Category Archives: Chapter 9: Trouble at Zella’s Vineyard
Trouble at Zella’s Vineyard: Epilogue
Seconds after Loya Jurga falls over the side of her galley into the black moonlit waters, the galley starts to lilt and sink into the ocean, as if her horrible existence willed the ancient craft into staying afloat.
Porkins jumps back to the Sloop Jombi in time to see the hobgoblin Therok, re-animated after being killed by the four armed Sahuagin, shuffling towards Captain Bonnie from behind. However, as the death galley sinks, Therok goes lifeless and collapses as a corpse to the deck. The Grudge throws the corpse unceremoniously overboard.
All is silent as the fog lifts, and a bright half moon reflects off of the dark water. Bonnie says some words to the Grudge, holding her wounded side. He works the lines, dropping the sail and tying it up to the boom.
“I know these waters better than most, but I dare not sail near Peckton in the dark. We’ll drop anchor here and keep guard in case others show up, and I will drop you off to town at daybreak.”
Daybreak rises a few hours later, and Bonnie scans the ocean, pointing to a lump of seaweed on a rock. “That’s a body”. The Grudge maneuvers the boat closer and flips the rotten corpse over. It looks like an ancient, withered starved female human, clad in rags and seaweed. It’s skin is scorched in two places and a grievous stab wound at her heart. Whereas Loya Jurga looked like a hellish nightmare in life, in death, she just seems pathetic. Her coral crown is missing, but she carries a sharkskin satchel across her shoulder. The Grudge retrieves it with a hook and dumps the contents on the deck. A mixture of bones, and 100 platinum coins. Each coin has strange writing and an octopus look creature stamped- no currency of the Duchy’s for sure. There is also a potion wrapped in seaweed and a yellow cat’s eye gem the size of a golf ball.
“You keep it” Bonnie says “For I can offer you no cash reward for my rescue from the hobgoblins. What little money I have hidden, I need for a sage to determine how to safely remove these glyphs on my skin. But take these…” She hands over a potion of water breathing, and a scrollcase. “It’s a treasure map. Least so I believe. I found it in a hidden compartment on the Jombi when I acquired her. It’s well inland, no place for me. Good luck.” The case has the initials “NPOI” inscribed on it.
The crew is silent as she navigates to just off Pecton, and the Grudge shuttles the adventures to shore on the rowboat. As Porkins climbs down to the boat, Bonnie shouts to him “One last thing, ally. I intend to head north and shall not darken the shores of the Vineyard anytime soon. But, tell your Sheriff, if I see him again, I intend to kill him.”
Trudging up the rocky shore towards the harbor of Peckton, it’s not long before you run into the militiaman, Deen, as he patrols the beach. “Thank Ehlonna- you’re alive! We’ve had quite the night. It was nothing but zombies and sea devils. Then is just stopped. None of us have had any sleep. Porkins- your cousin, they have him at the square. The folks here are none too happy.”
You arrive at the square in time to see the chubby Cole, tied to a chair, as an angry crowd surrounds him. The Deputy, Jery, seems to be holding a trial of sorts. “I tell you” Cole shouts in his high pitched whine “I didn’t let them go. I was going to send them with the sea captain to the capital. When we got to the armory, they had already escaped the cell and had their weapons. They said they just wanted the woman. I SAVED THIS TOWN!!”
Jery hushes the booing crowd, and says to Cole “What you say may or may not be true. But I’m sad to say we judge you not fit to Sheriff. I intend to offer the job to Porter, if he’ll have it. If not, then we’ll nominate someone else. You are not welcome here anymore Cole. You are banished to west of the Greyribbon. You may keep your fine clothing and baubles and take a pony from the constabulary, but nothing else. You’ll sell those gems and do just fine, but you’ll not return here!”
Almost on queue, a pigeon flies to the square, and lands on the ground in front of Jery, carrying a message….
Meanwhile, on a beach not far from Hag Hook, the waves bring in the detritus of the sea. Tridents, a dead vulture…a three pointed coral crown. Inscribed with tentacled creatures of the deep, and skulls with sharp teeth, and fish-men with large eyes. The crown settles in the sand…a wave washes over it, and it is gone….