50 Fathoms: Session 24

One of the things I really like about Caribdus as a setting is the wide range of time from which the “visitors” from Earth can come. The blend of Caribdus culture and the intrusion of the visitors’ cultures is really neat – especially when you consider that the visitors can come from anywhere on Earth between 1400 and 1815. So that’s how we get the story of a bunch of magical sea adventurers saving some merchants…during a showing of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

 

The Party:

Skitters, scurillian mage

Yang Hou, human sailor

Boggsworth Binns, masaquani scoundrel

Lars, doreen hunter

 

The Setting:

The City of Baltimus, on Cuwayo

The City of New Madrid, on Sprith

Caribdus, a drowning world

 

The Story So Far:

Having spotted the assassin’s knives and pistols, barely hidden under the trays of their waiter disguises, Yang Hou was the first to take decisive action, by shouting to warn everyone – and by chopping off the arm of the nearest waiter-assassin. While he was still in shock, Skitters moved to hide under Edward Lazenby’s chair, firing bolts of rock and air from underneath. Lars attacked three of the men with his obsidian daggers, quickly and messily dropping their corpses. Boggsworth got his weight underneath the nearest table and heaved it onto several of the attackers, dazing them, but leaving them alive for later questioning.

In the chaos, most of the theater’s patrons evacuated, running and screaming in a panicked herd. Lazenby himself stayed put, looking to ensure that everyone else got out and that the heroes who would defend him did not fall in combat. Before long – between Boggsworth’s and Yang Hou’s magical swords, Lars’ extraordinarily sharp blades, and Skitters’ powerful blasts of elemental magic – only three of the would-be assassins remained, all three injured and dazed from Boggsworth’s table. They secured and bound these three and left them under Yang Hou’s watchful eye. Meanwhile, Skitters and Boggsworth talked to Lazenby, while Lars made sure that everyone else had gotten out safely.

Lazenby was certain that these men were agents of the Spanish Guild, come to kill him and anyone who might ally with him – such as the merchants and sailors who he’d invited to the play that evening. He thanked the group for their efforts in protecting him and everyone else at the theater – he knew that of all the crews he’d brought in to offer deals and formal alliances with, he’d done very well in making sure that the crew of the Potsticker was among them. Skitters healed Lazenby’s shoulder wound, which he’d received when one of the assassins managed to get off a shot at him before being taken down.

When the rest of the group returned to where Yang Hou had sequestered himself with the prisoners – and had apparently been cursing them out in Chinese for the better part of an hour – they decided to do their own questioning, in lieu of waiting for an official investigator to arrive. In order to make sure that they received truthful answers, the group took the prisoners out to the Baltimus harbor, where they measured out lengths of rope and secured them to heavy stones beneath the surface, ensuring that the prisoners’ heads would be only just above the surface.

Indeed, the three and their cohorts had been hired by the Spanish Guild to assassinate Lazenby. They’d decided to do so at the theater during the show, in order to ensure that the merchant was sufficiently distracted – his love of Shakespeare was well known, and now it seemed that people knew enough to take advantage of it. For their complete willingness to hurt, or even kill, innocent bystanders when undertaking this job, and for their alliance with the Spanish Guild, the group decided that the simplest thing to do would be to leave them there. One way or another, the sea would take care of them.

The next morning, they stopped by Lazenby’s office in the British East India Company buildings – he had promised them a substantial reward the night before. Lazenby’s first order of business, however, was telling them why he’d invited them to dinner along with all the others last night. He and several other high-ranking Company officials were planning a decisive move against the Spanish Guild, an attack that would end the trade war once and for all. He could not, at this time, offer them more details, but he asked them to fight with the Company when the time came; the crew readily agreed to this. As for their reward – he presented them with an official letter granting them a significant discount on goods purchased in Baltimus for the next year. This was eagerly received, and the crew of the Potsticker stocked up on many vital goods before returning to their ship.

With the rest of the world open to them – and little to do but explore – where would they go next? They considered returning to the northern mountains and trying to capture a roc egg – after all, they knew where at least one roc lived, and one of those eggs would make a lot of very nice omelettes. Or perhaps they would finally go to the frozen northern homeland of the grael, the icy continent of Arfk. Perhaps they’d make their way south to Deiking and Little China, and see if perhaps Yang Hou’s people knew of any… big trouble (sorry, I had to). They decided, however, that their best move for the time being would be to see what they could learn in New Madrid, the home base of the Spanish Guild. A little reconnaissance never hurt anyone.

Arriving in New Madrid (after making a quick pitstop in Fort Rum to make sure all was well there and to pick up a new crew of interns), they found a bustling city, equal in size to Kiera and Baltimus – the other two biggest settlements in Caribdus. Knowing, of course, that there was no need to waste a trip to a major city, they made sure to do some buying and selling here as well. Particularly, they sold off some of the goods they’d acquired from previous adventures and not sold yet – no point in holding on to it and letting it take up cargo space that could be used for food and cannons.

In one of the city’s bustling taverns, they saw some good-natured ribbing going on between two groups – listening in, they soon found that the two groups were students of the city’s two fencing schools, which taught opposing styles of blade combat. They joked and teased about whose teacher would beat the other, and about the weaknesses of the other style of fighting, but there was perhaps an undercurrent of tension beneath the good-natured jabs. The crew of the Potsticker, however, saw this as an opportunity.

Two weeks and several thousand pieces of eight later, the heroes were that much more skilled with their weapons of choice – Yang Hou and Boggsworth with their magical sabers, and Lars with his daggers. Even Skitters – a one-armed crab – managed to improve his fighting skills, to his teacher’s pride. And now even they could partake in the persistent tavern conversations (and the students’ duels to prove the point) about which famed swordsman would win in a fight.

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