A Jolly Rogers Tale: Skull & Shackles

The hunter's tale

My friends, let me tell you a story of a shipmate, and a hunter. Trista was skilled in the ways of the outdoors, able to find her way easily through the densest undergrowth. She was canny in the ways of nature as well, able to identify things safe to eat from those that were poisonous.

She only made one mistake, and one might not even call it that, for she risked her life…but I get ahead.

Several days travel north, hacking through dense jungle with our blades, we came upon a clearing. But no natural clearing was this, instead, mighty trees had been ripped away, leaving but stumps in the ground. The sunlight beat down upon the ground, and revealed beetles the size of horses, four in number.

Trista rejected the idea of calling one into service, for what self-respecting pirate is followed around by insects? Instead, we rejoiced at the feast our cook would provide, and the provisions we would be able to lay in. All that lay before us was to lay these creatures low.

But luck was not on our side. A stray twig, left uneaten, revealed our presence, and those mighty mandibles open for us. With blades and bows we sought to defend ourselves, but these beasts were too strong. Seamus was the first to engage, and the first to be laid low.

Now outnumbered 2:1, I looked Trista in the eye. I had thought to suggest we flee, but she was having none of it. She ran forward, hoping to heal Seamus, and was bitten in half by the great beasts. Only by concealing myself with a spell was I able to evade the chomping jaws and heal enough of Seamus’s wounds that he could hear me. I whispered for him to lie still, and the beetles wandered off, shells cracked and burnt, and one with arrows still stuck into it.

Later, Seamus and I carried Trista out on a pole, because we knew she wished to be consigned to the sea. But let that be a lesson to you: a pirate must learn when to fight, and when to run. Should you fail to learn that lesson, it’ll be your body what gets thrown over into the deep.

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Thoughts of a dying atheist

Jim…what is it? a tentacle you say? Ewww…What’s all this black stuff? Wha-…Ow!…Let go, damned Kraken…I’m free….I’m…

…sinking(a copper taste in my mouth)

…sinking….(the shaking has stopped) …sinking….(Besmara, you wicked wench) …sinking …sinking into oblivion
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Here lies Jim

He was a lost soul, but a kind one.

May he find more peace in the next world than he found in this one.

raises glass

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Damn crabs

If I never see another one of these again, it’ll be fine with me.

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Rest of the island isn’t that great either. And they stole our water. That’s the kind of thing that makes a man want to electrocute someone.

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The battle

Not sure I care for boarding. She said we were to swing across, secure the wheel and the boats. Didn’t mention that people would be trying to kill us, which seems like an important fact. I should probably write that down for next time.

So, got the hook over to the other ship at least. Then fell off my rope. Climbed about halfway up the ship, but then I fell in the water. You would think with a cleric of Besmara on board, we’d get normal sized sharks, but nope. Big as an ox, that thing was, and it took a piece out of my leg.

Climbed up the rope again after I learned how hard it was to cast a spell while swimming and being eaten, and Santiago was kind enough to start pulling up the rope, at least for a while. He disappeared, and I had to climb the rest myself, and I nearly slid into the water again, getting rope burns I didn’t need.

By this time I was in a pretty miserable mood, and I took it out on that Osiriani fellow lowering the boat over the side. Hope he was square with whatever gods he follows. Finally climbed up on the deck, and I guess that was it. Strange way to make a living.

Somewhere in the fog and killing, the big fella lost his hand. Hope he finds it, he seems nice.

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Day 13

Day 13

Can’t be sure it really is day 13. Not that I’m superstitious, but I wasn’t sure about day 12. This is after that day, but was that day 12? Maybe that was 13, which would really make this 14.

Need to get my astronomy books somehow, be able to tell time at least. It’s easy to feel lost at sea when you don’t know where you are.

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Ha !

Day 12

Least always, feels like two weeks. Got my book back, so now I can make proper notes.

Note One: Captain would be a lot more popular if he drugged the crew, and then left them in a tavern. Doing it backwards, if you ask me.

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Here One Second, Gone the Next

Dragoneye Jim, Scruffy, Santiago, and Tangata stood on deck as the sun was rising looking out towards Port Peril, the pirate capitol of The Shackles, and by the afternoon were shaking hands good bye to each other as they headed their separate ways. Jim was on his way to meet someone who had a map of a lost cyclopian ruins. Scruffy was off looking to start a new career to follow in her father’s footsteps. While Santiago and Tangata were just out on the town looking to get drunk and have a good time wherever fate would take them.

As it turned out they all eventually ended up at a Tavern called the Formidably Maid. Through the night the four of them ate, drank, and enjoyed the entertainment of the night. Scruffy got up to head to the ladies room and was intercepted on her way back to the table with the guys by a dashing and flirtatious man. The two of them headed over to the bar to get some drinks and talked for an hour. Afterwards they decided to head to his place and were out the door, but after passing a second alleyway Scruffy was pulled in to the dark, beaten, and stuffed in a shack. Meanwhile the other three (Jim, Santiago, and Tangata) didn’t notice Scruffy’s absence as they were passed out drunk and snoozing like a baby.

The next thing any of them knew was the rocking of the sea…

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On to Port Peril

Dragoneye Jim, Sandy “Scruffy” Trufflebottom, Santiago Fairwind, and Tangata Kohuru found themselves on the sandy shores of a coastal swamp. Tangata found a trail through the dunes as Jim poked around some debris on the beach. Before Tangata got too far up the path the shout of “HALT!” came forth as a spear landed in the sand in front of his feet. The next few moments were tense as the rest of the party came up with weapons drawn, but luckily for the lizard folk scout Jim and Scruffy could speak polyglot. According to the scout his village was nearby and that a band of pirates where causing trouble in the area for unknown reasons. There also seemed to be friendly people to his tribe that lived in a tall stone building with light.

Along the trip two crossbow bolts pierced the scouts chest dropping him permanently when the odd group was passing a sort of crossroads on the path they were taking. Before they could react though two pirates charged out of the jungle towards them, but the fight was over before it truly began as they were literally cut down. Clearly they didn’t know who they were messing with. As the other three searched the bodies of the pirates Tangata noticed a sign that had been hacked down and tossed into the tall grass. Jim was able to point out that it stated lighthouse in polyglot and it was meant to direct those on the trail connecting to the path they were on. On and on down the original trail they were taking the ship wrecked went until they came upon a smokey clearing. Objects began to be clearly seen as well as the burnt remnants of the lizard folk village that the pirates ransacked just recently.

Just as night began to fall Jim, Scruffy, Santiago, and Tangata had double backed to the crossroads and made their way to the lighthouse. After searching all four floors only the bodies of the previous owners, some books, and a telescope were found. The next morning using the telescope from the roof of the lighthouse a clearing with a scaffolding and some tents about a days travel away.

During a foggy afternoon while the crew was wading its way across a waterway in the swamp Tangata felt something brush up against his leg. Instantly the water around them exploded as three very large snakes attacked. One snake leapt out towards Scruffy but missed while another bit Santiago before he himself cut it in half. Meanwhile the third and largest snake began to coil around Tangata and squeeze the life from him. Tangata fought back the best he could but felt his ribs begin to strain to their limits as Scruffy and Jim finished off the second snake with their spells. Santiago and the others rushed over to help Tangata, but even with help it took him a while to free himself then he cut the snake’s head clean off.

They rested nearby for the night as Santiago had apparently been poisoned and Tangata was looking the worse for wear. Jim and Scruffy had roasted up the largest snake on sticks over the campfire. The next morning after an uneventful night the four shipwrecked headed on their way to where they saw the possible pirate camp. It only took them another couple of hours to stumble upon a clearing at the edge of the tree line. From behind the cover of some jungle trees they watched what was happening. From what they could see the scaffolding structure was indeed what looked like a false lighthouse they were using to wreck ships on a reef. They could also tell most of the pirates must be out working on their latest haul as the ones they could see couldn’t possibly fill all the tents in the area.

Captain Ashilim was in the process of going through the events of the past few weeks since she lost her ship. They’d mad it to this gods forsaken shore in their launches after the storm. Out of the corner of her eye she caught movement near the treeline and could make out a humanoid shape. It must be one of the lizard folk that they missed after ransacking their village. She prepared a spell and covertly signaled her First Mate Sven Stonefist. She finished the spell as Tangata came rushing out of the brush and slid across the clearing as he fell asleep moments later. He wasn’t asleep long as Jim recognized the spell and kicked him to wake Tangata up. The Captain, Sven, and two pirates on patrol rushed to meet the intruders head on, but the Captain was cut down instantly. Sven rushed to her aid with a potion of cure wounds but was himself brought down. The last two pirates were slain shortly afterwards.

The ship wrecked searched the camp, but were unable to fine anything of note other than the light source for the light house on the scaffolding and a map of the region. There wasn’t even a record of where the pirates were keeping their goods after they brought them off the ships that got wrecked on the reef. After leaving the pirate’s clearing they journeyed back towards the light house. During their dinner they devised a route using the map to Parley Point even though it would take a week on foot to get there. On and on they slogged through the swamp land until one day they were attacked by a crocodile. The beast charged out of a nearby waterway and attacked. With jaws snapping and tail swiping left and right the crocodile injured the party severely before it was finally brought down.

It took three more days to reach the town of Parley Point, told their tale of the ship wreckers, drank at the taverns, sold their wares that they picked up, and booked passage to Port Peril.

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LAND HO!!!

Three days out of Drenchport after unloading it’s cargo the Gozreh’s Harlot sailed onwards with a full hold and passengers bound for Port Peril. The voyage had thus far been uneventful with fair weather even though this close to the Eye of Abendengo until midway through the Straits of Balthus a storm started brewing around two bells of the Dog watch.

“Mr. Givens, break out the heavy weather canvas and be quick about it.”
“Aye, Captain. You heard him lads, get off your duffs and snap to.”
The Captain turned to his First Mate, “Ngata we should be coming up on Parley Point towards the end of your watch this evening. Keep an eye out for their light house as these shores are treacherous even on calm seas. I should be on deck by then though for the change of watch.”

During first watch around four bells at the height of the storm a lookout in the crows nest called out a sighting of the light house around Parley Point three points off the port bow. By the First Mate’s bearings Parley Point should of been a little further south from this point, but with the storm raging around the ship it was possible she’d miscalculated their position without seeing the stars. To local sailors that knew the area, the light house was on the tip of a peninsula south of the bay Parley Point was located in.

“Helmsman come to course one three zero,” Ngata called out after lookouts verified no land was in sight to their port.
“Aye, making my course one three zero,” the helmsman replied and after a few moments as the ship turned and steadied, “My course is now one three zero.”

You awaken when you are thrown from your sleep into the bulkhead as you hear a great grinding noise from the hull. With the moments it takes you to gather your whits the sea is rushing in to greet you. Struggling against the tremendous current you somehow manage to find your self outside the ship where you can hear the cries and screams of dieing sailors from the ship. With your last efforts before blacking out you manage to cling to some flotsam in these dark and stormy seas.

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