PRP: Third Saffron Campaign
Sept. 4, 2020, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Crownlands near Brighthold - The Mourning Sea
Comments and Log
Ellani, the palm sized spider arrives, delivering a message to Drake before departing.
The present venture into the Near Saffron Isles is the largest organized reaving yet: over two dozen ships of varied allegiance, mostly Longships crewed by unsworn Mourning Isles freebooters, but with larger warships contributed by various factions. Their object had been to strike the remains of a Gildorian slave trading network, in which Shav'arvani tribes had supplied the Eurusi merchants with slaves and mercenary scouts for their expeditions, which are then carried across the Wide Sea to the flesh markets of the Dune Kingdoms.
The only problem was.. after two prior reavings, the Gildorian slavers and their Shav allies were growing harder to find. The Compact fleet had spread over miles of water, sending sixteen longships out as scouts to scour the islands of the vast archipelago for signs of their quarry, while the heavier ships moved in a central squadron, conducting their own search of the isles, islets, and coves as they went. Even in autumn, the sun burns hot on the Saffron, and the south-westerly wind sends banners snapping hard on their poles. The eight ships of the central squadron, poised for a swift response count war galleys of Darkwater, Grayson, Redreef, and Grimhall, as well as four Longships of Eswynd, and Tidelord.
It is a truism of sailing that all can be very dull and tedious, until it isn't. One the scout longships reappears in the south-west, under full sail and signal horn sounding alarm. The word spreads quickly once they draw within shouting distance: "Shav fleet to the south-west! Twelve ships! One of ours trapped, make haste!"
The Darkwater galley has Wulfrum standing on the aft-deck with a cigarillo in hand and a look towards the southwest as the helmsmen keeps the galley steady as one of many such vessels in the squadron with the caravel standing apart with its grander design. Despite the make haste remark the Captain moves over to the rail and squints off to the southwest as if trying to count the specks that might be on the edge of vision... if only we had spy glasses!
While he does he orders the helm, "Bring her about slow, swing outside and move to the outer part of the group. We'll buffer the other galleys from getting sideswiped." and then he will include, "And get on the decks of the shav vessels first. First to board, first to claim." cigarillo smoke blowing away in the wind as the ship begins to come about.
Neilda is pulling her weight on the Darkwater galley. Even when sailing is dull and tedious, it doesn't seem like she finds it so; her eyes are perpetually on a task until tasks run out, and then they turn on the horizon, or on the rare chance she has lookout duty, there they stay. She's pausing between things in just that way (and looking the wrong direction) when shouting-distance shouting starts, and she turns over her shoulder to get a bead on location. But Wulfrum is on that; no need for two spotters, when she can be working on those orders, hustling down the deck to do the sailing-bits that require more than a single set of hands. She can totally boss around one or two people, as long as they don't call her cute.
"I believe that's our cue to brace for impact." Azova decides, upon hearing Wulfrum's call for the Darkwater vessel to act as a buffer. So that is what she does, testing things to make sure what needs to be strapped down tight is sturdy, and everyone onboard is as safe as can be from whatever will happen if impact is made.
Drake isn't great at the sailing part of these adventures, but many adventures require sailing.
He's enjoying the company he's keeping, though. Maybe nothing adventurous will happen, and it will be just fine, just a nice trip out on the water with some ladies and--
'shav fleet to the southwest' is echoed through the air over the ocean, and passed from boat to boat, the sound of it reaching his ears. Wind whips through his hair as he rises from the spot he was leisurely riding in, near the stern of the Grayson ship. When things get moving, he might have to climb on something or pull on a rope, but he'll take instruction from the better sailors in this regard.
At least that Halfshav is not... quite as bad this time around as during that initial mission. Reve is for the most part, just as before, keeping his distance from the general happenings and letting the professionals do his work. He prowls the top deck about the time that Wulfrum is offering forth his announcement and Azova clarifies. "Brace for impact?" Reve asks, coming up from behind Azova. Reve attempts to illustrate by wrapping an arm around the mercy, just at the middle, but it's brief and more in jest than any true foolery. He will assist with strapping down this and that, using muscle more than brain in this instance. At least he takes direction well.
Macda has gotten onto her ship and is awaiting those that are assigned or choose to come abord .. she looks up as she ties her hair up tightly so it is not whipping out round her face. "Lady Thea!" she calls out to the womans direction her words lost on the wind. She hears that the shav fleet is approaching and she listens to the orders being given. She helps tie things down and secures the knots ... "Secure yourselves!"
Domonico had travelled to the Near Saffron Chain along with the rest of the reavers on his caravel Tempest, blessed by Archlector Madeleine in Mangata's name. He had come along, predominantly as an observer in this affair and also, truth be told, enjoying sailing on the caravel. The stern Southportian Admiral frowns as the alarm is raised and pauses a moment in his position at the helm, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.
His eyes snap open and he begins barking orders on ship to his crew, the sails of the caravel unfurling and angling as the Tempest joins the Compact Fleet, the caravel staying slightly further out on the western side of the rest of the fleet for now.
Hitching a ride on the Grayson ship is Thea. Hearing Macda, the Malvici takes off and finds some rope. As she passes the other sailors and such, she checks where she can help. Thea is a decent sailor and CAN help where she can. Securing herself, she waves out,"Got it! I'm good!" She thinks anyway. For now.
Word is sent to gather the other far-flung scouts, but such will take hours, which the Compact flotilla lack. Heading largely against the wind, sails are drawn in and ships must move by their oars. The rowing drums make a steady, thrumming heartbeat as weapons and sheafs of arrows are readied for battle. More details emerge on the way: a dozen Shav ships (ten longships led by two larger warships) had ambushed a pair of Arvani scouts. One had escaped to reach the main fleet, the other was trapped against shore, and it's crew had run for the small island's highlands, hoping to hold out long enough for rescue.
Thirty minutes of hard rowing (and rapid tacking in the case of a caravel that struggles to keep up with the oared warships, only barely keeping pace through the skill of the helm) bring the Arvani ships into sight of the island, two large Shav war galleys with ten smaller ships in a cove, and the lopsided struggle underway ashore. Signal horns sound between the Shav ships, which begin the process of turning to face the newly arrived Arvani, dressing their line for battle, and recalling their warriors from the island.
"Keep pace with the bulk of the fleet. When we enter the bay watch for that one to the east. We'll edge out to keep them from circling us and engage any that try to come out and around." Wulfrum orders the helm before shouting, "No landing this time. Loosen the ropes and get the hatchets. We're boarding." bracing will likely be a good idea if the shavs do in fact try to circle and entrap the compact fleet as the salt and pepper haired captain has guessed.
Drake is running to the fore of the Grayson ship eagerly. The moment there's... boarding action, or possible land sighted, he knows he can get involved in some action. Ropes for boarding seem like the plan, and so he rushes to help secure knots and get to a rowboat as soon as they're close enough.
Now Neilda spends a moment counting - listening to Wulfrum's directions, she heads for the hatchets. Distribution. There's that follow-on attention, not in the manner of someone who is second-guessing orders - rather, like she might be taking notes. The numbers and the way they're arrayed don't seem to disturb or cheer her, but boarding does - cheer her, that is. A doer.
With Wulfrum calling forth that they are boarding, Reve is swiftly chinning up toward the man and casting a sidelong look back to the Mercy. For his part, he is going off to see about where the Darkwater Marines are and ensure that they look at the ready. Just in case. Not to mention snare his own weapon should it come to it.
An amused smile is tossed Reve's way at his way of bracing for impact, but when Wulfrum calls for the hatchets - she gets one for herself for protection, and stands near those preparing to board the shav ships. "Be careful." is cautioned, unnecessarily. And, emphasized for several like Wulf, Neilda, and especially Reve. "Do you want me boarding with the others, Lord Wulfrum? Or remaining here to wait for the injured rather than tending to them as we go."
Domonico checked command + sailing at difficulty 40, rolling 10 higher.
Domonico checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 9 lower.
Domonico signals a suggestion to the other Compact ships of easing off the rowers for a time rather than exhaust the crews. He doesn't know if the advice will be taken but he has made it now and that was the important thing. The Tempest slows briefly as it pulls to starboard, cutting directly into the wind for a moment before heading due west, the trianglar sails snapping as they catch the wind again.
The Magnotta Count is smiling though as the wind catches his hair and he kisses the charm to Mangata around his neck as the Tempest breaks away from the rest of the fleet. It travels further out before the ship turns again and heads south, aiming for the gap between the western most islet and the middle islet.
Thea is getting ready for impact. Really...She's prepared. For whatever until this damn ship lands. Dagger. Check. Kopis. Check. Medical supplies....Brace for IMPACT!
Macda had no sail skill, but she did have command and she was helping issue the commands to keep everyone safe and tied securely...she is the last to secure herself for inpact.
Wulfrum checked command + sailing at difficulty 30, rolling 43 higher. Wulfrum rolled a critical!
Crash! Brrr! Snap! Aaaaaah! are the kinds of sounds heard as the Darkwater Galley takes the oars from one side of the shav ship. Wulfrum steading himself on the aft-deck railing with the ship swaying in the water and hooks being hurled across. "Over the side!" he calls to the boarding crew with an additional, "Loose!" for any crossbow users that may or may not have prepped for this, and a final "Cut their lines!" to those with hatchets either as their primary task or on their way across the gap. Want to be able to pull away freely when the decision is made.
Ember checked intellect + war at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.
Domonico checked command + war at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked command(4) + sailing(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.
Drake checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + stabby slashy(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + stabby slashy(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.
Macda checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + stabby slashy(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 14 lower.
Reve checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 17 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + no die plz(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.
Drake goes for the rubicund blade, drawing it free. He has another, which he holds just in case, but he tends to save it for non-human opponents. The boarding action is slow at first, climbing from boat to boat, but once Drake gets to the side of the enemy ship, he climbs up quickly with tremendous athelticsm. Then once he's on the ship itself...
Actually cutting a man down is not something he relishes, necessarily. But he is good at it. A quick dodge, quick parry, diving in for the strike, and then, with an upward, one-handed slash, he cuts the man down. The red of the weapon and its treated metal meets the red of blood, spraying into the salty sea air.
Neilda checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + omg why me(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.
Azova is apparently going to remain onboard, and look menacing as she swings a hatchet at any ropes attached to grapples for those trying to board the Darkwater ship. She fails at menacing of course, but it could be because she looks a little too cheerful playing with the small axe.
Hurrying onto the other boat. Sort of. That shit takes effort you guys! Once her feet are landed firmly on board, Thea quickly reaches for her kopis. Her dagger is still close by but that's for emergencies ONLY! Seeing the first man she sees, standing in her way, she swings. Expecting him to fall. And he DOESN'T! When he doesn't, she sort of glares at he, gold-flecked greeneyes narrowed. "You're kidding?!" UGH!
Macda unties herself as Drake goes to board she follows along and flanks Thea, She kisses her fists as she lands a punch to the guys nose just right breaking it and causing him to bleed. She singsongs "Oh a life at sea, is a life for me, hay hay ol oh hay!" she sideglances Thea "oh wont you share your man with me! hay hay ol oh hay hay!"
When Wulfrum is giving the command to board, Reve is in the mix of it. Mind you, he is absolutely not as comfortable out at sea as he is on land, and that shows. What he is comfortable with however is the actual swing of that halberd of his. He uses his weapon to his advantage, as a point of stabilization as well as for offensive maneuver. When the balance shifts, he staggers slightly in a way that might be ill fated, but his opponent has a worse reaction and, thankfully, Reve is able to take advantage of it. He slices his opponent's guts open with no small amount of grim satisfaction.
Neilda comes prepared with her own climbing (er, boarding) axe, which is sure is handy once she's aboard and facing off with someone probably as well-armored as she is. It's not like she can nope out and ask for a deck-hand instead; nothing to do but fight. So with a mighty yawp and an equally mighty thunk, she... does not hurt the guy. Fantastic. At least she hits him, which is its own victory - or at least, satisfying. She wrests her axe free, readies to leap out of the way of a return swing. She mutters something under her breath that - if anyone's particularly close - might sound like, "Who's crazy /now/."
House Redreef's navy is not a massive or overpowered one. The Red Sails' role in naval conflict is to act as 'goons,' so to speak -- to swoop in and out deftly, to distract and agitate without getting into conflicts of attrition.
So it is that the Redreef galley is preparing to swoop in, long enough for the Baroness and a boarding party to disembark and begin attacking the enemy where they live (or at least, where they sail). Ember is never a terribly friendly woman, but today she looks downright furious, and the crimson hue of her rubicund armor only adds to that angry vibe. She mostly stays silent aside from the occasional barked order -- she's ready for battle, up close and personal.
The Tempest begins to sweep into the main fight, now with the wind behind it, the caravel sweeps forward, the figurehead of Mangata pointing the way as Domonico directs his ship to it's target, a desperately rowing longship.
"Archers! Rake it as we pass. Aim for the rowers and slow it down!" The handful of marines with bows make ready as the Tempest draws alongside the enemy vessel. "Loose! Nock! Ready! Loose!" Screams of pain come from below on the longships deck as the arrows strike home and several more small volleys are launched before the Tempest sweeps on towards the main fight, leaving the wounded longship in its wake. Domonico casts an eye behind him at the sailed ships, watching their progress as well.
The longship Wulfrum had dispatched to watch the eastern end of the Arvani line trades volleys of arrows with it's counterpart, but all the other warships are all too eager to crash headlong into a boarding action (apart from Domino's Tempest, which wisely keeps distance from the smaller Shav ships which still pose great danger to the Caravel should they come to grips). The initial skirmishes go favorably for the attackers, as the large majority of fighting has been on Shav decks. Yet the sails Dominico's crew had glimpsed on the windward shore of a far Western islet are neither idle nor silent: spooked into early action, brassy horns of a markedly different timbre can be heard on the wind, as a line of fresh sails can be glimpsed to the north west: a trio of dhows, escorting a massive, four-masted Gildorian caravel. The top decks of all four ships glitter even at a distance with the bright steel of armored warriors.
_. _. /(
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`.' (( |`. /|. \/|`. \ /.|`.__\_
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Ember checked intellect + war at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher. Ember rolled a critical!
Domonico checked intellect + war at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.
Drake checked intellect + war at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher. Drake rolled a critical!
Thea checked intellect + war at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
Neilda checked intellect + war at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
Wulfrum checked command + war at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.
Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 36 higher.
Macda checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + uh oh(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + mac is in trouble(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.
Light hit with a spear 5 inflicted and Macda is unharmed.
Wulfrum checked command + sailing at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
Ember checked command + sailing at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.
Wulfrum checked charm + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 17 lower.
Drake checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 43 higher.
"o/~ Swing that hatchet, but don't let the pirates catch it. o/~" Shockingly awful lyrics like that are only half the reason why Azova is discouraged from singing while she's on duty at the House of Solace. The other half is that she has a little bit of a problem carrying a tune. But, at least she is determinedly cheerful about her work. Right? Rope after rope is chopped through, with a little wave given to any shavs that wind up in the sea because of her timing.
Drake has been a student of tactics for a while now, and has a bit of insight as the manuever continues. If those ships coming in...
...An ambush attack. This was a trap. No wonder the initial boarding felt so straightforward, so easy. Drake realizes the right manuever is to back off, but he also doesn't want to do it in a... cowardly way, exactly, making it clear as he can that the retreat is tactical in nature. "Back off, hold this line!" he starts shouting. He's not the greatest commander... in terms of a voice that holds authority. But he leads from the front and can think off his feet. "We're being ambushed by the second party!" He glances over and sees Macda and Thea are both still fighting. Macda takes a hit -- but it's not too bad, not yet. He keeps slashing with his weapon, defending them while still trying to get them to follow. "Pull back!"
Thea is still busy doing Thea things. Which is---usually bloody and gross. And getting beaten. Running further onto the ship, she is seriously trying to find her next move. "This is getting fucking ridiculous,"taking a swing and slicing through some man's stomach. Turning toward the sound of Drake's voice, Thea pauses for a brief moment, eyebrow lifted.
Ember quietly wishes that her sister was here. Of the Redreef twins, it's Marina who's the expert sailor, and Ember who excels at bloodshed. So the Bloody Baroness isn't in her most comfortable space as she continues barking orders, trying to push the crew to get the galley in close to help Drake either take that boat or escape -- but there's not enough room to move, and Ember isn't a captain capable of accounting for a situation with quite this many variables. "Cut the lines," she roars. "Pull back!" She's able to keep her own ship from being boarded, but it means not being able to assist her fellow Compact fighters -- and this visibly makes her all the more furious.
Domonico checked command + sailing at difficulty 30, rolling 28 higher.
Domonico checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 52 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked command(3) + sailing(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.
Macda is singing a song and she just has to sing about sex because its Macda. And blood and being nearly dead makes everyone think about that right? Right. Her voice is lovely and true, it holds some power to it when its released.
"The ebb, and flow of time..."
"the rain against the sand.."
"Wings of firey embers"%"Rdestruction on the way..."
"the sea - in frivality."
"A lover against the skin..."
"A drum beat on the distant wind, multiple lovers against ones skin."
"Time takes what it wills,"
"Passion takes what it desires,"
"A heartbeat within an eternity"
"time against time.
Macda checked mana at difficulty 10, rolling 13 higher.
Of note: When Wulfrum gave the command to split, Reve is maneuvering to leap back to the original ship that he came with. He makes it, just in time.
Neilda checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
Neilda checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + stabbity(3) at difficulty 50, rolling 9 lower.
Haakon GM Roll checked command(3) + sailing(4) at difficulty 50, rolling 1 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked command(3) + sailing(4) at difficulty 50, rolling 13 lower.
Haakon GM Roll checked command(3) + sailing(4) at difficulty 50, rolling 5 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked command(3) + sailing(4) at difficulty 50, rolling 9 lower.
The Tempest cuts through the water smoothly, the wind filling its sails and Domonico weaves the fast caravel along the battleline, avoiding the attempts of some longships attempting to grapple. The Tempest, flying the flags of Magnotta, Mangata and the Compact, sweeps past ship after ship, the archers earning their pay as they volley at the Shavs, harassing and distracting them from their targets as Domonico directs their fire, doing his best to disrupt pursuit of the other ships.
Gosh, all that training is definitely paying off. Neilda swings her axe at the overarmored lug with a mighty swingening, lodging firmly in thin air. He reels from the mighty blow; she must have truly hit him with her intimidating dimpleness. So dimples. Gosh. A wild flailing of arms, and over the side he goes, and it would be a great idea for Neilda to now realize that 1) there are still lots of angry shavs on this ship, and 2) the Compact forces are making like someone didn't drink their tea, wink wink. But first, a whoop, and: "THAT'S RIGHT!" Because victories are victories, whether won by might or dimples. Then she surveys, realizes she hates every chance, and turns to figure out where the hell her exit is.
What began as an even fight and turned into a dangerous ambush is further complicated as the majority of Compact forces break clear of the aquatic Shav tarpit and try to find a course that will let them win clear of the massive Gildorian flagship and it's trio of two-masted dhows. It doesn't look promising, and with a pair of Arvani longships still entangled with the Shavs, veteran sailors might expect only half of the Compact squadron to escape..
But the Gildorian column inexplicably breaks its precise column. One dhow drifts out of formation north, and another to the South, forcing the great caravel to choose between slowing, and risking facing an Arvani counterattack without it's escorts. Despite the opportunity, the Gildorian chooses to slow, leaving the window of escape open for the Arvani for several critical minutes.
Macda draws an arm around Thea and drags her back onto the ship. "lets go!" she yells "fall back, take the time we have been given.!" so says the bawdy nard.
Neilda checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
Neilda checked intellect + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
Macda checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.
Neilda checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
Haakon GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + flying leap(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.
Haakon has rolled 1 30-sided dice: 29
Domonico checked command + sailing at difficulty 50, rolling 1 higher.
The Tempest sweeps in close to the longship with the beleaguered Compact sailors (and Neilda), and under Domonico's instruction, a climbing net is flung over the side of the ship, giving handholds for the evacuating sailors to grab onto.
Drake checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 14 higher.
Neilda sees SALVATION in the form of Domonico's ship skiiiiiiiimming right on by, and dances through a lot of SUPER CUTE shavs (ha ha, no, she ducks and runs and kicks ropes in the way of feet that aren't paying attention where they're going, probably resulting in some collisions or at least confusion. She looks like she's going to swan dive right off into the water! But there's that ship, and there's that net, and she leaps like she's inventing parkour, because why not. From the net, she gives someone she decides is McShavyface the Younger a salute. Bye. She'll send Domonico the /good/ wine.
Haakon GM Roll checked strength(3) + i have you now!(3) at difficulty 50, rolling 15 lower.
Drake is amused by Macda's singing... but also trying to keep his head in the fight. "Move, move!" he shouts. His Oathlands accent is lilting; his words not terribly forceful in the end, but there is a tense urgency about them.
On the other hand... even though the situation is not so good now, and the odds have shifted, he's going to fight to the last man. There's still a chance they can take this boat. He's going to risk it, attacking a few of the slavers as they charge at him. Every strike sends Drake stepping back. But he's an excellent fencer, giving way better than he gets. It almost seems like he's having fun with it, in spite of the odds. His eyes dart around fast, watching his flank, watching his opponents, and making sure the safety of the others on board is still assured.
Despite maneuvers over miles of water, in the end it comes down to a precious few lost minutes before the Gildorians can restore their formation, that allows six of the Arvani ships to escape the trap, and strike out against the wind where the Eurusi sails struggle to follow. The Tempest... well, they need to run another direction, the old fashioned way.
Yet the escape is incomplete: three Longships, their crews, and near seventy men of Darkwater are now on the hands of Gildorian slavers and their Shav'arvani allies. The reavers may yet have a chance to gather their full strength and strike back, if the wind is with them.
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