The last time we saw our worn out heroes, the company gathered again in Franklin to celebrate their recent exploits and rest after said exploits. The Wizard put together a magical and magnificent feast for all the heroes. They regaled each other with their recent feats all night long. The Wizard pulled the Inventor aside to assure him that they were not just using him for his mechanical talents, assuring him that he could come and go as he pleased. The Inventor affirms that he wants to not only create inventions for the group, but to accompany them on their trip as well.
The mid-morning sun peeks through the window curtains and warms the Gunslinger’s face. The Gunslinger rolls over and pulls the blanket around his face to hide from the bright sunshine. That was a wild party last night. He stayed up swapping stories with Captain Crimson and got into a knife throwing contest with the Marksman. The Marksman won, at least, the Gunslinger thinks he won. The Gunslinger did his best to drink the never-ending keg’s last drop. The ship’s rum was okay when there wasn’t anything else to drink, but he hadn’t had an Old Fashion like that in years, and it just kept coming.
The sun’s rays were heating up the comforter now and it was getting unbearable. The Gunslinger slung the comforter off and sat up in bed, rubbing his face, eyes still closed due to his sleepiness. He gets up and makes his way across the room until he smacks his second toe against the bedpost. The Gunslinger bellows a few choice words, then realizes something. He has very little depth perception… and no bionic eye. The Gunslinger, disoriented, runs to the footlocker where he keeps his twin revolvers. Nothing. Gone. Vanished. Someone has taken his eye and his guns. Someone was going to pay.
The Gunslinger angrily jerks his pants on and throws on a shirt and buttons it up. He grabs his boots, shoves his feet in them, and stomps outside, walking towards the tavern. That’s when he notices the Marksman jumping out of the loft of a barn, moving in the same direction.
“HEY,” barks the Gunslinger as he runs over to the Marksman, “What do you know about someone stealing my eye!”
The Marksman, repulsed by the Gunslinger’s empty eye-socket or just by the rancid morning breath that plagued the Gunslinger, pulls back away from him.
“I didn’t take your eye!” replies the agitated Marksman, “I have also been the victim of theft: someone stole my crossbow, arrows, and my knife sash with all my knives in them.”
Just then, the Hero and Dr. Wolf run out of the tavern.
“Has anyone seen a maroon coat and a pair of sabers?” questions the Hero.
“And some rat is out there walking around with my Wolf cane!” scowled the Doctor.
The Barkeep, Distiller, and Scribe, hearing the commotion, run out into the townsquare.
“What is going on?” asks the Scribe.
“THEY STOLE MY BOAT!!!”
An irate Captain Crimson storms into town like an angry hurricane making landfall. His face was as crimson as his beard
“WHOEVER DID THIS WILL SURELY PAY! WHEN I FIND MY SHIP I WILL TIE THE THIEF TO THE FIGUREHEAD AND LET THE WAVES BEAT THEM MERCILESSLY AND THE SEAGULLS CAN PECK OUT THEIR EYES. WHOEVER DID THIS WILL WISH THEIR MOTHER HAD TAKEN A VOW OF CHASTITY AND LIVED AS A LOVELY SISTER FOR THE SPAN OF HER DAYS BECAUSE I WILL REIGN DOWN UNSPEAKABLE PUNISHMENT ON WHOEVER TOOK MY BOAT!” bellowed Captain Crimson.
“Never fear my friends,” said an amused voice behind the party.
Everyone turns to see the Wizard with an amused grin on his face.
“Wizard, I’m missing my eye,” points the Gunslinger.
“And my crossbow,” adds the Marksman.
“And my sabers,” adds the Hero.
“AND MY BOAT,” screams the Captain, not yet ready to settle down.
“As I said, never fear my friends,” repeats the Wizard, “I assure you everything is under control. The Inventor and I have worked for weeks perfecting improvements to each of your implements.
“Weeks?” questioned the Hero, “But I had my coat and sabers at the party last night.”
“Yes, yes, I know, but I have teleported your items and the Inventor to his workshop and cast a time-spell so that he could work as long as he needed while you all slept,” explains the Wizard.
“That’s very impressive,” remarks the Marksman, “The power used to slow time by that much and to teleport all those items over any distance would be extraordinary.”
“YOU TELEPORTED MY BOAT?” cries the Captain.
“Now quiet down, Crimson. It’s already back in the bay,” says the Wizard reassuringly.
“IN THE BAY?” cries the Captain as he takes off in a dead sprint towards the harbor, everyone else in pursuit. The Wizard shrugs his shoulders and walks behind them.
When the company gets to the harbor, they see Crimson’s ship, but the Wizard was right, it was definitely upgraded. The hull of the ship was covered in snake-like iron scales. The ship had been both extended from stern to bow, and the ship had been made much wider. It was also much taller too. The masts towered high above the deck. This had to be the biggest ship on the waves.
“Come aboard, good friends!” calls the Inventor as the company climbs up a couple ladders thrown over the railing. “I apologize for taking your belongings without asking but I wanted to surprise you.”
The Captain wasn’t hearing the Inventor as he marvelled at his upgraded ship. The foremast had been moved back to the main deck and replaced with the biggest deck gun the Captain had ever seen. The barrel was at least 10 yards long and 9 inches in diameter.
“Yes, that is your 229 mm gun. You should have an effective range of 700 yards with the correct load and trajectory. I don’t know of a ship on the sea with the range this ship has,” the Inventor says. He also cranks the wheels beside the gun, showcasing the gun’s swiveling base. The gun has 180 degrees of mobility.
“I also adjusted the cannon process below deck so that the cannons are on rails. When a gunner fires a cannon, he can rotate the gun back and the reloaders can cycle another cannon forward,” says the Inventor.
The Captain, like a kid in a toy store, rushes around the deck checking out all the new features. First, he checks out the mounted guns on the railing. He recognizes them from the story of the Marauder King. He had not one, but four positioned around the deck. The Captain also noticed a couple smoke stacks protruding from the poop deck.
“No, no, no, no, no way,” gushed the Captain.
“Ah, yes. I installed a steam system that hooks up to a paddle wheel below water level in the back of the ship. It should provide an extra boost. I’ve added all kinds of little things here and there, but these are just for you,” says the Inventor as he hands the Captain a set of holsters with something inside.
The Captain pulls two blunderbuss pistols out of the holsters.
“Instead of carrying around one big shot, I found a way to create two pistols that each pack the same punch. I figured you wouldn’t go for any new-fangled pistols like the Gunslinger has,” says the Inventor.
“It’s perfect,” gushes the Captain.
“Now for you,” says the Inventor as he turns to the Hero revealing two pair of sabers, one pair was new and the other was the Hero’s original set.
“I wanted to duplicate the design that you liked but I also wanted to expand your knuckle guard and forge the blade from a precious dwarven metal, found by dwarven miners many centuries ago,” says the Inventor.
The Hero unsheathes a saber and notices the mirror finish with a dark pitted look up the bevel. The sword is incredibly well-balanced. The Inventor also hands him a maroon coat.
“I also took the liberty of making you a new frock coat. I have interwoven several strong, fibrous materials. This coat, while still as fashionable as your old coat, has fibers woven so tightly together, that it is impervious to bullets, arrows, and shrapnel. You still should watch out for daggers and swords,” says the Inventor.
The Inventor turns to the Gunslinger holding out a hand with his eye in it. The eye had been upgraded, made with white polished marble. The craftsmanship was beyond anything the Gunslinger had ever seen. “For you dear sir, sorry I took your eye. I wanted to improve it and sync it to these,” the Inventor apologizes as he hands the Gunslinger three new guns. The first two were revolver pistols. The third is a lever action rifle.
“The pistols are chambered in a 45 mm cartridge. It should provide adequate knockdown power. I’ve installed wooden grips that conform to your hand. Once you grip it, it sets the grips and any other hand cannot fire your gun,” the Inventor says.
The Gunslinger grabs the pistol by the handle. The wood is separated into different size sliding pieces to make up the handle. When the Gunslinger grips it, the sliding tumblers inside the handle let him know that the grip identity is set. The Gunslinger spins the cylinder. It was smooth as silk.
“The rifle is a 45-70 lever action. This bullet travels at 2,275 feet per second and should provide the knockdown to take care of larger opposition. The end sight on the rifle, as well as the pistols are synched with your eye. It will provide real-time feedback on targets both in and out of your line of sight,” explains the Inventor.
The Gunslinger raised a pistol behind him, looking the other way. Somehow, in his mind, he could see the thermal outline of seagulls and the pistol’s aim in relation to them. It was incredible.
“For you Marksman, I know of your Order. My uncle used to craft weapons for them. I know that your crossbow is sacred to you so I did not want to change it too much, but I did add these cams to the arms, making your bow shoot harder and farther than ever before. I also made a bigger skull out of onyx. The notch on the top of the head still helps you aim, but the arrows come out of the skull’s eye and mouth. I replaced the leather bands with polished onyx bands. You’ll notice that your quiver is stocked with a variety of functional arrows. Be sure to look over them and arrange them however you want. I also took the seax knife, stiletto dagger, and throwing knives from your knife sash and forged new ones from the same material as the Hero’s sabers. They should be stronger and more balanced,” says the Marksman handing the weapons back to the Marksman. The Marksman is unsure how to feel about the improvements made to the sacred weapon, but the intention was good so the Marksman whispers his thanks and steps away. He reaches in the quiver and pulls out an arrow, it’s tip slightly extended away from the body of the arrowhead. Tiny razors spring out from gaps all around the arrow. These would be dangerous indeed.
"Of course the knives and arrows have been given the necessary blessings and enchantments as is expected for weapons of the Order," assures the Wizard.
The Marksman nods.
“I didn’t steal anything from you guys but I didn’t forget about you,” says the Inventor.
To the Barkeep, he gave a pair of bronze knuckles with an elegant “B” designed onto the knuckles, perfect for the Barkeep’s tavern brawling style. The Barkeep also received a handsome drop point Bowie blade, fashioned like the one that already hung from his hip. This blade was made from the same material as the Hero’s saber and Marksman’s knives, with rosewood handles. A great utility knife for opening whisky barrels, cutting bread, or defense if a bar brawl got out of hand.
To the Distiller, he gave a multitool with more functions than one could ever know. It was about six inches closed and sat in a leather pouch that attached itself to the Distiller’s belt.
To the Scribe, he gave a gigantic scroll.
“On this you can record this adventure,” says the Inventor, then he tugs on the ornate top knob on the top side of the scroll, and the knob pulls free and reveals a short sword. “I also hid one in the bottom, something to defend yourself with,” explains the Inventor.
The Inventor returns the wolf cane to Dr. Wolf and hands him a silver amulet with a blood-red stone situated in the middle.
“The Wizard and I worked hard on your cane. It is powerful magic that indwells that cane. We understand you may face a certain duality, so we created this amulet. If you focus on the amulet, you will always come back to yourself,” says the Inventor.
“And finally for you, sir Wizard,” says the Inventor as he unveils an engraved silver wand with a bright blue stone at the tip, the same type of stone as the one in the Wizard’s staff, “This wand can help you concentrate your power, giving you an advantage with dueling magic and more precise spells,” explains the Inventor.
“Thank you kind Inventor,” says the Wizard with a tear in his eye, “you have gone above and beyond for us.”
“Well the adventure has just begun and you went above and beyond rescuing me, I was just happy to return the favor,” replies the Inventor happily.