Ruins of Adventure

Desolate: Act 1, Scene 3

22 Flamerule, Year of the Helm, 1362 DR.

Aboard the “Escapade”

It has been a week since you boarded the Escapade in Marsember. Few Cormyrean ships sail north of the Dragon’s Reach, and even fewer to the Moon Sea, and, while passage aboard the Escapade was expensive, you’re quite lucky to have managed it. The merchant caravel bore few passengers, laden as it was with cargo bound for Thentia, Melvaunt, and Zhentil Keep, but still the crew is a lively one and it has been a relatively pleasant voyage.

This night though, everyone has been on edge. A few hours ago you could see fire and explosions on the horizon. The captain changed course to avoid whatever conflict it might be, but still, it lay directly in the Escapade’s path towards the port of New Phlan, and even a long detour could not avoid that section of sea entirely.

“All hands on deck!” comes the call, just after midnight, accompanied by the blaring of a trumpet. There are bumping sounds as the hull collides with debris in the water—corpses of men and livestock, and discarded crates.

Embry: I make my way to the rail, rope in hand. I’m watching the debris for survivors, who I will attempt to toss the rope to.

Lothar Dravion: I move to the bow of the ship, taking a spare lantern if I can along the way. As soon as I’m there I look ahead, trying to spot survivors and any larger pieces of debris so I can call them out to those behind me along the rail to either pick them up or avoid them.

Perched in the fo’castle, Lothar can see a small ship dead ahead. From his high vantage, Lother can see that the deck is quite crowded with people and a few large animals. The ship’s single mast appears to have neither sail, nor colors, and the ship’s aft shows considerable damage.

Lothar’s voice rings out loud and clear: “SHIP! SHIP DEAD AHEAD! She’s dead in the water, with a deck full of people!”

Embry, “Well it seems we’ve come after a bit of trouble. See anything on your side aside from junk and death?”

The captain of the Escapade, a narrow-faced man with a pipe perpetually clenched between his teeth, begins shouting orders to his navigator and crew to bring them alongside the stranded vessel. “Reef the sails! Bring us around her port side! Get us a light over here! Arms at the ready!” his string of commands come out as a snarl around the stem of the pipe.

Embry responds to the command quickly, heading to the side of the deck as commanded, long-spear now in hand—watching the other ship warily.

Lothar takes a last hard look at the deck, trying to discern anything that might be important and then rushes back to the deck, taking up his spear and seeking a place he might be most useful.

Embry used to phalanx style of fighting, and seeing Lothar take up a spear, naturally gravitates to his side. “Whats your gut tell you? Cause of the trouble, or ones trouble hit?”

Lothar, “Hard to tell as yet… It’s still to dark to see them properly, and it might be a ruse. Best be ready for anything” He frowns and quickly looks around the check if anyone is watching their own port and stern.

Embry sees Lothar check behind him. “I doubt another vessel could approach through that debris without alerting us. If someone’s in the water to ambush us, best to find out that boat’s intentions fast.”

Embry looks back towards the captain. “Do we have any way of making contact before we are right on top of them? Messenger birds, an arrow with a note, even someone with a strong voice?” Turns to Lothar. “We’ve been approaching them openly and haven’t been fired upon, maybe they are just as anxious as us? Could be a good sign”

“Aye,” the captain yells from around the pipe. “Mate blew the signal asking if they’re friendly already. Ain’t heard a response, so we must assume they’re not.”

“Haven’t been attacked either, and their ship’s a mess,” replies Lothar, “Maybe their signallers are out of commission?” He pauses and adds: “Would you allow a few of us to go ahead in a sloop, Captain, see what these people have to say?”

“‘Fraid we haven’t got a sloop,” the Captain growls, “but you can take the boat and some rowers.” He yells to his men, “Heave to! Run out the longboat.”

“Well Lothar, I guess we are the volunteers for making contact.” Embry heads to where they are preparing the longboat and makes preparations to make the trip.

“That we are.” he responds with a lopsided grin. I move up to the captain: “When we are over there, we may need to make some on the spot decisions, and I’d like to know your position. What can and can’t we do if they’re innocent survivors? And how will you respond if this turns out to be a trap?”

The captain harumphs, “If it’s a trap, my men will be standing by at the rail ready to open fire. If they’re legitimately in trouble…” he pauses as if considering. “Well, we don’t have the space to take on a whole mess of refugees, but the port of New Phlan is less than five nauts away and the winds have been favorable. As long as that piece o’ junk is floating we can tow ’em there.”

Lothar: “Excellent. Thank you, Captain.” I quickly go to my backpack, I leave the armour in, no use for all that weight on the water, but I do grab my helmet and stuff my sheaf of papers into my tunic (whatever the outcome, I’d rather not have people going through that…). The pack stays where it is, and I go to the longboat to aid in preparations.

Sven: Having surveyed the situation, I approach the Captain: “With your permission, I too will go to the distressed ship. It’s highly likely there are those in need of services I may provide.”

“Do you have any medical supplies on board I may take with me? Salves, bandages, ointments and the like? Also, if you could spare two lanterns so we can see where we’re going and also to signal you if needed.” Thinks for a moment: “In fact, could you give me three signals that you’ll recognize? One for “all clear”, one for “trouble”, and one for…”open fire with prejudice”…just in case.” With that, I will grab any supplies offered, in addition to my backpack, map case, dagger, and staff (leaving the armor and heavy arms on board the Escapade. I’ll then make my way to the rowboat.

“Aye, permission granted. If you need mending, Carpenter’s probably got some whisky, and cat-gut, and saws you can use.” He turns to a nearby sailor and growls, “Load some lanterns on the boat, and take the flags.”

Since his armor is made of hide, Embry keeps in on as his boards the boat. “Nice of you to join us Sven. If things go awry, I have a feeling we will be grateful for your skills.”

Nods. “Thank you, lad. Not the way I envisioned arriving at Phlan.” Looks to Lothar and nods again “Greetings. ‘Tis a brave endeavor the two of you volunteer for.” Sven pauses in silent contemplation for a moment, looking at Embry’s armor. “As much as I am hoping for the best, you may be onto something there. I’m going to suit up before we hit the water. If there’s anything either of you were hesitant to bring, grab it and I can help reduce the weight considerably, if you wish.”

With that, Sven will grab the rest of his belongings and armor up.

“If this ship wasn’t the cause of the trouble, there may be wounded on board that need help,” Embry addresses Sven. “I’ve been trained in how to take a life but not how to save one. I’m more than willing to help, though. In that case I will follow your lead.”

“Sven, if you could reduce the weight of my armor, I would greatly appreciate it. And I agree, it will be good to have a skilled healer along, thank you.” If Sven gives the go ahead, I’ll go fetch my armor.

Aboard “Valkur’s Wake”

Hours pass as Valkur’s Wake drifts aimlessly on the sea. A few lamps flicker on deck, and occasionally the moon pokes out from between the clouds, but otherwise all is dark. Eventually the excitement of the evening’s attack wears off and everyone begins to drowse. Only two remain awake—Durell, anxiously keeping watch, and Jeyne, still trying to patch-together a sail, despite Nat having fallen asleep an hour before.

Suddenly, through dropping eyelids, Durell, spots a light to the south and east, small, but growing. As it nears, it splits into several lights, accompanied by the sound of waves lapping against a ship’s hull. After several minutes, the lights resolve themselves into the shape of a large ship—much larger than the Wake, or the ships that attacked it; double-masted, with two decks, and castles fore and aft.

As the ship continues to grow nearer, the sound of a horn rings out over the waves—three sharp notes in rapid succession.

Father Aram: Aram snorts awake at he sound of the trumpet with a, harumph. “What what?!” He climbs to his feet with much creaking of mail and popping of bones, glad that he didn’t sleep the whole night in his armor. He hastily arranges his coif and crown on his head, and squints out into the darkness. “What’s that?” he asks, his old, tired eyes trying to distinguish the dark blurs from the light blurs. “A ship?!”

Seeing the other, much larger ship bearing down on them, Aram, still a little confused by being suddenly wakened, begins running about the deck, shouting and nudging people awake. “Ship ho! Stand to! We’re under attack! Again!!”

Thrall wakes up from the shouting of Aram. No rituals, no prayer, just up on his feet within seconds. Staring in the given direction, he probably will not see anything more than Aram.
He turns to Aram: “Let’s be very alert on what is coming but I have a good feeling about this…..I’ve had a sort of dream or premonition about a large ship coming to our aid. Never had such a clear look at the near future.”

At Thrall’s pronouncement, Aram ceases his shouting and running about. “A dream, eh? Divinations have never been my strong suit, so I’ll take your word for it. We should find some way to inform them of our situation…” Aram begins trying to shake Nat the deck-hand awake, then looks up at the mast and calls to Durell. “These old eyes are no good in the dark. Can you see anything happening on their deck?”

“Ger’off!” the deck-hand grumbles, swatting sleepily at Aram’s hands. Finally he sits up sputtering, “What t’fuck do ya want? Canna ya see I’m sleepin’ here?”

“Sorry good dwarf, but it appears that we’re being approached by another vessel, and I haven’t the foggiest what the correct protocol for such a situation might be. Do you have some way to signal them?”

Nat rubs his eyes and looks at the larger ship bearing down on them. “Well, shit! Horn wouda been with t’ cap’n when t’ rail got blown off.” He jumps to his feet, “Any’en got a horn? Flute? Kazoo? Pots and pans I can bang t’gether? Anything?”

Thrall, “The hurry gurdy player maybe? Whistling on your fingers? I can do that. The wolf’s howl! Would that be sufficient? And in what sequence?”

“Wolf-howls donna tend t’ make people wanna be friendly, if ye get me. An’ I doubt even Donovan can play the gurdy loud enough t’ reach oer there.”

The dwarf walks over and kicks the hobgoblin awake. “Yass! Get’re up. Looks like we might have company and we need t’ signal ‘em that we ain’t pirates or whatnot.”

“Too late,” the hobgoblin says pointing out to sea, “it looks like they’ve already dispatched a boarding party.”

Aram, less excitedly now, makes his way around the deck, rousing everyone else with exhortations to be prepared to defend themselves, but not make any obvious shows of force that might provoke the people in the other ship. He saves Osakh for last, unless he is already awake, and then moves to the rail closest to the approaching longboat to greet them.

Thrall joins the rest at the rail and stares in to the dark towards the approaching light.

Aram’s eyes strain as he stares into the darkness, but he cannot make out anything except the two lanterns glittering on the front of the approaching longboat, like a pair of gleaming eyes. Finally, he raises a hand and waves at the approaching boat, in what is, he hopes, a friendly and non-threatening manner. “Hey!” he calls out in Tharian. “We’re in need of assistance!” His other hand, though, stays close to the hilt of his sword.

Aboard the Longboat

DM: You are soon suited up and underway. As your longboat approaches the other ship, you see figures beginning to rise on the deck. Perhaps two dozen all told. With his superior night vision, Embry is able to make out the figures closest to the rail — among them an Ogre, a Hobgoblin, a wolf, and a withered figure wearing a crown made of bones…

Embry, “Look alive, we’ve got figures on the deck. You don’t wanna know what they are, but they haven’t made a move yet. Keep your weapons ready just in case, but not enough to be obvious”.

“What do they look like? Are we dealing with survivors, or pirates?” Lothar asks, as he loosens the retaing strap on his sword hilt and adjusts his helmet.

Sven’s cloak was already draped over his shoulders to conceal his armored appearance (as to not further startle potential survivors) with his helmet in his lap so his view would be as unobstructed as possible. Apprehensive of the overall content of Embry’s statement, he glances at him and then to the disabled ship before returning to the task at hand (rowing, I presume). “Unless one of you has a cannon in your back pocket, I doubt our weapons will be of use this far out.”

“If you think we’re in danger, we should turn back now before we get in range of any archers they may have. If we get close and they decide they want to take us out, there’s little we can do save for signaling the Escapade to open fire, shutter the lamps and try to escape under the cover of darkness.”

Lothar smiles at Sven, it’s the tense, slightly cynical smile of a warrior hardening himself for battle: “Good, we have a back-up plan then.” After a pause he adds, more earnestly “If the arrows do start flying, take cover behind me and my shield.” Now that we are closer, I try to make sense of the damage to the ship, does it look like it’s rigged, or artificially made, or is it actual battle-damage?

The small ship appears to be legitimately and seriously damaged. In the light of the lamps, you can see that the aft-castle and rudder are completely missing, and the hull is blacked from fire in numerous places.

As you get closer, you can all see the withered man in the bone crown, flanked by an Ogre and a hobgoblin, is waving his hands arms in the air. “Hey!” he calls out in the Tharian tongue. “We’re in need of assistance!”

“Hoy, fellow! What happened here!” Lothar shouts out, after exchanging a curious/quizzical look with his boat-mates. As I call, I look over the rest of the crew on the crippled ship.

Though it is still hard to make them out in the dim light, you count at least a score of heads on the boat. Some a clearly feminine in shape, and several are shorter—perhaps dwarves, or children. All appear to be armed and ready for conflict, there is a truly impressive wealth of swords, axes, and crossbows being brandished.

Lothar: Automatically I take half a step in front of Sven, as my hand unconsciously strays closer to my sword and I slightly raise my shield. I await a response before i act further.

Aram cups his hands over his mouth to project better. “Ho! We were bearing settlers to the port in New Phlan when we were attacked by pirates and a mage. Our sails have been burned, and our captain took a blow to the head and is unconscious. We’re in dire need of repairs, and a medic.”

Sven, still processing what he’s seeing says to his boat mates “I’ve come as part of a humanitarian effort, and I’ll stick to that, but not until they’ve laid down their arms and we’ve received satisfactory answers to some basic queries (on top of Lothars question): Who is in charge? What was the purpose of their vessel? Why didn’t they respond to our ships horn (even though we may now be seeing that for ourselves)? Status of their crew, how many in total on board, and how many of them are wounded.”

Embry, “How many people do you have onboard? What’s the extent of the damage? Where did the pirates and mage go?”

“We drove them off!” Aram coughs. “If you would please, sir, or madame, or sirs, this shouting is hurting my throat. Perhaps we could discuss this on board?!”

“As you can surely understand, we’re hesitant to step aboard a ship of full of armed people, perhaps one of you would come down to our rowboat? Who is currently in charge?” Shouts Lothar…

Aram lowers his voice and looks to Thrall, Durell and the others, “Ummm…who IS in charge around here?” He turns back to look at the longboat and shrugs dramatically before yelling back, “I’d be happy to come down and have a chat…”

Durell continues to watch (and remain quiet) from his perch on the mast. Though it appears that negotiations and introductions with those in the small boat need to happen, he will leave that to the better speakers and those choosing to take the lead. All that said, he’s just “paranoid” enough to choose to keep his eyes on the bigger ship. Anything that big (bigger than any sea-going vessel he has ever seen) has the potential to decide to overpower those smaller than themselves. He will, however, do his best to monitor anyone boarding the Wake, should a tussle break out.

Thrall, “You should be in charge, Aram. You have the best way of words, I think. If it does not work, we will sort it out later.”

The old man in the bone crown coughs, then cups his hands to his mouth and shouts back again. “It looks like I’m in charge. I’m happy to come aboard to parley, but don’t really feel like a swim. Can you come in close enough for me to board?”

He turns away from the rail, “Eddie, can you help me get this off? If I’m getting into that tiny boat, I’d rather not sink like a stone if I go over.” He starts removing his chainmail.

Lothar turns to the crew of the longboat:“Can we pull her aside, please?” Once I get confirmation from the crew I shout to the old man with the unusual headdress: “We’ll be right alongside!”

As the longboat pulls up alongside, Aram gets Osakh to help him down in. Once he is safely aboard, he smiles, “Ah much better. Now you said you had some questions for us?”

“That is true, but first, let’s introduce ourselves.” Lothar smiles reassuringly. “Like civilised folk.” Friendly amusement colours his gaze as he continues: "My name is Lothar Dravion, and you are? " As he extends his hand expectantly…

“Ah, my apologies.” The old man extends his hand, even in the dim light, numerous vericose veins are visible through his paper-thin skin. “Father Aram Carnithrax Decidimus, second prelate of Our Blessed Afflictor, at your service,” he says smiling, deep dimples appearing at the corners of his mouth. “Very pleased to make your acquaintance, Lothar Dravion. You’ll have to excuse the armaments. Everyone on board is quite on edge after the earlier attack.”

“Now, as I was trying to say earlier. Our ship is badly damaged—dead in the water you might say—and we have rather a lot of women and children aboard who need to be safely conveyed to New Phlan. Any assistance you and your ship might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.”

Since getting in the longboat, Sven made it a point to remain tranquil given the horrifying circumstances. But, from the moment he was able to clearly see the first signs of life on the crippled ship, his demeanor changed to intense focus. His gaze has not left the passengers onboard – not while rowing, not while speaking or being spoken to, in fact, he barely seemed to notice the arrival of our guest.

“We should be able to help ferry you to New Phlan, or at least to tow you into the dock " Embry surveys the damage. “You say you were attacked. Any idea why? Or just random luck?”

Something Embry said seems to snap Sven back into the moment. His voice now in a serious tone: “You say there are women and children? Wounded? Is the vessel taking on water? Are there fires down below or explosives on board?” He stands, grabs, and tugs on the rope(?) slithering down the side of the wrecked husk seemingly to test its stability. He then looks to Aram, eager for answers.

Looking at the ship from this angle, you can see that it likely has no “below” at all. It’s a single-masted, single-decked vessel, with a very broad, shallow keel, sitting not much higher out of the water than your longboat — clearly meant for ferrying passengers back and forth across the relatively placid Moonsea and not for any long voyages on deeper water.

It looks like any fires that may have been have been long-since put out, and there is no sign of listing or taking on water. The most significant damage appears to be the mast, which has no sails, and shows signs of both fire, and the rigging being hastily chopped away; and to the aft part of the ship, where the aft and port taffrails have broken away. Lothar’s practiced gaze recognizes the design as one where the rudder was likely mounted to the taffrail, which means the ship has no way of steering.

“The attack seemed random,” the old man replies. “Mostly likely just pirates looking to prey upon the settlers bound for the city. I guess they were not expecting warriors of our calliber to be among them.” He puffs up his his, then coughs a little.

“There were two ships, their hulls and sails died dark to make them harder to see in the early evening gloaming. The had a mage aboard, who fireballed our sails, then they overtook us from either side and boarded us. The battle was not what you might call glorious. There were eight, or maybe ten, of us who fought them off…” he begins counting off on his fingers. “Myself and my three companions, the ogre, a kobold minstrel and his lovely accompanist, a minotaur, an orc, a medusa (or a maid very much like one in appearance), and a lady-officer of Bane’s Black Fist. All bound for Phlan.”

His countenance falls and he stares at the bodies floating on the water. “We killed maybe thirty or fourty of the pirates, but lost perhaps a third of our passengers in the process, before managing to herd the farmers and their wives and children to the bow, away from the fighting. Finally, when enough of them had fallen, we rushed the mage’s ship. His response was to drop another fireball on our aft, blasting the boarding plants that held our ships together to aid his escape. The orc, our minotaur, and the two fine ladies died in the blast, our rudder was destroyed, and our captain fell overboard and suffered a grievous head wound. His skull appears to have been fractured far beyond either my or my companions’ magical skills to repair.”

He turns to the heavily armored man, “Other than the captain, we have been able to deal with the worst of the wounded—though there are still many who bear minor cuts or burns—and have seen to the last rights of the fallen. We have also taken four of our attackers prisoner, though I have not yet had the opportunity to question them at length about the cause for the attack. A tow to port so that we might turn them over to the proper authorities for their due affliction, and perhaps the services of a carpenter, and whatever your ship may have to spare in terms of spare sails or rigging would be of the most help. Though, honestly, I know nothing of ships, nor how much work the repairs shall be.”

“I am sorry for your losses. If you desire, we can arrange for you to be towed to Phlan?” Lothar looks aside at Sven and adds: “It seems our Sven here is eager to start his healing work, do you give him permission to board? If you agree I’ll accompany him, I’d very much like to speak to those pirates. Them having a fireball-throwing wizard very much unsettles me…” At this his gaze, friendly up until now, turns noticeably harder.

Embry, "I’m not exactly a carpenter, but I’ve got a strong back and a willing spirit. If you’ll point me in the right direction, I’ll help make repairs necessary to tow you in "

Thrall, from the rail above, “if you all come aboard, including father Aram, we can heal and repair and talk at the same time.”

If all is looking “well” (arms have been lowered, no signs of apparent hostility or ambush, etc), Sven hands the rope he was holding to Lothar; “after you.” He’ll then send up one of the lanterns before helping the other two (Embry and Aram) up. After that, unless Lo and Em see something they don’t like, Sven will send up the second lantern, secure the longboat to the ships hull with one of the ropes, strap on his gear and helm, mutter something and make his way up with Lo and Em’s help (cuz lighter or not, he has a lot of stuff).

Lothar: Up the rope we go. Once my head clears the deck I take a good look around. Any threats, anything that can lead me to doubt Aram’s information?

As Lothar comes on deck, he sees a large number of clearly frightened people armed to the teeth. Men, women, and children dressed in simple homespun garments all have some form of weapon in hand and have huddled together towards the bow of the ship. They gaze at Lothar distrustfully as his head comes above the rail. All of the non-humans—dwarves, hobgoblins, and ogre alike—however, have lowered and sheathed their weapons and step back to allow ample room to come aboard.

Lothar: I climb on board fully, keeping my movements smooth and predictable, and my hands away from my weapons. I greet those with lowered weapons respectfully while staying clear from those with arms in hand. Them I acknowledge with a nod and an open, friendly face. I step aside and wait for Embry, Sven and Aram to come aboard as well.

A man in green and Brown garb, wolf standing besides him, reaches out a hand to Lothar. “Thrall is my name. You come to help us?” Thrall looks over the rail to help the next one on board. If that is the old man, he reaches out with two hands.

Thrall to the armed setlers: “Lower your weapons, guys. I think it’s alright”

Knowing, (and counting on the fact that) people rarely LOOK UP in a new environment, Durell will continue his silent watch from his spot on the mast. While the current amenities seem to be all friendly in nature, he figures that, if needed, a surprise attack from the skies might be helpful. Of course, if work is to be done on the mast and sails, he also understands that he will be soon discovered and will give a shy and somewhat embarrassed wave of his hand and a “Hello”.

Embry: I follow after, giving a friendly nod of the head to everyone on deck and extending a hand to the figure who extended his to Lothar. “Seems you’ve had a rough time of it. Where can we help?”

Aram accepts the many offered hands to get back on deck, then stands back up and adjusts the angle of his bone crown. Once steady on his feet again, he turns to their would-be rescuers. “You said your ship might be able to tow us into port?” He turns to Lothar, who made the offer, “Would you be the captain of that fine vessel?”

“Greetings, Thrall, well met. Yes, I’ll help where I can. That is an impressive wolf, does he belong with you?” At Aram’s uestion Lothar flashes a slightly embarrased but amused smile: “No sir, I am not… I’m merely a passenger decided to lend a hand. Where can we help? And what information have you gotten from those Pirates so far?”

Lothar: I quietly as Embry and Sven: “Do we stay here and help?” If both answer in the affirmative I call down to the Signal Officer: “Officer, this ship has indeed been attacked by pirates. Please advise the captain that the pirates are using a mage and black sails to attack under cover of darkness and disable rigging with fireballs. Give him my compliments and request him to come alongside for rigging so we can tow this ship to harbour. If he has any supplies for repairs or rigging he can spare these would be greatly appreciated. If so please send my backpack and remaining gear along with them. Thank you, sir!”

Embry, “I believe we should stay on board and send those men back over to relay the news. We can do far more good here than ferrying messages.” He turns to the strangers. “Have you eaten, are your provisions intact? I have some hard tack and nuts to spare if anyone is feeling out of sorts and needs a bite. My friend here can give any medical attention needed. Hopefully we will have you and your ship in New Phlan without too much more trouble. I also vow you are hereby under my protection should these pirates return.”

Upon getting on board and setting his stuffed backpack down, Sven’s still helmeted head scans the passengers, looking for perhaps a familiar face. He lingers on the ogre, hobgoblin and kobold before finally removing his helmet: (whispers to Lo & Em) “I’ll stay and I’ll help, but if the Escapade can spare the signal officer we should keep him aboard with us as – (assuming the towed ship would be beyond “shouting” distance) – s/he’d be the only way to let the Captain know of any developments on our end.” With that he turns to look for someone who doesn’t look completely shaken: “Let’s see your Captain…and your wounded. See what we’re dealing with here, yea?”

“Good point, Sven” I’ll go ask him." Looking at the captain: “Ah he looks in a bad way. Sadly I’m no good at the healing of wounds, my talents lie elsewhere. I know something of the sailing trade, I could help with the repairs or clearing debris. Who is organising the repairs?”

“The captain is over this way,” Aram says, showing Sven to where the captain has been laid out. The gray-bearded dwarf lies on the deck, his head propped on a rolled-up scrap of the original sail. Aram kneels down next to the prostrate form and points out some blood matting the dwarf’s hair. “As I said, he took a severe blow to the head, and his skull appears to be broken. Thrall and I both looked at him, but our spells were not strong enough to knit the break.”

The sailors who rowed you over tie the boat off to Valkur’s Wake and come aboard as well. The signal officer blows a series of calls on his bugle. There are answering calls from the Escapade and soon the larger ship has maneuvered into position just off the Wake’s bow. Within an hour sailors above and below are tossing and tying-off lines, working as best they can in the poor light to jury-rig tow-lines for the damaged vessel.

Aram, not really knowing a thing about boats, watches with mild interest to the scurrying sailors for a bit, until fatigue starts to overtake him. “I’m sorry,” he says to the others, “but these old bones aren’t really up for pulling all-nighters…” He walks back to where his pack is stowed by the port gunnel, carefully stacks his armor, coif, and crown, and is soon snoring loudly.

Lothar: I aid the sailors where I can, even if it’s just hauling ropes and clearing debris and tangled lines. At some point the heat and (even reduced) weight of my armor would become a hindrance. At this point I shed it and stack it next to my pack and gear to air out. This is also a good moment to drink something, so I take out my waterskin.

Thrall: After some healing for those who need it, Thrall looks around if he can see some of the new faces. If he does, and they are not looking very busy, he will go towards them.

Lothar: “Greetings Thrall, how goes the healing?” And I offer him my waterskin. (It’s just plain water, but with some herbs added to offset the slightly stale taste that water from a waterskin tends to get.)

Thrall accepts the wineskin, takes a sip, looks at Lothar with a amused look. “Thyme, chamomile and mint? Nice one! What brings you on these waters?”

Lothar smiles at Thrall: “Right in one try! But then, judging by your appearance, you would be sort to know his herbs… As to what brings me here, it’s questions from the past and hopes for the future.” He shakes his head to himself. “Sorry if that sounded a bit cryptic. Fact is that I have many older siblings, which means my future at home is limited to what someone else is willing to give me. I’d rather make my own future. Phlan seemed as good a place as any to do so. Especially as some obscure local history seems to be connected to the place. And you, what calls you here?”

Thrall: " A very nasty thing happened in the forest I called home and I was strongly advised by my high druid to leave and find a new place to live and love.
Here on board I met father Aram and he asked me to join a expedition he is planning to make. I gladly accepted."

Sven (who I’m guessing is pretty well rested), will stay up through the night to tend to any wounded. He’ll also want to check out the captives and have a look at their wounds. He won’t ask them any questions, but certainly will listen to anything they volunteer. Finally, he will suggest that, for the duration of the dark hours, we keep a fresh rotation of on-hand passengers that have improved/advanced vision to keep a watch to seas in the event the attacker want to give it another go.


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