The secret history of the Pirates of Knossos

Cap'n Carver and his crew were smugglers and river pirates who regularly made the journey from Knossos, all the way up the river Brallen from Laveril to Helsmuth. They never went as far as Qualinost, even before the elves closed the border, because elven customs inspectors were known to use divination magic to scan cargo. They wouldn't be as easily fooled by the illusions that the wizard-navigator, Mixail Elets Zaitsev Beloi, cast on the ship and her crew to escape detection.
These are the voyages of the pirate sloop Ocean Spray:

Captain's log, the 5th of Metageitnion waxing
Last summer, while we were docked in Helsmuth, a fresh-faced band of young adventurers hailed the ship, seeking passage downriver. They didn't look like they had much worth stealing, but they might fetch a good price in the slave markets of Knossos. We told them to meet us at the Saucy Wench, a tavern by the docks, at midnight. The bosun, Max the Ax, took a group of swabbies with him to set up an ambush. They never returned. By interrogating the bartender, we learned that only 3 of the targets had shown up: a second-rate performer from the theatre; a young, oriental lad; and a noblewoman wearing scale mail and carrying a bastard sword. It was she who had fought Max and vanquished him, cutting off his head.

Captain's log, the 4th of Maimakterion waxing
On our next trip up the Brallen, three months later, we stopped off at the village of Fernquay to trade some illicit substances with our contact there. A capable young lass by the name of Deborah sought me out, asking to join our pirate band. Since I still hadn't replaced our bosun, and she passed all of the tests, she was welcomed into the crew. She told a sad tale of woe: formerly the leader of the thieves' guild in Sweetmead, she had built up a successful racket of extortion, gambling, bootlegging and prostitution. The incompetent village constables were completely unaware, being far more concerned with a series of disappearances. However, that all changed when the young lordling of house Atronan returned to claim his birthright. She tried to use his mistrust of the village mayor to lure him into an ambush, but that plan backfired spectacularly. Somehow, Lord Martok and his companions managed to locate her hideout, killing all of her guild enforcers and taking her captive. Fortunately, one of Martok's allies disagreed with the way that she was being treated, and allowed her to escape. With nothing left for her in Sweetmead, she headed instead to Fernquay, to seek her fortune there.

Captain's log, the 17th of Maimakterion
Deborah never expected that she would face her former captors again so soon, but it was barely a fortnight later that they showed up at the Pickled Otyugh in Marchion. Martok wasn't there, but Deborah recognized Gerald, one of the ones who had tied her up and tortured her. With some fast talking, Lukwind the bard managed to calm everyone down before violence erupted. The Otyugh was meant to be neutral ground, where the various underworld factions of Marchion could meet and do business. If we had attacked without provocation, we might have been banned from the establishment. Reluctantly, I allowed the adventurers to leave with their lives, but grew to regret the decision before too long.

Captain's log, earlier 10th of Maimakterion
When Lord Martok returned to Marchion, he was given a hero's welcome. I sent the swabbies to find out where Martok was staying, but it was soon evident that the nobleman was too popular to be assassinated without repercussions. An army of orcs had blockaded the river to the south, which seemed like a golden opportunity.

Captain's log, the 8th of Maimakterion waning
We stayed in town for 4 more days, but when I heard that Martok was raising an army of mercenaries to attack the orcs, I realised that we had some information worth selling. Sailing to Auldhame, I met with Gnod Yriah, the orcish chieftain. The information about Martok's army was enough to convince him that we were reliable. He asked us to supply him with alchemist's fire and other munitions, for which he was able to pay a premium. I promised that we would sail to Laveril and return with the goods.

Captain's log, the 6th of Poseideon waxing
When we returned to Auldhame a fortnight later, there wasn't a single living soul left in the village. The charred corpses of the orcs - men, women and children - were piled high in the village green. This Lord Martok was clearly more evil than I had given him credit for. As for us, we were left with a cargo hold full of military ordnance and no buyer. Arms smuggling was a more legitimate business than what we usually engaged in, so I suppose it serves me right for compromising my principles and getting involved in politics.

Captain's log, the 7th of Poseideon waxing
We tried to sell the munitions in Marchion, but soon discovered that we had become persona non grata. The story in the Docklands was that Deborah and some hobgoblins had been making trouble, intimidating people and roughing them up. Of course this was impossible, since she had just spent the last two weeks sailing to Laveril and back. Deborah was furious and I had to order her back aboard the ship, otherwise I don't know what she would have done. At least Helsmuth was now open for trade once more, although it was still under martial law. We decided to sail north and sell the munitions there, before returning to Knossos. Winter was approaching and I didn't want to remain in Eastrealm any longer than I had to.

Captain's log, the 9th of Elaphebolion waxing
Having spent three months in the tropics, it was quite a shock to return to the much chillier clime of Eastrealm. Barely a tenday from Ostara, the vernal equinox, but we shivered as we sailed through the estuarine lagoon at the mouth of the Brallen. At least we could console ourselves that the weather should soon be getting warmer. We carry a secret cargo, the details of which I must not discuss here. Suffice to say that these land lubbers will soon feel the wrath of Davy Jones.

Captain's log, the 18th of Elaphebolion
We delivered the first of our "gifts" to our contacts in Helsmuth. There is so much overwhelming evil in the city that one more cursed artefact will hardly even be noticed. What was once the slums is now a quarantine zone where nobody ever goes, at least nobody living ... and dead men tell no tales.

Captain's log, the earlier 10th of Elaphebolion
There was nobody left in Marchion who could be relied upon to guard their "gift" until the moment arose for its use. Our allies the wererats were all dead, but their lair remained vacant. Reluctantly, I left some of my men behind to stand vigil in the darkness. After the treatment we received the last time that we were here, there were no shortage of volunteers to repay the people of Marchion for their "kindness".

Captain's log, the 8th of Elaphebolion waning
Alewyfe is a city of rules and regulations, but little imagination. As long as you maintain the illusion of propriety, nobody looks too closely at what you are up to. With the Ocean Spray disguised as a humble mercantile vessel, we had no trouble convincing the customs officials that we were on legitimate business. As long as we have filed the relevant paperwork, we can come and go as we please. Of course, many of those who maintain a fa├žade of decency behave quite differently behind closed doors, and there is no shortage of demand for our product. We store all of our contraband in a rented warehouse by the docks, secure in the knowledge that the vigilant city guardsmen will keep it safe for us.

Captain's log, the 6th of Elaphebolion waning
Vincenton exists as a holiday destination for the decadent nobility, who all own opulent villas in the nearby countryside. We are always treated like kings by our allies, who have infiltrated the highest echelons of the aristocracy and know the dirty secrets of every duke and duchess for miles around. The city is almost depopulated during wintertime, but in the spring thaw the fat cats will all saunter back again and the time of our revenge will be nigh.

Captain's log, the 5th of Elaphebolion waning
In Katavia, it is all about commerce: anything can be bought for a price. I contemplated simply selling our "gift" to the highest bidder, but for the possibility that the buyer might then seek to have it valued and thus discover its true nature. Instead, I stored it in a private vault, supposedly impregnable, beneath one of the auction houses. I have left instructions so that, when the day comes, it will be brought out and put on public display for all to see.

Captain's log, the 4th of Elaphebolion waning
At last! When we arrived in Laveril, it pleased me no end to discover that Martok, Lukwind and the rest were also in town. In the morning, once Mixail has memorised his spells, he will cloak us all in invisibility and we will seek a reckoning with these scum. We have only one "gift" left to deliver, then at last we can return to Knossos and leave Eastrealm to its doom.


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