After repairs are completed, the two ships, The Walrus and Sea Bream, set sail back to the pirate camp. They encounter some storms along the way, but Manuel and the pilot of Sea Bream are able to minimize the damage to the sails. Eleven days into their journey, they spot a ship on the horizon – it is Lamona, the ship of the privateer, Antoine Sebourne. They encountered his ship when they first travelled to the Pearl Islands to find the privateer camp. He is known to be one of Maddy’s men. Lamona escorts the ships the rest of the way to Maddy’s camp.
Once inside the pirate cove, they set anchor and begin to go ashore. Manuel stays behind on The Walrus to keep a watch on things. After the others of the group come ashore, Cendrik, one of the men rescued from The Green Lady, approaches Murad. He informs Murad that he noticed on their journey that Horst didn’t “make water” over the side of the gunwale like the other sailors always do. Instead, he would always go below decks to the privy. Cendrick is concerned that he may be ill. Murad and Quintin discuss it. They decide to send Cendrick back to Sea Bream and instruct him to take Horst back with him.
Murad and Quintin continue on to Maddy’s hut. She greets them at the doorway with a smile. The three of them enter the hut while Rod stays outside of the door, in the shadows. They find Cam Rewyn inside. Brenn and Sebourne join them.
Murad tells the tale of their journey. After asking the group some questions, Maddy thanks them for thwarting Spue’s plans. She looks at Cam Rewyn and declares that their deal is complete. She will no longer be supporting the Lettanni and her ships will be accompanying them back to Princeton.
Before the party leaves, Maddy asks them what they know of a group called the Children of Zepha. They tell her of the encounters with the magus in Princeton and the sorcerer on The Walrus. They mention that they each possessed a “suicide” ring. Maddy informs them of what she learned. Harval Spue, when he was leader of her gang, was approached by a man from the Children of Zepha. He offered support for Spue if he were to make a play to take over all of the privateer gangs in West Hanum. When Maddy returned, this deal was put on hold. If Spue had escaped the party, he likely would have staged a revolt to retake control of Maddy’s gang, once he returned.
Eight days ago, when the party was at sea, Maddy was paid a visit by a member of the Children of Zepha. He was a man of Central Ashtarean descent and said that his name was Arbo. When the Quintin hears this, he remembers that this name is similar to the name of a Labreyan man who convinced their friend Palu to betray his fellow militiamen to the Gul. Maddy told Arbo that she would need time to consider the offer. He is due back any day and she is planning on not being here when he returns…
The group leaves Maddy’s hut and meets with Cam Rewyn alone, in his tent. He suggests that they do not wait for this Arbo to return. They are not certain what kind of force he may come with. Rewyn will return to Princeton with Maddy on the morrow and he asks that the party come with him. They agree. They ask that Cam come back with them to The Walrus as a precaution. As Rod and Quintin with Cam Rewyn and his guards row back to The Walrus, Murad changes into a gull and flies toward the ships.
While waiting for the others to return, Manuel hears a disturbance on Sea Bream. He goes to investigate and sees three men are holding a third man down, with a knife to his throat. The man being held is Horst and Cendrik seems to be in charge of the others. Cendrik claims that Horst is a spy. By this point, Murad has heard the commotion and has returned to Sea Bream. Using Detect Magic, Murad sees that Horst is laden with many magical items. Murad removes his boots and sees the four-pointed star tattoo of the Stars’ Children. Manuel renders him unconscious. As they remove the magical items form Horst, they notice that he is not a “he” at all, but a “she”. Cendrik and his men join the Walrus’s crew, while the party takes the prisoner into the captain’s quarters to question her.
She tells them that was sent by the Children of Zepha to spy on Vossian. He was working on their behest, but refused to allow any of their people on his ship. So, they sent her to gather information on his mission. She refuses to answer any more of their questions unless she is taken to Princeton to speak with the Stars’ Children master there. After some torture led by Rod and supported by Murad, she relents and agrees to their demand for more answers. Quintin is unwilling to observe the torture and leaves the room. He becomes ill and vomits over the rail.
She says that her real name is Azair. Quintin, having composed himself, has returned by now. He gives her his word that they will keep her safe, if she talks. She names the sorcerer on the Walrus as Cestus. She was to report her findings on Vossian to him. She is a sorcerer, who was recruited into their group, with promise of power and a threat regarding her friends, who are in the organization. After this mission, her first, she was to meet Arbo in Llantry, at a tavern called “The Broken Pickle". Once the party is satisfied that she has told the entire story, they leave her with Manuel.
The next morning, Quintin updates Cam Rewyn. Murad meets with Maddy – they agree that she will pilot The Walrus, on behalf of the party. This serves to shield the ship from the Governor’s expropriation and provides some use for the Gorman Flanck’s privateers. Once Madeleine is returned to Maddy, as per their agreement, she will return The Walrus to the party or purchase it from them.
The privateers break camp, leaving nothing behind. The party moves their items back to Sea Bream. She is rearmed. Sea Bream, The Walrus, Lamona, and two more of Maddy’s ships, Pinkbelly and Bilgerat, set sail for Princeton. The following day they rendezvous with Maddy’s five other ships.
During the voyage, Quintin and Murad identify several of the magical items taken from Azair:
- +2 leather armour
- meta-magic rod, silent spell (lesser)
- a circlet of persuasion (+3 to charisma-based skills)
- +1 adamantine dagger
- potion of gaseous form
- potion of cure moderate wounds
- potion of cat’s grace
As they enter the reef channel to the east of Calmuth Island, just north of Plith, they encounter a squadron of Ealduran ships. Cam Rewyn speaks with them and they are allowed to pass. About a mile north of Princeton, the ships drop anchor. Maddy’s ships will remain here, under the command of Brenn. Maddy asks the party and Can Rewyn if she may accompany them aboard Sea Bream the rest of the way to Princeton. She wishes to speak with Lord Governor Darrow herself.
Soon after, Sea Bream reaches Princeton harbour. As they arrive, the party can see a large flotilla of ships in the military docks – over sixty, to be sure. The docks seem to be teaming with men, including many soldiers.
After Sea Bream docks, an officer, sent by the Governor, approaches them. He conveys the message that they are to accompany him to the Duke’s Keep, where an important meeting is taking place. The Governor sends an aid to fetch the party at once, to the Duke’s Keep for an important meeting. The party agrees, except that Quintin wishes to pass by the Stars’ Children Chapter House on the way. The officer, named Osten, informs Quintin, that, if he wishes to speak with the Master, he is actually at the meeting in the keep. Quintin then decides to come along, bringing the loot and their prisoner with him. Maddy insists that she come as well. Osten initially protests, but relents once the party and Cam Rewyn insist that she be allowed to join them. They march off toward the keep…