Skull and Shackles: Pathfinder Adventure Path

The Skull Island

The City of Saughin

     As day graced the visage of the steep cliff face of Mancatcher Cove, the shape of a skull is revealed carved into the rocky hillside. Quickly reviewing the skin map cut from the back of the pirate, the Lesser Evil considers the riddle presented:

From blue bight’s embrace
Spy the Grave Lady’s prize tooth
With the Dawn lower’s first kiss
Climb the Captain’s wayward orb
To claim old king’s hoard

     Divining at least a measure of the meaning of the riddle, and spying an opening upon the rocky cliff face, Gorbo leads the way onto the island that morning. Intent on his revenge, and the obtainment of the treasure horde, Gorbo is strident in his approach.

     Moving to explore the island, and the dark tunnels that riddle the island, Gorbo leads the Lesser Evil into a quick series of deadly encounters. First, an encounter with sharks, which confirms to Tilly that she is no fan of those beasts from the deep sea. Now moving through the tunnels of the island, a succession of roving bands of saughin are encountered and summarily defeated, until at last a room with a great challenge is presented.

     But the Lesser Evil succeeds in defeating the enemy saughin within, slaying the warriors, and in so doing manage to rescue the captured queen of the Locathah. Leaving Bruno and Caldor behind to guard her, the rest of the Lesser Evil move on to continue the exploration.

     Several more bands of saughin are encountered. And at each encounter, the pirates confer their rage and slay the saughin without mercy. In one such room, great warrior saughin swim in a pool with many other saughin of various size and age, all intent on engorging themselves on food as it is poured into the room from a rushing rivulet. The warriors are quickly dispatched by the Lesser Evil, and Fens calls forth his magic to re-animate the recently slain warriors. Now undead, and under Fens’ control, these saughin begin to brutally slay the remaining helpless saughin women, children, and ancients.

     Moving on, at last the Lesser Evil discover a sliver of a side passage from which an unnatural cold is expelled. Maneuvering through the passage, they stumble into a round room, ancient in construction, ill-tended, and long abandoned. But within, a quivering mass reveals itself, a humanoid struggling to be freed from bonds which keep it chained to the wall.

     Understanding at once the plight of the creature, certainly a denizen long since dead and now consumed in undeath, Fens approaches and attempts to loosen the bonds to free the unjustly held monster.

     But the undead has a different purpose. With pure hatred of the living its sole resolve, the thing lashes out at Fens. In its unholy undeath, the monster fills Fens’ lungs with a vile watery substance which causes Fens to begin to drown.

     Seeing the extreme distress which this has placed Fens, the rest of the Lesser Evil rush forward to lend aid. Tilly and Rogald begin to deliver blows upon the undead creature in an attempt to dispatch it quickly. At this close distance, the creature is revealed as a humanoid, wrapped in bandages, and yet exuding a putrescent watery ooze. As Rogald and Tilly continue their attack, the monster reaches out, breaking the bonds which chain it to the wall, and begins to inflict its vile fluid upon the pair.

     A number of desperate minutes pass, with Fens calling his undead minions forward to assist in the slaying of the mummified monster. With Gorbo slashing in, soon the creature is destroyed, but not before inflicting several with its vile curse.

     Rogald and Tilly are both afflicted. But they are able to overcome the vile effects. But Fens, perhaps too confident in his ability to control the monster, is still stricken. The rest of the crew gather and desperately try to aid the necromancer. But it is all for naught, as Fens gurgles in the cursed water which now fills his lungs. With a final heave, life flees the eyes of Fens, who in death accepts to continue his journey upon the second triad of creation, that of death.

     Perhaps at some future time, Fens may be called back into service. Either raised to life from the dead to continue his service to Urgathoa. Or brought to undeath to serve the Pallid Princess in other ways. For Fens, the choice matters not. Life. Death. Undeath. It is all the same. But for the moment, Fens lays his cares for Golarian aside as he enters his deep, unbreathing sleep. And for the first time in many months, Fens has found true peace.

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