It has become time for Cass to pay his tribute to his patron, Echinda. She now speaks to him in a faint, rhythmic, feminine voice that has a bit of a rasp and a slight hissing sound.
“Child, now is the time for my tribute. I have been easy on you with the lesser creatures and allowing blood to carry over from week to week or month to month. However, now is the time to prove that you are worthy of the power I provide.” She says in her melodic voice. “South of us is a fetid swamp where one of my creatures has shown weakness. Hunt it, kill it, and harvest its heart and blood. There is a small ruin that has been swallowed up by the bog … that is where you must go. Beware, the swamp has many other deadlier creatures that call the swamp home. Getting lost could result in … well let’s not dwell on that.”
Echinda provides a mental map of where the ruins are, not an exact map, just one that can help guide him through the swamp. The swamp is about fifty miles south of Millport along the coast of the Emerald Bay. Cass recruited Alphonse, Pickles and Vera to accompany him on his endeavor. When they arrived at the swamp, the childhood friends began their trek through the various bogs, tree outcroppings and the occasional solid ground island. A few wrong turns and switching back, they came up on a part of the swamp that had a light fog over it. The swampland, trees and other plants grew thick, warped and twisted, the mud reeked of decay. This was NOT the place, Cass thought as he adjusted the course. Not long after, they came upon some small ruins. “This is the place.” Cass muttered.
The warlock moved out further into the bog where the water came up to his waste. The mud here was so thick that travel proved difficult. Then her creature appeared. The huge head of a boar with long tusks and glowing red eyes raised up out of the swamp. Its long thick neck rose as his body, which was covered in thick hairy fur that was matted from the mud. The movement of the creature released pent up gases from the swamp and its own glands. The stench nearly over took Cass, but he kept it together. The creature charged him, battering him with its massive, bulbous tail. He held firm as the two exchanged blows.
Cass made it clear that the others were not to assist him in any way and that is what they did. Alphonse, Vera and Pickles stayed on a small turf outcropping. However, from a nearby tree, a creature that looked like a tree itself stepped out from it and began fighting with them. They exchanged blows with it, while Cass was engaged with his foe.
From one of the higher trees, Sahra appeared. Not wanting to miss out on anything, she silently tailed them. She landed on the ground as the tree creature disappeared into another tree. Meanwhile, Cass learned that this creature had surprise in his arsenal. His eyes met the creatures and his body began to burn and painful spasms began. This did little to perturb him though as he continued striking the creature with his deadly mace. With the tree creature no longer there, Alphonse, Vera and Pickles watched the fight unfold. To add to it, Vera provided some goodberries for munching on. Then the creature started moving towards them. Collectively, the three of them moved further away onto the ground to where Sahra was. Cass did what he could to keep the beast’s attention on him. Then, from out of nowhere, the tree creature reappeared and attacked. The three of them engaged it, along with a ball of fire that was conjured previously by Vera. Sahra was able to land a pair of brutal strikes on it, in which the creature returned the favor and struck her twice with his club. The tree creature was surrounded and soon fell to their attacks.
The same fate met the beast in the bog. Cass had been lucky with this fight so far. His armor and shield have been deflecting the creature’s tail strikes, until one got through. The tail struck Cass solidly, but the gifts of his patron had once again come to his aid. The creature’s tail blow was matched by the extreme cold of the rime around him. The beast collapsed into the mud. Cass was victorious and it pleased Echinda.
When the battle was over, the beast was butchered and harvested. Cass bathed in the creatures blood and cut out its heart. A few other choice internal organs were harvested and the group made their way home. Pickles returned to his family, with some remains from the creature to feed them. Sahra returned to the tasks that she was working on prior. Vera returned to her family and shared the experience with Khloe and their son Chrys. Alphonse, having the tail and a pair of tusks from the creature, and crafted some new weapons. A pair of identical shortswords were crafted from the tusks and given to Sahra and a maul was crafted from the tail, which he kept for himself. Taking the opportunity, while he was crafting, he transformed the tentacle from the displacer beast into a morningstar.
Cass spent the next few weeks in solitude with the organs from the beast. The heart, liver and large intestine were preserved through rituals and a mixture of rare ingredients. He laid out a large bone that was split in half before him and proceeded with his project. At the end of the exhausting process, Cass ate the heart of the beast and regurgitated it on the bone cased with the large intestine. This sealed the ritual while it raised up in the air and hovered before him. A blue rime formed around it just as it burst into a black flame that burned for 14 hours. The bone case cracked open and his mace of destruction had dropped out and into his hand. He could have sworn that the weapon was on his hip before. Echinda had blessed him with an enhanced mace and made it his pact keeper.