A few days of relative peace and calm aboard The Boundless were a welcome thing. The party took this time to get a handle on the ship and those aboard. Pluefin charmed some blue bloods and learned a little about their contact, Ismael Deeb. Most importantly, they learned he frequents the chance houses up in the Golden Steps, a district of High Pengaard that contains tier after tier of increasingly exclusive chance houses.
But the peace was not to last. A couple days from their destination, crew members began whispering about odd groupings of animals in the waters…such as normally solitary reef sharks were spotted below the surface in vast numbers. This culminated a member of the party noticing a flock of birds flying towards the boat…against the wind and at great speed heading straight for the ship!
As soon as the massive flock of gulls reached the deck, the group sprang into action and fought off the oddly-coordinated swarm. The crew became even more restless. Then, staring listlessly off the back of the ship, someone noticed (just before it was too late) a dark shape following in the wake of The Boundless…and just as they did, massive tentacles sprang up over the sides of the ships and began grabbing at crew members.
A mighty battle ensued as the party scrambled to save those that had been grabbed and stave off the massive tentacles. As some of the massive grabbers had been thwarted, the massive beast reared up behind the ship…the most gigantic Octopus anyone had ever even heard of. As they continued to battle the tentacles (and a few shots taken at the head), it leaped into the air and came crashing down behind the ship, sending a monstrous wave up and over the side, taking nearly everyone off their feet and a few unfortunate crew members off the sides and into the swarming reef sharks below.
As quickly as it had come, the giant octopus retreated. But the next calm few moments were broken by a call from the crow’s nest down to Monte…
“Captain! Something on the horizon off our aft, sir…its…large.”
“How large exactly?” came the reply from Monte
“Hard to say. it just now visible on the horizon…but I’d say the size of a small island!”
Monte stood, stunned, for just a moment. He whispered under his breath so that only a few party members that were close enough could hear: “The Kraken. Iono help us.”
He sprang into action, barking orders and directing people around the ship. He turned to the party and said, “I know you’re not experienced sailors, but we’re gunna need all hands working to help us outrun this thing,” he gestured in the direction they were heading, “especially with that storm we’re about to run straight through.”
The next 12 hours were a hellish nightmare…the skies darkened, the ship rolled side to side as it was thrown around by the angry sea, waves towering over the ship making what once felt like a grand vessel feel like a rubber duck in a bathtub. Despite their lack of experience, the party made themselves quite useful in a variety of ways…working in the rigging to furl and unfurl sails when commanded, tying and retying knots, bracing rope lines, boosting morale, etc.
The looming shape on the horizon only seemed to make a little bit of ground on them, and just when they thought their strength would give out, the storm broke and the watch gave the all clear…followed shortly by that most blessed of calls, “LAND HO!”
The ship had arrived at its destination, High Pengaard, the Capitol City of Vramora and the realm of King Hamish.
Hopping off the boat, the party decided they needed to establish a home base before . Pluefin, through his charming of some blue blood passengers on the ship, he was given a place to stay as well as a few finer pieces of clothing so he would be “more presentable on the Golden Steps.” Hettle attempted to steal some clothes but failed and was forced to flee. Grimpem once again donned his Duke Ellington disguise and waltzed right through the front door of the Sin Spire. Trag and Hettle were forced to concoct a plan to sneak in through the servant entrance.
Inside the Sin Spire, they found extravagantly dressed nobles seated around many different gaming tables, sipping many colored liquids from tiny crystal goblets, many smoking from pipes or from long, thin cigars. A reserved murmur was the standard tone for the floor, broken occasionally by polite cheers or moans of sympathy from various tables, with occasional cheering from the floor above. The foppy attendant who greeted told them explained they were welcome to game on the 1st floor until they were invited upstairs. He then went on to tell of the evenings’ games that were available, helped them get their chips and helped them to their first table: a game of Avandra’s Favor. After rolling well and wining some chips, they moved on to the next table, The Gambit of Ord. After that, they were invited upstairs, where they arrived just in time to place their bets on the most prestigious game of the night, Quon A Drensal, or the "Run Of Luck.”
Bets were placed on the various racing lizards and the race was run, with the decisive winner being Meatball, followed by Relax, We Got This, Penelope in third, Ekog The Destroyer in 4th, and Mister Foxcastle in 5th. Arauka, being the big winner, went to go collect his winnings when he heard a group of gentleman laughing, and one of them exclaimed “HA! You really had me there, Lord Deeb!”
Turning to see who this was addressed to, Arauka found himself face to face with a mocha-skinned Sand Elf with grey knee breeches, a dazzling navy blue coat with tails, a ruffled white ascot, rapier at his side and jet black hair that cascaded over his shoulders. Realizing this was the contact they were searching for, Arauka casually dropped the name of Kurgi Gemheart. Ismael Deeb’s eyes grew wider for a split second, and he drew Arauka near with a firm handshake. Leaning in, he whispered to Arauka in Elvish, " “We musn’t speak here. Meet me at my home in 1 hour. Try not to draw attention to yourselves, come one at a time.” As he with drew his hand, Arauka discovered a small business card with an address on it had been slipped into his hand…