Previously, the heroes were asked to escort Luciana, the daughter of an outlaw who was participating in the fishing competition, from the orphanage in Grimsdown, to the ship of the outlaw in the harbour. At the orphanage, the heroes encountered a group of crownsguard who were there for the girl as well.
Tenth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is in high sanction, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is in high sanction, Night of Cerulean Eyes)
The confrontation between the heroes and the crownsguard was still in full swing, with Brandomiir and Coral stuck in the middle. Emrys had taken Luciana through the same window into the alleyway as the heroes had used to get inside and she was still acting peculiar and speaking with a voice that seemed not her own. Quentin, aided by Neamhan, was keeping the guards at bay, allowing Brandomiir and Coral to retreat upstairs to protect the other orphans. Luca, driven by Blackstar’s insistence, refused to fall back, determined to sate the staff’s sick hunger. Astrid was still confronting a robed stranger outside whose involvement with the crownsguard seemed unclear.
Between the vines that Quentin had summoned using Róisín, the lashing thorns that Neamhan conjured, and the bolts of ruinous energy that Luca shot from the void crystal atop Blackstar, the crownsguard were beleaguered enough for the heroes to slip out into the alley. When Emrys and Neamhan were outside, the white robbed man had confronted them from the mouth of the alley, having given Astrid the slip. Emrys flung debris at the man and in response the man had vanished in the blink of an eye, only to reappear on the other side of the alley, behind Neamhan, stabbing her painfully in the back. The cut across her lower back was so vicious that it pulsed and spasmed long after the blade had left her skin.
In response, Neamhan tried to transfigure the man into the shape of a snail. His body contorted and was wracked in pain. His skin turned rubbery, his eyes bulged, and a chitinous shell began to form on his shoulder blades. The man resisted, and managed to halt the transfiguration, reversing it until he had abjured the magic.
During this, Emrys used Toruviel to vault Luciana and himself up to the roof of the orphanage in an attempt to get the girl to safety. From there, he conjured two, large constructs made from garbage and debris, which flanked Neamhan protectively.
Luciana warned Emrys that now that she was outside she would not be able to keep the crownsguard restrained for much longer. Emrys commanded the two constructs to march the heroes to the edge of Grimsdown, where they battered down the crownsguard barricades and caused enough of a distraction to allow the heroes to depart. The girl had stopped being possessed by what she claimed was Mommy Myrtle and had understood that she was taken to Ramona at the docks. In a small courtyard in Ravensbourne, the heroes found a moment to rest and heal some of their wounds. Neamhan handed out her nourishing berries, Quentin called upon the faceless guise to heal the “protectors of the threshold”, and Luca beseeched his patron.
Before granting Luca the ability to heal wounds and stitch flesh, Aurion reminded Luca of his command to keep Blackstar under control.
Heading south to avoid Steward’s Square, the heroes made their way to the docks and found it as empty as the rest of the city. This made it easy to spot which of the docked ships was the Calypso’s Song, as there were half a dozen scarlet-cloaked crownsguard barring the way to the pier that the ship was moored to. Relying on their renown, Emrys managed to talk their way onto the pier, but was still strictly forbidden from boarding the ship. Emrys relied on his ability to ensorcell some dockside equipment (wheelbarrows, carts, barrels and crates) to harass the crownsguard, and while Neamhan and Luciana snuck on board during the distraction, the rest of the heroes came to the crownsguard’s aid.
One of the crew made Neamhan promise not to cause any trouble aboard the ship, and made her repeat her promise two more times. When she finally embarked, she felt that breaking her promise was going to have dire consequences, so she relinquished any thoughts of mischief she might have had and settled down with Luciana, out of sight of the crownsguard on the dock.
When the distraction was complete, the rest of the heroes departed the docks, leaving Neamhan and Luciana behind. Astrid and Emrys returned to the Careless Wanderer, while Luca and Quentin returned to Steward’s Square to see what the situation was like there.
What they found was that the team of Lord Aberforth of House Dunkeswell had won first prize and Lord Peregrine of House Blackwell had become second, with Ramona coming in third. Just before their arrival, Lord Peregrine had departed in anger, leaving Ser Liam of the Cloakwoods to do the honour of accepting the prize on his lord’s behalf. Ramona had picked up her prize with a mocking laugh and more swagger than anyone had the right to display.
Before the ceremony was over, Lord Aberforth, the master angler for this year, had been confronted by a dozen angry dwarves, including Durham, under the leadership of Dagran Forgewright. They demanded that Grimnir Bouldertoe, the young fisherman at the heart of the controversy, be released. Dagran, flanked by his apprentice Kargath, made some thinly veiled threats after which Lord Aberforth released Grimnir, withholding Grimnir’s cut of the prize money as compensation.
“The dwarf language has no word for forgiveness, only many subtle variations on revenge, recompense and retribution. Do I make myself clear, Lord Aberforth?”
– Dagran Forgewright
Quentin, who had studied the dwarven language, was reminded of a rhyme he had once heard that seemed fitting to the situation:
A dwarven debt is always paid; once for any simple trade, twice for freely given aid, thrice for any insult made.
After the situation was diffused, the queen and her retinue departed while the people on the square celebrated with music, dancing and wine. Quentin and Luca decided to return to the Careless Wanderer.
When Ramona returned to the Calypso’s Song she seemed genuinely happy to see Luciana and told her to go into the captain’s hut to get warm. There would be lemon cakes waiting for her. Luciana said her goodbye and darted across the deck. In return for returning her daughter to her, Ramona handed Neamhan a folded parchment with one torn edge.
Neamhan asked whether she could depart from the rear of the ship, and Ramona consented. Together they went up to the aft deck above the captain’s hut. Neamhan felt it necessary to warn Ramona that was what about to happen was no in any way painful and not to be worried. When Neamhan transfigured herself into the form of a raven, Ramona loudly encouraged her to “Fly, little bird!” and laughed in delight.
At the Careless Wanderer, Neamhan showed the parchment she had been given by Ramona to the others, and Luca quickly recognised it as written in draconic, though he could not read the language.