We made our way down the stone stairs from the cellar. I took the lead, with the blunderbuss ready. I also seem to have the quietest footsteps of the group. I was constantly worried that whatever was down there would hear us.
After a while, we came to a small opening on the stairs. It looked down on the ocean, which was still another 40 or 50 feet below us. There was a skiff there, and with the spyglass I could see a group loading up a set of crates. The group was mostly human, though there was a Grael as well.
I snuck down the passage, while the rest of the crew watched through the opening. Eventually, the passage branched out. There were actually three passages, one of which leveled off instead of continuing towards the ocean. That one looked like it got a lot of use. The other passage was much narrower, without many signs of being used.
I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of someone coming down these other passages behind me, so I went back up and got the crew. Once we were all at the branches, I again headed down the stairs.
When I made it to sea level, my view was blocked by a large shed. I hoped that might also block the sounds, and had the rest of the crew join me there. We still weren’t too keen on leaving the other passageways unwatched, so the Captain and Featherstone stayed there to keep an eye on things. I think maybe the Captain’s hand was bothering him or something.
Once everyone was all the way down the stairs, I snuck around the shed to take a closer look. The ship was almost loaded, and I got a better look at the other group. They were mostly European visitors. But there was also the Grael, a Half-Red Man, and a Chinese that I could see.
As they were waiting for me to report, Aneila heard some murmuring in the shed. She could hear an exchange, but couldn’t make it out what was actually said. As she was trying to figure out what she was hearing, things went the crapper.
Iranthis, for some reason I’ll never understand, walked around the corner of the shed into the open. I was blocked from view, so I didn’t get to see it first-hand. But I sure heard the ruckus. He said there were a couple of guys in there that looked like pirates, and one of them tried to hit him with a lantern. So he fried the guy with a blast.
Aneila, still trying to hear the original conversation, was in the best position to try and help Iranthis. She ran into the shed as well and fired a shot. It seems that the pirates weren’t actually familiar with close quarter fight, and really who could blame them. My gun has a pretty good range, so why would I feel the need to get up close and personal if given the choice? Anyway, neither of them was serious hurt by the pirates.
Once the shooting started, the rest of us wasted no time. I fired the blunderbuss as the closest guy, and he dove for cover. Nigel went charging out with his rapier and pistol, quickly killing one of the pirates.
I’m not entirely sure what Roqi was doing. I know I saw him on the roof throwing daggers, but then I lost him in the rope work above the skiff. I did manage to see his knife fly out there and into the pirate I had shot at earlier.
Things took another unexpected turn at about that time. Iranthis and Aneila managed to kill the two pirates in the shed. Aneila actually knocked one of them through the wall. She then realized that the other pirates had been shooting at her through the doorway. She saw a barrel and decided to take cover. Unfortunately, she didn’t look close enough at the barrel to realize it was full of gun powder.
There was a huge explosion then. I thought maybe one of the pirates had shot the barrel, but it still shouldn’t have gone off like that. However, Roqi yelled out from the rigging that there was an Atani mage flying over the ship. It seems he had sent down the fire that ignited the barrel.
I ducked for cover, even though I was well outside the blast area. But Aneila and Irathis didn’t really have a good place for cover. They both took the full force of the blast. And, somehow neither one of them was really affected by it. Iranthis is a fire mage, so attacking him with fire was probably a foolish decision for the Atani. I’d like to think it was Aneila’s water magic that saved them. But part of me does wonder if Miguel isn’t right. He has been saying she made a deal with the devil when she took the medicine chest off the El Diablo.
Regardless she was still standing there when a Masaquani woman started shooting at her from an opening higher in the cave. Incredibly, the shot missed and Aneila took cover in the shed again.
Nigel had just skewered a Kehana with his rapier, when he decided to charge the Grael. I’m not sure he’ll do that again, as thing smashed him with its Battleball. He managed to keep his feet, though just barely. He made a stab at the Grael, but couldn’t get through the blubber. The mage saw him out in the open and sent more fire magic at him. The Grael was untouched, but Nigel went down in a heap.
I shot that damn Grael twice with the blunderbuss, but couldn’t take it down. I didn’t get a third shot at it, as one of the pirates charged up to me. Fortunately, he was easily distracted by Makak and I knocked him into the water.
The mage tried to blast Roqi out of the rigging, but he slid down the ropes and out of the range of the worst of the flames. Iranthis electrocuted the Grael, which killed it. The Red Man appeared to be very confused throughout the fight, and made a half-hearted attack on Aneila.
The fight ended when the Masaquani woman and the Atani fled. I had a brief chuckle as I pictured the woman running straight into the Captain and Featherstone. But then the two of them appeared from around the shed looking to join the fight.
We fished out the guy I knocked off the docks and then interrogated the prisoners. It seems they were smuggling opium. They were using the land around the farms, and the unlucky farmers stumbled upon them. They all blamed the Grael for butchering the farmers as a message to keep others away. I’m not so sure though, as that doesn’t match most of experiences with the big creatures. Still, the Grael was in no position to defend himself. And I figure it is Duckworth’s problem now anyway.
I checked out the skiff, which had the fancy name of Sea Ghost. I guess that fits with the nature of the smugglers. I wonder if the Captain will want to change the name when we get it up and running.
I’m getting head of myself though. The skiff had quite a bit opium onboard. I volunteered that we might be able to get between two and three thousand pieces of eight for it. That is depending on the port, of course. No one asked where I got my knowledge of opium prices, and I decided not to volunteer anything further.
We searched the shed, at least the parts that weren’t on fire anyway. There was some paperwork about the opium smuggling, but it was in some code that I couldn’t figure out. Now it is another thing that is Duckworth’s problem.
The Captain, Featherstone, and Roqi took the skiff around to Lanos. They would coordinate with Thornsby, the Harbormaster. The rest of us headed back up to the house. The smugglers gave us a different perspective on the ghost boy. Knowing that he was just a ghost, and not a murdering and butchering ghost, Aneila wanted see if we could put him at peace.
She went down the well and found the bones of child. She brought them up, and we buried them. Aneila and Iranthis thought the house no longer seemed haunted. Maybe. All I know is that it was still covered with the guts of dead farmers. But the locals can deal with that themselves. Hopefully.
We then hiked it back to Lanos ourselves. The Captain had settled things with the Harbormaster and Constable Morgan, and we got ready to head back to Baltimus. I didn’t like leaving the Roadhouse and taking the skiff, but in the end I guess it made the most sense. A trip back on the Zephyr and we’ll be back normal. It does mean that the Zephry isn’t making us any money though.
Finally, Aneila had evidently taken a hook off of one of the dead smugglers. She convinced the Captain that it would be a better look for him than the stump. He is still getting used to it though, and we almost a had a Captain with one eye to go with his one hand.