The Kaijitsu Blossom

Once back in Sandpoint, Toshio gets a couple of rowboats from townsfolk who can spare them without losing income. He says to the others, “We haven’t much time, so be quick about your preparations. We need to be back at Proudstump’s before dark, and it’s a goodly row to get there. Jethrick, will you handle the shopping for Proudstump? You’re closest to his size. Maybe Zeyala can help you pick something fash…” He remembers Zeyala’s limited eyesight and decides not to finish that suggestion. “I’ll see you back at the boats when you’re done.”

“I’m sorry, Toshio,” says Zeyala. I didn’t catch the end of that.”

“I said I’ll see you back at the boats when we’re done in town” replies Toshio in an attempt to dodge her real question. Toshio is quite aware that Zeyala dresses in fine fashion. He’s completely unaware that she accomplishes that on her own and he’s not about to ask, for fear of giving offense.

As Jharad is attending to something in his pack he responds over his shoulder, “He was suggesting that you could help pick out something fashionable.”

“Hmmph” mutters Jethrik. “I’m at least 6 inches taller than Walthus.”

“Will you just…” Slightly frustrated with this bit of triviality and seeing a way out of his earlier gaff, Toshio turns to Zeyala and asks, “Will you please help him with Proudfoot’s requests? I have no eye for fitting such a one.”

“I’d be more than happy to help, if Jethrik will have me along,” she smiles. “However, I can’t be totally sure I can pick out what’s best for a halfling who lives in a swamp.  Perhaps something suitable for when he comes to town.”

Toshio smiles in relief. “Excellent. I’m sure you’ll pick what’s suitable.”

They get back to Proudstump’s home about an hour before sunset. Proudstump proves to be a fairly good cook, serving them ample helpings of catfish and dirty rice. He opens up the guestroom as well as bringing down the sheets into the main room for those who will be sleeping there. Though there are many disturbing croakings, hootings, and howlings heard from all directions throughout the night, Proudstump explains that many of those are just frogs, owls, and alligators and that they should pay none of it any mind. Aside from that, the night passes peacefully enough without anyone or anything disturbing Proudfoot’s shack. The next morning they are treated to breakfast, as Proudfoot poaches the eggs brought to him the night before.

After breakfast, Proudfoot offers to take them to see the shipwrecks. With two human sized rowboats they are easily able to accommodate Toshio, his four comrades, and Proudfoot. On the way he tells them that the wrecks have been there since long before he ever arrived in the Brinestump Marsh nearly five years ago. He guesses that they’ve been there for decades. The first site is the one just downriver from the Licktoad Village, the place where the Licktoad’s apparently found their first set of fireworks. They are disappointed to find that the goblins apparently burned it after finding the fireworks, as all that is left are charred timbers. What they do find is intriguing enough however. A fragment bearing the name of the ship: the Kaijitsu Star. Jethrik takes the fragment to show Ameiko.

The second site is also very close to another one of the inlets into the marsh, though much further south along the coast. Walthus points to a strange tangle of branches, and they see that it is in fact the moss-covered ribs of a wrecked ship. The ruined ship lies on its side, split down the middle and mostly sunken into the mud and murky water. A search of the wreck reveals it to be of a similar style to the Kaijitsu Star but larger. Though intact it appears to have been looted long before. As they are leaving, something catches Jharad’s eyes and he stoops down and picks up a verdigris-encrusted nameplate that reads Kaijitsu’s Blossom. As they gather around to look at it they hear sound of something (or rather several somethings) rising up out of the muddy waters behind them. Turning they see three skeletons, covered in weeds and muck, advancing on them. Their helmets and armor are broken and rotted but recognizably of the same style previously worn by Toshio. All three of the skeletal samurai draw rusty short swords of a similar make to the one worn by Toshio.

Toshio was considering the possible implications of the nameplates of the second wreck when the skeletons interrupted his thoughts. He quickly adjusts his thinking to the combat. “Keng, let’s flank the first. You take the right, I’ll go left. Try to maneuver so that the second two are blocked behind the first. Now we’ll see if these blunt weapons we bought were worth it!” Toshio finishes with a smile, genuinely eager to see what his flail will do against the skeletons.” To the others he says, ”Conserve your spell power if you can. We may have greater need. Walthus, stay back, and keep an eye out for other threats.”

Toshio notes the arms and armor. ‘At least they had good armor sense when they lived. Maybe I can check the tangs and stuba after the fight to get a clue as to who these once were.’

“I can make out two skeletons,” says Zeyala.  ”Are there others?  How far away?”

“Three skeletons! There are three!” shouts Toshio.

Jharad pulls a blunt arrow and fires it at the skeleton furthest from them, destroying it when the blunt arrow smashes its spine and causes the rest of its bones to collapse inert back into the murky water.

The two remaining skeletons attack Jharad and Toshio who ably dodge away from their blows.

Zayala stabs at the one attacking Jharad, though a spear proves very ineffective against skeletons as there is nothing to stab but bone. She runs behind Jharad, Toshio, and Keng, to see if she can get around to the other side of the skeletons.

Jethrik moves up between Toshio and Jharad and clubs at one; but the blow is absorbed by its armor, rotted though it is.

Toshio destroys the one that attacked him, shattering it with his flail. He slogs over through the mud to get behind the last one that is still attacking Jharad.

Keng also advances on the last remaining skeleton but is unable to find good footing in the mud and comes nowhere near to hitting it with his morningstar.

Walthus stays by Zeyala, axe held ready to defend her in case more skeletons pulls themselves out of the surrounding much to attack.

Jharad drops his bow and shifts over to flank the remaining skeleton along with Toshio. He draws his morningstar and swings down upon it but his attack is thwarted by its armor.

The skeleton strikes before Jharad can withdraw his arm and slashes him along the forearm with its wakizashi, leaving a painful though not fatal wound.

Zeyala moves to Keng’s side and touches him to confer divine guidance upon him.

Jethrik tries to club the last skeleton but finds that it is pretty agile and hard to hit.

Toshio also finds the last one a difficult target.

Keng however, smashes it to tiny splinters with his morningstar, after antipicating its movements as it weaved and dodged the blows of his comrades.

The fight over, Jethrik regards the nameplates of the ships. “So I had it backwards. They weren’t delivering a treasure. They were coming to bring one back to whereever they came from.”

“Are you referring to the tavern owner?” asks Jharad.

“Don’t you think?” Jethrik replies.

Keng looks confused. He gets his gear cleaned up and makes ready to move along.

Toshio says, “I don’t know. So far we don’t know where they came from, or which way they had been going. Ameiko has never mentioned any ships owned by the family, so I wonder if even she can tell us anything about them.”

Toshio sees if there are any arms and armor pieces that may be salvageable, or that may satisfy his curiosity about armor types but doesn’t find anything worth bringing back other than the three rusty wakizashis and the helmets, that might be worthwhile as curiosities.

Jharad recovers his arrow and bow, cleaning them both up. He then takes a few minutes to sketch a map of the area and wrecks. Afterward he says, “Okay, I am ready. Let’s go.”

“Agreed,” says Tosho. “Let’s get back to the boats and visit that cave.” he finishes cleaning his gear, hefts the salvaged swords and helmets, and then leads the others back to the boats.

Once back on the boat, Zeyala says, “Perhaps we came to close to these wrecks and disrupted the dead from their sleep. I’m glad to be moving on.”

Keng says, ” We should have burned them.”

Jharad laughs, “I think I am going to start calling you Torch.”

“Aye,” says Toshio. “And maybe we should get you some magical means of starting your fires on all these damp, rotting things.”

Keng nods and says, “Yes, that would be good.”

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