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Slumped under heavy burdens, men and women swayed along the muddy street. Most bore the torc that marked them as property. Women, bare-chested, called to slavers and corsairs from second floor windows. Tendrils of opium-laced smoke drift across the party’s path as they make their way down Oldbridge road. The town is loud and laced with a hundred competing odours – spices, fish, blood, sweat and the rancid tang of stale wine – all overlaid by desperation and greed.

In this hive of sin it is Jullian Black who comes to the fore. A sign ahead, the mark of a chandler, is tantalizingly familiar, its proprietor a sometime customer of Jullian’s trading interests in Tor Glimerin. Leveraging this connection, Jullian is able to secure lodgings and vital information.

This information, and the companions’ subsequent investigations, reveal a tangle of politics and treachery. The King of Slavetown, and the architect of the raid on Garra’s village, is a Carathan named Dane the Butcher. He wishes to acquire the largest ship from its captain – a corsair named Marder – and has set the group this task if they wish to gain his trust.

Trysta, a rival captain and second in power only to Dane, wishes to lure Dane from his keep and kill him. If the group were to help her they could gain her respect and trust – she also suggests killing Marder, but on her behalf thus prompting Dane to take direct action against her.

A third captain, an A’mai information broker named Seteph, also wishes the party to kill Marder. Seteph will then take control of Marder’s crew and gift it to Dane. In return for such a boon Seteph will secure the release of the captured villagers.

Marder himself is yet to be seen. He sequesters himself on board his galley, a trireme warship named the “Black Swan”, guarded by a heavily armed crew. Perhaps he has caught wind of the plots against him, two of which originate with captains he counts as allies – Trysta and Seteph.

In the midst of all of this, the group comes across dire news. Chendra has already been sold. Elves, their identities hidden behind hoods and cloaks, secured the witch’s daughter soon after her arrival. They departed with haste, leading an expedition inland. Information gleaned from Seteph suggests there is only one destination they could be heading to: the mysterious Tower of the Elements.

While the party laid plans, anxiously awaiting word from Bentil, Watcher and Kalieb attempted to secure access to the “Black Swan”. Kalieb’s efforts were met, at first, with hostility but that soon turned into an armed pursuit through the Ropeworks. Things took a dire turn for the Surayan archer as his flight took him into a dead end alley. Luckily his talents with stealth were sufficient to hide from the vengeful pirates. Amidst the confusion, Watcher was able to board Marder’s ship and now hides on the deck, waiting.

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Legends of the Three Pillars occam99