The Freeport Chronicles

CSI Shadow Swift

A breakthrough is made

Summary

  • the day is reset, the companions awake to the mast being struck by lightning
  • the murder scene is investigated
  • the Hellknight galleon is visited and a deal struck
  • the nearby island is visited, Ansor and Annabelle liberated, the orc encampment attacked, the altar procured, and the dwarf rescued
  • the dwarf is returned to the Hellknights in return for a tow into the lagoon
  • a breakthrough is made in the murder investigation – the red coat is found in Draghor’s quarters
  • evidence suggests that Cecil planted the coat
  • Mario calls the pirates to court to enact the Pirate’s Code

Details

The strange whirring sound fades, replaced by the splitting crack of lightning. The companions, somewhat nauseous, find themselves in the Captain’s Quarters again. Quickly dressed, the group heads to the deck to speak with Mario Poffal and collect clues to the murder of Chaplin Fardell. Orders are given to secure the deck and begin repairs.

With the dog in tow, the companions row to the Hellknight galleon to speak with its representatives. Lando negotiates a tow into the lagoon for the return of Steve the dwarf and a future mutually agreeable favour. The trip to the shore of the nearby island, part of the Glencarney chain, is completed by rowboat.

The companions traverse the shoreline to reach the opposite side of the island where they liberate Ansor and Annabelle. If they can wait a little longer, the companions must attend several tasks before returning. The dog is entrusted to their care. The group continues their travels into the interior where they ambush a patrol, before setting upon the orc encampment. The chieftan is knocked unconscious, the altar and chest procured, and Steve the dwarf rescued from his orc captors.

In discussion with the chieftan, the companions learn that the chest was obtained from waylaid pirates that were attacked by a lusca. The survivors of that battle were vulnerable and easily overcome. The chieftan is unbound and released.

The companions return to the rowboat and head back to the Hellknight galleon. They learn that Steve is from Freeport. He plans to head back to his family estate in Highhelm, the dwarven capital, in the not too distant future. He encourages Romica to pursue his dwarven origins, and provides an open invite should he require a place to stay in Highhelm. Lastly, he advises the companions they may call on his generosity if in need. Steve is dropped off on the galleon, and the Hellknights commence the process of towing the Shadow Swift into the lagoon.

With several hours to spare until the ship is safely hidden in the lagoon, the companions make their way back to the Shadow Swift to continue their investigation of Fardell’s murder. Upon their return to deck, the companions see the same carrier pigeon about to deliver a message. A sense of deja vu comes over the group, accompanied by a whirring sound and nauseous feeling. The bird is netted and the message received – it is from Thuron, in the same hand as the prior message, although the note is different. The message reads, “I fear the party’s absence is somehow tied to the trouble we’ve been having at the Temple. We have managed to capture one of their number, but fear a future attack from whoever is behind is behind this. Please come as quickly as you can, your assistance is appreciated.” A return message is crafted, “We will try our best. Please provide an update on the member captured and your guidance on the accomplice’s organization when you can.”

Continuing their investigation, the companions key in on three members of the crew that have not yet been interviewed – Cecil, Creston Burge and Draghor Redblade. The group visits Cecil, the ship’s bell boy, first. Cecil is an unassuming human male still in his younger years. He has many responsibilities on the ship, chief among them operating the messenger system. Given the different training regimes required, there are separate birds used for on board communication versus long distance communication. The bird cage on deck corresponded with a long distance bird, probably for communication to either Freeport or Port Peril. That said, it is hard to be exact, as the room that houses the birds was recently broken into and there are several birds unaccounted for. When he awoke to the sounds of the alarm, he noted that the door to the aviary was busted open and the room in disarray. There were many open bird cages, and he assumes that whoever did this was searching for a particular bird. Regarding who might be behind this, he mentions that he would search first among the officers, as they would have access to this area of the ship.

Next up on the list is Creston Burge, a female gnomish sailor, and one of the crew members on watch duty the night before. She admits that she witnessed the murder from afar. She saw several explosions in the distance, but not much else unfortunately. With Gary insubordinate, it made it more difficult for the rest of the watch to function effectively – they had to complete their watch duties without the ability of seeing each other. Regarding the magical display, she is unsure of who on the crew it could have been, although there are likely several officers on board with arcane knowledge. Of late, she notes, there have been many members at each other’s throats, so she is not surprised that this murder may have been carried out by one of their own.

The companions next chat with Draghor Redblade, a hobgoblin martial type, who was also on watch the night prior. He appears well dressed and debonair relative to others of his station, and the companions get the impression that not much gets by Draghor. He comes clean with the group – he needs to get back to Freeport as soon as possible as he has someone there willing to take on his contract on the Shadow Swift. As such, he will provide any information available to him to get back to port. He has contracts with many of the crew members and hears things, such as that there is a stowaway on board. He advises that the culprit has magical abilities, and therefore is likely an officer, which would provide them access across the ship. The companions ask about his need to get back to Freeport. Draghor supplies that he is a freedom fighter, one that is always looking to use his resources to further the pursuit of freedom across the land. He is based out of the Blood Salt, and has many contacts throughout Freeport. One of these contracts was with family members of crew member Betty. As compensation for freeing her family and providing them a life in Freeport, she promised that one would take his place on the crew. The Shadow Swift left port early, before this could occur. Even though Betty was likely to double cross Draghor anyway, he would like to get back to Freeport so that the exchange can be completed. Draghor has no further information for the group.

Wishing more information relating to time travel, the companions seek out Glurp and Sprocket. They group advises the two that they know about the enhancements to the ship and its special abilities – Lando has read the manual. As experts in their field, the companions discuss the present time loop and ask for guidance on how to break it. Glurp and Sprocket would like to assist, but they are more knowledgeable on the operations side, as opposed to the theoretical application. They can execute the Captain’s orders, but advise that is it best to consult someone with a better understanding of the complexities that may arise as a result of using time magic, someone such as Annabelle. The companions provide them their chronos and holy grog. With the present amount of chronos, they can likely travel back a couple of days. The holy grog can be distilled and converted into enough solution for two usages.

At this time, the tow is complete. The companions send part of the crew to the top of the hill to forage for food and to collect sufficient wood to effect repairs. The companions stay on board to search the officer’s quarters. Although not a popular decision, they have exhausted most other avenues and wish to put an end to the murder investigation.

The officer’s names are put in a hat and pulled randomly. The companions search through the rooms of the cook Potvin and quartermaster Mario and find nothing of note. The same can be said for J-Todd’s room; however, he has been studying through his records and has found some interesting information that he would like to relay. Relating to the onyx shard, he has found several references to an onyx tentacle, which seems analogous with the shard, that has popped up throughout history. There is no clear pattern to the references – they relate to various geographies and time frames; however, all they have one thing in common – the onyx tentacle has a corrupting influence of those that it has touched. The companions thank J-Todd for the information and Lando asks if he can continue his research to see if the onyx tentacle is related in any way to the Blood Queen.

The companions continue their search. The quarters of Tessinger yields nothing further, and Rockinsky’s abode is clean. Cecil’s room, spartan in decoration and design, is what you would expect of a cabin boy. There are many strings attached to bells leading to the various stations across the ship, as well as log books detailing ongoing communications. Next up is the room that used to be occupied by Buckwheat, the former 1st mate. It appears as if nothing has been touched since his death several weeks past.

With confidence beginning to wane, the companions enter the quarters of Draghor Redblade. Their investigation of the room uncovers many items of interest, including the red garment that is central to their murder case. The brocaded coat has a torn lapel that is missing material. Also in the room, the companions find a chest full of gold, promissory notes totaling 45k, a number of contracts with various members of the crew, and a number of bird cages. Lando reviews the contracts and points out two of note – one with Zwicket to assist in freeing Loquacious from the Fortress of Justice and bring aboard the Shadow Swift, and another with Creston Burge to liberate her family and resettle them in Freeport.

Draghor is summoned and asked about the items found in his room. He advises that everything in the chest is his – some of it has come about by unseemly gains. That said, he resolutely advises that the evidence linking him to the murder – the red coat – does not belong to him, he has never seen it before. Regarding the birds, he confirms that he has been using them to communicate with Freeport and Port Peril. He has been ferrying people between the two ports, acting in a similar capacity as an underground railroad (he is presently transporting the daughter of a pirate captain), and must maintain contact. He has many contacts in both cities and offers his services should the companions require.

Believing that Draghor may be telling the truth, the companions ask him who would have the motivation to frame him. He provides two: Creston Burge – he was to assist in bringing her family to Freeport in return for her voting against Sil and his lunatic mission to attack hell. She betrayed him and sided with Sil, helping to seal their fate. Draghor tried to poison her in retaliation but failed; Zwicket – he contracted Draghor to help Loquacious, his lover and a druid involved in the restoration project, escape execution and flee Freeport. They have not yet paid for his services and may not have the means.

The companions put Draghor under watch and converse next with Creston. When asked about her relationship with Draghor, she becomes agitated. She confirms that he tried to poison her, although she saw it coming and was able to avoid the feeble attempt. Everyone tends to write her off – Draghor, Cecil, Ancias – but Sil, he believed in her and never asked for anything. So when the vote occurred, she backed him like he backed her, despite the impact that it would have on her family. Intrigued that she would list Cecil with the other two, the companions investigate further. She advises that Cecil asked her to turn on Draghor and plant the coat in his room. But she didn’t want to get involved, so declined.

With the evidence shifting back to Cecil, and given his link to the birds and access to the ship as bell boy, the companions seek the guidance of Mario. They confirm that they have completed their investigation and that the evidence points to one of the crew. As administrator of the pirate’s code on board, Mario puts out the call to the ship’s crew to gather on deck for a public display of justice.

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