They spent three days at sea, sailing back from the Korinn Archipelago to the mainland. Some of them felt a bit feverish on the first day, perhaps as a result of their rat bites, but it passed soon enough. After the supernatural storm, the weather was nothing but good to them, and on the afternoon of the third day, they saw Daggerford.
“Home sweet home!” said Eilir, steering the boat toward the busy port. “I can’t wait to put on some normal clothes.”
She soon found a berth. As dockhands secured the boat to the pier, she told the others, “You’re welcome to accompany me to my home. I’m sure Daddy will be thrilled to know who helped me get home.”
“It might be an honor,” Theronna said.
“I don’t know my way around this town,” added Alistina, “so I’ll come along.”
Zeke nodded, relieved to finally be back on dry land.
Eilir smiled. “Once we get to my home and Daddy knows I’m safe, I’ll be happy to help you around town. I need to go dress shopping anyway.”
She led them through town, grinning and waving at passersby. They made their way to the Money Quarter, where the Stormweather villa stood next to a small park. The house was well-appointed, if a bit smaller than some of the surrounding buildings. Eilir broke into a run at the sight, forcing the others to keep up.
The guard at the gate almost fell down when he saw Eilir; he fumbled the gate open and waved her to the front door. The rest of the party caught up to her as she wrestled with the front door.
“When was the last time you saw your father?” Alistina asked.
“About two months ago. Just before those slavers got me.” Eager to bring an end to his worrying, she threw the door open and went inside, closely followed by the others.
Several small pillars stood around the villa’s parlor, each displaying a treasure or souvenir from some part of the Sword Coast. They heard the voices of two men coming from a room ahead. Eilir knew one of those men to be her father, Ronan Stormweather. “Daddy, I’m home!” she called, and the voices stopped at once.
“Eilir?” Ronan replied. “Eilir, darling?”
She ran down the hall, seeing her father emerge from his study. Weeks of worry fell away from his kind face at the sight of his daughter; as they embraced, Ronan scooped her up and spun her around once or twice.
“Eilir!” he shouted. “Valkur be praised, child, I thought I’d lost you!”
As the other adventurers drew closer to the scene, Ronan set Eilir down to get a look at her, and a halfling emerged from the office behind Ronan.
“Oh, Daddy, it was horrible! They took me prisoner and made me wear these awful clothes and they stole my pretty dress… but I made new… well, friends… and we all escaped together, and guess who navigated the ship back here? ME!”
Ronan’s fingers brushed his daughter’s cheek. “I’m sure you did, darling. I’ve never doubted you. Are these your friends, then?”
Eilir turned to introduce the others, beaming with pride, in spite of the rags they all wore. “Yes,” she said. “The boy there is Zeke, and this is Theronna and Alistina.”
Ronan shook Zeke’s hand before the farmboy realized it was happening. “Ronan Stormweather, son. Honored to meet you.”
“P-pleasure, sir,” Zeke said.
Ronan offered a very polite bow to Theronna, and again to Alistina; the women replied in kind. “I can’t thank you enough,” said Ronan, “for bringing my angel back to me.”
“Ronan,” said the halfling, “back to the problem with your mine.” Zeke’s eyes widened at the halfling’s audacity. Who was he to interrupt this emotional moment?
“Yes, Mr. Thorngage. Yes.” Ronan stepped out of the way so the group could see the halfling. “This is Lyle Thorngage.”
The halfling looked them over, but his attention remained fixed on Ronan. No one in the group offered greeting to this stranger, and silence reigned for a moment.
“Daddy,” Eilir finally said, “I hate these rags. I need a new dress.”
“I, uh… I’m not sure I can do that right now, darling.” Seeing Eilir’s pout, Ronan continued: “Do you remember that silver mine I told you about? Up in the hills, the one that Talbot fellow wanted stake money for?”
“I don’t like the sound of this,” Alistina muttered to Theronna. Zeke wanted to leave, but was having trouble getting a word in.
When Eilir nodded, Ronan went on. “Well, I… we’ve lost it.”
“Lost it?” said Eilir. “How do you lose a mine? What happened?”
“Yes. Perhaps we should all sit down.”