The party made it back to the caravan and updated Arach on the situation. They also met up with Kaellara, who had found nothing at Asvig’s farmhouse. She was worried about the missing Ulf Gormundr, especially when Guillaume mentioned Asvig’s quip that Ulf “would soon be joining Snorri Stone-Eye.”
They met with Meckrin as well, who appeared rather smug that Marcel and Elsa were asking for help. That worried the party, but not as much as how Meckrin didn’t ask for anything when he healed them. The goblin almost certainly has something planned, but he isn’t letting on what it is.
Guilluame showed Arach the sword they’d recovered as well, though Arach was hesitant to touch it. He had heard many stories and superstitions about intelligent weapons, and many of them were not good. He suggested bringing it to Maia , who might be able to control it, whatever it was.
The party was nearly certain that Ulf was on the funeral ship, to be thrown out with all other evidence of Asvig’s wrongdoing, but the ship was due to depart at sunrise, giving the party a few hours before they had to be there. So they took the time to run a few errands first.
First, the party sent Kaellara out ahead to scout the funeral ship and figure out a way on. Second, Guillaume wanted to stop in at the house of the trader Fynn Snaevald, the original owner of the sword Suishen. Specifically, Guillaume wanted a list of the goods that had been stolen by Asvig Longthews, so they would know what to look for on the funeral ship. However, they didn’t want to go while they still had Suishen, since Fynn might ask for it back, and they needed it for long enough to get some answers.
So instead they went to the temple of Shelyn in the Fire District, where Maia was still hiding out. They went in and woke up Bjorn, who tiredly welcomed them and showed them to Maia’s quarters, one of the cells for the priests down in the basement, before retiring again.
Maia answered the door quickly, saying she hadn’t been asleep, and mentioning she hasn’t been sleeping much lately. She heard the short version of the party’s story and accepted the sword, at least for safekeeping while they dealt with things. She drew the sword from its ornate sheath and admired it, saying she was not sensing a response, but could still feel something there, almost like it was waiting for something.
The party explained they had to go save Ulf, and asked Maia if she wanted to accompany them. When they explained Ulf was on a funeral ship which would be set on fire, Maia declined. Guillaume in particular noticed how Maia paled at the explanation of where the rescue would be.
Marcel left with a parting quip, which Maia repaid by “accidentally” clocking him with the sword, though it was back in its scabbard by that point. Guillaume dragged Marcel away before he could continue the exchange of insults and pranks which seems to be the norm when he deals with Maia.
The next errand was a brief stop at the house of the trader Fynn Snaevald, where Guillaume went inside briefly and got a listing of the items that were stolen. With that taken care of, the party finally set off to save Ulf Gormundr.
The party headed across the city, finding that the funeral ship was launching from Spear-Shaker’s point, a spot to the west of Kalsgard. They went through the Jade Quarter and out into the wilds around Kalsgard, where they raced for Spear-Shaker’s Point. They arrived minutes before daybreak, finding a crowd assembled to watch the ship launch. The party unfortunately ran into a stone wall at that point, in the form of a few dozen huscarls, elite warriors sworn to the service of Snorri Stone-Eye, now serving their final duties to him in seeing him off to the afterlife.
The huscarls did not speak Varisian and the party was still learning Skald, so the party found a trader who could translate for them. Through this trader, Guillaume tried to convince the huscarls to let him onboard to search the ship. He explained that there was someone on board who’d been left to die. The huscarls were not obliging, however, and adamantly refused to let anyone from the party onboard. They actually looked quite nervous at the thought of allowing anyone on board the ship. They only said that one of their own would look at the ship, though Guillaume was quite convinced that wouldn’t lead to anything.
Meanwhile, Elsa spotted the water creature Uksahkka in his human form. Uksahkka beckoned her over and heard her explanation of the situation. He pointed out that the huscarls were not going to let anyone on board, but their domain ended with the land. It would be far easier to get on the ship once it was out in the water. He agreed to help Elsa out, in appreciation for the help her mother had given his people in the past. Uksahkka took his leave, and not long afterwards, thick fog rolled in. The funeral was delayed until the evening, when it was determined the fog would have thinned.
The crisis delayed at least for the moment, the party took a moment to consider things. They could see the huscarls were not going to let them onboard, but boarding it at night after it left Spear-Shaker’s Point was a possibility. The only other lead they had was the Rimerunner’s Guild: the trader the party had conscripted as their translator mentioned that the Rimerunner’s Guild had been in charge of all the offerings left on the boat.
The party headed back, meeting up with Kaellara along the way, who had been unable to get on the boat either, and appeared quite worried about Ulf. The party went back to the Jade Quarter and attempted to go into the Rimerunner’s Guild, but were politely turned away by guards who said the Guild was closed and they could come back later, if they had business.
The party retired to the Red Station Inn, a pleasant nondescript place in the Jade Quarter. After resting and waking up stronger and fresher, the party took a moment to identify the magic gear they’d found at Asvig’s, Rehoofa finding to his chagrin that his new boots were boots of elvenkind. He has re-dubbed them boots of dwarvenkind, though the soft leather and delicate patterns on the boots don’t seem very dwarven. Freshly equipped, the party set off for the Rimerunners, also in the Jade Quarter.
At the Guild, the party got to test out its knowledge of the Skald language. Most of the party was recognized and welcomed back, and Guillaume introduced himself. The clerk and merchant factor they spoke to confirmed that the Guild had been handling Snorri Stone-Eye’s funeral arrangements, but they knew nothing of a prisoner being stowed in the funeral offerings. Guillaume explained that Asvig Longthews was probably not going to be checking in with the Rimerunners ever again. The merchant factor also asked if there was any progress on bringing in a certain “person of interest,” referring to the supposed exiled royalty the party was traveling with. Marcel quickly said she had died. He then had to politely decline the Rimerunners’ questions if they could handle funeral arrangements. The party then left, saying they had to see about getting a boat.
The party went to the docks, looking for a small boat for rent or sale. During their investigations, they heard rumors of a black knight who was giving out money to thralls, most likely referring to Guillaume, who had donated money to the thralls they released from Asvig Longthews. Guillaume seems accepting of this development.
The party was directed to the Varki people down in the poorer part of the docks. The Varki immediately recognized Elsa and told her of arrangements their shaman Uksahkka had made, and also warned her that he hoped she was going down the right path, and also that he now considered his debt to her mother repaid. Guillaume by this point was quite impressed with Elsa’s connections in Kalsgard.
As twilight fell, the party collected Kaellara and took her to a beach just outside of town, where, as the Varki had promised, a set of three kayaks awaited them. The party took an hour or so to practice with these strange boats. Guillaume in particular had left his armor and horse behind, feeling they would be a hindrance on the water. Elsa, for her part, wore her dragon scale fullplate, beautifully forged by the dwarven smith Rogar in Kalsgard, and which she had just become proficient in wearing.
As it grew dark and the party got ready to leave, a giant crab came out of the water, picking up one of the kayaks and cracking it in its claw. The party fought the beast, Rehoofa getting grabbed and nearly dragged out to sea until Kaellara’s knives, Guillaume’s sword, and Elsa’s fingernails brought it down.
The party rode out in their kayaks to Spear-Shaker’s Point, taking advantage of the darkness and the lingering fog for cover. As expected, the funeral ship was just departing, and the huscarls were shouting out their funeral chant.
The party got onboard the ship easily enough, where they disarmed the time-delay ignition: a bag of hot coals over a pot of oil and kindling. The ship wasn’t going to burn down just yet, so the party investigated, checking the body on the bier to find it was a simple wooden mannequin wrapped up in a shroud. The party explored below the ship’s makeshift deck, finding the cramped hold filled with fog and treasures alike. Rehoofa went in first, finding a barrel that exploded open, and a hideous undead creature, dripping with seawater and swollen with decay, stepped out. From the eyepatch over the creature’s eye, it seemed the creature was none other than Snorri Stone-Eye himself, the Mad Reaver back from the dead.
The fight was on. The party was at a disadvantage, fighting in the cramped, foggy confines of the hold. The undead Snorri swung a deadly greataxe, hitting powerfully and draining the life force out of several of the party. In the end Kaellara came to the rescue, squeezing into the hold with everyone else, outmaneuvering the creature, and slashing it to pieces with her knives.
The ship secure again, the party did a quick exploration. Though there were many treasures lining the hold, there was no sign of Ulf. A Detect Magic found the undead Snorri’s eye socket was magical. Guillaume investigated, extracting the stone “eye” that was Snorri’s namesake.
The party gathered up what artifacts of Fynn Snaevald they could find, and a few of them lined their pockets with funeral treasure as well. As they looted, however, they heard an explosion from above, and saw flickering flames. The boat had caught fire!
Elsa investigated, seeing, rather unexpectedly, five ninjas on the deck waiting for her. One of the ninjas had set the boat alight, while others moved in. Elsa fought but was injured, and the rest of the party made its way out of the hold, one by one, to help.
The fight was a dangerous one, made moreso by the rapidly spreading flames. Kaellara was badly burned by the fire, but the ninjas were wiped out. In one particularly brutal moment, Marcel fired a Scorching Ray Wand to finish off a ninja that had jumped in the river to save himself, and proudly announced there would be no survivors.
Eventually the party dispatched the ninjas, and quickly looted the gear off a few of them before abandoning ship. Their kayaks were long gone, cut free by the ninjas, but the party was able to commandeer the canoes the ninjas had used to get up to the ship. Everyone got into a canoe successfully except for Elsa, who ended up in the drink instead, and nearly sank. Guillaume and Rehoofa were able to pull her out, though she is now soaking wet and shivering in the frozen night of Kalsgard.
The party quickly made its getaway, as the funeral ship of Snorri Stone-Eye burned, broke up, and sank to the bottom of the river.
Unfortunately, they now find themselves short of leads. With no sign of Ulf Gormundr on the ship and Snorri Stone-Eye turned into an undead horror, the party wonders what fate befell Ulf, who was supposedly going to “be joining Snorri.”