As winter came to the city of Valas, so came a sealed missive to the relaxing Striders of the Reach, borne by a young kenku messenger, and bearing the yellow seal of the Golden Wheel Trade Consortium.
Following the instructions of the missive, the Striders met the next day the the Mercer Tavern with Tellon Bahn, bookkeeper and scribe of the Golden Wheel Trade Consortium, who offered them a deal. The Striders were to accompany representatives of the Golden Wheel to locate and retrieve the cargo of the recently sighted direlict Queen of the Waves. After briefly hiring a rag-tag crew, and securing the necessary provisions, the Striders set off within two days.
The Striders stopped briefly at Falls Cove, where a crew sent to retrieve water from the falls was attacked by a monstrous devilfish, which tore Junn Collun limb-from-limb before it was driven off by the Striders. During his underwater struggles with the devilfish, Captain Trao suffered twice the devilfish’s poisonous bite, managing to hold off the worst of the poison long enough to struggle to his cabin before passing out.
Bosun Gerrson limped over to Vaer. “Knew an old fisher once in Braice who they said fought off a devilfish. Started sleepwalking down the shore some nights, singing, or whispering some dark name in his sleep. They’d catch him singing twisted old shanties in his boat, or at the pub. Legend tells that the taint of a devilfish’s tentacles darkens his soul forever, an’ it’s only a matter of time before the survivor takes the lives of the innocent. Disappeared one day, he did, in a squall they said, but a few of Braice’s fishers had awful dark eyes and faces graven like gargoyles long after. Its a bad omen this if you ask me,” he says, as he limps away to the helm, “an no amount of black pigs’ll save us.”