Ian/Temujin overslept in his hammock and was late pulling himself from his berth.
Day 210 6AM Under leaden skies and a driving rain, all of the competitors and their ships are jockeyed into position at the starting line between the Kraken and the Ocean’s Revenge. The Master of the Gales, standing on a high spit of rock, raises his hands and a bolt of lightning hits the surf. The wind abruptly changes from an easterly wind to a northerly wind. With the sudden change of wind direction the captains and their crews are making quick adjustments and the various ships take off trying to free themselves from their close proximity – due to race excitement, a bit of carelessness and bravado, accidents are bound to happen.
With Temujin indisposed below decks, Captain Damiano is at the helm. The Black Purrl comes close to running down the sloop, The Sullied Strumpet, captained by Twilla Gorn – who stood upon her deck and screamed obscenities at Damiano, stating he should get his fool self of his ship and the seas entirely! Course correcting to the port side, the crew heard a crunch and a scrape as the Purrl pull along against another sloop trying to make headway and pass by. The Redcap, veered off, its starboard railing falling off into the sea. Captain Skanks Guffy, a toothy old bugger waved warmly to the crew of the Black Purrl and stated, “It’s fine, all good. You can barely see the scratch!” Off Captain Guffy went to tend to his ship and make way due north.
Once free from the starting line, the crew ran up full sails and the Black Purrl took off heading north by northwest towards the Iris Splinters.
Day 210 9AM Referring to their updated maps, the crew knew that the Silted Shrouds were coming up soon – requiring the need to reduce sail to a safer speed and to take soundings. In the rain and fog, vision was difficult, but they could make out several ships about them. Off to port was the Chimera’s Teeth, Captained by Ramose Arkminos. His galleon moved cautiously, as did the carvel the Whelk, captained by Charlotte Bailey. However two sloops, the Albatross and the Adventurous, captained by Tawny Gorn and “Coral Mouth” Kate both scooted quickly by across the shallow seas.
Nico summoned pods of elementals who helped sped through the sea ahead of their ship, looking for the best, safest route through the treacherous sandbars. This allowed for the Purrl to make good time and once clear of the sandbars, they resumed full sail, but the Captain was challenged with setting the best possible course and having the crew adopt the the best complement of sail and their pace was not as good as it could of been.
Mittens working with Nico and his elementals spied dangers in the water, which Mittens cast an illusion upon, the Whelk, captained by Charlotte Bailey took evasive maneuvers to escape, turning away and slowing down behind the Purrl.
Day 210 Noon Father Pyrlig reminded the Captain that they were coming upon the Raker Shoals. Since their maps were up-to-date, Pyrlig was able to magically track their ship upon the map and assist the captain to plot a safe course through the reefs without loosing too much more time.
The wind tore at the sails, ripping a sheet away from her lines. Nico cast fly upon the captain who reran the lines himself to spare his crew. Nico overseeing the Captain’s work, felt that it just wasn’t right. He asked again for Damiano to double-check his work – but the Captain confirmed, it looked fine!!
Wind and rain picked up and as lightning bolts criss-crossed the sky a bolt came down upon the crow’s nest of the main mast – Coto who was on lookout was struck and fell to the deck. Luckily Pyrlig was nearby and with Gozreh’s power, revived her. She was brought down to her berth to recover from the shock, but would otherwise survive. Juba took her place in the rigging. When the winds had subsided for a bit, Nico sent a crew of sailors to double-check the captain’s repairs, which they confirmed, needed some work. Done with the task they said nothing other than give Nico a subtle nod that ‘all was now right’ and nothing more be said about it.
Day 210 3PM Captain Damiano found himself unable to maintain a constant heading to make good speed. With the wind and waves, the stern-mounted jolly boat was torn free. The Black Purrl was raised up on high swells before descending into deep troughs of the waves, but they just couldn’t make good headway through the powerful currents of Gozreh’s Flow. Dwag relieved the weary Captain at the wheel and was able to get the ship’s course corrected and make some headway as night fell. While making some distance, the Black Purrl was rushed by a rogue wave – eight sailors were lost to the sea and water got into some casks fouling some of the food stores.
Before darkness closed in, they could see the galleon, the Brooding Six far to port just nearly out of sight. The Wormwood and Sea Snake were far to starboard, and behind them was their friend, Captain Pegsworthy of the brig, The Bonaventure.
Day 210 7PM Captain Damiano and Nico were overseeing the main deck – Temujin now feeling better joined them. Fergal was insuring with the ship tossing and turning that all cannon were correctly strapped down – one shifting abruptly cutting his hand. Cursing he had the men fix their work and settle the cannon correctly. As he bound his bleeding cut up with a cloth, Sandara came up behind him, and initiated a conversation, which began to get heated and drew Nico’s attention. As Nico headed to the foredeck, he heard Sandara say, “..you are nothing but a rent boy for my mistress, a kept man waiting for her to beckon. "Can you hear your Lady call you, Fergal?! Your time is near! You best ask the Captain for leave!” Nico saw the Fergal clenching his fists. Nico asked Sandara why she teased Fergal so, noting that it was out of character. But she replied it was all a bit of fun. Nico brought in the Captain and Temujin and made them aware of the circumstances. Sandara stated that she heard Besmara calling for her lover – so she knew Fergal’s time had to be up! The trio recognized the danger in Fergal at being taunted, only to be reminded as Fergal added, “Captain? Am gonna strike her if she keeps this up!” Nico escorted Sandara below and made sure the two were kept separated.
Day 211 5AM The Black Purrl was out of Gozreh’s Flow and now clearly in the edge of the Eye of Abendago. Sailors claimed that this had to be a four verse storm and only to get worse as Purrl gets in deeper! Ahead, the party saw the twin rock spires of the Iris Splinter, a cleft between the two only a few hundred feet apart. Temujin took the helm, while Dwag advised. The Brooding Six, captained by Natty Dread was just ahead off their starboard bow. But more importantly they sighted a sloop ahead of them! However the Sullied Strumpet was in dire straights – smashed by a beast, a huge dragon turtle. The monster was cresting through the wreckage of the Strumpet, snapping it’s jaws devouring men frantically splashing in the sea. The Brooding Six made no intention to stop and aid the sloop’s crew, and the Captain gave word to Temujin to make their best effort to the Iris. As they raised sail, Nico summoned a sea beast of his own, an elasmosaurus. The two beasts fought, making a distraction and the Black Purrl raced to the rocky cleft. The captain and officer pushed the men promising them lashings if they ever let the Brooding Six get ahead of them. The Black Purrl pushed hard through the narrow pair of islets, cutting off the Brooding Six. Mittens cast another illusion to slow the pursuit of the galleon – and as the party’s frigate navigated the treacherous seas, Temujin turned hard to port, Jalhazar’s Wheel aiding in the turn. Temujin corrected the Purrl’s course, heading west by northwest towards the Pinnacle Atoll.
Day 211 9PM “Captain, you have two things that I desire.” A voice struck Captain Damiano, his head ringing. He heard no words, except in his head. Wincing, he spoke back, “Who are you, where are you?” Nico hearing the captain wondered who he was speaking to. “I am Akatu, a servant to Besmara, the Pirate Queen, and your patron. Come to the stern,” the thoughts painfully resounded in the captain’s head. Damiano started approaching the stern with Nico at his flank. Temujin was at the wheel, his skin started to crawl and he looked about as the captain looked across the stern rail into the sea and the trio saw a gargantuan purplish-black octopus, a single yellowish black eye cresting the waves to peer at them, it’s voice now in all three of their minds. “I have come for Fergal and Sandara. One already belongs to my mistress, the Black Lady and you have had him on borrowed time. But that time is up. Sandara is also desired. I understand she is an important member of your crew, so she will be paid for.” A gold coin appeared between them on the stern deck spinning slowly without stopping. Damiano asked, “How do we know you represent the Pirate Queen?” Akatu pushed thoughts into their head, Temujin and Damiano dropped to the deck as Nico held his head but stayed on his feet. The foreignness of the thoughts pushed him to the brink but were strangely familiar in what he and Mittens had read recently in the Book of Abstruse Geometries. But as Book documented the power and hatred of powerful, destructive outsiders, the three of them could tell from the string of images that Akatu did indeed serve Besmara. As they regained their feet, Damiano stated, “we will have to think about this.” Akatu replied, “I will return tomorrow for an answer.” As the giant octopus dropped beneath the waves, the gold coin stopped spinning and slid into the skuppers and into the sea.
Day 212 1AM The Black Purrl was handling the heavy seas well with Temujin at the helm. While visibility was poor they had occasional glimpses of the Brooding Six behind them. However shortly before noon they came upon the caravel, the Typhoon Lotus, which had been broached and capsized into the sea. But many sailors were panicking and clinging onto wreckage. Nico summoned three pods of elementals to scoop up and rescue sailors, who were more than happy to sign up, after donning some dry clothes and drinking down a restorative cup of rum.
The rains picked up and lightning forked across the sky. Twin bolts shot down at the Black Purrl, the first struck the sails, the second struck Virna in the crow’s nest – who fell to the deck like her comrade, Coto. But Father Pyrlig was there and able to restore her, and have her brought to her berth to recover. Sailors ran up the rigging and repaired the damage to the sails, as Temujin continued to recover time as they headed on to the Atoll.
Day 212 4AM Father Pyrlig reminded Dwag, who was at the helm, that the Pinnacle Atoll and the surrounding reefs would be coming up soon. They needed to be wary. Nico, Temujin and Damiano joined them, along with Mittens – and they all realized that they needed to make a decision on what to say, if to say anything to Fergal and Sandara, for Akatu would soon be returning!
[end of session 74]