“You want us to have a what?” asked Areia incredulously.
“A festive celebration,” smiled the governor. “Very typical when there’s a city saving such as this. Informal of course, although,” he took a look at Andril’s coat, “my tailors will find you something more suitable to wear.” The governor walked away then, leaving Andril, Areia, Thrak, Frank, and Haryk standing in the middle of their new inn, The King’s Chamber Pot. Thrak moved over to a dusty shelf and placed one of the fish creature’s spears on it.
“Needs ssssooome decoration before guesstsss arrive,” he growled.
“So let me get this straight,” Andril spat, “We saved the city here and now we have to throw all the survivors a party when we’re broke?”
“You forgot the part about Canton dressing you up to look the part, Sir Wiz! Look at it this way mage, bit of advertising for our new tavern,” snarked Ariea.
“You mean old tavern,” said Andril looking around.
Haryk came up from the cellar just then; he was carrying a dusty crate filled with bottles. “Well, the good news is we’ve got enough ale to make it through Canton’s festival. The bad news is we’re going to need to hire some people.”
“Know anyone who wants to help run an inn?”
Later that night after the guests had left…
“Wasn’t that fun?” said Ariea. “I’ve never dreamed I’d one day own an inn. Destiny plays a part at last for us urchins.” She turned to Andril who was sitting in the corner by the fire. He had his legs up on a table and tuffs of cotton were sticking out of his ears. He looked over his spellbook. “Fun was the look on the The Wavers faces when Haryk spiked their ale with tumrot root.”
“Waversss?” snarled Thrak. “What’s a waver?”
“It was that group in the corner, you know, Bob Marado’s group. They were on the beach with Morn when he was killed. Apparently they’ve been using some of the planks washed up on the beach and with nothing to do before the ship from Silvershore arrives, they’ve been using the wood beams to play in the surf outside the harbor instead of doing any real work.”
“Play in the surf? What’s the fun in that!” moaned Inara sarcastically. She was strumming her lyre in the corner. “Personally, I miss our dear friend, Morn. I’ve written a song about him, would you like to hear it friends?”
“Thanks Inara, but perhaps another time, it’s getting late.” Frank knew Morn as a fellow member of the Silver Order. He was still processing his death, and the way in which he died. But then he added, “You know, Humbolt seemed back to his old self, didn’t he?”
“He sure did. His daughters too. Kelsey kept trying to get me into the cellar all night,” laughed Haryk. “Looks like she forgot all about you there mage.”
“She’s all yours,” bemused the wizard. “I’m much more interested in these maps Basel gave us and of course this ship from Silvershore and what it means for opportunities for us to make coin. I heard another brigade is coming, that means men with thirsty throats, and opportunities to explore these isles and find more treasure.”
Just then, Canton walked down from the upstair landing. He was holding an empty wine bottle, and an empty glass. He stepped on the last step and stepped again as if there were another, when clearly there wasn’t. He then poured into his empty cup and drank the nonexistent wine. Frank watched him then take out an elvish linen and wipe away a nonexistent spill.
“You throw one fine party Heroes. That is the truth. One fine Cillandrial party. I’m heading home. I’ll need an official escort of course, a governor should not be out at night, such as they are in these isles. This isn’t Cellione where one may parade through town at all portions of the eve!”
“Sillanius, will you please escort the governor home, dear boy,” asked Areia. She looked over at the child, a boy who had lost his mother and father in the events of the previous few days. How could she not take him under her wing? The boy smiled and opened the door out into the cool night. “This way, m’Lord.”
“You may finish the wine, if you wish,” spoke the governor into the night. Of course, he still carried the empty bottle as well as the empty glass.
Setting Sail for First Isle
But running an inn proves costly, and with limited resources and limited ability, the party finds a willing innkeeper in Arvella, a former captain. They decide to investigate several leads with Lord Canton. And also, to notarize their landgrant. Canton meets with them and discusses several concerns that he has. Ian, and Fritz attend the meeting as do the now proprietors of the King’s Chamber Pot.
“So you see friends, beneath us, covered in more mud than can be removed magically or otherwise in many years lies a structure, one which some of us have seen before.”
Fritz, his armor freshly polished, and moustaches now regally waxed, continues for the elf, “What the Governor is trying to say, is we would like to employ your formidable help. We know of another structure, one which Ian and I personally encountered many years ago, when we first came to the isles. It lies underground, on the First Isle, and although it is still in inhospitable lands, we believe it can be accessed. We’d like you to consider this mission, and as our thank you for it’s completion, we offer you 1000 gold, and ownership in the vessel you will use to sail there. We have a Captain, Carpatchian is the man, who is eager to prove himself once more. He and his first mate, are the finest you’ll find I assure you.”
“Didn’t he captain Lyra’s Song? The ship that sunk!” Asked Andril.
“He did. But the reasons for that sinking were declared inconsequential to his captaincy, and if it weren’t for Carpatchian, we would have lost all hands on deck, instead of just a few.”
“Sounds fishy to me,” said Frank.
“Please, don’t say fishy!” Laughed Areia.
“We accept the terms. But we’d like full disclosure.”
“Of course Mistress Areia.” Said Ian. “You will be a part of a convoy. I will be heading back to Cillandar, and Fritz…”
“I will be heading elsewhere.” Fritz gave a look to the governor and to the others. Clearly, whatever he knew, he wasn’t ready to inform them in on just yet. Andril sensed this wasn’t a secret that would harm them, but it still made all uneasy.
“It’s time you met with the notary counselor to register your land grant,” said Canton.
“The notary…counselor?” said Areia.
“Oh yes, as per the King’s Code, no one can own land in Celn territory without first signing their documents. As we have just been through a massive upheaval in terms of clergy personnel, the Lighted notary is deceased and other general rules apply. The counselor will determine your adequacy for owning the land and certify your deed.”
“The counselor?” said Andril. “What foolishness is this?”
“If I’m not mistaken Master Ian, the counselor was actually among those who were rescued by Carpatchian aboard the Lyra’s Song, was she not?”
“That’s correct,” said Ian. He seemed displeased immediately having to discuss this, it was obvious as his tone dropped. “Although she wasn’t rescued by Carpatchian, Governor. It was Humbolt who rescued her I am told.”
That was the first time they saw Fritz smile. But it wouldn’t be the last.
Leaving Far Realm
In the days that followed, with a new brigade from Silvershore and the reestablishment of the Temple Mount, Far Realm became once more a town. But the party wouldn’t be there to see major changes. Within only a fortnight of the battle with the creatures below Far Realm, three vessels set sail in the morning. One bound for Cillandar would exit the harbor and sail into the horizon directly. The other two, Carpatchian’s vessel and that of it’s twin, which all knew Fritz commanded. Carpatchian, once captain of Lyra’s Song, now given this new charge. He was to bring the group sponsored by Canton to First Isle. There he would anchor and wait, until they had found the structure that Ian and Canton described for them.
To where Fritz’s vessel was sailing, none knew for he would not discuss it. Fritz seemed to be in perpetual seriousness, so it was anyone’s guess. Haryk thought he saw the type of equipment that he once dealt with in the exploratory services, clearing out isles for Celn habitation so to speak. But he couldn’t be sure. Their one time fellow jail-mate, Inara Goldpetal, was aboard Fritz’s ship, as were a few others they had recently come to know.
The weather was clear for days with a strong gale moving them along. They stayed away from the isles, but within sight of land whenever possible so Carpatchian could navigate visually with his charts. Things were going well, until another storm came upon them as they neared the Northern tip of First Isle. They were too far to try to put in at any of the Celn colonies. They were caught in a tempest!
An onslaught of rain and wind, soaking everything in streams of briny water poured into the galley. The crew tried to shore up the railings but it was too risky to be out in this tumult. The captain had no choice, so Carpatchian ordered them to tack into the wind and sail for the nearest shore. With some good Celn fortune they would find a sandbar and a respite until the storm blew over. If they didn’t, they would lose the masts, and the crossrigging and they’d be run aground or worse. Sometime during the assault, Areia, in the crow’s nest watched Fritz’s ship lose it’s main mast and much of it’s rigging. And then they lost sight of it altogether. They had no choice, they found what shelter they could and waited.
It was during that time that they would discover the stowaway. And the Ballad of Demon’s Bay, which is now popular in many Cillandrial alehouses, was composed.