As we last left off, the party had reached the mouth of the sea cave, but The Kestrel was nowhere in sight! Upon searching the area however, the party did notice an arrow on the floor of the cave with a note tied to it. The note read:
_We were discovered, we are fleeing to the east. We hope to shake our pursuer and return for you.
Captain Martyn Myrrin_
Not wanting to sit on their laurels, the party decided to take the lifeboat out and scout to the east. With just a bit of searching, they found two ships, one that appeared to be The Kestrel docked on a pier not too far from the sea cave. The party decided that it would be best to wait until nightfall and then slowly row to The Kestrel and perhaps steal it back, avoiding detection. They prayed that their crew was still on board.
As planned, the party silently approached and boarded The Kestrel, but found it to be moored to the pier by several ropes, as well as a few enemy pirates on the deck of the ship. Trying to end the pirates and free the ship quickly, the party took the enemy pirates by surprise. But before they could dispose of them all, one of them blew a horn, sounding the alarm.
At this point, pirates began to swarm the pier from the shore. The party frantically fought pirates as they boarded the ship, and tried to cut the moorings tying it to the pier. The fight was terrible, pirates came from all angles, some of them laying down volleys of arrows upon the party. Illamin worked furiously to keep the party alive with his healing, and the rest of the party desperately fought the seemingly endless onslaught of pirates. Both Ser Paulo Dan and Bob (Master of Puppets) fell during the battle, and when all hope seemed lost, Doren sliced through the last mooring, Zylfaelor raised the anchor, and the ship began to sail away, no longer being tied down. The few enemy pirates remaining on the ship, being cut off from their comrades now, laid down their arms and surrendered.
The battle was won, but not without a heavy cost. Ser Paulo Dan lay unconscious, but breathing. Bob (Master of Puppets) however, was still, his heart stopped, his life gone. Illamin rushed to Bob’s side and calling upon all the holy power he could muster, he forced his dead companion’s soul back into his body.
Battered, bruised, but victorious, the party returned to Alphar Island to see Azla and inform her of what happened.
Back in Alphar Island, the party met with Azla and told her the tale. She was overjoyed and impressed with the party’s performance. Granting them free access to her shipwright to refinish their ship and hang white sails, as well as giving them a pennant to hang from their mast signifying that they were under her protection.
The party rested and recovered in Alphar island and then headed out with both ships in the morning, destination the city of Velprintalar, capital of Aglarond. The sea journey was blessedly uneventful. Some pirate ships approaching The Kestrel, but then turning away when they could spot Azla’s pennant flying from their mast.
As the party approached Velprintalar, they noticed a massive statue of the Goddess Tymora dominating the city’s skyline. It appeared to be made of gold, and seemed to still have scaffolding around it, perhaps not completed yet, the party could not help but be stunned by its grandeur.
Arriving at Velprintalar harbor though, gave a far different impression. The streets reeked of abject poverty. Nearly skeletal peasants lay huddled against buildings, and the party even witnessed a man steal a piece of bread from a child. Acting quickly, Ser Paulo Dan stopped the man and asked him why he would do such a thing. The man retorted why should that boy get to eat while my boy starves?
Struck by the tragedy of the situation, Ser Paulo Dan gave the man some of his own food and gold and released him. He then went back to the child who had been robbed, and did the same for him. The party then asked the would-be bread robber how things had gotten so bad in the city.
He told them that the wealthier merchants would always donate gold to the church of Tymora. The church would then come and give food to the poor. But that all stopped once the huge statue began being built. Not only that, the church brought in labor from the outside to build the statue, putting several of the peasants out of a job.
Infuriated and curious to find out what kind of madness has possessed the church, the party ventured further into the town. Their search did not take long however, as a priest of Tymora soon stopped them and told them that Bishop Stram Wenkoff wished to talk with them about the donations they gave to the poor. The party readily accepted the invitation, and the priest led them to an ostentatious cathedral.
Before letting them in though, the priest insisted that the party all swear an oath that they will do no violence while in the cathedral walls. The party however, was able to convince that they should not have to swear the oath, as they had among them a holy paladin and a man of the cloth, that should be enough for the priest to trust them.
Admitted to the cathedral, the party proceeded to the bishop’s office. Upon entering the office, the party immediately noticed the uncharacteristically ornate nature of the room. Beautiful paintings adorned the walls, and cherubic statues of gold and platinum flanked the pathway to the bishop’s Desk.
The bishop heartily welcomed the party and informed them that they should not donate any gold to the poor. Even though it may seem cruel now, the bishop is convinced that his great plan to invest all the donations into the statue of Tymora will bring Tymora’s light to the city, freeing it of poverty for eternity.
Despite the bishop’s apparent sincerity, Ser Paulo Dan, as a devout Paladin of Tymora could feel the lie in his words. He, and the party verbally rebuked the bishop for the abuse of his position. The bishop initially tried to convince the party that he had no nefarious intent, but when it became clear they weren’t accepting his story, he turned to violence.
The room suddenly took on a dark pallor, and demonic entities became to pour into the room from a newly opened portal. The party began to battle, Illamin, summoning a burst of daylight which banished the darkness, as one of the demons ambled over to a church organ in the room and began to play a dark melody. The demons seemed empowered by this melody, so the party began to focus their efforts on the demonic organist.
Zylfaelor blasted several holes into the organist, who fell motionless, while Ser Paulo Dan stepped through the mists to the bishop and cut him down with a thunderous smite, crackling with divine energy. Demons were still poring into the room though, so Doren ran over to the organ in hopes of finding some way of stopping them.
Doren found two sheets of music by the organ, written in infernal. One labeled “Summon” and one labeled “Banish.” Doren hurriedly played the music labeled “Banish,” which rung out in a pure melody. As the power of the song hit the room, the demons material forms began to unravel, and the portal slammed shut. The dark energy of the room dispelled, and the bishop slain, the party easily dispatched the remaining demons.
As the party caught their breath after the battle, they noticed a note tucked into a book in the bishop’s desk. It read:
Give the poor nothing and prevent others from assisting them. Sew disorder in the city.
Pour all of your donations into building the monument exactly to our specifications. Do this, and my power will be yours.
The note had the same wilted rose with a skull on top wax seal as the note found in Wendall’s room.
Just then though, the priest who had let the party in initially walked into the office, alarmed by the noise. Seeing the gruesome scene, the party’s blades covered with blood, demonic corpses littering the floor, the bishop slain. He simply looked at the party in shock and spoke in a hushed voice, “What have you done?”