TAL

Sacrifices and Victories

A hero's death, and new allies

In the city of Derioch, home of the mentally gifted Xerans, chaos had come to visit. A rent in the planar fabric unleashed the force of pure Chaos on this peaceful town.

Fortunately for the psychic Xerans, the brave heroes Cottington, Rye Longtooth and the famous pirate Captain Tabran Tain were there to save the day.

Woken from their beds, the three adventurers headed into town, where they discovered a large fire burning out of control. At the centre of town, in the heart of an ancient temple, a burning planar portal gaped like a hungry mouth. The heat and the energy so released were destroying the city, and it seemed that the destruction of Derioch was imminent.

Seeing the dire peril facing the land, the chef-mage Cottington, a wise and intelligent wizard, seized his mighty staff of frost, a tool he had created by his own hand. Focusing all his considerable arcane might on the challenge at hand, Cottington destroyed his staff, channelling all the energy it contained towards sealing the rift.

The explosion was epic, the consequences legendary. The rift, a tear between the very planes, was sealed. Alas, Cottington was not spared. The forces unleashed coalesed around him, sealing him as if in a statue of ice. Yet, within the statue, the remnant of the burning rift lingered.

Sorrowful for the loss of their companion, Rye Longtooth and Captain Tain would have mourned him… had not a more urgent crisis grabbed their attention. For not only fire and death had moved from the World of Chaos to our own.

A four-legged demon of fearsome aspect had made some distance from the rift, and our heroes charged after it, hoping to destroy it before it could harm any innocents. Though they destroyed this demon, it was not alone. An image from nightmare descended upon them, a creature whose gaping maw seemed enough to swallow entire worlds.

Wounded already, Captain Tain was forced to retreat before the creature, and the catlord monk Rye Longtooth was critically injured and trapped by the beast. Defeat seemed certain, when fate intervened.

In a simple room beneath a house of healing, a man of war rested. Plauged by mental demons that drove him to feats of horrific slaughter, he was seeking for peace. However, the destruction wrought by the planar rift destroyed the walls of his room, and he saw Captain Tain and Rye Longtooth’s desperate struggle. Knowing that he would sacrifice all that he had learned from his teachers here in Derioch, the berserker took up his mighty greataxe and charged to their rescue.

Fuelled by the rage that burned within him, the beserker was able to destroy the demon, and, unable in the heat of battle to distinguish friend from foe, would have turned on Captain Tain – had he not feigned death to avoid the blows from his new-found ally. Robbed of victims, the beserker turned on the Xerans around, before a teledominant was able to calm his emotions forcefully.

The crisis averted, the heroes retreated to the Content Not Found: scoundrels-hope, where they found that the second mate had not survived the events of the night. Saddened by this, Captain Tain nevertheless forced down his pain and focused on the job in hand – negotiating with the port authorities and the merchants of Derioch. Investing the profits of his last journey on the finely-crafted merchandise of Derioch, Captain Tain was preparing to head back to the Hope when he was accosted by a young Xeran woman, Kami. Overwhelmed by Captain Tain’s reputation, personality, dashing good looks and staggering mustache, she demanded to join the crew of the Hope. In need of a new second mate and impressed by the girl’s forthrightness, Tain agreed, and pushed the girl off the dock. If she wants it enough to swim, he reasoned, she’s determined enough to keep.

Tain, Longtooth and the beserker boarded the Hope in time to see Kami pull herself from the water with her psychically-controlled grappling hook. Slacking off lines, the Hope turned and sailed towards the city of Dana.

However, their journey was not to be unhindered. The three-masted barque Green Dragon had been waiting for the Hope, commanded by Captain Tain’s old nemesis, Captain Greenblade. Harnessing the power of a wizard, the Green Dragon summoned a whirlpool to allow the larger, slower Dragon to close on the Hope. Despite the skilled seamanship of Captain Tain, the Dragon closed to combat range, hoisted pirate colours and fired on the Hope.

Sadly for the crew of the Dragon, they had not reckoned with the latest in modern ship-to-ship weaponry – namely, a frenzied beserker equipped with magical items to improve his jumping range. The Hope turned in and closed with the Dragon, allowing their newest ally to leap aboard and start butchering the swabs.

However, the downside of a beserker’s frenzy soon became apparent. Heedless of his own strength, the warrior flailed about himself with his powerful greataxe, and badly damaged the mizzenmast of the Dragon. The enormous treetrunk tore free of its shrouds and stays and began to fall onto the Hope. Had it struck, the Hope would surely have been sunk.

Fortunately, Kami, the Xeran crewmember, was able to seize the falling mast with the sheer power of her mind. Though it was a great challenge, she was able to force the mast to fall away from the Hope.

Aboard the Dragon, the battle raged on. The beserker was able to control the main deck, slaying the wizard and occupying the attention of all the pirates aboard except Greenblade himself, who thirsted for the blood of Tabran Tain, his old foe.

Swinging aboard with his crewmen, Tain landed smoothly on the after deck of the Dragon, accompanied by the catlord monk Rye Longtooth. Pointing to Greenblade, Captain Tain cried aloud, “Leave him, he’s mine!”

As is known to all who sail aboard the good ship Scoundrel’s Hope, this is code for “Aha! My adversary! One hundred gold pieces to the man who helps me slay him!” Rye Longtooth did not hesitate, and ably distracted Captain Greenblade long enough for Captain Tain to strike him down.

With Greenblade and his wizardly minion slain, the whirlpool faded away. Accepting the surrender of the few remaining crewmen, Tain explored the ship. In the hold, chained like animals, he found the _Dragon_’s cargo: slaves.

Infuriated at Greenblade’s callousness, Tain struck a bargin with the slaves: in exchange for not killing him or his crew and helping him sail the Dragon into port, he would give them their freedom. The proposal was unanimously accepted, and Tain freed the forty or so wretches below decks.

In the captain’s cabin, Tain found an interesting document – the _Dragon_’s charter. With his claim to the vessel now legally unassailable and the previous owner sinking into the Danaspree Cauldron, Tain set course for Dana, considering buying himself a hat. A really big one, and then changing his name to ‘Commodore Tain’.

Comments

Great analysis Hunt :0)

Sacrifices and Victories
Mask Merlin

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