Author Topic: The Tale of Barrett Brine  (Read 494 times)

pcw27

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The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Topic Start: July 06, 2016, 07:02:33 AM »
(Collected roleplays as they initially appeared.)

The tale of Barrett Brine

A brash young man strolls through the streets of Port Raviel a self satisfied grin on his face. He wears a garish tunic of orange and gold calico over a white silk shirt. A cutlass hangs in a scabbard at his side, and he keeps a small shield strapped to his arm. The man's self assured strut seems more fitting for a duke then the newly minted noble that he is.

As the noble makes his way through the streets his shoulder collides with that of a merchant with enough force to spin him clear around.

"You rapscallion, ne'er-do-well, swashbuckler!" he cries, as the knight passes.

Without warning the nobleman draws his cutlass, as he pivots gracefully on his feet. In the blink of an eye he has the blade at the merchant's throat.

"Those are some unfortunate last words," he says to the quivering businessman, "they'd look awfully silly on a tombstone."

"Barrett! Leave him!" a raspy voice shouts, "we've got better things to do."

Barrett glances to the source of the order. He see's a gruff older man, armed as he was, but dressed in common mariner's clothes his arms crossed in annoyance.

"Jason!" Barrett shouts, "I was just looking for you."

"Come on," Jason insists, "the men are ready."

Barrett glances back at the merchant who still stands with his hands raised.

"Run along now," he says with a smirk.

The merchant doesn't wait one moment more before scurrying off into the crowd.
Barrett sheathes his blade and smooths his neatly trimmed beard and mustache.

"So the marines are ready," Barrett says.

"Not marines, you need to earn that title, these are privateers," Jason insists.

"I'm sure privateers will do fine," Barrett replies.

-------

Barrett Brine's troops, or rather the able bodied ones, enjoy a well deserved ale to celebrate another victory over the monsters. Meanwhile, Barrett steps aside to consult with Jason who stands by the rookery.

"No raven yet," he says, "perhaps your scout has been killed."

"No, Gudrun can take care of herself," Barrett replies, "that raven will be arriving within the hour I'm sure of it."

As the men stare at the empty rookery Barrett reminisces about their first meeting.

In those days he'd been a common mariner in D'Hara, his father long dead. He had only the open sea and some stories about a powerful grandfather who did not acknowledge him.

Barrett walked the wharf after a trade expedition, or smuggling run would be more like it, seeing as trade with the wild lands was strictly illegal. It must have been the clink of coins in his purse that got the old beggar's attention.

"Spare some coin for a Blood Marine," a raspy voice said.

Barrett stopped short. He'd heard that word in one of his father's angry ranting stories. Turin Erickson lead a unit called the Blood Marines on a crusade prior to The Rebellion of Leopold. It remained his unit when he was an exile in D'Hara, but beyond that he never heard what became of them.

Without a second though Barrett lead Jason to a pub and asked to hear his story.

"Oh yes I remember King Turin," he said, "former King Turin now. Idealistic fool, leading failed crusades to some heathen state clean on the other side of the continent."

In a rather brazen gesture Barrett reached out and pulled down the dingy beige collar of Jason's tunic, revealing a tattoo of the Blood Stars on his chest. Jason batted his hand away.

"I still believe in the stars!" he snapped, "but not the way Turin does, he's a fanatic. Where was I? Right, two units deserted en bloc. We only stuck around because of the revolt, didn't seem right to desert him after he'd lost a kingdom. Oh he had schemes, founding some new theocracy, but it all came to nought. The last I saw of him was in Terran. He took an arrow to the head. I was certain he'd died. I deserted after that, stole a rowboat and didn't stop paddling till I reached Port Raviel, kissed the ground when I did."

Both men went silent a bit. Barrett pondered the story.

"Did you ever meet a man named Tyrion?" Barrett asked.

"Turin's bastard, sure, he was always around in those days..."

And there in that pub they began to scheme, to find some way to legitimize Barrett for both their benefit. In the end Turin did it for them, no bribes or threats necessary. He simply confessed to his descendant to the whole congregation of Sanguis Astroism. Now that phase of their plan was complete, the other phase, which Barrett came up with, hinged on the arrival of his half sister's raven.
Ale mugs clanked and spirits soared at the Swan and Serpent Tavern. The privateer marines cheered, recounting tales of their adventures to the barmaids. Their knight hung towards the back corner of the tavern, watching them with their captain at his side. Lately Barrett had worried that being seen in a tavern was beneath his station now, but he had to see how his men faired.

"They'll drink and whore their earnings away in two days time," Jason announced.

Barrett sipped his ale, with a smirk on his lips.

"You'd never guess we lost twelve men to the beasts, not to mention those scouts" he replied, "I think we've found just the right sort of mercenaries."

"Hearts of stone and livers of iron," Jason replied, "we may make Blood Marines of them yet."

Barrett lifted his heavy purse into the air, giving it a slight toss. It barely made it an inch out if his palm, for it contained a hundred gold coins. This treasure made up but one tenth of Barrett's loot.

"Three expeditions and finally a real pay off," Barrett announces, tossing the parcel up again and listening to the satisfying clink, "and not a word from the judge or realm to boot."

"Don't get too used to that, the crown will want its cut sooner or later," Jason insisted.

"Indeed. That Mayhem fellow said he made twenty thousand. Less then Hemmings but it still puts our loot to shame," Barrett replied, "Gudrun's been in touch, she says Golden Farrow has been quiet for some time."

"What are we waiting for then?" asked Jason.

"Recruits of course," Barrett replied, "We lost twelve men after all."

-----

Barrett and his marines stand amongst the common people in a tavern throwing back ales for one last freedom celebration. Sallowwild wa already in D'Hara's hands, but Barrett was never one to pass up a chance for libations and revelry.
"Gentlemen!" he shoute, "Lets have a chanty!"

And with that the marines sang favorite tune. The peasants didn't know the words but soon began to pick up the chorus.

Farewell and adieu to you fine Astrum ladies,
Farwell and adieu all you fine Astrum galls;
For we've received orders to sail for Port Nebel;
And perhaps we shall never more see you again.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true Dragon sailors,
We'll range and we'll roam over all the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the straits of Old D'Hara,
From Ravial to Nebel 'tis thirty-five leagues.
Then we hove our ship to, with the wind at due south, my boys,
Then we hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear;
Then we filled the main topsail and bore right away, my boys, And straight up the straits of Old D'Hara did steer.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true Dragon sailors,
We'll range and we'll roam over all the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the straits of Old D'Hara,
From Raviel to Nebel 'tis thirty-five leagues.

So the first land we made is called Golden Farrow,
Next Chateau Saffalore, Start, Chesney and Paisly;
We sailed by the beach, by Gretchew and Larur, And then bore away for the Port Raviel Light

We'll rant and we'll roar like true Dragon sailors,
We'll range and we'll roam over all the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the straits of Old D'Hara,
From Ravial to Nebel 'tis thirty-five leagues.

Now the signal it was made for the Grand Fleet to anchor, All on the Downs that night for to meet;
Then stand by your stoppers, see clear your shank-painters, Haul all your clew garnets, stick out tacks and sheets.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true Dragon sailors,
We'll range and we'll roam over all the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the straits of Old D'Hara,
From Ravial to Nebel 'tis thirty-five leagues.

Now let every man drink up his full bottle, Let every man drink up his full bowl; For we will be jolly and drown melancholy, With a health to each jovial and true-hearted soul.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true Dragon sailors,
We'll range and we'll roam over all the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the straits of Old D'Hara,
From Ravial to Nebel 'tis thirty-five leagues.


And as the last note rang out Barrett sensed a presence at his side. If the drink had blinded him he still would have known that Jason stood beside him waiting to give a report.

"Well what are our orders?" he asked.

"We're to rally in the Desert of Silhouettes," Jason replied.

It took a moment for Barretts ale sodden mind to process this.

"The Desert of... The Desert of Silhouettes? What the hell is in the Desert of Silhouettes?!?!" He demanded.

"Sand, about three hundred fifty nomads," Jason answered.

Barrett ran his fingers through his silky blonde hair trying to make sense of it.

"What in the hell are we after that Stars forsaken place for?" Barrett demanded.

At this, Jason simply shrugged.

"No, we've done enough for this damn army. We've better things to do then watch the dust storms roll in," Barrett ranted.
With that he leapt atop a chair and shouted,

"Gentlemen! Drink up me hearties and sleep well, for tomorrow we set sail!"
The marines cheered.

"We've golden shores to sail to and prizes to claim," Barrett announced, "Tomorrow we raise anchor and sail for Golden Farrow, and we aren't stopping till we bleed the coast dry!"

And with that the whole party broke out into cheers and shouts, pounding on tables and clinking mugs, ready for another expedition.

------

Red sky at night sailors take delight. This probably isn't what the saying had in mind, Barrett thought as he gazed at the sky, painted crimson by infernos raging throughout Golden Farrow. It's a common tactic among pirates when they encounter a door to sturdy to kick in to threaten to burn the house down if it's inhabitants don't come out and give up all their gold. Many peasants don't comply, so many houses had to be burned. 

Barrett turned from the captivating site to one even more alluring. His marines worked in teams of two, carrying great sacks of gold. Each contained a hundred pounds of gold coins. Barrett counted out nine sacks. Inadvertently, he began to murmur out loud as he added them up.

"Sixteen to the pound, that's sixteen hundred... three thousand two hundred... four... thousand... eight hundred"

"Fourteen thousand and change," Jason interrupted, "fools left it all lying around in the tax office."

"Who'd volunteer to guard it after what we did to the guards in Farrowfield," Barrett retorted.

He turned from the gold and the clink of coins back to the fire. At first he thought he flames were spreading closer to him, then his eyes focused more clearly and he realized the new conflagration was in fact a horde of some three hundred vengeful peasants carrying torches blazing a harsh scarlet.

"I've got a new one," Barrett said aloud to no one in particular, "Red sky at night sailors take flight... MAN THE BOATS!"


----------

For some time Barrett could feel only the rocking of the ship, and saw only darkness. Little by little his heavy lids parted letting in the slightest glimpse of the gray horizon and the shores of Golden Farrow slipping off in the distance. Now and then the haggard face of Jason would dart into view, mumbling about something or other. For some time Barrett felt confused as he tried to piece together what happened. Little  by little it all came back to him.



"Man the boats!" Barrett cried as the peasant rabble assembled on the beach.



The hired mariners locked their oars on the two worm eaten jolly-boats as the marines loaded the last of the gold. The rickety craft sat low in the water, weight down by nearly a ton of treasure. It took but a moment for Barrett's agile mind to realize that they could carry only half the marines in such craft, unless of course they dropped the gold, and that wasn't going to happen.



"Boats away!" Barrett ordered, "Marines form firing lines!"



Wasting no time the mariners paddled towards the ship which sat moored off shore. Turning back to the threat Barrett noticed a warlord wearing a horned goat's skull as a mask shouting something to the furious throngs. Then they broke into a charge. The privateers stood with crossbows at the ready. The foolish peasants didn't realize they were already in range.



"Fire!" Barrett ordered.



The first volley of bolts cut down nearly a dozen peasants, and several more scattered and fled at the sight of the carnage. Successive volleys took down more and more until finally only a handful closed to melee range, stumbling over the bodies, of their fallen comrades and the writhing wounded who littered the ground beside them. The deftly wielded cutlasses of Barrett and his crew made short work of the improvised weapons of their foes, and soon the entire force scattered back into the ruins of Golden Farrow. They failed to kill even a single marine. 


Barrett pondered whether or not to hunt the peasants down or let them hide in the rubble. Jason, as he's one to do, interrupted Barrett's musing.

"Trouble at the boats," said Jason.

With a heavy sigh Barrett turned to assess the situation. For reasons unknown one jolly-boat was towing the other.

"Lost their oars I'd wager," Jason explained, "it's been known to happen what when mariners row in a panic."

Barrett sighed and waited, his patience wearing thin as he watched the mariners plod their way to the ship and unload the gold. The sun had risen by then, but they caught nary a glimpse of it for a thick smokey haze, born of the previous night's fires and a winter mist shrouded the sky.
As they waited Barrett noticed a dark shape moving about the fog. At first he took it for a stag, then squinting realized it was in fact a man, that strange warlord wearing a goats skull. The wind shifted and the fog let up just enough to reveal thirty or so figures, clad in black cloaks, standing on the beach like specters. Half wore bone masks like the warlords, the others were women, who lit torches and ran about them their hair loose in the wind. The men raised their hands chanting in tongues. Barrett scratched his head at this strange sight. Had they been in range he'd have ordered a volley, for their piercing cries were beginning to hurt his ears. Then his amusement faded as the screams abruptly stopped, and the peasants stood stone still. The hairs on the back of Barrett's neck stood up, the air grew chill. Somewhere in the distance ravens called, and then the field of dead, which lay across the beach since dawn began to stir. They twisted and lurched and rose to their feet.

"By the stars..." whispered Jason.

Before he could utter an order, a sentry cried out,

"Something in the water!"

Barrett checked on the progress of the boats. As he estimated the time they'd take to arrive a slimy hand rose from the sea, gripping the side of the jolly-boat. A creature with the shape of a man, but the slimy green body and face of a fish rose from the water and dragged a razor sharp claw across the throat of the mariner. Another leapt from the water, seized a rower and dragged him into the turbid brine. First bubbles rose to the surface, then blood.

"Sea monsters!" Barrett announced uselessly, wondering if this new threat was part of the sorcerer's fowl ritual or if they'd always lain in wait there, hopping for an opportunity to strike.


"Fire at will!" Jason added.

The first few bolts scattered the peasants and the sorcerer with them, but the dead shambled forward feeling no pain or fear, and the slick backs of the sea people could be seen surfacing in rapid succession, like a pod of dolphins drawing ever closer. When both hordes arrived the beach descended into utter chaos. Steel struck bone, slimy claws racked against bucklers and dug into hauberks. For a moment Barrett spotted marines being killed or wounded all around him, then he glanced in time to see one of the sea folk swinging a human femur like a club. He jerked his head back just enough to escape having his skull caved in, but the blow still sent him reeling. He had only bits and pieces after that, someone, probably Jason dragging him into the frigid water, then into the drifting jolly-boats, flashes of marines, wounded but still alive thrashing in the water, struggling to stay afloat with the weight of whatever weapons and armor they had left. Then he slept.

Barrett groaned on the ship. He'd been propped somewhat upright against something hard and heavy. He reached back to see what it was. As his hand groped over the leather sacks filled with rock hard shapes he smiled, gold, nearly a ton of gold.

pcw27

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #1: September 18, 2016, 07:50:23 AM »
A grim faced man trudges through the streets of Port Nebel. He wears a faded tunic of faded orange calico over a dingy silk shirt, that may have once been white, but now bore a dingy yellowish color and a fair number of blood stains. An empty scabbard hangs at his side and his left arm is still wrapped in bandages. His slow trudging steps are more fitting of a man past his prime then a noble of 29. The merchants notice his fierce scowl immediately and give him a wide birth.

How swiftly fortunes change. Barely a month earlier Barrett was on top of the world. He'd seized 56,516 gold in a single raid on Paisly. He had his own region and his own military force, the Royal Fleet.

The clerk at the recruitment gave Barrett a puzzled look, his beard, overgrown and caked with salt, made him difficult to recognize, then the clerk  gasped.

"Lord Barrett!" he cried, "What's happened."

"It's not lord anymore, not even sir at this point," Barrett retorted, "Or didn't you hear that Mattan Dews was overrun in my absense? Stars can't this realm hold itself together for a few days without me?"

"H-have a seat," the clerk stutters, pulling up a chair. He puts a cup down in front of Barrett and pours some cheap wine from a skin. Barrett downs it in a single gulp.
"It was my fault," Barrett admits, "I was too impatient and I went too far from shore, it seems like every Monster in the southern territories. We fled across the wilds dogging them at every turn. First they captured my knight, and then they surrounded my marines. They remained steal hearted till the end. They'd faced death so many times. I really think each one of them thought they were invincible, but the monsters proved them wrong..."

The clerk gulped. A question nagged at his mind but he was afraid to ask.

"Jason's gone," Barrett announced, "A monster mauled me, gnawed my legs pretty bad and nearly ripped my arm off. Jason dragged me from the field, stopped the bleeding and, tucked me away in a sea cave... He said 'I owe this to your grandfather, I wont desert another Erickson'. Then he ran back into the field to draw the beasts away from me."

Barrett grits his teeth and a tear trickles down his face.

"What will you do now?" the clerk asked.

"The only thing I'm good at," Barrett replied, "get me the craziest band of cut-throats the Dragon Isles have to offer."

pcw27

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #2: December 10, 2016, 01:38:51 AM »
Barrett Brine Erickson's tent is easy to find. The sounds of sea chanties echo across the camp. Erickson's marines, freshly home from their latest hunt hang about the camp bottles in hand. In the center of them stands Barrett himself, foot on a rum barrel, tankard in hand.

Together they sing,

"It was a Friday morn when we set sail
And we were not far from the land
When our captain, he spied a fishy mermaid
With a comb and a glass in her hand
Oh the ocean waves do roll
And the stormy winds do blow
And we poor sailors are skipping at the top
While the landlubbers lie down below, below, below
While the landlubbers lie down below

Up spoke the captain of our gallant ship
And a brave old skipper was he
"This fishy mermaid has warned me of our doom
We shall sink to the bottom of the sea"

Up spoke the first mate of our gallant ship
And a well-spoken man was he
"I have me a wife in Quebel by the sea
And tonight she a widow will be"

Up spoke the bosun of our gallant ship
And a brave young man was he
"Well I've got a sweetheart at St. John's by the sea
And tonight she be weepin' for me"

Up spoke the cook of our gallant ship
And a greasy old butcher was he
"I care much more for my pots and my pans
Than I do for the bottom of the sea"

Then up spoke the cabinboy, of our gallant ship
And a nasty little lad was he
"I'm not quite sure I can spell mermaid
But I'm going to the bottom of the sea"

Then three times around spun our gallant ship
And three times around spun she
Three times around spun our gallant ship
And she sank to the bottom of the sea

Oh the ocean waves do roll
And the stormy winds do blow
And we poor sailors are skipping at the top
While the landlubbers lie down below, below, below
While the landlubbers lie down below"

__________________________________________________________________________________________


As the tune dies down Barrett's men call for him to tell a tale of his latest exploits to the growing crowd.

"No no," Barrett says coyly, "it was a mere trifle."

That prompts a few cries of,
"Tell us!"
and

"Story! We want a story!"

"Oh alright," Barrett relents, clearly not minding in the least, "We thought we'd secured Port Raviel for the realm, but alas a vicious horde crossed the ferry lanes on a fleet of ramshackle rafts. We battled for days, slaying and being slain until the dead piled so high we had to fight atop them as if defending a rampart. On the last day before the withdrawal I leapt into the fray in a bloody frenzy. I engaged a unit of swamp orcs and surely killed half a dozen before they rushed en mass, laying hands on me.

You see I'm well known among the Western savages for my daring raids and the vast gold I've accumulated. Not long before they held me six days trying to get me to give up the location where I kept it cached. Well this time around I had no mind to be separated so long from my troops.

The beasties bound my hands and threw a sack over my head. Though blinded I could smell the salt breeze and knew we were approaching the sea. Soon after I heard the lapping waves and I felt the firm wooden planks of a dock. The monsters shoved me forward and I nearly tripped as my feet hit something made of crudely assembled logs. They pitched and bobbed beneath my feet and I knew I was aboard a raft. The other creatures climbed aboard and one tied my feet for good measure. I could hear the lapping of oars in the water and felt the breeze as we pushed off.

As I sat there, plotting and planning my escape a most annoying sound kept interrupting my thoughts, a CLINK! CLINK! CLINK! I soon realized what I heard was the sound of my sword and scabbard clinking against the rings of its belt as the raft pitched and rolled. I discerned from the sound that it must have been held in the claws of one of the swamp orcs, sitting not far for me. Knowing I'd have but one chance I waited, patiently, listening to the CLINK! CLINK! CLINK!"

Barrett paused, the crowd leaned in to listen.

"AND THEN I SPRANG!"

he shouted, leaping off his barrel (and causing a good many spectators to leap back).

"I my hands closed around the blade and I leapt into the brackish black waters of the Sea of Silence. Bound as I was I sank quickly, listening to the muffled shouts of the orcs as the current dragged them away from me. My hood I shook off easily, but my bindings are another story. I sawed away with my blade, as I drifted deeper into the abyss. My lungs burned, my vision darkened, but at last I severed the cords and shot up to the surface.

By now the raft had drifted well away from me, and my foes had no hope of catching me. Knowing the monsters controlled most of the shoreline I swam a full day and night till I spotted the lights of our camp fires. Frigid and waterlogged I staggered to shore, into the joyous arms of the few soldiers of mine still alive. They'd been guarding the boats awaiting my return, the last D'haran unit left in Port Raviel.

Do you think that is the end? Nay! If that was all that happened I'd scarcely have thought this a story worthy of telling. The rogues, furious at the loss of their quarry launched an assault by land and sea, blocking off the beach and surrounding us with a flotilla of rafts. My brave men took them head on, a mere eighty nine privateers against near a hundred beasts, most twice the size of a common man. Though many died and even more suffered wounds (myself included) we tore through and arrived at last at Port Nebel where YET ANOTHER BATTLE awaited us.

I've left the survivors of that adventure as militia here and I'm sure the Nebelians sleep safer knowing such stalwart soldiers watch over them."

The crowd sat with a pregnant pause until Barrett finally announced,

"The End!"

They all gave a cheer. Just then a messenger approached the mariner knight.

"Sir Barrett," he said, "message for you,"

"Go on," Brine replied as he took a swig of rum.

"Sir Kihalin, General of Astrum has invited you for a sparing match."

"Wonderful!" Barrett announced, "here that everyone! There'll be a match in the academy, everyone's welcome!"

The crowd cheered and followed at once to the academy.

pcw27

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #3: August 27, 2017, 04:00:35 AM »
Barrett strolls through Port Nebel along his usual route from the bank to the recruitment center. As he walks, his mind fixed on plans for some new voyage a beggar woman slumped in a gutter catches his eye. Her brown hair is matted with grease and dirt clings to the edges of her face, yet there is something familiar about her. Barrett comes to a stop and she raises her head. The moment he glimpses her sparkling green eyes he gasps out the name,

"Gudrun!"

The woman's expression scarcely changes. She just stares up as broken and joyless as before.

"Hello brother," she says.