S09E04 – The Grung and the Baby

Jan 26, 2024  – 

Flashback: Aboard a galleon en route to Port Nyanzaru, Avilos strikes up a conversation with a woman, Azionna, a member of the Red Wizards. She confides her mission to assist Valindra, a powerful wizard, in locating a mysterious artifact. Avilos shares aspects of his past and his passion for music, showcasing his long flute and teaching her to play it. They part, expressing hopes to meet again.

Back at the beach, Saefa takes to the air, lifting Ellie and Avilos with her strength, while Carnivore and the grung scramble up the cliffside, narrowly evading a swarm of snakes. Once safe, Chos revives the little red grung with healing word. After a failed attempt at communication, the grung spits on her hand, shakes it with Chos (who resists the poison), bows, and disappears into the jungle. Avilos, driven by curiosity, tastes the poison and succumbs to a frenzied appetite, devouring his rations and Ellie’s gooseberries until the group intervenes.

When the heroes restart their journey towards Fort Beluarian, Sophi urges everybody to refocus on their five missions, rather than detouring for heroes-save-frog-people random good samaritan encounters.

That night, Carnivore tries to get closer to Saefa, but she maintains a polite distance while assisting him in constructing a protective rooftop over his sleeping bag and the campfire.

The following day, the group discovers shipwreck debris along the beach. Amid rum and corpses, they identify the wreckage as a Zoqoi galleon. While looking for survivors, they hear a baby’s cries coming through the cracks of a large cliff, and, cautiously, investigate. After a few minutes of indecision, Carnivore reaches his limit and jumps off the cliff, one handaxe in each hand, into the sea near the entrance to a cave. Avilos, Chos, and Saefa follow him. Inside the cave, they first challenge is confronting a swarm of hungry quippers, which they finish off with a thunderwave from Avilos.

The swarm of quippers jumps to Saefa after taking Carnivore unconscious.
The swarm of quippers jumps to Saefa after taking Carnivore unconscious.

The rest of the group arrives and after venturing deeper into the smelly network of caves full of skeletons, they find a chamber with a baby inside a basket and on top of a dining table. The room also has treasure chests and eerie jars, but, as Chos reaches for the basket with the baby, a haggard woman emerges, pleading for help to save her husband from the cave’s monster. Avilos and Ellie follow her underwater to an area thick with algae, where her illusion fades, revealing a terrifying sea hag. Frightened, they flee, narrowly avoiding death by asphyxia, and alert the others.

Amidst the chaos, the frightened heroes rush to the cave’s exit, tossing the baby around to keep it away from the hag, and pulling an unconscious Carnivore and Avilos into the open sea. The enraged hag swears vengeance while our heroes rapidly climb up the cliff thanks to the skillfully laid rope that Sophi left on her way down.

The heroes rushing to the exit with the baby and an Carnivore and an Avilos.
The heroes rushing to the exit with the baby and an Carnivore and an Avilos.

After a restful night, the heroes continue their journey, and, an uneventful few days later, they reach Fort Beluarian.