After resting at the site of Quellig’s treasure pit, the explorers are again beset by cannibals, bearing similar ritual markings as the last band. Three are slain, but one manages to escape into the jungle, and is not pursued by the defenders. Each barbarian is wearing a crude necklace bearing a blood-red pearl. Ace decides to wear one, still intrigued by the mention of ‘Thrune’ in the last band’s pidgin Infernal rantings. What Ace hopes to discover is between him and his unsettling companion, Kay’ess.
Returning to camp, the explorers warn the others of the presence of cannibals. Ishirou is offered a full share of Quellig’s treasure, but he keeps only the cold iron short sword. His usually placid facade seems momentarily broken by the explorers’ kind gesture of a just and fair reward; he relates a brief and hasty history behind his treasure map fetish.
Gelik has been writing in his journal, and seems positive but antsy, ready to move on to a potential rescue. He wishes the explorers well in their travels, and returns to his writing.
Sasha trains the casters for one day in the art of surprise, but only after Chumba promises to watch over her dimorphodon egg.
The explorers then decide to take the western shore route, walking past the camp where the yellow musk zombie was encountered. They pass by a trail blazed into the jungle, likely a game trail, defeat some giant crabs, and happen upon a huge crab smack in the middle of a sandy beach. Giant claws flailing, coupled with an unearthly wailing not unlike the koan of a ghost or a dying man, the explorers cautiously approach the monstrous crab. Through further, tense observation, the crab appears to be in all likelihood the marionette of some deranged puppeteer.
“I already got one!” they hear echoing from the carapace. “I told him we already got one!”
Arendel cautiously approaches the monstrosity and identifies the group. A small door opens and a ravenesque tengu appears from the crab’s body. His name is Pezock, and he has been marooned on Smuggler’s Shiv for five years. He invites the group in for tea, and though somewhat maddened by his isolated predicament, offers the group several pointers regarding the Shiv. He mentions the Girl in the Tree, the Quiet Island, and that the cannibals take no heed of him. He also mentions that he’s seen a man and woman wandering the isle, independent of the group.
His farewell includes the warning to ‘watch out for bodies, falling from the sky.’ When pressed, he mentions it is likely the Dragon Child, but he has no need or want to further investigate the phenomenon.
The explorers decide to explore the ‘Quiet Island’, and along the way Chumba expertly collects viper nettle berries, which are nutritious and effective at treating withdrawal symptoms.
Encamped within a stone’s throw of what Pezock described as the Quiet Island, the 5 see that the half-mad birdman was correct- nothing grows on the island, but it is covered in a gray, fungal vegetation. There are no birds in the sky, and other than the crashing surf, the island is eerily silent.
Hitching the donkey to a tree at the viper nettle site, the explorers traverse the slippery rocks and arrive on the muted island. The gray fungal growths seem to wriggle and ripple even when there is no breeze present, and the whole place smells of foul decay. Further examination is interrupted by a squad of small, silent humanoids seemingly made of the same gray fungus which coats the island. They prove to be pesky adversaries, but the vegepygmies are dispatched. The 5 now must decide to either press on or rest and strategize how to approach this wierd island and its silent denizens.
It is mid-morning, day 13 stranded on Smuggler’s Shiv.