The House of the Stolen Kisses
A fair two-day sail brought the Crisis to the lively port of Quent, making landfall on the 23nd of Arodus. The summer was winding to a close. “It feels like forever since I was last here,” Fishguts remarked as they made their way toward the House of Stolen Kisses, trailing most of the crew behind them. The reason became obvious when a scantily-clad Sargavan acolyte greeted them just inside the door.
“Welcome, Lords and Ladies.” A beautiful lady says as you near the temples entrance.
Nice to meet such a beauty, Friquity boom pronounced as he walked on to the temple.
Sandara gestured to the crew that they were free to look around and amuse themselves, then followed after Baro and Brograth. They passed a number of curtained rooms that leaked intriguing noises before reaching the chambers of the temple’s high priestess, Dindreann.
“Come in,” someone behind a curtain purred. A tall, spectacularly gorgeous woman, she wore gold and black, even her long hair tinted to match. When she moved, an amazing length of exquisitely turned ankle, leg, and even thigh showed through the slit in her gown. Refreshments were offered and instantly accepted by Gloin.
“So, what service may I render to associates of my dearest friend Tessa?
We are looking to seek information regarding the balance of the council, who is in favor of topping over the Hurricane king?
Well this information is rather common knowledge Dindreann told the Maidens Promise officers
Dindreann came to the matter at once and told about a vessel they owned and got missing.
“A ship owned by our temple, the Lady’s Sting, recently went missing. My divination’s have revealed that the ship was attacked by a group of pirates who deliberately lure ships into danger so they can salvage the cargoes of the wrecked ships.”
“Piracy is a fact of life in the Shackles, but the Lady’s Sting was carrying a relic sacred to my faith—a figurine of a wasp called the Golden Vespal.”
And if you exact our right to vengeance from the wreckers, so much the better.”
“She was bound for Beachcomber, on Bag Island, but she never arrived.”
“A mithral dagger set with aquamarines. A gift I’d intended for a lover. Little else that is distinctive. Certainly nothing else I want back.”
The next day, they sailed for Beachcomber, arriving early the following morning on the ebb of the tide. Bag Island was home to the largest population of half-lings in the Shackles and Beachcomber was their rowdiest port.
Let’s use the crew to good use and let them look for the temple and gather information or put Rosie to good use since she is one of them ;-)
I shall return when I have something, Captain.” Later that evening she found the captain and its crew in The stinking Haring near the Maidens dock, she returned with a lead to a warehouse in the Lurker District. “I can lead you there whenever you’re ready Captain.”
It was surprisingly easy to gain admittance; they were met by a half-ling dressed in the black clothing of an indentured servant to an aristocratic household. His mask gave him a round cherub face. “Please, great masters, enter peacefully. I am Slip. Tell me, why have you come to the Temple of the Hidden Name?”
“The Reaper of Reputation knows much that is hidden, my lord, but, as I’m sure you know, secrets always have a price.”
“The Temple of the Hidden Name deals in information; secrets are our currency. To learn one of my secrets you must give me a secret in exchange. Fortunately, there is information we are seeking.”
“A famous ship called the Brine Banshee disappeared several months ago. She was said to have been one of the fastest ships in the Shackles, with unparalleled steering for a vessel her size. Many believed that several potent spells were woven into the ship. If you can find out what happened to the Brine Banshee and discover the secret of her unprecedented speed and maneuverability, then we can do business.”
Baro asked Slip i he had any further information regarding the Ladies sting.
“Yes, I have knowledge of one crew that claimed to have successfully attacked a Calistrian vessel.”
“The wreckers you seek are led by a half-orc wizard named Vakarla. They operate from a hidden island base, somewhere southeast of the Rampore Isles.”
The crew was asking Friquity the next course of action, quickly the cap tole them that action was the only way and the fastest way to action was the Stinger loaded with the vespal.
The shoals, Slip, had suggested were only about six hours out from Bag Island, around the Rampore Isles. The Maiden reached the area after dark and the crew begin looking around.
“Ship ahoy!” called Etto the lookout. “Ahead off the port bow! Tis a wee merchant ship with her sails lowered!”
Rosie and grok immediately gathering the crew to the ready, Rosie filled with bloodthirst sharpening her axes, ready to kill and decapitate the first bastard showing his head.
Gloin steered cautiously, his eyes on the water. Stavros who stood next to Gloin abruptly gave the wheel a hard turn. “Drop anchor! Furl the sails!” He called, alarmed. Fishguts and Sandara looked overboard, realizing that there was something wrong about the waters just as the ship shuddered and ground against something.
“There is some magic at work here!” Stavros called. The maiden shuddered violently again and then crashed to a stop against coral, hurling everyone violently to the deck. The distant ship vanished along with the strangeness of the sea, revealing that the Maiden was surrounded by shoals on all sides—only Stavros quick action and descision had prevented the destruction of the beloved Maidens Promise.
Within a split second from the decks below the crew on the main deck hear “taking water, taking water”, raise the alarm!
Brograth the Toad fell on his face, flat down and was unable to help the crew below since the ship was being boarded by ferocious looking men, sea reavers as they called them. They came on the deck screaming and shouting while at the same time a pool of fire erupte on the middle section of the ship.
A man jumped over the rail and attacked Brograth, followed by several more as a wave of supernatural fear washed over the deck. Flying above, a female half-orc made arcane gestures at them. Rosie drew her trowing axes and attacked the flier, most of her axes merely dissipating illusions while Rosie was cursing like a demon. Gloin assaulted the reavers with axe and cutlass, dealing one a substantial wound, but they were not daunted; their counterattack left him staggering back covered in blood. Fishguts joined Grok in trying to bring the wizard down, arming the ballista, dispelling more illusions. VEctra charged the reavers while the wizard cast another spell, this time directed just at Gloin—his face paled and he winced in pain.
“FUCK!” Grok screamed eloquently, seeing Gloin fall. “SANDARA!” She loosed a ballista at the wizard, causing more cursing. Vectra growled and booted one of the reavers in the chest, following up with her spear and cleaving the man from his right hip to his left shoulder. The other man attacking her flinched and subsequently lost his head.
The wizard cast another spell and a wall of flames erupted from the deck, scorching the wood and threatening to set rope and sail ablaze. Rosie flinched from the heat and saw Sandara dart past her, sprinting through the flames to haul Gloin to safety. One of the reavers cleaved fishguts to the deck while the remaining two assaulted vectra, one distracting her while the other shoved his sword through her stomach, leaving her to collapse in a pool of blood.
The main fight was with Friquity who lost sight of the situation while the rest of the officers fought hard to keep off the reavers. After some time the crew gathered up to continue the search receiving the required healing from Baro and Sandara.
Gloin, under instructions of the captain, managed to float the Maiden off the rocks about the time the sun came up. One of the two wrecked ships was, indeed, the Lady’s Sting; Rosie had the crew pry loose the name plate so they could bring it with them. Slowly and laboriously they backed the Maiden out of the shoals and made for the island, finding a couple of longboats on the beach that pointed them toward a cluster of concealed huts surrounded by a wooden palisade. The huts were empty full of a jumble of plunder, mostly items too heavy to easily carry away. Baro descended upon an array of alchemical goods while the others found what seemed to be the wizard’s hut; there was a hole under the bunk, as if something was recently dug up.
Friquity ordered the crew to return to Dindreann, the woman he really wanted to get to know deeper, after the news was brought to her they feasted the remaining day until the time was set to return to the Maidens promise, continuing to Drenchport.
The weather grew increasingly worse as they sailed north for Drenchport, growing ever closer to the Eye of Abendengo, arriving in a storm of heavy rain shortly after sundown on the 28th of Arodus.
They rounded up tempest cay and headed into Drenchport. It didn’t take long to find the Hall, which unlike most of the other buildings in town was well-lit and inviting. Not to mention warm. About a dozen scrimshanders were around the place, working, drinking, or just swapping gossip. An old gray-haired half-elf sat near the immense fireplace, carving a mermaid out of a walrus tusk.