S&S: Session 26 – Remembrance

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!

Mirielle and Dolce questioned the shops of Ollo. They’d sold a ship to one in particular while here the last time, and he was friendly enough with them to point them in the direction of good shops at which pirates might resupply. One of these indicated they frequently sold to The Dryad’s Grave and that they’d probably be back in town soon as they’d supplied quite a bit ago. Of course, this was casually obtained with subtle conversation thank’s to Dolce’s practice at manipulating conversation.

The Lady’s Purr set sail shortly after that and Dolce took up the day post in the crow’s nest with her Farglass. She watched the horizon throughout most of the day, though occasionally she had Revaress take over while she took a break. The octopus was comical to behold, coiling the Farglass in its tentacles to peer out the scope.

Nasha, meanwhile, found that she had a new crewman to order around on the night shift. Emilia had requested to be the third permanent pirate working overnight. The first night Nasha watched as she brought coffee to the crew. Nasha was the last she approached with a steaming mug.

“I thought you might like some too, though I made yours a little differently…” Emilia said.

Nasha took the mug, noting it smelled different than the others had. The scent was pleasant and rather nutty. The lizardfolk let her long tongue dip into the steaming liquid. The taste was strong enough she might actually remember it where most human drinks tasted little different from muddy water to her. She must have accounted for the Iruxi having a weaker sense of taste and a stronger sense of smell than humans. Nasha looked at the woman again. “Why is it you know so much of the Iruxi?”

Emilia was drinking her own coffee and seemed surprised by the question. She gulped down her drink and asked, “Do I know so much?”

“You named one of our constellations, you pronounced the name correctly, you accounted for my senses being different from your own. You seem to know much of us.” Was it possible there were humans being asked to watch Irxui in the same way Nasha had been sent to watch humans?

Emilia chuckled a little. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just.. A bit of a sponge for information. I know a lot about many cultures. Astrologically speaking, the Iruxi have a great understanding of the stars. Of course, there’s a vast knowledge of astrology held by many who worship Desna, by the Osirians, and by the Rahadoumi as well.”

Nasha’s tail swished as she considered the human’s words. She seemed sincere. It was not likely she studied the Iruxi specifically, and yet, it was refreshing to be around someone who seemed to know more of Nasha’s own people. “Perhaps, you will tell me what you know of our astrology?”

Emilia smiled brightly. “I’d be delighted to discuss astrology with you. Or any topic really. I love a good conversation. I will tell you much of what I’ve learned about the Iruxi was from another slave aboard the Sandsworn.”

“An Iruxi slave?” Nasha asked.

Emilia nodded. “He was very old. Apparently one of few to survive in a battle that took place at Neruma.” The human was frowning now.

“What was his name?” Nasha knew well of ‘Neruma’. It was a city built upon Iruxi breeding grounds, and one which they wished to reclaim. As yet they had been unsuccessful. Nasha believed they sent her and others to observe people throughout the Shackles to determine if there was another way to reclaim the sacred breeding grounds since raiding had failed.

“Oxaquae. He was very kind to me, and in turn I tried to ease his life aboard the Sandsworn,” Emilia said softly.

“Until you left?” Nasha asked as she dipped her jaw into the mug, using her tongue to pull the coffee into her mouth. She often got strange looks from humans that weren’t accustomed to watching lizardfolk drink when they saw this for the first time, but Emilia was not phased by it.

Emilia shook her head. “No, he died in a pirate attack. I had only been aboard for four years, but I was very sad to see him perish.”

She sounded genuinely remorseful. Nasha stopped her drinking and stood straighter. “Today we speak of the fallen. Who will share a memory of the lost?” She was looking at Emilia, of course, who was the only one to have lost this particular sailor.

The human seemed confused at this, and Nasha supposed it was because this was not an Iruxi custom, nor even a custom that could be traced to piracy. It was what Mirielle had done when Narwhale had passed.

As though he’d heard her thoughts, Owlbear said, “I remember Narwhale. He gave me a crab.”

Nasha looked over at Owlbear and nodded her head in approval. It seemed they had more of an audience than Nasha had realized, but it was no big surprise considering the lights were out below deck and all of the night crew was active above.

“I remember Rollo,” offered Ratline. “Always gambled; never won.” Ratline had lost his own gamble recently to end up on the night shift, and as a result had greatly appreciated Emilia’s coffee tonight.

“I remember Narwhale too,” Evith said. “He was the only one among us to stab the captain and live.” She had drawn night shift a fair few times and seemed more able to make the adjustment than her halfling friend.

Nasha nodded at Emilia now. “I remember Oxaquae,” Emilia said, following the others’ examples. “He taught me the Iruxi tongue, and how to read the stars.”

After Emilia a few others of the night crew named fallen that Nasha had never met. People they cared about. There was Shaveka who remembered ‘Ciranorn’ for being her first captain, Tildra who remembered ‘Doldris’ for taking her to Rickety’s Squibs, Kennor who remembered ‘Natraj’ for being his first love, and finally Ada who remembered ‘Zathig’ for being her best friend.

When it seemed no more remembrances were forthcoming Nasha straightened again and said, “They rest now. Perhaps finding home in their second life.” She was sure her wording would be strange to those who were accustomed to Mirielle leading this, for most of the others didn’t refer to death as ‘second life’… But Nasha’s family always had.

Emilia watched as most of the gathered crew finished off their coffees, almost like they were toasting those they’d spoken of. After that they all returned to work or idly peering over the rails into the night. Emilia drank of her coffee too. After a bit she asked Nasha, “Where did you learn that custom?”

Nasha smiled and said, “Mirielle started it when we lost Narwhale and Rollo to the Deathknell.”

The human’s eyes widened. “You faced the Deathknell?”

“I thought you were a pirate master,” Nasha said, her tail idly thudding into the floor of the boat.

“I- I hadn’t heard. What happened?” Emilia asked, truly curious.

Nasha frowned now. “I am not good at the telling. Ask Dolce. She is always happy to talk…” She supposed she could have sung Emilia the song, but she was hesitant to sing without Dolce present to coach her.

Emilia must have picked up on the hesitation for Nasha soon heard her ask, “Is there something more?”

“I could sing Dolce’s song to you, but I don’t think I’m as good as her.” The lizardfolk said.

Emilia smiled a little. “Won’t you give it a try? I’d love to hear you sing.”

“Alright,” Nasha said. She took a moment to still herself, drawing on her form in the ways Dolce had taught her, then slowly sang The Final Toll while using her tail as a metronome by softly striking the deck with it. Her tone was low and steady, a natural bass. She was not surprised by the nerves she felt, for it had taken some coaxing from the elf to get her to agree to singing lessons in the first place.

Nasha’s people were known for their oral history and epic poetry. Singing was a prized skill, and one her voice had been found lacking for… But Dolce, with patience, had taught her to hone it, and now it was fair enough. Perhaps more fair, even, than some of those who had been chosen to cultivate their voices among her family.

Emilia clapped her hands together when Nasha finished, as did Owlbear. “That was lovely!” Emilia said.

Owlbear echoed her, “Lovely! Pretty!” He said, clapping as well, his spiked chain rattling with his movements.

Nasha smiled. She thought if she were human she might have pink cheeks now, for she felt a little embarrassed at the praise. “Thank you,” she said, inclining her head to them.

The Dryad’s Grave

When morning came again the night crew went below and Dolce resumed her vigil in the crow’s nest. On one of the elf’s breaks from searching the horizon she felt Revaress prod her with a tentacle. When she took the Farglass from her familiar and looked in the direction it indicated she saw their quarry in the distance. Ten miles out, for she could barely see it with the Farglass‘ enchanted lens.. Dolce piped on the whistle to announce the sail and descended to join Mirielle.

They got the ship underway with haste, employing their new rapid deploy sails. Alas, as they drew close they were not met with weaponry, but a flag of parley. Mirielle, being who she was, drew alongside them rather than simply engage. Dolce suspected this would turn sour quickly.

“Ahoy, Captain Mirielle!” Called Milksop from his smaller vessel. There was a creature Dolce recognized as an air mephit at Milksop’s side.

The Dryad’s Grave sported a stunning satyr figurehead. Dolce would have had a hard time telling you which was more beautiful, her own ice angel or the satyr before them. Mirielle moved to the rail and responded, “Ahoy yourself, Captain Milksop. Would you come aboard The Purr to discuss this parley?.”

He ignored her offer, asking instead, “What brings you to these parts?”

Mirielle was looking over his crew as she responded, “The Purr has made port at Ollo before.” They didn’t look especially battle-hardened. Good for Mirielle and the crew of The Purr.

Milksop nodded a little, “Oh, aye, but not commonly. I more meant, what in particular has you here. Your sails were open and you seemed rather intent on The Dryad’s Grave.”

Mirille considered lying, but decided in this instance she would just be honest. Perhaps they’d strike an agreement and bloodshed would be avoided. “You have something we want, Captain.”

“Is that so, Captain? And what might that be?” the man asked.

Mirielle didn’t even hesitate to say, “The Ring of the Iron Skull.”

Milksop looked surprised that she knew of the item’s name and twisted it on his finger. “Interesting. Well it seems we’re at an impasse, for I want the plunder in your hold!”

Mirielle chuckled. “Pity for you then.”

Milksop hesitated before asking, “Why’s that, Captain?”

“We’re not carrying anything in our hold at present,” Mirielle said plainly.

The man smiled again and said loudly, “Then your ship will have to do! Fire the springal! Target the wheel!” cried Milksop. His crew did as they’d been instructed, firing the weapon at The Purr‘s wheel.

To Revel’s annoyance, the springal’s ammunition appeared to be grappling hooks and the three things came to life as they landed on the aftcastle, striking at the hobgoblin. Revel took the blows in stride, letting the injuries stoke her anger. “What the FUCK IS THIS!?” She bellowed, biting at the animated hooks. One fell idle, broken in pieces by her powerful jaws.

Dolce, noting that this was her best opportunity to strike at Milksop’s crew without catching anyone from The Lady’s Purr, cast a Weapon Storm spell, striking out with her rapier and watching as the attack was replicated against each of his crewmen in its area. Milksop himself didn’t get struck at all, but the mephit that had been beside him disappeared from the force of the blow it took.

‘So much for an agreement. Then we’re back to my original plan..’ Mirielle thought. “GRAPPLE!” she yelled, and the crew scurried to oblige. Meanwhile, the captain made her way to the far side of The Purr so she would be harder to target by those aboard The Dryad’s Grave since it was resting lower in the water.

Milksop snarled in rage and spoke a word in a language none of the girls understood. To their surprise the figurehead came to life, whirling up above the deck. “Kill the captain!” Milksop shouted, and the wooden satyr tried to oblige, firing a ballista that was attached to its wrist at Mirielle.

Her captain’s cry of pain sent chills down Dolce’s spine. She saw Mirielle was still conscious, but barely. Captain Milksop cast a spell of his own, summoning a zephyr hawk to his aid. It appeared beside Dolce, attempting to strike her, but to no avail.

Nasha decided that of all the targets present, the satyr was the most dangerous. It had almost laid her captain low. “Hit the wooden one with Ivory, Riddle, and Pain!” Nasha ordered.

“Aye, aye, Nasha!” Conchobar called, scurrying to fire off Ivory. The ballista shot flew wide. Shaveka Fired Riddle, and her shot hit the satyr, but to little effect. Ratline fired Pain.. His shot bounced harmlessly off the satyr’s flank. Not nearly as effective as Nasha had hoped. She prepared to board the enemy vessel, convinced that the ballista would be of little use after the display.

Revel and the animated hooks continued facing off, the hobgoblin taking more injuries, but none of them serious as she chomped at the metal and wood of the grapples relentlessly. Another sundered and fell to the deck, the last one was severely splintering, but not quite idle.

Mirielle hesitated to act, but Dolce didn’t. The elf ignored the zephyr hawk and rushed to Mirielle’s side, casting her most powerful Invisibility spell on her captain. That seemed to pull Mirielle out of her hesitation, for Dolce heard her captain call upon her heritage to heal herself. Since Dolce had used a more powerful form of the spell for Invisibility it held true even with Mirielle’s own casting. Mirielle ordered loudly, “BOARD THAT SHIP!”

“Damnit, shoot the blue one!” Milksop instructed the satyr as he lost sight of Mirielle. It wouldn’t matter in the immediate future, for the stayr was still reloading the crossbow, but Milksop saw it set its sights on Nasha and barked, “No, the fleshy blue one!” The captain then cast another spell and his visage became blurry. His zephyr hawk chased after Dolce, attempting to strike her and succeeding once. Then Milksop’s most recent spell sent him thudding into the side of The Lady’s Purr. “Damnit,” he grumbled.

Nasha, meanwhile, landed on the deck of The Dryad’s Grave and closed the distance to Captain Milksop.

The last grapple bit into Revel’s flesh before the hobgoblin broke it in two with her vicious fangs and roared in triumph. Revel jumped onto the deck of The Dryad’s Grave as well, but she closed the distance to the wooden satyr.

Dolce moved to the edge of the ship to better have Milksop in her view. He had cast Blur. Of this much she was certain, for she knew the spell herself, but she was not attuned with it today and thus couldn’t tell how much energy he’d put into the casting of it. ‘Besmara smile on me,’ the elf thought, sending up a quick prayer as she intoned the words of power required to attempt countering his spell with her own. Dispel Magic struck him true, but the effect did not waver. Dolce cursed and said to her captain in the celestial tongue, “Use a powerful spell and see if you can end that. Nasha will have a hard time hitting him if you can’t!”

Mirielle had joined Dolce at the rail and nodded her understanding. She too cast Dispel Magic, and hers unraveled the energy of the enemy’s spell. Milksop cursed loudly.

The satyr wheeled on Revel, who was now in melee with it. It fired its ballista all the same and the hobgoblin roared, “I’M GONNA TEAR YOU TO PIECES!” Her energy was menacing, but her voice was clearly pained as well.

Milksop intoned another spell, and this one allowed him to take flight. He rose above Nasha, out of her reach. “YOUR CAPTAIN’S RUNNING!” Revel bellowed as she saw him lifting up.

Milksop chuckled and said, “Heh, not nearly, just repositioning.” He lost focus on his zephyr hawk and it returned from whence it came.

Nasha, now useless on the ground below Milksop, joined Revel in harassing the satyr. The powerful lizardfolk moved to the side opposite Revel and swiped at their foe. Her first hit connected, horribly. Her claw hooked in its wooden form and ripped back, tearing the scales of her digit. She was pretty sure she felt something break. She snorted in pain, but lashed out again with a more basic slash of her claws. It wouldn’t exert the same pressure on her, but also wouldn’t damage her foe as much. Alas, this strike also was ineffective.

Revel chomped into the wood vigorously, and Dolce’s new runes brought flames to her bite. The satyr splintered and burned. Revel’s second bite clipped the creature’s ballista, severing its cord and making it useless in the process. As the splinters lodged in Revel’s mouth she cursed again. “Fuck me, not nearly enough blood in this fight.”

Dolce fixed Milksop in her sights and cast yet another Dispel Magic. She watched as he fell to the deck with a thud. “Two!?” He asked, “You prepared two of them? How did you- Gah. You were looking for me!”

“We said as much,” Mirielle stated simply. “There’s no need for further bloodshed, surrender now and talk with me about terms.”

Milksop surveyed battle crew, his eyes lingering on the smoldering bites Revel had taken out of the satyr. It was truly on its last legs and the man actually whimpered observing it so. “Fine, fine.. We surrender. LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS!” Milksop commanded.

His sailors obeyed immediately. Mirielle’s voice chimed out in quick succession, “The battle is won! Collect their weapons and hold fast!” Her crew likewise obeyed.

Mirielle, still invisible, moved to Revel’s side and tended the hobgoblin’s injuries. She did this with magic. As the wounds sealed she also plucked one of the more prominent splinters from Revel’s lips, deftly tucking it into one of her belt pouches with no one the wiser thanks to her subtlety and invisibility.

“Survey the hold,” Mirielle instructed. When no one moved she realized they could not see who she was looking at. With a sigh she said, “Dolce.” The elf obliged at once, beginning to move below with Fipps and Shaveka in tow. She returned to Milksop’s side and pulled the ring that had caused them to cross paths from his finger. “Dolce,” Mirielle said, causing the elf to pause. Mirielle tossed the ring to Dolce. It was a testament to the elf’s reflexes that she both saw it appear in midair and managed to catch it on such short notice. “There’s your prize.” The captain, of course, was talking about Dolce’s prize for ‘sighting the sail’. Dolce simply nodded and continued below after slipping the ring on her own finger.

Mirielle continued giving orders. “Tend to the injured, Quinn.” He inclined his head and began looking over the wounded. “Nasha, you will accompany me and Captain Milksop aboard The Purr.” Nasha nodded and Mirielle took Milksop’s elbow until her invisibility faded. They boarded The Purr and entered the captain’s cabin.

“Negotiations”

Mirielle sat at her small table with Milksop opposite her. Nasha stood at the door. The aasimar had used magic to mend her friend’s injuries once she’d seen the ragged state of her claw, but Nasha said the strain was only slowly getting better. Still, she would prove a deterrent should Milksop attempt anything foolish.

“Now then,” Mirielle said, pleased to have him on her ship as she had initially intended. “Let us discuss the terms of your surrender.”

Milksop swallowed and said, “Of course, of course. Look, you can have the treasures in our hold, just please don’t take my ship.”

Dolce had told Mirielle that Milksop had high ambitions. He intended to hand over the largest bounty of any pirate when he made his stake to be named a free captain. That would require surrendering about twenty thousand gold worth of goods to Captain Bonefist. “I’m told you’re rather ambitious,” she said.

Milksop’s brows furrowed, “I.. haven’t the slightest idea what you’re saying, Captain Mirielle.”

Mirielle smiled and said, “Of course not. But you see, there’s room for a pirate of great renown, such as one who’s claimed his position as a Free Captain with more wealth than any to come before him, in my fleet.”

“You have a fleet? I hadn’t heard.” Milksop seemed genuine in this, rather than mocking. A good thing for him as Nasha would not have taken lightly to him disrespecting Mirielle.

“We’ve The Purr as well as another vessel called The Thresher. She once belonged to Captain Inkskin and is currently settled at Tidewater Rock. Yours would make the third… But I’m not sure I’m willing to wait that long. Just how much of the wealth you aim to present to Captain Bonefist have you gathered, Milksop?” She had fixed him in her gaze and was unyielding as she observed him. She almost felt like she could see thoughts rolling around in his mind.

After a time it seemed he decided to be honest with her and he said, “Seventeen thousand gold worth, including the two thousand on The Dryad’s Grave.”

Mirielle nodded. “Well then, consider this a minor setback. The rest of your crew will keep their lives. We’re taking half of what’s in your hold. You will continue your efforts. When you attain your title as an independent Free Captain in the very manner you desire and you will sail to Tidewater Rock to begin sailing as the second captain in my fleet. Understood?”

“O-of course, Captain,” Milksop said.

Mirielle could tell the man would require more persuasion when he had attained his title, but she had little worry about that. “If you fail to report to Tidewater Rock we will hunt you down and this time there will be no parley before Greed rips your sails to shreds and we sink your ship. Do I make myself clear?”

Milksop swallowed. It was not that Mirielle sounded particularly frightening, indeed, her voice lacked that edge that Dolce and Revel had honed so sharply. No, it was her sincerity that unnerved the man. “O-of course, Captain.”

“Good. Now, get off my ship,” Mirielle said. She watched as he stood and, after bowing to her, left the cabin. Her eyes strayed to her silver toucan. It was ‘grooming’ itself on a perch near her bed. She’d really not spent much time with it, but Jack was another matter. He played with the bird through much of the day while Mirielle was busy. Perhaps she’d give the thing to Jack. Cupiir kept her company well enough.

Nasha had stepped out of the way to let the man passed and watched now as he made his way back to his own ship. She wondered how wise it was to let him leave. Her attention was drawn back to Mirielle as she heard her captain say, “See that my orders are carried out, take only half of what is in their hold.”

“Of course, Captain,” The lizardfolk said before bowing and leaving to do as Mirielle had bidden.

Mirielle, meanwhile, made for Kuzayoni’s alchemy lab. There she took a single glass vial from the multitudes that Dolce had furnished for the woman. As she was making her way above deck she ran into Dolce. The elf looked truly perplexed and frustrated. “You’re letting him leave?” she asked.

“Yes,” Mirielle said. “But we will not be empty handed. We have the ring and we’re taking half of what’s in their hold.”

Dolce scowled, “Half, and not their ship?”

Mirielle frowned. “No, not their ship.”

“Ratline is dead. As is Ado,” Dolce said quietly.

Mirielle felt as though her blood got colder. Ratline had been with them since The Wormwood. Ado was a halfling recruit from Bag Island. The aasimar sighed. Death was inevitable, but it still wore on her to lose crewmen. “I am letting him go because he will be a captain under me.” She offered this because she knew Dolce was telling her about the deaths because she felt they shouldn’t let the captain leave at all, much less with his ship and crew and magical figurehead.

Dolce blinked in surprise. “He agreed to this? And.. and you believe him?”

“Yes,” Mirielle said, “And no.” She took the vial, now containing the charred splinter of the figurehead, and handed it to Dolce. “Do you know what that is?”

“A piece of his ship?” Dolce asked. She was about to ask ‘What if he sells it?’

Mirielle spoke first, “A piece of his figurehead, plucked from Revel’s splintered jaws. He may sell his ship to try and dodge this agreement, but we can track him with that.. The way he reacted to Revel damaging it, I don’t think he’d ever part with it. Even if he did we would find another means… And I think a few choice uses of Nightmare would compel him to answer soon enough.”

Dolce found herself off-balance. Here she’d come with accusations and anger at the loss of their crew and Mirielle being too soft-handed, but her captain had a plan. She swallowed. “You- You continually surprise me, Captain. I’m sorry I did not have more faith in you.”

“Indeed,” Mirielle said flatly. “You should be careful about that.” There was an edge to Mirielle’s voice. She appreciated Dolce, but Dolce was a large part of why she had been named captain. The elf needed to begin listening to her wishes more readily.

Dolce could sense Mirielle’s tension and frowned. “Of course, Captain. I would never question you in front of the crew.”

“That’s all well and good, Dolce, but even in private you should do so with less hostility,” Mirielle said, and then continued above deck.

The elf stood still for a moment. Her captain was right, of course. She tucked the vial into her bandoleer and her fingers strayed to her holy symbol. ‘That’s as much from you as from the captain, isn’t it?’ Dolce thought. She certainly believed it to be the case. Besmara had chosen Mirielle, and Dolce was a bigger pawn in her goddess’ schemes than she’d first believed.

OOC Notes

Poor Nasha. She rolled terribly this whole fight, including a natural one that “broke” something according to her critical fumble spell. It didn’t say she couldn’t use “natural attacks”, but did say she couldn’t use the attack that had caused the fumble until healed (which requires treat wounds (a 10 minute activity) or being fully healed and 10 minutes to pass). We ruled it as she snagged a claw terribly and couldn’t do her Tiger Slash attacks, but could still punch or do more normal lizardfolk attacks. Not that it mattered. She never landed a blow.

Milksop ‘lost focus’ on his zephyr hawk because Summon Elemental is a sustained spell. This means he has to use an action every round to keep its effect going. Unfortunately for him, he was more concerned with getting away from Nasha than maintaining the elemental so he cast Fly (2 actions) and used his last action to move.

Dolce rolled spectacularly on her Pirate Lore check to know about Milksop, resulting in her preparing both a 2nd level and a 4th level casting of Dispel Magic. Meanwhile, Mirielle can cast the spell spontaneously and it is a signature spell for her.
• In Pathfinder 2, a sorcerer can choose one spell from each of her spell levels to be a ‘signature spell’. These spells are automatically heightened to the level of spell slot they use to cast them… She could also cast other spells at multiple levels by taking them as her ‘learned’ spells when she levels up, but with a limited spell list I try to avoid doing that.

A Tribute to Fine Scallywags

This song is one Dolce would be particularly prone to singing when around any of her crewmen in taverns on shore leave. It’s primarily something she put together for Shade because she believes mentioning him and indicating he’s recognizable by Mirielle’s symbol might allow him to move through ports with less harassment. She still has biases against Shade, but feels indebted to him and has written this in an effort to lessen the debt.

It was fun working all these names into the song. Many of them including actual details about the NPCs in question. In the end I’m pretty happy with it. Enjoy.


A Tribute to Fine Scallywags

I know you’ve all heard of the fine Lady’s Purr,
And all of the feats we’ve achieved,
But now let me tell you about every cur,
Who’s helped claim the treasures retrieved!

There was burly, stout Narwhale – our mightiest dwarf,
Who sighted the Deathknell’s sail,
And though he had come from the shoddiest wharf,
His bravery never did fail!

There was Ratline, a halfling most ruthless and cruel,
Taller than all in his spite;
Before his blade, the blood did pool
Even in his final fight!

Here’s to Narwhale and Ratline, two ragged souls –
Their lives lived with gusto and glee!
On the Lady’s Purr they both served their roles,
And died with a smile on the sea!

We’ve got Giffer, Jack, Barefoot and Shaveka still,
All three are the worst sort of folk.
Your blood they surely would eagerly spill
If they fancied the shade of your cloak!

Don’t look at Maheem with less than respect
Or he’ll lay you flat on your back!
And three perfect smiles were already wrecked
By Fipps and his trusty blackjack!

Rosie can play you a fiddle that’s sweet,
Or open your guts on the deck;
Ambrose cooks up the most savory treat
After each ship that we wreck!

Here’s to Shaveka, Giffer, Barefoot, and Jack,
Ambrose, Maheem, Fipps and Rosie,
Each of them ready to slice and to hack
Into anyone being too nosy!

Show respect to Badger with her hair all on end –
As crazy as her look’s suggesting –
And to Cog with the coin he’s happy to spend,
Lest you learn where his blades are resting!

Quinn has the gentlest hands aboard,
And Conch the most fearsome war cries!
Vixi’s the dragon of our treasure hoard,
And Owlbear’s spiked chain never lies!

Here’s to Badger and Cog, to Quinn and to Conch,
Let’s hear it for Vixi and Owlbear!
Each of their souls equally staunch
In the battles our journeys all share!

Our bosun’s the sort who revels in pain,
Shade’s skin is black as the night,
You’ll recognize him by our Captain’s cold chain
And the glow of his eyes’ red light.

Don’t forget Revel – the Shark loves to play!
And Nasha’s always on the hunt.
I do my best to keep trouble at bay,
As our Captain takes charge from the front.

Let’s hear it for Shade and his wicked lash,
For Revel and Nasha and me,
But most of all, make a toast, raise your glass
To the finest captain on the sea!

S&S: Session 25 – Chasing Rumors

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!

Dolce had purchased the tools necessary to transfer magical runes to weapons, as well as some of the runes themselves. For Nasha and Revel she purchased magical handwraps. On at least one of each of their weapons and handwraps Dolce placed a Ghost Touch rune. She still had that piece of the Honeysnake so they could track the ship, and meant to follow up on it at some point and she’d not heard any tales yet of what kind of creatures – if any – occupied the vessel. A ghost touch rune, which was relatively inexpensive, would save her a number of spells if they did end up fighting actual ghosts…

For Revel, the elf had purchased handwraps bearing a Flaming rune and a Grievous rune. For Nasha, wraps, a Corrosive Rune. On Mirielle’s dagger – the dagger of Vulpius Scariano because that had apparently become Miri’s preferred blade – a Frost rune. On her own Besmara’s Embrace, a Disrupting rune. This blade she intended to save specifically for undead and ghostly ships like the Honeysnake and the Deathknell. On Brine’s Sting, her more favored rapier of late, a Frost rune and a Wounding rune. This she wouldn’t mention to the Captain… It would help her make sure people she felt would be a liability died in combat.

Dolce also placed Ghost Touch runes on Nasha and Revel’s Returning weapons. For Nasha she actually transferred the Underwater rune and Returning rune from a spear that had long been her primary ranged weapon to the boarding pike. Its ability to morph its reach would allow Nasha some more flexibility.

To accomplish all of this the elf was spending a good bit of money where she could to shorten the time it would take her to accomplish everything, but also time to do what needed to be done herself where it was more convenient.

Stowaway

It was well after dark when Nasha saw a woman emerge from the trapdoor that led below deck with Vixi close behind her. The woman was gagged and her body covered in what looked like a sticky substance. The lizardfolk didn’t recognize her. She watched Vixi curiously as he approached.

The tengu said, “Found this one below when I was taking the count. Certainly wasn’t expecting a stowaway.”

Nasha’s tail thumped lightly against the deck and she asked, “I’m surprised we made it this far from port before she was noticed.” They were two days out from Port Peril.

Vixi nodded a little. “I think it’s because I didn’t take inventory last night.” If he was annoyed at having missed the lass it didn’t show in his voice.

“What was she doing?” Nasha asked.

“Sleeping! Curled up behind some of the barrels.” The woman was trying to say something, but the gag muffled her efforts sufficiently and Vixi went on, “Found this with her.” He held out a rather large satchel toward Nasha.

The lizardfolk took the satchel and rifled through its contents. Many empty books, ink, quills, sand, some nautical charts, some loose papers with details about members of the pirate council. An interesting collection and one that certainly suggested she had some sense of the sea about her. Nasha closed the satchel and reached out with a clawed hand to pull the gag from the human’s mouth. She noticed as she did so that the woman wore a collar over what looked like a scar on her neck. “Why are you here?” she asked.

The woman worked her jaw for a moment and said, “Look, I’m sorry, I would have presented myself tomorrow-“

Nasha snorted a little and repeated her question, cutting the woman’s apologies short.

The human swallowed, “I was a slave aboard the Sandsworn. I just took my chances in Port Peril.”

“So you had no other reason for being here, on The Purr?” Nasha was mainly concerned with if the woman was here for something in specific rather than just trying to get away from something.

The woman shook her head no and said, “I swear it, I was just trying to escape and I finally managed in Port Peril. With your captain’s reputation I thought my chances would be better on this ship than one I didn’t know.”

The lizardfolk considered that. She knew well they had a reputation as capable pirates who didn’t take slaves or try to ransom crews. She supposed it made sense. Finding no fault in the woman’s claims she said, “You will speak to Mirielle in the morning. I’m not waking her.”

The woman nodded, “Of- of course.”

“Being a stowaway is bad,” Owlbear said. He’d been sitting near Nasha watching the ripples of the ship in the water below them, but now was speaking to the woman.

The human shrank a little and said, “Yes, I- I know.”

Owlbear nodded as though her admission satisfied him.

To Vixi Nasha said, “You go ahead and get some sleep. I will watch her.”

The tengu nodded and headed for officers’ quarters. Nasha returned to stargazing, though she occasionally got up to do work with the rigging or make sure their course was adjusted as needed. She’d become the de facto leader of the sailors who drew the night shift… Probably because she was so fond of the stars. Partly also because Owlbear was permanently on night shift and Nasha wanted to look out for him.

“You can see the rider really clearly tonight,” the human said.

Nasha blinked a little and turned toward her. It had been some time since she’d heard someone refer to one of the constellations by name. Most simply stated how pretty they were like that elf had. What a strange elf he’d been. “Do you know much of the stars?” she asked.

The human nodded and said, “I was a Pirate Master for the Sandsworn. I did a fair bit of navigating though, and that requires a good knowledge of the stars. I guess you’d be more interested in the hunter’s prey.” It was an Iruxi constellation she referenced, and to Nasha’s surprise she pronounced its Iruxi name flawlessly.

“Mm, we believe this is a time for attaining goals,” Nasha said softly.

“And overcoming trials,” the human said. The Tanglefoot effect that had been binding her had hardened at this point and she broke the binds and watched them crumble to the deck of the ship.

“What is your name?” Nasha asked, more interested in the woman now.

She smiled a little. “It’s Emilia. You’re Nasha, right?”

Nasha couldn’t remember if Vixi had called her by name or not, but she didn’t think so. “How do you know that?”

Emilia chuckled. “I told you, I was a Pirate Master.”

“I don’t see a rider.” Owlbear said.

Nasha’s had almost forgotten he was sitting with her, but now realized he was searching the skies for a rider. She started to speak, but Emilia was faster.

“It’s not an actual rider, but an image made by connecting the stars,” she said. When Owlbear looked confused she said, “I’ll show you.. If, that’s alright with you.” She had reached out toward her satchel. Nasha nodded warily, watching her in case she turned out to be a spell caster or something. The lizardfolk was prepared to strike if the need arose.

All Emilia took from the satchel was a piece of chalk. “Like this,” she said, and drew small dots int he shape of the rider on the ship.

Owlbear watched her, still looking puzzled, until she connected the lines for him. “Oh!” he said, and looked between the deck and the sky above. “It’s up there! You draw really good!”

Emilia chuckled a little at the praise, for it wasn’t exactly a hard thing to draw. “Thank you.”

“Show me more!” Owlbear said.

Nasha smiled and watched as Emilia gave him a very simple demonstration of where the constellations were above them. Some of the formations she named and drew were unfamiliar to the lizardfolk, bu she knew many cultures had their own. How many of them had this pirate learned? Eventually she retrieved a bucket and water and handed it to Emilia to clean the deck while she and Owlbear tended more rigging tasks and adjusted course again.

Nasha was going to like their new shipmate, she suspected. She also thought Dolce and Mirielle would want to talk to her.

Nasha was right. Mirielle spoke to the stowaway at some length, as did Dolce. In the end she was told she could stay aboard and work as crew. She’d receive only a half share, as was their custom for those who were not yet considered Mates. Emilia agreed to this.

Ultimately, Mirielle let Shade be the one to demonstrate how rough it could be for a stowaway. Shade did it well. He invoked the family Mirielle had built aboard the ship when forcing others to pick up the slack of Emilia. It seemed that while she had quite a head for pirates and stars, she was not the most able sailor. Still, Mirille let her languish in rigging work under Shade. She couldn’t have the whole crew thinking she was completely soft, after all.

The House of Stolen Kisses

They made port in Quent. Mirielle gave them two days of shore leave. The city had a reputation for having whorehouses that were unrivaled in the rest of the Shackles, but their true interest was in a particular establishment known as The House of Stolen Kisses. Thankfully, Tessa had furnished a letter for them to gain them access to Dindreann, the high priestess. Apparently it might have otherwise taken months to make an appointment with the woman.

Dindreann revealed to Dolce that she knew something of spies in the Shackles, but she required a favor for the knowledge she possessed. The girls needed to track down a relic that had been aboard The Lady’s Sting, a ship belonging to the establishment. The ship, of course, had been taken and the woman did not know where they should look.

Dolce took this information to Captain Mirielle, who listened to the report and then attempted to make the elf blush by saying, “I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were in such a… lavish establishment.”

Dolce paid that little mind, she was unfazed by the captain’s efforts. What she did note was a passing grumble in a slightly ‘off’ elven accent… Shade murmuring, “More than I will at least.”

When she concluded her conversation with Mirielle she caught up to Shade and asked, “Why exactly is that?”

The drow looked at Dolce a bit confused. “Why is what, Sir?”

“Why is that you’re not visiting the House of Stolen Kisses or some similar establishment while we’re in port?” Dolce rephrased.

Shade regarded her for a moment before saying, “I’ve tried that before. Without the wraps it doesn’t end well. With them it draws undue attention.” Dolce wondered briefly if she could change that with her efforts and presence as The Lady’s Purr‘s shantyman. As though reading her mind Shade said, “Honestly I’m hoping all your pretty little songs can change that if I stick with this crew. Maybe I can walk in Port Peril without fearing the repercussions.”

Somehow Dolce felt rather complimented by this. The fierce, deadly, obnoxious drow bosun held her ‘pretty little songs’ in enough esteem to believe they might be able to help him mingle with the populace of the Shackles more easily. “I guess we’ll see…” Dolce said, turning and heading off to tend her duties.

The conversation stuck with the elf, rolling around in her head. He’d never once gone ashore when they made port, and she supposed it made sense. Many elves, like her, would as soon kill with him as deal with him… But Dolce was indebted to him. Once for saving her from the Canopy Creeper, but mainly for teaching her to be more efficient with her blade. It was time to start mentioning the drow in her songs… Honestly, there were a few old timers that could use some love… She’d remedy that soon.

They lingered in port the extra day and made for Beachcomber. This city, located on Bag Island, was of a much different nature. The information broker on it, also of a much different nature. Dolce discreetly asked around until she gained access to the temple of Norgorber. The four girls met them together, for Dolce and Mirielle didn’t like the idea of anyone being in there alone.

When they inquired about the location of The Lady’s Sting, the man indicated he knew where she could be found. The price of this knowledge? A secret for a secret. Mirielle brought up the spies, for Tessa had mentioned this might be another avenue to discover more about them, and for that the man wanted something more specific… The secret of The Brine Banshee, a ship which had been captained by a man named Jalhazar and which was known for travelling far faster than it should be able to.

A secret Mirielle wouldn’t mind having herself with the regatta right around the corner. The man indicated they might be able to learn more of the fate of The Brine Banshee if they traveled to Quent since the ship had passed through there on its last voyage. They said they would look into this and made back for Quent.

Dolce mulled over what secrets they could offer for the location of The Lady’s Sting. Her being a wizard was still somewhat of a secret… Though one that was bound to come out before long as more people survived their raids on ships. The location of Mancatcher Cove was a secret. The original identity of The Purr was a secret. All things she was unwilling to give up. Perhaps there was some other secret she was missing that would satisfy his request without agitating her.

Back in Quent the girls started searching for news of The Brine Banshee‘s passing. Mirielle had help from the retainers of her previous life. She, ultimately, was approached by a minstrel.

“Pardon me, but you are Captain Mirielle, are you not?” The refined man asked. He had olive skin and beautiful black hair.

Mirielle smiled warmly at the man and said, “Yes. Is there something I can do for you?”

The man smiled. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Khadiq, and was once the Shantyman aboard The Red Star.” His was not a name Mirielle recognized, nor was his ship. The man continued, “I heard you were looking for information regarding the whereabouts of The Brine Banshee. I think I might have a lead for you.”

The aasimar said, “I imagine there’s a cost for the knowledge?” Nothing was free in the Shackles after all.

“Mm, well yes. You see, there’s a particular crewman of yours I’m very interested in…” he trailed off and looked a bit sheepish. Somehow Mirielle expected him to say Dolce, but she waited for him to continue. When he did continue he said, “I was wondering if you could introduce me to Revel.”

Mirielle’s eyebrows arched in surprise. Revel? The Shark? Yet his disposition certainly suggested one of admiration or more. “I- I mean, I can certainly introduce you, but Revel is involved with a man aboard The Purr.”

The minstrel looked a bit crestfallen, but after a moment regained himself and said, “All the same, I’d like the chance to speak with her. And if she says she’s not interested, that’s fine of course. I’m happy to accept coin for what I know as well.”

Mirielle chuckled at this. “Well, I’m pretty sure I know where to find her. I suppose come along.”

The captain led the man through Quent to one of the more affordable taverns in the area. Revel had stated she enjoyed the rougher inns because they catered to a more lively clientele than the ‘stuffy’ establishments Mirielle stayed in at port. Sure enough, Revel and Cog were to be found within. Dolce was actually there too, singing her most recent songs about their exploits.

Mirielle told the man he’d be on his own when speaking to Revel and that she’d wait outside. She called the hobgoblin over once he’d said he understood.

“Hey, Cap, what’s up?” Revel asked, pretty decently drunk if Mirielle were to guess.

The aasimar inclined her head toward Khadiq and said, “This gentleman wanted to meet you. He says he may have information for us regarding the whereabouts of The Brine Banshee.”

“Is that so?” Revel asked, looking over at Khadiq. “Why you wanted to meet me?”

Mirielle bowed her head to the two and exited then, stepping outside with her retainers. Revel watched the captain go and looked back at Khadiq with more curiosity.

“Well, I- um…” The man stuttered, a blush creeping into his cheeks. “I wondered if- if you’d.”

Revel blinked at him, unsure what his issue was. “I’m not gonna bite you, just spit it out!”

His cheeks grew darker. “I wondered if you’d consider… sleeping with me.”

The hobgoblin blinked again. She’d not been expecting this. Cog and she had been sleeping together for… well, months now. Since the Wormwood. That had been a relationship born entirely out of boredom and resentment at their situation. “Why?” she asked.

Was it possible for his cheeks to get even darker? Revel wasn’t sure if she was imagining it or not as he said, “You’re just so- so amazing. All the stories about you-“

“Me? The Shark? You hear my stories and it makes you want to fuck me?” she asked. She was feeling equal parts confused and amused at this. Most people bought her drinks from a distance after one of Dolce’s tales about her bloodlust on the field of combat. Some of their own crew were nervous around her despite her best efforts to be friendly when not disciplining them.

He swallowed nervously and fidgeted under her scrutiny. “Y-yes,” he said, his voice hardly audible.

“Aww, shucks. That’s a new one on me, Fella. And I would, honest, but I got Cog over there.” Revel looked toward her human, he was still drinking and gambling. Conch was going to make a fortune on him again tonight, unless Cog managed to keep picking the gnome’s pocket without getting noticed. She looked back at the human. “Sorry, but I can’t ruin a good thing. They don’t come along very often, ya know?”

It seemed something about that struck a cord with the man, who smiled faintly himself and nodded. “No, I, I understand. I shouldn’t have-” He sighed. “Look, there’s a man named Haneilius Fitch… He was once the doctor on The Brine Banshee and says he knows a way to track her. He’s been looking for people to bankroll his operation, but…”

Revel was surprised when the man started spitting out what he knew. She figured he’d be angry at being turned down, but she listened attentively. At the last she tilted her head up at him and said, “But what? With the regatta around the corner it seems like that should be a pretty well-received request.”

“Well,” Khadiq said, “the man is.. He had an episode shall we say? And I don’t think anyone believes he actually knows a way to find it.”

Revel considered that for a moment. He was crazy, huh? Might make this more complicated, but still better than no lead at all. “Where could we find him?”

Khadiq smiled a little. “He lives in Ollo. I think he’s hoping to get out of there with this.”

Revel nodded. After a moment she said, “Look, I appreciate this, really.”

She started to leave, but Khadiq put a hand on her arm. “I’m glad you’ve got someone, Revel. I hope the two of you are happy.”

There was a sorrow there Revel didn’t have context for. He must have lost someone. Still, what kind of partner had he lost to be interested in someone with her reputation. She gave the man a nod and said, “You seem like a decent guy. If.. uh, if anything ever changes and we come back here I guess I know where to find ya.”

He chuckled, though he seemed like he wasn’t holding out hope for anything like that. Still he did say, “I’d certainly welcome that, though not the circumstances that would bring it about. Take care.” He bowed to her and turned away.

Revel relayed the lead to Mirielle, and in the morning they were off for Ollo… A port they’d avoided since their theft of the egg.

Narwhale

On their way to Ollo, a journey of three days, Nasha showed Jack the basics of wielding a spear. The boy had gained a decent understanding of fighting without weapons, but she wanted him to have some knowledge of how to use a thrown weapon like a spear. It was useful in hunting as well as fighting.

The spear she showed him with was the improved boarding pike, and when the lesson was finished she smiled and said, “You have a pretty good feel for the weapon.”

Jack beamed at the praise. “Thanks, Mama Nasha.”

“I wonder, could you do me a favor?” Nasha asked.

“Sure! Anything!”

“Help me to name it. It is not the weapon it was before, but rather a combination of two. I believe it deserves a new name.” Nasha watched Jack scrutinize the spear closely. He’d seen, of course, the returning property of it.

“What else can it do?” Jack asked.

“Imagine it growing longer in your hands… But make sure you do not point it at any of the crew.” Her tone was even as she instructed him.

Jack did as he was bade and watched as the spear magically lengthened. “Oh yeah! I remember this one! It almost knocked Dolce off The Man’s Promise!” Jack said.

“It can also strike a ghost as surely as a man,” Nasha said. She smiled at his enthusiasm.

Jack jabbed with the spear a few more times before returning it to its normal length, then stood in silence for a while looking down at it in his hands. When at last he looked up he said, “We should call it Narwhale.”

Nasha blinked. She was surprised she had not thought of that name for herself. Narwhale was, after all, the first of the original crew to fall. He was missed on the ship. Nasha’s eyes teared up a little and she placed a hand on Jack’s shoulder. “I knew you would give it a good name.” She bent down and brushed her scaly lips against the top of his head, mimicking the human gesture of a kiss.

Jack smiled at Nasha and returned the spear to her. Later Nasha had him tell the crew what he’d named it and all agreed it was a good name in memory of a good friend.

Ollo

They arrived in Ollo well away from the full moon. In fact, the moon was waning. Most of the crew was ordered to stay aboard all the same, for the girls didn’t intend to linger in Ollo long. Mirielle and Nasha set off seeking their quarry while Dolce and Revel did the same. They agreed to meet at the docks after an hour of searching.

It was actually Dolce who managed to catch a hint of where the man could be found. She told Mirielle and they sought him out at a low-end tavern. Dolce, Revel, and Nasha watched as Mirielle approached the man, but despite her best efforts the captain was not able to get him to tell her a thing. To Dolce it seemed he had run into trouble on this particular subject matter and now watned to avoid it, but Mirielle only sensed his reluctance to talk about it.

In the end the man left the tavern and Mirielle made to follow him, using her Vanishing Wayfinder to turn invisible. Just before she lost sight of Mirielle, Dolce informed her of what she’d picked up on. Mirielle followed Haneilius closely while the rest lingered a bit further behind so as not to be spotted. They saw the small house he entered and waited. Mirielle reappeared beside them. “We’re going to sneak inside and have a longer conversation about this. If you’re right I just need to convince him we’re sincere.”

Dolce nodded. “Shouldn’t be hard to sneak in. House isn’t nice enough to have any complicated deterrents.” Then again, the man was a pirate. “Still let me scout it out first.”

Mirielle nodded, though she sent Nasha along with the elf. The pair checked for any traps or complicated locks on the outside of the house, but Dolce’s initial assumptions proved correct. They reunited and it was agreed Revel would keep watch on the street since she had no aptitude for moving quietly.

The other three infiltrated the house, Dolce and Mirielle through the back door while Nasha slipped in through the front. The man was inside as they’d seen, and quietly brewing tea. When Mirielle cleared her throat to announce her presence it startled him, but not as much as Dolce had expected.

“I see I have company,” Haneilius said. “You don’t have a reputation for being the sort to do undo harm to anyone. Would you like some tea?”

Mirielle considered this only briefly before saying, “Yes please.”

Haneilius poured the aasimar a glass, but when he turned to hand it to her he noticed Dolce by his back door and tensed a little. His gaze traveled to the front where Nasha was and he tensed further. Perhaps their presence would only hinder this. Still, it was a bit late to do anything about that, and so Dolce tried to look as relaxed as she could manage while leaning on his small counter. “The captain just wants to talk to you a little more,” the elf said.

Haneilius drew in a long breath, but Dolce’s relaxed posture at least seemed to calm him some. “By all means. I’m afraid it’s not a particularly impressive place here, but make yourself at home, Captain.” He sat on a couch by a small table and Mirielle sat opposite him in a chair.

“We are being sincere,” Mirielle said, sipping at her tea. She did not find the flavor offensive and was thankful for that. “We have a ship and the means to take you to The Brine Banshee. You would, of course, retain a share of anything we claim there.

Haneilius chuckled, “Well of course I would. But I’m done with all that, done with ships. I lost a tooth the last time a person came asking about it.” His eyes strayed to Dolce’s left.

The elf followed his gaze, but saw nothing to be concerned with and returned her attention to the man.

“Look,” Mirielle said, “I am a pirate, and I’m not above taking what I want by force if I must… I just don’t see any reason this shouldn’t profit both of us.”

The man looked at Mirielle again, assessing her statement if Dolce was correct in reading him. “I believe you, really, but it’s brought me nothing but trouble.”

Dolce was beginning to see an opportunity here. Someone who didn’t want to pursue this venture personally might be willing to settle for far less in a payoff than someone that wanted in on the whole ordeal. She’d wait for the right moment to offer an exchange of his tracking means for some coin.

Mirielle nodded at the man’s words. “I understand that,” she said. “And I can see where it would tire you, but I’m really very keen on this.” She was counting on the authenticity her voice carried to drive it home, but she also decided it was best to point out why. “I am after all a Free Captain… And the Regatta is just around the corner. I’d like to win it. The Brine Banshee may hold the key.”

And just like that, Dolce’s glimmer of hope was slipping away. His eyes darted back to the same place off to her left. She looked again, but again saw nothing. Her brows knit together.

“Yes, yes, I realize.” He said, still looking that way. His eyes found Mirielle again though. “I just don’t…” His statement trailed off and his eyes snapped back to Dolce’s left, “That’s enough from you!” He said.

Dolce arched an eyebrow now. Revel had said Khadiq had referred to some kind of episode. This must have been what the minstrel meant.

The man blinked and frowned. “I’m- I’m very sorry,” he said, fixing Miri in his gaze again. “It’s this, these damnable.. Most of the time I can tell what’s real from what isn’t, but…”

Mirielle and Dolce both knew enough about the mind and body to realize what was going on. The man was rather aged, and suffering an affliction of the former. Dolce thought to capitalize on it to pay him off, but her captain had other ideas.

“This… This is something you could get repaired with the right magic,” Mirielle said.

The elf groaned inwardly. She knew her captain was soft-hearted, but she was going to cost them quite a bit with this one if she convinced the man. Despite her inward groaning, Dolce also realized this was why people followed Mirielle. She had compassion where others might not.. Dolce included.

“I can’t afford that, and besides I wouldn’t know what to look for,” Haneilius said.

Mirielle smiled. “You likely could afford it with a share of The Brine Banshee, and I’d help you get the right magic worked.”

He blinked at this. “You would?”

Mirielle looked to Dolce and the elf knew she was asking Dolce’s opinion about finding the right magic for the task. “Dindreann could likely cast it,” she said. She wasn’t completely certain Dindreann could, but the woman was a powerful priestess of Calistria. “If not her, your own power is growing close to what would be required… Or we could always buy a scroll of it. We’d need one with the essence of diamonds worked into the scroll.” Mirielle was still looking at her so Dolce added, “I’m sure we could find one in Port Peril or Senghor.”

Mirielle nodded at that point and looked back at Haneilius. “Help us find the ship, we’ll help you restore your mind.”

The man looked like he was skeptical, and Dolce couldn’t blame him. He lived in Ollo, after all, where pirates rampaged as wolves under the full moon… And here he was faced with a pirate offering to help him. “That seems like a lot of trouble to go to,” Haneilius said.

“What were your plans?” Dolce asked.

“Hmm?”

“Your plans? You originally were trying to find the ship yourself. What did you mean to do with your share of the profit?” she pressed.

“Retire,” Haneilius said.

“Here?” Mirielle asked.

Haneilius blinked and looked at Mirielle like she was crazy. “Gods no! It’s time for me to leave the Shackles I think. Getting too old.”

“Ah, that’s a shame. I was going to say there might be a place for you at Tidewater Rock if you wanted it.” Mirielle sipped at more of her tea. It was cool enough now she could drink it a bit more quickly.

“Ha! I’d heard you took the rock!” Haneilius said. “Some didn’t believe it. So many claims are circulating about The Lady’s Purr they’re hard to keep up with.. And hard to verify.”

Dole smiled brightly at that. “Oh, we took the rock. We clipped the Dominator. We silenced the Deathknell. We claimed the treasure of Mancatcher Cove. There should be stories circulating. We’re far from done… With your help we’ll steal the speed of The Brine Banshee.”

Haneilius rubbed his chin for a moment. “Remarkable really, for a ship active for so short a time. If anyone is going to do this, I imagine it would have to be someone like you. Very well then.” He got up and strode across the chamber, taking a jar from a cupboard. Inside the jar was a tibia suspended in liquid. “This is the tibia of Vargus Brack, my old crewmate. He was still on The Brine Banshee when she went on her last voyage. Always came to visit me when they made port in Ollo.”

“And you have this why?” Dolce asked.

“Oh, I kept quite a few such oddities over the years, but none so long as this one. He was glad to be rid of it, see. The gangrene would have killed him if I hadn’t taken it!” Haneilius patted the jar with an odd sort of affection.

Dolce shook her head. “Pity you didn’t keep a part of the ship,” she said. She had a spell for tracking ships, after all. She meant to use it on the Honeysnake and could have employed it on either The Brine Banshee or The Lady’s Sting just as easily if they’d had a piece of either.

“I thought of that too,” said Haneilius. “Alas, all I have is the bone. But I also know the way it can lead us to the rest of him.” Now he had the elf’s attention. “There’s a ring worn by a man named Captain Milksop Morton… It’s called The Ring of the Iron Skull. It has a few magical properties.. One of them being, if you activate the ring while touching a piece of a corpse it will tell you all kinds of things about them, including where the rest of them is if they’re close enough.”

Nasha, who had been quietly looming near the front door this entire time, now said, “So we must obtain the ring to track the body… Do you know where we would even look for the ship’s general whereabouts?”

Haneilius craned his head to see the lizardfolk and tensed a bit again. It seemed he’d forgotten her presence. “Erm, yes. They were heading north, and I know roughly the course they plotted.”

Dolce thought to get more out him then, but Mirielle seemed to have other plans for she said, “Well then… There’s a room int he officers’ quarters that’s currently not in use. We can let you stay there while we track down more information about Captain Milksop.”

Haneilius nodded, “He makes port here all the time. It’s how I know he has the ring. I’m sure you can figure out about when he’ll be back again if you ask the right folks. And, if it’s all the same to you, I’d like to keep this with me for the time being.” He indicated the tibia.

Mirielle nodded. When Dolce inquired which officer’s room the aasimar stated Quinn had been sleeping in her quarters. Dolce was, of course, already aware of this but she’d not yet harassed Mirielle about it at any length. The aasimar assured her they were taking precautions against pregnancy, not that it was any of her business.

Haneilius was allowed to get comfortable in Quinn’s quarters once Quinn had moved his desired belonging’s into the captain’s cabin. Of course, the rest of the crew who hadn’t been in the know about the pair of them made wolf whistles at him as he moved between the cabins. Mirielle blushed, much as Dolce had known she would.

Special Occasions

While Haneilius was getting settled on The Lady’s Purr Nasha sought out Ambrose. It was not often the two spoke, simply because Nasha kept mostly to herself. “Fishguts,” Nasha said.

“Well hello there, Nasha. What can I do for you?” He was in the galley, of course, taking inventory.

“I want you to go shopping with me.” Nasha said simply.

Ambrose raised an eyebrow. “May I ask what for?”

“Crabs,” she said. It didn’t seem the answer was sufficient to Ambrose and so she continued, “Owlbear’s nameday is coming up. Jack Scrimshaw says it’s important to celebrate them, and Owlbear likes crabs.”

Ambrose chuckled at this. “I’d be happy to help you find some good ones. I’d think you’d know how to pick them out yourself.”

It was true Nasha knew her way around creatures of the ocean well enough, but this was a matter of human tastes. “Maybe. You might be better at it.”

Ambrose nodded and finished his inventory, then accompanied Nasha to the markets to find some suitable crabs for Owlbear’s nameday. They bought them live since it was a few days out yet. Ambrose hadn’t gone to such trouble for a non-officer in a while, but found it refreshing.

Flash Beetle

Another PF2E bestiary poem chosen at random from creatures in the first bestiary between level -1 and 2. This one is another -1 creature. I’ve rolled a lot of them lately, which just means there are fewer left in my random table. 🙂


From the Journal of Vyscaria

Well, today I was walking along in the forest when I caught sight of a cave. What drew my eye to it? The glowing little critters inside. It was beautiful to behold. Drawing nearer I saw a beetle the likes of which I hadn’t seen before. The things were the same size as me! That’s pretty big for a bug! It didn’t seem particularly hostile though, and let me watch it up close. I’ve heard of them before, I’m pretty certain. Flash Beetles, they’re called. My friend Sorn Dankil said the dwarves often use them to light their mining tunnels because they’re safer than the open flame of a torch. Considering how much they like deep, dark, caves.. I’m willing to bet the cave I found goes down quite a ways. As for me, not really inclined to explore it just yet. Plenty of things to see on the surface, after all.


Flash Beetle

They lair in the deep dark,
Their backs shedding light like a candle’s glow…
And while the caves are sometimes stark,
This is the only life they’ll ever know…

They mainly bite when they have to,
Most are content to live their lives in peace..
Their light can throw their foes askew,
It brightly flashes and then will cease…

Most Flash Beetles live far below in the ground,
They don’t need much light to see where e’er they go.
They fly around their caves making nary a sound,
And to those who tame them loyalty they show.

They aren’t the smartest of little pets,
But they will be loving if you treat them right.
Their masters know few regrets;
They’re easy to care for and give off safe light.

A tough guard is their shell;
They scurry on their legs faster than they fly.
And in the places that they dwell
Their light will linger on long after they die…

Most Flash Beetles live far below in the ground,
They don’t need much light to see where e’er they go.
They fly around their caves making nary a sound,
And to those who tame them loyalty they show.

S&S: Session 24 – Stars

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 next six days were agonizing for Dolce. Each one bringing her closer to the isle she found so loathsome. Shade provided some distraction with his harsh education, and now they had a audience slanted in Dolce’s favor. The elves, those who didn’t immediately vacate the area when Shade drew near, seemed to enjoy watching Dolce best the drow.

Somehow that aggravated Dolce more than Shade catching her off guard did.

On The Purr, Sanev was getting to know all of the females on board. A number of them took the charismatic elf up on his affections. On one particular evening the man approached Nasha as she was stargazing. “It’s Nasha, isn’t it?” He asked.

The lizardfolk looked over at him for a moment before nodding and returning her gaze to the heavens.

“Well, it’s very nice to meet you,” he said, offering his hand. Nasha didn’t notice, so he let it fall back beside him. “I wondered if you would enjoy some company.”

Now Nasha turned toward him again. “You may join me, if you wish to.” She was not accustomed to people making an effort to spend time with her, aside from Owlbear and Jack, but even they had started seeking her out only after she’d made an effort to befriend them.

The male elf sat beside her, looking up at the stars as well. “They are quite wondrous, aren’t they?” Nasha nodded, but said nothing. After a bit of silence the elf said, “What do you find most spectacular about them?”

Nasha was quiet for a time. She got the sense that wondrous and spectacular were words expressing appreciation for the stars… But this was merely from the tone of his voice. Truth be told, Nasha didn’t have the largest vocabulary. Though.. it was growing. “They give us answers about the future,” the lizardfolk said at last.

“Do they?” This seemed to pique the elf’s interest and he was facing her now. “What do they tell you about the future?”

Nasha blinked at the question. She had said ‘us’ but it was not really what she meant. “Nothing.. I am not skilled at reading them in that way.”

“How are you skilled in reading them then?” Sanev asked.

“To guide the way. It is how I know where we are on the ocean. That and the shorelines. Very telling.”

“Hmm.” The elf said, and fell quiet for a few minutes. Eventually he said, “I think I can see a future in them, involving the two of us.” He was attempting to flirt, and conveying as much with his tone and positioning as he angled himself toward Nasha.

The lizardfolk had never been hit on by anyone, and completely missed his cues. “Do you?” She was looking straight at him, wondering what the stars foretold of them.

Sanev blinked as he realized she hadn’t picked up on his intention. “Erm, yes. You could say, of our.. immediate futures intertwining.” Nasha continued waiting for him to further explain. He sighed and placed his hand on hers, “Do you want to sleep with me?”

She still didn’t take his meaning, asking, “Why? Are you cold?”

Flustered, the elf spoke slowly, as though she didn’t know common well, and asked, “Do you want to have sex with me?”

Now Nasha knew what he meant. What an odd and fumbled way to convey his desire. And.. what an odd desire. The feel of his warm hand on her cold scales was nice, but no. She decided she was not interested in elven mating practices. Surely her tribe didn’t need her to gather knowledge of those particular customs. “No,” she said simply.

The elf sighed and got to his feet grumbling, “Your loss.”

Nasha watched as he stalked away toward the hatch that led below deck. “Strange…” Then her gaze returned to the heavens and she didn’t give Sanev a further thought.

Homecoming

As they drew nearer to Kepre Dua, Sanev sought an audience with Mirielle. It was easy enough to obtain since they were on relatively good terms. The man had not hit on Mirielle and had somehow managed to sleep with various females among the crew without making them angry at one another.

“What can I do for you?” Mirielle asked.

“Right to the point, Captain. Well, we are nearly at Alendruan Harbor. I wanted to discuss the means of you gathering your reward,” Sanev said.

“Very well. When we reach the harbor The Barbarous Hook will dock and Dolce will go on land to collect our ‘reward’ before we release you. I’m sure your father wouldn’t want anything to happen to you,” the captain said.

The elf nodded. “This is true…” he admitted, but then went on, “I think however, you would gain more benefit from approaching the matter in a different manner.”

Mirielle fixed him in her gaze and said, “Enlighten me then.”

“Well, Captain, if we make land and Dolce goes seeking your reward it will seem rather as though you are ransoming me… Which, you are welcome to do if that’s how you want to handle that… But Captain Haryk is not really in a position to be making enemies right now… So if you instead send Dolce and myself ashore together perhaps you can come out of this with an alliance.” He was smiling. He didn’t seem to have ulterior motives, except perhaps appearing less foolish in his father’s eyes.

“Know that there would be consequences if she returned empty handed. Perhaps not today, in your home port, but at some future date.” Mirielle was being serious, primarily because this conversation was had in the open air outside of her cabin’s privacy and her crewmen would soon see her let their guarantee of payment leave the ship with only Dolce beside him.

“Yes, I- I understand, Captain,” Sanev said.

Mirielle nodded and moved to the railing on the side nearest The Barbarous Hook. She used one of Dolce’s prized signal whistles to make a single long tone until she heard Dolce’s voice whisper in her ear, “Yes, Captain?”

Mirielle said simply, “You will accompany Sanev on shore.”

Dolce scowled, but would obey. They needed to transfer Shade back to The Purr anyhow. He would not live long if he docked with The Barbarous Hook. Indeed, none who landed on Kepre Dua that weren’t of elven lineage lived long.. Not even half-elves.

Dolce and Sanev went directly from the docks to Haryk’s estate. The servant received them readily and guided them to the lord of the residence. Dolce was shocked when she saw Haryk. He was missing his legs completely and seated in a chair to which wheels had been mounted. Thanks to her skill at deceit, Haryk was none the wiser. Haryk grumbled a greeting to Dolce and his son.

Sanev explained that The Purr had aided The Hook in returning to port, raising his father’s ire. When he further explained that The Purr had not been the cause of The Hook requiring assistance, his father asked what was… Sanev sheepishly admitted they’d damaged their vessel on a shallow reef and was soon met with cursing and ridicule before being dismissed by Haryk.

Dolce was just wondering if Haryk remembered her when the elf said, “It seems you’ve made quite a name for yourself, Inara.”

She felt satisfaction. She’d begged the man to let her take any role even aboard his weakest vessel and been turned away, but regret was clear in his voice. She hid her smugness, difficult though it was to do so and said simply, “I have come a long way.”

“The boy said he promised you a reward, eh? There’s plunder in the hold of The Sodden Manger. I won’t be in a position to sell it any time soon, that much is for certain. Is this acceptable to you and your captain?” His voice was dry, but a hint of humor carried in it.

Dolce was impressed he could make a joke about his ‘position’. She didn’t think she would have been able to if she’d lost her legs, and thus the sea. She simply nodded, “I’m sure it will suffice, Captain.” Much as she enjoyed having overcome his doubts about her inexperience and abilities, Dolce still respected the elf as a pirate.

“Very good,” he said and turned his chair with his arms. A servant moved to push him forward in it, but he struck their hand hard and they quickly withdrew. “She’s this way.”

The Sodden Manger was one of Haryk’s favored ships, though not his flagship. Haryk had many, but Dolce was fairly certain she knew them all. It was strange passing through town. Both on the way in and the way out Dolce had taken note that most of the elves seemed almost in a stupor. It gave her shivers and made her want off the island even more urgently.

When they reached The Manger, Dolce received permission for The Purr to come abreast of her to unload the hold. No boots would set foot on the dock, she assured Haryk. He posted guards to be certain it was so. Dolce oversaw the transfer of the goods and bid Haryk farewell before boarding The Purr again. She could have visited her parents, but she hated being on the island again at all and had no wish to spend the time necessary to hunt them down.

So it was that as quickly as she’d come to Kepre Dua, she left it again. She did, however, make time to tell Mirielle, Nasha, and Revel that her born name was Inara. She explained to them that it was not the elves’ custom to share their birth names with non-elves, but that she felt like these three were closer to her than her own family and it seemed strange relative strangers like Sanev and Haryk should know her true name while her chosen ‘kin’ did not.

Port Peril

They docked at Port Peril. Here the plunder would be sold and Dolce would spend a good bit of coin outfitting Kuzayoni with a fine alchemist’s lab and tools to use with it. As they were overseeing the unloading of their cargo a familiar mast caught Dolce’s eye. It was the Bonaventure and aboard none other than Captain Merrill Peggsworthy.

The elf smiled and used a Message spell to whisper in his ear, “Fancy seeing you here, Captain Pegsworthy.”

The man startled and looked around him before catching sight of Dolce on The Purr. He shook his head and waved at her before leaving his own ship to make his way over to theirs. “Dolce!”

“Captain,” Dolce inclined her head before hugging Pegsworthy. The two had established rapport in Rickety’s Squibbs. “What brings you to Port Peril?”

“Oh, business as usual. And there is the lovely Free Captain Mirielle!” He did a flourished bow to Mirielle. “Congratulations!”

Mirielle beamed at Captain Pegsworthy. “Thank you.”

“I was sad when I heard I missed your celebration. I tell you what, let’s have another one, shall we? I know a good place, and it will be my treat!”

“Careful offering that, I can drink a lot!” Revel exclaimed from behind Pegsworthy.

Captain Pegsworthy looked over at her and smiled. “Can’t be as much as my first mate.”

Brimvi, Pegsworthy’s dwarven first mate, indeed had a reputation for drinking, but Revel didn’t know this as she said, “That sounds like a challenge.”

Captain Pegsworthy laughed good-humoredly and looked back to Mirielle. “Well, how about that celebration?”

“Sure,” Mirielle said. “We’ll meet you there as it’s growing dark?”

“Sounds like a plan to me. I’ll see you at The Riptide Alehouse then,” Pegsworthy said. He tipped his hat to them and left the deck of The Purr to oversee his own ship’s operations.

They met at the appointed time. The girls arrived before Pegsworthy. They had brought Quinn and Kuzayoni along. Dolce had taken advantage of the opportunity to show Kuzayoni the city on the way. The woman was rather overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bodies in the city, but still didn’t seem adverse to the idea of enjoying a drink with an old friend of theirs.

Just as Pegsworthy had approached the table Mirielle caught sight of a familiar face. Caulky Tarroon. She was the cabin girl from The Wormwood, and she had slipped something into someone’s drink. Caulky saw Mirielle looking at her before the aasimar could look away. “We might want to choose another tavern,” Mirielle said softly.

“Oh? Why’s that?” Pegsworthy asked.

“Looks like The Wormwood is recruiting in this one,” Mirielle said. again keeping her voice quiet. Pegsworthy followed her gaze.

“What is this swill” An angry voice demanded from near Caulky. Revel quickly realized a fight was about to break out when the tainted ale sloshed onto another man who bellowed in turn, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

The hobgoblin also noted Caulky was about to slink away. She sprang to her feet and from her 4’4″ height bellowed, “YOU BETTER STAY STILL AND SHUT UP!” Her eyes made contact with several people, in particular the ones who seemed the rowdiest and Caulky herself. All of them froze and the noise of the establishment came to a complete standstill as Revel singled out Caulky. “You, come here.”

Caulky visibly trembled, but nodded and moved forward. Dolce, watching this unfold before her, quietly said to Pegsworthy, “That’s why we call her The Shark.”

The Free Captain looked impressed as he nodded. Then all but Dolce and Nasha followed Caulky and Revel outside. It was clear chaos was going to break out only moments after Revel left, for everyone’s fear lifted and they started yelling again. Dolce tried to quiet them, raising her voice above the cacophony to say, “Please, calm down, there’s no need for trouble.”

No one responded to the elf’s request. She tried a time or two more and then shrugged her shoulders at the bartender, mouthing ‘I’m sorry’ before following Mirielle and the others out front with Nasha. The guard in Port Peril did not take kind to disruptions like this and Dolce had no desire to be detained.

It wasn’t hard to catch up to the others. When they did they heard Caulky confirming that The Wormwood was still recruiting because they were hard up for crew. The girl then said, “Please, if you let me go I won’t tell Captain Harrigan you’re here.”

Revel blinked, realizing this plea was motivated by fear. The hobgoblin snorted and said, “Relax, Kid. I don’t eat children.”

Something about the way Caulky had responded to Revel’s statement tickled Dolce’s mind. Satisfaction about a.. deceit? The elf passed her hand over her magical astrolabe, Svingli’s Eye it was known as. She’d plucked it off the corpse of Captain Inkskin before leaving her with Shade. It had a unique property.. A single time per day if a person focused upon the astrolabe while looking at their surroundings they could see things as they truly were. This momentary action made Caulky suddenly appear as a ghostly image overlaying a rather short, human female. An adult by all accounts. Interesting. Dolce made no indication of what she now knew and watched as Revel continued talking with the ‘girl’.

Meanwhile, Revel went so far as to ruffle Caulky’s hair before saying, “What have you been doing anyway? Harrigan’s been busy for quite a while now.”

“I don’t know. He doesn’t tell me what he’s doing,” Caulky said, sounding distressed. “We’ve just been travelling a lot and we need more crew. Can I go now?”

Revel hesitated and looked at Mirielle, who nodded. “Yeah, pipsqueak. Get lost.” No sooner had she said the words than Caulky was running away. “She’s gonna tell ‘im,” Revel said when she was out of earshot.

“She certainly will,” Mirielle said. She’d sensed the lie was just an effort to get away from the scary hobgoblin. She didn’t blame Caulky for that. She was sometimes scared of Revel’s antics and Revel was on her side!

“In the future,” Dolce said softly, “You needn’t worry about harming her. She’s not a child.”

They all blinked in surprise and looked at her. “What the hell are you on about?” Revel asked.

“It is a magical disguise.” the elf explained.

“You mean she’s got-” Revel started.

Dolce realized quickly Revel had thought of Dolce’s own preferred spell to disguise herself and so she cut the hobgoblin off before any of her tricks were revealed to Captain Pegsworthy, who was still among them. “Transmutation magic, Revel. She’s actually a very rare creature, much like our Captain.”

“She’s angel-blooded?” Revel asked now.

Dolce saw Pegsworthy take another look at Mirielle, like a puzzle piece had just fallen into place for him. Those rumors of Mirielle’s heritage were ones Dolce did want to go around, so she made no effort to deny that. “No. She’s a changeling. They can change their appearance with the use of a spell known as Humanoid Shape. However, it is usually a fleeting effect. Caulky must have some method of extending hers”

Mirielle absorbed all of this and then turned her attention back to Captain Pegsworthy, “Well, whether or not she tells Captain Harrigan we are here, we’re safe for the time being. Do you want to get that drink elsewhere?”

“Yeah!” Revel said, “And where’s your second?”

Captain Pegsworthy blinked at the hobgoblin’s question. “I, didn’t realize I should bring him,” the captain said.

“How am I gonna drink him under the table if he isn’t here?” Revel asked.

Pegsworthy chuckled for a time. “Let me go and fetch him. There’s another alehouse just up the way. We’ll meet you there, alright?”

Revel nodded. Nasha, who had remained quiet this whole time, simply shadowing her friends and taking in everything they were learning, asked, “Why does it not bother people that Revel eats those she battles?”

The other girls blinked in surprise at Nasha’s question. Mirielle was the first to speak, “If I’m being honest, it does… well, unnerve me a bit. Especially when she screams about how good it tastes after taking a bite out of someone.”

Revel blinked now and looked at Mirielle. “Why would that bother you?” the hobgoblin asked. “Not like I’d ever bite you!”

Mirielle blushed under the scrutiny of her Master-at-Arms. “Well, it’s just- It, it’s rather violent.” Dolce stifled a giggle, but Mirielle still caught it and fixed the elf in her gaze. “Does it not bother you, Dolce?”

The elf looked at Revel and then back at Mirielle. “I mean, it’s weird, but it doesn’t concern me.. Anymore… It did take some getting used to, but… if anything I think it makes her scarier to our enemies, and that’s a good thing in my book.”

“So you do not object because you like that it bothers others?” Nasha asked, looking at Dolce. Dolce considered that for a moment and nodded. The lizardfolk turned her gaze on Mirielle. “Why do you not object?”

Mirielle blinked as all three of them looked at her again. “Umm, well, it’s just.. she’s rather in the moment… You know, like, caught up in the heat of battle? And it’s.. it’s how she fights. I mean, I probably would object if she tried to eat someone when we weren’t actively fighting them?” She fidgeted, her cheeks were still pink from being under their scrutiny.

Revel snorted. “You don’t have to worry, Cap. Blood just tastes like blood when I’m not The Shark. There’s something about it when that energy overtakes me… Even my sense of smell is sharper in the thick of things.” Her eyes almost rolled in delight, like she was conjuring to mind the taste of her favorite chocolate. Mirielle shuddered a little. “You’re cute though, Cap,” the hobgoblin said, and then bopped Mirielle’s nose.

Dolce now burst into giggles as Mirielle’s cheeks turned a much darker red. “You’ll never escape it, Captain, you know that right?”

The aasimar actually covered her cheeks. “I would if you wouldn’t egg people on!” she insisted.

Dolce had a habit of singing about Mirielle as a fearsome tactician on sea and a leader who could rally her men as well as revitalize them, but relating stories to tavern rooms of her captain blushing. The result being that half the time people spoke to Mirielle with deep respect, and the other half they tried their damnedest to turn her cheeks pink.

The girls moved along toward the alehouse Pegsworthy had indicated. The rest of the night passed peacefully enough, with Revel drinking Brimvi under the table. Dolce lost money betting on the dwarf, but Mirielle made it back betting on Revel, who told Dolce her loss served her right betting against a friend.

Dolce made sure Kuzayoni had comfortable quarters at The Gelded Devil, her and Mirielle’s inn of choice. Kuzayoni drew a small bit of attention for her clothing of choice, but bare-breasted women weren’t that uncommon in Port Peril. They went shopping in the morning. While she was still rather overwhelmed by the mass of people in Port Peril, Kuzayoni retained enough clarity to appreciate the quality of the tools she and Dolce procured while there.

Unfamiliar Customs

Mirielle and Quinn stayed at The Gelded Devil as well, sharing meals with Dolce and Kuzayoni while they were there. Revel and Nasha had gotten rooms at The Copper Topper again and enjoyed their stay at the noisy inn.

On their second day in Port Peril Jack Scrimshaw noticed Nasha was behaving oddly. Rather than following him around to keep him out of trouble and playing with him, the lizardfolk was keeping to their room and seeming introspective. Eventually the youth asked, “What’s wrong, Mama Nasha?”

Nasha was surprised by his question and returned it with one of her own. “Why would you think something is wrong?”

Jack put his hands on his hips and said, “You’re acting weird.”

“Am I?” She was asking in earnest, though she soon realized why he thought it was strange. “Ah, I see, I see. Today, young Jack, is the completion of my 27th year of life outside of my egg. On these days I reflect upon my journey thus far.”

Jack looked at her for a moment in confusion, then said, “Wait, it’s your nameday!?”

Nasha nodded. “I believe that is what you call it, yes.”

“And you didn’t tell me!?” Jack asked, sounding quite upset.

Nasha blinked slowly and said, “I did not think it was a matter of significance.”

“What!? Of course it is! What’s wrong with you, Mama Nasha!?”

He was gone before she could respond. Nasha wondered what had him so flustered. She shrugged it off and returned to her meditation. She did not see Jack again until mid-afternoon, but when she did he came inside with a plate bearing a cake covered in blueberries.

He set the plate down in front of Nasha on the bed. “There! Sheesh! You can’t do that! Namedays are important!”

“Important,” Owlbear echoed Jack, bouncing up and down a little and eyeing Nasha’s cake like it might try to crawl away if he didn’t watch it.

Nasha tilted her head a little. “I have seen this before. It is a nameday celebration?”

Jack sighed and sat down on one of the other beds in the room. “Not always. Sometimes people just want cake, but most people have some on their nameday.” Nasha nodded a little, but seemed to be waiting for further explanation. Jack ran a hand through his hair and said, “You do it with your family and closest friends. I couldn’t not do something with you, Mama Nasha.” The lad actually looked like he might cry a little.

Nasha, who found herself rather touched by his explanation, reached over and pulled on Jack’s arm, tugging him into a hug. “You are a sweet boy, Jack.”

“Aww, stop it!” Jack hugged her back briefly despite his protesting, but soon tried to wriggle out of her grasp lest she get too used to this.

Nasha let the boy go and watched as Jack cut a slice of cake for her. “Try it! It’s blueberry, to match your scales!”

The lizardfolk blinked. She’d not even thought of the fact that she had blue scales when she’d seen the cake he’d chosen. It was a strange reason to choose a food. “Does the closeness of something’s color to your skin make it taste better?” This honestly had never occurred to Nasha as a possibility.

Clearly it hadn’t occurred to Jack either who regarded her with surprise and said, “What? No! Just try some!” Nasha took the piece of cake from him and used her claw to cut out a portion. She gulped it down, hardly giving it a moment in her mouth. Jack definitely noticed as he said, “What are you doing!? That’s not how you eat cake!”

Nasha started chuckling, a sound she did not often make and which could be confused with hissing. Jack blinked and then put his hands on his hips again. Nasha took another bite, this time normally so she could actually taste the ingredients. “It is good, Jack.”

Jack smiled and hugged her again. “I’m glad. I love you, Mama Nasha.” He nuzzled into the scales of her chest as he said it.

Nasha felt more than just the warmth of his body in her scales as he spoke the words. She had been reflecting on what it meant that she was beginning to feel closer to some of the pirates than her tribe before he’d questioned her about her ‘strange’ behavior. Now she knew they were truly her new family and she quietly said, “I love you too.”

New Friends

Four days into their stay, as The Purr was getting refitted with rapid-deploy sails, a Vudrani man approached Dolce, Mirielle, Quinn, and Kuzayoni as they were eating dinner. He gave his name as Asemari and informed them that he was an agent of Captain Tessa Fairwind, a well known Free Captain with an impressive fleet. He said they had been invited to dinner with her on the following day and handed them a sealed letter.

Mirielle opened the letter, which shimmered with some faint magical effect, and read its contents. Indeed they had been invited to dine with Tessa Fairwind, but she bid them come at lunch rather than dinner. It was rather curious to Mirielle that she should go to the effort of misdirecting observers, but the captain met Asemari’s eyes and said she would join Captain Fairwind for dinner.

When they went the next day Dolce used a Veil spell to disguise them. The servant greeted them at the door and Dolce dismissed the effect on just Mirielle to gain them entry. Within they were led to Tessa Fairwind and enjoyed a lavish meal with her as she explained she wished them to investigate the possibility of Cheliax spies in the Shackles. She also extended Mirielle the offer of allying with her, which Mirielle declined.

They left the meeting and finished their business in Port Peril before heading off to Quent as Tessa Fairwind had suggested.

OOC Notes

So Nasha is decent at reading people, but she’s been living among humans for 11 years and mostly viewed as a strange creature by them. It never occurred to her that anyone hit on her, resulting in the bruised ego of Sanev after their humorous conversation.

So Revel specializes in intimidation. She has feats that let her do it after a single round of interaction (so 6 seconds) instead of a minute, as well as feats that let her target more than 1 person at a time. She can target 10 people with the same check. It felt pretty epic to just stand up and just be like, ‘You better shut up and listen to me’ and have the fight stop for a second. Most of my characters don’t go the intimidation route so it’s definitely a change of pace.

Owlbrarian told me he had completely forgotten about the ability granted by Svingli’s Eye until I used it. Only Dolce made the perception check to notice Caulky’s reaction because Dolce is suspicious of everyone that isn’t part of The Purr‘s crew. It just so happened I’d assigned the astrolabe to Dolce. It’s a small necklace she’s wearing. So when I picked up on amusement from Caulky I used the item, and got some bonus exp for figuring out Caulky’s surprise.

So, I could have fleshed out the meeting with Tessa Fairwind, but mostly it was just a meeting with a charismatic and scheming free captain that Dolce respected, so I decided not to. I really wanted to be caught up when we play again tomorrow, and this post officially has accomplished that, but if I’d fleshed out that meeting I might well have decided to make yet another post. I’m sure we will meet with Fairwind again, and at that time I’ll give her a bit more attention.