Chapter 10: The Political Ramifications are Vast

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Session Number: 81
Date: Sunday 2 January 2011
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr8 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog9 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal9 (Craig) (kills: none)
Tomen Rgr9 (Ash) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz9 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

The furtives return, breaking into two groups: Troll and Shalélu ahead; Princess Ethalyn, Feren and Tomen behind. The princess has a conversation with her brother and bodyguard.

Ethalyn informs her brother that she has been in touch with their mother, the queen. She has informed the queen that it appears that Troll is able to be greatly influenced by primarily the paladin Rowaine, and secondly through her by the other members of the party. Both of them are worried about the amount of influence Rowaine has over the towers, and are worried at the lack of elven influence, especially with the recent increase in attacks by the Matre and Arachtria around the elven lands. While the queen is quite sure the towers would come to their help if they asked, the problem is a member of the elven royal family would most likely have to ask a paladin of a dwarven religion for help, and that would most likely be politically, and possibly religiously, awkward, at the very least. Neither the queen nor the head of the major elven religions relishes the though of going to the dwarves and asking for their help.

Ethalyn informs Feren that her plan to their mother was to ensnare Troll with force, most likely magic. The queen however has made it quite clear that the Roulae family are not easily forced into servitude, and that such a course most likely be quite detrimental. The queen has instructed Ethalyn to build a relationship with Troll with a view to a marriage, something that would create a tie between the elven lands and the Roulae towers. Ethalyn is not totally forthcoming about her feelings on the matter but makes it clear that as a princess of the elven realm she always knew she would most likely be married as a matter of political convenience, and as such accepts her mother's request.

She then requests that both Feren and Tomen do what ever is necessary to aid her in her quest, but to not let anyone else know of their conversation. Both agree, but all three agree that influence from either Feren or Tomen in this matter would be difficult, if only because it is unlikely an opportunity would present itself.

All end up back at the Roasted Goat where Arrian and Rowaine wait. Arrian notices cuts and blood on the newcomers. He offers healing while the others make half-baked excuses for their injuries. Eventually Troll meanders near the truth.

"Um, we had a little fight. It wasn't my fault at all. Well, it might have been. I didn't mean it to go that bad."

Troll's research suggests that Aquilla is the only known surviving ship of the original seven that sailed many thousands of years ago. Each is said to have been fuelled by a tremendously powerful, inexhaustible arcane power source. Each ship had flotillas of similar but smaller vessels, supposedly capable of underwater travel like their larger cousins, each powered by a scaled-down version of the same power source. These boats were used as rescue craft, transporters and the like. When the original seven ships dispersed, Aquilla retained a proportion of the boats. Four are known to have survived to this day, in the possession of Aquilla's harbourmaster. But Troll believes there are more, and that he has located one…

"Sorry," Rowaine says, "say that part again?"

"OK," Troll says. "So we went looking for this boat and there was this warehouse and the door was just unlocked and open so we went in to say to the owner that you left your door open right? So we went in to tell these people that they'd left their warehouse open right and then we went into this room and there was this hole in the floor and we went to tell these people that you left a hole in the floor so we went down the hole to make sure nobody had fallen in and that's when we found the boat right? So there's this boat…"

Rowaine stares at Troll, incredulous. "So you went into a warehouse, went below it and found one of the lost boats?"

"Yeah. It's down underneath the city. It's awesome down there! Did you know like there's heaps and heaps of buildings and stuff underneath? There's a whole other upside-down city! Lots of buildings, lights, people… There were these lizard men things and they attacked us so we killed them. They were definitely evil."

"Lord Fallowhay mentioned aquatic families that lived underneath… What was it that attacked you?"

"Snouted lizardy things. We were minding our own business and they attacked us. But then there's this boat. Made of some sort of really hard wood. Windows as strong as steel. One watertight door and it's barred from the inside but we got in because we're awesome. It looked like the power source had exploded or something, there were dead bodies and it was all a bit of a mess really. It didn't give off any magic. I reckon there are more of them. I need to do more research."

Rowaine marries up this information with that given to her by Lord Fallowhay. "Interesting tale. How did you find it?"

"Books, from the library."

Rowaine tells the others of her conversation with Gershwin Fallowhay, that his family are a long-lived line of aquatic elves that can trace their heritage right back to the building of the Ships of Song, and that the original Aquilla was captained by a Fallowhay. She says she was told that Aquilla is not the one remaining ship, it is what remains of all seven.

"Well," says Troll, "you know what that means? It means that those little boats didn't disappear. They are here - dozens and dozens of them!"

"That is a promising thought," Rowaine says. "The structure in the middle of market that the pot seller called the 'One Ship?' Lord Fallowhay said that it is NOT the 'One Ship', or any of the seven. It is merely a focal point for the people. The magic that you detect emanating from it may be a ruse, or maybe the original Aquilla is beneath it. Fallowhay said the original ships were easily ten times that size."

"Well, that fits with my research," Troll says. "I read that the ships had lots of families on board."

"Princess," Rowaine says, "I have to say that I was pretty forthright with Lord Fallowhay. He knew of Trina, he knows that is how we are here, and he has surmised that there is a Roielle on board. He desires a meeting. It might be advantageous."

"I am not at liberty to reveal myself yet," the princess states.

"Would you be amenable to Feren attending such a meeting?"

"This gentleman may be expecting to receive a diplomat," the princess says, "something my brother is patently not. It might be wise to forewarn Fallowhay of this."

"Perhaps it is unwise to reveal Feren's heritage at all," Arrian says. It may upset matters in the elven kingdom. Also, someone of note is now aware that a Roielle is on board and I don't know what their relationship is with the Captain."

"The relationship between the Roielles and the Fallowhays was said to be strong," the princess says. "How it stands now remains to be seen."

"Very well," Rowaine says. The matter of the boat you found still remains. I think the authorities should be notified."

"Finders keepers," Troll rebuts. "We could use it to bargain with the Captain."

"By rights, it probably already belongs to the Captain," Rowaine says. "I am sure he is interested in its discovery, and that might be enough to get to talk to him at the very least. Or should we discuss it with Lord Fallowhay? He talked about how one could not simply tap into the original ships' power sources… So what are the other avenues that he was talking about?"

"Perhaps he already knows of the other boats?" Arrian says.

"Perhaps," Rowaine replies. "Might we not kill two spiders with one stone were Feren to meet with Lord Fallowhay? He being both a Roielle, and a witness to the boat's location?"

"The idea is not without risk," Arrian says. "I would suggest that you continue diplomatic relations alone, at least in the interim."

Troll's research suggests that the four boats the harbourmaster possesses are the only ones they know about. Arrian tables the idea of getting Troll to continue his research with the hope of finding yet more boats, then brokering a deal with the government whereby the party keeps one in return for handing over the others. Troll has read that some of the boats were given as gifts in the past, which gives Rowaine some hope. Rowaine asks Troll to research whether the power source had a particular magical signature that he might be able to search for. He mentions that the boats were often disguised. For example, many were said to have sails, superfluous on a submersible vessel with a magical propulsion system.

There is one foreseeable problem in approaching Aquilla's authorities: awkward questions regarding the nature of the party's arrival. What is required to legitimise their presence here? Rowaine suggests asking Crane, the dwarven priest. Feren adds another reason why he want to find the thieves' guild.

Before the party depart on their day's tasks, Arrian whispers to Feren and Shalélu that he will be in his room upstairs should they desire healing. They take him up on his offer. Shalélu rejoins Troll and Ethalyn and the trio head for the library, with Tomen in tow. Feren heads out, looking for anything that might lead him to the elusive thieves' guild.

Arrian accompanies Rowaine on her visit to Crane. He carefully monitors their journey, believing that they are not followed. Rowaine invites Crane back to the Roasted Goat for a meal and an ale after evensong.

Arrian joins Feren in his search. Rowaine asks around about the Fallowhay family, starting first with the proprietor of the Roasted Goat. The family are crewmembers, well thought of and affluent. The proprietor does not know of any particular association with the Captain, but mentions that the Captain seems to hold all waterbreathing races with some distrust. He doesn't treat them unfairly, that wouldn't be right; rather, he just doesn't seem to like the fact that there is an entire community living under his boat that he cannot control.

Rowaine and Arrian learn more about Aquilla's culture. The Captain is its living embodiment: honour takes precedence over personal gain. Certain things are abhorrent in Aquilla. For example, no one would consider pushing someone off the boat or starting a fire; such offences are dealt with very harshly. On Aquilla you are judged by what is in your heart. While an orderly place, there are still locks on doors. There is crime on board but those largely responsible are visitors or passengers, which make up roughly half the population. Crewmembers come to the aid of the guard. Crewmembers caught committing crimes themselves are punished swiftly and harshly. There have been no uprisings on board that Crane is aware of. Aquilla is occasionally raided by pirates who attack villages and suburbs and escape with their bounty.

Meanwhile, Feren considers alternate ways to make contact with the thieves' guild. He borrows Tomen's Hat of Disguise and plans to act drunk, foreign, lost and rich, late at night, hoping to get mugged. Perhaps Elondel could help with some appropriately decadent clothing…

Arrian and Rowaine return from their meeting with Crane. Feren explains his latest plan. The pair accompany him back to the branch, transporting to Trina.

Rowaine asks Trina about the Fallowhay family. She knows the family, as did the Roielles and Roulae of the time. They commanded three of the original seven Ships of Song. They were not involved in the establishment of Trina. There was a certain amount of intermarrying between the Fallowhay and Roielle families. She can sense some Roielle blood in the vicinity of her branch on Aquilla, but not enough to command her. Trina is able to identify Roielle or Roulae bloodlines to incredible distances: some three or four thousand miles. There were no standing orders involving the Fallowhay. Her interactions with them mostly involved transportation. She is able to provide a list of the Fallowhays she dealt with prior to her long sleep.

Feren visits Elondel, asking for gaudy, expensive, flashy clothes and a flashy rapier that is all style and very little substance, such as a noble might be seen carrying. He returns and begins formulating a plan with Arrian. The pair will act drunk while Troll floats on a Disc above, invisible. They consider how Troll might assist with spells ahead of time, then realise that Troll probably has not prepared those spells today. The plan is postponed until the following day. They return to Aquilla and continue gathering information: Rowaine and Arrian with Crane, Feren around dockside.

Rowaine asks Crane about Aquilla's entry and exit procedures. Boarders pay an entry tax on arrival and supply a name that is written down in the register. If one is arrested or in other ways attracts the attention of the authorities, they check the register. If there is no record of the supplied name, things get… complicated. When asked about any association between the Fallowhays and the Captain, Crane mentions that as a longstanding noble crewmember, the Fallowhays would be invited to dine with the Captain. Rowaine also asks whether Crane knows of a thieves' guild on board. Crane believes one exists, unsanctioned and unliked, mentioning that it is very difficult to find.

The party meet for dinner back at the Roasted Goat. Rowaine asks Troll how the research is progressing. She receives a somewhat cryptic response.

After dinner, Feren and Arrian investigate dockside for signs of a thieves' guild. They find none.

Over breakfast the next day, Rowaine tells Feren that she has been told a thieves' guild definitely exists. The princess grants Tomen leave to help the others if he desires.

Rowaine spends the day assisting Crane with his duties at Moradin's temple. Feren and Arrian scour the aft section of Aquilla for further information about a thieves' guild and are eventually rewarded. Apparently there is a particular tavern, the Blackened Knife, near dockside, where they are said to meet. Arrian talks to Feren about how to act when dealing with guilds.

That night, Feren visits the Blackened Knife and makes a useful contact: Antonio, who is apparently reasonably high within the guild's hierarchy. Antonio has taken a bit of a shine to Feren, perhaps because of the number of drinks Feren has put in front of him. Feren returns to the Roasted Goat late at night and discusses his meeting with Arrian, who has been thinking about how the guild might be useful. They might be able to falsify records to legitimise the party's presence aboard Aquilla, at the very least… But perhaps more importantly, the guild might be a very useful source of information about Aquilla: the government, notable families and groups, rumours…

The next day, Troll's research continues as usual. Rowaine is summoned to Lord Fallowhay's residence. Tomen accompanies her.

At the meeting, Rowaine regretfully informs Lord Fallowhay that she has been as yet unsuccessful in arranging a meeting with a Roielle, saying that "they are waiting for the appropriate time." She asks Fallowhay how his research fares. The aquatic elf tells a very familiar tale to Troll's, of smaller, faster boats with similar power sources to the original Ships of Song, used for scouting, rescues, transportation and the like. He mentions that some of the boats were assimilated into the city, but that four are still held by the harbourmaster. They are hardly ever used now. He was hoping that the power sources worked differently to the larger ships, that they could be somehow tapped with no ill effects, but does not think this is possible. He believes it unlikely that Rowaine would be in a position to bargain for one of the boats, but that it was not impossible. Originally, boats were occasionally offered as gifts to notable dignitaries. However, there may be other avenues.

"I find your words strangely coincidental," Rowaine says. She goes on to describe the others finding a seemingly disabled boat under a warehouse. Fallowhay is palpably amazed. Rowaine offers to find out where the boat is and lead Fallowhay to it. Fallowhay is very interested but when Rowaine asks Tomen to disclose the boat's location he refuses, saying that he does not trust as easily.

"Hhmmmm," Fallowhay utters. "Somewhat wise…"

Fallowhay needs more time. He tells Rowaine that he will send for her if he finds anything, or if he exhausts his sources of knowledge. Rowaine brings up the subject of the Captain's supposed dislike of aquatic races. Fallowhay says that the Captain's family has a history of battling aquatic creatures underneath the ship in an attempt to press civilisation belowdecks, but their efforts have been unsuccessful. Fallowhay suspects that he has been brought up to distrust waterbreathers. He describes the undercity as having only pockets of civilisation. Some areas are governed by the Captain; those areas tend to be watertight and accessible to air-breathing races. Other areas are ruled by less nice creatures, others are inhabited by creatures that have no need for or understanding of governance.

Rowaine asks Tomen to describe the creatures that they fought off. Fallowhay describes them as mundane creatures, a scavenging, bullying, stealing race that inhabit the watery areas belowdecks. They colonised Aquilla two to three centuries ago.

"If you want a power source, lady," says Fallowhay, "then I dare say you will have to pay for it, and pay heftily. Not in monetary terms, for we are an affluent city. Affluent, but occasionally in need of specialty services. We were attacked by pirates recently. Had you been here and were seen to help, that might go a way towards your goal. Interestingly, we have an influx of slavers at the moment that need dealing with, maybe something along those lines? There is a thieves' guild that also needs to be taken care of at some point… I cannot see that any of these issues in isolation are worth what you seek, but then again, it is not me that attributes value, it is the Captain. I will inquire as to any services that you might be able to perform. Do pass on my regards to any Roielles."

"I shall," Rowaine says. "I thank you for your efforts. I will continue with mine."

Rowaine and Tomen are shown out and return to the Roasted Goat. They converse with Arrian. He points out that the Fallowhay are not the authorities here, in all likelihood. If the party were to let anyone know of the boat, should it not be the harbourmaster? He argues that there may be cause besides racism for the Captain's disfavour. Had the aquatic elves not helped the Captain spread the rule of law belowdecks? Had they actively opposed it? There are too many unanswered questions for Arrian's liking. He is interested in the thieves' guild's take on all this.

Rowaine asks Tomen whether he can gain permission to reveal the boat's location to Fallowhay. She then spends the day with Crane at local hospitals and hospices, tending to the sick and needy.

Tomen scouts dockside, looking for any vessels made of strange dark timber. He finds nothing unusual, which in hindsight is not surprising. He does identify at least ten locked boatsheds. Feren keeps abreast with local news. Arrian talks to the owner of the Roasted Goat about sword training. The guard do not offer that sort of service, but there are a number of schools that Feren could train at, for a fee. Arrian seeks out a weapons school and hones his martial skills.

Evening comes. Troll, Shalélu and Ethalyn research late while the others take dinner at the Roasted Goat. Rowaine talks about her day's work ministering to those in hospital. None of the injuries she treated seemed to have been caused by weapons. Feren arrange another weeks' accommodation. The proprietor gives him an additional 10% discount.

The party discuss what sort of approach Feren might take with the guild. He could talk to them about the addition of some names to the entry register, but could also start asking some questions. Who are the wealthy families? Who is really in charge? Who runs the undercity? Who are not the right people to target - Feren doesn't want to tread on anyone's toes. Is this also the guild for the undercity? Rowaine discusses the Captain's desire for the eradication of the thieves' guild.

"I don't mean for you to destroy it brick by brick," Rowaine says, "but bear in mind that the powers that be do not wish for it to be around, and that might be a good thing."

After dinner, Rowaine heads upstairs to the room she shares with Shalélu. Feren heads out to the Blackened Dagger to contact Antonio. Tomen waits outside, disguised as a beggar with his magical hat. Arrian visits another nearby tavern called the Twisted Cat.

Feren asks Antonio about getting his name on the register. Antonio arranges it for five gold, asking what name Feren wants: "Ford Astyn."

Both Antonio and Feren are initially rather cagey around each other. Feren asks about the guild, about who not to target, about the undercity. Antonio's answers are either obvious or vague. Feren asks how to get involved. Antonio asks if he is looking for work. Feren replies that he is already working on a job looking for items of particular interest in the undercity, and was interested firstly in making sure he wasn't going to step on anyone's toes, and in perhaps getting more information about the undercity.

Antonio is not interested in the undercity, calling it a dangerous place. He seems satisfied with the pickings above the waterline. He mentions that the guards are currently busy investigating rumours about slavers that supposedly have set up in the undercity a couple of months ago. Feren asks whether Antonio might know of a contact that he might speak to, someone who knows the undercity. Antonio mentions a female aquatic elf called Karen, describing her as "hot as buggery but sharp as nails." She is due back from belowdecks in a couple of days.

"What is she doing?" Feren asks.

"I don't know!" Antonio says. "She's a water breather!"

"You don't know much, do you?" Feren says in a joking manner. Unfortunately, Antonio does not take it that way.

"I think you should leave."

"Sorry, Antonio. Here, let me buy you a drink."

"I don't think so."

Feren cuts his losses and leaves, heading back to the Roasted Goat. He catches Tomen's eye, who follows him a minute or two after. He has made one silver piece outside the Blackened Dagger. Apparently, the thieves in Aquilla are not wholly uncharitable.

Late in the evening, Feren talks to Arrian about his conversation with Antonio. The researchers arrive back, looking very weary. Arrian comments on their dedication. Troll replies that they are on the trail of another possibly surviving boat, trying to link ancient descriptions with current landmarks. Arrian senses that Troll is hiding something. He asks more questions but nothing more is forthcoming.

Early the next morning, Arrian talks to Rowaine. After talking about their possible progress on locating a second boat, he expresses worry that Troll was holding back, and wonders whether Troll might like to talk to someone he trusts.

Rowaine joins Troll, Ethalyn and Shalélu for breakfast. Shalélu looks alert, the other two appear very tired. Rowaine asks whether they have been getting enough sleep. Troll describes their work as very complex and taxing. He talks about most of the boats originally having unique berths, again describing what they found under the warehouse. What they are now hunting for is a berth rather than a boat. Troll has a gut feeling that it might be towards the bow. He sighs, saying that sixteen hours of reading and deciphering followed by four hours of thinking is starting to take its toll. Rowaine expresses concern, telling him to take it easy, all the while sensing that Troll is definitely hiding something.

"Troll," Rowaine says in a slightly hushed tone, "we've known each other for a while." She notices both Ethalyn and Shalélu stop eating, listening to what she is saying. "I sense you are burdened. Is there anything that I can do?"

"No, I'm good," Troll replies.

"Troll, it's me."

"It's just hard work," Troll says, "and I think it's a worthy cause. I just want to help you as much as I can." Rowaine glances at the others; they have started eating again.

"Will you promise me something, Troll? Will you come back to the Roasted Goat early tonight and get some dinner and some rest? Krag is not going anywhere."

"That's the problem. But… OK."

With that, the researchers head off to library. Tomen seeks out a garden, some gentle reminder of nature. Rowaine talks to Arrian about Troll. Arrian tells Rowaine about Karen, Feren's latest lead. He then heads to Corellon Larethian's temple to help out.

Rowaine leaves for Moradin's temple. There, she talks to Crane about this supposed influx of slavers in recent times. Crane says that Aquilla passed an island a couple of months ago that had a rather nasty group of non-aquatic spiderlike traders called the neogi. Some of them came on board legally, although Crane suspects that many more are on board than are known about, especially in the undercity. There were some concerns about their arrival, but Aquilla being what it is, they were accepted. Since then, people have started to disappear - more than usual, the majority of them being from the undercity. Officials have since discovered that the neogi are sometimes called 'slave takers.' They have a reputation of being traders with absolutely no scruples. Life means very little to them beyond its monetary worth. Crane believes they are capturing people and selling them off as slaves at islands Aquilla passes. Slavery is prohibited on Aquilla.

Rowaine excuses herself and seeks out Arrian at his temple. He says this is something everyone needs to know about urgently, as their status as visitors surely puts them at greater risk.

Tomen has found a walled garden with an arched entrance. Inside is a landscaped area with grass and trees.

Arrian ventures to the café where Troll and Ethalyn talk. Shalélu stands near, watching over them. Arrian motions her over and warns them all about the neogi. He then warns Tomen in the garden. Satisfied that everyone is at least aware of the possible danger, Arrian returns to his weapons training.

Rowaine locates a guard house towards the ship's stern and talks to an elf inside. She asks whether there is any facility for visitors to aid the guard in the keeping of the peace. Mercenaries are sometimes employed in specific cases, but not as a general rule, and crewmembers are chosen over visitors for those sort of tasks. Rowaine identifies herself as a paladin of Moradin, saying that her brother dwarf Crane has told her worrying stories of slavery aboard. The guard is quick to state that any reports are unconfirmed at this stage. Rowaine offers her services, giving the example that she can create magical areas that will bear no falsehood. If she is unable to help in an official capacity, would it be alright if she were to do her own investigation? The guard says that there is currently no call for mercenary support, but thinks that there soon might be. He says that the guard are limited in what they can do below the waterline, and that they are not welcome in many places. The guard does not officially condone vigilanteism because of the unnecessary danger it causes. Were the Captain to seek mercenary assistance, he would usually advertise the fact by posting notices in the dockside area where mercenary types tend to gather. The guard finishes by telling Rowaine that he will let her know if he hears anything, but doesn't expect to within the next week or so.

Towards the end of the day Arrian finds Tomen and asks him to join him at the Twisted Cat. Arrian wants to have dinner there, see if anyone approaches him. As Tomen and the princess are already en route to the Roasted Goat, he agrees. They enter the tavern and order food and drink. Tomen amuses himself by playing axe-throwing games with the locals. He plays well enough not to embarrass himself.

Back at the Roasted Goat, Rowaine, Arrian and Feren are having dinner. Troll, Shalélu and Ethalyn turn up half way through. Shalélu looks well, Troll and Ethalyn look a little better but still weary. Feren notices that Shalélu appears worried.

Rowaine asks the princess whether she has heard of a race called the neogi, saying that they are implicated in the recent disappearances. She has, and expresses a desire to end them.

"We are one," Rowaine says. "But it appears the problem needs to get worse before it gets better." Rowaine describes the guard's position. Ethalyn is concerned that the guards are not up to this task. The neogi are not strong themselves, but employ other creatures in their service.

Rowaine asks how their day was. Ethalyn says that they are closer to pinpointing a berth, and that there is perhaps a week of work ahead. With the information spread across many books and Troll only able to borrow one book at a time, the process is long and difficult.

"Is it all in draconic?" Rowaine asks.

"No, not all of it."

"Might I help? If it is a spare set of eyes that you need, I'm not doing anything in particular at the moment." Troll drops his spoon into his soup.

"You are not up to speed," Ethalyn says. Her explanation is logical but something still seems off.

"Troll, do you intend to work into the night as well?"

"No. I have been rolling things around in my mind. I expect it will happen again tonight." Rowaine has the distinct impression that whatever is running through Troll's head has nothing to do with boats.

After dinner, Arrian heads to the Blackened Knife. Rowaine approaches Troll.

"Walk you to your room? You were saying things were rattling around in your head. I often find that a fresh prespective can help, a sounding board, somebody who doesn't have the baggage of the task at hand. Gosh, even standing up and walking away from the problem for ten minutes can help. Would you like to go for a walk? It might help clear your head…"

Troll seems a mass of indecision then finally agrees. Along the way, he confides that the princess made a pass at him yesterday - subtle but unmistakable.

"Not to disparage you in any way Troll, I'm sure many elves find you very attractive but … do you not perhaps sense a possible ulterior motive here?"

"Oh, that much is obvious based on who I am and what I do, but she is also incredibly useful when it comes to this research."

"My goodness, the political ramifications are vast."

"I know."

"I don't know what to say. Gosh, I wonder what the Queen might think. Well, I shall watch with interest. I will say this, Troll. It is your life and it is your choice to make. Whatever you decide, I will support it."

Feren talks privately with Ethalyn. The princess says they are making reasonable headway, but that the going gets harder the further they get. Feren asks how it is going with Troll. "Not good," the princess replies. "Not currently."

Previously on DungeonGeeks: Feren told Ethalyn that Troll was heavily influenced by Rowaine. Ethalyn relayed this to the queen, recommending that Troll be more under the control of elves than dwarves. She advocated spelling Troll, dragging him back to the elven city and putting him under lock and key. The queen replied that you simply cannot do that to a Roulae; they don't react well and it tends to blow up in one's face - sometimes literally. The queen has given Ethalyn a command to ensnare Troll with her womanly ways. Ethalyn has told Feren about this plan, and that the queen requests his help. Feren doesn't think he is in much of a position to help because Troll doesn't like him. Shalélu knows what is going on.

At the Twisted Cat, Arrian notices a gentleman paying particularly close attention to him. He approaches the bar and orders a drink, asking whether anyone knows the undercity. Very few patrons of the bar are waterbreathers; the bartender suggests Arrian try the Swimming Dolphin, a water bar, to which he provides directions. Arrian points out the gentleman by the door and asks for a waitress provide him with a drink. The bartender says that the gentleman in question is a guard. Arrian leaves and heads for the Swimming Dolphin. Tomen winds up his current game and follows.

The Swimming Dolphin is essentially a large covered pool some four feet deep with a bar in its centre. There is a bench against the outside of the pool wall, the only concession for those not wishing to get wet. Many races float in the water. Arrian wades in and catches the eye of the bartender, an aquatic elf. He orders whiskey, saying also that he is looking for someone familiar with the undercity that might be able to help him with a job that he needs doing. The bartender says that none of his regulars go there, and that he is not in contact with anyone else with ties to the undercity. Arrian accepts the news stoically and leaves, leaving a wet trail out the door as he returns to the Roasted Goat. Rowaine is downstairs, sipping a cup of tea. Arrian asks after Troll. Rowaine says that her conversation with him was… very interesting, but will not say more without Troll's permission.

"So he's not in trouble?" Arrian asks.

"Oh, he could be in all sorts of trouble."

Arrian heads up to his room. Troll is already in bed. His eyes open, notice Arrian, then quickly close again. Arrian leaves him alone and goes to bed.

The next morning, Troll, Shalélu and Ethalyn head off as is their custom. Ethalyn makes it clear that Tomen's presence is not required. Arrian speaks to Feren about being introduced to Antonio. Feren feels hesitant this early in the relationship. He invites Arrian to wait at the Twisted Cat, saying he will let him know how conversations run.

Rowaine speaks to Shalélu privately, letting her know that she is aware of the situation between Troll and Ethalyn.

"As you are very aware, the princess has multiple motivations here. This probably doesn't need to be said, but I will say it anyway because I am concerned. Please watch him. Please watch her." Rowaine senses that Shalélu is aware of what is going on, but is reticent to discuss the situation behind her employer's back.

Rowaine then expresses Arrian's concern to Troll, asking him how much she can reveal. Troll is quite embarrassed by it all and prefers for it to go no further. Rowaine respects his wishes.

Tomen wanders the streets and passes the warehouse where they found the boat. The building looks as it did previously, except that now the door is chained shut.

By midmorning no summons have arrived for Rowaine, either from Lord Fallowhay or the guard. Rowaine turns her thoughts to the problem of the slavers. She says she is heading to dockside, looking for anyone asking after missing people. Feren joins her.

A quick scout around turns up no less than half a dozen missing persons posters. All are human or elven adult males. Three of the six list a wife as the contact. Rowaine chooses one and heads to the address.

A slightly dishevelled woman in her mid-twenties answers the door. A baby is crying in the background. Rowaine greets her and mentions the poster. Harold, her husband, went missing about a week ago. The woman is struggling to survive without him. He worked on the docks as a general hand, mostly lugging cargo. On the day in question he was at work. His boss said that he stopped doing his job around midday, left, and hasn't been seen since. The harbourmaster is rather unhappy about his work not getting done. He was working alone at the time. The woman has been through the details with local guard but there has been no followup and she is very worried. She doesn't know of any other disappearances.

Arrian spends the day at Corellon Larethian's temple. He asks the priests there about the stories of slavers aboard Aquilla. They too are aware of the rumours but have no more information that Arrian does not already know. Arrian asks how they might help, given how their patron deity feels about slavery. The priesthood make it clear that they are not a body of fighters.

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