There was a refreshingly good mood on the Magnificent Bastard as we sailed away from Black Reef Point with our hold full of Urnst loot and smug smiles on our faces after pulling off such a successful heist.
Our newest addition to the crew, Prigg was settling in well, although he didn’t seem to be as sailing-savvy as I’d presumed when I heard of how saddened Captain Barucco was at his ‘loss’. He was a good cook, I’ll grant him that and provided a great help to Fishguts in the galley although I sense that Kroop was a bit peeved at the Halfling muscling in on his turf. We shall have to see how that plays out.
Meanwhile Kaheed, who was newly named Ship’s Carpenter began a new boxing attraction to keep the pirates entertained each night. Essentially each crewmember could challenge any other to a non-lethal boxing match to let off steam. I was called to standby with first aid and healing magic if necessary and Kaheed would referee. The first night seemed fairly successful with Kaheed and Titus facing off, resulting in sore pride (and a sore face) for the Ex-Cap.
The rest of the night was slightly less merry from what I can remember..
We woke to the sound of gunfire. Leaping out of my bunk I found the hold in confusion, Pirates waking up suddenly and the sound of combat from above. The door burst in from the deck and three monstrous Sahuagin rushed in and down the stairs! The crew fumbled for their daggers and sidearms but with the majority of the weapons locked away in the armoury the crew were severely out-matched. It sounded like the officers were engaged with more of the sea-devils on deck so I called to Besmara for protection then ushered the crew to the stern of the hold, behind me.
Kaheed and Jasper rushed up out of the lower hold and Ben emerged from the crowd behind me, his greatsword drawn. The three beasts were caught between them and were swiftly put down while up on deck, Titus, Mameha, Gian and Moussa finished off the last few.
Once the crew had calmed down from the battle and the ship was searched, it was discovered that six Sahuagin had boarded the ship by climbing up the side nets we had installed. Garrett was found dead in the rigging with his throat slit by the monsters- our first casualty as a pirate crew. We gave the Halfling a sea burial with Besmara‘s blessing the next morning but it was clear that the loss had affected the crew. Our run of good luck since leaving the Wormwood might have come to an end and everyone was suddenly thinking of their own mortality and the risks we take each day. We couldn’t know the kind of danger we would encounter later that day however.
It was decided that our next course of action would be to use the map and information we found in on the Kobe No Maru to raid choice towns and sites along the Draconic Coast. In particular was a town called ‘Gold Town’ by the Urnst warriors of Promise Isle. It was supposedly populated by gold-skinned Lizardfolk and full of tall gold statues for the taking. It sounded perfect.
As we cruised south along the emerald coastline, night was approaching and the Captain called for us to head up a large unnamed river to weigh anchor for the night and take on fresh water and fruit from the jungle. We enjoyed coronation monkey, mango salad and sugared grubs in the Alarisian style thanks to Kroop, Prigg and Kaheed.
The next day however, Titus spotted the masts of a large ship over the jungle canopy as we were preparing to leave. Mameha, Titus, Gian, Kaheed and Jasper decided to go take a look. They snuck off into the Jungle and the rest of the crew waited on deck for news of what or who had found us. Whispers of Captain Harrigan bringing swift vengeance on us for stealing his ship quickly circulated about the ship as did rumours about curses and ill-omens. By Besmara’s Tits sailors are a superstitious lot and none more so than the Bastards! After a tense hour, the shore party returned unharmed but brought dire news. A huge Capitavirate warship named the Dominator was anchored in the mouth of the river, and it was bristling with marines. It looked as if they were sending shore parties of their own out so they would have found us within hours.
The Dominator wasn’t a ship to be taken lightly- a full century of legion marines plus their officers, horses and siege weapons not to mention to hundreds of crew likely to be present on the ship would be more than a match for a small pirate fleet. Not only that but the flags flying from her masts indicated that a Paracount, an influential Capitvairate noble-officer was commanding the ship and they were likely to be a skilled mage or warrior in their own right.
The officers immediately retired to the Captain’s quarters to plan our move. After a frustrated meeting, a plan was set in motion. That is to say, fleeing at full speed was our only real option, the difficulty was seeing how it could happen. Titus, Kaheed, Gian and Jasper would swim out to the Dominator after nightfall and sneak into the rear cabins to disable the rudder cable, preventing the ship from turning and bringing her full broadsides to bear. Timing it just right, Mameha would command the Bastard out of the river at full sail and escape out into the ocean. Kitesh, Mameha, Dungrin and I would provide magical support in the form of obscuring mist and summoned Eidolons to distract the enemy further and delay their ranged attacks as we made good our escape.
Night. The plan seemed to go fairly smoothly. All was silent until suddenly we could hear gunfire and shouting drifting across the treetops and along the river. They were barely noticeable over the cacophony of a jungle at night and Mameha stood patiently, her ears twitching like some sort of animal as she sought the perfect time to unfurl the sails and raise the anchor. She must have heard something I could not, for she suddenly span round and issued the orders. The crew sprang into action and before I knew it, we were hurtling down the river at some speed.
As we rounded the corner into the bay, we saw the Dominator lit up with torches and muzzle flashes. There were dozens of marines shooting into the water at our crew who were frantically swimming back. As the Bastard got closer, some of the boys started climbing down the nets and leaning over to help haul Titus, Kaheed, Jasper and Gian back aboard. Kitesh’s Eidolon, Shafir went to town on the Dominator ’s sails- setting huge fires all over the deck. The mist called down by the spellcasters obscured their view enough for us to scoop up our crew and hot tail it out of the bay with only a few scratches on the paintwork!
Except for Gian of course. During the swim back over, a bullet had caught her in the abdomen and she lost a lot of blood to the sea. She would have drowned if Kaheed hadn’t pulled her along for the last leg of the swim. She was lucky too, another minute of swimming and she would have bled out completely. Besmara was on hand to heal her wounds however and I confined her to the sickbay for a day to recover. She’ll live, just a scar and a newfound respect for gunpowder to tell the tale.
We were truly living the buccaneer’s life now! Raids on Urnst forts, escaping Capitaviate warships. All we needed now was plunder! And we knew exactly where to find it….