S&S: Session 8 – Christening

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 morning of the christening found Mirielle rising early. The work was done and the girls, as well as the crew, as well as Captain Pegsworthy’s crew and the workers of Rickety’s Squibs gathered round for the christening. Pegsworthy had a bottle in hand and asked, “Ye have a name for her yet, Captain?”

Mirielle smiled. She did indeed have a name. She’d decided upon a name, based solely on liking how it sounded and the name of a pet cat she’d once owned. “Let her be named The Lady’s Purr.”

Pegsworthy’s eyebrows rose and Dolce snorted beside Mirielle, “The Lady’s Purr, Captain? You realize there will be no end to comments we’ll hear with a name like that, right?”

Mirielle started to ask why, but caught herself. Of course, innuendo would haunt a name chosen based on a cat named Lady. Still, she didn’t want Dolce to know how embarrassed she was, nor did she want to appear caught off guard before those assembled, so she swallowed it down and said calmly, “I like the sound of it. Besides, don’t you want people talking about us?” She couldn’t tell if Dolce saw through her bluff or not, but no one else did… She hoped.

Dolce chuckled. “Aye, Cap. I want the whole of The Shackles talking about us. I’m just not sure you’ll be ready for that sort of talk.”

She was smirking. She’d definitely seen through the bluff. Mirielle cleared her throat. “Are you second guessing me?”

“No!” Dolce said, “Of course not, Captain. She’s your ship to name!”

Mirielle made a small ‘hmm’ sound and gave a firm nod. Pegsworthy and Rickety looked equally amused by the little exchange and Pegsworthy raised the bottle and said, “Alright then, here’s to The Lady’s Pu-“

“No, no, no! You need a proper toast for a pirate’s first ship!” Rickety exclaimed. “Bad form not to toast her!”

Pegsworthy lowered the bottle and considered a moment. “Mm, I suppose you’re right, Rickety. Well then… Good fortune and sure sail await what one can crack the Tidewater Rock!” And then he smashed the bottle on the Purr’s hull, christening her with her new name.

Dolce’s spirits soared, and Mirielle’s embarrassment was forgotten as she watched them release the chocks so the ship could slide down into the estuary. It was a strange, beautiful sight after a long, unusual journey. The sense of freedom that came with being the captain of a ship… Even knowing that Captain Barnabas Harrigan was out there somewhere and likely to be fuming when he learned what had befallen The Man’s Promise didn’t dampen her spirits.

New Beginnings

Mirielle took the ship’s articles, complete with the signatures of every member of the crew and pinned them to the captain’s cabin. Her cabin. It made her smile. Jack Scrimshaw was grinning up at her when she turned toward the crew. Now they had a ship.

Dolce had come away from her talks with Pegsworthy with some advice for Mirielle. The man had said he hoped if they met again Captain Mirielle would be a recognized Free Captain, though he’d also assured Dolce by the end of their conversation that his ships would give them no trouble. Of course, he was still a pirate, so Mirielle wasn’t sure how much stock she put in such assurances.

He was right though. Theoretically, if she became a recognized Free Captain the other Free Captains wouldn’t prey upon her. In the meantime prey was exactly what The Lady’s Purr would look like to the Free Captains of The Shackles.

With seven new crewmen aboard, there were a total of 26. They hadn’t found anyone more suited to being Bosun, Quartermaster, or Master Gunner yet, but there was time for that. For now, Mirielle’s concern was getting some experience under the belts of her new crewmen. In addition, she’d gotten Owlbear, Mr. Plugg’s “pet” human, off of the chain in Mr. Plugg’s room and was getting the crew used to being around him.

Owlbear was quite simple and Mr. Plugg’s treatment of him had made Mirielle despair. Of course, she’d had no opportunity to do anything about it before. Now, however, she was in a position to help Owlbear find a place among the crew, and she intended to do so.

Over the next five days Mirielle settled into her role as captain quite well, using her knowledge of sailing to decide their headings and her charm to give her orders. Dolce reflected that she was certainly a gentler captain than either Harrigan or Plugg, but she still knew what she was doing. They had all signed the articles and had all agreed upon lashes and more severe punishments for certain infractions, and Mirielle hadn’t opposed those despite her softer side. Dolce also noticed that the longer Mirielle spent around the crew, the more the crew loved her. It was exactly what Dolce had hoped she would see.

Revel.. well, lived up to her name in meting out discipline. She also seemed to be settling in well. Dolce found that sometimes crew shuddered when Revel walked past, and yet when it came time for drinking and relaxing they seemed at ease enough around her. The hobgoblin was surprisingly good at being intimidating but also a stalwart comrade.

Nasha seemed pleased to be back on the sea. As Dolce watched her at work she noted the lizardfolk had taken to Owlbear. Jack Scrimshaw and Owlbear seemed to both have won their way into Nasha’s affections, much like Mirielle had initially. Dolce was beginning to suspect Nasha was softer than she let on. An interesting thing to realize when considering how different she was from the rest of them with her smooth, blue scales.

As for Dolce, she’d brought a project aboard. It only took her four days to complete, but she spent those first four days perched on the railing with canvas and thread, sewing their new Jolly Roger. It was all in black and white except certain additions in gold. Pirates loved gold, after all. It was good luck to wear golden jewelry. Their new Jolly Roger would be a black field with a white skull over crossed cutlasses – Besmara’s favored weapon – with a golden crown hanging slantwise over its dome and a single gold tooth.

She’d also brought a project aboard for Mirielle. She’d acquired a copy of Besmara’s Code while in Rickety’s Squibs, penned her own version, and lent that to Mirielle to copy. It was very common for followers of Besmara to pen their own copy of her Code. At least, those that could write. The reason though, was something Dolce noted during the combat with the cyclops. Mirielle had spared a spell to assist in bringing the creature down… Spiritual Weapon.

The spell conjured a weapon in the form of the caster’s deity’s preferred weapon.. And Dolce had been delighted to see a cutlass appear rather than the crossbow that should have come to aid them if Mirielle was praying to Abadar like her family. Turned out Mirielle was buying into Dolce’s speech, and was further convinced when of the four of them Quinn had chosen to give her his Besmara’s Tricorn. Mirielle believed Dolce was right. What, besides Besmara’s grace, could have allowed a noble lady press ganged by pirates to not only survive but rise to the position of Captain?

Dolce found it funny that something as important as faith could come down to something as random and inane as a guy with a crush on a girl giving her a hat. Maybe this was why her family held such disdain for the shorter-lived races… But Dolce didn’t share that disdain. If anything, she found their quirks endearing.

First Blood

Near the end of the fifth day the call came down from the crow’s nest. A sail on the horizon. It was Rosie who sounded off and thus she’d be the first among them to get the reward they’d written into their articles. First choice of any item aboard in addition to her share.

The vessel, however, was not very exciting. It was a fishing vessel. A long ways out and in dangerous waters, to be sure… But Mirielle ordered them to run it down anyway, figuring it would be good to “blood” their new crew and give them some experience in grappling and boarding a vessel.

The pursuit was relatively trivial, for the ship had no artillery aboard with which to defend itself. They closed the distance, got the grapple, boarded, and overtook the fishermen with relative ease. The men barely put up a fight, which was good for them as it meant only a handful died.

When the crew surrendered the captain followed suit. Mirielle looked at him quizzically once all of the weapons had been collected. She had her crew take what fish they’d caught. A fair enough haul for a fishing vessel, but only worth a measly seventy gold coins. Still, the crew would eat well tonight. Rosie, for her item claim, took the captain’s rapier and threw her old dagger overboard. The rapier would be a little unwieldy for her, given the size difference between the slight halfling and the dwarven captain.

“What are you doing out here?” Mirielle finally asked the captain.

The dwarf said nothing, but one of his crew piped up. “He thought we’d have better luck catching out here. Too much competition in Desperation Bay this time of year says he.”

Mirielle chuckled, “Well, you’re very lucky it was us who came across you because I’m not taking your vessel or your lives. I suggest you get back to the bay before someone else comes across you without even a ballista on your boat.”

The dwarf looked shocked, as did his crew. “You’re letting us go?” He sounded as though he didn’t trust her.

Mirielle chuckled, “Honestly, it wouldn’t be worth the effort to take this boat. I’d make what, 1,500 gold coins on a vessel like this in a good port if I was lucky, plus have to worry about dealing with the lot of you? No. As I said, you’re lucky. Remember this the next time you want to wander into the trade lanes. Tell your friends how narrowly you escaped The Lady’s Purr with your lives.” She gestured to their mast as she said that, which was just shy of useless after being hit by The Purr‘s ballista.

That was it, the end of it. Mirielle turned and boarded back onto The Purr and her crew followed suit. They had seemed a little disappointing in not taking their first vessel when it had held so little plunder for them, but Mirielle ordered Ambrose to cook the fishermen’s catch for the whole crew and told them the time and effort they would have spent would cost them in better plunder later. She also brought Rosie to dinner with the officers that night for sighting the sail.

The crew was won over by their captain’s sentiments and Dolce found herself thinking again she’d been right to make Mirielle captain. Especially as it had given her time to sew their Jolly Roger and would allow her to pursue other distractions as well when she wished. She assisted Ambrose in the kitchens that night, saying it was for old time’s sake.

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