Chapter 1 - Welcome to Farshore!

Screams filled the smoky air as cackling, howling men dressed in filthy armor and waving rusty, ragged weapons pressed the attack against Farshore’s unorganized defense. Up the hill, several buildings had been lit on fire, and issuing from one nearby were frantic screams. Lying in the sand in front of another building was the body of a well-dressed man with a bloody wound to his chest and a savage gash across his face. His body was surrounded by fragile glassware spilled from the case he was carrying. His chest rose and fell feebly, though for how much longer was uncertain.

Further south, a large band of filthy men were happily smashing in the windows of what appeared to be a chapel. More pirates were busy trying to bash in the chapel’s front doors with a large heavy wooden beam. Terrified screams came from within punctuating each of the ram’s blows.

Nearby, a hulking half-orc with blotchy, yellow skin and a leering, toothy smile chased a red haired young woman around a neighboring building, shouting lurid propositions.

Deeper in the village, a group of young men armed with swords made a stand against what appeared to be the pirate leader; a tall and dangerous looking human who laughed as he deflected their attacks with obvious ease.

Finally, a group of colonists desperately tried to extinguish a fire consuming a large building to the southeast, while others braved the flames to rescue its contents. More commotion could be heard from deeper in the village, but the thick billowing smoke effectively masked what was transpiring there.

Saris grinned when he saw the pirate so smugly dispatching the swordsmen around him. He charged to the fray, rapier extended. Urol took a wand and ran to help the man bleeding in the street. Ornrik took flight and moved off towards the pirates who were attempting to break down the doors of the chapel. Diamondback took off after the half-orc who was chasing the red-headed woman.

This caused Viselys some conflict. He wanted to protect Diamondback, but the screams coming from that burning building – it could be Lavinia. Even if it was not her, whoever she was needed help, fast. Adameus must have seen the turmoil in his face because he said, “I’ll help Tara. You help whoever’s in that building,” and he nudged him in that direction as he ran off in the direction Tara had gone.

Urol used the wand to stabilize the man, but when he saw how bad the wounds were, he stayed with him to provide further healing.

When Ornrik was certain he was in range, he launched a fireball that detonated in the midst of the battering ram wielding pirates. They were nearly incinerated, and a black carbon score covered the ground and the bricks of the chapel, but no actual damage was done to the structure.

Viselys burst through the burning door and, with quick reflexes born of excitement, he stooped to avoid the backdraft of flames that leapt to meet him. Towards the back, the woman had stopped screaming, but was now desperately choking from the think smoke. Viselys was able to follow the sounds of her coughs to find her huddled behind some grain sacks. He put his arm around her and half led, half carried, her out of the burning storage shed. He knew he had to calm her down and get her mind off the calamity so that she would have the presence of mind to seek safe shelter on her own so he could get back to the others. “What is your name, he asked?” her responses were intermittent with bouts of coughing, “Hilde … (cough) … Swenten … (cough) … no warning … (cough) … panicked … (cough, cough) … hid in … (cough) …storage shed…” Viselys asked her if she was well enough to find safe shelter on her own and she nodded, still coughing. She pushed him away as though to signal she knew he was needed elsewhere. Viselys had to smile at that.

Urol was just about to make the decision whether to move on and find another casualty or to help this man to move somewhere more secure when a menacing looking pirate with a cutlass emerged from the smoke noticing them. He grinned showing his nasty, rotting teeth.

Ornrik turned his sights on the burning building that the colonists were so desperately trying to save. As he flew closer, he mentally went through all the possible actions available to him. He settled on just creating gallons of water above the flames – the sooner he put out the fire, the sooner those fighting it would be out of danger.

Saris charged the pirate captain as the last of the defenders fell. He was tall with deeply tanned, leathery skin. He swung a wickedly curved rapier in one hand and a punching dagger in the other. Coils of knotted rope were wrapped around his arms and torso in a tangled display. Many of the ropes were fashioned into nooses and, hanging from quite a few, were morbid trinkets like jawbones, skeletal hands and leathery trophies. From his neck dangled a tattered hangman’s noose. He cursed and roared orders to his men who seemed almost as frightened of him as the dying colonists. He turned to face Saris without changing his expression – he did not recognize Saris as any different from the other colonist. That would be his last mistake.

Saris slammed into him, sword first. The pirate, whose name they would learn postmortem to be Slipknot Peet, yelled out to his crew, “Hellfish! To your captain!” From out of the smoke, like ghosts, pirates began to descend on Saris.

This proved to be very fortunate for Urol, whose would-be attacker turned to heed his captain. Urol helped his patient to a safer location then rushed to help Ornrik with the cause of saving the burning building and it’s apparently valuable contents. He imitated his fellow’s strategy of creating large quantities of water over the blaze.

Viselys began to run to help Saris, but then looked back to see if the pirate’s call had been heard by the brute that Diamondback and Adameus had gone after. However, none of them, even the red-haired victim, were there to be seen. He changed course and headed in the direction he had seen them go.

Avner arrived to assist Saris and engaged one of the pirates. He was less successful than Saris, but at least he was able to draw off one of the attackers. The two fought to a near standstill for quite some time, and it seemed like the tides would turn against him as the pirate’s blade pierced his chin, shattering his jaw. The searing pain caused him to strike out blindly and he was able to drop his attacker.

Saris, for his part, had taken down Slipknot Peet and he began working his way through the remaining pirates.

Ornrik and Urol, along with the efforts of the townsfolk, managed to get the fire under control and ultimately, extinguished.

When Viselys arrived at the building where he had seen the red-haired woman running from the half-orc, he now found no one. He went around the back of the building to find the woman unconscious, but alive, and the half-orc very dead. There was no sign of Diamondback or Adameus, however. He scooped up the woman and ran with her in the direction of the healers.

Saris dispatched the remaining pirates then he and Avner moved to join the others.

Continue to Chapter 2...

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