The Ashen Crown, the Lords of Madness, and the Queen of Death

Captain Fenmarel

Dex enters the coffin next with Aurora riding with her as a spider. Once the door is shut, they are transported to the hold of the airship. Listening, she can hear Arasinya and Boggs speaking to the elves. Carefully, she manages to open the door to the coffin just a crack. The door, she notes, is held shut merely by a chain on a hook. She threads the tip of an arrow through a link of the chain and manages, quietly, to lift it off the hook.

Slipping out while the elves are distracted, Dex hides behind some crates in the cluttered hold.

Tinker enters the coffin next and rings the bell. Boggs, still posing as Ikar, is quick to explain that this is a warforged from his caravan. The elves let Tinker out, remarking upon Tinker’s unusual appearance and that “The Captain will want to meet him”.

Sindarin arrives last. The elves prepare to take Sindarin prisoner and to remove the coffin from the ship for safety when Dex and Aurora launch their surprise attack. Boggs as “Ikar” and Arasinya as “Maria” quickly join the fray and the hapless elvish sailors and their phantom guards are soon done away with.

During the battle, one of the ghost elves escapes up through the ceiling to the deck above, to warn the captain of the attack.

After the fight, the party tends to their wounds and begins searching the hold for clues. The elves seem to be Blood Sail sailors, a nautical elvish people who live in the Lhazaar Principalities of Northwestern Khorvaire. Some of the crates in the hold contain food and other supplies, but other crates contain strange junk and artifacts, likely salvage delivered from Ikar’s caravan.

Soon, the Captain arrives at the top of the stairs to the hold. It is a warforged of design remarkably similar to Tinker: ornate, finely crafted, and distinctly elvish looking. Unlike Tinker, she looks fully intact, with no parts scavenged from elsewhere. She carries Ashurta’s blade in one scabbard and a dynamic fullblade in her other scabbard. Her first mate is a crumbling desiccated corpse carrying a wicked looking sword with blood red runes glowing on its blade.

In a high, stuttering voice, the Captain introduces herself as Fenmarel. She demands to know why the party has boarded her ship. Warily conversing with her from behind crates in the hold, the party learns that the Captain has Yeraa captive, but is mostly interested in the Ashen Crown.

Tinker, curious as to what Fenmarel is and how she could be connected to his own past, begins to question the strange captain. Piquing Fenmarel’s curiosity, he learns that she is a construct created by Hanali d’Vol, an artisan of House Vol, before the house was destroyed in a civil war in the elvish homeland of Aerenal. Fenmarel was an attempt to cheat death. Within Fenmarel is housed the soul of an elf of House Vol who hoped to achieve immortality housed within an artifical body. However, Fenmarel never stirred. Presumed non-functional, Fenmarel was kept in a display case for centuries before finally a curious artificer attempted to dismantler her. The self-preservation drive given to her by Hanali, her creator, caused her to move for the first time, killing the artificer. Realizing that Fenmarel wasn’t inactive, simply disinterested in moving, expert elvish artificers then modified her to have other drives beyond mere self-preservation.

Fenmarel is surprised by Tinker’s existence, as she had assumed that Hanali had made no others, given that Fenmarel was seen as a failure. Even now that she is moving and has desires, she has no memory of ever being an elf. She believes that the memories are there- locked inside her- but that the memories are foreign to her artificial body and so cannot be interpreted by her. The elf, she believes, is thus effectively trapped inside her in stasis, unable to act. She speculates that the same could be true of Tinker.

Dex offers to give Fenmarel the Ashen Crown in exchange for Yeraa. Fenmarel agrees, ordering her undead first mate, Bercilak, to release Yeraa from her cell. The moment the cell door opens, a stool comes crashing down on Bercilak’s skull. Bercilak, apparently unable to feel pain, tersely informs Yeraa that her friends are here for her and that she’s being released.

Yeraa is taken to the top the stairs down to the hold. Dex ascends with crown in hand as Yeraa descends. When Dex reaches the top and hands Fenmarel the crown, Fenmarel wordlessly takes it and hands it to Bercilak. Bercilak holds the blade of his sword up to the crown. From the blade comes a child’s voice, speaking in elvish.

""Unfortunate. I had hoped that the Clan of Heroes crown would prove authentic. It’s a fake," the voice of the blade observes.

Dex and Yeraa flee down the stairs and the party races for the coffin as a dozen phantom sailors pass through the ceiling and descend into the hold, their chill, ethereal blades drawn.


MatthewKelly MatthewKelly

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