Flown Away

“Please don’t kill us,” says Pavo, the pirate who is sitting inside the lighthouse with his back to the south wall. “We have no reason to fight anymore. Please, Jethrik, give us quarter?” Rutilus, staring at Jharad’s arrow pointed at his heart, nods his agreement with Pavo.

Zaiobe lands in front of Jharad and points to the mouth of the river. The longboat rowed by two pirates and carrying Ishana, the priestess of Calistria and Captain Grudge’s “woman” has now come into view.

Jharad looks out over the harbor for where would be a good place to ambush the incoming long boat. “We had best be going, we need to setup our welcome for the priestess’ long boat. What shall we do with these two in the mean time?”

Turning to Pavo and Rutilus, “If you don’t cause any problems while we take care of the bitch, I’ll talk to my friends about letting the rest of you sail off. We’ll leave you here to think about who you might want to make officers. Sit tight, and this might work out fairly well for you after all. Agreed?”

“We could make you Cap’n!” Rutilus says with real enthusiasm.

Jharad barks a laugh and says to Keng and Toshio, “I bet they would!”

Keng laughs.

Jethrik face-palms and turns away.

Toshio doesn’t see the humor. He says to the pirates, “You must be bound until the others are dealt with. Then we can talk.”

Looking out towards the bay Jharad says, “It looks as though she is heading towards the riverbank upstream from us where the other longboat is moored. Let’s set up to ambush her from the forest when she comes ashore. At least then the less stealthy of us will have a chance to get into place before they can hear us stumbling about,” he adds with a wry grin. “Jethrik, why don’t you tell us about this Calistria priestess while we are on our way.” Jharad quickly retrieves what arrows he can salvage and leads them back into the forest towards Grudge’s longboat.

“The whole crew hates her guts!” Jethrik spits. “She’s a vicious bitch. Kill her and the pirates she’s with will likely be too busy thanking you to keep up the fight. I’ve not seen her heal anyone, so I’d keep out of range of her. She’s likely one of those clerics that can kill not heal. I don’t know the full extent of her power. I only ever saw her cast one spell at a time. She used command on me once to force me to climb to the crow’s nest. So perhaps she is not terribly powerful or perhaps she is just smart enough to play her cards close to her vest.”

“Well this should be interesting then,” says Jharad. “I do not lightly take up arms against a priestess of Calistria, but this one sounds like she may deserve it. And what is her relationship to our late Captain Grudge?”

Jethrik shudders. “Intimate. Which shows you that Captain Grudge could exhibit courage when desperate.”

Jharad smiles at Jethrik’s quip and glances at Toshio, wondering not for the first time why he has been so willing to follow Jharad’s lead since they arrived at Brinewall. “Lets setup similar to how we did before, that seemed to work well. I will provide cover fire from directly in front of them then after I start shooting you all flank them. And lets focus on the priestess as best we can, from what Jethrik says once she is down the others will just give up. Hell, they may just leave the fight to her in total.”

Toshio cleans Whispering Shrike before sheathing it and readying his bow. He listens carefully about the priestess of Callistra.

“I fear my usefulness in this skirmish,” says Zeyala. “I will remain on the sidelines and tend to injuries.”

Toshio says to Zeyala, “Okay, but stay close, and stay ready to counter what spells you can. That bless spell may be a good one for this fight.”

“I won’t be much help either, with this stupid bow.” Jethrik growls. “Look at this! Someone packed it wrong and there is a bend in the wood. No wonder I was missing everything!”

Jethrik grabs a whip from Captain Grudge’s belt and hands it to Keng. “The command words are Catch and Hold. You can guess what it does.”

Toshio smirks as he wonders if Keng really can guess that – but he’s careful to keep his joke to himself.

Keng looks at it and laughs, “What’s the command for catch and kill?”

Jharad laughs loudly, “I do not believe Keng would be caught dead using a puny weapon like that. I believe you may have just insulted our rather large friend here. That device is more suited to Zeyala I think. Besides it will look good in her hands,” he adds with a lusty look.

“Well, I was just thinking that he’d have the best chance of controlling whatever he lasso’ed.” Jethrik shrugs. “I know if I tried to use it, I’d get thrown across the room.” he adds with a chuckle.

“You’re okay gnome. Debt paid!” He hands the whip to Zeyala and says, “For you my friend, to restrain your enemies until I come.”

“Enemies only?” she asks with a devilish grin on her face. She wraps one of her scarves into a belt of sorts with a slipknot, and fastens the coiled whip to it.

Keng gives her a perplexed look, “Who else would you want to restrain?”

“You know nothing, Keng,” laughs Zeyala.

Jharad smirks and shakes his head. Clapping Keng on the back he says, “You.”

“You guys are making me blush… and nauseous.” Jethrik complains.

Toshio slips on Captain Grudge’s ring, ready to talk later about its final disposition.

Jharad watches Toshio put the ring on and he smiles, “Good choice, I think that will serve you best.” He then picks up the spyglass and pockets it.

Keng nods and says, “Let’s get going!”

Toshio sets up 20′ from shore, with his short now ready. When a good shot at the priestess presents itself he takes it. No warnings to this opponent who stands between him and getting Ameiko healed.

“You have wonder about a guy who wears studded leather and carries a whip.” Jethrik muses as they watch Ishana’s boat approach.

When the boat is only 75’ away, however, Ishana notices Keng hiding behind a tree that is not wide enough to conceal him fully. She quickly tells the rowers to take the boat back. She mutters a prayer and suddenly there are two of her in the boat, both cowering beneath the gunwales as the two pirates row for their lives.

Toshio’s arrow falls short into the water.

Jethrik says, “They look better than they look,” to inspire morale.

Keng’s arrow hits Ishana’s double and it vanished upon impact.

Jharad sends out two shots both of which hit Ishana in the back.

The rowers seeing that it is hopeless both drop their oars and dive beneath the waves. Ishana likewise dives beneath the waves, but though the two pirates surface within half a minute, both swimming for shore, Ishana does not appear again.

Jharad calls out to them after he shoots, “Come back and we will not kill you!”

“We hear you!” calls out one pirate. “We surrender,” says the other. Jethrik recognizes them as Mario and Tevis.

Jharad keeps a sharp lookout for the priestess, utilizing the spyglass he took from Grudge.

Toshio says, “She probably has a water-breathing spell. Widen your search. She’ll surface farther away when the spell ends, I bet.”

“Mario, Tevis!” Jethrik calls out. “We won’t harm you. We just need you to leave these ruins and we knew Grudge and Ishana wouldn’t let us. Come here and we’ll talk.”

From a bit of a way off, Toshio hears this and smiles in appreciation of the diplomacy Jethrik is showing.

The two waterlogged pirates wade ashore. Mario says, “Jethrik, these are your friends from Roderic’s Cove I take it? What happened to Captain Grudge and the rest of the crew?”

“Nothing good, I’m afraid. I don’t feel so bad about Captain Grudge, but we lost some good men. Pavo and Rutilus are waiting for you up at the lighthouse. Maybe you could take ‘em back to the ship.”

Tevis and Mario both shout in alarm when Zaiobe lands upon the beach just a few feet away. Zaiobe just glares at the pirates.

“Well that is that,” says Jharad. “I suggest we let these men return to their ship so that they can elect a new captain. We have work to be about here.”

“Don’t you think we should spend at least a short time looking for Ishana?” Jethrik squeeks.

“I agree,” says Toshio.

“No,” says Jharad, “I believe he has been mquormikt. A term I learned at college which means to magically hide something away until it can be presented again at a most inopportune time for your opponents.”

Toshio responds, “Forgive me, but I don’t trust the priestess to let these sailors,” he avoids calling them pirates, “go in peace. Until we’re sure of her, she’s a threat. Meanwhile, we should secure those two longboats so they can’t be used against us.” Shrugging inwardly, Toshio wishes he were less pragmatic but accepts that he can’t help it in this sort of situation.

“You two,” says Toshio to the two pirates. “Swim back out and retrieve your boat. Bring it back here. No harm will befall you from us if you obey.”

Mario and Tevis quickly swim out to the longboat, clamber back into it and begin rowing it back to shore. Neither seems willing to risk Jharad’s arrows if they should try to row back downstream and attempt to return to the ship.

To the group Toshio says, “Once the boats are secure, those two can go release the two bound in the lighthouse. We should move to where we can watch their ship. Ishana has nowhere else to go unless she chooses to join Kikonu in the castle – which she might.”

“Zaiobe, will you do an aerial search for that priestess?”

The harpy scowls and beckons to Jethrik. Jethrik takes a deep breath and holds it for as long as possible as he walks reluctantly toward Zaiobe.

Through Jethrik Zaiobe says, “I will look but then I am returning to the castle. There is a ledge that leads around the castle. Go around to the north side and avoid the dire corby lookouts. There is three-story tower on the northwest side of the castle, not one of the guard towers. This tower has a balcony and it is where I make my home. You may enter through that tower. I will do what I can to make sure the dire corbies keep their lookouts away from that side of the castle.” She releases Jethrik and flies off.

“Good to see you playing nice with the harpy, Toshio,” says Zeyala.

“Ha ha.” says Toshio drolly.

Once the second longboat has been dragged onto the riverbank and secured to a tree, everyone troops back up to the lighthouse where the other two pirates are still tied up. Once they are released Jethrik says to them, “Okay, return to the boat but we have talk about releasing that Chelaxian captain. I don’t know what to do with him, but I don’t want him tortured to death.”

Before the pirates can reply Zaiobe returns from her search for Ishana. She grabs Jethrik and has him say for her, “The captain’s woman is nowhere I can see her. Perhaps she drowned or perhaps she is hiding in the woods. Who cares? She is no foe of mine. Now meet me at the castle. The tallest tower with the balcony on the north side. We’ll be waiting for you.”

“Wait! We?!” Jethrik cries on his own behalf as, clutching the gnome painfully, Zaiobe takes to the air and heads straight back to the castle.

Instinctively reaching out to grab the gnome, with no hope of doing so, Jharad says, “Wait… stop!” Watching the gnome recede towards Zaiobe’s tower in the clutches of the Harpy he adds a few seconds later, “Well there goes our gnome again.”

“Easy come, easy goes the gnome.” Keng shakes his head.

“Well, this does not bode well,” says Zeyala. There’s no guarantee she’ll stick to her bargain, though it seems we have choice but to trust.”

Toshio actually growls, Keng-like, in his frustration. As Zaiobe flies off with Jethrik he shouts at her, “You will regret this day if he is harmed!”

Chuckling at Toshio’s anger, more in bemusement of the situation than anything else, Jharad adds quietly, “You tell him, Toshio.” Then sobering he turns to the four pirates and says, “Okay you four. Return to your ship but do not set sail. No harm is to befall this captain that Jethrik spoke of. You will return in the morning and discuss with Jethrik how to proceed. If you fail in any of this, by the gods I will hunt you down myself and kill every last one of you. Am I making myself quite clear?”

The four pirates nod in unison and scurry back to their two boats but before they can push off Toshio runs and stops them from taking both boats. “You will leave this boat! And don’t forget the elf’s promise. You’d be well-advised to send the captain ashore before you even consider sailing away.” He lets them take one boat, hoping they have bought into Jharad’s threats.

Once the pirates have rowed away, Toshio returns to the group. “I think we’ve done all we can to help whoever that other captain may be. Let’s go get our friends taken care of.” He heads in the direction of the castle, not looking to see if the others are following.

“Agreed,” says Jharad and claps Toshio on the back.

 

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