After clearing out the mossy citadel of wood and mud, the party decided to continue towards where they believed their destination to be. In the distance, along the swamp’s edge, a large ebon boat sat lonely at the dock. Quietly, the group edged forward. Faint music struggled in the dense humid air, and the silhouette of a lone figure appeared sitting on the upper deck. Dead orc-like beasts sat chained to the oar wells, motionless.
Jimrick disappeared in a blink and stealthily made his way to the dock. The music stopped, and a large Duskbeast leapt from the ferry to the dock sniffing the empty air. The Hin froze while the beast breathed foul air into his face. “Grask! What is it boy? What do you see?” Thankfully, the beast had no answer for the Ferryman.
Stealtoe carefully pulled a copper from his pouch and tossed it, distracting the beast. This allowed a moment for his friends to charge and for him to shift away. The Ferryman cursed and drew weapons. He vaporized over the side of the ferry.
The party quickly dispatched the Duskbeast while Jimrick dueled with the Ferryman. This Ferryman was a weapon master, and Jimrick could do nothing but dodge his attacks. The Shadar-kai weapon master returned to the ferry; the jewel on the chain around his neck glowed, and the ferry began to depart.
The party raced for the boat and jumped. All made it with various degrees of ease. The dead orcs rowed on. The weapon master appeared before them once again, this time he raced along the water, treating it like a solid surface. He lashed out his weapon, grabbing Rhasgar’s axe. With a flick, the axe flew into the air and splashed into the swamp. The Dragonborn dived in after it. Chaos ensued. Grim, too, lost his axe into the swamp and was compelled to dive after it. The remaining allies worked together. Hawke, Benedict, and Kat weaved their magic and overpowered the Shadar-kai. He spoke resolved to defeat while staring up at the mighty Dio, and staring down at the crafty Jimrick. The Hin pleaded with the Ferryman to give up peacefully. Live another day. Help the cause. “You cannot possibly win; no matter what I do, I will be killed; it is pointless now.” “No! the Hin insisted.” A faint glimmer appeared in the enemy’s eye. Had they gained a new ally? The glimmer faded. The weapon master’s face fell, and he raised his blade. Dio swiftly crushed this skull. The Hin swore he saw the Ferryman smile as life left his body. Jimrick reached out and grabbed him before he sank into the dark waters. The jewel blinked for a moment then stopped. The orc-creatures stopped. Stealtoe snatched the necklace and released the corpse to the swamp. Rhasgar and Grim splashed in the waters; they had retrieved their magic weapons and struggled back to the boat.
They gathered in the boat, and The Mage quickly confirmed the Jewel controlled the rowers. The party now had a new method of travel The NECREME! They also found a store of food, shadowlight oil, gold, a dragon-bone lyre, a silver comb set, and several silvered weapons. The party began to make claims on the items. Jimrick had seen enough, and his loyalty to his guild overcame him. Want Not and Want Naught. The Hin, to the dismay of his friends, began to hurl the silvered weapons into the swamp. He was angry, and the others were angrier at him. The tension was eased when Kat spoke up. The lyre case had a secret compartment. In it were instructions. The Mage read it and determined it contained a secret message. It spoke about playing the song written on the page in order to appease the beast guarding where ever it is they were headed. The Bard immediately began practicing.
The party floated across the vast swamp swatting at the biting insects and trying to keep annoyances at bay. Hours passed. Their clothes clung, and their nerves frayed until they came to an island of dead flora. The swamp shook. “PLAY KAT!” they shouted in unison. The young Bard began strumming the lyre, and the shaking slowed while the island began to move. A great Zombie Dragon-Turtle surfaced, for it was not an island. It glared at the ferry and seemed content with the lyre’s sound. It sunk back into the water, and the party moved ahead.
They arrived at a dock and disembarked. They immediately entered the Monastery. Enemies waited. They were attacked by a howling mastiff, two ebon spur guards, who bore the Sons of Cyric emblem, and two winged gargoyle shadow creatures. The enemies were fierce. The tide was slowly slipping from the party. It was then when the egomaniacal warlock, Zetharmas attacked with his Gloom Golem. The party fought heroically and finished all but Zetharmas. The warlock mocked the heroes while he blitzed to and fro. Benedict had enough. Without regard for his safety, he flung himself of the towering stairs unto the warlock below. Bloody, bruised and battered, the Mage smiled through chipped teeth and a mouth of crimson red. With a whisper and scratchy laugh, he flung an arcane blast directly into Zetharmas’ face, killing the warlock. With that, Benedict passed out.
The party rested and tended to wounds. A search of the area turned up item of value. Most importantly they located 3 intact books on Magic Theory and an untitled slim black volume of recent manufacture. It detailed the nature of magic and the Weave and briefly describes the history of Mystra, from her death during the time of troubles, the ascension of the human named Midnight into the role of Mystra, the appearance of the Dhades, and the revelation that a Shadow Weave exists. Zetharmas’ notes consisted mainly of ironic asides and insults to the author’s intelligence, but one note was different. After a passage about how dead magic stops all magic in an area and presumably also stops magic based on the Shadow Weave, Zetharmas had written a particularly long comment.
“You think so, do you? Won’t you be surprised when it all unravels? Note to self: Discover how dead magic affects your powers. Ethar will no doubt be useless. Ask Despayr? His offer is tempting, but how would Cyric look upon it? Perhaps a consultation with Fiendish powers is in order.”
The party had much to ponder. In addition, under Zetharmas’ bed, in a hidden/trapped/locked chest, was a Great-Axe of True Dragon Slaying!