- Port officials are bribed providing a window to execute Captain Sil’s plans
- The Bloody Vengeance is sailed to the provided coordinates
- The companions take delivery of cargo from a snake person’s vessel
- The cargo is delivered to the carpenter Rockinsky on the Shadow Swift
- The companions attend the Sealord’s Feast as honored guests
- A rather impressive list of litanies is recited by Hollister, the group is betrayed
- The companions attempt to escape arrest with a little help from a goblin and gnome
The companions thank Lord Brack for his kind words, and advise that they look forward to chatting further at the Sealord’s Feast. But the night is still young, and there is much work to do. With that in mind, the companions set off for the office of Barnaby the Uncorruptible, which they have learned from Spencer the barkeep is located in the modern portion of the docks on the west side of the city. The group hails a cab and heads in that direction.
The cabbie drops the companions off at the foot of a giant floating warehouse situated between two large docks. The group walks down one of the docks to a gatehouse where several guards are stationed. An official steps forward – he has been instructed to take payment from the group on behalf of Barnaby. The companions are a bit worried about providing payment in plain sight, but the official advises that the guards are of no concern, this type of activity is common on the docks. The payment is made and the official confirms that port employees will turn a blind eye until midnight.
Business complete, the companions head over to the Bloody Vengeance to make preparations for their rendezvous voyage. The orc crew is already at work under the watchful eye of Captain Kell. He is eager to get underway as he is happy to be on the water again. Anton barks at the crew, who return his verbal abuse begrudgingly. Herder is brought forth and officially named 1st mate in recognition of her victory at the Arena.
With a practiced wave, Captain Kell signals to the crew to castoff and the Bloody Vengeance sets sail. The ship arrives at the referenced coordinates after sunset. The companions and the crew stare silently into the night – there is no other ship in sight. From the depths of the dark recesses of the ocean, Freight notices two glowing green orbs quickly gaining in size. The orbs, the eyes of a giant beast, breach the surface soon thereafter. Heat rises from the water producing a mist that surrounds the ship, the smell of sulphur is strong in the air. The beast is huge, its skin rough and bumpy, its sides undulating as it breathes.
The orc crew is visibly upset at the sight of a massive sea beast and attempt to rally Captain Kell to return to port. Freight, a seasoned sailor herself, and the Captain discuss the turn of events – it is clear neither have any knowledge of a sea monster as such. Both converse with the crew in an attempt to soothe their fears. Anton jumps to the railing and addresses the creature.
At this time, two thin organic antennae break the surface, followed by a small platform. A circular hatch in the platform opens and two serpent folk appear, both dressed in aquatic suits. One of the serpent folk approaches Freight and signals for her to accompany him back to the hatch. Freight nods and follows. The second serpent folk addresses Freight in common – they have been sent to this location to make a delivery. They ask for one of Captain Sil’s coins to confirm that Freight and crew are the appropriate ones to take delivery. Freight advises that the coin is valuable to the group, and that the companions are concerned that the coin could be used to take advantage of Sil. The serpent folk deliberate and go below deck. They return with an intestinal-looking cord that ends in a speaker. Captain Sil is on the line and is upset at the delay, he advises that more coins will be forthcoming for use in future missions.
Happy with the arrangement, Freight provides the coin to the serpent folk. She notes a green glow and pulse emanating from the cargo hold. The second serpent folk advises that the Captain requests that the equipment be delivered and installed without delay. Further, the cargo is to be left untouched. Returning to the hatch, the creature waves, and in serpent folk language says, “May Yg guide you this night”. A green glow draws Freight’s attention to her pocket. There are two small beakers, both with the skull and bomb insignia inscribed on the cork – the first contains a milky gas, the second a long splinter of wood. The hatch closes and the vessel recedes below the waves at incredible speed.
Returning to the ship, Lando identifies the beakers as an elixir of forceful exhalation and a toothpick of pyrotechnics. The group proceeds to the cargo bay. Sure enough, there is a large container sitting atop a massive dolly. The cargo is wrapped in canvas and well secured. The companions decide to honour Captain Sil’s request and do not investigate further.
As the ship returns to port, Captain Kell pulls Lando aside to ask a favour. Given the trust that has developed between the two, Kell asks that Lando keep a watchful eye on his daughter aboard the Shadow Swift. She will be happy to hear news of his recovery, that he will die upon the open seas as a true sailor should instead of a broken man wasting away in a tavern. Lando, a tear in his eye, obliges. In return, Kell graces the gnome with the story of his life:
“I was once Captain of the Shadow Swift myself, many moons ago. I lived a happy life in those times, my daughter sailing at my side. But that little girl grew up and fell in love with a young man, a sailor in one of the port’s we visited from time to time. That sailor was Sil.” Kell takes some time to gather himself, reliving an old memory. “To sail the Shadow Swift is to serve the ship, for better or for worse. There are three ways to leave the Shadow Swift – to die in service, to complete the Shadow Swift’s mission, or to have someone willing to take on your contract. This is the gift that Captain Sil bequeathed me. He willingly took on my contract so that he could spend time with my daughter. He willingly took the curse of eternity from me, to spend eternity with my daughter. I need not have to tell you he is a great man, not many that would do that.”
The remainder of the trip back to port is uneventful. A much smaller ship relative to the Shadow Swift, the crew decides it best to dock at a separate pier in order to transfer the cargo – meaning it will have to be unloaded and physically moved between the piers. As the cargo is unloaded, a flamboyant voice behind a scarred face calls out to the companions – seems a kitten has fallen overboard and is surrounded by harbour sharks. The voice belongs to Pretty Ike, the boatswain of the Shadow Swift, .
Given time is of the essence, Freight and Lando magically enlarge Magus Mike and Romica to assist with moving the cargo. Lando and Anton, eager to make a good first impression with Pretty Ike, attempt to save the kitten. The attempt ultimately fails, but the intentions speak louder than words and Pretty Ike is appreciative of the effort. The cargo is loaded shortly thereafter, with the ship’s carpenter Rockinsky taking possession once on-board. The plant-based carpenter wheels the dolly around and heads below deck.
Their duty to the Shadow Swift complete, the companions head back to The Bard & the Bastard. The barkeep has two letters for the companions. The first is from Nicola Cage – she advises that the City Watch will no longer be investigating the group, seems the Dock Side Splitter has been tied back to a southern gunslinger. The second note is from Lord Brack, containing the companions’ invitations for the Sealord’s Feast two nights hence. The companions’ patrons will also be invited.
The companions freshen up and hit the town for the first night of Swag Fest festivities. The next morning is rough and the group muddles through a day of recovery with the rest of the city. The day is not a complete waste – the rest of the reagents to cure Magus Mike from his demonic possession are located and he is cured. Further, the companions have sufficient resources to also cure the sister of Rooster. She is staying with Ansor, a childhood friend, and they are both appreciate of the kind gesture, although the development is somewhat overshadowed by the news of Rooster’s tragic death.
Most of Swag Fest is a blur, and soon it is time for the Sealord’s Feast. The companions travel to the Sealord’s Palace and are greeted by Hollister and Nicola Cage. The group is escorted into the palace and introduced to Milton Drac, the city state’s crown leader. “The city owes you a debt of gratitude. We need heroes like you to turn back the chaos, symbols that the citizens can look up to. You are in many ways similar to the lighthouse I am building, a shining beacon against the darkness. I trust you will be justly recognized for your contributions. In the interim, come into my courtyard and let us gaze upon the greatness of the Ironjack himself.” The group follows Drac to look at the great statue, but dare not investigate it at this time. Soon thereafter, Drac is required elsewhere, “Alas, duty calls and our time is cut short. Enjoy the Feast, and I hope I may rely on you again in the future.” The companions are led from the room.
It is soon time for the Feast and the group is taken into a large inner courtyard, open to the sky above. They are introduced to a hero’s welcome in front of the aristocracy of Freeport and invited guests. The companions are seated atop the balcony, with a commanding view of the courtyard below. There are many tables arrayed around the Sealord’s Feast table, which sits on a platform designed like the forecastle of a ship, complete with a seahorse figurehead. The chamber is decorated lavishly, with festive regalia adorning the walls and streamers affixed to various guy-wires. Ceremonial guards are stationed around the courtyard. The companions take their seats.
The Feast is soon underway. After a short address from the Sealord, food is served. The companions’ patrons – the Sword of the Edict and Mage’s Guild – are honoured. Then Hollister takes the stage. “Honoured guests, we are here tonight to celebrate the contributions of the Freeport Five, saviours of the city. These heroes have worked tirelessly to make Freeport safe again. Well, we have taken note and would like to honour their contributions with a special gift, the best that the city has to offer.” Hollister points to the entrance to the courtyard where a phalanx of guards have come forward with a large container. “I would like to say these things, to celebrate these heroes, but I cannot. Your Majesty and honoured guests, I have evidence that this group is in fact responsible for the cult activity which almost caused our city to consume itself. Guards seize these villains,” Hollister holds aloft documents and packets of evidence, waving them about with great bluster “they are none other than the Dock Side Splitters, those who engaged in extended gang warfare, inciting theatre goers to mob violence, negotiated some kind of strange writ with an undead lord, summoned demons which terrified and possessed members of the clergy, those that terrorized the Fortress of Justice, impersonating holy men and broke free known criminals, went on a drug-fuelled brawling rampage, murdered an inn-keeper and his business associates, purposefully and knowingly ran a den of iniquity, consorted with an assassin clan from the mainland, then (for some reason) repeatedly entered multiple, and I mean multiple, stage entertainment venues under false pretenses, gambled what would be most of your lot’s yearly salaries away, desecrated and destroyed a variety of heritage sites, willfully and disturbingly summoned the wrath of an evil god, possessed one of their own members, then hired a group of orc mercenaries who destroyed the Arena resulting in the death of two noblemen, drown a dwarf, burnt a separate theatre to the ground, burgled and strong armed employees at Greg’s Brewery, killed a rival bounty hunter and tried to poison our guards and mercenaries to turn them against us.”
Hollister proves an effective orator, and the crowd becomes more aggressive as the litanies are read. By the end of the list, the audience is calling for blood despite the protestations of Lord Brack, who attempts to speak on behalf of the companions’ to no avail. With a signal from Hollister, the guards open the container that was carted in to reveal massive, writhing purple larvae. The giant maggots explode from the crate and make haste towards the balcony.
The companions use their vantage to survey the scene. From the balcony, they can view the parade route from the front gate all the way down to the Shadow Swift at the docks. Festival goers line both sides of the street awaiting the Sealord’s parade. Romica, using his engineering knowledge, discerns that the guy-wires, presently adorned with festival decorations, could be used as a zip-line. It would take some acrobatical prowess, but the ropes lead to the floor many stories below.
Given the alternative – facing the giant meat-eating larvae – the companions jump from the balcony and attempt to shimmy down the guy-wire. Lando casts web to create a safety net, which proves beneficial as Freight, Magus Mike and Romica are unsuccessful in their descent. The web holds, saving them from an inauspicious ending. Anton makes a great show of his trip, appearing to skate down the rope, drawing gasps from the crowd.
On the way, the companions note that the guards are trying to close the gate’s portcullis, which would cut off the group’s escape. However, a large cart has been positioned underneath, the wagon filled with fireworks. A certain goblin and gnome familiar to the group wink at the companions. They appear to be equal parts arguing with themselves as well as guards, who wish them to move their cart.
Catching the guards unawares, the companions rush toward the exit, jumping into the wagon bed of the cart at the behest of the goblin and gnome. From behind, the companions can see the guards organizing themselves into several of the parade floats in order to pursue the fleeing group. Further down the route, the head of a giant black goat looms into view, blocking out the companions sight lines to the Shadow Swift.