7th June 2020
Sunday lunch time, I'm sipping an energy drink in my living room and sitting in front of my laptop.
This can only mean it's time for Matt's 50 Fathoms campaign.
It's early morning and we're at the Baltimus docks.
As we're pondering our next move, two sailors walk past us and we could not help but overhear their conversation.
They were talking about infamous pirate 'Francis L'Ollonaise'. He had taken someone prisoner and was demanding a ransom for him. They intimated that he was 'Alain Amemnus', the son of the dead 'King Amemnus'. He was being held at the town of 'Tulago'.
This was significant news to us. Alain may know where his father's sword was, or may even have possession of it!
It was vital that we headed to Tulago. We checked our maps and discovered Tulago was on the far side of the 'Cunavo', the very island we were on.
The journey to Tulago took less than a day. As we drew closer, we could see seven pirate ships moored outside Tulago.
This seemed strange, as far as we knew, Tulago was not some sort of pirate stronghold or refuge?
We chose to drop anchor further out from the shoreline and observe the situation with spyglasses.
Whilst watching, we saw there was a large gathering in what passed as Tulago's town square. There were about three hundred people, they were cooking and eating, drinking, playing music, dancing and generally having a good time.
With further observation, it was noted that these did not look like normal townsfolk, nor did we spot any women amongst the revellers?
All of this made us very suspicious of events unfolding in Tulago.
Continuing to watch, we then noticed one man, sitting in a throne and not partaking in the carousing. He was being given well prepared food by the cooks and wine. Could this be the pirate L'Ollonaise?
It was necessary to explore the town, but it seemed just too dangerous to simply walk into Tulago. After some discussion, it was decided to wait until later. No doubt after too much food and drink, people would fall asleep or descend into a stupor.
This is indeed what occurred, it took until half-past midnight until events quietened down, everybody dispersed and stillness fell upon Tulago. We noted that the pirate who had sat on the throne retired to a large building in the north of the town
We moved our ships a half a mile to the east of Tulago and moored close to the coast line here. The settlement was close to the beach, but was surrounded by forest on all three other sides. Our plan was to approach Tulago from the cover of the forest. We landed some boats on the shore and told the sailors to wait on the beach and remain alert - in case we needed to make a speedy retreat.
The forest floor was uneven and it was dark, which made for slow going. It was close to an hour before we reached the perimeter of the village.
There were equal number of brick and wooden buildings in Tulago. It seemed unlikely to us that a prisoner would be kept in a wooden shack - it would be too easy for them to escape. So we decided to concentrate on the brick buildings.
Shia was concerned that Win and herself would not be able to 'blend in' if we were spotted in the town. Only Baxter and I entered Tulago. The others remained in the tree line.
We sneaked across some clear ground to the closest brick building and scouted it out.
Baxter looked inside, the interior was wrecked. The floor was littered with cutlery and broken earthenware. The place had been turned over, no doubt about it.
Quietly and carefully, Baxter climbed through a broken window into the room. Looking around, he found nothing. During his search, he did hear noise coming from upstairs.
He paused to a few moments and noises stopped, he could just about hear snoring.
This did not seem like a place to hold a prisoner, so we decided to move on. Luckily, the next potential building was just a few feet away.
Here too, the windows were broken and open. Looking in, we were not surprised to find a mess similar to the previous building and searching only confirmed this.
From here however, we could see another, larger brick building, just north. The windows were boarded up from the outside and each one also had three iron bars across the boards. This looked promising.
We reached the third building without mishap. From here, it was clear that there was a small hole in the boards of each window, perhaps to allow for air and light?
Before trying to gain entry, we cased the outside. We counted a total of eight boarded up windows, certainly the building was large enough for several rooms. More importantly, we noticed two guards at north west corner, by the only door in. Although both we slumped to the floor and propped against the wall with drooping heads, their chests rising and falling.
Choosing the window furthest from the sleeping guards, which was along the southern side of the building; we investigated. It was dark inside, but it seemed that there might be two people in the room.
Upon examining the barricaded windows, Baxter saw that the workmanship was quite shoddy. Without too much effort and noise, Baxter managed to pry one of the bars free.
This did however rouse one of the occupants. He seemed afraid and confused. We explained that we were here to help. During the conversation, he told us that there were ten prisoners here in all. Pirates had invaded Tulago and the ten of them had distracted the pirates well enough to allow their families to escape.
During this time, Baxter had been carefully removing the bars and boards until there was enough space to allow the prisoners out.
We had freed three men. They explained to us that they had been paraded in front of the pirates and tortured. And they did indeed bear the injuries of extensive torture. the pirates had wanted to know about their escaped families.
They said that the other prisoners were somewhere else in the building. We said that we would help them. We then told the three men to head east into the tree line, where they would encounter our friends, who would help them.
The three of them silently went to the trees, where they met Shia and Win, who used her Healing magic to ease their wounds.
Meanwhile we had moved to the south eastern window. Baxter once again managed to open up the window quietly.
Within the room were seven other men, they had clearly all received beatings, but did not display any signs of systematic torture.
The men explained to us that they were expecting to dragged out of the room one by one and tortured in the morning, before being slung in the other room.
We had found all ten prisoners, but none of them were Alain Memnus, so we asked if there were any more prisoners?
They told us that they had heard another prisoner in an adjacent room, but had no idea who he was and had never seen him. They heard pirates threatening him and were demanding something from him, which he quickly gave up.
We instructed them to quietly head east and into the trees to meet up with our companions.
After some deduction, we realised that the only window into this adjacent room was on the north side of the building and faced the town square. Not only would this leave us exposed, there were two guards sleeping just around the corner.
Baxter was concerned that the guards might wake up. So he went round the corner and gave each of them a gentle 'tap on the head', which sent them from a stupor into genuine unconsciousness!
Baxter then began removing the bars and wooden boards. As he was clearing them away, he saw a man sleeping soundly on the floor.
He was handsome, dark haired and extravagantly dressed. Might this be Alain Amemnus?
Once Baxter had cleared the window, he climbed in.
He then kicked the man awake, who promptly drew a breathe to shout! Baxter quickly slapped a hand over his mouth and told him to not 'panic'.
It took a minute, but Baxter convinced him that we weren't here to hurt him. Baxter removed his hand and then the prisoner immediately complained about 'being touched by a commoner'!
He was as we suspected Alain Memnus. Once Baxter told him that we were here to rescue him, he said we should leave without delay and tried climbing through the window, but tripped on the way out.
From the corner outside I saw Alain come out of the window and land squarely on his face. Baxter followed.
Now that we were all outside, Alain wanted to leave straight away. Alain seemed to be living up to his reputation.
We stopped him leaving and asked about his father's sword. There was perhaps a hint of shame on his face as he admitted that he gave up his sword to L'Ollonaise without any resistance.
We then told Alain to carefully head east and join the others in the forest. Instead of stealthy making his way there, he simply walked off. Utterly unaware of the risks.
When Alain reached the forest and met with Shia and Win, he asked what was going on. Shia explained that once Baxter and I returned with his father's sword, we would return to our ships and all escape.
Alain insisted that they make their escape now, however Shia refused and said that they would wait.
Back in Tulago, We knew that L'Ollonaise must have possessed the sword we had been searching for. We also knew where he was sleeping for the night. Unlike the others' L'Ollonaise was not drunk. Getting the sword would prove more challenging and a greater risk.
I play, I paint.