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Scourge Privateers and something ominous come to the Endless Deserts...


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Sand.

Anyone who is familiar with sand (that is to say the true Sand and not the false sand of peasants) can tell you that it is as pernicious as it is indestructible.  It is carried on the Winds of Time, and with it the dreams and memories of bygone eras are drawn from the realms and consumed into oblivion… yet some of these relics and treasures of the past are carried on the winds and sands through the Stormwall of Regret and find themselves in the Sour Sea, and as often as not wash up on the beaches of the Endless Deserts where the tides inevitably return the sands.

Most of these will be buried in the sand forever, almost forgotten, but not quite.  As long as these relics exist there will be those that hunger for their return, pine for their loss, or are inspired by their memory.  Druchii Corsairs who find the work of Privateering to be too… restrictive for their temperament will sign on with Captains and Fleetmasters of Realm Reaving Black Arks who will, if desperate enough, ply their trade on the Sour Sea.

Most will troll the shallows for lost treasures that have not quite reached the shore, or hunt some of the juvenile leviathans and beasts that might be found in those waters.   The truly desperate will risk a landing party into the desert proper, where the potential reward is magnified nearly as much as the risk.  The lucky Captain will be the one with guaranteed coin in hand for very little risk – those who offer passage for those desperate individuals who would travel to the Endless Deserts for the chance of recovering that which was lost, be it a memory, a secret, an heirloom, or lost soul…

The city of Bétone is home to a few of these pilgrims, but the small port of Desert’s End is as far as most of these wretches get and therein eke out an existence in misery as they search the desert until they are consumed by it.

Orias Bloodthorn, Captain of the Wicked Mistress and Fleetmaster of the Blood Tithe found himself on just such a mission, ferrying a passenger to the Endless Deserts, to likely never be seen again.  There were easier and cheaper ways to end your life, Orias thought, but shrugged as it offered him the excuse to wallow in his own indulgences.  In truth, this task was beneath his station, but the majority of his black arks and corsairs were under contract to the Order Serpentis chapter that was controlled by his daughter Euryale, and he was unwilling to see her again under terms where he would be required to accept her command.  His lieutenants could deal with her pettiness and spiteful nature.  But as he looked out over the bow and across the roiling Sour Sea he knew the real reason he was drawn to these waters again and again was the weight of his own regrets and losses…

It had been quite a while though since he had the opportunity to provide passage to the Endless Deserts, and he found the man to be of an odious nature and a strong will, quite unlike most of the desperate fools he had taken before.   He remembered the man arriving abruptly at his table in a rundown saloon in some forsaken shantytown where his fleet had anchored for supplies.

“Dreadlord Bloodthorn, I have business with you, “ the dark clad stranger spoke, in a low voice, but one that was clear and firm even in the noisy saloon.

The use of the archaic honorific caught the Druchii’s attention and ire and he disdainfully shoved the wench in his lap onto the floor allowing him quick access to his weapons should they be needed.  Satisfied for a moment that he had not stumbled into a trap, he looked the man in the eye and replied “Fleetmaster is the word you are looking for.  The fact that you recognize my flag marks you only as a well-informed spy.  Take your information to Nemeth my spymaster and he will see that you are paid for whatever information you…”

The man cut him off, “You misunderstand me, Fleetmaster.  I am no spy, merely a traveler seeking passage across the Realms.  Allow me to more properly introduce myself.  I am Chairophon the go-between, and I am required to travel to a very dangerous place where very few have gone, and even fewer return, and I believe you know exactly of where I speak…”

Orias indeed knew exactly where this Chairophon needed to go, and agreed to the passage.  But there was still something unsettling and nagging at the back of his mind that something here was not quite right, and maybe even something he couldn’t remember… Regardless, he shook off the sensation of rising dread and roused himself from the foul humor by barking insults and orders to the elves on deck, and shouted to a nearby officer as he strode back toward the bridge, “Ready the passenger, we’ll make harbor by nightfall, and we may as well take a troll the north shallows for our troubles…”

 

               

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