Shadow in the Sky

Letter to Captain Enzo

Captain,
I am pleased to report that accompanying this correspondence are your lost navigation maps. By good fortune Siraj and I happened upon them near the docks. Though I had hoped to next contact you from a position of great success as your equal, this discovery gave me excuse. I have not seen you in a few months now and have need of my good friend and mentor. I have been through quite a lot since I took leave of your service and am not yet the man I hoped to become.

I do not know if my reputation has reached you, nor if what you have heard is good or not. I sit now at a writing desk in my quarters at the Silver Siren gambling hall, of which Siraj and I are part owners. I am nursing broken ribs, trying to keep my wounds from reopening, and resting what the leech who tends to me calls an “afflicted constitution”. Perhaps it was the snake venom that nearly killed me months ago, or mayhaps it was the mad bunyip that tossed me like the terriers on the Sowbelly used to fling rats against the gunwale. Whatever has caused it, I have begun to reconsider my role in this city. Riddleport has put its boot squarely in our backs.

When I served you I felt invincible. I was your hammer, your strong right fist when force was needed. I wonder now if you didn’t maneuver me into situations in which I risked little chance of being outfought. I spent my youth in the Publican House thinking it a house of ne’er do wells. Now I see that it was, in reality, a carefully guarded playground for the upstanding adventurer with conservative appetites for pugilism. I blush now at the puffed-up credibility I felt after my fistfight with Slim Skeller. I thought the control of the crowd was out of fear of our destructive force, but it was a practiced routine for the proscribed contests that must occur there perpetually. This is all so clear now.

I am ashamed, Enzo. On my first day out of your service I went to try my luck at the Gold Goblin and ended up stopping a robbery and earning a share of the ownership from Vancaskerkin. I was on top of the world and eager to show you. Things changed quickly. I soon learned that sailors must be a rather slight breed, for I was no longer always the biggest man in the room. We were threatened by a hulking crimelord, I was laid low by a mere serpent, and Siraj and I were almost killed by a common thug who had stolen from the Siren. My boyhood is long behind me, but I still feel a newborn babe in a wide and strange world.

I’ve seen strange things on our voyages and heard tell of bizarre and horrible creatures, but my mind boggles to come to grips with what I’ve seen these last weeks. A bunyip washed ashore by a rogue wave, an imp flying around the casino. Captain, I’ve even seen the dead walk. The tales of adventure and discovery told by Siraj as the sun set on the sea are not wrong. He led us to recover an artifact for his sagely guild and a dead wizard and his lackeys toyed with us before we broke free of the tomb. Why did you not tell us that Riddleport bristled with threats so far afield of man and maelstrom?

I feel a fool for what I thought I could accomplish so quickly. I understand why you never left port without Zhevya, the follower of Desna who mended our wounds. I never knew how weak I was without the support of the whole crew. My ego was overlarge and now I fear I have paid for it myself, and worse, with the blood of Siraj and others who have crossed my path.
In these quiet moments of recovery and reflection I see my faults. Siraj is, as always, correct. I can see his disgust when I burst into rooms boot-first or bully men without tact or diplomacy. I hope to defer to him in the future. I think he can plan strategies that will serve us well; better than mine for sure. Still, I fear the haze of battle. My weeks have been thick with it and I don’t think clearly. My rage and bravado take hold and I do not fight with reason, merely with fury tempered only by self-preservation.

If could see your way fit to visit the Siren, I would gladly treat you well. Perhaps you could advise me on how to set up a crew, though we be on land I’m sure the particulars are similar. I may be fighting in the Arena in the yearly challenge if that arrangement would suit you better. I will make you proud Enzo. We are setting our sites on reasonable goals. We will control more of this city as the Sowbelly commanded the seas around the harbor. Eventually, Riddleport will be a safer place for good folk like us to settle, and I’ll be sure to keep the cutthroats at bay.

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Lizards, Shadows, and Treasure Maps
  1. The team is surprised to find a not-quite-tidal wave hit the docks, carring with it a Doom Lizard
  2. Doom Lizard nearly killed Crom & Siraj, as well as Samaritha, a (now) one-armed man and a baby
  3. Doom Lizard got bored and left
  4. Crom & Siraj look for means to make money, head to the Cyphermages and score a job to look for an artifact inside a lighthouse. Easy, right?
  5. Lighthouse is haunted
  6. Crom figures out a riddle
  7. Crom & Siraj are rewarded by being assaulted by fewer zombies as they turn to leave
  8. DM cackes with glee, only to be disappointed as Crom beheads 5 zombies in one attack and Siraj blasts 8 total within 2 rounds
  9. DM learns he can’t mess with Crom & Siraj
  10. Siraj realizes he’s been using old power cards and should’ve been hitting more often
  11. Siraj prints out new power cards
  12. Crom & Siraj plan on returning the artifact to Hamzah, and secretly hope that the treasure map they left with him has been deciphered…

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I Hate Beltias
  1. Our heroes storm the monastary, and are promptly beaten. Siraj goes down early, and Crom fights on, only to be defeated on the rooftop in a mad escape attempt.
  2. Our heroes wake up finding themselves bound and up for ransom
  3. Finally, days later, they wake up unbound, their ransom paid by members of the Silver Siren
  4. Siraj and Crom spend a week doing nothing but healing
  5. Crom wants to kill Saul because Lawwwwwrrr didn’t follow proper purchase request protocol
  6. Crom stays angry. Begins to plan a “caper”
  7. Crom calms down
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Strange Weather We're Having...
As our heroes plan for the grand reopening of the Silver Siren a strange magnetic storm unquiets the populace

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Trouble at the Gold Goblin
The timely interference of ours truly leads to a change in ownership at the Gold Goblin

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Crom takes out his frustration on Slim Skeller

Crom was drowning his sorrows at the Publican House. He had just learned that his father Erik had spent all of his son’s life savings trying to pay off a loan he’d taken from Lymas Smeed. Of course, Crom was soon in his cups wailing out his problems to any who’d listen and all who didn’t want to.

All of a sudden Crom felt a jarring blow to his jaw from behind! Slim Skeller had walked into the bar, seen a vulnerable Crom and “ghetto punched” him in the jaw from behind! Knocked off his stool, Crom’s blood rose quickly and he saw a target for his frustrations. Skeller had been at the receiving end of many of Crom’s victories in the past, what was one more?

Patrons cleared an area in the center of the bar and the two combatants faced each other down. Crom was repeatedly landing hard jabs until Slim regrouped and elbowed him in the chest. Crom didn’t let it last long after that. A quick devastating uppercut was followed by a brutal knee to the face and a spearing tackle that bounced Skeller’s skull off the boards of the floor and knocked him out cold. The patrons went wild as they cheered Crom’s knockout over the arena-seasoned Skeller. Jokes about sponsorship in Zincher’s arena flew, as did free drinks. But soon Crom went back to his drink.

Skeller later slunk off, more bitter than ever, but also minus a few gold pieces liberated by Crom. Crom felt a bit better than before. Still, he spent the rest of the evening looking for Croat’s thugs and wondering how he’d turn Skeller’s gold into more at the Golden Goblin he next night.

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