Battles of Penwick III - Eboneye - The Night of Fire and Blood
After the fall of Avernos Keep, Berach’s oldest remaining son, Cavarinus, held the Fortress Hightower as a refuge for as much of the town as could escape the invaders’ siege; and his next oldest son, Aillinn sought to rally allies to Penwick. The youngest son, Gryswold, attracted what heroes he could, rallied the scattered forces of the town, and fought a bloody war of raids and retreats through the streets of Penwick.
The ‘Protectors of Penwick’ is what they were called. And all during the occupation, they strove to drive the pirates, street by bloody street back to the sea. A young swordsman of astonishing skill, named Kratos Steale soon rose through the ranks of the the Protectors to become ‘first blade of Penwick’ a title that is still used in the town guard today.
In the battle of The Iron Temple, the Protectors were finally cornered by the superior forces of the Pirates, locked into a magical trap, and were likely to be crushed. Gryswold sent word to his brother, the new Baron, to strike with the Hightower Guard and between them they could break the Pirates once and for all. His brother refused; for to send the Guard would risk the Fortress, and then the town would truly fall. Gryswold could never forgive his brother for that. Although in later years when he became Baron of his own lands, he acknowledge that he understood; but he never forgave.
Who did foray out of the Fortress Hightower to the aid of the Protectors, was an unlikely quartet. In the dark of night, unseen by the besieging pirate forces who were waiting to ambush the Guard, they came out under cover of illusion. The Lord Laegaire Hightower himself rode forth, after a hasty private ceremony where he turned the sacred post of Defender of the Tower over to his young grandson. The aging, but still hearty Lord Hightower was accompanied by the truly elderly and frail High Priest Matuacus Brach, and also the minstrel, Cas Dubhacon the Unquenchable, valiantly sober that night. The third companion was a young woman, named Lara, the wife of Kratos Steale, who was already an accomplished wizard, and also very, very heavy with child. Lara had vowed to her husband to remain in the Fortress to protect their two year old son, and soon to be born daughter. She broke her vow that night to help save her husband and all of Penwick.
The forces of the Pirates, were poised to strike down the Hightower guard in hopes of finally breaching the Fortress, and left only a few company of pirates to guard the ritual keeping the Protectors of Penwick trapped. The battle was fierce and desperate. The Heroes of Hightower, and let loose the Protectors of Penwick, but at great cost.
The wizardess Lara shattered the pirate’s magical wards trapping the forces of Penwick and blasted them with flame and lightning. Kratos, Gryswold and the remaining Protectors surged forth. But not in time, for Eboneye himself seized Lara, who was weakened after using too much magic in her current condition. And he carried her to his ship.
Many are the songs made by the bard Cas of the ‘Night of Fire and Blood’ and the inhuman rage of Kratos. Flanked by the indomitable shield of Hightower and the relentless flaming sword of Gryswold, they cut a gore splattered path through the pirate forces.
To clear the way through the final wave of elite pirate guards before the ships, Matuacus Brach, who was posthumously title Saint Brach, rained the fire of the gods down upon his foes, and went out in a blaze of glory, the cry ‘for Penwick’ on his lips.
The indomitable Lord Hightower was like a bolder of iron-clad granite in a storm of pirates; his resolve of immortal fortitude never faltered. Only after the pirates were driven back to their ships did he sink to one knee, finally succumbing to the thousand wounds he had received.
As the heroes finally broke though to the docks, the black warship of Eboneye was pulling away eerily with no sign of crew on deck. And just Eboneye grinning at them from the wheelhouse. Only the lightly armored Kratos and Cas could make the jump to the ship. Gryswold looked on in frustration from the shore as the ship followed the winding Penderbun east through the city, then he began to run.
On the ship, Kratos and Eboneye danced to the deadly cacophony of swords through the burning rigging as Cas searched below for Lara. Wounded and exhausted from the fight across town, the young Kratos struggled on through pure determination against the might of Eboneye. It was soon obvious that the young blademaster could not stand long against the experience and power of the pirate warlord.
As Kratos began to falter, the ship passed under the great arch of the Sunrise Bridge that marks the end of the River Penderbun and the beginning of Penwick Harbor. It was at that moment the God Arenor landed upon the ship in a crash. Kratos narrowly avoided the devastating strike, the force of which pierced through the decking, blasting through the bottom hull of the ship.
From atop the bridge, Gryswold ran on shedding his armor as he went, he was sure there still had to be a working boat off one of the harbor wharves. On the bridge, there was one divine statue conspicuously missing from the row that greeted all who visit Penwick by boat. Gryswold was sure he’d be punished for that some day, but it was worth it.
Eboneye’s left leg was caught and pinned to the wheelhouse by a beam, but the pirate raised his sword, grinned and beckoned to Kratos across the hole of destruction that was slowly killing his ship. Kratos tightened his grip on his sword and gathered his energy. It is certain that both would have gone down together if not for the sharp cry of Thea, Kratos’ new born daughter.
The minstral Cas, for once silent, had emerged from the lower decks of the ship, and was holding the new born baby girl. Lara slumped barely conscious next to him.
Kratos only looked back once as Gryswold rowed the exhausted group back to shore. He was sure he saw Eboneye, still grinning, salute him with his sword as the ship sank beneath the waves.
- Aillinn showed up three days later with the Knights of the Rose. There were still a lot of pirates to clean out of town.
- The girl, Thea, now grown often jokes that she was born to be a pirate, but the gods had other plans for her.
- Even the loquacious Cas, in his deepest binges, never fully told what went on below decks. After the battle he swore to live out the rest of his days drunk in an Orllon brothel, and as far as anyone knows, he may still be there.
- Many diving expeditions have been made to find the sunken treasures of Eboneye, but his ship, his remains and his treasure have never been found.
- Gryswold never reconciled with his brother, but during the reconstruction of the town, he met a wonderful woman who had traveled to Penwick to help. A priestess of Arenor named Gracewynn, who he had many adventures with, including founding their own barony north of Penwick in the town of Ravenford. Happily, the most exciting adventure after that was the birth of their daughter, Andrella four years after the the Eboneye battles.
- Kratos and Lara lived happily every after and had another son two years later named Lloyd who went on to meet Andrella and … well, that’s another story.