In which the PC’s finish the business at hand in Sasserine, and embark on a mission to ambush Vanthus Vanderboren as he’s ambushing some pirates of the notorious Crimson Fleet. Unfortunately, they might not be the only ones with that idea…
With a couple of days to burn before the presentation ceremony, our heroes attempt tto learn a few years’ worth of charm school. Nobody decides they have better things to do, so they avoid embarrassing themselves in front of the city’s nobles. The night before the presentation ceremony, watchman Vilmar Overlander appears at the door of Vanderboren Manor with some of Vanthus’s letters found in the Lotus Dragons’ lair.
One hint found in the letters is that Vanthus intends to ambush some pirates out at Kraken Cove, a hideout some distance from the city, and steal their treasure. These happen to be pirates with ties to the Crimson Fleet. Vanthus knows this, which indicates he is either supremely arrogant, overconfident, or utterly foolhardy.
During the party, they discover that Rowan Kellani has somehow escaped from the dungeon.
Taking their leave from the party, our heroes rush down to the Blue Nixie and head for Kraken Cove. After five uneventful days’ sailing along the swampy coast, they arrive at Blood Bay in time to see a plume of black smoke on the horizon.
Deciding they’d rather not fight a bunch of angry pirates in ship-to-ship combat, our heroes go ashore and trek through the jungle, only to find the after-effects of some nasty magic has turned the beasts into twisted, murderous versions. They are set upon by monkeys with too many teeth and random bone-spurs jutting through open sores.
Finally they come across Kraken cove, only to discover that the pirate fleet, and most of the bay, is in flames—it appears that the barrels of alchemists’ fire Vanthus used on the pirates hit a cargo of whale oil, sending them all up in oily black smoke.
The PC’s start working their way down a rickety, narrow staircase of rotten planks set into the cliff face down to the beach, until one falls off into the water below, dragging the rest with…just as one of the burning ships finally snaps its ropes and goes careening into the cliff face, smashing the remaining stairs and leaving them in the flaming water. They are saved from drowning/burning by a hastily-conjured octopus and dragged, gasping, onto the beach. The beach that is littered with debris and miscellaneous body parts…