Quest for Starfire
The Fastest Airship in the Astral Sea
This vessel floats above the ground, held aloft by a balloon filled with magic gas. The balloon sits within a wooden or metal frame, beneath which is a boat-shaped cabin that holds the crew, the passengers, and the cargo.
Although most airships are powered by a magic propeller, some resemble sailing ships and are driven by magically created winds. An airship requires a crew of five (in addition to the pilot) to fly effectively. Including the gas balloon, this vessel is 10 squares long, 4 squares wide, and 5 squares tall.
The ship has no mounted weapons. It instead boasts a large cargo space which can be converted easily into living quarters.
A feather capped figure and a hulking giant step out of the shadows and into the twilight of the port. There were many vessels moored in the rather uncouth and disheveled gallery of walkways and anchor posts. It was the perfect place to get lost, and therefore the perfect place to find the ship they were looking for.
Gauthak grunted and glared at a group of ruffians whose eyes had lingered on the pair for too long before looking questioningly at his friend. “This is where we will find the means to spread the tale of our companions?”
“Yes, it is.” Assured Jinroy. The bard stood seemingly at ease among this crowd. “We need the fastest means to cross the Astral Sea and return to Aestonia. Pirates have the fastest ships.”
The goliath nodded and looked back at the maze of hanging walkways among the galleys. It was only a matter of finding the fastest. The two companions were able to blend in easily enough. Jinroy altered his look to be more angled, with a chunk from his nose and a scar blinding one eye, which he left uncovered. Gauthak was menacing enough that those who would take a second look didn’t for fear of bringing his wrath upon them.
They sat in taverns, listening to the conversations of scoundrels and smugglers, trying to figure out who had the fastest ship. Finally: “The Transcursus pulled into dock. That tiefling Solok Chans just got the best pickings on dromi spice for threading the needle.” It was a burly duerger who spat on the floor with these words. His barmates were taken aback at these words.
“Thread the needle? Impossible!”
“The Transcursus is quick, but no one is that quick…”
“I tell you it is true!” The duerger growled. “Bastard just pulled into dock weeks before anyone else has a chance to. They were unscathed. Only way you can go through that deathtrap of a crystal field is by threading the needle. Others are still goin ’round!”
Jinroy and Gauthak exchanged a look and strode over to the conversation. “Where is the Transcursus moored?” Jinroy cut in.
“Who the fuck are you?” Spat the duerger.
“Someone with a job for a fast ship. Where is the Transcursus moored?”
“Oy! You’ll never afford it, blindy! Go fuck someone else’s day!”
After Gauthak grabbed the dueger by the neck and heaved him into the ceiling the dazed dark dwarf was decidedly more docile.
“Eh.. bit a… in the middle…. dock of name Corsair Retreat…” As the duerger slumped unconsciously into his drink the pair left the tavern in haste.
They found the ship docked where it was supposed to be, and it was a beauty! Everything about it was built for speed. The balloons of magic air were lower than most others, and more elongated to lessen resistance. A mast poked up between the two balloons, offering a great vantage point as well as keeping the balloons firmly secure. Instead of a propeller or a sail, this airship had mixed both in a pair of intricate magical and mechanical wings like a swan’s. These were currently flat against the boat. It was made of wood of the Feywild and must have started its life in a much more noble pursuit than smuggling. Unfortunately it now seemed somewhat diminished and sad. It slumped to one side as crates of spice were being loaded onto its deck.
The pair grimaced as they notice a pair of bodies swinging below the deck. The sign above them read, “The price of insubordination.” A tiefling was supervising the loading of spice onto the ship, his whip’s crack urging a pair of boys wearing tattered clothing to move faster.
“Hail! Captain Chans!” Halooed Jinroy. With a final crack the tiefling captain glared down the gangplank.
“Who might know me?”
“Ruthan and Rauthak at your service.” Jinroy removed his hat and half bowed to the Captain, who noticeably appreciated the flattery.
“You wish to be in my service? How do you expect to serve me.”
“Surely you could use a fine swordfighter and songsinger? Surely my companions physical prowess is needed on such a fine vessel?”
The tiefling paused, and then pulled a roll of parchment from inside his coat and presented it to them.
“This is your contract. You are loyal to me and to me only. You take orders from myself and my first mate, Belosh. You do what you are told when you are told or you will be hanged, You run from a fight and I’ll kill you on the spot. You cheat your Captain or crewmates and we will throw you into the abyss of the Astral Sea. You do so until you are dead or I find someone better. You see the burned names? That’s what happens to those who back down on the contract. Each man gets their cut.”
With that he forced a quill into Jinroy’s face, who signed and passed it onto Gauthak, who shot a glare at the bard before signing himself. After each had signed Captain Chans rolled up the parchment and replaced it in his coat. He then looked Gauthak up and down and said, “Load the spice.” He then handed his whip to Jinroy and muttered, “Motivate the crew. I’ve got business to attend to.”
The tiefling wandered down the dock towards the slum. Gauthak made short work of the remaining crates. Jinroy used the whip for sound effects while singing “Load em’ Load em’ Load em’/Get the spice all loaded/Load em’ Load em’ Load em’/Or die!”
Soon the loaded Transcursus sped on through the Astral Sea, Belosh at the helm. The half-elf was grey and cut like an obsidian knife. He rarely spoke, but it was always in a murderously low voice when he did. Gauthak sat on deck while Jinroy went down below to get to know the crew. Down in the brig a Dark One watched over the two slaves. A song flowed in the minds of those in the brig that awoken the stirrings of the tattered humans ilif and ilik. The Dark One was taken unawares as his sight became blinded and his mind closed, he was barely able to scream before a rapier silenced him forever. The mutiny would start that night.
Jinroy, ilif, and ilik all advanced onto the deck in time to see Captain Solok Chans exit his private quarters with his Githyanki navigator. The loathing that spread across his face was palpable physically like a ray of heat. “Mutineers! Scum! There is a special hell for the likes of you! Let me send you there!”
The navigator retreated back to the private quarters as the Captain drew his scimitar and charged at the bard. Jinroy saluted and parried his opponent in one smooth motion, but suddenly took a bolt to the shoulder. Belosh aimed his deadly crossbow once more at the bard, but was blindsided by Gauthak. Unable to free himself from the goliath the half-elf could only scream in dismay as he was thrown into the abyss that is the Astral Sea. Once more Captain Chans struck at Jinroy, who barely managed to dodge. The bard caught the Captain with a counter attack the ran through his chest, and cursing the Captain fell dead.
The navigator was found cowering behind a map table. “Please! Please don’t kill me! I had no choice! Please!”
“No need for that. I need you to take us to The Fold.”
“The Fold…? Yes. Yes! I can do that! Please just spare me!”
“You have my word no harm will come to you so long as you navigate for me faithfully.”
“Oh, thank you! I will not let you down!”
Gauthak rolled his eyes at the cowardice, and Jinroy grew stern.
“What is your name?”
“Weillace! Oh Captain!”
“Weillace. You have the right to chose to be my navigator. I will not harm you either way. Please lend me your skill however, my world is in the tottering on the brink of destruction. Only my companions can bring it balance! Please have the courage to go where I ask you.”
Weillace was taken aback, and emboldened with sudden cause as a song wafted in the back of his mind.
“I am loyal to you, Captain. I will have courage.”
ilif and ilik were given proper clothing and fed well. They agreed to stay on as crew. Gauthak makes a convincing First Mate, and Weillace is more than competent at his art of navigation. It was not a full crew, but enough to reach where they might find others to assist them.
Jinroy’s instinct is to go back to the beginning of the tale, and from there he shall rejoin his companions whether in the flesh or revered in song. He reaches Stallcroft and drops Gauthak off to find their companions. However he needs a larger crew in order for their ship to be truly airworthy. He stops at the Lied Estate, and is joined by his talented sister Jinein, his rebellious brother Jintal, and their Grandfather Nalrie the thief. This gives him a crew more than sufficient to travel through Aestonia. His family also assists in cleaning up the Transcursus back to its shining glory, worthy of flying into court!