Serpent's Skull

Ch. 1.6: Souls for Smugglers Shiv

Part 6: Crabs!

 

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The group is attacked by flying dinosaurs, but they are quickly dispatched and the next tracked down.  Sasha, in her love for all baby animals, adopts a baby Dimorphodon with the help of Rhovyn.

 

After exploring the remaining portion of the “blade,” they decide to investigate the giant crab.  The waves crash against a narrow beach of white sand, swirling around an immense red and orange crab the size of a small house that crouches on spiny legs.  As they approach, the crab’s arms begin to move up and down and the pincers open and close, the crab moaning like a dying man.  After studying it for a minute, Shalimar realizes it’s not a real crab, but some sort of construct, yet not one under any magical control or nature.  They shout at the crab that they are friendly.  Eventually, a Tengu walks out waving a Sawtooth Sabre, yelling to leave his home.  

 

They parley with him.  This crab is in fact the home of an eccentric tengu named Pezock—the last remaining survivor of the Crow’s Tooth and has since been rigged with a number of ropes and pulleys scavenged from shipwrecks. This complex contraption allows Pezock to pull and tug ropes to give his home the semblance of life—the crab’s pincers rise and fall, its legs twitch, and its stalked eyes wriggle and shift. The ferocious facade is really rather unsettling to see, especially when Pezock begins making hideous shrieking sounds that the crab’s cavernous interior amplifies into low-pitched moans not unlike that of a dying man.

 

Pezock has come to love the island and the tengu invites them into his cramped home for a lunch of poorly smoked sculpin and raw sea urchins. Pezock is grateful for conversation, and points out that talking to real people is so much more rewarding than talking to fish and sea birds and the ghosts in the surf, none of whom are particularly talkative. He has no interest in leaving his home.   Pezock doesn’t particularly fear the cannibals (“What worry do I have from human cannibals? They eat humans! Even though I bet I taste delicious!”). If asked about his magic sawtooth sabre, Pezock waxes nostalgic and almost teary eyed, talking about how he was given the sword by his close friend, the captain of the Crow’s Tooth. The sabre’s all he has to remember poor Captain
Eraka Zoventai now, and he periodically stops to pet it and whisper promises of wetting it in cannibal blood some day.

 

Pezock asks the PCs if they’re with the other two new people he’s recently seen on the island. If asked for a description, Pezock describes two humans matching the descriptions of Captain Kovack of the Jenivere and the Varisian scholar Ieana. Pezock didn’t approach the two, but he can confirm that the Varisian was obviously the leader, giving curt orders to the other as they
made their way along the jungle trail toward the south.

 

When the party questioned him further on the sword, he becomes agitated, explaining calmly about his honor.  When Shalimar presses him again, he becomes angry, telling everyone to get out, that his honor is not to be questioned.  Further questioning for Shalimar leads the tengu to rise and prepare for combat before Rhovyn steps in and calms things down, and everyone leaves.

 

Pezock yells to not return or they will all die.

 

After heading back south and following the looping path into the middle of the island, they find a river and cross it.  An overgrown jungle path leads to a small clearing where a partially collapsed hut stands on the banks of a gurgling stream. The hut itself seems to have been made from a combination of driftwood and tree trunks, with a roof of wide leaves and strips of rotten canvas sail. The front door to the hut hangs partially ajar. Dozens of bones and skulls—quite obviously of
human origin—decorate the hut and the surrounding area, each bearing numerous nicks and scratches. An inspection of the large amount of bones here reveals that there must be several
dozen dead bodies represented. The markings on the bones are identified as having been left by stone knives and, in some cases, human teeth.  There was old journal that spoke about “Mother Thrunefang.”

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