Year 4, Weeks 45 – 52
Year 5, Weeks 1 – 13
The Rouge Jacks pulled into the port of Freedom Isle with a damaged Orcish raft in tow. They had just attacked and looted the ship, to find a hold full of noncombatant orcs. To Clutch‘s protest, they spared them and took them to Freedom Isle with them, but held them captive while they were in port. The crew began to get restless, annoyed that they were in port for weeks but still having to work. Drakdor Highwing was able to talk to them to keep their spirits up, thankfully. They stayed for 3 weeks to sell their cargo, then set sail for Aria in search of "Festival’s Harp."
The first week out in the Void, one of the crew, Sheep, accidentally set fire to the Whiskey Jack while smoking his pipe. Thankfully, the crew scrambled to put the fire out, and it lasted only a few minutes. No lasting damage was actually done to the ship, and the ’Jacks reprimanded Sheep.
On the third week, Clutch and Vyse spotted an Elven frigate in the distance. Taking a closer look through his spyglass, Vyse could see flags of the Willow Court. Anxious for action, the ’Jacks changed course to intercept, and their target followed suit – not about to run from some random frigate.
Only a few volleys were exchanged until the Rogue Jacks were able to maneuver parallel to the Elves and board. The ‘Jacks order their crew to charge, and a furious fight ensued. Clutch led the assault, but was soon overwhelmed. Drakdor Highwing produced his Ghost Blade and rushed to Clutch’s aid, beating the elves back. Wooli provided some helpful artillery support with her lightning bolts and fire blasts, but Rikki Tikki Tavi and Dan Bon Jovi came within an inch of their lives before Oll MacDougal was able to aid them. The battle was furious, but quick, and every last Elf was slain, and the Rogue Jacks rose victorious!
Among the cargo in the hold was a magical Spear and a wizard’s tome – the effects of which are not yet known.
With their newly-acquired ship and goods, the Jacks decided to change course and head to Shadowhaven. On this 5-week journey, the Rogue Jacks come across a Council Ship and another Elven patrol ship, but avoid both of them. Wooli tries to decipher the tome on the journey, but cannot yet grasp the content.
Upon landing in Shadowhaven, the Jacks grant their crew a much-needed stay in port since they have no prisoners to watch. While Vyse and Dan Bon Jovi searched for a buyer for this “pirate” frigate, Clutch, Wooli and Drakdor Highwing searched for merchants to sell their cargo to. Wooli and Drakdor Highwing had good luck, but Clutch quickly tired of work and spent a few nights in the port’s taverns.
In one tavern, he noticed an unkempt human – obviously a sailor – with some very expensive-looking trinkets. He was also spending cogs as if it were his last day here – even for a sailor, it was a lot. What really caught his eye, however, was the man’s tankard – it was made of iron, and prominently bore the symbol of Oceanus. Clutch offered to buy the man a drink, which he gladly obliged.
They got to talking, and when asked about his past, the man – who introduced himself as Samar, told his tale:
Hear the sad tale of Samar, me scavenging band, and the doom they found in the Iron Citadel.
My scavenging crew heard rumors of a mother lode somewhere in the Star Crater ruins.
Searched for days, we did, finding nothing. Then Natalia got caught in a rock fall – poor girl. The fall uncovered a door, though. Behind that door… everything was iron – the floor, the walls, the chairs and tables, even the plates! We should have realized nothing could ever be this easy, but we were foolish.
Jon… he heard it first…
He takes a big swig of his drink, as if trying so hard to forget something.
…a screaming burrowing into your skull and making your brain ache. Then these creatures… terrible headless creatures… mouths on the ends of their arms…
He takes another big gulp, dripping down his beard
These…maulers…attacked and tore me mates to shreds in front of me eyes.
He hastily finishes his drink and motions to the barkeep for more.
How I escaped I dunno, but I did, taking with me a few trinkets I had gathered. I ain’t been back since. But… with fellows like you to help me, we could become richer than our wildest dreams! What’dya say? I’ll lead you there, and we split the goods equal shares.
Clutch, intrigued both by the man’s story and the potential for lucrative adventure, agreed to take him back to this ‘Iron Citadel.’ They had been planning on searching Aria for some harp, but that could wait; it was Vyse’s hunch, anyway. Clutch explained that his crew was still on Shadowhaven for a few more weeks, and that he would contact Samar when they were ready to set sail.
This month-long journey was uneventful, although they did spot a small ship sailing near the coast of Star Crater Isle. As they approached the island, the concentrated ring of Voidglow really got to Drakdor Highwing, who became very irritable – an obvious start of glowmadness. They moored the Whiskey Jack to the isle and formed an excursion party: Samar, Clutch, Vyse, Drakdor Highwing, Wooli, Dan Bon Jovi, Drachma and Oll MacDougal. They set out to find the Iron Citadel Samar described.
They marched through the ruins of the City of Spire for an hour before spotting another soul. About twenty yards ahead of them stood a very large man, who started yelling to someone else as soon as he saw the ’Jacks. Clutch and Samar called out in peace, hoping to avoid a fight but the others rushed to battle. It was a quick one, and they ended up slaying the 5 vagabonds (maybe pirates). They thought briefly about tracking them to a ship (if they had one), but decided to press on.
“It was right here… the citadel… this wall wasn’t here.”
The wall crumbles to the ground at the heavy force. Behind it stands a single room – 10 yards square. The far wall looks old and worn, with Voidlight seeping through the cracks (although Vyse saw no other wall on the barrow). In the center stands a statue covered in flayed skin, with a bearded face pinned to its chest – a grotesque sight.
The statue became fearful as Wooli and Drakdor Highwing approached. The face animated, its jaw dropped and began screaming – as terrifying as it was, it only truly scared Samar, who recognized the face as an old crewmember – Jon.
The statue animated as well, and swiped its clawed appendages at Wooli and Drakdor Highwing. It hit them, and hit them hard. This thing fought visciously, and the party was having a difficult time actually hurting it. After a few moments, Vyse recognized this being as a Damned Golemn – a being he had read about in his travels. He had a quick word with Samar and was able to determine its weakness – these golemns can be stunned if they are called by the name of a soul imprisoned within it. The Jacks then began calling it by the name ‘Jon’ before attacking, which helped to keep it from attacking them. Vyse snuck up behind it and jumped onto it, hanging from around its neck – a dangerous place to be, but it helped to keep it distracted. After a long and vicious fight, Drakdor Highwing gave the final blow to it with his ghost-blade. As it fell, however, it exploded.
Oll MacDougal spent a few minutes patching up wounds as they inspected the far wall; they all saw debris from the explosion fly into it, but instead of bouncing off they flew into it, leaving ripples throughout the wall. Vyse moved close to inspect. As he touched the wall, he felt an intense head that faded quickly. He also felt that the wall wasn’t actually there. He moved into it, and the rest of the Rogue Jacks followed.
They were all surrounded by Voidglow. They could see or hear nothing around them, and could feel that they were moving but had no control over it. They had no measure of how much time was passing. During this journey, they all re-lived every wrong ever done to them – no matter how slight. The anger that those wrongs brought to them along with the constant glow could have easily driven them all mad – but did it?
They eventually grew tired and lost consciousness.