Previously, the heroes convinced the red custodians that had taken control of Rivermeet to grant them passage down the river Ivel towards Eastray, even though the city was in chaos due to a rampant plague which had taken hold of the population, causing the royal armada to blockade the port. Against all odds, they managed to manoeuvre a barge all the way downstream and arrived on the mouth of the delta just south of the city and made camp there in order to attempt to contact the armada in the morning.
Sixth Day, Third Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waning.)
The next morning, only two days removed from Dr. Arkenward losing control of the queen’s curse, the heroes woke up south of Eastray. For the first time in a while the heroes had managed to get a decent night’s rest, despite not having a good fire available to warm them in order to avoid being spotted by any skaven which might be roaming the swamp outside of Eastray. What had saved them was the bed of reed they had created which shielded them significantly from the soggy ground. Despite the disturbing noises coming from the city, they had managed to sleep well.
The morning had started with a thick layer of fog blanketing the delta, disallowing them to get a good view of the armada, beyond a few milky silhouettes of the masts and an occasional prow in the distance. If the heroes couldn’t see the ships, those on the ships couldn’t see them either, they reckoned and they decided to rely on their magical abilities. Emrys, having slept underneath the light of the waxing Silvermoon, felt invigorated by the moonmaiden and said he could probably bestow flight on all of the members, but James thought that it would just get them shot down before reaching the ships. So instead, Emrys used his ability to shape water to dissipate the fog while Luca cast a large illusionary image of the royal crest high in the air to attract attention and declare their allegiance.
The heroes were surprised at how quickly they received a signal from one of the ships and saw that soon after a sloop was lowered into the water, manned with sailors who rowed it ashore. The heroes met them on the beach to the south of the delta. While they rowed ashore, the heroes noticed that the man they had spotted the previous evening was standing on the dune, surrounded by helm grass, observing the heroes on the beach. He made no attempt to come closer nor did he appear threatening so the heroes left them be as the sailors rowed the sloop as close to the beach as they could before two people jumped out and waded ashore.
It appeared to be a uniformed woman and an lightly armoured soldier. They introduced themselves as lady Fiona of house Kenton, captain of the Sea Spirit, and Ser Aegar of Dunagore, master commander in the Order of the Shield. When the heroes introduced themselves as the Heroes of the White Eye, the looks of caution and scepticism on the face of the two people they were parlaying with changed significantly. Those looks changed to looks of sorrow when Ser Aegar asked about the whereabouts of Astrid and Luca informed him that she had fallen.
There was an exchange of information about the situation in the rest of Lyria; the situation that was seen in Eastray had not spread to other cities like Fulcaster or Bournemouth, but there were some continued troubles in Kingsport, where the crownsguard had deputised a large group of red custodians to help maintain order in light of the strange spectres which appeared in the city in the past ride. Princess Mildred had been seen at court for the first time in a long while as she supported her husband, lord Gabriel, in his rulership of the kingdom while the queen lay ill.
A plan was made which would have to be approved by lord admiral Malcolm Linderley that would see Ser Aegar captain his ship, the Green Naga, to Kingsport with the heroes in tow. They would stay on a small sloop so as not to risk spreading any disease to the crew, and in the meantime a raven would be sent to Kingsport to request the aid of the priests of Pholtus to assure that the heroes were indeed not sick.
With the admiral approved the plan, the ravens were released, and Ser Aegar captained the Green Naga north-west to Kingsport. The journey was cold and rough, across choppy waters in a small boat which was being towed at a much higher speed than it was designed to go. Luca and Emrys had a very difficult time keeping their breakfast in their stomach due to severe sea sickness. Upon the poop deck of the Green Naga there was a steady stream of interested sailors and knights who peered over the side to have a peek at the famous Heroes of the White Eye. Meanwhile, Wyn was having a grand time running circles on the edge of the boat and balancing on the rope that tied the ship to the boat.
After long hours bouncing across the waves the first seagulls began to trail the ship, indicating that they were getting close to land, and soon the coast came into view. Shortly after the palace on top of Garamond Hill, and the Bastion of Illumination on Quayhill, flanking the mouth of the river, came into view and James immediately felt home. The sun was quickly sinking in the west, but with the remaining light it was clear that there was quite a delegation of people that came to welcome the Green Naga to port. Despite the ship being significantly smaller than the war galleons of the royal armada, it was still larger than most merchant vessels that normally lay at anchor in Kingsport, so it took a while for the ship to manoeuvre itself into position to dock. In that time the heroes discussed the next steps.
James brought up the idea of sinking both tablets to the bottom of the bay and retrieving them at a later time, but Luca thought it might be better to put them in Emma’s care, which Emrys thought it was a bad idea as he was reminded that someone was after Muirgheal and thus Emma was a target. Quentin considered whether it was best to tell the Circle of Magi, or whether to keep it from them.
It took a moment for the heroes to recognise some of the people in the delegation; they saw the lieutenant of the palace guard, William, as well as father Devon and Mother Superior Arwyn of the temple of Pholtus. Ser Roderick Corbray of the Order of the Lance was there, flanked by several lyrian knights; he had also been at their arrival in Kingsport when they returned from Pinefall. Callum the Diviner could be seen among the people on the dock, as was Ser Arman de Courtnay who was accompanied by a large company of people carrying the Courtenay banners.
Ultimately, the heroes decided that when in range, Luca would portal away, carrying the ghost orchids, one of the two tablets and the choker. He portalled himself to an entrance to the ancient waterways which was built into the dock wall, underneath the pier. Out of sight, Luca used his connection to his mysterious patron and assumed the guise of Dicky and portalled himself to a nearby alleyway. As he reappeared there was a scattering of honking geese and the laundry that was hanging from coarse ropes strung overhead went flying in each direction, but the people of the Salt knew to mind their own business when they saw the brutish Dicky walking their streets.
Back on the boat, James moved his bag from one shoulder to the other, making certain that the pocket dimension would not be found. It did mean that Wyn’s head was poking out of the bag, his long tuft of white hair billowing in the wind.