Wynter Journal

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Who I Am Liar, Liar, I Will See You Burn In Eternal Hell Fire…
So, I’m sitting here, stuck on a cannibal infested island, stranded, with no one for company but Bertok. Not that he’s bad company. He’s just always in teacher mode… More on him, later.

So how did I end up here after 16 years of life? Hell if I know. Let me lay out the tale thus far…

Added text; this book is protected by Sepia Snake Sigil Glyph of Warding magic. If you find yourself trapped, I promise that I will FUCK your world for reading my personal journal without permission. If you are able to overcome the magic, well, damn it I’ll need stronger protections, huh?

I was raised by my adopted father, Akkram, a kellid bounty hunter and sometimes privateer. While tracking a cyclops in southern Varisia, he came across the camp of my people, and pulled me from beneath a pile of bodies. He didn’t elaborate on what he saw, but needless to say, even that little bit of knowledge supplied me with bed wetting nightmares for quite some time.

It is from him that I get a lot of my survival skills and was forced to learn to be diplomatic. He tried to teach me to negotiate our passage on ships or contracts on hunts and I had to excel at it since he has the charm of lava rocks. I also learned to survive in rough, even dangerous environments and situations. You try being a baby on a boat under fire or in a swamp hoping you don’t end up in a hag’s cauldron…

Another thing he taught me is balance. I’ve always been emotional and impulsive. He taught me to find balance in all things. I still fly off the handle, but sometimes, I remember him and his patience and I remember, balance…

Now, when I was 8, I met Bertok. Did I tell you he’s a talking raven? He was sitting on our wagon and started talking to me out of nowhere. It was quite surreal. But there was a bond from the moment I laid eyes on him. I didn’t even question it. Though looking back, I should have been more freaked out. He explained my past and opened up the world of witchcraft to me. I spent the next 7 years developing these skills and learning more of my people. They were killed by an enemy that the ancestors could not identify, and now I am the last Osveta and tasked with rebuilding our traditions and seeking out the ones responsible and avenge my people if at all possible.

So, things went bad when we were visiting my father’s family. I was 15 at the time and I got caught talking to Bertok by my nosey cousin. She told people and word spread. Next thing you know, I’m responsible for every little bad thing and my father and I barely made it out before they took me in to burn me for witchcraft. Maybe didn’t help that I Blighted that little bitch’s family farm for opening her trap… We had to flee to Magnimar, where he put me on a ship and stayed to throw off the pursuit.

I learned a lot in 6 weeks on that ship.

The captain, known only as Church, was an unparalleled evil who treated his crew like slave labor and those that got out of line often disappeared. Ships were utterly destroyed with no quarter given. Torture was commonplace. Towns sacked suffered the same fate, or worse as kids were used as examples. I bore witness to a few of these atrocities myself. I served as cabin girl aboard his ship, The Eternal Tears, and one day, found a secret part of the hold where the captain kept a nereid named Illenya, captive. She was often raped and beaten. I felt horrible for her so conspired with Illenya to get her off the ship. There was a shawl she needed before she could escape and in return she said she could teach me things mortals only dream of. Abandoning the ship post haste seemed a great idea considering the captain’s insanity and my constant danger of being made the personal cabin girl of him and his officers…

I ended up using my gifts to steal the shawl and that whole ordeal ended with a cutlass through the captain’s neck by Illenya. Thinking him dead, we dove overboard before the crew saw and she brought me to an island.

Illenya was really something amazing. A sea witch but also a summoner! She showed me how to call on a planar being and fuse with it! Her tidepool dragon, Molloc, was quite friendly as well, often conversing with Bertok and myself. They taught me aquan, how to swim, a few spells, summoning, and even helped me loot some of the wrecks so I’d have some gear. Something must have happened because one day they didn’t return and Bertok and I were left stuck there with each other for company.

Luckily I was only alone for a few days before I saw a ship wreck itself. There were a few survivors, whom I watched for a time to make sure they weren’t of the murderous disposition, before I approached them. Now, somehow, I’m in the middle of some world needs saving adventure.

Guess it beats being alone and not being able to share my sarcastic wit and charm…

I don’t know what the date is…
Here’s to a wild time… not… So, clearing out a temple dedicated to Besmara and the subsequent days spent trying to build a deathtrap… Sorry, diary. I mean a boat. Time spent trying to build a boat, with no one working together mind you, has really given me an opportunity to get to know my fellow castaways a bit. I’ve learned that stubbornness runs strong as fixing the lighthouse was certainly the more viable option to rescue as opposed to constructing a boat that may or may not help us get to safety. Only took me a week to convince them!

I hate to psychoanalyze the others, but I have to know what I’m getting myself into if I’m to integrate myself into the fold and get out of this drifter cycle that I’ve found myself in…

Mary… She really needs to lighten up. I know that captains can be pushy and domineering, but damn lady, you’re not captain, yet! You’re a castaway like the rest of us! Slow down and at least TRY to stroke our egos! Not beat us with words and attitude which Gage the monkey multiplies a hundredfold! After Church, the whole bully style just doesn’t do it for me. I’m going to take some time, get to know her personally and not just be a judgmental ass and base my opinion off her displayed attitude and that monkey…

Quade. Now there’s a daring individual! No hesitation, finesse, or beating around the bush! It’s charge in, kill’em all, and let the clerics sort them out! Powerful ambition and poor impulse control! Though some of it is an act. He says he is missing his memory. If that’s the case, his base personality is very excitable and dynamic and hopefully doesn’t get us all buggered. I would say he leads by example, but really he charges ahead and we follow in the hopes that either we’ll win the day or die in glorious combat (or a sexually transmitted disease with his womanizing) and have tales of our foolhardiness sung in taverns across the Shackles…

De’de. That scowl. It’s his default look. In fact… I can’t recall that scowl leaving his face even in the midst of combat… Normally, I’d make a constipation joke, but De’de and Dalvika are psionicists and can potentially read my thoughts. So, if you two can read my thoughts, you are both amazing people and I hope you don’t take offense at my mental ramblings. Any way, he seems to have this driven focus towards some personal goal. He doesn’t share and sleeps most of his day away so I couldn’t tell you for sure. But right now, his goals seem to coincide with everyone else’s general direction. We’ll have to see where this goes…

Ohh, Dalvika! I’ve never seen a blue goblin! Cyclopes, hags, nereids, wights, and a myriad of other creatures! But this blue goblin inspires imagination! Like the others, I lack idea of her goals, but she has tied her fate to the rest of us, at least for the time being… She looks at people the way that I’ve seen others stare at each other during a game of cards. Some she gazes at as great players. Some have that unreadable quality to her and some are just plain bluffing. Is it just me or are those of the psychic persuasion all hard to read? Like De’de, I’ll have to keep watching to form a more solid opinion.

Tidus, triton Champion of Besmara… My father called beings like him meat shields. He’s barbaric, cold, ruthless, and almost single minded. Like Quade, he’s also impulsive, but unlike Quade, he is more likely to get himself killed. I really can’t add much to him and what little I know is enough to know that if he’s to live, he’s going to need a sitter. I don’t mind helping, but this project of doing so may be a failed endeavor in the end.

The rest all seem as lost as me. Not sure of our place among the others. Aerys wants more than life is giving. Jask is just happy to be able to clear his name… Gelik wants to be famous. Ishirou is a total bummer. Sasha just seems like she can’t settle. Oh! There’s also Pezcock, who has his beak firmly on Quade’s starfish… But every crew needs a jinx eater!

Now, awaiting rescue!

Well, at least we have a little direction…
Had to kill some man fish. Sahuagin? That sounds right. As I thought, the suicidal meat shield jumped straight into a fight with 3 of them. Quade had to dive in before Tidus got gang raped. I tried to yell for help but it looks like all was taken care of before the ship even turned around…

Rescued! Forgot to mention that. A whaling ship named the Strix captained by Merrill Pegsworthy. He seems a right good captain. I hope he catches that ghoul whale he’s been after. What the Hell… A ghoul whale.

Once we reached Blackblood Cay, Ishirou, and Jask left their own ways and the rest of us voted. Unsurprisingly, Quade is now the captain of our ship-less crew. Afterwards we spent time exploring the town, where I got to watch Tidus get blown off by a busty noblewoman, then participate in my first drinking game!

Okay, so I got caught cheating. But that’s not the point!

At some point, we heard about a crew out for treasure and signed on with the Magpie Princess to go after this treasure! All it required was being carried like a sack of potatoes and putting someone to sleep. After I sick up and all I’m sure I’ll be much more excited.

Right now, I just want to sleep.

Why did I wake up in a chest?
So, this is what I’ve been working on through the night at least until I was sure I wouldn’t die of alcohol poisoning once my spell wore off…

The Wicked Jester, fitting for our scurvy crew! I figure it would be better to build our own ship. I’ve even worked out the numbers:
*Sailing ship with modifications: 10,000 gp for ship; Broad Rudder 150gp; Figurehead 1000gp or an Enchanted Masthead for 10,000gp; Movable Deck 4000 gp; Rapid-deploy sails 1000gp; Silk Sails 1500gp; 10 cannons (6000gp/ea); grape shot 60gp; chain shot 50gp

If we continue on our current course of assisting other captains, we have it in us to not only make some great allies, but as is common, captains die and we can replace dead captains with people like Aerys and Sasha… Keeping our core group together is imperative to our success. No one seems to notice, but we’re an unusual crew. Together, we can overcome any standard crew. As is? We could probably challenge any single crew one on one but we need a ship emblematic of our capabilities as a crew… Hence, building our own ship.

This mutiny and/or stealing a ship just feels like a bad idea all around. Sure. We could mutiny at sea on the Magpie, but what’s the point? The crew seem pretty loyal to her, so that’s just extra bodies to dump. Plus, they seem like a COMPETENT lot. Why not use that? Befriend them. Earn the money as a group. Pool that money towards our OWN ship. Our OWN port at Smuggler’s Shiv eventually… Unless this Captain Lanteri turns out to be a terrible captain, I don’t think I can allow the mutiny to go through…

Which brings me to my next point; Stealing a ship. I’m sure the Governor’s ship is fast and bad ass… But if we steal it, we’ve just made an enemy of him and all 10 of his other captains, as well as upsetting Avimar’s apple cart potentially. We just don’t know enough to go making random enemies. We’re not even Free Captains yet! At the rate we’re going, no one will work with us without suspecting we will murder our way to victory over their burning ships and corpses… I’d rather they know they can trust us and think they can dupe us. Pirates think being trustworthy is just gullibility. Why not let them assume and use that to our advantage as well? So I will have to ask to have the people remaining behind to further investigate all these potential enemies everyone else seems to want to make. At least then when we come back, we’ll have an idea of what we’re getting ourselves into.

Quade is the captain. I like Quade. He just needs help. Also, I actually have TRUST in him. But it looks like we already have mutiny brewing. Mary was off to acquire a ship without letting Quade in on it. Dalvika followed along with it. Aerys and Sasha are already doubting his decisions though Sasha, much like Tidus, seems to be open to violence regardless of it’s purpose. This is all completely unacceptable. If we can’t work as a cohesive crew, we’re looking at the plank…

So, Summary: *Talk to Quade about ship and thoughts. *No MUTINY on Magpie Princess without cause. *No MUTINY within our own group. Work with Quade to figure out a way to get everyone in line. *No loyalty equals no trust… Words to live by.

Off to the Magpie Princess… Here’s to hoping we don’t fuck this up.

The Price of Hubris
We didn’t know… It all seemed easy enough. Complete some tasks. Get gear for an expedition. Check. Get a masthead. Check. Save an old man? Bonus. He even gave us a safe house to lay low at and some tips on how to help Quade and seek out a turtle god who could give us knowledge on Quade and our enemies… We learned of a hag out to get Tidus. We managed not to kill a band of Dragoons to get back his gear. Though to see De’de scowl because the crew decided to knock everyone out rather than just complete the objective of getting Tidus’ gear you’d think I’d sprouted a third head…

No, all this led to perhaps the worst of situations for the innocent… We had a third task of collecting a parcel from a girl. We bluffed our way into a pig’s home, aka the Governor’s home, and through a bit of acting, got our parcel and left before Tidus could further muck up our stay on the island.

Then, Quade found Agasta Smythee in the parcel. When confronted, Quade was told by Captain Lanteri she was a pawn. Turns out that Mary fucked up the original plan of stealing the Blushing Bride, so Agasta was to be given to the Shark Lord, Sorrinash… I had no clue, but ended up with the delivery crew.

We gave her over to a mad creature all for a piece of 8 and Lanteri’s dream of being the first Hurricane Queen.

It wasn’t the young girl’s fault. She had a dream of the sea, a romanticized version of a pirate’s life. But as happens in life, in the quest for power, she was bartered to a butcher who will in all likelihood rape her repeatedly til the full moon and then he will bind her to him body and soul.

Don’t get me wrong. She was foolish. Naive. But they made her feel like one of them. They took her in and betrayed that. They could just as easily have kept her knocked out. Tied up. Even let her know her fate. What they did though? That cruelty is the crux of my anger…

I will wash the deck of this sadistic ship with the Captain’s blood and listen to the screams of her pet wizard while I tear the soul from his horror frozen mouth. I will wrap each who did this knowingly to that young girl in a sail sheet and burn them alive. I will then turn my attention to the acquisition of power til I am able to find this Lord of Shark Island and destroy him so completely it will be remembered long after the sea has swallowed the Shackles…

Lanteri’s head will be sent to Simeon Smythee as penance. I will notify him with a false narrative, yet will also do all I can to if not save that child, to at least arrange it so that others may try. I fear that no matter what, she will be so deeply scarred, she will seek our deaths or will herself die, by hers or another’s hand…

Again, would it not have resulted in the death of not only my shipmates, but Quade’s people, I’d have tried to save her. I do what I can as penance for having a hand in this… The selfish desires. The suspicious natures. Pirates! Bah! Mere children unable to see a bigger picture outside their what’s in it for/woe is me mentality they harbor within…

On a side note… Tidus. I know the evil in his heart. Its depth is as cold and crushing as the bottom of the briny depths I will sacrifice the Magpie’s culpable parties to… He places more emphasis on chaos than evil, believing that his own freedom is the most important thing. He’s far from being a noble person, but he values the ability to commit acts of evil over actually committing them. As a result, he can actually side with us in our quest. He is The Friend Nobody Likes or the Token Evil Guy. Never turn your back on him; if he feels like his freedom is being infringed he’ll go wild just to prove you can’t control him. Given a lot of patience, a crapload of love, a sprinkling of luck, and a great big stick, Tidus could gradually reform into something worthy of breath, but don’t hold yours. With the taking of Agasta, it could just make him think as the others, to include our own compatriots, think; Love is emotional fool’s gold and loyalty and power exist only in the blood spilled to acquire it.

Cabin Girl Woes…
We’ve learned so far that Lanteri, Hinsin, and Creed are all in on that poor girl being betrayed. My thoughts? Creed is the man in charge or at least an equal to Lanteri. De’de thinks there’s 2 separate psionic items? on each. (I hate when my attention drifts… he’s the mastermind. Hinsin is using his charms on Lanteri as well. That may just be a hot for the Captain situation honestly… But he definitely knows about the girl, so he dies.

We were able to earn some allies, and once Lanteri is dead, we can transition easily into leadership. But right now, we’re being used. I haven’t figured out yet how to turn this fact around, but Lanteri and whoever else is involved in this is using us to do the dirty work and once we’ve fulfilled our roles, it will be a full on assassination of either us or them…

I have only been on one other pirate ship and the captain was totally insane, so my view of how pirates operate was fairly limited. I’ve had to ‘readjust’ my view on the code and Besmara thanks to Tidus and the Magpie crew. I think the code is really just suggestions at this point…

I think one avenue of attack will be through the use of Tidus. Were it me? Divide and conquer. Quade is recognized as the leader. Myself and the others are followers. But Tidus? The fucking wild card. Carve your legend as Besmara would want. He has been made the bosun. Anyone can see that Quade will balk at taking orders of ANY sort from Tidus. I think only Dalvika would be able to at least pretend that all was copacetic. We need to get Tidus in line. Oddly enough, this puts us in a good position if he could just LISTEN and work with us instead of flying off the handle. I will letter Quade again. We have to discuss this as a group before it gets out of hand. He needs to take charge of everyone now.

On a side note, I totally played off as a follower of Pharasma. I find myself not discounting the idea oddly enough… I was saved when by all accounts, I should be dead since infancy. In fact, each time I probably should have died or wished I were dead, something happened to curb that. My father happened to know the bosun of Eternal Tears. I met a Nereid who taught me how to summon an eidolon whose symbol perfectly matches my birthmark. Always drawn to things of the sea… Plus I have a proclivity towards Harrowing cards… Fate may be playing a hand in my life. I will look into Pharasma, and perhaps find something more in my life than finding ways to keep everyone from getting killed.

I’m not sure what to think of myself any more. At times, I’m caring. I wanted to save the crew from drowning. Agasta deserves to be avenged and hopefully saved… But being surrounded by pirates has made me very… cold blooded. I offered to poison Tidus. Really, if we can’t reign him in, he will become a liability to everyone. I am GOING to kill at least 3 people on this crew for being disgustingly selfish people who traded a life for the sake of what? Power? Greed? Just because? I’m not good at passing judgement, yet here I am, plotting the death of a team mate and 3 Magpie crew members. Maybe the untrustworthy looks I get from Dalvika are deserved…

Well How’re Them Apples…
First, what has happened and what we’ve learned thus far is… epic.

Stranded on an island with a crazed fey that has outed Quade as once having been Captain Irons, the original Hurricane King. So, we bury a portal to the First World and manage to escape with the help of a triton friend of Tidus who also happens to be TOTALLY hot for the blue skinned homicidal stud.

We got to ride Hippocami for like a full day to catch up to the Magpie. It really wasn’t a bad experience! The crew, minus Varossa, Vancid, Hinsin, and Zhi, welcomed us back with open arms. (Pays to make friends…) All signs after investigating pointed to Creed rotting alive, Varossa manipulated by Creed, which greatly concerned Quade, and Hinsin being whipped. So, off we went with a parrot to end this charade…

Bossman tracked Varossa to Ghoral Rey, a Ghol Gan temple that is more of a gamut of ancient civilizations. Rotgut, the parrot of Lanteri, got us in through mimicking the sound of The 3 Reasons to Live.

With Quade’s ability to track anything anywhere, we beelined to find Varossa. First we found Creed in an altar room. He turned out to be some type of undead creature called an incutilis. It died just as anything else would and we moved on quickly.

Moving on, we find Hinsin locked up. He had nothing useful to state, so we took him along as a prisoner.

Once we find a hidden cove, it is in here that the shipwreck of the Fearsome Tide is found, coated in necromantic black coral. We were stalked by Echohusks from behind and Lanteri herself is covered in the coral on the deck of the shipwreck. Oddly enough, Redclaw herself bursts from the shipwreck to attack us but is quickly put down by Quade. I mowed down the echohusks, but low and behold, a fucking incutilis lord comes out of the water and enchants me. The others slaughtered him before he could have me hurt one of our crew and we were able to avoid killing Lanteri.

We chose to clear the temple before heading back to The Magpie.

That’s the short version of events. Now, let me fill in the details…

Now, I realize I had much darker ideas concerning the ones who betrayed Agasta. Unfortunately, only Hinsin really got much in the way of justice. Creed was just another creature, and Varossa, though driven insane and crushed with guilt, was still given the mercy of killing herself. Look, I’m not a complete bitch. She was suffering terribly, and wanted to die. I figured, it bypasses Quade’s order to not kill her, and I figured she was judged by her crew, well part of it. I didn’t think he’d get sick. But she had to die and I didn’t want to wait.

Other things learned are that De’de gets prophetic dreams. After explaining them, well, quite frankly I’m unsure except that something is trying to warn him of something ancient coming to destroy shit. Aboleth related would be my guess but monster mythology is NOT my strong suit.

Bertok somehow remembers the Ghol Gan ruins. I know it has something to do with my ancestors, so that’s something that must be investigated. Especially since it relates to Quade and his possible proxy of the gods status. That’s all I need is for his weird planar shit coming to bite me in the ass.

Not very much left to add about that temple. We came, we saw, we cleared it. Once we returned to the ship, after getting our feet under us, they voted for a new captain. Now, I was REALLY flattered to be nominated by both Tidus AND Frankie, but I do NOT like any sort of limelight. I like to keep an eye from the shadows and such. In the end, with all our influence, Quade got his ship! That night, I came onto Hinsin. I did not leave any doubt in his mind on the sexual adventures that awaited him. Once in his cabin, while fiercely kissing, I used a Vomit Swarm in his mouth. Once the horror of that passed and he tried to run, I placed a Slumber Hex upon him, jammed my dagger into his throat, watched him bleed out, then discreetly tossed his body overboard. A little Prestidigitation and all is settled.

Ponderings…
It was a storm wracked night when Illenya brought me to a cliff overlooking the eastern shore of Smuggler’s Shiv. Lightning struck frequently over the sea, highlighting our forms as we stood watching the furious display of nature.

For a moment, I was lost in the chorus of thunder and wind, when her voice pierced my reverie.

“The Bonding is different for each summoner. Some have a religious experience. Others force their will upon the being. Myself? I let the ocean be my guide. The tides brought me to my eidolon and from the first, it was a friendship. Open yourself. Explore your soul. It will lead you through YOUR bonding.”

So, I did. I cleared my mind, allowed my consciousness to drift to blackness. After a short time, I could no longer feel the touch of the storm, and barely a whisper of the wind touched my ears. Then, silence… I don’t know how much time had passed. I only know that somehow, a point of light began to form, leaving a spiraling trail behind, til that spiral filled my vision I felt like I broke through a metaphysical barrier and Bertok’s voice came through.

“Hello, old friend. I’m glad we have found you again…”

When I opened my eyes, I was laying where I had stood. By the looks of things, with the ground dry and the sun at it’s zenith, I’d say a day or more had passed.

Rather than wait, I opened my consciousness and found that there was another there. With a tentative touching of my mind to the other’s, I brought it forth, binding our essences. I could feel it put me on like a mask, easing into my skin, melding with me in a way that I was not expecting. I could feel the growth of claws where my nails were. Within my throat, I could feel a change that I felt the presence impart on me were gills that would allow me to breath beneath the waves. Lastly, the feminine presence said a name, Seraix.

My body felt amazing! I was vitalized by the bonding of myself to whatever eidolon had found me. I forgot about the voice of Bertok, forgot about the spiraling light. I basked in the feeling of freedom, my own and the Seraix’s!

I ran forth, jumping off the cliff into the surf. I swam beneath the waves as if born to it. I danced with dolphins, spoke with whales, and enjoyed the cool depths of the sea.

After a time, I took to land, basking in the sunlight until I realized that I had not seen hide nor hair of Illenya nor Molock. When I found Bertok, it was to learn that Illenya had left with a triton for unknown reasons. Before she left, she had told Bertok that all would be well and we were safe on this island.

It has been some time since I thought of that night. Recent events have brought it to the forefront of my thoughts, though. I look at the mark on my ankle, a birthmark that I was born with. I look at the mark that blazes on my forehead when Seraix is with me, matching my birthmark… And how could I have been so thoughtless to forget Bertok’s voice? He speaks with the voice of ALL my ancestors. I have never questioned it. Never thought twice about it. Now, it is all I can think of…

It all keeps coming back to Pharasma. I have a severe distaste for undead. Why is my fate tied to Quade? Why did I end up here, in the Shackles, with a psychopomp eidolon that is aquatic in nature whose symbol matches my birthmark at such an opportune time to be tied to Quade’s own fate? I honestly do NOT know what to say or think at this time except that fate is certainly playing a hand and I am not hating it. It’s helping to keep me alive.

So, things to learn… Family lineage. Who were they? What did they do to/for Quade’s previous incarnation? Why is Pharasma so interested? Hell, why is BESMARA involved? Are we intrinsically tied to the others? I should just ask Bertok. Maybe I can get more than cryptic out of him…

Next. I do not see the problem with what I did to Hinsin. He helped sell Agasta. She deserved vengeance. Mo, on the other hand, doesn’t deserve to die just to keep a secret. Even offered to accept a geas to stay quiet. The fact that I am deliberating on whether to kill her may say more than I care to admit. I could pay for the geas. I could perhaps take her at her word? I seem to be developing a proclivity towards avenging harm against innocents and being a bit vicious in my views of how to defend us and protect our interests. But now that I am thinking of it in detail, do I really want to kill those that will simply let people know where we are? It’s not like they can infiltrate the temple without the 3 reasons to live…

I’m slipping. Need to temper this. Some type of rules to live by… Never kill innocents would be a good start…

I Hate Your Face, Bonaduce, and Other Thoughts…
Oh, boy… so much to write and so little time with which to do it…
I think I insulted Tidus when I said he’s the odd man out. He didn’t get that I meant that we have no idea where he stands in the scheme of the group. He said he wants to rule the world or some such crap, but really… I shouldn’t have expected more of an answer. I could make up a dozen and probably be closer to the actuality than the line he gave… In the end, though, he got it. We are pirates secondarily. Primarily, we are bound in some freakshow that we have to fight to make sense of. So for now, he sails with us on The Femme Fatale until we can figure out what is bringing us together in the first place.

First, I feel we’ve fought an endless wave of Sahuagin lately… So frustrating! Just wanted to get that off my chest.

So, our crew is superstitious and dislikes our adopted base of operations. Pansies. They need to pony up as my father would say. For now, since we’re not there we can set this to the side.

Things have escalated quickly. Time in Drenchport was productive. Sold the Fearsome tide for a small fortune! Found out a humanoid hippo was attacking firearms ships with a disgraced captain in a clockwork super shark construct with a crew of gnome constructs. I disabled the ship and Quade hit it so hard everyone inside died. Got us a discount with Coffee and his house and a bounty for the shark. All in all, very lucrative. Though I am quite irked that Mr. Quee, the hippoman, got away…

We were also attacked by a ship hired by Smythee to seek us out and kill us. This ship’s captain was killed with a few others. We took his ship, The Bai Fei, and gave it to Tidus to captain in the future after we have completed whatever this is that fate is leading us towards…

De’de learned that his people are having a gathering. Whoever he spoke with thinks that war is coming and De’de needs to interject himself. I know little of their tribal dealings, so if Quade decides okay, then I’m in.

So we left Drenchport and picked up the Penitents. On the way to Hell Harbor to drop them in a safe port, we ran into gobins on draconic bats. Easily dispatched but they almost burned our sails!

Hell Harbor brought some information at least. De’de learned, after I made him see a priest of Pharasma that he is being contacted and manipulated by outside forces. Maybe 3 different ones? It was also the first time he tried to smack me on the back of the head! Now, I’m adding this because I have to vent. I hate being smacked. Makes me feel like he sees me as a child; someone to be pushed around. I came close to starting shit. If I hadn’t had questions for the priest myself, I may have gone at it! On top of that, the fucking priest told me I’m too chaotic. What?! I do what needs to be done, plain, and simple. At least that was my thoughts at the time…

After that, we finally made our way to Blackblood Cay. That’s where a heap of trouble fell on our heads.

At the advisement of Fishguts, we docked in the cove Lanteri used and boated ourselves in. That’s where we, against all that previous experience and so many tales have taught us to NOT do, split the group. Quade, Dalvika, and De’de sought out the Tulita safe house to collect our remaining crew. Tidus, rather than just asking Dalvika if Agasta was okay, since I think he has NO FUCKING CLUE that Dalvika has been keeping tabs because he pays absolutely no attention beyond his big toe, went off to acquire information at the Fallen from Grace Inn. I assumed sitter duties for him to keep him from getting himself killed.
Things learned? Sasha got captured by the Dragoons. Aerys and Pezcock made a deal with the Governor to keep Sasha alive and well if they could come back with Agasta. Gelik was tasked with staying behind to wait on us to return, relapsing into drunkenness. Our old friend, Hyrix, was tasked by the Dragoons to spy on Gelik to watch for our return… Royster was fired from his post with the Governor for failure and became a vengeful drunk.

Once able, we made our way through sewers into Fort Stormshield to save Agasta. She lost the fingers on her right hand, all of which are preserved in a jar. But we saved her only to walk into a huge clusterfuck. The town, under a magical storm and tsunami, was overrun by sahuagin, including one that was like a gargantuan throwback. Tidus and Quade killed it, but damn. HUGE!

After saving some kids and their school marm and defeating that ‘thing’, I had to expend precious power to dispel the storm so that the sahuagin would no longer be able to function freely and cause more destruction than they already had.

Pressing on, we ended up at the Governor’s manor. Mother Grund was, well… She wasn’t waiting for us. She was after what we were after. A trinket of the Tulita. Apparently, Mother Grund and Tidus both serve Besmara. She had turned Smythee into a merrow. I figured, kill her and free him. Sure enough, we killed the tricky sea hag and Smythee reverted to his naked self to give up the prize. At this point, I learned that my eidolon can talk. I’m still in a state of shock over that development… And she’s angry and bloodthirsty…

On our way out, Tidus decided it was time to just get rid of Royster. He struck him from behind but failed to kill him. Before a full blown fight could break out, I Slumbered Tidus and Quade knocked out Royster. Murder hobo struck at a good time actually because the Commodore, Bonaduce, decided to show his cards surrounded by 40 of his elite.

Bonaduce framed us for murdering Smythee as Sorrinash’s assassins, proclaimed himself savior of Blackblood Cay, and let us leave town to perpetuate the ruse.

Pet Peeve: I’m already angry over being framed again and De’de, smacking me, only made my blood boil more. I know they were thinking that I was going to trip balls, and I was. If not for my shock about my eidolon? I would have. Instead, we fled and I spent that time debating the pros and cons of killing Tidus while he slept. Fortunately for him, fate has his back and I am an agent of Fate. Let us see where the chips fall…

Right now, we’re headed to our ship, where I have advised Quade that Tidus needs to be disciplined, both for his constant disrespect for the code and for morale on our ship.

Time for a nap…

Fate, Faith, and Choice
Let me ramble to myself. Fate. I’m an agent of the Goddess of Fate, Pharasma. But I am not your typical agent. I was born with a moral compass best used in mindscapes of creatures from R’yleh. I’m more concerned with self preservation, but I put that aside for friends and family. Good, evil, law, and chaos play no part. It’s instinctual reaction in most situations that dictates my actions. But when I plot and plan and have time to think? I take all things into consideration, not just my immediate knowledge… That is who I am.

Fate. Where does Fate fit in? Some believe Fate is when it’s preordained. Others that feel it is a guide. I like to think it’s a bit of both. Too much has happened to be coincidence in my life. Bertok, Illenya, Smuggler’s Shiv… But a recent situation with the sahuagin has come up… I killed a LOT of them. It was not malicious or an act of evil genocide. It was not a mercy killing of inherently corrupt creatures of Dagon. It was an act of preservation. Where could they have gone to learn good? Where could they escape Dagon’s influence? If I leave them, then I will eventually find myself back this way and facing the same creatures eventually. Others will die due to my inaction. So, a question that could come up? By killing them, have you not taken their choice away? Of course I have. But I did it because I don’t deal in chance. I deal in FATE. I killed them to avoid an even more sure possibility. If their fate was different, then there would have been a different outcome. Now, I’m not saying I couldn’t have let them live and hope for the best. I’m not an agent of Hope, though. I’m an agent of Fate. Fate put me there, and Fate made me who I am. Fate knew the decision I would make because that’s what I was FATED to do.

Faith. My Faith is strong. I don’t question Pharasma. I’ve seen and experienced too much. This current test is just preparing me for her next assignment. But I worry about Seraix. How can she not see that the bond isn’t broken? She’s here, with me. We still have the bond. Bertok will return when we need him, after we’ve learned our lesson. I think I have to teach Seraix, not vice versa… I have to show her that we’re still Pharasma’s children. But I have to show that I can do this with a balance. Just have to figure out how.

That brings us to choice. Fate I think is about events that HAVE to happen or we fall to complete chaos and entropy or law and stagnation… There are many agents of Fate. There’s the most well known, Psychopomps. They serve the direct whims of Pharasma. Then, there’s those like me. The mortal agents. We’re given gifts, and guided by the hand of Pharasma. But we’re given free will to do what needs doing. I firmly believe that everything I’ve done serves Pharasma’s purposes. We’ll just have to wait to see if my faith is justified…

Aside from all that, we’re kind of fucked in a big way. We’re physically trapped in the mindscape of a dead Quade. From what was explained to us, he’s part of an interconnected being that reincarnates the same body with different souls. All the dead versions inhabit this mindscape that we’re in. Fey magic is too unpredictable to guess how this all works. Could I reincarnate or resurrect him? Could I separate Quade from the other versions? I will petition the Grey Lady at first chance. Quade is my friend. I will try to assist him to return to the world. If he is fated to return, then it will be possible. If he is fated to die here, then so be it.

Mary has returned. But is it the real Mary? I think she may be. She seems too surprised about things talking about a curse, which if Gage is any indication, is a curse of undeath. Hopefully I can free her of her curse instead of having to kill her. Then again, if experience is any indication, she’ll piss off SOMEONE and get killed before I can figure it out.

All the rest? I think the only real people here are myself and the ones that were in the whorehouse with us. The crew and the second Duchess are just figments of their loyalty to him.

I have put myself on a path to atone. I warned the githzerai of his impending doom at the hands of Mary and potentially Quade over Besmara’s Sword. I think we need to stay here and learn the history of the sword and Quade’s involvement. Maybe there’s more answers in that history.

Oh, and if there is truth to the words of the figment oracle, my ancestor is a fucking idiot.

More Ponderings
I wonder… Is this place touching on 3 or more places? It’s a mindscape that houses dead incarnations. Could it also touch upon the Boneyard and the Akashic Memory directly? Or perhaps JUST the Akashic Memory? I think it has to be 3 or more. The souls here… They’re the real deal so Quade’s incarnations could perhaps be individual souls that are tied to one prime soul that stores all their lives within the Akashic perhaps? Could the Akashic be used to pervert actual reality and someone is attempting that very thing? Could we use that to our advantage?

Written in the Stars
I have this theory about how to tell where one fits into the scheme of things. Write your life and experiences as a story and read it. Who are the characters? What is the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution? I spent the last few days writing it out to make sense of what is going on.

Quade is the captain and the focus of the story. His ties to Besmara have placed us in The Shackles. We are in the middle of saving the world while also trying to survive all the sub plots. Each resolution brings a new conflict.

I tried writing it from different perspectives. But each of us follows the same basic premise. We each are tools to assist Quade in whatever endgame is in store for him.

I tried from Mary’s side. But she feels like a source of knowledge that Quade needs to attain his next step in his growth to stop whatever the final conflict will be while also surviving what plot Besmara is trying to use Mary for.

Tidus is no different. Besmara puppet meant to guide Quade to Besmara’s plan for him.

Myself and the others? I am a weapon to use just as Dalvika is. De’de is a weapon with a connection to tools and knowledge that Quade will further need.

I say these things because I’m about to create and undertake a ritual that will in all likelihood kill me and possibly Quade. I accept my place as an agent of fate. Apparently this is what is needed of me. De’de, Mary, and Dalvika are also needed in their ways. But if any of us other than Quade were to die? Quade would still go on to either fulfill his destiny or die by other means. But if he dies? Where does that leave the rest of us? Mary will go on to serve her goddess, or whichever god manages to win her over. The rest of us will go our separate ways after a while but never with that grand purpose that we have now. But if Quade lives? Then those that live with him will find greatness in his shadow, even if it seems we will NEVER get the recognition for the deeds we’ve accomplished.

So far the ones against us: Aboleths, Githzerai, Githyanki, Besmara, Dagon, Blackwarn, Avimar, and basically the whole of the Shackles. Until we’re out of the mindscape, there’s little else to focus on, really.

Quade wants to speak to Irons, or whoever the Sun God of Sumitha is. Mary is against anything except bringing Irons back. Tidus is on a mission to ensure Quade returns. De’de and Dalvika and myself are along for the ride…

Reconciling Undeath and My Faith
Justification for my deeds, my path, my life, is what I need. I often call myself an agent of Fate, and I feel that is true. But now I have to justify Fate. Define it. If I can’t, then everything means nothing that I thought it did and does and that would mean I am more an agent of chaos, like a protean. I doubt Pharasma would allow me to bond with one of hers if that were the case. Plus, I am not one to return everything to cosmic non-formity. But I digress…

I got what comes down to a no kill order on Mary. Now, she seems to be cursed. I can understand that. Being cursed with undeath is not the same as choosing it to escape death. I can offer her release. I can seek out an answer to remove said curse. I can leave her to find her way to redemption and salvation. But with such a definitive answer from my communion with my goddess, her fate is apparently in another’s hands.

Then, there’s Tidus. He willingly chose undeath, yet Fate has also led him to us for unknown reasons. The commune was unclear whether I should take his unlife, effectively leaving his fate in MY hands. Don’t get me wrong. I like Tidus. He keeps things predictably fresh. He also keeps the captain on his toes.

Some may think that I want him dead for being undead. They’d be wrong… I want to cut this influence of Besmara. No one should ever trust the Pirate Queen. She’s not evil in and of itself, but selfishness is her defining trait. So you always have to ask, “What’s in it for Besmara?” I have nothing to pull him away from her. She gave him power. She saved his life, even if only to further HER ends. He is a trap waiting to trigger on all of us. I send prayers to Pharasma to guide me and give me an option where I don’t have to murder him. So, what’s my answer? “Maybe.” So, Pharasma is not above using undead as a tool and leaving me to watch to ensure that tool serves a purpose other than what another created him for.

Personally, I don’t care about undead except when they cheat death and use the lives of others to do so. If it’s evil that’s its prerogative. Good? Unlikely but again, meh. But to use life of others to fuel your own? You’re taking the potential of that life and causing a disruption in the flow of souls. THAT is unacceptable. Ghosts and those trapped or cursed? I am willing to help them find peace and transition should they require that assistance.

So all of this… Fate threw us all in the same pot. Doesn’t mean that some of us are fated to make it to the end of this. It is a game of Chess is what Fate is. Gods are just so far reaching and living that they just play on a different level and us mortals end up as the pieces. But there’s a part of Fate that people overlook. Change and Chance. The Gods sit in the sky and play their games… But sometimes, a bird lands on their board, knocks over the pieces, takes a shit on it, and struts around like it’s won the game. I am that bird…

Everything Is One Big, Fat Lie, and Other Things That Are Annoying Me
I’m not a complainer. I’m actually a fun loving whimsical girl. If Tidus does his nephew thanks to insanity, do I not laugh and constantly bring it up? Do I not support children in danger through wholesale slaughter of said demons and demon spawn attacking innocents? Like, come on! But I’ve really got an axe to grind lately.

I have a deep sadness in me. All I know of my past and present is predicated on a lie. Adopted father, Bertok, Seraix, the source of my witchcraft… All the relationships before Smuggler’s Shiv. How do I reconcile all of that? Seraix has come clean somewhat. For whatever reason, I have faith and trust in her. But all the others? I can almost say that deception has developed a taste, rancid with betrayal of my heart and soul.

I have a dangerous anger that is starting to take a bit of a hold on me. I’m okay being asked to do something. But I want the choice. Figuring things out for yourself is the only freedom anyone really has. Use that freedom. Make up my own mind. But someone thinks it’s okay to fuck with my freedom. When I find out who it is that being and associated parties will pay.

On top of losing faith and trust in Bertok and anything and anyone before the Shiv, I have 3 main worries. Quade, who is really the immortal (at least until I break this place, if that comes to pass) Gage. I don’t know Gage. Mary despises him. He knew Bertok several millennia ago. All of this mess has him at its center.

Tidus, whom I hate to say I have to manipulate to ensure that he doesn’t stay a rabid murderer for MY sake, and the others’ sake as well… I think I have hatched a good plan. But is he really going along or is it all an act? I used to not question… Now I question everything. Paranoia keeps a girl alive!

Mary. She has the right idea. Besmara isn’t so bad. I just have this thing about selfishness… Self preservation is awesome. Selfishness? Not me. I like to be a contributor. For good or bad! In fact, the only crossing of odds with her is whatever we’re doing with Gage and my desire to make Tidus less deadly to those around him who are on his side.

Honestly, Dalvika and De’de are the last 2 people I can find as safe. They’re not murderers, nor do they have any skeletons or even any past that has now cast a shadow on who they are!

So, before I go any farther in this mindscape and such, I will need a few things. I need to find a way to vet Bertok without him knowing. I need a private conversation with Seraix to ascertain her position on events and such. I need to find out the tie between Gage, Bertok, and Ghoral Rey. I need to figure out if Bertok and/or Besmara have ties to Mahathallah and if she’s the one behind Bertok. Could Bertok have potentially been the familiar to Thaiyanathan? Or is he also a fallen psychopomp?

I will start with Gage and end with Bertok. I will do this before we reach the island of dead trees…

In conclusion, I am not bitter. Sad? Angry? Yup. But bitter? Nah. I’m the smartest person I know, but I lack any sort of common sense, patience, and wisdom to not make mistakes and such. Live and learn and murder… Well, live and learn. Murder is situational…

When You Get Your Philosophy From The Necronomicon, Something’s Wrong
So I have been reading fragments of this grimoire called The Necronomicon. Bound in human flesh and inked in blood. It speaks of places beyond that which is known to us. Places as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. The middle ground between the stars and the darkness, between the real and the shadow, and it lies between the pit of our fears and the summit of our knowledge. That place where that is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.

Or so the book says…

Picture a queen looking at memories. Queen of another time, once brilliant star in a firmament no longer a part of the sky, eclipsed by the movement of earth and time. Athyra, who is Mary, whose world and dreams are shared with a spirit of ages, struck down and laying on the unhappy deck of hit and run years, trying desperately to find that fleeting memory of life aboard
a ship that has become her private world.

The immortal proxy of a foreign deity. This is not a midday stroll for him. He perhaps did not know at the time, but it’s an exodus. Somewhere up the road, he’s looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he will find something else. A man can think a lot of thoughts and walk a lot of roads between afternoon and night. And to a man like Gage, ’til memory has suddenly become reality, a resolve can come just as clearly and inexorably as stars in the summer night. He is now back to put in a claim to the past.

Midnight. An ordinary night on an ordinary ship. A thousand ordinary people dreaming. To most of them, this hour will be a rest. A pleasant break in the day’s routine. To most, but not all. To De’de Mugabe, time is an enemy, and the hour to come is a matter of life and death. They say a dream takes only a second or, so and yet in that second a man can live a lifetime. He can suffer and die, and who’s to say which is the greater reality: the one we know or the one in dreams, between the Void, the sky, the earth, and the darkest ocean depths…

She is looking at a tableau of reality, things of substance, of physical material: sails, wood, rope, moonlight. These things exist and have dimension. Dalvika is also real. She has flesh and blood, muscle, and mind. But an ideal captain shows her how thin a line separates that which she assumes to be real with that manufactured inside her mind. Maybe it’s wishful thinking nestled in a hidden part of a goblin’s mind, or maybe it’s the next step in the vast design of things, or perhaps, for a goblin like Dalvika, who climbed upon the deck of the world blinded by blossoms of blood, it’s a place over the horizon where she could find him. Whatever it is, it comes with sunlight and serenity.

The Mad Triton. Where some men leave a mark of their lives as a record of their fragmentary existence, this one leaves a bloody blot, a dirty, discolored blemish to document a cheap and undistinguished sojourn among others. What he does now is watch a strange, mortal combat between the man he can be and what he is now. His life has been given over to fighting adversaries, but he will find his most formidable opponent in the reality that is the outskirts of his soul. The reflection in the mirror, a fragment of someone else’s conscience, a wishful thinker made of glass, but wanting to be made flesh and fighting to join the company of men. Tidus stands at that boundary, one foot in the light and the other in darkness…

What about me? I flip a coin, and keep flipping it. What are the odds? Half the time it comes up heads. The other half, tails. But in one freakish chance in a million, it lands on its edge. I am on the edge. All it will take is a vagrant breeze, a vibration or a slight blow. A human coin close to a tipping point.

The Necronomicon hints at those inbetween places where we do not belong, that fits outside any known paradigm. I feel like that’s where we are. Where dreams and reality touch everything, where it all intertwines… And we are not meant to understand one iota of it…

When Blah and Chaos Collide, and The Coin of Fate is in My Favor!
Well, when you’re wrong, and it still comes out right, does that make it a loss? Oh Hell no! All the graphs and flowcharts on Golarion and the Great Beyond wouldn’t have helped me.

I narrowed it down to Mahathallah and Besmara. I assumed one of them was the shadow pulling my strings. What I SHOULD have checked was what outside god or goddess may have had an interest in that bloody Sword of Gith. I didn’t make that leap. I was still stuck on the mindscape. Word of the Day: SCOPE. I need to broaden my scope of thinking.

Turns out there is an ascended god from outside Golarion, Kalach-Cha, who is a psychopomp usher who once was a shard bearer of The Sword of Gith who, probably due to the sword being here and my ancestor having brought the sword here, became the patron of my family and the 13 psychopomps who work with us to atone for that past wrong.

Bertok, it seems, is just a passive a-hole teacher. But nothing nefarious! And Seraix was insane, but was part of the original 13, just fallen! None of what I know of my past from Bertok was a lie. This… Well, it’s a blessing. A definite weight off my soul. But it’s come with it’s own set of issues. Bertok and Seraix are both influenced by my chaotic nature. Bertok fights it with resolve. He is direct and not impulsive, but certainly decisive. Seraix, because of the deeper synthesist bond, has a harder time. She wants to be like the majority of psychopomps; a dispassionate being. But passion is what we are! I want her to be an individual, a rainbow in the dark. Not just another shadow… Just have to show her that it’s okay to be that way and still follow Pharasma’s will…

Gage is Quade. Quade is Gage. Luckily, I think they’re both the same personality. One is older, the other is bolder. Mixed, we have no real change. Thank the Gods! History, as told by those that have both lived in his presence and researched him, say he is a prick. I think he is who he has been since we’ve known him and that means he’s NOT a prick. At least not all the time. That being the case, I will continue in his direction with no change to any plans. Operation Save Quade is still a go.

Mary has… Grown. Overt browbeating has turned more covert manipulation, though I think manipulation may be a bit strong. Because previous experience has taught the crew to mistrust her, or for others to view her with distaste, she rejoined us with a poor rep. But during this whole mindscape experience, she has shown that she CAN play along to get along. It’s refreshing. She has earned, at the very least, MY respect and companionship.

We don’t show Dalvika enough thanks for all she does. She may not always be there, but she has earned EVERYBODY’S loyalty and trust. Trust is an expensive, and quite frankly, HUGE word in our line of business. I hope Quade or Mary turn out to be the Captain she has been searching for…

Now we fall to Tidus and De’de. Fate says that a child of Dagon will join the Sahuagin tribes as their leader. Um… That leaves both of them. De’de is the more likely since Tidus chose undeath. But the possibility is still there. Fate had something in store for him, and perhaps he is still on that path to fulfill it. I do not know… De’de could be… So much more than he is. But he lacks sense of drive or care for anything other than where his dreams lead him. Mary would say I’m the one on the leash. But really I’m the wild card. Fate may point me at something, but it has just as much chance of FUBAR as success. With De’de? Well, let us just say that the saying “Follow Your Dreams” is his direct life philosophy. Hopefully, he learns to dream with his eye open.

But Tidus? He is conflicted. He is like my little brother, though he is older than me by more than a decade. He’s conflicted, and dangerous, but wants to be more. It shows. I know the others all have a severe distrust of him. But I like the guy. I remember writing that he just needs someone to look out for him. I got his back.

We’re almost at the Island of Dead Trees. The Prolonger must die. He must be made to face judgement. But I’ve learned that I can possibly save the realm as well as release the captive souls. I’ll try as long as Irons doesn’t betray us. If he pulls a pirate move? Well, I have no qualms about sending his soul on the long path of the River of Souls and pointing Besmara in his direction…

Look! A Clue!
I have been thinking of where I’d like to go in life. I am not a pirate. Well, a more accurate assessment would be I’m more than that. I’m sure if I’m needed by Fate, aka Pharasma, she’ll guide my steps in whatever direction. But as for my desire? I’ve been reading a lot. I find myself drawn to the void. It started with me starting to despise the Great Beyond. It’s a playground for deities and factions of aspects of various philosophies. When those philosophies change or fade, entire planes are affected.

That’s fucking lame.

Now here, on the Prime, it’s a hodgepodge of, well… Everything. A failure or change is expected and transitioned so much easier and different groups and factions often find ways to coexist with less segregation. In other words, there’s much more freedom to be…

So I stopped reading on planar society and instead turned my attention to different tales. One that drew my eye was the stories out of Numeria. Beings from out of the Void. Mechanical constructs that have nothing to do with magic. Ships that can travel the stars, visit distant planets, meeting beings and seeing wonders that are so different that it’s all magical in and of itself. That with the added bonus of trying not to delve into mysteries of eldritch beings that drive one insane just by reading about them? I’m game!

All A Matter of Perspective

My father taught me to be unpredictable and prepared. I think I have both of those down. First, we cleared out The Prolonger and all the minions from his Dreamscape home. We were efficient, direct, and victorious. Almost lost De’de and The Captain in the process… But Quade’s quick thinking and De’de’s raw power and skill helped them survive. Combine that with Mary’s preparation for many eventualities and my own unpredictable and conservative nature. Well, he died quickly and with extreme prejudice.

I was a little sad to see Irons die. Quade believes he was just another Besmaran spy to watch us, and perhaps he was right. But the man had no fear and fought like demons were hot on his tail. It’s not like Besmara was in league with The Prolonger. Nor do I know what Besmara may have done or promised to Irons to get him to be a double agent so to speak. But he fought bravely and was simply being his piratey self. Mary wants to honor him. I will participate. Hell, I’ll even petition on his part so that at the very least, he reaches the Halls of Judgement safely. I wonder what happened between him and Besmara. I should have asked. I like a good, tragic story.

I enjoy my little chats with Mary. She has a view that echoes my own in the most basic of ways, yet veers off from my own as celestials differ from demons.

I believe in being in the moment. I am AWARE that I have an impulsive, even dark side. But I also know that there’s an extreme balance to that. Mary wasn’t there to see me resurrect a friend, save children, help those in need with no concern for or benefit to myself. Hell, all the times that I spared certain people would qualify me for sainthood in many eyes. I believe in passion, in putting my all into the moment.

I believe in choice. I believe that freedom, true freedom, doesn’t exist with one exception. The only freedom we have is to make our own choices. A king may move a man, a goddess may claim a follower, but that person can also move his or herself, and only then do they truly begin their own game. Remember that howsoever you are played or by whom, your soul is in your keeping alone, even though those who presume to play you be kings or gods. When you stand before Pharasma, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus,” or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.

.I don’t promote chaos, but it’s in my nature. I expect others to do them, not follow in my footsteps unless by CHOICE. That’s IT. Bertok is my mentor, but also family. He is free. Free to choose his own path. If he wanted, he could leave. I am not stopping him. The choice is his. Seraix is free as well. She makes that choice to bond with me. She can refuse at any moment. Her aspect is her own. I have in no way shaped her or outright dominated her. We live as partners. Mary believes the link changes Seraix, and it does. I can only help Seraix and guide her to find peace in her own mind. My chaotic bent is who I am. Not a belief system in and of itself, but a part of my nature. If Seraix finds something appealing in that, then wonderful. But if not, or if it scares her, I can only give her my perspective and let HER decide what she believes.

In contrast, Mary, oddly enough, believes in freedom to be an ideal as well as a stereotype. The ideals… Gage hurt her. Men of the charismatic persuasion are prone to such flights of fancy and manwhoring. I believe he didn’t have that intention. In all likelihood, he probably thought he was giving her a gift. She saw a man to fall in love with immediately because he fit an ideal. Piracy is an ideal to her as well, representing a freedom. But it’s the ideal of a republic. As for stereotypes… I am a HUGE believer that in general, all beings for the most part fit their stereotypes. But where I believe it’s by choice, she believes it’s by design. She believes eidolons are shaped by the summoner or drawn to those of like aspects. Not true in many cases. Example: Me. She believes that all followers of Pharasma are what we will call single minded but again, Ushers, Sahkil, Penitents, my people… All exceptions by choice.

Now I could have a skewered view. We haven’t been talking all that long. It’s just an impression I get. She thinks that there is something dark and twisted in me. Best part of humanity? Humans, unlike every other race, have a moral compass that is as fluid as the seas I sail. Some choose good. Some choose evil. Perhaps law or chaos. I choose me. The wind is my guide, the currents my path, my gut my reassurance.

Finally, sacrifice. A word we don’t hear much anymore. Sacrifice. It’s not what I would call a modern word. People hear the word sacrifice, and they become afraid that something will be taken away from them or that they will have to give up something they couldn’t live without. Sacrifice, to them, means loss in a world telling us we could have it all. But I believe true sacrifice is a victory. That’s because it requires free will to give up something for someone you love, or something or someone you love more than yourself. I won’t lie to you. I’ve never loved anyone or anything in such a fashion, but from observation, it’s a gamble. Sacrifice won’t take away pain and loss, but it wins the battle against bitterness, the bitterness that dims the light on all of the true value in our lives.

New Beginnings

Oh how time flies when we are building a future full of mayhem and murder.

The town is, for the most part, complete. Quade’s and Tidus’ followers have settled in with families. Others have been enticed to our town to help it prosper. Seems to me to be headed in the right direction. Well, at least until Avimar learns we’re here and decides to attack. On the plus side, we’ll get a chance to kill Bonaduce since he’s one of Avimar’s.

I have a shop! I call it Cupidity Curio. I’ve taken much of the stuff we’ve collected through our travels, and a few more things besides, and set it all up for sale. Ulam, my friendly half-orc store manager and friend, assists me with the day to day operations. Madge maintains a room in one of the spaces above the store next to my own.

De’de, Dalvika, and I have spent a good deal of time creating items for the group. It was rough. I’m not very versed in psionics. But we got it all done. I would have done for others but no one gave me a shopping list and then Tidus wanted to split our earnings. Ah, well… I got mine!

So Tidus is officially the captain of the Crimson Malestrom. Agasta Smythee and Selis and a full crew complement will sail under his flag, which will in turn sail under Quade’s banner. He’s showing a greater degree of control over his baser urges and has proven himself to be reliable multiple times. Looks like we’ve finally hit that point where we’re a crew. All of us chose to not be captains except Tidus and Quade, though the Hurricane King DID acknowledge me during our visit…

Aside from creating magical items to help us, I have spent a TON of time making contacts and cultivating relationships with the townsfolk. I’ve assisted in building, healing the sick and hurt, and just generally getting to know as many people as possible in a personable way… If shit doesn’t hit the fan, I think I may have found a HOME. Woe to the ones who would take this from me.

Quade was getting stir crazy, so we took a break from building to go to Port Peril to obtain a letter of Marque, and become official free captains. It starts with tests. Why? I figure Avimar had something to do with that, but whatever.

It started with us having to let Tidus unfurl a sail against a monkey man. We made short work of it. Tidus got shit thrown at him, almost blew it a few times. Even had someone almost throw him off by cutting the boom line. De’de and I had to step in and mess with the monkey to even things up. Easy enough. De’de breaks part of the mast blaming it on the boom and I mess with the ropes and mast so that the monkey is assured to fall in the water. Tsadok, the Hurricane King’s first mate and a general pain in the ass, was definitely NOT happy. Quade spent quite a bit of time making sure to put him in his place.

2nd test. A ‘friendly’ game of cards with Tsadok. We cheated a bit. Quade went all in. Totally won. It was a short, sweet victory and quite honestly, if not for the 100 platinum, would have been a COMPLETE waste of time…

Final test was to fight off an ogre gladiator of supposed great renown. Quade burned his hide a bit, I put him to sleep but was sure to make it seem he passed out from fright. It’s my new thing. Intimidate people with a deathly look. Sometimes I ruin it by giggling because I’m probably about as dangerous as wet papyrus… But it makes for a fun and enduring reputation!

While awaiting our summons to collect our Marque, we ran into Nefti, the woman who helped us get Agasta from her father. Really, I have nothing against her, and I hope to hire her for her more shady services and stay on friendly terms.

Once we got our invite to see the Hurricane King, we arrive to his party to find him deep in his cups, which I personally find unbecoming. Honestly, it was probably just him. He’s very distasteful to me. He had us tell a story of our exploits so we let Quade do his thing. Had a few hecklers that De’de, Tidus, and I put in their place. Blue Hesmene also showed up! She’s pretending to be the plaything of Kerdak but she is really a puppet mistress… Something more to deal with eventually. Then just as we’re about to get our letter, Avimar decides to show his whipped puppy ass. I should have just murdered him where he stood. He tried to say we were mutineers and thieves, true enemies of the Shackles… What a load of shit. First, the whole of the Shackles would be Sahuagin Territory if not for us ruled by Sorrinash. But they’re either ignorant or a part of it all… Second, what we’ve accomplished far outshines anything these weak, pathetic jokes could ever hope to equal in such a short time. Luckily, we threw it all back in Avimar’s face, including his second in command head that I was hoping to keep as a trophy. But it was better to watch his face getting caught in a lie.

The Shark Lord challenged us to win the Regatta since he was too much of a whipped dog to face us in combat. Loser gives up all and leaves the Shackles forever. Guess we’re taking his seat at the Pirate Council table. So now we have to worry about were-creatures and sharks and Sahuagin fucking with our ship and interfering in the Regatta. Tidus better still have the hookup with the tritons. Or maybe I can make a deal with another group to even the odds… Gonna have to run it by the group. I’m glad I plan on seeing other worlds than this one. I’m starting to get disgusted with the pirate life.

Now I have to put up with people thinking I am being groomed to be Quade’s future conquest. I am not one to do such things. Quade is not relationship material. Ask Mary… Hell, I’ve been watching him conquer so many damn women and I have hardly known him a year… I am not a conquest. I am NOT a whore in training or a little girl to be trifled with. I ask Quade his opinion. He has not ordered me and people should see I am not one to BE ordered about. I defer to him because he shows a desire to be the leader; to be responsible for decisions. I prefer to give my opinion and work behind the scenes. Someday, maybe I will settle down to a family, children, things like that. But for now? I’m interested in expanding my influence, working to keep my friends and father safe, and having fun in whatever fashion I fancy. I’m glad no one has said anything about this grooming to my face. I think I may hurt that individual…

We’ve become errand runners to help Quade gather the pieces of 8. We now know the Hurricane King has one, and our new ‘friend, Tessa Fairwind, has another. She wants us to gather info on Chelaxian plots in the Shackles. Not a problem, I think. But she also says she doesn’t want the Hurricane Crown. My first instinct is to not believe her. But I’m exactly the same. I have no wish to be a captain. My gut tells me we can trust her. I think we have similar ends.

So we’re off to a whore house to obtain whatever info we can to I guess prove there’s a plot afoot? I’m game.

_Worst. Spies. EVER… _

So… Let me begin by saying that I do not always think things through. I have had a severe run of bad ideas.

Our first order of business was replacing the retiring cook, Fishguts. Through a rigorous process (sarcasm implied), we have a halfling bodybuilder named Rosie Cuswell serving up our meals! Personally? I like the fatty sweets. Not your normal fare on ship, but what the Hell. Yum!

Mo has made an appearance as well. After having seen her with Avimar at the Hurricane King’s party, we have our doubts about her. She’s brought us info on a Chelaxian treasure ship that we can possibly pilfer but Quade doesn’t trust her. I’m being nice but I think I’ll have to interrogate her. Hope it doesn’t come to killing her. I kinda like her.

We made our way to Quent to meet with the mistress of the House of Stolen Whispers, Mistress Dindreann. Here I have a bone to pick. This bitch is smoking hot. Even tops Quade in the looks department. But you can tell she’s magically enhanced. The most natural thing on her is the hair dye. Yeah, I’m a little jealous. I work hard to be this charming and cute, damn it.

Another service required by the Mistress for a bit of information. We are to find a group of wreckers and retrieve a holy relic known as The Golden Vespal. In return, she will give us the information we are seeking. On the plus side, she totally had the house service our crew. Relaxation without having to spend our plunder? Hell yes!

So to find this Golden Vespal and the ship that it was being transported on, we backtracked their route to where they may have disappeared. Luckily, on the way, we were able to make a stop at the town of Beachcomber, where we could seek out the Temple of the Hidden Home. It was recommended by Tessa as another source of possible info.

The captain was detained, so De’de, Dalvika, and I were sent to shore to gather intel. I dunno what we were drinking that day, but by Pharasma, we botched our sleuth skills in a gloriously astounding fashion. Rather than be circumspect, we were blunt and straightforward. We even had to heal our first informant and kill some toughs. We eventually managed to find this temple to Norgorber and a cleric willing to assist us.

Our contact, Silk, explained that if we can discover a secret to a missing ship’s speed and maneuverability, he would give us the knowledge we seek. So another errand. Yay… (Yes, I’m rolling my eyes as I write this… ) On the plus side, he did share the identity of the leader of the wreckers; one Peppery Longshanks. Also pointed out that the whorehouse may have ties to slavers.

First stop? The wreckers. This is where my really horrible idea came out. Instead of looking like prey, I used my illusion to put Peppery’s name on the sails asking to parley. As you can imagine, this caused said wizard and wrecking crew to hightail it out right quick and in a hurry. No one stopped me, so I totally share the blame with all around me. But definitely NOT one of my brighter moves… At least they left behind some plunder for us!

After a few days of realizing how dumb my plan was, Quade had De’de take a hunting party to Bag Island to search for the wizard and the missing relic. Aerys, Cut-Throat, and Sasha can report back to us if they get a lead hopefully.

Now off to find this Brine’s Banshee ship and pilfer her secrets.

_Undead glaore, and other things that don’t come easy… _

I hate having to spare people just because they’re Quade’s… I’d like to bury Doc. Treat her the way I did Heartbreak Hinsin. But Quade, Pharasma bless his soul, is a bit touchy about them. Though with his newfound bloodlust, I MAY be able to get away with it if I weren’t already disinterested in the salty little halfling bitch. But that is just me bitching about things that I won’t address.

Things seem to be piling up quick. Someone is causing trouble aboard ship. Doc has her undergarments in a bunch over me killing Hinsin. He was her only friend. Too bad. He paid the price for being an asshole. She will just have to get over herself.

Others on board, including my friends Magic Mike and Knuckles, get it in their heads to confront Tidus being an undead abomination. Before it turned into a bloodbath, Quade calls everyone on deck and chooses to come clean about Tidus and myself. Personally, I don’t mind. People can like me or not. But I will NOT allow them to kill Tidus. I have plans for that guy!

To top off our run of foul luck, we were targeted by the infamous Screaming Reaver; a ship of ill-repute. The battle went sideways from the start but we quickly turned it around. The shipmage of the Reaver kept fireballing us. I had to take her out with extreme prejudice. The rest were brought to heel by Quade, Tidus, and De’de through psionics and blade.

Now ordinarily, I prefer to bring people to our side. But again, things seem to be going sideways. (Though, if I am truthful, I admit, it turned me on the way this went…) Quade had the crew disarmed, then TOTALLY slaughtered all but 2 of the crew who were left alive, though maimed, to tell the tale of what happens when an enemy is made of the Femme Fatale. The crew was agast at Quade’s behavior. Myself? This made me quite happy as I was afraid he was getting a little too soft.

Coming home was a blessing. Give the crew a few days to come to terms with what was going on, and give the officers a chance to breathe. Mind you, didn’t quite go that way…

It started with one of Mary’s people recruiting in our home port. Now this would not bother me except that she was trying to discredit Quade and the Femme Fatale. Earn your crew by your own exploits, not by demeaning others. If she had stuck with he was a man whore fey, I’d have totally let it roll. But that was not the case. I was unfortunately forced to tell a tale of girlish woe to ensure that the truth was known. But to make up for having to out Mary, I did send her her cut of treasure earned through her time with us. I unfortunately had to turn down yet another offer to join her crew… I’m not one for her crew. She wouldn’t brook any of my habitual meddling and I can’t take a firm hand on the tiller…

Tidus met with Agasta. She has found peace from her time with the Shark Lord and is prepared to claim her place in Blackblood Cay. She needs the support of her father’s captains to take what is rightfully hers, but does not wish the involvement of Quade and the Femme Fatale, but Tidus shows her the folly of doing this on her own and convinces her that she will need our help. What she doesn’t know is that this will come at a price that will be paid in full, in blood for sure…

Now, Quade is a grown man, and a free captain, and once an immortal proxy of a goddess… Who the FUCK does Agasta think she is summoning him to her presence like a commoner? If Tidus weren’t so enamored with her, I’d dominate her just to put her in her place… I hate that she sees Tidus’ villa as her own. If they get married, fine. But she has earned NOTHING and has in fact caused much of our troubles. She better realize that she’s in debt to the Femme Fatale…

In the harbor, De’de meets with a herald of Queen Sloopdilmonpolop. (Say that 3 times quickly…) What I failed to tell anyone was that Tidus took the egg of the Queen and has raised it as an adoopted child of his own. I have no idea why, but didn’t think it a big deal at the time… Tidus sent the child amongst his people, gaining us the good will of the Queen and a future meeting with her among the tritons. Definitely a boon to our pursuits.

Finally, there was the tax collector of Kelizar the dragon, Scags Rotgut. Rather than work to improve our standing and keep our money, I paid him a year in advance after marking the coins to track them. Hopefully, this will buy us time to tidy up loose ends before slaying a dragon.

So where do we go from here? A few things.

I have to return the body of Jalazar to Keper Dur. We have a body that never decomposed in the depths of the ocean missing it’s head. We have a saboteur aboard the ship that is sowing dissension amongst the crew to include Gelik drinking again. Ag asta is going to be a problem if Tidus doesn’t forsake his undeath. I mean, I’ll support him if he does it for the right reasons. But Agasta as far as I feel is using him and I will not allow that.

We have to beat Avimar to take his lordship. Tidus has to beat both Quade and Avimar. I plan on entering the race as a captain as well to ensure Quade wins one way or another…

Wynter Journal

Skull and Shackles Wynter