As the Virtuous Maiden sails to Sulanok, a city on the Pendeltor Peninsula of the Land of the South Winds, the party and crew take stock of their victory, celebrate, and care for the freed slaves.
The ship’s log incenses much of the crew. While slavery is a common and accepted practice, torturing and abusing the higher races is frowned upon in civilized society. What the monstrous witch and his cohorts did to these poor wretches was beyond the pale. To his dismay, Strongbow discovers among the names some he recognizes, members of a family branch not to distantly related. The ones who supplied them also a branch of the Trillof line. That’s going to need to be dealt with and most severely.Echo, the party’s water/air warlock spends her time with her slave Ackdor and translating a journal she discovered in the cabin of the Slaver’s fire warlock, K’lak. The journal largely makes reference to an organization known as, "Legion," but is non-specific as to the meaning behind it. Presumably it alludes to a large number of people. Each member of Legion is gifted/geased with a purpose that somehow revolves around a group known as, "The Chosen." Who they are or why they are chosen isn't explained.
There is a bit about The Chosen being sent off to retrieve something. It isn't clear what it is, at times sounding like a powerful weapon, other times a great treasure. Whatever it is the mastermind behind the "Legion," is desperate enough to get it that he has servants who are punished with immortal life until they fulfill their duty or suffer a fate worse than a thousand death referred to as "The Punishment of a Thousand," and was greatly feared by K’lak. For some reason or another this Master of Legion is unable to himself retrieve the desired treasure. Whether due to inability, or the need to remain hidden, the latter being hinted at more, isn't expressly explored either.
There are references to an archipelago in the southern seas, as the author put it, "Beyond the ken (understanding) of mere mortals." The destination for the continuation of the quest.
Frederick the Priest, under orders from the goddess Apis due to his despicable behavior killing a captive, tells the party a sorrowful tale. When he was a small child, the witch Kraltos and his slavers killed Frederick’s family and took him as a sacrifice. Frederick’s beautiful singing voice was his salvation, such that it was. The witch cut off Frederick’s manhood to the root to maintain that voice and kept them as a reminder as to who Frederick owned true allegiance. Later escaping, Frederick became a servant of Apis but was ashamed due to his lack of organs. Such has been his quest for many years, to retrieve his manhood and find a way to reattach it, making him whole again. Since Apis greatly opposes senseless violence, she forced Frederick to reveal his shame to his closest companions.
Strongbow spends much of his time with the Captain and Alta. Negotiations over dividing the booty is friendly but intense. They decide that the bounty of gold, gems, and jewels will be split between the captain/crew and the party. The carcass of the Shedim that remained on deck will be sold to an alchemist in the city and the proceeds also split evenly. The captain will keep the slaver ship, along with its supplies while the party, which had done some picking just following the battle, will keep what they have found. The slaves will be turned over to Land of the South Winds constabulary for healing and un-conditioning. For this, Captain Macintyre agrees to continue in the service of the party as they look for this archipelago past the Floenries.
After these negotiations, Strongbow gives Alta, the lady elf he has taken to, a gift. Following the battle, he picked up a short sword. Normally not much of a weapon but this one being eternally sharp. A fitting gift for such a sharp tongued one like Alta. As she has also taken to Strongbow, she returns the favor with a gift as old as time.
On to Sulanok.
On to Sulanok.