24 – 25 Rova 4712
After prayers and studying, our heroes began their long, wet march through marshland of the Mushfens. After several arduous hours, following the map Jasper provided, they were able to find the path that led to the bridge connecting the path with the witch Maroux’s island. Nearing the island Rhondal and Gurion spied a raven circling overhead, then land on a post of the bridge. Simultaneously, from the island, they saw Maroux who shouted, “Who you fools be visiting my island? Ain’t nobody got time for that!!! Unless you want to join the turnips in my soup, get off my island!!!”
Taking the lead, Searos strolled ahead, in FODM, doing the wave Jasper instructed him to do and said to the witch, “Greeting, Lady Maroux…Jasper sent us to you. We seek your advice.” Maroux, someone soothed by the mention of Jasper Kandamerus, asked what our heroes needed from her. Searos said information about the cape, but before then, he said, the group would be happy to help her with any task she needed done.
Well…it turns out that Maroux’s hip “sure has been bothering” her. She’s been trying to dig a well, but her “trick hips been up to no good…” and she hasn’t been able to dig. Of course, if her hip “was workin’ like it should” she’d have had “two wells dug…”
So, our heroes set to work digging the hole that Searos and Gurion realized would never yield any water. But, they dug anyway until Maroux declared that the hole, would not in fact, yield any water.
Inquiring if there was another task that needed doing, Maroux revealed that she’s had a hankering for some Kelpie’s Hair for the stew she was preparing but, since her hip is so bad, she really needed someone, “like the elf, he’s got them elf fingers…” to give her hip a rub down and massage and since she would be occupied, someone else would have to get the Kelpie’s Hair.
The elf, Gedryr, rolled his eyes then rolled up his sleeves and went to work on the witch’s wonky hip while Searos asked for more details about this Kelpie’s Hair. Maroux told the crew it was a rare and tasty seaweed that may or may not being growing on a shipwreck just north of her island and the shipwreck may or may not be haunted by the undead sailors who died there.
So, as Gedryr was working Maroux’ hip, Searos, Rhondal, Gurion and Kellfrid headed off to find this shipwreck, its undead guardians and the Kelpie’s Hair that may or may not be growing there. Although the trip to the shipwreck involved a harrowing climb down Maroux’s island’s cliff face, then a swim across shark and reef barracuda filled water, our heroes are stout and they made it to the site without a problem.
Seeing the wreck’s top just breaking the surface of the water a few dozen yards from the beach, Kellfrid, Gurion and Rhondal decided to swim out to the wreck and gather some of the seaweed for Maroux’s stew, but not before Searos cast a powerful abjuration spell preventing the undead from seeing our swimming heroes.
While swimming, the three adventurers noticed a crew of skeletons lounging on the deck and bay floor, blissfully unaware of the heroes above them. Unaware until the trio’s kicking feet and unpracticed strokes jostled some of the skeletons, including one in a fancy breastplate and carrying a fine looking, glowing rapier.
Swimming in from the pounding surf, our heroes got on solid footing and awaited the undead sailors to emerge from the bay. They did, surging forward, hungry to consume our heroes’ lifeforce. But these undead were no match for the group and they quickly fell in a violent fury.
Meanwhile, Maroux’s ailing hip was no match for the gentle manipulation of Gedryr’s elven fingers, and the pain fell in a gently wave of comfort.
The four returned to Maroux’s with the seaweed and the spoils of their battle and happily handed the Kelpie’s Hair to the witch to add to her stew. Very pleased with how the day turned out, and her hi much relieved, Maroux generously offered her stew to the crew.
A few uneasy looks were cast at the boiling concoction until Kellfrid stepped up and said how they’d gladly accept Maroux’s hospitality and the group sat down to the fish stew.
Except for Gedryr, who, being an elf, doesn’t eat meat, so he had some fresh vegetables, instead. And, was he happy for his vegetarian lifestyle, as the dwarf, half-elf and Varisian human were not accustomed to fish stew made of marsh water and succumbed to explosive diarrhea and swamp water runs.
Kellfrid was fine. They grow them hearty up north.
Maroux, relaxed from her massage, didn’t seem shocked by the discomfort and defecation around her began to tell our heroes about the Lady’s Cape.
It seems the “trogs and the frogs (troglodytes and boggards)” have been fighting for control of the cape for years, and while they’ve been evenly matched as long as Maroux can remember, something changed recently. A few months ago a band of “women knights or something, clad in plate and armed to the teeth” came into the marshland. They claimed to be Grey Maidens, the elite soldiers of the old queen of Korvosa, who fled from the city when their queen was “tumbled off the throne.”
The leader, Maroux said, was a woman named Oriana who led her group into mercenary work until she decided to plunder the Lady’s Light for its treasure. Since there are caverns underground that supposedly that link the Lady’s Cape to the Lady’s Light, Maroux told Oriana about them. Warned that the “frogs and the trogs, and worse critters” control the caverns Oriana shrugged her plate mailed shoulders and she and her Grey Maidens set off to “under the lady’s skirt.”
“And, would you believe it, Oriana and her girls make friendly with the frogs!!! Gave them some of their better weapons, trained them up a bit, then helped them frogs launch an attack against the trogs. Bloodied them trogs up real good, and in return, Oriana and her sisters got to use the frogs’ caves.”
Maroux continued to say that Oriana returned, claiming that she got into the Lady’s Light where she says she found “Sorshen, Runelord of Lust.” Oriana claimed the Runelord recruited her and her Grey Maidens to help reclaim “Eurythnia and whatever else they can grab.”
“She wanted to know if I wanted to join their great crusade,” Maroux told our heroes, but she “politely refused and wished her well…Gods above an’ below, I couldn’t get her out of my hut fast enough.”
The way Maroux sees it, there are three possibilities regarding Oriana’s tall tales. One: “for whatever reason, Oriana is lyin’.” Two: “the sad child is off her nut….” And, Three: “Someone or somethin’ is masqueradin’ as Sorshen and tricked the Grey Maidens.” Although, Maroux chuckled that there could of course be a fourth theory, that Sorshen, Grand Whore of Thassilon, herself, has been hiding out for thousands of years up in the Lady’s Light, “waitin’ for a handful of women warriors to help her out…”
Maroux doesn’t believe in the fourth theory.
After that, the group got quiet and thought, and ate, and shit their nasty shits.
Maroux offered them use of her island to rest tonight and whenever they needed to. And thanks to Gedryr’s amazing massage techniques, her healing would always be available to them. But, she did not want any part of collecting wild herbs for Sabriyya. But, she thought the” trogs or the frogs might fit the bill,” and took her raven familiar and went off to be.
Our heroes remained awake for a while, cursing their choice to eat her stew, passing a bottle of fine whiskey, and discussed their options in the swamp. After a while it was decided that they’d try to make contact with the troglodytes, since they’re now the weaker of the two tribes and they’d set off in the morning to find them.
When the sun rose the next day, Maroux was up and making eggs for the group, this time only Kellfrid took her up on her hospitality and the rest of the group ate rations.
Searos, during his prayers, realized his skin had begun to develop lesions and his breathing was strained. After examining himself, he realized that he had contracted leprosy.
The rest of the group took a collective step backwards.
With breakfast finished, and their gear packed, Maroux gave the group a well-made map she sketched out for them, making traveling easier than it had been with Jasper’s map. Taking their leave from the witch, our heroes headed back into the swamp.
Again the group found themselves trudging through the bogs and wet pathways of the Mushfens. After being attacked by a group of giant frogs our heroes came upon the scene of the battle between the boggards and troglodytes. The air was pungent with reptilian stink and rotting flesh, while vultures flew overhead and flies buzzed in thick waves.
A search of the battlefield revealed a Korvosan made dagger caked with foul concoction Searos deduced would cause Filth Fever and a holy symbol of Zevgavizeb, the demon lord of caverns, reptiles and troglodytes.
Committed to their plan to negotiate with the troglodytes, the group followed a dry, well used path upwards, to the rocky high ground of the cape, to the lair of the troglodytes. Finding the troglodyte’s cave entrance barricaded by a thick collection of tree branches, trunks and reeds, the group “encouraged” Gedryr, the lone member who speaks Draconic, to go forth and negotiate.
Offering a token of peace, a rapier, Gedryr called out that our heroes came in peace. The troglodytes responded by throwing javelins at the party and lighting their barricade on fire, telling the party they were tired of human threats.
Deciding they needed a Plan B, the group retreated, Gedryr leaving gold coins in hopes that the gesture would soften the trogs resolve. Finding a spot to rest and plan, our heroes sat down to resting and planning.