The Brotherhood had been interrogating Uhran, but the Dauntless was working to shove off as soon as possible, mayhap because they knew their cover had been blown. Brotherhood guards were delaying their departure, tying them up in paperwork until a plan could be formulated – one that put us at the center of events. As individuals familiar to the ship, we were told to join with the t’skrang crew on our journey north. It was likely that multiple officers on the Dauntless were corrupted, so we were told to leave a non-evil officer in charge of the ship, or Janine if none could be found.
First, we had the ship’s senior officers to worry about. The captain, Ac’l’co, was under some suspicion as he knew of the Shadow grove we had approached before arriving at Shinumetu. Tzla’so’yo, the pilot, was a quiet eccentric with a dislike of other Namegivers and a near-obsession with engineering. The first mate, Qui’cz, was a loud and boisterous individual we had saved on our way to Shinumetu. He had been caught by the Shadow and had been at their mercy in their grove for for some time.
Beneath the first mate were three shift officers, representing 8-hour shifts. Yi’rad was a humble, cheerful man who was very close to the captain. The dusk officer, Vin’n’to, was a more crude version of Qui’cz. The night officer, C’rinth, had been buying up many blood charms lately, and had kept to herself and the five t’skrang she commanded in the last year. Two new people were hired aboard as well – Gimb’l and Thyne, very young t’skrang and believed to be associates of Shern (for which they were not to be underestimated).
We approached the Dauntless after restocking our booster potions, and quickly made a deal for passage. The pilot seemed particularly interested in eavesdropping on our conversation, and the captain was somewhat incredulous that we would hire their services. We broke off to engage several officers in conversation and perhaps get a feel for the situation on the ship.
My own role in our investigations aboard the ship was primarily engaging the technically-minded crew, and distracting others while my compatriots did their own sleuthing. I first spoke with Tzla’so’yo, the pilot, and engaged him in some technical conversation about the fire engines. He had some new true fire injectors he was eager to install, though he mentioned it was tough to get money to replace the fire cannon parts. Apparently, the captain kept the purse strings of the ship very tight, and his concerns over family politics and profitability often clashed with the pilot’s goal of keeping the equipment in its best shape. . We bonded over the difficulty one had in trusting other Namegivers in this world.
Meanwhile, Dave decided to impress Qui’cz, the first mate, by showing off his climbing and jumping skills, building on his stunt jumping from the waterfall. He scampered up to the crow’s nest, but his jump was nowhere near as graceful. However, the elf had kept his word, and the first mate applauded his stunt. Dave used these good graces to press Qui’cz about the ship’s history, and the first mate spoke of the storm that had blown the ship into the grove where we had effected his rescue a short time ago. At that time, no strange glowing orbs were found in the area. Qui’cz had been leading a hunting party at the time and saw nothing out of the ordinary. He expressed his concerns about C’rinth and how strongly she seemed to keep to herself and her contingent of sailors. Her change had taken place around the time of that fateful storm, one year ago.
At this time, Lokan decided to speak to Thyne, one of the children running around on the boat. Thyne spoke of the family’s interests in river boat travel, and how much he’d learned in the four days he’d been with the ship. Lokan then approached the captain, bonding over their urban background and some of their family histories. He noticed the captain would keep turning the conversation back around to Lokan, preferring not to talk about himself or his crew. The t’skrang seemed be avoiding discussing any details of his own life.
Janine and Tala moved to speak with the dusk shift officer, Vin’n’to, hoping to use their charm to get into his good graces. He recounted tales full of gore and swashbuckling adventure, and after some conversation he offered to bet his physical prowess against Dave’s. Janine’s flirting turned the situation in a different direction, and he offered to show such ‘prowess’ to her and Tala belowdecks. Janine and Vin’n’to began sparring, and she learned that Vin’n’to was put out by his captain’s refusal to fight other families, noting his own opposition to the drug trade by families such as the Marracash. He also mentioned how suspicious he was of C’rinth (who may have been upset over their ended relationship). Vin’n’to also admitted he was worried about the first mate, who had been waking up screaming at night since his capture.
At this time, Tala offered Janine’s wolf a sniff of Weeper’s Wail to see if any of the drug was located on the ship – the wolf went straight to a restricted door in full view of multiple officers, and I recalled another entrance to that area, which I tried to convey to my comrade as surreptitiously as possible.
After a day of talking, investigating, and seeing to our goods, we were invited to an officer’s dinner, where Dave tested the food for magical poison using his astral sight, and checking for mundane poison by seeing if Janine’s wolf shied away from any of the food. The meal was pleasant, with Qui’cz occasionally mentioning some of his exploits. The first mate did appear tired during the meal, as if he hadn’t been sleeping well.
We retired to near our wagons after dinner, and debated what to do next now that the night shift officer was on deck. Some of us moved to speak with the crew members on deck, while Lokan and Dave had the wolf track Weeper’s Wail in the ship. The beast did its job too well – it moved quickly to the quarters of the Day & Dusk shift officers, then began howling and scratching at the door. Dave and Lokan quickly ran off, while Janine began yelling at her wolf through the door to calm it down and Tala opened the restricted door to let the beast out onto the deck.
Now out on the ship’s deck, I spoke to Gimb’l, who mentioned how often the first mate woke up from his nightmares screaming, and how the captain had frequented the East West, where Gimb’l and his friend Thyne were runners. Since the inn had abruptly closed down, the two had been eagerly seeking work.
At this time, Janine and Tala chose to try and flirt with C’rinth, who seemed to be focused as much on the water as on the ship. Janine’s attempts at flirting were rebuffed, while Tala continued to converse with the night shift officer, who mentioned the first mate’s behavior was unnerving, but that he was still doing his job. She also mentioned that the day shift officer was closest to the captain, so he’d be a shoe-in for the first mate’s position should Qui’cz leave.
She admitted that the grove she’d been to had made her uncomfortable, and she was glad our caravan company got sent there this second time to deal with the issue. The first time, she’d led one of the hunting parties. During this hunt, she thought she had been visited by the passion Klesh, and told to watch over and protect the crew from danger, but also to stay apart from them. Tala and Janine told her more of our mission. C’rinth then gave them pointers on when to approach various officers’ quarters to search them in peace, and mentioned both the pilot and captain kept separate logs of their journey, either of which might hold more clues. She noted that the coming morning we would be stopping at the Shinumetu canal project, and the officers might be going ashore to make deals. Perhaps if they were part of a secret organization, they would make contact at that time.
Dave and Lokan continued their sneaking in the meantime, Dave noting sounds of some sort of crafting going on within the pilot’s quarters. They approached the night shift officer’s quarters, inside finding only a couple of desperate blow charms. The quarters, it seemed, would yield little evidence.
Tala and Janine had seemed to make a breakthrough with C’rinth, and told her more of our mission. She gave us pointers on when to approach various officers’ quarters to search them in peace, and mentioned both the pilot and captain kept separate logs of their journey, either of which might hold more clues. She noted that the coming morning we would be stopping at the Shinumetu canal project, and due to the goods trading, the officers might be going ashore to make deals – perhaps if they were part of a secret organization, they would probably be making contact at that time.
That morning, as the crew of the Dauntless prepared to head ashore and make some trades at the dig site of a great Shinumetu canal, Lokan decided to stay upon the ship to read the t’skrang logs, while I remained nearby to distract crew members. Janine, Dave and Tala decided to go ashore, the first two to track the officers and the last to keep watch in case things went poorly.
On the ship, Lokan did not find anything particularly incriminating as he began his search in the captain’s quarters. Nothing turned up when he moved on to the war room, which required a distraction on my part – I offered to give Vin’n’to some advice about pursuing Janine, as the man was clearly looking for a romantic conquest. The young t’skrang was easily drawn into my blathering, looking for any edge he could find in romancing our compatriot. Around noon, Yi’rad departed from the ship with his men, moving to shore.
Meanwhile on shore, Dave had found the captain was making some serious trades for local cargo, and Janine discovered the pilot was in an elementalist’s tent purchasing an additional two fire cannons. After noon, Yi’rad’s crew began the process of moving the fire cannons onto the ship. A wheel on one of the cannons broke, and the day shift officer and his men huddled around it to repair the apparatus. Janune, however, noticed that the cannons had purposely been moved to cause damage – something worth following up on, certainly.
The captain returned to the ship after Yi’rad had departed, and gave some orders to the first mate, who seemed somewhat puzzled at the directives: to engage in firing drills, right then and there. We noticed that while drills were being conducted to test the cannons, one was pointed down at an angle that could directly impact the main dam. Lokan called out to the first mate, who made the crew correct the mistake. My knowledge of t’skrang proved useful, as in their shouting they let slip that the captain had ordered the cannon be directly pointed in that direction.
Suddenly, the report of fire cannons from down in the canal captured our attention – two cannons, including the one Yi’rad and his crew operated, had fired directly at the secondary dam, blowing a large hole into it. Lokan jumped into action shipside, grabbing the priming rod from the cannon on board. Dave decided to lift the cannon in order to change its aim, cracking the winching mechanism and forcing him to hold the cannon up with his own strength. I drew my weapon but refrained from attacking, moving to protect my comrades.
I called out to the captain to stand down, while the priming rod was snatched back out of Lokan’s hands. Dave cast the cannon down, ruining its aim. At this time, Qui’cz rang the ship’s bell demanding the sailors stand down, while the captain demanded we be taken off his ship, attacking me directly. I countered his clumsy swing with a strong blow of the pommel of my sword, quickly knocking him down with a strong blow. Just at that time, C’rinth emerged from the rear of the ship with her troops and the attempt at destroying the primary dam was foiled.
On shore, Janine and Tala, along with Janine’s pet wolf, found themselves facing off against Yi’rad’s crew in an attempt to stop them from taking any further shots at the dam. The fighting was brutal, but they were able to tie the rogue forces down until aid from the Shinumetu arrived, foiling the attempt to further damage the secondary dam. The captain and Yi’rad were quickly detained, and we were whisked away to debrief with a Brotherhood member among the elementalists.
Upon our recommendation, Qui’cz was placed in command of the Dauntless, with C’rinth as his first mate. The pilot and Vin’n’to did not appear to be in league with the captain’s plot to flood the Shinumetu dam, and so stayed in their roles. We warned Qui’cz, however, of the dangers of his nightmares – should he have developed a horror mark during his ‘lost time’ in the shadow grove, there was little any could do for him. Deep down, we had no doubt C’rinth would be ever vigilant for further threats to the Dauntless – a divinely mandated mission was not one to take lightly.