The following morning, the team sets sail with the salty wind behind their backs. The day is uneventful. They may become acquainted with the crew but each conversation won’t last more than a few sentences since their busy tending the ship. Depending on if they encountered the tavern brawl last night, the crew might sing their praise. They may take time now to discuss their journey and prospects of the outcome.
Mid-afternoon comes and another vessel is spotted heading toward the ship. As it comes closer it’s noticeable that it is a ghost ship. Sails are partially torn and there’s no life to be seen on the decks. Corpses are sparsely laid out in the sun, so dried from the heat that their skin tightly wraps their bones. Pieces are missing from them picked away by birds. Halius’ men are spooked seeing how it’s indeterminable how they all died. A plague perhaps? He commands everyone to steer clear of the bodies. Once close enough, the crew goes to work tying ropes and boarding the ship to search for anyone living and cargo. The whole ship reeks of carrion. The adventurers might offer to help the crew. This might cause for an interesting encounter if the party is split. (Fighter might be below deck when the brawl starts) Carrying crates up from the lower decks, everyone freezes as the skeletons arise. Before they can drop their booty and reach for their weapons, the skeletons are upon them. The deck turns into a bloodbath as the skeleton crew begins to hack away at the unsuspecting men.
8 Skeleton Crew
Halius is grateful for having the Athenian heroes on his ship when he most needed them. They collect their dead and wrap them up for a sea burial. As they’re performing the funeral rites. A few bodies begin to moan and wiggle in their bags. The bags are cut open to reveal some of the bodies are alive again.
“Cerberus has gone mad! It’s as if he serves no one now. Hermes does battle with the beast but is only a distraction so as to not cause carnage against the loitering souls littering the shore. I hate to see what is to become of him when he tires and is unable to keep his footing against the beast. We feared it so that we leapt from the cliffs to return to our mortal bodies. What a mistake! The pain is worse than before death! Do not bury us here I beg you. Return us to the shore so that we may have another chance at peace. With your help warriors, Hermes may be able to subdue the rapid dog.”
It takes another couple days of travel. Upon reaching the shore, it is just as described. Shoulder to shoulder are the souls of the dead. Upon a cliff peak, commotion can be spotted as well as people jumping but disappearing into thin air before hitting the rocks below.
Halius gets cold feet. " This is as far as I want to go. With Cerberus gone wild, I won’t endanger my crew further.
[Diplomacy] (DC 12)
(DC 8) Lower the DC by appealing to Halius that he needs to make sure his crew is laid to rest.
Success- Brings heroes close enough to get to shore without trouble.
Fail- [Swim] (DC 10)
Fail at Swim- Initiative loss.
Once on shore, the group makes their way through the thick crowd and see Cerberus and Hermes locked in combat while souls stare in amazement at these clashing giants.
Hermes Allied in battle.
Cerberus lay slain.
“Live Athenians? You arrived just in time. I have been her for what seems like days. It only brings me more sadness that now this once loyal servant is laid to rest. I must flee at once to tell the rest of the Olympians of what has happened. Take this for your heroic effort.”
Hermes throws a vial of golden ichor to the group. Upon drinking will heal their wounds. The taste is that of metal. There’s just enough for everyone to drink once.
The raging flame feels like it could turn the heroes to ash just by standing near it. Never the less, they must continue further to inspect.