Everyone could hear the wind pick up outside, as the cold rain came down a bit harder. Stilicho unrolled a map upon the table, and set a knife down upon one corner, and the corner of his mug upon the other, to help hold it open. He then began addressing everyone.
“As we speak, our ship is being prepared for the trip, and the elders are talking to those who may volunteer to be part of our crew. Our ship is being recaulked, and prepared for the journey. The sails are being dyed navy blue, in part to hide the ship’s origins, and also to give our ship an identity. The hope is that we can disguise our ship as one of my homeland, Konigsberg, to help facilitate our passage through the region. Omasu, the Obsidiman merchant who originally owned this ship, has sails that are a red and yellow checkered pattern on all of his ships, which are well known in this region. So disguising the ship will help keep us from running into any difficulties. We will fly the banner on Konigsberg on one mast, and the Stoneclaw banner of passage, used by ships with permission to pass through Stoneclaw territory, on the other.” He motioned to the remaining pile of captured gear on the table. “I would also, if nobody objects, like to have all of these cloaks died the same color so our crew colors match our ship. This way, we will appear to be a merchant vessel from the Konigsberg area.”
“Yes”, the scout piped up as he nodded in agreement, “dye them all the same color.”
Skram smiled and said, " The color blue that you have chosen will clash with my skin color. As The second officer I will be dressed in yellow pants and shirt under my chain mail with my red cloak. I do think it is a good idea to make the working crew look the same."
Stilicho motioned toward the shipyard, while looking to each of the Unchained. “One thing you should all know. There is a hidden thread woven to our ship, which we cannot remove. That means we have to be wary of Omasu, for the thread likely was made by one of his sorcerers. So he’ll likely find out a some point that his long lost ship is on the move. From what I can gather, Omasu is a kind rock brother, and has a good reputation as an honorable merchant, one who is generous to Barsaivian adventurers. But, just the same, I think it would be best that if questioned, we feign ignorance on the origins of our ship, and if asked, tell people we bought our ship from the Stoneclaws. Does anyone disagree with that?”
Dremnin looked at Stilicho with a straight face and responded, saying, “I do not feel comfortable in lying about the status of our vessel. But I am, afterall, just a crew member and not an officer. So such questions will undoubtedly come to the captain or his officers, if they come at all. As far as I know, you did purchase the ship from the Stoneclaws.”
“You might also recall that Konigsberg is currently controlled by Thera, so you might draw fire for this cover story”, Dremnin added from his current perch in the room.
Stilicho nodded. “Let me be clear when I say that Konigsberg is not in Theran hands, my people are a proud race and never accept that. Also, Throal would go to war over such a move. However, thanks to my treacherous uncle Thera does have influence there, where they did not before. It is for this reason that I have chosen the Konigsberg colors… our friends in Throal must know that they have an ally in us, and to my people, they must know that I defy my uncle, and for the Therans, we will be the turd in their butter churn.”
Stilicho continued. “I have spoken at length with Tago and Rorik about our best course to Throal.” He points at the map. “Here is the Reach, and this black line is the only safe route to Throal from here.” He traces a line from the peaks of the Stoneclaw moot, winding around a river in the Sevos jungle, to lake Pyros, then to lake Ban, and then to Bartertown. “This route is the only real vetted route between us and Throal. We cannot deviate from it because a flight over the Servos is quite dangerous. This route is well used by travelers and merchants travelling between Throal, Travar and Trosk, as well as by Throallic ships, who have permission to fly in Stoneclaw territory, trying to reach the Stone claw moot. We must fly low, using the hilly contours of the landscape to make the journey safe. It will take about us three days to reach Throal, unless we make any additional stops. I know a couple of you have family and friends along the way, and given your situations I think stopping at those places, would be the wise thing to do, as I’m guessing your families would be glad to see you?” He looks to Ardor, and to Dremnin, clearly seeking their thoughts on that. Then adds; “Our crew is excellent, but is lacking an elementalist, which is a vital role for any airship. So perhaps we could find a reliable one near your homelands?”
“What do you say Dremnin, do we get to see the childhood home of the great scout?” Ardor asked.
“The Nial Zomay is in Barter Town, I will be able to ask when we get there if there are any young elementalists looking to venture the world with us. Also when we get to Barter Town I invite you all to dinner at my familly’s house. It is one of the best dinning halls in the area.”
The scout smiled to himself and said quietly, “I for one would welcome the chance to see my family again. Their tiny hamlet is located on the banks of the Coil River, north of the town of Darranis.”
Stilicho smiled to Ardor and Dremnin. “Very well, then we shall plan to stop at both places.”
Stilicho then pointed at the map once again. “We leave at dawn, less than week from today. We have tons of work to do, so we must work extra hard over the coming days. We have train our crew and prepare our ship.”
“Wheeler,” He looked to his squire; “Fetch Tago for me.”
The boy jumped up. “Yes lord.” Then he left through the back of the hall.
“So we begin.”. Stilicho continues. “We will immediately begin training all of you on air sailing.” He looked to Vridich. “Vridich, you’ll want to seek out Zartan immediately at his home, as he has many things to teach you before we depart, about functioning as a sorcerer in an airship. As for the rest of us, I will go over our training regimen with you and then we will go meet the crew.”
Vridich, seeing that he was no longer needed in the room, looked at Stilicho solemnly, nodded to everyone, and departed. Once the doors closed, and Vridich’s footsteps faded, the friendly smile vanished from Stilicho’s face.
“Grimlock?”. Stilicho looked to the back of the hall where Wheeler disappeared to. Grimlock, the troll elementalist walks into the room from the inside of the Steelskull home, flanked by Tago and Wheeler.
Stilicho nodded to him respectfully. “Are we good?”
Grimlock stares off, and his eyes close as he examines the room astrally. After a moment he responded; “Yes, we’re alone.” Then he and Tago sit at the table.
Stilicho nodded. “Very well.” Then he looked to everyone. “Now I shall tell you the rest, and then we must decide what to do…”