13th Voyage

29 - The Iron Triangle

The tale of the corsair's second wife.

Aboard the Twist of Fate, Abd stands ready until the foreign ship has vanished around the coast. Tairasha gives the all-clear, and Abd moves to the second launch. He follows the trail left by the three women through the village, noting that the firefighting is now gaining the upper hand. He rejoins them at a small house on the inland edge of the village.

Kismet, Aya, and Wind-of-Embers made their way to Tiyesha’s house to find the corsair’s third wife curled on the floor, bleeding. Wind-of-Embers calls down the power of Hakasarre to heal her and bring her to consciousness while the other two douse the fires. Once the young woman has regained an understanding of the situation, she describes the envoys from the strange ship that came to her. The leader was a bald woman with arcane tattoos on her scalp, loose blue clothing and a bright red sash; her second was a grim-looking man with a spear.

Tiyesha pauses, and asks the group if they are with the Free Brethren. The response is “No, but we stand against one of their new enemies.” She accepts the explanation, and continues. She informs them that the intruders interrogated her about the potential whereabouts of her husband Barbafir; she told them she didn’t know, and the irritated bald woman stabbed her in the gut. The venturers tell her that he has a valuable treasure that multiple sides are searching for, and that they’re determined not to let the woman her allies have it.

Tiyesha tells them that although she doesn’t know where Barbafir might be at any given time, she does know the location of her senior sister wives, who might be better informed. His second wife Hajuda lives on the Iron Triangle, and his first wife stays aboard the moving corsair city of Zarat.

She follows the venturers as they return out to the village square. With the fires under control, several of the people of Plum Wine Island gather to thank them. They give the group several fine bottles of the local vintage; Abd passes his to Wind-of-Embers.

As the celebration continues, a ship moves around the southern coast of the island. The venturers recognize it as the same vessel rigged like their own, likely returning to see if the visitors had left. The enemy ship changes course and sets out to high sea. The group returns to the Twist of Fate, though not before Tiyesha insists on coming with them — she dislikes the thought of being targeted again, and Plum Wine Island has no defenders as doughty as the venturers.

Captain Tairasha hails the four as they board. Once he’s been quickly introduced to Tiyesha, he asks if the ship should pursue the windrigger or make for the home of Barbafir’s next wife. The venturers quickly decide on the latter. With Zarat likely much better-defended against an Ascending Flame ship, they set course for the Iron Triangle. Aya shows remarkable fortitude in calling the winds through the night, supported by Wind-of-Embers, who brings her various blends of tea every couple of hours. The Twist of Fate easily reaches the Iron Triangle before midday.

The island easily stands out from its neighbors. A wedge-like mountain dominates the majority of its surface, with a scattering of vegetation around the coast. A forge-town sits on one of the island’s three “points.” A pair of metal fences running out to two large rocks offshore protect the harbor, allowing only one path in between the rocks. Tairasha notes that in times of danger, the town can raise a chain to close off the entryway. He also points out the slagthrowers on the quays, catapults that can be loaded with burning forge refuse to use against a trapped vessel.

As the Twist of Fate moves towards the entry, they note another ship at anchor near one of the two large rocks. The squatter vessel seems to have hatches for oars — a sailing ship with the capacity to act as a galley. With the use of Tairasha’s spyglass, Kismet notes the figurehead of a burly chained humanoid, and recognizes the ship immediately: the Deathless Slave, a ship from Izir’s fleet. She tells the others to be on their guard. But the Iziran vessel seems lightly manned, and the veiled figure watching them gives no signs of hostility.

The Twist of Fate sails into the passage and docks at one of the three open quays. Tairasha gives Kismet the order to buy some nails and chain as cover for their purpose. The group disembarks, and Kismet begins negotiating with the orcish spokemsan. Abd, Aya, and Wind-of-Embers take Tiyesha with them to the foundry, where Tiyesha says that Hajuda works as an overseer.

They find the strapping, tattooed orc Hajuda inside, yelling at a worker about the danger of burning another to off. She initally assumes they’re here to look at the ironworks; they reveal that they actually wish to speak about her husband. As she tenses, Tiyesha steps forward and introduces herself as another of Barbafir’s wives. She relates the tale of how the bald woman stabbed her and left her for dead, but the fire-priest — with a gesture to Wind-of-Embers — healed her and saved her life. Hajuda gives the elf priestess a look of respect, then embraces Tiyesha.

Abd and Wind-of-Embers stress that Hajuda may also be in danger. A mere moment after their observation that the Iron Triangle does seem well-defended, cries of alarm echo from the docks. “Or not,” sighs Aya.

The venturers race from the foundry, where they see a chaotic brawl breaking out. The Iron Triangle’s workers seize what weapons or deadly tools they may, as they fight against what appear to be drowned men, still sloughing seawater onto the docks. As the group races to join in, they see an even more alarming sight — each of the slagthrower mounts is under attack, with a nine-foot undead monster attempting to wrest control of each one under the direction of what seems to be a living corsair. And with the slagthrowers under the invaders’ control, the Twist of Fate would be a duck on the water…

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