The next morning, Lius headed off to work at Viv’s shop. Dale, too, headed there, inquiring after work.
“I’ve had a word with Lius, you know,” Viv said to him with a little smirk.
“Oh?” Dale asked edgily. “Really?”
“Yes,” Viv replied. “Quite interesting how your stories differ.”
“Well… you know…” Dale mumbled. “Defending one’s honour, and all that…”
“I’m sure you had nothing but the best intentions,” Viv said.
“Absolutely,” Dale replied. “He’s a good old boy. Didn’t want him to get the sack or anything. Thought I might cover for him.”
“He’s doing a good enough job of that himself,” Viv said, her tone growing icier. “Of course I don’t have any work for you. What do I look like, an adventurer’s guild?”
“Some menial tasks then?” Dale suggested. “As a way of an apology.”
Viv snorted laughter. “Sorry. I don’t think I’ve got anything for you today. I’m sure if I do, I’ll pass it onto Lius. If he and Reina wish to work with you again, I’m sure they’ll be in touch. Good day.”
Ina and Reina decided to take a trip down to Fallen to assess the current situation. The barricades around the district had been reinforced with beams and various detritus, and the watch presence had once again been reduced to zero. There were various groups of goblinoids loitering around, who glared at the pair as they passed.
“You wouldn’t think this place could get any worse,” Reina muttered. “But…”
They headed around to their usual point of ingress, only to find the round opening blocked off with wooden boards. Reina scrabbled up the wall, slipping once on a loose stone, and dropped the rope for Ina to climb up.
Reina peered through a gap between the boards, but could not see much. Frowning, she leaned back and kicked one of the boards. With that one motion, the whole mess fell apart. Reina ducked out of the way, as did Ina. After a moment, when no commotion was raised, Reina peered down, seeing the streets below deserted. They quietly made their way down to ground level, noticing that the rubble caused by the huge warforged had been cleared away, as had the zombie it destroyed. They hurried across the street and into the alleyway. The boxes that Reina had stacked and that had subsequently been shattered by the warforged were still there, but when they emerged at the other end, saw that the debris from the building that the warforged had emerged from had also been cleared away.
As they pressed on, they heard voices ahead, and ducked out of sight. Ina peeked out, where she saw a hobgoblin arguing with two goblins. The women waited, until the voices moved off, and then carried on further into the district.
They soon reached a building, from which more raised voices emanated. Reina peered through a narrow window, but saw only darkness within. Ahead they would have to pass by the open doorway of the building, so they turned back and headed around the other way. They had only gone a couple of steps when they heard a yell from behind. They turned to see two goblins, who had clearly just walked out of the building carrying a large pot between them. The pot was now on the floor, and the goblins were glaring and shouting at them.
Ina nocked an arrow, while Reina began to back up. One of the goblins took a tentative step forward, one hand behind his back. The other turned and yelled down the street. Seconds later, a brawny hobgoblin stepped around the corner, growling. Reina turned and ran, with Ina close on her heels.
“Stop!” roared the hobgoblin. “Stop!”
The women did not obey him, reaching the church in short order and hastily scrambling up to the escape. When they set down on the other side of the barrier, they ran down a couple of alleyways, until they reached the more crowded streets of The Stores.
The pair went their separate ways, with Ina going to practice archery and Reina heading to the Bazaar, to see if there was any jewellery she could buy or lift. Dale spent the rest of his day searching unsuccessfully for work, while Lius managed to keep himself from getting distracted for once, and sorted the entire back room.
“Well this is certainly a turn for the better,” Viv observed when she came to check on him.
“I do try,” Lius insisted.
“Well,” Viv said with a smile. “At this rate, there won’t be anything for you to do.”
“I’ll have to work slower then,” Lius said wryly. “I need this job.”
Viv gave Lius a gold piece for the day’s work, and sent him on his way. Before he left, he let her know that he wouldn’t be in the following day, but would try to make it the day after that.
“Found some more gainful employment, I hope,” Viv said.
“Hopefully,” Lius replied. “It needs looking into.”
“Good,” Viv said. “It’s about time you lot got a proper job instead of badgering me all day.”
When everyone had returned to the apartment, Reina, Lius and Ina discussed how they could secure some funds, with Lius suggesting that they could rob a ship or airship. The group agreed that this was a good idea, and the next morning, Lius headed to Lyrandar Tower to see what he could find. As he wound his way up to the airship docks at the top of the tower, he was stopped by a worker. Lius flashed his identity papers, and with a humble apology, the worker left him to his business.
When Lius reached his destination, he saw that most of the docks were empty, as an enormous airship was taking up almost the entire dock. Lius recognised it as the Golden Dragon, a very famous and very luxurious cruise ship. Hoping to get closer, Lius picked up one of several crates that were waiting to be loaded onto the ship and walked over to where it was docked.
“Here!” one of the teamsters called. “I don’t know you.”
Lius froze, eyes wide, and murmured, “I… just thought I’d help.”
“You what?” the teamster asked. Several other dock workers had stopped what they were doing to stare at Lius. “Who are you again?”
“Well, my name is Lius,” the half-elf said, “and I just thought I’d give you a hand.”
“Yeah?” the teamster grunted. “You wanna be back through that way.”
“Why?” Lius countered.
“‘Cos we’re working here.”
“I’m just trying to give you a hand!”
“Look, passenger lounge is that way. We could get in some trouble if you get hurt.”
“I’m not a passenger.”
“Then you really shouldn’t be out here on the dock.”
“I’m a House member.”
The teamster faltered. “Oh. Well… why didn’t you say do? Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it. We’ve got it. No need to bother yourself sir.”
One of the teamsters hurried over to Lius and practically snatched the crate from him, before charging up onto the ship.
Lius stayed where he was, observing the work for a while. He got so engrossed in watching that he didn’t notice the captain of the ship approaching until he spoke.
“Alistair d’Lyrandar,” said the tall, tanned half-elf, holding out a hand. “How can I help?”
“Lius,” said Lius, shaking Alistair’s hand. “I was just observing. It’s not very often we get your ship in.”
“Aye,” the captain said with a winning smile. “Another gawker, eh? She’s a fine vessel. Some say the finest.”
“It’s certainly the biggest I’ve ever seen,” Lius enthused.
Alistair nodded. “Well, you won’t see any bigger. Largest airship in all of Khorvaire. In fact, all of the world. Originally commissioned as a warship in the Last War, but the end came to that, and it was refitted as a pleasure vessel.”
“Do you have anyone famous aboard?” Lius asked, grinning excitedly.
“Ah,” Alistair returned, tipping Lius a wink. “That would be telling, wouldn’t it?”
“You can tell me!” Lius insisted. “I won’t tell anyone. I promise!”
Alistair smiled. “Well… no one famous. Just the usual array of diplomats, politicians and high class hoity-toity. No royals, nothing of that calibre.”
“Still. It’s a nice ship.”
“Aye. Well, we should be in port for another two days, resupplying. Then we’re setting off north around Aundair, Karrnath, down over the Talenta Plains and then back over Scions Sound.”
“Is it difficult to pilot? Are there two elementals? Are there two captains!?”
“No, no, there’s just me. There’s four elementals to give it the lift, and another to control the directions.”
The captain went on to describe the ship’s many facilities, Lius’ eyes growing wider and wider. He went on to talk about the crew, until finally, he slapped Lius on the back, and said, “Well, I’d better get back to it. If you ever want a tour, just let me know, and I’d be more than happy to show you around when I’m a bit less busy.”
“That wold be great,” Lius squeaked, beaming.
Alistair grinned. “Marvellous! Why don’t you come back tomorrow?”
Lius gladly accepted, and Alistair enthusiastically shook his hand, before marching back onto the airship. Lius walked away in something of a daze, continuing to wander through the docks until he found himself in the administration offices.
He approached the reception desk, and politely said, “Excuse me, my name is Lius d’Lyrandar. May I have a look at the imports coming in in the next couple of days.”
“Oh,” the young woman behind the desk said. “I’ll just have to call the tower master to make sure that’s alright.”
“Okay,” Lius said. Nodding, the half-elf woman stepped into the back room. Lius heard muffled conversation, and moments later, she walked out accompanied by a rotund, red-faced half-elf with impressive mutton chops.
“Yes?” the man asked in a booming voice. “How can I help you, m’boy?”
“I just wanted to look at the imports,” Lius replied. “See what’s coming in in the next couple of days.”
“Oh?” the man grunted. “Why would that be?”
Lius faltered for a moment, before weakly saying, “Out of interest.”
“Ah, that kind of reason, eh?” the half-elf boomed, raising an eyebrow. “No wonder. C’mon, m’boy. Let’s see if we can find you these manifests. I’m Augustus d’Lyrandar. But everyone calls me ‘Gusty.’”
He laughed boisterously, and Lius smiled. “Lius.”
Gusty vigorously shook Lius’ hand, and clapped a large hand on his back. “Come on, then, Lius, m’boy.”
The chunky half-elf led Lius through to the back office, and gestured to a large, leather-bound book on the desk.
“Here you go,” he boomed. “That’s what we’ve got coming in and going out in the next few days. What are you after?”
Lius glanced at the book, and pointed randomly to an airship called the Cloud Ant. “Ah, yes.”
“Ah, yes, the Cloud Ant!” Gusty said. “What in particular are you interested in about that ship… in particular?”
“It’s got a very interesting name,” Lius said. “Do you know anything about it?”
Gusty laughed. “Do I? Captained by my milksop of a son, Aerdane!”
“You don’t sound too impressed about that,” Lius observed. “What’s wrong with him?”
“Ah,” Gusty murmured. “He’s a pathetic weed of a lad. Was hoping he would take after his old man a bit more, you know?” He let out another roar of laughter.
“Oh. What’s he going to be bringing in?”
“Well, check the manifest. I think he’s coming back in on Sul.”
Lius checked the manifest, seeing that the Cloud Ant had done a round trip to Karrnath, taking out clothes, pots and metalwork, and bringing back some passengers, including an emissary. He looked down the manifest for a likely mark, but saw nothing of interest.
“I think that’s all I needed. Thank you.”
“Excellent. Well, do stop by if you need any more information.”
Lius next headed down to Ship’s Towers, where he was greeted by a host of burly sailors, who eyed him up but did not approach. He entered into the main Lyrandar office to find the front desk unattended. He glanced over the papers which were strewn across the desk, but before he could take anything, one of the sailors walked in, accompanied by a tall, severe-looking half-elf woman.
“Can I help you?” the woman asked curtly.
“Oh, I was just looking,” Lius replied. “Sorry, I think I’m in the wrong place.” The woman nodded, almost imperceptibly, and the sailor moved in front of the door, crossing his brawny arms. “Is there a problem?”
“Yes,” the woman said. “I should think so. Who are you, and why are you rifling through our documents?”
Lius took out his identity papers and said, “I was looking for the Cloud Ant’s manifest.”
“The Cloud Ant is an air ship,” the woman said, narrowing her eyes. “The clue’s in the name. Cloud.”
“I didn’t sleep very well last night,” Lius mumbled. “Sorry.”
“Well,” the woman said. “I expect you want to be on your way.”
“Yes,” Lius agreed hastily. “I think so.”
The sailor moved to one side, and Lius hurried out of the office. Once he was back out on the docks, he walked along the bustling waterfront, past sailors hauling cargo on and off ships, past piscine sahaguin who shouted their services as guides across the sea, keeping his eyes on the docked ships, looking for anything of interest.
He paid particular attention to one ship, a somewhat dilapidated, non-elemental vessel, which was being unloaded. Several men were hauling parts of a huge statue down to the docks. One scholarly-looking man on the deck of the ship was yelling for the men to be careful. Suddenly, the gang plank creaked, and a massive chunk of statue fell into the sea.
The man on the ship began to scream, “You idiot! Do you have any idea what we had to do to get that!? It was priceless!”
The workmen seemed to pay him little heed, continuing to haul the rest of the statue down off the ship. Lius watched the spectacle for a little longer, before heading back up to the middle wards.
Reina and Ina, meanwhile, visited the King of Fire. Ina was amazed by the burning furniture, while Reina simply got the drinks in. As they sat, they heard a couple of dwarves discussing the situation in Fallen. One of them mentioned that they heard that the zombies were cleared out and that everyone had moved back in, while his companion said that he had heard that the place was now overrun with hobgoblins.
“That’s ridiculous!” the first dwarf snorted.
“He’s right,” Reina murmured.
The dwarves turned to the women, and the second dwarf said, “Here, do you know about this?”
“Yeah,” Reina replied matter-of-factly.
“So, what’s going on then?” asked the dwarf.
“You’re right,” she repeated. “The hobgoblins have taken over.”
“I told you!” the dwarf gloated to his friend.
“Alright,” the first dwarf said. “So, what’s going on there? Why the sudden interest in Fallen from the hobgoblins?”
“Why the interest in Fallen?” Reina said, before mumbling, “Sorry, Ina.”
“Plague of zombies isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence,” the dwarf observed.
“No,” Reina agreed. “But that seems to be over now. Suddenly.”
“Now it’s replaced with a load of goblin?” the dwarf asked, still seeming somewhat incredulous.
“Yeah,” Reina said, shrugging. “It’s a bit weird. I didn’t like it when it was full of zombies. Probably a little better with hobgoblins.”
“Dunno,” Ina said. “Think I preferred the zombies.”
The first dwarf laughed uproariously. Reina looked over at him, and said, “You know, when we were in there and there were zombies around, it was pretty freaky.”
“Yeah, as if you were in there!” the second dwarf exclaimed. “The watch had it barricaded off! No one was in that district.”
“The watch is the watch,” Reina said.
“Oh, yeah?” the dwarf said. “And who are you supposed to be?”
Reina shrugged with a smirk. “Just an interested party.”
After their drinks, Reina and Ina wandered into the Bazaar. As they entered, they noticed the atmosphere was a little more subdued and uneasy than usual. A group of halflings were standing around, murmuring unsurely to one another.
Reina walked over, and asked, “What’s going on here, then?”
“None of ya business!” one of the halflings snapped.
“Fine,” Reina said, shrugging and walking away. The halflings glared at her as she went.
The pair headed onto Viv’s, where the gnome looked up from her book, and said, “Ah, Reina. To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Just came to look at what you’ve got in,” Reina replied. “What’s going on out there?”
“I imagine it’s something to do with the lack of Boromar walking the streets,” Viv said. “Seeing as most of them are now dead. Then undead. Then re-dead.”
“Well, I did just run into some halflings,” Reina said. “So maybe they’re not all dead.”
“Oh, no,” Viv said. “I imagine if all of the Boromar in Sharn were dead, the rest of us would be as well.”
“I would have thought someone would have muscled in on the territory by now,” Reina suggested.
“Yes, well. The biggest rivals they have are the Daask, and they’re also dead. Seems to be somewhat of a power vacuum at the moment.”
“The hobgoblins have clearly got their priorities all skewed. They could be making a killing up here. Hopefully not literally.”
“No. We can only hope. Seems like whatever they are after is in Fallen. Whatever that might be.”
“Not my concern.”
“Anyway, if you’re looking to embark on a criminal venture, now would be the time.”
“Funny you should say that. Hopefully my tiny friend is looking into that as we speak.”
Viv laughed. “Thank goodness. I thought you were going to ask me for a job as well.”
Dale also found himself in the Bazaar, and he too noticed a gang of halflings who seemed to be watching him. Dale tipped them a nod, and after glancing around furtively, one of the halflings approached him.
“Here,” said the halfling. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” Dale asked.
“What do you mean ‘what do you mean?’” the halfling snapped. “We heard anything from our guys in a few days.”
Dale leaned in conspiratorially. “Well, don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I’ve noticed that the boys and the Daask had a bit of a kick off.”
“We figured that,” the halfling said impatiently. “Then what?”
“As far as I know,” Dale continued, “all hell broke loose then, and the goblinoids got involved. They’ve taken over Fallen, and neither the Daask nor the Boromar down there have been heard from again.”
“We know that!” the halfling growled. “Tell us something we don’t know.”
Dale thought for a moment, then said, “The word is, now that the Daask has moved on, the goblinoids have moved on as well. The higher ups are looking down there to see if the goblinoids have left anything behind, and to check out the Daask, see how many of them are still about.”
“Of course,” the halfling said, nodding. “I knew they’d have a plan, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Dale agreed.
“Yeah. So we’ll… we’ll just carry on as we do.”
“Good. Keep a presence here, and remember. I didn’t tell you any of that.”
Ina, Reina and Lius reunited at the apartment, and upon learning that Lius hadn’t found anything useful, Reina elected to head down to the docks herself.
“Two coppers says you get nothing,” Lius said grumpily as she marched out of the door.
Reina passed through the red light district of Sharn’s Welcome, winking at a courtesan as she did so. When she reached Ship’s Towers, she spied a lone sailor and offered him a flirtatious look, which he completely ignored. Frowning, she undid the top string on her top and walked on. A couple of watchmen passed, and seemed to be eyeing her up. She glared back at them, and they walked over.
“Your district’s back that way,” one said, gesturing back towards Sharn’s Welcome. “Come on, move it along.”
Reina’s eyes widened, and tersely, she said, “I am not a whore.”
“Yeah?” the watchman said. “Then you should probably do that top lace back up, then.”
“Maybe it’s a bit tight,” Reina hissed.
“Come on,” the watchman sighed. “I saw the way you were trying to attract that guy. Come on. Move along.”
Scowling, Reina stalked away from the guards, and waited behind a stack of crates until they headed out of the district. She then headed back to the docks, approaching another sailor.
“Hey, sailor,” she purred.
The sailor looked over at her and grinned, revealing a slobbery mouth which contained only a few brown teeth. “Hey hey! I’ve heard of Sharn’s Welcome, but I didn’t expect it this soon!” He laughed loudly and began to approach her. Gritting her teeth, Reina took a step back, and the sailor laughed again. “Playing hard to get, are we?”
“Come on,” Reina said hesitantly. “It’s not that easy.”
“I’m sure it is,” the sailor said, jingling a coin purse. “I just got paid!”
Reina winced. “Oh yeah? What have you been bringing in that’s worth so much coin?”
“Maybe I can tell you all about it later,” the sailor grinned, taking another step forward.
Reina took another step back, and said, “Come on. Excite me.”
“Ah,” the sailor said. “Treasures from across the world!”
“I’m sure. So, which is your ship?”
The sailor turned and pointed to the grandest galley in port. “That’s the one.”
“Okay. ‘Bye.” Reina rolled her eyes and began to walk away.
“What do you mean ‘bye?’” The sailor pursued her. “Here, what’s all this about?”
“You’re clearly talking shit,” Reina snapped.
“Well, sorry!” the sailor spat. “I didn’t know I had to pass a test!”
“Well, you do,” Reina returned, “and you failed.”
“You little cocktease!” the sailor roared.
“Can’t tease what isn’t there,” Reina retorted, before charging off.
When Reina got back to the apartment, she tossed two copper coins at Lius and stormed into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
“Do you not want to hear about the other things?” Lius called through the door.
“No!” Reina shouted back.
“I guess I’ll just tell Ina, then,” Lius said, “about the Golden Dragon.”
When Reina didn’t reply, Lius did indeed tell Ina everything he knew about the airship, as loudly as he could. When he was done, and Reina still did not emerge, Lius took Ina down to the bath house and washed her, much to her chagrin.
Early the next morning, Lius sent Reina out to buy Ina a new outfit, before they went to the Lyrandar Tower. Lius suggested they pick up Dale along the way, and though Reina didn’t seem thrilled by the idea, they did so. When they reached the Golden Dragon, Reina’s jaw practically hit the floor.
“Now that’s a sight to see,” Dale admitted.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Lius whispered.
“Can we have it?” Reina squeaked.
“I knew you’d like it,” Lius said gleefully.
Reina ushered everyone eagerly towards the gang plank, where they were greeted by an open-faced half-orc. “You must be Lius.”
“He is!” Reina exclaimed.
“Yes,” Lius said, brushing Reina’s hands off him. “Hello.”
He extended a hand, which the half-orc shook. “I’m Velgram, the ship’s boson. I’m afraid the captain couldn’t be here today, but he asked me to show you around, if you turned up.”
“Oh, yes,” Lius said politely. “Thank you.”
“Thanks!” Reina parroted excitably.
“I thought it might be alright if I brought some other people to see,” Lius said, almost apologetically.
Velgram smiled. “Sure. You’re the one with the Dragonmark.”
“He is!” Reina exclaimed, pulling Lius’ tunic open. “Look!”
“Come on,” Velgram said, laughing. “I’ll give you the tour.”
The boson took them first to the main deck, and showed them the two elemental rings which kept the boat in the air. Next, they visited the rear observation deck, where he gestured to three ballistas that had not been used since the vessel was a warship. They went below deck after that, where Velgram showed them a typical room, which he said only cost 50 gold a day. He also mentioned that there was a luxury suite that was currently occupied.
Velgram led them through a grand hall to a large restaurant, then to the casino observatory and relaxation lounge, before they returned to the main deck.
“And there we are,” the half-orc said. “Hope you’ve enjoyed the tour.”
“Oh yes,” Lius said. “I think I have someone who is ambitious to join you one day.”
Velgram glanced at Reina, who nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, I’ve noticed.”
The group wandered back down the dock, and while Reina continued to admire the Golden Dragon, Lius noticed a smaller, segmented ship alongside it.
“Did everyone enjoy their tour?” Lius asked.
“It was amazing!” Reina screamed.
“We should probably head off,” Lius suggested, “and let them get on.”
Reina frowned, and kicked her feet, but eventually relented. As they left the docks, the talk turned to work, and Dale said, “I see I’m not the only one having trouble finding employment.”
Reina suddenly noticed a tall, grim looking figure walking out of a side room, flanked by two armoured skeletons.
“Shit!” Reina breathed.
“What?” Lius gasped. “What? What?”
“Skeletons,” Reina hissed. Lius followed her gaze, and surmised that the man was the Karrnathi emissary.
“I’m not exactly a… life-ist,” Dale said, “but I think there are far too many skeletons around these days.”
Lius suggested they go down to the dock and pick a boat at random to rob. Reina asked what happened with his scouting mission, and he reluctantly explained how the half-elf woman had turned him away. Upon hearing that the manifests were readily available, Reina suggested that they try again.
“What do I do?” Lius asked.
“I don’t know,” Reina grunted. “Go in and act like you’re supposed to be there.”
“We could break in at night and steal the manifests,” Lius insisted. “That would be a better idea.”
“That would also be better than picking a ship at random,” Reina said. “We could end up stealing… cats.”
“Then we sneak into the office at night,” Lius said firmly.
“If you think that’s the best idea,” Reina conceded
“_Or_ I could create some sort of distraction,” Dale interjected.
Lius shot him a look. “You could try.”
The docks were still fairly busy when they arrived. Lius directed the group to where the Lyrandar shipping office was, and waited for someone to do something.
After a long moment of silence, Reina said, “Go in there and say you want to look at the manifests.”
“For which ship?” Lius growled.
“All of them,” Reina shot back. “Throw your daddy’s name about if you need to.”
“No!” Lius snapped.
“It’s okay,” Dale said. “I’ll come in with you.
“No,” Lius repeated. “You should go in first. I can’t just throw around random names.”
“Trust me,” Dale said confidently. “If I go in there with you, you won’t need to.”
Lius reluctantly entered into the office, with Dale following close behind. There was only one man inside, a bulky sailor who may or may not have been the same man Lius saw the day before.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
“Yes,” Lius mumbled. “I’m just looking for the manifests for Fury’s Cutter, Silence and the Dawn Star.”
“I’ll have to ask harbour master Aelandra,” the sailor said. “You wait here.”
As soon as the sailor had stepped out, Lius stepped over to the desk and glanced at the papers, which looked more organised than they had been on the previous day. A couple of minutes later, the sailor returned with the same, stern-looking half-elf.
“You again?” Aelandra asked. “What do you want?”
“I need the manifests for Fury’s Cutter, Silence and the Dawn Star, please,” Lius said.
“On whose authority?” Aelandra asked right back.
Lius was silent for a long moment. Then, he reluctantly said, “Cirris d’Lyrandar.”
The half-elf woman narrowed her eyes. “What does he want them for?”
“Part of an ongoing investigation, madam,” Dale piped up when he saw that Lius was struggling.
“Really?” Aelandra said. “I wasn’t informed of any investigation.”
“No,” Dale said. “You wouldn’t be.”
“And who are you?” she inquired, glaring at Dale.
“I am someone who has come to assist Mr d’Lyrandar, here, with his investigation,” Dale said.
“I see,” Aelandra murmured. “And what exactly are you looking for?”
“We’re looking into the incident of the statue, particularly,” Lius replied. “But these other ships have items of interest as well.”
“We just want to make sure everything’s on the up and up,” Dale added.
Aelandra seemed to chew this over, then sighed, “Very well.” She turned to the desk and pulled out several sheets of paper. “These are the ships we’ve had in the past two days.”
Lius looked over the manifests. One ship had returned from Q’barra, bringing back various spices and fabrics. Another was bringing in a large amount of Eberron dragonshards from the Shadow Marches, some of which had been lost in transit.
“Do you know about this cargo going missing?” Lius asked, pointing.
Aelandra glanced down, and said, “From what we understand, raiders from Droaam managed to board the ship and make off with several crates worth of dragonshards. Is there anything else?”
“No, no,” Lius said. “It looks like I have everything I need. Sorry about last time.”
Aelandra frowned. “Yes. Last time.”
Lius smiled politely. “Thank you for your time.”
Lius and Dale reunited with Reina and Ina, where Lius, sweating and breathing heavily, said, “This is a terrible idea. We can’t do it!”
“Why not?” Reina asked, perplexed.
“We’ve come this far,” Dale said.
“I’m not doing anything more,” Lius insisted.
“Why?” Reina asked. “What?”
“I’m pretty sure she knows that something’s going on,” Dale said. “But I’m not entirely sure she knows what’s going on.”
“Who’s she?” Reina asked.
“The Lyrandar bitch in there,” Lius grumbled.
“What does she know?” Reina insisted. “What could she know? We haven’t even done anything yet.”
“Oh, I name dropped!” Lius exclaimed.
“So?” Reina asked.
“She also knows my name,” Lius said sullenly. “Stuff goes missing, it’s going to look like I did it.”
“Stuff goes missing from these docks all the time,” Reina pointed out. “We have to do something, or we’re going to be eating shoe leather for another month.”
Lius explained about the two ships he had examined, and Reina suggested robbing the ship from the Shadow Marches. When Lius said that the ship had already had cargo go missing, Reina pointed out that this made the ship an even better target.
“I’m not sure about this,” Lius sighed. “I’m not sure it would be good for the same ship to be robbed twice. Especially after I asked about it, and claimed that my dad wanted to know.”
“You asked about that one specifically?” Reina asked.
“Yes,” Lius mumbled. “It was good cover.”
“Well, that’s off the table then,” Reina groused. “Were there any that you didn’t mention that you, Lius d’Lyrandar, wanted to look at?”
“I tried, okay!?” Lius snapped.
“We don’t necessarily have to rob any of the ships that he mentioned,” Dale observed. “In fact, he doesn’t even have to be present.”
“So,” Reina sighed. “The best plan is we choose a ship at random, that’s not Lyrandar. Lius, you go have dinner with your family, then you’ve got a rock solid alibi. It can’t be traced back to you.”
“That sounds like the very worst option,” Lius complained.
“It backs up your story,” Reina said. “Plus, you haven’t seen your mum in a while. You know how she worries.”
“Yeah,” Lius sighed. “I do.”
“It’ll be just like old times,” Dale said, grinning.
“Yeah,” Reina sighed. “The last time went so well.”