Chapter 12 - A Trip To The Tar Pits

Within hours, the heroes and five Olman warriors emerged from the jungle within view of the tar pits. The warriors explained, through Urol's translation, that although the tar pits covered a large area, this beast kept the area well patrolled. They would not have to hunt long; the beast would find them quickly enough.

And, indeed, he might have done, had he not apparently found other prey, first. He heroes heard the now familiar roar of the tyrant king of the dinosaurs, mixed with surprisingly high-pitched shrieks of terror and pain.

“It would seem that the Olman and the citizens of Farshore are not the only ones who would make use of tar in their handicrafts,” Ornrik noted quietly. “Unless I am very mistaken, we have encountered one of these creatures' fellows back at Kracken's Cove, albeit one horribly mutate by the effects of the Savage Black Pearl.”

“Well, we won't hold that against these little guys,” Viselys noted.

“They are called 'Phanatons' by the anthropological communities,” Urol noted, indicating these tiny bipeds that resembled a cross between a raccoon and a monkey. “They have an aboriginal society, but are quite intelligent. They possess prehensile tails, and those folds of skin between their arms and legs allow them to glide for short distances. Oh, like that one…”


“Yeah, and while you tell us their natural history, they're all turning into dino- hors d'oeuvres right before our eyes,” Saris cut him off in an uncommon display of compassion – although it might have just been impatience. “Come on, let's join the party!”

With that, they all charged out to join the fray. Viselys quickly noticed that the dino had a deep, old gash along one side of its face; an injury that had cost it the use of that eye. Also, one of its arms ended in a jagged stump. This information offered several tactical advantages that Viselys would be able to use as he marshaled his companions in battle, “Try to stay in his blind spot! We should have some advantages when flanking!”

And the battle did, indeed, go well, at least in the short term, as Scarface (as Saris took to calling him) was taken by surprise by the sudden reinforcements. That is, until Viselys was caught up in the creatures great jaws suffering far less injury that he'd have expected, before being swallowed whole!

The Olman warriors had suffered some serious injuries, and Saris was aware that he was bleeding profusely. Several of the Phanatons had fled simply out of necessity, but those that could fight, emboldened by the reinforcements, stayed and fought, exploiting their gliding ability to make aerial assaults. Saris, Ornrik and Urol desperately tried to bring the beat down as quickly as possible in the faint hope that they might rescue their swallowed companion.

Suddenly, the beat paused. It sent up an ear-splitting howl and fell to it’s side. With a death rattle, it lay motionless …

…well, not quite motionless, as an undulation could be seen from the creature’s midsection. Then, suddenly, the point of a sword emerged, cutting a line out and down. Viselys’ head emerged with a loud gasp and then sputtering coughs.

“Help!” he rasped, “Get me out of here! The stomach acid is burning my eyes!”

The heroes ran to oblige, but were almost knocked on their backsides by the stench of rotting meat and the byproducts of digesting bones. Saris began to wretch.

“Hey!” Viselys shouted, “get over it! I’m in it up to my NECK, here!!”

After freeing Viselys, Ornrik did a minor glamour that cleaned him of the nastiest of the debris. In the process, they dislodged an item that had been embedded between the beast’s scales, an iron kukri. Ornrik pulled out his monocle and looked the piece over, “Enchanted, keen edged weapon, made of cold steel,” he observed. (Specifically a +1 Keen Cold Iron Kukri, in game terms).

Then they turned their attention to their companions, the Olman and Phanaton warriors, who looked on with absolute amazement.

“So, yeah, let’s grab those barrels we brought,” Ornrik began in a much weaker fluency of Olman than Urol could manage. Between Urol and Ornrik, however, they were able to manage the filling of many barrels that were loaded onto sleds that were hastily, but efficiently, created on site.

Meanwhile, Viselys was attempting desperately to communicate with the Phanatons. Eventually, in frustration, he called Urol over from the tar gathering.

Urol did not understand their growling, clicking language, but the Phanatons did understand Olman, so while Urol could not translate what the little fury creatures said, he could get the gist from tone and gesture, and then simply ask them, in Olman, if he understood them correctly. “They are very grateful and impressed by our assistance and would like us to follow them back to their village so that they may honor us with a banquet.”

Viselys thought about this offer for a moment, “Time is not on our side, but they may be able to help us in the coming battle. Let us divide our efforts. Left and I will return the idol to the temple. Ornrik, you supervise the tar gathering, lead the Olman to the shore and ferry the barrels out to the ship. Sarris, you and Urol, go with the Phanatons to their village and see if you can talk them into aiding us in the upcoming battle against the Crimson Fleet. Then we’ll all meet back at Tanaroa … what, tomorrow evening?” All agreed and they went their separate ways

Continue to Chapter 13...

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