Chapter 2 - And for dessert...pickled mephit???

Every head in the harbor turned to stare as the Sea Wyvern sailed in to berth. As the gangplank lowered, several guards began walking towards it until Viselys Mortaum emerged on deck and waved to them as he started down towards the dock.

The harbormaster met him as he reached the bottom. He didn’t say anything, but the harbormaster's face certainly spoke of many questions.

“It will only be in port for a few days. We’ll be bringing in a crew to tend to it and arrangements will be made for the docking fees,” Viselys nodded politely as the others followed him off the ship.

Back at Vanderboren manor, the heroes discussed specifics of the upcoming voyage. While they did, Adameus stepped away to seek out Kora.

“Did you get it?” he asked the older hobbit privately.

She extracted an object wrapped in a cloth. Unfolding the cloth revealed a small box. “Indeed I did,” she replied handing him the box.

Opening the box, he extracted a signet ring, and placed it on his finger. Returning the box to Kora, he nodded, “My most sincere thanks, mum. This means a great deal to me.”

Returning to the group, Adameus heard the tail end of the conversation, “…three months to reach Farshore.”

“When I speak with father…” Viselys paused seeing Adameus entering, then continued, “MY father, I will ask about his patron speaking on our behalf at the hearing. The voice of the Taskerhill family plus Lavinia’s – plus Diamondback’s testimony and all the other evidence, well, we have nothing to worry about.” Then he turned to Diamondback and led her from the room, “Now, tell me what you will stay on the stand…”

* * * *

Viselys has a talk with his father...

* * * *

The following day, Adameus left early saying that he had more errands to run. Saris went to speak to his father about making berthing and licensing arrangements for the Wyvern. "Just make sure that the name 'Van Sky' is heard far and wide, m'boy!" his father had said.

As Viselys predicted, the evidence and testimonies were damning to Heldrath. The Dawn Council did not take long to bring back their verdict. The Kellani family would have their noble status stripped from them. Nobility had spared Heldrath a prison sentence, but it would be the last benefit her former title would bestow. Further, at the request of Viselys, and since the heroes weren’t pressing charges, Diamondback was released into the Viselys’ care.

At the docks, where the ship known as the Sea Wyvern was berthed, supplies and crew were arriving. Everyone had already met Urol Forol, the chatty gnomish navigator. Urol was very excited by this trip. Having been to the Isle of Dread before, his knowledge and abilities would certainly prove to be useful. Then there was Skald, a slender elfish looking fellow. When approached by Viselys to chat, Skald simply said that he enjoyed his quiet privacy. Young Tavey Nesk was the Captain’s Boy; that captain being Amella Venkallie, a slight, but powerful woman. Amella had a gruff demeanor, and didn't seem to tolerate much trouble .

With everyone and everything ready to go, the only thing holding up the expedition was the arrival of the financier – Avner Meravanchi, who was well over an hour late. He arrived with two servants, Quenge and Banaby, and a horse (!). Without preamble, Avner immediately began making demands including private accommodations and stabling for his horse, Thunderstrike. Viselys first attempted to smooth the situation, appealing to Avner’s conceit.

“Ah, somebody who respects his betters. What might your name be, lad?” he asked Viselys.

“Well, my name is –“

Avner held up his hand in a halting gesture, “Bored now, and I don’t really care,” he said turning away from Viselys. Father Feres, a priest of Acerion, tried to calm tensions, but after being shushed and ridiculed by the boorish nobleman, Father Feres seemed to keep to himself a little more.

Captain Venkallie informed Avner in no uncertain terms that he would sleep in the same accommodations as everyone else – no private room. She acquiesced to loading the horse after clearing it with Lavinia.

Finally underway, Adameus took an opportunity to talk to Diamondback, “So, tell me, what’s your real name and what’s your story.”

Diamondback, glad of the genuine interest, was very forthcoming with Adameus, and he in return felt compelled to share his story, underscoring how much they had in common.

“I just wish I had been allowed back to my flat to bring more of my stuff with me,” she lamented to him.

Adameus breathed hard, having been uncertain how he would broach this topic with her, “Well, I did bring some of your stuff. It’s in my backpack which is, in turn, in your magic sack.”

Anger creased her brow, “You took my things?”

Adameus was firm, though not unkind, “Hey, now, you tried to kill us. Which is the greater offense, here?” He knew he couldn’t leave it at that, but at least she stopped to consider it. “Besides, it’s party equipment now. It goes to help the whole team.”

She considered this a moment, “And I’m part of the team?" It was definitely an uncertain question, and not confidant verification.

“Absolutely,” Adameus replied, “I suppose as much as I am.” This not only seemed to satisfy her, she seemed quite pleased.

“So you brought everything in the bag?” she asked no longer offended.

“Well, except the wheelbarrow,” he replied, “I know it should have been straight forward, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it back in the bag. Oh, and the explosive – there was a bit of an accident there.”

She nodded with only the slightest smile of amused satisfaction.

“Oh, and I brought Martha.”

“Really!?” she exclaimed.

“He’s in the cabin," he explained seeing her delight and added, "I also brought several of your books – the ones I was interested in.”

“That’s good," she noted with a sigh at the ocean surrounding them. "I think we’ll have plenty of time to read.”

“One of the books I took was on acrobatics and such. Do you think you could show me a thing or two?"

“I’d love to,” she smiled at the idea.

"So, anyway, all that stuff – except for Martha – is in my backpack which, in turn, is in the magic bag which Viselys is carrying in his knapsack.” Adameus paused to think through what he had just said to make sure he’d gotten it right, then nodded.

Aver was not seen much after departure. He spent most of his time in his quarters, apparently with one of the crew – a girl named Lirith Veldirose.

The evening of the second day, both ships dropped anchor, and an umbilical was extended between them. Lavinia had arranged a banquet for everyone on both ships. The food was excellent, and there was music provided by a few bards who were taking passage to Farshore, as well as some of the crew. After dinner there was dancing, with Viselys showing off his talent a bit. Then it was Diamondback’s turn to show off with her tumbling.

Before departing, Adameus slipped Lavinia a note, sealed with his new signet, “Please, read this after I’ve debarked,” which he did shortly thereafter.

In fact, Adameus seemed eager to distance himself, so he was the first one off. When he was half way between ships, the rope suddenly gave way, causing him to fall into the water. Luckily he was wearing his Spiderclimb Slippers, and he pulled himself up on the other side.

Captain Venkalli began pulling up the umbilical on the Nixie’s side while Saris threw a rope across to the Sea Wyvern. He was about to beging across when Adameus checked first to be sure that the rope was secure. Then Adameus began investigating, determining that the rope had been cut on the Sea Wyvern's side.

Saris and Adameus began to spread out searching for a culprit. Soon Diamondback, Viselys and Ornrik joined them.

Suddenly, from up in the rigging, a small winged creature flew down, attacking Saris with an acid spray. Since the creature was flying out of reach, Viselys and Adameus ran below deck to get their missile weapons. Meanwhile, Ornrik cast a spell to enlarge Saris. While Diamondback made sure to avoid being the creature's next target. As the creature tried to escape, Saris swung his rapier, causing it to fall to the deck with a crash.

Literally, there was a crash, as that of breaking glass. Upon investigation, Ornrik found the remains of a jar. "This must have been a jar mephit," he explained, "As such, somebody deliberately sent this creature against us."

As Saris and Ornrik began to discuss their next course of action, Adameus and Viselys burst through the door from the lower deck. Adameus jumped into a roll to distance himself from Viselys and to spread out. They both aimed there bows – back, fourth and up - with wide eyes.

“Where is it?” Viselys asked, as Adameus simultaneously inquired, “Did we miss much?”

Continue to Chapter 3...

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