Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 2)
Azimer (Calmonari 3)
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with familiar Dirty Bird
Ragnar (Cleric 1)
With a steady south wind, the gig made good time throughout the morning. With such fair sailing, the party hoped to reach the mainland in just a few days if there were no interruptions. Which of course was not going to be the case, and on the second watch of the morning (Chaff's) came their first interruption. Chaff had Dirty Bird flying cover overhead, and through the bird's eyes, the vivimancer could see a disturbance on the surface about a half mile ahead. In a few more minutes, the water began to bubble and steam, and shortly after that a gout of lava shot into the sky. A new volcanic island was being born dead ahead! After a quick discussion, the party decided to loop around the eruptions, and changed course to give it a wide berth.
Their journey continued, but just around noon they spied mountains on the western horizon. Dirty Bird was sent aloft, and from his aerial vantage point Chaff could see they were approaching the mainland. A few more hours of sailing and they began to see a scattering a small fishing boats. Hailing one, they hauled alongside to figure out where they'd made their landfall. Just off the city of Cha'nrk on the Langushur coast they were told. Plying the fisherman with what was left of their wine and questioning him, they soon found they did not like the sound of Cha'nrk. Built on the slopes of the volcano they could see smoking ahead of them, it was a cruelly militant theocracy ruled by the cult of a volcano/fire god. Slaves worked mines on the slopes of the volcano, and manned the oars of the city's fleet. Visitors were not particularly made to feel welcome, and life was strictly regulated. The party thanked the fisherman and let him go on his way. After an inventory of their remaining food (and a reminder from Ragnar that he could call on the favor of his god to make the salt water drinkable and spoiled food palatable), the party decided to push on and follow the shore north until they reach the city of Xin from whence they'd started months before. As decadent as it may be, at least they knew the place!
Unfortunately for them, the wind rose and shifted overnight, and they found themselves fighting a blustery headwind on their journey north. The little gig slogged day after day, rising and falling on the waves. And they were pretty much the only ones foolish enough to be on the water in these conditions, as no other vessels were seen for days as they followed the mountainous coast. After days of slow progress, the mountainous terrain on the port side changed to swamp. Chaff and Dirty Bird were on watch when the parrot finally spied another vessel, a small sailing ship overtaking them from behind.The ship flew no ensign, and looked suspiciously un-merchant like. The uncouth figures clustered on deck didn't look too friendly either. Knowing the ship couldn't yet see them, Chaff turned the gig to port and headed for the mangrove swamp a mile away. There they hide in among the trees and reeds and waited for the ship to sail by before proceeding.
With night falling, the party first went looking for a patrol of the Purple. Giving Hester a bag of gold to help her on her way, they turned their matronly hanger-on over to the care of the authorities. They then went in search of an inn, coming to the somewhat ironically named "The Growling Duke". Nothing fancy, but at least it didn't rock back and forth, so they took a pair of rooms for the night. Unfortunately, it was not as restful a night as hoped. In the wee hours of the morning, Azimer heard a noise at the door, like a key or pick in the lock. The calmonari woke Ragnar (with whom he/she was sharing the room) and the two hid behind the door. It opened, and into the room crept four thugs, armed with rope and belaying pins. They headed for the two beds, but were surprised when Azimer and Ragnar jumped them from behind. The cleric came out swinging and knocked one out cold, while Azimer trapped two in his/her net. The fourth turned and ran down the hall and out of the inn. By this time Chaff, and the heavy sleeper Abdul el Abdul, arrived and the interrogation began. It seemed that the goons were there to kidnap them for some nefarious purpose, mading reference to a 'he' that told them the tired travelers would be an easy mark. Having squeezed what info they could from them, the thugs were stripped of all their goods and clothes and shoved out into the night.
Rising the next day, everyone first went out to restock on supplies (including a scruffy goblin servant Chaff managed to rustle up) and change their treasure into a more manageable and portable format. And then they went looking for work, specifically another exploring vessel headed for the Far Isles. The only one in port at the moment was the "Imperious", a huge sailing ship. Asking some questions, the party quickly decided it didn't sound promising; the captain was described as some sort of power-mad marionette. With no other immediate options, they hunkered down to drink at "The Growling Duke", checking back at the quays every morning. After a few days, another ship arrived in port, en-route to the Far Isles. A small and shabby ship, the "Lormans Passage" was under the command of Loremaster Yorik of Vale. They met the scrawny and scruffy loremaster and his rotund first mate, Rold, and offered their services. Yorik it seemed was looking to document all the new and strange things in the Far Isles, and he interrogated the party and wrote out all their experiences thus far. He was eager to sail the seas and see the wonders himself. Abdul el Abdul took out his magical crystal and showed it to Yorik, showing how it always turned to point in the same direction. The fighter told the loremaster that it undoubtedly pointed to some weird and wonderful place worthy of the academics interest, and the party would let him take them there. Excitedly, Yorik agreed, and a deal was struck where the party would get most of any treasure recovered; although Rold reminded his captain he needed some portion of treasure to pay the crew and upkeep of the ship. In return, the party would turnover any written materials and artifacts, copy immovable inscriptions, and in general ensure the loremaster had plenty of new lore to record and consider.
Proceeds from the sale of the "San Lorenzo's" gig (150gp)
3 thugs (defeated and humiliated)