Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SESSION UPDATE "Mr. Rat's Wyld Ride"

Dec. 17, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     Time is pressing and plans are hurried along. The group gathers what minimal supplies they can and make their way to the wall, where Harrick and the officers help the less athletic in their climb. Cawyn and Falco rush down, where they meet up with the rats and re-establish relations.

     Yellowtooth, the rat who appears to be in charge of the other rodents, offers to carry the group outside, and none too soon, as the fey household is beginning to wake for the day. As the crew and slaves ride the rats, some three our four to beast, the first casualty occurs in the dangerous jump from the pillar to the bookcase. Erru Dorsett, the slave scribe, falls from the rat's back and to his death.

     After making their way into the crawlspace between floors, they finally come to a narrow crack that leads outside. In honor of the last portion of their deal, Yellowtooth gives the group a whole emerald, which he claims came from the fey master's drawers. The stone glows with warmth and actually hums with power.

     Outside of the crack is a wet, crisp fall-ish day in the fey wyld. They get their first good view of the raised hill on which Laird Turath's mansion perches, surrounded on all sides by a dense green forest. Following the simple directions given by the rats, the group finds a dangerous "stairway" of loosened stone in the outer tower wall which they begin to descend. They are headed to the front of the mansion and to a pillared circle where the rift gate is.

     A quarter of the way down, they are attacked by one of the huge, toothy frogs camouflaged against the tower wall. Wanting nothing to do with the dangerous threat, Cawyn wastes no time Moonbeaming the amphibian, sending it flailing into the vine covered hillside.

     From inside they all hear the sound of Master Moonshade raising the alarm. Deciding it's a good time to test a theory, after getting a little distance from the Durin, Harrick gives Cader the emerald. With a magical pop, the tiny slave reverts to his true size and slides off the wall and into the ivy below. Gathering the rest of the littles, hairy, naked Cader runs across the causeway and toward the portals.

     When confronted by a troupe of unseelie sprites, he only pauses a moment before rushing forward and diving through the stones. Unfortunately he's not quick enough to avoid at least one enchanted arrow in the cheek. Like that, they find themselves once more in the Tiger vale of the middle realm. After a brief look around at the unfamiliar clearing, they choose a animal trail and begin running.

     While they do, another unhelpful situation becomes apparent as more than half of the crew begins to quickly forget the details of their time in the Fey Wyld.

     Cader's natural Durin resilience to the sleepy time poison begins to ebb also and he stumbles off the trail. When he drops two of the crew, they get him to stop. Snap brings up the somewhat heartbreaking realization that they will have to abandon Cader if they have any hope of escaping pursuit. Lying to the naked, drugged Durin, they send him off into the forest on his own.

     No more than a half candle later they hear the sound of fey pursuit from the gate. Horns and hounds begin the chase as the tiny escapees make their way to a mound of stones and earth, steering clear of spiders and making their way into the pile.

     In the distance, they hear the sounds the faerie hounds attacking someone. Most likely Cader.

    Deep into the muddy stones, they also hear the sound of hounds digging and snorting at their path. Snap finds a burrow of some sort and they drop into it. Choosing a direction they set off. Behind them they hear the eerie voices of the Unseelie sprites in pursuit. Ahead, a pair of eyes peeks around the corner and they are faced with a huge, furry, hare.

    A side tunnel breaks away between them and the burrow maker. Armed sprites approach from somewhere behind. Several of the crew are fatigued from the arduous run through the undergrowth. Most only have a vague idea where they are, and no idea why they are so small.

To be continued...

Monday, November 13, 2017

SESSION UPDATE: Levers, Pulleys and Big Big Bullies

Dec. 17, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     Falco and Harrick watch Calder and Cawyn make their way to a cabinet at the base of the shelf, then begin to explore the sparse desktop.

     In the first book they're able to make out dates and quantities. The most recent dates are from yesterday, noting a pending sale of 16 stones, selling each item for between 1000 and 5000 gold to a person or entity named Rolsten Cam. There is also a note under the entry: “Heavily Damaged Cog with War Crystal - auction pending. Awaiting Seahand’s word.”

Upon further investigation, Falco also notices some kind of scaling system of 1-10 next to the sixteen items. As well, there are two small letters next to each entry, (MN, MT, MN, MD, MK, FN, MK, etc.)

The next book appears to be of better make, and is clasped shut with a leather and brass tab which the two tiny heroes have some difficulty opening. After several failed attempts, they finally rig a lever out of the Laird's quill and ink pot that does the trick, but breaks the quill.

They quickly open and scan the book, finding it to be yet another ledger of numbers and things sold to people or estates. Sylvan titles like “Glaurfynial Keep,” “Hall of the Gloomlord” are present, along with something about the skill and quality of the slaves. Older entries have a “Sold status” with the exception of four: Two female Nerans and one male Neran. There are fourteen new entries with simple descriptions:

Autumn/Durin/Male - Manual Labor
Summer/Neran/Male - Gladiatorial?
Summer/Neran/Female - academic
Summer/Orokan/Male - Gladiatorial “Moonshade”

Meanwhile, in the cabinet, Cawyn and Calder have discovered a glass-like sliver of orange crystal which will work quite well as an improvised shortsword.

Everyone freezes when they hear the sound of footfalls on the stairs. Falco and Harrick quickly scramble to return things to their original positions and run for the wax draped skull, their legs disappearing into the eye sockets as the Kuranani known simply as Master Moonshade enters the study, makes a tour of the room and investigates the slave village and the desk before returning up the stairs.

Serious exhaustion is setting in now, as is proven by Harrick falling off the desk during the climb down. Only another clutch Featherfall by Falco saves both of them from serious injury.

While heading back across the floor to the Village table, they are surprised by Moonshade once more. Falco and Calder barely make it out of sight when the giant nabs Harrick and Cawyn. Harrick uses his splinter sword to good effect jabbing it deep into Moonshade's palm, and once more when he's dropped and the giant tries to grab him. He's too tired to evade the second slap, which leaves him badly injured on the carpeted floor. It is only Cawyn's calming words describing Harrick's obvious value that save the Oroka from a nasty end.

In quiet angry tones, Moonshade awakens the village and questions the captured slaves. When it becomes apparent he's going to do a head count, Falco comes out of hiding as well, to prevent a search that might reveal Calder. The three slaves are put into one of the magical golden cages until the morning, when Laird Turath will deal with them.

As Cawyn, Harrick and Falco talk with the rest of the crew, Cader and the remaining slaves, Calder finds the rest of the orange gem in the cabinet. It is cracked and partly shattered, but retains a magical warmth. He takes the time necessary to study the gem and eventually deduces it to be a slave gem, containing the remaining magical essence of a slave's missing mass. He then makes his tired way back to the village.

Up top, Cawyn turns aside a scared Erru's plans to spill the beans. A plan is hatched to speed up the escape. The miniature livestock are slaughtered to feed the rats and Calder, Snap and Wall make yet one more foray to the desk, to retrieve the jade key that will open the cage. This again requires some interesting uses of levers and pulleys to open the drawer. Calder's tail proves clutch.

Leaving the desk a mess, they return to the village to find that the rats have already begun collecting the meat from where it has been thrown to the study floor. They use the key to free the caged prisoners, Cawyn takes the pain of a healing ritual to fix up Harrick's busted ankle and arm and they ready themselves to talk to the rats.

There can be little more than a candle before the residences of the house begin to wake. The tiny slaves nervously watch as the crew begins to enact the final parts of their rushed plan.

Will they escape in time?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SESSION UPDATE "Rodents Of Usual Size? I don't think they exist."

Dec. 17, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     The meeting consists of the group plus Hennesey, Bosun Delver and Snap. Hennesey is unable to give any more detail concerning her theory on "artifacts of missing mass" in alchemical arcana. When Cader joins them, Harrick takes a chance and reveals the Captain's presence after the slave boss expresses an interest in coming with them should they decide to make an escape attempt.

     Cader also warns them that Master Moonshade, the Kuranani who oversaw their training, was very interested in Harrick, and might snatch him away in the next couple days. This is enough to hurry their plans. The officers plus Snap make a dangerous climb out of the village in search of rats.

     Investigation of the shelf, after a close call with a kudra servant, reveals a rodent's path up a stone serpent statue in the corner, across the top shelf and then along a narrow ledge around the room. While Cawyn preps a ritual, Falco makes his way to the top shelf to hopefully track down a rat.

     He finds two and narrowly escapes becoming their dinner, then narrowly avoids becoming a pancake when his concentration waivers from the spell pain of a feather fall spell. The rats race after him, coming down the statue quickly. Harrick keeps them at bay with a sword given him by Cader while Cawyn concentrates past his own pain and casts a Speak with Animals spell. The rats nearly run away, suddenly fearing the little adventurers, but the tiny druid is able to convince them to stay and listen, through the tried and true lure of "sweet, stinky meat."

     Over the following conversation, it is learned that Denrick Fallhallow apparently befriended and used the rats to make his escape to the "magic hole" outside the mansion, but caused them to lose several of their brothers and sisters to the dangers of outdoors. Though the rats are loath to go outside again, they eventually agree to bring the group something shiny, and to show them a hidden way outside in exchange for large quantities of said sweet, stinky meat.

     This deal made, the group says goodbye to the rats and heads toward Laird Turath's desk. This climb proves too much for Calder and Cawyn, but Harrick and Falco see two large books on the desktop that look promising, if also taxing to open.

     It is here that we rejoin the adventure.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

SESSION UPDATE "The Fey Laird's Mansion"

Dec. 16, 572pfk
The Manse of Laird Turath, Mar Nan Os - The Fey Wild

     When next the band awakens, they find themselves altogether in a different place, at a different size. Caged by a powerful arch fey and apparently shrunken to a height of six inches, they find that everyone in their crew is scheduled to be a slave/playthings for the pleasure of the dark fey. The Captain and Grail are missing.

     They are eventually taken to a tiny village on a table in the Laird's main hall, where they begin their training and conditioning, some to be tiny gladiators, others to perform scholarly duties, or whatever...? From the slaves already there, they learn that the Laird has a regular business, selling micro-slaves to other lords in the Shadowy unseelie courts.

     Meanwhile, Calder made his way from the gruesome trash of the Laird's lab, where he was left for dead, to the tiny village, climbed in and made contact with his friends and crew. That night they climbed out and made their first foray into the mansion, seeking answers to some important questions.

     By use of a beast shape in the form of a proportionally giant wasp, Cawyn and Calder made their way back to the lab, narrowly escaping an encounter with a shaggy fey hound and an old woman arch fey. They learned that the magic done to them was alchemical in nature. They also read from a journal of a pilgrim named Denrick Fallhallow, about the true nature of the temple in the Tigerwood Vale, that the place was once a powerful temple dedicated to the Traveler god, Gleeve.

     Falco meanwhile searched the shelves of the Laird's main hall, where he found one of the Laird's older alchemy journals. Within the book, he found the depressing news that the shrinking process is permanent. he also came face to snout with a giant, angry rat, but feather fell to safety.

Session Break

     Upon everyone returning, they found that Cawyn and Falco were suffering the negative effects of casting magic. Cawyn was hit especially hard by his beast shape, which left him disfigured and in great pain. When Cader, the slave boss found out, he offered to remain silent, and let them scheme, as long as he could maintain plausible deniability.

     From Erru, the somewhat laid back, pipe smoking scribe, they were shown some hidden writings of Denrick Fallhollow, that spoke of a nearby portal back to the Tigerwood Vale, and his plans to enlist the aid of some rats he made friends with to escape and return to the temple.

     In addition, Hennesey remembered some of her college classes on alchemy, and seems fairly convinced that there will be a physical presence of the remaining corporeal matter left behind after the shrinking process. An arcane representation of their missing mass.

     As we return to the crew, they are planning their next steps in the bunkhouse.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

SESSION UPDATES - Several Sessions in One.

Dec. 11, 572pfk
Parnell's Aerie. Milum Deoria

     When last we left our intrepid adventurers, they were staying the night at Parnell's Aerie, a floating, military outpost of the Empire. While three quarters of the group played at cards and small talk in the main hall, Falco stooped motionless in the shadows, hoping the old, robed scholar wouldn't see him on his secret mission.

     And thankfully, he didn't.
     Once the preoccupied scholar passed, Falco continued his search, eventually finding Apprentice Thurgood's room. After inspecting the lock, he found an alarm spell. A Misty Step bypassed that nicely and he was in. It was quick matter to find the correct journal. He also found the plans to an interesting and confidential, Imperial Engineer's project, but there was no way to take them without it being noticed. the plans were signed, "M. Woodbridge."
     With the book tucked away on his person, he returned to his rooms. The following morning, the crew left the fort, their theft unnoticed.

Session Break

The Maven drops Dreya's book to an unknown contact in Glors, before the ship continues its journey south along the Great Line, crossing the inland sea of Fahl and the floating sky-fortresses that surround the Great Rift. Their journey is smooth for two days as they continue southward, but the third day they are attacked by a pirate cloudrunner while nearing the Manawyn border.
     An air skirmish ensues, in which the skillful piloting of Falco, along with the equally skilled cannon-work of Harrick and the boys, sees their enemy crash-landing in the forest below. They opt to pursue, and end up forcing the pirates to surrender after their ship catches fire. They end up driving off a third party of Cull warriors with their Morodos Hill giant, with treasure, two injured prisoners and a freed Deorian noble named Josua Gold.
     Gold attempts to convince the Maven to return him north to his home, but fearing a reprisal from more pirates, they choose to instead take him to the first southern skyport, of Fauradyr, in Manawyn.
     In the Skyport they learn further bad news. Apparently the company contracting their parchment shipment is behind on shipping taxes. The government of Manawyn wants to seize their cargo or turn them back North. Either that, or they must pay the 7,000 gold owed. They also turn in an Imperial report on the pirate attack, leaving out anything about prisoners, since they promised the pirate captain they would release the pirates instead of turning them in.

Session Break (crib notes style)

     Talk down Captain Nalik from searching the ship for pirate prisoners. Send off Sid Roy by featherfall. Dismember the dead pirate and feed him to the pyromite boilers. Problem solved.
     Later morning: Return visit by Master Pallin. More grief about incorrect report. Falco comes back with, "Why are you busting our balls? We saved someone and killed some pirates." Pallin backs off. "Please revise the report and consider your stay at the Stags Inn on us." Calder still distrusts slimy Pallin. Harrick gives Nalik a tour while they wait. Pallin leaves with report for magistrate. Promises to have the cargo offloaded by tomorrow.
     Rest for officers. Cawyn and Falco go to High District and Pallin's residence to speak with Ser Gold to renegotiate his passage. Meet Mathias Drumholler - tinker, on the way. Haggle for potions. Gather a little local intel about the pirate king Cullom Farcus. Rumors of Pirate bay on the West Coast. 
Gold is not currently at home. Palin explains he is meeting with a captain of a Windcutter to book swift passage back.
     Meanwhile, Harrick takes a meeting meant for the captain with Lord Evanshard, a local factor, knight and businessman. Lord Evenshard has a business proposition for the Maven. Agree to rescue his shipment of Aether Spring water from a downed barge in the foothills and he will clear up the tax issues. The barge is holed up near an old ruin, in Knockfar territory, but they are still in Crystal communications. Time is of the essence. Harrick returns to tell the captain the offer, promises an answer quickly. Meets Cawyn and Falco on their way back to the ship. Offers ride in Evenshard's coach.

Session Break

     They do some more dealing with Mathias the Tinker, Buy potions of featherfall and a shiny lantern. They choose to accept Evenshard's deal and leave in the morning, headed west into the forested foothills in search of the downed zeppelin barge.
     At first the trip goes well. They make contact with the barge captain, who explains that they were threatened by Knockfar in the forest and had to take their goods to a nearby ruined temple. He gives directions. When they finally find the valley known as Tiger's Vale, they have some difficulty spotting the landing site and no one responds to their crystal. Eventually they send a small team into the forest to make their way to the temple. Falco, Harrick, Boggs, Snap, McFall and Grail find old sign of Knockfar and newer sign of a cart and Neran tracks leading to the temple.
     As they approach the densely forested old temple, they spy flying cats. Cawyn takes some time to talk to a bird or two, who only verifies that their are two-legs at the temple, and that the flying cats are dangerous to birds and small beasts.
     The group carefully approaches. There are a dozen or so of the winged cats, but they don't do more than watch them. The pyramid style temple has an old and crumbling statue of a feminine feline/humanoid form at it's apex. They leave Grail at the entrance and go in, being very careful to check for traps.
     In the main worship chamber they find another statue of a giant, winged feline figure with the upper torso of a Neran. One eye contains a sparkling red gem. As they are getting ready to explore further, the distant report of a cannon can be heard, followed by the resonant tone of a giant bell. The sound instantly knocks out the crew, who fall where they stood and do not rise again...


Current Contracts

Package For Baron Broke (Shipping) UNDERWAY

Torellan, Manawyn to (Destination revealed by Shipper)
Start Date: By Dec 30, 572
Delivery Date: Unspecified.
Baron Broke of Starbourn Industries wants a package picked up from Sunstrider Exports in the Capital City of Torellan. Delivery location will be revealed by shipping agent, Mavrus Tynebough.
Payment: 9,000 gold upon delivery. (10,000 - 10% Retainer Fee)

Paper Pushing (Shipping) UNDERWAY
Milum, Deoria to the College of the Southern Arcanum, Torellan, Manawyn
Delivery Date: Jun 30, 573
Deliver 100 Tons (16hs) of Parchment to the College of the Southern Arcanum, 20 miles south of Torellan in the Brass Forest.
Payment: 7500 gold upon delivery.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

SESSION UPDATE "It's an Old Code Sir, But it Checks Out."

Dec. 11, 572pfk
North City Skydocks. Milum Deoria

     A few things need to get wrapped up before the crew can leave the Capitol of Milum and head south. First and foremost, at least in the mind of the Captain, is to fill the hold with something that pays. Old Charlie Duncombe arrives in the early morning with a short stack of potential contracts. After discarding some due to a tight turn-around, they eventually settle on a hundred tons of vellum parchment bound for an arcane college just south of their destination. It will fill the ship to the deck beams, but allows time for the "eventualities" that always seem to happen aboard the Maven.

     That bit of business out of the way, Calder, Harrick and Cawyn head to a nearby merchant's guild hall for a last meeting with Sorsha. The blind bard is accompanied by two Kirith-Syvani, a young man and a woman, Keldan and Balthoren. Together they make a diplomatic attempt to sway the Maven to immediately return to the Murk instead of playing the subtler "long game" of getting in good with Broke and Starbourne Industries. The officers of the Maven are equally diplomatic, but firm in their course of action. Balthoren is quietly angry, but Sorsha and Keldan are more understanding.

     While this is happening, Falco is having an agreeable meeting with Dreya. The Durin rogue puts his worries to rest by assuring Falco she had nothing to do with the kidnapping attempt. She gets a tour of the ship by the somewhat smitten Bosun Delver as they wait for the ship owners to return.

     After making some inquiries at the Imperial Deorian Engineers Guild, Calder learns that his chances of successfully enrolling as a guild member, and thus getting access to their schematics and resources, are somewhat small. he nonetheless applies for a test in six weeks.

     Back aboard the Maven, they are introduced to Dreya. She explains the mission and offers up 3000 gold to sweeten the pot. After some light questioning, the crew accepts Falco's debt of honor and tells Dreya they will help Falco steal a ledger from the apprentice's room aboard the nearby Imperial Skytower Outpost, Parnell's Aerie.

     In the afternoon of the following day, after the cargo has been loaded, and the dry goods and kitchen supplies for the Aerie have been strapped to the deck, the Maven takes sail once more, headed southwest under lead grey skies, much like their first flight so many weeks ago. Falco continues his lessons with wall. The trip takes several hours.

     They are hailed by Crystal comm upon arriving at the floating Imperial outpost, and their identity verified. The outpost is no more than a chunk of land with a square built tower built upon it and several thin bridges arrayed around it, extending to floating docks and outbuildings.

     With the lateness of the hour they are invited by the Imperial soldiers to stay the night. "The morning crew will bring out the hoists from the tower and offload the cargo at daybreak." The crew stays aboard the Maven, but the officers are invited to the hall for refreshments and socializing, as well as a room for the night.

     After being escorted past guards who appear alert they find themselves in a great hall at the base of the tower. Twenty to thirty off-duty soldiers linger there, eating, gaming and socializing; the blazing warmth of two huge fireplaces driving out the dual colds of winter and altitude.

     They are shown to their rooms on the second floor, where they deposit their cloaks and jackets before returning to the hall. Falco remains behind, hoping to get his mission over with quickly.

     Back in the hall they spot their likely target, a youngish man in the robes of an arcanist playing cards with a group of three soldiers. Since there doesn't appear to be a spot open, they take a seat at an empty table and order food and drink from the serving boy.

     Soon a man in the steel grey robes of a Wical of Culan approaches. He introduces himself as Armsman Reldan. While it quickly becomes apparent the warrior priest is interviewing them, he does so nicely, and seems genuinely friendly. The three covertly keep an eye on their mark, while chit-chatting with the Wical.

     Meanwhile, upstairs, Falco prepares. After waiting a good half candle with no one coming or going from the guest wing he cloaks himself in the arcanic seeming of a guardsman and sets out for the third floor. He passes the guards in the main corridor, and one questions his business, but he bluffs his way past the soldier with "his Lordship wants me to do a check upstairs."

     In the great hall an older robed man with a crown of whispy white hair puts away his ledgers and heads upstairs after having a word with the senior officer's table. Calder and his companions share a glance.

     Once on the third floor Falco immediately begins checking rooms. After two barracks he heads back to check the left hall, only to hear the old man coming up the stairs. With little time, he picks the darkest shadow he can find, in the curved cannonade section of the hall and ducks for cover. The old man gets to the top of the stairs a moment later, and heads right toward Falco's hall, where he will surely pass within six feet of the hiding rogue....

join us next time.

Current Contracts

Package For Baron Broke (Shipping) UNDERWAY

Torellan, Manawyn to (Destination revealed by Shipper)
Start Date: By Dec 30, 572
Delivery Date: Unspecified.
Baron Broke of Starborn Industries wants a package picked up from Sunstrider Exports in the Capital City of Torellan. Delivery location will be revealed by shipping agent, Mavrus Tynebough.
Payment: 9,000 gold upon delivery. (10,000 - 10% Retainer Fee)

Paper Pushing (Shipping) UNDERWAY
Milum, Deoria to the College of the Southern Arcanum, Torellan, Manawyn
Delivery Date: Jun 30, 573
Deliver 100 Tons (16hs) of Parchment to the College of the Southern Arcanum, 20 miles south of Torellan in the Brass Forest.
Payment: 7500 gold upon delivery.

Nick the Arcanist's Ledger (Illegal Job) UNDERWAY
Dreya's crew needs something procured from a sky platform over the King’s Wood. She got your ship a contract for delivery of goods. That’ll get you in. What they want is a book in the quarters of one Brinnley Thurgood (Third Order Arcanist). The book is bound in blue leather with the House emblem of Baxter. Retrieve it and take it to a drop in Glors to satisfy Falco's debt to his friend... and for 3000 gold.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SESSION UPDATES "Full Steam Southbound"

     The Maven flies high over Mudton Flats and finds the home of Sariah Greenleaf in the frosty mists of the murk. After anchoring down they find no immediate sign that anyone is home. After careful investigation, they find the chimney to have been recently active, and the pigs appear fed. Inside Sariah's cottage they are made aware of an invisible presence.

     They find Sorsha, alive and well, and in a deep sleep, tucked neatly into the fur lined bed, and when they do, they also are made aware of a tiny, invisible creature named Scritch who is protecting the bard. The Thorn sprite explains that he was charged with nursing the Kirith Syvani while his mistress, The Lady Greenleaf, was recuperating from her own illness.

     While Scritch won't go into the details of his Mistress' illness, he declines their offer of aid and permits them to take Sorsha into their own care. He promises to pass the message to Sariah that the group has left the murk for now and hopes to come back.

     Returning to the Maven with Sorsha, they are just beginning their ascent when they hear the cry of an enraged Wyvern in the fog. Readying themselves, they are sprayed with a cone of ice and frost and attacked by a large, angry male that induces momentary fear in most of the crew.

     Between Harrick's valiant charge and Calder's eventual rally of the sailors, they are able to give the beast a belly full of shard and blade, causing it to flee as the Maven breaks the fog cover and takes to the sky.

After sending a mechanical messenger to Sorsha's contact in Miach, they begin their journey south toward Milum.

     A day of travel finds them somewhat heartened to see the last of the Murk disappear off the stern. Though a snowstorm and engine troubles cause small delays, they generally make good time and arrive in Milum, where they visit The Church of the Tiller and give the sad news to Pastor Vernell - and collect their fee.

     Since there's time, the Captain grants the crew leave while they're back in the home tower so to speak. The officers visit Charlie Elsworth, pay his fee and pass on their story. Charlie offers to scare up a cargo for their trip south.

Falco takes the opportunity to track down and visit Dreya, the Duranos leader of his old Second story crew. Dreya lays on the guilt over her missing right arm and tells him that someone learned of his "lack of being dead-ness" and has hired a group of local assassins, Fado's men, to remedy the situation if they get the opportunity.

    Right after Dreya's departure, Fado's men attack. Though Falco tries to arcanically charm his way past the lead assassin, the Syvani calls his bluff and they capture him without a scuffle. He's carted away while hooded and gagged.

     When Falco misses the evening meeting aboard the Maven, the rest of the crew is mildly annoyed. They send Jeffer Sharpe, who has some familiarity with the seedy side of the merchant district, to find him. Sharpe eventually returns with a story about a kidnapping at O'Heer's Pub. Further discreet questioning leads the crew to a likely base of operations for Fado's men across town, in the warehouse district.

     Meanwhile, Falco's been having a hard time of it. After one nearly successful escape attempt, he's been sitting shackled, gagged and hooded in a dank cell. When the crew starts a commotion above, and his jailers come to kill him, he's got one last shot. He manages to slip the shackles and cast one last Charm, and this time it works.

In the warehouse above, the others are making their way through several henchmen with slag rifles and cutlasses. Cawyn's summoned wolves spook the one-horse, nobles carriage and it careens out the doors into the yard. About the time that nobleman in question is trying to make his way out the back door, Harrick is coming in the back door.

     He takes the blast of the henchmen's pistol fire on his shield and mows them down, but finds the Syvani assassin to be a tougher nut to crack. The mysterious nobleman retreats while his bodyguards keep Harrick - who is feeling quite poisoned, busy.

     After escaping the dungeon cellar, Falco puts an end to his short friendship with the jailer. At about the time he's rushing to aid Harrick, and the others are coming at the nobleman and assassin from the other side. Seemingly cornered, the assassin pulls out another trick and dimension doors away with his charge.

     A quick ransack of the office reveals a hidden compartment with a signed contract for Falco's capture or death. The bounty was apparently offered by a member of house Durantin. They're nearly incinerated while investigating the carriage, when a fireball is hurled from the rooftop, utterly destroying the vehicle.

     With the alarm bells of the watch drawing close, the group decides it best to depart the scene before questions are asked. They split up and lie low, eventually returning to the ship by morning.

     Falco thanks the crew and reveals a bit of his past, telling them how he was the half-son of a destroyed Merchant house. He officially signs on as a junior officer of the Maven and they get their affairs in order, readying to leave Milum and it's dangers behind them as soon as possible.