After protracted discussions—and an attempt at renegotiating the deal for the dragonhead ship’s figurehead—the party were no closer to reaching agreement with the beautiful sea nymph Luestiss. Several of the heroes believed whoever spent the week with her would not survive the experience and none were willing to bravely sacrifice themselves for the figurehead.
Thus—eventually—dejected and without the figurehead, the party left Luestiss. They vowed to return with some wine for the lonely fey, and were already plotting other ways to secure the darkwood figurehead when they emerged into Greystone’s ruin.
Without incident, the party returned to Languard, although as Taneli sailed them back across the bay as dusk Johann noticed several flickering lights glowing from the ruin of Rivengate’s lower levels. Clearly, several groups (likely smugglers or adventuring bands) were camping in the partially collapsed, cliff-side ruin.
Returning to Languard, Taneli put in at Fishshambles. No customs men were in evidence on the docks and the party quickly scrambled ashore. A galley, which swarmed a score or so rough seamen, was tied alongside the next jetty. All armed, they were just finishing loading their ship for a nighttime departure. Taneli identified the ship as the Amma and her master as Ambro Kontio, a rough and ready character who was not to be tangled with lightly. Several of the party were convinced Ambro was a smuggler, or perhaps a pirate, and after a brief conversation with one of the crew, the party returned to the Orc’s Head.
Thangrimm bid the party a temporary farewell and went into High City on business of his own. The rest of the party relaxed in the Orc’s Head with well-deserved ales when Einar approached Johann with a note left for him behind the bar. The note was from Kanbrar Nuninrae—the student at the Dreaming Spires who had offered to look into Johann’s ancestral thunderaxe. The note promised news, but asked to meet Johann at the Bloody Eagle to discuss a favour Kanbrar needed.
The party immediately set out. The Bloody Eagle was in the west of the Shambles and shortly thereafter the party were sat in the busy, dingy common room. Just before midnight, Kanbrar entered, got a drink and spotted the party. Sitting down he explained he had learned some interesting facts about Johann’s family heirloom, but he needed a favour before he would reveal all. It transpired Kanbrar was in love with a fellow student at the Dreaming Spires—Aune Mari—and that they planned to elope. (Aune’s father was a wealthy merchant and did not like the idea of his daughter marrying a bastard half-elf). Kanbrar’s plan was to flee to Coldwater with his beloved and from there set sail to a distant land; he needed guards for the journey and he promised if the party would deliver him and his beloved to that distant village he would explain all.
Suspicious, the party agreed to meet Kanbrar tomorrow night to finalise details.
The next day, Johann and Jeremiah awoke ill—wracked with hacking coughs and the chills; Veronwe diagnosed them both as suffering from filth fever—probably caught from the mounds of bat guano they had searched for treasure after slaying the giant bats lairing under Greystone. Both were in no fit state to investigate Kanbrar’s story and so the rest of the party, except Veronwe who stayed to tend his ill companions, set out to learn more.
(It was in the course of these investigations Toliyrath discovered the horrible truth about two of his companions: both Thangrimm and Orithur had been subjected to a horrible necromantic curse, likely inflicted when they prised the gems from the wall map they found behind the secret door in Luestiss’s lair. The curses were powerful and although the clergy at the Father’s Hall could lift them—Nuluani Sehiateir owing them some spellcasting services for their help in returning the remains found below Greystone’s ruined church to the cathedral for proper interment in the catacombs— it would be several days before the requisite spells were available.)
Toliyrath called on his father, a successful rope merchant, and learned Enmul Mari was a wealthy, but elderly wine merchant with whom Toliyrath’s family had dealt in the past. Meeting with Enmul shortly thereafter, the party learnt Aune was already married and living in Dulwich far to the south. Something didn’t add up. Subsequent inquiries at the Dreaming Spires revealed no students by the name of Kanbrar Nuninrae or Aune Mari currently studying on the island.
Clearly something was going on.
No matter, the party resolved to meet Kanbrar and try to get more information from him. That night, in the Bloody Eagle, Kanbrar agin stuck to his story, but the party’s suspicions were now fully aroused. After Kanbrar left, the heroes followed him through the streets, Orithur’s wolf following the duplicitous half-elf’s scent through Low City and into High City. The trail went cold at the docks, but several of the party could just make out the dim outline of a rowboat heading out into the middle of the Svart…