A lone dwarf sat in the corner of the appropriately named Drowning Sorrows Inn. Five empty mugs sat in front of the Dwarf, who was half asleep and slumped against the wall. Hephaestas walked up to the intoxicated dwarf and put on a scolding look.
“You know, last time I saw you, you told me you were going to keep it down to three mugs at most.” he began at the dwarf.
The lump of hair and mass stirred and began to speak, slurring his words as he did.
“Ahh, you’s sound juss lik’ this Forge-Folk I once knew, he owes me a boat that he does! An’ ish wasssnt fiiive – I’s only had t-t-twwo!” the creature forcefully whispered, hiccuping small icy cold breaths as he slurred his way to the end of the sentence.
“Oh, is that so? Barri I did give you a boat, that’s why I’m here.”
“An who er’ you’s? I ‘ave noo boat.”
“Oh Khyber’s sake man…”
Hephaestas popped up a vial from his breastplate pocket, emergency condensed Oilspresso, potent stuff. For should he ever feel so inclined, Glaive had sent it to him as a Festivault gift last Winter – or, maybe it was longer…eh, that didn’t matter. This stuff never expired. The tinkerer flicked his wrist and a small pneumatic spray bottle clicked out of his hand. Loading the Oilspresso container, he reached out and grabbed the (smelly) dwarf’s head, opened his mouth, pointed the device into his mouth and in one sturdy click, launched 20cc’s of some of the strongest and purest Oilspresso Hephaestas had… well, never had the chance to have.
“OI! I’dna think ye had to do THAT now, eh!?! Molin’s BEARD maan. Now THERE’S a kick!”
The red bearded dwarf looked up at his current irritater.
“Hooo mah sake’s alive, could ya be? Ist dat reeealy yeeh?” the small man exclaimed in his heavy dwarven accent.
“It is good to see you again, Barri. I had hoped you’d be a little more sober these days but uh…. hang on, did you say you LOST the boat I gave you??” The alchemist lashed.
“Ohhh… ya. Aboot dat. No more a Cap’n matey… Tell meh, whadda ya know aboot a character named da Laird O’ Blades?”
Hephaestas blinked. He hadn’t heard anything on the Lord of Blades in decades. Not since… his memory scanned for any recent news on the renegade warforged. Not since… The Mourning.
“What about the Lord of Blades, Barri?” Hephaestas eagerly questioned.
“Heh, wells… he don took mah ship, he did! He and his pious crew o’ miscreants. Now, I done knows I ain’t da most honest Dwarf, mate, but I dun go stealin’ udders ships eh!? Right shameful it be! I mean, seein’ as I did done pay for it! …For once!”
“Yes… yes I know. You’re as honest a pirate as they come… Tell me, Barri… I really need transport to Sharn – where might I get a captain who could get me passage, eh, discreetly?” Hephaestas began. Steering the conversation back on course.
“Discretion, eh? Mah friend… surely you’ve nought been dabblin’ in the elvish ways o’ espionage! Das nought like you at all!” the dwarf replied shockingly.
“Not espionage my dear Master Rockfoot, but diplomacy. Easily mistaken, but gravely different. I have a matter of my own personal attention as a diplomat of my House. That’s all you need know for now, if you don’t mind.”
“Ahhh, I meant no offense mah friend! Jus’ glad to hear you ain’t been messin’ in elvish ways! We men of valor must stick together! The front line is where we belong! Not skulkin’ in da shadows! Why, I remember when -”
“Barri.” Hephaestas interjected. “A captain is all I require, try not to get carried away?”
“Oh fiiiiine, you always were the straightforward type were’nt ya? I know a man, he’ll do ya good. Honest pirate, maybe more than thee, eh? Heh, heh. Name’s Cage. Niles Cage. He mostly frequents the Harbor, always refreshes his elemental generator thinga-ma-jig parts and provisions off da Eastern side. He’s a mate o’ mine. Jus’ tellem I sent ya. He owes me one anywho. Tell him… “Blade said: Remember Gambla’s Den” – heh, he’ll work for ya, an free too. Ye nought gunna git bett’r then that, eh.”
Not wanting to pry too much into the extravagant life of the dwarf and his captain friend, he decided not to ask, and leave it at that.
“Thank you kindly, Master Rockfoot. I will do so. I appreciate your help. Seems I have a captain to catch in the Harbor then. Have a pleasant day, friend!”
“Oh, wait jus’ a damned measly minute there ya quick-witted Arti-fisher. You dun said you’re off to Sharn, was it?” began the dwarf, his senses slowly returning.
“That’s correct, but like I mentioned earlier, I-” the smith began.
“Ohhhh that rat ain’t gettin’ away from me this time then!” Barri euphorically interrupted.
“I beg your pardon?” Hephaestas asked, curiously confused.
“HIM! Da Laird! He’s in Sharn! An’ if you’re goin’, I may as well too! A certain roguish friend o’ mine’s been trackin’ em for meh, but I had all but forgotten. It’s time I give em da justice he deserves! An’ wit you there! Ooooh, boy!” Barri shouted boastfully.
“Wait, the Lord of Blades is in Sharn too? With Merrix? That… can’t be coincidence, or good.” the Artificer muttered to himself.
Overhearing but not seeming to care, Barri jested at the old warforged, “Aha! You finally gettin’ da spine to go agains’ da man, ‘eph! Dat’s mah boy!”
“Heh, don’t be ridiculous, dwarf.” the warforged replied. “I’m only investigating – not reneging. I wouldn’t dare… my workshop. If I lost that….” Hephaestas pondered.
“Ya get it on baack!” Barri cheered. “You take em out an’ take it back! For us both! A ship for me and a House for you! Come on! Let’s get our adventure started! I’ve been looking forward to paying my old friend Cage a visit one o’ these days anyhow! Let’s see if he ever got The Banshee up an’ running again – my was she a beauty to fly!”