Thursday, April 23, 2009

Corsairs of the Furnace Coast

We are left with no choice.”, the gravelly voice of the ageing patriarch seemed to carry a tone of resignation. High Patriarch Rothgart suddenly felt old, years of protecting the people of the Furnace Coast against the predations of those who would flaunt law and order for their own selfish ends had taken its toll on him. He looked at the two others seated around his council chamber. The young, still idealist, Knight Commander Therion, head of the order of Cuthbertite Paladins, was stroking his stubble, bag under his eyes betraying the sleepless nights caused by recent events. At his side, the older Admiral Flaertes, seemed more composed as he studied the maps of the treacherous archipelagos of the western coasts.



*--*--*--*


Meanwhile to the north....


Captain Reshag surveyed his ship. Repairs were already underway as his men scuttled around trying to repair the mast so that it would support the main sails. It had been a close one. He had no idea who the pirates were or how they had managed to navigate the dense fogs of the archipelago with such precision in their hunt for his cargo. At least he was only 5 days of sail away from Febril and close to the protection of the Naval forces of St. Cuthbert. With the recent political upheavals, they were the only ones he could trust for protection. Still, could the the Cuthbertites protect anyone from this new threat?. He shuddered as he passed a wounded sailor, his face badly burned from the boarding attempt by the pirates.



*--*--*--*


...but adventurers?” Flaertes looked up from his maps, “Surely this is an internal matter. My..I mean... Our...Navy can easily apprehend this renegade.” The admiral pointed to the points in the map where he had carefully marked the sites of the reported attacks. “We can easily hem in the renegade at these points and then slowly close in on him, protecting the shipping as we go along. After all, it was the lack of centralised control that caused this in the first place. We should have known better than to give an outsider control over a Naval vessel.



*--*--*--*


There was a shout from the lookout. A ship had been spotted to the south. Reshag gave the order for his men to man combat stations. He could take no chances, if there was to be another battle they would need every advantage they could get. Personally supervising the loading of their last heavy Ballista, he cursed his luck. This shipment would have made him rich, if only he could get it to Febril.


*--*--*--*


An outsider? May I remind you that you are speaking of a sworn Paladin of St. Cuthbert?” Therion snapped at the older Admiral. “He took his vows years ago and risked his life repeatedly defending the people of the Furnace Coast against all threats.


Flaertes shrugged and smiled joylessly as he responded, “Paladin he might have been, but now he is a renegade. He has fallen, Therion, he has become nothing more than a common pirate. Reports keep coming in of his ship preying on shipping, and all our attempts at apprehending him have been met with violence. Whatever he is, he is no longer your brother-in-arms, Therion, don't fall into the trap of mercy, when administering St. Cuthberts Justice.


Therion sighed, looking down. “I blame that witch-consort of his, Belit. I regret every day that I authorised their union. A paladin of St. Cuthbert, wed to a sorceress? She must have twisted his mind with her foul magics and unholy ways.


*--*--*--*


Reshag relaxed as he spotted the banner of St. Cuthbert flying from the approaching ship. Safe at last, finally he could start concentrating on how to get the best price for his cargo. Ordering his men to stand down, he started organising his wounded into groups. Hopefully, the clerics would not charge too much for healing his crew. He could ill afford anything else eating into his already diminishing profits.


*--*--*--*


It is decided then.” The High Patriarch stood up. “We will request the aid of Eolar and his ...companions. He is a cleric of good standing in the Church, and he will be accompanied by a Paladin, at least, so Therion's order will be appeased. Flaertes, you will provide the adventurers with a ship and at least some instruction in its use, and we will handpick the crew for it ourselves.


Therion, nodded “Shouldn't we at least instruct them to try to catch him alive? St. Cuthbert's gift is justice, and this renegade should be tried in our courts.


Flaertes groaned “Why should we risk more lives trying to save this fallen paladin? I say we tell them to sink his ship and leave the survivors to the sharks! Also, in a high court, we cannot use magical ways of detecting falsehoods!


The Patriarch raised his voice, drowning out his bickering councillors “We will instruct them to use their discretion.” He glared at Flaertes as he continued “St. Cuthbert tries the judge and jury in the court as well as the defendant. If they fail to see the truth without St. Cuthbert's aid, then they are not worthy of their place. The taboo against divination in our courts is there for a reason.


He paused before continuing “I will dictate the letter to the adventurers this afternoon.


*--*--*--*


It wasn't until the first ballista bolt hit the side of the hull, that Reshag realised that his luck had only changed for the worse. As the Cuthbertite vessel rained bolts and burning pitch on his vessel, he could only order his men to prepare the ship to flee. Cursing St. Cuthbert and all his followers, he grabbed the wheel himself, and turned his ship close to the wind.


A ball of burning pitch smashed into the deck, splattering the crew with liquid flame. The shrieks of the burning men rose to the heavens.

9 comments:

Mendez said...

Blimey!

Joebroesel said...

Well, it seems to be the time of St.Cuthbert! After a monastery I can now get a ship as well :D Just have to sink some pirates.....can Elogyn use a lance to charge by ship??? :D Or can I mount one of those ballistas onto Hasufel...might come in handy one day!

ScottW said...

If I level up after Kirk's adventure, remind me to put some skill points in 'Swim'...

robogeek said...

How very exciting. Adventures on the high-seas! When I set the first adventure in the uncomfortable heat and swamps with stories of pirates, this is where I hoped it might go. Bravo!

Bring on those corsairs and brigands. Mind you, we'd better learn to sail pretty sharpish ;)

Mendez said...

Does Eolar not realise that 'his' monastery is high within a circle of mountains and completely landlocked?
Also, the majority of the Erythnulites are still alive!
P.S. Mendez: Swim: 19!
:)

Joebroesel said...

A: I have a lake and a river which can hold ships!!
And B: Of course I thought about taking over the harbour as well and have a fleet. I only need flock of giant eagles to connect monastery and coast! I'll take care of that in the next adventure ;-)

Insanodag said...

Swim?

The Most Sacred and Divine Order of St. Cuthbert the Smiter of Pirates consider learning to swim a clear and obvious symptom of faithlessness. After all, the only reason to swim is that you failed in your attempts to prevent your ship from sinking in the first place.

We don't consider failure an option in the St. Cuthbert Navy.

Joebroesel said...

I have to agree! If St.Cuthbert wants you to stay on top of water, you stay there. If you sink, that's where St.Cuthbert wanted you to be and trying to fight it (by swimming) would be a clear act of defiance!

Mendez said...

Mendez, dedicated follower of Pragmatism, thinks ‘Better swim than sink’.
Still ‘Water walk’ is a top Cleric spell. Can it be applied to boats?
Then they would ‘float’ regardless of damage!