The Girls and the Golden Dragon

The Stranger Returns

August 8th

“They’re back!” Freya shouted, with her usual habit of reacting quickly to sudden trouble.
Sure enough, the strange man they had driven from the ship once before was back; the terrible war-forged machination, a Kray, was with him, standing menacingly in the center of the deck.

The group of ship’s hired muscle reacted quickly. The spell-gifted amongst them unleashed a blistering barrage of magical missiles and targeted fire balls, taking care not to damage the ship overly much. The intruder was doing bad enough damage; whatever he was doing to the controls was causing them to ice over and crackle with elemental discharge.

The magic bursts found there mark with devastating effect. The intruder spun away from the controls and started limping desperately towards his anchored skiff. He looked badly injured, but reached his skiff quickly. His escape would not be so simple however. The ranger whistled a command to her companion, a young but feisty Roc, who swooped in for a glancing blow. One more magical blow from the group’s gifted, and the man was knocked unconscious and barely alive. Almost casually, one of the defenders bashed his skull in with her weapon. Blood trickled the deck in almost elegant rivulets.He would be invading no ships further.

The Kray remained to be dealt with, however. It had already sustained some damage from the earlier missile attacks,but could still cause deadly damage to a careless foe. The ranger charged forward, greatsword held at the ready. The Roc circled calculatingly behind the mechination, positioning for a flank maneuver. With a yell, the ranger swung the greatsword with crushing force. The Kray’s chest was ripped open by the blow like so much paper.

As the thing collapsed to the deck, a small flying object burst from the gash in its cavity. It looked like some sort of flying ball, or mechanical bumble-bee. The ranger grabbed for it, but it slipped past her fingers by a hair’s breadth. Out the window and down into the unknowable depths of Sharn it flew.

The group gazed after it in frustration. “That,” someone commented, “will undoubtedly report back to it’s master, concerning his lackey’s failure.”
“Aye,” the ranger agreed, “And there’s no way for us to track it, not even with my companion, Shad. We’re at his mysterious mercy for now.”
Freya kicked a crate in irritation. “Next time,” she grumbled, “Let’s keep our helpless prisoners ALIVE. The dead make for piss-poor interrogations.”
Everyone mumbled their agreement.

Just then, Captain Alistair burst through the doors from the upper levels. He quickly surveyed the wrecked Kray and smoking controls. “Good heavens!” He exclaimed. “Whatever happened down here?!”
“Our control-tampering friend came back, but this time, there was no gaseous exits for him,” Freya uttered darkly.
The Captain eyed the gory mess of the intruder’s head. He gulped, but managed to stammer out, “F-fine job, all of you. I am, s-s-so grateful to you for you successful defense of this vessel.” He sucked in a steadying breathe, then continued with more confidence. “In fact, I am so pleased, I would like to offer your an extension of your contract as ship’s security. We will be embarking on another voyage soon, and I’d love to have you on board.”

“How much gold does all that love translate to, exactly?” [Theresa] spoke up.
Frey gave her a stern look. “Where will this next voyage go?” Freya asked.
“To Stormreach,” Captain Alistair said. “We go carrying ambassadors for a council summit.”
“Stormreach?!!” the group exclaimed as one. “Are you mad?!”
Alistair gestured hastily. “I know, I know it’s a risk. But you will be well-compensated…and I’ll give you the finest of suites as accommodations in exchange for your dangerous services. Look, just take the week off, and think about it. I’ll respect whatever answer you give.” With a curt nod, he departed up the stairs.

“What do we do now?” [Cosi] asked.
Freya huffed. “Now we go home and get totally and unforgivably wasted”.




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