Skull and Shackles

Excerpt from "Hero's Guide: The Complete Writings of Errol Karn- Vol. III"

‘’…After successfully boarding and taking the Man’s Promise, we gazed upon a feisty lass who we later learned went by the name of Inam. She was surrounded by wounded members of our raiding party. Why she hadn’t killed them, I don’t know. She was approached by Plug and Scourge who were just about to kill her when the Captain ordered them to stop. I will admit to being suspicious of her, having spared her assailants and then not being killed herself. However, that suspicion was soon laid to rest.

I knew being under Plug’s command was gonna be rough. He gave me and my mates the shitty jobs. Arunyr questioned these assignments and found himself on the wrong end of a cat o’ nine tails. How foolish. And no rum rations! At least I got a chance to blow a final kiss to the lovely Cut-throat as our ships sailed apart.

That night, Arunyr felt that we had changed course and were no longer sailing for Port Peril. We suspect that we were headed somewhere to be sold off as slaves. We also got to know a little more about Inam. She can somehow sense what the weather will be a full day in advance. Truly a useful talent aboard a ship! She informed us that there was gonna be a hell of a storm coming up and after some discussion, we agreed that she should inform the captain. He didn’t seem to believe her. He did, however, tell her that she was to bunk with him from that point forward. A request that ultimately sealed his fate.

As Inam predicted, we found ourselves in a heavy storm. All crew were on deck, trying to keep the ship under control. As if things weren’t bad enough, we also caught a glimpse of some squidy gremlin looking creatures zipping across our the deck.

We successfully weathered the storm but with fewer crew than we started with. Among the missing were Sandra Quinn and Conchobhar. Oh, and there was also a huge hole in the hull thanks to the island that we ran into. Inam chose this moment to protest Plug’s earlier request by way of an arrow in the back. This triggered the beginning of our mutiny. It was a great fight. Artful swordplay, deadly arrows, biting insults and, um, stinkbombs? Plug went down and Scourge exposed his true cowardice as he tried to escape in a raft. Erlik wasn’t going to let him get away and threw a bomb square in Scourge’s face. Fortunately, my hat wasn’t hurt in the blast but was instead sent hurtling up into the air like a champagne cork. I gracefully dove from the ship and deftly caught it, thus saving it from needless water damage.

So now the ship was ours! Recognizing my natural leadership, the crew selected me as the ships new captain. We assessed the situation. The ship needed repairs. In addition to the giant hole, we also lost most of our drinking water during the storm. We needed to find some lumber and some fresh water. And we had to hurry because Inam informed us of another upcoming storm. So I lead an away party of Arunyr, Erlik, Inam, Jerrick, and Owlbear, leaving Rosie in charge of repairs and Cog in charge of the ship until my return.

We took the raft and rowed up to shore. We found a fishing village that looked like it’d been abandoned some years ago. We decided to head into the island bringing us to a swamp with an old broken up bridge. As we were discussing how best to cross, Erlik took Inam’s rope, tied it around himself, and bounded across the bridges remnants with an elegance not before displayed. Unfortunately, the rope was too short and the other end now lay in the murky swamp water, out of reach from us still on shore. Arunyr took it upon himself to take out another length of rope and tie the two pieces together. As he did this, we was violently pulled from where he was standing into the welcoming maw of a gigantic, carnivorous frog. He managed to wrestle free only to immediately be recaptured by the beast. We all jumped into action trying to recuse Arunyr, with Jerrick being captured by another frog in the process. He retaliated by summoning a squid to fight on his behalf, which, yeah, impressive.

After the frogs had croaked, we continued on and came upon a tent formed from and old sail. Inam and Arunyr snuck up to it and came back saying they’d heard a boar inside. We boldly decided to walk around it. Then we came to a field that had buzzing heads on pikes. We again dared to go around.

And finally we came to a fort built around a large tree. Inam and Arunyr were again scoping things out from a tree outside the fort’s walls when suddenly, Arunyr was was gripped by some vines and pulled into the fort. We all rushed in to once again save our friend. I made the tactically brilliant decision to also get pulled into the tree by one of these “vine chokers” in order to wrestle it to the ground where it was easily defeated. We made quick work of our foes and decided that the fort made a pretty good place to hole up for the night to recuperate.’’

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