Skull & Shackles

Well that's over with
And really, it's been a long time coming

So uh… Prescott and I decided we weren’t going to be pirates anymore. What happened was during a ship battle with some Wreckers (shittier pirates (Like moral wise not quality wise)) our wise and honorable captain Fa Zhou had the brilliant idea to ram the enemy ship. It worked out just about as well as you can expect. Most of the crew is dead. Those of us that survived made it back to shore in the dingies. We went to the local tavern immediately and began discussing what to do next. Prescott had the horrible idea for us to go back to Taldor. I told him that was a horrible idea seeing as we’re wanted criminals there. He eventually admitted I was right and we agreed to go with Kerak (The Sarenrae guy) Vess (The zombie guy) and Heathcliff (The new guy) on their crazy new adventure to Ustalav. I tried to convince Sandara to go with us but she was having none of it. Oh well, there’ll be another way to break the bond. Fa Zhou disappeared and Pierce had the common sense to leave as well. The rest (Except maybe Sandara if she had enough sense) went with Edward and his new ship, the demon resurrected version of his old ship. He tried to get us all to come back and made Lotus the captain, but I think it’s safe to say our pirating days are over. Now we’re off on a much more interesting adventure as Prescott and I escort Kerak, Vess, and Heathcliff as they look for their lost friend Ella and try to figure out what the hell is up with Vess.

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Petrila's Letter
As read by Kerak

To the survivors of the Wyrmwood:


Captain Alestrum,

I apologize that I was unable to fulfill my promise. I truly hope that you can find your Red Queen one day and I regret that I was not able to find it with you. I have just one final request of you, Captain. I always believed that underneath all your rough pirate exterior you were a good person. Don’t lose that in a blind quest to regain your ship. No prize is worth the price of your soul.


Lily,

I never got the chance to talk to you about your father and your lust for revenge. I know I’ll not be able to talk you out of it, not like this, but please remember that revenge won’t undo all the harm your father has caused. Please do not stoop to his level as you seek justice for the wrongs done to you. And please keep Captain Alestrum safe. He’s not the best in a fight and you’ve always been… talented in that area. And don’t let Crow do anything stupid. The man is a loose cannon. If the captain wasn’t so infatuated with him I’d suggest you kill him.


Sandara,

You were a true friend to me in a time where friendship was so rare and important. I regret that, provided you don’t convert before you move on, we will never again get the chance to see each other. I hope the seas fare you will Sandara Quinn and that you will always remain in Besmara’s favor.


Rosie,

Having reached Sarenrae’s embrace, I can safely say Rosie that your music is still among the most beautiful things I’ve heard. Never stop playing, it was what you were meant to do.


Conchobhar Turlach Shortstone,

You were a liar, but not a malicious one. Your stories, untrue they might have been, kept us entertained. Thank you for making us all smile during our time on that terrible ship.


Giffer,

Sarenrae says hello. She says she is sorry to hear of your bleaching and hopes that you recover. You were some of the best company she’s had in centuries and hopes to see you again.


shivikah,

I do not know what it is that you did to cause you such pain and a desire for redemption. I wish I had been able to help you in your quest, and I pray even now that you do fine the attonement that you seek.


Tam,

Though I did not know you well, while we slaved on that Wyrmwood hell. I’ll never forget the time when you taught me how to rhythm.


Ratline,

I don’t think we ever spoke but it felt rude not to include you. So I’ll just tell you to be good, follow the light.


Crow,

Crow. I may not be there to keep you in line anymore, but Lily still is. And so help me if you somehow ruin the Captain’s chance to regain his ship and therefor completely break my promise I will find a way back to the mortal plain and it will not be pretty. Sarenrae forbids killing only until we are certain an individual is beyond redemption and Crow, if you ruin this for Alestrum, there will be no power great enough to keep me from bringing you to justice.

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Captain Kiddo's Diary
First Entry

From the Desk of Captain Edward Alestrum  Kiddo Caliari

Dear Diary,
I found this really nifty little leather bound book here in Edward’s old desk, which has been my desk now for what, 4 days? Maybe 5? Honestly that whole Ghost ship nonsense made me lose track of the time a bit, but I’ll get to that later.
I didn’t know Edward kept a diary, and there was only one page with anything written in it. Some plea to Besmara about being Captain and getting the crew back. I know, Diary, ironic.
I tore it out and threw it overboard.
Clean slate.
Though, to be honest, I didn’t really think keeping a diary was a very pirate-y thing to do, but if Edward kept a diary then I should too, right?

Anywho, I’ve been Captain now for close to a week and I gotta say, I think I’m doin’ a real bang-up job. I talked my way into the position like a real smooth-talking smooth talker, and it’s been even smoother sailing ever since. Get it, Diary? Ship puns! Vald always said my luck would eventually run dry, but look at me now, eh?
But I digress.
Doc Cornall’s my new First Mate, a pretty obvious choice since Vald was cut down in cold blood for no discernable reason, a fact that I will not soon forget. Or forgive. And he used to be a sheriff, so he’s got leadership experience, and he can back be up when things get hairy. Vald would be proud o’ me. Shoulda’ been him sittin’ at this desk tellin’ people what to do…
Edward’s the new Boatswain, that was the deal for him to relinquish control of the ship over to me without a fight, and I’m thankful that he’s been so cooperative with me this last week. He’s even been showing me the ropes. Figuratively, I mean, he’s been teaching me to navigate and pilot the ship. He says it’s important for a Captain to be be in control of his Vessel. I get the feeling he’s not too impressed with my leadership, though… But don’t worry, Diary, I’ll win him over.

So, allow me to recap the last few nights.
First we saw a what we thought was a Whaling ship on the horizon. As one of my first acts as Captain I order that we follow it in the safest way possible. Next morning it’s gone, so I’m thinkin’ “shit, the goddamn ship got away from us cause I was pussyfootin’ around trying not to cock up my first adventure as Captain.”
But don’t worry Diary, cause it wasn’t my fault at all. Turns out the Whaling vessel was actually a terrifying Ghost Ship that was gonna enslave our souls for all eternity. Bittersweet, I know. I sent the crew scrambling all over, doing research and blessing weapons, pulling together anything they could think of. I thought we were in for a real crucible.

I was wrong.

The ghost pirates shows up with their Captain and call parley. They say they want five people on our crew to serve on the Ghost ship for all eternity and the rest would be devoured… So obviously I tell him to shove off, my crew was ready for a fight and I wasn’t about to just hand over the ship on a silver platter. Then, the spooky Captain gives Lotus a real’ significant look and they all leave… Just like that… No fighting, no undead curses, no devouring, no nothing. I mean, I think Lotus is a real dark piece of work but goddamn. No one on the crew knew what to make of that. And from the look on her face she has no idea what the deal was herself. I’ll keep a pin in that…
Then Blait starts blubbering like a newborn in his ugly mask, but honestly I couldn’t care less what that creepy bastard gets up to with his manicured boyfriend.

So, we’re heading back to Squibb’s now, empty handed, with only a few days of rations left and nothing to show for our trip except a mediocre story about a Ghost Captain taking a stroll on deck for a few minutes. Then, thankfully, Hubbles spots a fishing village on the coast, and that obnoxiously optimistic, tea-sucking old foreigner, Fa Zhou, blindsides the whole crew with a brilliant idea to turn this would-be pillaging into a real profitable operation! Edward conned a dingy off of them and we’re gonna head down tomorrow morning to extort the villagers for gold, supplies and people, and in exchange we won’t kill them all and burn their village to the ground. Fair trade.

Note to self:
Make Fa Zhou some sort of Officer


Well, that’s all for now, Diary.
Tomorrow we’re gonna start building real reputation for the Stormbreaker and her crew.

Xoxo,
Captain Kiddo

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Ghost ships? Really?
Norgorbor, if you have a moment...

Ships sailing again under new management. Still a little short handed, but in other news Prescott is an idiot and the sky is blue.

Moved the plan to steal Sandara away from Besmara forward a bit. We made a bet on who could corrupt Prescott first. She’s agreed to come with us whenever we make port to participate in thieving jobs. Just gotta make sure Prescott doesn’t cave and become a pirate before I can sway her, not that that’ll be hard. Prescott wouldn’t cave even if the possibility of getting our bond broken wasn’t on the line. The man’s too stubborn in his nobility to become anything as underwordly as a pirate or thief. Plus he’s aware of the plan, his part in it, and what’s at stake. I mean, Prescott is an idiot but there’s absolutely no way this fails because of him. Only way it doesn’t work is if I can’t seduce Sandara away from the sea. That one is a real possibility. She’s a tough nut to crack. My standard array of tricks don’t work on a fellow criminal. I have to get creative, and I’m gonna be honest for once, I’m a little rusty at it. Social manipulation was never my forte. I’m better at stealing things than people. Oh well, we’ll see how this one plays out.

But the real exciting development of the past few days, the one that deserves the most attention I think, is the_ freakin’ ghost ship full of horrible ghost pirates that are going to kill us and eat our souls._ Like what the hell man? For the first time I find myself agreeing with Prescott. Staying on the ship was a bad idea, even if there was a possibility of breaking our bond. Man this is not how I want to go…

So that brings me to the main point of this. Hey boss, I’m assuming you’ve heard me today. I’ve been praying and calling you and doing every ritual I know to contact you. But maybe you can’t hear me. Maybe it’s Besmara or the ghost ship or that stupid bee man’s magic blocking my messages. Or maybe you just tuned me out after the first hour or two. I’m sure it got pretty annoying, but you know, I’m kinda desperate here. Anyway point is, maybe you can read this if you can’t hear me, or you will read it if you find my voice to be too annoying. Or maybe it won’t reach you or you’ll ignore it. I don’t know how you godly types actually do your stuff, but I gotta try here. As I’ve said, I don’t want to die.

So listen… err read? You can’t really listen to stuff that’s written down. Unless you count your inner monologue. Do gods have those? Or do you have one of your servants read these things to you? In which case I guess listen does apply. Sorry. I’m rambling. I’m a bit nervous here because there’s a good chance I’m about to die and have my soul eaten by ghost pirates. Seriously. What the hell.

But I’ve given you all of Prescott’s gold. Well I tried to. I offered Besmara a toll or bribe or whatever to not take it so hopefully she didn’t. It was 60 if you’re counting. Plus some of my blood. I know the actual gold isn’t important to you, it’s the value it represents to me and my willingness to sacrifice it to you. But still, don’t let her take your gold. I know she’s the Pirate Queen and all, but you’re the King of Thieves. Don’t let someone else rob you. You know who else is definitely going to try to steal from you, oh Gray Master? These pirate ghosts when they steal the soul of one of your servants to eat it or enslave it to work on their ship. Can’t let that happen. No one steals from you, am I right?

I’m sorry, that was disrespectful. I’m just nervous and scared my Lord. We’re not equipped properly for this. Sandara is trying to invoke Besmara’s name to bless our stuff but I don’t know how well they’re getting along right now after that whole rigged duel mutiny fiasco, so that line of defense might not be there and thus I turn to you. If Besmara will not help because she’s upset with Sandara, Alestrum, the crew in general or whatever, will you step in? I need the crew alive to man the ship or I’ll die regardless of the ghost ship and then how will I steal in your name, my Lord? Also Prescott can’t die either unfortunately, but we’ve been over that. (Hey, if you ever wanna break that bond, I’ll owe you big time boss!).

I realize of course, all of this might not be enough to entice you to come to our aid my Lord. So I have one final thing to offer you, and believe me it is not easy for me to do this. On this ship resides one of the most blood thirsty, horrifying, sadistic individuals I’ve ever met. You might have taken notice of her. I don’t know how closely you’ve been following my misadventures down here in the Shackles. She’s a half-elf (I told you this wasn’t easy for me) named Lily, though the crew calls her Lotus. She’d be a perfect fit to follow you under your Father Skinsaw guise.

If you help us live through this and it is your desire, I will point her in your direction and teach her all that I can about you, your teachings, and the Skinsaw cult. But if this is your wish, Lord, I ask of you to please make the sign obvious. You know my feelings towards elves and their spawn and I would prefer not to have to endure their company because I misinterpreted your meaning. So if you would come to our aid tomorrow, and Lotus is the price you want, please please make it clear. The more direct the message the better.

Another big price I’m willing to pay you should even all this not be enough, is to give up on the plan to steal Sandara from the Pirate Queen for you. I took initiative thinking that gaining you another follower by stealing them from another god would be a good worthy show of skill, but after some thought I realize you might not want to temper relations with Besmara. The two of you hold domain over similar areas so it might be better to stay on good terms I now realize. As with Lotus, I ask for a direct response if this is part of your price.

I will be on deck tonight to fight these wraiths. I will be wearing the mask of the Skinsaw, for it is that power I think I will need as opposed to my normal antics. I plan to offer Prescott the mask of the Blackfingers. I don’t know if he’ll accept it, but if he does please help him as well. Out of all the crew, he is the most important, aside from myself, to keep alive. Thank you for listening… reading… whatever, Lord Norgorber.

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Plea to Besmara.
The Pirate Queen.

Besmara, Queen of the Pirates, I’m begging you to save my crew and my ship from being stranded in the seas. I’ve been following your code, we’ve been making you offerings and even have 2 cats on board for good luck. I understand I was too lenient on my crew, especially Crow, but I couldn’t allow him harm since Vess claimed he was a servant of pure chaos. I had to do everything I could to protect the ship from being assaulted by chaos itself, and that means I had to protect Crow at all costs. Just because people disagreed with my actions, it doesn’t matter. I’m captain and whatever I say goes. We can’t make it to Squibbs in this state, I cannot die floating around like a piece of driftwood! You understand don’t you Besmara?

Thinking back on it now….Sandara….she seemed off….was she the one who lead the crew off? Hold on…odd. Very odd. Maybe she suffered the same fate as I have. Regardless I can’t sit around any longer and do nothing. It’s time to be a real damn captain. I’m getting my bloody crew back.

Edward.png

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Throwin fists

What is it with these folk on this ship, cheering with glee as they see a handicapped man being battered around? At least the first time I did it, I got some coin out of it. Perhaps next time I’ll be in a tavern fight with a blind man, giving me more of a challenge. Ah, the poor lad, clearly he has no achievements to gloat about. I let him get a few hits in before battering his fragile brain to a pulp to spare a bit of his ego…. and his sanity. Gave the crowd a bit of a show too. Maybe I’ll fix him up with some ice. No hard feelings for the poor soul, he was clearly just desperate to win whatever bet he had. If it wasn’t for my reputation I’ve seemed to have made for myself, I just might have sacrificed my victory to see that bastard Blait go into some debt. Better yet, I wish it were him who challenged me. I would be swabbin the decks with that smug face of his.

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Vessimeer’s personal log
2

Some of the crew seems displeased with the captains actions in regards to releasing the slaves they kidnapped. This captain follows moral codes and does not want anyone forced on this boat, its very interesting.

We raided another ship today, it unleashed this huge beast, another fascinating creature I’ve never seen before. I killed many men on that fight, I can feel the eldritch gods power flowing through my dead cold veins, I hope I cant get the captains respect, I want to be feared.

Flint was fighting quite passionlessly, he really wanted to kill the enemy captain, never seen his spirit so high, the poor fool lost a bet, at least now he can speak. I thought he was going to kill himself.

I cant stop hearing voices, constant whispers, Day and night. I don’t feel the need to sleep, at night i’m constantly drawn to the stars, I feel energized when I stare at them. I see symbols on the walls, on people, animals, everywhere! what does it mean!? I need to Figure this out, I must bring my god to the physical world, but how? what does he want, blood? souls? do I have to kill this entire crew and sink the boat? what does he want from me! I need to redeem myself, I need to show my worth to the stars!

I must ask for guidance when the stars are out, all I can do now is pray. Its time to start my research, I need to bring the great old ones to this physical world, we must take it over, but how?

This will take some time, I need to grow my skills first, Ill destroy anyone who tries to stop me.

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Vessimeer’s personal log
1

So we raided our first ship, I stayed on the boat until the raid was over, Cant risk getting killed with these wounds, me and flint searched the bilges, we found 2 humans and the most fascinating creature I ever seen! never seen this before, It was a bird man! Amazing, I couldn’t help my self my sage senses were tingling I had to take a feather from it. I lost the thing, don’t know how….but I didn’t want to offend the fascinating creature any more so I apologized to it. Hopefully I can study this thing in the future, So glad I went on a boat, I get to see so much. Oh yeah and there were these two human males, one seemed pretty cool. Like he has been with a lot of woman or something, The other seems to hate his partner, like as if he gets dragged into this characters shenanigans….long story short they joined our crew, we need people, not much of a choice, But I think it was a good one.

We recently raided a small fishing village, the men were weak, It didn’t take very long, we searched the village, I was able to convert some people to worship the one and only true god of the stars, Turns out that you can use fear to gain religious followers! who knew! I wonder if some people caught on to that?…. there pathetic “Gods” couldn’t protect them, mine would as long as they spread the word.

I question the morals of some of these officers, taking mothers away from there kids…..makes me sick, I put a stop to that, can’t allow that to happen, The world is already dark enough, Also gained a follower out of that, I gave her back to her children, then she follows the true god of the stars, Pretty fair deal.

I think I made a friend also, small little thing with such a colorful mouth, I’m trying to be friendly, it makes me cough but I’m getting used to it, I just hope it doesn’t kill me. I told the small creature about my past and showed her my face, She got a little creeped out, but she knows I’m telling the truth,I think she respects me for that, I think were going to get along, I believe she will serve my cause one day.

But on to much more important things, Killing that scum shivka, the nerve of her, just the scent of her makes me want to kill her right on the spot, But can’t do that, don’t want to get killed, but People like her need to be wiped of the face of the earth, ill make sure I take care of that.

may the stars guide me.

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Our first pirate act!
Also the halfing wench is a bitch

Aye so not too much happened immediately after the Sahuagin attack and the bee thing’s punishment. We sailed a few days uneventfully. But then on me and the singing halfling lass’ watch night we spied a ship! Yo ho and all that. The wench couldn’t see the ship so I picked her up to help, and boy was that a mistake. Now let me tell you how insufferable she’s gotten since. You try to do one kind thing for a person and suddenly you’re public enemy number one. Alright true, I may have been motivated a wee bit by me prejudices against the little folk, but still! No need to be so rude. And she threatens to have the Cap’n throw me overboard if I continue to talk to her. Some nerve. No respect for her betters. Maybe that fiddle of hers be having a little accident in the future. I’ll make Kiddo do it to keep the blame off me.

Anywho, we race after this ship and catch up in a day or two. There’s a bit of a chase, a bit o’ cannon fire but nothing that did any damage to either ship. It seemed to be draggin on and on and on so the Captain decided to just board and kill them all anyway. Which we did. Mostly. Kept a couple alive to use as slaves, kept their captain alive for he be callin’ parley. Lucky for him too. I was about to shoot off his head when I saw our Captain raise his hand for a cease fire. Was able to nudge my aim just enough to only graze the bastard instead o’ killin’ him. At least that’s what I’m gonna tell the crew and Captain. Truth was, I didn’t see the Cap’n raise his hand and actually missed somehow. Don’t know how that bloody happened. Must’ve been wind or somethin’. Anyway, so far as the crew an’ Captain Alestrum’s concerned, I missed on purpose. It was a good thing I missed too. I hear killin’ a man whose called parley be bad luck and might possibly bring about the Pirate Queen’s wraith. So now we parley with this ships crew. Hopefully the plunder is good, we got a mighty debt to pay off if we’re ever to be true pirates.

But back to the important issues. That hafling bitch. How dare she talk to me like that. I shot back at her for every insult she attempted to fire at me, but still. And the worse of it is the crew, sided with her! Even Kiddo! Might be she’ll be the one in the bilges next time Crow’s on night watch. Fuckin’ little wench. Maybe I’ll shorten her food rations too. Or cut off her rum. That’s a good one there. See how well she sings without any rum.

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Ha! I stole Crow's food!
(He deserved it)

So this pirate gig isn’t that bad so far. I was made an officer! Me! Ha! And poor Kiddo got placed under my command. Kid’s lucky I like him or man would he would be suffering under my rule, especially after that stunt he pulled back in Bloodcove. Still haven’t forgotten that one. Also put under me thumb were the singin’ halfling, that scary looking lady, Crow, and the uh… bee thing. Crow has the permanent position of bilges man and that be fine by me. The captain also named Besmara’s priestess as our navigator and the dwarf as the rigger officer. Lotus is apparently the cook… and maybe the first mate? I’m not sure. There seems to be a bit of confusion on that point. Really though, we all know I should be first mate. I could out shoot the entire crew twice over blindfolded. But I think Lotus might kill me if I get the spot… Tough choices. I’d better play it safe I think, even though I’m obviously the most deserving.

So we’re sailing along, captain picked some island to the south as our destination. Everything seems to be in order, we set up a night watch. During the night though, we were boarded! Sahuagins! Besmara curse the devils! Shivikah, who was on watch, immediately woke myself and the other officers but the uh… bee creature (the other watchmen) stood there and blathered on like an idiot instead of waking the rest of the crew. We fought the bastards till they dropped (I didn’t have my rifle on me, but still managed to bullseye one in the face after borrowing the Captain’s pistol), but they managed to wound one of our crew! Poor, poor Shivikah. In a huge stroke of luck though, turns out we had a stowaway. A healer in fact. The doc saved our crewmembers life so the Captain let ‘em stay on board provided he worked. He did, of course, and Shivikah was given the day off to rest. She spent it fishin’, getting some of us some mighty fine food for the night.

Captain also decided that it was time to bring some discipline to the crew. As punishment for not waking the crew and therefor allowing Shivikah to get hurt, bee man was gagged and strung up along the rigging for the day. It was satisfying. Crow made some off handed comment about talking to him while being punished, so I punished crow by taking away his food and giving it to Shivikah. See a perk of my position is that I’m in charge of handing out the shares of food, rum, and gold. Boy it’s gonna be a lot of fun. Between Crow, Bee Man, and Kiddo there’s way too many people I think I can safely get away with messing with.

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