“We’re starting to get a reputation; you know… it might be wise if this ship isn’t so recognizable anymore. Especially if Harrigan’s out there looking for us,” warns Drago.
“Well, if I recall what that barmaid told me correctly over a pint of less-watered down ale,” says Zach as he scans over the charts and scratches his head, “Rickety Squibbs is only a few days away in this direction.” He points to a set of islands about two days away. “They’ve been known to help people avoid… unnecessary entanglements.”
“Sounds like a plan!” agrees the Halfling as he grabs the horn. “Steer us a new course!”
After two days we come upon the coast of a massive rainforest continent near the equator heavy with thick undergrowth, large trees… and strange things staring out at us from the undergrowth. I spot an alligator here and there and ponder what kind of steaks I could make, but alas it is not to be. We eventually steer our way through a sluggish brown river that exits the jungle into a hidden cove with a set of docks near a villa, a warehouse, and series of shanties.
A watchtower runs up a black and yellow checkered flag and it is soon replied to by a flag from the cluster of small buildings before figures emerge and head towards the pier.
“Ho there, drop ladder so that we may parlay!” shouts a bald man with large earrings and missing teeth. I scan him and his crew with a detection spell, but they don’t seem to be carrying anything magical in nature. I nod to Zach and he lowers the ladder so that Drago and Priest might converse while the rest of us keep watch. I can’t make out much of the conversation, but from the looks of the large grins and handshakes, I’m guessing we’ve successfully conducted some business.
Drago waves to the rest of us, and we quickly disembark to stretch our land legs and discuss the needs of the ship while we’re here. “Rickety is going to supply us with some special compartments, as well as a make-over for the ship,” Drago informs us with a smile. “That gives us a few days here while he does his work, though.”
“We need to stock up on food and water… I can only make so much with saltwater rations, you know,” I advise.
“Sooner we can get out of this bug-infested swamp the better,” mutters Priest grimly.
“And here I thought you were into all that divine pain and suffering,” I chuckle. “What are we going to do about the prisoners from the last raid?”
“We should sell them into slavery,” grumbles Priest.
“I may be a pirate…but there are some things even I won’t do,” answers Zach.
“Agreed,” I add with a frown. “We are not slavers… we’re equal opportunity employers. Those who choose to join us get paid, and those who don’t either get unfortunately killed in battle, set freed far away from us, or ransomed.”
“Same difference,” Priest mutters to himself.
“All this talk about morals is making me thirsty,” offers Zach as a way to change the subject. “I think it’s time to get a room and find a bar while we’re waiting for the ship to finish up.”
“Perfect opportunity to share tales of our victory!” cheers Drago.
“If you’re going to tell our story, shouldn’t there be a Captain?” I ask as I clap him on the shoulder and smile. “I think you’d make a great one.”
Drago smiles as his eyes light up at the possibilities. “You know… all throughout bardic college I always dreamed of being a sea captain…”
A few hours later we’re clanking our flagons together and singing bawdy wenching songs as Drago strolls down the long table enrapturing listeners with his story. An older gentleman with a white topknot and sideburns pats his rotund stomach with a contented smile and comes to sit down next to us.
“I am fascinated by your captain’s tales of adventure, friends. I am Iro, a weary traveler and humble tea maker who seeks the kind of adventure that you and your friends seem to encounter every day. “ He leans over the table and grins. “By any chance are you recruiting?”
“Well… we do need a new Quarter Master… you any good with books and numbers?” Zach asks with a scratch of his beard.
“Cooked and otherwise,” Iro smiles. He reaches into a pouch and pinches some herbs into a steaming hot cup of water on the table before taking a large whiff of it. “I have also come across many recipes for tea in my travels… many of which that have been known to supply beneficial effects.”
“Ah, a drinking man who supplies his own drinks… my favorite kind!” exclaims Drago as he walks down the table to stick a hand out to Iro. “Welcome aboard!”
“Now that I think about it… it wouldn’t hurt to see if anyone else around here wanted to join us, eh?” ponders Zach before finishing off the last of his ale and wiping his mustache on his sleeve.
“You will most likely find many people willing to leave this place,” says Iro. “The people here are suffering from a very bad draught; doesn’t make a good place for a tea maker,” he finishes in a whisper.
“If the Gods are willing, perhaps I can aid them in resupplying them with water and fresh food supplies… at least for a little while,” offers Priest.
“If things are that bad, I better make sure I get what I can for the ship,” I say worriedly before getting up from the table. “I’ll meet you guys back at the ship.”
I’m able to get a few pounds of cured fish and crab, but not really enough for the whole crew. I may have to ration this out for special occasions… it will help break up the days of hard bread and soup. As I’m walking back to the ship, however, I notice some of the rest of the gang hanging out around a game of 9 Pins that has formed in the street. “Come on… I’ve got coin on this next one!” bellows Zach.
The man’s next throw is interrupted by the scream of a woman pointing to the beach where a man was pulling in one of the roped kegs from the water. “He was right there, and then something in the water pulled the rope right out of his hands… and then he was gone!” she sobs.
I run towards the beach and unsheathe my sword as Iro joins me soon after. I’m surprised… the old man can move quickly when he wants to; maybe there’s something to his tea after all.
“Can you see it?” asks Iro as he points towards the water. “Water naga!”
I catch the movement under the water and quickly recite the words of a spell as balls of light launch from my hand into the water to strike the creature. It must’ve been enough to distract it from its meal, as suddenly a man breaks the surface of the water splashing frantically. Unfortunately I was now its focus as it launched out of the water with gnashing teeth toward my neck. I just manage to fall backwards into the shallow water with a quickly raised spell shield as it misses me by a hair.
I have to shake the sudden urge to rest from my head as Zach’s calming words reach out to the naga. “You don’t want to fight us… it would be so much easier if you just laid down… and rested…” The naga rears back for a moment before its eyes roll up in its head and it curls into a pile in the shallow waters and closes its eyes.
Zach takes the moment to dive into the water to rescue the floundering man as I get to my feet and draw my cutlass crackling with lightning across its blade.
“Wait… that’s an intelligent creature… it has family!” yells Iro.
“So do the people of this cove,” I reply before bringing my sword down with a crashing blow cut its head clean from the neck. I take a deep breath and look around to the others… noticing for the first time that Zach still hasn’t come back with the drowning man. And then it hits me…
“Ah goddess… Zach can’t swim that well!” I groan aloud as I sheath my sword.
“Thankfully I have a tea for that,” says Iro with a smile before gulping down a cup and diving into the waters. It’s not long before he trudges up the sandy beach with a weary Zach and sailor in tow. He is soon surrounded by grateful locals who take the man off his hands and help him to one of the shanties.
“You ok, Zach?”
“Nothing a few flagons of ale wouldn’t cure,” Zach replies with a grin as he pulls some seaweed out of his beard.
“I’ve got to thank you guys for what you did for old Bill,” says Rickety as he reaches behind the bar to pull out a dusty bottle and a worn leather pouch heavy with coin. “This is because Rickety always pays his debts…” he pushes the pouch over to reveal 500 gold coins in side. “This…” he pulls down 5 shot glasses and pours a small amount of a golden liquid into each before handing them to us, “is to say thank you. When I tell tales of your ship… what name shall I give them?”
“Hmmn… we should name her after Besmara,” I suggest to the others, who nod in agreement.
“Besmara’s Blade!” says Zach. “I think it has a nice ring to it.” Drago grins, and we all nod.
“Very well then,” says Rickety as he takes up his shot glass for a toast. “Here’s to Besmara’s Blade, protector of pirates and scourge of the seven seas!”
DAY 6 – we’ve maxed out our infamy here.
Zack wants to grab the Naga so we can get the hide from it for boots, hats, etc in order to make the crew identifiable.
I ask him to identify things. Ah, fertility drug! Oil of Taggit: IF you fail a save you’re unconscious for a few hours. Contraceptive!
I ask him to check out our locked chest from the Grindylow Druid. He fails the first time. 2nd time good… velvet lined box with 6 flasks in it. They are Alchemist Fire.
Swarm coming in from the distance… LARGE WASPS the size of horses! Workers run towards the commons and we run to shelter as a small pod of wasps catches up with us. One lands between me and Zack, and I slice it twice before casting a spell through it and destroying it. Zack casts mirror image. Iro drinks his mutagen. Drogo struggles with a mean wasp. I kill it with a sword and launch a magic missile at the one attacking Iro.
Zack takes splash damage from Iro’s bomb as it hits a wasp. We get towards some cover and see a trio of wasps attack a female dock worker. I cast magic missile that pisses them off… Zack casts a sound burst. Iro throws a bomb. One falters and flees leaving two of them trying to hold her aloft. Drogo hits one with a sling stone. Another flees leaving one that dropped the lady. I swing my sword and smacked it, infecting it with filth and fever from the swamp before it dies. We grab the lady and get her back to safety. Iro gives her cure tea.
“Must be the heat… they don’t ever come this far south.”
“Thanks, you guys are proving useful. I appreciate that. After they realize there’s no meat they’ll go away.”
After a while we go check to make sure it’s still clear. No wasps, but there’s a Cellish Galleon in the harbor that happens to be a bunch of Demon Worhsippers. The Strix. A landing party is out on the docks with 8 buccaneers and a leader.
“Friends of yours?”
Formal, military, looks Andoran. Rag tag crowd of pirates behind him. Military gone bad look to him. We try to look casual. Iro gives him tea and the captain seems rather amicable. Pardon my men… you understand how one must need protection especially with the Man’s Promise being stolen.
Do me the honor of allowing me to cristen it. He’s a well known pirate. lost a leg and got kicked out of the navy. honorable guy if you don’t cross him. it’s good luck to have a captain of note cristen your vessel. We offer to cook dinner with Captain Pegsworthy.