Day 66 4PM The Barracuda resumed its heading towards Bloodcove.
Sahjii visited with Nico – appreciative of the party sparing her life and saving her from whatever bleak future in the Storm Caves – she asked for a loan of 100 GP. Nico denied the request stating that they [the party] would join her on her visit to the Pathfinder chapter and see what further engagements could take place between the party and the Pathfinders. Sahji was most interested in pursuing options to continue the contracted arrangement. She would have to arrange communications between the local Bloodcove chapter back to the headquarters in Quent, operated by Jim Haveless. Temujin added that it would be most helpful to be able to gather intelligence of ship movements between major ports – and this may all be possible, per Sahji, should the head chapter approve.
Dwag approved of Knuckles, Glarus Hawkeye and Old Sawney, forming up a ‘Brute Squad’ to spearhead attacks upon enemy vessels should Dwag just give the word.
Day 67 11AM Sail ho, shouted Coto as a small sloop was spotted on the horizon. Captain Damiano ordered Haiyan to reduce speed and a white flag raised. As the two vessels closed, the opposing merchant sloop (an Aspis Consortium vessel) slowed and the two captains parlayed at range – appearing to be friendly enough, the party was invited over to the Two Jakes for wine and conversation. The captain, Paul Riker, had just left Bloodcove, and was heading to Quent with a shipment of wine and cheese. Everyone made polite conversation and Captain Riker was able to inform the party of notable ships in the harbor.
Free Captain Phil Davies – The Lark (CN); sloop
Free Captain Charles Vane – The Ranger (CE); brig
Captain Charlotte Bailey – The Whelk; caravel
Acting Captain Longfarthing – The Sea Snake; xebec (90’ & ~150 crew)
Free Captain Natty Dread – The Brooding Six; Galleon (120’ & ~220 crew)
Damiano asked if a message could be relayed to Jim Haveless, the Pathfinder Deputy in Quent – and Captain Riker offered to deliver the letter. Sahji drafted a letter and it was delivered over to the Two Jakes – both ships departed cordially and went their separate ways.
10PM The tell-tale clanking of the Deathknell’s iron bell sounded in the dark – with the arrival of the ghostly whaling vessel appearing to aft. After a brief appearance it faded into the fog.
Day 68 9AM Sail ho, shouted Virna, a small sloop, called the Storm Dodger was spotted. There was strange activity on deck and the ship was heading north, yet in an uncontrolled fashion. Dwag took his eyeglass and spotted some Mwangi figures moving furtively around deck – sails and lines whipping uncontrollably. Temujin followed up with his glass and noticed that the men moving about were Mwangi and that they were carrying bloodied cutlasses and that there was evidence of recent carnage aboard the ship. Temujin speculated that perhaps this was a slave mutiny. Captain Damiano gave orders to close the distance and investigate the Storm Dodger more fully.
Upon closing the distance with the Storm Dodger, the ‘crew’ appeared to be panicking with the arrival of the additional company while struggling to get the ship’s sails in control. Haiyan brought the Barracuda about so Captain Damiano could address the Storm Dodger’s crew. Damian offered no threat to the ‘crew’ and recognized that the slaves had freed themselves and could be free pirates should they choose. The slave captain, Jamus, countered that they didn’t want to be pirates but free men to return to the Mwangi jungles, and their homes – with them they had many women and children. Damiano offered to guide them to the coast line with a minimum crew so the former slaves could disembark. Jamus took up this offer and the party came over with four additional sailors and set the ship right, and followed the heading set by Haiyan to the shortest possible distance to reach the Mwangi coast. The slaves had taken weapons and supplies and by mid-afternoon were ferried to shore. Nine single Mwangi males offered to stay with the Barracuda – one of which was named Canale, and he was the slave responsible for freeing the men from their cuffs and chains. The party sailed the Storm Dodger down the cost and secreted it away in a cove. They secured and anchored the vessel and took all valuables from the ship, returned to the Barracuda and made way, once more, for Bloodcove.
10PM The party and crew were at their ready, and on came Captain Pilk and the Deathnell coming up alongside the Barracuda, on the port side. The whaling harpoon shot off into the side of the Barracuda and Captain Pilk himself eyed Dwag – who had taken the Captain’s harpoon, as he launched yet another harpoon into the doughty dwarf. Dwag called his brute squad to his side and they readied themselves until the boarding planks were dropped, so they could rush aboard the rotting whaling ship. As the crew and party readied themselves, Captain Damiano was on the fore deck and found himself beset by the many tentacles of a giant octopus!
The party and crew pushed their way onto the Deathknell, assisted by Nico’s summoned earth elementals. Nico’s summoned water elementals and Glarus Hawkeye rushed to the captain’s aid until the octopus was finally slain and it sank back into the sea. The crew pushed its way towards the aft deck where Pilk waited for them. The water elementals descended into the hold to gather what treasure could be found – to be beset by more zombie sailors. The incessant tolling of the iron bell rang throughout the fight, until Pilk was laid low, and before they knew it, the Deathknell was breaking apart and sinking under the party’s feet. The party withdrew to the Barracuda, but the Deathknell fell into the sea before any other valuables could be obtained. The watch was set, the party got their rest, as Haiyan set sail towards Bloodcove.
Day 69 9AM As the Barracuda entered the harbor of Bloodcove and closed the distance towards the shore and the docks, it is notable that there is only a single building over two stories here. The Aspis Consortium market is also the only building made of stone. The market square meets the height of the surrounding wood buildings, but at the back of the market is a large square tower that rises high above the roof and tree tops to allow for a good view of the harbor, the city below and the Vanji River that winds northeast out of the city.
As the jolly boat came to rest at the dock, it is also apparent that Bloodcove is very different than Port Peril. Port Peril is a much larger city and had disparate sections of the city and its various ghettos separating the classes, trade and businesses. Bloodcove does all its business on top of itself: the rich merchants, tradesman and sailing captains standing side-by-side with sailors, slaves and the simple folk trying to scratch two silvers together, overlapping in a brutal display of callousness towards their fellows.
There is a sailor’s corpse lying on the dock, disregarded by those that have business there – a white scrawny fellow is leaning over him, looking at the dead man’s neck.
Slaves, not fit for sale in the market, are sold here, on the spot, to what is likely a short, miserable remainder of their lives. Their eyes, should their heads be raised up, are full of desperation and despair.
Surrounding the market place are businesses of all kinds – buildings made of fine dark wood and the road and walkways paved with wood planking. Getting further from the center, the planked roads give way to muddy tracks and paths and while many buildings are still made of the same dark wood – their quality is obviously lesser and intermixed with many tents also.
Two massive structures greet the party as they leave the docks and head into the town proper; an old warehouse dressed up in the accoutrements of the seafaring life, the tavern is called, Temple of the Sea and the building is topped with the ultimate symbol, the trident, the symbol of Gozreh. The other building, also a tavern, the Broken Bones is an upturned brig that has many additional side-buildings.
The party greet the scrawny fellow at the dock, named Sylene Durmis, who, as a public service collects the corpses for burial. He is the local barber/surgeon. He is accompanied by two large Mwangi fellows who help Sylene with the heavy lifting. Sylene notes, to no one in particular that this poor man was killed, strangled by someone with very large hands.
The party moved on to hear a great huzzah coming from the tavern, the Broken Bones. They wander in and spy a familiar face, Caulky Tarroon, the captain’s girl, from the Wormwood. They notice that she has new scars and an eyepatch over one eye. Their attention is drawn to a burly fellow standing atop a table, telling great tales of Captain Harrigan, and how he cracked Tidewater Rock! The charismatic fellow owned the crowd with his story, assisted by the full cups of rum held by every hand. The men and women of the bar cried out, ‘tell us another tale Alto Broadly, spin us another one!’ And with that, Alto settled into another tale about the gallant Captain Harrigan, of the Wormwood, and his courageous crew!
[end of session 24]