Hidden Meanings

Having beaten the blockade, and with no pursuit evident, the Blushing Maid and Defiant make their way back up the coast towards Greenhaven. Although nervous of Ghost ships the crews weigh anchor and put off Abe, Claudi and Puff to make the meeting with Malleolus, the red dragon. When he arrives he has grown substantially and cuts a fearsome figure. Various options for his service are discussed, all of which are violent or involve burning things. Eventually Malleolus himself suggests he knows the whereabouts of a magic Item, The Banner of the Sky, which resided on the infamous smuggler the In and Out under Captain Indigo Jim. As this item hides its vessel from aerial view it would be a big advantage against the dragon patrols of the Hanorian ships and the small group agrees to travel with the dragon and split any other treasure found.

A make-shift harness is fashioned and the dragon takes flight. After an uncomfortably long journey the group spy a small group of islets, mere rocky crags that jut out of the sea far off the coast of Elan and surrounded by reefs. This, it seems, is the hideout of the In and Out and her crew, long since missing feared lost. As they fly over the largest of these islands a natural hidden harbour, beach and wood is revealed which Malleolus says is where the banner is.

The party disembarks with the agreement that the dragon will pick them up when a signal fire is lit. Descending towards the beach the caulked wreck of the In and Out is revealed the banner clearly visible in its prow. As they approach they surprise a strange, fish-like creature which Claudia identifies as a Kuo Toa and, knowing them to be evil denizens of the deep, they attack. Taken by surprise the creature is hard pressed but calls for fishy reinforcements and suddenly the beach is full of spear-wielding aquatic monstrosities. A seaweed-robed priest causes the group some problems and Puff then Abe are knocked down before Abe's knocks him unconscious and the others cut him to ribbons.

As the Kuo Toa priest breathes (aerates?) his last a long single note as if blown of a giant shell is heard emanating from the cave mouth above the beach. The other Kuo Toans back off and the party see the water writhe out beyond the ship. Moving quickly Corrin climbs the rotted side of the In and Out and steps gingerly across its sagging decking, trying not to notice the glint of gold in the storage beneath him. As he grabs the banner and turns to run a giant Kraken breaks the surface and surges towards the group.

Puff briefly considers staying to fight but, the banner secured, decides that fight is for another day and, with the use of some of his powers managed to escape past the behemoth and back to the lookout point atop the isle. They light the fire and Malleolus returns. He seems disappointed they have no other treasure but satisfied his service is done and Puff promises him they will work together to mutual benefit in the future. The group tie themselves once more to the harness and make the long flight back to the rendezvous with the Defiant at the entrance to Greenhaven.

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