Threads of Invasion

Moon (boat) River

We rested for a time in Adakmi, some relishing the comforts of civilisation whilst others of us sought a way forward to the Pillars of the Night. The residents of this heavily fortified town were unanimous the Black March could no longer provide our road north, with only the river now able to provide a way to follow. We met with Glasur, a half-elf reputed to captain the only remaining moon boat on the river. Although he proved somewhat tired and emotional we eventually arranged passage up river on his craft the “Blacksnake” – a journey reckoned as four days – to the point nearest to the Pillars.
Setting out before dawn the next day, we climbed steadily through fog along the rather decrepit length of the Falls Road. At times strange bird calls echoed in our ears, a sound Whiskey pronounced as probably emanating from harpies rather than any natural beast. Fortunately these sounds dwindled and died before the fog did when at the top of the falls we were treated to both a wide vista out across northern Droaam and the sight of the small harbour wherein the Blacksnake was moored. An elemental-powered cutter some 35’ or so in length, with our equipment and ourselves aboard the Blacksnake ran smoothly up the river at a reasonable pace. Or clip, or rate, or whatever the nautical term is.
Glasur had told us we would pass several villages on the river but could not say how they were faring with the recently increased Red Hand activity: we were to find out towards the end of that first day as we passed burnt out, deserted ruins. Camp was made shortly afterwards in a little backwater off the river, cloaked with an arcane implement of some variety, and despite the grim reminder of the village the night passed peacefully. Glasur and Whiskey found another common interest beyond marine matters, sharing a bottle or two of strong liquor.
The second day and night passed in almost identical fashion to the first, save that the village we passed had not been razed to the ground. Over the course of the voyage we had also learned that these boats were called “moon boats” in honour of the original craft which had been towed by pairs of trained Moon pike, huge piscine entities growing over 20’ in length, and although these were replaced by elementals the name had been retained.
On the third day the lazy tone of our trip changed for the worse when we saw smoke ahead. Landing downriver of where Glasur knew the next village to be, we proceeded quickly to discover that a number of cultists were killing the villagers, burning their houses and dropping litter about. The hobgoblin lackeys were easily dispatched by the party but their dragonborn leader required Klang to extend itself somewhat, while by the grace of the Silver Flame I was able to subdue the and human magic user before he caused much trouble. Once that was dealt with Deorly perhaps accidentally showed her true good nature – but even exerting herself to the utmost was able to save only a single building from the flames. The dozen or so survivors were spoken for by Yrma, and decided to go downriver to Adakmi as the only place anywhere near that could be considered safe. She did mention sighting Jaryn some four months ago, noting he seemed a little crazed.
Leaving the village we headed on once more. That night we again camped by the river, but this time our precautions were in vain as while standing watch, Klang was attacked by a tiefling cultist. This foe proved quite difficult to subdue but working together we once more cut the number of the Red Hand facing us.

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