The morning following the distribution of the winnings, several of the heroes decided to go inspect the warehouse district of Tinkton to try and uncover any more about what had been going on behind the guise of the Breaching Festival.
They arrived after a short walk from their rooms at the inn and were quickly engaged in a conversation by a beggar who had been sitting outside the warehouse. After being asked, he mentioned having seen a lot of activity in the area, but nothing that had been out of the ordinary for the busy section of the town they were in. Holding out a cup for coin, T’lemya noted a piece of paper that looked vaguely similar to the invoice that had lead them to the warehouse area in the first place. The only real difference was that this was only a small section of a full piece of paper. It appeared that someone had taken the time to rip it up in an attempt to cover their tracks.
Obtaining the piece of paper from the beggar, the heroes, led by Harry and his badger, began to track down the remaining pieces of the paper. It took some time and strenuous amounts of searching, but the heroes managed to locate the scattered pieces of the paper, learning that the warehouse where most of the pieces were found had been used by a large group of ships only three days previously.
Puzzling the paper back together, the heroes realized they were now looking at a map of the mainland. Along the North and Eastern reaches of the map was a shipping route that doubled back on itself and ended in the North-western reaches of the continent.
The heroes realized this was where the red dragon flight had been building up its armies of conquest over the past couple months. It could be no coincidence that the parts of the constructs that they had tracked to this warehouse and that this map lead to where their enemy was building up its forces.
They new immediately that they could not allow such a fleet of ships deliver its cargo. But they also knew a few other things.
First, the point of origin on the map appeared to be Basque. This meant it was very likely that the current ruling house and enemies of the heroes, Kashka, was involved in this too.
Second, they knew they were only behind by three days and since they had the route, they could very easily cut the fleet off before it reached its destination.
They were trying to decide how to go about this as they walked through the docks and caught sight of a very familiar boat. The Jinny Bob II in all of its “how the hell is it still floating” glory, sat tied to the docks. The heroes knew that the boat was more than it appeared as they had used it weeks previously to hunt down the sea creature in the southern seas.
It’s strange owner Fred did not appear to be near the craft. As they inspected it closer, a noise caught their attention from behind them. A sharp intake of breath followed by a sudden closing of a door.
Knowing that they had to investigate this, they approached the door and knocked. Nobody answered and it appeared it was locked. Vellius attempted to pick the lock but was unable to get the right tool for the job. Al’ev looked to Harry and asked him to smash it down after warning whoever was inside to stand back.
The dwarf took a mighty swing of his weapon and the wooden door shattered. The larger parts landed on someone who turned out to be none other than Fred.
Fred was out cold. The heroes inspected him as Al’ev mended the door and replaced it on its hinges. It was pointed out that the body seemed odd. Sindri and Al’ev both detected illusion magic at work and Al’ev decided to dispell it.
The illusion faded and what lay on the ground before them was a mannequin-like body. Upon further inspection, they found a compartment where a Gnome was slowly stirring to consciousness. This turned out to be the real Fred.
Digging through his things as he came to, they found several surprising items. A bag of sharing was etched into the inner line of the pants that the mannequin was wearing. Blasphemy took these. Second, an arbiter’s tome with Fred’s name in it.
Fred was an arbiter or, as they found out, he used to be one. Learning a bit about the gnome behind the mannequin, the heroes asked if it may be possible to use Fred’s fast boat to catch up with the fleet of ships that had set sail three days prior.
Deciding to find out more information on the fleet of ships, the heroes waited until nightfall before several of them, including Fred, infiltrated the warehouse district’s records department. They learned the names of several ships, including some they knew to be belonging to house Kashka.
They now knew exactly what they were looking for on the open seas. They could only hope that it would lead them to a solution to freeing Caramel from the clutches of the Black Dragon Queen…