Episode 15 : Passage On The Al-Hawaal
 

At the docks Harry Mata went to see his contacts, he knew of a number of ships sailing today. He approached his good friend an Eastern Captain Zorhaan Karbaani from the ship Al-Hawaal and Harry Mata asked passage for himself and his friends to the west. The cost 15 gold, high but not negotiable. This was extracted from the halfling who seemed to be the custodian of "Party treasure.", even though all the diamonds had not been converted. Most of the party boarded with the two exceptions of Crayg Rydorsson and Vernon Zarck. The Demon Humzaar had reminded Crayg Rydorsson that there would not be many virgins on a sea voyage and if he was not paid the penalties were quite severe.

Crayg Rydorsson scouted the areas near the docks and came across twins obviously having a break from working in there father's shop. Crayg Rydorsson pounced on them and said, "In the name of the Demon Humzaar the magnificent I make this offering.", he screamed out at the top of his voice while holding the two girls. Storm clouds gathered overhead, lightning flashed and thunder roared in what had only minutes before been a clear and sunny day. The Demon Humzaar reached through the rend in the fabric of space and wrapped his hands about the throats of the terrified girls. He crushed the throat of one instantly and pulled the other kicking into the abyss. Blood splayed everywhere coating Crayg Rydorsson from head to foot again.

There was commotion everywhere and Crayg Rydorsson spied in an alley just off the main street and a sixteen year old gathering small frightened children to her. Crayg Rydorsson came up behind her and put his hands upon her shoulders and began the ritual. "In the name of the Demon Humzaar the magnificent I make this offering.", he screamed out at the top of his voice while wrestling the girl. The Demon Humzaar again entered the world as the storm roared overhead. A couple of small children got too close and were flung into the abyss with an old crone. "You can't do that.", said Crayg Rydorsson. The Demon Humzaar's only reply was to raise the middle finger on his left hand in the universal gesture and said, "Says who?". The Demon Humzaar snatched the girl and dragged her screaming back with him into the abyss and again covered Crayg Rydorsson in bright red blood.

The storm quietened down momentarily and the voice of the Demon Humzaar boomed across the docklands. "Thank you Crayg Rydorsson, your deal has been met.". There was then chuckling and the sound of gnashing teeth, rending limbs and swallowing. The storm returned to almost full intensity before beginning to abate and finally dissipate. Crayg Rydorsson and Vernon Zarck boarded the Al-Hawaal. There was now only blue skies and the sounds of whistles as the army soldiers moved in to position on the dockland areas.

The soldiers could be heard boarding our ship then leaving after a quick search. The smugglers hold remaining undisturbed. Inside the entire party. Serra Ibin Raaviat engrossed in the working out of how to use the Wand of Fire Balls formerly belonging to Hexgora. The ship slipped to sea. When fully at sea Captain Zorhaan Karbaani came down and spoke. He said he knew he was carrying trouble but he did not know that it was this much trouble, for which an extra fee of five gold pieces was charged. He stated he would drop the party off at Tornburg either inside or out as desired. He stated the rules to stay aboard his ship were simple, no magic spell casting and no trouble, otherwise the troublemaker is going over the side to feed the sharks. We settled down for the four day trip to Tornburg.

Captain Zorhaan Karbaani was taking us through the narrows between Pentyce Island and the mainland. There were always navy patrols and being in the smuggling business it was best to avoid encounters. They were taking this route as the Narrows posed no danger to the Al-Hawaal because of its exceptionally shallow bottom. The regular navy ships in this stretch of water would easily be holed because of their larger displacement.

During the next couple of days Grimwold Mindbreaker cast the spell dream and he dreamt firstly upon the wyverns of Pentyce Island. In his dreams he first saw a camp fire and about this he saw westerners clothed in wolfskins chanting. They chanted in a language unknown to Grimwold Mindbreaker but he did catch just one word that was repeated over and over this word was "Kash.". Kash had been the name of the Intelligent Wyvern who had once lived upon Pentyce Island but had died many long years ago. Now the view was from a mountain top, there was the man dressed in wolf skins standing before a cave, he cried out and from out of the sky dropped a wyvern. It flew towards him with great speed and flapping of wings. The dream ended.

The next day Grimwold Mindbreaker's dream was again of the wyverns of Pentyce Island. The scene started with a lone wyvern flying along into a cavern, it rose around the cavern, rising to the roof and taking roost on the ceiling. It hung there beside two others then twisting its head it presented a view going back into the cave. There were perched in the cavern another 17 younger wyverns each about 25' long hanging from the ceiling. The dream ended.

Having considered our various options we decided instead of going to Tornburg to instead go to Pentyce Island. Vernon Zarck thought that it would be advisable to write some more scrolls for use by the non spell casting members of the party. Vernon Zarck wrote down three scrolls. On the fourth the writing process of the spell, bladeturn, he was working on backfired and the scroll blew up in his face. Slightly scorched and scarred Vernon Zarck tried again to write a new scroll only to be hit with a blinding headache. This continued any time he wanted to use any of his magic spells. This unfortunate headache lasted a full three weeks, at least this time the backfire had not left him in a coma.

The Al-Hawaal had pulled into a deep water bay on the main coast and was intent on staying there the day and moving onto Tornburg that night so as to avoid any encounters with the navy shipping patrols. It was now that Captain Zorhaan Karbaani heard that the party was going to get off ship at this bay. He said, "Well I hope you are not foolish enough to onto Pentyce Island you do know that it is the abode of Wyverns. Let me tell you some of its history, about 35 years ago a naval ship was wrecked by a storm on that island. The crew had to survive for two months before they were rescued. All during that two month period they had to avoid being spotted by the wyverns otherwise they would be attacked. They lost more than 75% of the wreck survivors in these attacks. If the claws and bite don't get you the sting with its poison will.".

Undeterred the party disembarked and thought that they would spend the day hunting for deer to both supply themselves and to trade with the village along the coast closer to Pentyce Island. They set off tracking deer and came across a trail. There were wolf prints also, a pair of wolves were tracking the deer. Moving on we slowly came to the position of the deer. A deer lifted its head saw the halfling through the trees and bolted. Garack, Crayg Rydorsson and Grimwold Mindbreaker followed the fleeing deer. Garack spotted lying under a bush just ahead a wolf watching proceedings. Garack shouted, "There is a wolf under the bush over there.", pointing at the wolf.

Crayg Rydorsson let fly with an arrow which struck the wolf, it gave a yelp and raced away into the trees. Crayg Rydorsson without a pause raced after it trying to get another glimpse when from his left side a second wolf leaped out of cover and attacked his head. The wolf knocked Crayg Rydorsson to the ground and worried him, biting most of Crayg Rydorsson's nose off in the process. Blood gushed from Crayg Rydorsson's face drenching himself and the wolf in blood. The wolf continued to worry its prey. Grimwold Mindbreaker used mind lock to subdue the wolf. Serra Ibin Raaviat hit it with a vacuum spell and Garack chopped at it with his sword removing its right foreleg. The fight was over, the first wolf howled for its mate but did not return. They picked up the wolf body and Crayg Rydorsson and brought them back to the Al-Hawaal.

The Al-Hawaal cook, come surgeon, come Doctor, come butcher, looked Crayg Rydorsson over. Pulling out a sail cloth stitching needle he said, "I can fix this, no problem.". The cook put some stitches into Crayg Rydorsson's nose or at least what remained. He managed to bring the nose back to some semblance of what a nose should be but like a jigsaw without some of the pieces it would never look complete or as it should.

While this was happening Vernon Zarck went hunting by himself. He came upon a small clearing in the woods and on the other side were two deer eating the grass. The deer looked up started to bolt when, "Bang.", resounded through the forest. The deer were surrounded by fire, it would be roast venison tonight. As night was falling and after the meal of a fine Eastern wine and roast venison Captain Zorhaan Karbaani bid the party farewell. He left them some supplies like an old sail cloth for use as a tarpaulin and bedroll as well as some herbs and spices for the meals we would find in the wilderness. Lastly he said he will be returning this way in about three weeks and will again stop by this harbour if we should need a ride. He bade farewell and the Al-Hawaal slide into the night upon the ocean breeze.

Camp was set for the night and this was uneventful except for a discourse between Crayg Rydorsson and the Demon Humzaar. It started when Crayg Rydorsson tried to find out some useful information about the headband that he had taken from the Ibn-Fatwaani sailor who needed three arrow to kill. Crayg Rydorsson pulled out the mirror. The Demon Humzaar appeared and said, "What happened to your nose? I don't know if it really suits you.". Crayg Rydorsson replied "If you must know it was bitten off by a wolf.". The Demon Humzaar smiled, "So Crayg Rydorsson has no nose, but how does he smell? Bad.". Chuckled the Demon Humzaar to himself. "Thanks, I've already heard that one today. Down to business, what can you tell me about this headband?". "Well it only allows contact with a lesser demon, its simply a plus three channeling adder powered from a lesser demon.". "So you won't mind me putting it on then as it is a less powerful demon than you.". Crayg Rydorsson put on the headband and heard the voice of the Demon Humzaar, "Take that off now!". Crayg Rydorsson took off the headband and muttered to himself, "Not so great and powerful then are you and I guess if you respond now it means that you only have one thing to do and that is to watch me from hell.". The headband flared red and Crayg Rydorsson dropped it on the sand. "Yep.".

Grimwold Mindbreaker's dream that night was upon the Demon Humzaar. The scene started with a sparrow flying over a city. The city was on a peninsular and at the end of the peninsular on the cliffs above the sea was a castle. The sparrow flew closer to the castle and up to one of the high windows. The sparrow perched on the windowsill and looking inside saw that there was a beautiful maiden with her two teenage daughters talking. The dream ended. If this is any indication of what the future holds it would seem that any more pacts that Crayg Rydorsson makes with the Demon Humzaar are going to prove difficult to fulfil. When Grimwold Mindbreaker related his dream Serra Ibin Raaviat indicated that this city sounded very much like Tornburg.

The next day came, we broke camp and walked along the beach until we came within sight of a fishing village that we knew existed from the map we had. We moved inland joined the road and entered the village. This village contained about 15 houses, large houses accommodating extended families. There upon the beach were 20 boats of the fishing fleet. As we drew closer a bell rang out and about 25 men from the village assembled themselves and advanced towards our position.

An elder approached and eyed us up and down, he took note of the halfling and the northerner in our midst. He wanted to know our business. Harry Mata stated that we were travellers on the road to Tornburg and that we needed accommodation along the way. He questioned the presence of the halfling but Harry Mata explained that, well, he was a bonded serf won at a game of cards. The halfling glowered at Harry Mata but knew sufficient to keep his mouth shut. The elder questioned the presence of Serra Ibin Raaviat, a cleric of Zuuchi. Harry Mata explained that she was midwife and they were taking her to Tornburg. The elder indicated that there were three women near term and that they would be pleased to have the assistance of a Cleric of Zuuchi in their village.

Entering the village proper we saw a small caer upon which rested a bowl and on top of which was tried an unhappy looking goat. The elder explained that this was their nightly sacrifice to the beast. When questioned further he indicated that the beast came ever night and that once when the caer had been destroyed by a storm the village had lost three people to the beast. Also noted about this village was the complete absence of cats and dogs. Also the animal corral seemed to have far more capacity for goats and sheep than were present.

The elder indicated that a feast was in order to welcome the village guests. The remaining fishing fleet of another 15 vessels came in and about 200 villages ate about the communal fire. The venison made a welcome change to mackerel and the fine Eastern wine a welcome change to ale. At dusk the elder indicated a house that was being vacated would be the one that the travellers would have for their stay in the village. The house was right by the water only about 150' from the sea and the caer.

 

 
(c) 1997 One Night in Middleburg Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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