The lower reaches should be called the too hot to breathe reaches! The heat was intense! Sometimes, as we sailed, there were gouts of fire that shot straight up from the flaming skies! Ships that get caught in them are burnt to a crisp! We were lucky we didn’t get caught in any of them. The island where we docked was called Pinecrest. There wasn’t any pine on it. There wasn’t much of anything on it at first glance. It was too hot for anything to grow. I’m still not sure where their food came from but it wasn’t very good. Well, except the mushrooms! There were plenty of caves to keep them cool enough to grow.
We sold out wood and went into town to investigate. Were were sky bound for a long time so we were anxious for some rest, and the sailors we hired along the way were happy to have some shore leave. I went into town to see if there was anything interesting to be found. I’d never been on an island full of just caves before. It turns out there wasn’t much to do besides mine, drink, and gamble.
Boy can dwarves drink! And when they get to drinking they play some crazy gambling games! I tried out a couple of the local brews and things get a little fuzzy after that, but I definitely remember betting a scuzzy looking dwarf I out spit the eyeball of a flightless mini-skyler farther than he could! I had to shove it live into my mouth and chew it , but keep the eyeball intact! Then I had to spit it as far as I could. Whoever won the best two out of three won the bet. I nearly gagged on the last eyeball, but I eeked it out with a cough that sent it rolling at my feet. The big ol’ dwarf swallowed his! I guess I’m a better gambler than I thought! I just keep winning!
While we were enjoying ourselves we picked up some interesting information. Two local breweries held most of the ale rights in this part of the Reach. Lowsmashers and The Wanton Elf. Talking to some locals gave us mixed reviews of both beers. I’d give a great report myself but… wellllllll I don’t really remember what they tasted like. The night got blurry, like I said. I do know that I woke up without any of the gold I wan from winning the eyeball spitting contest! If I ever find out who took it I’m gonna whap ’em right on the noggin!
Tomlin and Soraka got to talking with the owner of the bar. He gave us a contract he said he’d drawn up for the purchase of Lowsmasher breweries. He’d pay us a good chunk of cogs if we could deliver it for him with Lowsmasher’s signature. He sounded like he was just trying to put together a big group of breweries to take over the ale production in the region. At first I thought it was a little shady, but he’s just such a smooth talker you know? It’s hard to suspect a guy who seems such a savvy businessman! We took the contract because we were running short on funds and it seemed to be a straight forward job. We really should learn that nothing is ever so simple.
When we got back to the ship, Bert was gone. He took off. We spent a little time looking but couldn’t find him anywhere. I hope he’s okay. He’s pretty strong so I bet he’d make a good miner. Probably safer for him to break rocks than legs anyway. We were on a schedule so we left without him. Soraka wasn’t too pleased. She still wants to go back, but right now we have important things to take care of. We need to be able to pay our sailors so they don’t go glowmad on us! SO off we head to Lowsmashers.
Trouble is, we aren’t the only ones in the sky. We found a burned out ship. At first we thought it was a fire spout. But when Tomlin got us closer, Roe flew me aboard. I admit, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done! There is nothing quite like floating through the void with nothing to keep you from falling to your death! The ship was filled with bodies. Why do I always find ships full of bodies? Last time it was skulls! Just once I’d like to find a ship full of tools and fruit and gears and maybe a swing or two. Well this ship had no friendly things, just scores of scorched claw marks that looked like monsters had burned into the wood. No one was left alive so we took their cargo of metal and brought it with us. We could have towed the ship but we would have missed our deadline for delivery on the contract.
There was another ship ruined and sinking in the same condition not too far from where we found the first. There was nothing we could do to salvage that one. And not long after that I spotted a sail on the horizon. As it got closer I could see the whole ship itself was on fire! But this time it was sinking or anything! It was coming straight for us and there were crewman on board who were on fire as well! I’d never imagined anything like it before! I bet those guys don’t have to wear enviro-suites when they go up to the draining sea! They were fast and caught up to us. But luckily our ship is very agile and Tomlin proved that in all that time pirating he picked up a thing or two. Now that he’s a good reformed citizen, he’s becoming a pretty solid pilot!
We fought with the ship and scored a few hits. There were some close calls too. I finally got to try out my new device! The cloud of darkness that surrounded our ship confused the enemy and we outmaneuvered them and sped away. I’d hate to encounter them again though. Hopefully some hunter gets to them first and takes them down. After our battle we hurried to Lowsmasher’s. But it was like jumping out of the boiler and into a lava pit!
Lowsmasher has a big temper! We showed him the contract and told him we were delivering it and he got all angry and told us to get out! But that wasn’t even the worst! His island, which would have made more sense being name Pinecrest than Pinecrest, because it at least had trees and grass, had a river running through it. And that river was what he used to power his mill! I couldn’t keep away from it. I’ll never go into water again! Not after that elf at the research building stuck me in the bath cells! And I nearly fell in because that Lowsmasher guy scared me so bad!
It turned out the owner of the Wanton Elf had never talked to Lowsmasher about any kind of deal so he got us in trouble. It was a pretty mean trick so we considered getting back at him by publicizing his secret ale recipe and using it for the casino Tomlin wants to put on our ship. The good part of the whole things was, when we figured out we weren’t going to get any money from the contract, we offered to sell the metal scrap to Lowsmasher and he gave us a fair price for it. He was actually a pretty straight up guy, if you got past the gruff exterior. I like that he got his hands dirty working with his employees. If we’re around that way again, maybe we can broker another deal.
But before we could do much more, we needed to alert the authorities about the fire demon ship. Lowsmasher told us the nearest authority that could handle that kind of threat was in Deepsky. Looks like we’ve got another stop to make! I wonder what ol’ Thomas Hawk is doing right now? We better work on getting him a payment for the ship. Maybe there will be a reward for information about these fiesty fiery fellas. Hehe, Consonance is so much fun!