Madra was at its busiest as the countdown to the weeklong Swallowtail festival— an annual festival honoring the dream goddess Desna— came into its final days. The port town, southernmost settlement on the jungly island of Eltra, second-largest island in the Illustrian Empire, was buzzing with excitement. While its Lord Samurai and Elder Council were regrettably locked in ferocious debate over policy, Iomedaen paladins, guests awaiting the return of their peers from the inland home of the shogun, were left unattended.
Which led to problems.
A scuffle between two prisoners and their guard, Lady Celia d’Agon, resulted in one death and one runner, and the sudden arrival of a fleeing, barefoot drow sorceress is enough to upset any surface town, much less an elven one. The arrival of a screaming, pistol-wielding human only complicated matters, until the arrival of the Guard Captain, Kia’ase Noishe, and his young lieutenant Nai’she Lydil put an end to Celia’s pursuit. Although the young cadet staying with the older Paladin was spared Noishe’s rage, Celia was sent fuming back to her ship while Iridessa, the drow, was only barely granted sanctuary, and was summarily pawned off on the ranger-jeweler Nai’she Xyak, Lydil’s younger sister. The three girls— two friends and one unlikely charge— were soon joined by a member of a breed considered rare even in the islands: an Undine alchemist by the name of Issac.
The four bonded over the course of the afternoon, and went their separate ways at night. When morning came, and the Na’ishe family-run inn swelled with customers, Xyak was called up to serve breakfast, and Iridessa found herself lassoed into lending her assistance as well. After the ladies had braved an hour of handsy Cayden worshippers and grab-happy Skalds (there was significant overlap), they joined their new friends at a table. The four found themselves approached by Xyak’s mother, Mirwen— small of stature, gargantuan of presence— and were tasked with going out to find out why the Kia’ase family’s shipment of Dream Apples had not arrived. Dream Apples were an important part of the festival, poisonous fruits that, prepared correctly, gave those who ate them lucid dreams. Their absence would be potentially disastrous, and so the crew set out on the safe path to the Kia’ase farm. They also met Xyak’s houseguest, an imposing, enigmatic serpentfolk who called himself Ganon, on the way out, but he declined to join them in spite of his evident skill and peculiar weapon.
Along the way, they noticed a break in the jungle, and suspicious of what could make such a large hole, they entered, tracking what were obviously cart tracks leading deeper into the jungle along long-forgotten paths.
Eventually, the group came upon a destroyed camp site, and discovered the truth: Human bandits, likely sailors who hadn’t been hired for a trip home, had ambushed the apple cart— still there, and full of apples— and killed its team, then took it back to their campsite and dumped the bodies in shallow graves.
By the time the party arrived to investigate, the bandits were dead— killed by the victims’ reanimated corpses. A short, but violent and fire-heavy battle put the cadavers down for good, and the apple shipment was returned in time for the beginning of the festival.
The party members were made guests of honor at the feast by the grateful High Priestess of Desna, and were given commendation and free lodging by Captain Noishe— grateful to them for putting his brother to rest.