Having successfully escaped to The War Eagle under cover of night, the party retire to their quarters to recuperate from doing their civic duty. By morning, when they (save the formerly deceased Valus) return above deck, land is lost to sight and their ship surrounded on all sides by serene blue ocean. Soon the party has made the acquaintances of some of the crew and other passengers. Maddon Crews , Captain of The War Eagle, informs them that the ship is sailing for Rath, where there are scattered settlements along the coast but dense jungle (and more) within. Journeying to Rath is Anders, a botanist looking to make a name for himself by cataloging some of the continent’s exotic fauna. A haunted-looking priest, bearing muted insignia of Kord, wanders among the decks, projecting a desire for isolation. Scrambling among the rigging all the while, humming shanties to himself, is the hafling crewmember, Antil Pondskimmer.
In general, the party finds itself answered curtly or tolerated ambivalently. The group realizes it is best that they simply go about their own business while staying out of the way of the sailing of the ship. Rialta takes to sunning herself, while Threnody does his best to find his sea “legs”. Despite a strong ocean breeze, a faint haze seems to hang around Markus and Thule as the former ponderously casts his fishing line into the sea, again and again. After the bloody events of the previous evening, their first day at sea is a welcome bit of peace, a tranquil interlude.
Of course, as these things tend to go, the tranquility does not last. A sudden shadow falls across the starboard railing, then another across the port. Sky Pirates! After a volley of potshots aimed among those on deck, the boarding party descends and is met quickly by our heroes. The first arrivals are quickly swarmed but as their reinforcements follow, the partymembers find their attentions increasingly divided.
Telling blows are dealt, both given and received, and it seems as though it is only a matter of time before the attack is repelled. But Threnody, posted up amongst the rigging, spots an ominous swell to fore and rapidly approaching. Before his warning can even be voiced, the water slams across the ship, knocking several people to the deck. As everyone regains their footing, tentacles rise from the brine on all sides. Kraken! An unspoken truce is quickly adopted as all attention is turned to the gigantic appendages blindly grasping at the ship and slamming against the deck. Side by side, the pirates and our heroes methodically strike away at the tentacles, doing their best to prevent the kraken from gaining significant purchase on the ship or themselves.
Though the kraken only momentarily manages to signicantly grasp the ship, its movements below make it difficult for those above to stand their ground. Combined with the massive flailing of its limbs, Rialta and Markus are soon knocked unconscious with Val stranded too far away to bring them back from the brink of death. Finally, the pirate captain barks out a salty retort that inspires a collective killing blow. The kraken slumps and sinks deeper, dragging the temporary truce with it.
As the momentary allies turn to face each other once more, Val takes the opening to entice Markus back to the land of the living. However, Rialta remains too distant to hear his words and seems to be slipping away. But with a strange flash of harlequin satin and a jingle of bells, only half noticed by the others across the deck, Rialta’s body begins to convulse violently and her eyes shoot open. Once back on her feet, she rejoins the battle and helps the party to dispatch the last of the pirates.
Our heroes, at the behest of the captain, quickly clear the deck of corpses and the attendant gore. Though somewhat strenuous (and untidy) work, Val seems strangely even more vigorous at its completion. The rest of the party recovers with drams from a cask of rum, seemingly the highest praise they can hope to hear from the captain anytime soon. With assurances of smooth sailing for the remainder of the journey, the group retires once more, hoping it is true.