The party comes on board Arsinoe’s ship, the Maelstrom at night, just before they push off. They are contracted to guard the ship, its crew, and its cargo of ivory against pirates. As the ship leaves the dock, the party notices Latifa has not come with them. Neferkare and Tbidi are instantly hit with horrible motion sickness, and are put to bed in the hold.
The crew is all female, including an artist who is working on the figurehead. Except for the cabin boy, who works for the cook, who has a magically heated oven surface where she makes flatbread.
Once on board, Sebi immediately makes a dash at the ship’s cat, Ratter. Arsinoe pulls her bow on the dog, but calms when Guidrit calls him back. The ship’s surgeon, a cleric of Bastet, also seems to indicate that this is largely a cat-lady’s ship.
It’ll be a few days to reach the next town, Nemfu. First, they have to pass the first cataract, where they’ll pay taxes and show their passports.
Lysandra faints, and upon awakening the next day, is noticeably weaker and freaked out that her master has found her and is on his way.
Khafra, Figaro’s hideous wife, is following on another merchant ship. Figaro starts to think of ways to disguise himself.
Guidrit is befriended by Taka, apparently an alchemist based on the burns on her face, neck and shoulders. She is relentlessly friendly and usually sits in the crow’s nest.
Figaro gets some attention from the ladies on board, although he’s only able to convince them to visit him one at a time.
The artist, Amaya, is interested in the books that have been brought on board by Neferkare. Figaro and Guidrit give her free reign to borrow them in case she can actually decipher some of the writing. She gleans more information about The Shrike, but is unable to crack the code that Takhat has used for his notes scribbled in the margins.
There is a small pirate boarding party that Guidrit and Figaro fight off with the help of Amaya, the artist. Figaro manages to burn most of top deck and a substantial portion of the rigging. They tell Arsinoe that it was the pirate sorcerer who escaped. They came on a rowboat, and their main ship was nowhere to be seen. The Maelstrom will have to dock at the nearest tiny town for repairs before heading on to Nemfu.