Abord the Stroudhold, captain Tselner Woolman quickly tries to calm everyone down by explaining the situation to the group. Tselner Woolman and his partner Olrik have recently sold their shipment of wool and linen to merchants of Lyrabar and were taking a break from the purchase of goods to bring back by watching a few chosen events of the Alabaster Cup games when they spotted Ruknar and Dragonkiller among the contestants, planning to make both of them a business offer after the games were over. All that had changed with the recent events when Dragonkiller was taken in custody by the city watch while Ruknar, Galen, and Larena were doing their best to escape them. Having a ship ready to set sail in the harbor, Woolman made a quick change of plans and arranged for the five companions to be brought on board and leave to the sea. The crew was none too happy with the sudden decision, though, as legend says that a ship setting sail on the Sea of Fallen Stars on Shieldmeet is doomed not to reach land again until the next Shieldmeet, if at all.
Furthermore, leaving in such a hurry meant there hadn’t been time to load all the goods the ship can hold, so in compensation for getting them out of trouble, Tselner gets his five new passengers to repay him the equivalent of his lost profit. At around two hundred gold pieces per head, the companions are forced to agree the pice is reasonable. On the plus side, though the merchant ship is not intended to have quarters for more than its small crew, not having had the time to fill the hold means a room can be freed for the five new passengers. Though cramped, the five adventurers will have to get used to their new quarters. With none of the five having ever been on a ship, they’d be more of a hindrance than anything on deck and, given the grand escape he’d pulled, Woolman would rather not dock in any city allied with Lyrabar, meaning the ship will have to remain at sea at least until it reaches The Vast, a tenday and a half later at best.
Not even a day after leaving, though, Galen gets seasick, which threatens to make the small, improvised quarters unlivable. Blaming thw windowless room, Woolman offers to move him upsatairs in his own quarters. Though he’ll end up with even less room, the fresh sea air should allow Galen fight off the nausea.
As for the offer he’d been planning to make to Ruknar and Dragonkiller, Tselner Woolman happens to have entered a partnership with some of the owners of the gladiatorial arena in Hillsfar. During his travels, he keeps an eye open for potential gladiators. If they agree to, Woolman then brings them to Hillsfar, where he receives a percentage of the money gained by his recruits. To be worth his time, the fighters he hires have to be more than competent, but with the skill they’ve shown in Lyrabar, Ruknar and Dragonkiller could easily gain great fame in Hillsfar, and earn thousands of gold pieces a year, even after Woolman has taken his cut. The offer sounds tempting, but the oracle’s prophecy might be more urgent. However, since they’ll all be at sea for more than a tenday, both can take their time to think it over, and give their final decision when the ship reaches Calaunt.
6 Eleasias 1372
In an effort to stay clear of the cities of Tsurlagol and Procampur while advancing as swiftly as possible, the Stroudhould passes through territory controlled by the pirates of the Fallen Stars. In the middle of the night, the adventurers are awakened by strong shakes of the hull, and a huge ballista bolt piercing the hull of their cabin just above the waterline. One of the sailors comes to warn them that the ships is being attacked by pirates. Given that they’re all experienced warriors, captain Woolman requests their assistance on the deck. Upstairs, they se a large jet-black ship filled with goblins has already grappled the Stroudhould. The pirates have already asked for surrender but, confident that he can repel the atack, captain Woolman intends to fight them off.
There are no signs of Galen or Mark, the rogue who’d dragged Lazoryel on the ship, anywhere but the party’s attention is quickly drawn elsewhere. Before they can properly assess the situation, two of the Stroudhold’s deckhands are shot dead and captain Woolman himself is rendered unable to fight by a poisoned crossbow bolt. Working along with Olrick, Dragonkiller, Ruknar, Lazoryel, and Larena manage to push the first wave of goblin raiders back on their own ship. Falling back, the goblins burn the grappling ropes, setting fire to the stroudhold deck. While Larena and the deckhands try to douse the flames and patch the holes in the hull, Dragonkiller jumps on the black ship, encouraging Olrick to follow, and starts knocking goblin in the sea while Lazoryel covers them with arrows and magic. Despite the goblin ship being filled with booby traps and weakened floors designed to hinder human-sized foes, the two big warriors slowly make their way through any goblin that tries to fight back. For a moment, Dragonkiller is thought lost when a catapult trap sends him overboard, but a clever choice of soulmelds allows him to catch up with the ships and climb back onboard.
Meawhile, Ruknar discreetly goes looking for Galen in the captain’s cabin. There, he finds Galen unconscious and bound with rope on a bedroll, with Mark twitching and threatening to stab him if Ruknar doesn’t go back to fight off the pirates. Ruknar instead charges in the cabin and ends up fighting Mark in melee for the better part of the pirate assault. When he emerges victorious from the cabin, each of the goblin raiders has either been killed or sent overboard. However, with a few flames still raging here and there and the gaping hole in the hull, the Stroudhold is taking water at an ever-incresing rate, faster than anyone can pump it out of the hold. At Woolman’s orders, the Stroudhold’s sailor have used their own grappling lines to pull the undamaged black ship back closer. After taking the dead or wounded, as well as all the cargo that can be hastily carried to the other ship, the ropes are cut and the black ship taken away as to not be dragged by the whirlppol formed as the Stroudhold sinks.
When Mark regains consciousness, he’s held above the water by an angry Rukar. Pleading desperately, Mark claims he will do anything the former prisoners ask if they just spare his life. Jokingly, Ruknar says he will consider it should Mark convert to the worship of Auril. Mark instantaneously starts making up praises to the greatness and power of Auril. Unimpressed, Ruknar drops him overboard nontheless.
13 Eleasias 1372
The former pirate ship makes its first definitive stop at Calaunt. After four days of rest and news gathering, along with what information Captain Woolman has gladly given them as a sign of good faith during the second half of the journey, the party is able to confirm that a large group of frost giants, perhaps the same that was spotted in the Damaran countryside, was recently seen marching on the Glacier of the White Worm around the ilmatarite Monastery of the Yellow Rose.
17 Eleasias 1372
Agreeing to one last favor before they part way, hopefully never to see each other again, Tselner Woolman uses his magic to teleport the group on the frigid peaks of the eastern Earthspur Mountains, within sight of the Monastery, before casting his magic again to get back to his newfound ship.