Tales of the Shackles

Toilday, 9th Abadius, 4712 A.R.

It’s a pretty sad day fer us on the Scorned Mistress. As I write this, I’m lookin’ over at the dead body of our captain, Black ’Ands. ’Is last breath was taken off of ’im by another captain.

We got back to Tidewater Rock yesterday, and we brought the storm wi’ us. It just won’t end, this thrice-cursed rainstorm. Everything’s soakin’ wet, and even inside the Rock it’s all slippery now from so many of us salts walkin’ rain into the place. But it were an excitin’ day yesterday nonetheless, ‘cause Bert was finally gettin’ to say ‘is vows wi’ Lady Agasta Smithee. Well, I guess she’s not a Smithee no more… now she’s Lady Agasta… Bert.

‘Course, she’s the least excited about the whole thing, but the alternative seemed a lot worse, an’ she’s a survivor or I’m a basket o’ sand crabs. Free Cap’n Pegsworthy was ‘appy to say the sacred words – which I’m pretty sure ‘ee plucked from his backside wi’ ‘is one remainin’ hand – an’ we were all settlin’ in for a proper party. Even those o’ us who stayed on the Mistress were gearin’ up for a good time despite the rain, an’ Fishguts tapped a keg o’ ’is special reserve rum.

then this big cloud o’ fog rolled in. It were obviously not natural – you don’t get fog banks like that rollin’ in to a sheltered ‘arbour on an isle like Windward Isle, specially not in the middle of a four-verser like this. I could see a ship in the middle of it, all spooky like, just this big dark outline. I thought it were the Seawraith bringin’ Queen Besmara ‘erself to say a few words at Bert’s weddin’.

But it weren’t the Pirate Queen. It were Free Captain Isabella Locke, in ‘er Junk the Thresher. She must’ve ‘eard about ’ow a couple o’ nameless pirates without the protection o’ one o’ the Pirate Council ‘ad managed to put one over on the famous Tidewater Rock, an’ she reckoned she’d come an’ take it off of ‘em. Such is ’er right as a Free Captain, o’ course, but she ended up bitin’ more o’ the hog’s shank than ’er gullet could manage.

‘Twere quite a battle, both out ’ere in the drink an’ up there in the tower. She led a couple longships o’ buccaneers to the base o’ the place while we engaged her shipboard cronies. The Free Captain ‘erself took to the skies, buoyed up by sorcery, an’ assaulted the tower from above.

The officers split up, an’ most o’ them went down to put Locke’s crew to the skewer. The Cap’n and the man o’ the ‘ouse went up to th’ roof though, an’ ‘ad to contend wi’ the sorcerer’s magic. An’ that’s never goin’ to be a fair fight. Fact, she wormed ‘er magics into Bert’s ’ead, and sent ’im after the captain ’imself!

Somehow, the battle moved down to the dining room, an’ Locke comes a-smashin’ in through that big glass window. Black ‘Ands puts up a good fight but she just lets loose wi’ a crack o’ thunder an’ lightning like that what were fillin’ the skies, and drops the poor fool to the flagstones. Lady Agasta drags ‘im into the master bedroom, tryin’ to get ‘im safe, but Locke just sunders the door clean off it’s ‘inges. She steps in, smirks at Lady Agasta (who has the good sense to cower in the corner and pray to who she worships) and looses another lightning bolt into the half-orc’s face.

In life, his hands were blackened as if by soot. Never saw ‘em clean. Maybe they were foretellin’ this day, when his whole top ’alf ended up charred to a crisp.

Eventually, they get Bret under control an’ take down Captain Locke, but not before she blinds Perri and woulds a couple o’ the others. Meanwhile, we’ve captured this goblin what we found during one o’ our sallies onto the Thresher. Locke’s ship fled soon as she were killed, an’ the remainin’ officers brough Black ‘Ands’ body back to the ship.

There were a lot to talk about. We ‘ad to pick a new captain (the honour went to Perri Autumn), pass judgement on Bert fer his part in the old captain’s downfall (turns out we let ‘im off because ’ee was enchanted) and work out what we ’ad to do with this new goblin (put ’im to work in the galley wi’ Fishguts – this ought to be interestin’). But once we got all shipshape, we were ready fer a new challenge. An’ the death o’ Free Captain Locke gave us a fine new adventure.

Seems she ‘as the map fer Mancatcher Cove tattooed on ’er back. So we took it. Actually took it. Duaros flayed it off ’er, an’ we used the skin as a map. ‘Least until we’d found the cove on a proper map what doesn’t leak… fluids all over the ship.

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