Illustration by Syreene
Sigh… I knew looking for those frelling slavers was going to be a wash after that bust at the docks… but I just needed to get it out of my system. I miss those gloves, dang it…
Anyway, once I got over myself I decided to wander down to the docks to see if I could find Aladan Leafbower. Not only was he captured like we were, but he was a member of the EIN, so maybe they’d know something about the slavers?
A long shot, I know… but that’s been our style lately.
It didn’t take long to notice that something was definitely up with the Elves. There was a lot of activity on the docks, with many of them too busy to talk to a stranger like me. Fortunately luck was finally with me, though… in the form of a young (I think-hard to tell with Elves) Elf leaning back in a chair and enjoying the sunny day.
I ran my fingers through my hair and put on my best smile as I leaned over suggestively and nudged his knee. “Excuse me,” I purred, “but do you think you could help a girl out?”
“I don’t know, I thought he was kind of cute,” I said to Lenata of Celestian as we waited for our drinks at The Golden Helm. “Tavist said he would meet us here and let me know what he found out…” I muttered as I scanned the crowd.
“Tavist? I thought we were looking for Aladan?”
“Tavist was the only one who would talk to me,” I explained with chagrin. “He actually knows Aladan though, so he said he’d try and contact him for us.”
Ef Utan Izenik chuckled. “He probably had contacting something else on his mind.”
I grinned as the waitress finally shows up with our ales. “Well, like I said… he IS kind of cute.”
Eventually Tavist showed up, but regretfully told us Aladan won’t be available till around 8 Bells to meet at a bar of our choosing. I am not one to waste some rare down time, however, especially after being stuck in a hold and then questioned for hours by the authorities.
“Well then,” I say as I raise my glass. “Party time is a’wastin! What say we relax and make a day of it, then? We’ll meet over at The Puzzled Scaver, because those Halflings know how to have a good time!”
“To a good time with pretty women!” Tavist joins in happily as he raises his glass.
“Afraid that’s all you, Kenari,” Ef Utan replied after he finished his ale. “Lenata and I are going to go talk with Rinthallion of the EIN to see if we can learn anything about that weird Orc.”
“Weird Orc?” Tavist asks with sudden interest.
“Let them go do the questioning,” I say as I hear musicians tuning up and leap to my feet. “I am on a mission to have a good time! Come on!” I grab Tavist’s hand and pull him to follow me onto the dance floor.
Ef Utan laughs and waves a hand in my direction as they leave. “Just be back to the ship by 7 bells.”
Thanks to the Gods, I was actually able to have a relaxing afternoon without anyone trying to kill me or kidnap me for once. Tavist wasn’t a bad dancer, even if I had to swat his roaming hands a few times, and he was more then willing to keep up with me as I did my best to drink, dance and gamble the day away.
Try as I did to avoid anything important to our quest, however, I did meet a curious Elf while trying my hand at a new card game. It seems this Elf named Mallath was all kinds of special, because he was assigned to a “Wanderer” ship going out to explore deep space. I don’t know if that was true or the ale talking, but he did have some great stories about seeing the Spelljammer when he was a child, whole worlds on the backs of turtles and space shaped like cubes.
I’ll bet you think I’m Barmies, right? The dark of it is… this is nothing new to me. Have you seen my charts? Seriously… things go down every day in this crazy universe that will make your head explode… and that’s even without meeting an Illithid.
Eventually Tavist and I stumble back to the ship no worse for wear to find Ef Utan siging for deliveries made by the EIN. “What do we have here?” I ask with only a slight slur; thankfully dancing helps get the alcohol out of your system.
Ef Utan pries open a crate to see palates of bread and wax-sealed jars. “It seems Rinthalion appreciated our information about the Ogre,” Ef Utan answered as he read the note found inside the crate. “We’ve now got supplies of Elven Waybread, as well as Snowberry Fire Peppers.”
“Ooo… this I’ve got to try!” I mumble to myself as I pry open the wax just a sliver and dip a claw inside. _Holy mother of… _ I bend over suddenly and cough as my eyes begin to water. “That’s good stuff…” I choke out, “…and I do believe I am sober now.”
“Great, because I am starving,” Lenata said as she walked down the gang plank to join us.
“Where’s Vedis?” I say curiously as we make our way through town to The Puzzled Scaver.
“Last I saw she was passed out with a bottle of absinthe on the deck,” Lenata answered with a furrowed brow. “I’m starting to worry about her… she’s been drinking an awful lot after that Reigar party.”
“Eh… I’m sure she’ll be fine,” I say as I stop and lean against a food stand. “I imagine her constitution is as strong as her hide,” I say with a chuckle.
“Um… Kenari? Your hand is smoking…” Lenata says as she motions to my hand unknowingly resting on the edge of a grill and starting to smoke.
“Bast’s whiskers!” I exclaim as I pull my hand away. I check for injuries, but to my amazement… other than a little bit of singed fur, I am undamaged.
“Snowberries are amazing, aren’t they?” Tavist jokes. “I tried one on a dare at a party once… good thing too, considering the fire I fell in.”
“Fire resistance, eh?” I’m surprised no one can hear the wheels turning in my mind. “I wonder if we can make a potion out of those peppers?”
“Sure you can… if you can survive drinking the thing,” Tavist laughs. “Come on, I see the bar up ahead.”
Eventually a much healthier Aladan Leafbower finally walks in to join us at our table, and proceeds to thank us with a toast from his personal flask of an ancient family vintage mead. Mmmm… just what I needed to calm the burn.
We order dinner, and during the conversation while I’m swatting Tavist’s hand of my knee, I can’t help but notice that Lenata and he have been smiling at each other quite a bit. Good for her, I say… Aladan seems like a good guy, even if he doesn’t have any new information about the slavers.
One thing he DOES know about, however, is that there is definitely something big going on with the EIN. Top brass are heading to Bral on “The Silverswift” in order to be there for the maiden launch of “The Wanderer.”
“Hey,” I mention as I tap Tavist on the shoulder. “That guy we played cards with… he mentioned that ship too, and everybody seemed really interested in that Orc.”
Ef Utan draws his eyes away from a rather pretty Moon Elf soldier smiling at him. “I’ve been getting the feeling that this Orc is a big skeleton in the EIN’s closet; we need to try and find out more information about him. Is he here to assassinate someone at the ship’s launch?”
“Or does he just want to steal the ship?” I suggest as I munch on a particularly good piece of mutton. “Just saying,” I mutter as I notice everyone looking at me. “It is supposed to be all high-tech and unique, right? There are emissaries from all over the place that could be targets… but that ship is one of a kind.”
I can tell from the grim look on Ef Utan’s face that he’s seriously considering the possibility. _Crud… I didn’t mean to turn this into a business meeting! _ “Enough of that, though. I’ve been having a good day so far, so let’s not ruin it!” I grab my mug as I slide one arm around Tavist’s shoulders and drape a leg across his lap. I’ve got no intention of sleeping with anyone tonight… but dang it, I deserve to have some fun, right?
Come morning, I swear to Bast… let me wake up in my own bed, and I will get right back to business!
Illustration by Syreene