Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!
The longboat reached the ship in no time at all. They dragged the unconscious Master Scourge aboard. The longboat was carried aboard as well. Dolce, Mirielle, Revel, and Nasha were greeted with cheering by the crew, and soon a party was afoot. They tied Scourge to the mast, as so many of them had been tied over the years, and celebrated the success of their mutiny.. If it could be called that. Loyalty to a captain was one of Besmara’s chief teachings, but there was nothing in her code about how to treat a captain that was as incompetent as Plugg… Or, for that matter, how to treat one who let a man as incompetent as Plugg run his ship ragged.
As far as Dolce was concerned, neither Mr. Plugg nor Captain Barnabus Harrigan were owed any loyalty from those who remained of this crew. Judging by the celebratory atmosphere, she wasn’t alone in this sentiment.
When the celebration died down a new conversation began. What would follow? The elf listened as people threw out suggestions, it seemed most had it in their heads that she would make a good captain. They were right, of course, but she had other plans. Before a vote could be cast, Dolce launched into a speech.
“What does tomorrow hold? Captain Harrigan’s bound to notice we aren’t waiting in Port Peril when he goes to collect his due, my friends. Rickety’s Squibs is still in our future. We can’t afford for him to recognize our ship in the distance, nor any friends of the Rahadoumi we took it from! But to get to Rickety’s Squibs, we need a new captain!” She let them voice their agreement before throwing her arm wide and pointing at Mirielle. “That’s the captain we need!”
She didn’t give them, or Mirielle who was looking like a man staring at his noose, a chance to break in. “We all bet against this one, didn’t we? I gave her four days! What did you bet? I heard Fishguts gave her a week, and Narwhale here figured on two nights!”
There was laughter and agreement, then a small voice broke out and said, “I bet she’d make it! And I made out good, too!” It was Jack Scrimshaw, the youngest member of the crew and Nasha’s close friend.
Dolce smiled broadly, “See? Jack knew what the rest of us didn’t! He bet on her! And he was right! Not only has she soothed our ails while we were overworked by Mr. Plugg and Master Scourge, she helped us save Fishguts and Quinn! She was born on the sea, lads! Besmara’s blessed her, and she’s a mind for sailing even if she can’t climb the rigging!” More laughter, but murmured agreements.
It was Dolce’s passion as much as her words that won them over, but no small part was the affection Mirielle had gained from those members of the crew she had spoken with. Narwhale was among the loudest to voice support for her, and before Mirielle could protest she was being raised up on the pirate’s shoulders to shouts of “Let’s hear it for Captain Mirielle!”
Dolce just watched and smiled. The rest, she knew, would be longer and more tedious. They’d need to draw up ship’s articles and vote on the other officers. She was pretty sure she knew who would be winning which positions.
The articles were sorted out relatively quickly, but wouldn’t be officially posted until they’d renamed the ship. Something Mirielle had time to think about. They covered all the normal matters such as how many shares each member of the crew would receive when they took plunder and consequences for various infractions. They also covered compensations not normally considered in the Shackles. Extra shares for injury sustained in an engagement as well as a prize to the first person to sight a sail. Dolce could see Mirielle’s hand in those aspects of the articles.
Officers were voted for. Dolce managed to get herself named First Mate; a position not normally present on a pirate crew, but one that would allow her both flexibility and authority. Rosie was temporarily named Bosun, Revel was voted Master-at-Arms, Quinn was named Cartographer/Surgeon, Ambrose kept his post as Cook, Conchobar was named Master Gunner, and Cog was voted Quartermaster (mainly because putting a known thief in charge of keeping things safe seemed logical to Mirielle). Jack Scrimshaw found himself promoted to Cabin Boy, earning him a larger share than what he’d had as a swab. Nasha was content to remain a Mate and help out with rigging where she was needed.
Dolce, while titled First Mate, really did a bit of everything. She shored up Rosie’s weaknesses as Bosun, helped Conch learn about the ballista, and served as the Ship’s only offensive mage, since Quinn and Mirielle’s talents were primarily of the healing persuasion.
With their new officers decided and their articles written they took one more survey of the ship’s supplies and the possessions of the defeated crew members and set off for Rickety’s Squibs.
They were two days’ travel from Rickety’s Squibs, and on the first day of it around mid day Dolce got the crew assembled on the deck. Master Scourge had been tied to the mast over night, but his wounds were well tended so he would be fresh for her plans. “Today we take care of something I think we can all agree has been a long time coming. I present to you, Master Scourge, responsible for setting crewmen against one another when he should have been keeping order and making sure our jobs were performed well. I propose it is fair today for each person who feels they have been wrongly targeted or disciplined by this malicious cur to give a lash to him.”
The crew were quite enthusiastic at this proposal, and Mirielle, who had little love for the idea of needless suffering, went along with it. She knew what the man was capable of and had been the target of his abusive plots and schemes on more than one occasion.
To Dolce, Scourge was the heart of the cancer in Harrigan’s crew. She still blamed Harrigan for turning a blind eye as the cancer festered. Mirielle lashed him first, because if she hadn’t the rest might have found fault with her, but Dolce could see her heart wasn’t in it. She wondered who else would be able to see through the aasimar’s bluff.
Every member of the crew followed. Right down to little Jack Scrimshaw. Nineteen lashes it was in total, for only nineteen of the crew remained including the four girls. And the lashing took a while, for every time Scourge passed out from the strikes Dolce had them stop long enough to treat the wounds. She made sure he was awake as every lash fell. It seemed appropriate he should be since all of them had been.
When they finished with that they had already prepared the rope for the keelhauling. Besmara’s justice, Dolce considered this, whereas the lashes were for the crew. They took their time with Scourge’s keelhauling. And when the deed was finished he was already likely long dead.
Dolce considered that chapter of her life behind her and looked to the future.
Brighter… Hotter days
Their passage to Rickety’s Squibs was quick enough. They found the island in a sorry state, at least as far as water went. They were suffering from an extended drought and the heat was sweltering ashore. Still, they were received well and Squibs seemed quite keen on helping them get underway. Five days, he said, was all it would take to have the ship ready. What’s more, Mirielle had used her charms to get them quite a discount, as well as a higher rate for Plugg’s share of the take from The Man’s Promise.
Things were definitely looking up, so long as the girls could keep out of the sweltering heat.