The darkness begins to recede as the sun rises behind the clouds over the blue waters that line the horizon. Drak’Thal wakes to the sounds of Krunak shouting orders to the crew as they prepare to leave for the north. Walking out of his quarters he draws a deep breath to smell the salty waters that were his home for so long. His silver beard catches the wind that will soon carry them from this harbor. He walks up to the upper decks to oversee the men preparing the ship. Eventually, the Keepers arrive and head to their quarters to drop off the belonging they have in tow. Standing tall on the quarterdeck the officers wait in preparation for the voyage. Krunak yells out to the men.
"WEIGH ANCHOR! SET THE SAILS"
The sails begin to fall from the masts and fill with the wind. The banner Drak’Thal handed Krunak catches his eye. A feeling of home overcomes him. He feels closer to the Keepers than ever in this moment. He can now share what has been a part of his life for such a long time with them. The buildings all around the ship begin to move backwards as the Keepers Oath starts its voyage.
Waves splash up onto the sides of the ship as we continue the voyage north. The shanties of the crew ring within our ears day by day. They work as though they were a single unit. The keepers all meet in the command chamber on the third day. There is talk of the heading and that it is imperative to keep the crew in good spirits. We decide to stop on a nearby island on the way north to catch our land legs once again before we make the last leg of the journey. Alatar speaks up stating that he has three masks that we may use to infiltrate the monastery, however, we should also come up with other ideas in case his does not work. Krunak turns to the officers and offers to show them around the ship. They agree and walk from room to the room within the ship as Krunak tells them what the massive ship can carry, amenities, and professionals employed to keep the ship running.
Drak’Thal teaches his most favorite shanty to the men to keep spirits high for the man and for himself. It reminds him of his time on his own ship with his old crew. His brow furrows a little at the thought of his old crew. He then looks up and takes in a deep breath. As he looks up the Keepers arrive on the upper decks to join him. This is now his new crew. His new family. He, however, can not forget his past. They must be avenged. The men responsible for his life will one day burn in the light of Talos and his companions.
The Keepers meet on the sixth day to once again speak of heading and potential alternate plans for the siege on the monastery. borunn tells us of watchouts that her monastery has positioned around the mountains in the north. Perhaps they may use them to scout out the sacred stones. Rinn speaks up saying she may be able to forge any documents to get us passage as long as we can get a copy for her. Breaking from our meeting we all head towards the ale. Rinn walks up to Drak’Thal and asks “Would you like to play a game?” Drak’Thal agrees and they pick up the darts that lay on the table and take turns. Drak’Thal wins the game and requests that she pay him in an Ale. Traelle also confronts the dwarf for a game and he once again beats his opponent. Looking around borunn is nowhere to be found.
High above the ship two adventurers sit and share a bottle of rum. The monk reveals a hand of a goblin to the crewmate. It is what drives her day by day. She would never forgive the goblin who took her family away from her. The sailor looks into the monk’s eyes and says “ My life was not so different from yours. I let go of my past and once I did I was able to accept these men as my family. You should do the same. Let go of the past and let new experiences flow. Create a family of your own.” The sailor and monk continue to pass the bottle until they pass out.
The cloudy skies loom over as the days go by. The storms are getting worse as the Keepers Oath continues to travel north. The days begin to get longer as there is not much to tend to that the crew is not already taking care of. A pod of whales is spotted off the side of the ship. Krunak calls us to the main deck to learn to man the ballistas.
He turns to the captain and asks “Captain. May we have permission to fire on this pod?” Drak’Thal seems confused at his question. Such a thing has never had to been asked in all his travels in the past. He responds “Permission? HA.” Krunak, remembering that Drak’Thal’s most recent experience captaining a ship was as a pirate, takes his response as permission. As the Keepers mount the ballistas borunn seems hesitant to fire on defenseless animals. Krunak sees her reservations and points out that they are already on the move to attack. “There are no regular whales borunn. They will attack anything in sight. They are vicious and disrupt the harmony of the sea. They are evil.”
A loud “CRACK” rattles throughout the ship as the evil whales smash into the side attempting to breach the ship. The ballistas are loaded and fired! Rinn flies backwards out of her seat as she is not ready to take the recoil of the large machine. Another volley is fired at the evil whales piercing their thick blubber. The sea begins to run red as the whales take damage. Krunak and Sven begin to attach ropes to the loaded ballistas so we may reel one in for potential sale. We fire once more. Rinn is caught in her own rope and is taken with the projectile. Sven with a quick snap throws an axe towards her and catches the rope against the wall severing it from the projectile. Rinn smashes into the wall with a large thud.
The last volley of projectiles pierces the only whale left. Using the rope it is pulled onto the decks. borunn stares directly into its eyes and witnesses the creatures bloodlust. Krunak walks beside her and says “I told you they were evil.” The crimson and dark grey whale is wrapped up and held in storage until we reach the next port.
The voyage continues on. Day by day the skies begin to turn darker. Drak’Thal can sense the approaching storm and knows that his god Talos will keep them safe from the elements for the time being. The storm begins to rage as they near the northern continent. Rain pours down from the heavens. The rain somehow feels artificial. Not a soft rain but a raging one. A forced rain possibly. Something is influencing the elements on such a scale that it could not be from anything ordinary.
A loud bell rings aloud. Krunak hands Drak’Thal an eye glass. The snowy white horizon is only broken by the masts of the armada that lay before us. Raising our sails the ship begins to come to a stop in front of the massive naval force. After raising the flag of peace the ships begin to drop their sails to make way for our own ship. The dock city is no more than a bar and harbor. Krunak leaves to seek the harbor master to make a deal so that we may dock here for some time. He returns and says that we may now go. “Captain. We will treat her as our own.” Drak’Thal responds “It is your own, OUR own.” Walking off the decks the keepers are approached by two individuals. One in armor and another in green robes asking for one of the Order or the Enclave. They are in need of aid. Orcs have begun to raid the nearby areas. They take us towards their own town that was raided. Smoke begins to rise above the ridges ahead. As we approach the edge a valley comes into view with a homestead below. The main barn is still burning as we head into the homestead to check for any signs of life. borunn and Traelle rush into the barn to check for any survivors. They pull a man out who is unconcious. The two elves which seeked our aid tend to him. Searching around for signs of the orcs departure we find wagon and boot tracks leading away from the homestead. Deciding to go after the orc band we agree to return to the homestead then they will take us to Dellmon where the rest of the homestead has retreated to.
Following the tracks for about 10 minutes we find the band of orcs. With Alatar’s bow, Drak’Thals lightning, Traelle’s radiance, Rinn’s swords and borunn’s fists we make quick work of the small band of orcs. We rescue three villagers and return them to the elves and continue onto Dellmon. Arriving at the Dellmon’s ranch we head inside to meet the family. The head of the family Kerbin addresses us “Aye, you here to help us?”, Drak’Thal responds “Aye.” Kerbin continues “This is Perd my son, his wife Marka, and my daughter Denna.” Pointing over to a man, a woman, then the emerald enclave member which we had been following. He speaks up once again “The orcs have been coming in waves at any time. We suspect they will attack again soon. Ready yourselves for the attack.”
The Keepers nod at the man and begin pulling out their weapons. Heading towards the main door and walls to ready themselves for the impending attack. Looking over the walls in anticipation for the attack we wait. Seconds feel like hours until a single orc walks from the surrounding trees. Then another and another. Soon orcs pour out from all directions. There are too many for us to handle. Alatar fires and arrow out in attempt to get the jump. The battle begins. Javelins begin to rain down on us from outside the walls. We trade javelins and arrows until the orcs begin to withdraw unexpectedly. Turning around smoke fills the sky from just outside the wall. Drak’Thal begins to rain down water from the sky to put it out. Everyone helps in putting it out until it is time to retire. Traelle, Rinn, and the townspeople stay up all night to douse the fire best the can so we may keep our walls.
“DING DING DING DING DING”
A loud alarm begins to ring waking the ranch. All rush to put on their armor and grab their swords. Running out we once again see orcs pouring from the forest that surrounds us. Firing all we can the orcs take little damage. Javelins once again rain down on the fortification as everyone takes heavy damage. This is not a battle that can be won. A villager yells out to everyone to collapse into the center of town. Reaching the center we back up against one another to take our final stand. The main door bursts down and orcs begin to surround us knowing we have lost.
A loud horn sounds from the distance. The thumping of hooves fill the air. The orcs turn towards the main door of the fortification. Tall elves in full armor atop horses ride into the ranch. With swords unsheathed they begin to slice down the orcs around us until none are left.
Once the area is clear they approach Alatar. “You. Elf. Do you know what that symbol means?” He points to the symbol Alatar is donning on his armor which matches the tabards all the elves wear. He speaks again “It is the symbol of the forgotten flower. We are people banished from Kelvular. However, we parlayed with them. They have allowed us to prove ourselves by each finding an artifact. All the men you see before you have finished this task. Now I ask you. Do you accept this quest?”
Alatar responds “I do.”