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 Karibbean Dawn

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Kaptain BlackSquig
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PostSubject: Karibbean Dawn   Wed 4 May 2011 - 7:13

Moved topic


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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Wed 4 May 2011 - 7:23

Ahoy ladz!
I wanted to let you seadogs here know about a new online campaign that is launching this month on the 20th. It is highly focused on naval engagements and such, with Mordhiem, LotHS and other games in mind. More details are coming but I wanted to get the word out now and see how many of you fine folks would like to join up. More details are being uploaded to the website and the campaign forums will be opening up this weekend. Hope some of you will be able to sign on board!

Da Kaptain
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dwi
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Wed 4 May 2011 - 7:35

Sign up eh? Allright. I am allready in two campaigns but what the hell eh?
Now..... uh..... how do we sign up??

EDIT: Can we do fluff reports like Anamostiy or warhammer empire campaigns?
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Wed 4 May 2011 - 8:01

DWI
Sign ups will be on the forums, which I will have ready to open up tihis wekend. Iw ill post a link to the forums once I have them opened up.

I answer, yes it will be fine for folks to submit written battle reports if they cannot get in games.

Da Kaptain
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Wed 4 May 2011 - 20:16

Ahoy Kaptain! We'll be swabbing the decks and taking on shot and stores!

pirat
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Thu 5 May 2011 - 9:12

All
The Faction information has been posted, I will add the newer banners once I get home to access my PC.

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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Fri 6 May 2011 - 8:46

Thanks for the update!
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Kaptain BlackSquig
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Mon 9 May 2011 - 4:29

Ok Ladz
The basics are up but I am still working on the forums. You can at least log in and register for a Faction, and check out the mechanics too.

http://z15.invisionfree.com/Old_Grey_Beards/index.php?act=idx

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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 19:55

Prologue

… from the epic novella “My Time in the New World”



Call me Peiter. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. I took up work on the good ship Intrepid, a Nordland whaler, in the year 1783 and set out on the first leg of what would become a voyage of redemption.

I was a young man back then, 23 winters old, but in that time I was a man not a boy. I had inherited a thriving farm from my father and married a good wife who blessed me with a child. I had been to sea times before but never aboard a whaler and I looked forward to the time spent away from land for I buried my wife and son there scant months before, victims of the fever. They were fine one day and in the ground the next; my faith in Sigmar buried with them. I had worked hard all my life, been a boon companion and a devote follower and for this my family was taken? I soon went looking for Morr, my holdings, my wealth, all were spent with reckless abandon as I tried to fill the void in my heart, but to no avail. I watched as the moneylenders took every stick or furniture, every rug, the livestock that remained, all were taken to pay debts I could no longer pay. I was left with nothing.

The Intrepid arrived in the Karibbean in the summer of 1784, the winds of change following us from the Olde Worlde as news of war once again filled the tavern talk, the Estalians and Bretonnians are once more at arms. The Treaty of the Sheathed Blade has been broken, with the naval forces of Bilballi launching punitive strikes against Bretonnian shipping in retaliation for some slight that is beyond this simple man’s thinking. Estalia has declared war on their northern neighbors and all across the Olde World armies gather, naval forces gird for battle, and honest whalers are caught in the middle.



The climate was hot to be sure, both from the weather and the coming conflict, for we knew in our heart of hearts that the war would reach our sandy shores soon enough. The warm emerald waters proved treacherous, reefs and sandbars nothing compared to the warships that prowled the sea lanes. Already the port of Trinidad was closed to all Bretonnian merchants and their vessels, the ones that made their homes upon that island were forced to flee the soldiers of the Inquisition or face imprisonment for the duration of the war. Taking on a supply of stores, I saw a wealthy Bretonnian lass, full of bosom and spirit, berate the Estalinas as they seized her home in shackles and took her household staff of Karibs. She didn't’t look so fine and upstanding when she was sent sprawling into a hog trough, her cultivated good looks marred with mud and pig shite. All they soldiers did was laugh as she fought to stand up, tears of rage streaming down her face. I could only feel the slightest pity for her as Captain Krause ordered us on board with our cargo, leaving port under the shadow of an Estalian gunship, with more arriving as we left her tall buildings behind and took once more to see.

My last glimpse of the woman was her being dragged away, kicking and screaming, by mail clad soldiers, her bearing and dignity left on the docks as she realized her likely fate. Soon the salt tang of a warm breeze left the incidents at the port behind, the waters parting before our proud vessel like a hot knife through butter.

Five days out from port we sighted the first spouts, a magnificence herd of fifteen beasties! We dropped anchor and lowered the longboats, our harpooners jumping at the chance to fill our holds with whale oil! The pursuit was swift, a mother and three cows were taken by our blessed harpoons and soon the Intrepid drifted along side and the work of striping the beasts began, the pools of blood attracting schools of sharks as the crew merrily continued to carve up the kill.



Apparently our blood attracted sharks of another kind as a pair of ships appeared on the horizon, our lookout shouting out that they were sloops. While the men continued their work, Captain Krause ascended the forecastle, his telescope trained on the approaching vessels. Soon enough he saw them hoist their colors, as the pirates ran up their flags! Our cannons were meager, more bow chasers than anything else and thus the Captain yelled at the crew to make ready, leaving our longboats to their own fate. Sails billowed out as the shouts of our companions were drowned out by the first roar of cannon fire. But the shot did not impact near us, instead it had come from starboard!

A trio of Frigates had emerged from behind the Intrepid, flying the colors of Nordlund. They continued to close with the sloops, that had decided that taking on four vessels was not in their best interests and so made their escape, the Captain of the lead Frigate doffing his cap as they sailed past us and took up the hunt. We shouted at the passing frigates before reversing course to pick up our stranded mates. On stranger tides, we recovered our company and took in a goodly supply of oil that day.

The winds of fate continued to follow as we made our way to the Imperial stronghold of Nassau, where our cargo was as in demand as was our need for a strong drink. Our leave turned into a more timely one as damage was discovered just below the waterline, suren that meant a fair month at least in drydocks while the good Captain paid out his silver one piece at a time, as if he were giving droplets of his own blood over to the carpenters.

I took this shoreleave as a chance to mingle with the local Karibs, of which I had heard many things, fanciful and respectful at the same time. Among the natives I came to learn of the Lao, of the shamans that possessed the gifts of foresight and spirits that dwell in remote parts of the islands. I do not believe in apparitions but the strange spirits of the Karibbean seem to be a tangible force, an energy I could feel on the hairs of my skin as the Karibs brought them to their fires to dance to the tune of their drums, a sort of primal energy that the Lao say is pent up and destined to be unleashed upon this tropical paradise in defense against the white man. Perhaps the coming war is such a valve? Fortune favors the foolish though, and we were all foolish men back then…

http://z15.invisionfree.com/Old_Grey_Beards/index.php?act=idx
Have at it Ladz!!!! The Campaign is underway!!!!


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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 19:59

Turn One: Opening Salvos
Dark waves break on the wet, black shore,
In a thunder of shattering spray,
But what care we if the storm Gods roar,
And lash at the pane and claw at the door,
And we sail at the break of day.
A lone gul cries like poor, damned soul,
That the waves has washed away...


Port Sigmar, 1785


“Damn the Estalians! Their lust for conquest once more interferes with the ability for honest merchants to make a living! The world is creeping upon itself, the lines of the map connecting and still we are forced to bow and caper when the Estalians feel the least slighted and make war once more upon their neighbors. Their greed is boundless! It is time we curb their aggressions and offer sanctions against their leadership!”

The assembled merchants broke into a mass of chattering, each one trying to outdo his neighbor for voice, the walls of the chamber reverberating with the sounds of dozens of conversations. Lord Decker wiped his brow with a linen embodied hanky, his eyes ringed with dark circles from sleepless nights and too many meetings in the smoky chambers of the Thousands Head Trading Coaster. Leaning with one hand on the oaken podium in the front of the assembly, Decker tried to remain calm amid the suffocating heat of the cramped room.

All around his fellow investors argued with one another in a madhouse of sound, threats and shouts the common coin of trade this day as each sought to establish their position or talk down dissidents and shouts for war mongering. Raising his hands to try and establish silence, Decker was ignored as the din of shouting grew louder. Seeing no other recourse, Decker reached out with his hand and scratched his nails across the piece of slate his scribe was using to record details of the meeting upon, drawing them slowly across the rock with deliberate action.

Across the chamber, one by one, his fellow merchants put fingers to ears or stared angrily at the source of the noise, the irritating grating slowly bringing the chamber to attention.

“My friends, declaring war is not the answer. Armed conflict will avail none of us and it only serves to drive down the markets. We are on the cusp of opening vital trading routes through the Karibbean and the looming conflict between Bretonnia and Estalia casts dark shadows over this venture. I am of the mind that we send delegations to both Bretonnia and Estalia and ask them to consider more peaceful avenues of negotiations. Use our considerable influence to broker peace.”

More shouts of yea were heard above the sounds of dissention as the merchants once more resumed their…negotiations. Lord Decker could only dab his forehead more and grind his teeth at the absurdity of it all.

Canaqueen Archipelago, 1785



…communiqué written by Captain Felipe de los Reyes…found in the ruins of the colony guildhall.

To the Captain of the Bretonnian Corsair, off the colony of Canaqueen.
Sir,
I am convinced that you are a warship of the Bretonnian Navy, ordered by your government. I have therefore deemed it proper to inquire into the cause of your living before this port without communicating your intention. I shall by this letter inform you that Canaqueen belongs to and is in the possession of the kingdom of Estalia, His Royal Majesty and was colonized some nine months previous.

And whereas the kingdom of Estalia has found it proper to appoint me Governor of this place, in consequence of which, if you have any demands on said government, or persons belonging to or residing in the same, you will please send an officer with such demands, whom you may be assured will be well treated with the greatest politeness, and receive every satisfaction required. But if you are ordered, or should attempt to enter this port in a hostile manner, my oath and duty to Estalia compels me to rebut your intentions at the expense of my life.

To prove to you my intentions toward the welfare and harmony of your government I send enclosed this declaration of several prisoners, who were taken in custody yesterday, and by a court of inquiry appointed for that purpose, were found guilty of robbing the good people of Estalia of slaves and specie. They have been sheltered and fed while awaiting further trail and should they be found innocent of their charges then they would be free to return with you to Bretonnia. The gentleman bearing this message will give you any reasonable information relating to this place that may be required of you. It is my sincerest hope we can avoid any further unpleasantness and await your answer.

Yours,
Captain Felipe de los Reyes
Governor of Canaqueen

Domingo Sound, Early Spring, 1785


"A piece of mail has arrived for you, my lady.”

Lady Ellsabeth de Coranado spun around from brushing her hair in the mirror to reply, “Yes, yes, put it over there on that table, and I’ll get to it shortly.” She pointed with the hand not containing the brush, and then posed her question, “What news do you have for me today, Harlow?”

Harlow walked a couple of quiet and smooth steps to the small side table that had been Lady de Coranado’s instruction, placed the letter down gently, and then he turned back towards her for his reply, “There’s much happenin’, your Lady. It seems there is an increase in reports of misbehaving Karibs in the region, and there seems to be a new fleet of pirates that has formed near Nassau.”

“Are we having an increase in problems with any of the Karibs on my plantations, Harlow.”

“No, not yet, my lady, and its been heard most of the increase seems to be well south of us on the otherside of the Karibbean Sea.”

“Good, but if you’ve heard this already, then I suspect the slaves have all heard to, and even if the rumors have become exaggerated like they always do, we need to make sure that all the supervisors make it clear that we aren’t going to cater to such actions as what might be happening elsewhere, is that understood?”

“I will pass the word, my lady.”

“And what of this new fleet of Pirates, they all know better than to mess with our local Estalian fleet, so they mustn’t be heading in our direction, am I correct Harlow?”

“I’ve never known you to be wrong, my lady.”

“Harlow, you and I both know that flattery from most is acceptable, but I count on you for the truth. Are they or are they not headed in this direction?”

“Unfortunately, since they seem to have banded together north of us, and there ain’t much civilization north of that, they have headed south, my Lady. However, it seems they are content to mettle in the affairs of the Nassau region, at least for now.”

“Well, no matter, I have nothing of value here for them. After all, I grow sugar, tobacco, and cotton, none of which is much use in large quantities to a pirate. Even the orange trees and the mixed vegetables aren’t really what pirates are after anyway. They’d rather strike after gold, and silver, and baubles, and gems. Things they can purloin while in port, and this here port ain’t got anything friendly for them, especially not the main Estalian fleet anchored here. So let’s not worry too much about them, ok Harlow.”

Then the Lady turned back towards the mirror, signaling, as she often did when a conversation was coming to an end.

“But my lady, if we aren’t aware, if we don’t stay alert, might it not be at least wise to put a Privateer on the payroll, just in case we have problems with our shipments over the seas?”

The Lady then quickly looked over her shoulder, “My dear Harlow, you are most astute. See what you can come up with for a bit of increased security, and they need to be good, not some upstart, unproven neophyte, but instead a tried and true bounty hunter with plenty of experience. Now go, and as usual keep me posted on how it goes, and don’t agree to their pay until you’ve talked with me, understood Harlow?”

“I won’t my lady, I won’t”, and then Harlow moved back through the open doors to continue his duties.

Sandy Cay, Tilean Army Headquarters, Early Spring, 1785


A strong breeze rippled the curtains inwards, the scent of sweat mingled with oiled mail wafting through the stone chamber, among the assembly of men and women. All were dressed in their armor and carrying their weapons.

“Where is Captain di Tolio?” demanded General Alfonso di Deo.

Captain Cesario Clementio’s second in command whispered into his commander’s ear, and then commander of the Middle Plantation’s small garrison force reluctantly spoke next, “I’m afraid sir, that he died in defending the raid on Cayona.”

General di Deo’s face grew redder in anger, “How did this all happen?”

Captain Palu Monterro mumbled the truth, “We do not know sir.”

The General slammed his fist down on the table that he and his officers were assembled around, “Of course you don’t know, otherwise it wouldn’t have been a surprise. Find out!”

This time Captain Eduardo Luca answered, “It appears that they were not so daring as to attack Ringot.”

“Well of course not! That’s just a stinking swamp full of bugs and water. Even the Karib’s are not that stupid. I want every Karib in the area questioned. Every last one of them. We can’t have Karibs, and what did you say you saw leading them, a Halfling, not even a troublesome Halfling, all running around stealing and killing, and then fleeing on their ships to places unknown. And I want letters of Marque drawn up, and Privateer’s hired. These creatures need to be tracked down, and they will not be tolerated. And while you are at it, make sure the watches are doubled, so this does not happen again. That’s it. Enough here. All of you get to it, and now!”

The half dozen or so Tilean officers did not ignore their opportunity to escape their leader's wrath, and rapidly exited General di Deo’s front meeting hall.

Sea of Nordlund, 1785
Clouds swept across the yellow oval of the moon, one moment obscuring it, the next opening chasms so that it’s other light could stream down upon the plain of the black ocean beneath. The moon hung motionless, while around it the clouds roiled. It was if they possessed a life of their own, whirling upon themselves, breaking into pieces and attaching themselves, leechlike, onto others. Two lanterns were panning across the surface of the sea, hung on the wooden stern of a whaler, her holds full of rich oil.

And one hundred yards beyond the schooners’ wake was something else. Smoothly a dark cylinder rose up from the depths. The metal had been painted black to avoid reflection, the viewing lens of chipped crystal focused on the rear of the schooner.

Sheltered in a hidden cove, Captain Pierce watched intently through his telescope as the Estalian schooner sailed to her fate. He had been told by his fellow Captain that tonight was something special, a new weapon in the war with the pirates had been purchased.

The periscope turned to port, the hidden cove coming into sight, a soft hisssss of foam rushing around the dark cylinder, before turning back on the schooner. Moonlight reflected off the metal of her porthole rims. Easy prey.

The cylinder descended. A gurgle of water and it was gone. Then, with a noise like the challenge threat of a gargantuan, a black torpedo left its forward tube, trailing a green wake behind it. Powered by compressed warpstone gas, it left a thin trail of silvery bubbles on its course toward the schooners stern. It gradually rose to within five feet of the surface and hurtled onward towards its rendezvous.

When the torpedo slammed into the schooners rudder, it pierced the wooden skin and halted. The schooner shuddered from the impact, sailors on deck grabbing railings and looking over to see what they had stuck.

“Damn, damn!” screamed Ghostfang. The Skaven smashed a large wrench into the crude firing control panel, a shower of sparks erupting before he turned and smashed in the head of a slave rat with the same wrench, caving in its head as it fell to the deck with a stunned look on its face.

“Clan Skryer wonder weapon, my hairy arse, arse! It didn’t explode!”

His crew, used to his rages, quickly found other places to be at that time, even as a pair of Stromvermin removed the corpse of the slave to the galley. The crude Skaven submersible shuddered as its engines strained to continue forward movement. Here and there a crack in the hull burst open and water rushed in, only to be patched by engineers using crude welding torches and spit!

Looking back with clenched fangs, Ghostfang watched as the schooner dropped anchor, its sailors lowering several more of their crew down on ropes to inspect the strange object lodged in their stern. The screws of the torpedo continued to spin, throwing out sparks. One of the men got too close and suddenly burst into flame as his clothing caught fire, the warpstone flame spreading rapidly along the body, consuming it in a flash of bone and seared flesh. The fire spread to the ropes and burned up the rails as Ghostfang thumped his tail in excitement.

Pierce watched in amazement as the fire burst upon the deck of the schooner, many of the crew consumed by the witch fire. One of the crew flung himself forward to avoid the flames, his burning body falling through the main hatch as the fire began to burn across the deck.

An explosion lit the night sky as the hold of oil burst into flame. A great goat of black smoke rose above the sails as burning men leapt over the shattered deck and into the sea. Flames spread along the lower deck, greedily chewing its way towards the mizzenmast. Below deck bulkheads moaned, split, burst as the sea gnawed its way through, wooden beams snapped like kindling, men clawed at each other as they sank, drowning. Some, above the inferno, were quickly burned into stiffened crisps as the sails burst into flame and fell upon them. The dying schooner, filled with the hideous racket of screams and moans, of shattering timber and glass, lurched sharply to starboard and began to sink rapidly at the stern.



Closing his telescope, Pierce turned for the burning ship, the sight of that greenish fire burning its image into his memories. Meantime Ghostfang cackled with unchecked glee, a puddle of urine forming at his feet, the excitement of battle apparently getting the better of him...

Church of Mannan, Nassau, 1785
The ancient priest, stooped from the weight of his heavy vestments and ornamentation approached the pulpit, the raised dais carved as if a ships foredeck, the lectern a carved wooden ships wheel. Climbing the worn wooden steps leading to the dais, Father Rand steadied his hands on the wheels to draw in a deep breath before straining to his full height, the trappings of Mannan no longer weighing his down.

“Shipmates! These be trying times, ye know. The evils of the world have bubbled up from the briny depths and threaten to engulf the faithful. Our Lord Mannan preaches that times such as these are trials to overcome, yardarms to be fought with and secured, by the sweat of ye backs and the resolve of ye faith. The time of the beast shall pass and the faces of the beast are always become known.”

Murmors from the congregation arose as the parishioners squirmed in the heat. The pews were packed this day with hundreds of faithful, the horrors of the past month driving them to seek solace in the arms of their priest. Many had lost family and friends in the savage raid upon Antigua, and many more knew not the fate of their loved ones.

“I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Mannan teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads me that other and more awful lesson which Mannan teaches about loss of faith. Fer the loss of faith is like a loss of the days catch. Ye come home with empty nets and curse yer misfortune. All the while knowing that by ye own hand the nets remained empty, ye could have done more but yer heart be not in it. Empty be yer hearts I know shipmates, for we all have kin on Antigua…”

And so it continued inside the church, while Karib fisherman sat outside the stone building playing at bones.

“Dem white man Rand, he talk a lot of bull”, remarked Boniface while he shook his cup of dice before slamming it upside down on the rotten top of a tar barrel.

“Oui. Dem talks about der fishin nets being empty. What a jumbie of words” chimed in Kip. He could barely contain a smile as he had seen what the dice had come up as under his cup. Lady Luck, with her flowing golden hair and tantalizing form must surely be standing behind him!

Both men lifted their cups once more at an angle, so neither could see what the other had thrown. As the gulls screamed loud over the port today noticed Boniface, ships coming and going as usual, but many more warships had set out for the island of Antigua. The island had been sacked by pirates they said, the sloops of the fleet, numbering dozens if accounts were correct, had attacked at dawn, sinking the only warship in port and stormed the port under the barrage of cannons. Orcs, humans and more supposedly. The people were caught in their nightgowns and many were savaged by the greenskins wile the port was plundered and burned. Dozens of survivors fled on private ships or were forced to flee into the jungles to escape enslavement by the invaders. In a manner of hours the port was sacked and the forces of the Brethren sat upon wealth and rum, claiming the township under their brutal aggression.

“Wot you ante Boniface?”

Returning his attention to the game, Boniface once more looked at his bones, and then pushed a small pile of coppers into the pot.

As the doors of the church opened, the parishioners moved past the Karibs, many of them still bearing gaunt and hollow faces, their faith apparently not refilled by the fiery sermon. Father rand was the last one out of the church, and he moved to the Karibs, drawing forth his purse and dice, taking a seat near Kip.
“So mates, wot hear ye this day? Indeed Antigua be burned and pillaged and the godforsaken pirates be roosting in the mizzenmasts even now.”

As the game continued, a fishing vessel slid into sight, her nets packed full with a catch. Dripping forth all manner of foulness, the catch was emptied onto the docks, dozens of fishermen rushing forward to collect the catch.



“We heard dat bandie Le Hook be missin still. He dun cheated dem Karibs of nails I hear. Sold em rusted nails and whatnot couldn’t even secure dem houses against dem storm last month. Dozens of dem be killed when der huts collapsed.”

“Ye be knowin Le Hook is a cheat mates. He dun been seen for some time now, maybe he finally faced Mannan’s wrath.”

“Or dat wrath of King Willie” muttered Kip.

Screams came from the dock, forcing Kip and Rand to leap to their feet to see what the commotion was. Boniface quickly looked under Kip’s cup. Shite mon! How he be so lucky!

A giant shark lay dead in the middle of the dock, the scattered catch all around it. The shark was dead, likely strangled in the fishing nets. One of the bolder sailors moved forward to the carcass and drew forth his bowie knife. I a manner of seconds he had gutted the beast, its innards running across the dock and into the sea. Stifling a scream of his own, the fisherman jumped back as a human corpse rolled out of the severed belly, its left arm missing and the body mangled and mauled.

“See mates, Mannan’s wrath. Like Johann in the belly of the whale…”

Even as the corpse settled into a fetal position, its belly burst open amid a shower of rusty nails and gore that rained down upon the corpse of the merchant Le Hook…

El Citadel, Early Spring, 1785


Two Inquisitorial soldiers and Captain Guardizo stood near the entrance to the chamber while the Inquisitor, Alonso Rodriquez Cabrillo, conducted what he liked to call “business” with the Citadel’s whip master.

“You need to repent your sins.”

“I have not sinned.”

The Inquisitor nodded his head, and the whip master struck hard five times, but the Karib only winced and did not cry out.

“If you deny it again, it will strike again.”

“I have not sinned.”

The Inquisitor nodded his head again, and the whip caused five more marks on the Karib’s back. This time the Karib was less than silent with a few moans, and his breathing had become a bit heavier.

“Let us just say that if you answer my questions, then there will be no more pain, and your sins will be forgiven.”

The Karib turned his angry eyes to meet those of the Inquisitor.

“Ah, I see you are at least listening to that. Very good, who put you and the other’s up to not attending services at the Mission?”

The Karib dropped his eyes.

The Inquisitor again nodded his head, and the whip began to streak across the cellar again, with the Karib losing a scream, some loud cries, and in between yelling, “Ok, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you.”

The Inquisitor bent down to the small bucket below the whipping post and picked up a ladle filled with water, before speaking, “Open your mouth and once you’ve drank, then you can tell me.”

After the answer, and some more questions and answers, the Inquisitor again nodded his head, and even Captain Julio Poncio back on the warship El Justiciero, could hear the Karib's screams this time.


Isabella Sound, Many Years After 1785


“Father, what is a Privateer?”

Landscomb lifted his glass, took a swallow, and looked at Eva, his wife, who was just sitting down across the table from him, after having finished preparing the meal now resting in front of the family.

“Well son, where did you hear that word?”

“From the boys down at the school house, father.”

“I see. Well a privateer is a ship’s captain that receives what are called Letters of Marque from a government permitting them to attack ships of another country who the first government is at war with.”

“What are Letters of Marque?” said the son.

The father had taken his first bite of food, and finished chewing before he answered, “Well, Letters of Marque can be different things depending on who writes them, and they can cover different eventualities, depending on what the two parties, the issuer and the receiver, agree upon. However, very often Letters of Marque are for permission to raid the opposing government’s ships of commerce, and granting them permission to sell the ships and their contents once they’ve returned to a port of the issuing government.”

“Are they sort of like pirates, father?”

“Well, there are those that call them such, but it’s also a job that provides a sense of patriotism and honor, which isn’t something pirates hold as values.”

“Well father, have you ever met a Privateer?”

Landscomb was slightly surprised by this question, “Well, yes, now that you mentioned it. When I was a boy about your age or so, there were a collection of them that showed up here in the Karibbean, right here at Isabella Sound, around the time of the Bretonnian and Estalian War of 1785, if I recall correctly the year.”

“What were they like, father?”

Now Landscomb decided it was time to continue his dinner, “Well son, lets finish what your good mother has prepared for us here, and then talk about that after dinner, and I’ll tell you the story, ok?”

The boy wasn’t happy, and it came out in his drawl of “Yyyesss, father.”

Isabella Sound, 1785


The deck of the Capricious Maiden bucked and rolled under the relentless pounding waves. To the port of the Maiden plowed the Indomitable and Adventuring Rose. To starboard the Red Moon sliced waves with elegant ease, the fleet of warships was churning across the Karibbean, with port Isabella Sound rapidly disappearing on the horizon.

Above the sails snapped taunt in the wind, the fleet pushing forward at a rapid pace. The crew set about cleaning the decks, an army of men armed with thistle brushes and buckets continued to scour the deck of debris, similar work being done on the other ships of the fleet.

Captain Alfonso sat in his cabin, the ream of papers and missives before him shoved to the side as he stared at the map before him. Proctor Donner sat in a padded chair to his left, staring out of the window to the rear of the vessel.

“The scum have been unleashed it seems Donner. The Karibbean Kourt and its lackeys have struck at Antigua and Cocas. They were both ill defended and I told Langston that it was folly to not improve the defenses. My spies tell me the Bleeding Rhinox and Dancing Cloud aided in the sacking of Antigua. A shame that, I loved the pies Geppeto made! The Asp and Widowmaker were leading the attack upon Cocas I understand. Kraken takes them all, damned pirates!”

Alfonso swept clean his table of all papers, the rain of parchment fluttering into the lap of his Proctor. Standing forth from his table, Alfonso swept past Donner and stomped up the stairs to the main deck.

“Come now lads! Were changing course, draw on every rag of canvas the yards will hold. Be quick about it or it will be place and rank for the lot of you!”

The Indomitable began to tack to the northwest, the rest of the fleet moving to follow…
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 20:03

Turn Two: Dark Waves

"The stays crack like glaciers, the beams give moans
& buckheads buckle with a wooden oath
the timbers ache with twisting & they lean
to the spars & deck, bent like ribs to the breath
& hatches gape at the fury cast in brine
as the storm comes in with its teeth, teeth, teeth"




Chocolate Hole, Late Spring 1785

The dark wave rose from the black ocean water, cresting higher and higher as it closed in on the shore some miles distant. As the crest reached a height of over twenty feet, it gained in speed as well, rolling faster towards the raging bonfire that could be seen on the sands ahead.

Sitting before the fire on a small wooden chest, barefoot and cross-legged, was a lone figure with its head raised to the sky, arms outstretched. The dirty dreadlocks on the Karib’s head fell to one side as he continued to chant while in the outstretched arms was a large snake, its tail coiled around the wrist of the Karib’s left arm while he held the reptiles head it his right hand, pinched between thumb and index finger. The serpent moved as if in a trance, its tongue flicking out to taste the air at a steady beat. Long shadows fell away from the figure, in the bonfire’s blaze, stretching back to the dark edges of the jungle. From beyond the jungle undergrowth came the rhythmic pounding of drums, three or four separate patterns intertwining, louder and louder, each beat accompanied by a scream or shout as if the drums themselves were crying out in either pain or ecstasy.

The wave continued to gain more speed, rushing towards the fire as if to extinguish it. But as it drew into the shallows before the beach, it was broken upon the rocks, its brief spawning ending in a spray of emerald water that fell upon the sands like green blood.

The Karib continued to sit before the fire, the death of the wave failing to break the chanting, as it continued to grow in volume.

“Serpent, serpent-o, Damballah-wedo papa, you are a serpent. Serpent, serpent-o, Damballah-wedo papa, you are a serpent, I will call the serpent!”

With this the Karib lowered the snakes neck to his teeth and savagely tore threw it in a spray of crimson gore, the lifeblood of the snake flowing out and down across the chin of the Karib, pooling in a bowl that rested before him. The sand took on a darker tone as the blood flowed out of the bowl and onto the white sands. Casting the drained carcass into the flames, the fire flared into the night, in its glow the eyes of the Karib had become slanted, much like the serpent he had just killed.

Standing upright with fluid ease, again very serpentine in motion, the Karib turned and knelt before the chest, falling prostrate before it. The chest was an ornate wooden thing carved in bas relief and fixed with rusty brass hinged and an intricate clasp. A slit was carved in the top of the chest, a narrow scar that marred the surface of the chest. Drawing into a kneeling position, the Karib made a series of hand motions before the chest before reaching into his robe and drawing forth an enormous wheel of gold, shaped as a large disk carved with some sort of figures and characters. He held the disc high into the air where the flames danced macabre patterns across its surface, before he slipped it into the slot on the top of the chest. A dull metallic clang followed as the disc settle into the interior of the chest.

The Karib turned bent forward and picked up the chest, returning it to the hole in the sand nearby. Placing it within the cavity, the Karib used both arms to draw sand over the chest once more, burying it from sight once more even as another dark wave formed far out to sea.


Domingo Sound, Late Spring, 1785

Captain Sebastian Guildemont had very good air behind his ship's sails as he made his way into port. There had been a sighting of a black flag with a skull and bones flying from its center mast as the wind favored his movement towards his destination, but beyond that his trip had been uneventful. However, the greeting he received once he'd lowered the gang plank and made his way down, wasn't nearly as warm as the weather had been.

The Estalian harbor master stood tall in his fancy black and red shirt, green pants, while wearing the traditional Estalian helmet on his head, and a pair of black boots on his feet. Behind him was a squad of soldiers carrying halberds, all on guard and keeping close eye on the movements of the man before them, as well as the crew back on board The Capricious Maiden.

“Captain Guildemont, you realize there are reports of Bretonnia being at war with Estalia back in the homeland, correct?”

“Yes,” and Guildemont’s eyes moved back and forth between the harbor master and the soldiers, “but since when has that ever rubbed off into the Karibbean?”

“Captain, your point is well taken, but I’m the one asking the questions here, and if you expect to be permitted to stay, we’ll need a good explanation as to why you are here?”

“I’m interested in seeking employment and I have here a letter with just such a request,” and then Captain Guildemont reached into his breast pocket unfolded the parchment, and holding it in both hands displayed it for the harbor master to read.

“I see”, the harbor master turned his head and then back to address Captain Guildemont again, but before he spoke a scuffling of shoes along the boards of the dock was heard, and a man in a white cotton shirt and cream colored linen trousers made his presence known.

“Our town’s fine harbor master was unaware of my correspondence, but we just received your reply Captain Guildemont, and here is another from me”, as an arm was extended to hand over another sealed piece of parchment, “and although you’ll see that further discussions need to be first handled by myself, hopefully we can come to a suitable arrangement.”

The harbor master’s face had been one of surprise that neither the Bretonnian Captain nor the newly arriving Estalian had seen, but he regained his usual demeanor and immediately spoke again, “Well I see you are a man of your word Captain Guildemont and so the two of you can continue your discussion, but I’d like to have my men review the contents of your ship, as we do with all who seek port here in Domingo Sound.”

Captain Guildemont bowed and replied, “May your men be my guest.”


In the Dark, Somewhere in the New World, End of Late Spring, 1785.

While the moon was full, occasional stray clouds sometimes crossed its path. Below in the dark sea was a rowboat, making its way through the darkness towards the lights of the harbor distant. Five men sat within the boat, oars sweeping through the dark waters, propelling the craft closer and closer to the lights.

Cloth had been wrapped on the ends of the oars and two men paddled inside the large row boat, while two more men sat in the back, and Captain Tavish McBride sat in the front.

The large rock jetty came into view, and McBride gave a signal for the boat to turn and be brought down along the seaward side, not the harbor side, and all the men knew enough to keep their heads low.

When the boat was getting close to shore, a voice from the tower that formed the start of the jetty yelled down, “Halt, who goes there?”

Captain McBride looked up at that and replied, “He who owns Ye Wandering Falcon.”

“Ah, I see. Captain McBride, long time since your last visit. Bring your boat up against the portcullis, and then we’ll bring you and your crew inside.”

The two rowers slowed their pull and guided the craft, so that it bumped slightly into the metal bars of the entry to the tower from the water. Within seconds a dull cranking was heard, and an opening was provided for just enough head room for the men to not bump their heads on the sharp ends of down ward pointing spikes of the iron.

Then with a couple of soft rows, the small dock inside was reached, and a soldier dressed in officer’s cloths was standing there to meet them.

“Welcome, Captain McBride. We had no notice of your arrival, but I’m sure our leader will be happy to see you. He’s wondering why you haven’t been in touch lately.”

“I’m sure, since dare are rumors of war in ye Olde World, reports of unruly natives, Letters of Marque being issued, which is why I’m here, and even a new fleet of pirates emerging in my home waters. But, I must see him now, for I intend to leave before the dawn breaks again over this fine town.”

“I’ll bring you to his quarters immediately. We’ll wake him, most assuredly, but once he’s heard it’s you, I suspect he won’t be displeased.”

“Why’s dat?”

“Because he’s been a wanting to talk with you.”

“Very well, then let’s we get a move on, eh?”


Vera Cruz, Late Spring 1785



The chameleon Skink hung motionless beneath the palm tree fronds, overlooking the bay that served as docking for the Estalian mission known as Vera Cruz. The creature’s eyes moved independent of one another, one looking one direction while the other kept watch on the ship that had sailed into sight not a scant half hour ago. The Skink had been handing upside thusly, for over a week now, motionless and attentive. Dozens of humans and thrice as many animals had passed beneath the Skink, yet its coloration was so perfect, so complete that none had been alerted to its prescience. Its eye snapped back to join its other as a noise from the harbor attracted its attention.

The anchor fell from its sleeve with a satisfied groan, the heavy chain following its master into the depths of the placid water with a horrendous splash. The short stocky sailors aboard the Casa Maria scrambled to secure the rigging as Captain De Porto moved to the forecastle, his hand covering his eyes as he looked at the settlement before him on the rocky beach. A few scattered huts, a number of lean-tos and a pair of wooden buildings, likely a storage building and a meeting hall, dominated the small stretch of beach. Beyond, in the light brush of the jungle, he could make out the stone walls of the mission.

“Snap to amigos, we have sails to trim and cargo to unload! I want the stores on shore before nightfall. Senor Denigo, I am taking five men and going on shore to meet with Padre Estaban. I want you to wait for my signal to bring ashore the cargo. If I have not signaled in an hour, weigh anchor and take leave of this place, for I will not have the crew put at risk if this turns badly.”

“Oi Capitan, it shall be as you order.”

As the skiff was lowered from the aft deck, the landing party hunkered down on board; the chameleon shifted ever so slightly, a single fly that had been nesting on its horned brow darting away at the movement. It didn’t get far as a lightning quick tongue shot out and snatched it from the air, drawing it into the toothy jaws of the Skink, where it disappeared in a crunch of teeth.

Below on the jungle path travelled a party of humans dressed in long sleeved shirts, with puffy sleeves and high ruffled collars. They wore strange crested helmets and bore halberds and formed a makeshift guard around a figure that the Skink had determined was a leader. They moved in clumsy haste towards the tree line and the waters beyond.

“Padre, who are these strangers?”

“Manuel, I am expecting guests from the north, representatives of the ruling Monarchy in Hispania. They claim to be coming at behest of their leaders and with much needed supplies. I have sent word to his Majesty in regards to dealings with these humanitarians but have yet to receive word back. I am somewhat perplexed by this as I sent the documents with Captain Guerra, and he is to be trusted above all others.”

“What should we do Padre?”

Looking at the distant ship and the small shape of the approaching skiff, Padre Estaban twirled his holy symbol between clenched hands.

“We shall treat them as guest and benefactors of course, at least until we know their intent. Inform the men to make ready their arbalests and let nothing escape their gaze.”

“We see everything Padre, nothing shall be missed!”

The Skink shifted ever so slightly, its grasping claws pulling it more elongated along the branch as it blended in further with the foliage. It resumed watching the humans below him while his other eye rotated slowly to observe the strange craft breaking through the waves and coming to rest upon the beach.


Middle Plantation, End of Late Spring, 1785

Captain Cesario Clementio had his second in command tightening the sling that was supporting his arm, after having taken a shot from a Karib arrow during the retreat from Middle Plantation. They lay in a small hollow area just behind a fallen tree while a handful of other soldiers were on high alert close by and watching to see if other Karibs would be following their escape.

The Captain tested the sling and said, “Seems like that will do it,” and then he turned his head to peer off into it the trees to see what he could see as he considered their options.

“Captain, if I may speak freely sir?”

Clementio made eye contact with his second, and said, “Go ahead”, but quickly turned his eyes back to watching the jungle as he listened.

“Well sir, there’s six of us, which means we got two crossbows, two pistols, two halberds, and even with all our swords, there’s no way we are going to be able to overcome all those Karibs nor those goblins, heaven knows why they’re in league with the two Halfling leaders, but we ain’t no match for the lot of them at this point, and instead I recommend we go over to the coast and get ourselves a small fishing boat so we can get to Sandy Cay and make a report to General di Deo.”

Captain Clementio turned again to his second, “I’m not too thrilled about telling the General of our defeat, but I think your suggestion is the best we can do at the moment because we really are outnumbered here", and then he rose to his feet in a crouching position, “Alright men, let’s keep our heads low and our weapons from banging, and follow me.”

La Grotte de la Galerie, 1785



“Put yer zoggin backs into gitz!” yelled Wizgit Bonecruncha. “I wantz dat shiney outta der ground and I wantz it now! I'll be avin yer gutz fer garterz iffin yose dont git dat zoggin fing moved!”

The dozen or so Goblins before their fearsome Orc shaman scrambled harder with crude levers and bars to pry loose the top of the stone bier. All around them lay a series of jungle covered ruins, the undergrowth so thick that at times it appeared more solid than the rocks of the tumbled buildings. Scores of Orc & Goblins, bedecked in feathers, bones and other detris, moved through the underbrush, searching through the rumble with crude hands and weapons.

The bier was an ancient edifice of stone, carved on all sides with images of serpents and crude bat wings. The cover was enormous, yet time had not eroded it from its perfect fit along the seam of the lower cavity. Wizgit had sensed a dim glimmer of eldritch power coming from the bier and knew that something of power nested in the cavity of stone.

With a final groan of effort, the Goblins wedged up the corner of the bier, a blast of foul air bursting forth from the cavity like the long held breath of some forgotten god. Pushing the lid sideways and allowing it to pivot, it hung at an angle above the open cavity. Several Goblins jumped upon the eschewed lid, toppling it over to fall upon one hapless Goblin that failed to roll out of the way. Following the sickening squish, a lake of blood began to pool form under the stone, a stone upon which leapt an exalted Wizgit. Peering into the opening, the Orc reached in with a massive clawed hand and drew forth a weapon.

Looking at the weapon in his hands, Wizgit held it with some trepidation, getting accustomed to the weight of the weapon, an axe of strange wood and polished black glass. The serrated edge of the axe was formed of some strange ebony glass, pierced through the middle of the blade by a single blood red gem, a gem the size of a fist, a gem that twinkled in the sunlight with a life of its own. The weapon felt electric in his hands as Wizgit played through the air with the magnificent weapon, the feathers on the haft moving in sway with the motions of the blade. Turning to his tribe, Wizgit thrust the axe high into the air.

“Wauconda Watoso!” he screamed. And his tribe of greenskins as one fell to their knees before their leader and his new weapon.

World Pond, Late Spring 1785



“Hells teeth,” cursed Admiral Hector Guerrera, dourly surveying the approaching Bretonnian fleet from the forecastle of La Boehm. “What insane plan do you follow now, Le Fevre?”

Guerrera’s Man O War sat among two squadrons of Frigates, each one deployed in implacable lines port and starboard, their batteries of cannon resolutely pointing at the oncoming Bretonnians. A stiff breeze blew in from ahead, whipping the fleet’s pennants and flags against their masts. A thousand yards in front Hector had placed his War galleys, their aim was to intercept and punch holes in the approaching formations.

Even with his years of experience, it was this moment that Hector feared the most. He knew that the two fleets would clash within minutes, and that there was no turning back from this point. He had committed himself to the fight, and must now trust that the fates would see him through it alive.

The Bretonnian fleet, the wind in their favor, was moving apace towards the waiting Estalian warships. It struck Hector that their formation seemed unconventional, if not suicidal. He had faced Le Fevre’ and the might of the Bretonnian navy on a number of former occasions, often at the cost of a sizable number of Estalian warships, but hadn’t seen a maneuver like this before.

Le Fevre’ had a fearsome reputation, as was the subject of a number of books on naval tactics, and even more so as an object of speculation. His contempt for Estalian seamanship was made plain by the regular letters of insult and scorn he sent to the Estalian Naval Commandants, and it was rumored his life was charmed. Even aboard La Boehm, Guerrera had heard the mutterings about the “invulnerable Sea-demon” who guarded Le Fevre’; more than one man had been flogged soundly for such treasonous outbursts.

All Guerrera could see of the enemy from his vantage point, high on La Boehm’s forecastle, was a wall of sail-undoubtedly Buccaneers, sailing in a line abreast to shield the rest of the Bretonnian fleet from view. All Hector could see of the other ships was the occasional topsail or pennant.

The War galleys sat patiently, their Captains waiting until the Buccaneers were at point blank range before firing. At that range the iron cannonballs would wreak the most damage upon their foes. But it was these very Wargallies that led to Admiral Guerrera’s present concerns. By now they should be under fire from the trebuchets of the Buccaneers-an acceptable risk at this stage of the battle. If the Bretonnians left it much longer, the Wargallies would be too close to be shot by trebuchet, and then what would the Bretonnians do? Surely Le Fevre’, a notoriously cunning opponent, would never make such a blunder?

I’le Del Muerta, Late Spring 1785



Torches, billowing in the breeze, preceded the skiffs, a dozen or so boats moving slowly towards shore under the wavering light of the smoking torches set in their prows. The waves crashing against the rocky coastline pushed back upon the skiffs and drove them back. Corded muscles groaned in the oar banks as the landing boats drew near shore. Soon the bottom of the first skiff kissed the sand near the shoreline. Plunging into the waist deep freezing water, the pirates swarmed forth from their boats, swords drawn as they gathered on the beach, the dark jungles beyond beckoning…

…somewhere back in the jungle interior, something began to move, something that caused flocks of birds to take flight, something monstrous and evil that did not belong in the land of the living stirred once more, as if the pirates very feet upon the island caused it pain, something hungry…

Port-Au-Prince, Late Spring, 1785 I.C.

Lord Governor Langston Hughes was again sitting at his desk as his scribe Mathias entered his employer’s office chamber. Mathias noticed he hadn’t finished his lunch yet with half a bulky roll, a slice of roast beef, and a hunk of already started cheese still sitting on his plate.

“Lord Governor, sir, some mail has arrived for you.”

“Ah, and what’s in it for me today, Mathias?”

“There’s a return letter from Lady de Coronado. Seems she’s sensing the need for some extra security and making inquiries into such. She doesn’t seem overly concerned about the newest grouping of Pirates that have been claiming territory up in the Nassau Sea area, yet at the same time the chief supervisor of her plantation has been active in seeking additional sea vessels to provide some extra strength.”

“And she’s asking us for help?”

“Not directly, sir, but she does seem to be looking to confirm that possibility just in case.”

“Well then, let her know that we might be able to aide her, but not until after we finish the plans that General Von Gruberheim has begun to implement for strengthening our land defenses around Port-Au-Prince with increased artillery positions from the new guns being the Baron back home in Nordland has sent us. By the way, have General and the Admiral confirmed their attendance for dinner this evening to update me on how everything is coming along?”

“I’ll be certain to mention what you’ve said in drafting a reply to her, and yes, both the gentlemen have responded, intending to be here this evening, sir.”

“And what else do you have there, Mathias?”

“There is a letter from Captain Pierce, and also another from one of the three we sent back in early spring, the latter informing us of his intentions to set sail for the Sandy Cay area to deal with what has been said is a significant uprising of Karibs.”

“Excellent news there, and what of the letter from Captain Pierce?”

“I’m thinking its best you read that one and this other unusual one as well,” then Mathias moved forward handing both to the Lord Governor.

There was a period of silence as the two were reviewed, and the Lord Governor spoke, “You spoke well regarding the last, and here’s how we’ll be replying to both.”

Samara Bay, Late Spring 1785



It had never been more than a desperate gambit. The Imperial trade fleet had been in port when the pirates struck, battered by cannon fire before many could even weight anchor. The Karibs fled into the jungle as the burning wrecks of the Intrepid and Wolfram set the harbor ablaze, the primitive grass huts and flimsy wooden buildings of the settlement going up in flames. Survivors had split as the pirate fleet, led by the Bloody Rhinox and its cursed Ogre Captain, surged into the harbor under the cover of a fog bank. Soon the harbor was veiled from sight under the blanket of fire and thick smoke, the screams of the dying drowned out by the roars of the pirates and the thunder of their cannons. Several of the ships were able to retreat from the harbor under the cover of smoke and fog, with the pirate vessel Widowmaker in pursuit. None of the pirates saw that one of their own, the Stripling, had been engaged and sunk by the privateer Alfonso Vinta!

The cagey Captain had been sailing to Samara to do some trading with the locals and came upon the battle to late to warn the Imperials but he didn’t let the chance to sink a pirate vessel slip through his fingers. It had been an easy task to sink the Stripling, taken unawares and nearly crewless since many of the pirates had gone ashore to raid and pillage. Sinking the craft with a single broadside, Alfonso slipped away during the chaos of the battle and sailed in relief of the fleeing Imperial traders.

Captain Daniels, commanding the Pride of Nuln, found himself the sole protector of no less than five heavily laden merchant ships, as the makeshift fleet fled the sacking of Samara Bay.

Heading for the safety of Nordlund was their only hope, and they had made good speed for an hour now. Since then the Widowmaker had remained at a safe distance, Pirate Queen Kera apparently weighing her chances. Daniels had seen smoke and sails on the horizon and knew the jaws of a trap were closing on them. The gulf south of Nordlund was already narrowing into little more than a rock laden strait; perhaps five miles wide, with sweeping jungle covered islands to hide enemies from view. Daniels knew the area and knew they were less than a day away from the Imperial port. If they weren’t attacked, they could reach Nordlund under the cover of darkness.

“Ships ahead!” The cry went up from the fore lookouts, even as an identical warning came from the lookouts aft.

“Damnation!” cursed Daniels, making for the foredeck.

As he reached the prow, he saw the problem for himself. A sloop, flying the colors of the Asp, had emerged from the cover of a large island. Resembling a floating scrap yard rather than a warship, it was nonetheless a threat to the unarmed merchant craft. A breathless messenger informed Daniels that the Widowmaker had started to close.

“Make for open waters Helmsman! Single the merchant vessels that they are to make for Nordlund as best they can, while we deal with this pirate scum!”

Daniels’ orders were rattled out at speed, and his well drilled crew responded with the precision he expected of them.

“Ready on the guns Mister Cobb! Break out the grapeshot and prepare for boarding. Helmsman, new heading, starboard at speed!”

As the merchant ships made for the freedom of open waters, the Pride of Nuln began turning about towards starboard to place her broadside cannons where they could be brought to bear on both the approaching pirate vessels!

Torktuga, Late Spring 1785



The two men struggled under the weight of the wooden box they carried, their trek along the rocky cliffs slowed by the need for caution, their charge heavy in their hands.

“How did we end up with this chore chum?” muttered Stoink.

“Must be yer charming wit mate. Did you really tell that royal that his wife had a wart on her arse?” responded Binky.

“I don’t think that was what zogged him off mate, I think it was when I told him she had showed it to me once!”

Both men burst into laughter, Binky slipping on the rocks and shifting the weight onto Stoink.

“Take it easy ya blasted oaf! You trying to get me killed or what?”

“Sorry lad, it just struck me as funny is all.”

As they redistributed the load back to equal, they moved down along the trail towards the drop-off below. Waves crashed high into the air as the surf slammed into the cliffs here, the spray of water making the rocks glisten like diamonds. The pair struggled down the sharp incline, more waves pounding the rocks, tossing pieces of wood into the air, the remains of several vessels that had been sunk during the invasion of Torktuga by the forces of the Monarchy.

The livered guard behind Stoink pushed his halberd tip into Binky’s ample rump.

“Move your arse scum, there be plenty more work to do this day.”

Swinging the load they bore to and fro several times, they cast the coffin out over the edge of the drop-off, watching as it splashed into the water, before bobbing back up and joining the seemingly endless procession of coffins floating away from the former pirate haven of Torktuga...
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Kaptain BlackSquig
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PostSubject: Re: Karibbean Dawn   Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 20:07



Hispania, Early Summer 1785 I.C

Lord Governor Langston Hughes rose from his chair behind his desk and adjusted his royal blue overtunic, the garment slashed in a symmetrical pattern down both sides of his chest to show his bright yellow shirt underneath. He then picked up the stack of papers that his scribe Mathias had just presented to him, and began reading the first one on top as he walked towards the southern end of his spacious office. When he reached the end of the room, he looked out the window momentarily, and took in the mornings view.

Dawn in the Karibbean happened a few hours ago, and the sun was shining off the small golden plated dome of the Temple of Mannan, along with some of the fixings of masts of the warships in the harbor, and even a few of the weather vanes on the tops of several warehouses down near the dockyard. The town itself had started as den of cutthroats and slavers but over the years since Langston Hughes, it had grown into a highly productive and protected location with export arms reaching across the globe, while its current Lord Governor liked to think his own tentacles reached to the various corners of the Karibbean.

Governor Hughes turned suddenly, just in time to see a slight look of impatience on Mathias’ face, and he immediately began his return walk back and to the front of his desk.

“Yes, yes Mathias, I haven’t forgotten you’re standing there. Now, let’s see here, you’ve got one for the Baron in Nordlund, and it looks fine. I suspect the one for the Lady is as we discussed, yes?”

“Yes, Lord Governor.”

“Ok, let me read some of the others,” and upon reaching his desk again, he sat back down, picking up his feather pen and signing the first, perused the second, just to know for sure, passed both over to Mathias for him to affix the official seal, and began reading the third, fourth, and fifth."

“And these next three, very interesting how you’ve written them.”

“Yes, Lord Governor.”

“Hmmm … do you think the first will be willing?”

“Perhaps, Lord Governor. Yet if not now, it’s likely eventually.”

“Yes, as long as all things go as planned, yet we both know that’s rarely, if ever, the case.”

“That’s why I’ve phrased the second as I have.”

Governor Hughes returned his eyes to reread the next one. And he reread the third, before speaking again. “It does all seem in line with the overall concept we’ve been speaking about, but hmmm, how about this for the last line?”, then Lord Governor put the last one down on his desk top, picked up his pen, drew a line through what he didn’t like, and began scrawling out something different.

Mathias rolled his eyes, knowing he’d now need to re-transcribe that one, and when the Lord Governor finished and handed it over to his scribe, Mathias read the bottom, before saying.

“I see how that might do the job, Lord Governor. I’ll redo it, and then you can sign all three.

“Excellent. Here’s the other two for now, and while you are away, until when I see you at lunch, could you also invite General Von Gruberheim and Admiral Von Hallenhof to have dinner with me this evening? And make sure they both know this will be to brief them on the news from the Old World, as well as to ascertain their ideas on how we need to proceed in the light of such.”

“Yes, Lord Governor, and I’ll see you at lunch.”


From… Estalian Plantation Life in the Early Karibbean, by Eulalio de Tiago

...One of the wealthiest and most powerful Estalian plantation owners of the early Karibbean was Lady Ellsabeth de Coronado. Her main holdings were located on the southern side of Domingo. However, she held land on some of the other islands as well. Despite her attitude and military force, both prominent features of Domingan culture, only the attitude reached beyond her homelands since she never invested in ships preferring to leave such to those who were more knowledgeable in the area, and rarely transporting her military units beyond the shores of the main plantation area. She had married young, and when her older husband Ernesto de Coronado died of some sort of fever, she inherited everything. Her plantation’s major crop was, like so many others’, sugar. Although another preferred product was tobacco, and some of the smaller field locations grew cotton, oranges, and a mix of vegetables. The height of her influence was during 1780’s before various issues caused a decline in her plantations’ economic success.

As with all Karibbean plantations, so too on the Lady’s plantations, slaves were used as the primary source of labor, and most of these came from the Southlands, augmented with a good many Karibs. Although it has been written that the Lady didn’t participate in the discipline of slaves, it is known that when she didn’t get her way, her anger wasn’t something anyone, let alone a slave, wanted to be the cause for, and she would insist that such wrath as necessary would be provided by her employees. And the discipline was enacted, like everywhere else, publically, which was intended to decrease the likelihood other’s would follow the misbehavior’s lead. However, with the discipline sometimes resulting in eventual death, or inability to work anyway, this only added to reasons such as disease, malnutrition, and poor sanitary conditions that all contributed to the turnover of the slave population. And so as fast as the slaves would disappear, new ones would be brought to take their place, and lessons would still need to be taught again anyway.

Unlike many Karibbean plantation owners, the Lady’s leadership positions, mostly made up of Estalians, were paid well (we know this from the meticulous financial records that she kept) with the exception of the servants. Employees learned to carry out her desires quickly or else they lost their jobs. The household servants were “free” slaves who traded their service for better living accommodations than the rest of the slaves, and also maintained their positions through meeting the Lady’s approval. If not, then it was back to the one room cabins they’d return, where the young were kept separate from the old, and the males and females were kept separate, too.

Slaves on the Lady’s plantations outnumbered everyone else by about 12 to 1, which was above the 8 to 1 average that was seen elsewhere in the Karibbean. This is probably attributable to the paying of her employees, and the cost carried with this, although even this doesn’t fully explain it, because her plantations held more slaves than any other recorded at that time. One might figure that this could increase the threat of revolt for the Lady’s properties, yet she never experienced a revolt during her entire widowhood, and it is surmised that the one revolt that was put down swiftly and brutally by the plantation’s military force while her husband was still alive, was something that might have kept it from happening again during the Lady’s tenure.

Somewhere Near Trinidad, 1785 I.C.

“There is activity from a small Karib enclave located here. They have been refusing to attend services at the Mission here”, the priest’s fore finger pointed to both locations on the map laid out on the cabin table located in the Inquisitor Alonso Rodriquez Cabrillio’s quarters located below the forecastle of the Estalian warship El Justiciero, captained by Julio Poncio.

“I see, Brother Miguel”, replied the Inquisitor.

“At the moment, I don’t know of another definitive location to carry out our responsibilities, your Eminence. However, if we attend to such heathen behavior there, then we may, as we often do, hear of others’ transgressions elsewhere, from those who live at the Mission as well.

“Yes, Brother Miguel, I am aware of the possible opportunities.”

The priest sat still, while Inquisitor continued reviewing the map.

“Your Eminence; there is also news from the homeland.”

The Inquisitor’s eyes lifted to meet the priest’s eyes, but he did not move his head, “And?”

“The rumor passed along to me is that Bretonnia has started another war with Estalia.”

“I see, and has this rumor been confirmed?”

“Not yet, your Eminence, but I do have Osvardo working on it.”

“Good, before we can move away from our safe zone here, it could be wise to know what we might face when setting sail as you’ve suggested. However, I don’t want to be waiting for too long, or else we might not arrive before the offending Karibs move from disobedience and obstinacy to boldness and rebellion.”

“How long do we have, your Eminence?”

“For as long as it takes you to buy the supplies the soldiers will need during our journey to here,” and the Inquisitor’s finger pointed to the same general area as the Priest had pointed to earlier.

“Yes, your Eminence, and so I’ll leave immediately to do as you desire, and I will also see if Osvardo has further confirmation.”

“Make sure it does not take you too long, for I want to leave as soon as tomorrow morning, and no later, is that understood? I shall want no delays.”

“Most definitely, your Eminence, most definitely.”


Church of Mannan, Port Sigmar

The waves crashed darkly upon the rocky shore of Port Sigmar, the approaching storm rattling the terracotta roof and slamming a loose shudder against the stucco walls. Within the interior burned the comforting light of dozens of lanterns, some swinging in the breeze that forced its way in through cracks in the wall.

Before the altar knelt Father Mann, priest of Mannan, formerly of Nordland. His face was covered in soot, streaks of tears cleaning away parts of the face as he wept before his god. Clutching his holy symbol tightly, until it drew blood from his palms, he shuttered as if in a cold breeze, an open rotgut bottle on the carpet before him.

How could this have happened? How could I have let myself come to this? I did not mean to hurt the boy, an accident, yes! That is what it was, an accident. He could still see the boy as he rushed forth to see the massive stallion; Mann had not seen the boy until too late as the horses iron shod caved in his head. Drunk from a night of carousing, Mann had fallen from the horse into the mud, panicked and fled on foot into the dawn, leaving the child for dead, seeking only the refuge of his church. He had prayed all day and most of this night for redemption, for forgiveness for his sins.

The wicks in the lanterns wavered as the temperature in the church felt suddenly chill. It sounded as if a light rain had started to fall, the drops of rain pattering on the sails of ships in the harbor, on the canopy outside on the horse’s lean-to. The winds continued to howl as Mann kissed the holy symbol, and found it strangely cold to his lip. Wiping his vestments across his dirt streaked face; he faced the altar with renewed faith.

A rustling on the carpet behind him caused the priest to turn. He at first saw nothing in the gathering gloom but then he saw a form shuffle from behind the pews to his right. Staring into the dark he could make out the form of a man, the overpowering stench of rotten seaweed overcoming his senses. As the creature moved into sight, the priest gasped and held forth his holy symbol. Before him was a creature of human size, covered in a mass of dripping seaweed, the dark skin of a Karib poking through the seaweed at varied intervals. Its limbs were long and subtle, jutting out at strange angles. Draped across the seaweed was a suit of armor made up of finger bones and fishhooks that jingled as it moved.

“Mannan protect me!” squeaked Mann as he thrust forth his holy symbol, eyes cletched tight and awaiting the creature to strike. But the creature was gone, leaving the priest trembling and feeling foolish. Releasing a sigh of relief, Father Mann turned back to the altar. Father Mann never had a chance to scream as an enormous hook made of polished bone sliced down through his throat…


On board the Wandering Falcon, somewhere in the Karibbean, 1785 I.C.

The sea wasn’t quiet against the ship’s sides as the dawning sun came up over the ocean causing red colors in the sky, while other warnings in the weather seemed to deem bad days might be imminent in the Karibbean, too.

Captain Tavish McBride stood alongside his first mate while the latter turned the wheel. They cut a contrasting pair, the Captain wearing a floppy red hat and what might have been his best finery, a flowing flimsy white shirt, a dark blue vest, and buff, almost yellow trousers, all topped off by a long brown hunting cloak that had a belt untied, its purpose for helping to close the garment in bad weather. Meanwhile, the first mate had the working cloths of a seaman, well worn, and in good condition, yet clearly his earnings weren’t spent on fine clothing.

“Captain, may I speak freely?”

“As always, Matey.”

“Well ye crew, dey ain’t been paid in weeks, and their gettin’ a bit rambunctious, Captain.”

“As always, hence we’re at sea, so deys don’t get into no trouble in port, and we’re off to find a new employer.”

“Ah, I see, Captain, but you got me at the head of the ship, it’s been couple days now out of port, yet yer not tellin’ me where we goin’?”

“Nope, Matey, not yet, just keep sailing as you are, and we’ll see what happens.”

“Yep, Captain, ye always was one fer keepin’ things to yourself, yet a crew’s trust can be a fleeting thing, if dey ain’t happy.”

“Matey, I got your point ye first time. We’ll all be fine. I ain’t let ya down befer, and I ain’t lettin’ yer down now. Last word I heard, ders war afoot back in ye Old World, and when eva dare is, it tends to effect what goes on ova here. Dat means someone’s goin’ to want to hire us out fer some huntin’, and maybe more den one. With any luck, we get paid as usual, and can partake in some booty, too.”

“Well, Captain, one ding is fer shur, where ye go, dares always a bit of advencha, and me sailin’ dis here boat won’t be ye first time I didn’t know where we was goin’.”

“Take heeds, Matey. I’ll be taking over ye wheel afta ye cook serves the meal he’s fixin’. In ye meantime, I’m goin’ to take a break down below and polish up Old Tom fer some eventual shootin’. When ye get eatin’ with ya crew, I want ye to make shur dey know we’s headin’ fer a scrap, sound good?”

“Aye, aye Captain, as always.”

“Good, where dares a scrap, they’ll be ye treasure.”


El Citadel, the lower dungeons..

The large black rat sat perched upon the water barrel, its feral eyes locked upon the crumb of bread it held in filthy paws, regarding the man sitting on the pile of damp straw at the edge of dim light. Scrawling upon a piece of a rotted logbook with a hunk of coal , the prisoner regarded the rat for a moment before returning to his writing.

“If this be me last days then I want to go to the gallows with a clear conscience, unfettered by thoughts of revenge and ready to go to Morr’s realm.”

“I came to be in this place due to my actions, I was young, dumb and trusting. I was once a good man, a man with a future. That was before I signed on with the vile Captain Tristan Tremonte. Humph! Gentleman Pirate indeed, Tremonte is a cad of the highest caliber. He left his wife and children, a profitable plantation and a bright future because he simply grew bored!”

The rat continued to gnaw the bread, turning it over and over in its paws.

“I signed on with Tremonte in the summer of 1781, with the promise of silver and a future I could build upon. It was apparent right away that Tremonte had no idea the difference between a mizzenmast and a musket ball. He was incompetent to the point of being a liability and the crew muttered of mutiny no less than three months after we set to sea. A Privateer he was, or so he claimed, yet never produced a Letter of Marque. For that matter, now that I think of it, no one ever asked to see!”

The rat had finished its meal and moved now across the straw covered floor, lingering beyond the bars of the cell, just out of reach.

“So it was that Jack challenged Tremonte to a duel for control of our vessel, the Minstrel. Tremonte was taken quite aback but realized he had little choice but to accept. We made for a sandbar off to port and several of us, myself included, rowed out in the long boat and left the two on the sands. Jack was quick and drew forth his cutlass while Tremonte simply held his rapier out in a ridiculous stance, the kind that arrogant nobles take because they see duels as games. He looked effete and pompous, his ridiculous powdered wig and fine garments. I imagine it came as quite a shock to Tremonte when a parry and cut later his hand was flopping on the sand like a fish out of water!”

The sound of heavy footfalls and a dancing wave of light streamed from beyond the door of the cell block, heralding the approach of the Estalian jailors.

“I must be quick, for my pardon comes and I will see my way out of this vile place and breathe the clean air once more. The duel, back to the duel. Tremonte started in shock at his hand for a moment while Jack waited for him to surrender. Instead, Tremonte drew forth his pistol and shot Jack straight through the chest! Bad form from a cad and a slight to our code! Tremonte fled into the shallows beyond, our pistols echoing in the air but finding no purchase in his traitorous hide! He soon fell from sight into the jungle beyond the sandbar and we set about rowing back to the Minstrel. The Estalians took us then, while we were thus engaged watching the coward flee and we get clamped in irons…”

The lock in the cellblock door jingled as a heavy key was inserted, the heavy portal thrown open with force enough to smash the rat flat before the grim Inquisitorial Guard entered. Grasping hands reach into the cell and dragged the sailor out into the filtered light...

“Your time be up Davey Jones. The Hangman is waiting…”

Vera Cruz Mission

...To His Most Regal Majesty, the Emperor Don Carlos, our Most Magnificent King:

May this most celebrated and promising time of year, as once again the Spring renews our hopes in this life and in this Life to Come, return great happiness and wealth to Your Gracious Majesty, by Divine Right ruler of Valencia, Bilballi and of our new-found and prosperous Trinidad.

Good fortune to you upon this, the first day of April in the Year of our Lord seventeen hundred and forty eight, the fourteenth year of the just and kindly rule of His Holiness Ramul III.

Seven months ago, You Majesty, inspired as I was by the hope that my humble services might bring the peoples of this new and unsettled country from the Darkness of Superstition and Disbelief into the sweet and assuring Light of Myrmidia Faith, it was my privilege to travel with Captain Gabriel Rivera to Vera Cruz, at the very borders of those lands Your Majesty rules with infinite Justice and Mercy.

As we drove forth in righteous conquest, we came upon one village after another, abandoned, stripped of gold and ornament, except for a small shrine in each village, all the same, all strangely untouched. As to the outlandish and cruel nature of these shrines, I tremble to offend Your Majesty’s Decency and Faith; it might interest you to know that these shrines seemed to be made of a strange black glass, dark and bloody and carved with vile runes, were it not for the fact that the glass would not crack or break easily beneath our righteous weapons. Carved on the side of each altar were strange images of disturbing nature that I cannot go into in detail.

I need not assure Your Majesty that we were quick to destroy these horrid monuments, though indeed we marveled at why the villagers had left them unharmed. That is we wondered until we pressed further into the rain forest, still intent on extending the Rule and Majesty of Your Highness. As we pressed further into the unknown territory, we were met by bands of Karibs, who now greeted us with eagerness, having heard of our destruction of these vile altars. So it came to pass that we were joined by the natives and a large temple deep in the rainforest was overtaken and cleansed, and I set about to bring the Karibs to the true Faith the very night following.

Upon returning to our camp, we found Captain Rivera’s company had been tore to pieces during the night, the camp a charnel house, a scene that will haunt my dreams until that final rest. In flight we fled the jungle, losing our remaining guards and bearers to animals, quicksand and an ambush by reptilian monsters that stood upright! I attribute the final to the jungle fever that overtook me once I stumbled out of the jungle, Rivera accompanying me, though he did soon after of a strange wasting disease.

There are more things-darker things- I cannot entrust to a letter. Things for Your Majesty’s ear only. I plan to depart come winter for the Estalian homeland. Upon arrival, I most humbly request an Audience in Your Noble Presence.


Your Most Humble Servant
Padre Esteban Lopez de Ojeda S.P.


Chocolate Hole, dusk…

Holder bent low and slipped aside the brown curtain blocking out the cool night air from the interior of the hut. Standing upright once he passed beneath the arch, Holder stopped and held his breath. The room beyond was filled with all manner of objects, from skulls to bottles to rattles to bead curtains and a host of other containers, all backlit by hundreds of fat burning candles, some set in holders, some held in place by their dripping wax, others set upon skulls, grim guardians that forced the Empire born Holden to clutch his wide brimmed hat closer to his chest. Before him, seated upon the floor in front of a small burning brazier, was a Karib man of modest age. Dirty locks of braided hair hung from his weathered skull, years of living in the warm climate had made the Karib’s skin leathery, stretch taunt across his bones. He wore a simple pair of striped pants, a vest of goatskin and no shoes. The Karib looked up from the fire to meet the gaze of Holder.

“Wot you want, babaloo? Dey say you looking fer King Willie, dey say you offerin him favors, eya?” The Karib motioned to Holder to take a seat before the fire.

Reluctantly sitting down, forced to sweep aside a crab from the sandy floor, Holder took his place across from the Karib, the flickering flames throwing shadows across both man’s faces. Dabbing at his sweating brow with a cloth, Holder addressed the man the natives assured him was King Willie, High Priest of Coquina.

“It’s my sister Jocelyn sir. She is very sick and our leeches know not the reasons for the malady. She is struck mute, unable to breathe or speak. Her eyes are wide with fear as if she is experiencing a waking nightmare, but she cannot awake from it. She is unable to take food and is wasting away before my eyes.”

Suddenly stretching to his feet, Willie turned his back to Holder, speaking to him over his shoulder as he moved to one of the shelves behind him.

“So why you come see Willie den? Wot make you think Willie gone help you, Willie can help you?”

“They say you have…powers…you can make big sicknesses into little sicknesses, little sicknesses go away. I have need of your help, for my sister’s sake if not my own!”

“Your sister, she be a fine woman then? Red hairs like the conch shells don Willies beaches? Da woman dat I done see in town, yellin at da younglings and playin da part of da fine upstanding lady? So those make you dem plantation man, Holden, eya? The one that sits on the hills, wherein der be lots of workers, maybe worked too hard”

“I am sir, as is she that you name my sister.”

Chuckling to himself, Willie turns back to Holden, his hair hanging across his face like dirty ropes onboard a ship, one eye glaring out to view Holden.

“Nothin here for you, plantation man. Willie don’t make no sicknesses go way, Willie just an old man waiting for da jumbies to come take him away.”

Gasping, Holden rises to his feet, placing his hat upon his head and glaring at the back of the Karib, who once more stood facing away from him.

“I was foolish to waste my time” he spat as he ducked under the doorway and stalked off into the night.

Chuckling once more to himself, Willie drew forth a small doll from his vest, a doll with two plain button eyes and a noose of red hair tied tightly around the throat. Willie still smiled at the ease in which he had acquired Jocelyn’s hair, her vanity at combing her lustrous locks each night made getting the follicles a simple matter. Clutching the doll tightly in his hand, he squeezed ever so slightly, coughing as he did; he could almost hear her screams from here…


The Anchor and Whistle Tavern, Isabella Sound

“So then they bring in the Dancer, Tremonte and his crew in irons. The vessel hold is full of three tons of cocoa beans and 60,000 pieces of eight, the richest prize the Bretonnians have ever taken. Tremonte is a mystery, not a sailor, not much of a fighter but the man has a reputation you know having, escaped on more than one occasion from the noose. So the Estalians decide to keep them all onboard the ship instead of jailing them.”

Draining the tankard in a final satisfying gulp, the Dwarf wipes his gnarled hand across his beard, removing the last bit of foam. He motions to the barmaid to bring another round before returning his attention to the two merchants before him.

“The Lord Mayor then orders the carpenters to construct a gallows right there on the docks! More than a dozen of them are brought in, at such a late hour no less, and under the light of lanterns start a ruckus with all that hammerin and sawin. The good people of the Sound are kept up under this barrage of noise, and all the while Tremonte and his crew stand upon the deck of the Dancer, muskets trained on them by the Bretonnians. Ah!”

The buxom wench drops a new tray of pitchers upon the table with a thud, scowling at the Dwarf and rubbing the welt he just raised upon her buttocks. Laughing, the Dwarf picks up a pitcher and starts to take a deep draught.

“As I was sayin, they be prisoners on their own ship, waiting for that sharp drop come morning. So what does Tremonte do? The coward slits the throat of his guard and slips into the harbor. Using not but a pair of wine barrels, for he cant swim ye see, he paddles to shore and makes good his escape.”

“Now how did he mange that little feat? If I understand the stories, Tremonte lost his hand in a duel and has a hook where his left hand used to be.”

“Sorry mate, but who is tellin dis tale? Dats right, it be me! Now do you want to hear it or not?”

Silence followed the outburst from the Dwarf and so he continued.

“So den Tremonte meets up with some of his mates down the coast, gets himself another ship and crew and sails back to Trinidad. Under the guise of a trading vessel, he and his new crew sneak back into the harbor and steal the Dancer right from under the nose of Bretonnians finest Knights!”

Laughing at that, the Dwarf continues to drain the pitcher while the two merchants consider his tale.

“You spin a fine yarn master Dwarf, but there are many stretches in it. How did Tremonte get the barrels if the hold was full? How did he escape? How did he outfit this new vessel? Papers? It seems beyond the man.”

Smiling to himself, Stonekeg leans forward.

“He must have friends in high places, I be imagining…”

Beaches of Karakas, near midnight...

The raging bonfire through red lights across the circle of gathered Karib and Estalian children sitting on the pearly white sands, eyes wide with terror. Before the children sits a grossly fat Karib woman, so obese as to look virtually incapable of movement. Her face, while weathered by southern breezes, was that of a sweet old lady, in her waning years. Her dark eyes twinkled in merriment as she regarded Maria.

“Mama, tell us another story!”

“Children, it be getting late, but” drawing forth a small hourglass from her robe “I think we have time for one more story before the witching hour, one more tale to help keep y’all warm on da way home.”

As the children leaned near, Mama Regina adjusted her robes and settled into a more comfortable position. She then began…

“When I was a little girl, not much younger then dear Maris here, I did travel dese islands wif my papa, he being a sailor and good one too. One night we be tacking offa Kiss Bottom when we comes across a schooner, be flying at half sail and all. Der be no sign of anyone on deck, so me papa doan moors us in dere fishing nets and climbs onboard. Der be no sign of anyone below decks, me papa doan a fine search and all. He comes back to da sloop and casts off without saying ting, like he doan seen a jumbie or something.”

Several of the children jumped as the distant foghorn sounded midnight in the harbor; Mama Regina only smiled and continued.

“My papa, he don’t say nothing till we get far away from the schooner, then he takes my chin in his hands and kisses my forehead. Regina, he say, don’t know what that schooner be about but there be no souls on board, but the dinner is still on da table and the food and coffee be hot and steaming. I found this on the table, twinkling with light.”

“My papa draws forth this shiny gold coin, all marked with symbols of power. He tells me that it be powerful magic and I needs keep it safe with me. And so I put it in my pocket and we no talk about it no more.”

“I comes to find out in the years that follow dat da coin be one of the Nine Pieces of Eight, a cursed orb from the shores of Lustria. Dey say it’s a warning against greed, some say that it draws forth monsters to it, monsters from the deep all dripping and slimy. Some say that it attracts these beasties, especially if there be a fire to point the way. Like the fire we have here before us!”

With that she draws forth a heavy gold coin with ancient etchings from her robes and holds it up in the fire light, its surface flashing golden radiance as the children screamed, some of them running from the night, others clutching at the Karib woman in fear. With reasurring words uttered while stroking their hair and patting them in comfort, Mama Regina gazed out across the water, waiting to see if the monsters would finally come…
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