In the previous session, our heroes secured the Monastery of the Hook and defeated its Prior, who covertly engaged in slave trade. With the monastery in their hands, our heroes took the fight to the slavers and defeated them in their own lair. They have now secured a ship...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
Legitimate or illegitimate gains?
We began today with a discussion about gold, prompted by the recap of our previous session. After killing Prior Serafim, the players had found a chest filled with coins in the Monastery of the Hook (see this campaign log). They were unsure whether this coin was earned through illegal slave trade or through legitimate business. This was relevant to the players because they considered that the monastery’s legitimate earnings had to be restored to the church, while its illegitimate gains should go to the players. In the end, everyone agreed the money was ‘clean’ as it was accounted for in the monastery’s books and should be restored to the church.
Our heroes take a moment to recuperate from the harrowing battle with the qarim slavers, then go to work cleaning up the ship. Cipran and the one surviving sailor of the Golden Maiden give Captain Jannovic and the other fallen sailor a burial at sea, while Bogdan tends to the wounds of the survivors. Razvan searches the ship; in the stern castle (which consists of a single captain’s room), he finds the ship’s ledger and a few coins.
Our heroes study the ledger and find out that the captain of this ship (Captain Lokman Siyah) made runs between the Monastery of the Hook and the regelui city of Codruscut. On journeys out, they purchased slaves at the Monastery and sold them in Codruscut. On return journeys, they purchased “ingredients” in Codruscut and sold these to the Prior at the monastery. Our heroes conclude these “ingredients” are most likely the mystery ingredients in Prior Serafim’s rejuvenation potions. The ledger only mentions “Nicolae, Shieldbearer” as Captain Lokman Sayih’s contact in Codruscut. According to the ledger, the ship was bound to sail again either today or tomorrow.
Remarkable about all of this is that the city of Codruscut is a city of the regelui, which means that slavery is outlawed there. It strikes our heroes as particularly vile that there is an apparent black market for slaves in a place they consider civilized and devoted to the Undead God, Damas.
As the others clear the ship of get rid of the qarim bodies, Erdan and Zikan explore the caves. I’ve copied in a map of the cove below.
One of the underground caves (number 12 on the map) is sealed off with sturdy boards and a latticework metal gate. Behind it, there are fourteen prisoners shackled to the walls. They are short of stature and dark skinned with either black or white hair. Most of them are female. When the prisoners see Erdan and Zikan, they call out to them in an unfamiliar language. Despite not understanding these people, Erdan and Zikan free them and lead them back to the main cave, where Bogdan inspects their wounds and gives them what assistance he may.
Razvan, who is fluent in Yazyk, understands and can communicate with the prisoners. An elder woman named Anska speaks on their behalf. The prisoners are docheri, who come from the Empire of Oest--more specifically: the grand city of Semkhramov (for a map of the Deniza, see the first campaign log). They were bound for the city of Rosusat on their galley Rusalka with a shipment of dyed cloth when they were attacked by the qarim slavers. The Rusalka went down with its cargo and captain, and the surviving crew were taken captive. Razvan tells them they are free now, and Anska thanks him on behalf of the crew. When Razvan proposes they help sail the slaver ship to the city of Zece-Biserici, they agree.
With the aid of Anska and the docheri mariners, our heroes have enough sailors to man the slavers’ barge, the Serüven. They load up the qarim’s food supplies and make ready to weigh anchor and set sail.
The question, however, is where they should go.
Cipran is a proponent of continuing the journey to Zece-Biserici. He wants to visit the church authorities there and tell them what has happened at the monastery. He reveals that he would ultimately want to a receive license from the church to end slavery in the Deniza Sea altogether. The others find this commendable (except maybe Zikan, who is more of a tag-along-for-the-coins-and-booze type), but are eager to travel to Codruscut first, where they might deal with this Nicolae fellow who thinks he can trade slaves in a free city of the regelui. When it turns out Codruscut is on the route to Zece-Biserici, Cipran agrees that they can pop into the city, kill Nicolae, and then be on their way again.
With everyone in agreement, our heroes set sail for Codruscut.