The session started with the party recovering from their battle against the duergar and the iron dragon. They quickly tracked down the lone escaping duergar, who was attempting to climb a nearby cliff face. Skrelnik, Maquiv, and Lumpskin caught up with and subdued him. Upon questioning, the duergar revealed that he and his people had been led to this cave along the coast from the Glitter Cliffs by the iron dragon, Thralnik, who could smell the mass of confiscated iron ore. The duergar discovered the ore in the possession of Vecnan cultists, who the duergar interrogated and tortured to death. Only one cultist survived – the one the party found and questioned last session before Lumpskin administered the fatal “Lumpstrike.” The duergar told the party that the last cultist had spoken of a lost temple in the Witchfen, three days travel from the cave, dedicated to a dark god and marked by two everburning statues.
The party inspected the ship they found in the cave, stolen with its shipment of iron ore some months before. The ship, named “Southern Wind,” was in pretty bad shape – rudder damaged, hull torn up, missing a sail. However, the party determined that the ship was barely seaworthy and could limp back to port at Calabria for repairs. Notably, the captain’s wheel and galley seemed to be built with halfling sailors in mind.
The party rested overnight and set out the next morning to look for tracks or paths in the forest at the top of the cliff, hoping to find some sign that might lead them to the mysterious temple. Meanwhile, Delly set about hoisting the slain dragon out of the water to take back to the Naturalists’ Society in Sheene. The party released their duergar captive with no possessions to make his way in the wild. The party found nothing in the forest but wolves, and returned to the cave after a few hours. When they arrived, they found six of Lucho DeLuca’s guards in conversation with Delly. The guards said they had been sent by Lucho to find and bring back the iron ore. The party informed them that the ore was in their possession and would be returned to Sheene. The guards went on their way, but not before one of them spat at the mention of Maquiv’s name.
The party returned to Calabria with Delly and crew, the iron dragon strapped to the hull of the Southern Wind. They were met at the docks by a crowd of cityfolk who seemed to be awaiting the arrival of the new dragonslayers. Lucho materialized with merchants and guards in tow, greeting and thanking the dragonslayers on behalf of the city. Apparently the Southern Wind was previously owned by a Calabrian businessman named Salva Pozzi, who was eager for its return. Over his objection, Lucho gave the boat to the party and offered the services of his own craftsmen to repair it, to much applause and adulation from the crowd.
Not trusting Lucho, Maquiv hired a local ship captain, Jimbo, to oversee the repairs. Jimbo informed Maquiv that the ship was built by an outfit named the Halfbrother Shipyards, out of Monaco Isle. He approved the repairs done by Lucho’s men, but said that only the Halfbrothers themselves could fully repair the rudder. The party thus decided to head to Monaco, but not before trying to do some research on the ruined temple in the Witchfen. The party found only rumors of a hag said to inhabit the swamp, but no information on the temple.
The party elected Maquiv as captain and gave Lumpskin, as slayer of the iron dragon, the rights to rename the ship. Until then, it will be known as the “Lumpstrike.” Before leaving Calabria for Monaco, Capt. Maquiv hired two human sailors: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Delly, meanwhile, sailed off for Sheene with his dragon prize.
Monaco at night was a beautiful sight indeed, the casino lights glittering off the bay and the city’s canals. One casino lit up an impressive fireworks display as a cruise ship full of tourists arrived. The party docked the Lumpstrike in the Trade District, waiting until morning to approach the Halfbrothers Shipyard. The dock guards gave Friday an amulet identifying her as a priestess of Avandra, good for free meals and lodging anywhere in the city. Everyone except Maquiv headed to the Silver District to look for lodging. Maquiv, eager to earn the loyalty of the two newest members of our crew, gave Rosencrantz and Guildenstern some coin and told them to enjoy the evening out while he guarded the ship. While he awaited their return, Maquiv paid the local dock guard, Fenris, for some extra security for the Lumpstrike.
The rest of the party helped to avert a brawl between guards on Luck Bridge and drunken sailors, then learned from the guards of a clean, hospitable inn named Avandra’s Last Fortune. On their way there, the party noticed a Temple of Avandra, a rarity in this land since most of Avandra’s places of worship are little more than tended roadside shrines. Each member of the party got their own room at Avandra’s Last Fortune and settled in to a good meal. A tiefling bard singing songs full of dragonborn slurs quickly drove Skrelnik upstairs. The party noticed that the depictions of Avandra in this inn seemed unusually… voluptuous. R & G returned to the Lumpstrike right on time, though wickedly intoxicated and likely nursing the beginnings of whatever STDs exist in this realm. Maquiv told them that he planned to implement a higher level of “professionalism” in the crew, starting with new uniforms.
The next day, Friday visited the Temple of Avandra and met the chief priest, Iatana Masterson. In addition to a place of worship, the temple also houses a small museum with Avandra-related artifacts. Iatana told Friday that he had been here in Monaco for 20 years, and thought the temple might be the largest of its kind in the realm devoted solely to the Lady of Travel. He said that no where else is Avandra more revered and more cursed, though he bemoaned the fact that folks here worship only one aspect of Avandra – Luck. Iatana also told Friday that a new temple of Avandra was recently founded in the Gold District, and has “poached” several of Iatana’s apprentices. The previous day, Iatana sent his best apprentice, Finnto, to investigate the new temple’s practices, and has not heard back from him. Friday agreed to look into the new temple and Finnto’s disappearance. She also got her robes cleaned, and arranged for new custom uniforms for R & G.
Later in the morning, the party visited Halfbrother Shipyards and met the proprietors: Illius Ellensberg, a salty dwarf and excellent woodworker, and Hollister Ne’frie, an elven ship designer. The two are getting on in years and bicker like a married couple. They recognized the Southern Wind/Lumpstrike immediately and were unhappy to see it damaged. They agreed to repair the rudder in three days for 500 gp.
Finally, the party left the Trade District for the Gold District, paying the 100 gp entrance fee in exchange for gambling chips. The guards also provided tabards for two of our less dapper party members, Lumpskin and Fane. Adventure awaits!