The following morning, The Wanton Ways arrives off the coast of The Lady’s Cape and the party is given a small rowboat to row ashore. Arriving ashore, the party follows Jasper’s map and heads off in search of the witch Maroux.
Eventually their path leads them to a bridge leading to a small island upon which stands a mossy wooden shack with a sagging roof. The bridge is decorated with bleached humanoid skulls with Fijit correctly identifies as the skulls of boggards and troglodytes.
Approaching the hut, the heroes shout the greeting that Jasper instructed them to use. After a moment, a half-orc woman – blind in one eye – with a raven on her shoulder exits the hut and shakes her staff menacingly.
“Who be you fools? I’ve always room in my stew pot for more meat, you know. Unless you want to join the turnips in my soup, get off my island!” – Maroux
After offering assistance, the witch’s demeanor changes greatly and she admits that off the island to the west there is a rare seaweed known as Kelpie’s Hair that she is quite fond of and if they can return with some she’ll offer what she knows of the area. Before departing she shares that the shipwreck near the Kelpie’s Hair may, in fact, be haunted.
Agreeing to return with the seaweed, the party slogs across the island to reach the shipwreck. In preparation, Eran uses his magic to obscure the party from undead and Roland and Dorsavnil approach. Human skeletons mill about the ship, but seem oblivious to the heroes – save for one, who looks at them with cold eyes and moves in to attack.
As Dorsavnil flees, Roland dives for the seaweed, and it is not long before the party is drawn into an underwater combat against twice as many foes. Fortunately, the rank and file skeletons are easily dispatched and once their leader is returned to death, the rest fall easily.
Returning to Maroux’s isle with the Kelpie’s Hair, the witch invites them in for dinner. Before long, the conversation turns to the surrounding area and a much more pleasant Maroux has a great many details to share…
“The xulgaths – who you city folk know better as troglodytes – and boggards have bickered over control of the Lady’s Cape for years. They’re pretty evenly matched if you ask me. I’ve bloodied their noses when they’ve stuck them in my business, so for the most part they’ve let me be-that’s what the skulls and artwork on my bridge are for.
“But then, a few months back, we had some new visitors. A troop of women knights or something, clad in plate and wearing red-plumed helms. Their leader was a woman named Oriana – pretty enough, at least till she took her helmet off and showed off her scars. She sat down to dinner with me just like you did, only she gave me a fine magic wand as a bribe, so I didn’t feel the need to send her off to gather seaweed. Anyway. She told me she and her sisters were from Korvosa, soldiers of the rightful queen who’d been tumbled off the throne a few years back. They’d had to flee the city once their queen wasn’t in charge, and fell into mercenary work until Oriana got the idea to plunder the Lady’s Light for the treasure they think’s hidden inside of it. Made me chuckle a bit, since I’ve heard there’s secret rooms in the Lady filled with treasure too. I’ve tried to find a way into the place before-there’s caves under the area that are supposed to connect to the chambers below the Light, but those caves belong to the trogs and frogs and bigger critters. I didn’t get far, and since then I’ve steered clear of the Light – the bitch gives me the willies, anyway. Some powerful magic going on in there.”
“Anyway, Oriana was intent on getting under the Lady’s skirts, and she asked me if I knew a way in. I told her about the caves and warned her of the trogs ‘n frogs, but that didn’t seem to bother her. Unlike me, she had herself a whole group of ironclad soldiers to back her up, after all. So off she goes, and damned if she and her mercenaries don’t make friendly with the frogs! Got them some better weapons, gave them some fighting tips, and then helped them launch an attack on the trogs. In return, the frogs gave her permission to use their tunnels.”
“But here’s the kicker. Oriana found a way inside the Lady or at least she says so. She came my way ten days ago with a story that she’d found none other than the Runelord of Lust herself in there, and that the runelord had recruited Oriana to help her reclaim her lands and rebuild her kingdom! Oriana asked me to join their crusade! I politely refused and wished her well and she went on her way. Gods above an’ below, I couldn’t get her out of my hut quick enough!”
“The way I see it, there’s three possibilities. First, Oriana is lying, for whatever reason. The second, Oriana, sad child, is off her nut. And the third, someone or something in there is masquerading as Sorshen the Grand Whore of Thassilon and has tricked Oriana into being her minion. Well, I suppose there’s a fourth possibility-that Sorshen really is alive and well in the Lady’s Light, but if you believe that claptrap, there’s a bridge across the Straits of Aroden I’d like to sell ya!” – Maroux
After dinner, the witch offers her isle as sanctuary while the party stays in the area and they set up camp outside her hut for the night.