash. A tense standoff ensued in which he accused them of escaping the island and cheating him of the tail, while the party maintained they had simply investigated the sewer without knowing where they would end up. Finally they reached an agreement that they would trade him the tail for the fox and also help him kill Camilla, as long as they got to watch him make the necessary potion. Everyone returned to the Icarus Two: Linny, Ye’Kan, and Trevor all went with Vincent to watch him concoct the potion, which included his own blood and a vial of his deceased sister’s blood; Gaius stayed above deck to work on his tan; and Osborne sneaked below to search Vincent’s belongings, where he found the pilot’s journal containing ramblings about catching Camilla and a pressed flower in the back. Once everything was finished, Trevor said he was going to stay behind and asked to keep Leon’s journal, but Linny declined and said they might need it to fight the hag. The party plus Vincent left Castaway Cove and headed straight for the Marshlands to put the polar bear tail potion to work.

Knowing Camilla was only expecting the four of them, the group told Vincent to wait outside until it was time to strike. They knocked and entered the hag’s cottage, where she willingly gave up the journal page she had been hiding. Ye’Kan quickly grabbed it and threw the potion vial at the same time, which shattered and covered the hag in the liquid. She screamed and the cottage started to fade out of existence, and now the party saw the environment for what it truly was: ten small islands connected by wooden bridges over smelly, corrosive-looking swamp water. Vincent rejoined them and they attempted to attack the now-vulnerable hag, but every time she was hit she would teleport away to a different island and leave behind some kind of magic charm. Eventually they realized that destroying these charms would recall her to that location, so they used them to their advantage to bring her back and inflict further damage. They were able to group up on her, but such a strategy cost them when Camilla cast a Thunderwave spell that sent Vincent flying into the swamp water. He screamed in agony and took a lot of damage before Linny was able to pull him out with a rope and cast Create Water to clean him off. Finally Osborne brought the hag down, and the group was satisfied knowing they had avenged some of the missing children.

Vincent woke up and thanked the party for their help in ridding the land of such evil. He was still in bad shape, so they loaded him up on Gaius’ red velvet chair and rode back to Castaway Cove. As soon as they helped him inside the Cat’s Cradle, several women rushed up to him to tend to his wounds and take care of him. With night falling once again, the adventurers purchased rooms for the evening and went to sleep, ready to make their next move.

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