Serpent's Skull


10076869The officers and guests of the merchant ship Jenivere sat in the large dining cabin sharing food and quiet conversation amidst the creaking of the vessel. The captain, a dour-faced man by the name of Alizandru Kovack was flanked by his younger first-mate, Alton Devers, and Ieana, an attractive young scholar from Varisia. Next to Alton, halfway through a bottle of cheap brandy, was Aerys Mavato, a fiery eyed half-elf. Then came the well dressed gnome, Gelik Aberwhinge who was leaned over telling a joke to a human teenaged girl. Sasha Nevah’s red hair fell across her face as she doubled over giggling.

The opposite side of the table was quiet and somber by contrast. The old, and scruffy Ishirou sips his stew quietly, alone in his thoughts. Next to him was the savage, Corr. A solid mass of a man with scars of combat and tribal markings , he sat silently as well, yet his gaze drifted occasionally to linger on Aerys. The last guest at the table was one of the bird-men named Voral. The Tengu stood and excused himself from the table. After leaving the dining cabin he headed past the food storage room and into the galley. He pauses and wonders where Rambar Terillo, the ships “chef”, had gotten to. Feathers ruffling in mild irritation, he takes a nearby bowl and spoons out a portion of soup from the nearby pot before turning and heading deeper into the ship, not noticing the faint smell of death already coming from the food storage room.

He emerges into the dark of the cargo hold and makes his way to the back of the compartment. Something dark and leathery shifts in the darker shadows causing Voral to pause. “Cofan, it’s me,” he whispers, “brought you dinner.” A truly monstrous face looms out of the shadows, and a gnarled hand reaches out and grabs the bowl. The Tengu watches Cofan Willowleaf with sharp eyes wondering what would happen if the captain ever found the Strix.

Two others lay quietly not ten feet away, but separated by wooden bulkheads and metal bars. Jask Derindi, a dark-skinned bearded man, and [Sa’kaida Skymist], wearing the look of an eastern mystic, are both sprawled across the floor of the brig. Their hands still hold spoons near empty bowls. Within minutes the rest of the ship is unconscious and the ship begins to rock harder as it enters violent waters.

Jungle goat The small goat bleated in panick as it tore through the jungle. It’s eyes rolled in its head as it tried to glimpse the dark shape that had cut it off from its herd. The animal lept over a small log and didn’t even have time to register the second small figure as it darted out in front of it and sliced a grey crescent of death across it’s throat.

The boy smiled as he climed through the jungle. He had fed early today and the goat would last him and his companion through tomorrow. He could spend the rest of the day exploring, and since it was still early he decided to head to the shore to find some shells to add to his collection. Beside him a rather large wolf padded along. As he move out past the dense treeline he looked out over the sand and froze. Eight bodies lay sprawled on the sand and appeared to be about to be snacked upon by the sea scorpions that plagued the coast. Wordlessly he and the wolf darted forward and out, moving to flank the creatures, just as one took an experimental bite out of the largest of the bodies.

The castaways took stock as the strange boy sat some distance away, breaking into the sea scorpions’ shells to get at the meat. They could not remember how they arrived here, but felt sick. One realized they had been dosed with a poison, probably at dinner. Voral was wordlessly concerned at the absense of his smuggled companion. Corr soon discovered the wreckage of the Jenivere smashed against the rocks. Realizing that the approach would be hazardous at high tide, the group decided to wait until afternoon.

The boy showed them a place where the tree cover was dense enough to create shade and they rested during the jungle’s oppressive noon heat. Many of the marooned group were despondant and began to feel hopeless as it soon became apparant where they were stranded. Smuggler’s Shiv, an island surrounded by high cliffs, turbulent waters and rumored to be crawling with ghosts of shipwrecked sailors and cannibal tribes. Three of them, the savage, the birdman and the mystic, remained undaunted and moved out to search the shipwreck, warily accompanied by the boy.


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