Based on the notes retrieved from the cultists, the voyage to the ruins of Narren took only another couple of days. During that time the bard continued to interrogate the doppelgänger, and dissuaded the rest of the group from summarily executing him. Unlike the horrendous beasts of legend, this individual seemed to be a consummate professional with ties to a freelance intelligence group based out of Sharn. Convinced that there was no immediate threat from their captive, an arrangement was brokered to keep him on the ship for the time being, with an eye to arranging contact with his organisation at a later date..
Narren had been comprehensively sacked by the Brelish navy, with few building left standing after artillery and magical bombardment. The port had been a staging area for the Temple during it’s attempts to secede from Breland’s control. Raiders and pirates had used the port as their home base to venture out and pillage unwary ships, as well as the surrounding islands and even the mainland on occasion. Now the ground was reduced to churned and rubble-strewn mud, filled with the shells of houses and warehouses. Sunken boats and ships clogged the bay, and a deathly chill seemed to linger over the whole scene.
The group made landfall by way of their flying skiff, and hid their transport inside a relatively complete shell of a warehouse near the dock. They began to look for signs of the trader, reasoning that he or she would be most likely to be found in one of the more intact buildings. First though, they had to contend with the dread wraiths of a number of dead pirates. These flying incorporeal undead caused initial alarm but were soon beaten into retreat, leaving the way clear to continue the search.
A locked building bearing the livery of House Sivis was found to contain supplies and a note from the merchant indicating that he had gone to check the mercenaries at The Old Temple to the North West. The note indicated that the merchant would return within the week, but if the cultists could not wait they could either leave their finds cached; or travel up the river to the town of Rastor to the South West. Looking out over the terrain, the North West promised swampland and woods, while the South West seemed to offer forest with the collapsed cone of an old volcano towering over it.
Before pressing on to either new option, the group thought it best to check out the other two reasonably intact buildings, just in case there were more undead to put down, or indeed cultists spying on them. The first building was an old House Kundarak bank, while the other appeared to be a tavern.
The bank was inhabited by a crazed hermit – dressed in rotting finery over plate armour. His face disfigured by some old injury, he ambushed the group with corrupted versions of familiar spells – searing light somehow turned to darkness, and wounds inflicted with a brush of his hand. Even as powerful as he was though, he was vastly outnumbered and the battle was short. Tracks found by the party’s thief indicated that people had been regularly dropping off supplies to the hermit, but no other signs of his significance could be determined other than that he too possessed an inverted obex as his unholy symbol.
The tavern proved more problematic, as it was the lair of the ghost of a pirate assassin and a number of allips. These creatures waited until the party was split among several rooms on both floors of the structure before striking – the hypnotic babble of the twisted undead and their wisdom-draining touches proved deadly to many of the group, who were caught in hypnotic states while the creatures fed on them and the ghostly assassin tried to cut them down. Ruin, the warforged druid, was able to cast a spell however that summoned a vortex of ghostly piranhas. The resulting destruction tore apart the building, shredded many of the allips, and allowed the group a chance to fight back. When the dust settled, there wasn’t much left of the tavern, and even less of the undead horrors.
After a brief discussion, they decided to go see if they could neutralise the merchant and the mercenaries before pressing on deeper into the unknown.