Chapter 3 - A chatty hussy, an exuberant child, and a haunted passenger walk onto a boat...

Ornrik did a spell and summoned an amazingly beautiful dog that seemed to glow. He instructed the dog to sniff at the jar and then follow the scent. The dog led Ornrik, Viselys, and Adameus to their own quarters and to the open window, which convinced them that whomever brought aboard the “pickled mephit” fled the ship this way. Adameus climbed out and crept around the hull to see if the culprit might be outside, hanging on somewhere, but it was to no avail. Then he expressed that he wanted to start searching the interior of the ship, but Ornrik told him to take his Ring of Swimming and dive under the boat to see if someone was hiding under there.

Adameus rolled his eyes, but acquiesced. He placed the ring on his finger and dove into the briny waters. Immediately he saw a major flaw in the plan: It was really, really dark. He broke the service and called up, “I can’t see a thing!”

Ornrik did another magic sign and said, “That light should last you about an hour.”

“That’s great,” Adameus replied, annoyed, “I can’t stay under that long.”

Another spell and Adameus could breath underwater. However, there was, as he expected, nothing to see under the ship. Well, barnacles. He knocked a few off so he felt that at least had done something useful – upkeep of their ship.

Back on board, Adameus began a search of the ship starting in the cargo hold. Meanwhile, Ornrik went across to the Nixie, cast a spell of truth and began questioning everyone. He terrorized a little boy, but found nobody who had anything to do with the mephit, even after interrogating every member of the crew including the captain, the Jade Ravens, and Lavinia. When speaking to Gwenlian and Bryson Talbot, he apologized for startling their son Gidrick, and smoothed things over with them.

Approaching Avner Meravanchi, he asked, “Did you have anything do with this incident?”

“Of course I had nothing to do with it, idiot!” Avner spat, “How absurd! I wouldn’t do anything that could endanger Thunderstrike. Leave me alone. Interrogate the peasants. I’m sure it was one of them. Stupid people, letting this sort of thing get out of hand. This never would have happened back home. Incompetent…”

Eventually, there was nothing further to be gained by keeping everyone on the Blue Nixie, so they allowed everyone from the other ship to debark. Meanwhile, Lavinia called Viselys back.

“Yes, my dear…er, my Lady?” He responded.

Lavinia was taken aback, but after gathering her composure, she continued, “We have a long voyage ahead and, with the nature of sea travel, there is always the possibility that we may become separated. If that should happen, let us agree to continue along our course to the next planned port where we will meet up before proceeding further.”

Back on the Sea Wyvern, most everyone went to their bunks. Adameus decided to stay topside and chat up the few that stayed up. He learned a good deal about the captain. He also learned uncomfortably more than he wanted to ever know about Lirith…who commented, "You know, you're not that different from Avner," while eying Adameus' new jewelry and outfit.

Meanwhile, Ornrik played analyst to the troubled Skald. "I couldn't help but notice you keep pretty quiet and to yourself," Ornrik inquired of Skald. Skald simply nodded his head. Pursuing further, trying to understand the fey-touched being, Ornrik persisted, "What's your story, lad? No sense in keeping to yourself this whole time. It's going to be a long journey."

Skald nervously looked at his feet. He picked his head back up as a thick fog began to blanket the air when he finally began to tell his story. "You ever feel like bad things follow you? Like everywhere you go, you put people in danger…like you're haunted or cursed…or…or…something." He shifted uncomfortably in his seat on the steps.

Ornrik curiously interrupted, "What do you mean?"

"Well, it's not so simple, really. Maybe I've just had a run of bad luck, but it's been a mighty long run. For starters, back home in The Styes I was an adviser to an important councilman. Things seemed pretty good for me there. Turns out that the councilman was corrupt. A lot of the things that I had done for him likely hurt a lot of people. I may not ever really even know the consequences that they're facing. I just panicked and fled. And that's just the beginning…"

Skald continues to tell story after story of ill luck, concluding with this most recent mephit attack on board the Sea Wyvern.

"Do you really believe yourself to be cursed," Ornrik inquired, "because I don't really see any signs of possession or a curse. It may be that you just have caught some poor fortune."

"Perhaps," Skald replied, seeming a bit comforted. "Only time will tell," Skald looks back out through the fog over the waters. "I'm sure I'll feel better with a good night's rest."

Heading towards his cabin, Saris felt a tug at his sleeve. He whipped around, always ready to spring into action, but saw nobody. It was only when he heard the voice that he looked down.

“That was really cool I loved what you did out there what was that thing how did you grow real big like that are you really the best swordsman in the world that’s what the little grumpy-looking man says though I don’t think he really believes it where did you get that sword can I hold it how old are you how did you learn to fight like that are you rich what’s your job can I be that when I grow up…” If he hadn’t needed to take a breath, he might never have stopped.

Several days later, the Sea Wyvern pulled into port alongside the Blue Nixie at their first stop, Port Blackwell.

Continue to Chapter 4...

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