A month on the road crossing Ord from Llael, avoiding pressgangs and other vermin and I was finally forced to pay my away aboard a garbage scow, shoved into a stinking cage not fit for dogs. I needed to band together a group quickly and let me tell you, the pickings were slim indeed. There were only two prospects in the entire motley crew. There was an arrogant Iosian with his nose stuck up in the air so high that he probably thinks his own shit smells like roses. I can categorically refute that notion. He looks like the type who considers himself a hero and blows kisses into the mirror. The other guy, a human I think, had a bulge in his coat that looks like it could belong to a gun mage. He could come in real handy. When we finally docked, the rest of the scum bolted like the boat was on fire, leaving us three left behind. The scurrilous deck hands then proceeded to relieve us of as much coin as they could. It was obvious that they weren’t going to just let us off the boat, even though the Iosian wanted to buy his way off. I raised my rifle and shot one of the dogs twice, while the Iosian surprised me with his bow work. The pirate looking fellow got mired in close combat with a cutlass to little effect, and the Iosian had to rescue his helpless ass. While the pirate was busy getting his revenge and the Iosian was busy congratulating himself, I searched the dead and dying deck hands and found a curious scarab beetle wrapped in a bloody rag. It was apparently pried out of a previous passengers’ skull (probably by the deck hands we just killed)and it looks like high quality Lapis Lazuli. I will have to find a way to turn this thing into big bucks so that I can get the hell out of here and get to real civilization back in Khador. I’m going to need some new traveling papers, too. Maybe I can talk my two companions into hiring out for a job or two. We got off the boat quickly before the fight had a chance to escalate and I decided to rescue a little girl victimized by some thugs. Menoth knows, my two companions obviously don’t have enough honor or dignity between them to initiate a rescue. But I made a mistake and got into a nasty battle with three jet crabs, the pirate getting the worst of it. Hero boy came to our rescue again, damn, he’s good with that bow. and we went into town looking for a pub that was giving out free beer. That turned out to be a dud, what with the tavern burning down, but we got a lead from a barmaid about where we might be able to unload the scarab. Now, we just have to find a place to spend the night, lick our wounds, and start fresh in the morning.