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Sub Dock Master Jacob Jacobson is a man with a problem. Smugglers are rumoured to be operating off the west coast of Berwickshire and the Port of Carlech Authority has had enough. Putting out a hiring notice the Sub Dock Master seeks adventurers to look into these rumours and put a stop to the nefarious deeds of these so called smugglers.

Or so the hiring notice says …

 

The adventurers who attend the hiring at the Port of Carlech were:

  • Ranger Conchobar of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry; Godman Armstrong of the Scouts Guild;
  • Junior Forester Henryk Van Dane;
  • Fortescue Everbright of the Guild of Mages;
  • Sir Vincent Savage, Knight of the Stag and Feudal Vassal of the Thane;
  • Sister Ismay Cramer of Vleybor;

The Port of Carlech is a dock area on the riverside a little way outside the city of Carlech, and when the adventurers arrived the docks were alive with dock officials, traders, sailors and dock hands going about their business. But work has been difficult to come by these days, what with all the Guiadonese arriving at the docks wanting their own dock hands for their precious cargo. A Guiadonese man was listening to the complaints being made by the captain of a fast cutter whose cargo was being spoilt by the delays she suffered waiting for a berth at the port, and the Sub Dock Master sent one of the deck hands seeking work to find out about the Forester and his company (who clearly did not belong dockside!) and bring the leader of their company to him. The adventurers heard the complaints of the dock workers and the captains as they wandered around the dock, and Sir Savage and Henryk met with the Sub Dock Master to inquire as to his hiring notice.

However, as they were talking to the people, Captain Elise (of the swift cutter) was taken aside for a quiet chat by Varielle, the representative of the Guiadonese trade on the docks. Curious, the scouts went to see what they were talking about and were attacked along with the Captain, with Varielle beating a hasty retreat as the alarm was raised. He was chased but got away and Henryk returned in a spitting rage. Informed of the smugglers believed to be operating out on the west coast and the river, the party set out to investigate.

They were warned of an armed Guidonese camp down the river and came upon a dead dock official with papers on him speaking of his concerns with recent matters on the docks and the favouring of the Guidonese merchants over the usual traders; before they were jumped on by bandits. These bandits apologised for the fright they had caused when they realised there was a Vleyborian amidst the group and were roundly told off. They were ex-dockers and crews of merchant ships who had taken to a life of piracy and banditry after their work became unprofitable with the delays to their berthing at the docks, and the preferential treatment of the Guiadonese in matters of permits and turn around of goods and services.

The way up ahead was blocked by Guiadonese mercenaries who were unhappy with seeing a group of strangers roaming through the area, but let them by when they were told they were investigating the rumours of smugglers. Continuing on the adventurers were beset by an ambush from out of the bushes and themncame upon a pair of demons lingering in the shadows. They came to a fork in the road and were met by a pair of travellers who warned them of the heavily armoured Guiadonese camp up ahead, and of the smugglers operating out of the cove along the way. There was a choice – tackle the Guiadonese camp, who were believed to be working with demons and behind some of the trouble at the dock, or continue on to the smugglers at the cove? There was some heated discussion and the decision was reached to head across the bridge to the Guiadonese encampment, though not all the party were made aware of this fact. They fought off the guards posted at the bridge and their reinforcements before storming the camp to find, to their horror, a great hulking demon and armed Guiadonese who were not happy to see them. Battle ensued and Sir Vincent Savage was brutally slain in defence of his party as Godman evaded a pair of Guiadonese mercenaries and the party rallied their defences. Godman, holed up out of sight, was alarmed to overhear the demon and its master talking of travelling on to Newcroft, and when the party had regrouped and discovered Sir Vincent’s demise (and that of the Dockmaster’s kidnapped son) Godman hurried off into the darkness to bring the warning of  demons back to Newcroft. It seems the Guiadonese had been using the kidnapped boy as leverage on the Dockmaster for his “co-operation” in their enterprise at the docks, but things have gone a little awry in his absence.

The rest of the party were in two minds – to hunt down the smugglers or to return to the port. With a heated arguement it was decided that a peaceful method would be tried when speaking with the smugglers and the party grudgingly set out down the other path. But on the way Fortescue took matters into his own hands and knocked out the Forester before he could cause them any more trouble and the remaining three set out to find the smugglers and warn them of the Guiadonese working with demons.

They came upon a trio of people moving a heavy chest which they abandoned when questioned on it along with a map detailing the cove and a camp nearby, and a group of travellers on the road before they reached the cove. In the darkness of the path up to the clifftop they encountered some bandits who attempted to rob them, before arriving in the camp of the Unspeakable Violent Jack. They had kidnapped the Dock Master to try and force the hand of the Dock Authority to do something about the Guiadonese taking their trade and jobs, but it hadn’t seemed to work and they hadn’t succeeding in getting the Dock Master to agree to help them because of the threats to his son’s life. Ismay and Fortescue asked to speak with the Dock Master and told him of his son’s demise after they freed him from his bonds, and in his anger at his son’s death he agreed to help the smugglers to free the docks from the machinations of the Guiadonese, before stepping aside to let Unspeakably Violent Jack to become Dock Master.

Satisfied, the adventurers returned to the Port of Carlech with their new allies, uncovered the corruption of the Sub Dock Master and his part in the scheme with the Guiadonese, and freed the port from the underhand tactics of the Guiadonese.

But as for our Forester left alone and unconscious a mere hundred yards for Smugglers Cove … well, that’s another story.

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