The Age of Man

Episode 16- An Evolving Partnership

The Quiet Men follow the transformed tribesmen’s directions to where the children are being held. While Grouse circles around in stealth, freeing the children, an old woman, and the wizard Gerard Gamble, the others approach from the opposite side and draw off the remaining warriors of the tribe. It is clear that whatever transformation was affecting the scouts has taken much deeper root within these creatures, whose waxy faces have begun to sprout tentacle like growths. A vicious battle ensues, but with Grouse and Gerard flanking the twisted natives they are brought down. From the old woman they learn that the Ngati Tama have been grinding the strange granite of the cursed island and feeding it to their captives before eating them, and this is causing them to ‘evolve’ into something alien and foul.
The team loads the liberated captives onto the airship and sails for the main island. They begin to pass over a battle between the Ngati Maru and the Ngati Tama, where the friendly Maru are taking heavy losses. The Quiet Men choose a spot and drop their Kraken Seed amidst the attackers, watching it sprout into a huge, devastating beast that immediately begins crushing the outrigger canoes (and bodies) of their enemies. With the core of their fleet torn apart, the remainder flee.
The heroes return with the children, after a careful inspection showed that whatever transformation had happened to the Tama had not begun to advance too far for them to recover. In spite of a brief dispute between Argent and the women of the Ngati Maru, things were resolved and positive relations between the Empire and the island nations were solidified. Gerard Gamble explained that he was surprised to see Argent again so soon, since when he had encountered him a few years before he had given him vague directiosn to Peron’s Nail, a fabled artifact of the Kingdom of Draji that is believed to point the way toward the heart’s desire of whoever holds it.
The airship returned to the Eastern edge of the cursed island, to excavate one of the giant stone heads. As they began to dig it out, they found roots of stone extending like tentacles from the submerged mouths of the statues…whatever the tribe was being transformed into had obviously worked the stones in their own image in ancient times. They loaded the head on board and set sigils of protection around it to prevent any influence from leaking out.
With their work done, Gerard completed the teleportation circle that will allow convenient trade with these distant islands. As the airship lifted off, troops began to march out of the circle- Forged warriors arriving to aid the Ngati Maru in purging the corrupted tribes (and extend the influence of the Trysain family).

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