Session #44 – Wednesday, October 7, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 2:00 a.m.

Realizing that it might be his last chance, Oriseus reaches out to the creature with his mind a final time – to contact the source of what he can only imagine possesses immense and mysterious powers.  The effort yields no noticeable result, but he senses that the “opening” in his mind from his last encounter with the alien being remains.  Moments pass and the party is aware of an approaching winged monstrosity.  They can hear the creature land outside of view.  A barefoot halfling emerges from the darkness and lights a pipe.  It is Roldryss and he thanks the heroes for performing a fantastic service for his realm.  Roldryss points to the distant ash-covered hills.  There, in the darkness of night, pin pricks of orange light move slowly towards the keep.  The dragon explains that Unther mercenaries approach to capture what the adventurers just released into the night sky.  “But, we won’t be here when they arrive.”  The massive dragon takes his true form and flies the party eastward into the dawn, to the outskirts of the Village of Gafna.

Horns blow from the nearby forest as the party lands on an overgrown roadway.  Parting words are given.  Oriseus asks if Roldrys can find out what has happened to Eve Nightsheer.  Dareus asks if Roldrys can discover what has happened to his order.  Roldrys takes to the sky and is gone.  A man emerges from the tree line holding a spear and demanding that the heroes identify themselves.  Before an answer is given, he sees Arrakes’s holy symbol of Helm and falls to his knee, saying “You are Arrakes Delmirev.”  The man introduces himself as Kay Zorita, a guard for the City of Gafna.  He escorts them to the city.  The “city” is actually little more than a village.  Great palisades surround the settlement peppered with wooden watch towers.  Scattered around the wooden walls are piles of burning black corpses yielding dark oily smoke.  The party is ushered into the city and is immediately confronted by a funeral parade.  They are told that the a ten year old boy by the name of Balian Zethaya was found dead, floating in the harbor.  The entire town is beside themselves with grief.  Kay takes the group to the local shrine of Helm.  There, they meet Priestess Cady Valin of Helm.  She too takes a knee upon seeing Arrakes and thanks him profusely for coming to their aid.  She relates a story that she was meditating in the forest when she was approached by a paladin of Helm who introduced himself as Gesen Reckart.  Gesen told Cady that he would send a great cleric of Helm to save Gafna from impending destruction from the nearby lizardfolk tribe of the forked tongue.  And, now that Arrakes has actually arrived as predicted, her prayers have finally been answered.  Cady takes the adventurers to Lieutenant Durk Urtaro.  There, they learn that for the past two months, the village has been under near constant attack from the forked tongue lizardfolk and fear that the next attack may do them in.  They believe that Arrakes had been sent to defeat the threat and save the remaining survivors from certain death.  The Lieutenant tells them to get situated in town and then to return whereupon they could develop a strategy together.  He says that the town has about 35 warriors left and that the forked tongues probably have twice that.  Just as the party is getting ready to depart for the inn, a woman enters the room and announces to the Lieutenant that she has bad news – the boy’s neck was broken.  She says that she is going to speak with the boy’s father, Lobee Zethaya, the Dock Master.  The Lieutenant introduces the woman as Hayes Oldenburg, a deputy of his that is investigating young Balian’s death.  She invites the adventurers to accompany her to the docks to speak with Lobee.  They agree.

Upon their arrival, they meet Lobee Zethaya and inspect the boy’s body.  It is true, they find, that the boy’s neck had been broken.  Arrakes also sees marks on the boy’s face roughly in the shape of an adult’s hand.  Arrakes determines that the marks are consistent with an attack from the rear.  No defensive wounds are found.  Lobee opines that there is no way a person who falls into the water ends up with a broken neck and insists that his son was murdered.  Oriseus asks Lobee if he has any enemies.  Lobee responds with a “no,” but then comes clean by saying that did have an awful breakup with a woman by the name of “Lisa” who works at the nearby fish market.  He admits that he had had a bit too much to drink a few weeks before and in the morning awoke to find that Lisa’s face had been badly beaten.  She accused Lobee of attacking her, but Lobee had no memory of it.  He accepted her words as true and tried to make amends.  She did not accept.  But, Lobee just doesn’t think Lisa could have done such a thing.  Plus, he said, he hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol since then.

Lobee takes the group outside his house and to the spot where he found Balian’s body. Oriseus looks into the nearby boathouse and sees a collection of tools, fishing equipment and boats and parts.  Dinsdale discovers some footprints in the soil near the river’s edge.  The prints appear to be those of a child and of a narrow-footed adult.  The group concludes that the adult prints were made by a woman.  Hayes makes a point of showing that her feet are too big to be those in the prints.  The party begins to speculate when they are interrupted by the now familiar found of Namfoodle screaming.  Looking to the water, the group sees a huge lizardman emergeing from the river and charging them.  A battle ensues in which Lobee Zethaya is horribly killed beyond help.  Namfoodle also goes down.  In the end, the heroes are victorious and Namfoodle is revived.  Again.  The session ends at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 7, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

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