Leaving the Bloodwatch
The horrific screeching of the wounded dragon lifting into the night sky, the three heroes had succeeded in defeating the dragon army garrison at the Bloodwatch temple and gained a mythic dragonlance in the process.
Without wasting too much time, the group sifted through the great treasure pile collected by the dragon and picked out the more valuable and transportable pieces along with a sizeable sum of iron pieces with which to take care of their financial requirements. Distributing the coin as evenly and equitably as possible (the dwarf carried most), the group swiftly departed into the night sans their gnollish guide Septus.
Deciding to make their way along the coast in an attempt to avoid entanglements with the roaming gnoll warparties of the laughing lands, the group was hopeful that they might find a ship willing to transport them to Flotsom, a small port town on the northern Balifor coastline, so that they might continue their journey into the Khalkist mountains in search of the dragonstones.
Finding a Ship
Late evening approached when they came across a small fishing ‘village’. Little more than ramshackle huts and tents with a series of small wooden floating piers, there appeared to be a large merchant ship anchored offshore and with it many days of land travel potentially saved.
Locating the tavern, a barn like building full of boisterous and mostly human patrons, Aeruk and Hawkeye ventured within in the hopes of finding some of the sailors of the ship and buying passage. Thedan, whose last fact finding mission into a tavern resulted in the untimely explosion of heads, remained outside with Fleet the unicorn.
The Pale Stranger
Inside, Hawkeye and Aeruk found little in the way of help from the various sailors, their inquiries mostly being ignored or rebuffed. Someone else, however, had much greater success. An armoured, scarred, pale, and vaguely pious looking warrior rather deftly stepped in and gathered the location of the captain from the gruff sailors. Hawkeye seemed strangely drawn to this figure, more so upon seeing that he bore the holy symbol of Kiri Jolith upon his chest brazenly.
Joining this man, Aeruk and Hawkeye joined in conversation with the captain and soon in negotiations over the price of passage. Again, this new found pale warrior seemed much more skilled in bargaining and soon made the rather large claim that he could heal the captain’s men if they were wounded on the journey. Doubtful, the captain remained fixed in his mind. The warrior produced a dagger, to the distraction of all around, and thrust it down into his hand upon the table! Horrified and speechless onlookers watched still as the man healed the hand without bandage or salve, pouring water over it to wash away the blood and show no wound remained. A miracle!
Too much of a miracle for some. “SORCERER! SORCERER!” A gangrelly man with a club and a fear of SORCERERS struck out at the man who had healed with a word, getting in some vicious blows. A small scuffle broke out but the healer calmly stepped away and out the door. Amazed and still somewhat incredulous about the recent events, Aeruk and Hawkeye rejoined Thedan (who had entered the bar upon hearing the fight begin) and informed him of the strange man and their bartered passage on the ship “Catcher in the Wind”.
Boarding the ship the next morning, their sea journey began. The healing man, whose name was Veiss, was good if somewhat gruff looking company to have and the three heroes and he seemed to be sizing each other up, appraising each others intentions. One night, after a comfortable evening meal with the captain, the four spoke at length about intentions and goals and eventually Veiss had the truth from Thedan and the rest about the on going war and the heroes’ part in it.
High Seas Battle
Not long after that night, a ship was spotted on the horizon following them and quickly so. The captain was sure that it was an enemy vessel and bade that his crew make ready to fight! There would be no outrunning such a ship. Everyone drew blade and arrow and received the draconian attack once they came within range. Hawkeye’s arrows, imbued with flame by Thedan, pierced many a draconian. Aeruk’s handling of the ballista and his hammer felled many as well. Thedan’s sleeping was restful indeed. And Veiss, the holy warrior of Kiri Jolith slashed and cut into the hated foe, quickly drawing his blade free of one statue before lodging it firmly in the next. Tugging on it to free it before the next draconian attack, Veiss turned to realize that no more remained!
With many of the crew wounded or dead, the group sent the attacking ship with set rigging into the maelstrom to be destroyed and made haste to Flotsom. Once there, the captain thanked them for their aid and suggested that they make to the tavern called ‘The Jetties’ and make good with a woman there named Bertie. She would take care of them.
Three becomes Four
For Veiss, it seemed as if his path and the path of the three heroes were one. Fate had brought him to their side and only fate would part him. The three heroes were now four.
The Jetties turned out to be a strange oasis in the rundown ramshackle town of Flotsom. Relatively well kept and bustling with human and kender trade, draconians were no where to be seen inside the bar whereas you couldn’t spit without hitting one in the streets. Certainly it appeared that the patrons of the bar were no friends to the few dragon army officers that sat at a table on their own.
Thedan’s and Veiss’ approach of Bertie the owner and cook yielded little in the way of help, strange for the fact that the captain had recommended her. A cold shoulder was mostly what greeted their attempts to ellicit information. And another cold shoulder would present itself later in the form of a musician taking a brief break from entertaining the tavern crowd to make his way over to the group’s table.
A Sour Singer
This ‘minstrel’ glared at the group and warned them outright not to cause trouble. A strange introduction indeed! Before many words could be traded, the man soon revealed a little of the extent of his knowledge – he knew names, he knew deeds, and he knew that they carried with them a dragonlance. A symbol of Branchala he held, the same as the kindly Jerek Greenkin, made the man’s firm warnings and aloofness even more strange to the group.
After some very unhelpful banter back and forth and more dire warnings that if the group caused any trouble they’d be dead in the morning(!) Aeruk finally hit upon a key piece of information. Knights of Solamnia had previously come to Flotsom to make an attempt on rescuing someone and had failed miserably, causing much pain and suffering to the people via the Dragon army’s retaliation for such an act. Leafblade, for such was his name, had only assumed that this was the group’s purpose and was not eager for the same to occur again. Soon after the bard realized his error his attitude changed and more information spilled forth readily including one very interesting fact concerning the prisoner the knights were attempting to rescue:
The prisoner was the Grand Duke of Calinhad.
TO BE CONTINUED….