Elrond Hubbard (elf) is an indentured servant to the village head who discovers correspondence that the village has not met it's tithe quota. The shortfall will be made up for by sacrificing members of the village to the Hell Kings to illustrate the consequences of failure.
A lawful itinerant cleric of the Maker, Wendyberg and her companion Bruno the Hunter (human fighter) are part of an organization set of freeing slaves. They hail from Hohnberg and are culturally opposed to slavery and generally hostile to the Hell King worshipping Shogunate.
The group has escaped onto the ship the Free Gull, and is heading south to the Mandarinate of Xian when a storm storm brews up driving them away from the land. The captain is challenged by the risk of being driven back to the Shogunate, or being driven far enough to sea that the Red Tides will engulf the ship. At last they espie an island of about 20 miles wide, and a beacon of light welcoming them in. Believing it to be a light house of some sort the ship closes in the driving rain, and the dying light of the day.
Shy 200 metres from the shore there is a horrific grinding sound and the boat lurches to a stop. They have hit an undersea object. The crew reports the ship is taking on water and beginning to sink. As the crew prepares the one longboat (insufficient for the entire passenger contingent) the villagers begin to panic.
Zantar, with help from Wendyberg, attempts to light a lantern and signal the shore. Shortly after cries of 'swing to shore' float across the expanse of water.
Elrond attempts to board the first boat, but the crew insist that woman and children go first. They pointedly suggest that if he helps organize the panicking villagers, then perhaps he will get off the boat faster. Zantar, while helping Elrond, botches his diplomacy and ends up enraging the ladies, who accuse him of picking favorites to get off the boat so he can woo them. A quick charm spell on the village elder helps defuse the situation. The village eldar now looks to the PC's often for suggestions and direction.
Meanwhile Bruno goes below to find the holds filling rapidly, and no way to staunch the leaks. He pulls out a rope and barrels and begins to fashion a barrel/sausage link/pool noodle. The crew drop off one load of woman and children and take a second one. After they land the sharp ears of Wendyberg pickup the sounds of battle, quickly ended, and then screaming and crying of woman and children. The men still on the sinking ship all look at each other and jump on Bruno's flotation device and swim for the shore, 200 metres away.
As they approach the shore a gang of 6 men spread out with swords, but Elrond sleeps the lot. A single man escapes as his friends collapse. The woman report that the children where tied together and marched off inland. Bruno the hunter and Zantar take off after the children while Wendyberg and Elrond secure the captives.
Bruno is able to track the brigands to a small relatively hidden gorge. A spikey palisade with 2 guards stands in their way. Once Elrond and Wendyberg catch up the party rushes the pair. One surrenders after the other is slain. He reports that the master Lo Pan and his men take captives into the cave and they are never seen again. He is fearful and repentant and begs to be tied up and spared. There are only eight men plus the master in the cave. He is tied up and smashed in the head to knock him out.
The gorge is sheer on 3 sides and filled with shacks and tents created from ship materials obviously scavenged from wrecked ships. On the far cliff wall, a na
The room has a wooden cage filled with the children, as well as a strange pillar growing from the wall. There are carved symbols on it that cause the eyes to hurt and turn away. A battle develops between the group and the 2 fighters and 2 scum with knives. The group is sorely wounded. During the fight Zantar tries to douse an enemy with oil and starts the wooden cage that holds the children on fire. He manages to open the gate and evactuate the children, including using his bedroll to shield a particularly fearful pair.
After the battle Elrond pours oil on the remaining door and floor, raises a rucus and then retreats while firing the room. The party escapes back to the beach with the villagers in tow. The brigand guard at the front gate has disappeared by the time they leave.