EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“SACRID FAMILY OATH”
DRAVAGO 18, 1000
“This is it- the Ryner homestead.” Says the gnome with a mix of pride and forlorn respect.
“A nice home you grew up in.” adds Gyor.
“Yeah.” Says Silverwing.
At the top of a gentle hill-rise sits a once white farmhouse. It is two stories tall with a wrap around porch. The 6’3 warforged can not go inside as the house was built for gnomes by gnomes. The winged elf crawls onto the porch and looks inside after the paladin enters.
Feeling unwelcome, she back tracks and waits for him to return.
Looking at the wall, he smiles as he is reminded of happier times. A family painting is hung up. It was painted by his aunt. He was only ten. His younger brothers were 6 and 4. Behind them are his mother and father. Next to them the painter and Uncle Urik.
His father wanted him to stay at the farm and grow corn and wheat. He wanted more. He wanted the life his Uncle had. He grew up in Zilargo and traveled throughout the country. He had learned draconic and worked as a negotiator with the kobolds whom fought over mining rites. Business was good even with the war of the “big peoples” happening all around them. Zilargo was dragged into it largely due to Breland but also because marauding goblinoids would sweep across the southern edge of Cyre and incidentally enter gnome lands.
His father and uncle argued often over what should have been his decision. When he saw this attempt at control tear into his younger brothers he decided and left. Like his uncle, he wanted to be a peace keeper in other lands and territories to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
He moves out of the room into the reading room. He halts and can not enter the room any further. In the center of the room still sits the dead body. The dead and unrotting body of his uncle. Uncle Urik. Reading with a pipe still in his mouth.
Up stairs in bed he finds his two brothers. One in bed- eternally sleeping. He carefully wraps both in blankets and brings them down stairs. Once outside he sets each down in turn. Finding a shovel in a barn, Gyor has already begun digging holes by a fruit tree.
He fought with his father often but still wraps him up carefully gives him a kiss on the forehead. Then he retrieves his mother. He leaves the hardest for last.
It seems his Uncle Urik wanted one last laugh before death. He had fallen asleep then died reading. The book he was reading is one of the collected Korranberg Collections he enjoyed. “Theories of The Apocalypse”. It is a collection of how the world or areas of it could be destroyed. It included poems from famous poets and clergy. Powerful stuff.
He spends ten minutes talking to and remembering better times with his Uncle. Laughs, Tears and revelations later he brings him out with his pipe and the bag of leaves. He insists on digging his uncle’s grave himself. When he places his Uncle in the grave he also places a jade lion on his chest. Something of importance to Gali.
He stays there most of the night. The others give him space. Even the warforged fighter understands this.
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“RETURN TRIP TO THE MISTS”
DRAVAGO 19, 1000
Sir Ryner is chipper and happy to be walking again. However, he is not fooling either one of them. His eyes are red and his cheeks streaked. He had been crying after burying his family.
They enter the open fields where the strange cloud creature was ( Living Spell: Cloudkill ) and watch for it. They don’t see it by the hay bales and move on a bit more comfortable. That is until the warforged looks up and sees a giant bat above.
“Sure it’s a bat?” asks the paladin squinting to focus on the circling flying creature.
“Has leathery wings. Its not very sunny.”
“Could it be a dragon?” asks Silverwing.
“I don’t see four legs.” Says the paladin. Then- “Uh-oh……”
Whatever the flying creature is, it has spotted them and either wants to look at them closer or feels they are food as it curls in it’s wings and drops from the sky. There is no where to run and take cover for the three. As it gets closer the creature has purple scales with orange highlights. (Rift Drake) It sweeps down the road and spits out a ball of energy over them as they turn to flee or at least hope for the best. The ball of energy bursts and they are splattered by acid that burns and pits the armor of the warforged.
“Try that again you blasted beast!” calls out the winged warrior whom took the least damage of the three.
“Careful of what you ask for My Lady !” calls out the gnome. The large drake turns and swoops back at them. The gnome and warforged try to move away from each other but find they are suffering from a slowness they can not explain.
The drake flies close but not close enough for the more agile warrior to reach it. It lands twenty feet away and as it turns. Both the warforged and paladin burst forward and attack it. The warforged channels energy through his halberd as he attacks making it very destructive to the creature. By surrounding it they keep it from escaping and they avoid the bite and swinging tail. It goes down with one final growl.
Soon they can see the mists as they reach the shallow river valley. They get closer and they begin to wonder what is ahead of them. Something very very large is blocking the road as it enters the mists. Very big.
“What is it?” asks the winged elf.
“Not sure. It has a lot of metal on it. Shields?” wonders the paladin.
“Several of my kind perhaps. It is said there is a warforged leader in the Mournlands trying to organize a settlement. Others say an army.”
The paladin looks over his shoulder. He sighs then says “Let’s see what it is.”
Before leaving, Silverwing looks over her shoulder also. Did he see something? “I could fly closer- in the air. If its hostile, it will be less likely to see me.”
The paladin thinks about this and how long the drake must have been flying over head before attacking. “Very well.”
She takes to the air as the two remaining hunch down behind a small rise of the road. She flies high then over and sees just what is in the road- Giant Warforged! Military issue Titans!
They look to be guarding the road as they are occasionally moving their upper bodies to search for something on the horizon. Then they look up and one points! At her! She swoops back and hurries back to her fellow travelers.
“What is she doing?” asks the gnome to the warforged.
“I believe she is leading the two back towards us.” Answers the warforged as he gets up and readies his weapon.
The two charging warforged titans are there very quickly. For such huge constructs they move very quickly when they want to.
“We are here to take all magic stuff” one of the titans state.
The three travelers look at each other. The paladin steps forward.
“We came to tend to my deceased family.”
“All are deceased. Give us the magic so that The Lord of Blades may grow stronger.”
“He is already mighty.” States Gyor.
The paladin waves him back. “I did find one thing. Maybe he can use it.” He fishes around on his hip pack and pulls out a metal and glass rod. He then thumps the metal end on the ground that releases a fluid within the glass. A bright light appears. “Found it within the town back there.”
“He can not see well in the dark. That would be useful. Give us.”
“I could only carry this one.”
It leans forward casting a shadow over the much smaller gnome. “Give me the light stick.”
“As I said- I have but one. It was all I could carry.” He begins to hand it over then pulls it back. “There are more.”
“What do I gain from telling you this- secret.”
“Life” says the second Titan as it now also leans over him.
“If you can answer this one question I will.”
“No. Give us the light thing.” It raises a stone block it has for a hand that is bigger than the gnome high over its head.
“Tell me if this sentence is true. As a paladin I can detect a lie.”
They hesitate as they try to think this through.
“If we are wrong you get smashed still.”
“This Sentence Is False.”
“Tell us the sentence.”
“I just did.”
“This Sentence is False.”
Confused and distracted, they lower their weaponized arms to think.
“No. Give us Magic Now!”
“I really shouldn’t. I mean it is such a pretty well in the middle of the town”
“The Well!” the two dim-witted Titans call out together and suddenly they stomp off towards town.
“Let’s go. Eventually they will know there is no magic there.”
“Maybe they will stir up the last of those ghouls.” Suggests the winged elf.
They move quickly to the mists then pause. The mists can be a daunting barrier to deal with. They enter it slowly and both hear and feel their way along the broken road hoping it will not mislead them as it had Mohach and Ezmet a few days ago. As they slowly cross they can hear wind over head wailing very loudly but nothing comes of it as they exit the mists and even on the road.
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“TROUBLE WAITING IN FORT ZOMBIE”
DRAVAGO 19, 1000
Thankful to be out of the mists and out of the Mournlands, the three head for the inn to get some rest and food. As they step onto the wooden porch to the inn, Silverwing hears a familiar voice.
“Welcome back Silverwing. Where are your allies in crime?”
She and the others turn to face the voice. “Warlock ir’Femar, How not so nice to see you again…. And so soon.”
“Sir Gali Calodus Ryner, Knight of the Krona Peaks and Paladin of the Sovereign Host.” And the paladin holds out his hand for a formal greeting. It is not returned. Six armored zombies wielding metal shields and swords step up to stand in the defense of the Bone Knight.
“And what name do you go by construct?” demands the Karrnathi Knight of the warforged.
“I am Gyor.”
“And I repeat- Where are your associates- Izmet- Renegade druid and Mohach- kobold bombing terrorist?”
“Dead. Killed by the mists.”
After determining the Knight’s alignment isn’t evil but possibly a shade of grey, the paladin tries for a truce. “I have seen nothing in her actions to suggest she is a dangerous criminal nor heard of anything of her past to suggest it. What crimes do you accuse her of?”
“Crimes against the great country of Karrnath. Theft, terrorism, murder, and also wanted for crimes against the Ministry of Arms and Defense.”
“Crimes most grave. What is your proof Sir Knight?”
“Proof ?!? We stand at a military fort within the country of Karrnath and you want proof?!? I am the law here- not you ‘Knight of Krona’…. Which I see no proof.”
“Do you speak of a symbol…. Or my race?” Counters the paladin. “Racism is so unbecoming a person. Knight or otherwise.”
“Hold. I am not done with you!” The Bone Knight snarls as Silverwing had begun to slowly move away. The zombies now create a circle surrounding them all. Gyor positions himself defensively.
“There must be a way to settle this peacefully.”
“Only when she sees court- Karrnathi court for her crimes against The State…. And her peoples.”
“As a true paladin and knight- I can watch over and guide her on her righteous path to redeption.”
“She is no doubt involved in something dangerous and she is in over her head no doubt. I and my traveling companion can watch over her and her from doing any such crimes against your nation or any other. Perhaps even help the world.”
“Or I can arrest the lot of you.”
“Try you mean.” States Gyor.
Suddenly an alarm horn is blown and the citizens that were gathering to watch from a safe distance hurry off or out right flee. Human clerics and other Bone Knights lead undead troops this way and that. A messenger hurries to Warlord ir’Femar. “Sir! We are under attack. The fields.”
The Bone Knight glares at the paladin. “I have business here.”
“You can not abandon and leave your people. More- we can prove ourselves and aid you. What attacks your town and fort?”
“Trolls good sir- Trolls from the mists we believe.”
“I hope to find you still in town when I return.” The Karrnathi noble declares and he turns away from them.
“We will follow.” Says the gnome as he withdraws his weapon. He gives the winged elf a look that demands no argument.
Several groups of defenders spread from the small town into the fields and storage areas. It is not long before Warlord ir’Femar and his zombie force spot some trolls. He immediately summons undead to further help him. If it bothers the paladin, he doesn’t show it. Tools he had once told the warforged of how the Karrnathi people look at undead.
The trolls grumble and snarl at the sight of them. They then are outraged as a dropped troll from a prior battle stumbles out of the forest nearby. The skeleton attacks the intruders before the rest can reach the group of trolls. The trolls are quick to counter. The very rib cage is ripped free as one troll strikes and rends its undead kin. The one weapon held by the winged warrior erupts in fire and she begins to strike at a troll. The zombies form a defensive wall to protect the Bone Knight. With the trolls engaged with the zombies, Sir Gali and Gyor move around to flank and trap the trolls.
Within the minute, these four first trolls are defeated. There are more. Many more. For the most part they fare well against the marauding intruders. Few civilians are injured and nearly no trolls enter the town itself.
The battle ends as a few surviving trolls run to flee back into the mists. The Bone Knight turns back to the paladin. “I am not one to ease up when I have the best position but I have at least an hour here helping people. The three of you may do whatever you wish in that time.” He smiles then, grim but as pleasant as he has ever shown them. “The Orien Station is not even 500 feet that way. I am certain a craft leaves soon. I will wait for you here at the inn. I am not known for my patience. I wouldn’t dwell long in one place.” And with that he goes to the infirmary to tend to any injured.
“What just happened?” Asks Silverwing.
“We have less than an hour to avoid the full force of a Bone Knight to come down onto you and ourselves. Let us go.” And the gnome takes her by the arm and points her in the direction of the Orien Station.
Having lost the Orien Pass, Sir Gali buys the three of them tickets to Passage. He hopes that Warlord ir’Femar will go there to find them- not Fairhaven.
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
DRAVAGO 20, 1000 WHITE ARCH BRIDGE MID- DAY
The gnome relaxes and the Winged Elf exhales as they leave the Rekkenmark Orien Station. If there was to be trouble with the Karrnathi government, it would have occurred there. Even the warforged seems to relax now as he no longer feels the need to hold onto his halberd.
Gyor accompanies his two friends to the food car. Gali orders the fish and Silverwing asks for a cup of wine to relax with. “We will reach Fairhaven tonight and then see your contact tomorrow.” States the gnome. “What should I expect?”
“This Commander. Is she going to be agreeable to our presence?” asks the paladin.
“She is government. She doesn’t approve of anyone.” She comments. “Agh. Not really in the mood.”
“That dwarf. He has been staring at me for the past five minutes. Smiling.” She says.
Careful to not make it obvious, the paladin looks over his shoulder. He sees a well dressed dwarf with rings on all of his fingers including his thumbs. Carefully carved gems are threaded into his beard. And he is looking at her like she is a piece of meat.
“Maybe he will get the hint and go away.” Suggests Sir Gali.
“No.” states the warforged.
“The one in question is getting up and moving to our table.”
“Hello fine fellow travelers. My name is Brackton ir’Stoneface. Is there room for one more?” Before any can answer he calls out for drinks for the table and sits down. “And your name lovely lady?”
“Beautiful name. I love the hair and feathers. Do they all match?”
Great. A Drunken Leach. Thinks the winged elf. She ignores him.
“The feathers are dark as well as her hair.” Says the warforged.
“Its not what he was getting at.” She grumbles.
“Then what….” Begins the warforged looking away from the amused dwarf.
“What are you looking for sir dwarf?” asks the paladin to change the subject.
“Fun, Games and Friendship. To begin- names if you please.”
“Gyor.” Says the warforged.
“Your name….. so Karrnathi. Are you Karrnathi?”
“They prefer recycled soldiers over warforged. No I am of… Aundair creation.”
Perhaps the warforged is not as lost as I thought believes Silverwing. He is a Brelander but told the nosey dwarf a lie. Smart.
“Sir Gali Calodus Ryner, Paladin of the Sovereign Host and KNIGHT of the Krona Peaks.” Declares the gnome hoping the Paladin and Krona Knighthood would scare him away. It doesn’t.
“A Knight of Krona…..? But you are not…. Well not a dwarf.” Says the confused and disbelieving dwarf.
“I spent quality time in the Mhor Holds.”
“Indeed. And you winged beauty. Most female elves are beautiful…. But those wings….. You are like an angel.”
“Eyes are up here. Wings are to the side.”
“My pardons. I am smitten by you.”
The paladin gives her a look of ‘don’t’ as she makes a fist. She relaxes and decides to go with it.
[DM NOTE: I hate Role Playing flirtation with my daughter]
“Those rings….. silver?”
With pride- “Platinum”
“All of them?”
“Yes. And these are emeralds and rubies” he says as he pulls his beard up for all to see.
The paladin ignores the excess of wealth. The warforged looks at them. “You are a wealthy dwarf.”
“Yes. Yes I am.” He says looking at Silverwing hoping that at least impresses her.
The drinks arrive. “Anything for you my ‘forged friend?” the dwarf asks.
“What brings you to the White Arch Bridge?” the dwarf asks as a series of buildings used by Orien go by quickly.
“We buried family and retrieved an item for her.”
“What kind of item?” he asks.
“Personal.” She states trying to intimidate the dwarf.
“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it.” He pauses. “How personal?”
Without answering, she and the paladin get up. Gyor watches them leave then turns to the dwarf. “Very.”
And the dwarf frown and gets up hoping to catch up with his ‘angel’.
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“REPORT IN AND LEAVE QUICKLY”
DRAVAGO 22, 1000
The three of them get off the car and exit off the Fairhaven Orien Station platform that night. As calculated, it is late and much of the city has closed except for some less reputable taverns and the inns. Once more the Paladin pays for services. He and Gyor take a room and the winged warrior gets her own room.
They sleep well and rest even better. Late morning they agree to meet and walk towards the Silver Dragon Inn together. As they near it they split up so as to “arrive” separately to not suggest they are together. Silverwing spots the Commander easily in her usual spot. She has finished the prior book and reads something new. It has images of a strange black and yellow structures in a desert. It is autographed.
“Were you successful?” Commander ir’Dressajk asks.
“Where are you teammates? The druid and the kobold?”
A pause. “Sorry. May I have the map?”
“Do you care? I mean really care?”
“It was a dangerous mission. You knew that ahead of time. As did they.” She holds out her hand for the scroll.
“They died entering The Mournlands. The mist itself killed them.”
“Hu-hum…….” And she takes the scroll case and empties it onto her palm.
She mumbles as she looks at a map with strange writing on the sides. She turns it this way and that as she works on deciphering the wording.
“Mohach died with the payment on him. I couldn’t retrieve his or Ezmet’s bodies.”
“Yes yes.” The government historian grumbles in slight annoyance.
“I had to have other’s pay to me…. That map to you.”
She grumbles more then looks away from the map and to the winged elf. “What do you want? What are you hinting at? You were paid. I can not help itif you placed all your eggs in one basket.”
“What do you mean?”
“You were paid. It was lost….or spent. Either way, it is on you- not me- not Aundair.”
“But-“ Silverwing begins.
“However, there could be a second mission. You can be paid for that. You will need a team however.”
“I have one.”
“The ones that aided me to retrieve the map. They can help again.” She sits down and waves over a tall warforged and a gnome.
“A gnome ?!? Are you certain of this?” comments a startled taskmaster. “They can not be trusted.”
“Ma’am- “ says the gnome. “I am Sir Gali Calodus Ryner. Paladin of The Sovereign Host and Knight of Kronas. I have been known to keep a secret or two.”
“Paladin?!? A Knight?!?”
“I am Gyor.” States the warforged.
“As time is important- my contacts say there are other parties involved still, the offer remains on the table.”
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“THREAT OF THE EMERALD CLAW”
DRAVAGO 23, 1000
The Electric Rail’s sound of movement is somewhat peaceful to the gnome. The three of them must share a room which is cramped. Worse, it has but one bed. As the gnome prepares for sleep, he does his prayers. Silverwing quickly and silently takes the bed. He turns ands finds he will be sleeping on the floor.
Gyor stands before the door as a guard. They taking The Commander’s threat of “other parties” very seriously. An hour goes by. Silverwing is in her meditative state that all elves use to rest. Sir Gali has fallen asleep sitting upright in the corner. Gyor is like any warforged. He passes as a statue more than anything alive and awake.
Then Gyor hears activity outside in the hallway. Several people are grouping up before the door. A gentle knock but no voices. Another knock, harder this time. “Late. Return in the morning” He says.
WHAM! Something strikes the door. It is followed by two more slams before the door splitters. Silverwing wakes up and pushes up from the bed- “Wha-?” The paladin seems tangled in his blanket but gets to his feet. “Let us in!” Hisses a dark and deep voice from outside. Through the crack something tries to peer in. Gyor kicks down the broken door taking the broken door and the person behind it back into the hallway. Several men dressed in tattered and torn green and black armor with “half-faced” helmets stare at him. They are bottle-necked by the door and the warforged keeps them at bay. They are fast and hit hard but his ability to ignore damage (DR and DM bad rolls) makes it uneventful. Then he looks at their eyes. Their eyes!
The face is black and in constant shadow. Their eyes glow blood red. Suddenly, Silverwing hears something behind her- something at the window. The paladin turns and sees it also. A possible Emerald Claw soldier clinging to the side of the car from the outside! His flail is drawn out from the momentum of the speeding car. It first knocks off his helmet then hits his forehead repeatedly. Not hard but often. A flab of skin is torn back and flabs in the wind along with the flail.
The leader pushes the warforged back and out of the way. “Turn back or deal with The Emerald Claw and The Black Manifest!”
“VAMPIRES!” calls out the Paladin.
“Wha! Where” Calls out the winged elf from the bed.
“Gali- you are having…. A bad dream.” Says the warforged whom is standing before a closed door.
“Yes. Yes…. A dream. It was just a dream. A bad dream.”
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“SHARN, MORGRAVE AND THE INQUISITIVE”
DRAVAGO 24, 1000
The sun is very low to the ground. Low enough the paladin gnome can easily imagine it as being a yellowish-orange ball setting on the ground. The Electric Rail was following The Dagger River while traveling through a thick and overgrown forest. He had once heard a bard speak of white colored tigers being here. He liked tigers. They were large, fast and regal. Lions were said to be the kings of the plains, tigers were no doubt the kings of the forest.
The tracks take them away from the river’s edge and dive directly into this thick forest. The sun begins to set and it grows dark. Between the setting sun and entering the forest’s embrace, it becomes dark very quickly. Time to convene with the others. The winged elf had occasionally looked out to watch the river but was not as captivated by it as the gnome was. This was her adventure really. She appears to be a trouble shooter for hire now working for the country of Aundair. Eventually we would reach Xen’drik and locate a magical item or device the government felt was very powerful and too dangerous to leave alone for others to find. This item has been sitting in this ruin for hundreds and maybe thousands of years. It seems well hidden already. Then there was Gyor, or BRE-934 to the less caring. The gnome met this warforged fighter turned healer (artificer) on the Electric Rail. One wanted a purpose and the other had a mission. They have traveled together ever since. The three of them met at Fort Zombie and traveled together into The Mournlands. She had her mission to complete and he had a personal responsibility to do. Now he feels he can redirect her at times careless and dangerous actions into a force for good. It will take time he has discovered. “The world to Gali- The world to Gali-“
“Sorry. I was just thinking.”
“The wonders of the river and forest we are traveling past and now through.”
“We will arrive in Sharn soon” states the warforged.
“Okay…. So- what do we know?” The gnome asks so as to plan their actions once inside the city.
“We will get off the Orien Electric Rail. We will go three “levels” up and locate a Jack Boniface. He will direct us further to get to the continent of Xen’drik.” Begins the Winged Elf.
“Reach the settlement of Stormreach. Item she seeks is in the jungle there.” Follows the fighter turned healer.
“Sigh….. and that is all we know. I do not like working with governments. They seem to enjoy not telling you the whole story.” The gnome is saddened and perplexed by this. “And that usually means they have their own agenda.” He adds.
He then notes that Silverwing and Gyor are not looking at him. Instead they are looking at something outside of the Rail. He turns and finds himself mesmerized as well. Bits of light in the distance. Beginning from the ground and going high into the sky- into the clouds themselves. Sharn !
Now traveling through fields outside of Sharn, the rail continues towards the world’s largest human city. It then turns and follows the edge of it. Many tall buildings are here in view of the rail. Farmers homes and trades people Gali assumes. Then he sees a flag representing House Deneith. This is a military compound where they train soldiers, guards and even some magic users. Most stay in Breland but some are sold or paid to work for other countries. The words he heard a few weeks ago haunt him- “Has the war really ended?”
The rail begins to dip steeply and rides a stone carved bridge onto the earthen shelf of which parts of the city lie. He has heard there are crypts carved into the rock walls that can only be accessed through the city. Incredible. The gnome is awed by it all as the rail slows down and enters the city through an opening of a tall wall with catwalks built onto it patrolled by city guards. The rail slows down further as it begins to exit the tunnel and emerge into a cramped area of alleyways and clothes lines.
Then it stops and begins to inch forward.
Looking out the window one last time, they see a House Orien station with the words “TERMINUS/ LOWER TAVIK’S LANDING/SHARN/BRELAND” above the ticket window. It is crowded and difficult to exit the car as dozens of people are also trying to exit and even others enter the car at the same time. The three step onto the Station and find themselves caught up still in the crowd and move with it. Gyor spots a goblin moving within the crown whom seems to be trying to get around them. Silverwing also notes his movement and varied her goods are tied to her belt or otherwise secured. As the goblin moves behind her he withdraws a small knife. It is perfect for cutting lines and leather straps that are often used to secure coin purses to belts. “No. If I were you- I would rethink your wayward ways.” Suggests the paladin whom is just a bit taller than the goblin and can see him well even with her wings providing some cover. The goblin gives a sharp-toothed wide smile and a nod and drops back- no doubt for another target.
The crowd thins out and they can finally take in their surroundings away from the Electric Rail. Dirty.
The station was obviously kept clean for the benefit of new comers and travelers by the Dragonmarked House. Once a few blocks away they find the area of Lower Tavik’s Landing is in squalor and disuse. It seems the homeless come here which saddens the gnome. Many look to be Cyran. Too many of them. Certainly too many to help. They find a door marked as an Inn. Looking up, it is the base of a thick wall going up hundreds of feet. The base of a tower! The inn has no rooms so they move along to another inn, and another. This close to the station at this time of day it should not surprise any of them. The seventh inn, “Carson’s Inn & Storage” has one room. By the look of the Inn, it most likely has hourly rates available. Still, they have a secure place to rest and sleep for the night.
DRAVAGO 25, 1000
They awake and step out from the inn. They have asked about food which Carl’s employee smartly comments “This is no Ghallanda Inn- go left and up the stairs.” When they reach a series of steps leading up they can see an Electric Rail series of cars moving away from the city below. Far below. The rail itself is above the ground by many levels. The gnome feels overwhelmed by the city’s design. Gyor asks about the boats. The gnome looks about and sees no water then the winged elf points out what he was referring to. What looks like small boats are “flying” in the air in the distance. Occasionally one dips below them to possibly the Orien Rail station. Incredible.
They find a small bakery at the top of the stairs and as they eat the crescent moon shaped airy rolls and fruit juice (so good) they discuss what to do first. When in their rooms, it was suggested they should learn more about Xen’drik before going to see Mr. Boniface. “Morgrave is the place.” Suggests the gnome whom has always wanted to visit the University and the Library.
They go to the baker and ask how to visit the place. They have only a general idea from a map they saw at the Orien Station as they were being stalked by the goblin. The baker begins with “Go Left, 2nd Right, through the tunnel take a stair up one flight then right…..” That was about all they could collectively remember. Then Sir Gali spots one of the flying boats. It is not until the third person, an elf dressed in yellow and black, that they get instructions to get a ride on a “Sky Coach”.
Going there, they find themselves on a bridge connecting to separate towers that seem to share the same base. On the bridge is a widened flat area near the center where the Sky Coaches fly in and take passengers. “How much?” asks the awed gnome as he watches a craft leave. Seeing an opportunity, the salesman says twice the going rate and wishes he had said three times when the gnome happily pays him for all three. The craft arrives, lets off a few passengers, then takes them and lifts up. “Where to?”
Shortly, they come to a landing zone near the college. It is so high up that the gnome and winged elf feel slightly winded just from breathing. So strange.
Going into the library was easier than the paladin expected. He had thought he would need to pay for his entrance or have to use his Paladin of the Sovereign Host status to gain entrance. No. He merely walked in…. along with Silverwing and Gyor.
They go to a counter where a young half-elf is sorting books and scrolls. He doesn’t look up as the paladin speaks. However when Silverwing, a woman, speaks, the student smiles and looks up. They he has a beaming smile. “How can I help you today miss…..?”
“How can I help you Miss. Silverwing?” flirts the young man.
“It is he you can help.” And she nods down to the much shorter and ignored gnome.
“Good day Master….?”
“Ah yes. Gooday Master Andrew. I wish to learn about Xen’drik. Do you have any books on the subject?”
“It is THE Morgrave University. Back wall, The five big shelves marked red. Ask the student aid there for specifics. Have a beautiful day Silverwing.”
Shortly after they walk away from the student- “You seem to have that effect on many young males.”
“What effect is that?” she smiles knowing full well what the paladin was suggesting.
They reach the back and find the shelves marked “Xen’drik Studies” on a black wooden sign. A human female is here pushing an empty cart around.
“Ma’am- perhaps you can help me. Young Master Andrew has directed me to-“
“Travel, Geography, Legends, Ruins, History or Expeditions?” she asked impatiently.
“Well…. A bit of it all I guess would be best.”
The girl gives him a sour look and asks- “Written in common or another language-maybe in Gnome.?”
“I suppose common would be best.”
She wheels the book cart away and returns in five minutes. “I have a few books here, some copies of Korranberg Chronicles and some notes and transcripts from explorers. Do you want a table or your own private room?”
“Table is fine.” Says the gnome eyeing the mountain of reading material before him.
Several hours later he a general concept of what it will be like to visit Xen’drik. He hopes they take an airship to avoid the Sahuagin. He further hopes they will not run into the Drow ( especially the cannibals ) nor the barbaric giants. He thanks the aid then asks about books involving the Occult or Cult-like groups. She returns with a few books then goes about returning the prior books about Xen’drik.
Though he has little time to research, he hopes to learn about The Black Manifest. He finds nothing.
They thank her again and the original student aid before taking a sky coach back to the Orien Station. From here they need to ask for directions to locate the mysterious Jack Boniface. People seem to not care for the Inquisitive much.
They follow the directions and find themselves going down dark and narrow stairways. The smell of urine and feces can be detected. The gnome with his over-sized nose is not impressed. He and Silverwing are very careful where they step. Trash is in the tunnel that acts as a street along with pieces of discarded clothes and wood. Finally they find the door with the proper numbers and name above. They look at the door and are disgusted. Feces has been smeared onto it. Dried blood, both red and blue in origin, are splattered on it. Silverwing looks at the gnome with apprehension as she finds a “clean” spot to knock apon.
There is a moment of silence then some creaking and shuffling from within. “Who is it?” is called out by a deep and gruff voice.
“Ah…. Okay. Comon in.”
She carefully opens the door and spots a large man dressed in slept in clothes, a dirty trench coat and heavy boots which are on his poorly made and further damaged desk. He is pointing a wand directly at her. Through blurry and squinting dark eyes he checks her over. “Comon. I was expecting-“
Gyor steps in behind her and startles the inquisitive whom thrusts the wand in his direction. His eyes become twitchy as then the gnome steps in and puts his hands up. “No need for that Kind Sir.”
“Eh…..yeah the Commander Chic said there might be a tall warforged and a small paladin traveling with you.” And he thumps his feet off the desk onto the floor. He relaxes his arm holding the wand but it remains pointed at them. “Don’t need the details but obviously you three are hot.”
Blushing a bit, Silverwing nods and says “Yes.”
“We have stirred some unwanted interest recently. What have you been told?” asks the paladin.
“The fact “The Commander” isn’t using her real name. But by saying ‘commander’ suggests she is of Aundairan origin. Aundair likes to play the ‘deniable’ angle when dealing with the Royal Eyes and going into other countries to take stuff. And the best yet- Tried to get you on an airship. House Lyrandar not only said no but wanted to know the whole “where when and how many”. They wanted you- literally. House Orien however were okay with getting you to board an already scheduled ship heading from here to Stormreach.”
The paladin and winged warrior give each other an uneasy look of concern.
“Thankyou Master Boniface.”
“Guess I should get you going then.” He gets up and shrugs as he puts the wand away. “Occupational hazard.” And he then grabs another few items and a satchel. “Expected you sooner. We don’t have a lot of time left.”
Shortly they are walking quickly through a maze of tunnels with interconnecting stairs. As they go you pass several goblins whom watch you with some curiosity. He and Boniface speak in goblin. Gyor, whom speaks some goblin, understands they are greeting each other and asking about the city guard or other eyes. Finally they end up in a warehouse.
The few guards and employees here look with a start then relax when they see the Inquisitive. After a few turns within the maze of crates and barrels, they come to an open area to the outside. It is a 10x10 ft opening. A magical lift works here lifting storage from below to this or other warehouses built into Sharn.
Now on the docks they walk by several very nice Orien ships and Lyrandar ships. Then they pass nice personal ships and finally nearing the none-dock area they reach the fishing ships. Still, they walk onward until they spot a ship that needs basic repair and upkeep. “Welcome to the Sea Tiger.”
EBERRON: FOR HIRE
“THE SEA TIGER”
DRAVAGO 25, 1000
“Welcome aboard- be sure to stay out of the crew’s way” says a man dressed better than the rest of the crew.
Silverwing turns to clarify if this is the correct ship. He is gone. Only a short and fat dwarf can be seen waddling down the dock. He stops and scratches his head as if confused at which way to go then shrugs and continues on pulling out a flask and drinking from it. She turns back around to identify a wolf whistle she hears and assumes is aimed at her. It belongs to an ugly half-orc. It will be a long trip.
Shortly the ship readies for sail and heads out.
NYMM 5, 1000
For these first five days the warforged has stood perfectly still against the main mast. He, in his mind, is out of the crew’s way while guarding and watching everything on the deck. Silverwing perches on the mast or crow’s nest most of the time. This way, Orcus, the half-orc admirer, could not ogle her face to face. Sir Gali stays below deck most of the time. He reads books he has found on the ship (odd items to have on board).
He is reading a book that collected Korranberg Chronicle War Time Stories. Beggars can’t be Choosers. He sighs as he begins a story that takes place in Cyre bringing back memories. Then he hears something bump against the ship wall at water level. Alarmed, he puts aside his book and sits up right. More thumps. He goes for the ladders leading up. Meanwhile, far above him, sits the winged elf. Sits back on the beams above. Looking over her shoulder, she spots a huge shadow within the water. It is swimming very quickly and keeping pace with the ship. As the tail fin breaks the water’s surface it is clear what it is- a huge shark! Then she spots another one. Then humanoid shapes.
“Sahuagin!” calls out the otherwise quiet crow’s nest lookout.
Sahuagin begin to climb up the ship’s sides in groups of two.
Captain Tubbs straightens up his jacket before walking out onto the deck to face the Sahuagin. A four armed fish man has just come over the rails. “Gub Glub Dub.”
“Cub Gub Gub.” Answers the Captain. He turns to Gyor. “He was unaware there where warforged sailors.”
The two speak making many strange ‘Glubbing’ sounds. The paladin reaches the top of the stairs as the Captain hands over a bag of money. “Gup Gup.”
The captain sighs. “Yes the diamond. I didn’t forget.” “Gub Gaw.” And he hands a large gem over. Satisfied, the Sahuagin calls back his support and they all dive back into the ship.
“I thought we were under attack…..” begins the Gnome.
“Battle. We had a battle of sorts. A battle of words.” Looking at the remaining gold in his money pouch.
“Oh. The Sahuagin. And….?”
“I have safe passage to Xen’drik. At least from he and his cousins. So relax- but not too comfortably.”
NYMM 14, 1000
Silverwing spots the islands that pepper the continent of Xen’drik. She watches as strange brightly colored birds similar to parrots fly by. She always thought they were jungle birds only. Large fish and sea turtles can be seen in the clear blueish-green water. Bits of view of the coral reefs can be seen.
NYMM 15, 1000
Captain Tubbs and Sir Gali are on the deck together watching the bay close up around them. “When we reach Stormreach you are to go to House Kundarak. Look for the gnome Amilene d’Sivis. She will have a message for you for the next part of the journey.