Oh my Gods… whatever did I drink last night? I feel like I’m trying to give birth through my belly button…
Between the groans and the trips to the lavatory I manage to beg our aspiring pilot Aspodel Quickfoot to take a quick trip to the apothacary for some hangover medicine. I hope the others are doing better than I am… though If I remember right through the haze, I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Mmmn…Dassam… I wonder if I will ever see him again? After the last look in the mirror, it seems that my glass leaf bead from Spiralspace is missing. I think…yes… I believe I gave it to him before we left. His scent was so earthy… it reminded me of thick wooded forests and cool breezes, and… hurk
… I’ll be right back.
Illustration by Syreene
Eventually my day improves as a delivery of flowers from Dassam makes me smile, and we all manage to recover and make ourselves presentable as Admiral Leafbower is finally ready for us to make his acquaintance.
I’m practicing my formal Elvish while we’re waiting in his antechamber when a trio of wealthy looking dwarves and hobgoblins (of all things) walk out of the room in a deep discussion. I do my best to listen (because I’m nosy like that), but all I can make out is “No, he’s a Leafbower; we can trust him.”
Well that’s good to know. Since that’s coming from a bunch of hobgoblins, however, I have to wonder whose side that’s supposed to be a good thing for?
We take our turn and enter the large tree-filled domed room decorated with globes and stars. On the far end is a very old looking elf sitting comfortably in a plush chair. We talk with Admiral Villus Leafbower for a while, and learn that the chess set was indeed his, it was crafted by a battle-poet named “Carnthalion” who died during the Inhuman War, and the last place he saw it was on Evermeet in Torril.
Interesting, but still a number of answers where we’re not sure what the question was. At the admiral’s request we leave the chess set with him for his promise that he will continue to research the set for its importance.
Meanwhile, it seems that the others picked up some rumors at the party last night about some slavers, as well as an anti-slavery group affectionately known as P.O.T.S. (Pragmatic Order of Thought Society). Lenata wanted to go look for the slavers with Ef Utan, but I just had to wonder how the cleric would do when the inevitable trap is sprung.
“Hmmn… you’re much more honorable there Lenatta… why don’t you go with Vedis and look for the anti-slavers, while Ef Utan and I check out the slaver trouble?”
“Look at it this way: if you get caught and bound, all it takes is a gag to stop you. Me, I’ve got experience in getting out of situations like that.” I could tell she wanted to argue, but I think I caught her speechless when I actually used logic on her for once. I give a nod to Ef Utan and secure my gear before we head to town and visit a so-called merchant named Dabend…
Ok, this has got to stop. This is the second time in less than two days where I’ve woken up not knowing where I am. I shake my head to try to get rid of the fog, and can’t help but notice the rattle of chains accompanying it.
“Glad you could rejoin us,” Ef Utan remarks dryly.
I look over and see him chained next to me in the darkness. As my vision focuses I can make out others as well along the sides of what seems like a large ship hold.
“We walked into a trap, didn’t we?” I say with a sigh.
“Oh yeah… big time,” Ef Utan mutters. “Last I remember was some kind of smoke in the air, and then I woke up here. I can’t see a blasted thing, though. How about you?”
I grin before I remember that nobody can see me. “Just another reason to bring the cat with you,” I joke as I lean over as far as I can so that I can grab the lockpicks hidden in my head scarf. After a few grunts and fumbled attempts in the halflight I hear the satisfying click of another lock that has given up when confronted with my skills. “And this is the other one,” I finish as I make quick work of the rest of the locks.
“Never doubted you for a second,” Ef Utan says with a laugh as I free him from his chains. I take a moment while he’s working the circulation back into his arms to scope out the rest of the hold. I know there’s other people here, but I could swear I caught a glimpse of something unusual down at the other end that I just have to check out first.
May Bast protect us all… what is that thing? I rear back in horror and disgust as I finally make out the details of the statue at the other end of the hold. Once I got past all of the tentacles I was finally able to make out a face that I wish I’d never seen in those religious textbooks back at the Seeker Library: the face of Demagorgon, the Prince of Demons.
“We all need to get out of here…NOW,” I say to whomever is willing to listen as I make my way to the double doors at the other end to try and access the situation. Slavery is one thing… but something tells me we aren’t meant to be slaves for very long before we turn into snacks for that (ugh) creature they seem to worship.
I pick the locks on the double doors and sneak up the stairs (which unfortunately lead straight to the deck) to see that we’re on a still-docked (thank Bast) Hammership with 5-6 crew, a 1/2 dozen armored and well-armed humans, and one large (and ugly) 6’5" Orc carrying a broadsword. I’m scanning around the deck for exits when I hear the strangest thing: Fluent Elvish coming from the Orc. I take a second look at him and notice that he’s not your typical Orc at all; he’s actually rather well-dressed, clean-cut, and dare I say advanced looking for an Orc.
Odd…definitely odd, and something worth investigating once we all get out of here.
I make my way back to Ef Utan and let him know the situation. “Good news is, we’re still docked on Braal. Bad news is… there’s at least a dozen people and one large Orc in our way to the docks.”
“Hmm… any suggestions?”
“This may sound crazy… but I think we should free all the prisoners and just rush them… with you in the lead, of course.”
“If the Gods are on our side, we should be able to catch them by surprise just long enough for the prisoners to escape to safety. That is, if you’re willing to take on that Orc.”
“What will you be doing while I set myself up for martyrdom?” Ef Utan asks sarcstically.
“Me? I’ll be getting our stuff back, of course!”
I was a determined catfolk on the prowl as I sneaked through the chaos of 25 newly freed prisoners running for their lives. I could only hope that Ef Utan managed to keep the orc busy without getting himself killed while I slipped through the doors on the other side of the deck.
I only managed to search through the first few rooms, however, before my ears picked up a whole new ruckus on deck. The guards of Refuge decided to make a timely appearance, apparently thanks to a raid by the P.O.T.S. Just in time, too… because I was having a bit of noisy trouble with some of the locks around here.
That’s between you and me though… got it?
After spending the next few hours stuck in a drab room getting debriefed by the Magisters, however… I think I’d have rather taken my chances with the crew on the ship. After seeing the bruises on Ef Utan, though… I decide that’s another thing best kept to myself.
By the time we’re finally free to go, I’m so frustrated, angry and BORED, that I am ready to hunt Dabend down and make him give us our stuff back or else I will take out the monetary equivilent from his hide!
Illustration by Syreene