Our story began in the city of Absalom. Fosk, Gijit, Keled and Yowyn all arrived for our own reasons. Those reasons quickly became irrelevant as we found ourselves ambushed and kidnapped, taken onto a slaving ship and destined to be sold into servitude. But that destiny was foiled when another business transaction went awry: Szmed, who led a separate faction within the ship, tried to sell a map to beings that are not precisely local. The transaction broke down; Szmed and his companions killed Captain Longtracks and most of its crew, and then proceeded to abandon ship; we, and another prisoner, escaped our bonds in the hold; and the four-armed, gray-skinned ‘aliens’ took the map. Although not before dropping one of their Magic Missile-storing ranseurs.
Szmed’s abandonment was not the easiest task, however. The ship was high in the air, propelled by a bound air elemental. One of its bonds shattered, the ship careened downward, nearly killing all who remained aboard. Szmed and friends, of course, had long since parachuted from the sides. To avoid being fully torn apart, we fully freed the elemental. Left with a partially-intact boat – but no longer airship – Gijit befriended the half-elf cousin to the captain and ship’s navigator, Randall/Blackfoot, and made our way to the island marked in the map.
We beat the ‘aliens’ to it. There, we found a buried pyramid. Yowyn Stone Shape’d his way into the apex, there to find an ancient stone skull. After retrieving it, Yowyn…tripped. And a drop of blood fell onto the stone skull.
And then it all went to hell.
Blood began to propagate in the skull. The evil radiating from it was palpable. Before long, the blood took on a life of its own, jumping from person to person and seeking to take the life – or perhaps do worse – to everyone it touched. Eventually, it was partially calmed by Yowyn channeling an excessive amount of positive energy into it. But not before the humming began: the ‘aliens’ had come to claim the skull as their own. After falling all over themselves in a pile of Grease, getting stabbed righteously by Khalid, and being cloven in twain by dear sweet Fosk. The only other surviving (former) prisoner sacrificed himself by boarding the alien ship as it was taking off. Once aboard, he caused enough chaos to cause it to go careening off into the distance.
With this reprieve, we rejoined Blackfoot and set sail on the high seas. Said high seas we not cooperative, however. A terrible storm struck. The main mast was taken down, and the water taken on by the ship was only slightly less voluminous than the vomit from our resilient heroes. Desperate, we searched for land so that we could make repairs before we fell apart in the sea. We found it—and with it, we found Marr.
When Marr Cornisk first observed a majestic, high-masted ship sailing toward him, his heart leapt for joy. Finally! A ship had come! All it needed was his fine leadership! The seagulls who had been his constant companion would finally have a repository other than his shoulders! But as it approached, majesty gave way to decrepitude, and a shambling hulk finally came to rest on the beach before him.
After the newcomers explained their situation, it became clear to all that their best bet would be to find a mast together. Very few trees of sufficient size were to be seen, however. Upon venturing out, our courageous heroes mercilessly slaughtered every soul in a small goblin village, down to the women and children. They followed a path from there deep into the core of the swampy island, taking supplies from a goblin shaman’s tree hut along the way (since, after all, he clearly did not need them with his tribe dead). But where goblins could not give our fine heroes pause, the swamp itself did: the bog collapsed, a dank whirlpool swirling our heroes into a dark abyss.
Fortunately, it was not a deep abyss. Just an ancient temple. Scholars of history, our heroes knew that only good things came of exploring ancient ruined temples, and so ventured onward. Soon, the hiss of a naga rattled their bones. The kind creature claimed that it, and its master, owned the island; and it wished merely to help them find a mast. Unwilling to part with their worldly goods, however, our heroes saw fit to instead attack. Or more precisely, Fosk saw fit to split it in two. (They also faced a decaying horseman bound to its mount from around a corner; but since that took them to within an inch of their collective lives, we’ll leave that one out.)
Eventually, the heroes made their way out of the temple. Observing boggart breeding grounds, they thought the goblin children they had killed were enough for one day, and so left well enough alone.
Or close enough. They then slew a triceratops on the way home—albeit after a couple party members were almost impaled, eviscerated and mauled simultaneously. In a show of sympathy – and, as it turned out, potentially practicing for the future – Gijit almost convinced the calf to join them after they had slain the mother. But Marr [or was it Khalid?] would have none of it; and Gijit was sad.
Took triceratops skull back and mounted it on the prow of the ship; Fosk (or was it Khalid?) began carving into it, realized partway through that the designs looked kinda like the swirling patterns on the skull
Lizardmen – surrounded, threatened, tasked us with killing Boggart queen
Just [before? after?] we killed the Boggart queen, Marr tried to swipe the skull, which apparently had been partially reactivated in the fight with the Triceratops
At some point, we overnighted away from the ship; and when we returned, Blackfoot was gone; found tracks, led along the beach and then disappeared
That night, heard the ghostly sound (kind of like some type of wildlife, perhaps moose?, but not) from across the island…Marr went like Blackfoot had, essentially losing track of everything else around him, then slowly lifting off into the air and glowing
Battle in the sky, etc.
We went off to get the mast from the Lizardmen grove; encounter with the aberration and the tree that tried to eat us; cave with the bone throne
To get the mast back, Yowyn raised the water level and helped wash it down the river to get it to the proper side of the island
At some point, Yowyn used a spell to reach someone who would summon the air elemental directly; turned out to be very powerful; revealed we knew his True Name (Ahhuaate) (“These rings bind to service the one named Ahhuaate”), but would not reveal to anyone else and would give him the bonds that had held him so that he could destroy them, if he helped us get the ship to fly; took him some time to engineer their destruction, but then paid Fernando (from Sigil) to come and craft us a gate to the elemental plane of air that we could direct and use to power the ship; Fernando accompanied by Shae (shadowy figure, Khalid seemed to have connection) and Peri (fiery semi-angelic figure)
Rai-il’s arrival; coral reef illusion to guide him in toward us; Roc encounter, including Yowyn blinding one, killed both parents, etc.; first-hatched one became Rai-il’s familiar, took remaining eggs back to ship, along with wings and other body parts of parents; affixed wings to the ship; a couple of the baby Rocs stuck with us for awhile, a couple flew off
Encounter on the high seas with illithid-like merchant ship, wanted to pay us rubies for the skull
One of the “traders” cryptically said that “Terizan leaves a mark” at some point after the party refused to sell the talisman
Yowyn has been tasked with saving 100 dwarves (not at once) to repay for his dealings with the roc
We’re trying to save Absalom from destruction, relating somehow to the skull
The ‘aliens’ came back in a well planned heist and recaptured the skull. Even with a series of dimension doors, a resilient sphere, and surprise, the Witchwynds still lost many in the assault, but they were successful and they seemed quite content with that.
A combination of Yowyn’s commune with his diety and the bits of info picked up along the way, it is clear that the Talisman will be used to ?destroy? Absalom. The party (due in part to Yowyn’s quest to save dwarven lives) has decided to head to Absolom to try to warn them / see what we can do to stop it.