The Queen's River

Belog's Journal - Macabre Maritime Mystery

This morning began quite pleasantly, Selly and Brash were still asleep when I awoke, and I left them to slumber while I got something to eat. The breakfast at the Green Briar did not captivate today, so I decided to see what was available at the Queen’s Cove.

On my way I saw Janos Grimble. Rather than his usual scowl, he smiled weakly and began to raise his arm to wave until he realized what he was doing and crossed his arms instead. Then he scowled. I conveyed morning felicitations and continued on my way.

I was expecting smoked fish, for that is the usual breakfast at Queen’s Cove. Imagine my surprise when instead there was a delicious concoction of trout fillets, eggs, and bacon, with a ramekin of sauce. Ameiko must have hired a new cook. I complimented her on the meal, and left a generous gratuity.

I was enjoying my coffee stout when Brash and Selly arrived. As I was extolling the qualities of the breakfast special, a commotion arose at the docks. It seemed that Archibald Bletch had discovered an abandoned craft. A flat-bottomed barge named The River Squire. He was claiming salvage rights since it was abandoned when he discovered it. Duncan Sentry claimed that Archibald “discovered” the barge when it drifted into the Ladyslipper overnight.

Selly was most anxious to investigate. While we were contemplating how to begin our analysis of the Squire, Fin arrived. He had been contacted by Maerwynn – a local priestess of Our Grand Wright of Heaven. She tends the shrine in Briarton and aids the people of the
village with the healing powers granted her by the goddess. She typically wears robes in silver and gold tones and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Maerwynn has lived in Briarton for nearly 20 years, coming to the village as a young woman after being trained in the guilds of Our Grand Wright in another kingdom. About fifteen years ago, her left arm was severed by an orc blade as she defended a child. The priestess
nearly died of the grievous wound, and in her fever delirium had a holy vision of The Grand Wright sending her back to the realm of the living to continue doing good works.

She could doubtless have had her lost arm restored by her religious superiors, or directly from her goddess via direct prayer, but she chooses not to do so: She claims her missing arm teaches her humility and compassion for those in need of her own healing powers.

Maerwynn is concerned that by a recent disturbance in the town cemetery, several grave-sites have been desecrated. She implored Fin to investigate.

Collectively, we decided that we would begin at the cemetery, and continue up the river to determine what happened to the crew of the Squire.

At the cemetery we quickly determine that there were at least three exhumations overnight and that there was no sign of remains. The tracks are definitely humanoid – not animal and roughly human sized, but there is at least one set that is larger, possibly from an ogre.
The tracks lead to the edge of the Midland Sea and disappear.

At a loss for how to continue pursuit of these corpse stealers, we decided to head upriver to learn the fate of the crew of The River Squire. Selly suggested we borrow the Ladyslipper for our trip up the river, but we decided to forgo this as a favor to Archibald to repay
the uncharacteristic kindness he displayed when ferrying us about the Wake Islands to retrieve Lady Halsekka.

We were about to start hiking when a vessel began to pole its way up the river. A short jog later we were granted permission to embark by Captain Sheridan, skipper of The Shore Thing, a craft similar to The River Squire.

The journey upriver was pleasant, the weather was mild and the crew enjoyed my tales of adventures. Their sharp-eyed lookout alerted the crew to a hazard ahead. Someone had seeded the river with numerous trees that had been carefully trimmed to keep the balance of their volume below the surface.

We disembarked to examine the banks for signs of the missing crew. We quickly discovered a charnel pit, and attempted to identify the remains. Unfortunately, the pit was infested with numerous myriapodas, and other metameric vermin.

Our small group was swiftly swarmed by the pests. While I began the Song of Heroes, Brash dispatched several insects using a mighty overhead smash, the momentum of his swing caused a cloud of Rot Grubs to erupt into the air and rain down upon the group.

We all defended ourselves from these invasive nuisances, with only Fin in serious danger. Luckily, I was able to incorporate an inspiring flourish of my axe while severing the thorax of my foe to bolster his resolve. Due to my ingenuity he was able to marshal his confidence and dispatch his foe – gastronomically.

We continued our examination of the crew’s remains, and were able to determine that each of them had suffered severe limb avulsions, and once again we were able to find the tracks of at least one large creature, similar to the ogre we had encountered previously in the
cemetery.

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