Our brave party decides on two courses of action for their investigation of the pirates.
Course 1: The “I’m Rich and Unscrupulous and I like Pretty Things” Con. Basically, try to hire someone to recover the same artifact and hope that the same (greedy) folks take the now second contract.
Course 2: The “Hey, We Look Like the Pirates You Hired, And We Got the Thing You want, But we Want More Money For It” Con. Yeah, so this boiled down to a I’ll show you mine if you show me yours situation. Ending with the Benefactor terminating negotiations and suggesting that he was pretty certain he’d get his artifact one way or another.
As with all good groups, the shady cultist was followed to his very respectable looking warehouse, that was, wait for it….Yes! just a front for his Sneaky Cultist Buddies.
With measured restraint the party stalked the cultist through the subterranean tunnels to end up out on the beach with more Sneaky Chanting Cultists. The party, familiar now with taking a tactical stance, prepare a plan of attack. As the final details are being worked out the party realizes that something is wrong. Oh yes, the Sneaky Chanting Cultists are no longer chanting. In their midst, stands a raging inferno of elemental fire.
Then…the dwarven slayer does something amazing, he casts “Disspell Elemental Fire”…with his axe…in one blow. Much like a dwarven child would a birthday candle…
There was some Cultist Butchery that happened next on the beach, some swimming, and then some REALLY LONG ASSED bow and arrow demonstrations (making the GM regret not double checking the f*ing effective range of a bow). Mortally wounding the escaping cultist in a boat.
Nothing else seemed very interesting, save for the bizarro constellation in the sky and that the clouds had obscured all other star formations. That’s not creepy or anything, right?
The party hurries back to their ship to set sail for the intended destination of the fleeing cultist.