The crew of The Squid returned to Junpaart to report their success to “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone. Marcone was pleased with their work, and informed them he had nothing more for them at the moment, but that he expected them to be available as more work was. Captainn Quin ‘Blood Lung’ agreed.
They decided to begin the modifications to their new ship, which they had stashed a ways down the coast. They painted the hull black and gave it black sails, as well as fitting it with a false wall in the cargo hold and lining the resulting secret compartment with lead. The crew stayed at an inn in Junpaart until they were finished.
On the second night, Captain Bloodlung, Midori, Fenrir Esjborn and Tal Windwalker were drinking at the bar and putting out their feelers for work when Tal was approached by a shifty-looking man who said he had a job for them. He said that he didn’t want to talk about it in the bar, and told Tal to meet him in the alley out back in about ten minutes.
Tal brought Fenrir along for security, and they quietly excused themselves several minutes later to meet him. As they went into the alley, through the gloom they could make out the shape of the man sitting against the wall behind a pile of garbage. As they approached closer, they could see he wasn’t merely sitting: the gaping hole in his chest and blood-soaked clothing attested to the fact that he’d been fatally stabbed.
Fenrir whirled around, looking to the street just in time to see the assassin drop down from the roof into the alley, blocking their escape.
Fenrir snarled, turning into a bear, and Tal readied a spell. With cold dispassion, the assassin ducked under Fenrir’s first assault, into sword’s reach, and ran him through the stomach and slashed off one of his hands. Hurt but not out for the count, Fenrir bellowed in anger and begin the assault anew as Tal launched a magical attack that dissipated on contact with the assassin.
The commotion drew Bloodlung and Midori from the bar, and Urso rushing into the combat. The bear roared and grabbed the assassin by the leg, locking on and not letting go. She merely focused and exploded in a cloud of choking smoke. She was gone again. The crew was left to tend their wounds and curse her name, although Tal’s opinions on the subject were a little different. Fenrir got his hand healed after paying a local cleric to mend it.
That night, Bloodlung was contacted by Lord Amov Hallandar, who said he had a job for them he couldn’t trust anyone else with, and asked them to come immediately. Bloodlung agreed to come immediately.
In the morning, the crew spoke to Marcone about him potentially hiding their wingship until the heat died down. He agreed to take it as collateral on their loan, and sent Austelle with some men to collect the ship.
As they were getting aboard the ship early that morning, the assassin struck again, leaping out from where she’d been lurking invisibly to stab Urso badly. The crew bared their weapons, but she was gone again before she could get pinned down.
Austelle, furious that anyone would dare attack Marcone’s employees so brazenly, promised to put a hit on their mysterious assailant, and with that the crew set off for Emerald City. When they arrived, Hallandar showed them in with a smile.
He then explained that someone in his organization had been leaking information to his enemies, and it had to be someone high up. Since they were outside, they were the only ones who could be trusted to get the job done discreetly.
He explained that he was attempting to recover his family’s ancestral sword: the sword of Hallandar. In addition to being a priceless heirloom, he said it also had significant magical powers, although he didn’t explain what kind.
As they were leaving, he thanked them for helping, and promised to treat them to his best hospitality when they returned, including meeting his darling wife, Arideth.
That set off an alarm bell in several of the crew’s minds. It’s a small Expanse. When they asked to see a portrait of her, he happily showed them a painting of her.
There was no doubt. It was the same assassin who’d been dogging them so fiercely. When the crew raised this objection, however, Hallandar quickly became angry and defensive. Rather than forcing the issue, they decided to back off and apologize.
Following the map to where Hallandar’s sword was supposed to be, the crew sailed the Squid northward to Monolith Island. As they made landfall, they began pushing their way into the dangerous land.
They encountered two stone giants, which was nearly the end of both Fenrir and Olaf Odinson. The brutes hit hard and were damned tough, and it was only through heavy combined fire that the crew eventually brought them down.
Moving further inland, they came to some sort of open, abandoned temple. The open shrine in the center was perfect for housing something valuable. As they approached closer, a pair of drow knights riding spiders the size of horses emerged.
The crew moved quickly. One knight was incapacitated by a well-aimed entangle spell, which bogged his mount down. The other one moved to charge, but the crew didn’t leave him much room to maneuver and quickly cut him down.
As they did so, the entangled knight quietly freed his mount and spurred it straight up the side of the temple, climbing onto the roof and out of sight. As he charged back down for an attack, it was cut down beneath him. He freed a longsword to continue the fight, but was overpowered and killed.
The crew interrogated the first knight, who was still breathing, which proved a frustrating experience due to a language barrier. Eventually, they managed to figure out that they had claimed the sword just the day before, and sent it away with a Captain Haiden.
The crew executed the knight and set off back to the coast at full speed, arriving the next day. Fenrir cast wake trailing, and they set off after the Kraken, intent on claiming the sword back.