Blythe sails the Black Dawn back to Doleth Island. Plans are debated. The party wants to organize a way to cure the rest of the Chaser Island infected. They debate putting Chaplain Gerrold under Kilbride’s protection. After docking, the crew is given shore leave on a rotating basis; 2 days off, one day on. Fang, Jade, and Vyros stay with the Black Dawn. Blythe and Burt go to the Cathedral to inform remnants there, Merk goes to check on Thomplin’s progress on cortexes.
Blythe talks to Spart about collapsing the Commisar’s theatre without explosives or fire. Spart hatches plan to destroy all the buildings, but Blythe reins him in. She makes very sure that the plan is specific; destroy the theatre, no explosives or fire, no collateral damage.
Arriving at the Cathedral, Blythe gets the run down. Everything has been quiet here. Blythe uses her etiquette to ingratiate herself to Gerrold. It works, she spends the evening helping him organize his business. She breaches the topic of him working with the High Captains, and he is open to that possibility if it will precipitate cures.
Meanwhile, Merk arrives at the shop. Chuck gives the report that Thomplin will likely be finished tomorrow. Merk relieves Chuck and passes the night uneventfully.
The next morning:
Merk sees Thomplin return to the shop. Later that morning, Thomplin flags Merk. Inside, Thomplin delivers a crate, and Merk pays him, then heads back to the Cathedral. He spends the early afternoon reinstalling the cortexes into the Mariners.
Meanwhile, Blythe, Burt, and Gronk check out the bar to see if Kilbride has sent them a message. They find none. Instead, they head into the Bringles Hall Boys’ territory to see if they can make some contacts. They spend the day ingratiating themselves, learning their impression of the Black Dawn crew, and Blythe practices some seduction to get their attention. Impressions are inconclusive… they have heard of the Black Dawn, but general impressions are neither favorable nor unfavorable. Blythe introduces herself as the Black Dawn’s captain. She exaggerates all the good points of the stories in true pirate fashion. Blythe buys a round, and asks if there is anything her crew can do for the Boys, she is leaving in a couple days, but will be back. They say they might have something for her, and will consult with their leaders. Burt brings up the High Street Commissars and how much he hates them to solidify their friendship.
Merk stocks the boiler of the beat up Mariner. He takes it out into the ruined courtyard and directs it to help repair some of the wall. It is a learning process, Merk gets and idea of how they can operate. He then switches them out and tries the same with the other chassis.
Blythe, Burt, and Gronk return to find Merk practicing with the warjacks. Burt sits and drinks, watching. Merk sends out for parts, and makes some minor repairs. Blythe wants to set up a clinic for the afflicted, and works more on the organization. Spart returns, asking for more money for pipes; it is given. Merk delivers the warjacks to the Black Dawn.
Burt and Merk accompany Spart into the rigging. At Spart’s direction, they set up a pump and piping down into the water tower, and fill it with acid. Spart sneaks around the structure, lining things up, and saws through its legs. Merk blows out a leg with runeshots, and it crashed down into theatre. The marquee starts sparking, so Merk shoots out the transformer. All escape in the resulting panic and return to the Cathedral. Spart shares the story with the Captain, who is significantly put out. Blythe has a drink, dealing with the stress.
Merk scouts the area around the Cathedral, hears alarms, and sees emergency crews heading north. He checks out the Black Dawn as well, and finds all is well. Fang indicates that many ships have made sail suddenly with people fleeing. He wants to know what is going on. Merk tells him not to drink the water. Merk also tells him to be ready to sail. Fang says that he’s heard other crews in the wharf hullabaloo say that there are terrorists loose, that there is a door to hell opening, and that there are strange vapours rising. Merk shares what Spart did.
En route back to Cathedral, Merk checks out the theatre site. There is panic, and people are being evacuated in a two block radius. There is a caustic mist, and people coming out of it have blotchy skin. Merk returns to the Cathedral to pick up Burt, and they leave again to seek out any last commissars.
In the theatre district, Merk is pointed out by witnesses and chased by the constabulary. Merk leads the constables on a chase while Burt circles around and kills a helpless woman witness. They continue to search for commissars stealthily. Noticing the local law enforcement searching, they maintain a low profile and are not further noticed. They return to the Cathedral and inform the Captain. Burt sends Spart back to the ship, Merk goes with him. Blythe drunkenly wishes Spart dead.
Back at the ship, Merk works some more on the warjack wreck in the hold.
A constable has come by the cathedral looking for someone of Merk’s description.Blythe makes arrangements to relocate the ship to the south docks.
Blythe goes amongst the street throngs to gather rumors of what people are thinking about the recent events. She gathers that they think that the gangs are going to war. Blythe wants to talk to Kilbride, and so goes to meet with the Bringles Hall Boys, with Gronk accompanying. Using her contacts, she is directed to a tannery on Captain’s island, where she can give the supervisor, Kellin Terronce, the passphrase “How much oil is left in your winter stores?” Blythe returns to the Cathedral to get Chaplain Gerrold’s blessing in negotiating the meeting to cure folks under Kilbrides auspices.
Merk returns to the ship to work with the jacks and get the crew used to them. He decides to drill the jacks in finesse.
Fang goes to research the location of Blythe’s rival, Ayvil. Burt goes with him. Together they concoct a story that they are merchants looking for information, and discern Ayvil’s possible locations based on his last known time in the Docks, recent weather, and travel times. They telegraph the port authorities of the various ports. By deduction, they learn that Ayvil was in Ceryl, and left for Port Vladovar. While waiting for a telegraph to return, they drink at a bar.
Blythe and Gronk sail for Captains Island.
They locate the Planth Tannery. It’s in the slaughterhouse district. Terronce is met, a tall man, shirtless, lithe, with long muscles, and a snub nose. Giving the passphrase, they are brought into the back, passing vats of chemicals, hides, carcasses, tanning frames, and finally into a back room with a bargaining table, bloodstained and knife marked. Blythe offers her services in getting Kilbride to cure people. Torrence thinks that she has her own plans, and Blythe works her charms on him. Blythe offers a cure for the disease, and a means to organize its distribution through the Morrowans. She tells him that they took out the Commissars, and offers the use of her her crew and ship too, after prompting. Asked what she wants in return, She says she wants prestige and a position in the city.
Terronce goes to check with his contacts, while Blythe and Gronk wait. Through the wall they hear chopping, and squishy thumps. They sit uncomfortably for half an hour. Terronce returns and says that if they can bring him a Cygnaran letter of Marque from an experienced crew, they’ll be welcomed into the fold. Blythe agrees, and returns to the Cathedral.
All meet up. Fang is surprised and glad to see that the Captain is not dead.
Wolfshead Chuck was sent to make new arrangements to buy a Sloop. He finds one with a modified engine that can be overstoked. They christen it “The Sea Wolf” (Formerly The Fish-nets). Fang and Burt go recruiting. Their priority is to find a good engineer, and a helmsmen. They recruit for the next 3 days.
3 days later:
The new armada sets sail, and hugs the coast en route to port Vladovar (a 9 day journey), looking for marks.
2 days in:
Sight a slave vessel escorted by two warships. Pass on.
4 days in, dawn:
Sight a Cygnaran Privateer; a barque called the Clocker’s Canary. They’ve never heard of them, and debate passing, but decide to take it anyway. Chuck is left in charge of the Black Dawn, which will stand off, while the rest move to the Sea Wolf and maneuver to board. Once in range, they fire upon the crew. Burt sets a gunner on fire, Merk thunderbolts another away. Blythe shoots the captain.
Small arms fire is exchanged, and grapples are thrown. Attaining the deck, Blythe jumps into the middle of the fray, slashes many crew, and sprays acid on them from her mechanikal sword. Burt shoots the captain and sets him on fire. He falls, significantly scarred. Merk shoots out those taking charge on deck. Blythe follows suit.
Sarah, fighting hand to hand, is flanked and taken down with club and cutlass, concussed.
Burt blows out the captain’s eye, cuts his head off to intimidate the crew into surrender.
Survivors are tied up. Blythe tosses the captain’s cabin, and finds a letter of marque. They’ve taken down 2 pirate crews. Blythe offers the survivors a chance to join their crew or be ransom prisoners. 17 sign on, but 1 officer and 2 crew do not and are secured in the brig on the Black Dawn. The new crew are distributed between the Sea Wolf and the Clocker’s Canary. The Sea Wolf is rechristened the Tipsy Siren, and the Clockers Canary becomes the new Sea Wolf.
Continue sailing to Port Vladovar:
6 days out, evening:
2 Khadoran warships sighted. The Black Dawn and company try to flee, but the Sea Wolf is overtaken. The Khadorans fire royal class arms, but miss. The Sea Wolf stokes up and outruns them eventually.
7 days out, night:
There is a glowing in the misty waters around the Black Dawn. Burt relates that these waters are called the Sea of 1000 Souls, after the massive naval casualties in the Orgoth War. The crew is restless, but Fang calms them with a speech.
8 days out:
6 Khadoran merchant fisherman ships sighted. Armada passes on.
9 days out:
Arrive in Port Vladovar, a Khadoran Navy city with rocky shores and heavy batteries protecting the natural inlet to a substantial bay. They sail on, north to a natural bay where they can take the longboats ashore. Blythe finds a suitably hidden bay. She also specifies a secondary point where they can meet up if the ships have to move. Heave to in the hidden bay, and they take the longboats to shore. Blythe, Burt, Merk, Fang, Gronk, Jade, and one of the crew who speaks Khadoran hike to town, a journey of a day and a half.
1.5 days later:
They arrive on the outskirts of town late at night, make camp, and enter the next morning. Heavy gauge trains rock the streets, and large stone buildings bearing red banners rise overhead. The Winter Guard and Manowars, also in Red, patrol the streets.
Blythe arranges for moderate lodgings in town. They use the story that they are in town to arrange trade between Port Vladovar and textile companies in 5 Fingers.
Blythe, in disguise, leads the group in collecting rumors… starting in the taverns, and then going to the markets. They also check with customs. For a small fee, and part of the afternoon, the registers are checked. They indicate that they want to hire Ayvil for shipping purposes. He is in port, his ship is docked for repairs. He is staying at an estate in town.
They walk for an hour to the neighborhood. There are many tall townhouses, 5-7 stories, with short flights of stairs leading up to stout doors. Merk scopes out areas where they might get to the roofs. The stone buildings are scalable, but they would be noticed. The streets are lit, and so are the alleys.
They find a meat shop in the area. Blythe buys picnic supplies, and casually asks about Ayvil. She learns that he stops in every week or so. The shop owner does not know his business, but describes him being in the company of some of Blythes old crew, a rough but capable lot. They go to find a picnic spot and wait until dark.
Burt sneaks into the alley adjoining Ayvil’s building and shoots out the lights with his silenced pistol. The party enters the alley, and Blythe dons her armor. Merk climbs the building on opposite side of the alley to get a good vantage point. Jade picks the lock on Ayvil’s back door. The translator is left out back to watch. Blythe tries to sneak in, but finds the door barred. Burt checks a window, shimmies it open with a dagger, climbs into what must be the servants hall, then sneaks into the kitchen, and unbars the back door.
Gronk is left by the door in the kitchen. The rest go through the house looking for the master bedroom. The 1st floor, is receiving and servants rooms. The 2nd floor is a library and study. The 3rd floor is guest bedrooms, which the party avoids as they are obviously inhabited. The 4th floor is the master suite, and a hatch with a pull down ladder leads to the 5th floor, which is storage.
Meanwhile, Merk sees Winterguard checking out the shot out lamps. He shoots one from the roof in the arm. They sound the alarm, and Merk shoots again. They take cover. The translator shoots one in the back and runs away.
Inside, the party breaks the 4th floor suite, and enter. It is lavishly decorated with hardwood furniture, objet d’art, and a portrait of Ayvil himself over the stonework fireplace. Creeping in, the party is at the arch to the master bedchamber when the whistles and alarm are sounded outside. Blythe charges the bed, jumps, and cuts through gauzy curtains in mid air, seeing two forms under the covers. From previous experience, she takes a guess that Ayvil is on the right. SHe is correct, and pins him to the floor, right through the bed, with her cutlass. The woman next to him screams. Burt shoots her right between the eyes.
Meanwhile, Merk shoots and ends a Winterguard outside. He maneuvers around to get better shots on the reinforcements coming down the road.
Inside, Blythe and her gang attempt to maneuver back down stairs, but they see men quickly coming up the 3rd floor landing. Fang throws a fire grenade down the stairs to block them. Blythe pulls down ladder to 5th floor and Jade blows a hole in the roof with explosive arrows. They climb to the roof and jump to Merks building. Merk says he’ll hold them off, and the rest jump to the next building. Blythe rigs a rope to belay down the building. Her knot is loose, and she falls, nearly killing herself.
The rest quickly rig another rope to a balcony, then carefully climb down using the stones the rest of the way. They sneak out of the area, and beeline it out of town.
Back at the ship, they wait for the translator, Merk, and Gronk. Merk shows up after 2 days. They wait 5 in total, but the others do not show.