With the job of putting out the fires nearly complete, the heroes went back to the three dead dragons and several began skinning them for their scales. As they were doing this, they caught the sound of a war cry ringing up from inside the entry tree. Shortly after this, a human man in strange armor that looked to be made of some sort of wood came running out, massive sword raised for combat.
He stopped when he saw that the fighting had ended. The heroes established that this person, who the heroes found out went by the name of Duke, was indeed late to the fight. The man sounded as though this wasn’t the first time he had been late to enter a conflict and though it left many questions in their minds, the man decided that he would stick around the adventurers for a bit.
Al’ev surmised that he may have thought he would see some combat if he did.
As Harry and several others continued to skin his dead kin, Al’ev decided now was a good time for him to check up on Mel. The dragon attack had left him fearful for her as he did not think she were in any danger here. T’lemya caught sight of him heading off to the residential area of the city and silently followed.
Meanwhile, Neo went to warn the townguard of what the final dragon had said before it fell, warning them to expect another attack in the next month.
Meeting back up and spending one more night in Caori, the heroes decided that it would be a good idea to head straight to Basque. If the dragons had already started to attack this far east, it was possible that the supplies would not have to go as far and thus their time was growing shorter.
They rode upon horseback with the stranger, Duke in tow joining them for the journey north. As they continued on North, it grew quickly apparent that the attack on Caori was not an isolated incident. Pillars of smoke were rising in multiple directions and when Al’ev flew up to see what he could, he noted that just about every settlement larger than a simple homestead had to be aflame. Of in the direction of Halar, Trinity, Varalon, even distant Kassadin, massive columns of smoke created thunderstorm like clouds in the sky.
The war was spreading and time was running short.
He informed the others of what he saw as they continued to Basque. They arrived in the Halfling capital after four days of travel. As they approached an area where a large park had once been, they saw dozens of halflings chopping apart pieces of a gigantic red dragon that they learned had been part of the attack on Basque only days earlier.
Asking about the condition of the city and the ships at the dock, they learned that not a lot had actually been damaged and that a group of people had managed to take this particular dragon down with jury rigged harpoons from various ships in the harbor.
The heroes began to move on when a crack of thunder filled the air around them. This was very odd as it was extremely clear outside and there was not a cloud capable of creating lightning anywhere in the sky.
This is when Neo felt something hit his armor. He turned and saw a mug filled with ash laying on the ground. Al’ev had a hunch as to what this mean, but the markings all over the mug were clearly of Cayden Cailean, Neo’s patron god. Al’ev decided it was of more immediate importance for Neo and himself to find out what this message from the gods was while the others went about finding more information on the fleet of ships and looking into chartering their own vessel for an ocean intercept.
They went off to do research using the books that Neo had found during one of their earlier adventures.
Harry, Stryd, Blasphemy, Duke, and Vellius left to find the harbor master. They found the assistant Harbor Master instead. This assistant was clearly young, and infatuated with the idea of naval warfare.
But it was through this halfling that they learned that many of House Sparls ships had gone missing months earlier, causing them to catch on to the fact that it was likely that the fleet of ships they were about to intercept likely included stolen vessels being run by house Kashka. They also learned of someone who may be able to assist them with their coming endeavor, Captain Amanta.
By the time they met back up with Al’ev and Neo, the pair had discovered a story of a similar thing happening to a man who had fallen out of favor with Cayden Cailean. Al’ev’s suspicions were proven correct, Neo’s god was displeased with his actions thus far. With this knowledge, the paladin left the bar without a word.
Al’ev considered going after him briefly before realizing that whatever Neo was about to go do, he needed to do it alone. Instead he asked what information the others had found out. After they shared all that they could, they set out to find Captain Amanta.
A short time later, they were watching a very well organized and disciplined crew pull into port on a skinny but long vessel clearly built for speed. They continued to watch and wait as this crew took all of the cargo off of the ship and placed it on the docks. They were paid by a rich looking man who approached after a short time.
The crew then disembarked and Al’ev decided it was time to go and talk with the captain. They were stopped at the top of the gangplank by a man who confirmed that this was Captain Amanta’s vessel. They explained that they had a business offer and soon Al’ev and Harry found themselves in the captain’s quarters discussing the details of what they were after and why they had come to him.
The man seemed to be a bit skittish when it was mentioned that they were with the Guild of Arbiters and Al’ev suspected that perhaps this man had done a few shady deals in the past.
Harry explained that the assistant harbor master had suggested Captain Amanta as the right person to go to for any job that might involve conflict. They explained they were after a fleet of stolen ships with cargo that they were also interested in. They informed the captain that they would likely be needing extra crew to help capture and subdue multiple vessels.
The price came in at a fair number and little negotiating needed to happen before Al’ev left a deposit with the man and said they’d come back to finalize the deal the following day after he discussed it with the rest of the adventurers who had not been allowed into the captain’s cabin for the meeting.
The following day, the adventurers agreed to a deal and Al’ev handed over the remaining portion of the first half of payment, all told 2500 gold, and the Captain told them they would set sail the following day.
The heroes sought out the Sparls and informed them of what was going on and what they were about to do, emphasizing that they would attempt to bring back as many of the stolen Sparl ships as was possible. The elderly couple looked hopeful, but had little information to assist the heroes with.
The following morning, the adventurers set sail. The crew was extremely disciplined and at twice the normal strength needed for a vessel of this size. All told, 48 individuals were on hand to assist with the mission they were on.
During the first day at sea, the heroes watched as the crews drilled for combat. The second crew the captain had called in filling out most of the combat crew numbers. On the second day the crew repeated their drills and on the third, Al’ev decided to join in feeling like it was second nature after the time he had spent with the dwarven military.
It was a short time after the drills concluded when the heroes began to note the change in weather. Al’ev sought out the captain who explained that there was a good chance they would be seeing the wayward fleet ahead of this storm, using it to speed them along.
He relayed this information to the rest of the adventurers, telling them it was suggested that they head below decks. The ship sailed into the storm and it was not too long before shouts of sails began to ring out on the deck above.
Al’ev carefully made his way back to the captain who pointed out that they had found the fleet. Two ships were currently pealing away from the rest and looked to be in combat.
Al’ev decided they should take a closer look and soon found themselves watching several constructs that they had fought before in tinkton fighting against halflings. One of the constructs appeared to have the ability to cast spells as lightning shot forth from its hands towards the other vessel. But as they neared the conflict, a massive boom shook the ship that all the fighting was happening on and the ship began to go under.
Al’ev made the decision to try and rescue the constructs, tying a rope to himself and flying over to the vessel as it sunk. Fighting against the storm, he was only able to save three constructs with the use of a floating disc spell.
These constructs he brought back to the ship, allowing the wind to take them to the vessel. The constructs and Al’ev were brought back on board and the crew had their weapons drawn and ready for whatever trouble might come from the three metallic bodies.
Al’ev turned to the construct that he recognized as the one shooting lighting from its hand earlier and it spoke.
“Do you have some tea. I’d quite like some.”
The voice was metallic, but instantly recognizable as Norman, the old man who had gone missing during the abduction of Crustakin Hold.
Al’ev stood wide eyed as Captain Amanta’s ship continued to give chase to the remaining ships in the fleet….