Sir Kae had died a glorious death, smiting the evil Sir Brackis to the ground with his dying blow. His comrades carried his body back to the city of Battlerock, where he was buried with great honour. Sorrowful at his demise, his comrades, the catlord monk Rye Longtooth and the chef-mage Cottington, stood bravely to face the might of the dark cult known as The Circle.
However, realising that discretion truly is the better part of valour, and facing the threat of certain death from The Circle’s assassins, Rye and Cottington fled to the coastal town of Bree, hoping to find a ship that could carry them to safety.
At Bree, the two heroes found no-one willing to help them… no-one, that is, except the dread pirate Captain Tabran Tain, captain of the Scoundrel’s Hope. Captain Tain had recieved a commision to carry cargo from the northern city of Spree, and welcomed aboard two new crewmen – a cook, and a guard.
The Hope reached Spree after an uneventful journey, and Captain Tain took advantage of the Hidden Blades to inquire after his new comrades. The information broker who helped him also warned him of the presence of Imperial investigators. Purchasing the broker’s silence, Tain loaded his ship’s hold with lumber and iron ore, and set his prow for the city of Derioch.
However, during the voyage, there was a brutal murder aboard. The lookout boy, Jonesy, was found in his crow’s nest with his throat cut. Interviewing those who had been on duty, Tain discovered that a crewman named Cattar had ‘lost’ his knife. Examining the man’s effects, Tain found a box filled with gems. With assistance from the mage Cottington, Tain was able to discover Cattar’s plan: having been well paid by a man at Spree, Cattar was planting small delayed blast fireballs in strategic points aboard the Hope. Enraged by the man’s betrayal, Tain had the vessel stop, at which point Cattar walked the plank. Having rid themselves of the traitor, the crew continued on to Derioch.
The docking and unloading at Derioch was smoothed by the presence of the psionically-gifted residents of that town, and Tain, Rye, Cottington and the second mate took lodgings ashore to negotiate payment and further cargo. However, that night, they were awoken by the sound of attack. Attempting to return to the Hope, they were informed that they could not leave, as the attackers were, like them, foreigners…