Reconsidering, after removing Brine’s Sting, the Deep Platinum Necklace and her coin from Louise’s body, Bennett returned with Louise’s lifeless form to the War Pig. Once on board, he convinced Fitch to join with the crew in the exploration of the wreck
Once on the main deck, they spotted three doors leading forward, only the leftmost, now lying closest to the sea bed, was obscured by bits of broken mast and debris, and could not be accessed. Opening the middle door, they found a spiral staircase leading down, which Bennett and Manuel decided to explore. Tregellan took the final door, and found himself in a cabin. All the unsecured furnishings now lay against the port wall, and a quick search from Anton using the tip of his knife revealed an expertly crafted silver sextant, which he pocketed, and another door in the port wall (now the floor). Trying the door, he found that it had swollen, but without missing a beat he tied a length of rope to it, and using the corner of the cabin wall as a fulcrum, he single-handedly heaved the door open, revealing another cabin. Inside what was clearly the quartermaster’s quarters, again a brief search revealed a locked iron-bound chest, which he heaved out onto the main deck where Jiim and Fitch were waiting.
Manuel and Bennett, meanwhile, descended the spiral staircase onto the gun deck, to find the ships cannons all strewn along the port wall, sea-damaged beyond use. Two further staircases led down forward on either side of the ship, and they took one each and went forwards into the cargo hold. There, they spotted a giant jellyfish had made its home, sheltering from the currents. Bennett came up with the ingenious idea of using some sailcloth to shepherd the jellyfish out of the way. Fitch returned to the War Pig with the chest and himself had a brainwave, returning to the wreck with an upturned barrel, with enough of an air pocket within to allow the crew to communicate, two at a time. Using this device, Bennett coordinated the deployment of the sailcloth, dropping it from above to the waiting Manuel, and the gently moving the beast into the bow of the ship and out of the way.
Now free to search in the bowels of the forward cargo hold, they found a few chests containing furs which were now ruined. However they also found some small sealed metal barrels, and some packing cases that seemed undamaged, so these were salvaged. With no more of the bow section left to explore, the crew ascended to the War Pig.
Attention first turned to the chest that Anton had found in the quartermaster’s cabin. It was locked with two locked that had now badly rusted. Manuel, keen to prove his worth to his new crew, produced his tools of the trade, but found he couldn’t disable a lock. The quiet Dutchman, who had been overseeing the attempt with a mixture of interest and scorn, smirked imperceptibly at the Spaniards failure, and proceeded to expertly pick both locks on the chest. Opening it revealed a stash of silver coins, which they surmised must be the undistributed portion of the crew’s payroll.
Now they examined the barrels, which were metallic and completely sealed. Manuel, desperate to make up for his failure, offered himself to open one, at sea in a longboat if necessary. Having established that they contained some form of liquid by sloshing it around, the crew were deeply suspicious of them, and amid aspersions from Bennett that they contained liquefied ghosts, they left them untouched and unopened for the time being. The packing cases provided a more joyous find, each containing a dozen bottles of very fine rum. The Bosun was quick to request from Fitch if he was willing to donate one of the crates from his share to the ship’s crew, as would they, to which Fitch readily agreed.
They had yet to discover any clue as to the secret of the Banshee’s nimbleness, however. It was clear that, if there were answers, these must lie in the stern section, down in the rift. The crew discussed ways of providing a source of light at depth, but with the tools they had to hand they couldn’t think of any possible way. Fitch then suggested that the cold temperatures down there would also be a concern. Manuel suggested that they all need to apply a layer of grease to their skin beneath their clothing before diving. Unable to think of a better suggestion, they all retired to their quarters with lard from the ship’s supply. Reuniting on deck, all looking a little sheepish, Anton orders “Never speak of this again!”. And with the Dutchman quipping “First one to turn back is a sissy”, they dove over the side and down into the rift.
Eventually they located the stern section, resting upright on a shelf around 180 feet down, with the void continuing beyond even further into the depths. Visibility was severely reduced, and the crew could only see a few feet in front of them, but the found themselves on the poop deck. Bennett quickly dove to check the rudder, but finding nothing unusual he rejoined the rest. Feeling their way along the rail, they eventually made their way to the centre, where they found the ship’s wheel, ornately carved with bone handles and decorated with skull motifs. Lashed to the wheel were the remains of the captain. The wheel certainly looked special, but the crew left it in place for the time being to further explore the wreck.
They quickly located the captain’s opulently appointed cabin, and whilst all the paperwork, charts and logs had long since been destroyed, Tregellan did locate a silver dinner service, which he appropriated. Further exploration revealed the ship’s stores, the crew’s quarters with a dozen or so mouldering corpses, and the ship’s gally, which Jiim had to force open on account of the debris behind the door. There they found the remains of the cook, his legs trapped beneath a heavy bench. Further into the ship they found the officer’s quarters, along with the remains of Vargus Brack, identifiable by his peg leg, and the incessant vibrations of the ring on Anton’s finger. Fitch took a quick look at the corpse of his old friend, and saw that he had been badly burned at some point prior to his death.
Now descending into the main cargo hold, the lack of light had Bennett almost collide with the hold’s new occupant, a Deep Tiger Anemone of huge proportions. Reacting to defend its lair, the creature expelled a forceful jet of water at the Bosun, sending him hurtling backwards over the side of the deck thirty feet or so away. Jiim stabbed out at the beast with Zul, and retreated again to distance, however the creature’s tentacles could still reach him. Anton delivered a blow with Brine’s Sting which the anemone took, and Manuel rushed in close to stab the beast, managing to slice off a small piece which the Spaniard would keep to eat later. With Bennett swimming as fast as he could back into the fray, the others all found it hard to penetrate the creature’s slimy exterior. The anemone’s tentacles lashed out at all who were trying to harm it, and one of them swiped Manuel, lashing him across the chest. The pain was considerable, however the Spaniard’s fortitude warded off the effects of the anemone’s venom. Jiim finally spotted an opening, and thrust his weapon at the beast, slaying it. Fitch expertly patched up the Spaniard’s wound.
Examining the cargo hold, the crew noticed that the wood by the hole in the ship was covered in strange-looking pale crustaceans, cream coloured and resembling a cross between a crab and a prawn (quickly christened a ‘crap’ by Tregellan). They also located three undamaged crates here. The door to the rear led to what was clearly once the ship’s brig, but the door was now hanging off. Stored in the brig were several chests bearing a Spanish seal. Taking these, plus the wheel, with Bennett being careful to pay respects to the captain, and saluting him as they deported, they once again ascended up to the War Pig.
Bennett attempted to convince Fishguts to tell Tregellan about the existence of scalding ghosts, much to the sailor’s confusion. As Anton attached the Banshee’s wheel to the War Pig, and proceeded to hear voices in his head as he did so, the rest arranged a service for all the Banshee’s crew, and Louise, with Bennett leading the prayer to Neptune to grant them peace.
In the cases from the cargo hold they found ivory, whilst in the chests from the brig they found that they contained gold ingots! After valuing everything obtained from the wreck, Fitch was more than happy with his share of over 8000 pieces of eight, and requested that he be dropped off back at Nassau to make his own way back to England. Tregellan muttered something about killing Fitch now and taking his share, and despite no one being sure whether he was serious or not, they honoured their word and sailed back to Nassau. They parted ways with Fitch, with Tregellan giving him a letter to take back to England to his relatives, encouraging them to make their way to the Caribbean for a life of excitement and adventure on Tidewater Rock.
In a tavern in Nassau they met a brooding, dangerous looking man by the name of Robert Monroe, who said that his luck had been on the wane and he was looking for opportunities. Ever the salesman, Tregellan told them of his crew of free captains, and their life of adventure as buccaneers. Establishing that Monroe was more a swordsman than a sailor, Anton started losing interest, but the others were keen to see what he had to offer. A brief spar later with Manuel convinced them that he was indeed highly skilled with a blade, and he joined up.
They then set sail for San Juan to deliver their information to the Lurkers. Slip once again met them, and upon learning the secret of the Banshee lay with the vessel’s wheel, he was more than happy to impart his knowledge. He told them that a scrimshander in St Kitts had knowledge of a spy within the Caribbean, he should be their point of inquiry. The crew also asked about the wreckers in Anguilla and the Lady’s Sting, but not having any information to trade, and with Slip not accepting the promise of future info, a small ‘donation’ of 1000 PoEs revealed the information that the ship was wrecked by a group led by Varkala operating out of the Rampart Islands to the south east of Anguilla. Their final action in San Juan was to hand in Morton for his bounty to the Spanish authorities, who were overjoyed to be presented with the pirate and happy to pay out the 3000 PoE bounty.
With that, the crew set forth to St. Kitts, to find the scrimshander.