Without a sound, the plant-infested zombies attacked. The former smugglers swarmed out of the building, but the heroic mercenaries destroyed them, splitting their brittle skulls and destroying the thick bulb of plant matter that had replaced the brain. Pausing to catch their breath, the party drags the corpses to the cliff edge to be burned, and Wu tells the party the layout of the interior of the compound, saying where they will be able to find supplies to repair the Tatterdemalion.
Niara and Rothlek begin to clear away the vines by the entrance they plan to use, Rothlek firing acidic bolts and Niara burning away with a torch. As Niara gets close to one of the sickly yellow flowers it releases a puff of noxious pollen and the undine suddenly goes slack, her compatriots watch in horror as she moves with zombie-like motions to go inside alone. Milah is able to grab hold of the hypnotized bard and pin her down until the effects of the pollen wear off.
Carefully avoiding the flowers, the adventurers head into the ramshackle compound. The place is a wreck, with debris strewn everywhere, the signs of a struggle. Following Wu’s directions, they find the store-room, where the remaining zombies are pushing at the back wall, trying to push it down to get to the outdoors they can see through the cracks in the boards. The party advances stealthily, sneaking towards the unsuspecting undead. Ignatious, Jack, Milah, Wu and Rothlek charge the turned backs of the plant-zombies, while Niara takes up position to use her deadly whip from a distance. Bingo hangs back outside in the hall, watching the party’s rear.
The zombies are quickly cut to pieces, but before the party can celebrate, the door slams shut. Bingo whirls around in surprise only to get a face-full of the yellow pollen. As Ignatious and Rothlek begin desperately hammering down the door, the horrible plant-creature begins inserting tendrils into the immobile halfling’s skull.
Before Bingo can forget how to do math, however, the door shatters and Ignatious’ greatsword cleaves the plant-creature in two.
The party returns to the cliff-side again, nursing wounds and resting after the ordeal. They quickly begin to worry, however, that the Imperial Navy crew could be in danger. With no time to lose the party climbs down the cliff face and runs across the beach.
They arrive in time to swing the tide of a battle already in progress. Zombified marines and sailors battle their former comrades, and two of the plant monsters prowl the beach behind a screen of their zombie minions, infecting the dying sailors.
The heroes charge in, slaughtering the zombies and destroying the plants controlling them. Von Margensburg and the remaining Navy crew agree that getting off the island as soon as possible is the best plan.
Repairing the ship, loading it with as much rum as they can carry, the survivors cast off from the island. They are loathe to leave the cargo of their ships at the bottom of the sea, however, and Niara and Rothlek swim down to retrieve what they can. They return with a good deal of the jade cargo, the sugar and silk having been ruined by the saltwater. With that done, they use the navigation charts on the Tatterdemalion to navigate the treacherous reefs around the island and make it back to the shipping lanes.
But nothing seems to go right for the crew, because it looks as if they will not have enough supplies to get them to the Jewel Archipeligo. After much debate, they decide to put in at Rumbottom Cove, the pirate town that is within easy reach of the smuggler’s island. They make it to the pirate haven and dock, being cautious and discreet as they can. Von Margensburg and the Marines stay hidden aboard the ship while the crew hits the town to trade rum for supplies.
With night falling and the ship stocked and ready, Wu suggests that the party kills time while waiting for the tides to visit the wide selection of brothels in Rumbottom. While some of the party find this unsavory, Wu, Rothlek, and Jack head out into the town again.
They return, one by one, before the tides. Rothlek comes last, lugging a new sea-chest he bought.
The Tatterdemalion slinks out of the Bladed Isles and heads back to the shipping lanes, sailing south, the the Jewel Archipeligo…
TO BE CONTINUED!