After nearly a week at Panitube and integrating into Tanaroan life, the Heroes 4 Hire managed to hash out some impressive trading with the islanders, and set the stage for more regular trade lanes to be established on follow on visits. However, there were six more villages to visit and repeat the process, so on the evening of Mol, 16 Milos 3E998 the team decided to split up to cover more ground. Thia and Dajjal went overland to Burowao to start laying the ground work there, while the remainder of the party took the Sea Wyvern and all the trade goods to the three villages that occupy the smaller islets.
The Wyvern visited Usi, Dawa and Kirikuka before arriving at Burowao, and spent three days at each place meeting the people, assisting them with chores and conducting trade. While at Usi the contingent recovered another meteorite that struck the ground 2 miles east of the village, this time returning with a mixed metal nugget the size of a large plum. Trade went well at the outer villages as well as Burowao, and on the 1st of Jo the gang continued to Mora.
Again, the Heroes stayed for three days, meeting the people and assisting them around the village, negotiating trade and practicing diplomacy. They marveled at the sprawling beds of oysters the villagers harvested for pearls in the bay, and then inquired as to the origin of the large pearls they had seen bartered in Panitube. The villagers directed them to a large reef 50 miles out to sea that is home to a bed of giant clams. On the last day in Mora, Beeblebrox took the Sea Wyvern to the giant clam beds for the day to skin dive as the rest of the gang headed overland to the village of Tanaroa and the Great Wall.
Their initial arrival in the village of Tanaroa was the same as it was at the other villages… meet people, help them around the village, trade, make friends… and for Thia, collect new boyfriends like they were on sale. When they met the Chieftess, however, Mira of the Hawk told them the village had received a demand from a local band of brigands for ransom of 500 gp for the safe return of her brother, Doran, and his group of four, abducted while exploring north of the Great Wall. Mira asked for their help, and H4H was happy to oblige.
The party set the Sea Wyvern a few miles away from the appointed spot with lights out, and Dajjal awaited the pirates with the ransom while Thia and Illyia kept him covered from concealment a short distance away. When the pirates arrived they were surprised to see a tiefling present to make the exchange, an oddity elsewhere in the world but definitely well out of place here. Tensions ran high, but cool heads prevailed and the exchange was made. As the two pirate-outriggers paddled out of sight along the coastline and into the night, the contingent on land signaled the contingent on the Sea Wyvern to take a cutoff heading, and then ran back to the village to jump into a 20-man outrigger with 17 of the strongest village warriors to pursue.
Three hours the 20-man canoe… well, 19 as Thia was chumming the waters with sea sickness… paddled in chase, when Luna squawked a warning that the pirates had halted, dragged their canoes ashore and set a concealed watch in the jungle’s edge to see if they were followed. The pursuit canoe managed to stop before being spotted, and beached to go counter-bushwhack the ambush. It was about then that the Sea Wyvern came within range of Illyia’s raven familiar, and the group on land signaled them to stop and bring forces ashore. A 30-man assault force as organized, with the 20-man outrigger crew sneaking through the jungle to get behind the pirates, and the 10-man Wyvern contingent delaying to make a coordinated charge up the beach… hopefully catching the pirates by surprise in an L-shaped ass-kicking.
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”
As Thia, Illyia, Dajjal and the 17 Tanaroan warriors circled through the jungle behind the pirates, they happened upon a hunting party of 8 lizardmen, who, surprised by a massive force sneaking through the bush, ran for their lives. The crashing brush alerted the pirates, who decided that whatever-that-was sounded big and scary and that they would rather get back afloat than stay here. Seeing their quarry moving canoes back out to the water, Illyia yelled, “BUMRUSH!!” and the Heroes, the Tanaroans and the Wyvern crew charged the pirates. Six of the pirates were killed in the initial volley, and the remaining seven were subdued and captured in short order. The Tanaroans returned to the village with four of the captives, and the reunited H4H prepared to return to the Sea Wyvern with the other three. An intense showdown developed when Diplo demanded guarantees against the mistreatment of the prisoners from Mr. Cotton, who would not tolerate any such breach of discipline or protocol in his ship’s command, but wisdom tempered the moment when Diplo decided to take it up with the gorgeous Captain Larouche.
The Heroes and crew brought the prisoners aboard and placed them in a makeshift brig. The Sea Wyvern sailed half a day out into deep water before Captain Larouche brought them topside for interrogation. She made them a simple offer… sign onto her crew, obey her and Mr. Cotton explicitly and unquestioningly, and they will be brought into the fold, with pay, provision and supply, and to be made honest sailors. The cost was simply all information on their band of brigands… location, numbers, composition, equipment. She then offered them an alternative choice, by quietly looking up at the lowest yardarm of the main mast where a single noose hung swaying in the breeze. And like that, the Sea Wyvern had three new sailors and Captain Larouche had all the information she wanted on the pirate band.
The ink had not dried on the sailors’ signatures when Captain Larouche immediately declared them guilty of piracy and kidnapping, acts that would not be tolerated on her crew and that a simple signature would not completely forgive. She sentenced them on the spot to 5 lashes each, they were strung up, and Mr. Cotton put the flog to work on the men’s bare backs… all in front of a horrified party of adventurers. However, after the meat had been split and blood drawn, the men were immediately taken below to the doctor and tended to, and the next morning the Heroes saw the three men again… on deck, clean and shaven, newly uniformed, fully healed and working heartily… and looking as though they had finally eaten a full meal for the first time in ages.
And so, life aboard the Sea Wyvern returned to normal… even if only for a time.
Join us again, next week, on TGC: Heros 4 Hire!