We made it back to Baltimus for our Letter of Marque. We never saw Duckworth himself, but I figure someone was kind of impressed. We get to keep the Sea Ghost and there was an additional $500 for the opium that we turned in.
We decided to hit the town to celebrate. Aneila and Nigel were playing party-poopers and didn’t come out with us, but we were still having a pretty good time. We had worn out our welcome at one of the bars and were making our way to another when we were approached by a couple of Masaquani. They were just as drunk as we were, and they seemed real interested in buying Makak. Naturally, I said no thanks.
At some point during the conversation, Iranthis noticed one of the guys looking down the alley where the Captain had gone to relieve himself. He didn’t see the Captain, so he decided to take a closer look. Then someone jumped him from behind. He was dazed, but didn’t go down. That must have spooked his attacker, as he fled.
Unfortunately, none of the rest of us drunks heard the commotion, so we were a bit surprised when Iranthis returned looking a bit wobbly. He told us about the Captain being missing, so we all head down the alley to check it out. All we found was a puddle of piss and the symbol of a hand on the wall nearby. Featherstone took a closer look at it and said it was the Red Hand. They were a fairly notorious gang here in Baltimus, and he had a few run-ins with them during his days as a Marine. Evidently, they like to hang out at a gambling den called McCally’s.
Thankfully, we were just sober enough to remember to go find Aneila and Nigel before we headed to McCally’s. I also sent Miguel and the Cass brothers to go check on the Roadhouse and the Sea Ghost.
After a bit of time, we found our two crewmates. The additional time let us sober up some more, and we were thinking right by then. Well, as right as we ever think with this crew.
McCally’s is a pretty loud place, even though it is spread out over what used to be three or four separate buildings. There were lots of bards singing and several people playing games of chance. We split up to check the place out, with Nigel getting into a dice game. Initially, he won pretty big ($100). So naturally, like all fools that don’t know what they are doing at a dice table he started to press his luck. He ended up not only losing his winnings, but a lot more ($250) on top of that.
As he was playing, I noticed one of the bouncers keeping an eye on him. While that isn’t necessarily uncommon with people that bet big, the guy’s interest in Nigel seemed to go beyond that. I pointed him out to Featherstone and joined Aneiala at the bar.
As she chatted with the bartender, he offered her some Earth brandy. She says she can’t afford it, but asks if he might know a kind gentlemen that would be willing to buy it for her.
He points out a visitor by the name of Jeremiah. Says he was a preacher of some sort before he crossed over, but since then he has been questioning his faith. As Aneila went over to flirt with Jeremiah, I asked the barkeep about him. A bit of coin and he offered up that he has been known to sell drugs that help others forget their pain. I mentioned this to Featherstone, but he didn’t know of a drug connection to the Red Hand. He was quick to point out that that doesn’t mean there isn’t one though.
Aneila sat down with Jeremiah, and turned on the charm. For her, that usually means she didn’t cut any body parts off. She must have done a decent job of it though, as she did get him to buy her the Earth brandy. He also offered to take her back to his room.
She steered the conversation to the Captain, making sure to mention the one hand. Jeremiah did remember seeing the Captain stagger through earlier and headed to the fighting pits. He agreed to show the place, and they meandered over that way. It was pretty obvious that Jeremiah wasn’t taking a direct path, but I was able to confirm that he was at least going the right direction.
I lost sight of Nigel sometime during the trip, and damn near jumped out of my skin when he suddenly appeared beside me. That was not a talent I knew the man had.
When they got to the Pits, a couple of bouncers let them in. However, they turned away another guy right afterward. That didn’t seem like a good sign. But we decided to press onward and they allowed us to pass without issue. That didn’t make me feel a whole lot better though.
The room was pretty dark, and we could hear a rope creaking. I tried to hurry to catch up to Aneila, but then slowed to be more cautious when I heard a deep laugh. It immediately made me think of the Great Hok. That thought was interrupted when Jeremiah cried out in pain.
I turned a corner and saw Aneila standing over him with a knife in her hand. He was bleeding pretty badly, so I guess she had decided to stop being nice to him. She didn’t stay there long, as she quickly went to the center of the room. The Captain was hanging there on a hook. Whoever put him there knew what they were doing, as the hook was placed precisely to bear his weight and cause pain. But it wouldn’t be a fatal injury. At least not initially.
Featherstone ran up to help her, and the two of them got the Captain cut down. The rest of us fanned out to try and form a defensive line. That didn’t last long though, when the floor gave out in the center. Aneila, Featherstone, and Iranthis fell through the opening and it sounded like Iranthis landed hard.
I could hear something large starting to move down there. I kicked Jeremiah down into the pit and then followed Nigel down. We could hear the thing moving, and even felt it through the floor. Part of the wall became transparent and we could see the Great Hok and his entourage. He laughed and asked us if we have anything to say about crossing him. He seemed a bit disappointed that he only got silence as he gave a signal.
We heard a porticullis opening and braced for an attack. Nigel quickly grabbed the Captain to get him out of the middle of the cavern.
It was a creature straight out of hell, or Torath-Ka. One place or the other. It was called a Tyrex, and was 30’ tall and all teeth. I only had a second to curse that I didn’t have the Blunderbuss before it was on top of me. It would have chomped me in two for sure, but Makak managed to distract it. As it was, it just threw me out of the way and into a wall.
We all opened fire on it then. Our pistols weren’t that effective against the thick hide of the beast. But we got off a few shots into its mouth, which it was obvious that the thing didn’t like. Iranthis let loose with a couple of bolts of electricity and Aneila blasted it with water, both which of the thing barely shrugged.
In the end, it was Nigel that came through the winning plan. It was a bold plan, and probably pretty stupid as well. But he ran up the things tail and back and stabbed it in the eye. That still didn’t kill it outright, but another push and twist put the blade in its brain and brought it down.
The Hok roared out in rage. “You will pay for taking my cannon and killing my baby.” But he was gone. The wall was no longer transparent, and we were left to our own devices. Aneila healed Iranthis, and we made our way out and back to the Roadhouse. Miguel said there were people watching the ship, but they scattered when the crew arrived.
Aneila took the Captain below decks and started work removing the hook. She seemed quite pleased with her handiwork with the needle when she was done.
With the Captain out of it, I was again in charge. I didn’t want to take any chances with the Red Hand or the Hok, so I took a quick roll call. Once I determined everyone was onboard, then we set sail. I didn’t have a clear destination, I just wanted to get us out of port.
When the Captain awakes, then I’ll pitch the idea of going to see Tressa the Red. Hopefully, that will keep us out of the Hok’s sights for a while. And learning more about the flooding seems like a good idea as well.
Equias gave us some general info, including describing a harrowing journey through the Teeth to get there. We’ll definitely have to drill on the way there.
“We are here to find the Captain, and one is gambling and one is trying to pick up a guy.” – Dugger in the gambling club
“Hey, I never said I was looking for the Captain.” – Jo