Sails, Sabres and Swashbuckling on the Spanish Main

Spy Huntin'

or should that be Huntin' the Spy Hunter?

Giles_Halmis.JPG
Arriving at St. Kitts, the first order of business for Bosun Bennett was to find a bank to bequeath 500 PoEs for his friend, a certain Bull McLean. The rest began their search for the scrimshander, with Tregellan asking at the docks, and Jiim enquiring about a craft quarter in town. Anton has no luck, unable to find anyone suitable who would talk to him, however Jiim quickly located the craft quarter, and indeed the Carver’s Hall, a communal building where all the scrimshanders of St Kitts would collaborate on larger projects and sell their wares.

The craftsmanship was of a very high standard, and as the crew entered the hall, Anton immediately started talking to one of the craftsmen and commissioned a scrimshaw helm for a rapier, with the image of his face on it. Getting directions to Jamie, they headed over, with parting advice from Bennett to the scrimshander “Pay particular attention to the hat!”

Jiim covered the exit to the hall, and Bennett approached Jamie and told him that he would like to commission a very personal piece of work, could they possibly retire to a tavern to discuss it where Bennett would shout a meal for him. Keft was more than happy to accept the offer and they made their way out of the hall towards a local tavern, Anton wearing a confused expression and muttering “When did the Bosun become competent?”

Once settled at a table in the tavern, Bennett comes clean and reveals that, whilst indeed he did want to commission a work, they were also interested in information he may have regarding spies in the Caribbean. Initially cautious, a large purse of 100 PoEs placed on the table soon had Jamie talking. He told the crew that he had his suspicions about a man named Haddon Pike, a fisherman, beachcomber and occasional smuggler. The thing was, Pike would make numerous trip west in a hired boat, presumably to smuggle goods, however Keft knows the black market very well, and Pike would never buy or sell anything before or after making these trips. Keft gave them directions to Pike’s cottage on the outskirts of town overlooking a cliff. Bennett thanked him and commissioned a scrimshaw of a figure of Neptune, which Keft was more than happy to take on.

Making their way out of town, they soon arrived at the small driftwood cottage described by Keft. Anton and Bennett stand back to let the more ‘sneaky’ members of the crew scout it out. Manuel crept up to the door and put his ear to the keyhole to listen, but the only sounds he could make out were the loud voices of Tregellan and Bennett discussing picnics. The Spaniard deftly picked the lock and carefully opened the door, to reveal a scene of chaos. The cottage had been ransacked, and there was a body who’s head was immersed in a fish tank, with two crossbow bolts sticking out of his back. The pet piranha in the tank had taken care of most of the victim’s face. Jiim traced the flight of the bolts through an open back window, and around eighty feet away in the grass he found a discarded glass vial, the contents of which had since washed away. Bennett determined that he had been dead for four days or so, meanwhile the rest of the crew searched the body for clues, but found nothing.

Jiim returned to the cottage and quickly located a false panel in the base of the fishtank – and contained within was a sealed whalebone scrollcase. Quickly opening it, they found a manuscript of an Italian opera ‘L’Orfeo’, and a small piece of paper containing letters, which Robert quickly identified as Roman numerals. Initially confused, with the cultured Lord of Tidewater Rock having to explain “This is what we call… music!” they quickly made sense of the number cypher, realising that each three-digit number represented an act, a stanza, and a letter. Decoding the whole message, it read ‘Report on movement of ships visiting St Christophe. Esp. those of Master of Gales. Contact Rovena Kallet. Tortuga.’

Robert knew of the reputation of the Master of Gales – a Pirate lord operating out of St. Kitts. However no one knew the whereabouts of St. Christophe no matter how hard they taxed their memory – and possibly soiled themselves in the process? Tregellan once again failed to convince any locals that they would be better off as goat herders on a tiny rock of an island, but on returning to the ship they asked Fishguts about St Christophe – to which he explained that they were there already – St Christophe being the former name of St Kitts. Jiim quickly retorted “Yes, we knew that – well done crewman. We just wanted to test you.” Asking around about the Master of the Gales, they discovered that he wasn’t currently in port. This year he was arranging the Pirate Regatta – after having won it the previous four years. The news of such an event certainly caught the attention of the crew, Tregellan in particular.

The Dutchman had the idea to check the port to see whether the golden wasp statue had been seen or trafficked, but no one had seen or heard of it. The crew discussed who would want to take out the spy? Monroe suggested that perhaps the lurkers had another client that wanted to know if anyone enquired about the spy.

After much discussion about where to head to next, they decided to forego the lead in Anguilla, despite its proximity, and head to Tortuga, given recent events it seemed that they were perhaps on the chase and that time was of the essence. With expert navigation from the Admiral, they shaved two days off the estimated travel time and arrived without incident.

Enquiring in Tortuga about Rovena Kallet, it didn’t take the crew long to learn that she was a local harbourmaster, in the employ of the local Pirate Lord of Tortuga, a certain Arronax Endymion. They also learned that she had recently gone missing, but nevertheless they got the addresses of her house and the warehouses she was in charge of. Jiim, full of ideas, suggested that they report on movement of ships to the Pirate Lord himself, pretending to be the spy, to acquire some more info. However they realised that most of the crew were already reasonably well known, so all heads turned towards Robert, who in turn suggests that the Pirate Lord may not be party to this conspiracy. The crew decided to start the investigation at her house.

Arriving at the address, they discovered once again that they had been beaten to it. The house had been ransacked, and there was no sign of the harbourmaster. Searching through the chaos and papers littered everywhere, they nevertheless located a document of interest. It appeared to be a ledger of some kind, listing the names of all the Pirate Lords, including the Pirate King himself. Each name had a large number next to it, in the hundreds of thousands. One name stood out, though, that of Endymion, the Pirate Lord of here in Tortuga. His name just had a dash next to it. Scribbled at the bottom of the page were the words ‘Send with Corlan’. The crew pondered what these numbers could mean – net worth, debts, payoffs?

Asking around in his unique savvy way, Tregellan found that Corlan was an associate of Kallet’s, who lived in a small town house in Tortuga. Taking the ledger with them, they made their way to the address, a small house on a T-Junction. The door was locked and there was a light coming from inside. They all positioned themselves around the house, with Manuel sneaking up onto the roof, although Tregellan and Bennett took some time to decide whether the left or right approach to the house was the optimal solution…

Once in position, Monroe knocked on the door, and it was answered a few seconds later by a small dark haired man matching the description of Corlan. ‘Yes?’ he said, but just as Monroe began to ask him a question, the poor man was pierced by two crossbow bolts, one in the eye socket and one through the throat, dropping him to the floor instantly. Spinning around, they noticed a man on the roof of the building across the street, moving swiftly towards the staircase.

Bennett hurled a dagger at the moving target, but the range was simply too great and it harmlessly pinged off the side of the building. Jiim, in one slick move, unslung his musket and loosed a shot, striking his mark as usual and stunning him, but the assassin quickly shrugged it off. Manuel climbed down off the roof of Corlan’s house, and the assassin moved to the far side of the roof, to the sound of Tregellan demanding an explanation.
The crew quickly all ran to intercept the killer as he was descending the stairs. As Manuel ran into position behind the building in an attempt to climb up and flank him, Bennett stabbed out on the staircase and wounded him. Robert ran up behind Bennett and Anton tried to vault the pair of them and grapple the man, but failed.

The assassin stabbed out at Anton with the bayonet attached to the front of his double crossbow and pierced his armour, but the hardy Admiral shook it off. With Manuel creeping up behind him, Bennett slashed his dagger across the man’s forehead, causing a superficial wound but more importantly causing blood to trickle down into his eyes. This left an opening for Tregellan to disarm the killer, causing him to drop his crossbow, at which point he yielded.

Dragging him back into Corlan’s house out of sight, they questioned the killer. He was quite happy to divulge what he knew, once Robert had assured him that he would be let go. He told them that he had been hired to kill the three targets by Zariska, the apothecary on Armada. If they want to gain access to the apothecary, they should use the password “two pounds of powdered bark”. He didn’t know why she wanted these people dead, nor did he ask. He was just fulfilling a contract. Despite Tregellan’s wanting to keep the assassin, the crew honoured Robert’s word and they let him go, keeping his double crossbow, bayonet, and two vials of what was presumably poison, these last two items being of particular interest to the Dutchman. Not finding anything else of interest in Corlan’s house, they tried to figure out what was going on. Why were these ‘spies’ being killed?

Without any further information to go on, they headed back to Armada and met up with Tessa Fairwind once again. When she asked what they had discovered, to which Anton replied “I don’t know. Crew – what have we discovered?”, they explain that they believe that the apothecary in Armada had the spies killed – the smuggler in St Kitts that was reporting on the Master of Gales, and Rovena Kallett and her associate in Tortuga, who had a ledger of all the Pirate Lords which cast some suspicion on Arronax Endymion.

Tessa was impressed with their findings thus far, however without any proof of the apothecary’s involvement it wasn’t enough to bring before the council. The crew vowed to go and get the required proof, and requested that Tessa sign them up for the Pirate Regatta, which she was more than happy to do. The crew paid their entrance fee, and as they were departing Anton presented Tessa with a necklace. With a resigned sigh, Jiim had to drag Anton away once again.

Anton commissioned his rapier with a local bladesmith before the crew headed to the apothecary to see what they could find.

Comments

Thinking about it, there’s nothing to say that the woman that hired us to find spies is actually on the level. Maybe she duped us into finding and killing her rivals, rather than actual spies. (She could even be in on it with the apothecary.)

We forgot to ask the assassin we questioned about the vial we found. It may not have been his (although seems likely).

Spy Huntin'
 

President Weasel:

True, but as long as she pays us rather than betrays us I don’t really mind. Seems foolish to send us blundering around exposing her spy ring though, if someones already quietly rolling it up

Eisley:

What I mean is we may be trying to work out the wrong story. She wouldn’t employ us to destroy her own network, but we may not be finding out about real spies in Armada at all – we could just have been duped into achieving her power struggle.

If she is trying to take over Armada then we could be implicated in it which wouldn’t go too well with what we hope is our new faction (if she failed).

President Weasel:

Then we’d better ensure she succeeds or that any and all potential witnesses are dead. We’ve still got the whole golden statue/wreckers/priestesses of Erzuli questline to complete too, which gives us another avenue to find out about spies. Come to think of it, she hasn’t really pointed us at any spies in particular, she’s pointed us at sources of information who we then did quests for so they would then answer our spy related questions. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that she bribed the lurkers to give us a bum steer, and if I remember rightly she’s already friends with the priestess so it would be conceivable for her to be giving us wrong info too, but occam’s razor would tend to suggest that there really are spies and she really wants us to look into them.

Apart from the spy angle she’s already said she doesn’t want the top job, but if she does want to be Queen of the Pirates I say we help her in exchange for treasure and magic items. I have no loyalty to the current regime.

Spy Huntin'
 

I for one have no concerns regarding the motives of Lady Fairwind. After all, she does have a particularly nice hat and in my view that’s the ultimate test of a person’s character.

This fact does however cast certain dispersions upon the general character of my own crew who appear to be lacking hats (with the exception of our dubious Spaniard – though I believe he may have stolen that hat from a more reliable and trustworthy member of the crew).

Spy Huntin'
 

I think you’ll find Bosun Bennett has a red woolly hat, which has been mentioned several times. It is carefully calculated to be jaunty and sailory while at the same time being practical, and most importantly to not awaken hat-jealousy in the mind of Tregellan.

Spy Huntin'
Thrudd0001

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.