Rogue Empire

Chapter 10: A Boatload of Trouble

Magdeline Flintjaw informs the party of a mission that would require the Thorns to assassinate a high level diplomat leaving the docks of Ferros within three days time. Unfortunately, the name and description of the diplomat is a close kept secret by the Imperial Government. The only information available is that the target is an Ambassador of the Empire and that The Sea Hag, the ship that the ambassador is setting out on will leave in three days time.

The conversation is cut short when a newcomer arrives to the Inn named Yorveth, from Aerd Shien in the elven lands. He states that he was informed of an up-and-coming outfit that could benefit the city and pledges his help. Always requiring skilled help, the group cautiously accepts, though Maggie asks Clarke to keep an eye on him.

The party sets to work. Ever the diplomat, Clark Wainwright visits the Falconers to alert them to the upcoming job as it is taking place on their territory. The Falconers state that they have no interest in the Sea Hag, and wish the Thorns the best of luck, and even provide a row boat and some of their home crafted poisons for the group’s use in exchange for 20% of the Thorn’s earnings for the job.

Yorveth and Badger Cobblesprocket arrive at the Imperial Trading House on the docks which keep track of ship manifests, and destinations to better coordinate trade within the Empire. Using their charm, distraction, and no small amount of magic, the pair is able to get a look at the manifest of the Sea Hag and learn that the ship is owned by a Captain Berkley, has a crew compliment of 42 sailors, and will be taking a hold filled with cotton along with five passengers to the Spice Islands. Using this information, Lilly O’Reilly, and Gregory (Banner) Smith visit the Salted Oyster, a favoured drinking den at the docks. There they learn that the Sea Hag is crewed mainly by former navy members including Captain Berkley who was a naval officer.

Bringing this information together, the party hatches a scheme to get some of their members aboard the ship. Clarke poses as an inexperienced labourer looking to get away from land and learn to sail. Reluctant to take un untrained seamen, Berkley is overcome by Clarke’s charm and enthusiasm and accepts him a crew member. He sends Clarke below to stow his gear. Clarke volunteers to peel potatoes for the ship’s cook and uses the Falconer’s poisons, slipping them into the stew. The cook catches Clarke and asks Clarke what he’s doing. Clarke takes a large spoonful of the stew and states he is adding some of this mother’s best spices to bring out the flavour and takes a bite of the poison to allay suspicion.

Yorveth and Greg use some of the guild’s funds to purchase a bolt of fine elven silk, and disguise themselves as merchants. They request to board the Sea Hag to do business with the captain. The captain is impressed by their wares but admits that his hold is already full and will not be able to take any more wares across the waters. Yorveth states this is fine, as he would rather set up business with the buyers prior to risking his wares on the open water and convinces the captain to become his parter in business as an exclusive shipper of the silk goods, repeating the phrase early retirement throughout his pitch. The captain agrees to take the two on as passengers for this business, stating they may have his cabin for the voyage as the guest cabin is already spoken for.

The crew of the Sea Hag eats dinner. Soon the sickness is apparent with diarrhea and vomiting throughout the ship. Captain Berkley damns his luck and orders the ship to cast off and fly the signals of a plague ship. The ship anchors in the middle of the harbour well away from the rest of the assembled merchant ships. The cook, already and old and weary man is overcome by the poison and passes away, leaving Clarke’s cover intact.

On shore, Lilly intercepts a runner sent by the docks to inform the Keep of the ship’s status. Overcoming her goto nature of killing first and not bothering with the questions, she “invites” the runner to drink with her, and keep drinking with her for the remainder of the evening. She pays him a few gold and tells him to stay in the bar, and he thanks her for not killing him. Lilly, Rhogar Bronzeblood, and Badger make ready to intercept the ambassador on the shore. Thanks to the intervention of the Falconers, the docks are all but deserted when night comes. The Ambassador, an uncommonly portly elf, as well as four knights arrive at the docks on horseback. The trio await them near the row boat and inform the ambassador of the change of plans, due to docking disputes, and that they will row the ambassador to the ship. Unable to see the colour of the flags flying on the ship at night time, the ambassador is not aware of it’s plague status. The group also states that they will likely not be able to take the knights out all at once, or in their heavy armour. The knights begin to protest, but the ambassador, eager to be on his way stops them mid-sentence. Two knights step forward and strip their plate mail, leaving it with their coleagues. With these knights, the ambassador and the two bodyguards board the rowboat and the group makes their way out to the Sea Hag.

Halfway across the water, the Thorns ambush the trio. The Ambassador, a wizard of some skill protects himself inside of an impenetrable circle of magic and Badger uses his own magic to convince one to jump out of the boat. The remaining knight fights valiantly but is overcome by Rhogar and Lilly. The charm wears off and the remaining knight attempts to swim to safety despite ranged attacks by the party on the rowboat. The Elven Ambassador is knocked onto the water but floats on top of it inside the circular bubble around him. Desperate to accomplish their mission, Badger has Lilly use the experimental weapon that the alchemist’s guild entrusted him and throws the jar into the open water. Badger blasts it with his magic and dark, sickly greenish cloud begins to spread ominously from it.

Unfortunately, the bodyguard who survived managed to swim the rest of the way to the Sea Hag, narrowly avoiding drowning, and several less than pleasant creatures that inhabit the harbour. He brings word of the ambush to Captain Berkley, and the crew including a description of the attackers. Captain Berkley sends the survivor below deck to be fed and to get a change of clothes. Shortly afterward, the toxins in the stew overcome the weary bodyguard and he passes away. The captain ascertains that the food has been poisoned, and beings to put the puzzle pieces together. His thought process is interrupted by the arrival of the rowboat crew who come aboard posing as clerics to ascertain the severity of the plague. Having the description of the attacks, Berkley for once is not fooled and order his crew to arrest them. Lilly, Rhogar, and Badger escape the ship onto the rowboat but find themselves the target of crossbow fire. Clarke is too weakened by the poison to fight and decides to preserve his cover. Yorveth seems to disappear in the confusion, and Greg, inhibits some of the crossbow fire by getting in the way while appearing to try and help.

Lilly rows furiously despite several telling shots making her appear as a pincushion. Rhogar appears to pass out from his wounds. Only when Lilly arrives on shore does she realize that Rhogar Bronzeblood has died from his injuries. Out of respect, she loots his corpse and burns his body with driftwood after confirming with Badger that Rhogar is truly dead.

Clarke and Greg sneak off on the real cleric aid boats that arrive to help the next day and regroup with the survivors the next day. They learn that the ambassador escaped, though his trip was at least delayed. The chests he had taken on the boat contained 2000 gold pieces, now added to the guild coffers, though it cost them the life of a friend to earn it.


MrWizard MrWizard

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