Adventure

Realizing my future seaworthy vessels would not be found in Penmawr, I traveled down the road to another seafaring town I had heard about, Tenebris Harbor. There had been rumors of a rough sea life, brawling pirate types and the occasional outbreak of swashbuckling. I’ve been in worse, and even caused worse, so I was undeterred.

Turns out the stories were a dash mild and while they had many fine vessels, most of them were on fire. In fact, many things were awash with flame and I felt my appearance was quite ill-timed.

Thinking I might be of assistance, or at least in time to attend a few going out of business sales, I followed the path which should lead me to the docks. But before I had traveled far, I was met by an old prospector hold up in a make shift trauma center.

Several guards were in a rather sad state with unfortunate wounds and terrible tales of being overrun, assaulted violently, and called some questionable names. They were trying to restore order, but making a bad show of it. When speaking to the guard and asking how I might be of assistance, I was informed I could do my part by slashing the pirate invaders to the ground.

“Beg pardon?” I retorted. “So, you’re saying I have free reign to slash anyone I meet on the street into the ground? And there will be no repercussions? No time in the Clink? No penalties paid out in gold coins?” I inquired.

“Well, within reason,” the guard corrected. “We can’t have a free for all. There will be no assaulting the local constabulary, I can’t condone that sort of behavior. But, if you find scoundrel pirates and ne’er-do-wells causing mischief in the streets and take retribution on our behalf, then yes, I believe we can see clear of pressing any charges against you,” he affirmed.

“Brilliant!” I exclaimed. “Point me toward danger!”

Seeing my enthusiasm, the Prospector offered up my first commission.

“Since you’re in the mood to wave the steel around, I have an offer for you,” he said. “These blasted pirates ran me out of my home before I could my lucky nugget. What say you swing over to my place, rough up a few dirty scoundrels, kick a few of those unsavory chaps right where it hurts and bring my nugget back to me. My house is right over there,” he said pointing.

I looked at the guard for confirmation on dishing out retribution at the end of a flaming sword. His shrug of the shoulders was the very answer I was looking for.

“Very well, I will head that way, slash anyone who gets in my path and return this lucky nugget of yours in due time.”

This proved to be far more difficult than I first surmised as these ruffians travel in packs and fight in a most disagreeable style. As I approached what I believed to be the correct domicile, I was assaulted in the backside by not one, but three arrow wielding marauders. They were debilitating shots and extraordinarily uncomfortable in my still healing hindquarters.

Turning to defend myself, sword carrying ruffians leapt from the shrubs and set upon me. I was immediately and unmercifully outnumbered. But fire is the great equalizer and soon a couple of the roughs were smoldering at my feet.

I struggled to reach the ruffian archers, suffering the sling of their arrows. And when I got hold of them, my revenge was piping hot! We won’t go into the myriad vulgarities that ensued. It is sufficient to note I made my displeasure known and cast aspersions upon them, their family, friends and several other people who they may, or may not have known.

I then traversed the open pavilion and entered the dwelling. More surprises awaited as some undead had come home to roost. I had barely stepped inside when they went for my jugular, swinging like oafs, and smashing up the place.

Since it was already in disarray, I felt little guilt over further adding to the disheveled nature. Some lettuce, a bookshelf and a candelabra were swept up in my fury, but in the end, my Whirling Blades dispatched the entire horde. I will apologize for scarring the counter.

I then began to search in earnest. I marveled at the idea of finding a gold nugget worthy of risking my life, but nothing of the kind revealed itself. I looked in the drawers, under the bed, even in the storage room. I sawing nothing that matched the description. Those mangey pirates had already absconded with it!

But I had fleeced each one of them thoroughly and found nothing. I must be looking in the wrong place. And then, as I upset a stack of crates, and splintered a bookshelf rife with  bunkum novels, I found something.

“Want manner of trinket is this?” I asked finding a mounted rabbit on the floor. The small inscription read, “Lucky Nugget”.

“A rabbit? His lucky nugget is a rabbit? I’ve been hoodwinked! I’ve been flimflammed! This isn’t some outrageously sized gold nugget worthy of this level of destruction and mayhem. It’s a stuffed bunny! And the only good stuffed bunny is that of the Death Bunny!”

In a fury, I scooped up the rabbit trophy, tucked it under my arm, punched a ruffian so hard I looted his gold coins before his body hit the ground, and stormed off to see the Prospector.

But my rage softened as the Prospector was brought to tears at the sight of his lost compatriot.

“Oh, my Lucky Nugget!” he wept, dropping to his knees. “Here have some coins!” he said shoving a purse of coins into my hands. Then clasped the bunny to his breast and twirled like a child on a fine summer day. “Bless you Outlander!” he exclaimed then threw himself into a frenzied dance.

I was without words and watched in amazement as the old man gyrated in a bizarre, but hypnotic dance.

“Well then,” I said composing myself. “I’m glad I could be of service. But, perhaps I should move along and get on with the pirate smiting I shan’t be punished for. A good day to you, and my compliments on the fine dance move you’ve displayed this day. It was truly a sight to behold and something I won’t soon forget, of that I assure you.”

I then readied my sword and plunged into the heart of the city.

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Ah ha! This must be the place. Random shanty, thugs hiding in the thicket, death around every corner. Onward to treasure and fortune!

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What the what? This is no priceless chunk of gold ore! You are quite the trickster Mr. Prospector!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After raiding the pirate bungalows, scrawling down their haphazard maps, stealing a couple of journals and making plans to crash the Hog Roast soirée, I made my way to the first location.

Climbing to the crow’s nest to retrieve that ridiculous key nearly broke my neck, but pulling the key out of the backside of that poor sap on the beach proved much easier. The undead that comb the beach tried to break my neck in other ways, but Flaming Sword coupled with Whirling Blades and topped with Stone Fist, shattered their plans and ribcages. And yielded a few coins.

At least Jen followed the rules and left her key on the nightstand. Considering her infection and dubious relationship with the grog, putting it anywhere else and she may never find it again herself.

With three keys in hand, I divined I would need to locate three chests. Following the clues, I scaled the mountain side and skirted the Elven encampment. I was unaware that Elves were developing skills in piracy. It seems there is no limit to the dealings they will undertake.

Using the big head, for which the island is actually named, I headed southwest, picked off a few boars for their tasty meat and hides I will make rugs from later and found a sandbar nestled amongst a crop of trees.

I brought in to play my powers at triangulation and soon found what appeared to be the right spot and unearthed a treasure chest. A grim discovery awaited as it was the resting place of some unsavory body parts. These pirates have no shame in what they will bury.

From there, I made my way to the northwest, keeping those unruly Elves in sight, but not getting too close. My skills at stealth and blending into my surroundings like the chameleon were in full play and they were none the wiser to my movements.

On a small outcropping, I took my bearings, pulled out my diving rods, checked the wind speed, determined the angle of the sun, and began probing the soil listening for the sound of striking wood.

After dozens of false leads and needless exertion, I found my mark and unearthed another chest with coins and body parts.

I was making exceptional progress with one more item to uncover. My final destination was back toward the entrance where I entered town. I knew there was something suspicious about the boat with the red sail.

Curving around the rock formations, I kept my eyes fixed on the sand looking for a peculiar disturbance. When I didn’t find one, I knew I was in the right place, and started to dig furiously.

Like a macabre jigsaw puzzle, I was ready to assemble Captain Kennet and receive my reward. He should be quite pleased to be back in one piece. Or at least in less pieces than when he started.

I admit, I am no healer, so it took several attempts to put Captain Kennet together again. The head was easy, but the rest was a jumbled mess and without some sort of template or schematic to guide me, I was having a hard go of it.

When he materialized as a ghostly apparition, I tried to apologize for those first few clumsy attempts, but he would have none of it. His ire could not be contained and he lashed out in a most uncomplimentary fashion.

I had no choice but to defend myself and as they say, a wall of fire is the best defense. We danced a deadly tango on the beach under the full moon. Despite being a vaporous form, Captain Kennet dealt some savage blows. But not to be outdone, I weaved a web of confusion and mayhem of my own, striking with a vast assortment of skills including a chilling death punch.

When the terrible deed was done, and I stood the victor, something strange and troubling happened. From the depths of the sand, two mystical chests rose up to greet me.

“A wicked and vicious trap! I’m not falling for it!” I yelled to the residue of the Captain’s form ignoring the chests with impunity. But the lure of treasure got the better of me, so I carefully placed my looted key in the lock, then sprang back, ready for battle. At the first sign of a chest mimic, I would burn it’s hideous form to ashes!

But instead of death and retribution, I found gold, trinkets and a supply bundle. I swept everything in to my pockets before it disappeared back in to the sand.

Due to his insensitive treatment of me, and lack of gratitude for putting him back together as best I could, my first inclination was to give Kennet a rousing thrashing, shaking his bleached bones to their core and kicking them into the sea out of spite. But I took mercy upon him and left him as he was, staring out over the sea, watching the waves slowly roll in. I did leave a little inducement for the flying gulls to pay him a visit from time to time. I felt that evened the score between us.

I then took my leave, stealing away under the glow of the moon with the intent of spending Kennet’s ill gotten gains on some ill gotten ale.

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Curse you wicked vaporous form! Back to the depths from whenst you came!

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Oh I say, what have we here? And I am to believe that these chests that just materialized out of nowhere are not cursed or will somehow spring to life and devour me? I don’t believe it!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

The lure of Penmawr treasure had piqued my interest, and thus I began searching for clues. While it may look like a tropical paradise, I gathered there was a great deal of treachery, drunkenness and the penchant for stabbing newcomers in the back. This last nugget came to me when I was indeed stabbed in the back.

I turned upon the drunken vagabond and declared, “You will get nothing from me you flea-ridden, pimply-faced, poorly dressed, scurvy dog!” The flaming sword was instantly brought to bear.

To my shock, the swaying dragoon dropped his sword, placed his face in his hands and turned away. I then heard the sound of sobs.

“I say, we are in the middle of duel here. Would you be so kind as to turn around and participate. It would be bad form, and most likely against the rules of engagement to stab you when you aren’t ready,” I said. “I’m not against it mind, but I’d like to give you a fair shake.”

The sobs only grew louder.

“Excuse me? Are you alright over there? Have you suffered some sort of debilitating injury before we have even begun?”

I took a step forward, placed my hand on the lads shoulder and realized he was quite despondent. Indeed on the point hysterics.

“That really hurt my feelings,” he said through the sobs. “I’ll admit to the poorly dressed part, and maybe I have a touch of the scurvy, I am a scoundrel pirate, but the rest of what you said was just plain insulting and mean.”

“Oh my,” I started. “I was merely casting aspersions to make ready for battle. A battle cry if you will. They were not personal insults. I’m sure under this layer of grime you are fine lad with many noble qualities.”

This did nothing to settle the mood and soon a gang of ruffs stumbled upon the scene. Noting the dire situation of their comrade, they immediately began to question what I had done and demanded satisfaction.

“That dirty ratfinkovich made Billy cry,” one of them shouted. “Nobody makes Billy cry but us! Get him!”

The fracas was on before I could air my apology. I was taken off guard and received several debilitating blows upon my person. Several stinging hits of the cudgel sent me reeling.

Crashing headlong into the crates and fish netting was the exact diversion I needed. While they laughed at my ill treatment, I produced the flaming sword and readied the full onslaught of Stone Fist. I unleashed a pulverizing blow right to the chest of the fellow closest to me. The snapping sound was unpleasant to be sure.

I followed this with a frenzy of wildly overreaching sword strikes that took them all by surprise. Everything incurred my wrath including an innocent boat oar, several bottles of whiskey I would like to have saved for later and a small boat that needed to be put out of it’s misery anyway.

I complimented my assault with a debilitating blast of Ice Fist and a rousing dance of Whirling Blades. This brought the laughter and most of the breathing to an end. Seizing the moment, I body slammed one chap right off the peer. He screamed in horror as the briny water scrubbed him clean.

Weeping Billy gave up the fight and made a retreat, but not before wantonly hurling several perfectly good rum bottles in my direction.

“Good thing those were empty or there would be hell to pay!” I warned. But my words fell on deaf ears as he raced down the pier and disappeared out of sight.

With that, I made my way to the alcove of Captain Kennet. And it was indeed a grim sight. There he sat, regal in his chair, but missing a few regal bits. I located one of his extremities lying just off to the side and after surveying the scene my keen adventurer senses told me it would be to my benefit if I found the rest of him.

Having cleared the dock, I found several clues pointing me in the right direction. These scalawags are quite liberal with their posting of mysterious treasure maps and cryptic clues on the walls of their bungalows. But I don’t see why anyone would hide a key in a crow’s nest. That’s just silly. As we all know, keys should be secreted on a night table or swept under a rug for safe keeping. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop and scaling rickety boards to reach such an outpost is foolhardy business and sure fire way to break one’s neck and miss out on all the good treasure.

But after carefully committing the three maps to memory and absconding with a few golden goblets as trinkets for my trouble, I set off to search the island for the secret hiding places of the stash. I am an expert at diving the location of hidden wealth and riches, and it’s the perfect opportunity to use the trusty, rusty shovel I took from the thug that somehow had it concealed in his leggings.

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Oh dear me, it looks like you could use a hand. And there is it right there. Allow me to get that for you.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

As I ponder the future when I put this grand life of adventuring, smiting and falling down a precipice behind me, I imagine a life on the high seas and the ocean waves beckon me. There is the small problem of my violent seasickness and aversion to using a bucket as a privy, but once conquered, I shall be master and commander.

The first order of business is to obtain a vessel. That lead me to Penmawr Island where seafaring men of all descriptions sell their vessels and cargo. And if the timing is right, I might be able to swindle a fair trade for nothing more than a cask of rum.

Penmawr struck me as a tropical paradise with it’s oyster beds, swaying palms, shiny blue water and blind eye to public drunkenness. Halmar could learn a thing or two from their tolerance.

“Well, this isn’t quite the den of iniquity and back alley shiving I was led to believe,” I said admiring a vacant hut that could make a festive vacation spot. “I wonder who I need to speak with about buying one of these vessel?” I said out loud.

“You looking to buy a boat?” said a mysterious voice from the darkness.

“Holy monkey!” I yelled as I spun around to see if perhaps an adversary was making ready to cudgel me in the kidneys. What I found was a lanky fellow leaning up against the beams of a small hut.

“That depends, are you in a position to sell one?” I asked gathering myself.

“That depends, you got coin to pay for one?” he retorted.

“That depends,” I said, falling into his trap.

“On?”

“Um. Nevermind. I merely got ahead of myself. Carry on.”

“You don’t exactly look to be the seafaring type,” he remarked. “Most folks that come through here aren’t clad in armor with some sort of rancid animal skull on their head.”

“Ah, yes, well. First, I came right over from a rather debilitating battle in the Shardfall,” I replied. “Second, the vessel will be for my grand retirement. You can’t spend your whole life going around pummeling thugs and bandits. And third, the skull is not rancid, merely battle worn. But, the helm could use a bit of a polish I admit.”

“Hmm,” he replied looking me over. “You with the constabulary?” he questioned.

“Oh, no. Nothing of the kind. I am a grand adventurer. While it may be frowned up by some, I loot the occasional old ruin, abscond with a rare treasure now and then, and retrieve objects for mysterious townspeople in several parts of the realm. I bring them goods and they give me coins. Sometimes banners. The occasional piece of armor. Mind you, the sporadic thug or bandit might try to relieve me of my quarry and must be dealt with sternly.”

“Ah, a land buccaneer looking to move to the seas. Very well,” he replied with a wry grin. “Got a boat right over here you can look at.”

“Land buccaneer?” I inquired.

“Not too worry, we aren’t looking to judge around here,” he replied.

We sauntered to the other side of the dock and a vessel that appeared to have run aground.

“This is a bit of a fixer-upper. We’re not sure who it originally belonged to as it crashed onto the shore in the middle of the night. No crew aboard. Looks like there might have been a mutiny. There’s a few holes, but we’ll get it fixed up in no time. We still need to clean out the bones and wash off the stains, so don’t worry about those.”

“Bones? Stains?”

“Nothing to trouble yourself over. Happens all the time. Bit of ocean water, bit of sanding, you’ll barely be able to tell,” he answered.

Trying not to appear startled or naive in the ways of the seafaring life, I went up the ramp and inspected the craft. It was not ideal. Far from it. The wood appeared to be rotten, the ship’s wheel was off kilter, the few sails left were a tattered wreck, and the main mast showed signs of rot.

Despite my disappointment, I continued my tour below deck. This was a costly mistake and the smell was overwhelming and the clutter of bones was alarming.

“Good gravy!” I declared. “What took place down here? Is this the site of a mutiny or the location of a buffet gone awry?” I then noted my companion had not come aboard to inspect the vessel with me.

My confidence and my stomach were shaken, but I forged ahead and continued down to the lower hold. There I found the rusty and disused cannons, plenty of cobwebs and some unidentifiable bits. I cautiously stepped around those.

Spotting a ladder to go down, I felt compelled to take it. This turned out to be a mistake as the structurally unsound ladder broke under my weight and I plunged into the sea.

I returned to the shore in a rather disheveled state, seaweed entangled in my helm and water leaking from my armor in a less than complimentary fashion.

Sloshing back up the sand bar, I passed my verdict. “I was hoping for something a little more seaworthy and a little less grizzly and full of holes. I don’t need it today mind you. It’s an investment in my future.”

My companion pondered for a moment. “I see you will be one of those uppity boat captains. You probably want a real privy and not the standard bucket, am I right?”

“I had a bad experience with a bucket and would like to speak no more of it,” I replied.

He scoffed, but then continued. “All the good boats are spoken for at the moment. We’ll probably have some more available shortly as soon as a few more prizes of dubious origin are dropped of. Unless of course you want old Captain Kennet’s boat. He’s certainly not gonna need it any more.”

“Oh? A captain is parting with his boat? Moving up to something more grand is he?”

“You might say. There was a parting to be sure. To be more precise he parted with his arms, legs and head. Probably not of his own choice I suspect.”

“Egads!” I cried.

“Seems the crew took offense to something, strung him up, got frisky with the blade, then tossed him into that alcove over there. His spirit is most likely looking for revenge. Ship’s probably haunted, so I can make you a good deal on it.”

“Steady on man! The crew got disgruntled with their captain, carved him to bits then tossed him overboard?”

“Hard to say what happened as dead men tell no tales,” he replied. “Boat’s docked just over there, right next to his body. Or what’s left of it. Pieces are probably scattered all over the island. They probably secreted his looted treasure somewhere on the island until it was safe to come back later.”

“Sorry? Looted treasure?” I inquired. “There is treasure to be had?”

“Most likely. Buried treasure all over these parts. You how these things go. Someone buries trinkets in the sand, forgets where they did it, makes some terrible map no one can decipher and people spend all their time wandering the beach looking for the smallest clue. But, I thought you were interested in a boat?” he countered.

“Yes of course. Indeed I am. But say, perhaps we should take a moment for a quick repast and refreshments. Allow me to buy you an ale, or perhaps a bottle of rum to show my appreciation for showing me around. We can discuss the captain and this so called treasure. Besides, I wouldn’t want to go see this headless captain without fortifying myself,” I said.

“Up to you. Most folks lose their fortification when they gaze upon such things. But, the pub is over there. Bit rough for outsiders though. Be careful you don’t get shived wearing that outfit.”

“Fear not my dear fellow,” I replied with a smile. “I have just the garb on hand that will allow me to blend in as though I were a native.”

“I was afraid of that,” he sighed. “We don’t have any natives. This is an outlaw island.”

And with that we strode off in the direction of a drunken brawl which I assumed was the local pub.

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Yes, well, I can see why you keep it away from the main harbor. It looks a bit worn. And riddled with disease.

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All is not lost! This lantern works!

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Good heavens! What manner of treachery took place down here? My superior sense of puzzle solving tells me something went awry in this location.

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I say, would you by any chance be Captain Bennet? I don’t mean to be rude or perhaps even state the obvious, but you seem to have something shiny sticking out of your backside. I’m no healer, but I think your disposition would improve if we dislodge it. I have blacksmithing tongs in my bag that could be used for the task.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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