Session Recap S2E04: Turn A Blind Eye

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.

Frank Crane

Back in town, the party gave the lone survivor of the troll attack over to Sandara Quinn’s care as old Rickety Hake pushed his way through the crowd.  Taking Daina’s hand in a firm grip, he asked her what had they found?  What happened?

“Trolls,” Daina told him, her voice grim.  “Three of them.  I think that’s all of them.  I hope that’s all of them.”

“Yeah!” Trucco piped up.  “You should have seen the guy that we left there, he was…” as the carefree rogue began to describe in gorey detail what the troll had done to the logger who didn’t make it, Daina cut him off with a gentle but firm scolding.  Rickety and his people didn’t need to hear that, and it was an unfortunate way to break the news that not all of his people had survived.  Trucco added his voice to the sympathy, appropriately chastened, and Rickety thanked them all the same.  They’d never been attacked by trolls before, and would be hiring some guards from Cliffscrape in short order — and as a token of his thanks, he’d be knocking five hundred galifars of the cost of the squibbing.  Daina hesitated, but the chastening she’d received from Torlan about the need for a steady income the week before still rang fresh.  Though she stressed that Rickety didn’t owe her any money for doing the right thing, she swallowed her pride and admitted that she needed the money all the same, thanking the old man for his generosity.

“But he did kind of owe us,” Trucco interjected.  “I mean, we did a pretty good job and, I mean…I will shut up now.”  Daina shook her head at her incorrigible friend, and a small laugh escaped from her before turning back to Rickety.  Either way, she was grateful for the gesture.  Torlan wondered if the dead logger, Verth, had family in town who’d need to be notified.  Rickety replied that Verth had a sister, he’d break the news to her and…the old man trailed off as Daina and Torlan whipped their heads around to the sounds of shouts of alarm and a rising commotion.

It was coming from the pier where the Majestic Gryphon was docked.  Daina took off running.

As she reached the pier, Daina began calling out to the crowd of locals gathered while they called out to someone she couldn’t see, shouting at them to stay back.  As she drew closer, she spotted four locals…and eight well-armed men, moving in a tight formation, shields and cutlasses at the ready.  Behind them, a large ship sat in the bay.  Its sails billowed in the wind…but its flags were furled.

Equal parts fear and anger clenched at Daina’s guts as her expression turned to stone.  Approaching one of the workers, she asked him what was happening.  She’d thought that no ships were supposed to come in while the Gryphon was docked.  He tersely agreed.  Did he know who these people were?  “Nope” he replied, as terse as before.  Though her expression remained cold, a dangerous fire rose in Daina’s eyes.  “Stay back,” she told him.  “I’ll take care of this.”  Striding across the dock, hand by the hilt of her rapier as her dragonmark began to spark, she picked out the man who seemed to be the commander of these…raiders?  Invaders?  Whatever they were, they were unwelcome.  She closed the distance between them and looked him in the eye.  “You’re not scheduled to be here.”

He stared back, unfazed.  “No one schedules visits to Rickety’s.” 

Free Captain Gaius ir'Trun
Free Captain Gaius ir’Trun

She scowled. “No they don’t, but don’t tell me you didn’t see the signal in the harbour on the way in.”

“There was no signal on the way in” he replied.  “We didn’t schedule to be here, we didn’t know there was a ship docked here, and we don’t want any trouble.”

 Daina raised an eyebrow.  There hadn’t been anyone in the signal tower?  He hadn’t seen a flag telling them to keep out?  The workers confirmed that there had been someone in the tower, but the unwanted guest insisted there had been no flag, so he’d taken that as being free to sail in and see to his business with Rickety.  Daina shook her head and continued staring him down.  

“Well,” she said, “I’d prefer to believe you’re unobservant rather than dishonest.  What’s your business here?  This is my dock right now.”  The man’s eyes went wide as his voice raised in pitch.  Was she insulting him?  What she was saying, Daina replied, was that if he had business with Rickety, he knew what the score was.  And that when he saw no signal waving him into the dock, he should have turned around.  As Trucco and Torlan came up behind her, Daina reassessed the situation.  While the soldiers surrounding their commander were well-armed and obviously well-trained, even with the insult levied at their commander, there had been no signs of aggression.  If anything, they seemed to be concerned with protecting their boss and defending themselves from the irate locals…and Daina.  She sighed inwardly and changed tactics.

“Look,” she began, “you know as well as I do that everyone who comes here has to protect their own interests.  And that we all trust Rickety’s discretion, but I don’t know you. You understand?”  

“I don’t know you either” he snapped.  “And I don’t intend to know anybody.”

Daina held her ground.  “And yet, you came here and docked while my ship was here.”  She glanced out over the man’s shoulder into the bay.  “Your business with Rickety is your own, but someone here come find me when you two are done, because it seems I have more business with him too. I was promised complete discretion and privacy, and now you’re here.  So you take care of your business with Rickety, then tell him that Captain ir’Lizani wants to speak with him.”

The man continued reiterating his innocence.  As he’d said, he hadn’t intended to be here when someone else was.  But from the looks of things, it seemed that Daina was no friend to the Cloud Reavers…  Her voice took on a dangerously friendly lilt as she inquired what had given him that impression.  He shrugged and a small grin crept across his lips.  He’d heard some stories of Mika Rockface losing a prize, and now here it was at Rickety’s.  Daina smiled at the man, her eyes cold, hard, and dangerous, the safety of her crew feeling more threatened than ever.  “And you wonder why I might be concerned that the discretion I was promised has been violated?”

“You are correct,” she continued, “I am no friend to the Cloud Reavers.  If that gives us business, then you and I have business.”  The man smiled back.  “I am no friend to the Cloud Reavers either.”   Daina nodded.  That was all she needed to hear, though she hoped he could appreciate her need for caution especially in light of what had brought her to this port.  Holding out a hand, she introduced herself as Captain Daina ir’Lizani.

The shield wall around the man parted as he stepped forward.  He was a tall human, with pale blonde hair and a close-trimmed beard, dressed to the nines in a clean white shirt and a red cape slung over one shoulder.  “I’m Free Captain Gaius ir’Trun” he said, shaking the hand she’d extended.  That was interesting.  Daina knew that Free Captains were beholden to no flag or principality…and that ir’Trun was an old Thranish family.  Reiterating that she hoped he could appreciate she’d had a good reason to be concerned by his arrival, he was here now, and it was water under the bridge.  If he were willing, she’d take him to find Rickety herself.   

Having caught up to her some time ago, but electing to observe his goddaughter’s exchange with Captain Gaius in silence, Torlan took his own read of the situation.  If anything, the mannerisms put forth by Gaius and his guards — his smiles trying to put Daina as ease, his hands kept free of his weapon and visible to her at all times, and his guards gathered defensively around him — everything about it suggested that he felt threatened and anxious about the situation, and that Gaius had been honest.  It was at that moment that Rickety himself pushed his way through the crowd beside Daina, clearly agitated. 

“What’s goin on?” he demanded.  “You shouldn’t be here, Gaius!”  The captain shrugged, and repeated what he’d told Daina: there had been no signal, so he’d thought the port was clear.  The old man was as visibly upset as Daina had been, but now that her crisis was past and her crew’s safety was secured once more, she leaned in quietly to try to put Rickety at ease.  “Someone ought to check on the watchtower” she murmured.  Rickety agreed.  He feared that the logging camp hadn’t been the trolls only target.  He hated to ask again, but would she and the others be the ones to check on Gareth?  The locals weren’t equipped to handle with more trolls the same way the Gryphon’s crew were.  Daina quickly agreed, but asked Gaius if he would spare any of his men to join them.  He ordered three to go with her, and in doing so, passed Daina’s second test: concern for the innocent people of Rickety’s Squibs.  She filed that information away for later, but she would not forget.

As they prepared to head off down the peninsula to the watchtower, Torlan pulled Daina aside.  “You know he’s a Karrnathi captain, dont’cha?” he rumbled quietly.  “Don’t you have trouble with Karrns?”  Daina looked at him, confused.  What was Torlan talking about?  ir’Trun was a Thrane name, she’d heard it before and…

“It is?” Torlan spat.  “We can’t have that, we can’t have Thranish men watching our backs!” Daina asked again what Torlan was on about; Gaius wasn’t Karrn.  “The lines of the ship!” Torlan replied, pointing out the noticeably Karrnathi construction of the galleon.  

Daina looked back over her shoulder as Torlan’s keen eyes guided her.  “Oh shit,” she sighed.  “Well, maybe he’s getting it squibbed.  But that’s a problem for after we figure out what happened to Rickety’s people at the watchtower.”  She smiled.  “No rest for the wicked, old man.”

Night had fallen, and as the search party made their way through the jungle path to the tower, Torlan shouted a warning as he saw a pack of wild boars come charging out of the brush.  Quickly shimmying up the cliff that jutted out over their path, Trucco dropped down to tackle the nearest pig before finding himself slammed between the irate animal and the cliff face he’d tried to use to his advantage.  As the animal snorted and swung around, Gaius’ men moved in for the kill, and the rest of the pack fled.  If nothing else went right that day, at least the whole town would have a feast tomorrow.

While they dusted themselves off, a parrot came flying straight for Torlan, wings flapping wildly.  “Shoo!” it squawked.  “Fly away!  Don’t bother me!”  As quickly as it had arrived, it turned around and flew back in the direction of the watchtower.  Ignoring the parrot’s orders, they approached the base of the tower.  It was a simple wooden structure, and the ground around it was littered with rum bottles.  Trucco wondered aloud if there had been a party, and Daina called out for Gareth.  There was no response.

Easily scaling the tower, Trucco was greeted at the top by the parrot once again.  “Shoo!  Shoo!  Don’t bother me!”  The bird was fast, but the shifter was faster.  His hand darted out, catching the parrot by the legs.  “Who’s flying away now?” the rogue taunted.  “Huh?”  Looking around the platform, Trucco could make out a broken, shredded hammock, and a large blood smear leading back towards the stairs.  

“There’s a lot of blood here!” he yelled back down to the others.  “Signs of a fight?” Daina called back.  “Looks like it!” the rogue agreed.  Torlan pointed out to Daina gouges on the watchtower’s steps that suggested the trolls had indeed been here…and a few meters into the brush, Daina came across a badly mangled body that she could identify by its clothes.  It was the watchman, Gareth.

“Oh, no” Daina murmured, letting her guard down to show some distress for the first time that day.  Joining her, Trucco noted a distinct odour on the air while Torlan pointed out areas of roughly broken brush, and it seemed clear that the trolls and their hounds had started here at the watchtower before moving inland to attack the loggers.  As far as she could tell, there was no more immediate threat to the village.  Asking Trucco to retrieve the hammock he’d found in the tower and help her wrap Garteth’s body, they and Gaius’ men made their way back to town.  Though saddened by the loss of another one of his people, Rickey was grateful to the party for investigating the trouble and returning Gareth’s body to them, and insisted on knocking another two hundred galifars off the cost of his work on the Gryphon.  

It was quite late in the evening by then, and the folks at the tavern were cleaning up the night’s dinner service, but made sure the party had something to eat as they plied Torlan for stories of the trolls.  Weary, saddened, and carrying the stresses of the day, the skald simply pointed to the parrot Trucco was still holding onto and told the townsfolk to ask it for a tale instead.  While everyone else chalked it up to the old man being tired, Daina knew that Torlan rarely turned down the opportunity to tell a story.  Pulling her chair up beside her old godfather, she slouched down to lean up against him, and they sat together in a sad but comforting silence. 

After a while, Gaius ir’Thun sought out his fellow captain.  “Anyone who is no friend to Mika Rockface,” he declared, “is certainly a friend of mine.”  He cleared his throat and smiled the same disarming smile he’d shown at the docks, his eyes glinting a little.  “I never intended to violate the way Rickety does business; it is quite vitally important.  No one will know the truth of your vessel — rightfully acquired.”  He made a little flourish with his hand at that.  “In fact,” he continued, “I would like, when the vessel is re-christened, to be the one doing the re-christening.”

It was a kind gesture.  Even though she hadn’t been in the Lhazaar long, Daina knew that another captain christening her vessel was a traditional blessing of good fortune.  She raised her glass with a smile, thanking Gaius.  She would gladly take him up on that offer.  Raising his glass in turn, Gaius firmly declared that no one would ever hear of her secret from him or any member of his crew.  There was one more thing, though, that Daina had to ask him.  She knew his business with Rickety was none of hers, but she wondered if he had come here for the same reason.

Gaius shrugged.  “I am not aware of any other business that Rickety conducts.  Take that as you will.”  Daina smiled again.  She would take it as meaning that he and she had a few more common enemies than just the Cloud Reavers.

“Oh” Gaius said, a hint of surprise and perhaps excitement punctuating that single syllable.  “Well, now that my crew and I are fed, we will depart and not infringe upon your space anymore.  But if I should see you on the seas, it will be well met.”  Daina agreed that it would be well met indeed, and should Gaius find himself in Port Verge, he was always welcome to ask after her at the Silver Eel.  The bartender there would know where to find her.  With a wish of fair winds and following seas, Gaius returned to his ship, and Daina excused herself to turn in for the night.  It had been a long day, and the next day would be even longer.  It had been even longer for the past four years.

Tomorrow was the 20th of Olarune.  The Day of Mourning would come with the dawn.

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: how would you like to be remembered after your death?
  • As you’ve probably heard by now, Kevin aka Rus is no longer with us at the table — fair winds and following seas to him as well.  This session was unexpectedly cut short due to someone needing to leave at the break, so we’ll be saying goodbye to Rus in-game next week.
  • I had a good laugh in the session with the confusion between Daina and Torlan, and their reactions, regarding Gaius’ nationality.  It’s no secret why Daina has a grudge against Karrns, and it seems Torlan has a grudge against Thranes…
  • The boar encounter was done as a Quick Encounter: no initiative drawn, everyone makes a single roll, failure incurs a wound, basic success leaves you with a level of Fatigue, success with a raise and you’re in the clear.  Daina was the only one who rolled a raise; Torlan and Trucco elected to take on the Fatigue.
  • However, as a wise man once told me, at the heart of every Savage Worlds player is a degenerate gambler.  Daina’s luck didn’t hold — she rolled the only crit fail of the evening, on a Notice check on the approach to the watchtower.  The consequence?  Tripping and falling, spraining her ankle which translated to a level of Fatigue.  You may have noticed that Daina tripping and falling on a crit fail has seemingly become Phil’s favourite consequence.  I’m here for it.
  • That Fatigue meant that, when rolling an Untrained Survival check to determine if the trolls who attacked the watchtower were the same ones the party killed last session, Daina rolled at a net -3.  But that’s why it pays to have friends, because Trucco and Torlan’s support washed out the penalty, allowing her to succeed on the check.
  • The only adventure card played this session was a very handy one: Renown, which is played after a good deed and results in either a point of Conviction for the whole party, or a bennie refresh if the table isn’t using Conviction.  We are, and it stacks, so that’s fun!  It seemed a very appropriate card to play after returning to the village with both food for a feast, and poor Gareth’s corpse for burial.

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