The quandry of the missing doppelganger is soon forgotten as the pirate ship comes into full view along side the Bubbersaint. I run for the balista room in order to have a window to shoot spells from, but end up settling for the catapult room with Waylond and Hodey while Constance runs to the Helm Room.
I look down as I feel a strange pressure on my hand to see a glowing symbol pressed there by a stamp in Hodey’s hand. “Good spells,” Hodey replies to my questioning look. I shiver and my extremities tingle as the Haste spell courses through my being. “Anybody recognize the ship? I thought maybe they were the Githyanki pirates we encountered last, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.”
I take a closer look at the ship from my view of relative safety thorugh the bolt hole. There’s a gathering of mostly human motley priate types… an older fellow with a big hat yelling orders… and a gray robed woman with a gold headdress. Target acquired.
If I’ve learned anything from my adventures with these people it’s that you should always take out the magic users first. I can only assume everyone else knows that lesson as well… hence my hopefully strategic location. I smile to myself as I pull the piece of fur from my pouch and mutter the words of the Lightning spell as I keep the woman in my sight… and then unleash a cracking BOOM of electricity from my outstretched fingers that strikes her in the chest just as she raises her hands to cast a spell. I make a tsk noise as I notice the woman still twitching in a sizzling heap of flesh on the deck. “I tried to make it clean, lady… but it seems your gods are not with you today.”
“Wah-HOO!” cheers Waylond as he fires the ballista and manages to puncture the side of the ship. I turn to offer my congratulations when I’m forced to grab my shoulder in pain from the arrow suddenly sticking out of it. I can still feel the faint magical aura surrounding the vile thing as I bite my tongue to block the screams and pull it out.
“I would make you all burn…” I mutter as I pull a handful of rose petals from my pouch, “but He prefers his food raw.” The Sleep spell soon takes effect on the group of pirates getting ready to board our ship, knocking out six of them and leaving three others. The archer particularly catches my eye… and not just because of my plans for his fate; I can’t help but notice all of the arcane runes inscribed onto his pretty coat. “Dibs!” I shout as I turn to Waylond and Hodey. “I call dibs on the coat!” I turn back just in time to dodge a rope lashing out from the other ship and missing my face. “They’re starting to board!” I yell out in warning as more animated ropes lash about and pirates begin to throw grappling hooks.
Waylond fires the balista once again and achieves a pallatable hit against the pirate ship, leaving the crew scattered and screaming from the sudden damage. “Now how about that?” Waylond exclaims as he grins at Katya.
“Where would we be without you, Waylond?” I chuckle as the Giff flexes his forearms for me to see. Thinking quickly of the boading party, I float into the air and fly towards the main doors in the hopes that I can keep them closed with the right spell.
“That’s my ship, you BASTARDS!” a voice yells from one of the floors above, soon accompanied by the sound of sawing and grinding.
Are they already aboard? What’s that sound?
“Stupid bugs! Get off me!” I hear Waylond shout from the catapult room. Hodey fires a blast from one of his many devices and flees down the hall. I stop for a moment to shout for him to join me, but I’m soon drowned out by the cannon ball exploding through the wall.
Damn it! Guess I’m on my own. I make my way up another level and down to the other side of the ship to finally make it to the main boarding gates. I tune out the sounds of pounding fists and activate the runes on my gloves to focus my Hold Portal spell against their efforts. At least they won’t be coming in this way…
The sounds of screams and pounding feet echo closer and closer down the hall as I activate my Wand of Shield and duck into the shadows of a utility hall. I’m scrambling for a hold in the hallway when suddenly the ship dives and twists in Constance’s attempt at popping the ropes and pulling away from the pirate ship. I can tell from the screams of pirates outside that it must have worked. When I hear Hodey’s scream, however, I risk leaving cover and fly down the hallway towards my scaly friend… only to be just missed as a ballista pierces the hull of the ship and skewers our cook. Damn… poor Stu… as if he hadn’t suffered enough already.
If I wasn’t flying down the hall already, the ship’s steep dive would’ve sent me careening into a wall, I’m sure. By the time I get back to Hodey in the catapult room Waylond is cleaning up after showing what looks like what used to be a necromancer the business end of his axe. Thankfully with his death, the swarm of spiders that invaded the ship soon fades. “Katya will keep you safe, Hodey, while I take control of the main gun.”
“That necromancer gave me an idea!” says Hodey as he searches through his backpack.
“Whatever it is, make it quick!” I mutter over my shoulder as I keep an eye on the hallway for more pirates.
I can hear the colorful sounds of draconic muttering and tinkering before he taps me on the back. “Here we go! Mechanical Mending Spiders!”
I look down at his outstretched hand and almost jump back at the sight of a handful of clockwork spiders. “Those… are under your control, right?”
Hodey snickers for a moment. “The whole bunch of them. I’ll send them to start repairing the ship while we take care of the rest of these berks!”
BA-BOOM! The sound of the main gun echos through the ship and Waylond hoots in joy as the pirate ship begins to drift. “That takes care of the ship… now lets go round up some prisoners!”
“You know, I think I finally recognize that standard,” says Constance as she rubs her chin and looks out at the drifting pirate ship from the helm room. "It belongs to Captain Elreth “Grudge” Treeg, a bard of some infamy."
“Well I guess I don’t need to question this guy then,” Waylond replies as he snaps the neck of one of the pirates and tosses the body at the feet of four other pirates tied up and sitting against the wall. They all turn deathly white and one of them even passes out as the head flops about loosely.
“Now if I did that you’d all turn the ship around and commit me!” I protest with a shake of my head as I gesture at the corpse.
“It’s all about the presentation,” Waylond jokes as he hefts the unconscious prisoner over his shoulder and pushes the others down the hall towards the brig.
“You know… I think their pilot might be in Spelljammer Shock after that last hit,” Constance mutters to herself.
“Well great! Let’s go over there and take it, then!” I grin with a clenched fist. “We need to send a message to pirates everywhere that you can’t raid The Bubbersaint without suffering the repercussions!”
“I don’t know… we got hit pretty bad… I think we should take care of our losses and leave it at that.” She sighs and turns to the communication tube. “I should say something to the crew.”
“Fine… you go say the nice things,” I scoff with a wave of my hand. “I’m going to go see what Waylond’s doing… perhaps I can take some notes.”
Eventually I make it through the damaged halls and after a few stops to tend to some of the worse off crew, I make it to the prison area to find Waylond already cleaning up. “They have a scout in the city who tells them about rich ships in the area… but other than that, they’re just your typical pirates really.”
“Damn it! The ship just took off!” we hear Constance yell over the tubes.
“Well crap… there goes my salvage operation,” I mutter in disappointment. “So… what do we do with these guys, then?”
“We could always make them cooks, considering what happened to poor Stu and all…”
“I don’t know about you… but dried jerky and sea biscuits are not my idea of a filling meal,” I chuckle.
“Connie was saying that maybe we should promote other crew to cooks, so maybe we could make these guys swabs instead?” The vigorous nods from the prisoners at the thought of having a job and not dying seal the deal.
“Well, if that’s all done then, I think I’m going to head back to my lab and see what I can make for the crew to help next time. I think I’ve got a recipie for a good Tanglefoot Bag around somewhere…”
“Keep an eye out for Kobolds,” warns Waylond. “I swear during the fight I saw at least 5 of those little buggers in tuxedos! Maybe I can use Hodey’s labelling maching to keep them all straight.”
FIVE? Ugh…I knew it… they’re going to spread like a plague across the ship! I shudder and nod to Waylond. “Thanks for the heads up.”
I spend the next four days alternating between creating new supplies in my alchemical lab to conducting a test with some of my spells and an interesting little ritual I discovered in my notes from the cultist’s book. From what I can tell, I can use the ritual to boost the magical energy that powers the next spell I cast. An enhanced bolt of lightning could come in useful.. you never know when we might get the Kobolds to line up.
By the time we detour around H’Catha I’ve also managed to craft some vials of acid, some anti-toxin, and some tanglefoot bags. I hope we get where ever we’re going soon…