15th of Harvestmere, Dragon 9:43
Okay, let’s try that again. We were about two weeks into our trip back to Ferelden when our ship came across another vessel out on the water. No lights, no crew, no signs of life… eerie as all get-out. Our captain identified the ship as one of five that had gone looking for some kind of elven artifact worth, quote, “hundreds of gold” — the only one that hadn’t come back empty-handed, by virtue of not coming back at all. Naturally, we all immediately put our trousers on our heads and decided to board the obviously-cursed ghost ship in search of a treasure that, if it existed, was probably the reason the ship was cursed in the first place. Obviously there was no way that could possibly end poorly.
Things didn’t go too badly at first. We boarded the ship without too much trouble and proceeded to go our separate ways, with Sebastian the archer and I heading below-decks via one of the hatches; we figured that, if this treasure was actually aboard, it was probably somewhere down there. After finding nothing much of note in the crew’s footlockers besides a bunch of dust and rot, we started to make our way towards a door at the back that we figured had to lead to a cargo hold. As we went that way, though, Sebastian started to get this shuffling gait that made me a little wary, and he didn’t respond when I called out to him. Suspecting that some form of brain-fuckery was afoot, I addressed the problem with my usual degree of delicacy and tact — by stabbing Sebastian in the back of the knee with my spear. Sebastian was none too pleased with that, but it broke whatever mind-whammy was on him sure enough.
It was about this time we decided that the stupidity of this whole plan outweighed whatever benefit we could possibly hope to glean from it, and started back towards the gangplanks. Of course, whatever was cursing the ship wasn’t having any of that. Using a series of illusions — the deck is covered in black fog! our comrades have vanished! our ship is sailing away, and the crew are all dead! the ship’s original crew are all having dinner in the stateroom on the top deck, and absolutely aren’t a bunch of mummified corpses! — and in a few cases actually swatting at us with these magical black tentacles, it did its damnedest to make sure we weren’t going anywhere. Realizing the only way we were going to rid of this tomfoolery was to cut it off at the source, we all collectively sighed and started scouring the ship for the artifact that was doubtless calling all the trouble.
To no one’s great surprise, said artifact — some kind of idol — was ultimately sitting in that one room Sebastian nearly got sleepwalked into. Our first thought was to destroy it, but the lad Marcellus had been seeing visions that implied doing so would release a particularly nasty demon, so we decided against that. With no other course of action immediately apparent, we picked the thing up and brought it back to the main deck. (Not before it swatted at Dro with another one of those shadow tentacles, though. Make up your mind, you tiny stone bastard! Do you want us to take you with us or not?!) Naturally, as soon as we got back up top, the illusions were all gone and there was our ship waiting for us. We expressed our… concerns about the idol to the captain, and while he reiterated that it was a historical treasure worth hundreds of gold pieces, he ultimately left it up to us what to do with it.
So we chucked the fucking thing in the ocean and never looked back. Actually, that’s a lie. We did look back, once, when we heard the sounds of the gangplanks dropping into the water, and saw that the ghost ship had vanished as mysteriously as it disappeared. Of course.
The rest of the trip back to Denerim was mercifully quiet. We made port, picked up some more supplies (which led to another favorable bill posted about Guy Fieri’s smoked jerky from yours truly), and took care of other personal business in the city. I myself finally picked up that suit of full plate I commissioned a while back, and then showed some of the new party members the city’s alienage, per their request. Apparently whatever plague is ravaging the place has gotten that much worse, because now it’s under full quarantine. We were about to head back to Aneth Ara when we heard a scream come from inside, and Sana insisted that we find out what was going on in there right now. Of course. Because it’s not enough that we’ve spent the last several months wandering halfway across Thedas and back again, now we’ve got to go inside a festering plague pit and go be heroes and Maker knows how long it will take or what we’ll find in there and DAMMIT ALL I WANT TO GO HOME.