We had several days of leisure here at what we discovered was known as the Fortress of the Dawn. With a lovely villa and time on my hands I decided to organise a dinner party here in this paradise. I sent out Hans and William and some others to hunt, while I sent out my skeletons to find tables and dinnerware and such and I wrote hand written invitations to all the officers and such. Obviously our host the dragon also received one. In short order I had formal wear for all the skeletal waiting staff, several large tables, plenty of beautiful table ware, though none of it of precious metals, and a bountiful larder of venison and native fruits. Jeeves was in charge of the cooking and outdid himself as always.
The band had been practicing all day and Jorge turned out to be a skilled violinist so they were quickly whipped into shape to serenade the dinner. Soon the guests arrived and all was well. We ate, drank and talked, I had even organized a supply of blood for those who couldn’t imbibe the food and brandy. Our host the dragon did me a great honour and transformed the silverware and such into actual silver. It was a small gesture on her part, but appreciated. Plus it was an honour to see one of the progenators of magic using it in person. Later I was able to talk to her about how Dragons work with the High Elves in Battle, as from my experience with Griffins I knew how effective they were, but a dragon is far more powerful. It turns out they act very differently in the field. It is only the incredibly rich or important who can ride a dragon in battle, and usually it is a transactional situation. There they are might creatures and devastating in battle. On their own they rarely come out to fight against enemies of the High elves unless they are paid very well or it is in the Dragons personal interest, so usually they act as Auxilliaries or as defences more than as regular troops. To my mind I would place their usage by the elves as the same as that of Brettonian Knights by villages of peasants. A comparison I didn’t mention to our host.
After a night of food, song and dance we retired for the evening and on the next day William and I went hunting. We had a deeper conversation than I had expected where William revealed a great deal about himself and I am proud to count him as a friend. We renewed our bond of friendship and arranged to spar more often as there are few of our caliber with the sword aboard. On our way back I stopped by the orchards and gathered a great many fruits and set up a brewing operation to ensure we would have plenty to drink on our return, whenever that might be.
After our ship was finished with her maintenance we set sail, though I feel we all looked back more than once before the island was out of sight. Once on the open ocean again the calm weather around the island gave way to squalls and normal weather again. We sailed for a some days before coming to the mainland. We saw dense jungle such as I had never seen before and huge mountains inland. From Deepsworn’s map we knew there should be a river mouth a few days up the coast. That would be out best chance at a harbour either from a settlement or just as a natural area to dock. Sure enough we found it and were able to dock.
Isidore had spent a few days scaring the crew with tales of tropical diseases. I feared them too, but the way he spoke is a danger to the ship and not the actions of one who understands how politics, whether on a ship or on a wider scale, work. Still we managed to put together an expedition. To my dismay I discovered young master Timothy was coming along. While I disapproved it was not my place to refuse this, but I ensured Jez understood the danger and made sure he had a weapon. I found him a small shortsword in the armoury. I dislike arming one so young, but the campaign trail is dangerous.
As we were facing a challenge with scouting a large area I suggested we shot down one of the medium sized birds in the area and raised it as a wight to assist us. Everyone was onboard and they allowed me to bind it to myself personally. He is a colourful specimen and I have named him Count Noctilus after the infamous admiral of the dread fleet. A fitting name I think.
We set off into the jungle and the terrain was as tough as any I had seen on campaign. I spotted some predators, but they were giving us a wide berth, so were not an immediate concern. Isidore spotted some more of the lizard men we had seen at the Fortress of the Dawn. Jez had spent her time there learning their toungue and tried to communicate, but we heard nothing from them.
That night as we set up camp Timothy was upset with the hardships of the journey, but Lilith, in the way she does, calmed him down by telling him that he had been made aware that it would be like this before and he now had to stick to his decisions. A good lesson, if taught in an odd way. That night Lilith was on first watch and not long into her watch awakened us all by firing her pistol. We all scrambled to our feet and were almost to a man shot with darts from the jungle. William took off into the woods and Isidore began pointing out enemies as we opened fire. Plucking the dart from my shoulder I threw it at the nearest enemy and was satisfied to see them be struck by it. The fight was over almost as soon as it began. Two of them lay on the ground, one dead, one wounded. Several of our group bore nasty wounds, but most were largely unhurt. Lilith and I acquired blow pipes, darts and venom sacks, and I bandaged up the living assailant. We would find out more in the morning