The Saga of Rosemary Goodfruit

Compass and Map
An adventure in Avalon

Arriving in Canguine in the quiet dusk of spring, the heroes say their goodbyes to the captain and crew of the Hanged Man. Allende wishes them good luck and provides them with their share, as any who serve on his crew are due. The crew point them in the direction of a comfortable and relatively calm inn, under the sign of the Green Man, and the heroes make their way there to spend the night and consolidate.

During their dinner, a strange man enters the inn and approaches the heroes, addressing them in Castillian, though his accent is clearly Montagnian. He hands Rosa a note, evidently from Fiora, that warns of some lurking danger and extends the reward offer to include information on this unknown threat. The man excuses himself and leaves as mysteriously as he arrived, disappearing into the rain and mist.

While discussing their plan of action, Carlo suggests that the party split up, in order to maximise their chance to survive any future encounter with Fiora by attempting to find out anything about her past using his contacts at home in Vodacce. Fiora is a renegade Strega, after all, and is bound to have some enemies, and probably a family. Leni and Rosa agree with Carlo’s plan, and Erich agrees to travel with him to see their mission through, while the other two continue on to retrieve the compass from Batiste in Carleon.

Trusting that Fiora and her mysterious friend don’t want them dead before they complete their task for her, the heroes accept their arranged transport, and after a brisk, but uneventful, carriage ride, arrive safely in Carleon, at the sign of the Donovan’s Arms, to plan their next move.

Visiting at Batiste’s manor, Rosa and Leni convince Batiste that they are explorers looking for funding for an expedition. Batiste treats them to a dinner and proudly shows off his collection of artefacts, including the compass that they seek, while Rosa and Leni regale him with stories of their adventures thus far. Batiste’s bodyguard, a tall and imposing man, looks on carefully while the heroes enjoy Batiste’s hospitality.

While Batiste is showing off his collection, Leni enquires about the conspicuously empty case next to the compass, each of which seems to take pride of place in the otherwise underwhelming collection. Batiste confides that he had an item that would take its place, but it, along with part of the expedition that was bringing it back, have gone missing. Batiste suspects foul play, and the heroes offer to retrieve the item. Batiste is happy to accept their offer, and suggests he would reward them for their service with another item from his collection, of their choice, such is the worth of the item he wishes retrieved.

The heroes first investigate the “salvage” operation company that Batiste contracted to retrieve the item, a scroll case bearing the seals of the Numan Empire. Though already late in the day, the company clerk is still in the office. Leni easily bullies the man into giving them the information they need; that one of their employees, a rogue by the name of Jorgen Hildegarde, along with some of his crew, has made off with the item, stealing it from both the salvage operation, Videl and Gundarsson, and Batiste. He suspects they will be hiding out at an old disused Montagnian outpost a short ways outside of Carleon. He provides simple directions, and the heroes set out first thing the next day, buying possibly the worst nag of a horse they have ever seen to help them travel a little faster.

They arrive at the outpost in the afternoon, though their poorly mount does not survive the journey. A stealthy approach and lightning assault leave the thieves unconscious or dead, and the scroll case in the hands of the heroes. However, it turns out that the heroes aren’t the only ones interested in the artefact, and a group of three men led by a charismatic, apparently Avalonian man, offer the heroes a deal; six hundred guilders for the case unopened.

Unfortunately, Rosa has already opened the case and inspected its contents, being strangely attracted to the prospect. The case contained what appears to be a map surrounded by strange glyphs, though neither are at all recognisable. At first, Rosa feels odd looking at it, but the sensation passes.

The heroes refuse the deal, and though the three men are clearly well armed, they leave in peace, offering to negotiate a more suitable deal should the heroes reconsider, telling them to present themselves at the sign of the Brown Bear in Carleon, as his “master” is very eager to have the artefact in his care.

After returning to Carleon, the heroes rest for the night. Rosa takes some time to make a copy of the map and parts of the glyphs, while Leni has a surgeon see to his shoulder, hit by a pistol ball in the fight at the outpost. The next morning, Rosa is shocked to find that the map, without the glyphs, has seemingly appeared on her back, drawn in scar tissue. She recalls a sharp pain when she first looked at it, but has only now noticed its presence. She shows Leni, who views this as a terrible curse. Despite this shock, the heroes return the artefact to Batiste, who exchanges it for the promised price; the compass is now in the hands of our heroes, who depart upon receiving it.

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The Siren's Call

The heroes’ journey to Carleon begins aboard the Siren’s Call, a Vendel merchantman of impressive size. While the captain attempts to smuggle them past the Montagnian naval ships in secret compartments, they meet an odd pair of gentlemen similarly troubled by the local authorities. Calling themselves “The Swordsmen”, the two are a travelling troupe of entertainers. They regale the heroes with tales of their performances, full of comedy, drama and swordplay in equal measure. In Liberté they were arrested for supposedly anti-Montagne propaganda in one of their shows, but were well versed in greasing just the right palms to ensure the gaoler’s blind eye was turned, and are leaving the island to avoid suspicion after the destruction of le Comte.

Everything seems to be going well until one of the crew secretly signals to the Montagnian vessels, and two frigates break from the blockade to pursue. Knowing his head will be on the block should his vessel be caught smuggling fugitives, the captain decides to make a run for it, hoping to lose the Montagnians in the southern islands of the archipelago, where the Naval ships are hesitant to travel except in force due to the number of pirate vessels known to sail those seas. Although there is the chance of running afoul of pirates anyway, the captain sees it as the lesser of two evils, what with the Montagnians already breathing down his neck.

Pursued by the Montagnians, the Siren’s Call is pressed to her limits. Unable to outrun the frigates in open water, the captain changes course to lead them through a narrow, shallow channel. Luck is not on his, or the heroes’ side today, however; just as the Call makes to leave the channel a pirate vessel is sighted and, not having seen the pursuing frigates, it moves to engage.

As the three groups collide, a feirce melee sweeps across the decks of the Call. Reacting to the frigates at the last moment, the larger pirate ship manages to cripple one of them with a devastating broadside. The Call is caught in between the second frigate and the pirates, however, and the heroes are caught in a tense three-way battle. The fighting is ferocious, and all three sides suffer heavy losses in the conflict; eventually, the surviving pirates and merchant marines form a hasty alliance to overcome the Montagnian Navy, who are taking no prisoners. Unfortunately, the Call is crippled by the repeated broadsides of the naval frigate.

With both sides having lost many men, the pirate captain takes charge of those left alive, inviting the merchants aboard; he knows that the only way for anyone to survive is to continue to work together. Thankfully, the captain is the charismatic and infamous pirate known as Allende, and he is able to keep the fragile alliance together. The Siren’s Call is stripped and scuppered and the rag-tag crew sail for harbour in nearby Avalon aboard The Hanged Man, to avoid any further contact with the Montagnians.

Despite the perils of the sea combined with the aftermath of the battle, Allende’s leadership keeps the crew together and alive, and the ship makes port in Canguine a fortnight later, not too much worse for wear. It is late evening by the time the heroes finally set foot on solid ground again, and Allende and his crew bid them good fortune, thanking them for their aid against the Montagnos, and in keeping the crew together since. One of the crew points them in the direction of an inn, The Green Man, and they are handed their “share”.

Leaving The Hanged Man, disguised under a false name, behind, the heroes trudge into the rain-soaked streets of Canguine.

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Maiden's Voyage

The heroes are attacked aboard the Veratus by a band of pirates led by a beautiful Vodacce woman and her dangerous bodyguard. Defeated and robbed of their possessions, they are saved by captain Jacques Sices du Sices, a Montagnian naval captain in command of the galleon le Comte de Mer. The heroes catch the name on the prow of the pirate ship before it escapes; the Pink Maiden.

Jacques has been chasing the Maiden for some time now, and he met Nathan Marshall at Little Carleon a day after the heroes left, hearing of their bravery from the Avalon. He promptly offers a place on his ship to the heroes, as well as the sole surviving Eisen mercenary who fought alongside them, giving them the chance to help hunt down the Maiden and recover what they lost, as well as bring its captain to justice. Leaving a repair crew and supplies with the stricken Veratus, le Comte sets off towards the nearby colony of Liberté to restock and gather information.

At Liberté, the heroes and Erich are directed to Le Coup de Grace, a tavern where most of the seedier elements of the sprawling colony are known to frequent. There they discover that some of the Mainden’s crew are, in fact, in attendance, and the Maiden herself is docked amongst the mass of ships in Liberté’s harbour, but they are discovered by one of the pirates’ villainous officers, Vincenzo, and set upon outside the tavern.

The brawl seems to be going the heroes’ way, until a contingent of the governor’s guards arrives. Directed by none other than the pirate captain, they arrest the heroes and Erich for affray and throw them in the governor’s gaol high above the town.

Imprisoned, they are visited by the captain, who introduces herself only as “Rosamaria” and apologises for the inconvenience, hoping that the entire affair can be forgotten, chalking it down to “business”. She warns the heroes off of captain Sices du Sices, telling them that le Comte will no longer be able to give chase soon enough anyway; as if on cue, a massive explosion is heard from the harbour, and le Comte can be seen erupting in a ball of fire as her magazine goes up. However, when Rosa attacks her with her fire magic, she retreats with a look of mixed hatred and fear on her face, and the heroes are left alone.

The following morning, a cautious woman, the captain’s Vodacce bodyguard who defeated Carlo and claimed his twisted blade as a trophy, visits them armed with a pistol. She introduces herself as Fiora, and chides her captain for her naivete, offering the heroes a deal; they steal an artefact compass from an Avalon explorer known as Arnold Batiste and deliver it to her, and she will return their stolen goods and pay them a hansome reward on top. When Rosa lies to her about accepting the offer, she gives the Castillian a harsh glare, telling her that she knows she is lying; the strands have told her so. Carlo is shocked at the revelation that Fiora is supposedly also a Strega, but the heroes reluctantly agree to the errand, and she provides them with a plain-looking stone that she claims will allow them to contact her when they have the compass, before leaving.

Only hours later, the heroes are surprised by a band of men breaking them out of their prison; they narrowly escape the hillside gaol with the governor’s men in hot pursuit. Carlo is incapacitated in the effort, but a stalwart Erich carries him to safety, admiring the man’s directness and bravado from the fight aboard the Veratus. More partisans attack the governor’s men, allowing the heroes to get away, and they are met by Jaques in town; he provides them with money enough to bribe their way out of the colony to sea, and bids them bon chance and adieu for now.

The Pink Maiden has eluded the heroes for now, but Fiora’s errand entwines the ship’s fate with that of the heroes, and the two will surely meet again soon.

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Deeper Underground

The following morning the heroes awoke to find Captain Marshall missing, supposedly abducted; his tent is torn on one side and a trail leads into the jungle. Despite objections from the crew, MacIntyre leads the heroes with a few “volunteers” to rescue the captain. Convinced that the answers to the island’s mysteries lie behind the stone door, they set out towards the hollow.

Following Javier’s charts to the door, the heroes place the keystone in the slot his notes indicate, but as the door begins to lurch open, it suddenly jams and cracks almost in two. A sharp hissing noise from behind it ends in a sudden eruption of flame, as the door is blown to dust in an explosion, killing one of the sailors and surprising the heroes; the reek of gunpowder raises questions as to the source of the danger on the island.

Descending into the depths of the island beneath the hill, the heroes find a tunnel where, at one point, the walls are coated by a stream of acidic fluid, though it seems to serve no purpose, being harmless unless disturbed. At the end of the tunnel the path opens into a great cavern, the walls of which glisten like silver or the night sky; at the centre of the cavern, stretching from the roof to unfathomable depths below, stands a giant tower, clearly not of human origin, its sides smooth and dark as obsidian.

Exploring the tower, the heroes find little of interest until they reach further down. In a room off the central staircase they find the grisly remains of Bill, the sailor abducted on the first night on the island, and next door they discover the still breathing, but badly beaten, captain Marshall. Bill holds a small stone, similar to the keystones, but dark blue in colour, which the heroes prise from his grasp. When they use gunpowder to blow open the iron bindings holding Nathan in place, though, an inhuman roar bellows from the deepest depths of the tower.

Whilst MacIntyre beats a hasty retreat with Marshall’s unconcious form, Leni and Rosa stay behind to hold off whatever terrifying beast emerges to confront them, but fear gets the better of Carlo, who decides that discretion is the better part of valour for the time being. When the beast lumbers its way up the stairs, the two heroes awaiting it are shocked by what they discover.

The beast is a massive, inky black monstrosity of claws, teeth and chitin. Its very outline shimmers and blends with the shadows their torches throw off, and its burning red eyes threaten to pierce their courage. Weilding its blade-like claws and some mysterious alien gun-like weapon, it overwhelms the outmatched Leni, but Rosa’s fire magic surprises it and momentarily drives it to retreat… into the walls themselves. Frightened and shocked by this, Rosa grabs Leni’s bleeding form and retreats back up the stairs before the beast returns, and they catch the rest of the party, waiting for them at the entrance to the tower.

Together they make a run for the door at the start of the tunnel, but when MacIntyre passes by the streams of acid once again they erupt from the wall in a spray of corrosive vapour, narrowly missing the Avalonians, MacIntyre’s shield man instincts and training saving them at the last moment. Hesitant to pass through this new obstacle, the beast cathes up to the heroes, and a deadly fight ensues between the beast and those who hadn’t yet made it to the other side of the acid streams. Taking an opportunity to escape, Rosa dives to the other side of the streams, barely avoiding another spray of acid, and the beast, which has focussed its attacks towards the young Castillian since her fire magic first scared it off, vanishes once again into the shadows on the walls.

As the party flees, they see the beast reappear on the other side of the streams, seeming to flow out of the wall. It gives chase, but they escape to the door before it catches them again. Wounded, tired and with two of their number unable to fight, the heroes seem to be on the verge of defeat, before Rosa reaches deep into her power and devastates the beast with yet another massive gout of sorcerous flame; its outline seems to burn away in the heat, melting down into the shape of a human, now badly scorched by the sorcerer. The man, dressed as a knight in armour, coughing and in pain, yells something indecipherable in Eisen before vanishing yet again into the shadows, reappearing further down the tunnel.

Carlo, eager to make up for his earlier misjudgement of his foe, gives chase, all the way to the very base of the tower. When he gets there, however, he finds the man standing over a massive store of gunpowder, rigged to blow the entire tower to rubble. The man offers him one chance to escape, which Carlo grudgingly accepts, beating a hasty retreat back up the stairs. Halfway there, a massive explosion rocks the tower, which starts to collapse into the pit below it, filled with acid from the streams which the tower itself seems to pump in its central column; Carlo narrowly avoids being struck by jets of the liquid as the column cracks and breaks, and dives to the safety of the tunnel just as the tower falls toward oblivion below.

The explosion and the collapse cause the tunnel to start caving in, and the heroes narrowly escape being trapped, Carlo making it out just as the entrace falls into a cloud of noxious dust behind them.

Returning to the camp, they find the ship just ready to leave, and sail away from the island for good.

The New Horizon drops the heroes back at Little Carleon, where a recovered Nathan apologises to them for the danger they faced on his behalf, and his misjudgement of his crew’s readiness to tackle such ventures. They turn the stone into the Explorer’s chapterhouse, Luthon paying a minor comission for what he describes as a pitiful find; a single “stormstone” of which the Society already has several well catalogued examples.

Though he appreciates their help, Nathan parts ways with the heroes, telling them they are better seeking their fortunes without his bumbling efforts getting in their way for now, and books them passage on a Voddace merchantman, Veritus, that is docked beside the New Horizon, due to sail the following morning…

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Setting Out
The Adventure begins!

Meeting by chance in the Avalon settlement of Little Carleon under the sign of the Stuffed Goose, our intrepid heroes are whiling away the hours playing dice and enjoying the local spirit when Nathan Marshall, Captain of the Explorers’ vessel New Horizon, makes a bold and grand entrance; he declares his expedition to the unknown, offering a share of the fame and fortune to whosoever accompanies him.

Our heroes accept the offer, from a mixture of desperation, boredom and the faint hope that such a voyage would take them anywhere other than Little Carleon, and by the next morning they are aboard the New Horizon as it sets sail.

The expedition is being made to an uncharted island nearby in the Archipelago, where unknown dangers await and the promise of ancient knowledge and hidden treasure lurks. Or perhaps the danger lurks and the treasure awaits… who knows?

On the first night after landing on the island, the expedition is set upon by some beast, and one of the crew, Bill, is lost; pursuing the dark shape that abducted him into the jungle, the heroes come upon the grisly scene of a pair of monstrous canines fighting over the remains of Bill’s arm. The rest of him is no where to be found, and after a panicked tussle, the beasts flee into the night.

The first day of exploration is more promising for our heroes, however; in the mid afternoon the group comes upon a hollow in the large hill that dominates one half of the island, a massive stone door covered in ancient carvings within. Despite the efforts of the strongest of the group together, directed by the young Rosa, the ancient ediface refuses to move, but a determined Marshall takes the sketches and notes made back to the camp to enlist Javier’s help in deciphering them.

Through a dangerously stormy night, Javier and Rose succeed in linking the carvings to the ruins beneath Charouse, and Javier deciphers several of the markings as coordinates showing places on and around the island; he surmises that these spots hold the keys to opening the great stone door and uncovering what secrets lie beneath it.

Setting out immediately, the group approaches the closest of the spots marked by the coordinates; a point just south of the southern cliffs. Here a small, ruined structure is found atop a precariously positioned needle of broken rock that has seperated from the cliffs; indeed most of the south of the island seems to have only recently collapsed into the sea, forming a great reef around its southern edge. Though the daring Kanuban Leni manages to scramble to the ruin and find the polished blue keystone kept within, his return trip is less successful; at the last moment he slips, hitting the rock hard and losing the stone to the depths of the sea.

Dejected by this loss, the group has their spirits restored upon returning to the camp; the New Horizon has suffered little damage from the storm and, better yet, Javier believes that only one of the three potential keystones will be required to open the door!

With fresh gusto, our heroes set out for the next of the three locations the following day; within a marshy swamp they find the object they seek, another keystone in shining yellow. Defeating a pack of angry Aspreys defending their roosting grounds, the triumphant party make the long journey back to camp, barely arriving before sundown.

With the keystone in their possession, they are eager to set out the next morning, and retire to their bedrolls early, exhausted from the day’s long exertions anyway…

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It Begins Today!
The event you've all been waiting for...

With our heroes’ chance meeting on a tiny island in the Midnight Archipelago, their quest for glory and fortune begins!

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