While loading the final cargo into the hull of the Steelsnout, Aldrazan and Captain Jacob spoke concerning a last minute passenger for the trek to Urima. The captain commented that this new acquisition was bringing with him exotic weaponry that would surely aid the crew during the voyage at sea. Aldrazan seemed uneasy at the prospect of taking a passenger who would pay a great sum, but the captain seemed unmoved by his concerns or unwilling to pass up such a sum of gold.
A half dozen rowboats plowed through the waters to the boat, each bearing a long crate bound in metal. The final passenger made his ascent up the accommodation ladder, and Avaniel, Bu-Jinwen, and Jozan were relieved to see the usual bumbling figure of Kaspar Ottokar step aboard. Greeting the men, Kaspar called the captain and siege engineers together to display the new inventions bound for Thiminoor. After a startling display of the Drachen Darm siege weapon, the group took to the deck to watch the royal escort of the Court Dancer, Star Serpent, and Ivory Crest depart from the docks of Ailead.
Looking back at the great skyline and rich buildings of Ailead, the companions felt as though they were leaving a bit of yourself in this town. There, the grand statues of Farmourn and Yueya could be seen atop their respective twin minarets. Farmourn’s gaze looked to the north, as though bidding the group farewell on a new journey. Yueya’s back faced away, almost saddened to see the heroes leave to new places. Through the walkways of the Noble District nearby the temples was the great aqueduct. There, the faces of the line of Eldenberry stared out to sea. Though difficult to see in the greatest of detail, the companions felt the stone eyes upon them on their voyage. The quality of the traveler’s ambassadorship would be tested in time, they were sure.
The marble structures of the Republic Authority rose gracefully and uncluttered on their plateau. Looking at the statues of the pantheon about the perimeter, Jozan, Avaniel, and Bu-jinwen recalled how nervous they had been going there. They remembered the grand stacking arches, the packed waiting galleries, the sheer presence of the Tribunal Council with their eyes upon the trio in the midst of the Republic Amphitheater. They recalled back to the marvelous statue they had first beheld returning to the city after dealing with Bertram Garret, the crazed huntsman. They remembered the statue that seemed its twin in the halls of the amphitheater.
Nivaye, Cerellion, and the surnameless druid reflected on the people. Augustin Gonzalo, who gave them their first steps towards this new freedom. Alexander Scipio, his young student, who’s keen wit and consideration had brought them further into the paths of the nobility. Captain Junipero Olegario, who seemed so busy, not out of malice, but out of genuine concern for the citizens during the attacks of Ludovic and the dark creeper incursions. Ludovic… what were his masters planning? Would the group ever discover? The noble son of Primo Santos came to mind as well, the man concerned with handling the great charge of his family.
The reflection pulled a bit at the adventurers. At the very least, Kaspar would accompany them into new experiences. New experiences… the trio wondered if they might share them with Roger sometime as well? The mystery of the huntsman still weighed heavily on the seabound companions. They wondered why in their stomachs, in their hearts, Roger elicited the same feeling as the one they had looking upon Shalecore in his final moments, or when they looked upon the sketches of runes they still carried. Those runes… a war of night… a symbol of magic more ancient than the incantations used to decipher the most powerful of scrolls… It was all unsettling. Maybe the answers to everything, a rune outside a cave that drove men mad, a stone leader cast down from the sky, an intriguing and anguished huntsman, could all be found in Urima. They could only hope. The coast faded off, Ailead shrinking from view, but the memories would always be there. Only the pristine waters and the Molagona Mountains would be home for now.
Passing a small outcropping of the mountains, the group discovered an alcove sheltering a small island. Small huts and makeshift docks could be spotted on the sandy shore. Behind the tiny sandbar, A large cavern lie dark in the mountainside of Molagona. Enormous and mysterious as it was, Jozan was taken from his revelry by the sight of a Primo Santos family ship under attack from a trio of ships. Taking charge, Captain Jacob commanded the crew of the Steelsnout to action. With the aid of the Drachen Darm weaponry, the crew was able to sink the pirate vessels while Jozan, Avaniel, and Bu-jinwen worked to clear the decks of opposing ships, deal with fires, and tend to the wounded.
Preparing to storm the deck of the Primo Santos ship, the boarding crew grew concerned at the surprising silence. With their boarding platforms ruined from the siege warfare, ropes were set on the friendly ship to get people aboard. Upon making it across, Captain Jacob quickly found himself in serious danger after it was discovered a pit in the middle of the deck concealed a squad of raiders. Avaniel began to open fire from the deck of the Steelsnout to lend support. As with the open water combat so soon passed, he was having particular difficulty firing past the bulwark of the huge trade ship. Jozan called upon his new ties to the natural world, warping his form into an eagle to provide harassment. Many of the Steelsnout crew found it difficult to cross the makeshift rope bridges. Many fell into the dark water. Bu-jinwen tried to rally more Steelsnout crew inside to fight or help. The nimble Ryin sailor Jacob dodging many blows buying time until Aldrazan could cross the ropes and assist him. Much to the concern of the First Mate was a pirate whom had taken to swashbuckling on the rope with him.
With chaos all about, and danger flowing freely through blood, who would triumph?