A ragged man rolled onto the beach, his clothes Necian in nature, but with a touch of Cantabrian flair. Coughing up water, he glanced over her shoulder at the galleon sailing on the horizon as he rings out his hat. “Bloody Cants…”, he murmured as he finished drying off as best he could. Satisfied, he glanced about the beach, seeing the corpses of a few of the other conscripts who had jumped ship when did. Apparently he was the only lucky one. Well, comparatively speaking anyway.
A quick search of the other bodies turned up little, a few coins, a couple spare arrows, and a empty journal complete with ink and quill. “Should sell for a bit of cash… “ he mumbled as he shoved it in his pack and moved over to the last corpse. As he knelt, he heard an all to familiar whistle. Breaking into a dash, he dove into the underbrush as the beach erupted into a maelstrom of shrapnel and fire.
~ 2 Weeks Later ~
The man now sat in the crook of a tree as he watched what he could only guess to be a gang of pirates lead by a intimidating woman with a peg leg and their native guide duck into a cave. A sat a few moments, intending to give them a few moments head start, before hearing the sounds of battle beginning he settled back into a more comfortable position. Everyone he saw on this island seemed to be insistent on getting themselves killed. He pulled out the journal he’s stripped off the man on the beach. Deciding he may as well start recording this insanity, if only to preserve his own sanity.
It’s been months now, since the Cantabrians stole my ship from me, and not more than a week later I ended up press-ganged into service on one of their vessels. Say what you will about their dogmatic views, their gods certainly do watch out for them. Anyway, I jumped ship at first sight of this forsaken island, and I can’t say my prospects have improved much. So far I’ve followed at least two different sets of what appear to be suicidal pirates. The first set were killed by the second, who have marched happily into a cave spewing lava, and from the sounds of it, seem to be fighting something big enough to not care about lava flows coming through it’s drawing room.
Actually, the battle seems to have stopped. I guess I’ll go take a look and see who the victors were, may be something decent on the corpses.
Apparently the managed to survive. Was rather amusing watching them try to pry a giant metal seal off the wall though, then try to muddle through the treasure chests therein. This is were I made my entrance, I heard one of them make mention of a ring of invisibility had simply had to make a bid for it. Playing myself off as a victim of a shipwreck in case they are in league with the Cants. Either I’m losing my grip, or they’re not as insane as I’d guessed, the native not withstanding. Blighter threw perfectly good gold into the lava and then started gibbering about eating someone’s heart. No accounting for taste I suppose.
At the very least, these people should be able to get me off the island and on my way back to getting my ship back.
Wow, this day just keeps getting worse and worse. Apparently, the ship I’d been “serving” on shipwrecked after all. I tried to disguise myself to lure them away, and their tribune saw through me. Laquita, the peg-legged captain of the group I’ve joined, apparently knew him, and was able to defuse the situation. The spent most of the time whispering about some “black pearl” full of aberrant magic. Sounds profitable.
Okay, they definitely are insane. I’m scouting ahead with the former tribune, Ryder, decent guy for a Cant, and he gets hit in the neck with one of their crazy tranquilizer darts. So, we get our native, The-Hole-with-Cole, or something like that to guide us up to the native’s camp. Turns out, they really are cannibals! And they’ve got Ryder stripped and trussed up just ready to start slow roasting. So here we are, out numbered and surrounded, and Laquita decides to challenge the leader of the camp to a duel for the man’s life. Granted I can respect this, loyalty to one’s crew is a good quality for a captain, definitely usually promotes longevity.
Just usually though. So throughout the course of this “fight” several things go horribly wrong. First, Edrik, our resident swordsmen, goes over and hacks Ryder down. Of course, the tribe isn’t to happy about this, as Ryder is still theirs by their culture, and swiftly subdue Ryder. So while this is going on, Laquita’s fight takes a turn for the worse, and this drunkard of a sailor, Leofrik, jumps in and starts stabbing the leader of the hunting party. Using the distraction, Laquita blows the buggers head off.
So now we’ve managed to offend the entire camp twice within as many hours. Luckily, The-Holy-Pole managed to defuse the situation by screaming about custom (I tried to help, for whatever good it did), cuts out the man’s heart, and hands it to Laquita to eat. Which she seems to heartily (ha!) enjoy.
Still not convinced? Well listen to this, so now Ryder stands up, dazed from whatever knocked him out, and gathers up whatever of his belongings are still laying around. Realizing his armor is now being warn by one of the warriors he walks up and begins demanding his stuff back. The warrior, obviously annoyed, challenges Ryder to a fight, using fists only. So the idiot takes a deep breath, obvious about to accept, when I jump in.
Luckily, by this point, I’ve picked up a enough of their dialect to be able to to get by, and manage to convince the warrior, that it’s only honorable to allow Ryder the choice of weapon, as he issued the challenge. Obvious, the former-tribune being a gunman, he pulls out a spare pistol and hands it to savage. So here this man is, grass skirt down to his knees, war paint leaving me to only guess at the true color of his skin, holding the pistol like it’s some sort of mini-club. Yeah… honor.
To his credit, Ryder at least gave the savage some shot and powder, and showed him how to work the gun before the the duel begins. So the two stand back to back, take ten steps, and wait for my mark to fire. I remind them once more this fight is only to first blood, hoping to avoid any further dead natives. As I sound for them to fire, the warrior turns first, surprisingly remembering to level the gun before firing and pulls the trigger. Never before have I seen a man’s wrist turn that way, and I hope to never do so again. The shot went wide of Ryder (though I imagine, by the arc of the bullet, there is a seagull somewhere who wasn’t as lucky), who promptly leveled his gun and blew the native’s brains out.
Aye, all crazy, I tell you, and now we’ve got to head to the village. I’m beginning to think I’ll never see the Undercurrent again…
I keep thinking things can’t go worse, but apparently someone’s god is insistent on proving me wrong. So, we march into the village only to find it occupied by the Medio Trading Concern. As He-Who-is-Cold goes off to speak with his master, we’re approached by Vico, one of the Concern’s higher officers, and a small entourage. Apparently these people are adept at alienating everyone they come across. The concern is also here for the pearl. That’s proof enough to me that it’s worth something. If I’m to have any hope of getting it, I’m going to have to do something about the army the concern brought with them.
We’re supposed to meet with the chiefs tonight to gain access to the sacred island where the pearl is said to rest, I think I’ve got a plan that should pave the way, provided they aren’t too upset by Edrik and Ryder letting their dinner get away.
Oh, I needed a night like that. But first, some background. The chiefs didn’t want to give us access at first, apparently the Concern had killed a population of the a local predator (Very surprised our Druid, Hrothgar, didn’t fly off the handle at this!) in order to gain exclusive rights to their sacred island. Luckily, the merry band of moonstruck pirates I seemed to have joined also killed one, which entitles them to some consideration. I managed to convince the chiefs to give us some time to kill a dragon which plagues the village. Vico, of course, stormed off, allowing me to hint that to the chiefs that they would now see the Concern’s true colours. After finishing a most excellent meal in relative peace. Took-his-Mold tried to convince us to leave that evening, but we managed to convince him we were in need of a respite, so we stayed in the village for one more night. After dodging an attempt by an elderly man to marry me to his daughter, retired to my tent.
And was I ever vindicated! Apparently, in the middle of the night, Vico decided to sneak out and light the tribes long house on fire in view of several guards. Of course, I can’t confirm it, as I was happily asleep in my tent at the time. Our merry band of misfits quickly rushed out and helped to put out the fire before the village began mustering to attack the Concern’s encampment. Obviously enraged by this atrocity, I jumped in to help lead the charge through the camp.
Vico lived, by virtue of a potion of invisibility and a pet Drow sorceress (Who looks stunning in black leather, by the way, though that may have just been the fireball in my eyes). Still, I find myself in high spirits, as the village went about dispatching the Concern’s army, we dashed to the lakeshore made our way to sacred island. Just off the shore, we were attacked by a pair of giant alligators, but survived the attack without any losses.
I’m about dry now, and so I suppose I shall write more later. He-Could-be-Old’s master said this island was rife with traps and other dangers. All this stonework looks benign, but that entryway up there on the other hand…