17 Starfall 500
It has been a week since our heroes’ last adventure. They have cashed in and split their treasures and once again find themselves enjoying each other’s company at the Alehouse of the Cats in Kalimsport.
Their usual barmaid, Gwynfer, is not her usual perky self. She seems…distracted. She gets their orders wrong and is friendly, but only on the surface—not like usual, when she genuinely seems happy to see her favorite customers. Althessamari asks her if something is wrong and the barmaid comes clean.
Apparently her brother, Jory, didn’t come home last night. Jory is a dock worker, a longshoreman, and he usually comes straight home after work. But he never showed and Gwynfer is worried sick. Lee Xin and Althessamari ask her some more questions about his habits and it is revealed that he works with some men named Domwald and Walsey, but Gwynfer doesn’t know where, just somewhere on the sprawling docks of Kalimsport. Gwynfer bustles off to help some more customers and the three friends agree to help Gwynfer by finding out what happened to Jory. They’ll start by tracking down Domwald and Walsey.
Althessamari goes to Gwynfer and lets her know what they plan to do. Gwynfer is pleased and thanks the group for their efforts.
Elhana, Lee Xin, and Althessamari then head down to the docks to begin asking after Domwald and Walsey. They don’t really get a bead on the two longshoremen (Elhana’s method of interrogation is particularly ineffective), but they do hear that there have been more disappearances on the docks.
As they are making their way around, Lee Xin notices a small boy passing him and then running away from him. He looks down and notices that his pouch is missing. He takes off in pursuit, yelling for the others to follow. The boy jumps across a gully and Lee Xin follows. Elhana has trouble with this, but Althessamari doesn’t. The boy then tries to climb a fence, but doesn’t clear it, allowing Lee Xin to catch up and grab the boy by his ankles. Althessamari shows up and does the same thing. The boy thrashes about calling the two a couple of “weirdos”. Finally Elhana catches up and intimidates the boy into giving up. He hands over the pouch and gives them some information.
Apparently a Tarsian ship, the Black Moon, is in dock and is pressing people into service. That’s why people are disappearing. The boy doesn’t know where on the dock the ship is. The group finally lets the boy go.
The group then decide to start asking around about the Black Moon. They soon find themselves in a hairy situation: they are in a narrow street and a man pops out of an alleyway ahead of them. Two more pop out behind them, pinning them in. They have short hair and beards. They all draw scimitars and come at the three with violent intent in their intense amber eyes.
The fight is short, thanks to Elhana and Lee Xin’s fighting prowess and Althessamari’s spellcasting assistance. Two of the three attackers are down and out and the third drops his sword and surrenders. From him, they learn that the Black Moon is docked in the southern part of the docks, near the Southern Market District of the city. They tie the man up, along with his comrades and leave him in the alleyway. Then they head to the south end of the docks to look for the Black Moon.
After some searching, they come across a ship with a black crescent moon carved into its prow. Althessamari and Elhana hang back while Lee Xin does some reconnaissance. Lee Xin watches in secret as three figures depart from the ship. One is a broad-shouldered woman with long braids in her hair, festooned with beads, gemstones, and shells. She has olive skin and intense amber-colored eyes. A second figure is male, also with long braids in his hair that are filled with beads, gemstones and shells. His forked beard is also decorated in the same fashion. His frame is thinner and more wiry than the woman’s. The third figure is decorated in much same manner as the other male, with a forked beard and long, decorated braids. He also sports a long scar on his left cheek. The three stride confidently off of the ship’s gangplank and head off into the dock district toward one of the taverns there. Lee Xin stealthily makes his way back to his companions and reports what he saw.
They decide that if they are going to hit the boat, now might be time while those three are off the ship. They are hoping that it was the main officers of the ship taking their leave and only leaving behind a skeleton crew to man the ship in their absence. Lee Xin will go first since he is the stealthiest, followed by Althessamari, and finally Elhana. They will approach in the water and climb up the rigging onto the deck. Althessamari will distract any crew on the deck with a Ghost Sound of “Hey!” and a whistling sound to draw their attention to the street.
They slip into the harbor water and swim to the ship and then climb up the ship’s rigging on the Black Moon’s deck, not without some difficulties. However, they all eventually make it. Much to their relief, they find no crew on the upper deck. They quietly pull up the gangplank. Then Lee Xin stealthily makes his way to the staircase leading down to the lower deck.
As he heads down the staircase, the monk sees a crewman heading toward the staircase. Lee Xin quickly moves to meet him and catches him off-guard. He makes quick work of the crewman, but alerts another man who was patrolling on the same deck. Elhana and Althessamari make their way down to the deck to assist. Between the three of them, the crewman is dealt with quickly. Lee Xin makes a point of catching the crewmen and gently laying them down before letting them hit the deck floor. The staircase continues down to another deck. Lee Xin follows it down, quietly.
He makes it to the next deck unseen or heard and sees two more crewmen. He sneaks up behind one and surprises him. Elhana and Althessamari follow shortly behind and begin to engage the other one. Once again, they take out the crewmen, with Lee Xin gently laying their unconscious bodies on the deck. From below they hear the sound of moving metal—like the shaking of chains. There is another short staircase leading down to yet another deck. Lee Xin follows it down. The others follow him.
Lee Xin emerges on a smaller deck and finds himself face-to-face with another crewman. The fight is fast and furious, but once again the monk emerges on top. He gently lays the crewman down on the deck. Then he hears another sound—snoring. From multiple sources. He goes to the end of the deck to check it out.
Meanwhile, Althessamari and Elhana see a line of people chained to the side of the deck shaking their chains. There are 15 people chained up there altogether—including Jory Grybbin. There are halflings, a dwarf, an elf, half-elves, and humans. Males and females. Althessamari asks them to keep it down while they try to find a key to get them out. Sure enough, they do find a key on the last crewman that Lee Xin had taken out. They unlock the chains and free the prisoners, who reveal that the Tarsians are actually slavers.
Lee Xin goes to the end of the deck and sees about a dozen hammocks hanging in the alcove formed by the end of the ship. All full of sleeping crewmen. He quietly backs away and informs his companions. “We need to get out of here. Not that way. We don’t need anything that way,” he says, pointing at the other end of the deck.
At this point, all three companions notice a cabin at this end of the deck. Althessamari goes to check out the door. It is locked. Never one to let that deter her curiosity, she picks the lock and opens the door. It is a small cabin, modestly furnished. They search it and find a secret compartment in the wall. Inside the compartment, they find a small coffer. Althessamari takes the coffer as “compensation” for the misery these people have caused.
The companions then round up the prisoners and head back up to the upper deck and carefully replace the gangplank. They then depart from the ship and make their way to the Alehouse of the Cats.
All of the prisoners thank the companions profusely for saving them. Apparently they were all taken on the docks of Kalimsport within the past couple of weeks. They all then head back to their homes. Gwynfer thanks the companions as well and has a tearful reunion with her brother.