Diego and Vladimir ask around the docks in search of a crew with which to secure a ship and discover through the grapevine that someone else was doing the same thing. After some asking around, they discover an older man in fancy dress operating out of the back room of a dockside dive named The Drowned Rat. He proposes that the party aid him in securing the Stiletto, one of the fastest ships in the Penshin fleet, but they must move that evening. When faced with speculation, he encourages Diego, whose name and situation he seems to be familiar with, to arrange an introduction between Gronk and he and assures them that Gronk will vouch for him.
Diego returns with Gronk, who instantly recognizes the man as Sir Robert Kirk and they seem, apparently, to be old and friendly acquaintances. They arrange to meet at midnight that night to proceed out to the Stiletto to secure it. The party will be responsible for taking the main deck while Sir Robert’s men will secure the gunnery deck. In exchange for their services, Sir Robert agrees to deliver the party to Westergarde or any spot they choose along the route.
After sundown, the party proceeds to the manor of Count Richelieu. Alton sets a house ablaze a few blocks away to create a diversion and the rest of the party quickly dispatches Richelieu’s house guard, allowing Diego to slay the count himself and rescue his sister Isabella. The band returns to their hideout beneath the University of Invention to await the appointed hour on the bay.
The humans kept confusing her. Not that she minded helping … that was not entirely true. She -did- mind. Partly because she wanted to get out of the city; she had had enough of this place to last a lifetime. An elven lifetime. But the main reason was that they were risking everything they had accomplished so far.
Somehow, they had managed to get their hands on, not just Corky, but the gnome as well. They had a plan that might, if not destroy, then at least cripple the enemy fleet. And they even had a plan that might get them out of Penshin alive. How they had achieved it, she had no idea. Maybe it was luck. Maybe Banagher’s goddess was watching out for them. Or maybe it was a human thing, something that made them succeed, in spite of all their bumbling around.
The sane, sensible thing to do would be to split the group in two, send one over land, and one across the sea, with only the seabased group taking part in the attack on the fleet. That would increase the chances of getting word back to Mengst. And only a few should have participated in this rescue. That would give the rest time to carry out the rest of the plan, should something go wrong.
One of the humans went off to start a fire, as a distraction. She hoped the rain was enough to keep the fire contained, at least to no more than a few buildings. Though it might prove an excellent distraction, she did not think that starting a fire that would consume half the city would be a good idea. But since the fire was her suggestion initially, she was not going to voice her reservations.
They headed towards the back of the manor of this human they were going after. It was getting dark, and the rain was pouring down, and the single guard at the kitchen entrance did not seem to notice them, as they watched him from across the street. Poppy took him down with a well-placed crossbow bolt.
Moriel and Poppy headed towards the kitchen door and slipped inside. Then, somehow, Poppy tripped, bumping into Moriel, sending them both stumbling through the kitchen. Whatever luck they had been having for the past several days held, though, and a crossbow bolt through the eye took care of the first guard through the door. Their attention turned to the man, probably the cook who had already been in the room as they entered. He looked terrified, and made no moves to defend himself as the halfling tied him up. As the others entered the kitchen, they dispatched of another guard with no more trouble than the two other guards had given them. It was, she thought as they entered the hallway, altogether too easy. Unless it was a trap, they might actually get away with this.
It was no trap. The human whose sister they were rescuing rushed through one of the doors leading out from the hallway. There were several people inside the room, but Moriel was not able to get a clear shot. Besides, it did not look as if the human needed any aid. In mere moments, he had killed this enemy of his,
Moriel went over to one of the other doors. She did not hear anything, so she cautiously opened it. There were noone there, and she stepped inside and started looking around. There were plenty of papers, but most of them seemed to be about trade. She stuffed some of them in her bag, just in case.
Then she spotted the chest. It was small, but heavy. She put it on the desk and opened it. Moriel was not really sure what she had expected to find. In retrospect, she should have known, she supposed, considering how fond the humans were of gold.
Remembering the arguments after they had found the diamonds, she considered for a moment to hide the box and leave the gold behind. Of course, that would be foolish. But she would also rather not say anything, since the humans would probably spend valuable time trying to split the gold among them. So she stuffed what she could carry into her bag, wondering what to do about the rest, when Poppy slipped inside. Her eyes lit up as she spotted the gold, and the remaining gold disappeared into Poppy’s pack. Moriel sighed. Being out among the humans had definitely not been good for the halfling.
They returned, with the girl they were here to save, through the sewers to their hiding place. They were way ahead of schedule now, and had some time to kill. Moriel showed the gold to the humans, and was more than a little surprised when she was told to keep it. She considered, for a moment, dumping it, but decided to hold on to it for now. If nothing else, it could come in handy if they needed another distraction.
The halfing paces the floor of the hideout, her full attention on the gold coin sheâ€™s spinning between her fingers. The shiny yellow surface reflects into her wide, blue eyes, making them appear green, and adding to the wildness seen within. From her lips tumble mumbled words, just loud enough for the coin to hear. ..
I have more of youâ€¦lots more of you.
Youâ€™ll never be aloneâ€¦Iâ€™ll always have more of you.
Want to know why?
Tonight, I become a pirate. Not just any old pirate, but the captain of a pirate ship! Alton, promised. Pirates eat their dinner from atop chests filled with the likes of you!
But to make you feel better, Iâ€™ll tell you a little secretâ€¦
Youâ€™re just like me, bright, shiny, and dangerous.
Maybe thatâ€™s why we get along so well.
The difference is thereâ€™s only one of me and many of youâ€¦.soon to be more!
Do you know what that means?
You and the rest of your shinelings will be put to good use.
I have plans! Many plans involving bright colors, frills and glittery stuff will come to fruition just as soon as weâ€™re done here. Thereâ€™s an end. Itâ€™s almost here. I will live to see it and so will you!
But afterâ€¦after itâ€™s all done, you and the rest of the shinelings will be put to better use.
A day will come when I, Poppy, will stroll flowered lanes, twirling my umbrella, singing my song of triumph while passerbyâ€™s look on, too awestruck to even bow.
I will be a living legend.
The coin spins a final time before its flicked back into the purse with the rest and tucked securely inside the tunic of the Halfling. The coin continues on, just as a coin should, without any indication of being spoken to by a Halfling