Before entering the harbour proper, the flagship of the Sealord’s Armada signals to the Shadow Swift their intent to board. Several dignitaries, including members of the Shadow Council, cross to the Shadow Swift to congratulate the companions on their defeat of the dragon, and further, to provide invitations to the gala dinner at the lighthouse this very night. The group thanks the courtiers for the invite and ensures them that they will be in attendance.
The companions cleverly arrange for the dignitaries to have a tour of the ship so that they may have several minutes to converse with Thuron, Marcus, and Dune. It is especially good to see Marcus as the group was unsure whether he had survived the attack by Yarish. The Shadow Council rarely has an opportunity to meet these days, but felt it was important to bring the companions up-to-speed. Noble persons from many nations are in Freeport this eve to attend the gala and partake in the great unveiling of Freeport’s new lighthouse. The project has come under signficant controversy given that it has basically bankrupted the city. This has resulted in much internal strife within the Captain’s Council, which is now split between those loyal to Milton Drac and those who are not. Despite the great show involved with the invitation, the companions are not meant to attend the unveiling. Milton has arranged for an accident to occur before they reach the banquet hall. Although they have no evidence, they are convinced that Milton has something sinister planned for tonight.
The Shadow Council has had several days to plan, and they have learned that Drac has requisitioned reinforcements to be made available in the basement. As such, the dwarven contingent of battle clerics will be positioned near the basement entrance to the lighthouse, ready to cut off Milton’s reinforcements. With this in mind, the Shadow Council recommends that the companions walk directly into the trap. Trusting their assessment, the group agrees, understanding the advantage that a creative entry will achieve.
In the meantime, the group would like some information:
- The companions would like to understand how they can “see” serpent folk in disguise. Thuron provides a device to assist in with detection.
- There are two remaining artefacts needed. Marcus advises that he has found mention of an object, a jade serpent, that can help to locate the last two onyx crystals. The jade serpent was last seen in the Temple of Yg, which sunk into the ocean during the apocalypse when the Unspeakable One was summoned. He provides a general idea of where the temple may reside today.
- The group would like to understand who will be in attendance tonight. The list includes the who’s who of Freeport. The companions ask for intel regarding Draghor, the representative for the Bloodsalt and former crew member of the Shadow Swift, and Triggs, head of The Syndicate. Dune needs some time to touch base with his contacts and will provide a report once inside the banquet hall.
The companions thank the Shadow Council for their assistance before they head back to the Sealord’s Armada. The group takes the remainder of the day to rest up and refresh, before heading to the lighthouse for the evening’s festivities. As they near the feat of engineering wonder, they are amazed not only at the sheer size of the structure, but also by the richness of the massive purple velvet curtain that drapes it. The Sealord has spared no expense for the unveiling. The invitation includes a VIP tour before dinner, which begins in the basement of Milton’s Folly. The companions pass through a group of rowdy dwarven revelers, their friends from Highhelm, before entering the lighthouse through the servant’s quarters at the rear of the building.
The basement of the lighthouse represents a large open format with several distinct areas. Of note, the designer appears to have paid more attention to form than function. The word opulent would not do justice to describe the materials used to construct the tower; however, the layout leaves much to desire – for example, a kitchen is built next to a stable, and much of the floor is yet unfinished. Several stable hands can be seen within the stables, a chef and his two assistants are busy at work in the kitchen, and a team of construction workers attend to a stack of materials opposite. A janitor slowly mops the floor in the middle of the large room.
Before they can cross the room, the companions are stopped by the janitor. He welcomes them to the lighthouse on behalf of the Sealord Milton Drac, who has been awaiting their visit for some time. In fact, a special welcoming committee has been hired for their entertainment.
From the stables, several farm hands rush toward the companions. Lando advises that the apprentices are but puppets being directed for slaughter. The companions split into two groups – one to attend to the janitor, and a second that magically transports behind enemy lines to where the stable master is located. The stable master – a wizard is disguise – appears surprised by the turn of events and is quickly disposed of. The janitor meets a similar end as well. As the life slowly drains from his body, he smiles, advising the group that they were just a diversion meant to delay them until the main force could arrive. The companions do not refute his monologue, allowing him to pass peacefully. Glassy eyed, the stable hands appear confused, the dead body of the stable master not helping the situation. Lando engages them, advising that a cruel trick has been played on them. The companions have no ill will for them, they are free to leave at their convenience. They look around in confusion before rushing for the exit.
Wishing to push the advantage, the companions run into the kitchen area before the chef has time to organize. His assistants turn slowly to meet the rush, but are ineffective at halting the group’s charge allowing the companions to bypass them. The group rushes head on at the chef, putting him immediately on the defensive. With the greater numbers, the masquerading chef is quickly deposed. The companions help his assistants come to terms with the situation once the mind control ends, allowing them their freedom.
While this occurs, the construction workers have had time to prepare themselves. Anton makes a wild dash towards their line, a slick feint that draws their attention, allowing Freight a free lane to charge the foreman. The cleric’s strike proves true as she runs the foreman through. The workers quickly regain their composure and are granted their release.
All in all, the companions are happy with their progress and the minimal amount of bloodshed required to clear the basement. The sound of battle from outside, however, wakes them from their premature elation. Eyes on the prize, they ascend the stairs to the banquet hall. The entrance to the hall is not guarded, and the companions strut confidently through the atrium and into the main concourse of the banquet hall. As they are announced, the eyes of Sealord Milton Drac instantly snap to their location from across the large hall, a slow smile spreading across his face.