Upon hearing this and agreeing to help him with the matter, our heroes broke off to uncover any useful information from the patrons. Finn gave the bar a once-over and decided that he would go talk to some shifty-looking gentlemen wearing dark robes. Rusty, on the other hand, eyed two twin children and being overjoyed that they were almost shorter than them, he walked over that way. Vanguard approached a Vistani trader, instantly insulted him and promptly was left with no leads. While Leif and Orsik sat there at the bar drinking their fill of his fine beverages and discussed Yarol’s situation further while simultaneously not paying a lick of attention to what he was saying.
Finn instantly recognized that these men were not your ordinary overly-emotional teenagers, they were indeed cultists of Vecna. After some quick thinking he blurted out the name Paldemar and mentioned he was from stationed at Fallcrest doing the Archlich’s holy business. Rusty, not exactly one for talking, tried to impress the children with some dagger tricks. And impressed they were, so impressed that they wanted to take him upstairs to a more private place. Rusty obliged and followed them up the stairs without saying much of a word to his comrades. Vanguard spied this all going down and, while trying to remove all thoughts about his halfling friend being a pedophile, motioned to the rest of the group and followed Rusty up their stairwell.
Vanguard joined Rusty at the top of the stairs and together they proceeded to find a small stash of trinkets in the twins’ room. But that wasn’t all they saw, there were also two onis leeching the life out of some sleeping guests. Vanguard and Rusty unsheathed their weapons and proceeded to attack, followed momentarily by Finn, Orsik and Leif, who together were able to pummel the onis into submission.
Yarol was extremely grateful for the UTA’s help; and since they did him a great service, he offered them a reward, his help if they ever needed it, and the eponymous Yarol’s Infinite Flagon (or YIF for short).
Our heroes finally were able to take a well-deserved rest to aid their weary bones after a long journey. It was here that the aforementioned and ominous visit from the demon emissary, Azuzu, left Rusty with a tail and without a dresser.
On the next morning, our heroes sat down and talked strategy with Wypaugh where he asked for their help. He proposed a mutually-rewarding deal for both the UTA and the Midnight’s Own while hindering the efforts of House Harskel. Wypaugh told our heroes that he had learned about a mysterious shipment owned by Dedrek Harskel, one ripe for the taking. This unknown cargo was going to be transported from a man named Lord Nil of Dreadfort to an overseas collector on a ship called the Dagger of Ursh. Wypaugh said that this could be a huge success for both parties, but alas, like everything else in this business it would not be easy.
The ship is well guarded by the orcish crew and captained by a ferocious female orc named Cutthroat Gurk. To top it off however, the ship was leaving on the very next day—our heroes had to act fast! So our heroes decided that they would travel to Gloomwrought to stop this Gurk and her merry band of Yellow orcs. After scouring the city, they learned that the ship’s first mate, an orc named Mogg, was a big gambler at the local unnamed tavern down by the docks. It wasn’t the nicest place however, and the people weren’t exactly friendly to outsiders like the UTA. But being the badasses that they are, the UTA strutted masculinely into the bar. Leif took a seat across the table from a characteristically inebriated Mogg and using his silver tongue offered to play a high-stakes game called Grit. (Basically: “You win, we’ll give you whatever you want, but if we win, you give us nothing at all.”)
But, Avandra must have been watching over Leif because he miraculously was able to beat Mogg at his own game. Cursing under his breath, he told our heroes a bit more about the ship, where it was currently docked and what they could expect. Our heroes devised a plan and per usual it completely fell apart. Battle ensued. Our heroes boarded the ship and quickly squared off against their respective opponents. Finn did what he always does (explode, burn, cover-with-acid everything while teleporting to and fro) while Vanguard jumped from deck to deck shooting arrows like a wild man! Leif and Orsik took on Cutthroat Gurk and her allies, and even found a magical dagger! Lastly Rusty slipped into a rather small porthole and snuck around for a bit in the lower deck trying to find the mysterious cargo.
Vanguard came down to the lower deck for a short while and together they heard someone, presumably the ship’s cook yell, “where’s my fucking cheese?” from behind a door. Just then Rusty heard a noise from the far end of the ship and went to go check it out while Vanguard snooped around. Rusty found Indigo the Goliath sleeping in a small room all by his lonesome with the battle raging upstairs on the main deck and the forecastle. His demonic blood pumping, he viciously and repeatedly stabbed the helpless goliath, laughing maniacally and shouting things like “I’m going to cut out your eyes and watch as you eat them!”
Very heroic indeed.
With the encounter concluded, Rusty, now completely covered in the goliath’s blood, walked out to find Vanguard both concerned and alarmed. At that very moment, Faris walked out of the ship’s kitchen and accosted Rusty, showing him the precious medallion given to him all those years ago. He had it all along! He yelled: “Give it to me!” and charged the shadowborn halfling. Interrupted by Finn, who had just entered from above, Faris dodged out of the way and removed his headscarf to reveal an identical countenance to Rusty but with a large scar across his neck. It had been given to him many months ago…from Irontooth!
The party members all exclaimed as their eyes widened, this was Rusty, well, a version of him at least. The party learned that Rusty’s soul had split when he died at the hand of Irontooth and, unbeknownst to them, they had revived just one part of the original. Faris is the bodily manifestation of the part of Rusty’s soul that stayed in the Shadowfell; he has been here ever since and cannot leave, no matter how hard he tries. Faris’ goal has been to trap this demonic version here in the Shadowfell, so that he can once again travel home.
We leave our heroes dismayed, angry and confused. They argue back and forth with what to do as some escaped smugglers run off to get the guards—Do they slay this loyal yet demonic friend or stay by his side? To find out the answers to all these questions and more, tune in next time for the Uncomfortably Tall Adventures!