The Brazen Bollocks Mercenary Co.

Episode 3: Secrets of Sokol Keep

*Harae screamed when she saw what Grim had done. Igan lay slumped over the altar that the group had found beneath Sokol Keep. Harae had haunted this keep for  centuries, but had not known that a temple to the ancient and evil god Dagon, had resided beneath the Keep. Her primary interest had been to lead Igan to the Shrine of Tyr located beneath the mansion so that it may once again be consecrated and perhaps, then, she could rest. As the life drained from Igan's body, the waters near the idol of Dagon began to churn. Skeletal guardians armed with bows and swords were crawling up from the water. One of the Black Fist guards moved to attack, but the speed with which the skeleton warrior attacked and killed the guard was unexpected. Grim gave the order and the rest of the Black Fist moved to the small room to the north and barred the door from inside. Harae hoped that they all died in there. She ascended through the floors of the keep to emerge in the courtyard of Sokol Mansion. Her scream had been a curse upon this place and the lighthouse beacon would remain inactive until justice was brought to Igan's killers. If no one came, then the lighthouse would be eternally dark. Harae finally found a sense of satisfaction that her actions as a spirit in the material realm, would finally have a meaningful impact. She had been here, waiting, for so very long.

The Bollocks were hired by Aleyd Burral to investigate Sokol Keep after the lighthouse beacon had gone out. Aleyd had her suspicions that Guard Sergeant Grim had been up to no good. Checking the rosters to find out who had been assigned to the Keep had turned up information showing that Grim had been assigned the Sokol post several times in the last few weeks. Grim was always looking for a cheap thrill and a way to get rich. She had no doubt that the long told rumors about treasures beneath Sokol Keep had drawn the troublesome man to the post. If he was responsible for the beacon being out, there would be all of the Nine Hells to pay. Alyed also alerted the Bollocks to the several other issues occurring in the city, Overpopulation was becoming an issue as winter set in and the fallout of the recent battles, ending at Hilcant Run, led refugees and the homeless to take shelter within the walls of Phlan. The city was bubbling with energy and supplies were beginning to run short. Aleyd knew that it was only a matter of time before the insignificant number of Black Fist Guards in the city would be too overwhelmed to properly patrol for trouble because trouble would be everywhere.

The Bollocks traveled to Sokol Keep via ferry after speaking with a Black Fist officer regarding which members were deployed there. The Bollocks also spoke with Leila Sokol and discussed some of the history of the Keep and the personnel that currently maintain the post. Upon arrival, the Bollocks were granted free reign and they began to explore the Keep. They found that nothing mechanical appeared to be wrong with the beacon. Investigating the various rooms of the Keep, they found a library with information about the Keep's history, and an excavation of the dirt floor that exposed a stone slab with a handprint cut into it that appeared to lead downward.

*Harae had never seen such a strange group of people on the island before. Halflings and men were common in her time as well as now, but the dark woman with devil horns and the tall humanoid that resembled a dragon were new to her. She wondered if the group was here to search for Igan and to deal with the lighthouse beacon. She certainly hoped that they were, and despite their appearances, they seemed to be looking for clues. She wished that she could help more actively, but the clues Igan had left behind would have to suffice. Maybe if she stood near them, they would feel her presence and call out to her. She hoped that they were not simply treasure hunters here to take advantage of the darkness on the island to loot the holdings of Igan and his family. She watched as the halfling placed his hand on the print in the stone slab and spoke the words that Igan had written in his journal. The slab vanished and the halfling yelped as he dropped 10 feet to hit the floor in the temple complex below. He called out to his friends above, and when they stopped laughing, they began their descent.

The Bollocks descended into the system of caves beneath Sokol Keep. The caverns seemed to be ancient and had long been forgotten beneath the keep. Rando scouted ahead wearing his newly acquired Mask of Night to see in the dark. He passed through a room layered in barnacles and shells into another room, where a muddy sinkhole of unknown depth acted as a natural barrier. Rando scampered across the slick surface edges and secured a rope to a stuck iron door in the opposite wall. The sound of approaching footsteps triggered him to hide; and the animated suit of barnacle covered armor turned to head toward the rest of the party when it saw nothing. The rest of the Bollocks engaged with animated suits of armor that attacked and mindlessly tried to destroy the temple's invaders. Once the suits of armor were down, the party navigated the rest of the way through the tunnel. The cavern slowly wound in a spiral toward the center and a dimly-lit room housing an altar to Dagon and a jade idol carved in the image of the god. A human corpse was draped over the altar and another laid near the rear of the room with its body half-emerged in the pool of water where the jade idol sat. The Bollocks were wary and when the corpses rose from their resting places and were joined by skeletal warriors from the pool, they were ready to fight. A ghoul surprised Frost when it came from behind the party, after emerging from the flooded sinkhole, and attacked her, leaving Frost paralyzed and vulnerable. Krev annihilated the ghoul with a Prismatic Orb. The battle ended with the Bollocks victorious. They had to chop the animated corpses of Igan Sokol and a Black Fist guard into so much meat, to, you know…prevent them from getting back up to pursue their undead compulsions.

*Harae did not think  she was capable of experiencing horror in such a way as a spirit, but when she saw Igan's body rise from the dead, she experienced a chill deeper than that which she knew as death. As ghastly as it was to behold, she prayed to Tyr, thanking him for sending the brutish Cleric of Morrigan, to free Igan from the curse of undeath. This odd group of people were certainly effective at whatever it was they were doing. They dealt with the creatures in this room like children play with toy soldiers; by smashing them into one another until one breaks apart. She hoped that they treated the Black Fist traitors in the other room with similar aplomb.

The Bollocks heard a call from a locked room to the north of the idol. Black Fist Sergeant Grim and his cronies had run away from the undead guardians of the fane. The Bollocks spoke with them and dug out the truth of the situation. Grim had stabbed Igan in the back in a greedy rage. Grim and his men were not prepared to deal with the consequences of their decisions, so the Bollocks helped them come to a decision. The Bollocks arrested the renegade Black Fist guards, looted the temple, and made their way back to the city. The lighthouse was working again, for whatever reason. Now, there were Ghost Pirates to deal with.

*Grim looked up from the blank space on the floor where he was focusing his attention when the sound of a key in the lock of his cell made the familiar clanking sound he had heard hundreds of times. The man standing with Guard Durant looked familiar to him. He had seen him in the cells before. It was that Dragon cult guy. What was his name…..Spernik. What in the Nine Hells did he want?



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