The Journals of Sparrowhawk

Chapter 2 - Pirates!

Chapter 2

The family set out for Port Haven escorting the lovely Jennie and traveled all day.

7th Early the next morning several folk were roused by Jennie (she had that effect on people) and hurried onwards. As we travelled South we met both refugees fleeing the area and also people heading North looking to collect on green skin bounties.

8th The family were attacked on the road by bandits. They demanded a box from us that no-one was aware of having. They died by our hands but we took a severe beating.

A total of 780 gold was recovered from their bodies along with a wand and other miscellaneous items.

We arrived in Port Haven and the beautiful Jennie booked passage on a ship – the Mary Anne. She was asking to go to Haalgard.

We inquired about Badger Island – the home of her father but none of the deck hands questioned had ever heard of it. They were aware of Freeport – it was in the King’s realm 1000 miles to the South.

On the dock a mad preacher (Seneeshu) was accosting people. He was preaching harmony with the forests.

The delicious Jennie asked if the family could travel with her part of the way home and as we had no plans we agreed. A few provisions were purchased and we loaded our gear onto Captain Harwood’s ship.

We exchanged our warhorses for a docket good at any civilised port – what a bargain!

Before boarding we watched as a heavy chest and a half-Orc prisoner (plus sheriff) were taken below decks.

As the tide turned and we departed the madman rushed up to the ship and pointed towards us shouting obscenities.

There was little of note on the first few days of the journey. We passed the Isles of Wrath where once a lighthouse stood but had now fallen into disrepair.

On the third day a small black cloud was noticed moving in our direction. It was moving faster than the ship and quickly caught us up. It proved to be a flock of birds which attacked all on deck.

This proved to be a distraction and cover for below deck more attacks were taking place. In hindsight what had happened was that 3 of the birds had been shape shifted druids who used the flock as cover to get below deck – the leader being the madman from the docks. Once there they summoned several large apes and cast a circle of flame that began to set both ship and cargo alight.

One of the druids was dispatched and several of the apes who immediately disappeared. At this point the Druid stole the box – a non magical item that was actually in the possession of the party and had been recovered from the ship wreck where sweet Jenny had been rescued. Tor demonstrated that a 60 foot ship was no hindrance to his ability to run 90 feet away from any combat just as we had the evil druid flanked. Eventually the captain turned the ship around and fished him out of the sea.

After the Druids made their escape the delightful Jennie revealed that she had actually been aware of the box (a small wooden affair with the image of a woodland creature on it) but had failed the mention the significance of it. It had been the property of a merchant now presumed lost.

Teghan had to be restrained as she spoke of eating poor innocent Jennie.

The next day we saw a ship on the horizon. Using his trained navel eye Captain Harwood identified it as a pirate ship! (Possibly by the flag it was flying or possibly by the corpses hanging from the rigging….)

The lovely Jennie waved to the ship from the crows nest using a flag constructed from sweet wrappers and bailing twine. When questioned she revealed that she was actually signaling to her father “Murdering Red Avanti”. Ah well; you can’t choose your family…….

She said that our ship would not be sunk and the crew not murdered. As she was just so lovely we all trusted her and the ship was lowered to allow her off in the ships boat. Unfortunately murdering Red (daddy) was not as trustworthy and followed the Mary Anne gaining ground quickly.

At this point a clue zombie with a note attached to its head father contacted us using the eagle winged bracelet and informed us a merchant from the same ship (that Jennie was rescued from) had been found with his throat cut. The local sheriff was investigating this heinous crime as the merchant had not drowned.

The Crimson Maiden came alongside our ship and a great many pirates swung aboard. As they did not immediately begin murdering people we agreed to board the pirate ship and tell our tale of the box in return for the release of the merchant ship and its crew.

The half orc prisoner was freed from below decks and joined the pirates.

On board we were introduced to the crew…

A large muscled black man with magical tattoos was 1st mate “Wonky” – a man with a peg-leg and only one eye was the navigator “Rodger” – the cabin boy in charge of ships entertainment

As we sailed off the pirates starting singing a salty sea shanty that we didn’t quite catch but involved doing something in the rigging as there was little else to do. Rodger quickly organised a game of charades and ping pong to relieve the boredom of the long sea voyage. What an enterprising young man!

A conversation with the slightly disturbing Jennie revealed that she had murdered the merchant to get the box and sunk the ship. As she had suffered a bad upbringing we immediately forgave her and entered a discussion about joining the pirate life ourselves. Brother Wookie pointed out that it may involve a certain amount of smiting from his lawful good god and also reminded Sparrowhawk about a certain requirement to remain lawful or suddenly loose the ability to run fast….Bugger!

We asked why we could not meet with Murdering Red tonight with the moderately darker Jennie explained that daddy had 14 ranks in being mysterious and liked to use them occasionally.

Several days travel later four pirates were sentenced to keel hauling for heinous crimes. At some point (and in no particular order) they were also accused and found guilty…. Apparently it’s the pirate way.

Having been dragged around the keel, half drowned and torn to shreds they surfaced but were still alive! There was a low murmur from the crew. “Watch this” said the moderately disturbing Jennie…… daddy has 15 ranks in sense disappointment”.

“I’ve changed me mind…”said Murdering Red…. “They will now mostly be keel hauled to death”. “Bugger” said the four survivors….. To the cheers of the crowd the four were then raked over the barnacles until they were little more than fish food.

A ship called the Iron Duke was sighted and immediately gave chase to the pirate ship. “Fortunately” said the darkly dangerous Jennie, “Daddy had someone pimp his ride recently”. In fact he had done more than that and a blinding headache was suffered by all who cast detect magic and looked at the ship. The ship began to give off fog and quickly the other ship slid from view. A hawk flew off with a message to a nearby island and Murdering Red turned the ship towards the island, swerving and just the last moment. The island shimmered for a moment and then un-noticed by the Iron Duke….vanished. The Duke took the straight path and quickly ran aground and started sinking on the now reappeared island. Some humanoids headed towards the failing ship and started killing the survivors. Ah what a jolly life these pirates lead…

Murdering Red rowed out to the island and had a conversation with the people there before returning.

Many days later we were finally invited to a feast with the captain. He told us the tale of the box……

A bard had the box made. It represented the Fey Goddess Seleecea. The merchant had tried to move the bow in secrecy but had not been able to overcome the pirates ranks in sense loot. Murdering Red explained that the value of the box probably was not worth the cost in its recovery now and so was happy to let it pass from his grasp. He offered us a place on the pirate vessel but swayed by Brother Wookie’s persuaded arguments about being smited by the very God that usually healed us the family declined his offer.

Suddenly the pirates were not so friendly and after a night locked in our room we were abandoned on a lonely island hundreds of miles from civilisation

Murdering pirate bitch Jennie waved goodbye and the family cheered her off with a rousing cry of “ something or other and the boat you rode in on…..”

On the island we were attacked by natives and Tor learned what it meant to fight without the ability to run away after every blow.

Crossing a rope bridge we chose not to pay the toll and a huge monster took Teghan as part payment. Several lumps of flesh from the rest of us forming the balance.

Defined as a place where we could cash our docket for a replacement warhorse

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Chapter 1 - Homecoming
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Homecoming

2nd of Sarasbember I had left the family home over two years ago, a hard decision but one that felt right. I needed to gain further understanding of the teachings of the Monks of the Veiled Fist. The time away had been productive and I had gained much understanding of my heritage and I was now a monk! However the message I had been expecting had finally arrived – father was retiring and the family were gathering to help him move – it was time to return……

Returning to Walsingham, a small fishing & farming village near the western sea brought back memories of Madaline, our mother who had died 12 years ago. The family had already gathered in the Fisherman’s Tale, our local pub when I arrived on the 2nd of Sarasbember. Kerwin, our father and the others were already deep in their pints when a trundle outside caused Teghan to raise her head from the inn (she still can’t handle her carrot juice).

The carts passing by belonged to an Old Sage who had purchased the farm from father for a tidy sum. The dour looking men on the carts refused our offer of help unpacking and passed on by but not before Teghan had spotted a rather expensive ornate mirror partly uncovered on one wagon. Her tail started swishing in that “I’m thinking something naughty” sort of way…..

Against my better judgment the others persuaded me to accompany them to the farm that night. “Just to check out the new owner” they said. So in near darkness myself and Teghan climbed onto various windowsills and parts of the roof in order to get a peep at the old sage. We didn’t quite manage to spot him but did spot the mirror in a room and also another room that had been set up as an Alchemy lab. There was nothing else suspicious about the setup much to the disappointment of my brothers.

Tegham and Sagramor checked out the old barn and did overhear the craggy faced man talking of dealing with some creatures that made him feel nervous. He referred to some sort of payment that had been made.

3rd of Sarasbember Early the next morning we were woken from our rooms in the inn by an alarm call. Jaran and Sarah’s farm, just the NE had been attacked and killed. Their young son had been beaten and left for dead and there was no trace of their daughter Ellie. Apparently Goblins had attacked in the night and burned down the house, killing the family as they fought to defend their home.

We volunteered to try and track down the evildoers and accompanied by the Sheriff (who actually had some tracking skills!) set out for the farm. At the place we discovered the body of a Hobgoblin but no sign of Ellie. Following the trail we came upon a group of hobgoblins and an ogre. The family quickly swung into action and showed that our year or two away from Walsingham had taught us a wide variety of skills. Fortunately for Sagramor this included healing skills from Brother Wookie as he did seem to spend a lot of the fight absorbing the sword blows with his body rather than his armour. [Note to Self – Pack more bandages!]

Having bested the fowl beasts we discovered poor Ellie – in the orge’s sack but still alive and we delivered her back to the village.

Back at Walsingham the mayor eventually signed the proclamation to offer a bounty for all green skins and after a little persuading offered to pay us for the work we had done that morning. [Note to self – Must thank Brother Wellformer for his lessons in “The arts of gentle persuasions” Seems he was right and ripping someone’s throat out with ones claws is not the only way to get your point across]

While at the Sheriffs office, Garren – the dour man from the farm joined the posse. This may not bode well but we having no strong evidence against him we could say nothing.

Back at the Inn father drew us together and told us that he wanted us to have his adventuring gear. A few magical items had served him well during all of his travels and he now wanted them to be of use to us. We thanks him profusely and promised that as we were family we would distribute them fairly between us. No one seemed to notice that all but one member of the family got something of fathers precious few gifts.

Following a quick trip to the temple of Pelor we agreed to accompany the regular supply run from the village to the fort to discover how the green skins had managed to bypass our northern protectors.

The fort was just 4 hours away and so at early afternoon we arrived to find the place in a shocking state. The boarder fort had been mostly forgotten by time due partly to the 20 years of peace in the region but mostly due to a corrupt Captain – Keel, who only turned up once a month to draw his pay and appeared to be claiming for a compliment of 30 when he only had 16 men on the staff.

The place itself was run down and in a poor state of repair with the moat overgrown and trees grown up so close to the fort that sighting lines were poor.

Worse news quickly followed in that a large force of 6 Goblins, 40 Hobgoblins, 6 Bugbears and most worryingly, 8 Ogres approached with scaling ladders and even a catapult! We also saw signs of magic use as the ammo pile for the catapult was being generated by throwing small objects to the floor that instantly became large boulders.

The soldiers started to take flight but were strengthened by some stout words from myself and my brothers. The fort was made ready with defences as best we could in the short time and we watched as the enemy surrounded us on 4 sides.

Toronid suggested we could use this split to our advantage and suggested we sally forth and try and overwhelm one of the groups. Following our adventures the day before we were feeling reckless and probably overconfident. In just a few moments 2 ogres and 10 hobgoblins had fallen to our attacks, the ogres felled by lucky blows to soft parts.

Bolstered by this second success we once again went forth only to find that the expected force was much smaller than we had anticipated. Even so, Sagramor proved that my bandage purchases were justified as we took a real pounding from the Ogre, as this time our blades and claws found no purchase in its soft parts and instead had to whittle away at its bulk.

Someone chastened we fled back to the fort only to discoverer that the enemy had broken in via a knotted rope down the south wall and took control of the gate before we were able to return. While Tegham used her skills to bypass the walls, the rest rode around to our own rope entry point. As most quickly climbed in Sagramor discovered the joys of heavy armour and tried in vein to climb the rope.

Dispatching a ogre and 6 hobgoblins within the fort we discovered that the ogres now had a commanding position within the gatehouse and could not be budged without heavy losses. To our dismay the forces of the small army were also using this opportunity to stream into the fort and so we decided to make a measured retreat, following 2 soldiers who appeared to know a back way out of the place.

As I guarded the exit, allowingt the last of the soldiers to escape down the tunnel I spotted Sagramor (finally) successfully breaking into the fort via the knotted rope.

Watched as Sagramor left the fort again in a hurry, aided by the sword points of a pack of Hobgoblins.

Back at Walsingham the Mayor sent messages to Baron Warsborough but said that they would take 4 days to get there. Brother Hayshom was again called upon to heal our wounds and having miraculously remembered that he was able to spontaneously convert other spells to cures was able to offer much more healing than the day before. All praise the power of Pellor (and the memory of his priests).

Back at the sherrifs office we discovered that the mercenaries from the farm had brought in a group of 8 hobgoblins alive and they were locked in the single cell of the village. Toronid expressed his concerned at this ‘Trojan duck’ or something like that.

Mayor Adwick agreed to have a second chain put on the cells and he would keep the only key.

Wanting to investigate the situation further we visited the Old sage. Turm introduced himself and answered our questions politely. He had apparently been asked by Baron Warsborough to investiage the green skinned races. The farm was a place for him to work in peace and he has been scrying the fort. He had discovered that the Hobgoblin in charge was referred to as “Gru Macara”. He showed us around his new home and demonstrated the use of his crystal ball. [Note to self…. When Teghan’s tail swishes at more than 2 per second keep a closer eye on her]

He had noted that a group of green skin women and children were approaching the fort from the north and the mayor asked us to drive them away or kill them.

Huge storms lashed the coast that night – a dark portent of things to come?

4th of Sarasbember Although an unpleasant task we agreed for the sake of the village and while all surrounding farms and the village itself were being evacuated we headed north to fend them off.

Having killed all of the menfolk (scouts) with the family group and one or two of the female green skins who attacked us, the rest fled into the forest and I warned them away with a few words in goblin. [Note to self – must thank Brother Quentin for those language classes. It was worth missing a few lessons in “Raking with your hindpaws” in order to pick up a few language skills]

On the way back from this successful mission (didn’t even need to bandage Sagramor!) we spotted something far worse than anything we had encountered so far…. A small army of plate clad ogres and hobgoblins bearing the sign of the blazing fist led by an Ogre in a feathered plume headdress.

Before leaving the area we snuck into the underground escape passage beneth the fort and used a magic potion of eyes to investigate a small crack that led away into a glowing portal. As not even a well greased Gabriella could make it through the gap we decided to try and disguise the crack with a few rocks and sand.

While still travelling back we spotted wreckage on the beach and rushed down to see if we could find salvage (the laws of ‘finders keepers’ prevailed in these parts). A came across a body and a comely young woman who had been travelling from Freeport. A place so far away we had barely even heard of it.

We were able to salvage the following items:-

Climbing kit Spyglass Magnifying glass 5 smokesticks A Magical staff A gem inlaid box 50g Jewelry – 180g

The young woman, Jennie Liddle, said she had been heading for Badger Island to meet her father. It must be some way away as none of us had ever heard of it. Back at Walsingham the village was mostly deserted. There had been an attempt overnight by the captives to escape but the extra chain had foiled them – Hurrah! For Torjan Ducks…. Humm… or something like that.

As we waited for news of the Barons forces the Plate armoured leader of the new forces approached bearing a banner of peace.

We went to parly on behalf og the town and were amazed when he turned out to be both well educated and quite eloquent.

He said he was Gru Charak and apologised for the taking of the fort and the loss of life. He told us the actions of Macara (note no “Gru now”) were not in keeping with the will of the green skinned people and that Macara had been a rogue who had acted alone. He offered up the heads of 20 of the Hobgoblins and Macara among them. He also handed over a pouch of gems (5000g) as compensation for the families of the deceased. However he said that their people had once owned the land the fort stood on and that it was sacred to them (a temple of Hextor). As such they would be keeping it but would act as far better guards of the Northern boarder than the humans had ever done.

We told him of our suspicions that Macara had been paid to do this and asked as a sign of goodwill that he investigate this. We offered to return the Hobgoblin prisoners as a sign of goodwill on our part but said that we could not speak for the Baron or predict his reaction.

We took the prisoners to the fort only to see one third of them immediately executed. Brother Harquin tought us that we should not judge the laws of other lands and so I bit back my protestations at this barbaric treatment.

At the fort itself 50 armed and disciplined ‘Orc kin’ now stood guard and had already improved the defenses to a state that the fort had not seen in 15 years.

As the situation seemed to have been resolved for the time we agreed to escort the lovely Jennie Liddle to the nearest city to the South.

[So ends Chapter One of the Journals of Sparrowhawk An honest and accurate record of the events of the the family]

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