Cariene accepts the tankard, steps up in front of the crowd with the hearth to her back, and throws back the drink, chugging it all in one go. Lifting her empty mug high before the crowd, she shouts, “HEAR MY TALE…” then drops her voice low, “of the agony of good Avalon privateers, men of stout hearts and iron sinews, dry-docked and languishing in the foul prison-pits and oubliettes of Muget. Tormented by the fresh sea winds, they were, their moans and cries carried aloft, dancing upon the waves, carried by the spray and foam across the seas, to catch the ear and tug at the heart strings of the handsome and dashing ALASDAIR MACBAIN, and his crew of reckless freebooters…”
She then recounts how they landed on the docks, and how HERJA, “potent with ancient weather-wisdom” called up a fearsome storm to cover their sneaking into the port, and how they had made their way into the very bowels of Muget’s “foul dark loathsome fortress.” She tells how the keen steel of Herr Wolfram shattered the chains and smashed the locks that oppressed the poor, brave honest seamen who had been cast into the foul depths of dark stone beneath the moaning sea.
Meanwhile, she recounts how she had climbed countless stairs to the highest tower to steal the secret knowledge of that grim place. But she was thwarted in her attempts by the arrival of the wicked and sinister Lady Dominique Leveque d'Aur. Cariene explains, in salacious detail, how the fiendish noble first tried to seduce her with her slinky, snake-like beauty, and to poison her with envenomed wine. But of course Cariene was too clever to be so caught, and she spurned the evil viper’s advances. Enraged, Dominique drew her blade, and the two began a desperate duel, leaping from tower-to-tower, across rain drenched battlements where the wind howled and tore at their clothing and the lightning crashed and burned across the sky!
A puddle caused our heroine to slip and she fell down from the wall, across a stairway, over a stack of barrels, to sprawl in the mud, her sword out of reach and her foe, laughing, standing over her, preparing to strike a fatal blow to her heart. When suddenly the spirit of justice himself, as if summoned by the very ferocity of the storm, EL VAGO appeared. His blade flickered faster and brighter than the lightning that wreathed his head, and his booming laugh filled the cold, black heart of the Lady d’Aur with terror. Screaming, she fled into the night to cower like a frightened child in some hidden place.
But the garrison of the castle had been roused, and now the freed sailors and their rescuers were forced to fight a pitched battle against an entire regiment of marines, hordes of cavalry, and vast batteries of artillery. Only by their ferocious courage where they able to route the massed ranks of the enemy, but just as the battle seemed to be won, the fiendish Lady d’Aur made a last-minute appearance to fire a cowardly shot at el Vago’s back. Mortally wounded, he fell to the earth.
But just as all hope seemed to be lost, the stout-hearted and innocent young ENZIO arrives. Hearing the plaintive cries of others trapped in a hidden oubliette, he’d released a wise doctor and his staff, being punished by the vile Lady d’Aur for the crime of mercy upon the poor peasants she’d been torturing on her lands. With the aid of the good doctor and the purity of Enzio’s tears, el Vago was healed.
Rushing to the port, the crew liberated the gallant corvette Bec de Corbin and made for the sea. But the storm had abated and the air was still. The battery overlooking the harbor trained its guns upon the helpless ship, preparing to smash it to splinters and send its gallant crew to the depths, just as they seemed poised to win their freedom.
Then did Herja clamber to the crow’s nest and in her mighty arms gripped the beard of the West Wind. They wrestled and struggled all through the rigging, the wind sometimes a giant with gnashing teeth and fiery eyes, or a hissing cat, or a wild crone. But no matter what form it took, Herja kept her grip, until the wind relented and she hurled it into the sails, sending the ship dancing over the waves, as light as foam and spray, leaving the smoke and cannonballs of the clumsily commanded battery far in their wake.
And then did the whole crew raise a cheer, breathing once more the free air and looking forward for another chance at vengeance against the hated enemy, side-by-side with “Captain Alasdair and his crew of reckless freebooters!”
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
...but in this case, it was written by one of the players in my 7th Sea campaign. This is one character's rendition of the events of their first adventure, after arriving safely home and telling the tale at the local pirate dive:
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