In the Hold...
Mia's search was methodical and thorough: Although there were some crates with cargo from Ashra, she was surprised to find that several of the barrels loosely tied down in the hold were filled with something other than alcohol or dried fish...The smell of it smacked her in the face when she worked the lid of one open, and found a rumpled bolt of cloth. Pulling the cloth away, she discovered that the "fabrics" listed on the manifest were merely disguise for the true cargo. Underneath the fabric, a fine, silvery powder lay at rest. The motion caused by her search filled the air with dust. She backed off before she inhaled any, but the wafting scent of it was enough to make her sensitive nose burn.
It was unmistakably Gnomish
|YESSSS, it's black gunpowder of a sort |
, a substance which was listed by the International Merchant's Alliance of Guilds as a Maundelay exclusive: the trade of it was forbidden, and possession of it away from the shores of Maundelay was strictly monitored and controlled. Only specially licensed gnomish construction crews were even allowed
to be in possession of it, and clearly, there were no gnomes aboard the ship.
Glancing around as she took on the starboard side of the hold, Melanie used her senses to sound out the ship's interior. Halfway back, next to the bolted down crate, she noticed a scrap of fabric on the floor of the hold. Reaching down, she picked it up to examine it more closely: It was a handkerchief which bore a particularly unique
|Knowledge Local for more information |
of a strangely unnatural feather inside of a circle. Frowning, Melanie pressed on.
Melanie had to watch her footing several times, almost slipping in puddles of condensation scattered around along the keel. The farther back she went into the hold, deeper towards the stern, a strange and pungent smell, different than the one Mia had found inside of the barrels, struck at her nose. She sniffed several times, trying to place it. It seemed an oil or a fuel of some sort. Lantern oil? Vegetable oil? No, that wasn't it. When she finally did place it, it was with a sudden sense of dread: Inactive Alchemist's Fire.
Unlike the more traditional Alchemist's Fire favored by adventurers, IAF didn't ignite to exposure to the air, but required an external ignition source. She whirled around and realized that all the puddles she'd avoided inside the hold weren't seawater: They were puddles of Inactive Alchemist's Fire.
A flicker of movement caught her eye: the lid of the bolted cargo crate at the center of the hold moved slightly in the relative darkness, and a faint reflection from something metallic shone underneath.
|Your high search check exposed the dangerous hidden cargo: Your high spot check revealed the true danger inside the hold, and also that there's something inside the central crate. Or someone. |
Geoffrey found a set of keys inside the inside coat pocket of the captain, including one which seemed a match for the chest in his cabin. The captain sputtered.
"Look, all I know is there was a group of fellas when we made port in Crannogh Heights, and they paid us to take on some cargo, and a few of their men besides. It was a simple job: Get them here, no questions asked. They paid us really well, too."
He bowed his head. "Not like that means much now...I'll tell you whatever you want to know if it means we can cut a deal, but they never told us who they were, so I can't help you there."