Chapter 5 - Shefton and Idae's Excellent Adventure

The boat settled up against the shore of Parrot Island. "Now I know why they call it Parrot Island," Shefton shouted to Idae over the loud squawking of many, many parrots amongst the trees. "I believe the entrance is just a little ways up ahead."

"Lead the way," Idea responded.

Amongst a cropping of sizable boulders was a big hole that burrowed down into the ground to, what appeared to be, some underground caverns.

"After you," Idae insisted, stepping aside and gesturing with his hands.

With some reluctance, Shefton made his way over to the rope and began his descent. It took him a few minutes to reach the bottom. He looked up to Idae and gave a big thumbs up, completely oblivious to the fact that Idae couldn’t see him down there in the dark. A few moments later, he called out, "Come on down," and then lit a lantern.

Now able to see, Idae scrambled down the rope. When he reached the bottom, he began to hear the distinct sounds of sloshing of water, followed by some unusual groaning, and then the thump of a rope hitting the ground. Realizing that the rope had been cut, Idae looked up to see a shape hovering over the entrance.

A voice called down, "You should've stayed away from my sister! You know, sometimes a missing brother should just stay missing! Say hello to Penkus for me!"

With a groan of straining muscles, the figure rolled a sizable boulder over the hole, sealing Idae and Shefton down below.

Shefton looked pale as he apologetically said to Idae, "Um, there's something I should probably tell you. You see, Vanthus paid me 30 pieces of silver to lead you down here. I never really even asked any questions. You see, I was hoping Vanthus might give me a recommendation to the Lotus Dragon's guild.”

Idae looked incredulous, and in the flickering light of the lantern, his ire made Shefton tremble. “You sold out a Shadow Shore Boy? A brother?!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Shefton nearly wept, “It seemed like a good career move at the time.”

“Did you learn anything?” Idae’s voice was even and his face rigid. Shefton just nodded. “Good,” Idae wanted to make sure, “There is no honor among thieves, but brotherhood is eternal.” He extended his hand. Shefton was a bit surprised by this show of forgiveness, but he took the hand gratefully.

With no other options immediately presenting themselves, they began to explore the underground tunnels. It wasn't long before they stopped and listened. “Do you hear that?” Idae whispered.

Shefton nodded, “Yeah, it sounds like … moaning?”

“Yeah, and not the good kind.”

The noise grew louder and was accompanied by a shuffling of limping, dragging feet. Up ahead, shambling towards them out of the darkness was a group of lifeless, but ambulatory, corpses, presumably having been trapped and cursed to roam this underground area.

With fear and a desire to not join the ranks of the walking dead, Idae and Shefton fought them off. They maneuvered their way into a narrow hallway allowing only one zombie to attack at a time. This strategic move proved invaluable in Shefton and Idae’s survival as it allowed them to fight the creatures one at a time rather than being swarmed.

Navigating through the wet, stinky tunnels, they eventually came upon an area containing a disgusting, bloated corpse clutching a note in it's hand. Pulling it from the hand, the note read:


Beyond the wretched, bloated corpse, Idae discovered what appears to be a secret room. Opening the way in, this room seemed to be shockingly dry, unlike everything else down below. In this room were three hefty chests, containing:
- 7,500 copper
- 1,500 silver
- 1,000 gold
- Potions of Cure Light Wounds (3)
- Potion of Lesser Restoration
- Potion of Invisibility
- Potion of Barkskin +3
- Potion of Cure Serious Wounds
- Elixer of Swimming
- Wand of Mage Armor (11 charges)

More interesting, however, was a small box containing a single gem resting upon a pillow with a note reading, "Earth Elemental Gem: USE CAREFULLY."

Not wanting to lug the chests around while threats were still present, Idae and Shefton continued to explore the damp caverns. When they again encountered a group of zombies, they planned to defend themselves much as they had previously. However, they quickly found that at least one of the zombies was a different kind of undead altogether. None of their weapons seemed to have any effect.

Just when things were looking hopeless, the words, "Earth Elemental Gem: USE CAREFULLY" sprang back to Idae's mind. They retreated back to the dry, treasure-filled area and recovered the gem, all the while the huecuva continued to follow them.

Striking the gem upon the ground, an earth elemental appeared and looked to Idae for instruction.

"KILL IT!" said Idae, pointing at the huecuva as it drew near.

The huge rock creature turned and looked at the corpse-like thing. Taking the path of least resistance, it brought its massive fist down, crushing bones and rotting flesh into the rock floor with one blow. Then the elemental looked back to Idae for further instructions.

“Um, we can’t get out of here. Can you go move the boulder away from the entrance?” Then he turned to Shefton, "You know, I think we're going to make it."

The huge rock creature moved the boulder away with no apparent effort. Then he merged into the rock wall and disappeared.

It took some time, but Shefton and Idae managed to haul the loot out of the cavern. They were surprised to see that the boat they had rented to bring them to the island was still secured at the shore where they’d left it. Amazed by their continued good fortune, they rowed back across the bay.

“Shefton,” Idae said, “I don’t want the others to know about this loot. I also want to take advantage of the fact that Vanthus things we’re dead. We should perpetuate that story.”

Shefton nodded, as if he fully understood and agreed, although he didn’t. “So, what’s the plan?”

“We rent a room in the Merchant District. We’ll stow the stuff there while we make contact with my associates. We can come back for it later.” He pulled up his hood, “Let’s make sure no one sees our faces.”

This time Shefton’s nod was genuine, “Just like old times.”

Continue to Chapter 6...

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