Dead Men Walking

Offshore, North of  Voa, Northern Tarkesh, Sadric 89 Yoarus 20

The Fang

With unexpected facilty, Kira guided the Mai Queen across the remaining half-mile to the island of the Fang. The light was failing fast, and the sea was rough, waves smashing against the rocks. In the centre of the low, flat island stood the tower itself, a black, irregular mass of rough rock rearing two hundred feet above the sea in a natural spire. From around 40' up to the top were dotted occasional holes though which yellow lamplight flickered, most likely windows. They sailed around, but at no point on the island was any harbour, wharf or beach to provide a safe landing.

Fredyr looked around in puzzlement; he was sure he could hear faint, tuneless musical sounds coming from somewhere as the boat pitched through the surf. However, he didn't have much time to wonder about this as his cousin guided the boat as close as possible to allow them to jump for the island. Malvyr and Fredyr steadied themselves and jumped for the island, but the constant movement of the boat threw their aim off and both missed the shore. Fredyr splashed into the sea and bobbed to the surface; unlike mundane armour, his demon protection wasn't heavy enough to drag him down. Malvyr was less fortunate and bashed his head on the rock as he fell to crash into the water half-stunned. 

Fredyr called his air elemental away from the boat to provide him an air-bubble around his head, and the Mai Queen instantly began to fill with water and sink. Kira cursed, abandoning the now-useless tiller and sheets to sieze her pike and leap for the island. The foundering vessel was not a stable enough platform to jump from, unfortunately, and it shifted under her, dumping her into the water with the other two. 


Fredyr folded his arms; bouyed and supplied with air by his elemental, he felt disinclined to risk the perilous climb up the side of the island, and preferred to let the other two tackle it first. Kira was first to remember her water elemental brooch, and with a command she sent it into the water to lift her towards the relative safety of the shore. Her timing was good and she stepped gracefully ashore despite her drenched clothes and hair, but when Malvyr - revived by the cold water - tried the same feat, his timing of the waves was off and he fell back into the sea again, cursing violently. Kira peered over the edge, her pike in one hand. "Should I put you out of your misery?" she asked sweetly, extending the weapon towards him. Despite her words, it was the butt end she proffered, and gripping this Malvyr managed to haul himself up onto the island. Fredyr eyed the weapon dubiously when she directed it to him, but in the end accepted the help and made the climb himself. Utterly saturated, the three stood on the rock like a trio of wet rats and examined their surroundings.


Of the Mai Queen there was no sign; Mac-Ghyll-Dosal's boat had slid quietly beneath the waves as they struggled to make shore. The island they stood on was a slippery expanse of weeds, pools and loose rocks around fifty yards across, with the tower in the centre 30' from the edges. There was no obvious door or windows at ground level, and they were gazing around in search of an entrance when a movement at the water's edge caught their eyes. Round objects surfaced and moved to the rocks, beginning to pull themselves out of the water and up the rock, human-shaped things that had once been human, drowned men enslaved to some nigromancer's dark will. They were clad in rusted armour and tattered, rotten clothing, with chipped and dented weapons slung on their hips and shoulders. White eyes stared blindly from peeling faces and blue lips parted around teeth visible where their cheeks had once been. 

Sea-Zombies Attack

Kira backed rapidly to the tower, placing her back to the wet, slimy stone and raising her bone bow. Fredyr too prepared to shoot, though he stepped forward to the edge of the drop with Malvyr, who unslung his greataxe as the sea zombies started to climb. The atonal twang of the terrible demon parabow was clearly audible above the crashing waves, and two arrows lashed down. An undead sailor threw up his arms, his rusty broadsword splashing into the water as he slid back into the water and out of sight. The remaining nine lugged themselves, squelching as they moved, up the rock to the lip, and Fredyr loosed again as Malvyr slashed with his axe. Each accounted for a soggy foe, leaving seven to reach the level and draw their weapons to attack. 

Kira drew a careful bead and drilled a zombie through the guts, sending it sprawling, and Fredyr feathered two more, though not fatally. Malvyr slashed at a third, noticing with a sinking feeling that his blade wasn't doing as much damage to them as the shafts of the other two. None the less, he fought on. The corpse of what had once been a slight youth, probably handsome by human standards, struck at him with a sea axe of his own, and Malvyr twisted under the blow, his parry bringing the blade of his hellwrought axe against the sodden wood of the zombie's weapon. The Melnibonéan's blade sheared clean through the shaft, destroying the axe and leaving the zombie unarmed. 

Fredyr had now dropped all the zombies in his own vicinity, and took a little more time over his shooting now he was unthreatened. His next arrow hummed across the battle to drop one of the undead closing in on Kira, who had dropped her bow and was lifting her greatsword from her shoulders ready to engage directly. An axe-wielding zombie lurched at her, and she struck twice, like Malvyr disdaining defence in order to press her attack. Her foe stumbled back, still fired by whatever sorcerous spark gave these things the semblance of life, but with both arms severed between the shoulder and elbow. Malvyr struck at another, smashing its' leg to fishpaste and sending it sprawling, but another swung its' sword through his guard to crash against his mailed chest. The demon armour flexed and repelled the blow, but such was the force with which it was delivered that the brawny Melnibonéan was knocked stumbling back five or six feet. This opened a gap and Fredyr loosed through it, dropping the zombie to the rocks. 


With only three remaining, two disarmed and one with no arms, the battle turned to a massacre and the three Melnibonéans were soon alone on the island once more. Regaining their breath, they gathered around Fredyr as he used his codpiece demon of desire to heal the wounds they'd sustained against the rocks - the zombies hadn't managed to scratch them. Then Kira resumed searching for an entrance of some kind, and before long had located the fine outline of a concealed door. Opening it proved problematic, with Kira trying all the things she could think of to trip the mechanism. Finally, Fredyr leaned over her shoulder and tapped a spot with a finger. "There," he said simply, and the door swung open towards them, revealing a damp, dank passage floored in muddy slime, leading into the rock and slightly downward into darkness. 

Malvyr lit a lantern and Kira summoned a fire elemental which she bade hover at the end of her pike as a source of light. Professing admiration for this, the two men bowed her in first, causing her to grimace but cautiously make her way into the dark passage. Malvyr glanced upwards at the lit windows, wondering if anyone had heard the door grate open, and saw a shadowy figure cross the light at one, but no alarm was raised, so he followed the others. As he passed the portal, he noticed something grey crusted around the rebate of the doorway, and bent to examine it. It was crushed bones and shreds of flesh... 

Underwater Cave

He drew this to the others' attention, and Kira picked up a loose head-sized rock, hefted it carefully, then rammed it into the rebate to stop the door closing. Then she led the others down the passage, Malvyr watching behind as they proceeded into the darkness. As he half expected, the door began to grind closed around the time Kira rounded the corner and discovered the passage was a dead end... and water began to pour in through ankle-level conduits. The 'entrance' was a trap, and they lost no time returning to the door - which had failed to close due to Kira's well-placed rock - and shouldered it open again to return to the surface. They were beginning to suspect that whoever lived in this place didn't share their definitions of an entrance, and Fredyr sent his water elemental into the sea to take a look at the sides of the island below the surface. Sure enough, it returned with the discovery that there was an underwater cave, leading to a passage into the inside of the island and a pool within the tower. 

Dropping their packs and cloaks, they slipped back into the sea, taking deep breaths and commanding their watery servants to propel them rapidly under the surface and through the cave. As they swam along, weapons drawn, light became visible ahead of them, sure sign that the real entrance to the tower was just ahead...

Session Date: 18th April 2012