Falgren is faced with some startling revelations. Now he is summoned to his next patrol duty. Firedrake has been ordered to explore the southern end of the valley on some secret errand of the Overseer.
OK, funerals and vacation are over now…
Following my “startling revelation” which of course was followed by further exposition and even an argument over how long they let me go on being deceived, I will of course report for duty aboard the Firedrake. I am more convinced than ever that I must find a way to meet the renegade humans.
I want to engineer an “accident” in the engine room at an inconvenient time. Perhaps some kind of fire? Resulting in accidentally pushing the wrong lever? During the confusion, I’d hope to escape.
Are there any flammable agents kept on board which might be misplaced?
Dohera listens patiently as you carry on about life not being fair and your parents never listening or telling you anything…you know…typical teenager stuff (grin)…anyway…
“Fal my son, I’m sorry we couldn’t tell you the truth sooner. It was for your own safety that we kept this from you. Your father and I had planned on telling you on your next birthday, but it seems that the time has come sooner than expected.” She moves back to the ritual platform. With a few words she transforms to her human shape. Stepping off the platform, she motions you to follow. She leads you out of the chamber back towards the ladder to your home. There is another small room near the ladder chamber, and it is to this room that she directs you. The small circular room contains an ancient wooden chest; which she opens. Inside are a number of objects wrapped in tattered cloth. She carefully removes three items. The first bundle is small and wrapped in a dark colored cloth. As she unwraps it and removes the items she hands the cloth to you. It turns out to be a hooded cloak:
Wrapped in the cloak is an amulet:
A pair of soft leather boots:
and a pair of gloves:
She pulls out a second bundle, much larger than the first and unwraps a suit of armor made of a supple leather. On closer examination it appears to be the skin of some kind of animal, finely crafted but simple in design:
The last object is perhaps five feet in length. Your mother removes it with reverence and care. She hands you the bundle. You unwrap it carefully following your mothers lead. The frayed cloth falls away to reveal the most magnificent longbow you will likely ever see. It is made from, what appears to be, a black wood. Fine silvery runes are traced across it’s entire surface and they seem to glow softly when you touch them.
“In our native language this bow is named Morcu Drac Dagnir…the dragonbane darkbow…It was simply called ‘shadow’ by the first to use it. This bow was crafted when the dragonborn first arrived nearly 800 years ago. A great elven ranger named Shee’Erin wielded it against them. He was a prince of the realm of Solastria, the last of the great elven kingdoms. My father was a member of the princes’ personal guard. When the prince fell in battle he made my father swear that the bow would remain hidden until it could be brought forth again.” She holds out her hand, motioning for the bow. “Shee’Erin!” she speaks placing the bow over her shoulder as if to stow it away. The bow vanishes! “Shadow will remain hidden on your person, undetectable, until you call it. The command can be any word you speak with the intent of hiding the bow. So long as you recall it with the same word, it will appear in your hand. Shee’Erin!” The bow reappears. "No force on this world can detect or remove the bow from you while it has been commanded to hide. You will also find that Shadow can reach targets at great distance, and woe to any of the dragonkin that are pierced by it’s arrows, for the bow has a special hatred for them.
to be continued
…when the gift giving is complete, you head back up the ladder and to your parents small apartment. Other than the bow, the articles you have been given appear old and worn. Even though the armor is of excellent make, it has a weathered look to it and easily passes for common make. You feel confident that you would not draw any unwanted attention should you suddenly appear aboard firedrake in your new attire. It is not uncommon for slaves serving aboard ship to own used suits of armor. This is even more true where captain Shartak is concerned. He takes particular care of his crew, dragonborn and human alike. The one exception is the cloak. Your mother cautions you. Do not don the cloak until you have made good your escape. It distorts your appearance from a distance and that could make your crew mates suspicious.
Your plan is to remain with your parents until you are to report for duty in the morning, but you are foiled by a late night knock on the door. It turns out to be a messenger from Firedrake. You are to report immediately for special duty. The ship leaves as soon as all hands are accounted for.
Gathering up your gear, you say good bye to your parents. Your mother holds you just a little longer than normal, and your father clasps your arm firmly…each in an attempt to hold you for just a moment longer. If your plans succeed you have now way of knowing whether any of you will see each other again. Tears flow openly down their cheeks as you head down the stairs to the street below. As you turn the last corner, passing out of view of your parents home, you hear your mother shout your name one last time. Steeling yourself, you continue through the dark, empty streets.
The docs are a buzz of activity. Firedrake is making ready as you expected, but she is not alone. Holding position a few hundred yards out are five other ships. Three corvettes, one frigate and a man o war. Your sharp eyesight can make out their standards at a distance, even in the dim light. It is around 2 in the morning. You make your way aboard Firedrake…
to be continued
Egads, 5 other ships? I fear for my plan yet the thought of delay after all I have learned this night…
Once aboard you move below decks to your usual berth. You find your three companions, Cherta the pretty blond of about 20, known for her acrobatic talent, Jonah the gangly 14 year old with the curly red hair…and Beren, a dark haired boy of about your age. They each greet you in turn and quiz you on your time at home, asking about your parents and things of that nature. Your conversation is cut short when the first mate barks out the command “all hands on deck!” You rush up onto the main deck along with the rest of the crew to hear the captains commands.
“The hunt is on!” Shouts the captain. “We have been ordered to attempt to lure these rebels out into the open. While we make way south below the cloud layer, Gorgon and her escorts will stay within the clouds and await a signal flare if and when the rebels make an appearance.” Gorgon is a massive first rate Man o War boasting well over 120 guns. Her captain, Caranak is known as a ruthless and methodical commander who rules his ship like a tyrant.
Before long you are underway and the Firedrake descends to about 100 feet and heads south.
You consider your plan….depending on your duties, it will probably not be too difficult to end up in the engine room. As for flammable materials…there is plenty.
The propulsive force for the dragonborn cannons is provided by a dried root native to the home world. (I will detail this in a wiki). The root is violently explosive when contacted with flame. It is chopped into small particles and then packed loosely into small pouches of a thin, flammable cloth. Cannonroot, as it is called, gives off an oily, sulfurous smell when it is cut open. This makes it easy to tell when someone has been aboard ship since the odor clings to hair and clothing.
Barrels of the stuff are stored throughout the ship. The barrels are coated with a fire resistant resin which is very slow to burn. The dragonborn learned long ago not to store all of their cannonroot in one place so they keep it dispersed evenly across their vessels.
I must take a chance on contacting one of my friends. I don’t think I can do it alone. Jonah is likely to young, leaving Cherta and Beren. Do I have a feel as to whether or not any of them might be less than satisfed with the status quo? Is either more of a risk taker?
Cherta is a free spirit and definitely the risk taker of the three. You feel that she is the most likely to be supportive of your plan. Beren has always been a friend, but you suspect he may be too entrenched in his loyalty to the dragonborn. You don’t think you can trust him with this.
Whatever you decide, you realize that you may only have a matter of a few hours before it is time to act. Firedrake is underway! The captain starts barking orders and you are commanded below to help ready the cannons. Luckily, Cherta has the same duty. You head below, to the gundeck, where preparations are being made. The dragonborn soldiers go about their duties without paying you, or any of the other humans, much attention. When you are sure you are not being observed, you pull Cherta aside. What do you say?
Cherta, we go now to wipe out free men and women, living as we ourselves never dreamed we could. Does this not make you feel… something, anything? Never have I failed to obey an order, but this…
I have learned much these past few days but need to know more about these people. I don’t know if it’s possible but.. What think you? Would you stand by and be part of this slaughter? Have we no choice?
Cherta looks at you with a slight smile on her face. For a moment you think she is going to laugh at you. Suddenly she throws her arms around your shoulders and whispers in your ear. “I thought you might be up to something when you lied to the captain.” Your eyes widen. How could she know? “Whatever your plan is Fal, I’m with you.” She interrupts the question you are about to ask. “We’ll have time to talk more once we succeed. What have you got in mind?”