Sorrowing Sands, Chapter 3

The boat turns out to be an Ekelonian trader. Although suspicious of the stranded survivors, the crew takes them on board and brings them to the city of Ereg Daguu (Undershore) in the small island nation of Baharam.

Immediately after landfall, Marconi makes a gambit for freedom, shouting that he’s the victim of a slave trade. At first, nobody supports him, but Loud sides with Marconi and the dock official calls for guards. The situation gets messy as Loud and Marconi both try to flee. Marconi retreats into the cold waters while Loud is pinned. Meanwhile, Puca disguises herself with magic and slips away.

Pressed further, the rest of the group concedes. They try to come clean and honest with their intentions. Not wanting things to get more complicated, the local authorities decide to send the whole group to the care of the Sopidean embassy and keep them under house arrest there.

Once at the embassy, Junior Ambassador Ruby Irving takes Maria and Iddan aside and berates them for creating such a mess. She strips Iddan of her rank. Later, she meets with the remaining prisoners – Utu, Loud, Seven, and Dalton. She attempts to wheedle a bribe out of them in return for freedom, but isn’t impressed with their offers.

Meanwhile, an observant and patriotic embassy guard, Vincent, follows clues that lead to him eavesdropping on ambassador Irving. He discovers a plot of hers to sell Seven, the rare golem, to a foreign spy, and dispose of the others who know about Seven’s special abilities.

Vincent goes to the others and tells them of the plan before helping them escape. The escape gets messy when the foreign spies show up at the same time, expecting to take Seven. A fight breaks out, and the group rips through the enemy spies. One of them flees and is chased by the group. When Seven catches up with her, she lets her live, but only after the spy says that she’ll give information at a later meeting.

The group flees to the Undershore city slums and meets a smuggler contact familiar to both Loud and Seven, the unseemly dwarf Numarin. There, they discuss options. The is nervous about the fight in front of the embassy, and local officials don’t know quite what to make of it, but rumors spread quickly and the group is labelled by the papers as fugitives.

Iddan decides she needs to go back to the hobgoblin’s island and try to rescue the surviving crew. Maria tries to convince the prisoners to continue with her to the Sopidean mainland and join the Soulfire Wing like originally planned, but only Utu decides to follow her.

Seven, Loud, and Dalton find one of Numarin’s offers too good to refuse. They take a job offer to escort Captain Matilda Earhart of the Blissful Tongue to Fort Sparkles with a shipment of Mareshi red wine. Vincent, interested in Seven and unable to return to the embassy, decides to go with them.

Over the next day, the group breaks up. Iddan leaves first, and then Seven, Loud, Dalton, and Vincent are shuttled out of the city, leaving Maria and Utu to their fate.

Once Seven, Loud, Dalton, and Vincent escape the city, they head to the small village of Port Pence to meet with Captain Earhart.

The Measure of Things
Sorrowing Sands, Chapter 2

Eight survivors of the Bloodhound spend day after day drifting across the sea. Loud, Seven, and Iddan, experienced sailors, manage to rig a makeshift sail, but progress is slow. Tensions and tempers flare on the crowded lifeboat. Fishing makes for plentiful food, but water runs low.

Finally, Puca reveals that she can product fresh water with her magic. Asked why she didn’t do so before, Puca expresses that she feared further persecution for her magic, akin to what Marconi endured. After some debate, Marconi is released from his bounds, and the survivors rejoice in their new water. Group morale improves considerably.

Three days later, land appears again. Despite reluctance after the last island, the survivors head ashore. This island is smaller than the last, with two abandoned goblin villages. The survivors split up, each half taking a different village. They find little more than trinkets at either, and remarkably few goblin corpses for what appears to be a recently raided island.

One group – Puca, Loud, Dalton, and Seven – make it to a lonely watchtower on the island. One goblin, possibly the tribe leader, remains within. After some prodding, the goblin tells the group that a fearsome hobgoblin came and made off with his people.

“I feared as much,” Maria says when the two parties meet back up. “A raid on this island, so close to the other. He came to take slaves to replace those we killed.”

Satisfied with what they’ve learned and found, the two groups meet back up and head off. Shortly after setting out, they spot sails on the horizon.

The Irregulars
Sorrowing Sands, Chapter 1

Sometimes, prisoners are just too gifted to sit behind bars. The Sopidean military runs a program where gifted and unique prisoners with “redeemable” dispositions are offered the opportunity to serve their sentence by serving the empire as agents in the Soulfire Wing, Sopidea’s special forces. Other magically gifted prisoners are simply too dangerous for local jails to securely hold.

The Bloodhound Betty is charged with transporting seven such prisoners; five with potential for the Soulfire Wing, and two dangerous mages destined for higher security prison. The prisoners are sent with two wardens from the Sopidean colonies towards the Sopidean mainland.

Shortly after departing the colonies, the ship is hit by a storm. Despite protests from the ship’s first mate, Louis Iddan, captain Rasoun frees the prisoners so that they may escape the sinking ship. At first the prisoners flee straight to the lifeboats, but a couple go back to help the captain carry out two more of the prisoners who remain bound in full-body restraints.

One of the fully restrained prisoners, one of the two wardens, and a deckhand are lost to the sea in the brunt of the storm. The surviving prisoners escape with the first mate and surviving warden aboard one lifeboat, while the captain, surgeon, and surviving deckhands retreat aboard another boat.

The two boats get separated. Among the prisoners, there are…

Utu, a silent and diminutive fellow;
Marconi, a reckless sorcerer kept under tight security;
Puca (formerly known as Rose), a woman of five masks, six personalities, and many names;
Loud, smuggler and inheritor of a legendary revolver;
Dalton, a young swordsman with an unwanted propensity towards magical fire;
and Seven, a golem with a rare and masterfully built body.

They travel with…
Maria Sandoval, a determined warden with two revolvers;
and Louis Iddan, the skittish and trigger-happy first mate.

The eight retrieve minimal amounts of gear, but manage to find Puca’s masks and Loud’s gun. They spend the evening cold and wet, but that same night they spot land – and lights. Torches and campfires dot the small island.

Puca signals the island with magical light, and one of the campfires signals back. “S.O.S. Survivors Stranded. Goblins.”

Needing supplies and fearing for the survivors of the other boat, the group makes landfall. Puca, Loud, Dalton, Seven, and Maria go ashore while Louis remains aboard with Marconi and Utu. The five head inland and immediately find the beach covered with slimes washed up during the storm. Then, from the forest, a hunting party of goblins emerges and begins attacking and collecting the slimes. The group slips into the forest under the cover of nightfall, unseen.

After stopping to fill some canteens with water, they head towards the campfire and the source of the SOS. They arrive at the top of a cliff and find both the captain and a deckhand slain. Two goblins remain at the campfire, and the group makes short work of them. Loud fires his revolver, ending one goblin and alerting the island to the group’s presence.

Seven heals herself during the fight, astounding Maria. “You can heal,” the Warden remarks afterward. “Terra forever great, you can heal like us. I was there at the Ekelonian Blockade, when Zaria made its awesome and awful machinations bare to the world. Nothing like you, in my wildest dreams. I cannot know what magic binds you.”

Interrogating one of the two goblins, Loud discovers that the last of the crew has been taken to a cave as slaves. Meanwhile, Seven spots movement in the lights of the islands. The goblins are coming.

Opting for retreat, the group fights their way back to the beach and the boat. The goblins blockade them with remarkable effectiveness, responding to signal flairs and displaying tactical sophistication rare among their kind.

Once aboard the boat, the group sees a monstrous hobgoblin, garbed in old and tattered Sopidean navy regalia, emerge from the woods and onto the beach. It levels a gigantic bow at the boat, but as they frantically row away, it opts not to fire, instead walking casually back into its domain. The group retreats from the island, forced to leave the survivors of the other boat behind.


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