The party all achieved 2nd level, and enjoyed putting new points into the characters.
The party relaxed at the Smiling Crocodile after meeting up with Feldenaith again. Feldenaith had met with his employers, the Syndicate, and after a time admitted as much to the party. He did not admit that he had shared much more with the Syndicate than the party had shared with Oldare. In fact, he had told the Syndicate the item being searched for was a palantir. Oldare arrived at the inn as well, and Drogo told the ranger that Feldenaith was with the Syndicate, much to the ranger’s displeasure. Oldare told them that Lomeilinde had been seen in chains sailing northwest with cultists of the Long Night. He also mentioned that a ranger called Meli (Melaniel) had discovered a hidden entrance into the Cult of the Long Night’s headquarters, located south of Narun Kizden in the Uldona Spine. Oldare urges the party to destroy it and says about 50 of the cultists probably protect it. He would do it, but his 80 rangers were busy trying to combat the sirens.
The Cult of the Long Night, he explained, worshipped Kerkkask, an ancient god of the plains, worshipped by the Easterlings. Kerkkask demanded bloody sacrifices, so it was an easy matter for Sauron to take his place and make the cult his slaves. The Syndicate arose in opposition to the Cult, as a way to protect trade, and they were as eager as the Rangers to eliminate the cult.
The current Realm Master of the rangers is Eletaria. The old realm master (Taykus) quit his position to spend time with his family in Shrelkain, but it is well-known that he hates his family and Oldare fears he has been seduced or replaced by a Siren.
The party seeks a commission from the Syndicate to go after the cultists. They talk with Galen first, who offers 10 s. per cultist, and then offers 500 s. for them to slay all of the cultists. Galen seems highly disreputable, so the party seeks someone more reputable among the Syndicate. They talk to Wendell at the Friendly Shellfish, and he offers them 750 s. to wipe out the Children of the Long Night and their High Priest, Morlammen. The party accepts the deal. Along the way, Galen claims that 42 of the rangers moonlight for the Syndicate and that only 30 of them remain loyal to Oldare.
The party renames the Ocean Noise to the SeaDancer, and names the longboats “Tiny Dancer” and “Private Dancer.” Drogo, growing very nervous about the Mendocian brothers, hires another 10 Northron sailors and makes them answerable only to himself. They are:
The SeaDancer then sails to the headquarters of the cultists.
Meli advises they sail their ship into a narrow dangerous pass, but as it is only 1/2 mile inland, the party instead takes the longboats. The landing party is Delcarnan, Drogo, Grafarlig, Feldenaith, Meli, and the five Mendocian brothers. Elias and the Northrons are left in charge of the ship.
The party kills 3 cultists in rapid succession. None are a match for Grafarlig’s axe. The party leaps a six foot chasm and find a deep pool. Drogo casts Otterlungs and Delcarnon casts light on his dagger. Drogo explores the pool and finds silver and gold coins, a suit of plate mail, and a jet black longsword. The treasure up to that point had been 21 s. and a wooden whistle. Drogo rescues another 37 s. and 4 gp. from the pool. Feldenaith gets the plate mail, and Delcarnon takes the sword, which Drogo believes is worth nothing. Drogo dives one more time to recover a punctured breastplate. The party is exclaiming on the size of the puncture (big enough to fit a fist through), when the DM finally makes the roll that awakens the giant Craben (half crab, half kraken) in the pool where Drogo has been swimming. They flee as the Craben attacks, pinning Clem (one of the Mendocians) to a wall. Delcarnon drives the crab off with an amazing roll for his lightning (298!) and rescues Clem. The party heads deeper into the tunnels.
Next they find an ancient tomb with writing in both Elvish and Black Speech. They cannot read all of it, and the room is rapidly filling up with small crabs, hundreds of them. There is an ornate statue with bowed head with hood and outstretched palm. They enter and try placing things in the palm, but without reaction. Grafarlig opens the casket, and removes a golden circlet, a ring, a bag, and a giant club. The circlet and ring go to Drogo. The circlet allows him to see in the dark, but the ring is cold and frightens him. The coins are ancient gold coins from the 2nd Age, and Drogo stashes those in his backpack. The coins are from the 2nd age, with the closed fist insignia of the Dark Lord. They are heavier and thicker than gold pieces of the 3rd age, and are worth at least 50 gp. each, perhaps double that to a collector. There are 50 of them.
They take the club but no one uses it. They flee the huge number of crabs, and Delcarnon cooks them with a huge fireball. The party returns and gathers up a lovely crab dinner, as the Craben wails in despair in the background. And there we ended for the night.