Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sea Princes #28: Reveals and Ransoms

Welcome back to the further exploits of the Sea Princes Campaign. Last time, the crew of the Bird of Prey and Osprem's Kiss sailed south to the Pirate Isles and the Crimson Fleet's home port of Scuttlecove to rescue the kidnapped sage Lockard Meek in hopes that he might help them find the Well of All Heals. Not with them however was Henri Morgan, marooned on an island by privateers and Brother Pickles who remained on board. Here is our protagonists this week:

Victor Emmitt Hammond (rogue, rides wave)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, wiley knave)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, fiercely brave)
and Henri Morgan (rogue, foot in grave)

Sir Aris Westford was dragged to the captain's cabin to finally have his say, and all officers were in attendance. At first the two knights exchanged pleasantries, including a compliment for Rennaud's freshly painted kite shield emblazoned in the heraldry of the Sea Princes and memories of being pages together back in Gran March. Sir Aris then revealed to all why he was on the privateer Lydia's Light pursuing the Bird. The order of the Watch had done a recent internal investigation of Rennaud's old squadron, and found there was corruption and smuggling going on even several years after the alleged slaying of his knight commander. Worse yet, the cleric of Heironeous that Sir Eduard had appealed to for help but instead was castigated with a curse of weakness, was also exposed as a cultist of Incabulos, god of disease and nightmares. The crew of Lydia's Light thought they were hunting a criminal with a bounty when in fact the order wanted Rennaud to return a vindicated man. No ship-master in Keoland would seek the elusive knight-captain otherwise so Aris kept the "good" news secret until now.

Captain Rennaud was suitably shaken by the revelation and his trusted staff were quick to point out that it could be a ruse to trick him into surrendering to the order. Rennaud was inclined to believe the knight's word, why else would he venture alone so far from home? After much debate back and forth Rennaud decided that true or not, his quest to remove the curse would continue. Sir Aris vowed to serve the captain in anyway he could until such time he would find atonement. Hammond and Tydan weren't thrilled with having the knight so close to the captain to influence his decisions so they suggested he be transferred to serve aboard Osprem's Kiss. The matter was shelved however as they were to arrive at Scuttlecove soon and the exchange of Captain Ironclaw McGrath for Lockard Meek was to test their resolve first.

Meanwhile...on a tiny jungle island Henri Morgan was marooned with three other cast-offs from Lydia's Light: Ens. Sidney Whitecliff, Ens. Ludlow Harrowmire and handyman Ellis Blackwood. Sidney cowardly hid up a coconut tree while Ludlow followed Morgan into the island to look for high ground, foraging for food and water, and perhaps find out where they were. Blackwood trailed a bit behind, carrying the only useful spear and cleverly spotted a Karfar bush, noted for its deadly poisonous properties. Henri didn't learn where they were geographically, but they did discover two things; first boars were on the islet and secondly Harrowmire discovered a clump of regenerative healing Tarnas buds that Henri had been seeking for months. With Blackwood's eventual help and Henri's rope, they created a snare as the sun began to set. As a small boar got nabbed in their trap, another predator arrived to claim the prize...a huge white furred, four armed girallon!

The monstrous simian clawed Morgan and went chasing after the rest as they ran back toward the beach. Sidney hearing the roars and cries of his comrades jumped down from his tree and took to the water. The others would soon join him including a rather fast running Henri. Once out of the girallon's territory it beat its chest with all four fists and lurked back into the jungle darkness to feast on the captured boar. For the humans it was time to dry off (avoid sharks as they bled in the water) and build a fire in the hope it would keep the monster away. That night Blackwood was paranoid. He had almost been eaten by a white ape and the men he was with were even less trustworthy; a pirate and two naval officers who would stick together. He quickly schemed to improve his chances at surviving longer by poisoning his rum with karfar and offering it to the others. Henri alone was eager to quaff the rum and as he felt the poison take effect he realized fast what it was and made to attack the man who had done it. A pistol shot went off and missed Blackwood by a mile, stirring all the jungle critters and scaring a couple jittery officers. It was Henri's one and only shot. Blackwood backed off feigning innocence while holding his spear. Henri rushed him, was struck then wrenched the spear from his hands. Ellis ran away along the beach and Morgan threw the spear at him, but the poison was making him ill and his aim was off. Speedy Henri gave chase, but as he ran and his heart began to beat faster causing the poison to course through his veins all the more. Time was running out.

Back at Scuttlecove the next day, the two ships sat outside a bay littered with scuttled ships and sent up a flag to ask for parley. Their launch was met halfway by a rowboat led by a certainly vile man named Lt. Scuzz of the Laughing Rake, a Crimson Fleet pirate ship that also hunted Rennaud. The Bird's crew related the terms for a hostage exchange, Lockard Meek for their vaunted captain McGrath. Asking for proof of the captain's capture, Vic unsheathed and displayed the distinctive cutlass of McGrath taken in Sasserine many months ago. An accord was made and the pirates returned to get their prisoner. A bookworm for a pirate captain seemed more than fair enough to them.

(to be continued)


nutschell said...

Just dropping by from the A-Z. Sounds like an interesting story!


M Pax said...

What a fascinating world you've created. Thanks for sharing it.

Sharkbytes said...

Lots of detail. A bit hard to digest when trying to visit lots of blogs. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge this month.

mortellan said...

Thanks all, but I opted to not do the A-Z challenge after all. This is regularly scheduled content.