The five sailors explored the abandoned village, finding no evidence to indicate why it was left, only that it had been left decades ago. Making their way deeper into the jungle, Caesar was suddenly attacked by a swarm of mouse-sized mosquitoes, which by their size posed a threat to his life. The others tried to intervene; Caesar ran; and out of nowhere a sheet of water appeared above the flying vermin, soaking most of them through and causing them to disperse. A little down time and healing later and the crew was back to work.
Continuing along the path they came upon the ruins of an old foot bridge that used to stretch across an extensive mire. All that was left were rotted pilings. Everyone but Grims decided that moving through the canopy of trees offered the best opportunity to cross, while the young pirate tried to find his way directly through the muck, using a stick to check for depth as he moved forward.
Moments into their crossing, Grims was attacked by two giant frogs, that pounced at him from different directions. Using his stick and cutlass he did his best to fend them off, and was assisted by Mal’s sudden descent by rope out of the trees, sword in hand. Although the frogs put up a fight, one was killed and the other chased off shortly, leaving Grims to reconsider his crossing – he ended up in the trees with everyone else.
Moving down the path southward, the group finally reached what had looked like a structure from the sea: a large tent, or possibly ship’s sails, lashed around a massive tree, creating a shelter. Painted on the outside were lurid images of faces and people, and from inside wafted a faint smell of decayed flesh. A raspy male voice welcomed them and ask that they help him. Cautious…and paranoid…after their activities that morning, they approached the tent carefully, with Mal and Grims moving directly toward it, Caesar moving around to one side, and Red and Mongangwa staying back to survey the scene.
Red’s vantage point enabled him to see another figure – a decayed woman in an evening gown, her long black tongue wagging eagerly below her chin – as it tried to sneak up on Caesar. The fight was on!
Using a combination of spells and weapons, the pirates fought off three undead: one man and two women, who were all dressed in the stained remains of evening wear and smelled of a combination of rotten flesh and cheap perfume. When struck their flesh resisted, and then finally broke open to release gobs of putrid innards. Mal was the first to fall, but Grims’ quick moves prevented the beast from making a meal out of him. The bocor’s power momentarily dazed another attacker, giving the men enough time to dispatch her. A quick, brutal fight, with significant damage sustained by the party, and the beasts were dead, again, and for good.
For their troubles the men recovered some coin, a few gems, a potion of some sort, and six vials of a different, likely alchemical, compound, as well as some other mundane but potentially valuable clothing items.
Taking a view of the island from the top of the tree, Mal saw the continuation of the trail to the south, leading to what looked like a farm field, and then to the west up into the hills and ridge that separated the island into two halves, east and west. To the south they went, using up a good amount of the afternoon getting to what they determined to be a now-wild field of corn, possibly planted by the villagers or some others, but now left fallow. Severed humanoid heads were affixed on top of poles around the perimeter, decayed and swarming with vermin and the massive mosquitoes that had attacked them earlier. Deciding that corn wasn’t to their liking, they backtracked and headed over the ridge on the trail.
The trail led directly to a stockade, constructed from local timber and itself surrounding a small lodge. Inside was also a bubbling freshwater spring and creek – clearly, this was a good place, if not the best on the island, to set up shop. Reconnaissance around the wall didn’t help them as they entered, as the two vine chokers were well-concealed in the canopy, and surprised Mal and Grims with their long, sticky arms that grabbed the halfling right away and swatted at Grims. The team attacked, attempting to free the halfling from another foe, struggling to get free as the thing strangled him into unconsciousness. Mongangwa grew large and skewered the other beast while the others hacked and pulled at Mal’s attacked, with Grims finally pulling the thing out of the tree, landing it hard on the ground.
Faced with a group of attackers and no longer hidden, the thing decided to run, but was staked to the ground by the laughing bocor’s spear. Mal and the others were checked over by Red, who fumbled through what looked like a poor imitation of doctoring…and yet they all agreed that they felt much better once he finished, and Mal began breathing again.
While Red did his work, Grims and Mongangwa surveyed the rest of the stockade, with Grims finding a weather-beatenn spyglass lashed to the palisade above a set of stairs, and pointing directly at a cove about a mile directly south of their location. Looking through the glass Grims watched…and saw grindylows bobbing around in the water of the cove. Whoever had lived here had obviously been interested in or concerned about the wretched aquatic beasts, and had wanted to keep tabs on them.
“I sense a single aura of magic, coming from inside…” stated Mongangwa, motioning toward the lodge, its door about half open. Finding a rock and encasing it in a glamer of light, he was able to see what was inside: ship’s furniture crowded along with other supplies and equipment – the quintessential hovel of the man stranded. And the man, it seemed, was still here, hanging by a leather collar and chain from the center of the ceiling, decayed and stinking in the small room, seemingly the victim of suicide.
The dead man was wearing what could be a fine sailor’s coat, if cleaned, and Grims could not resist the lure of it. Entering the room, however, proved harder than he’d thought, as the stench momentarily overwhelmed him, chasing him outside again, seeking a place to vomit and then something to cover his mouth and nose…the coat was just such a find!
Upon entering the room again, Grims reached up to turn the hanged man around so as to find a way to either take him down or remove the coat, and was surprised to have the man reach for him – no, grab for him. The dead thing’s eyes blazed with a malevolent hunger and its bloated tongue wagged at him as it began thrashing, arms and legs in motion, trying to grab hold of the young pirate, whose sudden screams made clear to the others the dire situation in which he found himself.
Grims, held in the grasp of the undead sailor, is lifted off the ground, towards the thing’s gaping mouth – open obscenely wide and arrayed with sharp teeth. Lifting his knees to his stomach, the young pirate kicks at the thing, causing both of them to swing suddenly. That, along with Grims’ own thrashing, causes the thing to drop its prey.
Thrashing wildly, with legs kicking and arms flailing, the thing rasps unintelligible shouts as it swings back and forth. Grims, hitting the ground, scoots backward out of the lodge.
“Jaigo, can you do something about that thing? It has a fine coat…”