A Fragment of Time

Ambush at the docks.

The following morning, the party strolled down to the docks. When they reached the Khullian ships, there were trails of blood heading toward the vessels. After tracking the trials to their source, they found a patrol watchman pinned to a nearby warehouse wall. His eyes were cut out and his tongue torn from his mouth. His hands and feet were pinned with iron pitons. 

At the corner of her eye, Alexis caught a glimpse of several small silouettes , peeping over the deck of one of the Khullian ships. Their eyes shimmered red with cruel intent.

Alexis immediately sprang into action and cocked a crossbow bolt.

"Ahh!" she cried, Upon which she pointed up at the ship towards the dark shapes and loosed a shot at the nearest shape.

With a high-pitched 'squeak', the creature took it in the shoulder. Hextor dashed up the gangplank nd cleaved his bastard sword through what looked like a rat-man with thick dark fur. The others where identically adorned with bone splint armour stitched to leather, carrying bamboo tubes and unusual three-pronged stabbing weapons. Upon cutting down this rat-man, he proceeded to flow into a dance of graceful blade swing, cleaving one rat-man after another. Navek waded into the fray and cut down rat-men in quick succession. Their frail frames posing little resistance to his rippling sword arm.

Durr'Graz ran after them and cut down the few that were missed. Meanwhile, Essella and Alexis swiftly picked off those nearest the bow of the ship. When the last rat-man was finally dispatched, they headed for the captain's cabin. Hextor saw looming in the doorway, a larger rat-man. Brandishing two three-pronged stabbing weapons, it stood poised to strike. But Hextor and Navek sprung onto the creature and cut it down before it could gurgle a cry in it's throat. Staggering over the bodies after them, Turay looked around amazed at the swift dispatch of these rat-men.

"Well, you certainly are a formidable troope" he smirked. "These Nezumi-bito were clearly no match for you." He paused and lifted his straw hat.

"However.." he added grimly, "I am concerned as to why such creatures were here."

Glancing around at the cabin, Hextor noticed outstretched on a table were a pile of scrolls, a large map and a leather bag. The map appeared to be of some foreign continent. The scrolls were not so much written, but painted.. and in a series of symbols that appeared to him to be no more than unusual talley strikes that travelled down the parchment in columns. It was utterly indecipherable to him. Upon the opposite wall was a strange silk robe. It had long wide sleeves. It had bound around the waist a satin sash. Turay looked over,

"May I see those scrolls Hextor?" he enquired. He handed them to Turay "Can you read them?"

Turay smiled, "Yes for the are written in the Khullian script" he nodded, "they detail that these Nezumi-bito were posingas merchants in order to gainentry into the dock." He rolled the scroll and proceeded to the next one."This was intended to begin an insurgance into Navale and thus gain a foot-hold in Allansia."

Looking around the deck, Navek moved aside corpse and uncovered the cargo hold's trap door.

"5.6" he called "give me a hand with this". 5.6 gave his child-like smile "Okay".

They each grabbed a large cast-iron ring and hauled open the trap-door. Inside was a ladder descending into a large hold. Illuminated by a couple of hanging oil lamps, were row upon row o stacked crates. Snooping among them Alexis and Durr'Graz looked inside them. Packed in with leaves of a foreign palm tree, were pots of saffron and other rare spices. In other crates were bolts of silk cloth. Alexis helped herself to a pot, while Durr'Graz grabbed four bolts of silk and bunged them in his backpack.

"Well ladies and gentlemen" Turay announced, "looks like we have ourselves a vessel to take us to Krull."

Navek looked around the corpse strewn deck.

"Its a large vessel," he concluded thoughtfully, "we'll need a large crew and a way of properly disposing of these bodies. We can't simply chuck them overboard for fear of contaminating the waters." He looked around and signaled to 5.6. 

"5.6, you and Durr'Graz take these bodies outside of town," he said glancing to each of them "line a hole with quicklime from the barracks and lay the bodies in there. Then lay quicklime on top to seal it  then cover it up with topsoil." 

5.6 nodded, and Durr'Graz grunted in his usual form of acknowledgment. 

"Umm… guys" called Essella, "Can we get this poor fellow down from the wall ad have him properly buried?" she pleaded, heaving at the tightly embedded pitons.

Navek strode down the gangplank rolling up his sleeves. He gripped the pitons of the watchman's palms firmly in each hand and hauled them clear, catching the watchman's body over his shoulder. He then pulled the pitons from the feet. He laid the body down gently, took some tarpaulin from a nearby crate and laid it over the body while quielty under his breathe he whispered "Rest in peace friend."

Standing up and composing himself Navek looked to the party, "We'll send for the militia to take him away, in the meantime.."he paused, glancing at the ship "we'll need to organise crew and supplies." 

 

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