The New World

Session 21

Op. Ed. for Session 21Back in the Green HellThursday 11th November 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time – 154 days real time, 156 days game time (15th December 1602 ?)

Location – The Rio Esmeralda, above the mission of San Miguel

The Baillieu rounded the cape at the western end of Hata and turned eastwards, traveling along the southern shore of Iberita toward El Dio. Reaching Cuidad de Dio, Content Not Found: henry-d-avenne went ashore to carry the warning to the Iberian colony, and to obtain dependable charts of the Rio Hippolyta and Rio Esmeralda. He also sought the services of pilot who knew those rivers. Succeeding in all, the ship set out for Duke of Oatshire Island, off any bearing which Red Jack Stavros’ fleet was likely to intersect. A brief respite, in the form of a nuptial mass, and accompanying revels, awaited. There was feasting, music, dancing, Europan wine purchased from Port-au-Hôpital and the spectacle of a Hibernian chasing a pig. Prior to the half-holiday unloading the quarterly supply for the small populace added to the freneticism of preparations for the wedding festivities. After, the readying for an immediate departure taxed the resources of surfeited men.

The next day the Baillieu weighed anchor and made way for Point Verdain and the Hippolyta River. Arriving at the mouth of the river, all that remained of that place of unfulfilled promise and unrealized dreams was a field of crumbling ashes and charred timbers, dissolving in the rain, and a potters field of scattered bones; a vision from the fevered imagination of Bosch and Bunyan. As sailors stood vigilantly in the rain, clad in armour, muskets ready in wrappings of oiled leather. As the fortunate groom of a week before enjoyed his honeymoon, and Duke of Oatshire Islands chaplain had his place, instead. A burial party followed him, as he pronounced the last rites over the dead.

Decencies observed, the ship sailed away, up the estuary and into the delta leaving the desolation to be covered over by the forest, the shoots of which already sprouted amidst and tentatively climbed upon the wreckage. Perhaps a town called something like Macapa would grow here some day, grateful of the ease of clearing the land but puzzled by what they unearth in their food plots.

After the passage of another week, unexpected as the scene at Point Verdain was expected, San Miguel stood intact, church unblemished by fire, outbuildings and huts whole. The wariness of seamen posted as a cordons, firelocks ready at the margins of the cultivated ground was heightened by the emptiness of the place. The orderly fields stood much as they had been left. No livestock remained. The buildings were vacant but little disturbed. When the searchers entered the church, the sole remaining inhabitant, Father Madrigali was found. He had been pinioned to the floor with stakes hammered through his hands and feet, on the earthen floor in front of the altar. Gradually the realization that a sound of subdued breath was coming from the tormented man infiltrated the consciousness of the observers, and for a stunned minute, those who had been here before reckoned how long it had been since Red Jack Stavros must have passed this way. Nine weeks perhaps ?

Clean water was called for, and brought, and the matter of releasing the priest was considered. The stakes through the hands were freed by digging with blades, but the feet posed a less tractable problem. A stupefying draught, a product of the beneficence of Miss Nightshade one of her various tools of trade was sent for. A shovel was plied, excavating the floor around the shaft. As the long boat again returned to the ship, word was brought that two sailors had been injured, one dead, and one nearly so. The agency was darts which came in silence from the forest. The pickets were withdrawn away from the eaves back across the fields. The second longboat arrived, and the Ecclesiarch was conveyed to the Baillieu and carefully borne aboard. A sortie had been mounted as the two stricken sailors were recovered and Alejandro Jurez,Brem O’Gellwyn and Angus the Axe had ventured in among the trees, to hunt out the attackers. As the remaining semi-circle of sentries waited tensely, Doctor Vincent Walker pronounced the mortally poisoned rating dead, and turned his attention to Father Madrigali.

At length the offensive party returned, Brem with a head hanging by it’s hair from his belt, Angus and Alejandro poisoned.

Unfortunately, Alejandro found himself unable to find the words to convey his predicament adequately. Hard cheese for Alejandro, it seemed.

With little else to do, and everyone embarked, the Baillieu continued upstream leaving San Miguel behind. In the bilges, the bodies of it’s first two casualties rested in casks, filled with brandy.

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Session 20

Op. Ed. for Session 20 – Thursday 4th November 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time 147 days realtime, 128 days game time (17th November 1602 ?)

Location – on the sea aboard the ship, Baillieu in transit between Port-au-Hôpital, Hata and Cuidad d’el Dio, El Dio

In the port of Tortage ships prepared for departure, loaded with loot. Brem O’Gellwyn and Alejandro Jurez retraced their path back to the opposite side of the island, their land mark the diminishing column of smoke rising from the direction of the farmstead formerly occupied by the Tisdale family. Arriving to find the the crumbling embers of a bonfire, they warily looked for signs of Vittorio Tornatore and Thomas Rede finding clear traces, leading down to the coast. They were not alone, however. Angus the Axe was considering the puzzle of a beacon fire outside an un-combusted house. In a place full of marauders a thing to attract attention. Indeed, while searching searching for small, isolated parties to attack, he was drawn here expecting to find pillagers. Finding what appeared to be a Europan pirate and Gualapari Indian guide, much as he had seen elsewhere, he held his hand waiting for a sight of the Ixtlan warriors which were sure to be around.

Trailing the men as they tracked something else, he stole into the woods. Challenged by a voice from behind him, speaking in Iberian, he froze. Ordered to divest himself of his weapons, and turn around, he found himself facing Brem, and a levelled spear. The Hibernian and Tuathan satisfied themselves of who the other was and what they were doing here, as Alejandro, having succeeded in leading the follower into the trap doubled back and covered the stranger from concealment with his bow.

Reassured that each was evading the forces currently laying waste to the island an alliance was made. With nothing left to do ashore, since the invaders were on the verge of leaving, and their great numbers prevented acts of destruction upon the ships, transportation became the concern. A dug-out canoe barely carried four from inshore waters hugging the coast to a landing. It wouldn’t carry more across a strait and large bay.

Reunited with Vittorio and Thomas, down on the shore as evening drew in, news of a boat of greater size, a fishing smack kept by a neighbour of the Tisdales offered a hope.

Brem, Alejandro and Angus made their way within the shelter of the trees paralleling the coast. Barely half way to their destination it’s location was unmistakeable by the sound of screaming. On the wooded slope, in the darkness, the glow of a bed of coals revealed a tableau. Four Jaguar Knights stood by as an unfortunate, still living baked on the embers. Nearby a hut and a boat stood, dimly illuminated as much by moonlight as by the fringes of the cruel barbecue. Stealing down, clinging to trunks to control their descent, with Angus ahead of the others. Creeping close enough to strike with, without having to cast spears which were balanced ready to throw in the hands of Brem and Alejandro, they fell upon the unheeding raiders, hacking them down with a wordless, purposeful swiftness. When two more foes emerged from the hut, a similar fate befell them. Ending the suffering of the fisherman and dousing the fire with buckets of seawater, they pushed out the now ownerless craft, and guided it tentatively out into the darkness.

Vittorio appealed once more to Martha Tisdale to leave the island as the smack stood off the coast but she refused to leave, while her husband was still unaccounted for and so the boat only carried five as it sailed out into night.

The morning found it in open water and watching the approach of a ship coming from the south, flying the yellow lily flower (on a blue field) characteristic of Montaigne. Passing below the figurehead of a white lion, crowned in gold, and with claws on fore and hind-paws coloured red, sailors sitting on spars, where they remained after reefing sails as the vessel hove to they goggled up at Baillieu. On the stern-castle rail, Henry d’Avenne looked down into the boat, taking in the occupants. The officer in charge of the detachment of Montaignaise troops from Hata instructions had been to find four particular men. Doctor Vincent Walker and Miss Nightshade had described a shabby looking Cadoccian in faded, stained and torn magenta velvet, a young, big, blonde simple looking Alban suffering in silence in a cavalryman’s battlefield armour, a muscular, tattooed Tuathan with a spear barbed down the claddings on it’s shaft and a naked half-caste wearing mud. And here they were, along with a fifth man. A line was thrown, and the escapees joined others, already found in better or worse craft.

The Baillieu, now close to Tortage, with enemies probably under way on the mornings tide, turned and returned to Port-au-Hôpital. The Montaignaise colonial officer took a account of events in Tortage in the last week. In Port-au-Hôpital the walls of the fortifications were manned, picket ships cruised outside the anchorage, so as not to be caught unready and a militia had been raised and was to be seen drilling. The Baillieu passed out again, heading eastwards towards El Dio, as the chains were re-raised behind it.

(We welcomed back mikkael, from his offline adventures in the New World this session, where he has been since Session 11. He brought with him Angus the Axe, as a replacement for Anais.)

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Session 19

Op. Ed. for Session 19Larceny and arsony (sic.)….Wednesday 27th October 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time 139 days real-time, 124 days game time (13th November 1602 ?)

Location – Port-au-Hôpital, Hata

In one part of the world Doctor Vincent Walker and Miss Nightshade (with Anais still in their company) convinced the Montaignaise Governor of Hata that Port-au-Hôpital, strong though it is with it’s harbour fortresses and harbour guns was emperilled by the supernatural threat which Red Jack Stavros now represented. They also prevailed upon him to return the map taken from the Moskva’s Pride not to Morgan de Bruit, but to them.

In another part of the world, not too far away, but three days previously (addit to the list of reasons not to split and re-split the party, it makes keeping the adventure log harder) Alejandro Jurez and Brem O’Gellwyn peer through the haze of smoke and fog, as they laid on the heights above the pillaged and razed town of Tortage observing the industry of a victorious enemy, readying the various watercraft moored there for an embarkation, among them six substantial ships. They watched as a small detachment departed sent northwards into the centre of the island, six Ixtlan warriors led by two Gualapari hunters. They fell in behind the raiding party, following at a distance.

Up the road Vittorio Tornatore and Thomas Reed had been lying in ambuscade since the previous day, when Alejandro and Brem had left them to scout out the events in the port, on the other (southern) side of the island. They waited as the very same group which had been dispatched from the port passed, and then sprung the trap. Two warriors at the rear were shot down before the rest realized that they were under attack. Another two fell as they strove to reach the men who had risen up behind them. And then, their pursuers came up. The second but last warrior sprawled in the dust, his leg impaled by a Content Not Found: gae-bolg. The hunters had enough time to fire one shaft at Vittorio and Alejandro before they were charged down by Alejandro and Brem. The last Jaguar knight reached Vittorio and Thomas, and turned a braced backsword held by Thomas as he lay propped up with his back against a tree but a slash across the face from Vittorio did him down.

The party returned to the farmstead before Alejandro and Brem resumed their reconnaissance.

Vittorio and Thomas reached an understanding that it is not really necessary to set fire to a house in order to make it appear that a house has been fired, if it has a good sized wood pile. Leaving the bonfire burning, they retreated with farmwife and farmboy to a sea cave in which the lad was inclined to play (at pirates no less).

In Port-au-Hôpital Content Not Found: henry-d-avenne_s business took an unexpected turn. An officer came from the Governor carrying instructions to collect four men from Tortage. Henry had heard the news of trouble there, and wondered why he, a peaceful commercant would (indeed, could) be commanded. The following morning, the ship ready for departure received a dozen Montaignaise gens d’armes, and two Alban passengers, rather than some official arriving to inform him of an audience to hear his appeal. _Content Not Found: henry-d-avenne recognized fiat when he saw it, and resigned himself to the exigency.

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Session 18

Op. Ed. for Session 18Apocalypso….Wednesday 20th October 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time – 132 days real time, 123 days game time (12th November 1602 ?)

Location – Tortage

As the Crimson Dawn struck out for Port-au-Hôpital, Alejandro struck upon an intention to return to Tortage presenting himself on the stern-castle to borrow a telescope, in order to spy out the activities of Red Jack Stavros’ force. Captain de Bruit refused (Note: Jan Lipperssy, a German-Dutch lens grinder first built a 3X magnification telescope in 1608, Galileo Galileis experiments which produced a refractive telescope with a power of 6X occurred after 1612, probably no earlier than 1616. The “Dutch perspective glass”, may have produced an upside down image). He sailed on to carry the alarm to Hata and shelter under the harbour guns while preparing for his next move. His mind had turned to to resumng a law-abiding commerce on the other side of the Ocean Sea and to re-building his fortunes. This would require a new crew, a cargo, a new name on the bell. The Crimson Dawn would vanish from the world, and the Odile would sail out from Hata.

The captain surveyed his ship and the six strangers he had for a crew, as they set about clearing the deck and mending flapping sails. The canoe bore away back to Tortage bearing in it the fighting strenth of the broken compact. “A fools errand”, he thought. Still, free of The Governor of Tortage and Sir Frederick Westmoroughs machinations, they were free to come or go as they pleased.

Doctor Vincent Walker had his own plans. Going in search of fellows in the Invisible College, he heard stories of of an islet off the coast which the people of Hata are in the habit of avoiding. Returning to Captain de Bruit he sought passage.

Other matters detained his attention. Something was stinging him. Morgan, by his own reckoning an honourable man could not entirely concentrate on business. With the bruises of the gaolers in Tortage still aching a remembrance preoccupied him. Walking into the lions den was not the act of self-serving men. Could he do any less ? There were perhaps three men he could count on. With a wherry or jacht the debt could be discharge. So when his ship’s surgeon came to him and returned again to remonstrate he could not interest himself in this adventure. There was no more he wished to know about a Russ pirate with a Peloponese name. His pride had been impugned. Alone on the Dawn, he brooded.

A voluble Hibernian, gleeful avarice plain on his face carried Doctor Walker and Lady Nightshade and settled down to anticipate spending an extortionate and easy fee. Perhaps he would wait, perhaps he wouldn’t, he thought to himself watching his gig’s oars waving wildly as it crabbed clumsily toward a dock. He would take an Albans money any day of the week, and could buy another boat, with plenty to spare.

A hoarse-voiced hunchback, shrouded in a great, shapeless garment, covering other unguessable disfigurements and carrying a lantern hobbled down from where a light showed in a window to the dock; to meet the boat. Hauling Doctor Walker up with a massively muscled arm, he preceded his master guest to the hut, which is the only building on the island. Inside an ancient man awaited and greeted Doctor Walker by name. How he knew of their coming was matter unworthy of speculation, since Presperino is not simply a wizard but perhaps one of the greatest. He knew why they came, and the answers to the questions they would ask. Doctor Walker cane wishing to know what powers Red Jack Stavros now had at his command, and whence they came, and left more and less satisfied, rankling at the reproofs which had been made to him. Perhaps he should have asked whether the pirate warlord is coming to Hata and what is ignominious about the conquest of death ? Is this not what doctors strive for ? What powers might the face and the jaw of the Crystal Skull proffer ?

Four days before and two hundred miles away a small rough craft with water near the gunnels landed on the northern side of Tortage and Alejandro Jurez led his companions, Brem O’Gellwyn, Vittorio Tornatore and Thomas Rede into the interior. The sound of bleating led to a farmhouse with a yard full of goats and fields of crops. As the most presentable specimen on offer (the other choices being a shirtless Tuathan covered in tattoos , an armoured Alban who must be carried and a painted shirtless and trouserless indigene) Vittorio, a raddled Cadoccian cavalier, approached the house. Greeted by a musket barrel poking out of the loophole in a shutter and the panicky voice of the son of a colonist, he stopped. Unbuckling his array of weapons Vittorio, looking every bit a pirate (on an island infested with pirates at the best of times) sought to allay the natural fear that he was a pirate.

The lady of the house broke the stalemate by confiscating the firelock from her son. Anxious for news she invited the unexpected visitors in, only to learn that the smoke her husband took the cart to investigate a day before was perhaps the worst thing.

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Session 17

Op. Ed. for Session 17“Or close up the wall with our English dead…”Thursday 14th October 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time – 126 days real time, 118 days game time (7th November 1602 ?)

Location – Tortage, aboard the ship, Crimson Dawn

Followed by three more naked, painted, terrible visions, the Ixtlan warrior, jaguar skin headresses their sole adornment, macuitls their only tool waded into the press on the stern-castle hemmed in by captain and sailors grimly preparing themselves for a cramped fracas. Hacking cutlass blows and even pistol balls failed to make an impression on the boarders bare flesh, so the fight turned into a clutching, staggering, shoving affair. One sailor distinguished himself in the eyes of all by seizing a savage, bearing him to the deck, and keeping hold of him, despite his wounds.

At last, with the forlorn hope wrestled down or pushed overboard, guns were plied against the other approaching boats. A pall of smoke could be seen ahead, where Tortage lay. The crew were set to moving the portside guns up to the starboard rail of the maindeck and the Crimson Dawn advanced under full sail. The cannon were given double charge, and double shot, and hoving in to the harbour, made straight for the Moskva’s Pride, let loose one great broadside, all guns, from 6 pounders to muskets firing in quick succession.

The pirate ship managed only a fitful volley, the crew aboard, augmented by native allies could do little, watching helplessly, as the new arrival bore down. The Dawn turned away from the moored ship, leaving it with smashed sides, wrecked decks, strewn with men and parts of men, fire taking hold and none to douse it.

Sailing out of the harbour again with rent sails, the Crimson Dawn turned westward towards Hata and a more defensible port.

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Session 16

Op. Ed. for Session 16“Once more into the breach….”Wednesday 6th October 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time – 118 days real time, 118 days game time (7th November 1602 ?)

Location – On the sea aboard the ship, Crimson Dawn south of the island of Tortage

Protesting his rough treatment Hernando Rodriguez saw the resolve of the band who had him helpless in his own house and decided that a show of good faith was perhaps the prudent course.

Surprised at himself, he allowed the freebooters, all except for Captain de Bruit, to leave the residence. Deliberating, as they waited restlessly at the Hook and Yardarm, he was no doubt even more surprised to hesitate in using that frequent instrument of state, having someone quietly murdered. These were truly a single minded bunch of killers. The guilelessness in returning of all places to the same port from which they had shipped seemed so improbable. It almost seemed like honesty, in so far as Hernando could remember, not having seen it for some time.

So rather than dispatching assasins, he ordered the resupply of the Crimson Dawn, putting a crew of “volunteers” aboard, and watched his chosen instrument against Red Jack Stavros sail away again. He even released the wretch Morgan de Bruit. Why else would they have impudently insinuated themselves into his establishment, if not from imprudent loyalty ?

Two days previously Alejandro, a half-caste had travelled down river, in pursuit of the truth about a rumour. Nevertheless he didn’t expect to find a town at the place where the river meets the sea. The encroachment of Europan influence need not have troubled him though, something far more worrying was coming. From his covert at the forests edge, concealed by the underbrush, he saw a mist gather. A dense fog followed the advancing mist. And from in that unnatural haze issued a terrible procession, war canoes rowed by Indians of the forest and Ixtlan warriors together. To see these usually inimical peoples co-operating was puzzling. Even more puzzling was the figure of bearded man wearing a jaguar skin as a head-dress, but Europan clothing. The baleful glow of the eyes of the head-dress was an awful sight. How Red Jack Stavros had come to Point Verdaine so quickly, sixteen days before he should have is a tale which the world will never have to hear, God willing.

The warband, hundreds strong fell upon the miserable outpost inhabitants like foxes among chickens. Slipping away from his hiding place behind the woodpile and having gained the forest eaves running, only one of the searchers came near Alejandro, a hunter from one of the peoples of the river basin. Climbing up over the fallen log which concealed him, Alejandro crept, as the man stood straining his ears in the dark and dispatched him with a single blow of the hatchet he had ventured out to abstract.

Dry-mouthed, Alejandro dared to return to his boat amid the sounds of massacre, keenly conscious of the nearness of the hunting reavers. As he set about pushing out, a twig crunched underfoot behind him. Spinning, he found an Ixtlan warrior there, spear poised for a thrust. Desperately he seized hold of the shaft and wrenched it out of the grasp of the Jaguar Knight. Casting it back at the surprised man, he wounded him, and taking taking his club in hand, knocked him senseless. A quick stroke of a knife and then he was away, out of the mist, out onto the sea.

Eight hours after dawn, and eight hours away from Tortage, a single man in a canoe preceded the bank, in which a storm of a different sort came, The Crimson Dawn met this unlikely looking escapee. Bringing the man aboard, he panted out the news, even as the the front of the onslaught closed in.

Turning it’s bow towards Tortage, the Crimson Dawn retreated to carry the warning. Thomas Rede stood on the stern, arrow on string, eyes struggling to penetrate the cloud, and sailors stood by, ready at the swivels, which had been carried first to the forecastle, and then aft. Faster even than a ship running close-hauled under all sail, Red Jack Stavros’ horde came. Indistinct shapes could be seen briefly, before being veiled again.

Then a figure flew up above the stern-castle rail. An arrow, hastily loosed passed harmlessly below it as rose, and then it descended again, landing squarely on the deck in front of Thomas. He kicked out, casting aside his bow, but the Jaguar Knight was ready and caught the leg with the blades of his macauitl. Stumbling back, Thomas slapped down his visor and reached for his sword. The warrior swung the stone bladed club and Thomas crashed to the deck, with a clatter, feet taken out from under him. Sailors goggled, and reached for their weapons.

Modus was piped aboard, with a lusty cheer in this session.

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Session 15

Op. Ed. for Session 15Spat out….Thursday 23rd September 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time – 105 days real time, 116 days game time (5th November 1602 ?)

Location – The Governors residence in the port town of Tortage

Gathering again to deliberate on a course, the depleted, defeated group set about salvaging what they could. They buried their dead, sinking them to the bed of the Emerald River in doubled shrouds, weighted with cannon balls. The same offices were performed for the sixth and seventh sailors lost to the Crimson Dawn two days later, eight rites in all. N’batu, the eighth had been the last straw. Then with their prize in tow, they turned and drifted back down the river, the mountains far ahead receding away. Past San Miguel, they came at last to Point Verdain, dejected and relieved in equal measure. In that unprepossessing collection of ramshackle huts and jetties, Vittorio Tornatore met one on his diverse acquaintance, of all places. They last they had seen each other before the rout in one of the interminable squabbles between Cadoccia and it’s neighbours. A cast away, after his ship sank off the coast of the New World Brem O’Gellwyn joined the ship, to be off this lee shore.

Piloted by the second mate, The Crimson Dawn docked gratefully in Tortage a few days later. Captain de Bruit, Vittorio, Brem, Lady Nightshade and Thomas each went to their own errands; Vittorio and Brem to rinse out the taste of the mainland in the taverns, Lady Nightshade and Thomas to the market and the Captain to the Governor’s residence.

Amusing each other with reminiscences and tales of each of their travails and tribulations since they last met Brem and Vittorio were interrupted by a sailor from the Dawn, flying in with a great urgency. The captain had not returned and a large company of the Governors men were bearing down on the docks. Meanwhile in a haberdashers shop,Lady Nightshade inspected fabrics, Thomas standing vigilantly by. The sound of marching feet drew their attention, and a body of men passed by, Doctor Walker in their midst, pulled and pushed along.

The spectators, assembling in secret, considered again how to proceed, determining to negotiate. Anais bore the message away and came safely away from the Residence again.

Cordially greeting his guest, the governor bade Lady Nightshade to retire to confer, solicitude perfuming unctuousness. Meanwhile, rooms below,Doctor Walker ushered a lolling, somewhat misshapen rat into his cuff of his sleeve, biding his time and deliberating unaware when the command “Guards!” roused the the three men-of-war, inconspicuously gauging their opposite numbers.

The first two, caught flatfooted, fell quickly. Then bursting, storming in from the antechamber, disarraying the remaining four hard-men who were caught between standing to their defence, advancing to meet the press or flying for their safety and gave little resistance. Thomas pushed Governor Rodriguez back into the dining room from the salon he had hurried away into, in an unyielding grip. At the other end of the table, the sprawling bodies of three henchmen lay on the floor, the fourth entirely gone. Vittorio and Brem stood, with naked weapons regarding the hunched over plenipotentiary as he took in all this and Lady Nightshade, binding up the end of her leg, it’s extremity set on the floor beside her.

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Session 14

Op. Ed. for Session 14“Chaff on the wind….”Wednesday 15th September 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time 97 days real time, 97 days game time (17th October 1602 ?)

Location – The upper reaches of the Rio Esmeralda

In possession of the decks of the Moskva’s Pride, a search was made. Only a hold full of stores, a chest full of plate, coin and other loot, some charts and one remaining sailor, arm hanging limp and useless were found. Though the plan was to settle down to wait, the Crimson Dawn moved farther down the river, out of sight, a boat with two sailors sent to carry the message did not return. Turning the into the stream, the pirate ship was steered down to join it’s captor.

Going in search of the missing boat, it was found pulled up among the trees, it’s crew lying over or fallen back from the oarlocks. Lady Nightshade was the first to be struck by a dart flying silently from the undergrowth. As she struggled back N’batu, Vittorio Tornatore and Thomas Rede started forward to aid her. More darts flew, and N’batu was poisoned too. Falling back and tumbling into a hastily launched boat, tiny missiles still coming from who knows where, an untidy retreat was made. But the cost, only 7 able bodied sailors remained, enough to guide one ship safely back, perhaps. In the surgeons cabin Lady Nightshade and N’batu lay afflicted, by three others, one still recovering form the amputation of his leg, one from corporal punishment and one from a long, smashing fall to the deck.

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Session 13

Op. Ed. for Session 13“The heavens open and break….”Thursday 9th September 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time: 91 days real time, 94 days game time (14th October 1602 ?)

Location – The upper reaches of the Rio Esmeralda

High summer, The Emerald River. The rains have set in, and are very unpleasant, since it is decidedly like standing under a waterfall. The sloop, The Crimson Dawn has made it’s way up river with the odd navigational incident (running aground on a sand bar, necessitating the unprofitable endeavour of hauling it off, with the loss of three crew standing to the levers providing a demonstration of the folly of wading in a piranha infested river). It sailed from Tortage in pursuit of Red Jack Stavros, a pirate of a brutality and ferocity sufficient that even the other captains who put out from Tortage desire his end.

No further ill, though expected, would befall (other than coming upon a ship coming the other way, a Pertuese vessel, men as ready at the guns as those on the Dawn. The two drew apart again with no more than civil words. A column of smoke from a fire, proved to be that of two Iberian hunters, stranded after their boat was stolen.

Coming upon the Moskva’s Pride, Stravros’ ship in the downpour, it was decided upon to press the advantage of sighting the other sloop first. The long boat was put out carrying six sailors together with N’batu (the first mate), Miss Nightshade, Vittorio Tornatore and Thomas Rede; the ship’s surgeon, Doctor Vincent Walker, remained aboard the Crimson Dawn. The longboat threaded it’s way among the trunks of a forest inundated by flood waters, coming around under the stern unseen by the unsuspecting skeleton watch. It was only within a few lengths from the Moskva’s Pride that the sentry on the stern castle saw the raiding boat. He managed one ineffective shot, before pitching into the boiling torrent, shot through by an arrow. The boat was alongside, amidships before his fellows found what he had fired at. Shipping muffled oars the crew lofted muffled grappling hooks, and began scaling the side as spear and arrow from the boat below flew to clear off the deck. The ropes, slick with rain were precarious and falls back into the flood rocked the longboat upsetting it’s occupants. Pulling themselves back into the boat, or finding a hold on a rope. the boarders at length struggled over the rail to find themselves confronted by a ready resistance. The fight was quick and brutal, men cut down with grievous wounds. The last of the seamen of the Crimson Dawn fell under a welter of cutlass blows mere seconds before Vittorio, Lady Nightshade and N’batu downed the last of the watch. Oh, so many dints to the elevensies, with grue underfoot, on which the combatants slipped. At the close Thomas’ bow encompasses the rail-tops, as the the world became quiet again, except for the roar and hiss of the downpour on deck and river.

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Session 12

Op. Ed. for Session 12Farther up and further in / The last homely house….Thursday 2nd September 2010 – by Frithhill

Elapsed time 84 days real time, 90 days game time (10th October 1602 ?)

Location – The Rio Esmeralda

The course of the river now converged to a single broad stream, further assaults ensued. A plashing in the night reached the ears of N’batu standing watch on the deck. Looking over the side he saw a man bare except for a loincloth climbing the anchor cable. Wide-eyed the native watched as N’batus spear flew at him and he fell back into the river, pierced. The rest of the watch alerted, were ready as two more climbed the rails, one falling back shot as he climbed the over rail, a third stood on the deck prepared for the onset of Vittorio Tornatore. He had nothing about him but a slight garment of hide and a bag, out of which leaped a small yellow frog, when it was opened. The following morning the cat was found stiff and still.

More of Captain Stavros’ handiwork affronted the eyes of the inmates of The Crimson Dawn, one of his own crew set up as an example on the shore. The boat sent to investigate found that he had not merely been crucified but that while he was still vital the legend “Mutineer” had been cut into his body. Practicing the soul of his increasing obsession, Doctor Vincent Walker put the unfortunate to question. The dead mans spirit told out his offence, that of becoming frightened for himself, and speaking of turning back. Before being allowed to return to his uneasy rest, he recounted the purpose for which the Moskva’s Pride sailed. Red Jack Stavros was following a map, which he refused to show, in search of a treasure. Cutting down the again lifeless body, the boats crew returned and the The Crimson Dawn resumed it’s pursuit.

Surprising in it’s appearance, San Miguel provided a brief glimpse something other than the savagery of this world. Incongruous with is neat fields and well-built church this is truly the boundary of the Old World and all that is familiar. Beyond only the fearful Ixtlan frontier, where Europan men are unwelcome, and the unrelenting hostility of the wild lands between.

Striking again, this time on a boulder or sunken tree trunk, the The Crimson Dawn was holed. The party put ashore to cut green wood the patch the broken planks had a sensible disapprobation of the lands they ventured into.

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