In the cold light of the early dawn on the 4th of Marpenoth, the battle with the Gray Vale Pirates came to its conclusion. The captain of the River Serpent, whom the ship’s logs named Ran Cwen, fled on the wings of her two pet frost hawks. Under the Lyla Desari, Ella was slowly making her way towards the starboard side of the ship when the bodybag she carried in her backpack stirred, and (Mike) popped out. He immediately grabbed Ella and made for the surface. Further downstream, LaQuel, Conan, and Tempest made short work of the remaining pirates, who seemed to have lost the ability to swim like the fishes once their captain fled.
Ella and (Mike) boarded the River Serpent and took the helm, saving their redshirt pirate captain Skip in the process. The pair then slowed down the ship and turned it around, running over the last surviving pirate in the process. The rest of the battle consisted of cleanup and regrouping, with everyone getting onboard the newly aquired ship, and negotiating the transfer of the mounts (and refund of the price of passage) with captain Desari. LaQuel also looted the hold of the Serpent and distributed what she found amongst the group. The two ships then parted ways, with the Lyla Desari headed back to Loudwater, and the River Serpent continuing towards Llorkh.
The ship traveled for most of the day unimpeded. During the trip, the group squabbled over what to do with the ship, thinking up plans for keeping it and expanding the hold. As the ship neared the west river gate of Llorkh, Oligar spotted a blue glow from below the ship, and saw some dead fish floating to the surface. Fearing attack, the party braced itself for battle.
The battle that followed would be one that the bards would sing about for generations to come.
A huge (Gargantuan, even) river serpent with two tails and a crackling aura of lightning surfaced, bent on eating the entire crew of the River Serpent. The beast blew out a mighty gout of lightning over the deck of the ship, shocking and stunning those that were unlucky enough to be standing in the blast. It then chomped down on the panicking Ella and swam to the other side of the ship. (Mike), thinking on his feet, switched to his abyssal form and swapped places with Ella, then disappeared from the creature’s mouth, reappearing on the deck of the ship. He quickly took command of the ship, much to the chagrin of LaQuel, and got it moving towards Llorkh. The serpent, refusing to let its prey escape, moved to block the ship and was promptly rammed by it. Then Conan got an idea, and with a mighty roar, provoked the creature into swallowing him.
From within the creature, and with Tempest’s guiding commands, Conan went to work. Blow after mighty blow did he land, hacking the inside of the creature’s mouth into so much bloody meat. The creature continued to chew Conan, but found that he was a much tougher piece of meat than expected. Outside, Ella, Oligar, and LaQuel hurled ranged attacks at the serpent, with LaQuel binding it in huge magical chains for long enough for the River Serpent to get back underway. (Mike) had the ship head at full speed for Llorkh, but before his attempted escape he made one last attack, freezing the creature in a gigantic block of ice, immobilizing it. With LaQuel yelling at him through the bluetooth, he escaped from the serpent and made it into the walled section of the river within Llorkh’s borders.
Undaunted, Conan, Tempest, and LaQuel continued to work on the creature. After fumbling his sword and having it swallowed, Conan was forcibly pushed through the entrails of the serpent via one of Tempest’s powers. Unable to do anything about Conan, the serpent renewed its attack on LaQuel and Tempest, blooding them and losing portions of its tails in the exchanges. Eventually, beset from within and without, the great river serpent Lynnedslag succumbed to its wounds and died a screaming, thrashing death. The three heroes that finished the great beast off were left stranded on the ice block that encased its corpse, at the mercy of the river’s current.
Next time: Conan, Tempest, and LaQuel must find a way to Llorkh or ride the giant block of ice, in the freezing cold river during the beginning of winter back to Loudwater. (Mike), Ella, Oligar, and the party members inside the bodybag will have to deal with docking the ship or mounting a rescue attempt. And what to do with the body of Lynnedslag? At least it will be well preserved on the ice!