The party set out to bring Gwen’s letter to her brother, Edwin.
They walked back to Haysport and met up with the mouse-folk that Croak had promised to help. Rosalee hesitantly agreed to hand over the deed to her boat if the party promised to use it to get the boat back from the townspeople. Hoxie and Sulxax stayed with the caravan to guard it during the night. They found their way to the ship’s graveyard where everyone had agreed to rendezvous. Sulxax stayed up to fix an old rowboat, while Hoxie found an old burlap sack that contained mementos from her mother’s youth.
Croak, using his reputation as the Hero of the Slums, found a helpful stranger to point him in the right direction. At the same time, he learned that none of the boats heading to Noname have made it safely into the harbour. He recommended keeping to the shallows, but that longer route would take three weeks. Blacksad’s poison would kill him by then.
The boat was broken and lying on a sandbar in the harbour. A strange woman agreed to give it to him, then sped away; Blacksad immediately realized that it was Shelley Bellemere in disguise, but she had already gotten away. He convinced Croak to steal the woman’s boat, the Grandmothers’ Rope, to use as a decoy to cross the seas. Inside her cabin, they found a letter from Zeke, the Herald of Leviathan.
Croak appealed to the better nature of the people of Haysport and asked for their aid in fixing the boat for the mousefolk. He showed them the deed to the boat, since people were still hesitant to help the mousefolk that they blamed for the fires of the slums. They agreed to help their hero, though they did so in a state of drunken revelry, as if in the midst of a festival.
Using her sensuality, Mithian charmed the workers to make them work faster and harder. They finished the boat repairs overnight. With Croak’s strength, the three of them were able to get the boats over to the ship’s graveyard. Mithian sent her pseudodragon to the caravan to give the signal for them to meet up. The mouse-folk used the repaired rowboat to reach the boats.
They headed into the open sea. Croak, Blacksad, and Clove were on guard, watching the sea. Blacksad took a moment to contemplate life and all its beauty; the ocean’s breeze stirred his poetic soul. Hoxie convinced Rosalie to make a business partnership with her; Rosalie could have exclusive distribution rights to all of the coral Hoxie had acquired from the chasm. Mithian stayed below decks to have some quality time with her fey boyfriend. Solxax trained, oblivious.
Blacksad spotted an island in the distance. It was tiny, a stereotype of a lonely and deserted island. Rosalie confirmed that it wasn’t on any maps. She tried to steer the boat around it, but the island kept pace with them. It approached closer, then disappeared beneath the waves.
Croak dove. He swam closer and greeted Grandfather, who had come to swallow the ships. The dragon turtle assured him that he was patrolling the seas to keep them safe from pirates. He again asked Croak to join him, and then asked after the contents of the ships. Once he learned that the ship was crewed by mousefolk, he let it pass. When the party docked in Noname, dockworkers scrambled to service them. They were the first boat to pass safely into its harbours in months.
The party set out to track down the assassins associated with the hornet sigil. Croak and Blacksad staked out an alley, waiting for the most suspicious thug they could find to pass through. Croak confronted a tattooed half-orc and demanded answers.
Mithian stepped in to prevent a fight. She soothed the stranger and allowed him to pet her pseudodragon. He told her that he had seen graffiti that looked like the hornet sigil on the necklace Blacksad carried. It was on an old brick building on the university’s campus.
The party called it a night. The next day, they searched until they found marks of cleaned graffiti on the library. Hoxie decided to break into the library. The walls of the hallway were filled with ‘Class of XX’ pictures. Solxax spotted Shan in a class photo from 100 years ago. Since they knew what year she had graduated, they were able to break into the student records office and dig up information about ‘Liadon’ from around the same time.
They learned that his full name was Liadon Silverfrond. His graduation bio indicated that he was going to open up a clinic. Due to Mithian’s noble background, she remembered that Queen Amy, before her death, had opened a lot of public works like clinics. In the library, under the ‘local history’ section, she found a book that detailed the late queen’s achievements, which even included a photo of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a clinic: there was Liadon, shaking her hand. The picture even showed the address of the clinic.
The party went to the artisan’s district, where they were picked out by the guards due to their dishevelled appearance. The guards were ready to arrest them due to a disturbance, when Croak whipped out the letter from Gwen. The guard seized him and Solxax, but Hoxie was able to slip away with Mithian and Blacksad.
The guards, after searching them for weapons, took Croak and Solxax to see Edwin Elderin… who the party already knew as Edwin Elderberry.
Croak delivered the letter. Edwin Elderberry was shocked to learn that his sister, Gwen, had declared war with the intention of taking the kingdom from him. He implored Croak for help. Ever heroic, Croak agreed, so long as the price was willing to help find the antidote to the poison that was killing Blacksad. Edwin swore to save Blacksad, his true friend.
Meanwhile, Mithian decided to crash with her friend Beth RayAnne, a local noblewoman. Her butler greeted the door and took immediate care of Blacksad, taking him to the sitting room to lie down. Beth knew something about the clinic, called ‘Queen Amy’s Mercy,’ and gave Mithian instructions on how to give a coded signal to the receptionist to indicate that they wanted ‘special service.’ The pass-phrase was, “My poor great-uncle Pete is bedridden with cholera.” Beth RayAnne gave a letter to Mithian that vouched for her noble pedigree, even if she was foreign-born.
In the morning, dressed in nice silk PJs, the party went to the clinic. The butler fireman-carried Blacksad. Outside the door, Hoxie heard a strange grating noise, but she was unable to spot its source. Mithian convinced Blacksad to stay outside with the butler. As soon as he was left alone, he heard the strange grating sound and saw a hooded figure looking down on him from the roof. Blacksad downed some drugs, eager to investigate, trampling flower bushes. But he was too weak to climb up the building. The butler convinced him to stay put.
Mithian and Hoxie went in and gave the pass-phrase to the receptionist. They were taken into the backroom and introduced to Judith Liadon, who offered them package deals on poisons. Mithian indicated that she wanted a ‘do it yourself kit’ that would allow her to get a boy out of her life. Something that would make him suffer, nice and slow. But did the kit come with an antidote in case the poison accidentally afflicted the wrong person?
After inspecting Mithian’s documents, Judith agreed that she had such a poison. It would only be 100,000 gold, and she’d throw in the antidote. Mithian tried to convince Judith to accept her signet ring as collateral, but that she was ‘good for’ the rest.
“No.” Judith grinned. “I think you’re lying.”
With grating rasp, a hooded kenku appeared from the window. He held his dagger to Mithian’s throat…