Towards the end of the first day, winds began to push the Fall of Orana on a more coreward course than they had been following. Simon, from where he was sitting on the deck overheard Capt Ward tell Mr. Rackham, “I’m not liking how close we’re getting to land, John. We’re far too close to the Wailing Ruins, and I’ve known too many not to come back from that accursed land.”
Darkness fell on the ship without incident, and the wind had begun to calm when Walac heard something that set his whiskers twitching. He ran soundlessly to the bow of the ship and peered out intently into the darkness. Within a few minutes, he called out, “There are shapes in the air, coming from the land. It appears to be giant bats!!”
One of the crewmen ran downstairs to rouse the watch that was sleeping, as the crewmen on deck peered through the darkness to try and see what Walac’s keen Lir eyes had discerned in the darkness. Walac drew his bow and fired a few shots as the bats got closer. He was fairly sure that all but one missed, but the last one he fired made the swoop and dip, and as it did, Walac’s eyes widened and he called out to the crew, “The bats have riders! Goblins!”
As Prospero made his way to the deck from his below deck quarters, the scene was chaotic and lit only by swaying oil lamps and the thin light of the newly risen moon. Bats flitted about the rigging and across the deck, with two of them dragging crewmen away from the sails as their legs flailed, trying to find purchase on thin air. A series of skulls crashed into the deck, with four ghosts rising like smoke from the smoking shards, and two flameskulls floating eerily into the air to attack the crew with flaming breath. Simon cast a shield spell and attacked the nearest goblin rider and his bat, while Trish shattered one of the flameskulls and rushed across the deck to engage the remaining one that was burning the crew. Meanwhile, the bats that had managed to grab sailors from the rigging wheeled away from the ship, with their prizes gripped firmly in their claws. The last flameskull let forth a burst of flame that exploded around Trish, slightly warming her armor, but doing no damage her. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the rigging around her, which burst into flames with the burnt and frightened crew fighting to put it out and prevent its spread. Three bright streaks of light from Prospero’s bolt spell sped past Trish and exploded against the flameskull, shattering it. Simon killed the bat he was fighting, knocking the rider into the ocean along with a crewmember. As they fell, a giant shark head breached the water and snapped the goblin in two as Brine joined the fray. He stopped briefly to encourage the crewmember to ride safely on his back as he searched for other prey. Seeing that the crewmember was safe, Simon looked out at the retreating groups of bat riders and teleported to the back of the closest one. With a swift movement, he threw the rider off the back of the bat towards the ocean. Brine, seeing the goblin fall, began to swim quickly to finish it off. With a quick flip, the bat flung Simon from its back and joined with the rest of the unholy flock on their way back to land. Simon hit the water, and after taking a few steps across the surface sank quickly into the ocean. Brine came up beside him, with the remains of the goblin hanging from his mouth, and the crewmember still holding on his back. He paused briefly for Simon to get a grip and then began the trip back to the ship.
Ellisandra made it to the deck in time to see the ghosts advancing on the crew. She cast a banish spell, which caused the glow surrounding her target to flicker, but not dismiss it. Maelstrom formed through the planks from underneath the ghost as it turned on his mistress and his attack sent the ghost back to the Halls of Silence. Prospero banished a ghost as Maelstrom killed another, and Trish finished off the last with a swipe of Oblivion. The crew started screaming as another spirit appeared over the cargo hold, but this one seemed different than the ghosts they had just faced. Trish turned to see a spirit with the tattoos of an Ahay, limned in a green glow. She called to the spirit, “What do you want, spirit, identify yourself or you will be destroyed”.
The spirit turned to her and began to float soundlessly closer, “Lady of Death, know that I am Gilliam, a fisherman from the village on yonder coast. We were brutally slain by pirates, who we haunted until they died of fear or left. Many years we wandered alone hoping for our tribes to look for us, but in the end, Chaos moved in and corrupted our bones. Many of the spirits in our village have been bound by Chaos and are forced to assist in their abominations. The bats the riders use are undead creatures created by Chaos magics and fed on the blood of passersby such as yourselves. Please, Lady of Death, assist us. Take our bones home to our shaman and allow us to rest.”
Trish looked at Captain Ward, who said, “This is beyond my knowledge, lass. Tell me what we need to do, and I’ll do what I can to help.”
Trish turned back to Gilliam, “What help can you give us in this mission?”
Gilliam’s already sad face turned down even further, “I can show you the path to the village, and lead you through the beach, where hostile foes await, but I can do naught more than that.”
“My duty is clear,” said Trish, “I must help lay these spirits to rest.”
Captain Ward said, “My crew can help you get to the island, but we’ve lost too many for me to lend you any of them to fight. Once you are on the beach, they will row back to the ship and await your signal to return.”
A short while later, the party were following Gilliam down the beach. “I feel like we’re being watched,” said Walac.
Grimclaw spun and growled deep in his throat as he heard something in the rocky spars of the beach. Simon ran lithely to the top of the spars, where he saw the hindquarters of a large lizard, possibly ten feet long, disappear around through the rocks. Simon returned to the party and said, “It looks like a bunch of giant lizards in the rocks, probably nothing to worry about.”
Shortly after resuming their way down the beach, Walac and Grimclaw noticed that they were being followed. “Looks like the lizards are back,” said Walac.
Prospero cast a spell on one of the lizards, “It looks like they are intelligent, there was no response to that spell, and if they were brute beasts, there would have been. What do you know of these creatures, spirit?”
“I know not of the nature of these creatures,” replied Gilliam, “but we should not tarry.”
Simon rushed the lizard, which stood up on its haunches and opened a frilled neck. Simon hit the sand as if he’d been poleaxed. Trish cast a detect chaos spell as Grimclaw tried to drag the unconscious Simon away from the lizard, and Prospero cast a bolt spell that caused the lizard to explode when it hit. Immediately after the lizard dies, Simon sat up, “What just happened?” he said.
As the remaining lizard advanced on the party, a roar came from spinward of where they were facing it. A troop of four giant white furred apes wearing leather armor and wielding spears came charging down the dunes at them. One thrust a spear at Simon, and snapped forward, biting him with poisonous fangs. Simon began to feel fatigued as the poison began to infiltrate his system. A second ape wounded Grimclaw with a spear thrust. Trish dodged the attack of one of the apes, and slapped the flat of Keller’s Razor against its head as she tried to find her footing in the shifting sand. Ellisandra cast an endure spell on Simon, invigorating him as Walac launched an arrow at the lizard, stunning it.
Prospero looked at the battle unfolding and decided that the lizard’s ability to stun without warning posed more danger to the party than the apes, and fired a bolt spell at the lizard. The lizard blew apart from the force of the magic bolts hitting it. The apes managed to wound Simon and Grimclaw with their spears, and four more apes could be seen running down the beach towards the party, drawn by the roar of the initial attack. Simon teleported to a ridge just behind the apes in an attempt to get away from them long enough to catch his breath. Almost at the same time, Ellisandra cast a hasty blast spell which went wide of the mark. Simon stared at the bard in disbelief as flames burst into being around him, startling him, but not hurting him. “Sorry about that, Simon,” called Ellisandra as she cast a bolt spell that killed one of the apes.
Maelstrom flitted across the beach, his winds throwing sand around him, and killed two of the apes, almost effortlessly, as Grimclaw missed with a swipe of his hairy paw. Prospero cast bolt spells at the apes that were coming up the beach, wounding three of them and killing one. As Simon prepared to pull out a healing potion, another lizard scurried out of the rocks behind him, “Enough is enough,” he shouted, slashing the creature to death with his katana. He then calmly removed a healing potion from his pouch and took it.
Trish drove both her runeblades into the torso of the ape in front of her, and spun to attack one of the ones that Prospero wounded with his bolt spell, but missed. Maelstrom killed the last of the apes from the original attack, as one of Walac’s arrows sprouted forth from the eye socket of one of the new arrivals. As the final ape danced around avoiding the party’s attacks, Simon leapt from the ridge he was on and delivered the final blow with his flail.
As Ellisandra healed Grimclaw and Simon’s wounds, Trish looked over the bodies of the lizards, “I remember these from my studies, they’re basilisks. Simon, you’re really lucky, they can kill with their gaze, and sometimes turn people to stone!”
A search of the apes revealed that one was wearing a fine plate corset, while another had a map of the village. They also had three gold, thirty one silver, seventy seven copper and two gems that Ellisandra estimated were worth about thirty silver each.
Gilliam led the party to the ape’s camp, where they found numerous bones of victims. “Sailors who come to shore here to the Wailing Ruins,” he said helpfully, “This is why most people refuse to land here.”
Trish took time to bury the bones properly after being assured by Gilliam that they were none of his kin. Afterwards, Gilliam led them to the goat trail that would take them to his village.