Orithia- Skull & Shackles

Session Ten

The Journal of Sandara Quinn

Sea Wolves

After the battle of Oratlan, we loaded up the Bastard and awaited the return of the shore party.

They came back two hours later surprisingly uninjured. I waited on the gunwales with Badger and Samms ready to get to work on the wounded but there were none. The officers were carrying a strange chest on a hexagonal black plinth with incredible care. I later learned that the chest was ethereal and that they believed the chest would slide off and fall through the earth and be lost forever if they tilted it too far. Good thing that wasn’t how it worked because that launch was rocking all over the place!

With the help of the ship’s winches the launch, chest and crew were all brought aboard. Kitesh sailed us out to a safe distance from the shore and kept an eye on the crew as Captains had called all officers into their quarters for a meeting. It turned out that this ethereal chest was some sort of Juju artefact and all the treasure from the temple was stuck on some sort of demiplane. The only way to get at the treasure was to enter this plane and retrieve it. We looked around at each other and shrugged. None of us had the faintest idea about Juju.

As it happened, Giffer was a Wendifa. That is to say she spoke to spirits and practised juju with enough proficiency to lead the officers into the so-called Wendo Chest. I can’t say that I was entirely happy about the whole situation. I wasn’t officially ship’s Chaplain but a lot of the crew did look up to me as a representative of Besmaran faith on board the ship. While the officers were busy crafting juju dolls and arcane fetishes for their trip, I did the rounds and spoke to the crew, ensuring them that no curses were being drawn down on them.

Eventually the officers were ready. Captain Eikou, Captain Van Helgen, Titus, Kaheed, Gian and Jasper went with Giffer into the Wendo Chest to recover the Lizardfolk treasure.

They had still not come back by nightfall and some of the crew were getting restless. Strange sounds had been heard coming from the jungle and flickering lights could be seen among the trees. We were being watched. Cog, as Boatswain decided we were better off heading out to sea slightly so we worked in shifts to keep the sails worked and eat.

At around midnight, the crew was woken by the night watch ringing the ship’s bell and calling all hands to deck. A ship had been spotted off to the southwest. Cog, Kitesh and Chakka agreed it was a trading lugger and Cog gave the order to pursue. Moussa and Rosie called the crew to battle-stations and the Bastard was away with a good wind behind her.

For a slow lugger, she gave a good chase. The weather had worsened severely during the night. The Kurstav had thought to sail into the storm to evade us, hoping that their thicker hull would see them through and we’d cut off the chase. But we are Shackles pirates sailing with Besmara’s will! We finally caught up to the Kurstav at first light and the crew were chomping at the bit to board her but the armoury was still locked and Moussa was nowhere to be seen. Cog was too busy commanding the ship through the difficult conditions to notice and most crew were busy in the rigging, but I could see that weapons need to be handed out soon if boarding was to be a possibility.

Just at that moment, the door to the Captains’ quarters flew open and the officers emerged. They had returned from their soujourn to the spirit world and just in time for a fight…

The battle went well. Mameha took the wheel of the Bastard and Edward relieved Cog of command. Titus got the armoury open and the ballistae firing. We closed on the Kurstav as she came about, hoping to outwit us, but Mameha drove the ram home into her port side, ending all hope of escape. As soon as the hulls crashed together, Rosie and Cog led their boarding parties across onto the Kurstav while Moussa and I kept our squads in reserve, aiding with ranged support and medical assistance. Kaheed and Gian also went across to take the fight to the enemy. Kaheed provided an immovable barrier, preventing any enemy sailors from getting past him onto the Bastard while Gian swang through the ropes like a Vanara Ninja, gracefully swinging low and ending a man’s life with her knives before disappearing into the rigging again, a deadly ghost of the seas. The Kurstav launched a trained Manticore from their deck to attack us by air, but a clever combo of Tanglefoot Bag and Stinking Cloud from Jasper put paid to that threat and left the best drowning in our wake. As the battle closed, Titus and Edward leapt aboard the Kurstav to stop a wizard from causing trouble with his spells as Gian and Kaheed apprehended the Dwarf Captain of the vessel.

Let s be bad guys

The last few sailors surrendered and were taken to the bilges. The Kurstav was ours!


I blink awake, the insane dream that Giffer Tibbs sent us all on finally over. Bloody heathen magic and ritual, someone is gonna pay for inflicting that mindfuck on me! I stagger to my feet, the deck heaving under me, probably a side effect of whatever incense is still burning. Giffer has made herself scarce already, Jasper is nearby however with a wide grin like he’s just eaten the last sweet cake. I see red and lunge at him, luckily for him the deck is even more unstable than I thought and I just crash into him, knocking us both over. As we fall he catches me in the ear with his elbow and I really lose my temper. Before I can lay into him the door bursts open and we’re all blasted by high winds and lashing rain.

“What is going on!?” Gian sounds panicked, but I carry on with what I’m doing,
“It looks like a storm, surely we have not been unconscious for that long?” Kaheed.
“Damn it all, what the hell is goin’ on!? I’m gonna find Cog, he’s supposed to be in command! Titus! Kaheed! Get to your stations! Titus!? Stop knocking Jasper about and get on with your damn job!” I stop bouncing Jasper’s head off the deck as Captain Van Helgan shouts at me. To his credit, I’m not even sure Jasper was aware of my attacks…he seems to be in some kind of post-adventure haze…

I help Jasper up, I can sense imminent violence and my blood is already up! I can barely suppress a laugh as we stagger onto the main deck, the wind instantly whipping my cloak up around my shoulders and the rain causing us to squint. Even so I easily see a lumbering ship about 500 feet away. We seem to be closing in on it and the crew seem ready for a fight. I head to the wheel where Cog, Van Helgan and Mameha are shouting over the squall.
“Titus, your gunners seem to have the siege weapons set up but the crew aren’t armed, get below and find out why! Then get back up here!” As I turn away I hear Van Helgan barking out more orders, “Ok, Mameha, just like we did against the Kobe No Maru, ram them amidships and then…” His next orders are lost in the wind.

I stand in the rain and wind overseeing the arming of our new squads trying to make out details of the enemy ship. I spot a flash of colour…probably someone wearing a robe…maybe a wizard…couldn’t hurt I guess. I load my crossbow and, after trying to work out the wind, let fly with a speculative shot. It at least hits the enemy ship and I am encouraged. I keep up a series of sniping shots as we close with the enemy ship. As usual, the ship’s siege engines blast away at each other, but no serious damage seems to be caused to either ship. I notice the enemy ship trying to pull away as they spot our ram and I put a bolt through the enemy helmsman’s ear to slow them down before heading amidships. The ships crash together and the Bastard’s swing across to start boarding and I hurry to join them.

Just then there is a deafening roar from some large winged creature which the enemy ship has released. It powers into the air, loosing a volley of tail spikes at Jasper who gets hit and falls behind the mast. As the crew engage, Van Helgan and I fire at the flying creature which, disturbingly, seems to have a human face. All our fire seems to do is draw its attention and it sends another hail of tail spikes at us, we both get hit as we dive clear. As I reload I see Jasper lurch forward and throw a small pouch at the monster, it explodes into masses of sticky, white goo which tangles in the creature’s wings, sending it immediately into the crashing ocean. Van Helgan, Jasper and I rush to the rail, the monster seems to be clawing and biting at the goop with some success already.
“Oh no you don’” Jasper mutters before mumbling another spell as me and Edward fire at the stricken creature again. A foul smelling green smoke emerges from the water, engulfing the beast which starts gagging and convulsing. I start to chuckle and realise that both Jasper and Edward are grinning as well, despite Jasper bleeding from a nasty looking wound in his chest which he is clutching.
Edward looks down at his musket then at the rapidly drowning monster, “D’you think we need to…?”
“You know what? I don’t think we need to bother. Jasper, keep an eye on it just in case and find some healing, we have a wizard to kill I reckon.”
Me and Edward head forward, the crew seem to have things in hand and Kaheed is struggling with the ship’s captain though he appears to have the upper hand. I notice a flash of colour as the wizard darts behind a bulkhead. Damn wizards! Never fighting fair! I feel blood rush to my face; I know my rage can counter a lot of wizard tricks so I happily loose myself in my anger. The next few seconds are a blur, a fiery explosion and then I have Flesh Cleaver at a human wizard’s neck. Seeing Edward appear behind him, axe in hand, the wizard throws up his hands and screams for surrender. I’ve had a good fight already so I just grab his spell pouches, shove him towards Kaheed who seems to be corralling the other prisoners and head off to find some loot…

Session Ten

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