The Dragonlance Nexus

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Bakukal, 20th day of Reapember, 432 AC
Last Watch falling 13
The Palanthas Herald

Ergothian Merchant Fleet Blows Up In the Bay of Branchala

by Paul Record, Staff Writer
Last Updated: Palast, Yurthgreen 24, 419 AC

Palanthas – Just two weeks after the minotaur battle in the Bay of Branchala, the waters leading into Palanthas have once again become the center of attention. On Palast, an Ergothian mercantile fleet, two merchant ships and two war vessels, approaching Palanthas blew up just after having entered the Bay of Branchala, producing a column of fire and a smoke cloud that could be seen from Palanthas. Shockwaves from the blast caused windows to shatter throughout the dock area, and many smaller vessels suffered minor damage.

The burning hulls of the wrecked vessels have kept ships from reaching Palanthas, blocking a large part of the bay. A haze of smoke covers the bay area and is agitating the local bird life.

The Palanthian Navy has assembled a search and rescue fleet that remains docked, awaiting notice of approval from the city senate. However, reports claim that Palanthians have already begun to protest the lack of response and have started picketing on the docks.

In Gwynned, Lord Admiral Elrod of Mercibone said that he is seeking mystical divination to determine the cause of the explosion. "A calamity of this magnitude could have been accidental, but we need to be sure," he said. "I have commissioned our auxiliary mystics to commune with the spirits of the sea to aid in this investigation. At the very least we will know what caused the blast."

The explosion is the first of its kind in the Bay of Branchala in recent times.

The fleet manifest shows typical cargo with one exception, flashpowder. According to a spokesperson for the Orders of High Sorcery, flashpowder is a substance much prized by illusionists, wizards, and charalatans. Why a large amount of this substance was being transported to Palanthas and what caused the explosion remains unknown at this point.