They had done much to prepare for the onset of the Crimson fleet.
First things first they sailed north with a repair crew and fixed the Sea Wyvern, limping her back to Farshore.
Then Rowyn teleported Jack Christ to Sasserine to gather a fleet of reinforcements.
Traveling into the jungle to recruit friendly villagers, they failed miserably, instead watching villages destroyed by flaming abts.
Gathering tar for pitch and sealant at the tar pits, they battled a one-eyed T-Rex alongside tiny creatures known as Phanatons.
The phanatons invited the party back to their village, and pointed the way to the temple of the jaguar. There they recovered ancient weapons to arm Farshore.
All of this while simultaneously building the defenses of Farshore; walls, ballistae, trained militiamen, etc.
Then the pirates came.
A crimson sunset matched by the glow of the red sails of the Crimson Fleet as the sun shone at their backs. THe cry went up in Farshore, and the people began to take their places. Civilians all of them, but the women and children hid in shuttered homes and makeshift safehouses. The men grabbed their crude arms and even cruder armor, and took positions throught the city. The men camping at the ballistae on the cliffs were already loading the machines.
It was a relief to see friendly sails from the north, coming to intercept the pirates. It went realtively unnoticed that there were so few, only two: An elven wingship, and a human ship of a similar design. They were sent force to attack the entire fleet of pirates. As they did this, Jack ordered his remaining fleet to drop their flags and raise the black – they were joining the pirates in the raid on Farshore.
Noticing the betrayal, the speedy Elven wingship and it’s counterpart immediately took evasive maneuvers, quickly outpacing the pirates, who directed their attention at Farshore anyway. Most of the pirate ships rained cannon and ballista fire on the colony, while a couple rowed into the harbor and began storming the beach. The cliffside ballistae returned fire. One was quickly destroyed by a direct hit, and the defenses of Farshore began to domino.
The heroes ran through the streets, dashing between burning buildings and slaying every pirate they saw, but it was not enough, even with the wizard Rochefogne torching the occasional rowboat full of pirates. Before long, a wave of Flesh Golems emerged on the beach, pushing back the heroes.Nearly the entire town on fire, the party fell back a few hundred yards to the new Kellani Manor (formely the vanderboren manor in Farshore), it’s stone walls providing the last bastion of defense. As the pirates and their new Admiral, a horrifically transformed Vanthus Vanderboren stormed the beach, Arcadian unleashed an arrow at the leader.
The hand carved wooden arrow with dark green fletchings whistled through the air, sailing almost 600 feet before snapping still with a thud dead on it’s mark – the heart of Vanthus Vanderboren… Or where there would have been a heart, were he not the creature he is now. Vanthus looked down at the arrow in his chest, pulled it out still in a single piece, and tossed it on the ground.
Half amazed at Arcadian’s shot and half amazed at Vanthus reaction, the scoundrels piled into the manor. Before long, they heard a familiar voice calling to them. “Friends, friends,” the Sasserine Harbormaster Admiral Jack Christ called out to the party of scoundrels. “I’m here to rescue you!” Incredulous the party all stood with mouths agape, almost unable to believe what they heard. Jack continued, “I have parlayed with the pirates and secured your safe passage. Come join me on my flagship.”
“And I?” Rowyn Kellani inquired.
“You are in Vanthus’ hands now,” Jack smirked. “I had to trade something for our safety.”
Rowyn didn’t say anything, just stared at Jack with an icy glare as the heroes left. She should have known better than to trust the pirate, but such risks were common in her line of work. The scoundrels departed as Vanthus’ men approached the manor.
As the crew members rowed Admiral Jack Christ and his party back to his ship, he regaled them with tales of his supposed grandeur, and informed them that they were all welcome members of his new guild, the Lotus Dragons. They began to follow Jack up the rope ladder to the deck, Arcadian first followed by Kajn. Standing on the deck of Jack’s flagship was too much for Kajn. He hadn’t said a word since jack appeared on the beach. He was in a stupor of rage and pain, having finally been bested by his former ally and current rival. Now, he believed, all the men he’d planted in the Lotus Dragons were for naught. In an instant, Grim and Grudge were drawn and slashing at Jack.
Jack reacted just as quickly, narrowly dodging the blades as he reached for the pearl earring he had crafted in Sasserine. His crew responded drawing swords and attacking, but many were met and felled by Arcadian’s arrows. Kajn continued to swing, at best nicking the ever evasive Jack, barely drawing blood. Such wounds were not what Kajn sought, and later Jack would be in a brothel or tavern, telling a working girl a wondrous tale about how he got the little scars. Arcadian continued to trim down the number of crew members encircling he and Kajn, sending two or three to the deck limp or writhing and screeching in pain from an jutting arrow every time he drew his bow.
Rochefogne decided to remain in the boat at the bottom of the ladder, opting to stay out of the skirmish. He listened intently to the sounds of combat above, doing his best to judge exactly what was taking place. He knew the spell when Jack Christ made his next move.
Parrying Kajns blows with his scimitar, Jack used his other hand to unfasten the pearl from the silver and slam it to the deck. He grinned at Kajn as it shattered, and in an instant was gone. Kajn swung angrily at the black air where Jack had been as Arcadian peered over the edge. Jack had enough crew to overwhelm the pair, and even if they took the ship he had other ships that would sink them. Arcadian hopped over the edge, yelling at Kajn to join him as he landed in the rowboat.
. . . Meanwhile, in Sasserine, Jack appeared in the yard of his new manor in the (a luxury any leader of a district in Sasserine received). He called for his new servants, who were mildly shocked at the sudden return of their master but obeyed none the less. Before long he had sent word – Kajn and Arcadian had betrayed the colony and attacked him – a noble of Sasserine… and there was only one penalty for such a crime.
. . . Back in the rowboat left behind by Jack’s pirates, listing on the still waters off the coast of the Isle of Dread, Kajn was still seething and Arcadian pondered aloud what to do. Rochefogne knew. “I could teleport you” he suggested. Arcadian and Kajn obliged, and with a blink all three appeared outside of the southern gate of Sasserine.
“Shit,” Kajn muttered. “What should we do? The guildhouse is compromised. Jack’s going to be searching for us.”
“Not for a few weeks” Rochefogne informed them. “He still thinks you’re on the water, and it will require at least eight weeks to sail back. Do you have a stash perhaps?”
Kajn thought for a few moments… “We have a pile of coin in the basement of the Plucked Parrot!” Rochefogne’s brow raised at that. “But what will we do after that?”
“The Sunrise District” Arcadian interjected. “I have connections there, and we don’t need to use the city gates. Follow me.”
Before long, they had a change of clothes and made their way towards the Plucked Parrot. Sneaking into the basement, they found the stash they’d left months ago, a pile they estimated at 35,000gp with a glance, and still guarded by the Hoardmaster placed within. Arcadian began filling a backpack, and Kajn cursed for forgetting his. He stuff a few coins in his pockets, and pulled the Hoardmaster from the stash.
“Here” he said handing it to Rochefogne." For teleporting us. You’ve given us a few weeks head start on Jack. We’ll have to come back for the rest."
The wizard gladly accepted the minor artifact, and came up with a plan. One he wasn’t going to mention.
“Let’s go.” Arcadian said sternly. “The sooner we make our way to Cauldron, the better. We can lay low there and regroup.”
“Yes,” the rogue agreed. “There I have contacts.”
As quickly as he could retrieve his pack, Kajn returned to take the gold, only to find the entire pile was gone. He surmised Jack beat him there, and cursing again he did his best to rejoin Arcadian on the march to Cauldron. When Jack arrived at the Plucked Parrot and found the basement empty, he surmised that kajn had taken the gold, and met up with his men in the mountains South of Sasserine.
Walking West out of Sasserine towards Carver’s Pit, a Rochefogne who looked suspiciously like jack dismissed his magical disguise and began counting the coin in his bag of holding. It came to nearly 35,000gp, minus what Arcadian had taken from the hoard.