Black Sails of the Old Empire

Be wary the Captain's Badge

We’ve busied ourselves the last few days “securing” a weapons cache from a rival smuggler’s warehouse and moved it onboard the Bastard’s Kraken, commandeered by Captain Jarx. He is finding our mettle more and more to his liking. The only thing left to do is procure a writ of passage for his schooner to leave port, which has been in lockdown ever since I snuck through the city gates days ago.

My naivety has no doubt been amusing to my southern toad friend, Kalboo Tatteredsail. Despite this, I’d say the reputation of our Dragonborn/Bullywug pairing is growing in this port city of Sigh. Don’t let that giant belly of his or his poor taste in women get the best of you, that’s all I can say. An ill placed jab here and an untimely blink there and you’ll find his garrote choking the life out of you. I’ve been fortunate to land in his good company. And when is good company is about, there are always a few drinks around to drive home that very point at the Crow’s Nest.

One such recent long night of drinking at the Crow’s Nest woke me on the floor of Kalboo’s room, conveniently located above the bar. To my disdain, Cherry, the whore he fancies above all others, was still there. Who knows what my poor ears had witnessed through the night. In any case, she let us know that Jarx left word downstairs he needed to meet with us asap on his ship.

As we left the slums and headed down towards the market docks, we became aware of a large imperial unit marching our way themselves with aggressive intent in their eyes. Sharing a glance and nod with Kal, we slipped in with the throng of townspeople following behind. Once arrived at the docks, one Captain Reginald, acting imperial officer of the unit, climbed to a town crier position and announced some very disturbing news.

A cargo of particular interest to the Imperial Command has been tipped off to be stowed aboard one of the docked ships at port. A mandatory inspection and freeze of all goods will be occurring the next three days for every ship, no matter the history of the vessel or what connections their captain(s) may have. Inspections will begin promptly starting at the northernmost dock heading south to the slum docks. Needless to say, angry outbursts are shouted by townspeople and sailors alike.

As I am discussed this turn of events with Kalboo, a particularly vocal captain had begun crying foul directly at Captain Reginald. It is apparently the wrong day to challenge an Imperial officer, as he was promptly executed with a spear through the neck and unceremoniously dumped into the ocean. As shockingly quick as this was to me, something pulled me to the edge of the dock to investigate this dead captain and so jumped in after, changing into a large squid along the way. I can only imagine the shaking of Kalboo’s head once he saw me voluntarily jump into the dirty bay water. On the body of the captain, I was able to pull off a decorated captain’s badge, recently smelted by the looks of it.

Back on the dock, Silva (first mate of the Kraken’s Bastard) has expressed the ships precarious position to Kalboo. Although we have no idea what the Imperials are looking for, we sure as hell have a lot of illegal cargo that needs be moved before inspection. Kalboo insists there has to be another way without disturbing the Bastard’s cargo, and asks for 5 hours to come up with the details. Silva OK’s this and lets us know we can find Jarx at the Gambler’s Safe. Silva is also kind enough to point out which ship my newly acquired captain’s badge belongs to, the White Whale, docked near the slums.

The slums being near the Gambler’s Safe, it’s decided there is no hurt to checkin’ on the White Whale, and see if the badge can procure us any favors. Perhaps our dead captain’s last protests were a clue to this missing Imperial shipment. Upon approaching the ship (much smaller than the Bastard), we realize word of the captain’s early demise has beaten us there. A duel is already in progress between the 1st mate and a smuggler named Notch, both vying for the captain’s recently vacated position.

In attempts to diffuse the situation, Kalboo and I find ourselves unable to calm the situation down and bargain like reasonable men. This is mostly due to Notch out cries and challenges. Having grown tired of the faceoff, Kalboo decides to enter his garrote into the negotiations and quickly has a choked Notch in his grasps. In a most dishonorable move, the 1st mate attempts to capitalize on this by thrusting his sword into Notch’s midsection. This honorless stab sends me over the edge. Fire rushes from my nostrils all around the man and as he is dazed I grab him with a strangle hold. It is clear that neither of these two are fit for captain and Kalboo offers the crew their own decision. A deckhand soon rises among the crew to call himself Captain Davey, who instructs his crew to take the two dueler’s below deck for lockdown. We offer him the captain’s badge as a token of goodwill.

Surely this Davey will feel indebted to us, and so Kalboo and I bring up the notion of compensation and a quick look about into their cargo hold. We strike a deal that the two persons we incapacitated were equal to any two items from his cargo. With high hopes for some good loot, we head into the depths of the ship only to find the true nature of the goods… this is a slaver’s vessel. The cargo consists of persons from all lots in life. Prisoners, warriors, young girls, and even simple common folk unlucky enough to be from foreign lands. I could see Kalboo’s eyes begin to smolder at the sight, perhaps he had been a slave in a former life. The mistreatment of these persons was obvious, and Davey didn’t miss a beat in continuing that theme as he was showed off his “wares”. He even began to give us lip and attitude with our questions concerning the captives as if he weren’t a lowly deckhand just moments before his unexpected rise to power. In determining our two “prizes”, I was able convince Captain Davey and his small honor guard of scallywags to stand off a ways as we wanted speak with a few of the slaves in private.

Two in particular caught our eyes. One a fierce and muzzled dragonborn, constantly fighting to spit fire and rake at his captivity. The other was a very large and burly man by the name of Byron Stonefist. Bryon told us of his blacksmithing background and the injustice of this slavery to him and those around him. Kalboo may be a shadowy character, with his hands in many an illegal trade, but he certainly draws the line slavery, and as do I. With this in mind, Kalboo re-assures Bryon to ready himself at the proper moment as he deftly slips him a dagger. Following his lead, I warn the dragonborn in draconic that a fight would ensue soon enough.

We signal Davey and his crew that we are finished. In his wit and guile, Kalboo successfully insists that every profitable transaction deserves a few drinks, and so whiskeys are poured all around. After a few rounds of cheers, Davey has laxed in his security and soon ready’s the prisoners for transport. As soon as both cages have been unlocked, the party is over. Within seconds, several of the guards have either been assassinated or taken out by mine own druid magic. Davey himself is smote so quickly he never reaches his sword. Byron and Fang the Dragonborn finish the two leftover deckhands left with the crushing of their shackles or vicious stomps to the head. Kalboo plucks the captain’s badge and tosses it me with a wink. Time for “Captain” Therion to put this ship in order, starting with this ship’s emancipation.

All freed prisoners (except Notch and the 1st mate) were subsequently lead up to the deck where Kalboo announces a new direction for this ship. All hands are free to go as they please but if you’re looking for good “honest and honorable” smuggling work, see Captain Jarx at the Kraken’s Bastard. The White Whale is under new ownership and will outfitted as needed by this one Captain Jarx. Byron Stonefist and Fang offer to stay aboard the ship to mull over their freedom and assure this change of the ship’s guard. Fang has calmed down quite a bit since being relieved of his cell. There is still that deadly aura about him though, which makes me happy he is currently on our side.

How unexpected it is to wear the White Whale captain’s badge myself, as my sea sense is no better than a deck hand at the moment. It’s recent bloody history of ill timed captains fresh in my mind. I had better get myself a proper hat and pet parrot to scream my obscenities. Kalboo and I finally head down to the Smuggler’s Safe to let Jarx in on our new acquisition and set up a plan for the well being of the Kraken’s Bastard. We find him inside having just lost another gambling bout against Raul, his most “friendly” rival smuggler acquaintance. However, just as we are about to approach his table several Imperials and their cohorts have knocked down the door behind us. How terribly rude…

-Therion Khal

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