Part 15: Returning Home
They made it to the boat. Still chased by the beastman, Arcandar turns the boat southward on the river. As the only one who can captain the boat, he is in charge of leading them to safety. The beastmen pursue the party for the next hour, following them along the river, finally they drift away from the group, the river leading them to safely.
Mahin stands with Arcandur learning the ways of the river. Alena collapses on the deck after bandaging her wounds and begins her restorative trance. Ezra rests his weary head on the deck and falls instantly into a deep sleep. Mahin and Arcandur discuss the possibility of sailing through the night, and decide to stop to keep the boat and the crew safe.
Alena awakens to tell the rest of the crew to take the time to recover while she takes the first watch. The boat slowly rocks back and forth, all is quiet on the river. Resting the boat on the west side of the river to avoid the beastmen. Alena hears the noise of a large creature throughout the night on the banks. Using her elf ears she notes that the creature is probably 30 metres from her and the party. Later in the night, a breeze picks up during the night, Alena hopes it stays for the next day and the travel.
Arcandur turns to Mahin and says "Weigh the anchor!", Mahin struggles but makes it work.
Arcandur turns to Mahin and says "Pull the sails!", Mahin looks at him with violence in her eyes.
She wrenches at the sail, and somehow manages to fly through the air and land heavily on her backside. Ezra runs to her aid and pulls the sail up and hauls the sail into the air, it fills with wind.
Arcandur gestures to Mahin "To the tiller thief", Mahin rises and races to the tiller to control the boat rather well. Mahin crosses her fingers secretly not wanting to disappoint her teacher. Arcandur pulls out a black leather bound book and begins the read.
The morning progresses and the party continues down the river. Suddenly the boat snags on something and the boat lurches vertically. Straight away Alena looks to the sky and a see a silvery substance crossing above the boat and knocking against the mast. The substance appears to be silvery strands that is wrapped around a moving figure. Mahin climbs the mast to dislodge the silvery strands attached to the boat, trying to free the party. Showing her strengths she leaps and bounds to the top and sees that the strand is thick and dense, appearing to be a spider web but on a much greater scale.
The wriggling creature continues to move and Mahin yells down "I'm going to cut the web".
Alena looks at the creature, weighing up the chance of survival versus her mission. Mahin's internal conflict flashes in her. Ezra knows that this isn't anything to do with his mission and dismisses saving the humanoid.
Mahin isn't sure if she will be able to dismantle the web with her rapier. She begins trying to hack at the web but to no avail. Alena continues to search for a cause of the web but cannot see a culprit. Mahin places her hand against the web and removes it, noticing the sticky residue left behind. The current from the river begins to turn the boat.
Alena yells at Mahin "Get to the tiller".
Mahin climbs down and drops the boats anchor as Alena begins to climb, encumbered by her swords. Getting to the top she slices at the web, it breaks away. The anchor stops them as the river starts to move them on. Mahin tries to tie the strand to the mast to create line to the wiggling creature, alone it would be impossible for her but Ezra jumps in to help.
Mahin begins to walk along the rope, moving slowly the sticky substance holding her normal acrobatics to a stop. She tries to lift her foot and stumbles, almost falling into the water, at the last moment she saves herself. Mahin lowers herself down and moves much slower towards to bulk of the web. Ezra secures the line on the mast and watches as the thief climbs closer to the wiggling shape.
She edges ever closer to the wriggling creature, approaching it cautiously. The web gets stickier and stickier as she approaches the shape, her hand gets stuck. "Shit" she mutters.
Alena and Ezra exchange a glance, both on their own path they are unsure that this is the wisest course of action. Ezra goes to Arcandur, who is still reading his book, and grabs the crossbow and bolts from beside him "Thanks for the help."
Arcandur glances up "Hmmmmm" he mutters and continues to read.
Mahin arrives at the creature and hears the sounds of a muffled voice. Mahin slices at the web and cuts loose a chunk that is hiding the face. Unveiling a tanned skinned human gazing at her with wonder and with a tortured cry "Help me".
Ezra yells out to Mahin "What is the matter?"
Mahin yells back "There is a human trapped!"
Erza turns to Alena and looks back at Mahin "Hurry! This does not bode well for us".
Mahin continues to hack at the web surrounding the human body. A slow and tortuous process. Suddenly the trapped human moves out of her grip as she falls into the water. She tries to swim back to the boat but is pushes downstream with the tide. She turns and drags herself to the bank.
Ezra rushes to Arcandur and demands flammable items to send a crossbow into the web and save both the trapped human and Mahin. Arcandur tells him he has nothing and Ezra grabs him and turns him towards Mahin. "You will help us" Ezra demands.
Arcandur raises his eyes slowly and looks out at the water "Who will pull up the anchor?"
Ezra races to the anchor and Arcandur begins to the slow process to get them closer to save Mahin from her noble cause. Mahin tries to hide amongst the scrub as she awaits her rescue. Using all her skills she melds into the shadows. She glances upwards at the surrounding trees and see massive webs spidering throughout the entire area around her.
The boat comes around as the trapped man continues to scream for help. Arcandur's bored look infuriates Alena as she grabs what Ezra needs from him. They move towards Mahin and Alena yells at them to stop. Ezra unties the web from the mast and throws it into the water. Alena tries to throw the rope and fails, it takes two times for her to reach the bank.
Mahin leaps for it. Grabbing it in her hand breathing in a sigh of relief. Ezra prepares to fire as Mahin looks on ready to try to grab the trapped man as he falls. Erza misses once, twice and three times. The crossbow is not his instrument, yet the next bolt flies true and beds itself into the tree at the base of the web, the fire licking the web. Slowly is begins to burn. Faster and faster, collapsing the web as it crawls along towards the screaming man.
Mahin races into the water as he falls 15m and begins to drown. Mahin tries to swim towards him but this is not her skill. Ezra puts down his crossbow and readies him self to pull them in. Mahin continues to search and finally sees him. Moving towards him she finally reaches the trapped human. Dragging him to the surface, Mahin wraps the rope around him.
Alena and Ezra begin pulling the pair towards the boat, and finally they are on board. The trapped man lies prone on the deck. Alena pulls the anchor up and yells at Arcandur "Let's move wizard!"
Arcandur looks at Mahin "On the tiller you lazy sailor" and goes back to his book.
Mahin, tired and worn, wanders to the tiller and begins to guide them out of the danger. Ezra unties the trapped man and he thanks them for saving him. Jothrer tells them how he came to be trapped by the creature as he was upon the mast of his sailing adventure the night before. He tells them of this journey to Traders Landing, and they tell him of the beastmen overrunning the town. He shakes his head and offers to help them through sailing.
He continues to advise them on sailing and removes Arcandur from his position of Captain. Mahin sits beside him and offers him cheese, his face splits into a grin. Alena looks away from their obvious joy at the simple pleasures and moves to the front of the boat to be alone.
The day continues on and they continue to travel down to the river. After a few more hours, the see smoke off into the distance. Quodeth. The party begins to get excited about seeing civilisation again. Mahin is grateful to have more than cheese. The river widens as they move towards their destination.
The smells and the noises of the city begin to intoxicate their senses. For some it is the thought of the coming money. For some it is the thought of continuing on their adventure. For others it's more, the chance for revenge.
Ezra turns to them "To claim our finders fee we must make contact with my people. If you come with me we can make the exchange."
Arcandur states "Well you are going to have to pull into StoneQuay. And then we can do whatever we need to collect the fee."
As they approach StoneQuay the see a great vessel, manned by many men, and the flag of Marg waving from the mask. Suddenly they see the slavers throw a body from the boat, Alena slams her sword into the deck. The party looks at her as she turns away from them. The boat pulls into the pier and as he does a man comes up to them and begins signalling:
"Welcome to Quodeth, it is three gold per night" he hollers.
Alena questions the over priced port fee and suddenly Jothrer leaps forward and says "Friend! It is good to see you!"
The port fee is reduced to one gold and the party make their way from the harbour master. Jothrer approaches Mahin and takes her hand and kisses it, proclaiming his admiration and love for her beauty. They send him on his way to rest at the Fish's Panties while they make the exchange.
They turn to Ezra and question him about going to his contacts, he advises them to come with him. They head towards the Palace Quarter, and they accompany him.
On the way they stop at the tower that they claimed in the last adventure in Quodeth. The tower looms above them, a huge edifice of stone and strength. The reach the door and enter, calling for the halfling Fralco that they left in charge. The tower is clean and smells of warm bread and hot soup. The floor is swept clean and a fire burns in the grate. Fralco is cleaning the room.
"Welcome my friends! Where are your others?" He asked excited to see them "Do you wish for food good friends?"
Mahin expresses her excitement through a loud grumble of the stomach. He serves them a delicious meal as he questions them on their journey and new companion. They tell him of the tragedy and what has befallen them. They ask to stay the night and feast and drink together, celebrating being alive.
Fralco leaves the room and returns with jugs of mead, the party lets up a cheer. A night of joy amongst many of pain. A night of rest for them all.
Ezra heads out to advise his contact of his return.