Aces stands on the bow of a small single mast ship, gulls scream and circle in the clear, sunny sky above. The cool wind and fresh salty spray feel refreshing on her skin. Behind her, on the deck of the vessel, she can see a number of fishermen, gutting and preparing the catch for sale on the city docks in Waterdeep. It has been almost a year since she and Ree’vr became crew members on the “Flounder.”
When Aces, Ree’vr and Scribnib jumped through the portal in Sigil, they found themselves suffocating on the other side. What they expected to be the arid desert landscape of Athas, was in reality, an ocean of salty water. They were drowning! Their vision growing dark, they are pulled upward. In their heads, the Mul and Thri’kreen hear a calming voice “Struggling is unwise.”
When they awoke, they found themselves on the deck of the Flounder with four bushy bearded fishermen and a young girl staring down at The two. Scribnib was nowhere to be seen. The captain, Benburt Brinebrow, told them that he and his crew rescued them both from an aquatic tentacled monster. They took them both on as members of their crew. Conveniently, they had two spots open, as they had recently lost a pair of brothers…to an aquatic tentacled monster.
They picked up swimming and then swabbing, and then fishing, and eventually sailing. The young girl, Sinna Brinebrow, with her father’s permission has taken to learning how to fight by the outsiders and even more impressive, she seems to have some latent psionic ability.
During the nights at anchor, Aces is always accosted to share the stories her adventures, and were told tales of the high seas in return. The majority of which unfortunately devolve into arguments about who caught the biggest fish.
That evening in a secluded cove, after sail has been stowed and anchor dropped, over the fire and fish and drink, they tell stories once again.
Nick stands, nearly falling overboard and yells out…
“Okay okay! I’ll go first! Once upon a time, I caught a fish so big and so ugly…” He points to Benburt… “I thought I’d saved your mother from drowning!”
Benburt shrugs his punch off and replies “Your mother drowned years ago! She drank herself to death after havin’ you pop from’er slimy bilge!”
Nick, noticeably annoyed, jumps over the side and heads toward the shore to gather herbs and coconuts.
Sinna pushes Aces to tell a story, and the Mul jumps up and claps her hands together, Sinna pulls out her waterlogged journal and gets ready to take notes.
Aces and fourteen other gladiators rush the pile of weapons she dove for the rope expecting to pull a bladed hook, but when it came out of the pile, it was, in fact, just a rope.
Sinna interrupts and asks that Aces tell the story in her native accent, because it sounds more epic. Aces nods in agreement and continues.
The sand in the center of the arena bulged, as something huge began to pull itself up from under the arena floor. The other gladiators rush the creature and find their weapons useless against it’s domed carapace. It moved quickly, faster than any other Mekillot with it’s extra legs. This was the fabled many legged Mekillot! Aces laughed at the stupidity of the other gladiators and ran around to the right, the Mekillot attempted to follow, but even with it’s extra legs, it could not keep up, and turned back to crush a few of the other gladiators beneath it’s belly.
Aces jumped up on the beast’s tail and rolled onto it’s carapace. She sprinted over it’s back, right up to the back of it’s head and flipped the ends of the rope around her arms. With a quick movement, she turned the length around and wrapped it over it’s beak. As it fell back under it’s neck, Aces yelled out “This is how you kill a Mekillot!” and threw all her 300 pounds backward onto it’s shell. The creature howled and gurgled, lifting it’s head and body in attempts to relieve the tension, but only making it worse by dangling Aces over it’s back.
She heard the snap of it’s gullet and it began to roll to the side, crushing two more gladiators on the ground. Aces let her self be rolled along it’s shell until she could catch her feet and run off it’s side as it crashed to the sand. The dusted herself off and ripped the rope off the thing’s neck.
Everyone on the Flounder cheered excitedly.
Sinna finishes writing something in her journal and thanks Aces, then she stands…
“I have a story!” She says.
“Long ago, there was a girl, lost on the tides of Faerun. She was said to have drowned somewhere in this very sea, and carried with her to the bottom, a treasure of many worlds. The Starseed it was called! Many a sailor, pirate and treasure hunter have since hunted the tides for her bones in hopes of discovering her secrets.”
“But the allure of her invaluable treasure was only half of what drove men to their deaths upon the waves in chase. Beyond what she carried, she herself was a treasure, because this little lady had special powers.”
“Every time someone would get too close, the girl would jump away! To be chased, again and again…for all of eternity!”
She pauses, a look of disappointment across her face, then says "OR! orrr, until she finally finds love, and then she could take them jumping with her…for all of eternity! Yup!
Benburt interjects “You made that up!”
Sinna throws a glare at her father. “Nu-uh! I heard it from Mr. Gusterson in Molden Port, it’s a true story!”
From the island, Aces, Ree’vr and Sinna hear a yelp from Nick and then silence. Sinna puts her journal away and pulls her cutlass, diving into the water. Aces follows and Ree’vr jumps from the boat to the shore.
The three follow Nick’s tracks along the foliage line until they find a grouping of tracks eventually leading to three foul smelling creatures dragging Nick’s body behind them. Aces rushes in with her maul and Snna follows waving her cutlass. Ree’vr jumps after them stabbing with his Gythka. The two larger Troglodytes head off their attackers biting and swinging their clubs. Behind them, a Tide Chanter uses his staff to channel poison rays and spur on his guards. It is a bloody fight, and before it ends Aces and Sinna are knocked unconscious and revived, and Ree’vr falls after a nasty bite from one of the Trogs. Aces is distraught at the loss of her friend. She pouts.
Benburt and the rest of the crew bring Ree’vr’s seemingly lifeless body back to the boat to put on ice. Aces and Sinna search the Trogs and take the Tide Chanter’s clothes and helm. They discover that Nick is still alive and was only paralyzed from a nasty bite.
Ree’vr awakens in darkness to find himself ice cold and surrounded by fish. He pushes open the doors to the hold and bounces off the Flounder to catch up to his friends. Benburt and crew are confused.
Following the Troglodyte’s tracks back to their origin they discover a horrifically smelling lair. Inside are the rotting corpses of many dead animals and humanoids. In the back of the cave is a pile of gold. When they begin to collect it, Aces notices, there are athasian ceramic pieces among the gold. Sinna points out that even some of the gold pieces are foreign to her and she quickly draws parallels to her story and the great treasure that the girl sank to the bottom of the sea with.
They return to the Flounder and give some of the gold to Benburt to buy out the next day of fishing to explore the island a little more.
The next morning, they set out to explore again. When they come across a Troglodyte eating a deer, they assassinate him and raid his lair, discovering more rotting corpses, and this time, there are dead Troglodytes among them.
They make their way around the small island, and eventually up it’s single craggy peak, rising just over the top of the canopy. From the vantage, Sinna can see the other surrounding islands as well as a swirling tornado over the water about two miles out. She hops down and grabs the hands of Aces and Ree’vr running them back to the beach.
Sinna pilots the Flounder through the turbulent waters towards the fish vortex. A swarm of hungry seagulls spins above creating a cyclone of white feathers, Aces and Ree’vr prepare their nets while Benburt and the crew ready the hold for stock.
Circling the edge of the funnel, Aces and Ree’vr haul in net after net full of fish while Sinna does her best to keep the boat on a steady course. She does an expert job until something starts crashing against the hull. Nick yells from below that the boat is taking on water and Ree’vr heads down to attempt a patch. Sinna feels the boat right itself as it drifts out of the vortex uncontrolled. The rudder is gone. Aces jumps into the water and as the fish begin to disperse, she can see two Sharks swimming towards her.
The first one manages to take a bite out of her before she is able to teleport it onto the deck of the Flounder, where Ree’vr is quick to put it to death. Sinna jumps in to cut off the second and with the help of the Mul, they leave it belly up.
Now that the vortex has cleared, Aces and Sinna notice a dark shape far below them. It looks like the sunken wreck of a ship…
Sinna spots a three masted sailing vessel emerging from behind one of the nearby islands. With a spyglass, Benburt identifies the ship as “The Maiden” a fast attack pirate killer from Luskan, coming to lend aid.
Sinna and Aces throw each other an excited look and rush to grab the anchor. Aces jumps in holding it to speed her descent. Sinna watches the line She knows she can’t make it to the drowned ship but hopes she can get close enough to discover it’s name. The wreck is mummified in seaweed. It’s writhing stalks twist and turn trailing off its stern as in an eternal plunge towards a bottom long since hit.
Aces can make out just the last three letters of it’s nameplate. “-EED”
Sinna bugs Aces about what she saw and she tells her it was a nameless wreck. Sinna twists her face in disappointment.
Moments later, the mul gets back to the deck and The Maiden arrives. It’s captain, Cave Wren offers to tow the Flounder back to Waterdeep.
That night, Aces tells Sinna and Ree’vr that the wreck might have been the Starseed. Sinna gets excited but then upset that Aces kept it from her, breaking her trust. The woman tries to explain that she had to keep it a secret so as not to fall on the ears of the Maiden’s crew. Sinna pouts.