The Starfall – A Tale from DND

Arriving in Fallhaven

I sit at my vanity, combing my hair with a wooden comb I bought in Vaile Crelok city. I adjust my braids, redoing them and fixing the feathers and other adornments in my hair. After I’ve fixed my appearance I dress, replacing my Jewelry and Captains hat before exiting my apartments.

We’ve arrived at the town of Fallhaven, where we are to wait for the new group we are to carry to Gozerah knows where. We’ve arrived early, as I expected, so I appear on deck to see my crew assembling, ready to dock and attend to ship matters before anything else. I stand before them as the remaining crew scrambles to form up for my speech. My left hand’s on my hip, my right resting on the grip on my rapier. I lean heavily on one hip, a picture of beauty and command, I like to think. I eye the crew before I begin.

“Alright, you scallywags. We be making land fer a few days before our next assignment arrives. I’ve prepared a list of equipment and gear this ship needs. If there’s anything ye need, now’s yer chance to acquire it. We set out as soon as the landlubbers arrive. Once ye’ve completed this task, yer free to enjoy what this town has to offer, so long as ye behave yer barnacle bottoms. Understood?” I say, looking into each of their eyes. The diverse crew stares back, nodding and grunting their approval. They like the land too, but not as much as they like the sea. I wave them off and watch as the majority of the crew disembarks from the ship, heading for the longboats to bring themselves ashore.

A few stay behind, including my Quartermaster, Marine, and Sen. They salute me as they approach, then drop the formal demeanor.

“So Cap’n’, will you be heading ashore too?” Sen asks me casually.

“I think I might. I want to see what this town is like and what kinds of goods I can acquire for unexpected threats,” I say. Marine nods her approval. “Feel free to trade out when some of the other crew gets back. Just makes sure to leave one of the loyals on duty before ye go. I know Timin said he a wanted specific roping for that stretched out sail and Bob and Bill a wanted fresh gunpowder,” I inform them. They both nod.

Before I go, Marine stops and winks, an action barely visible beneath all her bushy red-brown hair, and very uncharacteristic of her. “Enjoy yerself on the land, Cap’n’,” she smirks before tromping off. I wonder to myself what that was all about.

This ship can hold a good crew of 40, plus a battalion or so of troops. It’s a former war vessel turned pirate, turned currier now. It’s stocked with 4 longboats in workable condition. I don’t typically have enough passengers to have a need for more. I man the Starfall at 20, all skilled fighters who know what the hell they’re doing in a storm. I got some of the best mathematicians and astrologers aboard. That’s how I can claim to be the fastest ship on the sea. Of course, many doubt my skills from a distance. My Wizard makes sure of that.

His illusion has the ship appearing as a floating junk heap out on the crystal clear waters of the sea. I like the misleading appearance, though I have to wonder if it might be a bit excessive. The illusion is to maintain the appearance of a ship not worth raiding, though Frenen has made it appear to be almost unfloatable. It’s a wonder we still get work, but it does the job. Any bilgerat dumb enough to try and take us on has to follow in the stench that we produce and direct, altering the direction of the wind as necessary.

I run my hand passionately along the honey gold wood of my deck rail; I love this ship. One day, I think it would be nice to make it a war vessel once more, guarding the sea’s from ruthless invaders, avenging my family’s death. I sigh, glancing up at the rigging as I step onto the longboat and we’re lowered into the water, longingly. A Captain can dream, can’t she?

We row towards the pier of Fallhaven, eager to enjoy the pleasures of land. I have my fiddle strapped to my back, in case there’s a chance we find a good tavern worth my taste in music. Worst-case scenario, I’ll throw a deck party if there isn’t. In my longboat are a few of the pirate crew, along with my First mate, my Muscle – Bob and Bill, Gorgon and Tally. We all have a need to stock up in town. We’ve been at sea for nearly a month, and our stores are running low. Not as low as some months, but it’d be good to re-stock some items, considering the nature of our next job.

It’s not long before we reach the port and tie up the longboats, flooding the pier with our presence. I present the Dock Master with a list of my crew and our intentions, getting the stamps we need to enter the town, and with that, we’re set to go our own ways, for the most part.

It’s midday and my loyals and I decide it’s time to hit a local shop for some good landlubbers food. We enjoy the meat pies cider of a nearby shop with great merriment. From here, Timin and Tally go their own ways while Frenen, Bob and Bill and I walk the streets browsing the wears they have to offer. I scoff at the prices and consider the bargains I could make with the likes of these people. We stop by a few stores, picking up gear and powder, and Frenen finding some interesting artifacts for his spells. I find nothing of interest and by dinner time I’m ready for a tavern and some music.

We meet most of the crew at the Windy Rinds tavern, close to the docks and manage to get ourselves a large table to enjoy in the festivities. We share our drinks and after a pint or two, I step up, pulling out my fiddle and dancing along to a pirates jig while everyone claps and cheers. The night wears on until the taverns candles burn low and its residents are too drunk to stumble to their rooms or homes. I scoop up the coin I make from fiddling half the night and leave a handsome tip on the bar before stumbling out into the cool night and heading for my ship. I’d prefer to sleep on the Starfall.

I turn towards the docks and feel a firm hand on my shoulder. I spin around, hand already drawing my dagger as I turn and face Frenen, looking boldly into my eyes. His hand has a single finger pointing upward and I follow it, looking up into the night sky. Frenen often refrains from drinking while we’re out. It’s a good thing, cuz someone has to keep their wits about them. I spot the shadow in the night sky Frenen is pointing to with a broad smile. I resheath my dagger and whistle into the night.

I hear a faint chirp and I hold my arm out for Ryuu to land. I feel his sharp talons grip my arm softly. Without my gauntlet on, he knows to be careful. I’ll still retain a few scratches, but he’ll try his best. I run a finger through the feathers covering his ear and he closes his eye, happily enjoying the rub.

“Good boy, Ryuu. What’d ye find, hmm?” I ask, admiring my blue animal companion. He sticks out his leg which as a small roll of parchment tied to it. I untie it and unroll the note, reading the hastily scribbled elvish. “Sen says the returned crew be actin’ like a bunch o’ scallywags and is concerned ‘bout the ship,” I frown. “So long as they don’ burn’er down, she’ll be fine.”

“She’s always worrying about them,” Frenen comments.

“Aye, she is. Never know when something might happen. Shall we?” I offer my other arm to Frenen, turning to return to the Starfall.

He looks at my arm with amusement and instead, offers his. I take it with a smirk and we return to the docks and to the Starfall. I perch myself on the railing next to the helm, Ryuu clings to the wood beside me as we watch the crew continue the late night party. The air is cool and gently. I nice night to stargaze. I wait till the crew settles for the night before I lean back against the wheel and close my eyes.

I wake up with the sun and a cold chill in the air. Seems I fell asleep on the deck, again. I look beside me, but Ryuu is gone, probably off hunting. I look up at the crows nest, far above and see Sen’s hair blowing in the chill morning. Down here there’s not much of a wind today, but up in the rigs, there’s always a little breeze.

I jump up, stretching and picking up my hat off the deck, replacing it on my head. I’d like to see what the shops have first thing in the morning. I walk down to the main deck and head towards the smaller private docking boat I have, for small parties or single trips. I hoist it onto the loading ropes and hop in, lowering myself into the water and begin rowing to shore. I’m sure my crew will be a tad annoyed I left without them, but Sen’s no doubt seen me leave.

I reach the dock and head into town. I smell the bakers’ ovens already baking fresh bread and the early market sellers are already setting up. They say the best things are put out first. I browse the tables and shops, eyeing everything that looks of value. I’ve been thinking of purchasing a new earring. I finally find one worth my money and I haggle the shopkeeper down so I’m getting a sweet deal, though if I had Bob and Bill here, I’m sure I could save more of my gold pieces.

I stop by a bakery and eat a fresh berry bun before wandering around the main part of town. I find a flag shop and order a new set of flags for the Starfall. They’ll be ready in a couple of days, but if I’m to leave the port before then, they’ll store them for me for the next time I stop by the town. Always a sign of a good store owner.

After wandering around for hours I finally spot some of my crew back on the land. Frenen’s got a frazzled look on his face. Gozerah, he’s a dead give away. I’ll have to have a talk with him. I approach them as they spot me, their smiles lifting. It’s always great fun to mingle with them.

“Wher-” Frenen starts but I cut him off before he can complete that first word.

“Got ter see the morning market and already ordered some new flags for the Starfall. Are ye‘all headin’ in for lunch?” I ask.

Frenen bites his tongue, knowing he’s been silenced. Sen smiles and nods. “Aye! We want ter try the place down by the docks. It’s got good fresh fish.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Fish? We just ate fish for the last 2 weeks, ye want more?” I joke.

Sen shrugs. “What can I say, it’s the best. Besides, they have a local dish where they bake it all in a rare sauce and I really want to try it.”

“Fair enough. Mind if I join ye?” I ask, knowing their answer already.

“Wouldn’t be the same without you Captain,” Marine smirks.

I grin back as we head for the fish shop. Sen was right, it was a pretty good sauce baked fish. I nudge Marine, hoping she’ll get Gorgon to mimic the recipe for the crew. She laughs with a wink. I know she’ll try.

It’s a little early to hit the tavern and I’m no ready to return to the ship. I have a few more shops to find for gear so we all leave the shop, ready to wander the streets when suddenly, the sun’s gone down and the air chills around us.

We stop, looking around in bewilderment. The people around us continue on at first as if nothing was different until they too suddenly notice that the sun’s no longer up. Confusion begins to spread through the town suddenly people begin screaming in panic.

“I think it’s time we returned to the ship,” I say calmly as we briskly make out way back to the port where we’ve tied the boats. It’s not long before we’re safely back on the Starfall for the… night. I retrieve my sextant and astrolabe and check the stars. It seems the sky has shifted. Sen confirms my findings and we concur that a few days have passed in a matter of seconds.

“This be strange indeed,” I relay to Marine. Inform the crew and make sure they are prepared to get all their remaining gear in the morning. I don’t know why the times shifted as it did, but we need to be ready for our guests when they arrive, which could be any time now.” She nods with a frown and goes to relay my words to the crew.

Guess it’s time for bed. I’ll have to finish collecting gear tomorrow. I’ll make sure my welcome crew is ready in case the Druids have arrived. Guess I won’t be getting those flags this time either.

I return to my cabin, but I don’t feel tired, so I send a summons with Ryuu, who’s perched on his stand by my window. He’s free to come and go as he pleases, so I leave the window open with a ward on it so I know if anyone has entered, and the illusion that it’s shut tight anyway.

It’s not long before I hear a knock on my door. I go to it, reaching a handout and yanking Frenen in by the cuff of his cloak. He lets out a small squeak as I pull him into my room, locking the door as I press my lips to his. Tonight’s not a normal night, so none of my usual games.

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