The pirate with the musket asks if he can shoot Zan’thire but the weasely-looking pirate refrains and asks a series of questions so as to ascertain just why the elf with the badly swollen eye is trussed up like a xmas turkey and banged away in the brig. The maniac elf reluctantly reveals the truth and the two pirates duly leave. Sometime later they come back and remove him from his cell and take him up to the deck where a loud crowd of pirates are cheering and jeering as their Captain, Lubbock, makes the crew of the Questalis walk the plank. Zan’thire, psycho that he is, shows no sympathy or regard as the noble Sea Captain Xilther, is thrown overboard nor when the gallant and stoic Lieutenant Falthar and his subordinate, Marine Trillane, are tossed to the sea beasts. He even jeers when the young seaman, Silderus, who had shown him nothing but compassion in bringing him his meals, is also drowned. It’s about to be Zan’thire’s turn to walk the plank and as he’s pushed forwards he begins to feebly beg for his life, vaguely boasting of being worth a lot of money, and when that fails to impress the very busy Pirate Captain, he then offers his skills as a practitioner of the black magical arts; this serves to alarm the pirate crew’s current battle mage, Pierre Ledoux – there’s no way he wants any type of competition that could threaten his comfortable position. The pirate mage tells Lubbock that Zan’thire is dangerous and not to be trusted and urges that the elf should be immediately tossed overboard. A vigorous debate ensues as the two mages try and convince Captain Lubbock of the wisdom of their suggestions; it’s a close call but Zan’thire just manages to convince the veteran pirate that two wizards are better than one and that he is keen to make himself useful. Lubbock warns Zan’thire not to disappoint him and has him taken aboard the pirate ship – The Golden Ram, where he is stowed in a makeshift brig and warned by the First Mate, Smiling Jack, to behave himself.
Willard navigates his way stealthily through the entire Eastern District without any mishap until he arrives at the outer wall and spots a guarded gate. After vainly scouting around for a means to scale the wall he resigns himself to approaching the gate guards. They are suspicious of the half-orc but he manages to convince them that he is merely returning home from work. After being searched he is admitted through the gates and finds himself in foul-smelling Bloodsalt just after midnight. He heads the instructions Nargil gave him and weaves his way through the rough and unpaved alleyways and rat runs through the shanty town until he reckons he is in the proximity of the hub. He knocks on the nearest shack door and the door duly gives away with a loud crash. He hears the sound of a least one of the shack’s occupants clambering out of bed; the individual sounds mean and angry so Willard decides to move on to the shack next door and knock on that door (but much gentler!). There’s muttering as someone gets up from bed and answers the door just as a figure appears in the open doorway of the first shack and swings a club at Willard. The half-orc duelist is nothing if not swift and nimble on his feet and he manages to spring back, avoiding the club, just as the occupant of the second shack sticks his head out and receives the clobbering blow. Willard swiftly enters the second shack and picks the dazed inhabitant up; a shocked orc wife asks who he is and he tells her that he is just looking for someone called Sardain. As Willard begins to bandage the injured inhabitant up the wife informs him that she’s only just moved into the area and doesn’t really know anyone; she suggests that he asks around in the nearby bar. Willard asks for the directions and the wife tells him that it’s just at the end of the lane and is called “Sardaine’s”(!!!).
The group meanwhile are standing outside Kergan’s Kradle, a filthy looking two storey block with bars on all the windows. They enter and find themselves in a dingy looking foyer. Behind a barred reception a greasy looking man sits reading a book. They approach him and he assumes that they are merely seeking to rent a room for a couple of hours; he becomes wary when they inform him that they’re actually looking for Aporcus Beedle. He at first simply tells them that Beedle has left and that he has confiscated the man’s belongings; this excites the group and they bribe him with a generous amount of coin to buy possession of the bag. The first thing they note is that the bag reeks of snake weed – a quick rifle through the contents reveals a bloodied shirt, a wooden token, a loaded dice, a broken dagger and a small pouch with the initials “D.K”. They explore the contents and theorise what the items might mean – they then ask the proprietor what Beedle has been doing. The creepy guy demands additional payment to spill the beans but the group is running short of coin; Lucern tries to use her feminine wiles to illicit further info but the man wants a little show of flesh. Izzard, a seasoned bargainer and grafter is able to cut a favourable price which means they get some coin back – but unfortunately Lucern has to completely strip right there and then in the foyer. While the seedy owner ogles Lucerne’s fine form he informs them that Beedle has been visited several times by a local snake weed dealer called Slick. He gives them the dealer’s description and tells them that Slick can often be found peddling his wares down on the dockside market. The group also works out the initials “D.K” probably stand for “Delinda Knorbertal”, Beedle’s well respected aunt. It’s late at night and the market doesn’t open until morning so they leave the rat-infested establishment happy in the knowledge that they now have two leads to follow up on. Lucern leaves knickerless and with a sense of shame and violation – she has paid a heavy price for this progress.
The foursome spend the night in the favourite local haunt – The Sea Hag. The next morning they head straight for the market and start asking the stall holders if they have seen Slick before splitting up into two groups to systematically sweep through the site. Halfway through Gito spots the man they are after – there’s a quick discussion and they decide that Lucern will approach him pretending to be interested in making a purchase and will lure him into a side alley where the other three will jump him. With a solid plan of action formulated Lucern sidles up to the scrawny and rat-like Slick, noticing some fresh burns about his face and neck, and starts to speak to him. Unfortunately Slick is super wary and is immediately alarmed at being approached by the attractive stranger; he makes his excuses and begins to walk away at speed. Lucern follows, asking the man what the matter is but this serves only to alarm Slick more and he dives into an ally and then breaks into a run. The rest of the gang have been tailing close behind and as soon as Slick turns the corner they sprint after him and upon seeing him running away a full blown pursuit is on. Slick and the pursuing group race through the winding alleyways, turning this way and that. The drug dealer is surprisingly fast and nimble and three of the group slowly fall back, unable to keep up such a demanding speed. Edward, the musketeer, possessing a superior military standard of fitness not only manages to keep up but also makes ground and rugby tackles Slick to the ground with a crash.
Edward restrains the sobbing Slick while the rest of the group catches up to them. They are in no mood for any nonsense and immediately threaten him with violence. They ask him where Beedle is and he tells them that he doesn’t know. He says that the last time he saw him it was when Slick had informed him that the Knorbertal house and its possessions were being put to auction and Beedle had become excited, talking about a case. All the belongings had been taken to the MAH but Slick had come into possession of the case Beedle was so interested in. He revealed that the case contained only some money, a bag of teeth, a jar of paste, a scroll and a dagger. The group ask him where the belongings were now and the drug dealer says that he sold the bag of teeth to a hedge-witch in the market and the charm to a man on the docks who had just got off a ship and who appeared to be a wizard. They ask Slick how he came by the burns on his neck and face and he tells them that he was hit by a fireball two days ago while walking down a quiet alleyway.