As soon as all are settled the ship sets sail. Eventually they make their way to the mess deck. An unshaven sailor wanders over to their table and joins them. Skeeve greets him as he sits, which is more than enough to loosen the sailor’s tongue. A man who enjoys his own voice, Nobert introduces himself as a member of the crew and cheerfully goes on to fill them in on all the ins and outs of the crew, wandering happily from subject to subject with little prompting from the party.
The Ocean’s Majesty
Click for larger view.
As it turns out, Endo was right in assuming that boxes coming from the blacksmith were likely war supplies. The ship is selling weapons to the northern states of Mar Tesaro, an island deep in some sort of civil war.
The conversation then turns to Inorem, whom according to Nobert, the crew dislikes. His rudeness and distaste for humans are more than enough to keep him from favor amongst the crew. Inorem used to sail on a much grander elven ship, but it was sunk in the battle of Bayhaven. He’d been forced to take this position on a human crew and he resents it. Half of the cargo hold is his, and he is free to use this ship until he can make enough to buy his own. He does this by stacking it to the rafters with weapons for sale at Mar Tesoro.
Nobert then goes on to explain that Beck used to be first mate, losing the title to Inorem when the Captain offered to help Inorem get funds for a new ship. The crew however misses Beck as such, liking him as much as they hate Inorem. The crew also is very fond of the captain, who they refer to as “Puffins” or “Puff”. He runs a loose ship, but his generosity with his pay make up for any faults.
Nobert rambles on about various things until he settles on his girl Talla in Bayhaven, and he how is looking forward to seeing her. He goes on to describe her many attributes, though none of them seem to be her looks. After some time the men manage to turn his conversation to Bayhaven. Bayhaven is fine, or was when the ship was last there. The old town has been repaired and there was a huge harvest that year up north. Their biggest problem is that goods are piling up on the docks because there aren’t enough ships to move everything. Several were lost in the battle of Bayhaven, and a few others to pirates before that. Other ships are floating goods for the war (which is more profitable) so Bayhaven just isn’t getting enough ships to move everything.
Nobert takes leave when he finishes eating, saying he is needed on deck. The others go to work for a bit then retire to their quarters for the night.
The next day is clear and bright. Around noon the party, all about their duties, hear a ruckus on the deck. There they see a big crowd gathered, a great conglomeration of sweaty sailors and noise. After some shoving the party manages to work their way towards the innards of the fray, only to find Beck and Nobert in the middle, preparing to fight. The party finally surmises that Nobert and Beck had each had a letter from their girl back home, only to find that she was one and the same AND pregnant. After further discussion the two decide to fight for her. The winner of the fight will get to stay a sailor, loser will get all the money and go back to Bayhaven to marry Talla.
Inorem quickly steps in trying to settle it, pointing out that “This is most certainly not how civilized people settle arguments and certainly not on my.. erm.. this ship.”
The captain however waves him aside with a brisk, “Go ahead, go ahead, lets see the outcome. This should be a good show.”
Both men quickly throw down their valuables in a pile as the mob of sailors crowds Inorem out of the way. It is no contest. Beck easily wins the fight, knocking Nobert out cold in less than a minute. Beck looks through his pockets, making sure he didn’t miss anything of value to give to Nobert. He goes below, looking sad.
Someone dumps a bucket of sea water over Nobert, who despite the numerous cuts, bruises, and one rather large lump upon the head, wakes immediately, grins a wide, toothy grin, and shouts, “Congratulate me boys, I’m getting married!” The crew all cheers.
The next day arises, sleepy and full of sun. The seas sits calmly, gently rocking the old boat. The party assembles over their evening meal when they are approached by the man they had seen running from the smith. He introduces himself as Thu’fir, settles himself down amongst them and begins to talk. He likes to talk, mainly about himself and his pet sword. He goes on and on about the number of people he had killed with it, though when questioned they find that the number is rather smaller than his bragging implies (namely 11).
The next day is rainy, a steady chill drizzle, in which the crew works steadily in alternating wind and rain.
Enoch, in his rambling about the ship (being a cleric, the crew will not let him help), discovers that there is another cleric aboard and decides to visit him the next day. The crew warns him that the other cleric is a bit of a joke, quite old, blind, and deaf.
Enoch makes his way below decks to the infirmary. There he finds Crolman, a human who looks to be a hundred years old and his attendant, a young sailor who tries continually to make sense of the old man’s mumblings, hoping for a hint at what the weather will be in the coming days. After some time and a bit of halting conversation with the sailor Enoch surmises that Crolman had once been a cleric but has now lost all his powers except for a gift of prophecizing the weather, which Crolman foretells in fits and starts amidst numerous comments on food and achy joints. While Enoch listenes, Crolman suggests that he is hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable, and that the weather will be fine for the next two days.
While Enoch visits the old cleric, Thordek looks for Beck. He finds him in the carpentry shop of the ship, practicing his sword fighting. Thordek watches as Beck’s sword slices through the air, looking as if it was drawing an elaborate picture inthe air as it flashes and swirles, cutting and slicing.
Skeeve decides to go practice his flying.
The next day there is much talk amongst the sailors about Crolman as he seems to be very disturbed and more confused and upset than usual. Each has his own opinion about Crolman’s odd sayings that day. Enoch goes below deck to see what is going on.
In the infirmary he finds Crolman and his helper, Crolman going on, mostly about food but quite happily tossing in random, cryptic comments regarding the weather, and in all appearances quite disturbed. The sailor attending him is listening carefully to each word he says, attempting to get a straightforward answer out of him, so intently that he rather absentmidedly gets his food and drink and sets them down before him. Crolman, in his own little world, is quite oblivious to him. Crolman sits in his usual spot feeling around on the table before him obviously looking for his food, “Hungry!? …Thirsty?!”
Crolman mumbles, ” They won’t like us. Not gonna be happy. Not our friends.”
“Hungry!?” Crolman exclaimes as he feels around for his food. “Gonna rain. Big storm. The ocean’s gonna fall on our heads. Two days off, ” Crolman continues, still feeling around for his food, ” Watch the sail. Tie it fast. Don’t let it come loose!”
“Wet!” Crolman complains as he finds his food having put his hand in it as he felt for it.
Enoch then goes back on deck to tell the others about the latest, more complete news on the coming storm.
The next morning the captain announces that they are drawing close to Fort Bolland, and should reach it by morning. There is a storm approaching, but they expect to reach shore well before it hit. The men need to work fast to secure the ship and get it unloaded before the storm hit. They need to get some of the dead weight (weapons) out of the hold so they will be less likely to sink with the high waves. Everyone needs to pitch in to make sure they are ready when the storm hit, or the ship risks being smashed into the docks.
The standing rule is no shore leave in Fort Bolland, due to the war. This is still the case, but the captain allows some of the crew to go ashore and seek lodgings, since there is no sense in sleeping on a ship in a storm at port. He asks for volunteers to stay up all night and watch over the ship.
At dawn they make ready to port.
An hour later the island draws near. The storm is a ways off yet. Everyone relaxes. It looks like they will port and unload well ahead of the storm. As they approach, the sailor in the crow’s nest sounds an alarm. They draw closer and see that the city is laid to waste. All has been burned. The lighthouse is dark, and the docks are smoking. A lone and crudely built watchtower had been built on the coast with a sign of an eye with a thorn through it.
This is the image on the flag seen flying over the city.
Fort Bolland has been defeated.
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