The destruction of Silver Shore’s harbor by the Sarasin forces was not exaggerated in the slightest Iricah reasoned. Months prior, she had spent some time there, finding a ship that would take her to First Isle. Not an easy task either she remembered. Now she had returned with a new crew under very different circumstances than when she had left. She arrived to Silvershore now and left tragedy and a few unanswered questions about the ship she once chartered behind her. She had a tendency of late, to leave things behind, sailing straight onward towards something new.
The walls that guarded against the vast waves, especially the grand waves, were virtually gone, although work seemed to have begun to strengthen them against the all powerful sea. Sailors called the waves that came twice a day, grand waves. Whether here in the dreaded isles or back in Celn lands, the grand waves had grown in intensity in recent years. There was no safe harbor from them so close to shore, unless one was inside one.
Many of the budding colony’s buildings were destroyed, and even though there was no smoke in the air, the smell of it still hung thickly. Little in the way of seagoing vessels were tied to docks, nevertheless there were few docks available. Those vessels that were docked, were nearly all currently being worked on in some way.
Areia stood upon the Spinnaker’s prow. Her thievish eyes missed little. She put her fingers to her temple and laughed out loud doing it. She still didn’t understand how it worked, only that she could now communicate with the others this way, after the battle they shared with the iron golem. Frank had figured there had been some Kasillian power that affected them. But she couldn’t understand much of what he had said, so she used it a lot, mostly to annoy the others. Why is that part of the harbor, she pointed, not docking vessels? Space is clearly limited here.
Perhaps it is reserved? said Frank. He was preparing his gear from belowdecks.
Reserved for what? asked Zy’an, who was in another part of the ship himself.
I think the answer is for whom, said Iricah. The King is en route according to Garondin, and also according to the prince he is livid about the attack. If I know anything about Borindin, he’ll come here first. My friends, the King may very well come to us.
Later that evening, they found themselves in The Dragon’s Fall Inn and Pub. Silvershore’s guard was on high alert, understandably after the attack, and the bar was full. Many different elements of Celn life were represented this night, as was typical in inns and pubs across the realm. First, there was the hodgepodge collection of those “adventurers” looking to score a job. Each had their swords a little too rusty, or a little too clean, despite their strategy at securing a job. Mages, rogues, fighters of all sorts. The bar was full of them tonight, but this wasn’t the usual collection. For outnumbering these colonial sorts of mischief makers, were members of the order clad in silver, or iron and a few wearing the crimson robes of high inquisitioners.
Areia sat at the bar and took a long pull of a terrible dark ale she had been told was Silvershore’s finest. She was watching one such man sitting at a table of elderly men. He was wearing deep red robes and staring at the food he had ordered. She pointed her ears in his direction and overheard something about “Celn quality”. She chuckled and downed the rest of her drink, asking the bartender for another. Frank, Zy’an and Iricah sat next to him. Iricah tried to nonchalantly put her finger to her temple. Areia spat out her beer, and laughed out loud, “Lady! Seriously, this place is packed with every unsavory sort left in this town, and every one of them is doing something they should be inquistioned for! Even the high inquisitioner himself over there is partying it up!”
“Is that who that is?” asked Iricah. She couldn’t resist a smile, “He looks like he’s one ale away from needing a dozen more bodyguards to carry him out!”
“Shhh!” laughed Hojo and continued in a very non-whispery voice, “He’s kind of important around here!”
“Yep, he came to Far Realm once. Cleaned up the streets a bit, if you get my drift,” Areia said, “Name is Cardinal Tabraxon. He’s in charge during the King’s war doctrine, until he’s relieved. At least that’s what my elvish ears are picking up.”
“Mine too,” said Frank. He had been speaking to several of the Flame’s clergy and the word was that Tabraxon and the chief noble left after the Sarasin attack wanted to make a good showing for the arrival of “important dignitaries” they expected from Cillandar in the next few days.
Zy’an leaned across the table and was about to ask Hojo something just as a bartender brought Areia another round of ales. She kept repeating how thirsty she was, saying it like one of the fish monsters they had fought so long ago. Hojo seemed to think it was funny, but everyone else was busy eating their food. It was one of the first warm meals they had eaten in awhile, and it wasn’t half bad, some beast from the wilds. The trick, was to guest which one. After polishing off her plate with a generous helping of Celn toast, she went off to strum her lyre, and sing for a few coin. The others didn’t know it, but Iricah was a bard by motivation more than ability. In her endless search to find out what was wrong with the world since losing Galen, she found this simple task of playing music gave her the best ear for new leads. Hojo was about to join her, when Zy’an’s question reappeared.
“Hojo, how well do you know Silvershore’s,” he paused, “underbelly.”
The jester leaned closer too, pretending to take the matter very very seriously. “As well as it’s leathery back side I’d wager,” replied Hojo. Zy’an’s intended response was interrupted by a hiss in his mind.
Enjoy your mealsssss humansssss, slithered Thrak’s voice in their minds, Jusssst remember to bring me ssssome out here in the barn…
Iricah had completely forgotten that Thrak was made to wait outside. She paused a minute in her song about bygone days in the first years of Cillandar’s rise. She had amassed a following now in the bar, and a pesky pixie kept tapping her instrument, waiting for her to continue.
Thrak had nearly made an uproar over it, but Zy’an and Marcus had soothed him. This wasn’t the time nor the place to make a stand for half rights. Thrak had changed. But it seemed as though the last few years he was gone, hadn’t done much for the Celns’ superstitutions. If they only knew the truth Zy’an wondered. What would the races think of one another? What would happen to the Light of Cellinor?
Hojo, looking a bit puzzled, continued. “My Lord Garondin asked me to be your guide here in Silver Shore as you make your way back to the isles. What can I do to help you find your way around?”
“We’re looking to make some purchases, Hojo. Of a magical kind,” said Zy’an carefully.
“We want some loot, dude!” cried Areia, holding her mug above her head. Several other patrons in the bar did the same and made out a bellow with cheers to “Loot! Loot! Loot!”
The others gave Areia a disapproving look.
Hojo smiled, “Well, if it’s loot you’re after, it’s below your feet, my friends. Or soon will be!” He watched Areia look under the table spilling half her ale, which of course made her shout, “Ale!” to more cheers.
Hojo leaned in this time. “The Dragon’s Pub and Inn sits on the biggest black market of magical wares this side of the still waters. Only in Silver Shore would something so dark, be so prosperous!” He smiled a toothy grin, his eyes twinkling. “Better shot of finding something down here, then just about any place in the isles I’d wager. You know the decree about magical wares friends. They are King’s property, and must be registered. Luckily, shadows are everywhere in the realm’s many laws.”
“So, how do we get to this market?” Asked Zy’an.
“We wait for him,” thumbed Hojo pointing quickly to Tabraxon. The large man was now teetoring on his bar stool, behind him a number of clergy were quickly finishing their drinks as if they knew their party had come to an end. Zy’an noticed that he wasn’t the only one watching Tabraxon. As he stared over his mug, it seemed like the whole bar was waiting for the Cardinal whether they were clergy ready to follow his lead, or others hoping he’d go.
“The market starts when he leaves,” laughed Hojo, “You’re in the right place at the right time.”