Day 151 5:00PM Captain Damiano, Mittens and Father Pyrlig climbed up onto the wood walkways attaching all the houses, taverns and stalls. Mong La was a tight mess of narrow wooden pathways, thronged with fishermen, prostitutes, beggar children and laborers. As they pushed their way through the crowds, they needed to find a source of some location information.
Stalls openly displayed a variety of poached wildlife for sale: dried elephant skin, pieces of ivory, skulls and skins of wild cats, dried vulture heads, deer antlers, a bundle of porcupine quills, the skin of a scaly anteater and animal-based alcohols. Merchants had a variety of cages that held dogs, baby monkeys, large porcupines, and a variety of colorful wild birds. Carts held jars, bowls and open bags of dried grasses, seeds and powders, crushed semi-precious stones, clay jars of snakes, fish, crabs and lobsters.
They pushed through the crowd, until a pushy bartender offered many local alcoholic drinks upon them. “Try some tiger wine! It will stiffen you up for later to better enjoy some bang-bang!” Damiano was not sure tiger wine was his thing – but his new friend, Wing Kong, offered shots of another liquor – in the bottle was a cobra, steeping. Wing Kong invited them into his establishment and served up fresh crocodile that had been soaked in red wine and they talked about the local color and who might help them find a missing spider-man.
Day 151 7:00PM Moving with speed up the trail, Nico (and Anduril), Dwag and Temujin kept sight of Akinosa’s trail. Coming around a bend, Anduril noted a young woman standing still in the trail, looking off to the foliage to her left. As the party approached, Dwag in the lead – the was a crack of broken branches and a growl and a great feline beast leapt out, striking her down with splash of blood. The party raced in at the beast. Nico summoned a celestial tiger to flank the beast as the party engaged.
As Dwag and Nico’s tiger fought the tiger that struck down the young tianese girl, Temujin wondered if this beast was a jurassic tiger, known the frequent the highlands – and infamous for the rending power of their claws and jaws. Temujin and Nico had a chance to inspect beasts with closer proximity, as two more leapt out of the woods! Nico backpedaled and summoned archons to put up a solid defense. Temujin dazed the other, buying more time for the archons to deal out some damage. The tigers slashed violently at Dwag and Nico, but two were slain – the last ran off into the jungle to tend to it’s wounds.
Dwag and Temujin were able to bring the young girl to consciousness with their healing skills – her name was Miao Yin. She said her father was a famous pirate captain, in his day. His name is, Kai Yin and his ship was the Darkstar – but the party had not heard of him. Nico asked Miao Yin to accompany them back to Mong La, which she agreed to do. The party continued their chase for Akinosa.
Day 151 8:00PM Wing Kong was able to proffer a ‘hunter’ for the party. He was a quiet fellow, but not unfriendly. His name was Chang Sing, and he knew of various agents for the three Free Captains that controlled Shenchu Bay (Chan Ai-Huao, Jieh Hui, and Lo Shei Wen). He thought he knew of one unnatural agent that worked for Lo Shei Wen – which kept a retinue of hobgoblins. When asked where this agent might go to ground if chased towards Mong La – Chang offered up an old guardpost. This old tower was not a derelict but not actively used since the bridge it monitored was broken down. The party hired Chang on as a guide and they left Wing Kong’s establishment by a trap door in the kitchen floor. A small dinghy was at the ready and Chang piloted the craft through the stilts and pier that held up Mong La.
Day 151 9:00PM Captain Damiano and Mittens easily climbed the quiet guard tower, dropping a rope down to aid Father Pyrlig’s ascent. Pyrlig took up watch in the tower itself, standing in the dark and peering about through the various shuttered windows. Mittens and Damiano climbed up to the roof for a better vantage point. Chang stayed below in the dinging, hiding in the shadows and keeping a lookout upon the water.
Day 151 11:00PM Nico (and Anduril), Dwag, Temujin and Miao Yin came to the cliffside facing Mong La. The remains of a rope bridge was suspended from thick wooden posts. Miao Yin stopped and got the party’s attention, before them some 100+’ feet was a rotund humanoid – Temujin was able to identify it as Akinosa due to the silhouette of his many limbs. The party started to close in, but as they did, they saw it eye the tower, some 150’ away, and with a quiet incantation and a “bamf” he disappeared!
In the dark, Father Pyrlig was startled by the tell-tale “bamf.” He knew he wasn’t alone! Pyrlig gave out a cry as he heard spell-words being recited and felt the terrible transmutation magic wave pass across him, but he was determined not to be polymorphed into a rat! Pyrlig cast his own magic, to prevent Akinosa from any further “bamf-ing” as a means to escape. Mittens and Damiano slipped down from the roof into the window, moving into the room and looked to engage Akinosa.
Across at the cliff, hearing Father Pyrlig’s cry, Dwag leapt into the sea and swam rapidly for the tower. Temujin started to fly in the direction of the tower and Nico “bamf-ed” all on his own, into the tower. The party’s proximiy, closing in on Akinosa hindered his ability to cast his magics, he drew out a wand, lighting up Damiano, Mittens and Pyrlig with lightning bolts.
The combined focus of the party easily put down Akinosa – down to the floorboards he went, in a bloody, yet unconscious heap.
The party parted pleasantly with both Miao Yin and Chang Sing, and paid them well – they went on their way. After healing themselves and Akinosa, who became conscious, they questioned him. Based on the discussion, they learned that he may have been double-crossing Lo Shei Wen, by working for Jieh Hui on the side, smuggling in all kinds of goods into the towns of Mong La and Haigu Wan. The party wondered what all this had to do with Sadok Goldtooth, which Akinosa surmised was their employer – but the details were unimportant to let slip, as Captain Damiano gave the signal to Dwag, who promptly beheaded the spider-man.
Word was given, and the party took Akinosa’s head and body, back with them to the Splash. Ginger Red and his team were recalled and the Splash set sail for Port Peril.
Day 153 10:00AM The Splash sailed into Crescent Harbor and touched base with their fellows aboard the Shale and found that they had guests waiting for them.
Harlan introduced a comely half-elf woman, named Bela Hawkeye – she was the second mate for Benjamin Avery, “Long Ben", out of Drenchport. Bela offered to pay 10K GPs for the galleon, the Andoran. Realizing the ship needed some repairs and maintenance, as well as requiring to be broken out of its resting spot at the Devil’s Mouth, the party agreed to the terms, and were quite pleased when she handed Damiano a pouch of (10) 1,000GP diamonds as payment. The party provided Bela with the map, and made some more pleasantries before she took her leave from the Shale.
Now alone, Harlan had more details for the party to follow up on. He had purchased some information from servants of Norgerber located in Quent, asking about the disappearance of
Captain Ellipse Farhaven, about the recent activity of the cutter, the King Crimson and he advised the party to discretely, very, very discretely investigate the Jasperleaf Apothecary, owned by a Zarskia Galembar. This Zarskia, may indeed be a Chelish or Nidalese agent. Again, Harlan warned, free-booter or Free Captain, won’t save you from the gallows or the devil’s dance hall should you make a scene in Port Peril.
The party sent word to Fort Hazard, and Hainen showed up soon afterwards, surprised, pleasantly so, that the party had finished their mission successfully – displaying Akinosa’s head, so ignobly, in it’s bag! Hainen told them to be ready and he would have the picked up at dusk to bring them to Fort Hazard.
Day 153 6:00PM Bilgerat Jacobi, picked up the party in a cutter and sailed them over to Fort Hazard – the Hurricane King’s castle. They party was ushered into a private tavern for Kerdak Bonefist’s men. They were joined by Sadok who was surprised by the turn of events. he told them to enjoy themselves and get comfortable. The party joined Harlan Valance and Bela Hawkeye and had their fill of food and drink. Among the many strangers, mostly common sailors, were a few familiar faces: Hainen Boyne, Stephen Slick, Sadok, Bilgerat Jacobi, and a few new faces: A well dressed, heavy set captain, named Little Ricky, and his first mate, Anders LeChiffre were nearby but kept to their own counsel.
After the pints flowed and a few hours passed, Kerdak Bonefist, stood up, a bit unevenly, his face a bit bleary, but his right hand, glowing with a necromantic light, appearing fleshless allowing onlookers to see the the bone. The boney hand clutched a large pistol, which Captain Bonefist shot into the ceiling to get the rabble’s attention.
The Hurricane King said, "This fresh catch of scallywags wants to add their fine ship to our brethren o’ the sea,” he says, erratically waving his still smoking pistol toward the PCs. “But before I award their letter of marque and make them Free Captains right and true, I say we hear from them.” Bonefist turns his dark gaze upon the PCs. “What say you tell us all a tale or two of how you came by the plunder in your hold?”
Mittens got to his feet and spun a few tales. He spun the yarn about good Captain Damiano, afflicted by the dead pirate Quint Harrow’s curse and the party’s subsequent endeavors. A good story, and received well, until drunk Bilgerat Jacobi yelled out, “Bah! Curses from unearthly horrors from beneath the sea. Haven’t we heard this all before?!?” Taken aback, Mittens attempted to push on with his tale, but eventually it petered out due to Jacobi’s taunts. “Tell us another,” commanded Bonefist. Mittens went into the tale of Never Isle and the battle with Louisa Scott – but no luck, the ‘boos’ were resounding. “What,” cried a drunk and belligerent Jacobi, “foisting fairy tales upon us?” And then Mittens told the story of their battles with Captain Pilk. But the crowd wasn’t having it, and the boos echoed upon the halls and the party was largely ignored as the sailors went deeper and deeper into the cups, and stupor.
Early in the morning, Harlan Valance invited the party to ride in his boat, out of Fort Hazard. The party a bit dismayed at the lackluster turn of events, came along and snuggled into their bunks – until they were aroused at daybreak.
Day 154 6:00AM The party, still drunk and tired, were met by Sadok Goldtooth – who had a bit of a grin on his face. “No worries lads. You did your job. You failed, but pushed on. That is what matters. Last night, that doesn’t matter a bit. So I have this for you.” Sadok handed Captain Damiano the letter of Marque, authorized by the Hurricane King, Kerdak Bonefist – Damiano and his officers were now Free Captains of the Shackles!
After Sadok departed, the party planned to recover a bit more from the previous evening, and then see to further investigation of the Jasperleaf Apothecary.
[end of session 58]