S&S: Session 25 – Chasing Rumors

Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!

Dolce had purchased the tools necessary to transfer magical runes to weapons, as well as some of the runes themselves. For Nasha and Revel she purchased magical handwraps. On at least one of each of their weapons and handwraps Dolce placed a Ghost Touch rune. She still had that piece of the Honeysnake so they could track the ship, and meant to follow up on it at some point and she’d not heard any tales yet of what kind of creatures – if any – occupied the vessel. A ghost touch rune, which was relatively inexpensive, would save her a number of spells if they did end up fighting actual ghosts…

For Revel, the elf had purchased handwraps bearing a Flaming rune and a Grievous rune. For Nasha, wraps, a Corrosive Rune. On Mirielle’s dagger – the dagger of Vulpius Scariano because that had apparently become Miri’s preferred blade – a Frost rune. On her own Besmara’s Embrace, a Disrupting rune. This blade she intended to save specifically for undead and ghostly ships like the Honeysnake and the Deathknell. On Brine’s Sting, her more favored rapier of late, a Frost rune and a Wounding rune. This she wouldn’t mention to the Captain… It would help her make sure people she felt would be a liability died in combat.

Dolce also placed Ghost Touch runes on Nasha and Revel’s Returning weapons. For Nasha she actually transferred the Underwater rune and Returning rune from a spear that had long been her primary ranged weapon to the boarding pike. Its ability to morph its reach would allow Nasha some more flexibility.

To accomplish all of this the elf was spending a good bit of money where she could to shorten the time it would take her to accomplish everything, but also time to do what needed to be done herself where it was more convenient.

Stowaway

It was well after dark when Nasha saw a woman emerge from the trapdoor that led below deck with Vixi close behind her. The woman was gagged and her body covered in what looked like a sticky substance. The lizardfolk didn’t recognize her. She watched Vixi curiously as he approached.

The tengu said, “Found this one below when I was taking the count. Certainly wasn’t expecting a stowaway.”

Nasha’s tail thumped lightly against the deck and she asked, “I’m surprised we made it this far from port before she was noticed.” They were two days out from Port Peril.

Vixi nodded a little. “I think it’s because I didn’t take inventory last night.” If he was annoyed at having missed the lass it didn’t show in his voice.

“What was she doing?” Nasha asked.

“Sleeping! Curled up behind some of the barrels.” The woman was trying to say something, but the gag muffled her efforts sufficiently and Vixi went on, “Found this with her.” He held out a rather large satchel toward Nasha.

The lizardfolk took the satchel and rifled through its contents. Many empty books, ink, quills, sand, some nautical charts, some loose papers with details about members of the pirate council. An interesting collection and one that certainly suggested she had some sense of the sea about her. Nasha closed the satchel and reached out with a clawed hand to pull the gag from the human’s mouth. She noticed as she did so that the woman wore a collar over what looked like a scar on her neck. “Why are you here?” she asked.

The woman worked her jaw for a moment and said, “Look, I’m sorry, I would have presented myself tomorrow-“

Nasha snorted a little and repeated her question, cutting the woman’s apologies short.

The human swallowed, “I was a slave aboard the Sandsworn. I just took my chances in Port Peril.”

“So you had no other reason for being here, on The Purr?” Nasha was mainly concerned with if the woman was here for something in specific rather than just trying to get away from something.

The woman shook her head no and said, “I swear it, I was just trying to escape and I finally managed in Port Peril. With your captain’s reputation I thought my chances would be better on this ship than one I didn’t know.”

The lizardfolk considered that. She knew well they had a reputation as capable pirates who didn’t take slaves or try to ransom crews. She supposed it made sense. Finding no fault in the woman’s claims she said, “You will speak to Mirielle in the morning. I’m not waking her.”

The woman nodded, “Of- of course.”

“Being a stowaway is bad,” Owlbear said. He’d been sitting near Nasha watching the ripples of the ship in the water below them, but now was speaking to the woman.

The human shrank a little and said, “Yes, I- I know.”

Owlbear nodded as though her admission satisfied him.

To Vixi Nasha said, “You go ahead and get some sleep. I will watch her.”

The tengu nodded and headed for officers’ quarters. Nasha returned to stargazing, though she occasionally got up to do work with the rigging or make sure their course was adjusted as needed. She’d become the de facto leader of the sailors who drew the night shift… Probably because she was so fond of the stars. Partly also because Owlbear was permanently on night shift and Nasha wanted to look out for him.

“You can see the rider really clearly tonight,” the human said.

Nasha blinked a little and turned toward her. It had been some time since she’d heard someone refer to one of the constellations by name. Most simply stated how pretty they were like that elf had. What a strange elf he’d been. “Do you know much of the stars?” she asked.

The human nodded and said, “I was a Pirate Master for the Sandsworn. I did a fair bit of navigating though, and that requires a good knowledge of the stars. I guess you’d be more interested in the hunter’s prey.” It was an Iruxi constellation she referenced, and to Nasha’s surprise she pronounced its Iruxi name flawlessly.

“Mm, we believe this is a time for attaining goals,” Nasha said softly.

“And overcoming trials,” the human said. The Tanglefoot effect that had been binding her had hardened at this point and she broke the binds and watched them crumble to the deck of the ship.

“What is your name?” Nasha asked, more interested in the woman now.

She smiled a little. “It’s Emilia. You’re Nasha, right?”

Nasha couldn’t remember if Vixi had called her by name or not, but she didn’t think so. “How do you know that?”

Emilia chuckled. “I told you, I was a Pirate Master.”

“I don’t see a rider.” Owlbear said.

Nasha’s had almost forgotten he was sitting with her, but now realized he was searching the skies for a rider. She started to speak, but Emilia was faster.

“It’s not an actual rider, but an image made by connecting the stars,” she said. When Owlbear looked confused she said, “I’ll show you.. If, that’s alright with you.” She had reached out toward her satchel. Nasha nodded warily, watching her in case she turned out to be a spell caster or something. The lizardfolk was prepared to strike if the need arose.

All Emilia took from the satchel was a piece of chalk. “Like this,” she said, and drew small dots int he shape of the rider on the ship.

Owlbear watched her, still looking puzzled, until she connected the lines for him. “Oh!” he said, and looked between the deck and the sky above. “It’s up there! You draw really good!”

Emilia chuckled a little at the praise, for it wasn’t exactly a hard thing to draw. “Thank you.”

“Show me more!” Owlbear said.

Nasha smiled and watched as Emilia gave him a very simple demonstration of where the constellations were above them. Some of the formations she named and drew were unfamiliar to the lizardfolk, bu she knew many cultures had their own. How many of them had this pirate learned? Eventually she retrieved a bucket and water and handed it to Emilia to clean the deck while she and Owlbear tended more rigging tasks and adjusted course again.

Nasha was going to like their new shipmate, she suspected. She also thought Dolce and Mirielle would want to talk to her.

Nasha was right. Mirielle spoke to the stowaway at some length, as did Dolce. In the end she was told she could stay aboard and work as crew. She’d receive only a half share, as was their custom for those who were not yet considered Mates. Emilia agreed to this.

Ultimately, Mirielle let Shade be the one to demonstrate how rough it could be for a stowaway. Shade did it well. He invoked the family Mirielle had built aboard the ship when forcing others to pick up the slack of Emilia. It seemed that while she had quite a head for pirates and stars, she was not the most able sailor. Still, Mirille let her languish in rigging work under Shade. She couldn’t have the whole crew thinking she was completely soft, after all.

The House of Stolen Kisses

They made port in Quent. Mirielle gave them two days of shore leave. The city had a reputation for having whorehouses that were unrivaled in the rest of the Shackles, but their true interest was in a particular establishment known as The House of Stolen Kisses. Thankfully, Tessa had furnished a letter for them to gain them access to Dindreann, the high priestess. Apparently it might have otherwise taken months to make an appointment with the woman.

Dindreann revealed to Dolce that she knew something of spies in the Shackles, but she required a favor for the knowledge she possessed. The girls needed to track down a relic that had been aboard The Lady’s Sting, a ship belonging to the establishment. The ship, of course, had been taken and the woman did not know where they should look.

Dolce took this information to Captain Mirielle, who listened to the report and then attempted to make the elf blush by saying, “I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were in such a… lavish establishment.”

Dolce paid that little mind, she was unfazed by the captain’s efforts. What she did note was a passing grumble in a slightly ‘off’ elven accent… Shade murmuring, “More than I will at least.”

When she concluded her conversation with Mirielle she caught up to Shade and asked, “Why exactly is that?”

The drow looked at Dolce a bit confused. “Why is what, Sir?”

“Why is that you’re not visiting the House of Stolen Kisses or some similar establishment while we’re in port?” Dolce rephrased.

Shade regarded her for a moment before saying, “I’ve tried that before. Without the wraps it doesn’t end well. With them it draws undue attention.” Dolce wondered briefly if she could change that with her efforts and presence as The Lady’s Purr‘s shantyman. As though reading her mind Shade said, “Honestly I’m hoping all your pretty little songs can change that if I stick with this crew. Maybe I can walk in Port Peril without fearing the repercussions.”

Somehow Dolce felt rather complimented by this. The fierce, deadly, obnoxious drow bosun held her ‘pretty little songs’ in enough esteem to believe they might be able to help him mingle with the populace of the Shackles more easily. “I guess we’ll see…” Dolce said, turning and heading off to tend her duties.

The conversation stuck with the elf, rolling around in her head. He’d never once gone ashore when they made port, and she supposed it made sense. Many elves, like her, would as soon kill with him as deal with him… But Dolce was indebted to him. Once for saving her from the Canopy Creeper, but mainly for teaching her to be more efficient with her blade. It was time to start mentioning the drow in her songs… Honestly, there were a few old timers that could use some love… She’d remedy that soon.

They lingered in port the extra day and made for Beachcomber. This city, located on Bag Island, was of a much different nature. The information broker on it, also of a much different nature. Dolce discreetly asked around until she gained access to the temple of Norgorber. The four girls met them together, for Dolce and Mirielle didn’t like the idea of anyone being in there alone.

When they inquired about the location of The Lady’s Sting, the man indicated he knew where she could be found. The price of this knowledge? A secret for a secret. Mirielle brought up the spies, for Tessa had mentioned this might be another avenue to discover more about them, and for that the man wanted something more specific… The secret of The Brine Banshee, a ship which had been captained by a man named Jalhazar and which was known for travelling far faster than it should be able to.

A secret Mirielle wouldn’t mind having herself with the regatta right around the corner. The man indicated they might be able to learn more of the fate of The Brine Banshee if they traveled to Quent since the ship had passed through there on its last voyage. They said they would look into this and made back for Quent.

Dolce mulled over what secrets they could offer for the location of The Lady’s Sting. Her being a wizard was still somewhat of a secret… Though one that was bound to come out before long as more people survived their raids on ships. The location of Mancatcher Cove was a secret. The original identity of The Purr was a secret. All things she was unwilling to give up. Perhaps there was some other secret she was missing that would satisfy his request without agitating her.

Back in Quent the girls started searching for news of The Brine Banshee‘s passing. Mirielle had help from the retainers of her previous life. She, ultimately, was approached by a minstrel.

“Pardon me, but you are Captain Mirielle, are you not?” The refined man asked. He had olive skin and beautiful black hair.

Mirielle smiled warmly at the man and said, “Yes. Is there something I can do for you?”

The man smiled. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Khadiq, and was once the Shantyman aboard The Red Star.” His was not a name Mirielle recognized, nor was his ship. The man continued, “I heard you were looking for information regarding the whereabouts of The Brine Banshee. I think I might have a lead for you.”

The aasimar said, “I imagine there’s a cost for the knowledge?” Nothing was free in the Shackles after all.

“Mm, well yes. You see, there’s a particular crewman of yours I’m very interested in…” he trailed off and looked a bit sheepish. Somehow Mirielle expected him to say Dolce, but she waited for him to continue. When he did continue he said, “I was wondering if you could introduce me to Revel.”

Mirielle’s eyebrows arched in surprise. Revel? The Shark? Yet his disposition certainly suggested one of admiration or more. “I- I mean, I can certainly introduce you, but Revel is involved with a man aboard The Purr.”

The minstrel looked a bit crestfallen, but after a moment regained himself and said, “All the same, I’d like the chance to speak with her. And if she says she’s not interested, that’s fine of course. I’m happy to accept coin for what I know as well.”

Mirielle chuckled at this. “Well, I’m pretty sure I know where to find her. I suppose come along.”

The captain led the man through Quent to one of the more affordable taverns in the area. Revel had stated she enjoyed the rougher inns because they catered to a more lively clientele than the ‘stuffy’ establishments Mirielle stayed in at port. Sure enough, Revel and Cog were to be found within. Dolce was actually there too, singing her most recent songs about their exploits.

Mirielle told the man he’d be on his own when speaking to Revel and that she’d wait outside. She called the hobgoblin over once he’d said he understood.

“Hey, Cap, what’s up?” Revel asked, pretty decently drunk if Mirielle were to guess.

The aasimar inclined her head toward Khadiq and said, “This gentleman wanted to meet you. He says he may have information for us regarding the whereabouts of The Brine Banshee.”

“Is that so?” Revel asked, looking over at Khadiq. “Why you wanted to meet me?”

Mirielle bowed her head to the two and exited then, stepping outside with her retainers. Revel watched the captain go and looked back at Khadiq with more curiosity.

“Well, I- um…” The man stuttered, a blush creeping into his cheeks. “I wondered if- if you’d.”

Revel blinked at him, unsure what his issue was. “I’m not gonna bite you, just spit it out!”

His cheeks grew darker. “I wondered if you’d consider… sleeping with me.”

The hobgoblin blinked again. She’d not been expecting this. Cog and she had been sleeping together for… well, months now. Since the Wormwood. That had been a relationship born entirely out of boredom and resentment at their situation. “Why?” she asked.

Was it possible for his cheeks to get even darker? Revel wasn’t sure if she was imagining it or not as he said, “You’re just so- so amazing. All the stories about you-“

“Me? The Shark? You hear my stories and it makes you want to fuck me?” she asked. She was feeling equal parts confused and amused at this. Most people bought her drinks from a distance after one of Dolce’s tales about her bloodlust on the field of combat. Some of their own crew were nervous around her despite her best efforts to be friendly when not disciplining them.

He swallowed nervously and fidgeted under her scrutiny. “Y-yes,” he said, his voice hardly audible.

“Aww, shucks. That’s a new one on me, Fella. And I would, honest, but I got Cog over there.” Revel looked toward her human, he was still drinking and gambling. Conch was going to make a fortune on him again tonight, unless Cog managed to keep picking the gnome’s pocket without getting noticed. She looked back at the human. “Sorry, but I can’t ruin a good thing. They don’t come along very often, ya know?”

It seemed something about that struck a cord with the man, who smiled faintly himself and nodded. “No, I, I understand. I shouldn’t have-” He sighed. “Look, there’s a man named Haneilius Fitch… He was once the doctor on The Brine Banshee and says he knows a way to track her. He’s been looking for people to bankroll his operation, but…”

Revel was surprised when the man started spitting out what he knew. She figured he’d be angry at being turned down, but she listened attentively. At the last she tilted her head up at him and said, “But what? With the regatta around the corner it seems like that should be a pretty well-received request.”

“Well,” Khadiq said, “the man is.. He had an episode shall we say? And I don’t think anyone believes he actually knows a way to find it.”

Revel considered that for a moment. He was crazy, huh? Might make this more complicated, but still better than no lead at all. “Where could we find him?”

Khadiq smiled a little. “He lives in Ollo. I think he’s hoping to get out of there with this.”

Revel nodded. After a moment she said, “Look, I appreciate this, really.”

She started to leave, but Khadiq put a hand on her arm. “I’m glad you’ve got someone, Revel. I hope the two of you are happy.”

There was a sorrow there Revel didn’t have context for. He must have lost someone. Still, what kind of partner had he lost to be interested in someone with her reputation. She gave the man a nod and said, “You seem like a decent guy. If.. uh, if anything ever changes and we come back here I guess I know where to find ya.”

He chuckled, though he seemed like he wasn’t holding out hope for anything like that. Still he did say, “I’d certainly welcome that, though not the circumstances that would bring it about. Take care.” He bowed to her and turned away.

Revel relayed the lead to Mirielle, and in the morning they were off for Ollo… A port they’d avoided since their theft of the egg.

Narwhale

On their way to Ollo, a journey of three days, Nasha showed Jack the basics of wielding a spear. The boy had gained a decent understanding of fighting without weapons, but she wanted him to have some knowledge of how to use a thrown weapon like a spear. It was useful in hunting as well as fighting.

The spear she showed him with was the improved boarding pike, and when the lesson was finished she smiled and said, “You have a pretty good feel for the weapon.”

Jack beamed at the praise. “Thanks, Mama Nasha.”

“I wonder, could you do me a favor?” Nasha asked.

“Sure! Anything!”

“Help me to name it. It is not the weapon it was before, but rather a combination of two. I believe it deserves a new name.” Nasha watched Jack scrutinize the spear closely. He’d seen, of course, the returning property of it.

“What else can it do?” Jack asked.

“Imagine it growing longer in your hands… But make sure you do not point it at any of the crew.” Her tone was even as she instructed him.

Jack did as he was bade and watched as the spear magically lengthened. “Oh yeah! I remember this one! It almost knocked Dolce off The Man’s Promise!” Jack said.

“It can also strike a ghost as surely as a man,” Nasha said. She smiled at his enthusiasm.

Jack jabbed with the spear a few more times before returning it to its normal length, then stood in silence for a while looking down at it in his hands. When at last he looked up he said, “We should call it Narwhale.”

Nasha blinked. She was surprised she had not thought of that name for herself. Narwhale was, after all, the first of the original crew to fall. He was missed on the ship. Nasha’s eyes teared up a little and she placed a hand on Jack’s shoulder. “I knew you would give it a good name.” She bent down and brushed her scaly lips against the top of his head, mimicking the human gesture of a kiss.

Jack smiled at Nasha and returned the spear to her. Later Nasha had him tell the crew what he’d named it and all agreed it was a good name in memory of a good friend.

Ollo

They arrived in Ollo well away from the full moon. In fact, the moon was waning. Most of the crew was ordered to stay aboard all the same, for the girls didn’t intend to linger in Ollo long. Mirielle and Nasha set off seeking their quarry while Dolce and Revel did the same. They agreed to meet at the docks after an hour of searching.

It was actually Dolce who managed to catch a hint of where the man could be found. She told Mirielle and they sought him out at a low-end tavern. Dolce, Revel, and Nasha watched as Mirielle approached the man, but despite her best efforts the captain was not able to get him to tell her a thing. To Dolce it seemed he had run into trouble on this particular subject matter and now watned to avoid it, but Mirielle only sensed his reluctance to talk about it.

In the end the man left the tavern and Mirielle made to follow him, using her Vanishing Wayfinder to turn invisible. Just before she lost sight of Mirielle, Dolce informed her of what she’d picked up on. Mirielle followed Haneilius closely while the rest lingered a bit further behind so as not to be spotted. They saw the small house he entered and waited. Mirielle reappeared beside them. “We’re going to sneak inside and have a longer conversation about this. If you’re right I just need to convince him we’re sincere.”

Dolce nodded. “Shouldn’t be hard to sneak in. House isn’t nice enough to have any complicated deterrents.” Then again, the man was a pirate. “Still let me scout it out first.”

Mirielle nodded, though she sent Nasha along with the elf. The pair checked for any traps or complicated locks on the outside of the house, but Dolce’s initial assumptions proved correct. They reunited and it was agreed Revel would keep watch on the street since she had no aptitude for moving quietly.

The other three infiltrated the house, Dolce and Mirielle through the back door while Nasha slipped in through the front. The man was inside as they’d seen, and quietly brewing tea. When Mirielle cleared her throat to announce her presence it startled him, but not as much as Dolce had expected.

“I see I have company,” Haneilius said. “You don’t have a reputation for being the sort to do undo harm to anyone. Would you like some tea?”

Mirielle considered this only briefly before saying, “Yes please.”

Haneilius poured the aasimar a glass, but when he turned to hand it to her he noticed Dolce by his back door and tensed a little. His gaze traveled to the front where Nasha was and he tensed further. Perhaps their presence would only hinder this. Still, it was a bit late to do anything about that, and so Dolce tried to look as relaxed as she could manage while leaning on his small counter. “The captain just wants to talk to you a little more,” the elf said.

Haneilius drew in a long breath, but Dolce’s relaxed posture at least seemed to calm him some. “By all means. I’m afraid it’s not a particularly impressive place here, but make yourself at home, Captain.” He sat on a couch by a small table and Mirielle sat opposite him in a chair.

“We are being sincere,” Mirielle said, sipping at her tea. She did not find the flavor offensive and was thankful for that. “We have a ship and the means to take you to The Brine Banshee. You would, of course, retain a share of anything we claim there.

Haneilius chuckled, “Well of course I would. But I’m done with all that, done with ships. I lost a tooth the last time a person came asking about it.” His eyes strayed to Dolce’s left.

The elf followed his gaze, but saw nothing to be concerned with and returned her attention to the man.

“Look,” Mirielle said, “I am a pirate, and I’m not above taking what I want by force if I must… I just don’t see any reason this shouldn’t profit both of us.”

The man looked at Mirielle again, assessing her statement if Dolce was correct in reading him. “I believe you, really, but it’s brought me nothing but trouble.”

Dolce was beginning to see an opportunity here. Someone who didn’t want to pursue this venture personally might be willing to settle for far less in a payoff than someone that wanted in on the whole ordeal. She’d wait for the right moment to offer an exchange of his tracking means for some coin.

Mirielle nodded at the man’s words. “I understand that,” she said. “And I can see where it would tire you, but I’m really very keen on this.” She was counting on the authenticity her voice carried to drive it home, but she also decided it was best to point out why. “I am after all a Free Captain… And the Regatta is just around the corner. I’d like to win it. The Brine Banshee may hold the key.”

And just like that, Dolce’s glimmer of hope was slipping away. His eyes darted back to the same place off to her left. She looked again, but again saw nothing. Her brows knit together.

“Yes, yes, I realize.” He said, still looking that way. His eyes found Mirielle again though. “I just don’t…” His statement trailed off and his eyes snapped back to Dolce’s left, “That’s enough from you!” He said.

Dolce arched an eyebrow now. Revel had said Khadiq had referred to some kind of episode. This must have been what the minstrel meant.

The man blinked and frowned. “I’m- I’m very sorry,” he said, fixing Miri in his gaze again. “It’s this, these damnable.. Most of the time I can tell what’s real from what isn’t, but…”

Mirielle and Dolce both knew enough about the mind and body to realize what was going on. The man was rather aged, and suffering an affliction of the former. Dolce thought to capitalize on it to pay him off, but her captain had other ideas.

“This… This is something you could get repaired with the right magic,” Mirielle said.

The elf groaned inwardly. She knew her captain was soft-hearted, but she was going to cost them quite a bit with this one if she convinced the man. Despite her inward groaning, Dolce also realized this was why people followed Mirielle. She had compassion where others might not.. Dolce included.

“I can’t afford that, and besides I wouldn’t know what to look for,” Haneilius said.

Mirielle smiled. “You likely could afford it with a share of The Brine Banshee, and I’d help you get the right magic worked.”

He blinked at this. “You would?”

Mirielle looked to Dolce and the elf knew she was asking Dolce’s opinion about finding the right magic for the task. “Dindreann could likely cast it,” she said. She wasn’t completely certain Dindreann could, but the woman was a powerful priestess of Calistria. “If not her, your own power is growing close to what would be required… Or we could always buy a scroll of it. We’d need one with the essence of diamonds worked into the scroll.” Mirielle was still looking at her so Dolce added, “I’m sure we could find one in Port Peril or Senghor.”

Mirielle nodded at that point and looked back at Haneilius. “Help us find the ship, we’ll help you restore your mind.”

The man looked like he was skeptical, and Dolce couldn’t blame him. He lived in Ollo, after all, where pirates rampaged as wolves under the full moon… And here he was faced with a pirate offering to help him. “That seems like a lot of trouble to go to,” Haneilius said.

“What were your plans?” Dolce asked.

“Hmm?”

“Your plans? You originally were trying to find the ship yourself. What did you mean to do with your share of the profit?” she pressed.

“Retire,” Haneilius said.

“Here?” Mirielle asked.

Haneilius blinked and looked at Mirielle like she was crazy. “Gods no! It’s time for me to leave the Shackles I think. Getting too old.”

“Ah, that’s a shame. I was going to say there might be a place for you at Tidewater Rock if you wanted it.” Mirielle sipped at more of her tea. It was cool enough now she could drink it a bit more quickly.

“Ha! I’d heard you took the rock!” Haneilius said. “Some didn’t believe it. So many claims are circulating about The Lady’s Purr they’re hard to keep up with.. And hard to verify.”

Dole smiled brightly at that. “Oh, we took the rock. We clipped the Dominator. We silenced the Deathknell. We claimed the treasure of Mancatcher Cove. There should be stories circulating. We’re far from done… With your help we’ll steal the speed of The Brine Banshee.”

Haneilius rubbed his chin for a moment. “Remarkable really, for a ship active for so short a time. If anyone is going to do this, I imagine it would have to be someone like you. Very well then.” He got up and strode across the chamber, taking a jar from a cupboard. Inside the jar was a tibia suspended in liquid. “This is the tibia of Vargus Brack, my old crewmate. He was still on The Brine Banshee when she went on her last voyage. Always came to visit me when they made port in Ollo.”

“And you have this why?” Dolce asked.

“Oh, I kept quite a few such oddities over the years, but none so long as this one. He was glad to be rid of it, see. The gangrene would have killed him if I hadn’t taken it!” Haneilius patted the jar with an odd sort of affection.

Dolce shook her head. “Pity you didn’t keep a part of the ship,” she said. She had a spell for tracking ships, after all. She meant to use it on the Honeysnake and could have employed it on either The Brine Banshee or The Lady’s Sting just as easily if they’d had a piece of either.

“I thought of that too,” said Haneilius. “Alas, all I have is the bone. But I also know the way it can lead us to the rest of him.” Now he had the elf’s attention. “There’s a ring worn by a man named Captain Milksop Morton… It’s called The Ring of the Iron Skull. It has a few magical properties.. One of them being, if you activate the ring while touching a piece of a corpse it will tell you all kinds of things about them, including where the rest of them is if they’re close enough.”

Nasha, who had been quietly looming near the front door this entire time, now said, “So we must obtain the ring to track the body… Do you know where we would even look for the ship’s general whereabouts?”

Haneilius craned his head to see the lizardfolk and tensed a bit again. It seemed he’d forgotten her presence. “Erm, yes. They were heading north, and I know roughly the course they plotted.”

Dolce thought to get more out him then, but Mirielle seemed to have other plans for she said, “Well then… There’s a room int he officers’ quarters that’s currently not in use. We can let you stay there while we track down more information about Captain Milksop.”

Haneilius nodded, “He makes port here all the time. It’s how I know he has the ring. I’m sure you can figure out about when he’ll be back again if you ask the right folks. And, if it’s all the same to you, I’d like to keep this with me for the time being.” He indicated the tibia.

Mirielle nodded. When Dolce inquired which officer’s room the aasimar stated Quinn had been sleeping in her quarters. Dolce was, of course, already aware of this but she’d not yet harassed Mirielle about it at any length. The aasimar assured her they were taking precautions against pregnancy, not that it was any of her business.

Haneilius was allowed to get comfortable in Quinn’s quarters once Quinn had moved his desired belonging’s into the captain’s cabin. Of course, the rest of the crew who hadn’t been in the know about the pair of them made wolf whistles at him as he moved between the cabins. Mirielle blushed, much as Dolce had known she would.

Special Occasions

While Haneilius was getting settled on The Lady’s Purr Nasha sought out Ambrose. It was not often the two spoke, simply because Nasha kept mostly to herself. “Fishguts,” Nasha said.

“Well hello there, Nasha. What can I do for you?” He was in the galley, of course, taking inventory.

“I want you to go shopping with me.” Nasha said simply.

Ambrose raised an eyebrow. “May I ask what for?”

“Crabs,” she said. It didn’t seem the answer was sufficient to Ambrose and so she continued, “Owlbear’s nameday is coming up. Jack Scrimshaw says it’s important to celebrate them, and Owlbear likes crabs.”

Ambrose chuckled at this. “I’d be happy to help you find some good ones. I’d think you’d know how to pick them out yourself.”

It was true Nasha knew her way around creatures of the ocean well enough, but this was a matter of human tastes. “Maybe. You might be better at it.”

Ambrose nodded and finished his inventory, then accompanied Nasha to the markets to find some suitable crabs for Owlbear’s nameday. They bought them live since it was a few days out yet. Ambrose hadn’t gone to such trouble for a non-officer in a while, but found it refreshing.

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