Captain Leafwood and his Maximus Engine

A day passed, and I was called into the tent of one Major Hufflehorn. A bit of a self-absorbed fellow - he was getting his base of operations outfitted with portraits and busts of himself. I walked in, and we immediately got off on the wrong foot. I believe I insulted him somehow, though I’m not quite sure how. We started over, and I appeased him a great deal more by ending every sentence with the word “sir.”

The situation was grim, and the Ashan military had its hands full. Boats full of refugees and rats were flooding the continent, and food and accommodations were in short supply. Nobody knew where Lavanda’s leaders were, or even if they were still alive. The King was trying to scramble a team to find out what was happening up North.

Long story short, my task was to get my company together and head north as quickly as possible. Hofflehorn told me I was to journey to Nailo harbor, and seek a man named Captain Leafwood, an old smuggler who was rumored to have an airship of unparalleled speed. I had my orders.

I bid my goodbyes to the people of North Crescent Isle, and to the halfling, whose name was Heraz, got packed up, and hopped on a boat with Volkin. On the trip I killed time by chatting with the refugees, who all seemed to have no idea what happened. One second everything was fine, the next the cities were up in flames and shrouded in darkness. The military evacuated as many people as possible, and the mages sealed the insides of the boat with some sort of magic. The people heard the sounds of battle, and then silence. Nobody knew what killed their soldiers.

And nobody knew where the ruling family was. Coraline was in Bishk as a peacekeeping officer when the calamity struck, and apparently Kataline had sealed off the palace with some sort of spell, but that’s all I could figure. They hadn’t turned up anywhere.
We docked, and I headed to the nearest military base to get my bearings. The officer stationed there was absolutely thrilled to see me, even asked for an autograph, but became rather disenchanted when I told him I was part of the Lavanda military force. Regardless, he pointed me in the direction of Captain Leafwood’s cliffside shack.

It was a short ride, but when Volkin and I showed up, something was wrong. The door looked like it had been unseated, and there were a couple horses stabled outside. I entered with caution, and told Volkin to guard the door. The inside looked like it’d been ransacked, and it didn’t take long to find the culprits. I was quickly surrounded by hooded, robed figures wearing metal masks. One of them was obviously mechanical - a warforged. The others seemed to be trying to buy time for their companion who was searching through Leafwood’s bedroom.

Volkin crashed through the door, and we pushed our way through. The one in the bedroom hadn’t found what he was looking for, so I chucked him out the window and onto the cliffs below. In the other room, a man entered, aimed a strange looking weapon, and I saw the warforged get impaled by a red-hot metal rod.

Before I could deal the killing blow to the last one, he laughed and disappeared in a puff of black smoke. Now that’s just damned typical. I introduced myself to this stranger, and he turned out to be none other than Captain Leafwood. We made our introductions, I apologized for the window, and then we decided we’d retrieve the body I tossed over the edge from the rocks below. A grappling arrow did the trick, and we hauled the man up. Beneath the mask, we found out that he was a very pale elf with tattoos below his eyes. A small man for such a big sword.

On his person, we saw that he had an assassination contract. There was a price on all our heads - the good captain included. I figured this was as good a time as any to speak my intentions. When I told him about the calamity and the company, he simply asked if this mission was daring, exciting, and had a low probability of survival. I told him yes to all of the above, and he grinned and accepted my offer.

He flicked a switch under his desk, and a hidden stairway opened up in his floor. We descended and arrived in his cliffside hangar, where he had docked his ship, The Bounty. He showed me the ropes, and the state of the art powerhouse at the back of the ship, The Maximus Engine, apparently stolen by Leafwood from Bishk’s chief engineer.

Without any further ado, we took off, and accelerated at a speed that didn’t seem physically possible. Our first stop was Hephan, where Tibles and Mersh had gone to do some research.

—Richard J. Buckles

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