The youth group had a long trip back to Saltmarsh and then once there, we rolled into a number of LARPing situations where they got to do some town stuff and dress in different hats for a while. And somewhere along the way, a throw-out line that had been delivered 3 or 4 meetings ago came back to roost – as in Talion needed to get laid and blow off some steam. Well, at a table full of 16 year olds is sometimes wont to do, they got crude and pooled some coins together to get the party leader a lady of the evening. And then two others joined in as well. The other half of the party was content to just sit in the bath and soak up the scented oils.
Write up follows:
It was at 9:30 or so on the cold morn of Earthmonth the 17th when the jolly boat left the cove under the abandoned mansion and started the 4 mile trip back to Saltmarsh. Talion, Deja, and Magnus were aboard the low slung single masted boat; Ned Shakeshaft was piloting the craft while Darveig the 17 year old former smuggler and Sanbalet, the ringleader of the smuggling operation at the mansion sat on the floor of the boat trussed up and gagged for the ride. Whatever stolen goods we managed to bring back from the stores under the mansion were included – 12 casks of brandy and 11 bolts of silk.
From the boat the party could see their companion Valerie storming along the ridge and beach north of the mansion, her anger pronounced with every step while the elven priestess Veldryn was struggling to catch up to her taller, half-orcish friend.
The sailing trip back took about 2 hours during which time the feeling was we dock and then go immediately to Sir Archibald Reguirin’s Demesne to discuss our findings and turn over Sanbalet. Ned piloted the boat with great care to the docks where a few young boys helped tie the jolly boat up. Kurly Lodbruck, the Dwarven Wharfmaster came out to talk about our boat and cargo – which for now we wanted to keep quiet about until we could get it to Sir Reguirin’s. So we paid for docking fee and then hired a few longshoremen to unload the boat and eventually cart everything to the Reguirin Demesne. We left Darveig in charge of the operation and the rest of us took the trussed up Sanbalet off to the south end of town and eventually Sir Archibald’s.
At the Demesne they had to wait while the nobleman’s manservant kept the group waiting until he allowed them audience with Archibald. Besides Master Reguirin, there was also the Dowager Lynn Coopersmith, dwarven owner of the largest cooper and barrel makers in Saltmarsh and Pinelaquin Goldenrod, the half elven herbalist and notary public – known to go by the non elven sounding name of “Lack” when given the chance. With Sire Archibald, this was 3 of the 5 members of the Town Council and just the sorts of people we wanted to visit with and talk to.
The party explained their findings at the mansion, allayed the Council that it wasn’t haunted, and assured them that although the party had been through the ringer, ever member was still alive and kicking. We talked about the smuggling and the operation as we had come to understand it, the massive fight at the end, and the capture of Sanbalet. We spoke about leniency for Ned and Darveig and agreed with the council members that the smuggling operation as we had it so far was only part of the situation.
The goods had been dropped off and we talked about the seals on the barrels. The group was expecting that it would tie back to Iran Hamanar in some fashion but was surprised when the Dowager Lynn admitted that had recognized the sigil as belonging to a trade organization known as the Order of the Kraken. They had turned to smuggling and slaving – a practice that was legal in the northern Baronies of the County but not in the central and southern Baronies. Saltmarsh was by location, part of the northern Barony but by law, abided by the rules of the central Barony and the County laws from Cymbarton. So the Council typically tries to follow central barony rules when possible.
The Order of the Kraken had been raided and their leader, Grabbi Ogansdottr, had been tried and hung from the neck about 2 years ago – the organization was then struck down and defunct. How these sigils had been reestablished was a problem for the council and the questioning they had for Sanbalet here had been unanswered and rude.
As for Valerie and Veldryn, it was an almost 4 hour walk back during which time the elf and half-orc eventually patched up their friendship. However as they drew closer to Saltmarsh, Veldryn was concerned that Magnus was going to use what occurred at the mansion as fodder for the paladin to act against Talion or her. She wanted someone on her side to help her out. So she convinced Valerie that they needed to go to the cemetery and see Hjarlod, the Speaker for the Dead and see if he’d be willing to act as an intermediary and support for her.
By 2 they had traveled back to town and then made their way to the Speaker for the Dead. Hjarlod was a bit in his cups but was willing to come with the two of them to see Sir Reguirin and advised them that was a ritual he could do to help ensure the truth was being told. So it was 2:30 when Val and Vel arrived at the Demesne with Hjarlod and met the councilman and the rest of the group.
We all got caught up and then Magnus brought out a letter he had penned during the journey back, reading it to the councilman and the party. It detailed his concern for Talion as leader and the undue influence Veldryn seemed to have on the ranger. There was talk about severed heads and cruelty and enforcing the part of the charter where a leader can be changed should the situation merit it. Hjarlod had cast a Zone of Truth on the area and for the most part, the group was able to tell when a falsehood was uttered – although not all the time. It is for this reason why the Zones are not acceptable during testimony since it can be defeated through luck, guile, will, and magic.
The party eventually managed to reach a point when Talion was going to be more open to listening to all the party members equally and the vote to replace him as leader was defeated 3 to 1. As for Sanbalet, the council was going to select a questioner (torturer) and a Justicar to get some information out of the smuggler and when we do, Sir Reguirin would like the party to follow the findings to the next link in the smuggling chain. We were given 250 nobles as a thanks for our efforts so fat, had Valerie added to the charter, and then by 3, left to head for the Saucy Winter Wench to get a room for a few days.
On the way we stopped at Rosensteel’s Tradegoods and did some purchasing, Veldryn taking the time to but a silvered steel dagger for Deja as a thank you and apology for her actions at the mansion. The Halfling was touched and had just sold a number of crummier knives back – placing the silvered one into her now empty boot sheath.
We arranged for another large room for the party at the Wench, ordering a bath and oils again to scrub the grime and filth off our bodies. Laundering was taken care of and then Magnus wanted to get Talion a lady for the evening – or late afternoon. He requested something different and firm from Pettis, and then in a fit of “what the hell”, asked for one for himself – but specified she had to be a lady. Not to be outdone, even Deja asked if there was a man of the evening she could get and was assured someone would be sent up.
We went to the bedroom where water was being filled into the tub and hot oils added. A fresh cake of soap was supplied and Talion went first, getting himself cleaned. As he was getting out of the tub, there was a knock at the door and a woman in her late teens and dressed rather sluttily in tight leather clothes asked for the ranger. Said her name was Candy and she was here for him. Meanwhile Magnus got himself cleaned quick as a second woman appeared behind Candy, a bit older and dressed in a clinging blue sheath dress who identified herself as Sophia and was here for the paladin.
The two of them left as Deja got in next, following the two women downstairs to the space that was normally cordoned off, and to a room where they said they shared it together and would like to know if that was a problem for the two of them. They assured the two women it wasn’t and they went in where the door was shut, Candy took charge; Talion got some straps around his legs to hold him down while Candy beat him and took him for herself and her pleasure. Sophia was more refined but Magnus was happy and the time passed.
As for Deja, a dwarven piece of beefcake named Hefador showed up and escorted the Halfling out where she too was treated to a 2 hour window of relaxation, excitement, and whatever consenting adults do behind closed doors…for a price.
Veldryn and Valerie paid for new bath water to be brought up and then relaxed for some time before Deja staggered back into the room, tired and satisfied. They had her back in the tub and plied her with questions about Hefador until Magnus and Talion returned – both also tired and satisfied, the paladin glowing and the ranger having a rough time sitting down.
We laughed it off, dropped off all the dirty clothes to be laundered, and then went to the common room to eat, drink, listen to some music, and just wind down after the terribly long day. We talked about tomorrow and decided there were two things we wanted to look into before heading to the Reguirin Demesne, 1) Deja and Veldryn wanted to make contact with the thieves guild if there was one in town to discuss some of the things on the manifests we discovered at the mansion, and 2) the rest of us to make our way to the docks and poke around to see if could uncover any other blazon markings or sigils from the Order of the Kraken.
By the time our meal was done Deja took in a local card game, playing a number of hands until she was up by a large amount of silver. It was when she got up from the table and the players grew angry at her leaving before they had a chance to win their money back that threatening actions were given and the entire situation looked like it was going to blow up. But one of the Deputies to the town Sheriff came over, named Stenthin Gooseberry, and helped diffuse the situation a bit. However, we were dismayed to learn that the loudest complainer of the gamblers was a card shark known locally as “Ehks” and had been brought up on charges of suspected murder at least 4 times before. Always smaller women who had gone missing. Small – like Deja.
We retired to our room by 8:45 and came 10, it was lights out and we rested. Veldryn finished the ponderous tome Metaphysics Math and Magic and even though she understood it, it was a weighty subject that she was going to have to digest for some time.
We awoke the next morning feeling good and by 8:30 had finished our breakfast, prayers, and studying. We were discussing our plans to split up and hit the town and then go visit Sir Archibald and see if he had any information from Sanbalet as of yet by the afternoon.