Welcome back, friends, to another Two-Score Tale! Last time I left you in the midst of battle. Attacked by several vessels, our naval transport returned fire. The enemy summoned all kinds of terrible beasts, but we repelled them mightily. Now, I present to you: the conclusion to this epic battle.
Aëlla had just invoked a flaming sphere on the nearest hostile vessel, only to have a freshly summoned water elemental extinguish it in a flash of steam. Through the roiling cloud, Dirk swung from our rigging to the ship nearest us. From the opposite side of our vessel, a cannon barked.
“That’s right, bitches,” Mathers, our lupin companion, howled in victory. The steel cannonball crashed through the opposing vessel at the waterline and sent a flurry of pulverized wood in all directions. With a terrifying speed, water flooded through the vessel’s hull, sending it below the waves.
With crashing steps, William of the Smithy launched himself over the side of our ship and swung onto the deck of the heavily embattled boat. Not to be shown up, I scampered to a nearby cannon, just loaded by the crew. I aimed carefully, and lit the fuse. The gun leapt and in a massive cloud of smoke a cannonball flew. The ball struck the sea, but skipped into the hull of the nearest vessel, shattering the broad planks.
Aboard the stern of the enemy ship, Dirk lifted the lid from several of the enemy’s barrels and pocketed some of their black powder. At the prow of the ship, the ship’s captain seemed to sense his impending defeat and leapt from the side of the vessel, landing with a splash in the churning sea.
The now leaderless vessel was listing heavily to one side, water visibly rushing into the battered hull. On the damaged foredeck, Will was struck by several enemy seamen and rendered unconscious. To the party’s combined horror, the sinking vessel began to carry our companion beneath the waves. Summoning her natural magic around her, Aëlla cast a healing beam toward William. Regaining consciousness, Will o’ the Smithy stood, regained his footing and swung back to our vessel before the enemy wreck was completely swallowed by the ocean.
The enemy captain, bobbing in the water, raised a hand in a mysterious gesture. A moment later a black fin pierced the surface of the sea. It cut through the surf toward the floating summoner-Captain and, as it passed, the man grasped the fin. Together the creature and the man sped away. In a desperate bid to stop the enemy’s flight, Dirk dashed and leapt from the side of our ship. Her foot caught the gunnel at the last moment and she cast herself into the sea belly first. The resulting smack seemed to echo from the heavens, but did nothing to stop the captain’s escape. Within moments, he and his sea creature were over the horizon and out of sight. The battle was finally ended.
The enemy ships now sunk, their surviving crew bobbed in the ocean. We pulled them from the sea, taking them as prisoners. Our party needed more information, so we decided to question one of the sailors. Being the most charismatic, I stepped forward. Behind me, Aëlla loomed, terrifying our defeated opponent. I questioned the cowering prisoner, convincing him we captured his captain, and he had told us everything. The prisoner, in his haste to avoid being put to death, told us everything. He and his companions on the three enemy vessels had indeed engaged the slain Admiral, but they were routed. In fact, the Grand Admiral had sunk several of the pirate vessels before disappearing into a thick fog. The remaining villains lingered in the area, only to eventually engage us.
Inquiring after the captain’s origin, our poor prisoner had very little information. The captive only knew that his captain had spent an inordinate amount of time within his cabin. The only thing the poor bastard had heard from the captain was an incoherent mumbling through a heavily barred door. Perhaps the captain was communicating with some distant person using some kind of magic. Unfortunately, the enemy vessel was now at the bottom of the ocean, far away from the reach of human, or gnomish, kind.
Fortunately for us, Will of the Smithy was not human. Being a magical construct, he had no need to breath and was unaffected by the pressure of the deep sea. We looped a heavy rope around William’s waist and lowered him into the ocean. In what seemed liked no time, William had descended to the seafloor and entered the wreck. Crashing through the remains of the captain’s cabin door, William spotted an enormous crystal sphere. He carefully rolled it its wooden tomb and wrapped his arms around it. The party and crew hauled mightily, and raised both William and his cargo from the briny deep.
Once hauled back onto the deck, William deposited the artifact before the party. Examining the dripping artifact, our magic users determined it was some kind of magical communication device. Unfortunately we were unable to determine to whom the enemy captain was communicating. Not knowing the exact details of the sphere, we covered it so as not to be spied upon.
With danger temporarily postponed, our ship sailed for several more days, eventually arriving in our destination port, Dagonsville. Several fishing boats, and even a few small tradings vessels were moored in the small harbour. Despite the bobbing ships, an eery silence hung over the entire seashore. Not a single bird call could be heard, and there were no dockworkers to be seen. There was something very ominous about this town.
Once ashore, our party ventured from the deserted pier, to the deserted streets. The buildings all sported artistically detailed facades. Examine them closely, I could tell they had been designed by the famous architect Al-Hussein.
Wandering through the empty streets, we eventually reached a small town square. On several sides of the cobbled area there were shops of all descriptions. The largest of the commercial establishments were an armour shop, a paper shop and a music store. Our party’s more combative members quickly headed toward the armour shop, while our more scholarly members targeted the paper shop.
Prior to this occasion I had thought myself the most mischievous member of our motley crew. The actions of my fellows clearly proved me wrong. Will and Mathers immediately entered and plundered the paper shop, clearing the shelves of any and all bound volumes. The scale of their unbelievable lust for knowledge was only limited by the weight of their plundered volumes. Next door, inside a small alchemy shop which consisted of little more than a large cupboard and a counter, Aëlla gathered magical reagents. While there may have been mumblings of remuneration for the absent merchants, no coin was left.
I, William, Mathers and Aëlla converged on another small magic store. On the placard outside, over the faded paint of an old logo, were the words ‘Albus Nancy’s Magic Emporium’. We all entered the shop and found ourselves amid shelf upon shelf of magic ingredients, potions and reagents. Amid the material wealth, the eternally strange William began rifling through the businesses paperwork. Incredibly, through intense and arcane calculation, he managed to improve their tax situation. He managed it in such a way that the shop would earn a tremendous amount of profit. Leaving a letter of explanation, Will pocketed a large portion of the additional profit from the cash drawer of the formerly ailing business.
It is with the sound of jingling coin that I leave you, fine listener. What could become of my fellow adventurers in this strangely abandoned seaside town? Find out in the next Two-Score Tale!