Author Topic: The Tale of Barrett Brine  (Read 1136 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."

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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.

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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.

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #4: December 14, 2017, 07:55:09 AM »
Barrett Brine stands upon the bow of his ship as it sits anchored in Boreal's Harbor beneath a slate grey sky. With one foot on a cask of ale he holds his cutlass in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other. His troops sit about the deck having consumed the last of the salted pork and hard tack. Sated they see that Barrett is prepared to give a speech and rise to their feet to listen.

As Barrett speaks his booming voice echoes across the bay clear as day to anyone who might be listening.

"Friends, we have journeyed across the rolling seas to a stars forsaken land long abandoned, and yet I smile...

We have just now consumed our last mouthful wholesome food, drunk our last drop of fresh water. There is no turning back now. If we do not land we will surely die of hunger and thirst... and yet... I smile...

The shores beyond our treacherous. An horde of savage beasts and an army of inhuman revenants skulk through the outskirts, ready to attack at a moments notice... and YET I SMILE!

Why? Because we sail with Admiral Karibash, the greatest swordsmen in the history of Dwilight. Because we sail with Drizztle, a faithful first mate who has braved many adventures by my side. Because not far behind us, ready to provide reenforcement is Amy, who shares the blood of the great Cymore and voyages on with the exuberance of youth and the hunger to live up to her family legacy. And most of all because we are about to become legends whether we return home with the treasures of the Silver Temple, or merely our scars to tell the tale!"

He raises the rum bottle higher.

"This is the last strong drink we have on ship. We will not drink again until we stand on the beaches of Darfix! HERE HERE!"

"HAZAH!" the crew shouts back.

"HERE HERE!"

"HAZAH!"

"HERE HERE!"

"HAZAH!"

"All hands to the landing craft. Lock in oars. Weapons at the ready! And fear no darkness!"

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #5: December 23, 2017, 09:00:13 AM »
Two days ago:

Barrett and his men crossed the scrub clad hills of Bberentaur and grinned at the sight of Samhain. A scant few emaciated peasants scurried about the once bustling township. Barrett's thought entirely of the gold no doubt stashed away in the moss eaten keeps of the town completely ignoring the grim omen of the blood red horizon. The sun finished setting just as the marines arrived in the town center. By then every peasant had hunkered down in their house with their doors barricaded with whatever they could use to block them. 

The pirate lord strolled up to the town's main well, leaned over and spit, listening with satisfaction at sound of the splash. The noise echoed through the otherwise silent square.

"Captain Barrett, no sign of rogues," a soldier announced.

"Odd," Barrett replied, "our scout saw a small party. They must have run off when they saw us-"

The low moan of a horn blast cut off Barrett's words. From behind the scrubby hills hordes of beasts emerged. Barrett's father had been an adventurer in the far North and had told him many a tale about hunting these monsters, the fabled ice boars. Each was the size of an oxen, but they charged down the sloping hills quick and nibble as deer. On their backs road some manner of wild man. Layers of skins and furs obscured their forms and faces.

The horde had the settlement surrounded. After waiting a moment, stunned Barrett snapped back to reality and began to bark out orders.

"Turn over those carts, block that alley!" Barrett shouted, "They're in range someone start firing!"

The Privateer Marines loosed a volley, and reloaded with all haste. They fired a second, then a third. With their fourth volley they managed to put a pack to fight. Then the rest crashed into their lines.

One of the beasts charged Barrett head on. He drew his Cutlass and tried to jam it clear down the Boar's throat. The monster let out a shrieking roar as blood gushed from it's mouth. The wound was enough to make the creature angry, but didn't hit anything vital. Worse still the blade caught in its teeth. The boar wrenched its head to one side sending the cutlass flying. Then it swung its head back, and gored Barrett's leg with its ivory tusk pinning him to the ground.

The Admiral seemed helpless. The boar's rider drove a crude lance towards his prone form. With his left hand Barrett caught the haft and redirected it causing it to stick in the ground and with his right he drew his dagger and drove it into the boar's eye. The creature squealed in pain, bucked off its rider, and ran, crashing headlong into another of its kind, sparking a scuffle.

Before the wild man could get up, Barrett Brine clambered to his feet and impaled the rogue with his own spear. The boars continued to rut, locking tusks instead of finishing off Barrett's men.

"Retreat!" Barrett cried.

It was hardly necessary for him to say so. His last few men were already fleeing for their lives. Barrett would spend the rest of the night, hobbling with the spear as a splint tracking them down in the surrounds and rallying them together again.

The last dozen or so of Barretts troops could travel no further then Bberentaur so they stopped in a hollow amidst a series of squat little hills and tried to rest for what little was left of the night.

Barrett himself was hardly in proper condition to travel. Blood loss had turned his typically sanguine complexion to a pale hue with just a touch of blue in his lips. One of the company's healers was hard at work changing his bandage. The other draped a white sheet over the still form of a privateer, aged not a day over eighteen.

"Ahoy!" cried Smee, their scout, as he skipped back into camp with a pack mule in tow, "look who I found! It's Benny, and she's got the gold still on her!"

A few privateers cast greedy looks at what little treasure they'd looted in the outskirts of Darfix. The rest just sat grumbling around the fire. A lanky dark haired man with his arm in a sling rose to his feet.

"The hell with this!" he announced, shouldering a pack.

"Were do you think you're going?" Barrett demanded.

The marine didn't answer, he just walked away from the camp, his shadowy form getting harder and harder to make out as it retreated from the dancing light of the fire.

"Get back here!" Barrett shouted.

Three other men stole glances at each other, then without a word shouldered their own packs and followed the first.

"GET BACK HERE!" Barrett cried again as they disappeared into the night.

Barrett sighed and retired to his tent. A thick fog set in as dawn broke on the strange little hallow they'd camped in. Barrett emerged from his tent to find the last of his marines, seven in all standing waiting with, arms crossed.

One of them, a red bearded fellow by the name of Malaise spoke up.

"When are we goin' home!"

"We have to regroup with Amy and Karibash, then I'll decide," Barrett said.

"Sod Amy and Karibash!" Malaise bellowed, "we've gotta get out ah here or we're all dead!"

Barrett stepped closer gritting his teeth so as to avoid visibly wincing in pain. He came up to Malaise's nose yet was no less intimidating for it.

"Are you questioning my orders?"

"Ay mate I'd say I am," Malaise replied, "what's more I says you ought-ta up ar shares."

"You're making a mercenary's wage already that's more then fair-," Barrett replied.

"Oy you call tha' fair? Ya drag us half way around the world, fill yer saddle bags and we trade life and limb for a day wage!"

Malaise put his hand on his hilt.

"I says you better up our shares or we takes it all,"

The rest of the survivors grumbled in agreement, Smee and the healers skulked nervously behind Barrett. In spite of the tense moment and rising tempers something managed to steal Barrett's attention.

"Do you hear that?" he asked.

"Don't go changin' the subject-"

"SHHH!" Barrett hissed. Surprisingly Malaise stopped speaking.

Somewhere in the fog they could hear the sound of leathery feet scraping over cold earth. Barrett's eyes scanned the earthen mounds that surrounded them and a grim realization set in.

"These aren't hills," he said, "they're barrows."

Just then a shrill cry rang out. The company turned in time to see a Privateer, blood gushing from his neck, and over his shoulder a wight with its mouth stained crimson.

"To arms!" Barrett shouted.

Steal clashed against bone and dried flesh as an army of wights invaded the campsite. Moments into the melee a revenant slammed a club into Barrett's wounded leg. Searing pain shot through his body, and he blacked out from the shear agony.

He caught the next few moments in glimpses. Smee loading him onto Benny. Then he felt clomping gait of the mule as he swayed back and forth, behind him he made out just two surviving marines trudging along after him, Malaise and a fresh faced, blonde haired boy, who's name he could not recall. Then finally the lapping of water on wood. Then darkness.

When Barrett finally regained his senses he realized he was in a dockhouse. He heard voices whispering outside and guessed they belonged to the two privateers. Barrett could make out Malaise's voice.

"Smee says Under Darfix is overrun," He said

"Well mayhaps we'll skirt the border then give them the slip," The other replied.

"Give them the slip are you daft, we've been ambushed twice in as many days!" Malaise said aloud.

"Well what do you propose?"

"I propose we take the loot," Malaise whispered "charter a ship and live like kings back in the Dragon Isles, let Barrett die and rot out here just like his crazy grandfather!"

Suddenly a grating voice interrupted his eavesdropping.

"Stars blessin's yer awake me laird,"

In scurried a short, pot bellied peasant, bald headed with a scruffy beard about his chin. He had the thick forearms and leathery chapped hands of a sailor.

"Not often we get charters from noble folk abouts here," He prattled on, "Ships almost ready just another two hours time. Just waiting on some provisions what needs be delivered 'n loaded"

Before Barrett could tell the old man to stop jabbering and let him listen to his potentially mutinous men the ominous tone of a bell rang out.

"What's that?" Barrett asked.

Just then his privateers burst in.

"The wights followed us," Malaise yelled, "they were spotted an hour away from this village at the most."

"Well what are you waiting for!" Barrett ordered, "get ready to embark!"

Without a second thought the men ran out to gather up their belongings, and gold. The bumbling old charter sailor crept up to Barrett.

"Begging your pardon laird but we can't get shove off in time. I told you two moar hours to get the provisions 'ere and loaded, give or take-"

"How long if we only need provisions for me, my scout and my healers?" Barrett interrupted.

The sailor scratched his head.

"Well I wager we could shove off now. We got your mule and gold 'n all,"

"Take me to your ship, now!"

A biting cold rain began to fall as the boat shoved off. Barrett could see the two aspiring mutineers standing dumbfounded on the docks with crates of hard tack still in hand. Malaise dropped his pack and drew his crossbow, firing out of shear spite. The bolt whistled passed Barrett's head and embedded itself in the main mast. A deck hand standing nearby let out a yelp of terror.

Barrett smirked ever so slightly, then turned away and limped down to his cabin. There sat the booty his privateers had died for (or deserted for, or were abandoned for as the case may be). It numbered 1,774 gold pieces in total, for some this would be a vast fortune but to Barrett it was scarcely a pittance. He still yearned for the treasure of Darfix.

pcw27

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #6: December 24, 2017, 07:43:25 AM »
Barrett leaned against the deck ropes as the ship rounded the coast, passing by Darfix. He wanted to get one last look at the city, a city he'd dreamed of seeing for years. No words could capture his utter disappointment at leaving it without its treasure in his hold. Plumes of smoke rose from the decrepit buildings of the Golden City. Barrett could not tell if they were merely cooking fires or the results of some clash. It could have been rival bandit gangs, a monster attack, even the other raiders who came with him. It certainly wasn't his doing.

For the first time Barrett realized something strange, a column of light hung over the Bay of Boreal. He squinted, trying to make out what it was. Sailors tell tale of all manner of illusions one can encounter on the sea, sun dogs, the fata morgana, but this he'd never heard of.

Squinting through the glare Barrett thought he glimpsed a figure on the docks. He drew out his spyglass and inspected the shore. There stood a man, ancient with snow white beard and hair yet also upstanding with an air of strength and dignity. In the center of his head he had a strange divot about the size of a large coin. He wore dingy grey robes with a trim, once blood red, now faded to a brownish maroon. Beside him stood a woman, dark of hair clad all in white and what's more, heavy with child. Her hands rested delicately on the swell of her womb.

A chill went down Barrett's spine. Suddenly the ship struck a wave and a bit of sea spray splashed into his spyglass. Obscuring it. Cursing Barrett wiped the glass clean and turned it back to the same spot. The pair were gone. He scanned over the shores but they were nowhere to be found. Barrett shrugged, then groaned. The cold air made his leg ache even worse. He retired to his cabin, leaning heavily on the old spear haft as he crossed the deck. Once cloistered away he pulled a bottle of rum from beneath his bunk and drank until he could not feel the pain in his leg, nor anything else for that matter.

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Re: The Tale of Barrett Brine
« Reply #7: December 31, 2017, 11:50:18 PM »
Barrett lay on a couch in his mannor waiting for a healer to arrive. His leg was not getting better, in fact it hurt worse then before. At last the doors to his chamber opened the creak of their hinges echoed through the cavernous antechamber where Barrett lounged in anticipation. The healer didn't look out of the ordinary, balding with grey hairs sticking out the sides, pale skin and a creased face. He looked old enough to hold great wisdom and experience but still too young for doddering senility to set in. Nobles from across the D'hara hailed him as the greatest healer in the Dragon Isles.

Wasting no time Barrett drew back the sheet covering his wounded leg. As he did it unleashed a putrid stench. The guards and servants gagged and averted their eyes, but Barrett and the healer did not even flinch, they were both used to gruesome sights, Barrett thanks to combat and the healer because of his profession. Saying little the healer set about examining the injury. The boar's tusk had entered near the shin and pierced all the way through to the calf. The bulging swollen flesh around the wound had turned varying shades of grey-green, blue and black.

"Well how long until it is better?" Barrett asked.

"My lord you don't understand. This is what we call gangrene," He explained.

"What? That's what peasants get!" Barrett retorted.

"My lord peasants get it because they don't tend to see a proper healer until its too late. I understand you were at sea with only military healers to treat you."

"What are you saying..." Barrett asked.

"My lord we must amputate this leg, or you will surely die..."

Barrett got ready to argue, he thought of screaming, throwing the healer out, calling him a charlatan and demanding another be sent in, but he knew it was no use.

"Rum," Barrett said, "Bring me rum."

"I would recommend a-"

"No, no stronger drugs, rum and a block of wood to bite, that is all I require," he insisted.

Servants brought the items Barrett requested as the healer laid out series of blades and a terrifying bone saw. Then he called for the servants to heat an iron poker on a brasier. First the healer tied a tourniquet on Barrett's leg and then came ten minutes of shear agony. To Barrett's credit he did not let out a single scream, though by the end his face and hair were soaked in sweat.

Everything felt distant after the final cut. Barrett laid back and stared up at the warm glow of the chandeliers.

"It's over," Barrett said.

"Yes my lord, it's done," the healer replied.

"Not the procedure my life, my adventures. Am I to storm beaches and fight duels with a peg leg?" Barrett asked.

"My lord, I once had a patient who sought treatment for gonorrhea-"

"Why do you think I want to hear this?" Barrett asked.

"Please listen a moment. You see he was squeamish about removing his breeches. He had to come in three times before he finally went through with it. Only then did I learn he had a wooden leg. There was no sign beyond that, he walked perfectly," the healer explained.

"Where did he get it?" Barrett asked.

"That I'm afraid I do not know, but somewhere out there is a master artisan who can help you. With one of his limbs you'll be able to do everything you once did," the healer explained.

A look of hunger burned in Barrett's eyes, the same hunger he'd had at the thought of plundering Darfix. He had a new mission now and a new prize to win, not gold or jewels but the chance at getting his life back.