Xero poked around town trying to find someone who could take them to Hedeby by boat. As fortune had it, Cuccio, "Captain" of the riverboat Jaded Seamstress, was headed down river in 5 days time with a full load of timber for the ship yards of Hedeby. Prices were discussed, and Xero rather generously offered several gold for the assistance.
After five days, and unable to convince the rest of the the party to travel by river, Xero, Braggle and newcomer, Dac'Ti Nooge, boarded the Jaded Seamstress, along with Captain Cuccio, his first mate Gonzo, and 8 rowers, for a 3-4 day journey. In his bag, Xero kept the famed standard of the last garrison of the fort at Trelleborg.
The trip started out uneventful, but early one morning, a swarm of 3' long mosquitoes attacked the party and crew. The little buggers were viscious and tough and were only driven off after half of their number were killed, along with two of the crew, while another crewman, Braggle, and Dac'Ti were severely wounded.
Cuccio was beside himself and begged his generous passengers to permit him to land and take the wounded to a temple for assistance. The party could see no reason not to, and so the boat anchored not far from Fort Hael, and the village of Hael's Shadow.
In Hael's shadow, Xero and Braggle made a generous donation to the shrine of the Iron Tiger there to procure healing for all parties in need. After a night in the inn, they returned to their trip but bad weather overnight had turned the water choppy. Poor Xero and Dac'Ti spent much of the morning hurling breakfast into the river.
During one such expulsion, Dac'Ti noticed a large dark shape beneath the surface of the river and, seeing nothing wrong with this plan, poked it with his 10' pole. In doing so, he succeeded in angering a very large crocodile.
The creature thrashed and crashed into the ship, and finally managed to gain a foot hold, all the while Dac'Ti slammed his dagger into it's head. It was of little use though, despite assistance from Xero, Braggle and the captain. The great beast grabbed hold of Dac'Ti in its powerful crushing jaws and descended into the murky river with the body. All that remained to be seen of Dac'Ti were the blood clouds that billowed up from below like peones on the water's surface.
The remainder of the trip was unexceptional and the party arrived finally at the docks of Hedeby. After turning in their weapons with the Ministry of Safety, they entered the city and set off straight away to Castle Hedeby at the city's center, to meet with the Jarl. Penn Dixon, one of the rowers from the Jaded Seamstress tagged along for giggles.
Of course, one does not simply walk into Castle Hedeby and the usual confrontation with the guards came to pass.
Xero however, in great dramatic fashion, unfurled the lost standard and demanded entrance. Their request was granted but only conditionally - the standard would have to be examined by their expert.
Sure enough, it was the real deal and with that news came great celebration.
|No. Seriously. A HUGE celebration.|