As we were about to leave Kiera, word came in from the Zephyr and the Sea Ghost. They both had made successful runs, netting us another $1000. That was good, because the bribe to the harbormaster had put a bit of strain on the available coin. To further help out, I picked up two loads of goods to take to Paltos. The profit wasn’t going to be as good, as the Kierans tax the crap out of everything. Still, every little bit helps.
After everything was settled, we headed up the Channel between Kiera and Gray Isles. With Capt Thunder no longer on the ship, it felt like the Roadhouse was truly mine for the first time.
We got a bit of a bad omen to start things off. On the evening of that first night, we spotted another ship off in the distance. It was a large, flat ship which gave off an uneasy feel even at a distance. I pulled out the spyglass and was greeted with a grisly sight. There were several braziers burning on deck, along with several skeletons hanging from the mast. It was the damn Inquisition, who were known to be after mages.
Remembering Captain Thunder’s hand, I was tempted to turn Aneila over to them. However, that didn’t seem like that would be a good way for a new captain to establish trust with the crew.
The next couple of days were pretty smooth sailing, but then we had a stroke of bad luck. Aenila looked up and saw a huge bird diving at the ship. She called out and sent a blast of water at it. The damn bird pretty much ignored the water blast and slammed into the ship. Quick to act, Nigel shot it with a pistol and took a huge chunk off its leg off with his sword. It still had a claw in the ship, tearing up the sides, when I finished it off with the blunderbuss.
It started to sink and the claw was doing even more damage. Luckily, I got us positioned so that Nigel was able to hack the claw free before it was too bad. Aneila did take the opportunity to get a totem from the thing.
Mac organized the crew to start the repairs, and explained that the damage would eat up all of the profit from taking goods to Paltos, plus again $150 on top of that.
We made it the rest of the way to Paltos without incident. I thought our luck might have turned as the Valiant was still in port for repairs. Mac figured that they would be there even longer than we would for our own fix.
As we got secured in port, Mac started to look a little glum. He said needed to visit some people in town to tell of the Swiftwind. Paltos was its home base and it seems the crew had been well liked.
He headed to the Coconut Grove, one of two main bars in town. As we walked, he made idle chit chat telling me about this monkape that was there named Dead Eye. He did a coconut throwing game, and Mac hated the monkape because it always won.
We got to the bar and he said hello to Manny the barkeep. Everyone was glad to see him initially, but then there was some concern about why he was the only member of the crew there. He told them how the Swiftwind had hit the reef and the crew taken by the redmen.
Manny was very upset, as his brother was a member of the crew. The conversation then turned to the Captain’s girl, Lily. Mac said it was his responsibility to tell her, and he left to go do so. The place was pretty glum at that point, so Nigel bought a round of drinks for everyone. The locals appreciated that, and I’m sure it bought us some goodwill.
At about this time, Makak and Dead Eye started eyeballing each other. I threw down 50 pieces of eight, saying that my monkey could throw better than the monkape. The contest was three throws of a coconut at a target, each throw more difficult than the first. Makak did great on the first two throws, but missed badly on the third. Dead Eye nailed that third throw and won. It was a bit suspicious, as the monkape didn’t even look where it was throwing the last one.
Roqi though he would try his luck, and Nigel threw down some money on him. He even got some decent odds. This time they were both evenly matched and hit all three throws. Unfortunately for Roqi, the house rules were that the house wins ties. Nigel’s bet was a wash though, which might be a slight improvement over his normal gambling results.
Mac returned at some point, saying that Lily was very distraught at the news. We all spent the night drinking to the brave men of the Swiftwind.
The next day we sold our goods and bought the lumber for the repairs. Mac again organized the crew and got started. He didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, so I left him to it and checked out the rest of the docked ships. There wasn’t a whole lot of interest, though there was a Kieran Cutter in port, the Slicing Sail.
I took some of the crew to the Valiant to meet the Captain. The plan was to introduce ourselves as fellow privateers, but let them know we weren’t looking to poach their territory. The Captain wasn’t there, and we were told to check out the Gaoler’s Due. That was the other main bar in town, named because a lot of the guards from the prison hang out there.
It was still early, but we decided to check there anyway. The barkeep was a really short Masaquani named Tree Top. He said the Valiant was mainly a night time crowd and offered us breakfast. It was a choice of fish or fish, so I want with for the fish. It was actually pretty decent.
We split up and I headed to the harbormaster to register and everything. It felt pretty good to register the Roadhouse as the only Captain on board.
After the official business was taken care of, I headed back to check on the repairs. Mac wouldn’t get them finished today, but he had made a fine start on it. I then noticed that Manny was there. He was asking Mac to go back to Torath Ka and search for his brother. He said he knows he is still alive. The initial offer was $2000. When that wasn’t enough, he then went to closing Mac’s tab. Finally, he offered free drinks for a year.
I tried to talk some sense into Manny, explaining all the trouble we had encountered trying to find the Swiftwind’s crew originally. But he wasn’t buying any of it. I can’t say I blame him. Even though I knew my grandpappy had died during the Flood, I never wanted to believe it. I told him we would think about it, but made no promises.
That night we went back to the Gaoler’s Den. There was a pretty big crowd, and the squid was pretty good. I looked around, trying to see if there was an obvious fire mage in the crowd, but didn’t see one.
Mac came up with a plan where he would sing the tale of the Swiftwind. He would set it into a popular drinking song, and then work in a verse about how he needed to know the names of the Hags in order to try and rescue them.
The song proved quite popular, and almost the whole bar joined in with the chorus each time. There was one table that did not take part, and Tree Top quietly confirmed that they were from the Valiant.
I made my way over to their table and introduced myself to the Captain, a man named Quintus Quinn. He was upset, and I eventually got it out of him that Tomas had been thrown in jail for smuggling. It didn’t make any sense to him, but he didn’t know what to do about it. The ship’s repairs would be completed in a few days, and he feared he’d have a mutiny on his hands if they left Tomas.
I pointed out that Mac was a local and had several contacts here in town. I offered to find out what was going on, and if there was any hope of getting the mage released. He seemed glad to hear that, though the mood at their table was still pretty subdued.
I explained the situation to Mac and he checked with Manny. Manny seemed to think it was related to us going to Torath Ka and immediately gave us the name of a clerk. The meeting with the name was a bit disturbing, as he said that the case was prosecuted very quickly and Tomas was to be sent to the mines. He then said that all the cases with mages go pretty fast lately. I asked there had been a lot of those types of cases, and he said there had been a few recently. They were all different charges, but all went through the process faster than normal. He also said that when he checks the rolls of the people going to the mines and the people actually on the ships, the numbers don’t add up.
I asked Iranthis and Aneila to lay low for a bit, while we contemplate our next step.