Tsab Uncovers a Plot
It was a beautiful evening scene. Gul lay on the sand looking at the sun setting over the calm ocean. The orange glow suffused the shoreline and the sun’s rays sparkled playfully on the waves. The sound of the water lapping gently on the beach lulled him into a peaceful reverie. He had recovered himself after his recent bizarre behaviour and he was back in control. All was well. Then something caught his eye. He saw a figure emerging from the sea some distance away and then he was suddenly aware of more and more. They looked like sahuagin, probably out for revenge after the party had stolen the gorgonite horde from under their noses. He placed his hand over the mouth of the maiden lying next to him and put his finger to his lips.
Keeping low, the pair made their way to the jungle and continued to observe the approaching sea creatures. Gul was on the point of going to raise the alarm when he remembered the effects of the lightning bolts he and the others had unleashed underwater. He fired a salvo and about thirty of the sahuagin disappeared in a mighty explosion. He sent another bolt and yet more of the creatures died. They hesitated but soon rallied and continued their advance. Gul spotted one who stood out from his fellows and aimed his next spell, hoping this was the leader. As the target and those around him disappeared, the remaining sahuagin turned and fled back to the depths. Satisfied with his night’s work, Gul made his way back to the ship and slept well.
Always at the back of his mind was The God Curse. He really must stop being so reckless. One of theses days it would cost him his life and that would really spoil things. No chance of bringing down The Matriarchs from a tomb or funeral pyre! When he awoke the next day he decided to pay a visit to Issi, the witch doctor. He approached the hag’s hut outside the main village and was met by a young boy.
"I would like to see your mistress”, said Gul, sharply.
"Pay one magic article”, came the reply.
"Do you know who I am?”
"I’ve seen you around the village.”
"Then you know I am an important visitor, now let me pass” Gul said angrily.
"Pay one magic article, then you can pass.”
Gul was on the brink of slapping the young upstart, but the boy’s disinterested look convinced him he would get nowhere without paying. He begrudgingly handed over a magic ring.
"Now you may see my mistress”, said the boy.
Gul entered the hut and was overwhelmed by an acrid cloud of smoke coming from a fire in the centre of the earth floor. He could just make out a small, wizened figure through the haze.
"How can I help you?”
"I have been foolish. I stole a statue from a shrine and I have acquired a curse. I need to get rid of it. I was hoping you could help.”
"I shall do my best.”
The witch doctor rose with difficulty to her feet and approached Gul. She waved a gourd rattle around him and threw shamanistic dust over him. Then she cast animal bones and fetishes on the floor and studied them intently for several minutes. She finally looked Gul in the eye. He held his breath expectantly.
"It’s a God Curse”, she said simply.
Gul was not amused. "I know that. Can you exorcise it?”
"Alas, my powers are not that great. I cannot interfere where a god has made a judgement. You must return the stolen item to its rightful owners, those who worship Tehru.”
"Where can I find these people?”
"You must return to The Valley of the Great Sword and seek out the bird people. I believe they are called Cronks.”
Gul turned to leave, thanking Issi and resolving to leave the island as soon as possible. He returned to the camp and was met by his brother, Dur and Tsab his trusted henchman.
"I have uncovered a duplicitous plot my lord”, said Tsab excitedly.
"Tell me more, Tsab.”
"I befriended the cleric, Bil and his three cronies, Orf the human, Drago the lizard man and Kiara the cat woman. They tried to convince me to turn to The Great Ghod Corflu. I went along with it, but always remained true to Vhaeraun” he added this last comment hastily in case the brothers got the wrong idea.
"We shall pay them a friendly visit and see how the land lies.”
The three made for the beach and it wasn’t long before they encountered the quartet enjoying a quiet drink. Gul and his henchmen sat with them a while and tried to interrogate them subtly. When he was satisfied of their plot and sure he hadn’t raised any suspicions, Gul bade them farewell but promised to return another day. If they had known what he had in mind they wouldn’t have been so trusting.
The following morning Gul roused Tsab and Dur and told them to put on their armour and sharpen their swords.
"Blood will be spilled today” he said "And it won’t be ours.”
Grimly, they went in search of the Cultists. They came upon them and approached amiably. When they were close enough Gul cast a sleep spell and sent Bil, Orf and Kiara into a stupor. Drago drew his sword and attempted to defend himself. He wounded Dur but the three Drow were too much for him. Gul gave him a killing blow and the fight was over quickly.
"Shall we keep one alive to see if we can gain anymore information, lord” said Tsab.
Gul replied coldly "No, slit their throats. They’re not worth worrying about. Best hide the bodies; the natives around here are a bit moralistic about taking life – even inferior ones.”
The three Drow began to search their victims’ camp.
"My, they were busy weren’t they”, said Gul.
They found four suits of plate mail, one of which Gul appropriated, and two swords obviously taken from the Despair. There were two giant crocodile skin shields and three anti poison potions.
"I bought these potions in Trade Town, before we even laid eyes on this island. These swine deserved to die. Had I known all this was here there dying would have been a lot longer and a lot more painful.”
With that Gul, Dur and Tsab returned to the ship.