Joining for this session were:
-TheisticGilthoniel (http://pilgrimtemple.blogspot.com/), as Ibrahim the Adept
-Renefor (https://falseidolstla.blogspot.com/) as Velasco the Heterodox Monk
-Oblidisideryptch (https://oblidisideryptch.blogspot.com/), as Sieur Alastair the Knight
Max unfortunately left the campaign before this session. So far as anyone knows, Mr. Fox and the War Dogs decided to escort the rust-men encountered last session south.
The party paddles up to the red-iron gates, and finds a group of pirate-dressed mannequettes impaled on its barbs. They reclaim a green silk token, belonging to the Countess, from the clutched hand of one, and Ibrahim's magic allows them to interrogate the dead.
They learn that the mannequettes were part of the group that kidnapped the Countess, and were all killed by the Daunt (not a nice man/monster/creature, the party is learning). Furthermore they learn that the mannequettes were put to the task by a member of the King's own court, someone who disguised their appearance with a starry veil, the badge of the court wizard.
With the token the party's dog (Ibrahim's rather hideous one) is able to pick up the Countess's scent, which leads them further north, into this uncanny wetland of steely reeds and rusty water. They come across a tower, and a rather rude pinecone knight named Fiberbiscuit atop that tower. Fiberbiscuit informs them that the majority of the garrison was moved elsewhere, to aid in the search for the Countess on the King's orders. The party continues on to follow the scent.
Coincidentally, this path leads them to the garrison of that tower they'd just come across, much the worse for wear. Their numbers were greatly reduced, and none of those left were unharmed or unmaimed. Some knightly courtesy on the part of Sieur Alistair endears them to the captain, Sir Skybrush, who briefs the party on their current dire situation.
Skybrush himself had lost a leg to an alloygator, and their last remaining iron-bottomed boat was swarming with frag frogs. The pinecone knight eyes their rafts covetously, and promises to return them once they'd returned their wounded. Sir Pineleaf, knowing that the knights of this garrison were among the rough-and-tumble elites of their kind, advised against this, as Skybrush's crew were probably too conceited to hold up on their end.
The party converses further with Skybrush, learning that it was him who had punished the rust-men deserters they'd encountered. They concoct a plan to rid the pinecone knights' boat of the ornery and explosively volatile frag frogs. With help from the knights they gather flammable material and build a bonfire. Sieur Alistair swims out to the boat, and with the help of his noble steed very gently raises it onto the shore to expose its iron bottom to the blazing heat.
Time passes. The mood is tense, waiting for the boat to warm up while keeping an eye out for beasts. Velasco preaches his unorthodox archonic doctrine and learns that the knights don't really have a concept of divinity, beyond their service to the King. At last the fire seems to have done its work of rendering the boat too uncomfortable for the frag frogs. Alistair checks (with tremendous cautioun) and finds a mating pair unwilling to move.
Ibrahim meditates to commune with the elemental spirits about the place, and swears a compact to the fiery spirits dormant within the mating frag frogs. In return for multiplying the number of frag frogs ten times over, they'd ensure their hosts would detonate without damaging the boat. And so they did, in a fireworks-like display, and a patch of frog-skin appeared on Ibrahim's hand, which he swiftly transferred to his dog.
Thoroughly impressed by their cunning, Skybrush declares the party to be knights (or having the spirits of knights) on equal standing. Running low on supplies, the party decides to accompany Skybrush back to the tower, and are regaled by the story of the decapidragon, a great monster currently being hunted by the Daunt, who apparently had grown bored of leading the search for the Countess personally.
Will the party somehow manage to be respectable guests? What fate will befall Ibrahim if he can't keep up his end of the compact? Find out next time, on Beyond the Bizarre Armoire!