It was a beautiful, warm sunny day in Edriksport. A light sea breeze carried the smell of salt and fish across the fields and meadows and rustled against the leaves of the Oltree Forest. A group of shepherds sat in the shade of the tall cobblestone wall that surrounds the town, idly watching their flocks. To the south, various farmer’s hands were alight with magic, as they stood by their crops, guiding large stone and metal golems in their work. Smoke rose from dozens of cooking fires in the houses across the town, and the sound of saws and hammers rang through the streets as the shipwrights plied their trade. In the port three large merchant vessels and a small frigate floated gently at their docks. Surrounding them and dotting the bay beyond were numerous fishing vessels of all shapes and sizes, coming and going, with the Duke’s orange-sailed warship anchored in the middle of it all, a still guardian of the bay. Fishermen and sailors working the docks were the life of the town in the early afternoon, leaving the main street and connecting lanes that held the simple wooden houses and businesses together peaceful and quiet, the only noises therein came from the occasional shrieking laughter of a group of children playing, dogs barking, or roosters crowing.
On the only road that led into Edriksport, a woman stepped out of the Oltree Forest. She was tall and lithe, her baggy brown pants and white shirt seemed both loose and yet well tailored. They were accented by a blue vest and a red sash about her waist from which a sword in a leather scabbard hung, and giving her an appearance of what a noblewoman might imagine a pirate or seafaring adventurer to look like. On top of all this she wore a thick grey cloak with a hood covering her head and tightly clasped at the neck, and a thick black blindfold covered her eyes.
She appeared completely unaffected by the blindfold, as she marched toward Edriksport with great purpose and confidence. The guards at the gate, wearing orange tunics emblazoned with a black hammer and plank greeted her with some surprise as she walked by, and asked if she needed any help. The woman smiled at them and politely declined, her voice soft and melodious. The road continued straight down to the port from the gate and was bracketed on either side by houses and small shops. The few people out and about paused what they were doing and stared as she swept by. The woman paid no heed.
Upon arriving at the port itself, the woman followed the street down to the Leaky Whale, which was the tavern nearest the docks. While it was busy in this part of town, sailors, shipwrights, dockworkers all going about their business, everyone gave her wide berth, and her going down the street was like a shark going through a school of fish, and the murmurs and curious whispers as she passed by going seemingly unnoticed or unheard by her.
The woman entered the Leaky Whale, an old establishment seemingly cobbled together from multiple different ships and rigging. It was clean and decently lit, and mostly empty at this time of day. She sat herself down at a table with a good view of the entrance, and almost immediately the tavernkeeper, an elderly Tiefling man with deep maroon skin and numerous golden tattoos covering his body, came over. His hair and horns were a chalky white to match his clothing, and he walked with the gait of a man who had spent far too long at sea.
“How can I help you miss?” He asked, a voice deep and powerful enough it could carry across the entirety of a ship in a storm.
The woman pulled a gold coin out of a small pouch and placed it on the table in front of him with a coy smile,
“A tankard of ale, and an audience with the captain of the frigate on the dock if you would be so kind.”
The Tiefling’s face flashed briefly in confusion as he tried to process how a blindfolded woman would even know what ships were docked. But, magic being what it was, he didn’t give it too much thought. His brow furrowed.
“Are you sure miss? That ship belongs to Captain Kersha, a known pirate of these parts. If you’re looking for passage somewhere, there are safer options.”
“The ale and the audience please.”
“As you wish.” Taking the gold piece, the Tiefling walked over to the bar, and said some quiet words to someone in the back who quickly disappeared. He then returned with her ale and left her be.
A half hour later Captain Kersha entered the tavern, with two wiry lackeys at his side. His face was hard and sea worn, and a thick braided auburn beard stretched almost down to his pants. His clothing was a gaudy mixture of bright colors, rings of every shape and size adorned his fingers, and necklaces of different shapes and gold colored metals draped across his ample form. Every step he took was accompanied by the jingling of his jewelry. He swaggered over to the woman, and sat himself opposite her, eyes greedily looking her over. The lackeys took up position, standing behind him.
“Yer as beautiful as me men have said when ye walked down through to here. I’m hearin’ you’re wanting to book a passage on me boat. I might be amenable to the situation… fer the right price.”
The woman laughed, it was as soft and beautiful as any songbird.
“No, I don’t want to book passage.” With a playful expression she leaned forward over the table, her elbow on the table and hand on her chin, “I want your ship and crew.”
The men were surprised and taken aback for a brief moment, and then the captain burst out in uproarious laughter quickly followed by his lackeys. When it had subsided, Captain Kersha wiped the tears from his eye and said,
“Lass, there ain’t enough gold in the world can separate me from me ship and crew.”
Without moving her hand from her chin, her fingers reached up and gently tugged her blindfold down, revealing eyes the color of which could only be described as fiery strokes of copper and glittering white stars warring on a field of blue -one of the most staggeringly beautiful sights one could never see. The Captain’s smile froze, along with the rest of him as he petrified into solid stone.
“Hopefully your crew is amenable to a change in leadership.” Sibiliss said, as she pushed her blindfold back into place and leaned back in her chair. “After all, I can’t sail a ship like that on my own now can I?”
The three new stone statues in the Lucky Whale had no response.