After an uneventful trek from Hillsdown homeward, I awaited the Briarton ferry for the final leg of my journey. Imagine my surprise when Selly, Brash, Stron and Murkhun Squib approached the dock.
After the traditional greetings, I asked Selly why he wasn’t already back in Briarton, and he began to explain about the adventure he had found – involving the goblins of Follyrock island, and a gravedigger who is Ustob’s brother.
I tried to get details, but the ferry arrived and we embarked. After settling ourselves, I once again attempted to get Selly to elaborate on his adventure, but before he could begin, a cry arose from Briarton, and we could see that the Queen’s Cove Inn was aflame.
The ferryman exerted himself significantly to hasten our arrival to assist in the fire suppression efforts. Stron also used his experience in polling a ferry to assist Dias Landarin, since he had once worked for him.
Once we were close enough to the dock, we all leaped from the ferry to assist the townsfolk. We heard several shouts from the center of town that there were people trapped on the upper floor of the inn – Archie was pleading with an elf I didn’t recognize to save his beloved, I heard Archie call him Theren while pleading with him.
As one, the Cragshappers rushed into the inn to save as many citizens as possible; I was the first to enter the conflagration. As I entered, the influx of fresh air stoked the fires within, and a swirl of embers surrounded me, and suddenly I was ablaze.
Brash, in his exuberance, broke through the burning wall of the inn and rushed for the bar, probably out of habit. Selly entered and extinguished me. We heard shouting from outside that it was safe to jump into the water.
I rushed to the stairs, knowing that the citizens shouting that people were trapped would only be able to see people that were in rooms that did not overlook the harbor.
As I reached the stairs, a section of the upper floor collapsed onto me; Brash hefted a large keg onto his shoulder and rushed past me to the upper story. Moments later, the air whooshed away as an enormous shock-wave emanated from upstairs. The blast knocked out the fire, and part of the inn.
As I extricated myself from the rubble, Selly rushed to assist. We both looked up to see Brash, trailing smoke, arching high above us on a trajectory to land in the harbor. As I was watching his reentry, I heard a feminine squeak as Selly caught an elf maiden who had been trapped upstairs at the inn, and who had been throw clear in the explosion.
She introduced herself as Fellalayna Featherfrost, an elfin courtesan newly arrived in Briarton. As she was repeatedly thanking Selly for his rescue, a mermaid climbed up onto the remains of the dock, and presented us with the source of the ignition: a tiny Proofwood raft with a candle upon it, and an inscribed poem:
Revenge comes under the stars from five points!
Point one is the first place.
Point two is the most likely place.
Point three is the least likely place.
Point four is the impossible place.
Point five, of course, is the only place left.
Here’s hoping you make the right connections!
After spending a few minutes reminding my companions who Kurdle was, we notified Gellir and Lord Arunel that the fires were likely a diversion to jailbreak Ustob.
We collected an artifact that had been in the process of being deployed to extinguish the inn’s flames – an enormous drinking horn of Jotun construction called the Flumeflask; upon speaking the command word “kvakveykwana” – meaning “to quench” – a torrent of fresh water burst forth from the horn. The device was originally gifted by the elves to safeguard the sawmill. We quickly hauled the Flumeflask back towards the mill – the most likely target alluded to in the poem.
As we crested the rise overlooking the mill, we saw that a fire had already begun; I explained to the group that we needed to anchor the Flumeflask to mitigate the reaction force of its operation. While instructing Murkhun Squib of the proper angle and depth to sink the wagon into the hillside, I noticed a few figures in the flaming mill, a child, a young adult, and Lady Garol, the sword-maiden of the Hammers of Concord.
I called to Brash and motioned to Lady Garol while placing my hand upon the Flumeflask and speaking the command word. A cascade of water arched overhead and landed squarely upon the heart of the mill’s fire.
Selly, Brash and Theren rushed down the hill to confront Lady Garol, while Stron and the myrmidon mermaid went to save Hewald’s children. I started the song of heroes and while Lady Garol threw tiny fire elementals her adversaries, she was no match for them, and quickly found herself captured.
We excavated the wagon from its entrenchment, and began our trip back to town, while debating the next line of the poem. We weren’t quite sure what the least likely place in town could be, and then we suddenly knew – a naval cannon suddenly fired. The Axiom was in the harbor and we rushed to lend aid. Selly insisted that helping a Forgetfoot was not something he was interested in, and I assuaged him that the Forgefoot was on his own, but the rest of the crew might need our help.
One again, Murkhun Squib, and I set up the Flumeflask at a location best able to douse the flames; the mermaid dove into the harbor and called the sailors to join her in the water. Many did. Selly attempted to swim out to the Axiom, but before he could figure out how to do so, Stron suggested they use a dingy instead.
As I was finishing directing Murkhun Squib in the proper trajectory to aim the Flumeflask, Brash climbed into it and shouted “KANGWAZANTA”, which luckily for him is gibberish. Unfortunately his weight shifted the aim of the Flumeflask, and we needed to re-seat it before activation.
While I was occupied, Stron and Selly were spotted by the Forgefoot on the deck of the Axiom, and he “accidentally” turned the fore swivel gun toward the dingy before “accidental” discharging it. The dingy shattered into pieces, Luckily, Theren had noticed the situation and was already underway in another dingy.
Once again, I activated the Flumeflask, the repeated re-seating of its entrenchment weakened the efficacy, and a resonant harmonic was evident in its operation, but I calculated that the flames would be extinguished before I needed to address the situation; I was correct. Once the flames we out, and the sailors had reached shore, we went to the Captain to discuss the behavior of his first mate.
Afterwards, we followed the path into town to connect the next point of the star that Kurdle described in his poem, wracking our brains to determine “the impossible place” that the next fire would be. On our way we encountered Gellir. He informed us that he had to go to Drakenhall with a glazed look in his eye. No attempts to discourage him were successful.
During our conversation, Briarton Brews, the the brewery across from the Greenbriar Inn erupted into flames. I asked Gellir to help us put out the fire and he agreed. It was quickly suppressed – we’d had much practice today, and deploying the Flumeflask was becoming routine. Before Gellir could leave for Drakenhall, I cast Charm upon him, and asked him to help us check on the prisoners at Lord Arunel Manor House.
He agreed, but before we could even finish packing up, a cry arose from the Greenbriar Inn; we rushed inside to learn that Drogo had lit his Alepyre aflame and Watt had knocked it over. There was no real danger.
Once we arrived at Lord Arunel Manor House, we knew there was trouble; no one was there. We rushed to the dungeon entrance, and saw that both cells were empty, and that a note was on the door of Ustob’s former residence.
Knowing the note was a trap, but under a time pressure to learn what happened, I bravely entered the room and approached the note. As I picked it up, there was a tremendous conflagration, and I very nearly succumbed to the heat. The note was addressed to me, in it Kurdle asserted that:
1) He is smarter than I.
2) I’ll never meet again.
3) He is not the true threat to Briarton.
Which only proves he can’t even get “two truths and a lie” right.
We locked Lady Garol in Ustob’s cell, and rushed to the Grand Wright of Heaven shrine. As we were leaving, Lady Garol insisted that she would be free by the next nightfall. Upon arrival at the shrine, we found that Dusan Shadeshard had finally succeeded in his mission; Purifier was missing. We helped Maerwynn clean up, during which Gellir’s compulsion to visit Drakenhall wore off. He told us about a stranger wearing an elven mask and suggesting everyone at Lord Arunel Manor House off on foolish errands.
Selly and I attempted a ritual to link Gellir’s Ancestral affinity to Purifier as a means of tracking, but something was interfering with our attempt. Gellir then went to return the Flumeflask to the sawmill.
Afterwards, I made a trip to the Queen’s Cove Inn to talk with Ameiko. I showed her the Proofwood raft and let her know that Kurdle Kutknott, while a priority, would have to wait until after Purifier had been retrieved. Upon noticing that the raft was made of Proofwood, she told me an inventory had been taken at the mill, and that much of the Proofwood is missing after the fire, which is odd since it doesn’t burn.
Lady Garol was in fact released the next day, upon request of the Elf Queen’s court. It seems that Lady Garol is related to Lord Illidris. As concession to the damage caused by Lady Garol, the Volume of mundane woods shipped to Briarton will be increased at no cost until the damages have been repaired.