Image by Syreene
I sit up in a cold sweat and grab the edges of my hammock before I fall out into a heap on the floor. As I look around I see that we’re not on the Spelljammer anymore; in fact, we never left our sleeping quarters.
After waking up the rest and conferring, we discover that it’s still three days previous and we’ve yet to meet Torgan Betts. Great… now I get to hear yet again how that greasy windbag plans on setting us up. As I pack my gear and get ready for the day I notice the remnants of burnt incense in the portal window. Hmmn… it seems the Dream Lord’s warning should definitely be heeded. Someone is making sure we sleep and manipulating our dreams. Perhaps I should talk with Veddis for some advice on preparing myself for the next time?
We go through the motions yet again with Torgan Betts, but this time take a moment to check out the Sphere Arcane on the way. What could it hurt, right? If these people are so big on building helms, maybe they’d have knowledge of the Spelljammer; and if they don’t, I can at least check out the gambling houses for some quick money.
We go through the obligatory inspections from the Arcane Fleet who happen to be in system capturing one of OUR marks (I bite my tongue at this), and nod politely when they warn us to “be good or else.” Trust me… I’m not planning on getting into trouble around here, especially after seeing the multitude of Stone Golems floating in rings around their moon.
After a rather uneventful information gathering attempt (though I did make 50gp off of a naïve blue-skinned creature) we take off from Refuge and head from Realmspace to Greatspace.
I stand with Lenotta as she pilots our ship and do my best to keep an eye on Dorbo and his mystery box. I try not to think about what might be in it and instead start comparing Dorbo to Willhomina in my head when something strange happens; for just a brief flicker of a moment, his appearance changes and I swear he went from a sharply dressed military Giff to a savage hippo covered in blood. I shake my head and quickly look away; could this be one of those rips in reality the Kobald spoke of, or is it just my wild imagination?
Before I can ponder this further, a silent-running Wasp ship suddenly buzzes past our windows, bringing us out of warp.
“Did you see that?” Darbo asks.
Lenatta replies and before I can turn to give my answer I hear something that makes my stomach drop.
“That’s a shame, because it’s the last thing you’ll ever see.”
With a loud rapport he shoots Lenatta through the chest, leaving the cleric bent over and gasping sickeningly before he follows through with his sword.
I swallow my fear that I am no match for this giant of a creature, as I am determined to make him pay for what he’s done. Fortunately what I lack in brute strength I can make up with deviousness. I leap across the bridge in a rage and swipe across his chest with my clawed gauntlet before stuffing a Thunderstone in his shirt and launching myself to safety.
With a loud band Dorbo drops to his knees as he grasps his bleeding ears and Vedis finally makes her way to the bridge just in time to use her abilities to make Dorbo take a nap while we figure out what to do to help Lenata.
Before we can act, however, a large ballista bolt decides to intrude on our thoughts through the hull. Apparently that other ship we saw decided to come back; I imagine making sure there were no witnesses.
Thanks to the Gods that be, Lenatta managed to utter a healing prayer that took care of the sucking chest wound, though I imagine that’s going to leave her shaken for a bit. Goodness knows being shot and impaled all in one day would be something I’d be hard pressed to forget.
With everyone else rushing to the deck guns and Lenatta healing herself before re-establishing her connection to the helm, that leaves me wondering what to do with our sleeping enemy on the floor. With a quick double-check to make sure Lenatta isn’t watching, I kneel down and take my dagger to his throat to finish him off. “A warrior such as yourself is familiar with the perils of war, I’m sure; I can’t leave you alone with Lenatta, even if you’re asleep… and I don’t trust that you wouldn’t be able to break free of ropes. May your heart weigh heavy for your betrayal.”
With a quick motion our problems with Dorbo are no more… and I now have a new box to inspect at my leisure once this fight is over. I move to head for the deck when Lenatta grabs my arm.
“Here, take this healing wand with you so you can help the others while I am busy here.”
Two new treasures in one day? I must remember to thank the gods for their favor. I nod in gratitude and run up through the doorway to the outer deck just in time to see one of our ballista bolts launch toward the enemy ship, the heavy rope attached to it uncoiling with maddening speed. It suddenly dawns on me what’s going to happen when that rope attaches itself to the other ship, and I quickly make a grab for the nearest thing bolted down to the deck.
Image by Syreene
The bolt makes a dull thud and the rope goes taught before the creaking noises start… and then our world is turned upside down. I swallow hard as I close my eyes and grip the rail tight… trying not to throw up when the two ships start spinning around their new mutual axis. Eventually I manage to open my eyes and regain my space legs enough to tend to the unconscious Wilhomina Uft with the healing wand. As I look up to the battle I see the human Ef Utan launch himself up (or is it down or across now?) the rope and make his way to the other ship. I have to give him credit… he’s not only a great warrior, but he’s got a truly hardy constitution. That doesn’t mean I’m going to let him have all the fun, though. I launch myself up the rope to follow him the best that I can now that I know Wilhomina will be all right.
“Death from above!” I wail as I drop from the rope onto the back of an unsuspecting warlock busy trying to kill my friend. I finish him off with a set of claws to the back of the neck while Ef Utan turns and nearly chops an Elf thug off at the waist. Yuck! Elf blood is going to take forever to get out of those clothes.
I run to the edge of the raised deck as I hear the noises of crew making their way up from below, and promptly grab a tanglefoot bag from my pack. I’m almost amazed I still have one of these things after Simi got a hold of the rest of them. In an effort to really make it count, I smack one of the thugs making his way up a ladder with it, which causes him and the growing mass of vines to drop down the ladder and take any crew unfortunate enough to be behind him with it.
Now that we’ve got a moment to regroup, I whip out the healing wand for Ef Utan and quickly search the warlocks body while he yells “I’ve got an idea!” and leaps over the side of the ship. I chuckle and shake my head in amazement at the crazy human. If he lives, I’ll have to let him know how much I approve of his current insanity.
In the meantime I discover the warlocks name was Gregori, Torgan Betts told them of us in a note, and his platinum and gun make a great fit amongst my things. Vedis joins me on the deck after finishing with her own fight, and an idea for some fun begins to form.
“Hey Veddis…come here…” I say with a wave of my hand as I look down the ladder to see the squirming pile of pirates and vines at the bottom.
“Nice work,” she comments as she looks down. “Were you thinking of going down there to finish them?”
“Actually…” I can’t help but grin, “I was thinking maybe you should jump down there and do it.”
“Me? I’d probably go right through the deck,” she says in doubt as she bites her lower lip and looks again down the ladder.
“Nah… look at the bunch of them… they should be able to break your fall with their bodies no problem,” I say reassuringly. “In fact, I’m counting on it.”
“Okay… here goes nothing, then!” With a step she plummets down the ladder and lands in their midst with a series of satisfying crunches and groans.
“That’s the spirit!” I encourage with a smile as I leap down after her and make my way into the next room. I announce my entrance with the fling of another handy Thunderstone, and quickly follow it up with some well placed gun shots to kneecaps and claws.
I’m about to finish off their pilot when I make out Ef Utan yelling at me from the other room. Well what do you know… he survived after all? I’ll have to ask him just how he managed that. In the meantime, I’d certainly like to know why we’re supposed to stop fighting after all the mess they’ve put us through. I snarl into the pilot’s ear and press my claws to his throat when he yells again for me to stop. “Damn it!” I grumble and throw the pilot to the ground before I join Ef Utan in the other room. “This better be good!”
Okay, okay… so the pilot was rigged to explode if he died. I still think I should’ve disabled the trap and killed him anyway. After some heated discussions with the captain of this mercenary ship we discover that they were merely hired to do a job by a ½ elf with violet eyes at the Drunken Neogi on Braal… and it’s not worth the trouble we’ve put him through. I know enough to keep my mouth shut after killing so many of his crew and nod quietly as Ef Utan makes his deals with the Teeth of Arasca. You never know when a mercenary contact might come in handy, I guess.
Once the battle smoke clears and the deals are made, we head back to our ship to take tally of the damage and begin repairs. In a bout of inspiration, Lenata decides to try and consult with the deceased Darbo for some answers. Unfortunately the only real information we learned was that this attack and Torgan Betts wasn’t involved with the 10th Pitt. Will that’s one enemy off the list… with three or four more left that I know of who might be out to kill us.
“So what now?” Lenatta asks us when her spell wears off.
Ef Utan shrugs. “What the hell… we were on our way to deliver a package, so let’s deliver it already.”
Why not indeed? We might as well see if we can make some money to help with the repairs to our hull.
We continue our flight and eventually make our way to Hecht, a pastoral moon of the 2nd planet in the system. We land at a private port at the base of a mountain and exit the ship to meet a small bald potbellied human with an eager look and impatient hands.
“Did he actually find it? Did you bring it?”
I have to admit, I am curious to see what’s in this box; some of us have bets on a Sphere of Annihilation. Me, I’m half expecting it to explode. I try not to jump back when the lid finally is lifted on the box to reveal… soft velvets wrapped around an ancient medallion.
“Fantastic! This is an excellent representation of the artist’s early work!” the man mutters to himself.
An art deal? I’m surprised to admit that I am almost disappointed.
After many profuse thanks from the small rotund man and a payment in 25,000 gold worth of diamond dust, we chalk up Joran Shambrath as another potential contact should we come across any more ancient artifacts.
What a day, right? I think it’s time to celebrate and go shopping in Waterdeep.