Skull and Shackles

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

Free Pirates

Not in Port Peril for even a day when some urchin tried to pick my pocket. He did a messy job of it though. Like he hadn’t had even the most basic training. He looked like he could use the coin though so I let it slide. However, Inam witnessed it and caught the kid before he could run away. When questioned about his lackluster performance, he confessed that the Thieves guild was in a bit of turmoil these days. I gave him a few quick pointers and sent him on his way.

So, it turned out that although we were infamous pirates, we weren’t yet “official” pirates. The amount of rigmarole required to get this status was worse than dealing with the tax man back at my bar. We first had to prove ourselves worthy by completing three challenges. The Hurricane King, Bonefist, sent his first mate to administer these tests. Goldtooth, whose tooth was made of gold, arrived with a crew of lackeys and a crowd quickly formed around us. He yammered on for a while, working up the audience, complimenting my fashion sense, etc. Eventually he got to the point and gave us our first test. A race.

The goal was to climb to the top of a ships mast and unfurl some sails before your competitor did. We chose Quinn to be our challenger. He’d had the most experience with large masts. The race began and Quinn just sat there, letting the other guy get a head start. You know, like a jerk. Did he really think this was the best time to show off? While we were being judged? Eventually, he did start and soon caught up. Then there was some cheating by one of Goldtooth’s guys cutting a rope and almost knocking Quinn off, but he managed to hang on and still win. Easy peasy. One down, two to go.

The next nefarious challenge was the devious, the treacherous, the most perilous of all contests…..a game of cards? I thought we were trying to become pirates. Was Goldtooth just messing with us? Anyways, he cheated, Inam lost, but two outta three still counts so we were off to the final test.

This one at least seemed like it was going to pose some real challenge to us. We were placed on a ship and a swamp giant was sent to kill us. No complicated rules or restrictions this time. Just survive. The poor giant never had a chance. It was immediately ensnared by Jerrick’s magic tentacles and zapped with lightning. Erlik hit it with a frost bomb, just to make extra sure it wasn’t going anywhere, and Inam and Quinn shot at it with arrows. My crew clearly had this menial fight under control so I did some grandstanding, getting the crowd to cheer us on and chide Goldtooth a bit. The swamp giant was soon dead and Goldtooth begrudgingly admitted our victory, and invited to attend a feast at the Hurricane King’s fortress where the final decision would be made.

Before the party, however, I received a note requesting a meeting with one of our old Thieves Guild cohorts. I informed Quinn and we met in an appropriately dark and mysterious alley. We learned that there was indeed some serious turmoil in the guild going all the way to the top. We were asked to help take care of “problems” if they came up. We agreed that we’d do anything, if the price was right.

Later that evening, we showed up for the feast. Bonefist, whose fist was made of bone, insisted that I tell some of our harrowing tales. The crowd was wrapped around my little finger as I regaled them with our rise to infamy. I think ol’ Bonefist was getting a little jealous of the attention I was getting and so stopped me to call for a final vote from the Council on making us official free captains. It was a unanimous yes. Well, except for Harrigan, of course. But that look on his face as he stormed out. Priceless. The rest of the night was filled with drunken revelry befitting the occasion. At one point, I was approached by one of the council members, Lady Fairwind, asking us to meet with her later on.

When we woke up the next afternoon, we visited Fairwind to see what she wanted. The stories I shared the previous night really impressed her and she wanted our help. She gave some information about potential Chellish spied and asked if we could investigate. She also told us about a regatta coming up that if we were to win, we could become members of the Pirate Council.

Afterwards, we got back to what was really important, more drunken revelry! We found our way to an enchanting little tavern. Soon after arriving, a lovely gentleman by the name of Pierce bought me a drink. Suddenly there was some shouting and Pierce was swinging a fist to knock down somebody about to hit me from behind. That Pierce was my kinda guy. A real man’s man. What followed was just a good ol’ fashioned bar brawl. After the dust up was over, Inam and Quinn(who were noticeably absent from the fracas) summoned me. They had captured a woman that had been slipping oil of taggit into peoples drinks. Turned out to be Culky who we knew from our time on the Wormwood. She missed me so she decided to ditch Harrigan and join up with us.

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