Campaign of the Month: August 2018

The Praise of Old Men

Chapter One: The Spice Merchants Of Sel-kai: Part Sixteen

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Pirates!

Emerging from the Orgillion crypt into the fast-fading light of a damp afternoon, the party can make out the great sweep of the southern coastline of Teaque Island. They can see the ship they arrived on, The Brine, sitting at anchor but thin smoke rises from its tattered sails and a far sleeker vessel lurks nearby. Their ship has obviously been attacked by raiders! Hurrying south along a trail that was clearly used by the slavers using the Orgillion manor house, they soon arrive at a secluded cove. Three sailors, injured from a previous fight, are loading what looks like fresh water into a row boat. The partially dismembered corpse of a fourth sailor some way up the trail suggests that these men were attacked a few days ago by the ghouls that Cran and the others fought back in the house.

Cran decides on a direct approach to deal with the sailors and secure their dinghy and the hulking warrior marches down to confront the men whilst Sharna and the others select positions up on the cliffs and path that will offer cover and an advantage should a fight begin. Cran tells the sailors in no uncertain terms to leave and simply tells them that, "I need your boat." With the aid of a clever spell cast by Sylke, the forbidding presence of the huge man is enough to cow the sailors and after just a moments hesitation, they wisely take Cran's advice and head for the village.

Rowing the boat to the ship, The Wind Sprinter, Cran immediately attempts to board the ship but the crew are alerted and a fight develops. Outnumbered, Cherry is injured as she boards and retreats. Cran and Sharna very quickly are engaged by multiple foes and by sheer weight of numbers, the pirates take the upper hand. Sharna takes a severe wound to her hip and begins to bleed heavily; Cran is soon hit multiple times and takes a potentially mortal blow that punctures an artery in his thigh. Ugnan is also hard-pressed and desperately keeps his foe at bay whilst preparing his spells. 

The fight turns dramatically when Sylke creates a great flash of light from the top of the main mast and stuns the sailors. Helpless for a thirty precious seconds, the crew are ruthlessly struck down by an enraged Cran. Sharna is given the precious seconds she needs to recover and rejoins the fight. Meanwhile, Cherry has finally found a good defensive position to fight from and Ugnan has very cleverly enchanted one of the crew to act as a delaying distraction for the reinforcements that are arriving.

The fight has now turned and even though Captain Cutter arrives with more men, the respite offered by Sylke's magic allows the party to regroup. Ugnan begins to use his battle axe to occupy one of the pirates and Cherry starts picking off the injured with her shortbow. As Sylke readies another spell, Sharna swallows an enchanted herb and returns to the fight almost instantly hurling one of the ship's crew over the side of the vessel. Cran, still bleeding heavily from a score of wounds, seems insensible to the beating he is taking from multiple foes and methodically begins to murder the crew around him. Ugnan shudders as Cran mutters, "One swing at a time. You, my friend, need working on". Some of the crew now balk at the fight and when Cran brutally severs the weapon arm of Captain Cutter, many turn and run. The fight is over.

Oblivious to his wounds and completely enveloped in his red mist, Cran heads after the fleeing sailors only to collapse near one of the ship's cabins. Ugnan sighs heavily and attends to the big man, Cherry begins to bind Sharna's wounds….

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Ancellus Kergan

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