As I sat thinking in the loft of the tavern, a ruckus arose more focused than the usual low rumble associated with a crowd of drinking fishermen and sailors. Grabbing my things and a candle, courteously provided by the tavern keep, I joined the growing crowds along the docks.
I found myself among a group of people, whom I guessed by their demeanor and accoutrements, were likely travellers and explorers much as I was. All of us were drawn by our curiosity to discover what had aroused such interest of the locals.
Across the narrow bay on the barrier islands was supposed to be a lighthouse standing ever vigilant, its light a magical everburning beacon. All was dark.
The group I was standing with began discussing finding a boat and going to investigate and being that I was not tired enough for sleep and genuinely curious, I asked that I be allowed to accompany them to offer what help I may.
Hiring a local shore boat, we set out for the island. While in route the beacon tender set fire to the backup signal.
We arrived to find the islanders quite disturbed, scampering about busily like a hive of ants whose mound has been carelessly toppled by running children. Inquiring of them we learned that the beacon was indeed magical and somehow had been extinguished by a source as yet undetermined.
Knowing that any inbound vessels would be at great risk of foundering on the reef, we borrowed another boat and rowed out to where we thought a ship had indeed grounded itself in the brief time no beacon shone.
We arrived shortly behind a couple of other would be rescuers or salvage seekers some of whome had already worked their way aboard the striken vessel.
I and three others stayed in the boat while two of the more vigorous members of our party crossed the reef and board the ship. As they were approaching the rope lines just behind the bowsprit, two screams in short sequence were heard, each quickly silenced.
We would later learn that what was left of the crew along with the first two salvage seekers had been beheaded, their heads tied into the rigging as a gruesome warning, and their bodies dragged below decks to become the fuel for a deadly blaze.
The attackers, who according to description were aquatic elves, departed the ship after setting firetraps that our intrepid investigators stumbled into, barely escaping with their lives.
We returned to shore only to be escorted to the office of a man named Jacko. A gruff sort who seeminly knows his business and tolerates little nonsense, he offered us 500 platinum as a group for the head of the person responsible for snuffing the beacon.
One of the travellers, Jonas by name, insisted that once our task was finished he would like to learn information from Jacko about the slave trade. I think I will attempt to sit in on that disc ussion as I too am interested in the topic.