Somehow, my legs carry me to the side of the vessel. With only seconds to spare, my mouth clears the level of the railing, and I vomit into the swirling green sea. Despite the smooth keel and Drak’Thal’s sure grip, the storm throws the vessel back and forth, and every motion brings me back to the starboard rail. I lean against the ship for support, my only solace in the fact that both Rinn and Alatar show the same symptoms. As I look to the aft of the vessel and gaze upon the receding Riverguard Keep, I can still make out the gap in the stone wall where the Keepers made their daring escape. Unnatural waves still crest outwards, as if the sea were reaching out to claim us. I slide down the railing, praying that sitting on the deck will provide some relief from the pitching sea. I pull my holy symbol from the sleeve of my mail and reflect on the events that brought us here.
I pray that Tyr smiles on me and my party, as surely the Blind witnessed our deeds. I think on our battle with the wereboar Jolliver, the magical water serpents, and the saw-tooth sword wielding pirates that accompanied them. The thought of smiting bandits gives me the faintest of smiles, as if taking up sigil and banner would disguise their nature from us. After completing our search, collecting gold and a strange orb from the group, we discovered a hidden spiral staircase. Loud alarm bells ring out, but we can still hear the sounds of hostages in the adjacent bunk room. The commoners Anya, Burd, and Nareen, pitiful in their terror, shake as they tell us they’ve been held within the Keep by the Gauntlet for weeks. We find a set of unarmed ruffians, named Gorm, Herek, Shednael, and other commoners, Lath’na and Olrik, hiding within the kitchen. After telling the Wormfjord commoners to remain hidden, the Keepers leave to explore the unknown areas of the Keep. Through the spiral staircase of the hidden passageway, Rinn leads us down to a cavernous harbor with two beached row boats.
Rinn leads us back up the passage, and we are confronted by Gorm, Herek, Shednael, and another water serpent witch. In the ensuing battle, Þórunn punches a pirate to the ground and finishes him by snapping his neck with a kick. Responding to Rinn’s cry, the water serpent says, “My name is Ashrona,” and launches a spell at me. This dark energy appeared just as before with the other water serpents, leaving me weak and fatigued. Through the efforts of all of the Keepers, the ruffians and Ashrona fall in defeat.
After exploring the upper reaches of the main tower, and defeating more pirates, we found ourselves on the parapet lined western wall. Through the sound of screaming commoners fleeing, we moved as a group and clear the wall of archers. As stealthily as we can, the Keepers move to the courtyard, clearing enemies as we encounter them in the armory and the southwestern tower. With fresh armaments from the armory, we clear the southern stone wall and enter the tower that overlooked our vessels approach. We are greeted with blades as the mustachioed Reesh and his companions assail us. Reesh shifts into a water serpent and attacks the group. In the course of the battle, Rinn also gets struck with the same spell.
As we rest, Rinn and Alatar sneak back to the northwestern tower and tell the commoners Anya, Burd, Nareen, Larh’na, and Olrik to escape from the western gate. As the rogue and ranger return, the Keepers move in force and approach the Order of the Gauntlet’s ship. The Keepers move, but after Þórunn’s suggestion, stop for shields in the armory as a means to protect ourselves for our perilous escape. As we make for sea, Drak'Thal shoulds "we need to get out of here, NOW! There are things here…." We’re assaulted be an unnatural upwelling in the water, a 15' wave thrown at the vessel, knocking me to the deck, unconscious. Alatar quickly revives me with his potion of healing, and just barely in time. As the stormy harbor rocks the vessel, Alatar also succumbs to his wounds and falls unconscious. With almost all of my power expended, I bring him back from the brink and yell for Drak’Thal to make way out of the harbor. Minutes feel like hours, but the ship finally crests the waves into the deep ocean.
With Drak’Thal’s acceptance of Alatar’s apology, however begrudgingly, and with the cooperation that the Keepers showed each other in Rivergaurd Keep, I pray that our bonds are on the path of recovery following the events at Daggerfjord. Another wave strikes the boat, this time against the starboard hull, causing me to retch again. As I recover, I hear Rinn cough and watch as she spits blood. I follow her gaze over the open sea and silently agree with her wish for a swift return to safe shores.