In which the party prepares to hunt a sea serpent, and fights a hungry fog.
Changing of the Guard
A new player has joined the group bringing with him the half-orc monk Grog, and the player of Kozuket has switched to the half-orc alchemist Ronald Senic.  I won’t go through the full introductions except to note that Sebastian extracted guild membership fees from both fairly painlessly.
I’m happy to post any origin tales that the players send to me. 
Research and Shopping
The prospect of facing a sea serpent is a touch ominous so the party did the natural thing: research! Hector visited Lance Tinner who leads the merchant cartel offering the job. Apparently this is a cooperative effort between three cartels.
Sebastian delved into his bardic knowledge for the lore pertaining to sea serpents. Meanwhile Eric searched for previous reports of encounters with sea serpents. He found one tale of a 100 foot sea serpent defeated by a paladin on a pilgrimage , another of a 400 foot sea serpent fended off with disciplined pike work by the old Royal Fleet. The former shows that it is possible, the latter is not so useful since the Free Company doesn’t have any pike formations to speak of .
Eric also found that one of the new members of the Free Company is a fighter from Illiss-by-the-sea. This fighter reports huge problems with bad weather recently, and also rumours of such monsters.
Various members of the party went shopping to gear up, and Ronald started making acid flasks for use against the sea serpent. Unfortunately it appears that these things are resistant to fire.
Hector and Eric visited Lance to seal the deal, and Lance will provide the usual letter of introduction as well as a shore skimmer to use for the hunting. This will include the crew and the skipper. Lance will also provide an overland guide to Foxland which is where most of the sightings have been centred.
Further research by Eric and Sebastian turned up a tale of a Kraken, which is not particularly reassuring.
On the Road Again
The party headed north along the main highway to Illiss-by-the-sea. Three weeks later the party visits the local offices of the Tinner cartel, and meets the local guide Timothy Gray.
Timothy advises that Foxland has been hit hard by the continuous storms that have been raging for the last eight months or so, and is also an excellent guide to what passes for the road to Foxland .
Timothy has no real information about the sea serpent but may have seen something under a ship four months ago. He also mentions that the “Guardian of the Deep” placed by the Gods in the sea has been active recently. Apparently there are 4 guardians for the realm as a whole, none know what they are, and any activity traces back to 8 months or so.
There was also a brief encounter with some House Vance troops, fortunately the news of the Free Company has already spread far enough to serve as a positive reputation .
The Hungry Fog
At the end of the fourth day the party encountered a “hungry fog”. Whilst not undead per se, Jamir worked out that this is a fog imbued with the unholy energies of the undead.
Combat ensued with Ronald’s first bomb being spectacular, and Eric’s first fireball being pitiful . The fog was an awkward opponent to deal with as it was, in essence, an area effect that rolled over the party.
Fortunately it wasn’t too tough, nor was it gaining the hit points it was draining, so it was dispatched reasonably promptly. There were a few nervous moments for Rune Stoned, and possibly Jamir though.
The Strange Old Man in the Night-time
After finding a relatively safer campsite, Jamir healed the wounded and the party set up the watches. Rune Stoned and Grog were on watch when an old man appeared in the fire light seeking a guide.
The old man admitted to no other name beyond “lost”, asked for directions to Illiss-by-the-sea, and then departed. He may have been accompanied by a Shadow Mastiff.
He was also looking for something that he had lost about 8 months ago…
The encounter passed without incident, and the party arrived in Foxland the next morning.
Out of Character Commentary
Then we get the vague mention of the four guardians, with a nice focus on the guardian of the deep, when the old man shows up looking for something he lost months ago? I suspect that he is one of the other guardians, possibly misled by the reports of the monsters and storms.
This was a fun session that ran smoothly with an interesting combat against an unfamiliar monster. I’m hoping that the next combat won’t be quite so embarrassing for Eric however.