Continuing the skirmish on the beach, Zayn Carthin the Rogue-Paladin, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric, Kerla Chog the Human Fighter and Davroar Hollyshield the Elf Cleric vanquish the bushwackys.
Discovering a hut on stilts out in the water, they tried to determine how they might get in. To their surprise, a voice called from within. At first friendly, a tidal goblin named Puddle became enraged to learn that the adventures had killed his pet bushwackys! At the sight of a cannon being pushed out the hut’s doorway, they decided to retreat.
Passing under a natural stone archway further down the beacb, they came upon a tidal goblin in a roundboat departing from an odd plinth of rock in the waters. A ladder could be seen leading up to it. The goblin was reluctant to help them, being under a geas not to speak of certain things. He let slip that the plinth contained treasure but warned them it wasn’t worth it.
When asked about the statue they spy further out on the lake on a small island, he tells them that such statues are common. The statues hold the Staff of Summoning but they’re all fakes held by the likeness of the first Wart’ode Big Boss, resulting in a Red Hand Curse if the staff is removed.
Meanwhile, Nathan Garney has been staring up at the rock plinth, concentrating. He declares that this place is important to the twin halfling gods Ridley and Ripley, and asks the others if they can hear the voices whispering on the breeze.
Jotun Yggdrassil the Dwarf Cleric then drops from the sky. Since they last saw him, guided by the hand of Moriarty, he’d made his way to the TIDELANDS and had stumbled on a HIDDEN DOCK. Hiding in some barrels, he was taken high above. He was pushed from the top of the plinth of rock but, presumably by the favor of the gods. survived with minimal damage. He recognizes Kerla Chog and greets them. They quickly bring him up to speed.
When he recounts his vague tale of how he came to fall from the sky, Nathan becomes suspicious, demanding to know how Jotun was able to see what he knows to be atop the rock plinth. When pressed, Jotun admits that, being in a barrel much of the time, he saw nothing. Nathan notes that he believes this place is one he has heard of called SMUGGLER SPEAK, the place where to Rain of Ridley is said to come.
While they are conversing, Meldor takes a moment to greet Kerla Chog, whom he recognizes as the conspicuous human foundling from his dwarfhome.
Jotun’s enthusiasm for Moriarty is unbounded. He variously considers setting fire to the goblin’s round boat and Puddle‘s stilt house. Mysterious voices combined with Nathan Garney’s pronouncements that combined with claims that he can see a fortress above them invisible to everyone else causes Davroar to consult with Moriarty.
Moriarty instructs him to enter SMUGGLER SPEAK to further their quest to find a Star Sapphire and open the WATER PORTAL but take nothing sacred to the halfling gods because he isn’t ready to spar with them yet.
Entering by the ladder, they came to a metal spiral staircase. Investigation of a mid-level clearly used by guards of SMUGGLER SPEAK, though now suspiciously vacant, led to the accidental arming of an electrical trap. After safely disarming it, they continued up. Careful spying led to the discovery that the city is occupied by grey, unmoving figures. While the city is evidently under some kind of curse, its exact manifestation is not yet clear