As Mendel watched for the vessel to approach he noticed a larger pirate ship sail behind it and into the harbour at Farshore. The fisherman begged them to hurry aboard, as Stefanie used her Sending again to warn Lavinia of the possible attack. After a couple of hours, the party entered the harbour of Farshore, to find the settlement aflame and under attack from a ragged looking bunch of pirates. Their ship, a battered vessel named Hellfish flying a symbol of a rat's hindquarters above its tattered sails, sat in the harbour. The pirate captain was visible in the midst of the settlement, a mean-looking cur wearing armour made of knotted ropes, with a hangman's noose hanging limp around his neck. The party hurried into the midst of the battle; Jardek ran to a nearby burning building to rescue a woman trapped under a fallen beam; Krunk bounded down the pier to tackle a leering pirate that had cornered a terrified woman; Dacien launched a fireball into a pack of the pirates that attempted to break down the doors to a chapel; Mendel picked off pirates from afar with his bow; Stephanie hurried to the aid of an unconscious mage lying on the beach amidst his glassware; Antony hurried after Krunk as 'damage control' and skewered a few passing pirates that hadn't noticed him; and Zhedd used his magic to put out a fire, and summon some hippogriffs to pick off the crew remaining on the deck of the ship. There was a brutal battle between Stefanie and the pirate captain, both trading savage blows with Krunk carving his way through the crew to come to her aid. As Jardek and Antony arrived to help, Dacien's magic missiles finally felled the captain. Krunk used a magic pebble to turn into a water cannon and put out more of the fires, Stefanie hurried to help the local militia who had been cut down by the pirates, as Antony and Mendel rushed out to the Hellfish to look for survivors. The ship itself was spartan, with few goods aboard save for tea and salt in the hold, and bare cabins. The hold also housed a makeshift stockade, in which sat a miserable one-handed wretch named 'Lefty'. He claimed to have been locked up for hitting the grog too hard before the attack, and rankled at Mendel's pompous attitude, asking to be given a quick death. Back on the shore, Lavinia arrived to greet the party, flanked by the Jade Ravens and other locals she introduced as the Council. She was delighted to see the party, but upset at the losses there had been since they left Sasserine, particularly of her close friend and mentor Amella and Urol, who had been due to sponsor much of the return to and rebuilding of Farshore. She offered the tired and weary party baths, drinks and hot food, and suggested they convene with the council in a few hours.
Lavinia introduced the Farshore council members: Professor Aldwattle, an Alphatian alchemist; Vesserin Catherly, an elven priest of the Church of the Whirling Fury (a pantheon including Djaea, Ilsundal, Khoronus, Korotiku, and Hel); Telda Syren, an elven botanist and running the local apothecary; Captain Ulvar Kabbanja, head of the militia and one-time Thyatian gladiator; and Lord Manthalay Meravanchi, a no-nonsense merchant and follower of Asterius - and Avner's uncle. Keen eyes spotted that Lord Meravanchi did not seem overly pleased to see his nephew. Lavinia and Manthalay were in the midst of mayoral elections since Manthalay had been running the settlement in the absence of anyone from the Vanderboren family. Lavinia's return had thrown the local population into a fierce debate over who deserved their loyalty, and Lord Manthalay had determined that anyone contributing to the settlement should have a say who governs them.
There was confusion over the pirate attack, as Lavinia did not think it public knowledge that the settlement even existed, let alone be on trade routes for pirates to plunder. Without any pirates alive to question, they were left puzzled, although charts recovered from the Hellfish labelled an island to the south west of the Thanegioth archipelago as 'Rat's End', the possible location of their base. The party resolved to explore that island in the morning. The evening free, they were left to explore the colony; Mendel spoke with Vesserin at the chapel, who mentioned an emissary of the Church of Ixion who had recently visited before setting off for the plateau in the centre of the Isle of Dread, also that some of the locals were slightly unsettled that the growing graveyard had not yet been consecrated. Ulvar and Manthalay mentioned trouble with a troglodyte tribe in the centre of the island that was preventing them from accessing a possible banana plantation. Most importantly, they found out the name of the local tavern - The Last Coconut. Zhedd spoke with Kaskus, the druid of the Jade Ravens, and it was mentioned that they were unhappy being shown up by the party's actions, and many of them wished to leave Farshore.
THe next morning, Stefanie questioned some of the pirate bodies that she had placed under guard over night. Questioning the pirate captain led to only surly answers - but also the mention of a possible attack from the Sea Reavers of the Crimson Fleet! Questioning the others confirmed this, and that it was due to take place in approximately 6 weeks time. The party reconvened the council to warn them of the assault. There were many discussions about what could be done to prepare, and what the local resources of the Jade Ravens and 4 work forces could do. Suggested actions included:
- Requesting help from the natives in Tanaroa
- Requesting help from the peaceful Phanaton tribes deeper in the island
- Requesting help from the nomadic Rakasta warriors
- Recovering the Sea Wyvern
- Using/sinking the Hellfish in the harbour
- Training/recruiting the militia
- Moving the palisade to improve the perimeter
- Building watchtowers/lookouts on the cliffs, with siege weaponry to bombard ships entering the harbour
- Removing/booby trapping the piers
- Improving the health of the villagers
- Clearing the treeline behind the settlement (workforce assigned)
- Dealing with the Troglodytes (Jade Ravens assigned)
- The Loki followers they had encountered previously
Reconnaissance at Rat's End found the remaining pirates slaughtered, and only their prostitutes left alive; in a ruse they had staged themselves to appear captives, but their ring leader 'Lie-low' Lil eventually admitted to the ruse, after she was sure of the nature of their 'rescuers and what was in store for them.The women were offered places back at Farshore, much to Lord Meravanchi's displeasure. Lil did know some further details about the Rat's End pirates and the Crimson Fleet - that the captain was contacted by their leader (Cold Captain Wyther) via a crystal ball, and that occasionally ships of the fleet would stop by on their way to Gallivant Cove at the north of the island for unknown reasons. The pirate captain had been asked to scout out Fashore ahead of the attack, but grew restless and impetuous and led an early assault himself.
The party were on day 1 of ?? in the countdown to the arrival of the Crimson Fleet.