DRAMATIS PERSONAE:Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 3)
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Before taking leave of Bellephrone, the party plunked down some of their hard earned gold to have her identify a few of their new magic items. The gem recovered from the dragons' haord was found to be a gem of brightness. The shield Jaz had been carrying since the stone ships was known as a bull's eye shield; it would repeal all non-magical thrown weapons as long a the wielder had never fled combat while carrying the shield. They also took the opportunity to have Bellephrone take care of Jaz's swollen tongue, restoring the elf's spell casting (and talking) abilities.
Their business at the Anchorage complete, the party returned to the "Purple Haze" and made their way back to Xin. Three days later, they found themselves approaching the city as night was falling. There had been extensive discussion along the way about how best to get them and their treasure into Xin; did they want to try sneaking it in to avoid taxes or just take the hit and stay on the laws' good side? In the end, they decided to just pay their share, hiding only some of the more valuable and portable items in the hollow figurehead. The bulk of the coin and precious metals were left free in the hold. Met at the river chain by a customs inspector and a boatload of the Purple, the party let them aboard for inspection. The guards accompanying the inspector into the hold filched a few silver coins, but the customs man himself seemed straight as an arrow and assessed them an 8% tax with no expectation of a 'donation'. Chaff did offer a small gratuity (600gp) for the customs guild to ensure any record of their treasure was buried in paperwork for a few days, until it could be properly hidden away. He was also pressed for information on Calcidius, and the inspector recalled the wizard had shipped out of the city about two weeks ago aboard a scuzzy vessel named the "Bind Fury".
With customs compete, the ship took on a pilot to bring them into the Fogbound Quays. The next day they paid off the crew and let them disappear into the taverns, but paid the musketeers a bonus to hang around and stand guard over the ship while the party went about their business. This business included:
- Getting their treasure into safe keeping. Chaff dressed up in his best robes, and accompanied by their musketeer Sergeant Wilhelm, headed for the Hill of Gold. Making inquires, he was directed to the premises of a goldsmith by the name of Mesophan. He operated a series of vaults in which many of the nouveau-rich of the city kept their gold. He cut a deal with Chaff to store their gold for a fee of 1% per quarter on the first 250000gp deposited (and lessor fees thereafter), first and last quarters fee paid up front. Suddenly feeling that their hoard was grossly inadequate, Chaff agreed to the terms and deposited 50000gp. But he was rebuffed when he requested an inspection of the vaults. Mesophan did not want anyone to see how he protected his clients' treasure. So Chaff instead walked away with a contract and series of promissory notes to use around town for their large purchases.
- The first large purchase was a new ship; the party was feeling cramped in the confines of the "Purple Haze". Taking Lynessa (who signed on for another voyage), they combed the docks looking for vessels for sale. In particular, they wanted a larger ship, but one that was somewhat faster. In the end they settled on the "No Man's Sea", a smaller than usual 3-masted caravel with a narrow hull built for speed. They hired a temporary crew and took her out into the Pool for a test run, finding that it was indeed a fine vessel for their purposes. They sold the "Purple Haze" for 6500gp, and then paid 25000gp for the "No Man's Sky".
- Next step was to go looking for potions. Healing potions as usual, but also some potions of fire resistance as they expected to deal with the fireball flinging Calcidius before too long. Torak and Kwinsea headed for the temple of Brall, and were troubled to find the front of it burned and shattered, crawing with workmen making repairs. Torak went inside to ask after the Munificent Submercer Oha, but was told the high cleric had been killed by a madly raging wizard who came to the temple looking for someone. Torak was introduced to the new Munificent Submercer Naphates, but that meeting ended quickly when Torak let it slip that he and his companions were the ones for whom the wizard had been looking. He was forthright dragged from the premises and informed he should find another temple at which to worship. Torak and Kwinsea when to check with Brother Keera at the Temple of the Three Virtues, but found that it too has been destroyed and the good Brother along with it. Hum, this Calcidius was making it difficult to do business. In the end, they purchased a supply of 5 potions of fire resistance from Gorbo the Alchemist; he had a number on hand given there was a sudden upswing in demand. They commissioned 3 more for later pickup. They also managed to track down 6 healing potions at the lotus-smoke temple of Garu Dar.
- Chaff and Kwnisea both went looking for someone to teach them new spells. Chaff learned that one of his previous contacts, Domai, has run into Calcidius and was no more. Lady Volana was still around however, and she was willing to teach him some new incantations.In addition to the usual monetary fee, she was looking for additional 'parts' for her studies. In particular, she needed six fingers, taken from six different living people. Kwinsea meanwhile tracked down an aquamancer by the name of Xerious the Free. Free in the naked sense, as the wizard liked to 'feel the water on his skin'; he was found wandering around the docks wearing nothing but a large tattoo of a kraken on his back. Kwinsea was looking for some enchantments to help speed up their ship; when she found that a permanent enchantment on the hull would be prohibitively expensive, she settled instead for instruction in one of the wind or ship repair spells. In return, Xerious demanded she bring him a sample of the stomach contents of the Tentacled Beast of the Vasak Depths, a giant squid that lived in a deep underwater canyon just off Xin. Both Chaff and Kwinsea walked away from their respective patrons trying to figure out a way to fulfill their quests.
- Rodrigo likewise went looking for someone to enchant his dragon parts, but was appalled at how much it would cost. In the end he sold off the skin (1100gp), keeping only the skull (to be mounted on their new ship) and the teeth.
- Awg went to visit the calmonari craftsmen to pick up the work of jeweled art they'd commissioned the last time they were in Xin. It was ready, and consisted of a large abstract latticework structure studded with gems, and which resembled different oceanic scenes depending on the angle from which it was viewed. This large object (now worth 18000gp) was enshrined in a place of honor on the "No Man's Sea".
- Speaking of their new vessel, the party tasked asked Lynessa with preparing the "No Man's Sea" for sea. They had the hollow figurehead removed from the "Purple Haze" for installation on their new vessel. Likewise, the catapult was transferred to the new ship, and a second was purchased so they had one at the bow and one at the stern. They also had a few other modifications made; a series of cages below the stern in which to collect fancy fish for H'sslik ,and a false hold to hide more coin next time. Lynessa also ordered four months of provisions and trolled the docks for crew, the new vessel requiring 70 sailors before putting to sea.
All this activity took time, and the "No Man's Sea" was going to take a few weeks to modify and outfit. The party decided to stay in to an inn for the interim, settling into a rustic little place called the "Little Dolphin", which had a common room open to the harbour below where the patrons could pay to swim with the dolphins (Kwinsea chose the location). But they didn't forget about the danger from Calcidius, and took turns keeping an eye on the vessels coming into port to see if the "Blind Fury" returned. And lucky they did, for just a few days later the hard looking ship sailed back into Xin ...